Dartford 1-2 Chelmsford City
Dartford 1-2 Chelmsford City

Chelmsford City dominated the second half of this second leg at Princes Park scoring twice to secure their place in the National League South promotion play-off final.

In the sixth meeting between the two sides this season The Clarets had the edge over hosts Dartford and it proved to be once more as the visitors won the third of three games between the sides in Dartford to earn the right to battle it out for promotion to the National League against Ebbsfleet United

The Darts made two changes from the first leg as Danny Harris came in for Keaton Wood and Andy Pugh came in for Lee Noble

The game began in thunderous style and it was The Darts who created the first opening. Alex Brown linked up well with Harris on the right hand side although Duane Ofori-Acheampong, sliding in, was unable to direct the low cross towards goal as visiting ‘keeper Ross Fitzsimons smothered the ball.

As was probably to be expected chances were at a premium as the two sides were meeting for the sixth time this season, with only nine goals being scored previously.

Ofori-Acheampong was proving to be a handful for The Clarets’ back line and on the half hour the tall striker fell to the ground in the penalty area but the stifled calls for a penalty-kick were waved away

The Darts entrusted Ryan Hayes with set pieces and it was from one of his dangerous and inviting crosses into the penalty area that The Darts almost took the lead. The ball headed across goal found the recalled Harris on hand at the near post but he saw his close range header hit the post and cleared away and for his endeavours he too collided with the post but shook it off an was able to continue

Deren Ibrahim, limited to a handful of kicked clearances in the opening half, saw a late flurry of first half action as Robbie Willmott struck a swerving free-kick at goal although he saw it well to tip it over the crossbar whilst carefully watching a Louie Theophanous long-range effort sail over the bar – The Clarets man easily, and unexpectedly, dispossessing The Darts defence.

The second half however was a totally different game as visitors Chelmsford right from the whistle took the game to The Darts which proved a decisive move.

Winning a number and variety of set-pieces and throw-ins around the penalty area Chris Bush caused problems with his long throws then hitting the post with a low left-sided cross/shot, Chris Dickson soon after glancing one of Bush’s long throw-ins onto the top of the crossbar.

The Darts were under constant pressure and eventually it told as Chelmsford took a deserved lead. Chris Dickson held up the ball well in the right corner and in getting away from his man put in an inviting low cross which Louie Theophanous stooped to head home.

Desperate to equalise and get back into the game The Darts threw men forward and it proved costly as Dickson ran clear from halfway and unleashing an unstoppable curling effort past Ibrahim to send the visiting fans into dreamland.

Credit to The Darts, however, as they didn’t lie down, thinking a late goal could provide a grandstand finish and got their reward as Acheampong stroked the ball home although late into injury time it proved too-little-too-late, the referee bringing proceedings to an end as Chelmsford secured their place in the end of season play-off final


Dartford: Ibrahim, Harris, Wynter, Bonner, Vint, Brown (Noble, 55), Hayes, Bradbrook ©, Ofori-Acheampong, Pugh (Pavey, 77), Wanadio (Murphy, 77)

Subs not used: Wood, Wells

Goals: Acheampong (90+3)


Chelmsford: Fitzsimons, Hill, Daley (Graham, HT), Porter, Bush ©, Haines, Willmott, Rees, Theophanous (Haysman, 86), Dickson, Jeffers

Subs not used: Miller, Cornhill, Johnson

Goals: Theophanous (70), Dickson (85)


Attendance: 2,622