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Dartford winger Ryan Hayes hits 100-goal mark but gets as big a buzz from assisting others

By Luke Cawdell

Ryan Hayes hit his 100th goal for Dartford last Saturday – but he loves creating them just as much.

The winger reached the milestone in a 1-1 draw with Concord but believes he’s created four times as many in 12 years with Darts.

Hayes said: “I love setting up goals for the other boys and if I can score, then that’s a bonus.

Ryan Hayes is now a member of the 100 club at Dartford, but the winger enjoys creating goals as much as scoring Picture Andy Payton

Ryan Hayes is now a member of the 100 club at Dartford, but the winger enjoys creating goals as much as scoring Picture: Andy Payton

“I’m not the kind of player to go and win tackles and headers. I am the player who tries to create a lot of chances. It’s always good to be involved in the goals and I enjoy the assists just as much.

“I have probably created as many goals four times over. I got a message from Brendan Cass (the former Darts striker) and he said it was nowhere near as many as I set up."

Hayes may have joined an elite list of players to score 100 for the club, but he’s still behind mate and skipper Elliot Bradbrook.

“He gave me a bit of banter when he got his 100th earlier in the season,” said the winger. “But he was the first to congratulate me on Saturday and he came over first after the game as well.”

The pair played together as kids in rep sides and are now key figures in a tight-knit squad. It’s a bond that had helped the Darts stay on course to achieve their National League South play-off target this season.

At 31, Hayes – who works nights selling meat at Smithfield Market – is unlikely to reach 150 goals but is a handful of games from 500 starts and playing elsewhere doesn’t interest him.

He said: “I can’t see myself going anywhere else. I want to stay at Dartford and once the journey is over, I’ll hang them (the boots) up. I am on 486 starts – that is my next target – but the main goal is promotion.”

Read the full story in Thursday's Dartford Messenger.

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