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Dartford 0 Chelmsford 1 match report

By Matthew Panting

Dartford lost ground at the top of National League South after losing out to play-off hopefuls Chelmsford on Saturday.

A deflected goal by Chelmsford's Anthony Church settled a competitive contest where chances were hard to come by for both sides.

It means Darts are now four points off top spot in the table.

Dartford winger Ryan Hayes delivers a cross. Picture Andy Payton

Dartford winger Ryan Hayes delivers a cross. Picture: Andy Payton

Dartford came into the game having scored 23 goals in winning their last six league games. But they lacked any real threat in the first half against a Chelmsford side who had dropped out of the play-off places in recent weeks.

Shaun Jeffers was lively for the visitors in attack but, for all their possession and territorial advantage, Chelmsford also found openings hard to come by.

Max Porter drilled wide from distance but Darts defended well and got to the break with the score goalless.

The first five minutes of the second half proved to be Dartford's best spell. It was a period of pressure sparked by Josh Hill's wayward back pass, which evaded keeper Ross Fitzsimons but - thankfully for Chelmsford - went just wide of the post.

From the resulting corner, Ronnie Vint arrived at the back post with a towering header but his effort came back off the crossbar and was cleared to safety.

Skipper Elliot Bradbrook, so often the man who decides narrow games, almost made his mark in the 50th minute but his left-foot drive from 25 yards fizzed inches wide of the far post.

Dartford's Luke Wanadio takes on Chelmsford's Robbie Willmott. Picture Andy Payton

Dartford's Luke Wanadio takes on Chelmsford's Robbie Willmott. Picture: Andy Payton

It needed a brilliant save by Darts keeper Deren Ibrahim to deny Jeffers a certain goal on 55 minutes. Robbie Willmott's shot was beaten away by Ibrahim and when the ball was returned back across goal, Jeffers' header was superbly turned over by the Darts keeper.

Chelmsford introduced the much-travelled Liam Enver-Marum with just under half-hour left and they took the lead on 71 minutes.

The ball was worked to captain Anthony Church on the edge of the box and his low drive was deflected past keeper Ibrahim by a Darts defender.

Chelmsford's five-man defence held firm in the last 10 minutes as Dartford failed to register any late effort of note on Fitzsimons' goal. 

Dartford: Ibrahim, Harris (Seixas 88mins), Wynter, Bonner, Vint, Wood (A Brown 76mins), Hayes, Bradbrook, Pugh, Murphy (Thorley-Porter 81mins), Wanadio. Subs not used: Habte, Coxall.

Chelmsford: Fitzsimons, Hill, Graham, Porter, Bush, Spillane, Willmott, Church (Cornhill 79mins), Jeffers (Dickson 81mins), Buchanan (Enver-Marum 63mins), Rees. Subs not used: Haysman, Daley. 

Attendance: 1,385. 

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