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Dartford 6 East Thurrock 1 match report

By Matthew Panting

Four first-half goals saw Dartford thrash East Thurrock in National South on Saturday.

The Darts were brilliant in the first half and brushed aside an East Thurrock side who had only lost four league games this season.

It was another powerful sign from Tony Burman's side that they are genuine play-off contenders. 

Darts went ahead through Tom Bonner. Picture Andy Payton

Darts went ahead through Tom Bonner. Picture: Andy Payton

Dartford never looked back from the moment Tom Bonner headed in Ryan Hayes' left-wing corner in the second minute.

East Thurrock had their moments and it might have been a different story had James Walker not turned Reece Harris' centre wide when it seemed easier to score.

The second goal arrived on 13 minutes. Hayes' near-post corner was cleared as far as the edge of the area and Alex Brown's sweetly struck 20-yard volley went low past keeper Lukas Lidakevicius. 

Alex Brown wheels away after scoring Dartford's second goal. Picture Andy Payton

Alex Brown wheels away after scoring Dartford's second goal. Picture: Andy Payton

With Andy Pugh up front alongside Duane Ofori-Acheampong, they caused East Thurrock's defenders plenty of problems. Hayes and Tom Murphy provided the width and the visiting back four didn't know whether to defend man for man or tuck in and defend their box.

They did neither, and a third goal duly arrived midway through the first half. Pugh twisted and turned on the edge of the box before his deflected shot fell perfectly for Murphy to score on his home debut.

Tom Murphy scores on his home debut for Dartford. Picture Andy Payton

Tom Murphy scores on his home debut for Dartford. Picture: Andy Payton

East Thurrock didn't change the way they played and while it meant they left themselves exposed in defence, they still created openings at the other end.

They got behind makeshift right-back Danny Harris on 32 minutes and Sam Higgins squared for Tom Wraight to slot home from close range.

Dartford simply carried on from where they left off, however, and it was 4-1 on 37 minutes. Ofori-Acheampong showed great strength to hold off Michael Clark and pull the ball back for Pugh to turn in at the near post.

Andy Pugh celebrates scoring Dartford's fourth. Picture Andy Payton

Andy Pugh celebrates scoring Dartford's fourth. Picture: Andy Payton

The home side continued in similar fashion after the break as a fifth goal arrived on 54 minutes.

Ofori-Acheampong held off two defenders and his shot landed at the feet of Hayes, who made himself time in the area, feinting to shoot on his left foot before tucking home with his right foot.

Tom Wraight hit the woodwork for East Thurrock on the hour but the game quickly fizzled out with Darts in cruise control. 

Reece Harris hit the side netting late on for the visitors but they were well beaten.

Darts added a sixth goal in the 90th minute as Luke Wanadio was fouled and Elliot Bradbrook tucked away the spot-kick. 

Dartford: Ibrahim, Harris, Wood, Bonner, Vint, Brown (Noble 64mins), Hayes, Bradbrook, Ofori-Acheampong, Pugh (Wanadio 74mins), Murphy. Subs not used: Eweka, Dembele, Coxall.

East Thurrock: Lidakevicius, Osifuwa (Marlow 46mins), Nesbitt (Gardner 72mins), Clark, Ellul, Wood (Craddock 72mins), Harris, Burns, Higgins, Walker, Wright. Subs not used: Honesty, Freiter.

Attendance: 920.

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