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Dartford 2 Havant 1 match report Jack Barham scores twice for Dartford

Jack Barham scored twice as Dartford overcame 10-man Havant in a fiery encounter at Princes Park on Saturday.

The three points keep Darts top of National League South with 13 points from their first five games.

Jack Barham - scored twice for Dartford against Havant. Picture: Andy Jones (42745515)
Jack Barham - scored twice for Dartford against Havant. Picture: Andy Jones (42745515)

Dartford made one change from the team that won at Chippenham in midweek, David Ijaha coming in for Jordan Wynter.

Havant enjoyed the better possession in a first half where both teams largely cancelled out each other.

Josh Taylor and Tommy Wright both went close for the visitors while Dartford's best chance was a Craig Braham-Barrett shot when he fired high and wide instead of deciding to cross into the danger area.

The Darts lost new striker Moussa Bakayoko to injury before the half-hour but even the introduction of Elliott Romain failed to spark them into life before the break.

Indeed, referee Callum Walchester appeared to have his hands full trying to keep an eye on the chat between both benches in a first half which saw him talk to both sets of coaching staff in a bid to calm tensions off the field.

The game came to life just three minutes into the second half. Craig Robson tripped Romain in the box to concede a penalty.

There should have been no complaints but Robson talked himself into a yellow card for moaning about the decision. Jack Barham was not worried by the delay and confidently tucked the spot-kick beyond keeper Ross Worner.

Barham nearly added a second minutes later but, having got behind the Havant defence, his cross-shot went agonisingly wide of the far post.

Moussa Diarra and Sam Magri both had chances to level it up as Havant looked to take advantage of the height in their side at set pieces.

The niggly nature of the contest, which saw both sets of players bickering throughout, continued.

A flashpoint came with 19 minutes left when Darts claimed Diarra's challenge deserved a red instead of a yellow. Ijaha was cautioned for his protests as players from both sides surrounded the referee to have his say.

Dartford delivered the ultimate punishment for the foul, though, by scoring a second. Jebb's free-kick was inch perfect for Jebb to head in from close range.

Havant's discipline continued to fall short of levels you'd expect from elite footballers and Billy Clifford and Magri both quickly followed a long list of players from both sides into the referee's notepad.

It was mission impossible for referee Walchester but credit to him for keeping a level head when many around him were losing theirs. He won't have many tougher afternoons than this one but he should take credit for his performance when neither set of players made life easy for him.

Havant pulled a goal back when Josh Taylor's low drive beat Craig King with 11 minutes left but their task of finding a point were made harder when Clifford collected his second yellow card.

Clifford went in late on Jebb near halfway and the referee was quite right to go back when the ball went out of play and produce a second yellow, despite the player's protests.

Taylor fired a shot wide and Darts held on without too many alarms against the 10 men to claim the three points.

Dartford: King, Barnum-Bobb, Braham-Barrett, Ijaha, Vint, Bonner, Husin. Berkeley-Agyepong (Osman 90mins). Barham, Bakayoko (Romain 29mins), Jebb (Essam 87mins). Subs not used: Hill, McCallum.

Havant: Worner, Straker, Diarra, Magri, Taylor, Clifford, Iaciofano (Ajakaije 73mins), Robson, Gomis (Widdrington 67mins), Wright, Deacon (Sinclair 73mins). Subs not used: Poku, Mclennan.

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