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Dartford 1 Tonbridge Angels 0 match report: Nassim L'Ghoul settles Kent derby as Darts go top

Dartford returned to the top of National League South thanks to a late Nassim L'Ghoul winner on Tuesday night.

The former Dover and Welling winger broke Tonbridge's stubborn resistance with nine minutes left at Princes Park.

Dartford manager Steve King. Picture: Keith Gillard
Dartford manager Steve King. Picture: Keith Gillard

It was a deserved win for the Darts, who finally converted one of the many chances they created.

Dartford nearly took the lead as early as the fourth minute. Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong, playing in an advanced role, did brilliantly to keep the ball in and cross into the six-yard box where an attempted clearance hit Chris Dickson and via a combination of post and keeper Jonny Henly, the ball ended up the wrong side of the upright from a Darts perspective.

It was a sign of things to come, however, with Darts enjoying vast amounts of possession and Tonbridge defending their penalty area with plenty of spirit.

That said, Darts failed to seriously test Henly in the early exchanges las a couple of shots went inches wide while the Angels keeper was equal to everything on target.

Nassim L'Ghoul, guilty of holding onto the ball for too long at times in the first half, skewed a low 25-yard drive well wide, before a neat exchange involving Berkeley-Agyepong ended with Noor Husin creating space with clever footwork and then flashing a 20-yard drive inches past the post.

Tonbridge continued to defend well, a vital header preventing Chris Dickson a close range chance after Ky Marsh-Brown delivered from the left.

L'Ghoul's early strike from outside the area went narrowly wide, before Dickson's header from distance was comfortable for Henly to gather low down.

The keeper then beat away a Jack Jebb free-kick from the angle before pushing away Berkeley-Agyepong's shot on the turn after a lovely move down the right from the hosts.

Tonbridge boss Steve McKimm. Picture: Dave Couldridge
Tonbridge boss Steve McKimm. Picture: Dave Couldridge

Tonbridge had a chance on the stroke of half-time when Tommy Wood nodded well wide a deep free-kick but, one other delivery into the box that caused keeper Craig King a concern, there were no other scares for the home side.

The midfield pairing of loan signing Adam Lovett and Zakary Guerfi coped well and provided an effective shield in front of the back four for the visitors, frustrating Dartford with their industry.

L'Ghoul and Marsh-Brown swapped wings at the break, a change that nearly paid immediate dividends when the latter fed Dickson, whose shot was turned behind by Henly.

Tonbridge had a good opening when Alex Akrofi got beyond Tom Bonner in the penalty area but he was unable to get his shot away and the chance was gone.

At the other end, Henly gathered Jebb's long-range drive at the second attempt, Berkeley-Agyepong somehow shot wide from inside the box before Marsh-Brown could only pick out Henly at the far post.

Berkeley-Agyepong twice went close again and it looked like it wasn't going to be Dartford's night until Berkeley-Agyepong's clever flick set up L'Ghoul who finally found a way past Henly.

Ben Greenhalgh nearly salvaged an unlikely point for the Angels with three minutes left but his shot hit his own player in Wood.

Dartford: King, Barnum-Bobb, Braham-Barrett, Husin, Essam, Bonner, L'Ghoul, Jebb (Allen 82mins), Dickson (Romain 72mins), Berkeley-Agyepong, Marsh-Brown (Wynter 89mins). Subs not used: Hill, McCallum.

Tonbridge: Henly, Parter, Henfrey, Guerfi (Theobalds 72mins), Miles, Bray, Greenhalgh, Lovett (Da Costa 76mins), Wood, Akrofi (Rush 73mins), Turner. Subs not used: Folkes, Splatt.

Referee: Steven Hughes.

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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