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Chelmsford City 0 Dartford 0 match report: Darts fail to score against 10-man Chelmsford after Tom Dickens red card

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Leaders Dartford were left frustrated after failing to score against 10-man Chelmsford on Monday night.

They played nearly an hour against 10 men in National League South but were unable to find a way through a resolute home defence who put their bodies on the line.

Dartford manager Steve King. Picture: Chris Davey (51857818)
Dartford manager Steve King. Picture: Chris Davey (51857818)

The game was delayed until after 8pm with Dartford players and referee Jack Packman among those caught up in traffic on the M25.

Within four minutes, the referee was reaching for his yellow card, albeit belatedly, after right-back Cameron James upended George Porter.

Chelmsford had a great chance after seven minutes when former Darts striker Charlie Sheringham was played in behind the visiting defence but keeper Dan Wilks did brilliantly to get a hand to the ball as the striker tried to go round him.

Dartford controlled possession and Chelmsford quickly gave it back to them as thereafter Sheringham found the quality of supply lacking.

Leading scorer Ade Azeez headed wide Jack Jebb's free-kick just before the half-hour before the home side had penalty appeals turned down when Dara Dada went down in the box.

Dada nearly put Chelmsford ahead on 34 minutes after being given too much room in the area following a throw-in, but Wilks was able to make another vital save from close range.

Dartford were given a helping hand a minute later when George Porter got behind the home defence and Tom Dickens took him out. Referee Packman rightly showed a red card for the professional foul.

The mood of the home fans was not helped in stoppage time of the first half when the referee booked Chelmsford keeper Jacob Marsden for timewasting and then home boss Robbie Simpson for dissent.

It appeared only a matter of time at the start of the second half until Dartford made the breakthrough.

Keeper Marsden did brilliantly to touch Jebb's 25-yard free-kick onto the bar with Darts unable to turn in the rebound.

But time ticked by and while Dartford continued to dominate, worked the ball from left to right and back again, it never fell for them in and around the box.

With 15 minutes left, the pressure increased as substitute Dan Roberts saw his shot blocked, a cross was almost headed in for an own goal and Connor Essam headed over from the resulting corner.

Dartford had two penalty appeals of their own turned down with eight minutes left, first for handball and then when Jernade Meade went down in the box - the latter was a clear shove in the back.

Chelmsford barely had an attack worthy of the name but they defended stoutly and were nearly rewarded in the 90th minute when Sheringham almost caught out Wilks, who got back in time to make a one-handed save.

Danny Leonard failed to convert from close range and Azeez headed straight at Marden deep in injury time, which saw more than five more minutes added on as Dartford were left frustrated after failing to find a way through despite a series of second-half corners.

Chelmsford: Marsden, James, Dickens, Oluwo, Dada, Dunne, Sheringham, Morgan (Jackson 70mins), Wraight, Norton, Isaac. Subs not used: Payne, Harrison, Hockey, Blackwell.

Dartford: Wilks, Wynter, Hill, Essam, Meade, Jebb, Murtagh (Allen 69mins), Husin (Sonupe 78mins), Leonard, Porter (Roberts 64mins), Azeez. Subs not used: Kedman, Wanadio.

Referee: Jack Packman.

Attendance: 1,126.

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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