Published: 07:29, 04 March 2020
| Updated: 07:29, 04 March 2020
Liam Nash scored twice as Dartford brushed aside Phoenix Sports to reach the Kent Senior Cup final on Tuesday night.
The Darts wasted no time scheduling their semi-final against a side who ply their trade two divisions below them in the pyramid, and they quickly got down to business once the game got under way.
Phoenix keeper Steven Phillips did brilliantly to tip over Amrit Bansal-McNulty’s clever lob before Darts took a 15th-minute lead.
Luke Wanadio’s cross into the box appeared to evade everyone before George Whitelock’s wayward clearance fell perfectly for Jordan Wynter to turn home.
Attacking with pace, Darts pushed for a second but Nash curled his shot wide and Jack Jebb shot over when well placed.
Phoenix slowly got into the contest, able to gain ground as Dartford wasted possession too cheaply, and the visitors always had a good outlet in the talented Lauris Chin.
Skipper Jack Hopkins sent a free-kick over the bar early in the second half and it didn’t take long for Dartford to put the tie to bed.
Nash’s neat finish on the turn made it 2-0 five minutes after the restart and then Elliott Romain created space for himself on the edge of the box before finding the bottom corner with the finish of the night just past the hour mark.
Craig Braham-Barrett’s foul on Chin presented Phoenix with a penalty 13 minutes from time, Kehinde Aileru sending keeper Alhaji Sesay the wrong way from the spot.
But any hopes of a late flurry from a tired Phoenix side, who had kept their shape well for the first hour or so, faded as Bansal-McNulty and Nash both netted in the last five minutes – the latter even having a goal ruled out for offside before referee Isaac Searle put Phoenix out of their misery just short of the 90-minute mark.
“It was a tough start, they were physically really up for the game and credit to them, they made a fist of it and didn't let us get into our flowing game,” said Dartford boss Steve King.
“There were obviously pockets in the game where our quality was definitely going to come through, we could see that and I think some of the finishing was top drawer tonight
“I knew there was going be a point in the game where we would get on top and make the pitch bigger, as soon as we started making the pitch bigger the holes appeared and they ran out of legs after about 70 minutes. We knew that that was going to be the case.”
Dartford: Sesay, Wynter, Braham-Barrett, Bansal-McNulty, Vint, Bonner, Husin (Crook 66mins), Jebb (Noble 66mins), Romain (Hyde 74mins), Wanadio, Nash. Subs not used: Smith, Hill.
Phoenix: Phillips, Douglas (McGrady 66mins), Clark, Hopkings, Barry, Whitelock, O Andrews (Busby 82mins), Duah-Kessie (Pyer 71mins), Chin, Aileru, R Andrews. Subs not used: Probets, Bird.
More by this authorMatthew Panting