Published: 16:50, 14 November 2020
| Updated: 00:00, 15 November 2020
Dartford won the top-of-the-table Kent derby at Maidstone with two late goals.
A game of few chances had 0-0 written all over it until skipper Tom Bonner scored a lovely opener for a Darts side who looked more dangerous.
And substitute Charlie Sheringham made sure of the points with number two as National South leaders Darts took the spoils.
Maidstone went with the same XI who won at Slough last weekend while there was just one change to the Darts team who went top at Hemel Hempstead in midweek, with Jazzi Barnum-Bobb replacing Ky Marsh-Brown.
As so often is the case in these top-of-the-table clashes, the anticipation of two in-form sides facing off doesn’t match up to the reality, with the first half a cagey affair.
It took 38 minutes for either side to have a shot and that was a 25-yard free-kick for Darts’ Jack Jebb that went a yard wide of Ravan Constable’s upright.
There were moments of quality from both sides - some of Dartford’s one-touch stuff in midfield easy on the eye - while Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong grew in influence.
But generally neither side had much time on the ball to play the football they’ve been producing in the opening weeks of the season.
Maidstone had a couple of penalty shouts early in the first half, two for challenges on George Elokobi, while Sam Corne was convinced Craig Braham-Barrett had pulled him down.
The closest Maidstone came to registering a shot on goal in the opening 45 saw Justin Amaluzor’s effort charged down outside the box by ex-Stones man Jordan Wynter, who was looking comfortable in a holding midfield role.
Noah Chesmain made a key interception after Barnum-Bobb got away down the right and looked to set up Elliott Romain at the start of the second half.
David Ijaha replaced the injured Craig Braham-Barrett just past the hour mark, with the versatile Wynter switching to left-back.
And Maidstone made a double change moments later with top scorer Charlie Seaman and Zihni Temelci replacing Joan Luque and Dominic Odudanya in a bid to change the game.
Maidstone’s first real shot followed in the 67th minute, Amaluzor dragging wide, then Darts skipper Bonner took a fierce strike from George Porter bang in the midriff.
From doing his job at one end, Bonner was the unlikely scorer at the other as Darts went in front on 77 minutes.
What a finish it was, too, as Bonner turned and fired into the bottom corner off the post after Connor Essam won the header from Barnum-Bobb’s deep free-kick.
Dartford doubled their lead eight minutes from time with substitute Sheringham finishing emphatically after a mistake in the home defence presented him with the ball.
Maidstone had a late chance but Porter couldn’t quite get on the end of Corne’s cross.
Maidstone: Constable, Hoyte, Ellul, Elokobi, Chesmain, Odusaya (Temelci 63mins), Corne, Amaluzor, Porter, Luque (Seaman 63mins), Rendell. Subs not used: Lewington, Krasniqi, Olutade.
Dartford: King, Barnum-Bobb, Braham-Barrett (Ijaha 61mins), Wynter, Essam, Bonner, Husin, Berkeley-Agyepong, Romain, Barham (Sheringham 74mins), Jebb (Marsh-Brown 71mins). Subs not used: Hill, Allen.