Published: 16:50, 02 October 2021
| Updated: 16:59, 02 October 2021
Dartford showed their class in a comfortable FA Cup third qualifying round win at Maidstone.
It was pretty even stuff between the top two in National South - until Noor Husin put Steve King’s side in front.
Danny Leonard doubled their lead early in the second half and a thoroughly professional Darts performance was rewarded with a third when Ade Azeez gave them breathing space.
Maidstone had Joan Luque sent off in added time for a challenge on Emmanuel Sonupe.
There were precious few chances at either end in the first half but it was fascinating stuff nonetheless as the Kent rivals locked horns.
The first effort on goal came midway through the first half from the visitors with Luke Allen working space just outside the area, but Tom Hadler made a comfortable save low to his right.
Dartford’s opener came in the 36th minute from a well-worked free-kick after Sam Corne fouled Maidstone old boy George Porter 25 yards out.
Allen touched the ball to Husin and the Darts midfielder arrowed a beauty low into the far corner.
Dartford finished the half well on the front foot, going close to a second when Hadler made a flying save to his left after skipper Tom Bonner fed the ball into Azeez.
Maidstone were frustrated by referee Richie Watkins’ whistle a couple of times when they’d rather have had the advantage, and their only effort of the half saw Regan Booty fire over after exchanging passes with Luque.
Dartford picked up where they left off after the break and doubled their lead in the 48th minute.
A miskick by Taylor Curran presented the ball to Porter and he fed Leonard, who beat Jerome Binnom-Willams before firing past Hadler.
Maidstone needed a quick reply but that was easier said than done with the Darts defence stopping Christie Pattisson and Luque getting shots in.
Darts were looking comfortable against a Stones side short on ideas to break them down.
Indeed, the visitors might have added to their lead on the counter when Husin released Jernade Meade, while Porter fired over and then worked Hadler moving into the final 20 minutes.
A third followed in the 74th minute, with another swift counter undoing the Stones as Allen, Porter and Husin combined to lay on a tap-in for Azeez.
Maidstone finally forced a save out of Darts keeper Craig King with 13 minutes left, Gavin Hoyte stinging his fingertips from Jack Barham’s lay-off.
Azeez had the ball in the net again in the last few minutes, meeting Dan Roberts’ cross, but the linesman’s flag went up for offside.
Luque saw red two minutes into added time.
Maidstone: Hadler, Hoyte, Curran, Elokobi, Binnom-Williams, Gallagher, Booty (Pavey 60mins), Corne, Deacon (McGlashan 71mins), Pattisson (Barham 71mins). Subs not used: Brown, Johnson, Odusanya, Walters.
Dartford: King, Wynter, Meade, Husin, Essam, Bonner (Vint 82mins), Leonard (Sonupe 86mins), Murtagh, Porter (Roberts 77mins), Allen, Azeez. Subs not used: Jebb, Kedman, Dalling, Wilks.
Referee: Richie Watkins.