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Tonbridge Angels 2-4 Dartford - Team's can't live with us, says Darts boss Tony Burman PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 31 January 2012

(after extra time)
Kent Senior Cup Sponsored by Portablefloodlights.com Quarter-Final
Tuesday 31st January 2012
Stephen McCartney reports from Longmead Stadium

HOLDERS Dartford needed extra time to power their way into the semi-finals of the Kent Senior Cup after beating their Blue Square Bet (Conference) South rivals Tonbridge Angels on a bitterly cold night at Longmead Stadium.

The Angels looked favourites to knock out the holders after central midfielder Chris Piper and winger Nathan Korenteng gave them a 2-0 lead, but Dartford – who made six changes from the side that thrashed basement side Thurrock 6-0 at Princes Park at the weekend – fought back as Jack Pallen and Richard Graham scored to bring them back on level terms.

Neither side could find the winner so the game went into extra-time, but goals from Lee Burns and Graham sent Dartford through and they will face a visit from favourites Charlton Athletic in the semi-finals.

With his side welcoming Ryman Premier League Wealdstone in the last sixteen of The FA Carlsberg Trophy this coming Saturday, the last thing Dartford boss Tony Burman wanted was an extra thirty minutes.

He said:  “I’m glad we’re through.  I didn’t really want extra time.  I wanted to finish the game off but it’s one of those things.  It happens and you have to get on with it.

“We really, really have to say we didn’t want the extra time, but it’s happened and so be it.  It’s done!”

Tonbridge Angels’ assistant manager, Alex O’Brien, admitted afterwards that Dartford’s class in front of goal was the deciding factor.

“When you’re 2-0 up, good sides kill games off and get a result.  Unfortunately we didn’t do that,” he said.

He added: “Dartford’s fitness levels and mentality are very tough and their second in a very good league and Woking have got to watch their tails because what I saw tonight Dartford are a very, very strong outfit.

“In all honesty I’m not taking anything away from our boys. We done ok.  We were a little bit lax for marking back stick for a couple of goals and also in front of goal.

“If Tony’s honest we’ve had good chances to win the game.  If we take those chances, obviously it’s a different game.  Good teams or successful teams take those chances.  The last two goals they got through on goal and they score.  Unfortunately for us we’ve not scored (from ours).  Unfortunately chances are one thing, but converting those are another!”

Dover Athletic will travel  to Ryman League Division One South club Hythe Town in the other semi-final, after Scott Porter’s side sprung a shock result at Stonebridge Road tonight, needing extra time to beat  Blue Square Bet (Conference) Premier outfit Ebbsfleet United 4-1.

Dartford created the first chance of the game inside the opening four minutes but Pallen’s weak right-footed chip from 25-yards was caught by Lee Worgan – and Tonbridge Angels’ left-back, Danny Walder rolled a speculative angled shot into Deren Ibrahim’s gloves at his near post at the other end.

But Tonbridge Angels broke the deadlock with 12:31 on the clock – a move started and finished by Piper.

Piper’s penetrating run saw him sprint with the ball straight through the heart of the pitch before spraying the ball out to the left to striker Ade Olorunda (who was later forced off through a knee injury) and his low centre wasn’t cleared by Tom Bonner and Piper steered the ball past Ibrahim.

O’Brien said: “Not sounding arrogant or whatever, on our day we’re a good footballing side if we’re allowed to play football.  We’ll open teams up and we did that to Eastbourne Borough (a 5-1 home win in our last game).  We were allowed to play football and we got on with it and the goals we scored we’re brilliant.

“There’s huge positives for Tonbridge Angels fans to come and watch.  We have got quality when we get on the ball.”

Dartford should have equalised in the 28th minute when Pallen was released down the right and after cutting inside Walder he played the ball across to the far post where Tony Garrod’s flicked shot from four-yards was blocked by Worgan’s legs.

Tonbridge missed a decent chance shortly afterwards when Piper played an excellent diagonal pass to find Frannie Collin down the right and his driven cross wasn’t converted by Ade Olorunda, who had a couple of bites of the cherry before Ibrahim made a smart save.

Dartford winger, Ryan Hayes, whose shooting was woeful throughout, played a one-two with Matt Jones before cutting inside Korenteng before clipping a cross towards the far post, but Pallen nodded wide.

Reflecting on the first half, Burman said: “I don’t think we done that well but as we grew into the game second half I felt we done some things better and more closer to what we’ve been doing in the good run that we had and when we play like that, like we did in the second half, we’re a good side and the tempo’s high and that’s when we think the teams can’t live with us.”

Tonbridge Angels got off to a flying start at the start of the second half as they doubled their lead after just 126 seconds following the interval.

Substitute Tim Olorunda, who slotted in at right-back, played the ball forward to his brother Ade, who played the ball into Piper’s feet.  The midfielder shrugged past Burns before playing a fine diagonal pass to pick out an unmarked Korenteng at the far post and the winger drove a low, left-footed drive into the bottom near corner.

“I think Tom (Warrlilow) said it before, we probably seen Nathan five months ago.  We tried to sign him then and unfortunately he was tired up with Woking and then he got a move and when his name came up again we done everything we could to get him in and he’s showing why.  He’s a valuable player to us. He’s a good player.  I think he’s got probably the ingredients to go on.”

But Dartford were not going to let slip their grasp of the Kent Senior Cup – which saw them beat Bromley 4-1 in Hayden Bird’s last game in charge of the Hayes Lane club as the visitors’ dominated the vast majority of the remainder of the game.

Dartford pulled a goal back in the 53rd minute when Graham floated in a cross towards the far post from the left, Hayes cut the ball across for Pallen to tuck home from close range.

Burman admitted Pallen needs some game-time out on loan, after loan spells with VCD Athletic in the Kent League and Ryman Leaguers Leatherhead didn’t produce what he wanted.

“Jack’s come back, it hasn’t quite worked out for him,” explained Burman. “He’s not played enough games still for my liking.  His fitness is lacking.  He’s got to do something about that but he’s worked really hard until we brought him off but that’s why we wanted him to go and have games.

“Where ever he goes out next on loan I’ll have to have a guarantee he’s going to be playing. He’ll be able to go there but until that time I’m not going to let him go out (on loan).”

Tonbridge Angels keeper, Worgan, was forced to dive to his right to tip Jones’ right-footed drive from 35-yards around the post, before Garrod turned his marker and dragged his right-footed shot agonisingly wide.

Dartford continued to increase their urgency and tempo and Graham’s speculative right-footed shot looped into Worgan’s gloves underneath the crossbar before the keeper was forced into making a low save to his left to deny Jones.

Dartford deservedly equalised in the 66th minute when Burns crossed the ball from the right and Graham looped a right-footed shot into the top left-hand corner.
Tonbridge Angels’ star-striker, Jon Main, who featured for the first time since September following injury, wasted an opportunity that a fit Main would have taken, instead of scuffing a shot wide of the left-hand post on the turn from the edge of the box.

O’Brien said: “Mainy was down to play 10-15 minutes but Ade was struggling with a knee.  Fair play to Mainy.  He came on and he’s back where he should be and that’s in front of goal and he can only get sharper and he’ll only get fitter and better.  He hasn’t done a lot for months but when he’s fit, he converts those chances and fingers crossed we’ll see that again.”

Garrord then sent a shot on the turn straight at Worgan, before the game opened up and both sides squandered chances to snatch victory in normal time.

Green stepped up and curled a left-footed free-kick wide of the far post as he attempted to curl the ball into the top far corner of the Tonbridge net, before Main went close with a curler of his own, which only just missed the far post after a pacy run from Korenteng down the left flank at the other end.

Tonbridge Angels could have twice won it when Lee Browning released Collin down the right channel and he rifled a right-footed shot over after leaving Burns on the floor after cutting inside.

Browning was once again a provider when he glided through the Dartford defence and poked the ball to Jake Beecroft, who could only steer his shot straight at Ibrahim, who made a comfortable low save.

And Dartford had the last chance in normal time as Harris was released down the left and he played the ball across to Garrod, who was denied by Worgan’s legs.

Burman said: “We probably should have killed the game off (in the second half) but it wasn’t to be and we’ve had to go into extra-time and then we’ve had to bring some other guys on but there were still some other guys out there who have played in most of the games, but I think we’ve done a job especially after being 2-0 down.

“I think the game should have been buried in the second half, but it wasn’t to be but fair play to the guys. We’ve worked hard tonight.

“Yes, we’ve used all the squad and that’s what we’ve always done in this competition.”

Dartford keeper Ibrahim was forced into beating away a left-footed rasping drive from Korenteng as the game was coming close to the 100th minute.

Dartford’s best chance of the first period saw Burns head over from six-yards after Hayes curled in a dangerous free-kick from just outside of the corner of the box.

Burman had the luxury of bringing on Elliot Bradbrook and Jon Wallis at the interval and their presence brought sheer quality to the team in white and black.

And Graham gave the Darts the lead for the very first time in the game in the 110th minute when he was left unmarked at the far post to smash the ball past Worgan from close range after the ball flashed across  the face of goal from the right. It was his fourth goal of the season - and all in the Kent Senior Cup!
Burman said: “Richard’s done well. He was excellent tonight. He’s been very patient and he’s a very experienced player. I think he’s got a major part to play for us this season.  Albeit he’s not there at the moment but he will do.”

A magnificent solo run from Bradbrook was almost rewarded, but for Worgan blocking the shot with his legs before Dartford sealed the victory in the 113th minute when Wallis’ dink put Burns through on goal and he slotted the ball past the advancing Worgan and into the net.

That clincher saw a number of home fans file towards the exit and they missed Collin clip a right-footed free-kick from 19-yards over a seven-man wall, which bounced onto the top of the crossbar with the keeper beaten.

O’Brien added: “We’re gutted!  We’re absolutely devastated that we haven’t gone through but the Kent Cup is a Cup competition and we wanted to progress.  We’re gutted for the fans, we’re gutted for the club, We’re gutted for each other as we would’ve loved a day out.”

Looking forward to the lucrative visit of League One Charlton Athletic for a place in the final for the second successive season, Burman said: “To get Charlton at Princes Park, it’s nice that they’ve come back into the competition.  We’re the holders of the trophy.  If they’re coming in to take it they’re going to have a hard game but hopefully we can go through (to the final).

“It’s nice for Charlton and Gillingham to have come back in to the tournament. It gives it a bit of creditability.  We had a great day last year in the final at our place when we were fortunate to win the game and it was a little icing on the cake for us after having a good second part of the season.

“I wasn’t happy with the extra-time (tonight). Whether it should’ve gone to penalties or something like that, I don’t know.  We’ve got a big game (against Wealdstone in The FA Carlsberg Trophy) on Saturday and we probably could have done without extra-time but nevertheless we have to get over it and we’ll be in on Thursday and there will be plenty of rub downs for the players when they get there.”

Tonbridge Angels: Lee Worgan, Jake Beecroft, Danny Walder, Chris Piper, Ben Judge, Sonny Miles, Joe Benjamin (Tim Olorunda 29), Lee Browning, Ade Olorunda (Jon Main 51), Frannie Collin, Nathan Korenteng.
Subs: Jon Heath, George Crimmen, Joe Hagan

Goals: Chris Piper 13, Nathan Korenteng 48

Dartford: Deren Ibrahim, Matt Jones, Adam Green, Tom Champion, Tom Bonner, Lee Burns, Ryan Hayes (Jon Wallis 106), James Rogers (Elliot Bradbrook 106), Jack Pallen (Danny Harris 73), Tony Garrod, Richard Graham.
Subs: Jacob Erskine, Louis Wells

Goals: Jack Pallen 53, Richard Graham 66, 110, Lee Burns 113

Attendance: 380
Referee: Mr Paul Kelly (Walderslade)
Assistants: Mr Paul Beadle (Sevenoaks) & Mr Elad Amir (Maidstone)
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 01 February 2012 )
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