Thursday 01st September 2005

Winger Hayes stars for impressive Darts


Thursday 4th
August 2005
Stephen McCartney reports from 
Stonebridge Road
Dartford 4 Kevon Spriggs 25,36
Jim Carter 48
Ryan Hayes 55
Cray Wanderers 1 Ross Lover 20


With Tostao Kwashi helping Gach Dong Tam secure honours over in Vietnam, former Slade Green winger, Ryan Hayes may be the man to fill the boots of the Zimbabwean star during his absence, writes Stephen McCartney.

The local youngster starred during Dartford's 4-1 victory over Ryman League Division One play-off semi-finalists, Cray Wanderers, as the Darts' impressed in front of 141 fans at Stonebridge Road.

Darts' boss Tony Burman explained the latest situation with his top striker, Kwashi.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with he revealed: "Tostao phoned me on Wednesday, and he's explained to me that he was due back on the 30th July.

"We are waiting for him to come back, but unfortunately for us the club he is contracted to have reached a semi-final, which will be played on the 13th or 14th August, and if they progress from that he will be playing in the final, which is a week later.

"But if the team get knocked out in the semi-final, he's telling me he will be back on maybe the 14th or 15th August."

Burman, however, admitted Kwashi won't be able to walk back into the side.

"I've got to look at his fitness and have a chat with him when he comes back," he said.

"I have to say he probably wasn't in my plans in the first (league) game of the season.  If I'm being honest with people, I have to asses his fitness.

"We've got a lot of people here pre-season training, who have done hard work, and I'm not prepared to just have someone to come in and walk into the side."

Burman was pleased for the player to earn some money during the close season, but admitted he is disappointed that he didn't return at the end of July, as promised.

"I was pleased for him to take on the contract, simply because he needed to work during the summer," Burman said.

"He's not contracted to us so he went there with my blessing.  But he informed me of everything, it's just a bit of a time delay on the phones, they are eight hours behind us.  Maybe our dates got mixed up? But not on my part!"

Kwashi's number seven shirt was worn by Hayes and he certainly impressed out on the right wing, and Burman has high hopes for the player.

"Ryan is not a replacement for Tostao," he admitted.  "Ryan Hayes is a player I wanted to see.  I was thinking he's potentially a good player.  He's not the finished product by a long way.  He is potentially a good player and I want to make him a better player."

But Burman is pleased Hayes has taken his chance and is knocking on his  door for a place in the team for their opening Southern League Division One East game of the season up at Arlesey Town on Saturday, 13th August.

"We spoke to Slade Green and I asked before the end of last season to take him to help us out in case we had any injuries before the (transfer) deadline," reflected Burman.

"They were happy for us to take him and he's waited for his chance.  He's got his chance and I just feel I can try and improve him as a player and see how he develops."

Dartford fans left Stonebridge Road smiling, having witnessed their team rip Cray Wanderers apart with some clinical finishing.  It is also the countdown to their return HOME as this time next year the club will be playing at Princes Park - and Burman cannot wait.

"There's a lot of excitement because during the season we'll hopefully see bricks and mortar laid at Princes Park.

"People are excited about that and I'm excited about it.

"I'm hoping I'm sitting in an office next year with a superb stadium and pitch and training facilities, which are second to none.

"I'll have players in there, saying do you want to come and join us? I'll know what their answers going to be!

"I'm giving some players this year, some players with potential, to be at this club for quite a while.

"We've got to put it right on the pitch and people who know me, and the people I've brought in as my coaching staff, are people that give 100% and I want to help players.  I don't want to discourage them.  I want a tight nit squad and encourage them as much as I can."

It took the Darts' only five minutes to cancel out Ross Lovers' 20th minute opener for the visitors.

Cray took the lead through the talented young winger, when his curling cross from 30-yards evaded everyone in a crowded penalty area, and crept inside the far post, past the bemused, experienced Darford goalkeeper, Kevin Hudson.

But Dartford quickly drew level when Hayes' cross from the right flank, was knocked down into Kevin Spriggs' path, and his drive took a deflection and wrong footed goalkeeper Steve Northwood to find the back of the net.

The former Erith & Belvedere player increased his tally after 34 minutes when his 19-yard shot, found the far corner of the net.

Jim Carter headed Dartford into an impressive 3-1 lead after 48 minutes, when he flicked a corner, at the near post, into the far corner of the net.

And Hayes added a fourth after 55 minutes, when he showed composure inside the box to beat the Cray defence and stabbed the ball past Northwood into the bottom far corner of the net.

Cray's sorry night was summed up eight minutes later when Jamie Wood's penalty was pushed out by substitute goalkeeper, John Whitehouse, the former Ashford Town stopper.

Joe Francis', Cray Wanderers' assistant manager, knows where their problems lie, ahead of their Ryman League Division One opener at newcomers, Lymington & New Milton on the 20th August.

"I thought we kept the ball really well," he said.  "And then you make 9 changes so it gets a bit scratchy doesn't it?

"One or two pleasing things, one or two dodgy things.

"I thought Dartford were very good, very competitive, lively, young, quick.  We got a kick up the arse, I think.  Which we needed."

Having played lower league clubs during pre-season, Francis admitted he needed to play clubs of a higher standard, as they fell short against Southern League opposition.

"We needed more competitive games to be honest," as they lost for the first time this season."

But Francis said his side will be prepared for their trip to Lymington & New Milton, as one of their players, Matt Rouse played against them for Gravesend & Northfleet recently.

"Matt Rouse played against them for Gravesend three weeks ago and they drew 1-1.

"He's given us a little bit of feedback.  They are going to be a tough side - every game is going to be tough!"

Aim for the season, promotion? "Yes, absolutely!  No point in being here is there? Got to be done!  That is our goal! Absolutely confident, 100%," insisted Francis.

But Francis faces team selection problems, as experienced defensive pair, David Gray and Ian Rawlings are out for their league opener.

He added: "We've got to tighten up at the back, that's where our problems are.

"It's getting people that were here last season, fit.

"David Gray is going to be suspended for the first three games, Ian Rawlings has a hamstring injury and Danny Bower's (partner) has just had a child and hasn't been able to get to training due to work commitments, so he's not quite match sharp.  And Tony Russell's coming back from surgery on a broken leg, so where does that leave us?

"In every (other) area, we've got loads of cover and quality and sometimes that can be a misgiving really, gives you a force sense of security."


Starting 11's only:

Dartford: Kevin Hudson (John Whitehouse 46), Tommy Osborne, Paul Fynes, Anthony Henry, Craig Dennis (West 10), Kevin Spriggs, Ryan Hayes, Ryan Briggs, Jim Carter, Eddie McClements, Dave Martin

Cray Wanderers: Steve Northwood, Dean Morris, Chris Dickson, David Gray, James Taylor, Ross Lover, Matt Rouse, Jamie Kempster, Gary Abbott, Leigh Bremner, Jamie Wood

Referee: David Buck
Assistants: M Sage & R Wells