Boreham Wood 2-2 Dartford - I thought we had a real good chance of pulling off a good result, says proud Dartford boss Tony Burman

Tuesday 19th December 2017
Boreham Wood 2 – 2 Dartford
Location Meadow Park, Broughinge Road, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 5AL
Kickoff 19/12/2017 19:45

(after extra time – Boreham Wood win 3-1 on penalties)
The Buildbase FA Trophy First Round Replay
Tuesday 19th December 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Meadow Park

DARTFORD manager Tony Burman says he’s feeling proud of his players after suffering a heartbreaking FA Trophy exit to Boreham Wood on penalties.

The Darts were held to a 1-1 draw at Princes Park at the weekend and they came agonisingly close to knocking out a Boreham Wood side that went into the two tussles sitting in seventh-place in the Vanarama National League table with 38 points from 23 games.

Dartford endured a miserable journey to Meadow Park as it took the team coach 75 minutes to get from their stadium into Dartford tunnel before arriving at the ground within an hour before kick-off.

Burman also lost central midfielder Lee Noble to a calf strain during the warm-up so Alex Brown, who was sent off on Saturday, came in as a late replacement.

After a goal-less first half in front of a spare crowd of only 173, Dartford took the lead through Ryan Hayes’ 20-yard strike seven minutes into the second half.

The Darts sat back on their slender lead and Luke Garrard’s side deservedly levelled through striker Bruno Andrade’s drive, but Dartford swiftly regained the lead through Danny Mills’ finish.

Dartford had a heroic victory taken away from them in dramatic style as striker Shaun Jeffers equalised, seven minutes and 34 seconds into time added on.

Neither side could find a winner inside extra-time and Boreham Wood keeper Grant Smith was their hero, diving to deny Tom Murphy, Lyle Della-Verde and Alfie Pavey from the spot as Boreham Wood prevailed by winning 3-1 after seven penalties.

Boreham Wood will now have to travel to one of their Vanarama National League rivals in Gateshead or Guiseley in the last 32 on 13 January 2018.

Burman said: “My thoughts is the amount of effort my players have put in and we’ve got a big game on Saturday.

“Once it goes into extra-time I thought we had done enough in the 90 minutes, well 105 minutes, I thought it was in the end. I know someone’s been stretchered off and I know there’s been a head injury, but I’m disappointed in the last couple of minutes we’ve managed to concede a goal.

“The players have been brilliant for the while 90 minutes and I felt over the two games we deserved to win the tie.  It’s one of those things, it happens. It ends up going to penalties.”

Dartford captain Elliot Bradbrook sat in front of their back four and visiting keeper Deren Ibrahim was called into action inside the opening two minutes, diving to his right to prevent striker Angelo Balanta  scoring with an low angled left-footed drive from 25-yards.  

Boreham Wood, who lined up with three at the back with two wing backs, were keen to play the ball down the line to release their pacy dangermen.

This was played to good effect when in the 17th minute, Keiran Murtagh released left wing-back Ricky Shakes in behind Danny Harris and his low cross flashed across the box and came out to Kane Smith but the right wing-back steered his low drive past the right-hand post from 16-yards.

Dartford keeper Ibrahim made a fine save to prevent the home side taking a deserved lead halfway through the half.

Slick play down the left from Balanta, saw him play a give-and-go with Andrade and Balanta’s curling effort from close to the by-line was heading towards the top far corner, only for Ibrahim to stretch high to his left to use a strong left-hand to palm the ball behind for a corner.

“The first half was fine, it was fine.  Over the 90 minutes I thought we was excellent,” said Burman.

“He made a good save in the first half, so did the other keeper.

“We set up in a certain way to play against them because they play three at the back with their wing-backs coming forward and in all fairness I think we nullified them but it’s difficult for us, we’ve taken the lead twice against a good side.”

Dartford’s first clear-cut chance, however, arrived in the 25th minute, following their first corner.

Hayes swung in a sublime delivery from the left, Bradbrook flicked the ball on and Mills steered his far-post header towards goal.  The ball bounced off the head of former Dart Tom Champion and was heading towards the top right-hand corner, only for keeper Grant Smith to flick the ball over his crossbar, high to his left.

Burman said: “It was good set-piece, I thought our deliveries from set-pieces all night was excellent and caused them a lot of problems and I thought in the first half we should’ve got on the end of some brilliant balls by Haysie.”

A big kick from Grant Smith found Balanta, who shrugged off his man in midfield, playing the ball into Jeffers, who played the ball back to Balanta, who drilled his low shot past the post from 25-yards.

But Dartford were well-organised in defence and were untroubled for the rest of the first half.

When asked what he said to his troops at the break, Burman said: “Get on with it, just get on with it! We felt we could come and win the tie and we nearly pulled it off!”

Dartford got the second half off to a great start, by taking the lead with six minutes and 45 seconds on the clock.

Quiet left-winger Murphy slipped a shot pass into Della-Verde who from the left touchline produced a sublime crossfield pass over to Hayes on the right.

Considering Garrard was forced into bringing on Jamie Turley at right-back for Dean Wells, Boreham Wood’s central defender who was stretchered off the pitch, just 78 seconds earlier, Turley was caught cold by Hayes’ magic, cutting inside and looping a sublime dipping drive into the near corner with his lethal left-foot from 20-yards.

“It was a good goal, it was a great goal,” said Burman.

“I said to Lyle, he will get a bit of space and we’ve played him because he can pick out a good pass and he’s done that and Haysie put it in the top corner.”

Boreham Wood pressed for an equaliser as Dartford were content to sit back and soak up the pressure against a club they hope to be playing in the top-flight next season.

Burman said: “We’re playing against a team in a higher league than us with full-time players. Is it holding on or are we defending well? We were organised and defensively we were solid.  Yes, they had a couple of chances but to come back again and take the lead was good.”

Andrade swung in the home side’s fifth corner of the night from the left and Murtagh’s free downward header bounced past the post.

Balanta played the ball inside to the impressive striker  Andrade, who stung Ibrahim’s fingers with a left-footed drive from 35-yards, which was held by the Dartford keeper in the 63rd minute.

Dartford boss Burman brought on Andy Pugh, playing the striker in a central midfield position and he wasted a chance with his first touch of the ball.

Left-back Mark Onyemah crossed the ball towards the edge of the Boreham Wood penalty area, the ball was cleared out to Pugh, who sliced his first time shot past the right-hand post from 25-yards.

Dartford striker Danny Mills squandered an excellent chance to grab a second goal – only for Boreham Wood to immediately go up the other end to equalise.

Mills was played in behind Turley and only had keeper Smith to beat down the right-channel but from a tight angle he clipped his shot into the keeper’s hands, without any of his team-mates offering support inside the final third.

Just thirteen seconds later, Boreham Wood were deservedly level, the goal being timed at 28 minutes and 22 seconds on the clock.

Keeper Smith launched the ball up field, the impressive Andrade capped off a fine display with a fine goal, cutting inside and drilling a low right-footed drive across Ibrahim from 30-yards, the ball bouncing in off the right-hand post and nestling into the opposite corner of the net.

“I think Danny, if he’s seen anyone coming in, he only had to cross it and if he had missed the keeper, it goes in,” added Burman.

“But it’s gone up the other end, but we should’ve cleared it out of our box, which we’ve been doing all night and unfortunately it’s hit’s someone’s chest and come down, rather than going out and they’ve scored so that’s disappointing, with not that much time left in the game.”

Dartford could so easily have folded, but they grabbed the lead with 31 minutes and 23 seconds on the clock with Mills getting his first goal for the club.

Hayes swung in a corner from the left, the ball was flicked through a crowd of players and Mills turned the ball into the bottom right-hand corner from inside the six-yard box at the far post.

“That was a set-piece and it’s gone in. We’ve taken the lead, which is great,” said Burman, who was then asked whether he felt victory was then secured.

“No, I didn’t think it was but I thought we had a real good chance of pulling off a good result, which we thoroughly deserved if we’d have done but it wasn’t to be.”

Boreham Wood were then camped inside the Dartford half for the remainder of the second half.

Substitute Dan Holman went close when his curling shot from 30-yards out on the left bent across Ibrahim and flashed past the far corner.

With lengthy treatment for Wells and then Ricketts during the second half,  fourth official Gavin Muge signalled that there would be 10 additional minutes at the end of the dual.

This upped Boreham Wood’s desire levels and only Holman will know how he sent a great chance over the bar when it seemed easier to score after Ibrahim pulled off a great save - as Dartford’s resilience was being stretched.

The equalising goal was inevitable and it arrived with seven minutes and 34 seconds on the clock.

Andrade found himself down the left-channel and he cut the ball back for an unmarked Murtagh, who was given acres of space to whip in a cross towards the near post.  Jeffers was allowed to take a touch before drilling a shot past Ibrahim into the near corner to break Dartford’s hearts.

“In all fairness, there was a little mistake on our part at the end for them to score, where we cleared everything out of our box and we didn’t do it in that last bit,” admitted Burman.

“We’ve made a little bit of an error of not clearing the ball in the 97th minute.  It’s gone out to him (Murtagh) rather than going further down the field but it’s one of those things, it happens, it’s all over now and we’ve got to concentrate on Saturday.”

Referee Richard Hulme played exactly 11 minutes of injury-time and the second half finished at 9:45pm.

Boreham Wood created the first chance inside the first period of extra-time with Kane Smith trying his luck with an angled drive from the right which forced Ibrahim into diving low to his right to parry.

Della-Verde was left in space and his left-footed effort from outside the box was comfortably saved by the Boreham Wood keeper.

Both sides appeared to be settling for the inevitable penalty shoot-out during the second period.

Ibrahim’s big kick was met on the half-volley by substitute striker Pavey, but he smacked his shot past the left-hand post from 25-yards.

Murtagh then hit a powerful drive over the Dartford crossbar from distance for the home side, before Kane Smith’s cross was met by a weak header from Stephens, which was comfortably held by Ibrahim, who dropped to his knees.

A dominant Boreham Wood couldn’t find the winner but they prevailed from the penalty spot, Dartford exiting The FA Trophy at 10:31pm.

Dartford captain Bradbrook stepped up first, sending the keeper the wrong way with a left-footed penalty that he drove straight down the middle.

Boreham Wood were level through Andrade. Ibrahim dived to his right but the ball was whacked high above his head into the top left-hand corner.

Murphy then missed for Dartford but keeper Grant Smith pulled off the first of his three diving saves, going to his right to push away the winger’s right-footed attempt.

Jeffers held his nerve to send Ibrahim the wrong way with his right-footed penalty to give the home side a 2-1 lead after two penalties apiece.

Boreham Wood keeper Grant Smith pulled off another fine save, diving to his right again to save Della-Verde’s right-footed penalty.

Boreham Wood’s extra-time sub Sorba Thomas held his nerve, placing his right-footed penalty into the bottom right-hand corner.

Dartford substitute Pavey, who came on for Mills five and a half minutes into stoppage time at the end of normal time, went the opposite way to Murphy and Della-Verde but the excellent Grant Smith dived to his left this time to push the ball away as Boreham Wood claimed a 3-1 win.

“All five of the lads wanted to take the penalties and they’ve been up there and been brave enough to take the penalties,” added Burman.

“The keeper’s pulled off three good saves to be fair. It’s one of those things, it happens.  It goes for you or it doesn’t. It wasn’t going to go for us.”

Burman hailed the loyal Dartford fans who made the trip to Hertfordshire so close to Christmas to support their club.

“I think every supporter who’s travelled here needs a pat on the back.  I think every supporter is going to leave here very, very proud of their team. It wasn’t to be. 

“I’m just now concerned what we’ve had to do tonight. We’ve lost a player in the warm-up, Lee Noble’s hurt his calf.  We have to put ourselves up because that’s taken a lot out of the players.”

Dartford are top of the Vanarama National League South table with 38 points in the bag from their 21 league outings and welcome Braintree Town to Princes Park on Saturday.  The Iron are in second-place with the same number of points.

Burman said: “It will be a big game. We’ve got to stick together like we have tonight and last Saturday and hopefully we can get a good result on Saturday and have one or two players back in.

“There’s nothing else to go for so that’s what we do.”

Losing tonight may be a blessing in disguise for Dartford, they don’t have to travel up north to play in the Second Round.

“It wasn’t the greatest of ties in all fairness to both sides to get Gateshead or Guiseley. It’s one of those things. We didn’t look at it like that, we just come here to try to win the game and we were really, really unlucky not to win the game.”
Boreham Wood: Grant Smith, Kane Smith, Ricky Shakes, Dave Stephens, Dean Wells (Jamie Turley 51), Tom Champion, Angelo Balanta (Dan Holman 65), Mark Ricketts (Sorba Thomas 103), Shaun Jeffers, Bruno Andrade, Kieran Murtagh.
Subs: Bradley Sach, Fred Burbidge

Goals: Bruno Andrade 74, Shaun Jeffers 90

Dartford: Deren Ibrahim, Danny Harris (Richard Sho-Silva 90), Mark Onyemah, Elliot Bradbrook, Ronnie Vint, Tom Bonner, Ryan Hayes, Lyle Della-Verde, Danny Mills (Alfie Pavey 90), Alex Brown (Andy Pugh 67), Tom Murphy.
Subs: Lee Noble, Warren Mfula

Goals: Ryan Hayes 52, Danny Mills 77

Booked: Tom Bonner 113

Attendance: 173
Referee: Mr Richard Hulme (Taunton, Somerset)
Assistants: Mr Gareth Viccars (Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire) & Mr Paul Evans (Hartwell, Northamptonshire)
Fourth Official: Mr Gavin Muge (Dunstable, Bedfordshire)

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