Chelmsford City 4-0 Dartford - It's really frustrating for us at the moment but we'll work hard on the training ground and put it right, says Dartford joint-manager Jamie Coyle

Monday 12th August 2019
Chelmsford City 4 – 0 Dartford
Location Melbourne Community Stadium, Salerno Way, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 2EH
Kickoff 12/08/2019 19:45

Vanarama National League South
Monday 12 August 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Melbourne Stadium

DARTFORD joint-manager Jamie Coyle says he’s feeling concerned that his players are lacking resilience away from home and will work hard on the training ground to put it right.

Coyle and Adam Flanagan extended their miserable run to just one win in their last 12 games (including last season) after being thrashed 4-0 at Chelmsford City tonight.

The Darts kicked-off their new Vanarama National League South campaign with a 4-1 defeat at Wealdstone, before being held to two 1-1 draws at home by St Albans City and Havant & Waterlooville but they lacked character and leadership when the going got tough tonight.

Rod Stringer’s side opened their campaign by beating Hampton & Richmond Borough here 4-1, before losing 2-1 at Concord Rangers and 4-1 at Weymouth at the weekend and are now in seventh-place in the table, while Dartford are struggling in the bottom five at this early stage.

“I think the first half it was the most we’ve dominated a side this season, didn’t take our chances, exactly the same as Saturday and had some glorious chances and some good set-pieces were put into the box and unfortunately we didn’t score the goal,” said Coyle.

“But we went in really positive at half-time but we knew they would come out a lot more than they did in the first half, which they did and we’ve shown a real soft belly really, an under belly of conceding another second phase from a set-piece so after seven minutes it knocked the stuffing out of you a little bit.

“You try to build the momentum from the first half and then you go a goal down and it lifted them a little but and then all off a sudden you get the sending off and it’s a tough one to take tonight, it really is.

“I think if we had scored when we were on top in the first half it would’ve been a different game but it wasn’t to be and unfortunately after the sending off we were under the cosh a little bit and they got three more goals.”

Dartford dominated the first half at Melbourne Stadium tonight but as soon as Chris Whelpdale drilled in their opening goal within seven minutes of the second half, Dartford collapsed.

Dartford right-back Jordan Wynter was sent-off for a reckless challenge with 18 minutes remaining and Sam Higgins headed in the second, Jonny Giles added a third before Dartford centre-half Josh Hill slid in an own-goal at the end.

Chelmsford City, as expected under Stringer, were a direct outfit with long balls bypassing their midfield to rely on the pace of striker Jamar Loza, who played in behind Higgins.

Dartford relied on their target-man Adam Cunnington, who won his fair share of headers against Chelmsford centre-half Adrian Cascaval during the first half, as Dartford were the better side.

Chelmsford City took only 116 seconds to create their first opening when midfielder Giles’ hooked pass released Loza in behind Wynter but he lashed his left-footed drive wide of the near post with keeper Mark Smith to beat from 15-yards.

Wynter looped in a throw, which was flicked on by Cunnington at the near post and his strike-partner Norman Wabo hooked wide at the far stick.

A fine save from Chelmsford City’s 29-year-old goalkeeper Carl Pentney denied Dartford a tenth minute lead.

Amos Nasha and Ben Greenhalgh linked up down the left and full-back Luke Warner-Eley cut the ball back to Greenhalgh, who hung over a cross which was met by Cunnington (towering over Chelmsford left-back Tom Wraight) to send his downward header bouncing towards the bottom far corner from 16-yards, forcing Pentney to get down low to his right to hold onto the ball right on his goal-line.

“We’re delivering good balls and Cunnington is a great addition to the side and he worked really well tonight,” said Coyle.

“Adam’s done really well since he’s come in and he offers a real physical threat in the final third.

“I just felt today the officials didn’t give us any protection whatsoever, which is a shame. He’s done really well and he’s a great acquisition for us moving forward.”

Greenhalgh’s left-footed chip forward was met by Cunnington’s cushioned header across to Warner-Eley, who unleashed a left-footed angled drive from outside the box, which was held by Pentney, low to his left.

A right-wing counter-attack from Whelpdale was stopped by Dartford and Warner-Eley threaded the ball through to left-winger Luke Wanadio, who sprinted down the left wing, cut inside and from the edge of the box he curled his shot around the far post with the keeper beaten.

Chelmsford created an opening at the half-way point when Dartford cleared Giles’ free-kick from the right and Ollie Muldoon’s initial shot was blocked and his second attempt sting Smith’s fingers from 25-yards.

Dartford missed another decent chance in the 27th minute when Wanadio swung in a corner from the right which wasn’t cleared by Chelmsford and Hill came around the corner and found a pocket of space at the far post, from inside the six-yard box but he hooked his shot into the side netting and Dartford’s chance to take a deserved lead went begging.

“I’d rather nick a scruffy set-piece and go 1-0 up because at the moment it looks like we gain a lot more confidence and were the better side so we’ve got to really be patient,” said Coyle.

“We all have halves where we dominated like we did today and not score a goal and believe that we’re going to stay in the game, and by doing that you’ve got to defend well as a side and we didn’t do that tonight.  You’re chasing the game a little bit and when you lose a man whose sent-off, you’re chasing even more.”

Chelmsford centre-half Michael Spillane stayed up following a set-piece and won his side a free-kick after being fouled by Dartford midfielder Nasha.

Muldoon drilled his right-footed free-kick towards the roof of the net from 35-yards, which was comfortably plucked out of the air by Smith’s two outstretched arms.

Chelmsford were a threat from set-pieces and another free-kick from Giles was met by Anthony Church, but his flicked header sailed through a crowd of players and harmlessly past the far post from the penalty spot.

Dartford were to be denied the lead that they richly deserved on the stroke of half-time.

Hill and Wynter played the ball out from the back and Hill slipped the ball along the deck into Wabo’s feet.  He played the ball back to Cunnington’s feet in the middle of the pitch some 35-yards from goal and his defensive splitting pass cut open Chelmsford’s two centre-halves to put Wabo through on goal but Pentney used his feet to make a vital save as he dived low to his left.

“Another good chance that was a great opportunity to score in the first half and that would’ve kicked us on but it wasn’t to be and it was a good save,” said Coyle.

“I thought we completely dominated the first half but we didn’t take our chances. We needed to do that to then try to kick on to try to build a bit of momentum but I think the keeper’s made some good saves.”

What was more noticeable during the second half was that Chelmsford City kept the ball in the middle of the park more and Giles started to win the midfield battle and the home side increased their performance levels, while Dartford’s decreased theirs.

The ball struck referee Callum Walchester so play stopped and Chelmsford were given the opportunity to pump the ball up field though Spillane and seconds later
Whelpdale cut in from the right and flashed his right-footed shot just past the foot of the near post from 30-yards.

Chelmsford City broke the deadlock with six minutes and 42 seconds on the clock, following their third corner of the night.

Giles floated the ball in from the right, Dartford cleared their lines in a crowded six-yard box and the ball fell nicely for Whelpdale, to drill his low right-footed shot through a crowd of players to plant his shot into the bottom far corner from 18-yards.

“I think you concede a goal so early it looked like it just knocked the stuffing out of us – but we’ve got to be more resilient than that,” admitted Coyle.

“We will go goals down this season and we have to show the character to get back into games and today it was difficult because straight after they scored a goal we then got a sending off so you had to re-jig the team.”

Wynter launched a long throw into the Chelmsford box and Cunnington’s near-post flicked header flashed past the foot of the near post.

Chelmsford bossed the second half and half way through, Pentney’s big kick up field was brought down by Higgins, before the channel running striker smashed a right-footed volley screaming past the near post from 30-yards.

Giles kept on picking up loose balls outside the Dartford area and he cut in and drove a shot which was comfortably gathered by Smith.

“I thought we won the midfield battle in the first half but in the second half we were almost non-existent so it’s no good doing it for 45 minutes, we’ve got to do it for 95 and that’s something that we have to work on between now and the end of the season,” admitted Coyle.

The tied turned in Chelmsford’s favour when in the 72nd minute Wynter launched himself into a reckless challenge inside the Chelmsford half that send substitute left-winger Alex Osborn rolling around the floor and referee Callum Walchester had no option other than brandish a straight red-card.

Coyle, who was forced to put Wado in as an emergency right-back, said: “I just thought he miss-timed the tackle.  There’s no malice in Jordan Wynter at all.  He just really miss-timed the tackle.  I’m just pleased Jordan as well as the player, his tackle hasn’t seriously injured him. It could’ve been a nasty one. I don’t think there was any malice in it. It was purely just a really badly miss-timed tackle.”

The way that Dartford capitulated was a concern for the travelling fans that made the 57 mile round trip through the tunnel.

Chelmsford City produced a good move down the left to take the lead with 29 minutes and 35 seconds on the clock.

Substitute left-back Frazer Shaw sprinted down the left with the ball and played Osborn on an overlapping run and he hung over a precise cross for Higgins to bury his header into the far corner from 12-yards to open his goalscoring account for the season.

“There’s another mistake and we’re conceding sloppy goals, which we didn’t do last year so it’s a concern for us,” said Coyle.

“At that time you’ve got Amos Nasha out of position and he gave the ball away sloppily and they capitalised, a great cross and a good finish.”

Chelmsford City went close through Muldoon’s angled low 30-yard drive, which flashed just past the foot of the near post as Dartford’s defence failed to come out and press him.

Clinical Chelmsford City scored their third goal of the night, timed at 35 minutes and 29 seconds and once again Dartford’s flat-footed defence failed to come out and press.

Giles cut in from the right wing and had time and space to drill his left-footed shot across the diving keeper to find the bottom far corner from 22-yards.

“Another disappointing goal to concede,” added Coyle.

“It’s a tough one, isn’t it. You’ve got ten men and you try to at least push on and get yourself back into the game but it wasn’t to be tonight.

“I think we really struggled when we went down to 10 and they had the impetus of the goals that they had and they were coming on strong at us and it was difficult.”

This was the time for Dartford to show character and leadership but this was lacking at this point of the game.

Coyle said: “It’s individual. It’s an individual making sure you do your individual jobs and collectively that will come together. If everyone does their job defending set-pieces then there is more chances that we won’t concede.

“I must say that Cameron Brodie today was outstanding. For a seventeen-year-old kid to come into a game of this magnitude, he didn’t deserve to be in a losing side tonight.”

Coyle and Flanagan brought on Ryan Hayes, Andy Pugh and Charlie Sheringham but they offered nothing in an attacking sense as Dartford put in a poor second half performance.

Hayes, who is now Dartford’s longest-serving player, issued an apology on Twitter, despite only playing for 21 minutes.

“Can’t make excuses for tonight. Apologise to those who travelled to witness that! Hopefully we can bounce back Saturday. As a club we win together and we lose together.  The DFC Express will kick-start very soon.”

Chelmsford notched their fourth goal of the night, with 46 minutes and 47 seconds on the clock.

Higgins was released down the right channel and his low cross was intended for substitute Andrew Fennell, who would have had the simple task of tapping the ball over the line.  Instead, Hill slid in front of him and put the ball over the line to score an own-goal from a couple of yards out.

“I think there was a guy there to tap it in so it’s a tough one for a centre-half going back to his own goal but it was a really poor goal to concede, yes,” admitted Coyle.

“I try to break it down into two halves.  I think the first half we were outstanding. I thought we completely dominated the game. We didn’t take our chances, exactly the same as Saturday.

“But second half we conceded a real sloppy goal from a second phase of a set-piece and lost a player.

“It’s really tough to analyse the game straight after.  When at 1-0 down we could potentially still get back into the game, if we played anywhere near we did in the first half but then we lost Jordan Wynter and went down to 10 men and it gave them another lift.

“It’s frustrating but we’ll go back to the drawing board and we’ll reflect on it in the next few days and get ourselves ready for another tough test on Saturday.”

An alarm bell was blasting off in the dressing room area of Melbourne Stadium after the game - and Dartford cannot afford a repeat thrashing at unbeaten Weymouth on Saturday (15:00).

Weymouth travel to Slough Town on Tuesday night and are presently in fifth-place in the table with seven points from their three outings.

“Luke Allen was injured Saturday, he’s out with a sore knee. I think he’s got a knock to his knee,” revealed Coyle.

“Lee Noble will do a fitness test before the game because he’s been struggling all season with a hamstring issue, so hopefully he’ll be ok on Saturday.

“Darren McQueen is close to coming back. He’s a couple of weeks ahead of schedule with his dislocated shoulder so we can’t push him too quickly because we’re going to need him in and around the team so we’re hoping that he’ll be back soon.

“I’m concerned in terms of the bodies around the place because we’re bringing on subs that are not fit and we’ve got no other choice at the moment.

“We’ve still got players that are far from match fit and we have to bring them off the bench so that’s a concern in terms of bodies that we’ve got around but there’s signs today in the first half that we’ll be ok.

“It’s going to take a little bit of time but we’re frustrated with the other end.

“Weymouth is another tough opposition. We haven’t had the report back but I spoke to Rod Stringer whose played them and they’re a strong side so we have to go there and we have to be really resilient, a lot more than we were today and be a lot more reliable individually and collectively when defending set-pieces.  If we do that we’ve got good quality in the final third but we’ve got to defend first and try to push on from there.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ll reflect on tonight and it’s a real difficult thing to take tonight.  It’s too many goals that we’ve conceded from set-pieces so far from first and second phases so we’ll have to look at it and carry on working on it and get this right because they are the basics, they really are the basics.

“It’s really frustrating for us at the moment because it’s something that we didn’t have to deal with last year but we’ll work hard on the training ground and put it right!”

Chelmsford City: Carl Pentney, Elliot Omozusi, Tom Wraight (Frazer Shaw 33), Anthony Church, Michael Spillane, Adrian Cascaval, Jonny Giles, Ollie Muldoon, Sam Higgins, Jamar Loza (Andrew Fennell 84), Chris Whelpdale (Alex Osborn 70).
Subs: Shaun Jeffers, Chez Isaac

Goals: Chris Whelpdale 52, Sam Higgins 75, Jonny Giles 81, Josh Hill 90 (own goal)

Booked: Anthony Church 45

Dartford: Mark Smith, Jordan Wynter, Luke Warner-Eley, Cameron Brodie, Josh Hill, Tom Bonner, Ben Greenhalgh, Amos Nasha, Adam Cunnington (Charlie Sheringham 78), Norman Wabo (Andy Pugh 69), Luke Wanadio (Ryan Hayes 69).
Subs: Ronnie Vint, Alex Flisher

Booked: Adam Cunnington 58, Cameron Brodie 80

Sent Off: Jordan Wynter 72

Attendance: 948
Referee: Mr Callum Walchester (Lowestoft, Suffolk)
Assistants: Mr Andrew Gray (Ipswich, Suffolk) & Mr Andrew Hitchcox (St Ives, Cambridgeshire)