City edge out Darts in game of two halves

A dominant first-half performance followed by a resolute second half effort against Dartford at Twerton Park this afternoon saw City record a third successive 1-0 victory. They only had Cody Cooke’s 16th goal of the season to show for their efforts in the opening 45 minutes which allowed the struggling visitors to go close on a number of occasions after the break to grabbing a point in the end they probably felt they deserved.

What turned out to be the decisive goal arrived after just 10 minutes. Goalkeeper Terrell dallied too long on the ball allowing Scott Wilson to steal it away from him. He laid it back for Ewan Clark, who saw his initial shot blocked by Nembhard only for Cooke to net from the rebound. City were looking threatening with every foray forward now, Jordan Dyer heading narrowly wide then Wilson blasting a shot against the crossbar after great work by debutant Richard Chin against his former club. On the half-hour another mistake at the back set Wilson clear but Terrell did very well to block his shot. Several dangerous crosses into the box were also well defended by the Darts but the half ended with Wall shooting into the side netting for the Kent side.

And this turned out to be a sign of things to come as City struggled to recapture their form after the break. Dartford were now enjoying the majority of possession and just past the hour mark forced a first save from Josey Casa-Grande, as he got down well to smother Nembhard’s header. City substitute James Alabi then twice went close to doubling City’s lead, heading Clark’s cross just over the bar and then brilliantly holding off Rooney before shooting into the side-netting. On 71 minutes City almost gifted Dartford an equaliser when Danny Greenslade’s back header looped over the out-rushing Casa-Grande but he managed to get back just in time to stop the ball creeping inside the post. Coulson then tested Casa-Grande with a low shot before Wall’s header beat the keeper but an offside flag halted the celebrations. Dartford continued to pile on the pressure but Casa-Grande showed faultless handling on several more occasions with his defence also providing a number of great interventions. When six minutes stoppage time was announced an audible gasp went round Twerton Park and the Romans had to withstand several more nervous moments before the referee finally brought the contest to a close.