City open season with Dartford thriller

Six goals, a red card and nearly 110 minutes played, it was an action-packed start to the 2023/24 season this afternoon as City and Dartford played out a 3-3 draw at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park. Although City had the ball in the net on nine minutes, an offside flag ruling out Dan Hayfield’s header, it was the home side who largely controlled the first half and they finally broke the deadlock midway through eight minutes additional time. City had brilliantly blocked two initial efforts but their luck ran out when the ball fell kindly for Miller-Rodney to lash it home. Just before the hour mark Tom Smith was inches away from levelling when his curling shot struck the bar. On 66 minutes Dartford doubled their lead, a slight deflection on Coulson’s low shot enough to beat Ollie Wright’s dive. Within five minutes City were back in the game with Ewan Clark showing great composure to slot the ball past Beeney. And three minutes later they were level when Cody Cooke set up substitute Scott Wilson to beat Beeney from twelve yards. The Darts regained their lead in the 84th minute as Coulson struck again from Allen’s cross. It took a great save from Wright with a minute left to prevent Dartford grabbing a fourth goal and when Jack Batten received a second yellow card three minutes into a further ten minutes stoppage time it looked like City would open the season with a defeat. However, Jordan Thomas had other ideas as, two minutes later, he cut in from the left-flank before curling home a stunning shot from 20 yards to add a fitting conclusion to a remarkable game.