Dartford 2 – 2 Boreham Wood
Saturday 23rd July 2022
Princes Park Stadium, Pre-Season Friendly


Preparations for the 2022/23 National League season continued as an own goal from Connor Essam and a strike from Femi Ilesmani either side of half time saw the Wood come out with a 2-2 stalemate against National League South side Dartford, cancelling out early goals from Maxwell Statham and Trialist.

There was nothing much to separate the two sides during the opening stages, but it was certainly Dartford who looked more effective in possession. An early lead was secured through Statham after Samir Carruthers’ deep free kick was guided back across goal, where Statham was waiting on the line to tap into an empty net. This would soon be doubled less than 15 minutes later, with Trialist taking down a corner before firing a low shot past Nathan Ashmore on the turn. The Wood controlled much of the half though and were rewarded for their persistence, when Essam powered George Williams’ delivery into his own net on 35 minutes. This sparked a resurgence in the second half, and Ilesamni made their dominance count when he expertly controlled Jamal Fyfield’s header before firing a low strike beyond Dan Wilks and into the far corner.

An uneventful opening to the game saw little action at either end, but Statham was well-placed to break the deadlock after just five minutes with the goal gaping following Carruthers’ free kick.

The Wood hit back and went close a few minutes later when Jamal Fyfield headed a corner back across goal, but Lee Ndlovu was unable to get the desired contact as it flew over the crossbar. This preceded a hopeful drive from Will Evans that fizzed wide from distance, as the visitors looked to break down Dartford’s stubborn defence.

The Darts continued to look threatening in attack, with Charlie Sheringham winning a corner after a nice team move ended with the 34-year old sending a shot wide via a deflection. This corner would be crucial, as Kristian Campbell’s delivery was met by Trialist who controlled it in the box before sending his strike into the bottom corner after 19 minutes.

Clear chances continued to be at a premium throughout the half although the Wood thought they had halved the deficit when Dave Stephens headed on Williams’ delivery just after the half-hour mark, but a collision between Wilks and Ndlovu saw the striker penalised for a foul as it dropped into the net.

They were able to pull a goal back moments later though with Williams involved once more. The midfielder got down the right before sending a low cross into the danger area which Essam inadvertently smashed into his own net on the slide, sending the Wood into the interval just one goal behind.

HT: Dartford 2-1 Boreham Wood

The Wood got the ball rolling for the second half with intent, and Danny Elliott forced Wilks into a low stop inside the first minute after picking up the ball outside the box, shortly before Williams sent an audacious effort from long range over the crossbar.

They would see a golden opportunity go amiss when Ndlovu broke through the midfield before being fouled in a dangerous position, and Williams’ subsequent free kick delivery was headed back across goal by Stephens but Ndlovu was unable to make contact in front of goal.

Danny Newton then got involved immediately after coming on, getting in behind down the right before sending an excellent cross towards Williams, but he was unable to keep his header on target as the Wood continued to push for an equaliser.

An equaliser would soon be on the way though and in spectacular fashion. Williams’ deep corner was headed back across goal by Fyfield, with Ilesamni taking a couple of touches to superbly get it under control before seeing his low shot go through a number of bodies to hit the back of the net.

The Wood continued to dominate proceedings as the game reached the final ten minutes, although Dartford will be very disappointed to not restore their lead when Dan Roberts’ shot was deflected into the path of Marvin Herschell in acres of space in front of goal, but he could only direct his shot from close range wide of the near post with the target gaping.

The visitors would then go close themselves at the other end, with Trialist making two crucial saves in quick succession first to deny Josh Rees from close range and then Tyrone Marsh’s follow-up.

There was just enough time for Williams to take a free kick in a dangerous position right at the death, but he was unable to get his shot over the wall.

FT: Dartford 2-2 Boreham Wood

Dartford: Wilks (Trialist 74’), Wynter, Campbell, Carruthers (Roberts 74’), Essam, Coulson (Allen 74’), Murtagh (Mansaray 87’), Statham, Trialist (Rodari 61’), Sheringham, Oduadu (Herschel 50’)

Subs Not Used: Trialist, Brodie, Boulton, Shepherd, Thompson-Fearon

Boreham Wood: Ashmore, Kelly-Evans, Ricketts, Evans (Ilesamni 60’), Stephens, Egan (Rees 60’), Ndlovu (Marsh 60’), Fyfield, Elliott (Newton 60’), Lewis, Williams

Subs Not Used: Murphy, Joyce

Star Man: George Williams



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