Hawks slip to defeat against top of the table Dartford.
The Darts condemned Havant and Waterlooville to their first League loss on the road since April 2019 after beating them 2-1. Two second half strikes from Jack Barham were enough to give the home side all three points. Josh Taylor’s late effort made things interesting, but it wasn’t to be on the day for Havant, who also had midfielder Billy Clifford sent off after receiving two yellow cards.
Both teams came into this game full of confidence after their respective starts to the campaign and it showed in the early stages. Although the Hawks edged possession, they failed to create anything that could threaten Craig King in the Dartford goal.
The first shot on target came past the 15 minute mark. A quickly taken corner by the away side allowed Josh Taylor to drive towards goal, but his angled effort was saved well by King with his feet.
Dartford grew into the game and should have taken the lead on 25 minutes. Craig Braham-Barrett found himself in acres of space in the Havant box, the full-back cut inside but blazed his shot high and wide.
Soon after, some fantastic quick passing from Dartford created the next opportunity. Noor Husin and Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong were heavily involved in the build up, but the final ball across goal from Jack Barham lacked quality and was easily cleared.
Havant defender Moussa Diarra wasted a wonderful chance on 36 minutes. He towered over his marker but his firm header went just wide of the post following a Billy Clifford cross.
HT – Dartford 0 Hawks 0
The hosts took the lead shortly after the break when Elliott Romain drew a foul in the penalty area. Barham confidently dispatched the spot kick to put Steve King’s side ahead.
Dartford should have doubled their lead moments later, Barham ran onto a delightful Romain pass but he could only divert the ball inches past the post.
The Hawks reacted well to going behind and almost levelled on 56 minutes. Sam Magri ghosted round to the back post following a Clifford corner but the defender couldn’t direct the ball on target.
Dartford did extend their lead on 72 minutes when Jack Jebb’s wide free-kick was flicked home by Barham. The striker got across his man and guided the whipped set-piece across Ross Worner and into the corner.
Paul Doswell’s side did pull one back through Josh Taylor with just over ten minutes to play. Good play down the left hand side by substitute Lucas Sinclair who eventually picked out Taylor on the edge of the area. He struck the ball first time into the bottom corner to make it a tense last 10 minutes.
The hopes of a comeback for Havant were dented when referee Callum Warchester gave Billy Clifford a second yellow card following a late challenge. It wasn’t to be for the Hawks, who’s unbeaten start to the campaign came to an end.
Focus now turns to the FA Cup next Sunday, when Cray Valley visit the Draper Tools Community Stadium.
FT – Dartford 2 Hawks 1
Hawks Starting XI – Worner, Magri, Robson, Diarra, Straker, Taylor, Gomis, Clifford, Deacon, Wright, Iaciofano
Subs used – Widdrington, Sinclair, Ajakaiye
Subs not used – Tupper, Poku
By Ryan Honey (@ryanhoney9)