This 12.30 kick off, drew me to watch a National League South fixture between Dartford FC, managed by Alan Dowson, and Bath City, who are led this season by Jerry Gill. I was pleased that despite the sub-zero overnight temperatures, the match was okay to go ahead, as Dartford’s grounds team had applied a cover and kept the pitch carefully protected.
It is always a pleasure to watch football at Princes Park, with views in the modern stadium, holding a capacity of 4100, with 642 seated, being great from any position.
The carved figure holding up the roof makes a quirky and unique feature for this ground. Attendances this season at Princes Park, have averaged around 1000, with the 1278 watching the match with Tonbridge Angels, being the highest.
Dartford have found a decent run of recent form to lift themselves up to second in the table, just four points behind local rivals and leaders Ebbsfleet, although having already played three games more. Dartford’s Samir Carruthers (nine goals) and Pierre Fonkeu (eight goals) are their top scorers this season.
Bath City have had a mixed opening half to the season, sitting in mid table eleventh place, five points off the play offs. Cody Cooke is the club’s top scorer with eleven goals, while Alex Fletcher, so badly recently injured, and sadly unable to play, has seven. An award was made from Dartford FC, prior to kick off, in recognition of Alex Fletcher’s service to his club and to support his journey to recovery.
The first half kicked off in bright sunshine, and for the first thirty minutes, it was the away side who looked the most threatening and dangerous.
Tom Smith was a constant thorn in the Dartford defence pressing forward and although the home side created some chances, they gave the ball away to often and too cheaply, to develop any fluency in their play.
At halftime the scores were tied at 0-0 and both sides went into the break with a realistic chance of securing a win and all three points. The 835 fans in attendance were hoping for something to be able to shout about in the second half.
The second half began in much the same style with neither side dominant. On 56 minutes Dartford had a Charlie Sheringham goal disallowed for a push on the keeper.
In the 75th minute, Bath City scored a fine breakaway goal, only to see it chalked off for an offside decision, which came late.
As the full time whistle blew it was clear that both sides deserved a point. It did feel as if they could have played all night and not scored, but there had been entertaining moments too.