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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Shocking Bulls in second humiliation

Whether its Guinevere or Lancelot with whatever set of balls was chosen, today's performance at Dartford was as likely to win as my ticket in the lottery.

Inept, disgraceful and downright pathetic were comments overheard as I left Princes Park a little before 5.00pm this afternoon.  Many Bulls fans had left with twenty minutes still on the clock.

Martin Foyle's response to last weeks tanking at Hyde was to draft in new arrival Byron Anthony in place of Stefan Stam and include Joe Heath at left back to move Chris Curruthers forward into an attacking wide midfield role.  Simon Clist returned in place of Sammons and Marley Watkins made a welcome return with Smikle vacating the starting eleven.  Yep, changes in personal were asked for and we got them.  What we didn’t get was any improvement…in fact, it was worse.

The Darts, with Richard Rose at left back and Jon Wallis on the bench, could have taken the lead in the first minute when Elliot Bradbrook's header rebounded off the foot of the post.  However, the hosts didn't have to wait long to open their account.  Pell ducked out of a challenge to allow  Harry Crawford’s to advance and although his shot was blocked by Anthony Ryan Hayes rifled home from just inside the box.

Joe Heath returned to the Starting Eleven
Joe Heath's weak back-pass was easily intercepted but fortunately the shot went wide.  Ryan Bowman was a little unlucky when Curruthers through ball bounced off his calf when he would otherwise have been through on goal.  The Bulls appeared to lack any confidence on the ball and resorted to long punts down the flanks or to Bowman who was being well controlled by the experienced Mark Arber and Tom Bonner.  The Bulls' defensive clearances frequently fell to Dartford players whereas their own play from the back seemed more measured with their midfield showing constantly for the ball.

For The Bulls, Marley Watkins was the first to show any real threat after twenty minutes but three players quickly closed him down and the ball was cleared.  A brief period of decent play by United served to calm the nerves of the travelling fans.  Watkins tried his luck on the left but his cross was over hit.  Then Simon Clist came off second best in a crunching challenge, which resulted in Dodge’s sponge being wielded in anger.  Drinks break.

Physio Ian Rodgerson attends to Simon Clist
Bowman bought a foul of Rosie who, to be fair, had done little wrong but the free kick produced only a shot from CC that was screwed wide of the post.  Bradbrook picked up a yellow for a robust challenge on Watkins and The Bulls continued to the interval with conceding further despite a late fright, which whistled just off target.

HT Darts 1 (could have been three)  Bulls 0

The half-time ar$e-kicking and cup throwing appeared to have little effect as our lacklustre heroes commenced the second period in the same haphazard manner.  While the opening minute of the first half had seen Dartford miss a golden opportunity, they put matters right just forty seconds after the break.  Ryan Hayes swung a cross in from the right and the unmarked James Rogers duly nodded in from close range.  Mark Arber collected a caution when he was late on Sam Clucas who was moving on to a Clist through ball.  Clist's reward was to be hauled off and replaced by Will Evans while Curruthers made way for Tom Nichols.

Strikers Bowman and Nichols beaten to the ball by Bonner
Not a lot changed.  Evans over-hit three balls into touch, Nichols tried to find space for flicks that didn't come and after a period of Darts pressure without a goal they chanced their arm at a substitution of their own.  Danny Harris came on to replace Harry Crawford and promptly trotted towards The Bulls' goal to curl a third goal past Hanford from just inside the box. 

With the game pretty much over, Ashley Sammons replaced the ineffective Pell and Dartford responded by launching former Bull Jon Wallis into the fray.  Another Darts sub and guess what….yep, another goal.  Luke Graham conceded a free kick twenty yards out and Wallis clipped the ball round the wall and inside the post to finish what was a thoroughly dismal afternoon witnessed by 1601 unsegregated fans. 

A pint of cold Murphy’s stout was the only pleasure of the day.

FT  Darts 4  Bulls 0 (yes, NIL)

Bulls:  Hanford, Gallinagh, Graham, Anthony, Heath, Watkins, Clist (Evans 54), Pell (Sammons 80), Clucas, Curruthers (Nichols 54), Bowman. Subs unused Stam, Smikle

Darts:  Bettinelli, Rose, Champion, Bonner, Hayes (Noble 81), Erskine, Bradbrook (Wallis 81), Rogers, Arber, Burns, Crawford (Harris 73). Subs unused Sutton, Collier.

That was crap.  Not a single shot on target.  Another spin of the wheel please.  Cambridge had better be sending their U14's.