It’s now only two wins in the past seventeen league and cup matches for the Whites, as they slumped to a disappointing defeat to promotion chasing Met. Police. Poor form continues to haunt us, as we slide further from the play-off positions.
There were encouraging signs prior to kick of, with the injury situation seeming to be abating. Nick Humphrey returned to the centre of defence, in his first game for a month, with Jimmy Dryden fit enough to be handed a place on the bench.
But with only six minutes played, the visitors took the lead. Humphrey was fouled in the build-up, but the referee failed to spot it, allowing a cross to be sent into the danger area from the right. Paul Hyde failed to punch the ball clear, allowing Adolph Amoako a free header into the unguarded net.
This was a body-blow in what was billed as a must-win game. Yet it got even worse three minutes later. Hogg’s attacking free kick was cleared by Paul Barrowcliff, and flicked on by Rob Haworth on the halfway line. The ball fell to Amoako again, who ran through on goal and calmly slotted the ball past Hyde.
Kevin Cooper had a free kick blocked by Jon Daly for a corner, but it wasn’t long before a substitution had to be made. Nick Humphrey clearly wasn’t fit to be returning to first-team action, so was replaced by Jordao, who gave the side greater width down the left.
He almost had an immediate impact, with some fine runs and crosses, and even saw a couple of volleys blocked in quick succession, before Wilkins had an overhead effort comfortably saved by keeper Stuart MacKenzie.
The Police continued to be a threat however, with Tony Browne slicing a backpass into the side netting, and Craig Brown sending a diving header just wide of the far post.
The game effectively hinged on first half injury time. Whites went close when Cooper lobbed the keeper, but the ball fell to Wilkins who blazed a volley well over, and then Hogg fired wide after a penalty area melee. If one or both of these chances had been taken, Whites could have got back into the game.
Cooper had two chances blocked by his former teammates and Shane Hamshare fired an effort wide from 15-yards at the start of the second half, but the visitors were a constant threat with Haworth and Amoako up-front, with the former testing Hyde soon after the restart.
With 54 minutes gone, it should have been the Mets’ third. Jon Daly made a great bursting run and fired into the net from 25-yards. The referee blew up for an infringement as the ball left his boot however, but nobody in the ground could understand why.
Tyne replaced Hogg to try to salvage something from the game, but the defence continued to look very suspect. Hyde made a charging run out of his area, failing to clear the ball, and Haworth sent the resulting quick free kick just over the bar with Hyde still stranded.
The game was however sewn up after 64 minutes. A corner was sent into the area, not cleared by the Whites defence, and Haworth had the easy task of touching the ball home from inside the six-yard box.
Wilkins, Tyne and Jordao all had half chances to reduce the deficit, but the Dover End of the ground had all but emptied by the time Amoako missed two chances in injury time to claim his hat-trick. I cannot remember another time when so many Whites fans left early or immediately at the final whistle.
This was a really disappointing day for all concerned with DAFC, as we were completely out-fought and out-thought by the visitors. They looked a really good side, but Whites need to regain some kind of form if they are to put themselves back into play-off contention, and that won’t be easy with a trip to Tonbridge up next.
Referee: Gary Johnson Assistants: David Spain & Gary Croft
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