Maidenhead United 5, Dartford 0
Maidenhead United’s fans sung ‘we’re gonna win the league’ after Dave Tarpey struck down promotion rivals Dartford with a clinical finishing master-class.
Not content with his scoring exploits so far this season the striker added another four to take his league tally to 26 before the final whistle was blown.
From one to 11 United were hungrier than their rivals and stamped their authority over the match from the opening whistle. Dartford arrived at York Road on a high after their FA Trophy replay triumph over National League Dover Athletic on Tuesday night but they couldn’t cope with the intensity of the Magpies.
This was illustrated by the Magpies’ opener, scored by Tarpey who lifted a delightful chip over Deren Ibrahim in the 22nd minute. But it was the desire of Christian Smith to win the ball in midfield and the lovely threaded pass from substitute Jordan Cox that created it.
United’s second goal on 30 minutes was all about Tarpey. Receiving the ball with is back to goal in the he back heeled it over his marker and raced through to steer the ball beyond Ibrahim. A third goal followed in first half injury time when Cox’s snap shot was parried by Ibrahim and Tarpey swept home the rebound.
Dartford started the second half strongly and the imposing figure of Duane Ofori-Archeampong looped a header over the bar in the 48th minute before steering a low shot just past Carl Pentney’s left hand post a few minutes later. However, any hopes of a comeback were undone when Tom Wynter’s late challenge on Pentney saw him sent off in the 55th minute.
United were back on the goal trail four minutes later when Cox headed home Tarpey’s peach of a free kick from close range and Tarpey wrapped up the 5-0 win with a penalty in the 88th minute, drilling the ball beyond Ibrahim after he was tripped in the box by the keeper.
With first choice centre midfield pairing James Comley and Ryan Upward both suspended, and November's player of the month Sean Marks going off in the 13th minute with a head injury, this was a day for the understudies as Smith, Kieron Forbes and Cox all played well to give manager Alan Devonshire a selection headache for the Boxing Day clash at Weladstone.
Surprisingly, given the scoreline, the game was pretty even in the first 20 minutes. Pentney punched a Ryan Hayes' corner clear from underneath his crossbar before Luke Wanadio was denied by a brilliant stop from Pentney in the 18th minute.
It was the first and last time Dartford threatened the home side's chances of taking all three points such was the dominance of their defending thereafter.
Tarpey said afterwards: “I love scoring but the performance was excellent. Dartford have been flying so we knew they were going to be solid.
“I think we surprised them and got a few early goals and took off. We had a break last week and I think that obviously helped us. They had a couple of hard games, Saturday and Tuesday, so we were fresh and we shocked them how quickly we came out of the blocks.”
Dartford manager Tony Burman added: “First I thought we played ok. There were some decisions and turning points in the whole game, that went against us.
“That happens sometimes. We could possibly have been 1-0 up but for a great save from their keeper and then we’ve come up against a real good striker who has a lot of quality about him.”
Maidenhead United (4-4-2): Pentney 8, Clerima 9 (Peters 79’), Steer 8, Smith 9, Massey © 9, Inman 9, Tarpey 10, Forbes 8, Marks 6 (Cox 14’, Wiltshire 73’), Mulley 8, Pritchard 8.
Subs not used: Hammond, Wassmer.
Dartford: Ibrahim 5, Harris 5, Wynter 4, Vint 5, Wood 5, A Brown 5(Dembele 73’), Hayes 6 (Gardiner 55’), Bradbrook 5, Ofori-Archeampong 7, Noble 6, Wanadio 6 (E Brown 68’).
Subs not used: Pugh, Coxall
Referee: Ian Rathbone (7-10)
Slough Town 3, Kettering Town 2
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The Poppies gave the home side a major scare when they netted twice in the final minutes but Slough held on for all three points to keep pace with Leamington at the top of the Southern League Premier Division.
Kempston Rovers 1, Marlow 2
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Brimscombe & Thrupp 6, Burnham 1
After a string of decent results the Blues have struggled to pick up points in recent weeks and this was another example of that.
The visitors quickly found themselves 2-0 down in the opening quarter of an hour but pegged back their hosts almost immediately.
Jack Smith slotted in Brimscombe’s third just after the break and Ollie Pitt hammered in a shot from an angle to make it 4-1 in the 53rd minute. Ash Caldwell netted his second of the afternoon to bring up the fifth and Ed Major got his first goal for the club in the final minute.
Horley Town 5, Windsor 3
Windsor’s defensive frailties returned as they lost in a thrilling match at Horley. Kieran Knight netted twice in the first half to continue his fine recent form in front of goal but Horley took a one goal lead into the break and built on that in the second half of a topsy-turvy contest that wasn’t settled until Barbary netted in the 90th minute.
Flackwell Heath 2, Longlevens 1
The Heathens survived a second half fight back from Longlevens to take the points at Wilks Park.
Dan Molloy gave them the lead with a strike from the edge of the box before Adam Dickens headed in Matt Stockill’s cross in the 38th minute to give the hosts breathing space.
But the second half was anything but comfortable after Longlevens tapped home in the 64th minute and the Heathens were holding on at the end. The win sees them keep pace with the other pace setters in the Hellenic Premier Division.
Penn & Tylers Green 6, Holyport 3
Holyport conceded four first half goals as their miserable league form continued against the division’s leading side.
Wycombe Wanderers 1, Leyton Orient 0
It’s going to be a merry Christmas for Wycombe Wanderers fans after Scott Kashket netted his 11th goal of the season – against his former club – to seal victory at Adams Park, an eighth in a row for Gareth Ainsworth’s improving Chairboys.
Blackburn 2, Reading 3
George Evans grabbed an injury-time winner for the Royals at Ewood Park.
A terrific hit from Dominic Samuel put the Royals in front but Danny Graham headed in from close range to level the scores at half-time. Liam Moore scored his first goal for the club after Liam Kelly had struck the crossbar in the 63rd minute but Wes Brown restored parity once more from a corner kick. But Evans composed finish in the second of five added minutes won it for Jaap Stam’s side who remain third in the Championship.
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