Dartford vs Taunton Town


Date Time League Season Match Day Full Time
February 24, 2024 3:00 pm National League South 2023/24 24/02/2024 90'


Taunton Town1



The Peacocks made the trip to Princes Park with a seemingly easy task of improving upon their previous journey. Three changes were made from the side that had lost at St Albans, with the experienced first teamers Zac Smith, Nat Jarvis and Ollie Chamberlain coming in for Ross Stearn, Marley Rose and Louie Slough. The Peacocks knew the task ahead and the stage was set for what would become a fiery encounter in Kent.

Taunton started like a team that was determined to stay in the Vanarama South and a side with renewed fire in the belly. The two Zacs, Bell and Smith, were out to cause problems from the off with darting runs down the flanks, and crosses from wide were coming in thick and fast in the first ten minutes. Nick Grimes was getting firmly into the action (and would find himself in the action for most of the 90) and he sought out an early goal with a sumptuous ball forward for the head of the electric Bell, but his cross to Jarvis was turned behind.

A heavy challenge from the Dartford winger Elliott Romain would send Bell flying into the dugout, causing Grimes and Head of Football Rob Dray to fly into a heated exchange with both Romain and the referee, ending with all three men entering the referee’s book for the incident in the 16th minute.

It was indeed the one of the wing-backs that would earn Town the opener, as Zac Smith won the ball back in our penalty area and as the referee waved away shouts for a Dartford penalty he drove down the left flank and was fouled by Maxwell Statham as he tried to drive deep into the opposition box, one thing led to another and the referee pointed to the spot much to the dismay of the Dartford fans. Step up captain Grimes, who in lieu of the designated taker Ross Stearn, slammed the ball to the keeper’s left and put the Peacocks 1-0 to the good in the 18th minute.

Whilst Taunton may have had the stronger start, it was Dartford who were on the ascendancy from the 20th minute onwards. The Darts had some weak chances turned behind or cleared away but their plugging away paid dividends in the 34th minute with a Luke Coulson cross that the Taunton backline failed to clear, leading to a back post header being converted by Fumnaya Shomotun to bring Dartford back level.

The two sides exchanged further blows, the closest effort for the Peacocks coming in the 44th minute with a clever pass from Rabby Tabu-Minzamba finding its way to Zac Smith whose shot from the edge of the box found its way into the gloves of Dartford keeper Billy Terrell. Ultimately though, neither side could gain any advantage over the other heading into the half time whistle. Both sides re-emerged from the interval with unchanged teams for the second 45 and the two sides were ready to do battle again, both searching for three precious points in an attempt to secure their place in the Vanarama South for the 24/25 season.

It was Taunton who thought they had struck first, with a well worked free-kick routine seemingly paying dividends on the 48th minute, as Lloyd James played a clever pass to Dan Ball and a flick from the defender found Ollie Chamberlain who put the ball in the back of the net. However, the joy of a second goal was short lived as the referee brought it back after a foul from Ball in the buildup. Taunton were still firmly in the ascendancy as they looked for their first win in the calendar year and Chamberlain thought that he might have broken the duck in the 59th minute with a shot that cannoned off a Dartford defender, but ultimately Terrell would have had an easy save to make.

Ross Stearn was introduced in the 68th minute, replacing Nat Jarvis who had another much improved game, and it took him nine minutes to make an impact. In the 77th minute a beautiful pass from Minzamba found Stearn in acres of space, he cut inside and unleashed a shot filled with venom towards goal, however a fantastic save from Terrell denied Taunton their second goal of the afternoon.

Dartford looked to mount a brief comeback in the final ten minutes, with two attack minded substitutions of Alex Wall and Taylor Maloney, bringing forth a tactical change with it. With these alterations it was now Dartford who looked the most likely to go on and win it, with a nice move in the 81st minute leading to a well claimed cross from Dan Lavercombe. The Taunton ‘keeper would be called into action just 10 minutes later with a sensational save to deny the aforementioned substitute Wall.

Wall was the shining light for Dartford going forwards as the game moved deep into injury time, the experienced striker with nearly 400 National League appearances knew how to pull a defender around, with a penalty shout for a well manufactured foul from Dan Ball waved away on the 93rd minute. But the more controversial decision came five minutes into added time, with the same manoeuvre pulled on Nick Grimes. This time the referee wouldn’t wave the shouts away and showed the skipper his second yellow card and, subsequently, his marching orders.

This decision was perhaps a perfect characterisation of The Peacocks’ afternoon, with the team on and off the field incurring a total of six yellow cards, in what was otherwise a very tame game of football. However, that is not what the record will show, and the Peacocks now move into two local derbies against Weston-super-Mare and Truro, without their captain for the latter, but nevertheless one point closer to survival.


Taunton: Dan Lavercombe, Zac Bell, Nick Grimes (captain), Dan Ball, Ollie Chamberlain, Lloyd James, Nat Jarvis (Ross Stearn 68), Rabby Tabu Minzamba, Zac Smith , Cameron Evans, Callum Dolman. Unused subs: Marcus Day, Marley Rose, Louie Slough, Evander Grubb

Dartford: Billy Terrell, Jordan Wynter, Jack Smith (Taylor Maloney 83), Luke Coulson (captain), Paul Rooney, Ibby Akanbi (Alex Wall 89), Maxwell Statham, Elliott Romain (Olly Box 74), Fumnaya Shomotun, Joash Membhard, Tom Clifford. Unused subs: Tyrell Miller-Rodney, Manny Adebowale


Referee: Daniel Baines (Southend-on-Sea)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Daniel Doyle (Gillingham)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Rudin Preca (London)




“Very pleased with the performance, I think that was important………” watch Rob Dray’s match reaction on Peacocks TV HERE


Match highlights courtesy of Dartford FC can be seen HERE


Match photos from Club Photographer Debbie Gould can be viewed HERE

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance MOM

Dan Ball receives the Taunton Town Man Of The Match award from Club Vice-Chairman Brian Pollard