Two more goals from Jamille Matt helped Harriers to a comfortable 5-1 win over Dartford at Aggborough on Saturday that saw them pick up a sixth victory on the reel and move up to one point and a place outside the play-offs.
The groundstaff worked a miracle to get the game played – the pitch not only playable but also in pretty good nick and, thankfully, there was a reward for such efforts just three minutes in as Harriers took the lead; Chey Dunkley powering into the top corner with the most delightful of finishes – fit for a centre forward but put away by a very capable central defender!
Barely had the hosts finished celebrating the goal, though, than they were back level as Dartford netted an equaliser on eight minutes that was equally high in quality as it was covered in festive gift-wrap from the opposition; the ball not cleared despite a number of attempts before being worked back into the area and a top-drawer header from Jacob Erskine who beat Danny Lewis from close range.
The efforts kept coming courtesy of a hugely bright beginning and as things progressed the reds went close again as Keith Briggs drove a rising effort towards the goal that sailed narrowly wide, Kyle Storer stabbing narrowly off target after being set up by James Vincent soon after.
With just under 25 minutes played Vincent himself tried his luck but was denied by a low save from Marcus Bettenelli, four minutes later the action was back up the other end as Dartford’s Ryan Hayes scooped over the bar.
Just after the half an hour mark, Harriers were back ahead and it was thanks to the talismanic Jamille Matt – his fifth of the season coming thanks to a telling Lee Vaughan cross and a prod to set-up by Dunkley. It was a fifth of the season for the striker whose story only becomes ever more incredible.
The response to netting was certainly better second time around for Steve Burr’s men as Vaughan and Vincent both forced strong saves from Bettinelli as they looked to press the advantage and Dartford looked to stay in the game.
Four minutes after the break Matt went close again but directed a header just over, Storer whipping a free-kick wide moments later but it was Ryan Hayes for Dartford who forced the best of the early saves as he beat Mickey Demetriou to the ball on 55 before stinging the hands of Lewis.
As the hour mark passed there was a moment’s concern for Demetriou as he took a clattering from a Dartford player while just after there was a collision of two Harriers players in Josh Gowling and Keith Briggs as they banged heads.
On 69 minutes however it was 3-1 as Harriers took a further measure of control in the game; Demetriou charging forward and whipping an excellent ball into the path of the deadly Matt who started to charge down on goal, holding off his man before driving the ball past Bettinelli and into the back of the net.
A fourth duly followed and this time it was a first of the season for Mike Williams – the defender stepping off the bench just two minutes prior to a whipped corner kick that Dunkley met with a header, Williams nodding home the loose ball.
An outstanding low save from Lewis denied Dartford sub Danny Harriers with just over ten minutes to play as the visitors looked to reduce the deficit, the stopper also stretched two minutes later as he turned aside an effort from Erskine.
Vaughan was industrious and combative throughout and he picked up the sponsors’ Man of the Match vote just after scoring the fifth of the day, twisting Dartford inside out before finishing deep into the bottom corner.