Whitstable 0-4 Dartford

THE pre-match overcast skies were dispersed by a blazing sun on Saturday and Dartford blossomed ender nature's eye.

Each of Tony Burman's men further honed their skills before the Darts faithful, who formed the bulk of the festive crowd at the spruce Belmont ground.

One question on supporters' lips was answered in 45 minutes.

Yes, Ryan Hayes can play on the left.

He did so from the off, creating space and beating two defenders with consummates ease on 28 minutes, sending in a low cross which Ray Powell converted at the near post.

The scorer doubled his tally 10 minutes later with a thunderbolt strike from 30-yards which left experienced keeper Kevin Fewell flat-footed as the ball struck his right hand post en route to settling in the back of the net.

For the rest of the half and, indeed, for the rest of the game, Darts worked on their intuitive passing moves to maintain control and, at the same time, frustrate the hosts.

Whitstable did have their moments, forcing a brace of corners in each half which tested Darts' rearguard and Tom Parker rattled Darts' crossbar with a snap shot 15 minutes from time.

Hayes was back on the right wing after the break with Mark Green patrolling the left which counter-measured any measures the Oystermen had dreamt up to combat Hayes.

With a few minutes to go, Lee Noble blasted home a long range goal following a two-man passing movement and Green nipped in at the very death to beat Fewell with a close-range flick.

Dartford: Kessell, Coyle, Holding, Guest, Ketchell, Wood, Butterworth, Barnes, Haworth, Powell, Hayes. Att: 250.