A SULKY sky greeted the two sides to the field for this holiday clash which evoked memories of the time when Wealdstone were at their peak in the mid-1980s, while Darts were having a golden decade under John Still and Peter Taylor.

Saturday, though, was about the future where Darts are a step and a bit ahead on the road to a full recovery, particularly in the facility category.

Whereas the ‘view from the vale’ follows in the wake of former Wealdstone programmes in that it is attractive, unfussy, informative and totally relevant to ‘our football’.

Darts were invited to kick down the slope toward the muddier end and it was 16 minutes before the home side mounted an attack, 30 before they posed a threat and 39 before they hit a free-kick at goal, when Grey Ngoyi was upended just outside the Darts’ penalty area.

Meantime, Darts had a series of attacks, mainly from free-kicks awarded by an over-fussy official.

Darts also caused confusion by playing number 11 wide right and number seven wide left, with Jay May and Bradley Williams Garness busying themselves in between. Behind them libero Tommy Osborne and Danny Dafter provided a regular supply of useful balls and the back four were in customary immaculate form.

The big moment of the half followed a free-kick when the home keeper fielded the ball and appeared to carry it into the goal. Sadly, the man who could shed light on the matter was not in a position to rule, causing a wag in the crowd to say: “You should have been at Staines.”

The second half was more even, with Wealdstone mounting the occasional threat but never really getting into a threatening position, except in the very last minute when Adam Gross came to the rescue to clear from the line when Andrew Young was for once beaten.

A couple of minutes before this a Wealdstone arm was poked head and shoulders above everyone in the home penalty area but, apparently, it was ball to arm rather than arm to ball.

Finally, a now fit Ryan Hayes came on early in the second and the complexion of the game changed immediately. The possessor of the most educated left foot since Jimmy Mullen tested and teased the home side mercilessly with a display well worth the admission money alone.

Dartford: Young, Osborne, Gross, Flanagan, Coyle, Dafter (Haworth 85), Carley (Noble 66), White, May (Howarth 75), Woods-Garness, Butterworth (Hayes 57).Subs not used: Guest, Ibrahim. Att: 644.