Ade Azeez netted a hat-trick as Dartford won the FA Cup with a comfortable derby victory over Hythe on Saturday.
It was a first win as Darts manager Steve King in that competition and, aside from a scare in the middle of the first half, it was a straightforward day at the office for the National League South team.
Hythe boss Steve Watt watched his team keep their form, but the day’s injuries didn’t help their cause and it was a bridge too far for his team.
Darts have made five changes to their roster from the side that drew 1-1 with Tonbridge last week, with debutant Michael Kedman among those entering.
They got off to a perfect start when Danny Leonard made a perfect right-wing cross for Azeez to pass goaltender Will Godman.
Darts controlled the first 20 minutes, but were spooked by Hythe’s first attack. A neat rally saw former Gills midfielder Darren Oldaker play with Alex Brown and he jumped past Kedman to the edge of the box before shooting at goalkeeper Craig King in the 22nd minute.
Hythe gained in confidence and three minutes later King – who was making his first start of the season – had to give up Liam Smith’s raucous long-distance race.
Darts kept turning to Leonard for inspiration and he didn’t fail to deliver. Leonard gave full-back Jarred Trespaderne a scorching scorching weather and when he cut inside, his shot in goal was handled by Tom Wynter.
Referee Oliver Mackey pointed to the point and Azeez sent goalkeeper Godman the wrong way to give Dartford the lead in the 29th minute.
Oldaker had a long-range free kick knocked back by King before the Darts took a 3-1 lead in the 34th minute. Leonard ran to Tresaderne, forcing the defender back, before shooting low into the far corner.
Leonard was against it right after the break, reaching for the signing and cutting his cross for Jack Jebb, who kind of blazed up when it looked easier to score.
Jebb delivered a quick free kick just before being substituted, but Leonard’s near-post shot was knocked back for a corner by Godman.
The game was over 13 minutes from time when Kedman crossed from the left wing and center-back Eli Benoit turned the ball into his own net.
Hythe substitute Thomas Walsley almost pulled one off while substitute Jake Robinson missed a good opportunity on the other end to score five after Noor Husin led a counterattack.
The last word went to Azeez, who flew point blank in the 89th minute to complete his hat trick.
Dartford: King, Wynter, Kedman, Husin, Essam, Bonner, Leonard (Dalling 70 minutes), Allen, Roberts (Robinson 78 minutes), Jebb (Murtagh 65 minutes), Azeez. Unused Submarines: Hill, Hyde, Wanadio, Wilks.
Hythe: Godman, Smith, Trespaderne, Rogers, Beniot, Wynter (Sarfo 69 minutes), Webster, Oldaker, Leighton, Collin (Philip 21 minutes, Walsley 79 minutes), Brown. Sub not used: Pattinson.
Arbitrator: Olivier Mackey.