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East Thurrock United v Dartford

Dartford will have the chance to increase their slender lead at the top of the National South on Tuesday when they visit East Thurrock United.

The Darts have just three games remaining and are just one goal ahead of second place Havant and Waterlooville. Going into the match against East Thurrock United, the Darts have put a great run together of eight wins from their last nine outings. Victory will put Dartford three points clear to put pressure on their title rivals, who will be in Hampshire senior cup action.

On the weekend Dartford recorded back to back 1-0 victories and their fourth clean sheet in five games. Danny Mills’ low diving header at the far post was enough to clinch another vital three points against Eastbourne Borough. Manager, Tony Burman spoke to, he said: “I’m obviously delighted that we’ve got three points,” Burman added: “Although it was 1-0, like Gloucester the other night, we had a couple of chances to kill the game off in the second half. It didn’t happen but we still managed the game”.

Burman commented after the game and praised the fans, especially after he asked supporters to back his side after defeat at home to Poole Town, he said: “Back then, I was really disappointed with certain aspects of what was going on around the club”, he continued: “We needed to pull together because when we do, we’re excellent. That’s what we’re about and today we had fantastic support. It started from the first whistle and that’s all we were asking”, he added: “In all fairness, the supporters have reacted and I think they’ve been excellent in the games since then and they can see what the players have done”.

When Dartford met East Thurrock United in August it was the Rocks who grabbed a 1-0 win as they started their National South campaign exceeding expectations. On loan goalkeeper, Jordan Beeney could only tip Reece Harris’ free kick onto the crossbar for Sam Higgins to score the rebound, it was Dartford’s first home defeat of the campaign.

The Essex club lost on Saturday at home to county rivals Chelmsford City, Scott Fenwick scored all four goals for the Clarets as the hosts fell 4-2, Lewis Smith who once signed for the Darts but never played a match for the Darts scored for East Thurrock United. Sam Higgins, the National South’s top scorer with 26 goals scored the Rocks first of the afternoon. Currently five goals behind, Dartford striker Alfie Pavey will want to make up some ground on Higgins for the Golden Boot award.

Defeat for John Coventry’s side ended a run of consecutive wins after they had beaten Truro City and Concord Rangers. Now in thirteenth place with five games remaining, the Rocks will be aiming to finish as high up the table as possible and still could have a huge say in the title race. East Thurrock United will be taking on Havant and Waterlooville in their penultimate game.

In their ranks East Thurrock United have former Dartford favourite Lee Burns. The striker turned right back made 272 appearances for the Darts scoring 33 times. Midfielder, Max Cornhill also represented the Darts 66 times scoring nine goals. James White is also part of the East Thurrock United squad but has found appearances limited this season.

The Essex club started the campaign on a ten match unbeaten run winning six and drawing four, including the 1-0 victory at Princes Park. The Rocks went on to record eight matches without a win and since then have tasted victory just seven times in the last nineteen.

Head to Head
East Thurrock United wins: 3 / Dartford wins: 1 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

East Thurrock United (LWWLDW) Dartford (WWWWWW)
Chelmsford City H 2-4 Eastbourne Borough A 1-0
Truro City A 2-1 Gloucester City A 1-0
Concord Rangers A 4-1 Weston-super-Mare H 3-1
Chippenham Town H 0-2 Hampton & Richmond H 1-0
Poole Town H 2-2 Oxford City A 2-0
Bognor Regis Town A 2-0 Hemel Hempstead H 3-2

Previous Meetings

28.08.2017 Dartford 0 East Thurrock United 1
07.01.2016 Dartford 6 East Thurrock United 1
10.09.2016 East Thurrock United 1 Dartford 1
30.04.2005 Dartford 0 East Thurrock United 3
28.08.2004 East Thurrock United 2 Dartford 1

Dartford’s run of eight wins from nine matches the sequence set last season between 13 September 2016 and 3 December 2016.

The Darts sixth victory in a row also matches the run between 7 January 2017 and 11 February 2017. The last time Dartford won seven on the spin was in 2009 when they won the Isthmian Premier League, in that sequence the Darts ended up recording eight straight victories.

Only Dartford have scored more goals than East Thurrock United this season, the Darts have netted 76 times whilst the Rocks have scored 66, joint with Hemel Hempstead Town.

The Rocks have failed to win a home game against any of the current top seven this season (D2, L4)

On This Day
A year ago Dartford beat Hampton and Richmond Borough 3-1 at Princes Park with goals from Elliot Bradbrook, Alex Brown and Ronnie Vint. The goalscorer for the Beavers that day was Nathan Collier, now back at the Darts. That was victory was the first win on this day since 1981, a run of six games which ended in three draws and three losses, including the 5-0 reverse at home to Histon in 2004. The Darts last away triumph on 17 April was back in 1980 when they beat Fareham Town 2-1 in the Southern League Southern Division.

Eastbourne Borough v Dartford

Dartford are back at the top of the National South and are hoping to maintain their position against Eastbourne Borough this weekend.

The Darts travelled to Evesham on Tuesday night to take on Gloucester City. A hard fought victory was earned thanks to Alfie Pavey’s 21st league goal of the campaign. Dartford’s win against Gloucester City moved them level on points with Havant and Waterlooville, Pavey’s goal edged the Darts ahead on goal difference, the two sides are now seperated by a single goal.

Dartford now face the challenge of two more away games before the penultimate fixture at home then the final day of the season at Bognor Regis Town. Next up though is Eastbourne Borough and the Darts have hit form at the right moment. Tuesday’s triumph extended Dartford’s winning streak to five meaning they have now won seven of their last eight games. Defensively, Tony Burman’s side have also improved having conceded just once in their last four outings.

When Dartford last played Eastbourne Borough in September they ended up moving to the top of the National South back then. The Princes Park crowd witnessed six goals as the free scoring Darts claimed victory. Tony Burman’s side dominated the first half and opened the scoring when Alex Brown scored from just inside the penalty area. In the second half, Alfie Pavey headed in Ryan Hayes’s corner then Elliot Bradbrook nodded in a third. The Sports pulled a goal back through Jamie Taylor before the Darts scored a controversial fourth. The visitors took a quick free kick which was blocked by the grounded Hayes from close range, presumably to get the winger booked. However, the match official played on as Tom Murphy went through on goal to score. Lee Noble’s own goal took the gloss off the 4-2 leaving Burman disappointed at his side conceding two sloppy goals.

Last season, Dartford completed the double over Eastbourne Borough by a one goal margin. Twelve goals were scored over the two fixtures. The Darts won 3-2 in their last visit to Priory Lane on a foggy Tuesday night. In a game that could well have been abandoned, Kaka Dembele scored the winner after goals from Luke Wanadio and Andy Pugh. The return fixture at Princes Park ended 4-3 with Pugh and Wanadio finding the net again. Hayes and Bradbrook added two more to make it 4-1, but the Sports rallied to reduce the arrears late on. In the season before current Dartford defender Nathan Collier was wearing the Eastbourne Borough shirt having left the Darts that summer to move to the Sussex club.

Since the start of March, the Sports run of form has been inconsistent alternating wins and losses for the last seven games. However, it was their victory in the Sussex derby against Bognor Regis Town on Easter Monday which virtually assured them another campaign in the National South.

Last weekend, Eastbourne Borough were beaten by Oxford City when two early second half goals left the Sussex club too much to overturn. Matt Pickering turned the ball into his own net and Matt Paterson scored a penalty, conceded by former Crawley Town and Wycombe Wanderers midfielder Sergio Torres. The Sports set up a nervy finish for the hosts when Yemi Obudabe scored four minutes from time.

At Priory Lane, the Sports have won just twice in the National South in 14 attempts and only five times all season. Defensively, up until last weekend’s fixtures only Whitehawk had conceded more in total. The leaky defence has been a weakness for the Sussex club, who have managed to score 57 times at the right end, a similar figure to three of the top four and the majority of mid-table sides.

Head to Head
Eastbourne Borough wins: 4 / Dartford wins: 9 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Eastbourne Borough (LWLWLW) Dartford (WWWWWL)
Oxford City A 1-2 Gloucester City A 1-0
Bognor Regis Town H 3-0 Weston-super-Mare H 3-1
Chippenham Town A 0-4 Hampton & Richmond H 1-0
Wealdstone A 3-2 Oxford City A 2-0
Truro City H 1-3 Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-2
Bath City A 1-0 Poole Town H 0-1

Previous Meetings

12.09.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 2
08.04.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 3
16.08.2016 Eastbourne Borough 2 Dartford 3
20.02.2016 Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1
11.08.2015 Dartford 1 Eastbourne Borough 0
03.04.2012 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1

Andy Pugh has scored in his last three appearances against Eastbourne Borough.

Dartford have gone nine games unbeaten against the Sports stretching back to 2011. The Darts have won seven and drawn two in that time.

If the Darts win against Eastbourne Borough it will be the third time the Darts have completed a league double against the Sussex club, in the last four campaigns they have been in the same division.

Before that, the Sports won the first four meetings in the Southern Division One East to complete the double over the Darts in successive seasons.

On This Day
Dartford secured a place in the Southern League Cup final thirty years ago in comprehensive fashion. Leading the first leg over Wealdstone 4-0, the Darts won the return fixture 4-1 to record an impressive 8-1 aggregate victory. Dartford went on to turn around a 3-1 first leg loss to Bromsgrove Rovers by winning the second leg 3-0 to lift the cup. The last three games on 14 April have all been away from home, the most recent just a year ago when the Darts lost 2-0 to Hungerford Town. Before that defeat Dartford had gone eight matches unbeaten on this day which included a 4-3 win over Wealdstone in 1979, a 2-1 victory against Ashford United in 1990. In 2007, Carl Bruce and Brendon Cass scored in a 2-1 triumph over Hastings United and in 2012 a Tony Garrod goal helped the Darts beat Sutton United.

Gloucester City v Dartford

Dartford start a run of away games with a visit to Evesham to face Gloucester City on Tuesday night.

Aiming for promotion to the National League, the Darts are just three points off top spot with a game in hand. Whilst they travel across the country, league leaders Havant and Waterlooville will be preparing to host East Thurrock United.

Dartford build up to the away trip on the back of four consecutive wins, a feat last achieved in September. The last time the Darts won four in a row in the league was at the start of last year.

The latest victory came on the weekend at home to Weston-super-Mare where an early Alex Brown goal settled any nerves. The midfielder was labelled Dartford’s ‘unsung hero’ by manager Tony Burman for his work rate and was rewarded in the seventh minute. Andy Pugh’s vision picked out Alfie Pavey and when Brown combined with Duane Ofori-Acheampong he finished the move with the opener. After half hour it was 2-0 when captain Elliot Bradbrook turned home Lee Noble’s corner from close range. The Darts went three up in the second half when top scorer Alfie Pavey rounded the goalkeeper. The visitors grabbed a consolation in the last minute affecting Dartford’s goal difference, which could be crucial come the end of the season.

Burman spoke after the game, he said: “We’ve played against a team that play a lot of football and try and keep possession of the ball for long periods of time. When you try and chase to get it back it’s hard work. We looked a little bit lethargic, but the main thing was we won the game”.

With Havant and Waterlooville also winning Burman continued: “It’s still the same, we’ve got five games to go they have got four. We’ve got to just do our job think about ourselves, it’s a lot closer now than what we thought it was going to be a few weeks back”, he added: “We’ve recovered now from the defeat against Poole, that’s six out of seven games which we’ve won and that is decent. We will push again to reach our target which is to try and win the league”.

Victory has followed triumphs over Hampton and Richmond Borough, Oxford City and Hemel Hempstead Town. Next up is a run of four away games in the last five fixtures, including the next three in a row on the road against Gloucester City, Eastbourne Borough the East Thurrock United.

The Darts won the previous encounter versus Gloucester City back in November when the two sides met for the first time at Princes Park. Despite the 4-1 victory, Dartford were made to work for the result and goals from Warren Mfula, Alfie Pavey and a brace from Lyle Della-Verde provided a clinical performance.

The Tigers moved across to the National South in the summer and are currently in thirteenth place. In February, Gloucester City started moving away from trouble with a good run of form. The Tigers went unbeaten in six before a narrow defeat to league leaders Havant and Waterlooville. Last month saw a mixture of results with plenty of goals of late. Following consecutive 1-0 wins, the Tigers hit four at home to Hungerford Town before going down 3-1 to Hemel Hempstead Town. In the two games this month, the Tigers were thrashed 5-1 away to Bath City and beat Bognor Regis Town on the weekend.

Marc Richards guided his side to a 3-2 win over Bognor Regis Town, but made hard work of it in the closing stages. Taking a three goal lead thanks to a brace from Joseph Parker and the third from Matthew Williams, the Tigers conceded twice in the final five minutes, former Dart, Keaton Wood scoring for Bognor Regis Town. Gloucester City are five games unbeaten at home stretching back to the beginning of January.

Head to Head
Gloucester City wins: 12 / Dartford wins: 26 / Draws: 10

Current League Form

Gloucester City (WLLWWW) Dartford (WWWWLW)
Bognor Regis Town H 3-2 Weston-super-Mare H 3-1
Bath City A 1-5 Hampton & Richmond H 1-0
Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-3 Oxford City A 2-0
Hungerford Town H 4-0 Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-2
Eastbourne Borough A 1-0 Poole Town H 0-1
Chippenham Town H 1-0 Truro City H 4-1

Previous Meetings

18.11.2017 Dartford 4 Gloucester City 1
07.03.1992 Gloucester City 0 Dartford 0
26.10.1991 Dartford 2 Gloucester City 0
16.03.1991 Dartford 2 Gloucester City 1
29.09.1990 Gloucester City 2 Dartford 0
21.04.1990 Dartford 6 Gloucester City 2

Dartford last beat Gloucester City away from home 28 years ago when they won 4-0 in the Southern Premier League.

An away defeat to the Tigers, the season after, is Dartford’s only loss against their opponents in the last seven meetings. The Darts have won five and drawn once of the other six games versus Gloucester City.

Dartford have failed to score in their last two away games against Gloucester City, losing 2-0 in 1990 and drawing 0-0 in 1992.

Ryan Hayes’ substitute appearance on Saturday was his 150th appearance from off the bench.

On This Day
Eight years ago Dartford clinched the Isthmian Premier League title destroying second place Kingstonian 6-2 on their own patch. The Darts celebrated in style starting with a well worked goal from Elliot Bradbrook. Ryan Hayes added a second from 25 yards before the hosts halved the deficit. Danny Harris headed in a third, Bradbrook scored his second of the afternoon then the K’s grabbed their second. Hayes netted another and to round up a memorable day Lee Burns made it 6-2. The Darts are unbeaten in six games on 10 April and recorded a famous 1-0 win over Grimsby Town in 2014. At Princes Park, the Darts beat the former Championship club with Max Cornhill heading the winner with 15 minutes to go.

Dartford v Weston-super-Mare

Dartford’s title push continues on Saturday when they host Weston-Super-Mare at Princes Park in the National South.

The Darts have just six games remaining to overturn a three point deficit, although they now have a game in hand. With the Easter Monday fixture against East Thurrock United postponed, Tony Burman’s side have had a few extra days rest, much needed after the difficult conditions on Good Friday.

In their last match, Dartford pulled out a superb result against third place Hampton and Richmond Borough with a last gasp Alfie Pavey winner. Victory kept the Darts two points behind league leaders Havant and Waterlooville, who had won their fixture 2-0 against Weston-super-Mare. The Hawks then dropped points on Monday, but managed a 0-0 draw with Whitehawk to leave the Darts three points behind.

Against Hampton and Richmond Borough, Burman named an unchanged side from the 2-0 away win at Oxford City. With the Princes Park pitch waterlogged in patches Burman praised the ground staff for getting the game on. As the top of the table clash progressed the weather conditions worsened turning the pitch into a mud bath. It looked like both sides were about to drop points in a goalless draw until Pavey’s calm dink over the Hampton and Richmond Borough goalkeeper sent the Darts fans wild in the final minute.

Burman spoke to after the game and said: “I thought on chances we deserved to get a result from the game, I’m delighted we’ve come away from the first game of the Easter period with three points”. The Darts boss applauded match winner Pavey and his teammates, he added: “He’s still learning, he’s a young lad, he’s not been the number one striker at other clubs and we’ve given him a opportunity here to learn from people and try and be a number one striker. He’s scoring goals which is great and if he’s scoring goals that means he’s happy. We’ve got a great strike force here, which I’m pleased and proud of”.

After defeat to Poole Town, Burman questioned his players desire but now he feels the tide has turned, he commented: “I mentioned back at the Poole game about desire, we can’t fault the last three games the desire has been back in the side”. Added to the fans pulling togther, the Dartford manager feels there is every chance to overturn the two point deficit, he added: “A little bit of belief has come back, we’ve had some words said on and off the field, but I have to say the support that the lads got was how it should be, they were the twelfth man and I can’t thank them enough for that and we need that especially at this stage of the season”.

Weston-super-Mare could complete a double over the Darts as they won the reverse fixture at the Woodspring Stadium back in September. The Seagulls toppled Burman’s side who were heading the National South standings at the time. Gethyn Hill’s double and a second half strike from Archie Collins completed a miserable afternoon for the Darts.

Last season Dartford completed a treble against the Seagulls winning both National South fixtures and the F.A Trophy tie. In the league at Princes Park the match ended 3-2 on an entertaining evening.  Alex Brown scored from twenty yards out to claim the winner but the Darts had to come from behind. Hill opened the scoring for the visitors who stayed in front at the interval. Tom Wynter scored and then Danny Harris gave Dartford the advantage, but the lead was cancelled out by Lloyd Humphries. With seven minutes remaining Brown’s effort found the back of the net to clinch victory. At the Woodspring Stadium in the league, the Darts won 2-1 with goals from Luke Wanadio and Ryan Hayes.

Weston-super-Mare are comfortably mid-table with the playoffs seven points away with only five games remaining. Their chances have taken a major dip along with their form, the Seagulls have lost six of their last eight matches only managing wins away to Eastbourne Borough and home to Bognor Regis Town.

The Darts will already know about the Seagulls top scorer, Hill who has managed 16 league goals this term. The striker is level with former Weston-super-Mare midfielder Dayle Grubb, who left in January to join Forest Green Rovers in League Two. Manager, Marc McGregor feels his team has been deserving of more positive results but admits his side need to be more ruthless in front of goal. The Seagulls boss is still confident he can guide them to a top seven finish and into the playoffs.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 7 / Weston-super-Mare wins: 3 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Weston-super-Mare (LLWLLL) Dartford (WWWLWW)
Havant & Waterlooville A 0-2 Hampton & Richmond H 1-0
Braintree Town H 1-2 Oxford City A 2-0
Bognor Regis Town H 1-0 Hemel Hempstead H 3-2
St Albans City H 0-2 Poole Town H 0-1
Chippenham Town A 0-2 Truro City H 4-1
Hampton & Richmond A 1-3 Wealdstone A 2-1

Previous Meetings

23.09.2017 Weston-super-Mare 3 Dartford 0
17.01.2017 Dartford 3 Weston-super-Mare 2
26.11.2016 Weston-super-Mare 2 Dartford 4
20.08.2016 Weston-super-Mare 1 Dartford 2
05.03.2016 Weston-super-Mare 2 Dartford 1
13.09.2015 Dartford 2 Weston-super-Mare 1

Dartford have won five of their last six National South games.

Alfie Pavey’s goal on Good Friday was his third last minute winner, earning the Darts nine crucial points.

The Darts have never lost to the Seagulls at home (W3, D3).

Weston-super-Mare have failed to score in three of their last five games netting just two goals.

The Seagulls win over Dartford in September was their only victory against top five opposition this season, they have lost the other seven.

On This Day
Dartford have won one of their last eight games on 7 April and that was back in 1984 when they beat Welling United 2-1 in the Southern League Premier. The most recent match on this day was hardly memorable as they battled out a 0-0 draw with Chelmsford City six years ago in the National South. In 2007, Eddie McClements scored in a 1-1 draw with Kingstonian and in 1990 the Darts lost 1-0 to Bath City. Thirty eight years ago, Dartford lost 1-0 in the Kent Senior Cup final to rivals Maidstone United.

Dartford v Hampton and Richmond Borough

Dartford are involved in one of their biggest games of the season on Good Friday, when they take on third place Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Although the Darts and the Beavers are trailing Havant and Waterlooville, neither side will want to lose ground on the Hampshire club who are at home to Weston-super-Mare. By the end of the season the importance of this Easter fixture could have a huge impact.

In what will be the tenth meeting between the Darts and Hampton and Richmond Borough, there has only been one draw when these sides have previously met, that was back in September. On that day Nathan Collier started for the Beavers and on Friday he will be donning the Dartford shirt after returning to Princes Park in December.

At the Beveree earlier in the campaign, Hampton and Richmond Borough looked in control as they took a two goal lead inside the first half an hour. Max Kretzschmar scored a brace, his first a volley after just two minutes which flew past on loan goalkeeper Jordan Beeney into the top corner. The Beavers top scorer this term, Kretzschmar netted his second with a fine free kick over the Dartford wall. The Darts fought back when Andy Pugh pulled a goal back from close range to leave his side 2-1 down at the break. In the second half, Elliot Bradbrook’s shot found a way through the crowded penalty area to level up the game. Charlie Wassmer was sent off moments after Bradbrook’s equaliser, but Dartford’s second half pressure was withstood by the hosts.

Leading up to Dartford’s 2-0 win away to Oxford City on Saturday, manager Tony Burman’s requested supporters to back and respect his players in a passionate rant to the press. His side responded in the best possible way in an improved performance. The Darts were not at the races in the 1-0 home defeat against stragglers Poole Town, then they made hard work in a 3-2 victory over Hemel Hempstead Town, scoring twice in the final nine minutes.

On the weekend nerves were settled early as captain Elliot Bradbrook scored on just five minutes. Bradbrook was last season’s top scorer for the Darts, after continuing his scoring form in the early part of this term, his strike was long awaited. Oxford City hit the woodwork twice and goalkeeper Berti Schotterl made some decent saves to earn his first clean sheet for the Darts. Substitute, Tom Murphy made sure of the three points with a well taken curling effort, his fourth league goal of the campaign.

Meanwhile, Hampton and Richmond Borough had to rely on a late goal to earn a points against nine men Braintree Town. The Iron had Billy Crook sent off for a foul on Josh Casey, but they managed to take the lead with 12 minutes to go through Michael Barrington. The Beavers equalised just three minutes later when Ben Wynter scored for the hosts. Braintree Town then had Luke Allen dismissed in the closing stages for a second caution. Manager, Alan Dowson spoke to after the game and said: “I thought we were hopeless. Bottom line is, we were very lucky to come away with a point”.

The draw extended Hampton and Richmond Borough’s unbeaten run to seven games. Having tasted just four league defeats this season, the Beavers have been tough to beat. However, on 15 occasions they have been unable to convert one point into three, a scenario they experienced six times in a row back in September and the first game of October. Alan Dowson got his side involved in the title race with an eight game winning streak following those six draws. But the stalemates have returned since the festive season with half of Hampton and Richmond’s fixtures ending with both sides taking a point.

Last season at Princes Park, Dartford responded to the heavy 4-1 Bank Holiday August defeat at the Beveree by winning 3-1. Bradbrook opened the scoring on Easter Monday, Alex Brown doubled the lead and Collier pulled a goal back for the visitors. The two goal cushion was restored by defender Ronnie Vint to secure the three points.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 4 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford (WWLWWL) Hampton & Richmond Borough (DWDWWD)
Oxford City A 2-0 Braintree Town H 1-1
Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-2 Hungerford Town H 3-1
Poole Town H 0-1 Havant & Waterlooville A o-0
Truro City H 4-1 Weston-super-Mare H 3-0
Wealdstone A 2-1 Bognor Regis Town H 1-0
Chelmsford City H 1-2 Chippenham Town A 3-3

Previous Meetings

02.09.2017 Hampton & Richmond Borough 2 Dartford 2
17.04.2017 Dartford 3 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
29.08.2016 Hampton & Richmond Borough 4 Dartford 1
21.01.2012 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 3
20.08.2011 Dartford 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
19.02.2011 Dartford 0 Hampton & Richmond Borough 4

Elliot Bradbrook’s goal on the weekend ended a 21 game wait in the National South. The Dartford captain last scored in the league on 7 October 2017 against Bognor Regis Town. His last league goal from open play was on 12 September 2017 versus Eastbourne Borough. Whilst Bradbrook’s last competitive goal was on 25 November 2017 in the 2-1 F.A Trophy win against Brentwood Town.

Ryan Hayes was an unused substitute against Oxford City, one more substitute appearance will take him up to 150 for the club. The winger has played a total of 575 games for the Darts.

Dartford have won four of their last five games and the clean sheet versus Oxford City was their first in eight matches.

On This Day
Dartford took one big step in their quest to reach Wembley with a 2-1 away win against Macclesfield Town, in the 1974 F.A Trophy semi-final first leg. Dave Cunningham scored in the 51st minute and Alan Payne added a second in the 68th minute. The away leg ended 0-0 and the Darts went on to reach the final where they lost to Morecambe 2-1. The Darts won ten games in a row on 30 March up until the 0-0 draw with Newport County in 2013, the last Dartford match on this day. Other highlights of the ten match winning streak include a 6-2 victory against Ashford Town in 1968, the Darts also won the return Southern League First Division fixture 6-0. Three consecutive clean sheets in 2-0 wins over Kettering Town (in the Conference Premier in 1985), Dover Athletic in the Southern Premier League back in 1991 and Crockenhill four years later in the Kent League.

Oxford City v Dartford

In what looks like a three way race to the National South title, Dartford face another crucial match when they take on Oxford City this weekend at Marsh Lane.

Dartford’s late showing at Princes Park last weekend heaped some pressure on league leaders Havant and Waterlooville, and with the Hawks dropping points Hampton and Richmond Borough have become serious contenders too.

The dramatic week started with the Darts four points behind the league leaders, who had a game in hand. However, Tony Burman led his side to an important three points even though it was far from comfortable. In the Princes Park snow, Dartford scored twice in the final ten minutes to win 3-2 against Hemel Hempstead Town, who themselves were looking to edge into the playoffs.

Danny Harris was out injured with a hamstring, Alfie Pavey and Danny Mills were named as substitutes and in came Ronnie Vint, Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Lee Noble. Just passed the half hour mark Andy Pugh put the Darts in front with a curling strike from outside the box which took a slight deflection. Hemel Hempstead Town were quickly level through former Ebbsfleet United striker Jordan Parkes and by half-time they were ahead when David Moyo scored moments before the interval. With Havant and Waterlooville and Hampton and Richmond Borough level at 0-0, and that’s how it stayed, it looked like a wasted opportunity for Burman’s side, until the final ten minutes. Pugh chipped in a wonderful equaliser and in the final minute, super sub and top scorer Alfie Pavey nodded home the dramatic winner.

Burman celebrated the last gasp winner on Saturday with a touchline sprint and after the game he spoke to and said: “We’ve won with a bit of character and desire and shown again that we’re back in the mix”. Looking forward he added: “It’s one game at a time but it’s the business end of the season and we’ve got to win as many as we can”.

In mid-week Havant and Waterlooville lost to Truro City leaving Dartford just two points behind their title rivals level on games played. On the same evening Hampton and Richmond Borough won 3-1 versus Weston-super-Mare to move onto 62 points with Dartford.

Dartford’s last three games at Marsh Lane have produced mix results conceding late just over year ago in 1-1 draw, Ryan Hayes scored his 99th goal for the club but Ezra Forde equalised. In 2015, the Darts lost 2-1 after Pugh had put Dartford ahead and just under a decade ago, the Darts won 4-2 in a F.A Trophy second qualifying round replay.

But it’s the home fixture this term in August that captures the attention of Dartford fans. Warren Mfula scored a hat-trick in a 7-1 triumph, the striker scoring the last three Dartford goals in the game. Before Mfula’s treble in 19 second half minutes, Richard Sho-Silva, Lyle Della-Verde, Alfie Pavey and Lee Noble all found the back of the Oxford City net.

Oxford City have improved since then and are currently on 41 points in 15th place. Mark Jones’ side have an even home record winning five, drawing five and losing six. Nine points above relegation and twelve behind the playoffs, it looks like City will stay in the National South for a fourth consecutive campaign and at this level for the seventh.

The Oxfordshire are started to take some notable scalps lately with a 2-0 home win over Chelmsford City, a 3-2 away victory against Truro City and a 4-1 triumph at home to Hemel Hempstead Town, all playoff hopefuls this season. Even when they did fall to defeat it was narrow and against the league leaders Havant and Waterlooville. Oxford City also beat Oxford United 1-0 to reach the Oxfordshire Senior Cup final this month.

Matt Paterson has provided the goals scoring 17 times in the National South, one less than Dartford’s Alfie Pavey. However, Paterson has scored just once in the last two months, but the pressure on the striker to find the net has been alleviated with the arrival of Samuel Nombe. The loanee from Milton Keynes Dons has managed five goals in as many games.

Jones has strengthened his squad since the defeat to Concord Rangers by looking towards Luton Town, most recently right sided midfielder Kavan Cotter joined on loan from the Hatters. Cotter teams back up with central defender Frankie Musonda who also came in from the Bedfordshire club.

Victory will be vital for the Darts as Havant and Waterlooville travel to Bath City and Hampton and Richmond Borough host Braintree Town. Dartford then face Hampton and Richmond Borough at home on Good Friday.

Head to Head
Oxford City wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Oxford City (WLWWWL) Dartford (WLWWLL)
Welling United A 3-1 Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-2
Havant & Waterlooville H 0-1 Poole Town H 0-1
Chelmsford City H 2-0 Truro City H 4-1
Truro City A 3-2 Wealdstone A 2-1
Hemel Hempstead Town H 4-1 Chelmsford City H 1-2
Concord Rangers A 1-2 St Albans City A 0-4

Previous Meetings

19.08.2017 Dartford 7 Oxford City 1
25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1
29.10.2016 Dartford 1 Oxford City 0
23.04.2016 Dartford 2 Oxford City 2
15.09.2015 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1
04.11.2008 Oxford City 2 Dartford 4
01.11.2008 Dartford 3 Oxford City 3

Dartford have won just two of their last seven away matches over 90 minutes matching their first seven away games of the season (W2, D3, L2).

The Darts have gone eight games without a clean sheet, the last time they achieved a clean sheet was in January against Havant and Waterlooville.

Andy Pugh has reached 150 appearances for the Darts starting 108 games and appearing 42 times as a substitute. Pugh also netted his 50th goal for the club thanks to his brace against Hemel Hempstead Town.

Only Elliot Bradbrook (131 goals), Ryan Hayes (108) and Danny Harris (75) have scored more goals for Dartford in the current squad than Pugh.

According to the BBC Sport website, out of the top 20 National South goalscorers Alfie Pavey has the best goals per minutes ratio (111 minutes per goal) and Pugh is third with 120 minutes per goal.

On This Day
Jay May scored a hat-trick in a victory against Corinthian Casuals. The 2007 Isthmian Division One South fixture ended up 4-0 to the Darts with Brendon Cass scoring the other. A year later Cass netted the winner and Dartford’s last away goal on this day in a 1-0 win over Canvey Island, the three points helping Dartford to the Isthmian Division One North title. Dartford have only produced one away goal in their last four away fixtures on this day. In 2015, the Darts took home a point drawing 0-0 with Alfreton Town in the National League and three years earlier, Dartford lost 1-0 at Dorchester Town. Way back in the Southern Premier League, another notable result was Dartford’s 6-2 victory over Weymouth.

Dartford v Hemel Hempstead Town

Knocked off top spot last Saturday, the Darts host playoff hopefuls Hemel Hempstead Town in the National South this weekend.

Dartford had led the league table since November and defeat to Poole Town eventually saw the Darts give up pole position.

The Darts can only focus on their own results and hope Havant and Waterlooville, the league leaders slip up over their remaining nine games. Manager, Tony Burman will be calling on his players to deliver after he questioned his players desire after the 1-0 loss at home to Poole Town, he spoke to after the game and said: “There seems to be a lack of desire and that’s what’s disappointing for me”, he added: “If you don’t make it happen you’re going to be in trouble”.

It was only the third loss at Princes Park in the league last weekend and disappointingly came after an excellent performance two weeks earlier, against Truro City. Burman choose to keep the same side with Andy Pugh in a deeper role up front, however it was relegation strugglers Poole Town that took home the three points courtesy of Jamie Whisken’s winner.

Tony Burman was disappointed with the loss to Poole Town and told “I can’t put my finger on why we put in a performance like that. We’ve lost 1-0 at home and it was like a mid-table clash – and that’s wrong, he added: “The whole place should be buzzing and we have to turn that around”. At home Dartford have now been beaten in two of their last three outings and have lost grip on the title race, by losing three of their last five matches. The Darts have yielded just six points from a possible 15 in February and March.

Ahead of Saturday’s game against Hemel Hempstead Town Burman commented: “It’s a massive, tough game,” he continued: “It’s no good sulking. We’ve got to get the supporters behind us and get the encouragement because we need it now. They’re down in the dumps and we’ve got to get going. It’s all to play for. I don’t want to come off and hope that other teams have lost. We can’t have games like we had on Saturday, especially at this time of year. We’ve only got ourselves to blame”.

Hemel Hempstead Town have targets of their own and are currently fifth in the division. Finishing in the top seven will clinch a playoff place, so the Tudors will be eyeing up points to increase their two point lead over eighth spot.

Earlier in the campaign, Dartford beat the Hertfordshire club 3-0 in a convincing away display. Elliot Bradbrook scored two penalties either side an Alfie Pavey strike to secure victory. Last term at Princes Park, the Darts won 2-0 with goals from Danny Harris and Luke Wanadio and just over a year earlier the corresponding match ended 2-2, Ryan Hayes curling home the equaliser in added time, as the Darts completed a comeback from two goals down.

Hemel Hempstead Town won in their last outing beating East Thurrock United 2-0 with goals from Jordan Parkes and Sanchez Watt. However, the game will be remembered by a comical situation involving the referee and ex Arsenal midfielder Watt. Former Ebbsfleet United striker Parkes opened the scoring and Watt added a second before the controversial incident. Watt was dismissed for dissent only for the red card to be overturned due to a misunderstanding by the match official.

It was a second clean sheet in a row for the Tudors after their 0-0 draw with new league leaders Havant and Waterlooville a fortnight earlier. Dean Brennan’s side were also involved in an entertaining 3-3 draw with Chelmsford City a month ago, which ended a run of two straight defeats against Oxford City and Poole Town.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 3 / Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (LWWLLW) Hemel Hempstead Town (WDDLLW)
Poole Town H 0-1 East Thurrock United H 2-0
Truro City H 4-1 Havant & Waterlooville H 0-0
Wealdstone A 2-1 Chelmsford City A 3-3
Chelmsford City H 1-2 Oxford City A 1-4
St Albans City A 0-4 Poole Town H 0-1
Whitehawk H 3-1 Chelmsford City H 3-1

Previous Meetings

26.08.2017 Hemel Hempstead 0 Dartford 3
01.04.2017 Hemel Hempstead Town 2 Dartford 2
12.11.2016 Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 0
17.10.2015 Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 2
08.08.2015 Hemel Hempstead Town 1 Dartford 0
16.09.1972 Hemel Hempstead 2 Dartford 9

Danny Harris has scored in his last two appearances on the 17 March.

Dartford lost just one league game at home in 14, but are now on a run of two defeats from three home matches.

Hemel Hempstead Town have drawn all three away games against teams above them in the National South.

On This Day
Dartford have won their last four games on 17 March with the last victory coming three years ago in the National League away to Chester. As the Darts battled for survival a last minute winner from Danny Harris clinched the three points after Nathan Green equalised early in the second half. Six years ago, Dartford beat this season’s league leaders Havant and Waterlooville at Princes Park. The Hawks led and then missed a penalty to give the Darts a lifeline, which was taken thanks to goals from Lee Noble, Harris and Lee Wilkinson. In the Isthmian Division One South back in 2007, Dartford beat Godalming Town 3-1, Richard Avery, Anthony Hogg and Jay May all scoring. In 1990, the Darts beat Waterlooville 3-0 at Watling Street in the Southern Premier League.

Dartford v Poole Town

Only ten games remain in Dartford’s pursuit of the National South title and next up is the home fixture against Poole Town.

The Darts won 1-0 in the previous encounter back in December with Richard Sho-Silva’s winning header. The defender is currently out of action after an injury he picked up whilst playing for VCD Athletic. Last time at Princes Park, Dartford scored two first half goals in quick succession, Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Luke Wanadio put the Darts in the driving seat before Luke Parker pulled a late goal back for the Dolphins.

Dartford build up this weekend’s game on the back of consecutive wins and a week off. Following two straight defeats, the Darts bounced back coming from a goal down to triumph 2-1 away at Wealdstone, then followed that up with more success against Truro City. A week later, the snowy weather conditions gave every team in the division a break, as the National South fixture list was completely wiped out last weekend.

After manager, Tony Burman urged players and supporters to ‘pull in the right direction’ the Darts recorded their eleventh home league win this season a fortnight ago. Victory over Truro City extended Dartford’s lead at the top of the National South to four points after closest rivals Havant and Waterlooville drew 0-0 with Hemel Hempstead Town. The deficit was then cut last Tuesday when the Hawks beat Gloucester City to overtake Hampton and Richmond Borough in the table into second, three points behind the Darts.

Burman missed the 4-1 triumph over Truro City on Saturday through illness leaving assistant manager Paul Sawyer in charge. Danny Harris made his 300th start for the club and Elliot Bradbrook became only the ninth player to reach 400 appearances. An achievement the Dartford captain is proud of, he told “I have been lucky enough to have been part of the most exciting and successful periods in the club’s history and it’s honestly been a great privilege”, he added: “Dartford is my home-town club and it’s very special to me, so it’s been great to have spent the majority of my career here and most of it as team captain”.

Lee Noble, Ronnie Vint missed out on a starting place as the Darts lined up in a positive 4-3-3 formation, Alfie Pavey, Danny Mills and Andy Pugh up front. Meanwhile, Ofori-Acheampong has struggled with a tight hamstring but is hopeful to be back in contention this weekend.

Pugh scored in the first half with a superb volley from the edge of the box and in the second half three more goals were added. Alex Brown scored within a minute of the restart and Danny Mills added another a minute later. A fortuitous own goal added number four, but Darts goalkeeper Berti Schotterl was denied his first clean sheet when Niall Thompson scored a stunner in stoppage time.

Sawyer was pleased with the performance and the confidence the players showed, he told “I thought we played extremely well, especially in the second half”, he continued: “In the first half we had to dig in because the wind was really strong…We got a great goal from Pughy and the hope at half-time is that you’ll come out second half and take advantage of those conditions – and we did. I thought we should have scored more goals but we played some lovely football”.

The teams chasing Dartford at the summit have games in hand but Sawyer remains focus on what his club has to do, he commented: “We can’t do a lot about what happens elsewhere. It’s for Havant to lose at the moment. They’ve got the games in hand and all we can do is look after our own performances”.

Striker, Danny Mills has scored twice in his last two games and he told that the result versus Truro City has given the Darts confidence, he said: “I think we showed on Saturday that we’re definitely title contenders,” he added: “That was definitely a message. We’ve beaten a team who are in the play-offs and we’ve shown how good we can be on the day”, he continued: “There’s no doubt in my mind that we can go and win this league”.

Poole Town have followed up last season’s surprise performance, when they finished in a playoff spot, with a campaign of struggle. The Dolphins missed out on taking part in the playoffs last term due to ground grading and this time they find themselves in the bottom three fighting relegation. The Dorset club are four points from safety but still have three of the bottom six to play.

The Dolphins have lost their last three league games without scoring in their last two outings. Poole Town’s last victory came at the end of January against their closest relegation rivals Chippenham Town. Tom Killick’s side have heavily relied on the goals of Warren Bentley to keep them in touch, the striker was signed from Hungerford Town and was a prolific scorer for his former side Winchester City, where he scored 113 goals in two seasons, Bentley has netted 16 times this term.

For a team in the bottom three, the Dolphins away record reads like a mid-table side, but they have only taken two points from teams in the top six all season, scoring just three times and conceding 12.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 17 / Poole Town wins: 15 / Draws: 5

Current League Form

Dartford (WWLLWD) Poole Town (LLLDWW)
Truro City H 4-1 Braintree Town A 0-1
Wealdstone A 2-1 Eastbourne Borough H 0-4
Chelmsford City H 1-2 Havant & Waterlooville H 1-3
St Albans City A 0-4 Gloucester City A 2-2
Whitehawk H 3-1 Chippenham Town H 2-0
Chippenham Town A 2-2 Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-0

Previous Meetings

02.12.2017 Poole Town 1 Dartford 2
29.04.2017 Poole Town 2 Dartford 3
03.12.2016 Dartford 2 Poole Town 1
14.03.1992 Dartford 4 Poole Town 0
02.11.1991 Poole Town 0 Dartford 0
06.04.1991 Poole Town 1 Dartford 0

Dartford have won their last four matches against Poole Town scoring 10 and conceding 3. The previous four meetings ended with the Darts failing to score when they drew two and lost two.

The Darts have lost one of the last six home games against the Dolphins and just two in the last 13 home and away (W8, D3, L2).

Tom Bonner will make his 250th start for Dartford if selected in the first eleven.

If Ryan Hayes is a used substitute he will make his 150th appearance from off the bench.

On This Day
Ryan Hayes scored a Princes Park hat-trick against Croydon Athletic in the Isthmian Division One South fixture. The wingers first came from the penalty spot but his next strike was pure quality. On the corner of the 18 yard box, Hayes flicked the ball behind his standing leg before curling a shot in trademark fashion. His hat-trick was completed when he tucked away a one on one chance to clinch a 3-0 win for the Darts. Five years later, Jacob Erskine helped Dartford overcome an in form Farnborough at Princes Park. Still in the title race with Woking, the Darts hosted a Boro side who had one six on the bounce. Yet it took 18 minutes to break the deadlock when Erskine rounded the goalkeeper for his first. The striker repeated the trick early in the second half and a last minute third by Tony Garrod, against his former side made it 3-0.

Dartford v Truro City

Dartford end a tough February with a home fixture against playoff chasing Truro City in the National South this weekend.

The Darts currently have a three point cushion at the top of the table, but having played more games than anyone in the top seven they are being put under pressure by the chasing pack. One of those on the fringes of chasing are Truro City, who sit in seventh place and ten points behind Tony Burman’s men with two games in hand.

This fixture has brought with it plenty of goals over the last four meetings, the last time at Princes Park an eight goal thriller ended with the Darts winning 5-3. The visitors went in front when Andrew Neal took advantage of Deren Ibrahim’s mistake, but Andy Pugh equalised with his first of the afternoon. Elliot Bradbrook volleyed in the goal of the game from 25 yards to give the Darts a 2-1 half-time lead. In the second half Neal equalised for the White Tigers, but it wasn’t long until Luke Wanadio put Dartford ahead in a hectic final 25 minutes. Jamie Richards headed the White Tigers level at 3-3, however goals from Pugh and Tom Murphy sealed the win for Dartford.

That victory completed a double over the White Tigers last term after Dartford’s 5-0 demolition of the Cornwall club five months earlier. Keaton Wood, Andy Pugh, Duane Ofori-Acheampong’s brace and Alex Brown all helped Dartford to their first ever victory over Truro City.

However, it was Truro City who recorded their fourth victory in seven meetings against Dartford back in November. A disastrous start for the Darts saw them three down inside nineteen minutes. Within a six minute spell Tyler Harvey scored from the penalty spot and Cody Cooke netted twice. Ronnie Vint pulled a goal back mid-way through the first half in the 3-1 loss. Lee Hodges’ side also came away with wins at Princes Park in 2011 and 2015 and notched up a home win in 2016.

After consecutive defeats for the first time in almost two years, the Darts put an end to the losing streak last weekend. A trip to Wealdstone ended with a late comeback to keep Dartford in pole position at the top. The Stones had Iffy Allen sent off just before the break but still managed to take the lead with ten men. Dan Fitchett’s header was cancelled out by Danny Mills, only his second goal in 14 appearances. Minutes later top scorer Alfie Pavey scored the winner after coming off the substitutes bench, the striker is now second in the National South scoring charts on 17 goals.

Burman was pleased with the result and told after the game: “Football’s a strange game. We had to take some steps backwards in results over the last couple of weeks and at one stage today.  I thought in the first half we were excellent and maybe should’ve took the lead but we’ve had to dig deep and the guys have shown why they are where they are”.

One of the surprises of the afternoon was the exclusion of goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim from the starting eleven. Instead new signing Berti Schotterl made his debut, the 23 year old left German side Inter Leipzig in January and had been training with Fulham, who recommended him to the Dartford boss.

Burman feels that adding another goalkeeper to the squad will provide cover and competition in that position. Ibrahim, who has made 164 appearances for the Darts has been advised to ‘recharge his batteries’, Burman explained to “Deren has been in goal on his own for a long time and, in my opinion, he’s had some situations over the last couple of months where he could have done better”, he added: “Deren knew all about what I was deciding to do but it was a difficult situation”. By the sound of things the squad could be strengthened even more, Burman also commented: “I’ve got one who’s come in now and I’ve got some irons in the fire as well in case anything happens”.

Truro City have spent some of the campaign top of the National South, but their spell was brief and a steady season so far has them battling for a playoff spot. The Cornwall club have lost three of their last four matches including last weekend when they let a two goal slip. Captain, Ben Gerring headed the first and Aaron Lamont chipped in a second before half time. Oxford City then staged a second half comeback when Matt Patterson netted from the spot and Samuel Nombe scored twice. Whilst Gerring and Lamont have been scoring the majority of goals for Truro City recently, Cooke is the top scorer for the White Tigers in the league with 11 goals.

Lee Hodges spoke to after the game and said: “That’s two weeks in succession where we’ve worked extremely hard during the first half and then allowed the game to slip away after the break”, he added: “It’s hard to take; we rode our luck a little bit during the first half but we were compact and solid and when you’re 2-0 up at half-time at home, you expect to see the game out”.

Despite defeat Hodges remains confident that his side can prepare well enough to give the Darts something to think about, he commented: “I will go away and analyse what went wrong after the break; we’re all hurting but we’ll be ready for the challenge that Dartford will present to us in our next game”. he continued: “They are a good side and flying high at the top of the table, but I will be looking for us to go there and compete”.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 2 /Truro City wins: 4 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford (WLLWDW) Truro City (LLWLDW)
Wealdstone A 2-1 Oxford City H 2-3
Chelmsford City H 1-2 Wealdstone H 1-3
St Albans City A 0-4 Bognor Regis Town A 2-0
Whitehawk H 3-1 Whitehawk A 2-3
Chippenham Town A 2-2 Bath City A 0-0
Havant & Waterlooville H 1-0 Poole Town H 3-1

Previous Meetings

11.11.2017 Truro City 3 Dartford 1
18.03.2017 Dartford 5 Truro  City 3
08.10.2016 Truro  City 0 Dartford 5
05.04.2016 Truro City 3 Dartford 0
19.09.2015 Dartford 0 Truro City 1
28.04.2012 Truro  City 1 Dartford 1
22.10.2011 Dartford 1 Truro  City 2

It’s been two years since Dartford last suffered consecutive home defeats in the league. On 27 February 2016, the Darts lost 2-1 against Concord Rangers and on 12 March 2016 lost 4-2 versus Whitehawk.

There has been 20 goals in the last four meetings between these two sides, an average of 2.5 goals a game.

Dartford have scored in eleven consecutive home matches in the National South.

The Darts have the best home record in the division, whilst Havant and Waterlooville and Hampton and Richmond are the only two clubs to have accrued more away points than Truro City this term.

On This Day
Mark Green scored on his debut for the Darts in a 2-2 draw with Kent rivals Dover Athletic at the Crabble. Signed from Tonbridge Angels in 2007, Green made an excellent start to his Dartford career opening the scoring. The hosts went ahead with goals either side of the break only for Brendon Cass to equalise with thirteen minutes remaining. Green went on to make 37 starting appearances and 14 substitute appearances for Dartford scoring twice and picked up an Isthmian Division One North winners medal. The last home match for the Darts on this day was back in 2004 when they were thrashed 6-1 by Folkestone Invicta in the Southern League Eastern Division. In 2001, Dartford beat Langley Sports at home 1-0 and in the Kent League back in 1996, the Darts won 2-0 when they hosted Whitstable Town.

Wealdstone v Dartford

Dartford need to return to winning ways after a dip in form has left them clinging on to top spot and next up is an away trip to Wealdstone this weekend.

February doesn’t get much easier with a testing fixture at twelfth place Wealdstone, who have won their last three National South games and lost just twice against the Darts in the last sixteen meetings. Dartford have lost consecutive league matches for the first time in almost two years, but just about lead the National South by two points having played more games then their closest rivals.

Despite the Stones being one of Dartford’s bogey teams, the last trip to Grosvenor Vale ended in a comprehensive 4-0 victory last season. The Darts record their biggest win against their opponents since 1991. Luke Wanadio scored from the edge of the box, Ryan Hayes scored with a trademark curling effort, Elliot Bradbrook added a third and Andy Pugh netted the fourth.

The last clash between the two sides was in November on a night of mixed emotions for the Darts. Finding themselves 2-1 down, Dartford showed character to go in front at 3-2 with the goals coming from Alfie Pavey (two) and Andy Pugh. However, the three points were thrown away as the Stones levelled the game from the spot with three minutes to go in an entertaining 3-3 draw.

Penalty decisions and last minute goals seem to be a hot topic for Dartford this week after another three points were dropped last weekend. Ryan Hayes scored a superb solo goal at Princes Park against Chelmsford City but all was forgotten as the Clarets left it late to snatch victory. A controversial penalty was awarded with four minutes to go which Kudus Oyenuga scored, then in injury time Taylor Miles netted direct from a corner.

Another talking point was the first start of the campaign for Duane Ofori-Acheampong, who partnered Danny Mills up front. Burman choose to leave out form strikers Andy Pugh and Alfie Pavey for their physical presence against a strong Chelmsford City side. However, it was what Burman called the ‘lack of intelligence’ by his players that cost his side the match citing errors that led to the two conceded goals.

Pushing for the playoffs, Wealdstone went to Truro City last weekend and won 3-1 thanks to a brace from David Pratt and a third by Daniel Green, who scored at Princes Park earlier in the season. The league win is the Stones third in a row and was the sixth in all competitions under Bobby Wilkinson. On Tuesday night they lost a Middlesex Senior Cup semi-final on penalties versus Staines Town.

The Middlesex have a congested schedule this week with Dartford on Saturday followed by a Monday night clash with Gloucester City. The Stones will also have one eye on the up and coming F.A Trophy quarter final tie against Billericay Town. A run that has seen them knock out Chelmsford City, Wingate and Finchley then Hereford.

Head to Head
Wealdstone wins: 13 / Dartford wins: 12 / Draws: 13

Current League Form

Wealdstone (WWWLDL) Dartford (LLWDWD)
Truro City A 3-1 Chelmsford City H 1-2
Weston-super-Mare H 2-1 St Albans City A 0-4
Bognor Regis Town H 3-0 Whitehawk H 3-1
Hampton & Richmond H 0-3 Chippenham Town A 2-2
Hampton & Richmond A 1-1 Havant & Waterlooville H 1-0
St Albans City H 1-3 Concord Rangers A 1-1

Previous Meetings

21.11.2017 Dartford 3 Wealdstone 3
28.01.2017 Wealdstone 0 Dartford 4
06.08.2016 Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2
26.01.2016 Dartford 1 Wealdstone 2
03.10.2015 Wealdstone 2 Dartford 1
21.02.2012 Wealdstone 1 Dartford 0

Dartford last suffered back to back defeats in March 2016 losing three in a row between 5 March and 15 March to Weston-super-Mare (1-2), Whitehawk (2-4) and Maidenhead United (1-2).

The Darts won last season at Wealdstone which was the first time in eight attempts, stretching back to a 4-0 Southern League Cup win in 1989.

In the last three meetings between Dartford and Wealdstone 14 goals have been scored in total.

Both teams have scored in this fixture in 13 of the last 16 matches against each other.

On This Day
Dartford beat Runcorn in a F.A Trophy third round replay in 1987, on the way to the semi-final which they lost to Burton Albion. The replay was forced after a brave Tony Burman header levelled the first tie at 1-1, the return fixture ended 2-1 to the Darts. Dartford last won on 17 February back in 1996 when they beat Corinthian 3-0 at Gay Dawn Farm in the Kent League. The Darts have lost their last two fixtures on this day both at home. Seventeen years ago, Tonbridge Angels won with a single goal in the Southern League Division One East and in 2007, Fleet Town beat Dartford 2-1 in the Isthmian Division One South.