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Hungerford Town v Dartford

Dartford begin December at the top of the National South and will visit Hungerford Town this weekend in an attempt to keep a three-point lead.

The Darts have spent almost three weeks in pole position with just six points separating the top eight. Looking for back to back away victories in the league for the first time this season, Dartford take on the Crusaders who themselves are desperate for a win.

Hungerford Town have picked up just one point from their last five National South fixtures, however they did manage to draw 0-0 with Dartford on the opening day of the campaign. Last term, the Berkshire club beat the Darts at Bulpit Lane 2-0 with goals from Louie Soares and Stefan Brown.

Tony Burman has made his intent clear with two signings in the last week. Danny Mills has joined the strike force from local rivals Ebbsfleet United and Nathan Collier returns to the club from Hampton and Richmond Borough. Mills was prolific in his spell at Whitehawk at this level scoring almost a goal every other game over a five year period. At Ebbsfleet United he has had limited chances to shine making just ten appearances and scoring once.

Mills spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “Going from playing 250 games in five years to not knowing if I’ll be in the squad has been really difficult”, he added: “But there comes a time when you have to make a decision. I want to go out and play football and after being used to playing so much, I wanted that feeling again. I wanted that excitement of looking forward to a game on a Saturday, knowing that you’re going to go out and play”.

He continued: “I wanted to go to a team that was challenging, up there at the top of the table, fighting for promotion. I want to play for something every week, I didn’t want to go to a team that was mid-table so when the opportunity to go to Dartford came up, it was a no-brainer”.

Mills went straight into the starting eleven last weekend as Dartford beat nine men Poole Town 1-0 in Dorset. A good defensive display and Richard Sho-Silva’s early winning goal was enough to earn three vital points. The result made even better considering the absentees of Ronnie Vint, Tom Bonner (who became a father this week) and Danny Harris, midfielder Alex Brown slotted into right back to replace Harris. In midfield, Lee Noble was also missing through suspension but he will return from his ban this weekend.

Manager Tony Burman told www.dartfordfc.com: “After Saturdays win, I felt we have played a lot better in previous games and lost but on a positive note we defended really well and looked organised defensively throughout the game. After conceding quite a few goals over the last month it was nice to keep a clean sheet and once again from a good defensive display”.

He commented: “When Richard scored our goal early in the game we had quite a few chances throughout the rest of the game to finish our opponents off, but good goalkeeping kept Poole in the game I felt. Overall with Tom Bonner, Danny Harris, Lee Noble all missing and with Alfie Pavey trying to play not feeling 100% all in all I’m delighted we gained three points”.

The signing of Collier adds further depth to the squad as well as versatility, he previously played 117 times for the Darts between 2012 and 2015. Collier has had spells with Eastbourne Borough and Hampton and Richmond Borough since leaving Princes Park.

Hungerford Town were one of the surprise packages last season but have had to deal with the departure of former boss Bobby Wilkinson, who joined Wealdstone in early in the campaign. Jon Boardman and Ian Herring are now in charge of a team sitting 18th in the National South table.

Last weekend the Crusaders ended a run of six consecutive defeat in all competitions with a 1-1 draw against Chelmsford City. Tom Meechan opened his Hungerford Town account in his first game back from a loan spell with St Neots Town, where he scored six goals in 14 appearances. Meechan’s strike was the first in five games for the Crusaders in a spell where they have netted just three times in their last eight outings.

Struggling with injuries and suspensions Hungerford Town had four academy players on the bench against the Clarets. Former Dartford loanee Alex Wall will continue his suspension for his red card in the F.A Trophy defeat versus Billericay Town, the same side that beat them 6-1 in the F.A Cup. Riak John is also unavailable whilst co-manager Ian Herring returned from his two-game ban in their last league match. Matt Williams has been signed from Evesham United to bolster the defence meaning Darnell Smith’s loan spell from Barnet has not been renewed.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Hungerford Town wins: 1 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings

05.08.2017 Dartford 0 Hungerford Town 0
14.04.2017 Hungerford Town 2 Dartford 0
27.08.2016 Dartford 2 Hungerford Town 0

Current League Form

Hungerford Town (LLWDLW) Dartford (WDWLWW)
Chelmsford City A 1-1 Poole Town A 1-0
Truro City H 0-1 Wealdstone H 3-3
Wealdstone A 0-1 Gloucester City H 4-1
Havant & Waterlooville H 0-1 Truro City A 1-3
Eastbourne Borough H 0-1 St Albans City H 2-1
St Albans City H 0-0 Bath City A 2-1

Stats
In the three encounters that have taken place between Dartford and Hungerford Town, the away side has never scored.

In the last six league games featuring Hungerford Town there has only been six goals scored at a goal a game. By contrast Dartford have seen a total of 22 goals scored at an average of 3.66 per game.

In all competitions, if Dartford win on the weekend they will record their longest winning away run this season of three consecutive victories.

On This Day
Dartford last won on the 9 December back in 1995 when they beat Ramsgate 3-0 in the Kent League First Division. A year later they were beaten 3-1 in a F.A Trophy third qualifying round replay against Dulwich Hamlet. In 2006, the Darts drew 1-1 with Dover Athletic, Brendon Cass scoring for Dartford at Princes Park. Nine years ago was the last time the Darts played on this day in a 4-2 Kent Senior Cup first round defeat to Bromley.

Poole Town v Dartford

Dartford travel to the Jurassic coast this weekend starting the day top of the National South when they visit Poole Town.

If their last trip to Tatnam Road is anything to go by, then it should be an entertaining afternoon. The Darts played their final game of last season against the Dolphins needing a win to clinch third place. Andy Pugh’s ninth minute tap in set Dartford on their way. However, Poole Town came from behind with a headed goal by Marvin Brooks and a second from Steve Devlin before half time. The game swung in second half injury time when Tom Murphy hooked the ball over his head from close range, then six minutes into stoppage time Lee Noble lashed home a winner.

Despite leading the National South table, Dartford’s advantage is minimal with the top eight separated by just four points. Recent form has been patchy with the last four results showing the Darts inconsistencies at the moment. Last weekend a late 2-1 F.A Trophy victory versus Brentwood Town masked the performance, Lee Noble scoring the winner against his former club who play two divisions below. The midfielder, who was sent off in the last league match, a 3-3 draw with Wealdstone, is suspended this weekend.

The two previous fixtures saw Dartford beat Gloucester City 4-1 at home but lose 3-1 down at Truro City. During the week manager, Tony Burman spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “The league is crying out for someone to go on a run. Each week, the results become stranger for the teams in the top few places and I’ve got to really start to look at it”, he added: “We’ve got to start trying to be consistent. We’ve done all right but I want better than all right and the players know that”, he continued: “Some of the performances have been below-par and you have to go through that in a season. Hopefully, you put things right and I’m sure we’ll be able to do that and have a run where we’re picking up wins instead of draws”.

Poole Town would have made the playoffs last season, but ground grading prevented them from participating. After winning the Southern League the year before, a fifth place finish was a great achievement for the club. This season they have failed to win at home picking up just three points out of 27 available. The opportunity for Dartford to improve their away form is their for the taking but Burman remains cautious, he commented: “Poole are a good side and they’re playing a lot better than their league position suggests. It’s a big pitch down there and I’m expecting a tough game. We’ve got to go to these away games and start picking up more points. Rather than drawing, we’ve got to try to win the games”.

The Dolphins went out of the F.A Trophy last weekend losing 3-1 to St Albans City and on Tuesday they won a Dorset Senior Cup game 10-2 against Hamworthy United. Manager Tom Killick, now in his thirteenth year can look towards the 4-0 away win at Eastbourne Borough at the start of the month for inspiration, however his side have lost their last two league games without scoring.

Warren Bentley signed for Poole Town this term and is their main goal threat, scoring 11 goals in 15 games in all competitions. The striker was prolific at Winchester City before joining Gosport Borough and then Hungerford Town. Bentley is only one league goal behind Dartford’s top scorer Alfie Pavey who has netted 11 National South goals this campaign.

The recent run of results has led to Poole Town chairman, Chris Reeves urging fans to turn up this weekend. In a statement published on www.pooletownfc.co.uk, he said: “If on Saturday against league leaders Dartford there is a bumper turnout of fans, all showing absolute backing and encouragement for a group of players who in the last few seasons have given us so much, that could be the very thing that makes the difference”.

Head to Head
Poole Town wins: 15 / Dartford wins: 16 / Draws: 5

Current League Form

Poole Town (LLWDLW) Dartford (DWLWWL)
Hampton & Richmond A 0-1 Wealdstone H 3-3
Braintree Town H 0-3 Gloucester City H 4-1
Eastbourne Borough A 4-0 Truro City A 1-3
Concord Rangers H 1-1 St Albans City H 2-1
Gloucester City H 0-3 Bath City A 2-1
Havant & Waterlooville A 2-2 Chelmsford City A 0-1

Previous Meetings

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
24.11.1990 Dartford 0 Poole Town 0

Stats
Dartford have lost three of their last four away games in the National South

The Darts have won four of the last six away matches against Poole Town (D1, L1)

Dartford have conceded in each of their last four away games in the league

The Darts have played only three teams currently in the bottom half of the table away from home this season. Whitehawk and Bath City were beaten but Dartford lost to Weston-super-Mare.

On This Day
A second round Kent Senior Trophy win against Folkestone Invicta took place 22 years ago. The Darts won the second round tie 1-0 against one of the favourites. Dean Bowey scored the winner in front of a crowd of 327. Victory kick started Dartford’s run to the final after beating Whitstable Town 2-1, Furness 1-0 then claim the trophy with a 3-0 win over Chatham Town. Since then, in 2006 Dartford have beaten Fleet Town 3-0 thanks to a Brendon Cass hat-trick. Two years later Dartford beat Margate 3-2 in the Isthmian League Cup second round, Sean Eferakorho, Rob Haworth and Ryan Hayes all getting a goal. The last match on 2 December was in 2014 when the Darts lost 2-0 in the National League against Eastleigh.

Brentwood Town v Dartford

Dartford enter the F.A Trophy third qualifying round stage with an away trip to Isthmian Division One North side Brentwood Town.

Midfielder, Lee Noble will visit his former side where he began his career at Brentwood Town’s academy. Impressing the Darts way back in 2008 by scoring against his future club, Noble joined Dartford in the summer. Since then he has made 414 appearances (111 as substitute) scoring 41 goals. The midfielder’s latest game ended early on Tuesday night when he picked up a red card for two cautions against Wealdstone.

The Darts just about remained top of the National South and will feel they dropped points in the end against Wealdstone. An entertaining 3-3 draw gave Tony Burman mixed emotions, after the game he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “We’ve showed some backbone in the second half to go from 2-1 down to 3-2”. Burman may have been pleased with his forwards Alfie Pavey, netted two and substitute Andy Pugh the other, but is concerned at the other end of the pitch, he added: “We’re conceding a lot of goals which is unlike us”. Ahead of the F.A Trophy tie, Burman believes the defence “will come good, without a shadow of a doubt”. In the last four matches the Darts have shipped in 12 goals, but the forward line has managed to rack up seven in the last two games.

Dartford have already beaten three sides in lower divisions this season in the F.A Cup. To get to the first round they had to get past Barking, Needham Market then Burgess Hill Town. In the F.A Trophy they have made the proper rounds in six of the last seven campaigns, reaching the semi-final in 2013. However, Burman expects a tough afternoon, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk: and said: “I’ve seen Brentwood and had reports on them, it’s not going to be easy”, he continued: “They knock the ball around well and they’re going to have a go at us”, he added: “The character that we’ve shown throughout the game against Wealdstone, we’ve got to show that again if we want to progress to the next round”.

Brentwood Town hosted Needham Market in the last round, a side the Darts beat 6-1 in the F.A Cup third qualifying round almost two months ago. The Blues earned themselves a surprise win against opponents in the league above with an impressive first half display. Connor Martin headed in at the far post before Matt Price missed a penalty to make it 2-0. However, the lead was doubled three minutes later when Andy Freeman nodded in a second and by the interval Price’s back-heeled effort found the net. Needham Market grabbed a consolation but could not reduce the deficit any further.

The previous two rounds involved Brentwood Town needing second attempts, first against Isthmian Division One South side South Park and then versus Bedford Town, of the Southern League Division One East. The Blues’ F.A Trophy journey began at the beginning of October and the tie with South Park saw a goal fest. The first fixture ended 3-3 with South Park coming back from 3-0 down. Izzy Bademosi scored the first two and Freeman the other before the break. In the second half Kieran Lavery, Joe Jackson and Chris Smith completed the comeback for the visitors. The replay was more one sided with Brentwood Town romping away with a 7-2 victory. Despite falling behind Lavery equalised and a brace from Alfie Hilton made it 3-1 at half-time. Bademosi then scored two either side of Martin’s header and after South Park pulled one back Price completed the rout.

It seemed that all the goals were used up in the previous round before Brentwood Town drew the second qualifier 0-0 with Bedford Town. But goals were back on the menu in the replay with the Blues running out 4-2 winners. Josh Wiggins netted a hat-trick to take home the match ball and Brenden Cavalier added the fourth. Bedford Town made the score look a bit more respectable with two goals of their own.

The Essex club are sixteenth in the Isthmian Division One North table thanks to back to back victories. On Tuesday night, the Blues beat Soham Town Rangers, even without seven first team members available. Price scored twice, to  make it 12 in the league this campaign and Bademosi found the net in a 3-1 away win. Last weekend, Brentwood Town defeated Haringey Borough 2-0, which ended Borough’s unbeaten start to the season.

Head to Head
Brentwood Town wins: 2 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Current Form (FAC – F.A Cup / FAT – F.A Trophy / ESC – Essex Senior Cup)

Brentwood Town (WWLWDL) Dartford (DWLLWW)
Soham Town Rangers A 3-1 Wealdstone H 3-3
Haringey Borough H 2-0 Gloucester City H 4-1
Maldon & Tiptree A 1-4 Truro City A 1-3
Needham Market (FAT) H 3-1 Swindon Town H 1-5
West Essex (ESC) A 3-3* St Albans City H 2-1
Bury Town H 1-2 Bath City A 2-1

* – Brentwood Town won 5-4 on penalties

Previous Meetings

29.03.2008 Dartford 0 Brentwood Town 1
05.02.2008 Brentwood Town 2 Dartford 2
08.03.1969 Brentwood Town 2 Dartford 1
15.02.1969 Dartford 1 Brentwood Town 1
15.04.1968 Dartford 2 Brentwood Town 0
12.04.1968 Brentwood Town 1 Dartford 2

Stats
Dartford kept six clean sheets in their opening ten games, conceding just six. In their last 14 matches they have let in 27 goals with one clean sheet.

The Darts have won their last two cup ties away from home against opposition in the Isthmian Premier League.

In this season’s cup competitions, Alfie Pavey has scored four in as many games and Elliot Bradbrook three goals in four matches so far. That’s seven of the eleven F.A Cup goals scored on the way to the first round.

Dartford last beat Brentwood Town 49 years ago when they completed a Southern League Division One double over the Blues. The Darts won 2-1 in the away fixture and three days later secured a 2-0 victory.

On This Day
Rob Haworth scored as the Darts drew 1-1 with St Albans City in a F.A Trophy third qualifying replay. The 2008 tie went to penalties which Dartford lost 4-2 putting them out of the competition. The Darts last win on 25 November came seventeen years ago against Wisbech Town, a 2-1 victory earned the Darts three points in the Southern League Division One East. Since then a 2-1 defeat at home to Sittingbourne in 2006, Dave Martin the goalscorer and the F.A Trophy tie and a 4-2 capitulation at home to Chester have been played out. In 2014, the Darts were two up with goals from Lee Noble and Elliot Bradbrook, but Chester came back to win 4-2 in the National League.

Dartford v Wealdstone

Dartford moved back to the top of the National South on the weekend and hope to retain the number one spot this week when they host Wealdstone.

The Darts maintained their solid home form on Saturday with a 4-1 win over Gloucester City. Warren Mfula opened the scoring with his fourth league goal of the campaign and Lyle Della Verde added a second by capitalising on a defensive error. Della Verde scored again in the second half with Alfie Pavey adding a fourth before the hour. The Tigers pulled a goal back but Dartford were too strong and moved to the top of the table. At Princes Park, Dartford have dropped just four points from their nine home games.

Tony Burman spoke to www.dartfordfc.com after the win and said: “I was delighted with the result and performance this week especially after Truro. The players reacted very well to the loss last week. We played against a good footballing side in Gloucester City and they caused us problems, but I thought we were ruthless in front of goal, and deserved the three points”.

Andy Pugh returns after serving a suspension, Tom Murphy will return to the squad whilst Duane Ofori-Acheampong was back in training last week after a long lay off. Keaton Wood left the club, the defender played 74 times for the Darts scoring four goals, he has made 13 appearances this term.

The Darts last faced Wealdstone at Princes Park over a year ago, on the first day of last season. It took until a minute before half time for Dartford to open their account when Luke Wanadio hit a low ball across the box for Elliot Bradbrook to finish. Early in the second half and Wealdstone were level through Elliot Benyon but the lead was restored after Ryan Hayes netted from the spot. The three points looked like they were heading for the Darts but in the final minute Eddie Oshodi headed an equaliser.

That draw in August 2016 was the last of a winless run against the Stones stretching back nine games to 1991. The away fixture last term saw Dartford record their biggest win against their opponents since that last victory, when they also scored four. Wanadio scored from the edge of the box, Hayes scored with a trademark curling effort, Bradbrook added a third and Andy Pugh secured the 4-0 victory.

Wealdstone made a slow start picking up six points in August out of the 21 available, the only win coming on the opening day of the season. Long serving manager Gordon Bartlett lasted five matches bringing an end to the 22-year spell at the helm. Still involved in the club Bartlett now oversees a new role supporting youth development, football in the community and over key football developments.

A day later, Bobby Wilkinson was announced as the new Stones boss after he enjoyed a successful period with Hungerford Town. Wilkinson led the Crusaders to the National South which included two promotions via the playoffs, his seven-year spell with his former club was successful enough to appeal to Wealdstone Chairman, Peter Marsden.

Since the arrival of Wilkinson, Wealdstone have lost just three competitive matches in their last 15, a run that includes winning their last seven home matches. Although the Stones have won once on the road since the managerial change they have drawn five out of nine, losing just three.

On the weekend Wealdstone had their four game winning streak brought to an end in an away defeat to Weston-super-Mare. Two goals inside the first eight minutes from Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain and Zac McEachran gave the hosts the perfect head start and Reece Fleet scored the decisive goal either side of an Abobaker Eisa brace. The 3-2 loss meant the Stones are now in twelfth, four points off the playoffs.

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

Previous Meetings

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
14.02.2012 Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2

Current League Form

Dartford (WLWWLW) Wealdstone (LWWWDW)
Gloucester City H 4-1 Oxford City A 2-3
Truro City A 1-3 Hungerford Town H 1-0
St Albans City H 2-1 Welling United A 2-1
Bath City A 2-1 Truro City H 2-1
Chelmsford City A 0-1 Chippenham Town A 0-0
Bognor Regis Town H 1-0 Whitehawk H 2-1

Stats
Four of the last five home games against Wealdstone have ended in draws, the Stones won the other encounter.

Wealdstone have scored two goals in each of their last three visits to Princes Park.

Both teams have scored at least a goal in the last seven matches at against each other at Princes Park.

The Darts have won their last four home games in the National South.

On This Day
Eight years ago, Dartford were knocked out of the F.A Trophy to Kent rivals Dover Athletic at the third qualifying round stage. Adam Burchall gave the Whites the lead at the Crabble but the Darts went ahead through Jay May then Danny Harris. Dover Athletic equalised from the spot when Frannie Collin scored and the winner came from Nicky Southall. Three years prior that tie, the Darts beat Leatherhead 1-0 in the Isthmian Division One South courtesy of Jay May’s decisive goal. The last home match played on the 21 November was back in 1978 when Dartford lost 3-2 to Redditch United in the Southern Premier League.

Dartford v Gloucester City

Dartford welcome new opponents to Princes Park this weekend when they host one of the National South newbies Gloucester City.

Fifteen and a half years since their last meeting in the Southern League days, the Darts take on the Tigers who spent the last eight seasons in the National North. The Gloucestershire club switched regions in the summer and travel to Princes Park on the back of a three game unbeaten run.

Meanwhile, Dartford have lost back to back fixtures after defeats against Truro City on Saturday and Swindon Town in the F.A Cup the weekend before. The Darts long journey to Treyew Road started in the worst possible fashion when they found themselves three down after just nineteen minutes. Tyler Harvey scored for the host from the penalty spot and Cody Cooke’s three double gave the White Tigers three goals in six minutes. Ronnie Vint pulled a goal back mid-way through the first half in the 3-1 loss. It was yet another slow start after the F.A Cup tie versus League Two side Swindon Town saw Dartford three down inside 26 minutes in a 5-1 reverse.

Elliot Bradbrook missed the trip to Truro after the birth of his son, Duane Ofori-Acheampong is recovering from injury and Andy Pugh is serving a suspension, the second of three games. Lee Noble and Lyle Della-Verde were dropped to the bench whilst Ronnie Vint, Keaton Wood and Tom Murphy were given starts.

Despite consecutive losses, Dartford have won their last four National South fixtures at home stretching over September and October. In that run the Darts gained a crucial three points against St Albans City with a 2-1 win, beat Bognor Regis Town, triumphed over Eastbourne Borough and overcame Chippenham Town scoring 12 goals in the process.

Dartford’s last meeting against Gloucester City in 1992 ended without a goal for either side. However, the Darts did win the home game in the Southern Premier League that season at Watling Street 2-0.

Last weekend, Tigers boss Tim Harris celebrated his 300th game in charge of Gloucester City with a 3-1 away win at bottom club Whitehawk. Three second half goals from Karnell Chambers, Joseph Parker and Jack Storer secured the three points to leave the Tigers sixteenth in the National South.

Victory extended Gloucester City’s unbeaten run to three as they look to make up seven points to reach a playoff spot. However, Harris will be hoping the club can remain in the National South during a difficult time for the club. In the eight years spent in the National North, Gloucester City made the top ten for the first time last season, finishing tenth. Severe flooding of their home a decade ago has left them homeless with crowds of just under 350 each.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 25 / Gloucester City wins: 12 / Draws: 10

Previous Meetings

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
20.01.1990 Gloucester City 0 Dartford 4

Current League Form

Dartford (LWWLWL) Gloucester City (WDWLLD)
Truro City A 1-3 Whitehawk H 3-1
St Albans City H 2-1 Concord Rangers A 1-1
Bath City A 2-1 Poole Town A 3-0
Chelmsford City A 0-1 Welling United H 0-1
Bognor Regis Town H 1-0 Braintree Town H 1-3
Weston-super-Mare A 0-3 Bognor Regis Town A 2-2

Stats
The Darts have won their last three home matches against Gloucester City.

Dartford have gone seven league games without keeping a clean sheet going back to 9 September against Chippenham Town.

Another game unbeaten will be the longest run without defeat in the National South for Gloucester City this season.

On This Day
Dartford are unbeaten in their last nine home matches on 18 November with five wins and four draws. Fisher Athletic were the last side the Darts face at home on this day in the Southern Division One East, Dartford won the match 3-1. The run of results include a friendly with an Arsenal XI in which the game finished 4-4 in 1972. The last team to beat the Darts at home on 18 November was Woolwich Arsenal Reserves in the Kent League back in 1899, the London club won 5-0. On the road, Dartford haven’t done so well with their last two results ending in defeat 4-1 away to Tonbridge Angels in 2008 and 4-0 at Cray Wanderers in 2006.

Truro City v Dartford

Dartford will make their longest journey of the season this weekend when they travel to fellow promotion hopefuls Truro City.

Dartford will hope to recreate last season’s performance at Treyew Road where they won 5-0. Keaton Wood, Andy Pugh, Duane Ofori-Acheampong’s brace and Alex Brown all found the back of the net in a comfortable win and biggest away victory for six and half years. The triumph secured the Darts first victory against the Cornwall club at the fifth attempt.

The Darts hit five again in the home match last term but conceded three in the process of completing the double of the White Tigers. Pugh scored two with Elliot Bradbrook, Luke Wanadio and Tom Murphy adding the other goals in an entertaining fixture.

After the euphoria of taking on Football League clubs in the F.A Cup, both teams can now concentrate on the National South. The Darts were comprehensively beaten at home to League Two side Swindon Town, whilst the White Tigers lost 3-1 to League One’s Charlton Athletic.

Hopeful of causing a cup upset, Dartford’s tie was effectively over in 26 minutes when Timi Elsnick, Harry Smith then Elsnick again put the Robins 3-0 up. Despite an encouraging final quarter of an hour in the first half, the Darts couldn’t manage anything to show for their efforts. Swindon Town added two more in quick succession at the start of the second half through Amine Lingazi and Paul Mullin, but at least Richard Sho-Silva gave Dartford fans something to cheer with a consolation.

Tony Burman was disappointed with his side’s defending, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “It’s disappointing because, defensively, we’re better than that. Yes, they were good finishes but we shouldn’t have given them the opportunities to finish their efforts like that”.

Andy Pugh will serve the second match of his three game ban for his red card at Bath City. Duane Ofori-Acheampong was not named in the squad for the F.A Cup fixture and is recovering from injury.

Currently leading the National South on goal difference, the Darts know a third league win in a row will more than likely keep them top of the table. Meanwhile, Truro City will want to close the four point gap on Dartford especially as they also have a game in hand.

After Sunday’s F.A Cup defeat to Charlton Athletic, manager Lee Hodges told BBC Radio Cornwall: “My main feeling is pride, we have faced a team a few leagues above and put in a performance that was great”, he added: “We have shown guts and determination and we left everything on the pitch against a very good team”.

Truro City struggled last term but this time they have put themselves amongst the many early front runners. The White Tigers hit form in September winning all five matches to extend a winning streak to six, Hodges picked up Manager of the Month. However, the curse of the monthly award struck as Truro City went on to pick up two points from their nine available in October.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 2 / Truro City wins: 3 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Truro City (DLDWWW) Dartford (WWLWLW)
Bognor Regis Town H 1-1 St Albans City H 2-1
Wealdstone A 1-2 Bath City A 2-1
Hampton & Richmond H 1-1 Chelmsford City A 0-1
East Thurrock United A 2-1 Bognor Regis Town H 3-1
Chippenham Town H 1-0 Weston-super-Mare A 0-3
Whitehawk H 7-2 Eastbourne Borough H 4-2

Previous Meetings

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

Stats
Dartford’s win at Bath City in their last away game in the National South ended a run of two successive defeats on the road in the league.

The Darts are the league’s top scorers with 34, only second place Braintree Town can match that.

Although Dartford have conceded 15 in their last three F.A Cup proper rounds (excluding qualifiers), they have the second best defence in the National South letting in just 15 in 16 games, three more goals than Chelmsford City.

On This Day
Princes Park opened as a full house packed the new stadium for Dartford’s homecoming. Hosting Horsham YMCA history was made by Brendon Cass who scored the first goal at the Darts new home, the time of the goal now etched on the window in the club bar. Cass scored again but the goal of the game came from Eddie McClements who struck a shot from outside the box. Nick Barnes scored the fourth and final goal in a 4-2 win on a day many fondly remember. Eleven years on Dartford have won 151, drawn 68, lost 78, scored 587 and conceded 374 in competitive matches at Princes Park. Happy Birthday.

Dartford v Swindon Town

Dartford can look forward to their biggest cup game at Princes Park in seven years when they take on League Two promotion chasers Swindon Town.

It’s only the second time in the history of Princes Park that Dartford have hosted a Football League side in a competitive match, a rare opportunity to become giantkillers. Whilst the Darts go into their F.A Cup first round tie having maintained and stretched their lead at the top of the National South last weekend, their former Premier League opponents are two divisions above in fifth place.

As well as prize money and coverage on a national level, Tony Burman is hoping the feel good factor returns to Dartford, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk after the draw was made and said: “It’s a good draw for us. It will be a big day for the club and the town and I hope it’ll bring in a big crowd. It’s something we can all look forward to”, he added: “It would be nice to get the enthusiasm going again and bring back some good times. Everyone deserves it”, he continued: “These days are something we all want to look forward to and be proud of what we’ve achieved as a football club and get the interest back”.

Last weekend, a consecutive 2-1 victory this time at home to St Albans City moved Tony Burman’s side two points clear at the summit of the National South. Richard Sho-Silva returned to the defence to partner Ronnie Vint, Mark Onyemah started after recovering from a minor injury and Tom Bonner was on the bench after being sidelined by a head injury against Bath City. Keaton Wood was suspended for the league win but will be available against Swindon Town. Andy Pugh will miss out after his red card appeal was rejected, the striker was sent off in the 2-1 win over Bath City.

The Darts welcomed the win over St Albans City, a side they have struggled against in recent meetings, thanks to a former Dartford player. Tom Bender scored an own goal in the second half which turned out to be decisive. Earlier in the match Sho-Silva caused some trouble with his long throws into the Saints box and on six minutes Elliot Bradbrook nodded one in for the opener. The Saints came back with an equaliser five minutes before the interval when Charlie Walker fired beyond Deren Ibrahim. In the second half Bender’s own goal gave Dartford an important three points on a day other promotion challengers slipped up.

Burman was delighted with the outcome and in his post match interview he said: “We had to dig in, we had a bit of luck which we haven’t had in other games”, he added: “What’s pleasing is from last Saturday, seven days in football, we’ve gone and won two games as a reaction from losing at Chelmsford City”.

Swindon Town will know preparation will be key to avoiding an upset at the first round stage. Ben Futcher, Assistant Manager told www.swindontownfc.co.uk: “We’ve seen the draw and it is somewhere we’ve not been before. Dartford are doing quite well in the league so it will be a tough game away from home, but one we’re looking forward to,” he added: “The early rounds are tough because the non-league sides can be banana skins and it will be a tough match, but we’ll prepare as we would for a league game and we’ll go there looking to win”.

The Robins will want to avoid slipping on a ‘banana skin’ after doing exactly that a year ago. After a 1-1 draw with National League side Eastliegh they lost 3-1 at home in the replay. Swindon Town also lost to non league opposition two years in a row in 2012 and 2013, both times against Macclesfield Town, Crawley Town in 2010 and Histon in 2008.

Last weekend, the Robins defeated Port Vale, the side Dartford lost to in a F.A Cup replay seven years ago after the 1-1 draw at Princes Park. The 3-0 victory earned David Flitcroft’s side back to back wins in which they took the lead early in the second half, through Matty Taylor’s free-kick. With twenty minutes remaining Paul Mullin made an impact grabbing the second goal of the afternoon and Kellan Gordon netted his first professional goal, seconds after entering the action as a substitute.

Away from home, the Robins have a strong defence conceding just five times on their travels in eight fixtures. They have won six of those matches on the road only losing twice. Luke Norris leads the way in the goal scoring charts with seven to his name and Mullin is behind with four league this term.

After relegation last season, Flitcroft was named boss in June and has made a solid start to life at the County Ground. The former Chester City, Rochdale and Bury midfielder started his managerial career at Barnsley just five years ago. He guided the Tykes to safety, moved to Bury to repeat the feat and took the Shakers up to League One, now the 43 year old hopes to get Swindon Town back up.

The Wiltshire club have been members of the Football League since 1920, they won the League Cup in 1969 beating Arsenal 3-1 at Wembley and reached the Premier League in 1993, finishing bottom in their only season in the top flight conceding a record 100 goals.

Only once before have the Darts faced the Robins and that was way back in 1933. The F.A Cup second round tie ended 1-0 to the hosts Swindon Town. In the thirties Dartford faced Swindon Town Reserves on six occasions, twice in the London Combination Second Division and four times in the Southern League. In each of the three campaigns Dartford won one and lost the other.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 0 / Swindon Town wins: 1 / Draws: 0

Previous Meeting

09.12.1933 Swindon Town 1 Dartford 0

Current Form

Dartford (WWLWWW) Swindon Town (WWLWLW)
St Albans City H 2-1 Port Vale A 3-0
Bath City A 2-1 Wycombe Wanderers H 1-0
Chelmsford City A 0-1 Lincoln City H 0-1
Burgess Hill Town (FAC) A 1-0 Mansfield Town A 3-1
Bognor Regis Town H 3-1 Cheltenham Town A 1-2
Needham Market (FAC) A 6-1 Cambridge United H 2-0

F.A Cup Stats
Dartford have won 3, drawn 8 and lost 19 against Football League opposition in the F.A Cup.

The Darts last beat Football League opposition in the 1968/69 season when the knocked out Aldershot 3-1 in the first round at home. The other two victories were against Exeter City in 1961/62, the first game ended 3-3 and the replay was won by the Darts 2-1. In the historic 1935/36 cup run Dartford beat Cardiff City 3-0 in the first round, the season the Darts lost 3-2 to top flight Derby County in the third round.

Four of the last five F.A Cup ties against Football League teams have ended in a replay. In 2010, the Darts lost 4-0 at Port Vale after a 1-1 draw. In 1989, Exeter City were held 1-1 at Watling Street before overcoming the Darts 4-1 in the second match. In consecutive seasons Dartford drew with AFC Bournemouth 1-1 in 1984 before losing 4-1 and a year later drew 0-0 prior the 2-0 replay defeat. Bradford City ended that sequence with a 4-1 win at Valley Parade in 2014.

On This Day
Exactly a year ago, the Darts lost an entertaining F.A Cup first round tie at home to Sutton United. The frenetic fixture started at blistering pace with Maxime Biamou scoring for the visitors inside the first minute. Elliot Bradbrook equalised before Roary Deacon put the U’s back in front. Bradbrook levelled again six minutes before Biamou grabbed his second. Early in the second half Duane Ofori-Acheampong had the Darts level for a third time but two goals from Ross Stern and another from Deacon set Sutton United on their way. The Surrey side ended up reaching the fifth round losing to Arsenal.

Dartford v St Albans City

The Darts are back at Princes Park this weekend heading the National South table and hosting fourth place St Albans City.

Dartford started the week down in seventh place and one win saw a huge leap up the standings into pole position. With the top four separated by goal difference, Tony Burman will be hoping to improve his record against Saints boss Ian Allinson, to ensure the Darts maintain their lead in the National South. Victory at home will almost guarantee top spot as Dartford’s goal difference is seven goals more than their closest rivals.

However, the Darts have lost their last three meetings against St Albans City without even scoring a goal. The last of which came in March when Charlie Walker’s goal was enough to complete the double over Dartford. Earlier in the campaign St Albans City won 2-0 at Princes Park to end the Darts unbeaten home start that season. Sam Merson headed in the opener and former Dart, Tom Bender grabbed a second. At the end of the 2015/16 season, the Saints recorded their first ever victory over Dartford with a comprehensive 4-0 win on the final day.

After a second consecutive away defeat in the league last weekend without scoring, the Darts travelled to Bath City on Tuesday night. Having been beaten 3-0 by Weston-super-Mare then 1-0 by Chelmsford City on the road, the Darts were hoping to break their barren spell. Richard Sho-Silva was missing from the squad against the Romans meaning captain Elliot Bradbrook paired up with Ronnie Vint in central defence.

The match began with Ryan Hayes trying his luck immediately shooting straight from kick off and hitting the crossbar. In form striker Alfie Pavey looked lively and when Lee Noble crossed the ball on 32 minutes Pavey headed home. The lead lasted almost up to the interval but Tom Smith equalised before half-time. Dartford failed to break down ten men Chelmsford City on Saturday, but this time the Darts had to be resolute after Andy Pugh was dismissed. Despite the disadvantage Pavey pounced again to win the match 2-1 and keep up his record of almost a goal a game.

St Albans City, unbeaten in six prior to their Tuesday night fixture took on Hampton and Richmond Borough at the Beveree. The hosts took the lead on half an hour when Charlie Wassmer headed the opener which turned out to be the decisive goal, denying the Saints a place at the summit of the table.

Allinson’s side were the fastest out of the blocks this season winning their opening six, before losing to Braintree Town and Gloucester City back to back. Since then they remained unbeaten in the league until their mid-week reverse at Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 6 / St Albans City wins: 3 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings

25.03.2017 St Albans City 1 Dartford 0
08.11.2016 Dartford 0 St Albans City 2
30.04.2016 St Albans City 4 Dartford 0
06.02.2016 Dartford 2 St Albans City 0
02.04.2011 St Albans City 1 Dartford 2
22.03.2011 Dartford 2 St Albans City 2

Current League Form

Dartford (WLWLWW) St Albans City (LDWDDW)
Bath City A 2-1 Hampton & Richmond A 0-1
Chelmsford City A 0-1 Hungerford Town H 0-0
Bognor Regis Town H 1-0 Bath City H 2-0
Weston-super-Mare A 0-3 East Thurrock United A 1-1
Eastbourne Borough H 4-2 Whitehawk A 1-1
Chippenham Town H 3-0 Havant & Waterlooville H 2-1

Stats
Only St Albans City (17 points) have picked up more points at home this season than Dartford (16).

The Darts are the top scorers in the league with 32 goals and only Chelmsford City (9) have conceded fewer than Dartford’s 14 goals.

The Saints have failed to win any of their last four away games in the National South (D2 L2). Their last away win in the National South came on 19 August 2017 against Poole Town.

On This Day
Nine years ago Dartford were involved in a thrilling come back when they drew 3-3 with AFC Hornchurch in the Isthmian Premier League. Dean Green scored the opener for the Urchins and set up the second when his cross found Simon Parker. AFC Hornchurch went three up when Green netted his second before half-time. Early in the second half Cody McDonald’s pace helped him to start the come back, Rob Haworth scored by getting on the end of Ray Powell’s corner and Jamie Day completed the turnaround with a 25 yarder.

Bath City v Dartford

Dartford could end up top of the table on Tuesday night providing they can beat hosts Bath City in the National South.

The Darts may be down in seventh spot but they are just three points behind leaders Braintree Town. If third place St Albans City lose to Hampton and Richmond, then Tony Burman’s side will head the table once again.

Dartford’s superior goal difference could be the difference and with St Albans City the next team to visit Princes Park, a result over Bath City will hopefully give the Darts momentum. Ending the run of difficult fixtures will be Swindon Town in the F.A Cup first round but for now the attention will be on the league.

On the weekend, Dartford had the chance to beat one of the promotion challengers Chelmsford City. However, an early goal by former Ebbsfleet United midfielder Michael West was decisive enough to earn the Clarets all three points. The Darts failed to break down the Essex club despite playing most the match with an extra player, after Kudus Oyenuga was sent off for Chelmsford City. It was the second defeat in three league games for Dartford.

Last season, the trip to Twerton Park ended successfully for the first time since 1975. After ten attempts Dartford finally recorded an away victory against the Romans but had to leave it late. The only goal of the contest was scored on the counter attack by Luke Wanadio who curled the ball into the Bath City net.

The Romans are eleventh in the National South and a win for them will move them a point behind the Darts. Bath City’s fixture scheduled has also been tough lately but last time out they drew 1-1 with league leaders Braintree Town. George Rigg, who was sent off in the final minutes had the Romans ahead before they conceded with five minutes to go. It could have been better for Bath City had they converted an earlier penalty which was missed by Nat Jarvis. In the previous game the Romans lost 2-0 to St Albans City.

Head to Head
Bath City wins: 40 / Dartford wins: 29 / Draws: 19

Current League Form

Bath City (DLDWWW) Dartford (LWLWWW)
Braintree Town H 1-1 Chelmsford City A 0-1
St Albans City A 0-2 Bognor Regis Town H 3-1
Wealdstone H 0-0 Weston-super-Mare A 0-3
Hungerford Town A 2-1 Eastbourne Borough H 4-2
Concord Rangers A 1-0 Chippenham Town H 3-0
Oxford City H 2-1 Whitehawk A 4-0

Previous Meetings

04.03.2017 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
22.10.2016 Bath City 0 Dartford 1
16.01.2016 Dartford 4 Bath City 1
05.09.2015 Bath City 0 Dartford o
07.04.1990 Dartford 0 Bath City 1
09.09.1989 Bath City 1 Dartford 0

Stats
Dartford’s failure to score on the weekend means they are now joint top scorers in the National South with Braintree Town on 30 goals.

The Darts have won their last three against Bath City, their best run since 1971/72

Dartford have kept five clean sheets in their last seven matches against the Romans.

The Darts have won just one of their last eleven at Twerton Park (D4, L6)

Bath City are the only side in the top half of the table with a negative goal difference (-2)

On This Day
Dartford have won their last three games on 24 October with the most recent being against Bishop’s Stortford two years ago. The Darts took the lead through Barry Cogan but the match was level after Christian Smith headed the equaliser. Elliott Bradbrook scored the winner early in the second half. In 2009, Bradbrook, Jamie Coyle, Ryan Hayes and Jay May all found the net as Dartford beat Aveley 4-1 despite ending up with ten men after Adam Flanagan was red carded. Gosport Borough were beaten 1-0 in 1989 in the Southern Premier League meeting.

Chelmsford City v Dartford

Dartford return to National South action this weekend against fellow promotion hopefuls Chelmsford City, a side the Darts had to face six times last season. 

Very little separated the two clubs last term with Dartford pipping Chelmsford City into third place on the final day of the campaign back in April. Yet, the Clarets claimed the bragging rights in the head to head contest winning three and losing once.

Chelmsford City became a nemesis for the Darts last season, the Essex club were victors in the National South playoffs, the F.A Trophy and took four points from Dartford in the league. However, in the three away games last season, Tony Burman managed to achieve his best results against the Essex club.

The first away fixture last season came in the opening month of the campaign. Luke Wanadio headed Dartford ahead just before the hour but Shaun Jeffers put the Essex side level eleven minutes later.

Drawn together in the F.A Cup, Dartford returned to the Melbourne Stadium in an intriguing cup tie. On a windy September afternoon, the Darts raced into a three goal lead before half-time. Goalkeeper, Ross Fitzsimons scored an unfortunate own goal early on and Elliot Bradbrook’s penalty and second goal five minutes later, put the Darts in a commanding position at the break. Chelmsford City fought back with two Shamir Mullings headers in two minutes to set up a tense finish, but the Darts held on to a 3-2 victory.

In the playoff semi-final just five months ago, the Darts secured a 0-0 draw at the Melbourne Stadium. At the time the result seemed to lay a solid foundation for a second leg at home, but the Clarets recorded victory at Princes Park winning 2-1 on aggregate. Rod Stringer’s side went on to lose the playoff final to Ebbsfleet United missing out on a place in the National League.

Manager, Tony Burman is aware of the threat Saturday’s opponents will bring as well as the following fixtures against Bath City and St Albans City, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “It’s not the be-all and end-all but it’s a good test to see where we are”, he added: “We’ve got three tough games coming up and we’ve got to enjoy them and be professional in what we do”.

Burman continued: “It’s always tough at Chelmsford. They’ve made a lot of changes to their side but they’re always big and strong. They get plenty of high balls into the box and we’ve got to battle and match them for effort.We’re playing at their place so they’ll come at us and we’ve got to defend well and use the ball when we win it back”.

Meanwhile, striker Duane Ofori-Acheampong who has suffered a minor knee injury and full back Mark Onyemah are hopeful to return to the squad this weekend.

Dartford will need to be focused on league matters once more after the excitement of making it to the F.A Cup first round. The Darts beat Burgess Hill Town of the Isthmian Premier League last weekend thanks to an early Alfie Pavey goal. The striker’s excellent form of ten goals in his last eleven appearances will hopefully continue this weekend. The Darts have now made it to the first round in four of their last six season’s and for the first time since 2010 were rewarded with a home tie against Football League opposition. On Monday night when the draw was made, Dartford were paired up with Swindon Town, a former Premier League side now in League Two.

In their last league outing, the Darts beat Bognor Regis Town 3-1, much needed after the 3-0 reverse against Weston-super-Mare. Goals from Pavey, a Bradbrook penalty and Andy Pugh’s fourth of the season gave the Darts a 3-1 win over the Sussex club to move up to fourth in the National South table.

The Clarets started the campaign strongly and along with Dartford were declared one of the favourites for the title. Winning six of their first seven had the Essex club challenging St Albans City, the only team to have beaten them in that spell. Since then they have drawn four out of the last six, lost to East Thurrock United who had former Claret and Dartford midfielder Max Cornhill to thank for his two goals and a fortnight ago beat Eastbourne Borough 5-2 in their last home league fixture.

On the weekend, Chelmsford City attempted to reach the F.A Cup first round but only managed another draw at Bath City. The replay on Monday was won by former Ebbsfleet United midfielder Michael West’s goal to earn the Clarets a tie with National League side Gateshead.

Rod Stringer strengthened his squad last week with the signing of Chris Assombalonga, brother of Britt who plays for Middlesbrough. The striker impressed with 31 goals in 34 games for Waltham Abbey before joining Dagenham and Redbridge then moving on to Billericay Town. Winger, Aristide Bassele also joined the Clarets having had three loan spells with Welling United in the past. The Chelmsford City boss was amongst the busiest in the summer notably keeping hold of Chris Dickson and capturing the signature of Lee Barnard, the former Southampton and Southend United striker. Former Dart loanee, Jim Stevenson moved to the Mebourne Stadium, the midfielder played 25 times for the Darts scoring once in the 2013/14 season.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 36 / Chelmsford City wins: 53 / Draws: 91

Current League Form

Chelmsford City (WDLDDD) Dartford (WLWWWD)
Eastbourne Borough H 5-2 Bognor Regis Town H 3-1
Poole Town A 0-0 Weston-super-Mare A 0-3
East Thurrock United H 1-2 Eastbourne Borough H 4-2
Weston-super-Mare H 1-1 Chippenham Town H 3-0
Hampton & Richmond A 1-1 Whitehawk A 4-0
Bognor Regis Town H 0-0 Hampton & Richmond A 2-2

Previous Meetings

07.05.2017 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 2
03.05.2017 Chelmsford City 0 Dartford 0
18.02.2017 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1
14.01.2017 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1
17.09.2016 Chelmsford City 2 Dartford 3
13.08.2016 Chelmsford City 1 Dartford 1

Stats
Dartford have beaten Chelmsford City once in the last seven fixtures, since the start of the millennium the Darts have only recorded three victories out of 15 meetings (D5, L8).

The Darts have failed to score in three of the last four games against the Essex side.

Despite Chelmsford City coming out on top of the head to head record, Dartford are unbeaten in their last five trips to the Melbourne Stadium (W2, D3).

Only once in the last ten meetings has their been more than three goals in the game (Dartford’s 3-2 F.A Cup win last season). In that spell which has included three 0-0 draws and three games ending 1-0, the average goals per game is just 1.5.

On This Day
Only a week has gone by since the Darts defeated Burgess Hill Town, the same side Dartford beat 14 years ago on this day. The Southern League Division One East encounter ended 2-1 to the Darts. The previous three fixtures on 21 October all ended in defeats, in 2000 Burnham won 3-1 also in the Southern League Division One East, Cray Wanderers won a Kent League Cup game 2-0 in 1995 and Burton Albion, now in the Championship won 1-0 in the Southern Premier League back in 1989. Dartford’s last away win on this day was way back in 1974 when they beat Tonbridge 4-2 in the Southern League Cup second round.