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Slough Town v Dartford

Dartford have made big strides towards their promotion push and hope to continue moving up at Slough Town this weekend.

Consecutive victories without conceding against two teams in the top four have put the Darts in a stronger position for a playoff place. The starting eleven seems to have a more settled look and with thirteen games remaining there is a buzz back around the club.

If Tuesday night at Woking showed the work ethic of the squad, then their weekend’s showing against Bath City added extra quality. It took a Ronnie Vint header deep into injury time to secure maximum points at title chasing Woking, the Darts first ever win at the Kingfield Stadium. Joint manager, Jamie Coyle stated that his side needed to use the 1-0 triumph as a ‘springboard to go on another run’.

That run may just have started because the Darts followed up Tuesday night’s result with a second win in a row. Entertaining fourth place Bath City, Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle named an unchanged side, which was rewarded with a 3-0 win. Lee Noble opened the scoring with a cracking curling effort on sixteen minutes, the midfielder’s third goal this term. Charlie Sheringham made it 2-0 ten minutes later nodding in Ryan Hayes’s cross at the back post and the points were wrapped up in the second half when Phil Roberts bent the ball into the far corner from long range, his fourth goal in his last five appearances.

Dartford have tasted defeat just once in their last eight National South games and have yet to be beaten by Slough Town. In December, the Rebels took the lead at Princes Park when Josh Jackman’s low drive beat Bailey Vose on 37 minutes. In the second half, Andre Coker levelled up finishing a swift counter attack and leaving the points shared.

The Darts last visit to Arbour Park was as recently as October 2016 in the F.A Cup third qualifying round. At the time Dartford were a division higher with the hosts in contention at the top of the Southern Premier League. The Rebels, who were on a nine-match winning streak gave their visitors a run for their money, but Dartford’s determination and two late goals saw them scrape through in a 3-2 victory.

Less than five minutes had gone when Elliot Bradbrook scored an own goal, but the captain made up for it by scoring his 100th goal for the Darts to level the cup tie. In the second half, Deren Ibrahim gave away a penalty which James Dobson netted to give the hosts the lead again. With five minutes remaining, it was Bradbrook’s turn to score from the spot and with the tie heading for a replay Andy Pugh calmly slotted home the last-minute winner.

Since the New Year the Rebels form has been below par with just one league win in 2019. That victory completed a double over third place Chelmsford City, but the other eight fixtures have ended in three draws and five defeats. Management duo, Neal Baker and Jon Underwood have still led Slough Town to a healthy twelfth place, nine points behind the Darts, who occupy the last playoff place available.

The Berkshire club have taken one point from their last four games, losing to Gloucester city on Tuesday night. Matthew Lench, who rejoined the Rebels last month scored after thirteen minutes. Lench signed from Wealdstone, after some injury setbacks and a lack of opportunity, on the same day top scorer James Dobson left for Sutton United. That leaves Chris Flood leading the line who has one less goal than Dobson. Gloucester City came from behind to condemn Slough Town to a third defeat in four, a match which followed the Berkshire club’s 1-1 draw with Hampton and Richmond Borough. On that occasion Lee Togwell’s goal was cancelled out in the last minute by Marcel Barrington, denying the Rebels their first victory since mid-January.

Head to Head

Slough Town wins: 0 / Dartford wins: 3 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Slough Town (LDLLDW) Dartford (WWDLWD)
Gloucester City H 1-2 Bath City H 3-0
Hampton & Richmond A 1-1 Woking A 1-0
Billericay Town A 2-3 Concord Rangers H 1-1
Weston-super-Mare A 0-2 Chelmsford City A 1-2
Chippenham Town H 2-2 St Albans City H 3-2
Chelmsford City H 1-0 Wealdstone A 1-1

Previous Meetings

08.12.2018 Dartford 1 Slough Town 1
01.10.2016 Slough Town 2 Dartford 3
29.10.1988 Slough Town 1 Dartford 2
10.01.1981 Dartford 4 Slough Town 1

Stats

The Darts named an unchanged side in their last match for only the third time in the league this season. The last time Dartford had no changes to the starting XI was in November when the same eleven played against Gloucester City, Oxford City then Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Lee Noble is now just five goals away from joining four others in the squad who have scored 50 or more goals for the club. Charlie Sheringham reached this milestone this season joining Elliot Bradbrook, Ryan Hayes, Andy Pugh.

Slough Town have conceded just ten of their goals in the first half, the fewest in the division.

On This Day

Two games away from a Wembley appearance in the F.A Trophy, Dartford left Blundell Park needing a miracle. Grimsby Town beat the Darts 3-0 in the first leg with two goals from Craig Disley and one from Andy Cook, Lee Noble was red carded in stoppage time. In league matches on 16 February, Dartford are unbeaten in five games. The last league outing on this day was back in 2008 when the Darts beat Redbridge in the Isthmian Division One North, Jay May and John Guest netted the goals. Dartford also won 2-0 six years earlier in the Southern League Division One South against Chatham and beat Witney Town 1-0 in the Southern League South in 1999. Two draws against Dorchester Town in 1991 and Salisbury in 1980 take the unbeaten run back to 1974, when Dartford were beaten 2-0 at Kettering Town.

Dartford v Bath City

Dartford face yet another side aiming for a promotion challenge when they host an in form Bath City in the National South this weekend.

The Darts last four league games have been against teams pushing for the playoffs or the league title. A result on Saturday will see a decent return from those fixtures, especially off the back of Tuesday’s dramatic victory over title contenders Woking. Ronnie Vint headed home a 97th minute winner at the Kingfield Stadium to record Dartford’s first win at the Cards home and move his side into seventh.

In fact it was a game of cards with the hosts finishing the game with just nine men. Ben Gerring was sent off after the official was reminded he had already booked the Woking defender by the Darts management team. Then Armani Little was given a straight red card for striking Lee Noble. Sensing the advantage the Darts pushed for a goal and were rewarded when Vint headed into the Woking goal at the far post.

After the excellent win, Vint spoke to www.kentonline and said: “I got a bit of stick in the first half down in that corner so I thought ‘do you know what, 90th minute, I’m going to give a little bit back here’ and it was nice to see it go in”, he added: “The gaffers have been on my case about getting on the end of things and what a time to get my first header of the season. I’m delighted for the boys”.

The central defender praised his teammates and exclaimed: “It was a proper Dartford performance and we deserved three points.It’s a massive result for us. We’ve been in and out of the play-offs but we’re going in the right direction now”, he continued: “Recently the boys have been brilliant. Everyone’s getting on, they’re gelling and it’s a pleasure to be in the changing-room. When we get results like this, it can only help us going forward. We’re back in the play-offs now and we’ve got to stay in there”.

The Darts won the previous encounter against the Romans on the opening day of the season in dramatic circumstances. At Twerton Park, Dartford had to leave it late to come from behind and secure a 2-1 victory. Bath City’s summer recruit Adam Mann scored after ten minutes, but his strike was cancelled out by Elliot Bradbrook’s header in first half injury time.

With the game heading for a draw Robbie Cundy conceded a dubious penalty only for Bradbrook to miss the target. A couple of minutes later the Darts were awarded a second spot kick which was clear cut decision, this time new signing Delano Sam-Yorke stepped up and scored the winner.

Dartford did host Bath City in April during last season’s title push and on that occasion, it was a tenser affair. Although the Darts took a first half lead when Danny Mills headed in at the far post, the hosts had to wait until seventy minutes to secure the points through Alfie Pavey, who pounced on Brown’s shot across goal and keep up the decent home form versus the Romans.

In March 2017, Dartford recorded the same score with goals from Bradbrook and Duane Ofori-Acheampong and in January 2016, Dartford won 4-1. Andy Pugh’s brace and goals from Ryan Hayes and Callum McNaughton helped the Darts to victory, David Pratt scored for the visitors.

Bath City have finished ninth in the previous two campaigns and during pre-season manager Jerry Gill was confident the Romans would be challengers this term. The Romans have moved up the standings since the festive period and are currently on a nine-match unbeaten league run. Sitting in fourth place, six points behind league leaders Torquay United, Bath City have not lost on the road in the National South since 1 September.

The West Country side have yet to taste defeat in 2019 and their last outing ended in a 0-0 draw against Gloucester City. Without Kebin Amankwaah and Sean Rigg due to injury, the Romans had to settle for a point. Goalkeeper, Ryan Clarke saved a first half penalty to deny their opponents of their best chance, whilst Fredrick Hinds had the ball in the back of the net for Bath City, only for his effort to be ruled out for offside.

Since the back end of December, the Romans have been on form winning six and drawing three. Notably the Somerset club have thrashed Chippenham Town 5-0 and recorded excellent results by beating Torquay United 3-2 and Chelmsford city 2-0.

Although he has not scored in his last four matches Ross Stearn can be a threat up front, the 28-year-old has scored nine league goals this season. The striker has netted a brace against the Darts before at Princes Park during a 6-3 F.A Cup defeat to Sutton United. Ryan Brunt and Anthony Straker have also been amongst the goals this season with eight and seven scored respectively.

Since the opening day of the season, Dartford’s squad has seen numerous changes in contrast to the last starting eleven Bath City selected. On Tuesday night, the Darts fielded six players who had joined or rejoined the club after the opening day (Bailey Vose, Daniel Johnson, Jordan Wynter, Charlie Sheringham, Phil Roberts and Ryan Hayes, including substitutes used then Andre Coker can be added to that list). Bath City selected just three new players compared to the last encounter with the Darts, all of which were loanees added to the squad last month.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 32 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Current League Form

Dartford (WDLWDW) Bath City (DWWDWW)
Woking A 1-0 Gloucester City A 0-0
Concord Rangers H 1-1 Torquay United A 3-2
Chelmsford City A 1-2 East Thurrock United H 1-0
St Albans City H 3-2 Slough Town H 0-0
Wealdstone A 1-1 Dulwich Hamlet A 2-0
Welling United H 1-0 Chippenham Town H 5-0

Previous Meetings

04.08.2018 Bath City 1 Dartford 2
21.04.2018 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
24.10.2017 Bath City 1 Dartford 2
04.03.2017 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
22.10.2016 Bath City 0 Dartford 1
16.01.2016 Dartford 4 Bath City 1

Stats

Dartford have recorded six straight wins against Bath City completing a double in the past two campaigns.

The Romans last defeated the Darts back in 1990 when they won 1-0 in the Southern Premier League.

Dartford have kept four clean sheets in the previous six meetings against Bath City.

Bath City have kept seven clean sheets from their last nine fixtures.

Tuesday’s hero, Vint can make his 150th Dartford appearance if selected this weekend.

On This Day

Brendon Cass controversially scored a ‘ghost goal’ against AFC Sudbury to rescue a point and keep the Darts on top of the Isthmian Division One North table. The top two went head to head eleven years ago and it was John Guest who headed Dartford in front. The hosts fought back to lead with two goals from Jamie Rowe. On the stroke of half-time Cass had a shot saved by goalkeeper only for the ball to ricochet of the striker’s leg towards goal, an AFC Sudbury defender slid and cleared the ball off the line but the official awarded a goal to the Darts. The game ended up 2-2 contributing to the 89 points Dartford accrued to win the title, AFC Sudbury finished runners up.

Woking v Dartford

Dartford were without a game on the weekend, but are back in National South action this week when they visit title challengers Woking.

Four and half years have passed since the Darts last visited the Kingfield Stadium, a venue Dartford have yet to record a win at. Last time the two sides played in the National South they were going head to head for the title, with the Cards triumphing and the Darts going up in the playoffs.

Dartford have gone four games without a win on their travels. Defeats to Welling United and Chelmsford City sandwiched draws against East Thurrock United and Wealdstone. Despite the barren away spell manager Jamie Coyle has belief in the squad, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: ““If everyone does their job and wins their individual battles, there’s no reason why, with the quality we’ve got in our team, we can’t go there and win”, he continued: “Everyone’s beating everyone this season and we go into every game believing we can win. It’ll be no different when we go to Woking”.

During the National League years, Giuseppe Sole scored Woking’s winner from the penalty spot in 2012 in a game which saw Lee Noble pick up two yellow cards inside five minutes. The Cards claimed a 3-0 victory over a year later with Jack Marriott, now of Derby County on the scoresheet. In the last meeting Rory McAuley put the Darts ahead, but Sole was on hand again by equalising in injury time.

In the two campaigns Dartford met Woking in the National South they lost 1-0 in the promotion winning season and were involved in an entertaining 2-2 draw in the season before. Ryan Hayes cleverly lobbed goalkeeper Andy Little to put the Darts in front. After Elvis Hammond and Craig Faulconbridge gave Woking the lead, George Purcell produced a stunning half-volley over Little for the leveller.

Dartford were without a fixture on the weekend due to Hemel Hempstead Town’s involvement in the F.A Trophy. In their last outing the Darts were held to a 1-1 draw by Concord Rangers at Princes Park. Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle made three changes to the side that lost to Chelmsford City bringing in Elliot Bradbrook for the injured Billy Crook, Andre Coker replaced Ryan Hayes and Lee Noble was back in league action after serving a three-match ban. Dartford took the lead when former Beachboy, Ben Greenhalgh scored against his former club. Concord Rangers equalised when Jack Midson scored a penalty and after the Essex club were reduced to ten men, the Darts couldn’t turn a draw into victory.

Relegated from the National League last term Woking are challenging for the title and an immediate return. The Cards are going toe to toe with Torquay United who followed the Surrey club down to the National South. Manager, Alan Dowson was put in charge in the summer and the former Hampton and Richmond Borough boss has guided Woking to second so far, four points behind league leaders Torquay United. The Cards also have two games in hand, built up after a fantastic F.A Cup run which saw Woking reach the third round by beating Tooting and Mitcham United, Kempston Rovers, Welling United and Torquay United before causing a cupset against Swindon Town. The Cards lost admirably to Premier League opposition Watford by 2-0.

On the weekend, like many other fixtures, Woking’s game was called off meaning there last outing ended in defeat at home. Wealdstone ended the Surrey sides eleven-game unbeaten league run, but Dowson and company can still overhaul leaders Torquay United if they win their games in hand. Woking lost 2-0 failing to score for only the second time this term, the only other time was the reverse fixture against the Stones in August.

Likely to come back to Princes Park, utility man Nathan Collier has been a regular starter for Woking this term with 32 appearances. Collier worked with Dowson at Hampton and Richmond Borough and played for the Darts over two spells racking up 21 appearances last term for Dartford. Another former Dart in the squad is Duane Ofori-Acheampong, but the striker has been out of favour and has managed just 15 appearances, ten of those from the subs bench.

Due to the weather conditions Woking have had extra days to recover from their reverse against Wealdstone. Top scorers Jake Hyde and Max Kretzschmar have both been suffering with injuries and the additional respite may help them recover in time. Dowson has also strengthened the squad by adding Rhys Murrell-Williamson and Bradley Hudson-Odoi, brother of Chelsea’s Callum.

Head to Head

Woking wins: 5 / Dartford wins: 4 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Woking (LDWWWW) Dartford (DLWDWD)
Wealdstone H 0-2 Concord Rangers H 1-1
St Albans City A 1-1 Chelmsford City A 1-2
Welling United H 2-0 St Albans City H 3-2
Hampton & Richmond A 3-0 Wealdstone A 1-1
Eastbourne Borough H 2-0 Welling United H 1-0
Hampton & Richmond H 3-1 East Thurrock United A 2-2

Previous Meetings

03.03.2015 Dartford 1 Woking 3
12.08.2014 Woking 1 Dartford 1
18.02.2014 Dartford 5 Woking 1
12.11.2013 Woking 3 Dartford 0
01.04.2013 Dartford 4 Woking 1
14.08.2010 Woking 1 Dartford 0

Stats

Dartford have picked up an average of 1.15 points per game on their travels whilst Woking have averaged 2.08 points per game at home.

The Darts are yet to keep a clean sheet against Woking in eleven attempts.

Woking have the third best attack with 50 goals and third best defence conceding just 27.

On This Day

Lee Noble scored against his future club eleven years ago as Dartford battled with ten men for 85 minutes to earn a 2-2 draw at Brentwood Town. Jay May was dismissed after just five minutes leaving the Darts up against it. To make matters worse Danny Dafter, who also joined Dartford put the Essex club ahead. Dartford took the lead through goals from Brendon Cass and John Guest before Noble levelled in the last minute. It has been nineteen years since Dartford won on 5 February in a Southern League South contest against Tonbridge Angels, the Darts triumphed 3-0. Since then Dartford drew 1-1 with Erith and Belvedere in 2005, drew with Brentwood Town and lost 3-0 to Gateshead in the F.A Trophy third round.

Dartford v Concord Rangers

Dartford could move above this weekend’s opponents and get back into the playoff places when they host Adam Flanagan’s former side Concord Rangers. 

The Darts dropped out of the top seven on goal difference last weekend and are currently two places and two points behind the Beachboys. It will be the third match in a row where the Darts have faced a team in the playoff spots during a period manager Jamie Coyle described as crucial. 

Victory over St Albans City a fortnight ago was balanced out with a late defeat away to Chelmsford City. During those two games Phil Roberts netted his maiden goal and has now scored three in his last two appearances. The striker scored a brace in the 3-2 home win over St Albans City and he opened the scoring against Chelmsford City last Saturday inside five minutes. The Darts were on course for a rare double over their Essex rivals having beaten them in August, however the Clarets scored two goals in the final five minutes to end Dartford’s three game unbeaten run. 

Lee Noble will be available against Concord Rangers after serving a three-match suspension. Meanwhile, Callum Driver has spent the last three league fixtures on the bench after returning from injury. Elliot Bradbrook was not selected against the Clarets in the matchday squad, which paved the way for Joe Healy to make his debut in midfield, having joined from Welling United. Mark Onyemah has been out with injury since he hobbled of on New Year’s Day and Andy Pugh is still making a recovery from his broken leg he suffered in pre-season. 

Having started the previous two league games, Ryan Hayes could face the side he joined in the summer. The creative winger came back to Dartford after he started to be left out of the Concord Rangers side. Hayes played an hour against the Darts back in August, that day the 32-year-old came out on the winning side when Alex Wall and D’Sean Theobalds scored for the Essex club. On the other wing Ben Greenhalgh is likely to come up against his former team, the midfielder had to go in goal on Tuesday night after Bailey Vose was red carded in the Kent Senior Cup penalties defeat against Maidstone United. 

Wall will miss out on a return to Princes Park for the first time since leaving in the summer. The striker opened the scoring and was sent off last weekend meaning his two game ban will start this weekend. Wall impressed for the Darts in pre-season and had initially signed for the club, but due to Andy Pugh’s injury a rethink by Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan saw Wall move on and picked up by Concord Rangers. The 28-year-old has scored 14 National South goals this term, only two away from the three top scorers in the league.  

Two other familiar faces likely to return to Princes Park are Connor Essam and Tyrone Sterling. The defenders both played for the Darts with Essam having two spells with the club, the first whilst on loan from Gillingham and the second when he was on loan from Crawley Town. Sterling made 36 appearances during the 2013/2014 season when the Darts finished in the bottom four of the National League but were reprieved.

Concord Rangers are still waiting for their first league win of 2019 and have drawn their last two fixtures 2-2. The Beachboys shared the points with Wealdstone thanks to a Wall brace and his equaliser six minutes from time. Against Billericay Town they left it late once more, after Wall’s third goal in two games Billericay Town levelled the match before both teams were reduced to ten men. The Blues took the lead on the hour and led until the final minute when Jack Midson earned a point for Concord Rangers. This month Sammy Moore’s side have drawn three and lost one, but that defeat is the only one in their last ten outings, they have drawn five of their last eight matches. 

At Princes Park, Dartford have lost just once against Concord Rangers winning the other four and drawing twice. The previous two home games against the Beachboys have finished with the Darts coming out on top. Lasts season goals from Elliot Bradbrook and Lyle Della-Verde secured three points and in the campaign before that Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Danny Harris netted in a 2-1 triumph.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Concord Rangers wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (LWDWDL) Concord Rangers (DDLDWW)
Chelmsford City A 1-2 Billericay Town H 2-2
St Albans City H 3-2 Wealdstone H 2-2
Wealdstone A 1-1 Hungerford Town A 1-2
Welling United H 1-0 East Thurrock United H 1-1
East Thurrock United A 2-2 Welling United A 1-0
Welling United A 0-2 East Thurrock United A 2-0

Previous Meetings

14.08.2018 Concord Rangers 2 Dartford 0
06.01.2018 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 1
15.08.2017 Dartford 2 Concord Rangers 0
11.03.2017 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 1
24.09.2016 Dartford 2 Concord Rangers 1
27.02.2016 Dartford 1 Concord Rangers 2

Stats

Dartford have lost just one in the last ten home league games (W7 D2 L1).

Concord Rangers have scored the most goals in the 15 minutes before half-time (10), the Darts have conceded more than any other National South team in that period (13).

The two late goals conceded at Chelmsford City takes Dartford’s tally in the final 15 minutes to eight this season, six teams have conceded more in this period.

On This Day

Current Dartford boss and former Concord Rangers manager, Adam Flanagan headed home the winner from a Ryan Hayes corner against Arlesey Town eleven years ago. A 1-0 Isthmian Division One North victory kept the Darts four points clear at the top of the table. The last two fixtures on 26 January have ended in defeat, against Welling United in the Kent Senior Cup nine years ago and Wealdstone in the National South three years ago. In 1991, Colin Sowerby scored a hat-trick at Watling Street to help the Darts thrash Crawley Town 6-1 in the Southern Premier League, Simon Quail made his debut in that game. Sowerby ended up playing 217 games for the club scoring 48 times.

Dartford v Maidstone United

Dartford host current Kent Senior Cup holders and National League side Maidstone United in the last eight of the competition this week.

The two most successful clubs in the Kent Senior Cup go head to head for the first time in almost three years. The Darts have won the county cup eleven times compared to the Stones who have triumphed on seventeen occasions. In April 2016, the Darts won the previous meeting 2-1 in the National South despite defender Lee Burns ending up in goal. Elliot Bradbrook scored a penalty against his former team, but the midfielder’s opener was cancelled out by Keaton Wood’s own goal. Loanee, Nathan Ferguson scored a second-half winner at the Gallagher Stadium before injury to goalkeeper Derren Ibrahim led to Burns playing between the sticks.

It’s been 28 years since Dartford faced their former tenants in the Kent Senior Cup. The Darts won the first round tie 2-1 to get revenge for defeat the previous season at the second round stage when they lost 3-2. Whilst Dartford play their first game in the competition, the Stones got through the last round by knocking out Dover Athletic. The Darts were scheduled to take on Thamesmead Town in round two, but their opponents withdrew from the cup after chairman Paul Bowden-Brown, once chairman at Maidstone United was forced to close down the club.

The Stones cruised past Dover Athletic with goals from Ollie Muldoon, Olu Durojaiye, George McLennan and Blair Turgott. Goalkeeper, Josh Strizovic was given his debut and conceded to late goals, one from Harrison Kempston’s penalty and the other by Jordan Spencer. Maidstone United fielded a strong first team against a Dover Athletic side who put out their academy players.

Maidstone United won the final in a penalty shoot-out last season against Folkestone Invicta. Having been held to a goalless draw, the Stones won 4-2 on penalties. On the way to the final they beat Tonbridge Angels, Gillingham and Bromley.

Dartford last won the Kent Senior Cup three years ago when they defeated Charlton Athletic. This season under new management, the Darts have been inconsistent in the National South despite sitting in eigth place. On Saturday they lost to Chelmsford City ending an unbeaten run of four games. Phil Roberts continued his scoring streak with a goal inside four minutes. Dartford were left hanging on towards the end and the Clarets pressure finally rewarded the home side when Johnathan Giles then Rhys Murphy scored in the final five minutes. This season Dartford’s cup runs were short-lived going out in the F.A Cup third qualifying round and at the first hurdle in the F.A Trophy.

A host of former Stones players have played a part in Dartford’s season this term including manager Jamie Coyle. The defender has used his contacts to shape the Darts squad by bringing in Jordan Wynter and Andre Coker on loan. In the summer Callum Driver returned to Princes Park from the Gallagher Stadium, the full back played for the Stones in the last meeting. Last week, Joe Healy was signed by the club and the midfielder made his debut at Chelmsford City, the 32-year-old played for Maidstone United during the 2015-16 season. Delano-Sam-Yorke who is now on loan at Kingstonian also came in from Maidstone United during the summer. Going the other way, Jamie Philpot is on trial after playing 25 times for the Darts this season and scoring five goals.

Maidstone United also changed their manager after a struggling start in the National League. Long serving former boss Jay Saunders left after seven games with the Stones down in nineteenth place. The highly rated Harry Wheeler was appointed after his fall out with Billericay Town and sacked just before the New Year having won five of his nineteen games at the helm. Wheeler did however lead the team to a shock F.A Cup victory over Macclesfield Town before going out to Oldham Athletic in round two. In the F.A Trophy, the Stones are in the last sixteen having beaten Woking under Wheeler then Oxford City under Caretaker Managers Simon Walton and Tristan Lewis, now they face Salford City in the third round.

The Stones are now second from bottom in the National League and six points from safety after their 3-0 home loss against Dagenham and Redbridge on Saturday. The winners of this quarter-final tie will join Bromley and Gillingham in the semi-final.

Head to Head in the Kent Senior Cup

Dartford wins: 7 / Maidstone United wins: 6 / Draws: 2

Stats

Dartford are unbeaten in six games against Maidstone United in all competitions winning five and drawing one.

The Stones last beat the Darts 12 years ago in the Isthmian Division One South winning 4-1.

At home Dartford are unbeaten in eight against their local rivals, last tasting home defeat versus Maidstone United in 1981, a Kent Senior Cup tie.

On This Day

Dartford showed some incredible spirit to beat promotion chasing Farnborough Town with ten men. Charlie Sheringham netted his spot kick which was cancelled out by Bradley Bubb. Then came the moment that turned the game, Lee Noble was red carded before half-time for a high foot on the goalkeeper. The decision riled the Princes Park crowd which in turn lifted the players in the second half. Against the odds Dartford took the lead through Sheringham then added two more. A bandaged up Tom Champion summed up the fighting spirit by netting the third after he suffered a head injury and Danny Harris made it 4-1. The last Kent Senior Cup fixture for Dartford on this day was back in 1979 when the Darts won a Quarter-Final replay 4-2 against Margate.

Chelmsford City v Dartford

Dartford are involved in another clash against playoff hopefuls this weekend when they visit Chelmsford City on Saturday in the National South.

Over previous campaigns there has not been much between the two sides in where they have finished in the National South. The Clarets may have had the better in head to head matches, but the Darts are often better off come the end of season.

Dartford have won one of the last seven meetings, but have not finished below the Essex side in the football pyramid since 2011. Last time out Elliot Bradbrook separated the teams as the Darts triumphed 1-0, stopping Chelmsford City making it five consecutive wins at Princes Park. In a niggly contest, which saw managers from either side, Adam Flanagan and Rod Stringer sent off, Bradbrook’s looping header thirteen minutes from time claimed the three points for the hosts.

Joint manager, Jamie Coyle praised former captain Elliot Bradbrook when speaking to www.kentonline.co.uk, he commented: “He’s so important, he’s a leader and he led by example”. Coyle also highlighted the contribution made by Roberts, he added: “I’m really pleased for Phil Roberts. He was electric, unplayable, and he’s taken his goal brilliantly at the end – it was worthy of winning the game”, he continued: “He’s worked so hard to get sharp and to get match fit. It was always going to be a bedding-in phase with him but he’s shown the quality he’s got”.

Away from home, the Darts have claimed just one league win in the last nine attempts when visiting the Essex club. That triumph came four years ago on Boxing Day 2015, Andy Pugh getting the goal that mattered. Dartford’s only other victory in the last 21 years was an F.A Cup tie in September 2016 which ended 3-2. Last season, Chelmsford City ran out 1-0 winners with a goal from Michael West. The Clarets had to hold on for seventy minutes with ten men when Kudus Oyenuga, now a Dart, was sent off. Oyenuga could have the chance to face some of his former colleagues if selected.

Last weekend, Dartford started the day in ninth against a St Albans City side aiming for the top seven. Phil Roberts, formerly of Chelmsford City scored his first goals for the Darts in an entertaining 3-2 win. Bradbrook’s stunning 25-yard strike put the hosts in front, but Zane Banton levelled for the Hertfordshire club. Roberts slid in from close range to regain Dartford’s lead, but once more St Albans City struck back on half time through Sam Merson. Roberts calmly lobbed Dean Snedker with two minutes to go and help the Darts to victory, which moved his side into sixth place.

Roberts will want to continue his goal scoring antics when he comes up against one of his former goalkeepers. Whilst at Braintree Town, the striker played in the same team as Nathan McDonald, now at Chelmsford City. Roberts went on to sign for Hemel Hempstead Town before moving to Dartford last month.

Another Dart, Billy Crook was also in the Braintree Town team with McDonald, the midfielder made an impressive debut for Dartford on the weekend against St Albans City. Coyle told www.kentonline.co.uk: “Crooky had a brilliant debut considering he hasn’t played for weeks. He’s a player that is so comfortable on the ball and he can make you tick and build through the thirds. I’m really pleased for Billy. We knew he’s got quality and he’s only going to get better. He’s not fit at the moment and he got through 90 minutes because we’ve had another injury with Ronnie Vint so he’s only going to improve. It’s exciting times ahead”.

Vint was replaced at half-time following an injury to his knee, Lee Noble was out through suspension and will serve the last game of his ban at Chelmsford City, whilst Mark Onyemah was an unused substitute after recovering from injury. and Andy Pugh is on the road to recovery.

Meanwhile, Chelmsford City who had hit some good form with four consecutive league wins suffered a defeat versus Slough Town. Joe Anderson was back in the side after recovering from injury and top scorer Rhys Murphy was rested, but manager Rod Stringer did include midfielder Chez Isaac, who made 12 appearances for Dartford this term. With the help of a deflected shot, Slough Town’s Simon Dunn scored the decisive goal to end Chelmsford City’s winning streak. With the way results went, the Darts are now just two points shy of the Clarets with a game in hand.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 37 / Chelmsford City wins: 55 / Draws: 21

Current League Form

Chelmsford City (LWWWWL) Dartford (WDWDLW)
Slough Town A 0-1 St Albans City H 3-2
Hampton & Richmond H 2-0 Wealdstone A 1-1
Billericay Town A 1-0 Welling United H 1-0
Hemel Hempstead Town H 2-1 East Thurrock United A 2-2
Billericay Town H 5-1 Welling United A 0-2
Bath City A 0-2 Hungerford Town H 2-1

Previous Meetings

07.08.2018 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 0
10.02.2018 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 2
21.10.2017 Chelmsford City 1 Dartford 0
07.05.2017 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 2
03.05.2017 Chelmsford City 0 Dartford 0
18.02.2017 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1

Stats

Dartford are the only team in the top half of the National South to have a negative goal difference.

Only Torquay United (7) have conceded fewer goals than Dartford (8) in the last half hour of matches.

Chelmsford City are the most potent in the last half hour of the first half scoring 18 times, more than any other side in the league. Along with Woking the Clarets have scored the most in the first half (23).

The Clarets have top scorer Rhys Murphy, Scott Fenwick and Thomas Wraight in their ranks. Between them they have scored 32 league goals, one more than the entire Dartford team this season.

On This Day

Dartford last played on this day eleven years ago when they traveled to Great Wakering Rovers and won 2-0 in the Isthmian Division One North. A first half double by Ryan Hayes put the Darts four points clear at the top, the side also included Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle at the back. The only other fixture played on 19 January since Dartford reformed was back in 2002 when they lost 3-1 against Spalding United in the Southern League Division One East.

Dartford v St Albans City

Dartford will need to extend their unbeaten home run to four this weekend to be in with a chance of leapfrogging fellow playoff chasers St Albans City.

Victory will move the Darts above the Saints who hold a one point advantage leading up to the National South fixture. The Hertfordshire club already got one over Dartford this term by claiming a 2-0 triumph at Clarence Park in September. Solomon Sambou and Khale Da Costa scored the goals to earn St Albans City three points and earn a fourth win in five over the Darts.

However, the last meeting at Princes Park went Dartford’s way partly due to a former player and last season’s National South Player of the Year. Alfie Pavey found the back of the St Albans City net and unfortunately so did defender Tom Bender to score an own goal. It wasn’t the first time Bender had scored in Saints shirt at Princes Park, during the 2016/2017 campaign he scored at the right end past Bailey Vose, who was making his league debut for the Darts in his first spell with the club, Sam Merson netted the other as the Darts fell to a 2-0 defeat. In February 2016, Andy Pugh was on hand twice to give Dartford a 2-0 home victory.

Dartford were denied all three points last weekend in second half injury time. Visiting an out of form Wealdstone without the suspended Lee Noble, the injured Charlie Sheringham and Mark Onyemah, the Darts called in Jamie Philpot up front, Ryan Hayes in midfield and Jordan Wynter at the back. Former captain, Elliot Bradbrook scored a header with twenty minutes remaining, but his seventh goal of the campaign was not enough as Wealdstone’s Eoin McKeown equalised very late on. The draw extended Dartford’s unbeaten run to three as they look towards the playoff places.

This week, Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle have added another member to the squad by signing 28-year-old midfielder Billy Crook from Braintree Town. A statement from the joint managers said: ”Billy showed last season against Dartford, what a great player he is and this was recognised by getting in the team of the year. He was a major part in the success Braintree had and after not being able to do something in the summer it was good to finally be able to bring him to the club”. Crook caused heartbreak to Dartford in May when his goal knocked the Darts out of the National South playoffs.

St Albans City travel to Princes Park on the back of a seven game unbeaten run. Their best sequence of the season has lifted the Saints towards the playoffs after previously losing three in a row. Four wins by a single goal margins and three draws have earned Ian Allinson’s side 15 points from the last 21 available.

The Saints top scorer this season, David Moyo netted the winner last weekend against Oxford City to record his tenth goal of the campaign. Moyo joined the club in the summer after leaving Hemel Hempstead Town. Tom Bender is still plying his trade with the Hertfordshire club, the defender played 20 times for the Darts during the 2014/2015 campaign.

Despite victory over Oxford City, Ian Allinson thought his side was second best and needed some luck, he told www.hertsad.co.uk: ““We haven’t played well. I can’t blame the players for their commitment and endeavour and work rate but the quality was poor”, he added: ““We can’t play well every week and sometimes you have to dig deep and we’ve done that. You have to ride your luck at times and we’ve picked up 13 points from the five games”.

Head to Head

St Albans City wins: 5 / Dartford wins: 7/ Draws: 4

Current Form

Dartford (DWDLWD) St Albans City (WDWWWD)
Wealdstone A 1-1 Oxford City H 1-0
Welling United H 1-0 Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-1
East Thurrock United A 2-2 Billericay Town H 2-1
Welling United A 0-2 Hemel Hempstead Town H 2-1
Hungerford Town H 2-1 Eastbourne Borough A 2-1
Slough Town H 1-1 Wealdstone H 0-0

Previous Meetings

01.09.2018 St Albans City 2 Dartford 0
03.02.2018 St Albans City 4 Dartford 0
28.10.2017 Dartford 2 St Albans City 1
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

Stats

Dartford have only lost one at home to St Albans City which was in November 2016, however the Darts have won one and lost four of the last five meetings.

The Darts have failed to score in four of the last five matches against St Albans City.

However, the Darts were unbeaten for the first ten games against the Saints winning six and drawing four up until the recent run of four defeats in five.

All but one of Elliot Bradbrook’s goals this season (his last six) have come in the last 20 minutes of matches.

Former Dart, Tom Bender has scored in his last two visits at Princes Park, one for St Albans City and the other an own goal.

The Saints have scored the most goals (5) in 90+ minutes of games. They have scored 30% of their goals in the final 15 minutes of matches.

On This Day

Dartford have scored 12 goals in their last three home games on 12 January with the most recent match played six years ago against Bromley in the F.A Trophy third round. Dominic Green scored his only two goals for the club in a loan spell that spanned five appearances, Lee Burns and Harry Crawford scored the others in a 4-2 win. In 2008, Dartford trounced Ilford in the Isthmian Division One North. Brendon Cass scored twice, Jay May, John Guest and Steve Norman to complete the 5-0 rout. Another cup tie took place on this day in 1988 with the Darts beating Hastings Town 3-0 in the Southern League Cup third round.

 

Wealdstone v Dartford

Dartford will be hoping consecutive wins will get them back into the playoff places this weekend when they travel to Wealdstone. 

The Darts already enjoyed getting revenge on their local rivals this week and will want to do the same to the Stones, who comfortably won the reverse fixture back in August. Bradley Bubb netted a brace and Jeffrey Monakana scored the other in a 3-0 victory at Princes Park.

On New Year’s Day, Dartford extended their unbeaten home run to three with a win over Welling United. Ronnie Vint claimed the winner four minutes from time, his goal just as scrappy as the game itself. Victory put to bed a defeat against the Wings on Boxing Day, the defender spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk after the game and said: “It’s great to win a local derby and it’s nice for the fans – they deserve it”, he added: “We were poor on Boxing Day. We know the standard that we need to reach and we knew that we weren’t good enough all over the pitch”.

Joint Manager, Adam Flanagan was pleased with his side’s performance, he commented: “I felt we competed a lot better than we did previously and on the day we deserved a goal. We put a lot of good balls into the box, their keeper made a good save in the first half, and I felt we were asking more questions than they were”.

Flanagan also admitted he and joint boss Jamie Coyle learnt from their mistakes on Boxing Day and choose to alter the team formation, he explained: “Analysing ourselves, we missed a trick on Boxing Day. We analysed their home record and we went too defensive on the day, me and Jamie have held our hands up over that”, he continued: “On New Year’s Day, we wanted to give a better account of ourselves, especially going forward, and I think we did that. It was a good performance by everyone, there wasn’t any stand-out player. It was a real collective that worked hard from each other”.

The Darts last league defeat at Princes Park came against league leaders Torquay United, the only other team to take maximum points away with them this term is Wealdstone.

Victory followed on from a determined display at East Thurrock United where the Darts had to rescue a point with ten men. Lee Noble’s sending off means he will miss this weekend’s game against Wealdstone, whilst Mark Onyemah hobbled off on New Year’s Day against Welling United and Andy Pugh is on the road to recovery from his pre-season injury.

Wealdstone also won on New Year’s Day against newly promoted Slough Town. Their triumph was much needed and halted a run of five without a win in all competitions. Connor Stevens popped up with the winner to end a four and half game goal drought for the club. The Stones are now in thirteenth place on 33 points, five behind Dartford in eighth.

The Middlesex club will be without Bradley Bubb, scorer of two goals at Princes Park in August. The striker has been suffering with a knee injury and faces a number of weeks sidelined, Bubb is the Stones top scorer in the league this term on six alongside David Pratt.

Dartford could see the return of Simon Mensah, who only managed two starts and a substitute appearance with the Darts this season. The midfielder started in Wealdstone’s win over Slough Town, in a game that saw a return to the starting lineup for Pratt, Monakana and Bradley Hudson-Odoi.

The Darts have won on their last two trips to Grosvenor Vale, last season leaving late to win 2-1 against ten men. After the Stones had Iffy Allen dismissed they took the lead through Dan Fitchett. However, two goals in three minutes from Danny Mills and Alfie Pavey in the final ten minutes clinched victory. The year before, Dartford ended a run of seven without a win at Wealdstone, goals from Luke Wanadio, Ryan Hayes, Elliot Bradbrook and Andy Pugh clinched a 4-0 win.

Head to Head

Wealdstone wins: 14 / Dartford wins: 13 / Draws: 13

Current League Form

Wealdstone (WLLDLW) Dartford (WDLWDL)
Slough Town A 1-0 Welling United H 1-0
Oxford City H 0-2 East Thurrock United A 2-2
Slough Town H 0-3 Welling United A 0-2
St Albans City A 0-0 Hungerford Town H 2-1
Eastbourne Borough H 0-3 Slough Town H 1-1
Concord Rangers A 3-2 Torquay United H 0-2

Previous Meetings

18.08.2018 Dartford 0 Wealdstone 3
17.02.2018 Wealdstone 1 Dartford 2
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

Stats

Dartford’s clean sheet on New Year’s Day was their first since mid-November and first at home since Bank Holiday August.

The Darts have conceded 11 goals in the fifteen minutes leading up to half-time, more than anyone else in the league. In that same period Wealdstone have scored just two, the fewest in the National South this season.

Ryan Hayes is looking to score in three consecutive games played for Dartford on 5 January.

On This Day

Jamie Coyle was among the goalscorers eleven years ago in a 4-0 win against Witham Town in the Isthmian Division North. The Darts last away victory on this day included further goals from Eddie McClements, Ryan Hayes and Brandon Cass. There has been only two other matches on 5 January since reforming, in 2002 the Darts lost 2-0 to Histon in the Southern League Division One East and more recently they were defeated six years ago against Alfreton Town. The National League fixture ended 3-2 to the Reds, Hayes was on the scoresheet again as well as Nathan Collier.

Dartford v Welling United

There will be no time for New Year sentiment for joint manager Jamie Coyle when his Dartford side host his former club Welling United to kick off 2019.

The former Wings boss spent one season at Park View Road leading them to tenth last term before stepping down. It will be the first time the 35 year old has faced his old team. A year ago he watched the Darts beat his Welling United side twice with the fixture at Princes Park finishing 4-1.

However, it’s not been a great Christmas for Coyle so far. On Boxing Day he watched the Darts fall to a 2-0 defeat against Welling United in the away fixture. The former Dartford defender stated that his side lost the key battles and to rub salt into the Dartford wound to former players scored. Josh Hill nodded his first goal for the Wings from a Nassim L’Ghoul corner and in the second half Danny Mills secured victory.

On Saturday, Coyle was sent off for dissent at East Thurrock United during the 2-2 draw. Charlie Sheringham gave the Darts an early lead which was swiped out when Tom Derry equalised for the Rocks. To make matters worse Lee Noble was red carded leaving the Darts down to ten on the pitch, a minute later Derry scored again. A man down, Dartford rallied and were rewarded when Elliot Bradbrook levelled with fifteen minutes remaining. One point from the last two outings has pushed the Darts down to tenth, two points shy of a playoff place and three behind Welling United.

In the festive clashes last time Andy Pugh and Alfie Pavey came back to haunt the Wings, both players previously had spells with Dartford’s local rivals. On New Year’s Day, a deflected Ryan Hayes shot found its way past Ryan Sandford in the Wings goal to give the hosts the lead, which lasted just five minutes. Elliot Romain equalised when he headed past Deren Ibrahim from close range, then Andy Pugh put Dartford in front before the interval. Alfie Pavey was introduced to the action and the substitute had time to add a brace to earn the Darts a festive double over the Wings.

Last year’s Boxing Day fixture served up a festive treat thanks to Pavey’s last minute wonder goal. The Darts threw away a two goal advantage created by Pugh’s third minute strike and his second goal early in the second half. Welling United halved the deficit when Callum Driver, now at the Darts scored an excellent free-kick. Another set piece made it 2-2 with Jeff Monakana’s penalty levelling the local derby. In the final minute Pavey scored the winner, scissor kicking a shot from the edge of the box for a stunning finale to a thrilling game.

Dartford have enjoyed the upper hand at home against Welling United in the league, losing just once which was five years ago. In 2016, the Darts enjoyed a 2-1 victory with goals by Alex Brown and Elliot Bradbrook and in 2014, Max Cornhill and Harry Crawford helped Dartford win by the same scoreline.

This season Welling United have been challenging at the summit thanks largely to the manager Steve King. Appointed in the summer, King has used his contacts with former clubs Whitehawk and Macclesfield Town. One of those former Whitehawk players was part of Dartford’s squad last term. Danny Mills netted an impressive 58 goals in two season’s under King at Whitehawk building up a decent reputation as a striker. Trying his luck at Ebbsfleet United didn’t quite go to plan and when the Fleet sent him on loan to the Darts his spell divided opinion. In a Dartford shirt he managed six goals in 26 appearances, but made his mark on Boxing Day.

On the weekend, the Wings were beaten by Concord Rangers, only their second home defeat of the campaign. The winner was scored after just a minute when Dean Wilks parried the ball for former Dart, tyrone Sterling to score. The loss leaves Welling United in fourth, ten points behind top spot.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 19 / Welling United wins: 8 / Draws: 10

Current League Form

Dartford (DLWDLW) Welling United (LWDLLW)
East Thurrock United A 2-2 Concord Rangers H 0-1
Welling United A 0-2 Dartford H 2-0
Hungerford Town H 2-1 Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-1
Slough Town H 1-1 Hampton & Richmond A 1-2
Torquay United A 0-2 Torquay United A 1-3
Hampton & Richmond A 1-0 Hungerford Town H 3-1

Previous Meetings

26.12.2018 Welling United 0 Dartford 2
01.01.2018 Dartford 4 Welling United 1
26.12.2017 Welling United 2 Dartford 3
28.02.2017 Welling United 0 Dartford 0
22.11.2016 Welling United 2 Dartford 2
06.09.2016 Dartford 2 Welling United 1

Stats

Dartford have won their last four home games against Welling United, their best home run against the Wings

The Darts have won 6, drew 1 and lost 1 of their last eight matches at home versus their local rivals.

Both teams have scored in this fixture in 14 of the last 16 meetings, the exceptions being a 0-0 draw in February 2017 and on Boxing Day

On This Day

Dartford’s 4-1 win on New Year’s Day last season against Welling United was the first home match on 1 January for the Darts since 1999, a 0-0 draw with Margate in the Southern League South. Two years later Dartford thrashed Sittingbourne 5-2 away from home, which started a run of seven consecutive away fixtures on New Year’s Day. The victory in 2001 was the only one until last season, Dartford went on to lose five and draw one, including a 2-1 loss at Park View Road in 2011.

 

East Thurrock United v Dartford

Dartford know completing a double over East Thurrock United this weekend could propel them back in the playoff places in the National South.

The Darts won the corresponding fixture back on Bank Holiday August beating the Rocks 2-0 at Princes Park, victory ended a run of three consecutive losses at the time. Tom Bonner fired the ball home at the far post in the first half before Higgins had his penalty saved by Deren Ibrahim. The three points were wrapped up in the second half when Ben Greenhalgh’s diving header doubled the advantage.

It was the second win in a row against East Thurrock United following on from the 1-0 triumph in April. Dartford visited Rookery Hill during their title run in and needed victory to add pressure on Havant and Waterlooville. It took until the 78th minute for the Darts to break the deadlock. Ryan Hayes worked his way down the right-wing, delivered early into the box and Danny Mills arrived with a brilliant diving header to clinch the win. Coincidentally, in the season before, Hayes was the goalscorer in the same minute to earn a 1-1 draw in Essex.

Mills came back to haunt the Darts on Boxing Day as two former players scored for rivals Welling United in the Kent derby. Goals in either half from Josh Hill and Mills earned the Wings bragging rights and pushed Dartford down to ninth place in the National South. The two sides will meet again on New Year’s Day.

Joint Manager, Jamie Coyle spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and commented: “It was disappointing, in the end we flattered to deceive a little bit. The first half was a bitty game, it was fiercely contested, especially in the middle of the park, and outside a free header from a set piece, it was a 0-0 game going in at half-time”, he continued: “We got into great positions in the final third, especially the first half, and our quality was really poor. That was the reason we couldn’t build any momentum. We have to do better. We had plenty of the ball in the first half and we just didn’t capitalise on it”.

Coyle justified putting Lee Noble, Ryan Hayes and Elliot Bradbrook into the five man midfield to provide vital experience, however the ploy didn’t come off, he added: “We put players in the team that know the importance of these derby games, that have been in it before and have got success. It wasn’t just them, as a collective we weren’t anywhere near the standards that we’ve set and individually Welling shaded the battles and that’s the reason they won the game”. Defeat was Dartford’s third in five competitive matches.

East Thurrock United are relying on their home form to keep in touch with the teams above them. On their travels they have picked up just one point from eleven games, yet at Rookery Hill they have collected 13 points. On Boxing Day, John Coventry’s side were beaten 2-0 by local rivals Concord Rangers conceding goals to Alex Wall and Danny Green.

Leading up to their Boxing Day loss the Rocks had lost consecutive fixtures 3-1 against Oxford City then Slough Town. However, they did take a scalp in an Essex derby early in December beating Chelmsford City 2-0 at home thanks to first half goals from Ben Marlow and Sam Higgins. At the start of the month East Thurrock United lost to Hampton and Richmond Borough in a game that saw former Dart, Danny Harris red carded.

Harris joined East Thurrock United in the summer from the Darts where he made 400 appearances and scored 75 goals. He has played the majority of the season alongside Lee Burns, another former Dartford favourite.  Burns top scoring in the Isthmian Premier League title winning campaign and winning Player of the Year at Dartford. The former striker moved to right back until he left the Darts in 2016 after 278 appearances and 33 goals. Sam Higgins is the one the Rocks look towards for goals, the striker top scored in the National South last season with 25 goals and is leading the way for the Essex club this term with five so far.

With only Weston-super-Mare below the Rocks in the table, the Essex club are four points from safety. Manager, John Coventry outlined his thoughts in East Thurrock United’s matchday programme on Wednesday, he said: “No one at the club has given up on staying in this league, but the problems of working with a small budget are showing”. He added: “I’m not one to bang on about money, we are what we are and have to live within the means we know we have, but it does make a difference when talking to players. There are certainly some inflated wage structures in this division”, he continued: “Of course, when you’re getting a thousand coming through the turnstiles, it makes a world of difference. I have been making changes to the squad for varying reasons, and have brought in some new players who, I have to admit I did not know a great deal about”.

Head to Head

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

Current League Form

East Thurrock United (LLLWLD) Dartford (LWDLWW)
Concord Rangers H 0-2 Welling United A 0-2
Slough Town A 1-3 Hungerford Town H 2-1
Oxford City A 1-3 Slough Town H 1-1
Chelmsford City H 2-0 Torquay United H 0-2
Hampton and Richmond A 0-1 Hampton and Richmond A 1-0
Weston-super-Mare A 1-1 Oxford City H 3-2

Previous Meetings

27.08.2018 Dartford 2 East Thurrock United 0
17.04.2018 East Thurrock United 0 Dartford 1
28.08.2017 Dartford 0 East Thurrock United 1
07.01.2017 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

Stats

On Boxing Day, Elliot Bradbrook, Lee Noble and Ryan Hayes all featured in Dartford’s starting eleven for the first time since the final day of last season at Bognor Regis Town.

Dartford’s competitive record in 2018 stands at…

Total – Won 25 Drawn 7 Lost 13 Scored 75 Conceded 55

Home – Won 15 Drawn 3 Lost 6 Scored 41 Conceded 27

Away – Won 10 Drawn 4 Lost 7 Scored 34 Conceded 28

On This Day

Dartford are unbeaten in their last five matches on 29 December, last playing out a 1-1 draw with Cambridge United in 2012. Harry Crawford’s goal for the Darts was cancelled out by Michael Gash at Princes Park. In 2009, Dartford swept aside Canvey Island 5-2 with two goals from Lee Burns and one each for Jamie Coyle, Rob Haworth and Danny Harris. The Darts drew 2-2 away to Aveley in 2007 and beat Bashley 1-0 at home in 2001 and defeated VS Rugby 2-0 at Watling Street in 1990.