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Dartford v Wealdstone

Dartford are back at home this weekend and will aim to keep their unbeaten Princes Park record this season when they host Wealdstone.

The Darts have taken four points from six in their first two home matches beating Chelmsford City and drawing with Hemel Hempstead Town. Meanwhile, Wealdstone have taken just one point on the road when they drew 1-1 with Hungerford Town and narrowly lost 1-0 to Billericay Town.

When the two sides last met at Princes Park a topsy-turvy six goal thriller was played out with the points shared. The Darts had to twice come from behind through a double from Alfie Pavey before a strike from substitute Andy Pugh had put Dartford in the driving seat with ten minutes remaining. However, with three minutes to go Daniel Green stepped up to equalise from the penalty spot before Lee Noble was given his marching orders in stoppage time after a second yellow.

Pavey also scored a late winner in the return fixture last season as the Darts came from behind against ten men. Wealdstone had Iffy Allen sent off just before half-time yet managed to take the lead in the second-half through Dan Fitchett. With ten minutes to go, Danny Mills headed Dartford level and two minutes later up popped Pavey to clinch victory.

Two years ago, Dartford faced Wealdstone at home on the opening day of the season and that time it ended 2-2. 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, 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, however in the final minute Eddie Oshodi headed an equaliser.

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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
03.10.2015 Wealdstone 2 Dartford 1

Stats

Dartford have won two of the last three meetings versus Wealdstone, however before this unbeaten run the Darts were winless against the opponents in 14 games stretching back to 1989.

The last home win against the Stones came in 1991 when Dartford won 4-1. Since then the Darts have hosted Wealdstone six times, drawing five and losing once.

At Princes Park, the previous two games there have been ten goals scored between Dartford and Wealdstone. The last six meetings have seen three or more goals scored in this fixture.

On This Day

They recently met on Tuesday night and only three years ago Dartford staged a fantastic comeback to beat Concord Rangers 3-2. Lewis Taaffe’s second-minute strike and his second goal on the hour mark had the Darts staring at defeat. Andy Pugh’s deflected effort seven minutes later gave Dartford hope and set up a late flourish. Pugh levelled things up five minutes from time with a curling shot into the top corner and Tom Bradbrook stepped up to complete the comeback in stoppage-time. The Darts lost 2-0 to Macclesfield Town in 2012 and beat Margate 4-0 in 2009 which included a well worked free-kick between Ryan Hayes and Jamie Day. The last home match on 18 August was a 2-2 draw with Maldon Town in the Isthmian Division One North back in 2007.

Concord Rangers v Dartford

Adam Flanagan returns to Thames Road on Tuesday night when he leads the Darts out against his former club Concord Rangers.

The joint Dartford manager left the Essex club shortly after guiding the Beachboys to safety last season. He enjoyed three years managing Concord Rangers which included a top ten finish in his first campaign.

In recent years there have been connections between the two clubs and it’s no different this time. In the summer Flanagan and Jamie Coyle signed Ben Greenhalgh, Manny Ighorae and Billy Roast from the Beachboys, who will also face their former club for the first time. Greenhalgh has been involved from the start in all three of Dartford’s games this term, whilst Ighorae and Roast have only managed appearances from the bench so far.

It will be a strange evening for many involved with Dartford Football Club on Tuesday, when they see midfield legend Ryan Hayes in a Concord Rangers shirt. The former Dartford winger made 580 appearances for the club scoring 108 goals. A creative winger spent 13 years at Dartford winning two league titles and promotion through the playoffs. Only Steve Robinson and Les Burns have made more appearances in a Dartford shirt and he is sixth in the Darts all time goal scoring chart.

The football pitch is no place for sentiment though and the Darts will be hoping they can add another victory. Dartford have had a respectable start to their campaign winning their first two against Bath City and Chelmsford City. The Darts finally defeated the Clarets at home after an 18 year wait. On Saturday, Elliot Bradbrook was rested and in his place a debut was given to Simon Mensah. At the beginning of the day Dartford in second place were hosting league leaders Hemel Hempstead Town, by the end of the afternoon they were still level on seven points after a 0-0 draw. The Darts did have a glorious opportunity to win the match ten minutes from time, but Jamie Philpot missed his spot kick.

One player who will have a point to prove is Concord Rangers striker Alex Wall. Having spent 11 games on loan at Princes Park in 2015 scoring 6 goals he signed for Dartford this summer. However, injury to Andy Pugh and with Jamie Philpot and Chez Isaac bolstering the Dartford squad, Wall left without playing a competitive game since re-joining. A day later the striker joined Concord Rangers and immediately made an impact scoring on his debut.

Wall netted a brace on the opening day of the season when the beachboys beat Gloucester City 2-0 at home. The new era under manager Sammy Moore was kickstarted into life when Wall fired a shot into the Gloucester City goal. The Essex club went down to ten men on half-time when Lee Minshull was red carded, but that didn’t deter Concord Rangers as Wall scored another to seal three points.

Another former Dart, Tyrone Sterling made his debut against the Tigers and he was also in the starting eleven when his side drew with local rivals Billericay Town. Wall gave Concord Rangers the lead when he scored a free-kick. In the final minute Moses Emmanuel ghosted in at the far post to deservedly level the match. On the weekend, the Beachboys picked up their seventh point of the campaign with Jack Midson scoring the winner against newly promoted Dulwich Hamlet.

The previous two visits to Thames Road have ended in 1-1 draws with the last meeting in January. Elliot Bradbrook had a penalty saved by former Darts goalkeeper Louis Wells before the Beachboys took the lead. Ben Greenhalgh’s shot was parried by Deren Ibrahim and Steve Cawley, who left Concord Rangers in the summer scored. Ryan Hayes equalised with a rasping shot in off the crossbar. In March 2017, Hayes recorded his 100th goal for Dartford but it was cancelled out by a Cawley penalty.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Concord Rangers wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

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
18.08.2015 Concord Rangers 2 Dartford 3

Stats

The Darts are unbeaten in four matches away to Concord Rangers having never lost a match at Thames Road.

In six of the seven matches between Dartford and Concord Rangers both teams have scored. The only clean sheet was kept by the Darts a year ago in a 2-0 win.

Dartford have missed two penalties out of three this season by three different penalty takers.

On This Day

In 1993 it was an historic day for the Darts as they played their first league match since reforming. For the opening day of the season they were put up against Deal Town, a team that had scored 128 goals in their previous campaign and it was away, but then so were all the other matches technically. Micky Collins was responsible for the most memorable moment scoring the winner after just ten minutes securing the last win for the Darts on 14 August. Future Darts boss Gary Julians was sent off before half-time and somehow Dartford held on against an onslaught to create history.

Dartford v Hemel Hempstead Town

Dartford will be determined to protect their perfect start to the National South campaign when they host Hemel Hempstead Town this weekend.

The Darts started their campaign with a 2-1 away win at Bath City and followed up the win with a rare triumph over Chelmsford City. Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle made one change to the starting line up giving Delano Sam-Yorke his first start for the club at the expense of Kudus Oyenuga, who was out injured and hopes to be fit soon.

In an end to end first half with very few clear cut chances, the most notable moment caused controversy. Joint manager, Adam Flanagan and Clarets boss Rod Stringer squared up over an incident and were both sent off. Dartford began the second-half brighter and two chances fell to Jamie Philpot who hit the post then came close four minutes later. The Darts were rewarded with fifteen minutes to go when Elliot Bradbrook’s looping header secured a first home victory against Chelmsford City in 18 years.

Last time Dartford hosted Hemel Hempstead Town back in March, Andy Pugh produced two moments of quality. On a snowy afternoon with the ‘Beast from the East’ in full flow, the striker helped the Darts to leave it late and snatch victory.

Against the run of play Pugh put Dartford ahead with a curling effort which took the slightest of deflections and into the top corner. Despite the hosts taking the lead with fifteen minutes of the half remaining, it was the visitors who went into the break in front. First, Jordan Parkes hit a 35 yarder past goalkeeper Berti Schotterl, then David Moyo scored just before half-time.

The second half remained a struggle for Dartford, but Pugh’s quality showed with ten minutes left on the clock. The striker produced a delightful chip over Laurie Walker to level the match setting up a dramatic finale. In the final minute Nathan Collier put in a cross for Alfie Pavey to nod home and give the Darts a 3-2 victory and a double over the Hertfordshire club. Earlier in the campaign Elliot Bradbrook scored two penalties and Pavey the other in a 3-0 win.

Last season’s home win kept up Dartford’s unbeaten Princes Park record against the Tudors. In the previous two campaigns the Darts picked up four points from their opponents. Danny Harris and Luke Wanadio both scored in a 2-0 triumph back in November 2016. Whilst the year before that, Ryan Hayes scored a curling last-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw, which saw Dartford come back from two down.

Hemel Hempstead Town finished fifth last season and lost on penalties to Braintree Town in their playoff match. Manager, Dean Brennan will hope his side can challenge again this term and after their opening day victory over Chippenham Town, the Tudors have also made a great start.

Karl Oliyide’s double helped Hemel Hempstead Town to a 4-2 win, his first goal came after four minutes. After Jordan Parkes hit a free kick against the post, Chippenham Town went ahead after Karnell Chambers scored twice. The Tudors were level five minutes before the break, new signing Steve Cawley equalised and after the interval Oliyide restored the host’s lead. The three points were secured in the final two minutes when the Tudors broke away for Alex Osborn to score.

On Tuesday night, Hemel Hempstead Town scored an injury time winner against Hampton and Richmond Borough. The Tudors made three changes to the starting eleven. Former Watford defender Lloyd Doyley replaced Joe Howe, Tom Hamblin was in for former Millwall and Crystal Palace defender Darren Ward and Connor Dymond was selected ahead of Scott Shulton. Two goals within a five minute first half spell left the two sides level at the break. Hampton and Richmond Borough took the lead through experienced striker Chris Dickson, however Kyle Connolly equalised for the Tudors. In the final minutes of second-half stoppage time, former Arsenal winger Sanchez Watt scored the winner to earn Hemel Hempstead Town six points in their opening two fixtures.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

17.03.2018 Dartford 3 Hemel Hempstead Town 2
26.08.2017 Hemel Hempstead Town 0 Dartford 3
01.04.2017 Hemel Hempstead Town 2 Dartford 2
12.11.2016 Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 0
17.10.2015 Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 2
08.08.2015 Hemel Hempstead Town 1 Dartford 0

Stats

Dartford are unbeaten in five matches against Hemel Hempstead Town and unbeaten in three at Princes Park against the Tudors.

Hemel Hempstead Town’s only win against Dartford was on the opening day of the 2015/2016 season. Since then this fixture has seen 18 goals in five meetings at 3.6 goals a game.

Elliot Bradbrook has scored two goals in as many games, the last time the midfielder scored in consecutive matches was on the 2nd and 5th September 2017 against Hampton and Richmond Borough and Whitehawk respectively.

The attendance of 1220 against Chelmsford City on Tuesday night was Dartford’s biggest home crowd in August since 2015. The Darts attracted 2551 for the local derby against Ebbsfleet United on 31 August 2015.

On This Day

An early goal from Tom Bradbrook gave Dartford a 1-0 win over Eastbourne Borough. In the first home game of the 2015/2016 season, Jack Simmons whipped in an excellent cross which was finished by Tom Bradbrook’s header. The victory came three days after losing to Hemel Hempstead Town on the opening day of the campaign. Newly promoted, Dartford hosted Tamworth in the National League six years ago. Peter Till scored for the visitors and Adam Cunnington’s superb doubled their lead. Elliot Bradbrook netted a free-kick before Cunnington added another delightful finish. Harry Crawford pulled a goal back for Dartford to set up a tense ending to the 3-2 defeat.

Dartford v Chelmsford City

The first home game of the season couldn’t be any tougher for the Darts when they face Chelmsford City on Tuesday night.

Recent results against the Clarets will give the Essex club the psychological edge. Under Tony Burman, Dartford lost four of the last five and picked up a goalless draw in a playoff tie. Now with new managers Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle at the helm, the Darts will be hoping for a change of fortune.

Already with a win under their belt, Dartford will approach their first home game of the 2018/19 campaign with optimism and confidence. On Saturday they had to come from behind to defeat Bath City in a close contest. Coyle and Flanagan handed debuts to Chez Isaac, Ben Greenhalgh, Kudus Oyenuga and Jamie Philpot. Other debutants, Manny Ighorae and especially Delano Sam-Yorke made their mark from off the bench.

However, it was a Bath City debutant who made the first impact, Adam Mann but the hosts ahead with a 20 yard drive on just nine minutes. The Darts got themselves back into the game and on the stroke of half time Elliot Bradbrook headed his 134th Dartford goal. The former captain had the chance to win the match with six minutes remaining from the spot, but blazed his effort over. Moments afterwards, substitute Sam-Yorke was brought down in the box and a second penalty was awarded, this time Sam-Yorke stepped up to score the winner.

One player determined to put one over the Clarets will be Oyenuga. The former Chelmsford City winger will face his old side for the first time since joining Dartford this summer. Oyenuga appeared 33 times for the Essex club last term scoring ten helping them to a third-place finish.

Oyenuga spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk during an enjoyable pre-season for the pacey winger, he said: “I’m very direct. When I get the ball, I’m going to run with it and try to score goals and excite. That’s my game, really”. He will bring with him experience gained from playing in Finland, Qatar and spells in the Scottish Premiership and Championship, he commented: “It’s been good to travel and see different styles of football and meet different people”.

In fact, it was Oyenuga’s goal in his last competitive outing at Princes Park that helped Chelmsford City to victory. The Darts had led in their 2-1 defeat back in February when Ryan Hayes scored a sublime solo effort ending with his trademark curling finish. It looked as though Dartford finally ended their poor run against their opponents until a soft penalty was awarded. Oyenuga stepped up to level the match with minutes remaining, then in stoppage time Taylor Miles scored straight from a corner.

Oyenuga had made up for his sending off against Dartford earlier in the campaign at the Melbourne Stadium. Despite the early red card, the Clarets still came out on top winning 1-0. Former Ebbsfleet United midfielder, Michael West capitalised on a defensive mix up to score the only goal of the game.

Now it will be Ibrahim’s turn to make amends, the last gasp defeat at Princes Park proved to be crucial for goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim, as it turned out to be his final competitive game of last season. He will be keen to show his attributes and repay managers Flanagan and Coyle who back their number one in the summer.

Joint-manager Flanagan told www.kentonline.co.uk: “Deren is someone we rate quite highly. I think he’d hold his hands up and say his levels of performance weren’t where he’s shown to be and he probably did need to come out of the team. But he’s very passionate about the club, he’s very eager to get back to the levels he’s set and we’re hopeful we’ll get the very best out of him”.

Despite the lack of form against Tuesday night’s opponents, Dartford have finished one place above the Clarets in the previous two seasons. Both sides went out in their playoff semi-finals back in May, after ending in second and third place.

Chelmsford City were handed a tricky start to their campaign when they were given Torquay United to host. Their opponents were relegated from the National League last term and are amongst the teams expecting to be challenging for promotion. The Clarets created many half chances but it was Torquay United’s Kyle Cameron that came closest to breaking the deadlock.

Rod Stringer has also made plenty of changes to his squad naming many in the starting eleven. Ross Warner, Joe Anderson, Tom Wraight, Rhys Murphy, Amos Nasha and Jai Reason all made their debuts.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 36 / Chelmsford City wins: 55 / Draws: 21

Previous Meetings

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
14.01.2017 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1

Stats

Last season, Rod Stringer guided Chelmsford City to a perfect record against Adam Flanagan’s and Jamie Coyle’s former clubs as well as Dartford, winning all six National South matches.

The Darts last beat Chelmsford City at home on 1 May 2000, the Southern League Southern Division fixture ended 3-0 to Dartford.

Since then the Clarets have won seven of the last nine when visiting the Darts, including the last four trips to Princes Park.

Dartford have finished above Chelmsford City in the football pyramid in their last seven seasons. The Clarets last finished ahead of the Darts in the 2010/2011 campaign.

Bath City v Dartford

New management, new squad, new season, Dartford’s summer of change is put to the test for the first time this weekend against Bath City.

The Darts open their 2018/2019 National South campaign at Twerton Park where they won 2-1 last term. Only half of the squad that featured on that October evening remain at Dartford for the forthcoming season.

Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle will select their first competitive squad which will include seven new signings. Callum Driver will be familiar with the Darts having had a spell with the club previously. The new management team have made use of their contacts by signing Ben Greenhalgh, Billy Roast and Manny Igahore from Flanagan’s former club Concord Rangers, whilst Driver arrives from Coyle’s old team Welling United. Delano Sam-Yorke joins the strike force from Maidstone United, Kudus Oyenuga from Chelmsford City and Sam Mensah from Whitehawk.

Three days before the opening game, Dartford announced the signing of Chez Isaac. The 25 year old midfielder spent last season at Woking and has played for Braintree Town, Boreham Wood and Watford. The news came a day after striker Alex Wall was released even though he only signed this summer. The Darts also brought in Jamie Philpot from Millwall where he made nine first team appearances. He has had previous spells at Woking and Coyle’s former club Welling United.

With the loss of top scorer and National South’s Player of the Year, Alfie Pavey to champions Havant and Waterlooville, the creativity of Ryan Hayes who made 580 appearances for the club and the experience of Danny Harris, who appeared 400 times in a Darts shirt, Flanagan and Coyle have had to rebuild.

However, the duo did manage to retain the likes of former captain Elliot Bradbrook, Deren Ibrahim, who has been publicly backed as the number one goalkeeper, Lee Noble, Andy Pugh and Tom Bonner. Mark Onyemah, Ronnie Vint, Tom Murphy and Alfie Cue will also be part of this season’s squad.

Dartford prepared for the new season with friendly wins at Aveley, Sevenoaks Town, Thamesmead Town and Folkestone Invicta and three defeats to Football League clubs Millwall, Gillingham and Colchester United. Noble has had limited time on the field during pre-season but hopes to be fit for the opening game of the campaign, the midfielder has been struggling with a minor calf injury.  Unfortunately, Pugh’s double leg break against Colchester United will rule him out for the long term. The striker has scored 50 goals for the Darts in 159 appearances and his intelligent play will be missed.

Coyle highlighted his concerns when he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk, he said: “It’s upsetting because we had really high hopes for him this year. He’s been training well, looking sharp and we were expecting him to have a good season. He’s a strong character and with his mentality, he’ll be back as quick as anyone else”, he continued: “We’ll support him as much as we can. He’s a huge player for the club and has been for the last few years. It’s a real concern because if Pughy stayed fit this year, it’s almost a guarantee of 25 goals. Trying to find someone to fill that void is very difficult”.

The Darts completed a league double over Bath City last term, Alfie Pavey’s brace was enough to secure the three points at Twerton Park last time, although the Romans did equalise just before half-time through Tom Smith. The reverse fixture at Princes Park ended 2-0 back in April, this time Danny Mills and Pavey scored in either half.

Jerry Gill will start his first full campaign as Bath City boss having replaced Gary Owers ten months ago. The Romans manager is pleased with preparations which include friendly wins over Reading and Bristol City’s under 23 teams, Keynsham Town and Street, as well as a Bristol Rovers XI, Evesham United and Weymouth. The only defeat for the Romans was against Exeter City.

After a ninth-place finish last season Gill has added some attacking options which include John Mills from Hereford F.C, who netted 140 goals in three seasons with the Bulls. Ross Stearn comes in from Sutton United, where he scored twice against the Darts almost two years ago and Adam Mann from Evesham United, where he scored 24 goals in the Southern League Division One West. Gill also welcomes Ryan Clarke in goal from Bristol City, Ryan Brunt from Exeter City, Robbie Cundy from Gloucester City and Joe Raynes from Frome Town. Other players to feature regularly during pre-season who were part of the squad last term include Kevin Amankwaah, Frankie Artus, Dan Ball, Jack Batten and Matt Richards.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 31 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Previous Meetings

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
05.09.2015 Bath City 0 Dartford 0

Stats

Dartford have won their last five matches against Bath City, scoring 11 and conceding two.

The Darts are six games unbeaten against the Romans last losing in 1990, when Bath City won 1-0 at Twerton Park.

Dartford last won their opening game of the season five years ago, when they beat Alfreton Town 1-0 at Princes Park. Since then they lost two in a row and drew in the previous two campaigns.

The Darts last away win on the opening day was 4-0 against Weston-super-Mare back in 2011.

This season will be the earliest Dartford have ever started a new league campaign.

Pre-season Preview

The FIFA World Cup will be half way through the quarter-finals on Saturday, Dartford will be preparing for the brand new National South campaign.

Managers Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle take over at Princes Park and have already got a glimpse of their new look squad, when the players returned to training. Now it’s time for the pair to assess their summer signings and those retained from last term during pre-season friendlies.

PURE DFC takes a look at what is coming up for the Darts before they kick off against Bath City on Saturday 4 August.

MILLWALL (Saturday 7 July – Princes Park – 12pm kick off)

The Lions are back at Princes Park and surprised many in their return to the Championship. After a two year absence, Millwall finished last season in eighth missing out on a playoff spot, their highest finish since 2001/2002. The Lions recorded a club record 17 game unbeaten run and equalled another accolade of six away wins in a row. Millwall drew with Dartford in a friendly last summer, Romaric Logan put the Darts ahead and Ben Thompson equalised. The Bermondsey based club have visited Princes Park six times winning five and drawing one.

AVELEY (Monday 9 July – Parkside – 7.45pm kick off)

Eight years ago, Deren Ibrahim, Lee Noble, Elliot Bradbrook and Tom Bonner faced Aveley in a friendly. Dartford, the reigning Isthmian Premier League champions at the time drew 0-0. In the 2009/2010 title winning season, Dartford beat Aveley 4-1 and drew 2-2, although it was the entertaining 5-4 defeat in the Isthmian League Cup which stood out. The Darts also won 4-0 thanks to Jay May’s hat-trick and drew 2-2 two years earlier, when Dartford became Isthmian Division One North champions; Aveley won that league a year later but returned to that division in 2012.

SEVENOAKS TOWN (Saturday 14 July – Greatness Park – 3pm kick off)

Micky Collins banged in the goals for Dartford during the Kent League days and now he’s a title winning manager at Sevenoaks Town. The former Darts striker scored 35 times in 60 appearances between 1992 and 1995, now he is preparing the Oaks for life in the Isthmian League South East. The Kent side will be playing at their highest ever level this season and have made positive strides since joining the Kent League in 2003.

GILLINGHAM (Tuesday 17 July – Princes Park – 7.30pm kick off)

Another Football League club to return to the home of the Darts, Gillingham finished seventeenth in League One last season, six points above the drop. Regular visitors to Princes Park, the Gills have won all seven friendlies against Dartford. In the build up to last year’s National South campaign the Darts lost 2-1. Gabriel Zakuani and Josh Parker scored first half goals for Gillingham. Former Gills youngster Tom Murphy, who will be hoping to earn a new contract with the Darts, scored a consolation.

COLCHESTER UNITED (Saturday 21 July – Princes Park – 3pm kick off)

Welcoming to Princes Park for the first time, the Darts will host League Two side Colchester United. The U’s finished in thirteenth place last season, their worst league performance since 1993/1994. The Essex club also went out of the F.A Cup in the first round for a seventh consecutive campaign. Colchester United started 2017/2018 slowly but one defeat in thirteen games, from mid-October to New Year’s Day, moved them into fifth. However, the U’s couldn’t keep the momentum going and they finished last term taking one point from the final five games.

THAMESMEAD TOWN (Tuesday 24 July – Princes Park – 7.45pm kick off)

An away game at home for the Darts as they face their tenants in a friendly for a third season in a row. Last season Elliot Bradbrook scored a hat-trick in a 4-0 win and the year before Ben Francis netted three in a 5-0 victory. Also on the list of friendly hat-tricks against the Mead is Charlie Sheringham, who scored three in a mid-season behind closed doors friendly in 2010. The Darts have won their last six pre-season matches against Thamesmead Town scoring 19 without reply; however the Mead did win 3-2 in 2008. Dartford’s tenants are now playing in the Isthmian South East Division.

FOLKESTONE INVICTA (Saturday 28 July – Cheriton Road – 3pm kick off)

Neil Cugley has been charge of Folkestone Invicta for 21 years, even outdoing former Darts boss Tony Burman. Cugley played for the Darts in the late seventies and mid-eighties and has a road named after him, where Dartford’s former Watling Street ground once was. His Isthmian Premier League side finished fourth last term scoring 104 goals, the fourth time in five campaigns they have hit over a century of goals. When they won the Isthmian Division One South two years ago they managed 114 points to finish 24 clear at the top. The Darts had regular meetings with Invicta from the Kent League days through to the Southern League and at one point lost eight in a row against them.

Joining the Darts for the new season will be Ben Greenhalgh, Kudus Oyenuga and Delano Sam-Yorke whilst Callum Driver and Alex Wall return to the club. Last season’s captain Elliot Bradbrook stays along with Lee Noble and Gibraltar international goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim. Defenders Tom Bonner, Ronnie Vint and Mark Onyemah remain at Princes Park and so does striker Andy Pugh. Flanagan and Coyle, who took over from Burman will also be searching for players to bolster the squad, so expect some trialists.

Season Review 2017/2018

Dartford were left heartbroken last weekend when they were pipped to the National South title on goal difference. For the neutral the race for the championship was gripping, for the club it was an emotional rollercoaster. An afternoon in Bognor saw the Darts going up for nine minutes, until an 89th minute winning goal at Havant and Waterlooville, by former Dartford striker Jason Prior snatched automatic promotion away, handing the Hawks the title.

In a season where it seemed no one wanted to win the division, it all ended up in a two-horse race. The Darts can be proud they were involved in the closest of contests and were challenging for a place in the National League all season. Of course, it’s not finished yet.

It could be fate, should Dartford win the playoffs they will extend their winning streak to eleven, beating the club record. Now that would be sweet consolation, but after last weekend be cautious as football can be cruel.

Dartford were joint favourites to win the National South with their playoff conquerors of last season, Chelmsford City. Tony Burman kept faith with his squad but lost the services of Luke Wanadio and Tom Wynter as well academy graduates Kaka Dembele and Ben Francis.

Burman managed to fill the vacant positions by signing Lyle Della-Verde from Concord Rangers and picking up left back Mark Onyemah, who had already had a loan spell with the Darts in the past. The Dartford boss also gambled to strengthen his strike force by signing Warren Mfula from the lower echelons of non-league.

August came too soon, immediately Dartford were plunged into an injury crisis. When the opening day came around they couldn’t name a recognised striker in the starting eleven, the result a tame 0-0 draw with Hungerford Town. Warren Mfula and new signing Richard Sho-Silva made debuts in the 2-2 draw with Braintree Town, in which the Darts showed typical fighting spirit coming from two goals down. A third draw in a row, this time against Havant and Waterlooville, left the Darts in sixteenth and without a win, but then things started to click.

When Elliot Bradbrook and Lyle Della-Verde scored the goals to seal a 2-0 win over Concord Rangers, they set Dartford on their way.

And then arrived Alfie Pavey…

Named National South’s Player of the Year, the striker left rivals Welling United and made his mark in the Dartford white. Pavey scored 22 league goals including the stunning last-minute winning bicycle kick against his former club on Boxing Day, what a goal that was. He netted his first since returning to the club in the 7-1 demolition of Oxford City, a game in which Warren Mfula took home the match ball with a second half hat-trick.

After five games unbeaten East Thurrock United inflicted the first defeat on the Darts leaving Burman’s side in sixth place. In September, the goals continued to flow and for a moment, after the 4-2 win over Eastbourne Borough, a day in which Ryan Hayes made his 400th start, the Darts went top for the first time. However, Dartford were quickly knocked of their perch with a 3-0 defeat at Weston-super-Mare.

Dartford’s cup journey began in mid-September and Elliot Bradbrook’s hat-trick against Barking in the F.A Cup, then Pavey’s treble versus Needham Market in a 6-1 victory set the Darts on their way. Pavey was on hand again in the last qualifying round at Burgess Hill Town earning a first round tie with League Two side Swindon Town.

Cup commitments and another defeat to Chelmsford City were responsible for Dartford’s drop to seventh in the league by mid-October, but then they leapfrogged to the top in the following game when they beat Bath City 2-1. From then on, the Darts remained in the top two leading the pack for three more months.

The F.A Cup run came to a halt in November as the Darts were taught a harsh lesson. Swindon Town completed a professional job beating Dartford 5-1, at least Richard Sho-Silva’s consolation got the biggest cheer of the afternoon.

Out of the F.A Cup and on to the F.A Trophy, the Darts edged past Brentwood Town before taking National League side Boreham Wood to replay. A 1-1 draw was followed by a 2-2 stalemate but the Wood won on penalties.

By now the Darts weren’t playing brilliantly but no other side was taking advantage of any slip ups. Danny Mills, a striker with National South pedigree was signed on loan from rivals Ebbsfleet United, but the goals weren’t forthcoming for the 26 year old causing discussion amongst the terraces. For the record, he has scored in his last four appearances, hopefully good timing for the playoffs. The Darts also welcomed back Nathan Collier, who fitted in like he’d never been away.

The title was anyone’s to claim and when Dartford held on to a 1-0 win over Havant and Waterlooville in January, belief was growing. Then that belief was questioned in the second half of the month and the beginning of February. An away draw with Chippenham Town and defeats to St Albans City and Chelmsford City (again!) meant Burman’s men couldn’t take the opportunity to pull away from the chasing pack, it would prove costly. Although Wealdstone and Truro City fell victim to two good Dartford performances, Poole Town caused an upset at Princes Park another costly moment.

With Havant and Waterlooville now heading the table and Hampton and Richmond Borough close behind, the race was down to three. The Darts faced a showdown with Hampton and Richmond Borough on Good Friday in an utter mud bath of a pitch. Once more Pavey come up with the goods calmly chipping in a last-minute winner. By now Dartford’s incredible winning streak was in full flow and victory at Gloucester City put them top once more.

Still the Hawks wouldn’t give up and with Hampton and Richmond Borough out of the reckoning it was all building up to an unbelievable climax. The Darts started grinding out results, keeping six clean sheets, with new goalkeeper Berti Schotterl, in seven games, but they needed more goals to boost the goal difference.

The final week of the season was upon us and the tide turned to Hampshire. Havant and Waterlooville played a depleted East Thurrock United and at 1-1 the Essex club ran out of steam, the Hawks smashed in five more goals putting them ahead of Dartford by three goals, just three goals.

And then that afternoon at Bognor…

Words cannot describe the feeling amongst the club immediately after the final whistle blew, but if Dartford want to return to the National League they better get over the heartbreak quickly. The playoffs…to be continued.

Dartford v Braintree Town

Dartford will have to get over their final day heartbreak when they host Braintree Town, if they want to repeat their National South playoff triumph six years ago.

A last minute winning goal by champions Havant and Waterlooville snatched the title away from the Darts in the cruellest way. Dartford led Bognor Regis Town when Havant and Waterlooville let in an equaliser in their match against Concord Rangers, putting the Darts in pole position. However a last minute goal from former Dart, Jason Prior meant the Hawks claimed the title on the final day.

Despite the set back manager Tony Burman is proud of his players, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “We’re disappointed we haven’t won the league but I’m delighted with the effort everyone’s put in. We couldn’t have asked for more”.

Burman highlights the positives from the campaign which ended on an extraordinary winning streak, he commented: “That’s nine wins on the spin and I know it’s over 42 games but we’re equal on points, we’re the highest goalscorers in the league and our defensive record is third-best so what more can you ask?”, he added: “I’m absolutely delighted with what we’ve achieved so far this year and it’s not finished yet. We have to move on”.

Should Dartford move on and earn promotion through the National South playoffs, they will also break the current club record of ten consecutive wins in all competitions. The Darts last attempt at the playoffs ended in victory when they beat Welling United, this time the new format has given them a bye into the semi-final and home advantage if they make the final.

The Darts are on an incredible run of form which continued in their 2-1 away win at Bognor Regis Town. Danny Mills scored his fourth in as many games, all headers and Ronnie Vint hit a controlled volley for the second. Defensively Dartford have also improved with six clean sheets in the last eight games and have won their last four home matches.

Braintree Town made the playoff on the final day hitting Gloucester City with three second half goals. The win stretched their unbeaten run to six in the league with five victories and a draw.

On reaching the end of season finale manager, Brad Quinton said: “It’s a fantastic season for us bearing in mind when I arrived last summer we had no players and no team,” he explained. “But, despite one or two setbacks en route, all the players have worked hard and we’ve achieved our goal of getting into the playoffs – which we are all eagerly looking forward to”.

In the first set of playoff matches played on Wednesday night both fixtures ended up in extra time. Braintree Town couldn’t break the deadlock against Hemel Hempstead Town after 90 minutes, whilst Hampton and Richmond Borough and Truro City were level at 1-1. The Iron did manage to put the ball in the back of the Hemel Hempstead Town net in the final minute of extra time, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside. With the match still goalless after 120 minutes, Braintree Town went the distance and won 3-2 on penalties. Meanwhile, Hampton and Richmond Borough didn’t need spot kicks sealing a 3-1 extra time win to earn a semi-final clash away to Chelmsford City.

When Dartford last played Braintree Town in December the two sides were joint top of the National South with the Darts leading on goal difference. The Darts were held at Princes Park in the final home game of 2017, Andy Pugh scored against the run of play after 17 minutes thanks to Tom Murphy’s surging run and assist. The Iron equalised in the second half when Ricky Gabriel crossed for Marcel Barrington to score from close range. Nathan Collier made his first start since returning to Dartford.

The previous clash between the two was in August and Dartford had to come from two goals down. The Darts had to show their fighting spirit to earn a 2-2 draw. Braintree Town went in at half-time in the driving seat with goals from Karl Oliyide and Billy Crook. In the second half, Lee Noble’s header back to Tom Murphy pulled a goal back, but the goalscorer was forced off through injury. The equaliser came from captain Elliot Bradbrook who headed home after Tom Bonner nodded the ball back across goal from a corner. On that evening, Warren Mfula made his first start and Richard Sho-Silva his debut.

It’s been almost six years since Dartford beat Braintree Town when Tom Bonner and Jacob Erskine scored the only two goals of the game. Since then, the Darts went five games without scoring against the Iron, drawing one then losing four in a row. The pair of draws this season has stopped the poor run against the Essex club and now the Darts have to go one better.

Head to Head
Braintree Town wins: 6 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 4

Last six league games

Dartford (WWWWWW) Braintree Town (WDWWWW)
Bognor Regis Town A 1-2 Gloucester City H 3-0
Bath City H 2-0 Oxford City H 0-0
East Thurrock United A 1-0 Truro City A 2-1
Eastbourne Borough A 1-0 Whitehawk H 4-3
Gloucester City A 1-0 Concord Rangers H 2-1
Weston-super-Mare H 3-1 Hungerford Town A 1-0

Previous Six Meetings

23.12.2017 Dartford 1 Braintree Town 1
08.08.2017 Braintree Town 2 Dartford 2
01.01.2015 Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
26.12.2014 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
18.04.2014 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0
24.08.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2

Stats
Elliot Bradbrook will make his 400th start for the Darts if selected for the semi-final. The Dartford captain has scored 133 goals and made an additional 11 substitute appearances.

Another player to hit the 400 mark will be Danny Harris, but that will be total appearances (302 starts and 97 substitute appearances), the midfielder turned full back has scored 75 goals for the club.

In his second spell with the Darts, Nathan Collier has now made 49 substitute appearances and is one away from a half century.

The Darts have won nine league games in a row and are one win short of equalling their club record of consecutive victories in all competitions.

Dartford have won their last five home games, one more victory will see the Darts set their best winning streak at home this season.

Braintree Town are unbeaten in seven matches against Dartford stretching back to 2013.

On This Day
Dartford took a one goal lead going into the National South semi-final playoff second leg against Basingstoke Town. Lee Noble’s long range effort gave the Darts an advantage four days before the return match at Princes Park on 6 May 2012. Dartford went in front but it took until 56 minutes, Adam Green’s free-kick was put in the mixer for Elliot Bradbrook to rise the highest, putting the Darts 2-0 up on aggregate. Basingstoke Town equalised on the day with Shaun McAuley sweeping a shot beyond Louis Wells. The Darts restored the two goal aggregate lead when Danny Harris bundled the ball over the line from close range, sending the hosts through to the final where they beat Welling United to clinch promotion.

National South Playoff Preview

Six clubs will compete in the new National South playoff format aiming to earn a place in the top flight of non league. Pure DFC takes a look at the contenders in this season’s showdown and the build up to the final on Sunday 13th May.

Dartford

The Darts will need to get over their last minute heartbreak quickly, which denied them the championship on goal difference. For a few minutes Dartford were up until champions Havant and Waterlooville cruelly snatched the trophy away with a last minute winner against Concord Rangers. On a positive note, Dartford’s last foray in the National South playoffs ended in promotion six years ago, they have home advantage and they are on the verge of a record breaking run. The Darts ended the campaign with a nine game winning streak and if they win the playoffs will break their club record on ten victories in a row. Finishing the league’s top scorers thanks to the attacking prowess in the early parts of the campaign, the Darts have been solid at the back recently too with six clean sheets in the last eight games.

Player to watch – Alfie Pavey

The National South’s Player of the Year didn’t know where his career was going in the summer. Pavey joined Welling United, but that failed to work out. The 22 year old was picked up by Tony Burman a couple of weeks into the campaign and 23 goals later he finished the second highest goalscorer in the league.

Record vs playoff contenders (W4, D3, L3, F18 A14)

Dartford will be pleased to have avoided Chelmsford City in the semi-final considering the Clarets did the double over the Darts. The Essex club also beat Dartford in last season’s playoff semi-final. At home Dartford took ten points off their playoff rivals out of 15 (W3, D1, L1).

Next fixture

The Darts will be at home in the semi-final on 6th May 2018 against the winners of the Hemel Hempstead Town versus Braintree Town match.

Chelmsford City

Starting the campaign as joint favourites with Dartford, last season’s playoff runners up have been eyeing up the National League for some time now. Since their return to the National South ten years ago, the Clarets have reached the playoffs five times losing two finals, one of those against Hampton and Richmond Borough in 2009 and three semi-finals. Along with St Albans City, the Essex club set the early season pace, but a cluster of draws in September and lack of form in the New Year left Chelmsford City playing catch up. Rod Stringer’s side are the form team heading into the end of season lottery having won seven out of the last eight league matches. With an identical home and away record the Clarets will always be tough opponents whoever they come up against.

Player to watch – Chris Dickson

A former Charlton Athletic striker who made his way through non league with Erith and Belvedere then Dulwich Hamlet. Dickson’s experience could be vital in the playoffs, the 33 year old managed to score 14 times this term for the Clarets.

Record vs playoff contenders (W3, D4, L3, F15, A16)

Chelmsford City will be relishing a chance to make up for their final defeat a year ago. They will have home advantage in the semi-final, only Hampton and Richmond Borough beat then on their own patch. The only team they will face away will be Dartford, if these two make the final and they did the double over the Darts.

Next fixture

The Clarets will be at home in the semi-final on 6th May 2018 against the winners of the Hampton and Richmond Borough versus Truro City match.

Hampton and Richmond Borough

The Beavers were title contenders up until Dartford practically ruled them out on a muddy Good Friday. A last-minute Alfie Pavey goal opened up a gap between the Darts and two draws and a defeat later it was game over. However, they have recovered lately winning two in a row before drawing their final game with Truro City. The Beavers have playoff experience from last season despite finishing seventh, losing to eventual winners Ebbsfleet United in the semi-final. The Middlesex club were only promoted to the National South two years ago as Isthmian Premier League champions and have performed consistently since then. Between the final game of August through to the end of January the Beavers went 21 games unbeaten, including an eight-match winning streak. Alan Dowson’s men will be a force at home where they have lost just once this term.

Player to watch – Max Kretzschmar

A goalscoring midfielder and dead ball specialist, Max Kretzschmar started his career at Wycombe Wanderers where he spent three years before joining Woking. The 24 year old joined Hampton and Richmond Borough in the summer and a sound return of 14 goals from midfield has helped the Beavers finish fourth in the National South.

Record vs playoff contenders (W1, D6, L3, F9, A11)

The Beavers seem to keep games tight against those in the playoff places, but they have managed just one win against Chelmsford City away. Hampton and Richmond Borough drew all five home matches versus teams in the playoffs and whether they win or lose the margin has just been by one.

Next fixture

The Beavers play their first match on Wednesday 2nd May at home to Truro City. If Hampton and Richmond win then they will face Chelmsford City away in the semi-final on Sunday 6th May.

Hemel Hempstead Town

It took until October for Hemel Hempstead Town to get going, the Tudors couldn’t string a sequence together for the first two months and then they went 12 games unbeaten. At one point they topped the table, but that was a very brief moment. The Tudors have been on a solid run during the final stretch of the campaign, the loss against Dartford their only loss in 12 attempts before a final day defeat at Weston-super-Mare. Hemel Hempstead Town have collected the second most points at home this term, seven less than the Darts. Dean Brennan took the Hertfordshire club up four years ago winning the Southern Premier League in style. This season the Tudors have reached a new milestone in setting their highest ever league finish and will take part in the National South playoffs for the first time.

Player to watch – Jordan Parkes

The Tudors seem to be a good fit for Jordan Parkes, now in his second spell for the club. The attacking midfielder scored 42 times in 112 appearances between 2012-2015 before joining Ebbsfleet United. It didn’t quite work out for the 28 year old at Stonebridge Road so he returned to Hemel Hempstead Town where his scoring a goal every other game.

Record vs playoff contenders (W4, D3, L3, F19, A19) 

Hemel Hempstead Town will be pleased to play Braintree Town who they beat twice, they will be keen to avoid Dartford who inflicted two defeats on them. The Tudors won three at home and were involved in some high scoring matches including a 4-3 victory over Braintree Town and a pair of 3-3 draws against Chelmsford City and Truro City respectively.

Next fixture

The Tudors play their first match on Wednesday 2nd May at home to Braintree Town. If Hemel Hempstead Town win then they will face Dartford away in the semi-final on Sunday 6th May.

Braintree Town

Set the task of rebuilding in the summer, Braintree Town boss Brad Quinton hasn’t done a bad job by getting the Iron into the top seven with a final day 3-0 victory versus Gloucester City. The Essex club were relegated last term from the National League, a stark contrast to the campaign before when they lost to Grimsby Town in the playoff semi-final. Braintree Town spent six seasons in the National League often punching above their weight and now they have a shot of returning to the top non-league division after one season. The Iron have been within a shout of promotion all campaign by being amongst the early pace setters before the New Year slump in January and February. Quinton’s side are now another one of the playoff contenders hitting form at the right time winning five of their last six games.

Player to watch – Billy Crook

The Supporters Player of the Year adds to his accolades he won at Enfield Town the season before, whilst under manager Brad Quinton. Another goalscoring midfielder to feature in this season’s playoffs, Billy Crook started as youngster at Crystal Palace and was part of the Glenn Hoddle Academy in Spain.

Record vs playoff contenders (W2, D6, L2, F17, A17)

The Iron drew all four games against the highest ranked teams Dartford and Chelmsford City, they lost twice to their next opponents Hemel Hempstead Town and beat Hampton and Richmond Borough at home and Truro City away. Each game has had no more than a one goal winning margin so expect a tough ride against the Iron.

Next fixture

The Iron play their first match on Wednesday 2nd May at away to Hemel Hempstead Town. If Braintree Town win then they will face Dartford away in the semi-final on Sunday 6th May.

Truro City

The White Tigers had to wait to the final day of the season to book their place in the top seven. A draw with Hampton and Richmond Borough coupled with St Albans City’s defeat got them over the line. It will be the third time in four years the Cornwall club has reached the playoffs, their last attempt to win promotion to the National League ended in a semi-final loss to eventual winners Maidstone United. The campaign before their return to the National South, the White Tigers went up through the playoffs in 2015 from the Southern League they beat St Neots Town 1-0 in the final. Since Lee Hodges returned has manager, Truro City have got back to the level of expectancy. This term has been a vast improvement to the relegation threatened side of last season, however their form in April tailed off but the White Tigers managed to hang on.

Player to watch – Cody Cooke

Popular amongst the fans and players, last season’s Player of the Year top scored for the White Tigers this term. Cody Cooke joined the Cornwall club in 2010 so has been through the ups and downs with Truro City. The 34 year old knows where the goal is and gives his side experience.

Record vs playoff contenders (W3, D4, L3, F15, A16)

Truro City have a better home record than away which is hardly surprising considering the amount of travelling needed. The problem then is that Truro City, the lowest ranked team will have to play their matches away from Treyew Road. So with that in mind they did manage to beat Hemel Hempstead Town on their travels, picked up two draws and lost to the two highest ranked clubs.

Next fixture

The White Tigers play their first match on Wednesday 2nd May at away to Hampton and Richmond Borough. If Truro City win then they will face Chelmsford City away in the semi-final on Sunday 6th May.

 

Bognor Regis Town v Dartford

Dartford can win the National South title and promotion this weekend when they travel to already relegated Bognor Regis Town.

Nyewood Lane holds fond memories for the Darts, a venue where they celebrated at the end of the 2009/2010 campaign when Dartford went up as Isthmian Premier League champions. This time the circumstances are so much different.

Havant and Waterlooville’s 6-1 mid-week win over East Thurrock United on Wednesday night has left the Darts needing a bundle of goals. Dartford need to better Havant and Waterlooville’s result against Concord Rangers, or if both teams win the Darts’ winning margin needs to be greater than three goals more than Havant and Waterlooville’s winning margin.

Despite the three-goal deficit Dartford manager, Tony Burman remains positive, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “We’re in with a massive shout, the target was to be challenging for the league title and we’re still in prime position at the moment”.

He added: “Against Bognor we’ve got to think about ourselves and what we can do. Bognor is going to be hit with a lot of people from Dartford, it’s going to be a good day and hopefully it goes well for us”.

The Darts have won their last eight league games and another victory will mean the clubs longest winning streak in the league for nine years, when they ended up as Isthmian Premier League winners.

Over those last eight games Dartford have been less free scoring than earlier in the season, Burman commented: “I realise we haven’t played brilliant football over those games but we’re at the nitty gritty end of the season”, he continued: “It’s about work-rate and just winning games. We’ve got to get on with it and do what we can do. Hopefully it swings our way”.

Dartford’s defence has been formidable over the last month, conceding just one goal in the last seven games has kept them in with a chance of claiming a first league title in eight years. They are also the league’s top scorers with 79 and have Alfie Pavey who has netted 22 times, three behind the National South’s top scorer. Recently, Danny Mills has scored three in his last three appearances helping the Darts to vital points.

Earlier in the season, the Darts beat Bognor Regis Town at Princes Park. Alfie Pavey put the Darts ahead, but the visitors quickly levelled before the break. Elliot Bradbrook’s penalty restored Dartford’s lead and the points were secured when Andy Pugh’s header made it 3-1.

Bognor Regis Town will be leaving the National South through the relegation trapdoor, the Rocks were promoted last term through the Isthmian Premier League playoffs. Guaranteed to finish in last place after their 1-0 defeat to Chelmsford City on Tuesday night, the Sussex club have managed just five league wins all season.

With Dartford needing goals they will be hoping that former defender Keaton Wood doesn’t make too much of an impact. Wood made 74 appearances for the Darts and represented the England C Team during his spell at Princes Park, the 22-year-old left the club for Bognor Regis Town in November.

The Rocks have lost nine of their last ten games with the only success at home to St Albans City on 10 April. It’s been a season of struggle for Jack Pearce’s side who will bow out of the National South potentially having a say in where the league title will end up.

Head to Head
Bognor Regis Town wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 4 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Bognor Regis Town (LLLLWL) Dartford (WWWWWW)
Chelmsford City H 0-1 Bath City H 2-0
Oxford City City A 0-4 East Thurrock United A 1-0
Concord Rangers A 1-2 Eastbourne Borough A 1-0
Hemel Hempstead Town H 2-3 Gloucester City A 1-0
St Albans City H 2-1 Weston-super-Mare H 3-1
Gloucester City A 2-3 Hampton and Richmond H 1-0

Previous Meetings

07.10.2017 Dartford 3 Bognor Regis Town 1
24.04.2010 Bognor Regis Town 0 Dartford 2
07.11.2009 Dartford 3 Bognor Regis Town 3
02.05.1981 Dartford 1 Bognor Regis Town 1
13.12.1980 Bognor Regis Town 2 Dartford 2
01.05.1980 Bognor Regis Town 2 Dartford 0
10.11.1979 Dartford 2 Bognor Regis Town 0
06.04.1976 Bognor Regis Town 2 Dartford 2
06.09.1975 Dartford 3 Bognor Regis Town 1

Stats
The Darts have won eight league games in a row, a feat that was achieved in 1996 leading up to the final game of the season. Needing a win on the last day against Furness to clinch the title, the Darts drew 1-1 losing out to their opponents on goal difference.

Dartford’s run of six clean sheets in the last seven games is their best defensive display since they kept six clean sheets in a row in 2009. That was part of the last time Dartford won eight consecutive league games and won a championship.

The Darts have won five away games on a spin their best run since the 2009/2010 season when they recorded nine straight wins.

Dartford are two victories away from equalling a club record ten consecutive wins in all competitions last achieved in 1996. The Darts have won ten in a row in all competitions on six occasions in their history.

On This Day
Dartford had already secured second place in the National South six years ago when they played their final match of the season down at Truro City. The White Tigers took the lead through veteran striker and former Premier League player Barry Hayles, in the final minute Jacob Erskine equalised. Dartford were promoted that season through the playoffs beating local rivals Welling United in the final. Eleven years ago, the Darts also finished their 2006/2007 campaign in an entertaining defeat, Brendon Cass scored two and Ryan Hayes the pther in a 4-3 loss at Metropolitan Police.