October starts with a long journey up the east coast to Blundell Park on Saturday when the Darts take on Grimsby Town.
Dartford have never played the Mariners in a competitive match and go into the Conference Premier fixture undefeated in five league and cup games. Grimsby Town have been beaten just once this season but remain just outside the playoff places.
It’s been a great start to Dartford’s return to the top flight of non league football and their excellent run continued this week. After picking up a respectable draw in Wales, Tony Burman’s side overcame Braintree Town 2-0 on the road before coming from behind to beat bottom of the table Hyde.
The Darts moved into the playoff zone on the weekend but not without a scare. In a lacklustre first half Hyde edged in front when Alex Brown scored in the 28th minute. In the second half Lee Noble and Harry Crawford were introduced and it looked as if though Dartford found a way back into the game. Jacob Erskine was upended in the box before Crawford’s penalty was saved by David Carnell.
With Hyde reduced to ten men after a sending off, Crawford made amends with five minutes to go when his superb looping header levelled the score. The Darts sensed three points and pushed for the win and were rewarded when full back Richard Rose kept his cool to lob a crowd of players for a last minute winner.
Tony Burman was pleased to grab the three points despite a below par performance, he spoke to BBC Radio Kent after the game and said: “That was agony, for 70 we haven’t played well at all”, he added: “You can’t turn on and off your form like we have done today. Having said that I’ve got to give the players credit, in the last 20 minutes we’ve gone on and won the game and all we’re concerned about is winning three points”.
Grimsby Town moved into sixth place after a fine draw with high flying Newport County. Saturday’s goalless draw increases the Mariners unbeaten run to ten, the longest run without a loss this season by any Conference Premier club. Since their only reverse on 14 August 2012 against Stockport County, Grimsby Town have picked up five wins and five draws which has included two excellent victories against Luton Town and Forest Green Rovers.
Joint managers Rob Scott and Paul Hurst have made their squad a difficult side to overcome after overseeing a huge turnaround of personnel in the summer. Former Burton Albion striker Greg Pearson was added and Joe Colbeck, former team mate of Richard Rose at Hereford United also signed for the Mariners. Former Woking and Braintree Town defender Aswad Thomas, another summer signing has also impressed and earned an England C call up this week.
Ten years ago The Mariners were mixing with life in the second tier of English football recapturing their golden era of the thirties. Between 2003 and 2004 the decline started with Grimsby Town slipping from the second tier to the fourth tier until relegation to the Conference Premier in 2010.
|Grimsby Town (DWWDWD)||Dartford (WWDWLW)|
|Kidderminster Harriers||A||0-0||Hereford United||H||4-0|
|Forest Green Rovers||H||1-0||Gateshead||A||0-2|
Grimsby Town have won their last four home matches scoring 12 and conceding just twice.
Dartford are unbeaten in two away from Prince Park.
Dartford’s win on Saturday was the first time this season the Darts won a match after going behind. The Mariners have yet to drop points after taking the lead.
Harry Crawford netted his sixth goal of the season against Hyde but has yet to score away from home. Grimsby Town’s top scorer, Nathan Pond has scored all three of his goals at home.
Grimsby Town have made their best start in seven years picking up 21 points in their first twelve matches.
The Lincolnshire club may lack goals for a side in the top six but at the back they have conceded just seven times, the fewest in the goals against column with Wrexham.
In each of Dartford’s defeats on the road they have failed to score.
Dartford would top the league table had the season started on 25 August 2012. The Darts would be ahead of Forest Green Rovers on goals scored.