Dartford open the New Year by facing local rivals Ebbsfleet United for a second time this week and hope to add to their Boxing Day victory.
The Darts recorded their first league win over the Fleet for twenty years on Wednesday to end their four game losing streak. Just after half time Liam Enver-Marum put Ebbsfleet United in front and four minutes later Harry Crawford started his festive goal cheer. The Dartford striker equalised before completing his brace putting the Darts ahead. Captain Elliot Bradbrook settled the score with ten minutes remaining to secure maximum points.
Tony Burman’s side then hosted an in form Cambridge United team on the weekend in a second consecutive fixture at Princes Park. The Darts put in a spirited and gutsy performance to end 2012 and come away with a well earned draw. Crawford’s swivel and turn half way through the first half put Dartford 1-0 up, the striker notched his third goal in two matches and tenth of the season. Michael Gash’s free kick on the stroke of half time found its way through the defence to tie the game. The visitors created more chances in the second half but were denied by the superb Marcus Bettinelli between the Dartford sticks.
Dartford manager Tony Burman was content with a point and told BBC Radio Kent: “We could have said on chances it was a fair result”, he added: “I’m just pleased we haven’t lost. We’ve taken four points off Cambridge which is a great achievement for us”. As recent weather conditions played havoc with pitches up and down the country the Darts have managed to fulfill their festive fixtures. Burman recognises the toll it’s taking on the players and is delighted with the commitment shown, he commented: “The players gave their all on Boxing Day and today and [having played] on heavy pitches, they’re absolutely shattered”.
Four points from the last six leaves Dartford nestling in seventh place and the draw versus Cambridge United keeps them ahead of the U’s. However, Burman’s side have lost their last three away matches. Meanwhile, The Fleet are struggling this season and after their loss on Boxing Day the club are second from bottom. Liam Daish’s side were left without a match on the weekend when their match at Kenilworth Road against Luton Town was called of due to a waterlogged pitch.
Ebbsfleet United have lost their last three league games conceding eleven goals in the process. The Fleet boss has suggested he may have to look towards the transfer market to get the club away from trouble. Daish spoke to BBC Radio Kent and said: “I know they’re working hard but there’s a bit of naivety there”, he added: “It needs to be addressed and it probably needs to be addressed with different personnel”.
The last meeting between the two sides at Stonebridge Road went the way of Ebbsfleet United as Dartford were beaten 2-1. Fleet defender Derek Duncan curled in a free kick for the opener on ten minutes. Four minutes later Ryan Hayes sent in a cross from a dead ball situation and Elliot Bradbrook headed the leveller. The match turned on 32 minutes when Calum Willock outpaced the last defender and won a spot kick. Joe Bruce was dismissed and Willock got up to put the Fleet ahead. To rub salt into the Dartford wound James White was also sent off after coming on as a substitute.
Head to Head
Ebbsfleet United wins: 107 / Dartford wins: 115 / Draws 88 / Dartford goals for: 476 / Ebbsfleet United goals: 454
Lee Burns failed a fitness test on Saturday and sat out the full ninety minutes for the first time in the league this campaign. Lee Noble was substituted against Cambridge United on the hour with a possible hamstring strain. Marcus Bettinelli continues his loan spell on a month to month basis but he can be recalled by Fulham at any time. Tom Bonner and Lee Noble remain one caution away from suspension for five yellow cards.
Prior the Boxing Day clash the Fleet lost the services of Patrick Ada after his contract was terminated by the club for his imprisonment. The loan spell of striker Matthew Godden ended when Scunthorpe United recalled the player. Nathan Elder had been out with injury before the game at Princes Park but the forward made a return that day. Moses Ashokodi has also been missed by the team in recent weeks through injury. Lian Enveer-Marum and Neil Barrett are currently on four cautions for the season and another yellow will rule them out of the Fleet’s next match.
|Ebbsfleet United (LLLDWW)||Dartford (DWLLLL)|
|Mansfield Town||A||1-4||Ebbsfleet United||H||3-1|
|Cambridge United||H||2-4||Kidderminster Harriers||H||1-5|
|Grimsby Town||H||1-1||Lincoln City||A||2-4|
|Macclesfield Town||A||2-1||Nuneaton Town||H||0-1|
Last Meeting at Stonebridge Road
28 December 2010 – Ebbsfleet United 1 Dartford 2- Att: 2435
Goalscorers: Duncan (10), Bradbrook (14), Willock (32 pen)
The Fleet Lineup: Edwards, Stone, Lorraine, Easton, Duncan, Howe, Marwa, Phipp, West, Williams, Willock (subs used: Shakes, Ginty)
The Darts Lineup: Young, Burgess, Bonner, Bruce, Goodacre, Champion, Hayes, Sheringham, Purcell, Burns, Bradbrook (subs used: White, Berquez, Burchell)
Harry Crawford is still searching for his first away goal in the Conference Premier league this season
Dartford and Ebbsfleet United have now gone seven league matches without a clean sheet
The Darts recent record in the first New Year fixtures has seen one defeat in seven which happened at Welling United