Dartford will hope to stay ahead of Mansfield Town by avoiding defeat at Field Mill on the weekend.
The Darts have fond memories of the last meeting between the two sides when television cameras turned up at Princes Park for the first time. Tony Burman led Dartford to a historic 2-0 win against the Stags in an excellent display under the lights.
As the match approached half time the Darts hit a quick fire double when a well worked move was rolled home from the edge of the box by captain Elliot Bradbrook. Straight from the resulting kick off, winger Ryan Hayes intercepted a stray pass on the half way line, dribbled towards the edge of the box and curled a stunning shot into the top corner for a second goal in a minute.
Dartford have been preoccupied with postponements and cup matches of late, the last of which against FC Halifax Town. At the third attempt the Darts faced the Conference North side in the F.A Trophy Fourth round and forced a replay. The Shaymen took the lead with a Lee Gregory goal on 27 minutes having already been reduced to ten men. Burman made an inspired substitution by introducing Danny Harris who equalised with just over twenty minutes remaining.
Back in the Conference Premier, Dartford are six points shy of the playoffs in seventh spot and face their first league match without top striker Harry Crawford who joined Barnet in the transfer window. The Darts have lost one of their last five league fixtures picking eight points in the process. However, Burman’s men have failed to record an away victory in the Conference Premier league for two months. Since beating F.A Cup giant killers Luton Town at Kenilworth Road, the Darts have drawn one and lost four in their league games on the road.
Mansfield Town have enjoyed the limelight since losing to Dartford in October winning six of their last nine league matches. Paul Cox also led the Stags to the F.A Cup third round and admirably went out to Liverpool. In a controversial tie, Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez handled the ball which led to the eventual winning goal for the Premiership club.
Although the Stags have lost their last two at Field Mill, the club were back to winning ways with wins at Stockport County and Southport recently. Cox’s side have played the fewest league games this season and with games in hand are in with a shout of the top five. The Mansfield Town boss is not fazed by the fixture pile up and relishes the challenge to an exciting stretch of the season.
Elliot Bradbrook has still been out for the Darts, the midfielder last featured against in Dartford 3-2 defeat at Alfreton Town.
Mansfield Town striker Jake Speight is expected to be out for the rest of the season . The 27 year old suffered a torn cartilage. Gary Roberts has gone out on loan to Maltese club Floriana and Paul Cox has signed James Jennings from Cambridge United. Jennings made 22 appearances for The U’s starting all but one of those matches.
Head to Head
Mansfield Town wins: 0 / Dartford wins 1 / Draws: 0
Current League Form
|Mansfield Town (WWLWLW)||Dartford (WLDDWL)|
|Stockport County||A||3-1||Alfreton Town||A||2-3|
|Kidderminster Harriers||H||0-2||Ebbsfleet United||A||2-2|
|Alfreton Town||A||3-0||Cambridge United||H||1-1|
|Alfreton Town||H||1-2||Ebbsfleet United||H||3-1|
|Ebbsfleet United||H||4-1||Kidderminster Harriers||A||1-5|
Dartford top the league table versus sides in the top half of the Conference Premier. Mansfield Town top the current form guide with four wins and two defeats.
12 October 2012 – Dartford 2 Mansfield Town 0 – Att: 1737
Goalscorers: Bradbrook (45) Hayes (45)
The Darts Lineup: Bettinelli, Burns, Bonner, Arber, Rose, Hayes, Wallis, Bradbrook, Noble, Harris, Birchall (subs used: Rogers, Collier, Erskine)
The Stags Lineup: Mitchell, Dempster, Tafazolli, Geohagon, Howell, Roberts, Todd, Daniel, Speight, Green, Rhead (subs used: Meikle, Briscoe, Sutton)