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Dartford v Cambridge United

Dartford host title contenders Cambridge United and welcome back two of their former players, who helped them up to the Conference Premier.

The two Tom’s return to Princes Park under different circumstances. Tom Champion has impressed his new club in the central of midfield whilst Tom Bonner has made one league start and suffered a nasty injury, keeping him sidelined for this weekends fixture.

Dartford took four points of the U’s last season following up their shock 2-1 win at the Abbey Stadium with a 1-1 draw at Princes Park. Dartford put in a spirited and gutsy performance to end 2012 and came away with a well earned draw. Harry Crawford’s swivel and turn half way through the first half put Dartford 1-0 up. Michael Gash, now at Kidderminster Harriers scored from a free kick on the stroke of half time.  The visitors created more chances in the second half but were denied by the superb Marcus Bettinelli between the Dartford sticks.

On Tuesday night, the Darts got of to a sensational start away to Kidderminster Harriers taking a 2-0 half time lead. After just two minutes Alex Woodyard’s excellent cross was met by Max Cornhill, who headed his first league goal for the club. Twenty minutes later débutante Alex Wall’s shot across the goal was parried by Danny Lewis and Andy Pugh netted the rebound for his first for the club. Wall also found time to hit the post and despite plenty of possession for the Harriers the hosts were restricted to long range efforts. Harriers halved the deficit three minutes into the second half when Gash bundled in from close range. Pressure continued to mount in front of the Darts goal with Gash striking the crossbar. However, resolute defending and an excellent team effort ensured Dartford completed the double over Kidderminster Harriers.

Tony Burman will be unable to select Rory McAuley and Andy Pugh who are unable to face their parent club. McAuley made the most league appearances for Cambridge United last term, the 24 year old defender has already matched the amount of league starts for Cambridge United this season with the Darts. An ankle injury after the second game of the U’s campaign kept McAuley out until he spent time with Chelmsford City on loan. Pugh is more known in the Kent scene having played for Welling United and made one loan appearance for Ebbsfleet United this campaign. Pugh was signed by Cambridge United after impressing at the Wings where he scored an average of one every two matches.

Cambridge United have only tasted two Conference Premier defeats this campaign opening the season with a record 16 games unbeaten. At home the U’s have won all 12 matches conceding just twice and on their travels they are just as tight. The U’s have conceded just 11 league goals this term keeping a staggering 17 clean sheets, Richard Money’s squad looks set to go head to head with Luton Town for the title.

The U’s travelled to Tamworth’s Lamb Ground on Tuesday night and were restricted in the first half as the sides went into the break goalless. The promotion chasers went in front  just past the hour when Liam Hughes’ free kick put Cambridge United in front. That goal was enough to close the gap at the top of the Conference Premier by a point, with one game in hand over Luton Town.

Prior the win at Tamworth and stalemate at FC Halifax Town, the U’s have been making their way towards Wembley in the F.A Trophy. After a 2-2 draw with their title rivals Luton Town, in which new Dart Alex Wall chalked a goal for the Hatters, Cambridge United won the replay 1-0 thanks to new signing Ashley Chambers. In that match Tom Bonner suffered a nasty injury ruling the defender out for several weeks. The U’s now face Conference South side Eastleigh in the last eight of the competition and have their eye on the non league double.

Chambers, signed from League two club York City is a number of new signings by Richard Money. The striker scored 21 times in 133 appearances for the Minstermen. Identifying a need for goals Matthew Barnes-Homer has been signed on a free transfer from Forest Green Rovers. The 27 year old made his name in last season’s F.A Cup upset when he netted twice as Macclesfield Town beat Cardiff City. The striker scored almost one in two games at Rovers and in 2010-2011 top scored for Luton Town. Goalkeeper, John Sullivan has also been snapped up from Portsmouth and he made his league début in the 1-1 draw versus FC Halifax Town.

Cambridge United maybe taking full advantage of their home form, however the U’s are draw specialists on the road. With eight so far this season, more than any other Conference Premier club, the second placed side were winless in six league matches on their travels before Tuesday night’s win.

Team News

Dartford welcome the return of suspended midfielder’s Lee Noble who has now served his four match ban and Danny Harris. Ryan Hayes remains out through long term injury, Kenny Clark missed the mid week fixture and Nathan Collier didn’t travel. Welsh winger Ben Swallow was selected in the squad on Tuesday but stayed on the substitutes bench. Rory McAuley and Andy Pugh are ineligible to play against their parent club.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 8 / Cambridge United wins: 3 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford (WLDLLL) Cambridge United (WDDWLW)
Kidderminster Harriers A 2-1 Tamworth A 1-0
Salisbury City A 0-1 FC Halifax Town A 1-1
Welling United A 1-1 Nuneaton Town A 0-0
Welling United H 1-2 Braintree Town H 1-0
Alfreton Town A 1-2 Hereford United A 0-1
FC Halifax Town H 1-2 Macclesfield Town H 3-0

Last Meeting At Princes Park

6 February  2013 – Dartford 1 Cambridge United 1 – Att: 1716

Goalscorers: Crawford (23), Gash (45)

The Darts Lineup: Bettinelli, Rose, Bonner, Arber, Rogers, Champion, Bradbrook, Hayes, Noble, Erskine, Crawford (Sub used: Harris, Collier)

The U’s Lineup: Hedge, Roberts, Coulson, McAuley, Haynes-Brown, Dunk, Jarvis, Gash, Pugh, Hughes, Smith (Sub used: Willmott, Wellard)

Match Stats

dfc v cufc stats

Previous Meetings

29.12.2012 Dartford 1 Cambridge United 1
27.08.2012 Cambridge United 1 Dartford 2
19.02.1966 Cambridge United 3 Dartford 0
04.09.1965 Dartford 2 Cambridge United 1
13.03.1965 Dartford 2 Cambridge United 0

League Stats

1 – Cambridge United have scored just once in the final fifteen minutes of league matches this season, the fewest in the division

11 – The Darts have conceded the most league goals in the fifteen minutes before half time, more than any other Conference Premier club this campaign

12 – Dartford’s 2-1 win at Kidderminster Harriers on Tuesday was their first league victory since 19 October 2012, twelve games ago

20 – The U’s are top of the Conference Premier Fair Play league, in fact they have the cleanest record amongst the top five English divisions. Cambridge United have picked up just 20 yellow cards and no reds

Dartford and Hyde may be in the bottom two but they are top of the league for the amount of players used. Dartford have used 31 players so far this term, three less than bottom club Hyde.

Cambridge United have not won or lost by more than a goal away from home in this Conference Premier campaign

The U’s have racked up the most 1-0 wins in the league this season achieving this feat eight times

 

 

Kidderminster Harriers v Dartford

The Darts look for their first league win in three months on Tuesday night when they travel to playoff chasers and F.A Cup up-setters Kidderminster Harriers.

Dartford have now gone a dozen league matches without victory picking up a solitary point. In contrast, Harriers are fresh from their F.A Cup third round win against League One side Peterborough United. The Darts will be the last side to take on Kidderminster Harriers before their fourth round clash with Premier League club Sunderland.

Whilst Tony Burman has guided Dartford to two home victories against the Worcestershire club, the Darts will want to erase last season’s reverse at Aggborough from the memory bank. On a wet December weekend, Kidderminster Harriers brushed aside the visitors taking the lead inside four minutes. Cheyenne Dunkley finished like a striker hitting a shot into the corner of Marcus Bettinelli’s net. The lead lasted five minutes when Jacob Erskine’s firm header levelled the match but Jamille Matt, now of Fleetwood Town put the Harriers back in front from close range past the half hour mark. Matt added a further goal in the second half with 20 minutes to go, substitute defender Mike Williams was only on the pitch for a couple of minutes when he made it 4-1 and a last minute strike by Lee Vaughan made it five.

Dartford struggled to create chances on Saturday as they went down to a solitary goal against Salisbury City. The Darts failed to register a shot on target and fell behind after quarter of an hour. A short corner caught out the Darts defence when Elliott Frear crossed low to James White who flicked the ball past Alan Julian. The defeat leaves Dartford second from bottom and seven points adrift from safety.

In attempt to increase the fire power up front, Burman has brought in a third loanee from Luton Town. Alex Wall, who scored against the Darts for Maidenhead United in March 2012 netted ten that season for a struggling side. A year later he signed for Luton Town where he has made 18 league appearances scoring three goals, the majority of those appearances have been off the bench. Wall joins Dave Martin and Jim Stevenson amongst the trio of Luton Town loanees.

The latest signing captured by Burman is winger Ben Swallow. The 24 year old was part of the  Newport County squad that won the playoffs last season to reach the Football League. Swallow scored twice in 23 appearances before being released in the summer by the Exiles and joining Bromley this campaign.

It hasn’t been all plain sailing for Kidderminster Harriers as last season’s runners up are sitting in sixth spot. A combination of being off the automatic promotion pace and interest from Forest Green Rovers in November ended the reign of Steve Burr, who earned his first win as Chester boss on the weekend. On the pitch, top scorer Joe Lolley has left Aggborough for Championship football with Huddersfield Town, the striker scored nine Conference Premier goals in 21 appearances.

Under Steve Burr, Harriers started inconsistently until a productive September through to November yielded 30 points in 14 games moving the club from 12th to 3rd in the table. During that last successful month Forest Green Rovers approached Burr and although he rejected a move December started with three straight losses. Respite came with a 2-1 win against Hereford United but what followed was a 6-0 drubbing to fellow promotion chasers Luton Town.

To remedy the situation Mark Serrell, Harriers chairman has turned to ex Coventry City boss Andy Thorn. The former Crystal Palace and Wimbledon centre half has won both his matches in charge beating Salisbury City 3-0 and Peterborough United 3-2. The 47 year old has also added Adrian Cieslewicz from Wrexham, the 23 year old forward scored twice in 18 league games for the Welsh club this term. Thorn has searched internationally too by recruiting Santiago Aloi, the 26 year old Argentine begun his career at River Plate, spent a year on loan at Watford before moving back to South America.

Team News

Kenny Clark missed the draw at Welling United and the defeat on the weekend at Salisbury City with a groin injury. Ryan Hayes remains sidelined for the Darts. Lee Noble and Danny Harris are both suspended for the red cards they have picked up recently. Noble will serve the last of his four match ban.  Alex Wall will be available for selection, an administration error meant he was kept out of Saturday’s loss.

Head to Head

Kidderminster Harriers wins: 12 / Dartford wins: 12 / Draws: 7

Current League Form

Kidderminster Harriers (WLWLLL) Dartford (LDLLLL)
Salisbury City H 3-0 Salisbury City A 0-1
Luton Town A 0-6 Welling United A 1-1
Hereford United H 2-1 Welling United H 1-2
Grimsby Town A 1-3 Alfreton Town A 1-2
Alfreton Town H 1-3 FC Halifax Town H 1-2
Woking A 0-1 Barnet A 0-1

Last Meeting at Aggborough

22 December 2012 – Kidderminster Harriers 5 Dartford 1 – Att: 1779

Goalscorers: Dunkley(4), Erskine (9), Matt (32), Matt (69), Williams (76), L Vaughan (89)

Harriers Lineup: Lewis, L Vaughan, Demetriou, Dunkley, Gowling, Storer, Vincent, Shakes, Briggs, Malbon, Matt (subs used: Rowe, Williams, Clancy)

The Darts Lineup: Bettinelli, Burns, Bonner, Champion, Rose, Hayes, Wallis, Bradbrook, Rogers, Erskine, Crawford (subs used: Harris, Arber, Noble)

Match Stats

khfc v dfc 1
Last Five Meetings

21.09.2013 Dartford 3 Kidderminster Harriers 0
22.12.2012 Kidderminster Harriers 5 Dartford 1
25.08.2012 Dartford 1 Kidderminster Harriers 0
29.03.1986 Kidderminster Harriers 4 Dartford 1
05.10.1985 Dartford 5 Kidderminster Harriers 1

League Stats

Kidderminster Harriers have won six of their last seven home matches, the Harriers have gained 26 out of the last 30 points available at Aggborough

53% – Harriers have scored three or more at home in over half of their games. Only FC Halifax have scored three or more at home on more occasions but they have played 16 matches at home, making the Harriers return of 53% the most prolific in the league

Dartford have suffered 11 defeats in their last 12 Conference Premier, on their travels they have drawn three and lost nine in their last 12.

The Darts last kept a clean sheet in the league on 28 September 2013 when they beat Southport 1-0. A run of 16 matches without a clean sheet is the longest current sequence in the league.

Against teams in the bottom half Kidderminster Harriers have the best record winning 10, drawing 2 and losing 2.

 

 

Salisbury City v Dartford

After ending a ten game losing streak Dartford return to the scene of their F.A Cup first round exit on Saturday.

The Darts return to Salisbury City’s Raymond McEnhill Stadium where they were beaten 4-2 in November. In only Dartford’s second first round appearance in 22 years the tie had got away from them by half time. Salisbury City’s top scorer Dan Fitchett netted a brace, opening the scoring inside quarter of an hour. Ben Wright doubled the hosts lead five minutes later with a shot into the roof of the net. Just before the interval Elliott Frear gave the Whites a resounding lead. The Darts attempted to fight back with a Lee Burns volley but after chasing the match Fitchett put the tie beyond doubt. A well taken Max Cornhill consolation in the final minute rounded up the first round meeting between the two clubs.

Dartford have been on a dismal run of late suffering a painful ten straight league defeats. Tony Burman used two weeks off, following a couple of postponements, to start repairing the squad. Out went defender Matthew Fry by mutual consent whilst Cambridge United duo Rory McAuley and Andy Pugh arrived at Princes Park on loan.

McAuley and Pugh made their débuts last Friday, the latter against his former club Welling United. Having suffered a Boxing Day defeat to their Kent rivals, the Darts avoided a similar fate thanks to another loanee Jim Stevenson. The Luton Town midfielder followed up Elliot Bradbrook’s effort giving Dartford another lead. Welling United took just eight minutes to level the local derby. Mat Mitchel-King upended Lee Clarke in the penalty box and Wings top scorer Ross Lafayette scored the spot kick.

Burman was delighted with his side picking up their first point since 19 October 2013, he spoke to kentonline.co.uk and said: “A small point but in many ways it’s a big point, that we’ve been able to get something from the game”. The Dartford boss mentioned the importance of going the distance in matches and added: “I think we played very well. We’ve played like that (recently) to be fair but (this time) we’ve lasted the 94 minutes. We haven’t conceded in the last 10 or 15 minutes and I think it was just rewards”. Dartford came very close to snatching all three points when former Darts midfielder Jamie Day cleared the ball off the line, Burman commented: “We definitely deserved a point and I think, in the second half, we could have won it”.

Salisbury City’s inconsistency over the last three months has seen Mikey Harris’ side slip from fourth place but they still remain close enough to the playoffs. Last season’s Conference South playoff winners were beaten by last season’s Conference Premier runners up on Saturday.

The Wiltshire club had hoped the festive momentum of two wins would continue, but like Dartford they have also had two weeks off due to postponements. Travelling to Aggborough to face newly appointed manager Andy Thorn’s Kidderminster Harriers, the Whites went down to a Joe Lolley inspired performance. Lolley is set to join Peterborough United and his hat trick was the difference between the Harriers and Salisbury City, the striker scored from outside the box before converting two penalties taking his goal tally to nine.

Team News

Ryan Hayes is still unavailable for selection due to injury, the influential winger is not recovering as quickly as expected. Kenny Clark missed Friday night’s fixture at Park View Road with a groin strain but could return. Max Cornhill will return having missed out on the draw at Welling United due to other commitments. Lee Noble remains suspended for the red card received at Alfreton Town, the midfielder will be available to return after sitting out the next two matches.

For Salisbury City, three of Saturday’s substitutes all made returns from injury. Robbie Sinclair made his seventh league appearance of the season, Elliot Frear had a late fitness test and came off the bench for the sixth time this term. James White made a successive substitute appearance as he continues to regain fitness. Top scorer Fitchett had half a chance of making Saturday’s defeat but was left out of the squad. Brian Dutton and Luke Ruddick are still going through treatment, Ruddick has just flown out to Germany to see a specialist. Whilst Tyler Harvey who made two substitutes appearances this season has returned to his parent club Plymouth Argyle.

Head to Head

Salisbury City wins: 8 / Dartford wins: 9 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Salisbury City (LWWDLL) Dartford (DLLLLL)
Kidderminster Harriers A 0-3 Forest Green Rovers A 0-1
Barnet H 2-1 Ebbsfleet United (FAC) H 1-0
Woking A 3-1 Ebbsfleet United (FAC) A 1-1
Southport H 1-1 Hyde H 4-3
Macclesfield Town A 0-1 Charlton Athletic (KSC) H 1-0
Forest Green Rovers H 1-4 Hereford United A 2-2

Last Meeting at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium – F.A Cup First Round

9 November 2013 – Salisbury City 4 Dartford 2 – Att: 1313

Goalscorers: Fitchett (13), Wright (18), Frear (45), Burns (68), Fitchett (77), Cornhill (90)

The Whites Lineup: Puddy, Dutton, Wright, Lewis, Clarke, Wilson, McPhee, Kamdjo, Fitchett, Frear, S Sinclair (subs used: Thomson, MacDonald, Wellard)

The Darts Lineup: Julian, Burns, Fry, Cornhill, Clark, Mitchel-King, Hayes, Woodyard, Harris, Noble, Collier (Sub used: Prior, Sterling, Ibemere)

Match Stats

scfc v dfc stats
Last Five Meetings (* = F.A Cup)

09.11.2013* Salisbury City 4 Dartford 2
08.10.2013 Dartford 1 Salisbury City 1
25.02.2012 Dartford 2 Salisbury City 0
05.11.2011 Salisbury City 1 Dartford 2
29.11.2003 Salisbury City 3 Dartford 1

League Stats

Dartford have won just one league match away from Princes Park in 14 attempts this campaign. The Darts have gone 11 games without an away win.

Only Aldershot Town (7)  have scored fewer goals on their travels than the Darts (9) in this season’s Conference Premier

Salisbury have the sixth best home record this term having won 9, drawn 2 and lost 2 in the league at the Raymond McEnhill Satdium

After a five game winning streak at home, Salisbury City have lost drawn and won their last three home games.

11 – The Darts have conceded the most league goals in the fifteen minutes leading up to half time, more than any other club this season

16 – The Whites have scored the most league goals in the final fifteen minutes of matches, more than any other club this season

217 – Salisbury City have conceded the fewest fouls in the Conference Premier this term