Dartford bid farewell to the Conference Premier league this weekend and hope to record their maiden win over visitors Lincoln City.
After three years in the top flight of non league football, the Darts have managed a solitary draw against the Imps which they managed at Sincil Bank, just over a year ago. The goalless stalemate was an improvement to the previous three losses, two of which were suffered at Princes Park.
Last season, controversial refereeing decisions made an impact but a slow Dartford start didn’t help either. Ben Tomlinson and Andrew Boyce had the Imps two up at half time. Elliot Bradbrook pulled a goal back then in stoppage time referee Lee Swabey waved away a handball shout even though Tony Burman claims Swabey admitted to seeing the incident.
In the Darts first campaign back in the Conference Premier, another slow start at home was too much to salvage. Lincoln City put four passed the Dartford defence in the first half through Daniel Gray and a Colin Larkin hat trick. Harry Crawford’s brace in the second half made the result look slightly better on paper.
The Darts last home fixture gave supporters something to cheer when they beat Nuneaton Town 3-1 a fortnight ago. The good feeling lasted a few days after local rivals Welling United beat Wrexham on the Tuesday night to condemn the Darts to the Conference South. Tony Burman will hope his side can reward the Dartford faithful with a successive home win, the first time in the league since February last year.
Last Saturday, the final away day ended with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of playoff chasers Macclesfield Town. Burman gave academy youngster Ebou Adams his full league début which was cut short after a second caution. Both teams ended with ten men but not before Lee Bell opened the scoring for the Silkmen halfway through the first half. Thierry Audel doubled the hosts advantage in the second half when he scored with ten minutes to play. Macclesfield Town’s George Pilkington was dismissed late on and Adams followed soon after.
Lincoln City have been true to form this term and could finish as high as thirteenth and as low as seventeenth. The Imps have consistently been around the same area of the Conference Premier table ever since they dropped out of the Football League four years ago. Struggling to make an impact the Lincolnshire club actually opened the season well going four unbeaten to sit in third place. Six defeats in seven dropped the Imps back to the lower reaches, however they did manage to improve between October and December to climb the ladder. One win in nine and three defeats on the spin has seen the Imps slump back to that familiar league position.
Last weekend, Lincoln City followed up consecutive defeats with another in their final home game of the season. Visitors, Eastleigh ran out 2-1 winners taking the lead through Jack Midson. Lincoln City’s top scorer Ben Tomlinson equalised but three minutes later Craig McAllister netted the winner. Prior the weekend, the Imps had just lost to AFC Telford United and Torquay United with both matches ending 1-0 to their opponents.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 0 / Lincoln City wins: 4 / Draws: 1
Current League Form
|Dartford (LWLDDL)||Lincoln City (LLLDWL)|
|Nuneaton Town||H||3-1||Torquay United||A||0-1|
|Barnet||H||0-1||AFC Telford United||A||0-1|
|Torquay United||A||1-1||FC Halifax Town||H||1-1|
|Altrincham||H||1-2||Forest Green Rovers||H||1-2|
Last Meeting at Princes Park
31 August 2013 – Dartford 1 Lincoln City 2 – Att: 1386
Goalscorer: Tomlinson (21), Boyce (33), Bradbrook (59)
Dartford Lineup: Julian, Sterling, Clark, Fry, Burns, Rogers, Bradbrook, Woodyard, Noble, Harris, Birchall (sub used: Hayes, Cornhill, Prior)
Lincoln City Lineup: Farman, Miller, Newton, Boyce, Brown, Foster, Fofana, Nolan, Fairhurst, Rowe, Tomlinson (sub used: Sheridan)
Previous Five Meetings
0.25 – Ryan Hayes looks set to win the quickest goal of the season award, his strike against Kidderminster Harriers came after just 25 seconds
2 – the number of league doubles completed by the Darts this season as they beat both Nuneaton Town and AFC Telford United twice
4 – Dartford’s last final day of the league season (excluding playoff matches) came four years ago against Maidenhead United. Charlie Sheringham, Jack Pallen and Ryan Hayes put Dartford three up before their opponents rallied with two late goals.
34 – number of players used by Tony Burman in all competitions this season
44 – Dartford’s top appearance maker in the league this term will be Rory McAuley. Providing he is selected against Lincoln City, the defender only missed the 2-0 defeat at Eastleigh
Elliot Bradbrook and Harry Crawford will become Dartford’s golden boot for the season, captain Bradbrook currently leads Crawford by a goal.
On This Day
Dartford’s last fixture on this day was one to remember as they swept aside Kent rivals Dover Athletic 4-0. Charlie Sheringham’s brace helped the Darts to a fine victory, Tom Champion and Danny Harris also scored in that memorable win four years ago.