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Dartford v Wealdstone

Dartford will attempt to atone for their defeat against Wealdstone in October, with a first win over the Stones in 25 years.

The Darts have failed to beat the Middlesex club in seven games stretching back to 1991. Both teams have been evenly matched since, with five draws in a row. However, it’s Wealdstone who have notched up the last two victories, the most recent almost four months ago.

When Tony Burman’s side lost at the Vale Stadium 2-1, pressure to ‘lift the dark cloud’ mounted. Having suffered a fourth competitive defeat in a row, Dartford have since put together a run to turn them in to playoff contenders.

Back in October, goals either side of half time by Tom Hamblin and Shaun Lucien gave Wealdstone a two goal advantage. Tom Bradbrook headed a consolation in off the crossbar but Dartford were unable to fight back.

After the game, the board decided to back Burman and highlight the transition required for the younger players, from the academy to senior team. An unbeaten run lasting three months has seen Ebou Adams and Ronnie Vint blossom and the rest of the squad grow in confidence, Dartford’s season has transformed.

On the weekend, the Darts unbeaten run of 11 games came to an end at Sutton United. Dan Fitchett and Craig McAllister scored within six second half minutes to put the game beyond Dartford’s reach. Depsite defeat the Darts still remain in the playoffs clinging on to the final by a point.

Burman will pit his wits against Stones manager Gordon Bartlett, who has been boss at Wealdstone for the last 20 years. Bartlett’s side finished twelfth last term and struggled at the start of this campaign. A seven match unbeaten run steadied the ship and in the ten games since they have become trickier to beat.

However, three draws and Saturday’s defeat against Eastbourne Borough has dragged the Stones into a relegation battle. The Middlesex club are now two points above the drop zone but they do have games in hand over the bottom two.

The Stones have visited Princes Park on three occasions and each time came away with a draw. Almost four years ago, Dartford were pegged back twice against lower league opposition in the F.A Trophy. Danny Harris and Lee Noble scored for the Darts but Wealdstone’s Richard Jolly and Chris O’Leary equalised respectively. The Stones upset the Darts in the replay and ended up semi-finalists.

In the Isthmian Premier League between 2008 and 2010, Lee Burns rescued a point in the title winning campaign. In the season before, Danny Dafter and Rob Haworth scored in a 2-2 stalemate.

Head to Head

Wealdstone wins: 12 / Dartford wins: 11 / Draws: 11

Current League Form

Dartford (LWDDWW) Wealdstone (LDDDWL)
Sutton United  A  0-2 Eastbourne Borough  A  0-3
Bath City  H  4-1 Gosport Borough  H  1-1
Chelmsford City  H  1-1 Gosport Borough  A  1-1
Margate  H  1-1 Hemel Hempstead Town  A  2-2
Chelmsford City  A  1-0 Chelmsford City  A  2-0
Whitehawk  A  1-0 Weston-Super-Mare  H  2-3

Last League Meeting at Princes Park

29 August 2009 – Dartford 1 Wealdstone 1 – att 1150
Goalscorer: Lee Burns

The Darts Lineup: Andrew Young, Billy Burgess, Adam Gross, Adam Flanagan, Jamie Coyle, James White, Ryan Hayes, Jamie Day, Allan Tait, Lee Burns, Elliot Bradbrook (subs used: Rob Haworth, Lee Noble, Jay May)

Previous Six Meetings (* – F.A Trophy)

03.10.2015 Wealdstone 2 Dartford 1
21.02.2012* Wealdstone 1 Dartford 0
14.02.2012* Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2
20.04.2010 Wealdstone 1 Dartford 1
29.08.2009 Dartford 1 Wealdstone 1
11.04.2009 Wealdstone 0 Dartford 0

League Stats

3 – Wealdstone have gone three games without an away win in the National South.

7 – the Darts are unbeaten in their last seven home league games, winning three and drawing four.

11 – Dartford’s unbeaten run of eleven games, which ended on the weekend, matches that of Ebbsfleet United, Truro City and Oxford City as the longest in this season’s National South.

Dartford have not claimed maximum home points in any of their eight games against teams in the top 14. However, they have won all five against those currently 15th or below, Wealdstone are 17th in the league.

Before Saturday’s loss at Sutton United, the Darts last away defeat in the league came against Wealdstone.

On This Day

Six years ago, on their way to the Isthmian Division One North title, the Darts beat Arlesey Town by a single goal scored by Adam Flanagan. Two years later, Welling United were the last team to play Dartford on 26 January. The 2006 Kent Senior Cup first round tie ended 3-1 to the Wings. The Darts final game on this day, pre reforming, came in 1991 when Dartford brushed aside Crawley Town 6-1 in the Southern Premier League. Bob Makin’s side pulled out a top performance with Colin Sowerby scoring a hat-trick and Simon Quail making his debut. All was well; as Dartford had an open meeting with fans that afternoon, good job they pulled that performance out of the bag.

Sutton United v Dartford

Dartford could climb above Sutton United this weekend if they can claim a victory at Gander Green Lane.

The two in form National South teams go head to head as third meets fourth in the league’s game of the day. The Darts, unbeaten in 11 league matches take on the U’s, unbeaten in seven. Another away win for Tony Burman’s side will make it five in a row on the road and take them a point ahead of their opponents.

During a period where both Dartford and Sutton United were still finding their feet, the two sides drew for the first time ever back in August. In the tenth meeting between the two clubs, Tom Bradbrook opened the scoring with a diving header from Ryan Hayes in-swinging free kick. Micky Spillane levelled for the visitors with a rasping volley ten minutes before the break. Tom Bradbrook put the darts back in front in the second half, his endeavour was rewarded when goalkeeper Ross Worner’s clearance hit the striker in the face rebounding into the net. Dartford were denied all three points with five minutes to go, Jamie Collins equalised for the U’s.

Earlier in the week Burman expressed the need for Dartford to keep picking up the points, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “The next two games are massively tough, two away games and we’ve got to hopefully get something from those two games. We know they’re going to be difficult but we’re moving in the right direction”.

Although the first of the two matches was postponed on Tuesday night, Sutton United will provide a stern test in a busy month. Burman commented: “It will be a real test for us to see how far we’ve come in a short space of time”, he added: “Sutton were one of the clubs tipped for the play-off positions at the start of the season and they’ve been on a similar run to what we’ve been on”, he continued: “They’ve got some experienced players and we know it’s going to be a tough game but these are the games you want to be involved in. We’re just behind Sutton and we’re looking forward to a very good game of football”.

One player Burman is keen to keep fit is in form striker Andy Pugh. The 26 year old has started just 14 times this season and is starting to find the back of the net more often. Pugh vows to keep himself fit rather than setting a goal target, but it was his two goals against Bath City that got the Darts on their way to a 4-1 victory last weekend. Ryan Hayes volleyed in a third before Bath City’s David Pratt grabbed what turned out to be a consolation for the visitors. Callum McNaughton added his name to the score sheet heading home a Barry Cogan corner, his first league goal in a Dartford shirt.

The Darts are aiming for their fifth away win in a row after beating  Chelmsford City, Whitehawk and Basingstoke Town 1-0 and Bishop’s Stortford 2-1. Lee Noble is hoping to be available for selection, however Lee Burns is still overcoming injury.

Sutton United are also in top form, last weekend the U’s impressive run continued in the cup when they battled past National League North side Curzon Aston. A first half Jamie Collins goal was enough to separate the sides and progress the Surrey club into the last 16 of the F.A Trophy. A few days before getting through the trophy tie, Sutton United also reached the quarter final of the Surrey Senior Cup beating Corinthian Casuals 3-1.

In their last National South fixture St Albans City were demolished 5-0 and during the seven match unbeaten run the U’s have scored 20, almost three goals a game and conceded just three.

Paul Doswell has been in charge since 2008 after a spell managing Eastleigh, a club he keeps in close contact with. The Sutton United boss is content with the players available and claims he gets to work with “a very tight knit squad, who for the last three months have improved and gelled as a unit”.

Doswell’s squad is full of Eastleigh influences and has plenty of Football League experience. Defenders, Dean Beckwith, Jamie Collins and Dan Spence have all represented the Spitfires as well as midfielder Dan Wishart, formerly of Alfreton Town. Stuart Fleetwood, ex Charlton Athletic and Craig McAllister former Crawley Town also played for the Hampshire club and have plenty of Football League experience.

Away from the Eastleigh connections, Sutton United have a valuable pair of strikers. Top scorer Dan Fitchett has good pedigree at this level having played for Salisbury City, and crowd favourite Craig Dundas is approaching a century of goals for the club and the 400 appearance mark.

Head to Head

Sutton United wins: 4 / Dartford wins: 5 / Draws 1

Current League Form

Sutton United (WWDWWW) Dartford (WDDWWW)
St Albans City  A  5-0 Bath City  H  4-1
Basingstoke Town  A  2-0 Chelmsford City  H  1-1
Maidenhead United  H  2-2 Margate  H  1-1
Hayes & Yeading Utd  A  3-1 Chelmsford City  A  1-0
Concord Rangers  A  3-0 Whitehawk  A  1-0
Havant & Waterlooville  A  3-0 Basingstoke Town  A  1-0

Last Meeting at Borough Sports Ground

14 April 2012 – Sutton United 0 Dartford 1 – attendance 756

Goalscorers: Tony Garrod (58)

Darts lineup – Louis Wells, Lee Burns, Adam Green, Tom Bonner, Luke Wilkinson, Lee Noble, Ryan Hayes, James Rogers, Jacob Erskine, Elliot Bradbrook, Tony Garrod (Subs used: Jack Pallen, Matthew Jones, Richard Graham)

Previous Meetings (* – F.A Cup / ^ – F.A Trophy / + – Club Call Cup)

15.08.2015 Dartford 2 Sutton United 2
14.04.2012 Sutton United 0 Dartford 1
20.03.2012 Dartford 6 Sutton United 1
06.02.2010 Dartford 0 Sutton United 2
22.09.2009 Sutton United 0 Dartford 3
04.04.2009 Sutton United 1 Dartford 0
15.11.2008 Dartford 2 Sutton United 3
25.10.1988+ Dartford 1 Sutton United 2
04.11.1978* Sutton United 0 Dartford 2
04.01.1978^ Dartford 2 Sutton United 0

Stats

4 – Dartford’s current run of four away wins in a row is the first time they have managed this feat since 2010. The Darts last recorded four consecutive league away victories between 18 March 2010 and 15 April 2010 when they beat Horsham 3-1, Kingstonian 6-2 which clinched the Isthmian Premier League title, Harrow Borough 1-0 then Waltham Abbey 4-0.

12 – If Dartford remain unbeaten then they will be without a loss for 12 games, the longest unbeaten run in this season’s National South.

Dartford have the fourth best away defence and take on Sutton United with the best home attack and second best home defence.

The Darts boast the biggest win in this fixture just under four years ago. On their way to promotion to the National League, Dartford won 6-1 with six different scorers. Lee Noble, Adam Green, Danny Harris, Luke Wilkinson, Elliot Bradbrook and Jacob Erskine all netted for the Darts that day.

On This Day

Dartford have not managed a win in their last six games on 23 January. Most recently in 2010, the Darts drew 1-1 against Carshalton Athletic thanks to a Jamie Coyle goal. In the a division lower, three years earlier Dartford lost 2-1 to Molesley in the Isthmian Division One South. Draws against Margate in 1999 and Yeovil Town in 1971 sandwiched defeats to Dorchester Town in 1988 and Worcester City in 1982. So you have to go back 51 years for the last win, back in the Southern Premier League against Tonbridge, the Darts claimed a 3-1 win.

Dartford v Bath City

After a week off, Dartford host West Country side Bath City for the first time in 26 years this weekend.

If the match is anything like the last four meetings between the two sides, then there will be very little between the Darts and the Romans. However, Bath City have the upper hand, with Dartford winning just one of their last 19 matches against the Romans.

Earlier this season, Dartford travelled to Twerton Park to face the then league leaders, who had only dropped two points prior the fixture. With four senior players unavailable, the Darts earned an excellent 0-0 draw against the in form opponents.

Only two goals have been scored in the last four meetings. Both clubs recorded 1-0 wins at Watling Street, back in 1989 and 1990.

In December, Dartford dropped just two points and they started 2016 with a draw at home to Chelmsford City. A last gasp Tom Bradbook header cancelled out Billy Bricknell’s 80th minute goal, however Burman felt his side should have made home advantage count, he said: “When you’re playing at home you want to take three points. We’ve got one and we were a bit fortunate to get that at the death. We’re disappointed to drop two points in a home fixture”.

The Dartford boss was satisfied by his player’s spirit, he added: “The players have got a never-say-die attitude, which is a massive plus for us. It’s pulled us back into games which we looked like we were going to lose”.

After the stalemate with Margate, the draw with Chelmsford City means consecutive 1-1 draws. Mark Onyemah has impressed during his loan spell which ended after last weekend’s match versus the Clarets. Burman is keen to make a new agreement with managerless Luton Town to keep Onyemah for longer. Meanwhile, midfielder Lee Noble and full back Lee Burns have recently been kept out by injury.

Meanwhile, the progress of academy starlets Ebou Adams and Ronnie Vint has been catching the eye of professional clubs. Co-chairman, Steve Irving told www.kentonline.co.uk: “Both of them are outstanding prospects. With the supporters’ hat on, you want them to be with us for years to come, grow with us and succeed and win trophies and medals. But the financial hat says these boys are good enough to go on to full-time careers”.

Bath City were fast out of the blocks winning their opening six National South games this campaign. The Romans scored thirteen and conceded just three in that time. Dropped points away to West Country rivals Weston Super-Mare meant Bath City topped the division at the end of the first month.

The Romans went on to record another two draws with Dartford and Hemel Hempstead Town before sliding to eleventh position. The West Country club, have won just twice since against Chelmsford City and at league leaders Ebbsfleet United, but they have picked up just eight points from the last 39 available.

Lee Howells’ side travel to Princes Park on the back of two consecutive home defeats without scoring. However, they will have fond memories of the last trip to Kent ending a four month winless away run. A Kaid Mohamed goal was enough to beat Ebbsfleet United in a tight encounter. Mohamed has since left the club, just in time to represent Eastleigh and help them almost upset Bolton Wanderers last weekend.

Continuing from last term, Frankie Artus and David Pratt remain influential in the Bath City side. Artus won last season’s Player of the Year and Pratt top scored, the same players lead the scoring charts for Bath City this time around with 13 goals between them in all competitions. Howells’ also puts his trust in summer signing and experienced goalkeeper Steve Phillips, Dan Ball and Andy Gallinagh who have all played more than 20 times this campaign.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 26 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Current League Form

Dartford (DDWWWW) Bath City (LLWLLD)
Chelmsford City  H  1-1 Maidstone United  H  0-2
Margate  H  1-1 Truro City  H  0-3
Chelmsford City  A  1-0 Ebbsfleet United  A  1-0
Whitehawk  A  1-0 Hayes & Yeading Utd  H  2-3
Basingstoke Town  A  1-0 Wealdstone  A  0-2
Havant & Waterlooville  H  4-2 Margate  A  1-1

Last Meeting at Watling Street

7 April 1990 – Dartford 0 Bath City 1
With both sides challenging for league title, Bath City put a serious dent in Dartford’s hopes. After the Darts lost to Chelmsford City, the visitors to Watling Street went home with all three points. Bath City would fall short by finishing runners up, one place above Dartford.

Previous Six Meetings

05.09.2015 Bath City 0 Dartford 0
07.04.1990 Dartford 1 Bath City 0
09.09.1989 Bath City 0 Dartford 0
28.01.1989 Dartford 0 Bath City 1
03.12.1988 Bath City 4 Dartford 2
19.04.1986 Dartford 1 Bath City 2

League Stats

Over the last ten games Dartford are the form side with six wins and four draws.

If Dartford avoid defeat they will join Ebbsfleet United, Truro City and Oxford City, who all went 11 games unbeaten, the longest undefeated runs this season.

Only Chelmsford City have a worse league record than Bath City, since the Romans lost their first game on 15 September. Since then, Bath City have won two, drawn two and lost nine.

The last time Dartford played out three successive league draws was ten years ago. The Darts drew with Dover Athletic, Metropolitan Police and Walton Casuals back in December 2006, during the Isthmian Division One South campaign.

On This Day

You have to go back 16 years since Dartford last played on the 16 January. In an F.A Trophy third round tie, the Darts, then in the Southern Leaage Division One East took on Heybridge Swifts, of the Isthmian Premier League. The Swifts won 2-1 knocking Dartford out of the trophy. The Darts last win on this day was 28 years ago when they beat Burton Albion 4-1 in the Southern Premier League.