Dartford need something close to a miracle to make the playoffs this weekend, when they visit relegation threatened St Albans City.
The Darts travel to Hertfordshire needing to win by five clear goals and even that may not be enough. Tony Burman’s side hope Hemel Hempstead Town and Whitehawk draw with each other so they secure a top five finish.
St Albans City, on the other hand know survival is in their hands. The Saints need to match Havant and Waterlooville’s result in order to stay up.
Dartford enter the final game of the season on the back of a Kent Senior Cup victory. The Darts claimed the cup for the eleventh time when they beat Charlton Athletic 3-1 in the final. Elliot Bradbrook opened the scoring before the Addicks drew level, Ronnie Vint netted the second and Ben Francis added a third.
The Darts came from behind twice in their last league game against Oxford City, Elliot Bradbrook scoring a brace to earn what still could be a crucial point. Dartford have only lost once in their last seven outings and are unbeaten in their last three.
Burman will be without defender Callum McNaughton who has a fractured metatarsal and goalkeeper and Deren Ibrahim, out with a dislocated shoulder. Lee Noble has been struggling with a groin injury and George Sykes with illness.
St Albans City have been given a ray of light since the arrival of manager Ian Allinson. The former Boreham Wood boss took charge at Clarence Park with the Saints bottom of the National South.
Allinson’s first match after his appointment was the 2-0 defeat against Dartford. The Hertfordshire club went on to win just one in his first six games in charge, a 6-0 victory over Whitehawk.
Fortunes soon turned and one defeat in their last nine league games have given St Albans City the chance of National South football next season. A fortnight ago, another 6-0 triumph over relegation rivals Havant and Waterlooville has given them the advantage going into the final day.
Attacking midfielder Louie Theophanous has impressed this term with 17 league goals, the same as Dartford’s captain Elliot Bradbrook. Whilst former Dart, Tom Bender could line up against his old club.
Saturday will be the first meeting between the two sides for four years. Lee Burns scored his first goal of that campaign when his hopeful long ranged header looped over the City defence and into the net. St Albans City pegged the Darts back through Tony Battersby and almost went in front from the spot. Jack Pallen came off the bench to score the winner with four minutes remaining.
Dartford manager, Tony Burman knows the challenge ahead of him he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “St Albans are full of experienced players. Ian Allinson’s gone in there and done a great job and he’ll be trying to win the game – but so will we”, he added: “We’re came in on Thursday just to do attacking play and shooting because we need a lot of goals”, he continued: “Who knows? The league’s brought up some funny results and we’ll just have to see what happens come quarter to five”.
Head to Head
St Albans City wins: 0 / Dartford wins: 6 / Draws: 4
Current League Form
|St Albans City (DWDWLW)||Dartford (DDWLWD)|
|Havant & Waterlooville||H||6-0||Basingstoke Town||H||0-0|
|Hemel Hempstead Town||A||2-2||Maidstone United||A||2-1|
|Maidenhead United||A||1-0||Truro City||A||0-3|
|Maidstone United||H||1-2||Maidenhead United||H||2-0|
|Eastbourne Borough||H||3-1||Ebbsfleet United||A||1-1|
Last League Meeting at Clarence Park
2 April 2011 – St Albans City 1 Dartford 2 – view highlights
Goalscorers: Lee Burns (23), Jack Pallen (85); Tony Battersby (55)
The Darts Lineup: Andrew Young, Billy Burgess, Tom Bonner, Joe Bruce, Paul Goodacre, Tom Champion, Lee Noble, James White, Charlie Sheringham, Lee Burns, Danny Harris (sub used: Ryan Hayes, Jack Pallen, Elliot Bradbrook)
Previous Meetings (* – F.A Cup / ^ – F.A Trophy)
|06.02.2016||Dartford||2||St Albans City||0|
|02.04.2011||St Albans City||1||Dartford||2|
|22.03.2011||Dartford||2||St Albans City||2|
|25.11.2008^||Dartford||1||St Albans City||1**|
|22.11.2008^||St Albans City||0||Dartford||0|
|04.10.1988*||St Albans City||2||Dartford||4|
|01.10.1988*||Dartford||1||St Albans City||1|
|15.09.1973*||Dartford||4||St Albans City||1|
** = St Albans City won 4-2 on penalties
On This Day
It’s been four years since Dartford won on the final day of the season and that was against Maidenhead United. The 3-2 victory in 2011 came before draws at Truro City, back to back last day defeats against Nuneaton Town and another stalemate versus Lincoln City. Charlie Sheringham, Jack Pallen and Ryan Hayes put the Darts three up against the Magpies before surviving a late fightback from Maidenhead United.