Dartford could complete their first league double over rivals Ebbsfleet United on New Year’s Day in almost 38 years.
The Darts secured a 2-1 victory on Boxing Day with former Fleet defender Tom Bonner scoring against his old side. After a goalless first half, it wasn’t long before the deadlock was broken two minutes after the interval. Bonner, with space in the Fleet box headed a corner into the net to record his first goal since returning to Dartford.
On 61 minutes, Duane Ofori-Acheampong made the most of a long ball and the hesitating Dave Winfield to finely finish past Nathan Ashmore for 2-0. Ebbsfleet United were offered a route back into the game when Anthony Cook’s well struck shot beat Deren Ibrahim.
A strong defensive display when required, particularly from Ronnie Vint, ensured the Darts held on for the win to go level on points with their local rivals and move into third place.
Darts boss, Tony Burman believed the midfield was where the match was won, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “We won the battle in the midfield area. We played against some really good players and a good team as they are going to be up there”. Pleased with the character of the squad, especially after the 5-0 drubbing at league leaders Maidenhead United, Burman added: “The response we got from losing at Maidenhead is why I think we’ve got a good group together”.
Burman will still be unable to select the suspended Tom Wynter, but will have new signing Tom Murphy available. The former Maidstone United forward played 20 times for the Stones this season after his move from Dover Athletic in the summer. Since November though, the 24 year old has been on loan at Eastbourne Borough. Meanwhile, Ellis Brown has left the club to seek first team opportunities with Thamesmead Town.
Ebbsfleet United boss, Daryl McMahon is relishing the challenge on New Year’s Day hoping to upset the Dartford faithful, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “Obviously, we’ll be looking for revenge, there’s no doubt about that. We’re not happy with how we played on Boxing Day. We’re looking forward to the home game”, he added: “We start with a clean sheet and go again. We saw in the last 20 minutes (enough) from us, when we were on the front foot and taking the game to them”. Ebbsfleet United’s defeat leaves them 10 points behind league leaders Maidenhead United in second place.
Last term at Stonebridge Road, Ryan Hayes grabbed a goal to remember smashing home an equaliser early in the second half. His strike cancelled out Matthew Godden’s opener when the former Dart scored at the near post. The Darts have to go back to the double win over then called Gravesend and Northfleet for their last league victory at Stonebridge Road in 1979.
Head to Head
Ebbsfleet United wins: 108 / Dartford wins: 117 / Draws: 91
Current League Form
Won 2-1 v Ebbsfleet United (H)
Lost 0-5 v Maidenhead United (A)
Won 2-1 v Poole Town (H)
Won 3-0 v Bishop’s Stortford (A)
Won 2-0 v Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Lost 0-2 v St Albans City (H)
Ebbsfleet United (LWWLWW)
Lost 1-2 v Dartford (A)
Won 2-0 v Gosport Borough (H)
Won 3-1 v Oxford City (A)
Lost 2-3 v Maidenhead United (H)
Won 2-1 v Welling United (A)
Won 4-2 v Truro City (H)
Previous Six Meetings
Dartford 2 Ebbsfleet United 1 (26/12/2016 – National South)
Ebbsfleet United 1 Dartford 1 (28/03/2016 – National South)
Dartford 0 Ebbsfleet United 1 (31/08/2015 – National South)
Dartford 1 Ebbsfleet United 0 (29/10/2013 – F.A Cup Replay)
Ebbsfleet United 1 Dartford 1 (26/10/2013 – F.A Cup)
Ebbsfleet United 2 Dartford 2 (01/01/2013 – National League)
On Boxing Day, Dartford recorded their first league win of the campaign against a team in the current top six
The Darts have now won 6 out of 8 Kent derbies this season in all competitions this term. Only a draw versus Dover Athletic in the F.A Trophy and a Kent Senior Cup penalty shoot out defeat to Welling United, have prevented Dartford from a perfect record.
Ebbsfleet United are eight league games unbeaten against Dartford at Stonebridge Road, winning three and drawing five with the last three ending all square. In all competitions the run stretches over ten meetings.
Dartford’s last win away to the Fleet was in 1989, the Darts won 2-0 in the Kent Senior Cup first round.
The Boxing Day crowd of 2404 was the highest in the National South this season and puts Dartford on top of the attendance table with an average of 1045. Ebbsfleet United are second with an average of 1006.
On This Day
The last meeting with Ebbsfleet United on New Year’s Day ended 2-2 just three years ago. The Fleet came from two down to draw level with a dramatic last minute leveller. Jon Wallis and Harry Crawford gave the Darts the advantage but a Nathan Elder double made sure the points were shared. In a more memorable fixture, Dartford thrashed Gravesend and Northfleet 5-0 in 1992 after a scoreless first half. The Darts are without a New Year’s Day win in five with their last a comprehensive 5-2 victory over Sittingbourne 15 years ago in the Southern League Division One East. Since then they have lost four out of five, with the draw at Ebbsfleet United the only point picked up.