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Wealdstone v Dartford

The Darts aim to keep the pressure on the top two this weekend when they visit Wealdstone in the National South.

In recent times, Dartford have found the Stones a thorn in their side last recording a win against their opponents in 1991, and have to go back a further two years for the last away triumph. On the opening day of this season, the Darts came extremely close but were denied victory conceding a last minute goal.

The 2-2 draw back in August was an entertaining affair with Elliot Bradbrook scoring on the stroke of half time. Elliot Benyon levelled for the Stones early in the second half, but the Darts regained the from Ryan Hayes’ penalty eight minutes from time. Just as it looked like Dartford had earned three points Eddie Oshodi headed an injury time equaliser.

In the league, Dartford have bounced back from their heavy defeat against Maidenhead United with three consecutive victories. Even better, in those games the Darts have scored 12 times with ten different goalscorers. In that time, Duane Ofori-Acheampong, Alex Brown and Andy Pugh have all missed games for various reasons, Brown will be the only one of the trio to definitely miss out this weekend because of his suspension. Lee Noble who scored against Eastbourne Borough on Tuesday night, picked up a knock and could be ruled out.

After back to back 3-2 victories, the latest in foggy conditions at Eastbourne Borough, the Darts remain third in the league standings. Tony Burman again highlighted the belief in the squad to catch rivals Ebbsfleet United and league leaders Maidenhead United. He told www.kentonline.co.uk: “If people don’t want to take us seriously, then that’s fine,” he added: “But we’ve been in a really good run of form since September.The players are believing in what we tell them. There’s a feelgood factor around the place at the moment”.

Wealdstone’s last three league games have come against the top two and their win over Maidenhead United on Boxing Day helped out the Darts. However, the Stones lost the reverse fixture in the New Year and recently lost to Ebbsfleet United. In between the league fixtures, the Middlesex club have enjoyed a run to the F.A Trophy’s last 16 where they face Brackley Town next weekend.

The Stones are sitting comfortably in mid-table and owe a lot to experienced striker Elliot Benyon, who has scored 15 of the club’s 34 goals this term. However, Benyon has picked up a shoulder injury which could see him sidelined on the weekend.

Dartford’s last visit to Vale Stadium ended in a 2-1 defeat. Goals either side of half time by Tom Hamblin and Shaun Lucien made the afternoon difficult for Burman’s side. Tom Bradbrook headed a consolation in off the crossbar with fifteen minutes remaining.

Head to Head
Wealdstone wins: 13 / Dartford wins: 11/ Draws: 11

Current League Form
Wealdstone (LLWDWL)
Lost 2-4 v Ebbsfleet United (H)
Lost 0-2 v Maidenhead United (A)
Won 2-1 v Maidenhead United (H)
Drew 1-1 v Poole Town (A)
Won 1-0 v East Thurrock United (H)
Lost 0-2 v Hungerford Town (A)

Dartford (WWWLWL)
Won 3-2 v Eastbourne Borough (A)
Won 3-2 v Weston-super-Mare (H)
Won 6-1 v East Thurrock United (H)
Lost 0-1 v Ebbsfleet United (A)
Won 2-1 v Ebbsfleet United (H)
Lost 0-5 v Maidenhead United (A)

Previous Six Meetings
Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2 (06/08/2016 – National South)
Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2 (26/01/2016 – National South)
Dartford 1 Wealdstone 2 (03/10/2015 – National South)
Wealdstone 1 Dartford 0 (21/02/2012 – F.A Trophy replay)
Wealdstone 2 Dartford 2 (03/04/2012 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 1 Wealdstone 1 (20/04/2010 – Isthmian Premier)

Stats
Dartford have not beaten Wealdstone on their own patch in the last seven attempts, drawing four.

The Stones have gone nine games unbeaten against the Darts with three wins and six draws.

The Darts have won just one in the last 13 against the Middlesex club

Dartford’s last victory over Wealdstone in 1991, was the last time more than two goals were scored by one of the teams in this fixture

On This Day
Ryan Hayes celebrated his 300th appearance for the Darts in style. The midfielder was involved in Dartford’s 6-0 thrashing of Thurrock. Elliot Bradbrook scored a brace and Danny Harris, James Rogers, Lee Burns and Tony Garrod netted the others. The Darts are unbeaten in six matches on the 28 January stretching back almost 40 years. In 2006, Barton Rovers were defeated 2-1 in the Southern League Division One East and in 1995 Greenwich Borough were beaten 3-0 in the Kent League. A Southern League Cup draw with Dover Athletic was recorded in 1992 and three years earlier Bath City visited Watling Street and lost 1-0, with future Southampton full back Jason Dodd in their starting eleven.

Eastbourne Borough v Dartford

Dartford should be back in action when they visit mid table opposition Eastbourne Borough at Priory Lane.

The Darts had their local derby with Welling United on Saturday postponed due to a frozen pitch. On a weekend with just two matches surviving, Eastbourne Borough were supposed to take on league leaders Maidenhead United.

Last time out, Dartford made life difficult trying to overcome Weston-super-Mare. Manager, Tony Burman watched as his side went behind before taking the lead through Tom Murphy and Danny Harris. After conceding an equaliser, Alex Brown’s fine effort sealed a 3-2 triumph, the midfielder will be unavailable against the Sports through suspension.

Burman, whose side moved up to third in the table told www.kentonline.co.uk: “We made hard work of it to be fair”, he added: “I don’t think we played great but the spirit has come through again and we’ve won the game”. The Darts had to earn victory without two strikers, Andy Pugh was struggling with illness and Duane Ofori-Acheampong missed the match due to a bereavement.

The Darts have lost their last two away games to the top two in the National South. They suffered a 5-0 hammering at Maidenhead United and a New Year’s Day defeat to rivals Ebbsfleet United.

Dartford drew 1-1 last season with the Sports and had to come from behind in windy conditions. Nathaniel Pinney scored from a rebound to have the home side ahead but Andy Pugh equalised with 18 minutes to go. Tom Bradbrook was sent off late on making Dartford needing to hold out Eastbourne Borough to secure a point.

Under Tommy Widdrington, the Sports have been a constant fixture in the middle of the National South table. This season is no different so far with the Sussex club in thirteenth place. Their home record holds up well with six wins, three draws and three defeats.

It’s been a week since Widdrington’s side last played beating Worthing in the Sussex Senior Cup, to move into the semi-finals. In the National South, they are unbeaten in four matches and drew their last two against Poole Town and Hungerford Town.

This month Widdrington has identified his defence needs strengthening in numbers and has signed Australian goalkeeper, Jordan Holmes and defender Shaun Hobson from Premier League side AFC Bournemouth. Another defender, Ryan Case has also joined the Sports from Poole Town, who he signed for in the summer from Basingstoke Town. Also in the squad are Ian Simpemba and Craig Stone, who have played for various Kent clubs in the past. Up front, Nathaniel Pinney and Elliott Romain normally form a strike partnership, with Romain scoring 12 National South goals this term.

The two sides first met 16 years ago when Eastbourne Borough were known as Langley Sports. The Darts won the first two completing a league double in the Southern League Division One East. The next four meetings in the same league, ended with the newly named Eastbourne Borough winning all four. Since then, Dartford are unbeaten in six against the Sports, including three visits to Priory Lane.

Head to Head
Eastbourne Borough wins: 4 / Dartford wins: 6/ Draws: 2

Current League Form
Eastbourne Borough (DDWLLW)
Drew 2-2 v Hungerford Town (H)
Drew 0-0 v Poole Town (H)
Won 4-2 v Whitehawk (H)
Lost 0-1 v Oxford City (A)
Lost 0-1 v St Albans City (A)
Won 2-1 v Margate (H)

Dartford (WWLWLW)
Won 3-2 v Weston-super-Mare (H)
Won 6-1 v East Thurrock United (H)
Lost 0-1 v Ebbsfleet United (A)
Won 2-1 v Ebbsfleet United (H)
Lost 0-5 v Maidenhead United (A)
Won 2-1 v Poole Town (H)

Previous Six Meetings
Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1 (20/02/2016 – National South)
Dartford 1 Eastbourne Borough 0 (11/08/2015 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1 (03/04/2012 – National South)
Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 1 (29/11/2011 – F.A Trophy replay)
Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 0 (26/11/2011 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 1 (16/08/2011 – National South)

On This Day
Dartford are unbeaten in five on 24 January stretching back to 1998, their only loss in ten matches on this day. Just two years ago, the Darts were involved in a F.A Trophy third round tie with FC Halifax Town. Dartford fought from two goals down to earn a last minute draw with the Shaymen, Rory McAuley netting the equaliser after Lee Burns’ goal five minutes into the second half. The Darts strolled to a 4-1 win at Staines Town in their last league match on 24 January, despite falling from behind. The National South fixture saw goals from Tom Bonner, Conor Essam, Danny Harris and Adam Green as the Darts moved into second that day. The last trip to Sussex on this day came nine years ago when a Ryan Hayes opener and Cody McDonald’s brace earned a 3-0 win over Horsham in the Isthmian Premier League.

Dartford v Weston-super-Mare

Dartford could complete a treble over Weston-super-Mare as they return to National South action this week at Princes Park.

The Darts have already won twice at the Woodspring Stadium in league and trophy. Back in August, Dartford recorded their first win and handed out the Seagulls first defeat of the campaign. Luke Wanadio expertly gave Dartford the lead curling his shot into the top corner. Shawn McCoulsky levelled the match scoring his spot kick but Ryan Hayes netted the winner late on.

In the F.A Trophy the two teams were drawn together in third qualifying round. Elliot Bradbrook took the game by the scruff of the neck to lead the Darts to a 4-2 victory, despite being reduced to ten men. The captain netted a hat-trick to atone for last season’s trip to the Woodspring Stadium where he was sent off, Andy Pugh scored the other.

Dartford last beat a team three times in a season five years ago, when they defeated Basingstoke Town in the National South and in both legs of the playoff semi-final.

Just over a week ago, Tony Burman praised his team’s clinical performance as the beat East Thurrock United 6-1 at Princes Park. Six different goal scorers found the net to lift Dartford back into the playoff places by the end of the afternoon. The win was Dartford’s eighth at home in the league this term.

Weston-super-Mare are currently enjoying the benefits of a new manager since they last played the Darts. Scott Bartlett replaced Ryan Northmore after eight straight losses, and although his career with the Seagulls got off to slow start, the club are moving in the right direction.

Appointed at the beginning of October, Bartlett’s side picked up a disappointing two points from the first 18 in which he was in charge, including a 5-1 thrashing against East Thurrock United. When the maiden win arrived in a 4-3 triumph over Eastbourne Borough it started a glut of goals. A total of 21 were scored in three games even if the Seagulls went on to lose 5-3 to Hemel Hempstead Town and 4-2 to the Darts in the F.A Trophy.

The corner may well have been turned, Weston-super-Mare have tasted defeat just once in the last seven league matches and have won on their last three outings. Much of the good form can be attributed to Dayle Grubb, who recently signed a new contract and continues to play a pivotal role. New signing from Cinderford Town, Gethyn Hill has netted three times in his first four appearances alleviating the pressure on Bradley Ash, who often played as the lone striker this term.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 6 / Weston-super-Mare wins: 2 / Draws: 4

Current League Form
Dartford (WLWLWW)
Won 6-1 v East Thurrock United (H)
Lost 0-1 v Ebbsfleet United (A)
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)

Weston-super-Mare (WWWDLW)
Won 3-1 v Concord Rangers (A)
Won 4-2 v Truro City (H)
Won 2-1 v Truro City (A)
Drew 0-0 v Chelmsford City (H)
Lost 3-5 v Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Won 4-3 v Eastbourne Borough (A)

Previous Meetings
Weston-super-Mare 2 Dartford 4 (26/11/2016 – F.A Trophy)
Weston-super-Mare 1 Dartford 2 (20/08/2016 – National South)
Weston-super-Mare 2 Dartford 1 (05/03/2016 – National South)
Dartford 2 Weston-super-Mare 1 (13/09/2015 – National League)
Dartford 1 Weston-super-Mare 1 (12/11/2011 – National League)
Weston-super-Mare 0 Dartford 4 (13/08/2011 – National South)

On This Day
In four attempts Dartford have not won on 17 January since reforming, losing two and drawing two. It was a day to forget two years ago when Kent rivals Dover Athletic hit six past the Darts. The 6-1 defeat was a low point in a campaign which saw Dartford relegated from the National League. In 2009, Staines Town were held to a 0-0 draw at Princes Park, the Middlesex club went on to win promotion to the National South via the playoffs. In a six goal thriller, the Darts drew 3-3 away to Bashley in 2004 whilst in the Southern League Division One East and six years prior, Dartford lost 3-0 at home to Cirencester Town.

Dartford v Chelmsford City

The F.A Trophy returns for Dartford this weekend when they host Chelmsford City in the third meeting between the two sides this season.

Having been drawn against each other in the F.A Cup third qualifying round, the Darts and the Clarets have also played in the National South. The league meeting ended in a 1-1 draw with Luke Wanadio’s header cancelled out by Shaun Jeffers.

Dartford were victors in the F.A Cup when a wind assisted fixture really did turn out to be a ‘game of two halves’. The Darts raced into a three goal half time lead thanks to a Ross Fitzsimons own goal and an Elliot Bradbrook brace. In the second half, Shamir Mullings scored twice to set up a tense finale only for Dartford to hold out.

Tony Burman’s side will enter the F.A Trophy second round full of confidence after thrashing East Thurrock United in their last outing. Their Essex opponents had only lost four all season but were swept aside last weekend as Dartford won 6-1, their biggest victory for five years.

On top of that result six different goalscorers found the net, Tom Bonner headed in the first after two minutes, Alex Brown shortly afterwards and Tom Murphy opened his account in only his second appearance for the club. Tom Wraight pulled a goal back for the visitors before Andy Pugh made it four in the first half. Ryan Hayes and an Elliot Bradbrook penalty added two more before the final whistle to cap off a brilliant afternoon.

Burman praised his squad for an fantastic response to the New Year’s Day defeat to Ebbsfleet United, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “Some of the play was excellent, I’m pleased that each time we’ve had a defeat , we’ve bounced back”, and the Dartford boss didn’t even think the 6-1 mauling of East Thurrock United was the best he’s seen his side play, he added: “It’s the best spell of finishing we’ve had in games, I’m not saying it’s the best we’ve played because we’ve had some good games”.

Meanwhile, Chelmsford City extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to eleven. The Clarets beat a struggling Whitehawk side 1-0 with former Dartford midfielder Max Cornhill scoring the winner ten minutes from time. The Essex club are third in the National South and eleven points behind leaders Maidenhead United and just one point ahead of the Darts.

Rod Stringer’s side beat Southern Premier League’s Hitchin Town in the previous round with a goal after just two minutes, Jeffers netted the winner from close range. The Clarets had to wait far longer in the third qualifying round when they hosted Taunton Town, who play at a tier lower than Hitchin Town. As the tie look set for a replay Anthony Church scored in the 89th minute to send Chelmsford City through.

Dartford upset National League local rivals Dover Athletic in the last round after a replay. Ronnie Vint scored in both matches, the 1-1 draw at Princes Park and the 2-1 victory at the Crabble. In the qualifying round, Dartford ran out 4-2 winners against National South side Weston-super-Mare, with Elliot Bradbrook scoring a hat-trick.

Head to Head
Chelmsford City wins: 50 / Dartford wins: 36 / Draws: 90

Current Form (all competitions)
Dartford (WLWLWD)
Won 6-1 v East Thurrock United (H) – National South
Lost 0-1 v Ebbsfleet United (A) – National South
Won 2-1 v Ebbsfleet United (H) – National South
Lost 0-5 v Maidenhead United (A) – National South
Won 1-2 v Dover Athletic (A) – F.A Trophy
Drew 1-1 v Dover Athletic (H) – F.A Trophy

Chelmsford City (WWWDWD)
Won 1-0 v Whitehawk (H) – National South
Won 3-1 v Bishop’s Stortford (A) – National South
Won 4-0 v Bishop’s Stortford (H) – National South
Drew 0-0 v Weston-super-Mare (A) – National South
Won 1-0 v Hitchin Town (H) – F.A Trophy
Drew 3-3 v Hungerford Town (H) – National South

Previous Six Meetings
Chelmsford City 2 Dartford 3 (17/09/2016) – F.A Cup
Chelmsford City 1 Dartford 1 (13/08/2016)
Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 1 (02/01/2016)
Chelmsford City 0 Dartford 1 (26/12/2015)
Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 0 (07/04/2012)
Chelmsford City 0 Dartford 0 (27/08/2011)

Stats
In cup competition the spoils have been shared with both teams winning five Southern League Cup ties and an F.A Cup fixture each. There has also been four draws, all in the Southern League Cup.

Elliot Bradbrook has scored three goals in three games in this season’s F.A Trophy. In all cup ties, Bradbrook has scored ten in seven starts.

Dartford have gone five home matches without a win against Chelmsford City. The last home victory against the Clarets was in 2000 when Dartford won 3-0 in the Southern League Southern Division.

The Darts are unbeaten in six, home and away against the Clarets with two wins and four draws.

On This Day
Jacob Erskine took home the match ball five years ago in a 4-2 victory over National North side Boston United. In the F.A Trophy second round tie, Erskine back heeled the opener after four minutes and Lee Noble added a second to put the Darts back in front. Erskine stretched the Darts lead before Boston United pulled a goal back, but the hat-trick hero secured victory with Dartford’s fourth. Four other F.A Trophy games have taken place on 14 January in which the Darts have won two and lost two. Merthyr Tydfil won 2-1 in a first round replay fifteen years ago, Dorchester Town were thrashed 4-0 in 1989 on the way to Dartford’s semi-final appearance later that season. Barnet won 3-0 in 1984 and six years earlier Sutton United were defeated 2-0. Saturday will be the Darts seventh game at home on the 14 January in a row.

Dartford v East Thurrock United

Dartford will look to bounce back from their New Year’s Day defeat with their first ever win over East Thurrock United on the weekend.

The Darts host this season’s draw specialists after narrowly losing away to rivals Ebbsfleet United. The result left Dartford outside of the playoff spots but they remain in a strong position with a game in hand. Despite slipping out of the top five, the Darts did manage to beat their rivals on Boxing Day to take three points out of six over the festive period.

East Thurrock United have been a tough side to crack this term. In their first ever campaign in the National South, the Essex club have only been beaten four times, only league leaders Maidenhead United and Chelmsford City have lost fewer. The Rocks have drawn 12 of their 23 games this season, including their last two against Essex rivals Concord Rangers.

So it’s hardly surprising that when Dartford last faced John Coventry’s side it ended all square back in September. Ben Marlow scored for East Thurrock United from a spot kick, and when Tom Bonner conceded his second penalty of the afternoon, the Rocks should have gone two up. This time Deren Ibrahim made a fine save to deny Marlow giving the Darts a lift. Fortunately for Tony Burman’s side Ryan Hayes equalised from a cross to salvage a point.

Although Dartford have been beaten twice in three league games, they have only lost once at Princes Park in the National South. Tom Wynter will serve the final game of his suspension after his red card at Maidenhead United. New signing Tom Murphy managed a substitute appearance on New Year’s Day as he looks to settle in with the squad.

Potentially returning to Princes Park for the first time since leaving the Darts in the summer, Lee Burns could face his former team mates. Burns spent seven seasons with Dartford making 272 appearances scoring 33 times. He was pivotal in Dartford’s Isthmian Premier League title campaign as a striker when he top scored with 23 goals and won Player of the Year..

East Thurrock United are two places below Dartford and eight points behind. The Rocks are the sixth highest scorers this term and were the top scorers with 107 goals in last season’s Isthmian Premier League. John Coventry has masterminded the club’s rise to the National South, the highest level the club as ever played.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 0 / East Thurrock United wins: 2 / Draws: 1

Current League Form
Dartford (LWLWWW)
Lost 0-1 v Ebbsfleet United (A)
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)

East Thurrock United (DDWLDW)
Drew 1-1 v Concord Rangers (H)
Drew 1-1 v Concord Rangers (A)
Won 5-1 v Truro City (H)
Lost 0-1 v Wealdstone (A)
Drew 1-1 v St Albans City (h)
Won 3-2 v Whitehawk (A)

Previous Meetings
East Thurrock United 1 Dartford 1 (10/09/2016 – National South)
Dartford 0 East Thurrock United 3 (30/04/2005 – Southern League Division One East)
East Thurrock United 2 Dartford 1 (38/08/2004 – Southern League Division One East)

On This Day
Dartford seem to recover well from all the New Year festivities, the Darts have won seven of their last eight matches on 7 January. The last victory came five years ago at Havant and Waterlooville with Elliot Bradbrook and Danny Harris both netting a brace. Arlesley Town are the side to take points off the Darts on 7 January in the last 56 years, the last triumphant opponents were Worcester City in 1961. In the Southern Premier League, Dartford beat Alvechurch (1989) and Hastings United (1984) both 2-1 and Grantham 4-0 in 1978. Ashford United were thrashed 5-0 in the 1971 Kent Floodligh Cup fixture, Charlton Athletic defeated 2-0 in a 1969 friendly and in 1967, Merthyr Tydfil were beaten 4-1 in the Southern League First Division.