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Oxford City v Dartford

Dartford lost ground on the league leaders this week and will be looking to make it back up at Oxford City on Saturday

The Darts beat the Nomads in October with a brilliantly taken goal by Andy Pugh. The Dartford striker raced on to a flick on to delicately lob the ball over the Oxford City goalkeeper. Last term the away fixture saw the Darts suffer their only ever loss to Oxford City. Pugh was the goalscorer again when he broke the deadlock against a high flying Oxford City side, the score remained 1-0 at half time. The match turned around though when the Nomads made some changes to come back to win 2-1.

Last weekend, Tony Burman’s side were just a point behind league leaders Ebbsfleet United and second place Maidenhead United a week ago. A home defeat to playoff contenders Chelmsford City coupled with victories for the top two left the Darts further behind. Burman had to add academy players Richard Seixas and Shai Thorley-Porter to the bench with the youngsters featuring later on in the game, Michael Habte, another academy player was also named amongst the bench.

The squad has been left thin on the ground of late with the knee injury to Duane Ofori-Acheampong, Lee Noble coming back to fitness and Kaka Dembele going out on loan to Leatherhead. After midweek fixtures, Dartford are now seven points behind new leaders Maidenhead United and trail rivals Ebbsfleet United by five.

Oxford City are now led by Mark Jones who took charge just two months ago from Justin Merritt. The Nomads were six points above the drop in seventeenth and have since risen three places with a greater cushion of nine points on the teams in the relegation zone. Jones has changed supporting staff and signed centre back Jean Niate. Loan players from Oxford United have returned and others such as goalkeeper Tyrell Belford have left with Shaun McAuley and Tom Winters going out on loan.

Shipping players out has made way for new signings Kaiman Anderson, Wilson Carvalho and Ezra Forde. Already Jones admits he is building with one eye on next season but his priority is to keep the Nomads in the National South.

Last weekend, a 1-0 victory means Oxford City are now unbeaten in their last three league games. Lee Henderson scored the all important goal in a game that saw veteran Jefferson Louis return to the starting line up. The previous two games before beating Hemel Hempstead Town ended in 1-1 draws with Bath City and Wealdstone respectively.

Head to Head
Oxford City wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Current League Form
Oxford City (WDDLDL)
Won 1-0 v Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Drew 1-1 v Bath City (H)
Drew 1-1 v Wealdstone (A)
Lost 0-4 v Welling United (A)
Drew 3-3 v Concord Rangers (A)
Lost 2-3 v Truro City (A)

Dartford (LWWWWW)
Lost 0-1 v Chelmsford City
Won 4-0 v Gosport Borough (A)
Won 3-1 v Whitehawk (H)
Won 4-0 Wealdstone (A)
Won 3-2 v Eastbourne Borough (A)
Won 3-2 v Weston-super-Mare (H)

Previous Six Meetings
Dartford 1 Oxford City 0 (29/10/2016 – National South)
Dartford 2 Oxford City 1 (23/04/2016 – National South)
Oxford City 2 Dartford 1 (15/09/2015 – National South)
Oxford City 2 Dartford 4 (04/11/2008 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 3 Oxford City 3 (01/11/2008 – F.A Trophy)

Dartford v Chelmsford City

Dartford have turned from playoff to title contenders in recent weeks and their next test is at home to Chelmsford City.

It will be the fourth time the two sides meet this season having played in both the F.A Cup and F.A Trophy. So far the away team has edged out with one win a piece in the cups and a draw in the National South back in August. The Darts drew 1-1 in Essex six months ago with Luke Wanadio’s header cancelling out by Shaun Jeffers’ leveller.

Dartford returned to the Melbourne Community Stadium a month later in an interesting and tense F.A Cup tie. Racing into a three goal lead by half time, courtesy of an own goal and an Elliot Bradbrook brace, the Darts were up against the conditions in the second half when they conceded twice. The Clarets did get revenge in the F.A Trophy though in their last visit to Princes Park, Chris Dickson’s winner sent the Essex club through.

Chelmsford City boss, Rod Stringer claimed that 1-0 victory was a statement for other teams in the playoffs. However, since then the Clarets have dropped out of the top five and currently sit four points adrift. Their F.A Trophy run, which ended against Tranmere Rovers, means Stringer’s side do have games in hand on those above.

On the other hand, Dartford are the form team of the division and have pulled away from the Clarets. A run of six consecutive wins has closed the gap at the top leaving the Darts third and a point behind rivals Ebbsfleet United. Since New Years Day, Tony Burman’s side have made up 14 points on Maidenhead United who were strolling at the top at the turn of the year. Dartford are now ten points better off than Stringer’s team and are contenders for the National South title at this stage.

Over the last six league matches goals have come from all over the park, Dartford have netted an impressive 23 with 11 different goalscorers, taking their goal difference from the seventh best to the third. The goals continued on the weekend with a 4-0 away triumph at Gosport Borough. Andy Pugh scored a tap in within five minutes, his fourth league goal in as many games. Luke Wanadio deservedly got on the scoresheet with a well placed finish, Keaton Wood’s stunning strike made it three and Kaka Dembele nodded in the fourth. Alex Brown and Duane Ofori-Acheampong returned to the squad and were named on the bench and Burman gave academy midfielder Richard Seixas some more game time.

Chelmsford City have playoff aspirations of their own and were in with a shout of the title race up until mid October. The Essex club went seven games without a win, drawing six of them. The Clarets have since got back to winning ways, with defeat at Ebbsfleet United an exception, yet on the weekend they shared the points with St Albans City to drop two in a frustrating afternoon. Stringer noted his attack wasn’t clinical enough, a problem he’s noticed with frequency this campaign.

Jeffers who equalised in the reverse fixture back in August is Chelmsford City’s top marksman this term with 15 goals. He can look forward to forming a partnership with new signing Liam Enver-Marum, the former Ebbsfleet United and Maidstone United striker. The 29 year old made a late appearance on Saturday replacing Jeffers. Three former Darts are also in the squad, winger Luke Daley, full back Josh Hill, who only signed last month and Max Cornhill.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 36 / Chelmsford City wins: 51 / Draws: 90

Current League Form
Dartford (WWWWWW)
Won 4-0 v Gosport Borough (A)
Won 3-1 v Whitehawk (H)
Won 4-0 v Wealdstone (A)
Won 3-2 v Eastbourne Borough (A)
Won 3-2 v Weston-super-Mare (H)
Won 6-1 v East Thurrock United (H)

Chelmsford City (DWLWWW)
Drew 1-1 v St Albans City (H)
Won 2-0 v Truro City (H)
Lost 0-2 v Ebbsfleet United (A)
Won 1-0 v Whitehawk (H)
Won 3-1 v Bishop’s Stortford (A)
Won 4-0 v Bishop’s Stortford (H)

Previous Meetings
Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1 (14/01/2017) – F.A Trophy
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)

Stats
Dartford have not hosted and beaten Chelmsford City in 17 years. A run of four defeats and two draws means the 3-0 win in 2000 was the last time the Darts achieved a home victory over the Essex club.

Since the home win in 2000, Dartford have only recorded one other league triumph against the Clarets, the 1-0 win at the Melbourne Community Stadium on Boxing Day two years ago.

The Darts are unbeaten in their last five league matches against Chelmsford City, winning one and drawing four. The last two league meetings have ended 1-1.

Very few goals decide this fixture, Dartford have failed to score more than once and Chelmsford City more than twice since the Southern League Southern Division match in 2000.

Andy Pugh seems to warm up in January and February. Last season he also scored in four consecutive league games between 26 January and 23 February, he netted five times

On This Day
Dartford’s highlight of the 2013/14 season came on 18 February when the Darts swept aside Woking. The 5-1 victory temporarily glossed over relegation fears when braces from Alex Wall and Max Cornhill was added to by Lee Noble. The win was exactly two years to the day since the Cards beat the Darts 1-0 in the National South to dent Dartford’s title ambitions, the Darts did eventually go up in the playoffs that season. Defeats to Horsham (2-3 in 2009), Berkhamsted Town (1-3 in 2006) and Fisher Athletic (1-3 in 2003) all came after 1995’s entertaining 5-3 triumph over Furness in the Kent League.

Gosport Borough v Dartford

Dartford look for their sixth consecutive league win to continue their challenge at the top of the table, when they visit struggling Gosport Borough this weekend.

The Darts moved within four points of league leaders Maidenhead United last weekend and kept in touch with rivals Ebbsfleet United, by beating relegation battlers Whitehawk. Yet again, Dartford managed to spread out the goals amongst the starting eleven with Ryan Hayes, Tom Murphy and Andy Pugh helping to secure a 3-1 victory and Dartford’s ninth home win in the league in their last ten.

Since the New Year’s Day defeat to Ebbsfleet United, Tony Burman’s side has responded excellently with four consecutive league wins to keep up the pressure on the top two. Burman is pleased with the club’s turnaround this season, speaking at a fans forum on Monday he attributed the success to the squad’s character, he said: “I haven’t changed what I do each season, but without a doubt those players have a great bond. That has been better as the results have been good. We’ve been through the mill for a few years and when we’re all getting on it’s good. I feel we’ve got our mojo back, on the terraces and in the changing rooms. The response from everyone has been positive”.

Earlier in the season when Dartford faced Gosport Borough they were up against the odds despite home advantage. With the only two recognised strikers out in Andy Pugh and Duane Ofori-Acheampong, captain Elliot Bradbrook injured and Ronnie Vint sidelined, Tony Burman’s squad was dwindling in numbers. The cause was not helped when after nine minutes Tom Bonner was sent off, but in another example of team spirit shining through the Darts claimed a 0-0 draw.

Last term, Dartford put in one of their best performances of the campaign in their visit to Privett Park. Almost a year ago, the Darts came from behind to win 3-1. Dan Wooden gave Boro a first half lead when his deflected shot beat Deren Ibrahim. The second half was a different story, Elliot Bradbrook scrambled home an equaliser and added a second by taking the ball round Nathan Ashmore in the Gosport Borough goal. Andy Pugh capped off a fine display with a third from a tight angle to secure the points.

Borough have had a torrid time of late losing six straight National South games dragging them into the relegation battle. Manager, Alex Pike felt he could see ‘green shoots of recovery’ and when they picked up a point on Tuesday night he may be right. Three new signings featured in the 2-2 draw with playoff hopefuls Hampton and Richmond, which saw Tony Lee score twice. Goalkeeper, Mark Childes and Jack Masterton are two new faces from Eastleigh whilst defensive midfielder Ed Sanders signed from Bognor Regis Town.

Last weekend, Gosport Borough may have lost 2-0 to league leaders Maidenhead United, but conceding two was a vast improvement on the three games prior, when they shipped in 16. Poor form has left Borough two points ahead of the bottom three with the worst defensive record in the division.

Signs of a potential difficult campaign came over the festive period when Chris Flood and Warren Bentley, their summer signings to replace the departed prolific striker Justin Bennett, left with numerous other players. The club were forced to make a statement after the 7-0 loss to Poole Town, in which the Borough had just 12 players available. Since then, a transfer embargo has been lifted and Pike has managed to rebuild a squad. With plenty going on off the field, Gosport Borough are trying to do everything on the pitch to stay in the National South.

Head to Head
Gosport Borough wins: 5 / Dartford wins: 10 / Draws: 4

Current League Form
Gosport Borough (DLLLLL)
Drew 2-2 v Hampton and Richmond Borough (A)
Lost 0-2 v Maidenhead United (H)
Lost 1-5 v East Thurrock United (H)
Lost 1-4 v Hungerford Town (H)
Lost 0-7 v Poole Town (A)
Lost 0-2 v Poole Town (H)

Dartford (WWWWWL)
Won 3-1 v Whitehawk (H)
Won 4-0 Wealdstone (A)
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)

Previous Six Meetings
Dartford 0 Gosport Borough 0 (16/08/2016 – National South)
Gosport Borough 1 Dartford 3 (23/02/2016 – National South)
Dartford 2 Gosport Borough 3 (22/08/2015 – National South)
Gosport Borough 0 Dartford 1 (24/10/1989 – Southern Premier)
Dartford 5 Gosport Borough 1 (22/08/1989 – Southern Premier)
Dartford 4 Gosport Borough 2 (04/04/1989 – Southern Premier)

Stats
Gosport Borough have conceded 67 times this season at an average of 2.48 per game. Only the bottom two sides, Margate and Bishops Stortford have a worse goal difference.

Dartford have won 6 of the last 8 in this fixture, including the last three visits to Gosport. The Boro last beat the Darts on home soil in 1988.

The 0-0 draw earlier in the season was the first blank Dartford recorded against Boro since the 1-0 loss in 1988.

In each of the last five league matches Dartford have recorded different goalscorers. In that time the Darts have scored a total of 19 goals at almost four a game.

On This Day
For the first time since reforming Dartford play on 11 February. The last time the Darts played on this day was in 1989 when they breezed past Waterlooville 4-1, away from home in the Southern Premier League. Five years before, they travelled to Witney Town and won 1-0 and in 1967 defeated Wisbech Town 3-0 in the Southern League First Division. The last defeat in 1961 was also an away fixture, Tunbridge Wells United knocked the Darts out of the Kent Senior Cup with a 2-0 victory.

Dartford v Whitehawk

Dartford’s promotion push continues at home in the National South when they host relegation threatened Whitehawk.

The Darts know a fifth consecutive league victory will continue to apply pressure on the top two. Meanwhile, Whitehawk are desperate to halt a run of five defeats in a row.

Last weekend, Dartford recorded their first win over Wealdstone in 26 years scoring four goals without reply. Once more, the scoresheet showed a variety of players finding the net starting with Luke Wandio’s second in his last two appearances. Ryan Hayes put the Darts two up as he edges closer to his 100th goal for the club and Elliot Bradbrook made it three before half time. Andy Pugh scored on the hour to also score in his second game running.

With Tom Bonner missing and Lee Noble injured, Dartford recorded another impressive result. Duane Ofori-Acheampong returned to the bench coming on as a substitute. The Darts have now scored 16 goals in their last four league games and in each of those fixtures different goalscorers found the net.

The Darts will hope to reverse the result back in August when Whitehawk ran out 1-0 winners. A fourth minute penalty by Ahmed Abdulla settled the match, Keaton Wood was sent off just before half time. Last season at Princes Park, despite Pugh’s double the Hawks won 4-2, the Sussex club also beat Dartford 2-1 in the F.A Trophy.

This campaign, the Hawks are a long way off from the form they showed in the tail end of last season. Reaching the playoffs last term and almost earning a third round F.A Cup tie with Everton before then, Whitehawk are trying to avoid dropping out of the National South.

Stability will be welcomed by the Sussex club with so many managerial changes since September. Pablo Asensio was the first to go and in came Richard Hill, who left in November. Alan Payne and Ben Strevens took joint charge until December when Strevens returned to Eastleigh. Up stepped defender Paul Reid until last weekend when he stepped down again following the 2-0 defeat to Weston-super-Mare, leaving Payne at the helm. Currently in a poor spell, the Hawks have lost five league games in a row and also went out of the F.A Trophy to Dulwich Hamlet of the Isthmian Premier League. Recent results has meant another change took place when Andy Woodman was appointed the new boss.

Danny Mills continues to be their top man in front of goal but Whitehawk now have experience too. Former Charlton Athletic striker Kevin Lisbie is part of the squad and Brian Howard, the former Barnsley midfielder who netted a winner against Liverpool in the F.A Cup. Former Dart, Marvin Hamilton is regularly making the starting eleven as is Micheal West, formerly of local rivals Ebbsfleet United.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 2 / Whitehawk wins: 3 / Draws: 0

Current League Form
Dartford (WWWWLWL)
Won 4-0 v Wealdstone (A)
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)

Whitehawk (LLLLLD)
Lost 0-2 v Weston-super-Mare (H)
Lost 1-3 v Hungerford Town (A)
Lost 0-1 v Chelmsford City (A)
Lost 2-4 v Eastbourne Borough (A)
Lost 0-2 v Bath City (H)
Drew 4-4 v Gosport Borough (H)

Previous Meetings
Whitehawk 1 Dartford 0 (10/08/2016 – National South)
Dartford 2 Whitehawk 4 (12/03/2016 – National South)
Whitehawk 0 Dartford 1 (19/12/2015 – National South)
Whitehawk 2 Dartford 1 (28/11/2015 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 5 Whitehawk 2 (04/09/1982 – F.A Cup)

On This Day
It’s been 14 years since Dartford last played on 4 February in the Southern League Division One East, the Darts lost 1-0 away to Tonbridge Angels. In 1995, the only other time Dartford played on this day since reforming, the Darts beat Canterbury City 2-0 in the Kent League.