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Dartford v Bishop’s Stortford

Dartford welcome relegated Bishop’s Stortford to Princes Park this weekend in the Darts last home match of the regular campaign.

With a playoff place confirmed on Easter Monday and a showdown against Chelmsford City, the Darts know that finishing third will give them a home advantage in the second leg. So with two league games to go, Dartford will be hoping to build momentum for the semi-final on the 3rd and 7th May.

Tony Burman stated reaching the playoffs was one of his best achievements since being at the club. The Dartford boss watched his side beat Hampton and Richmond 3-1 on Easter Monday, to make up for the poor 2-0 defeat at Hungerford Town on Good Friday.

The Darts outplayed the Middlesex club and took the lead when Elliot Bradbrook drilled in a rebound for his 23rd goal in all competitions. A well worked team goal and quality finish from Alex Brown extended the lead before half time. Former Dartford player, Nathan Collier headed in for Hampton and Richmond, but the three points were secure once Ronnie Vint netted the third.

The Darts will be aiming for a sixth consecutive win over Bishop’s Stortford to complete a double over their opponents. Back in November, Tony Burman’s side strolled to a 3-0 victory, in which goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim celebrated his 100th appearance with a clean sheet. An own goal got Dartford on the move with Andy Pugh and Elliot Bradbrook adding more to the tally.

Last season at Princes Park, the Darts hosted Bishop’s Stortford just over a year ago. Danny Harris scored against his former club after just five minutes, but the Blues drew level when Ronnie Vint headed past his own goalkeeper. Keaton Wood scrambled home his first for the Darts and after Tom Bradbrook had a goal chalked off, the striker made it 3-1. The victory completed a double last term after a 2-1 triumph at Bishop’s Stortford. Dartford also won both fixtures during the 2010/2011 campaign and victory this weekend will mean three consecutive doubles over the Blues.

Manager, Kevin Watson has been unable to steer Bishop’s Stortford to safety. Relegated a fortnight ago, the Blues have struggled all season and can only avoid finishing bottom if they overtake Margate, who are a point ahead. The Blues have gone eight games without a league goal and on Easter Monday lost 5-0 for the second time in three matches, conceding their 100th goal of the season. Bishop’s Stortford will be without Darren Purse and Luke Callandar for the rest of the season due to suspension, while Adam Everett will play his final game of the campaign on Saturday.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 5 / Bishop’s Stortford wins: 3 / Draws: 2

Current League Form
Dartford (WLWDLW)
Won 3-1 v Hampton and Richmond Borough (H)
Lost 0-2 v Hungerford Town (A)
Won 4-3 v Eastbourne Borough (H)
Drew 2-2 v Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Lost 0-1 v St Albans City (A)
Won 4-0 v Margate (H)

Bishop’s Stortford (LLLLLL)
Lost 0-5 v Wealdstone (A)
Lost 0-2 v Gosport Borough (H)
Lost 0-5 v Weston-super-Mare (A)
Lost 0-2 v Oxford City (H)
Lost 0-2 v Maidenhead United (H)
Lost 0-8 v Ebbsfleet United (A)

Previous Meetings
Bishop’s Stortford 0 Dartford 3 (19/11/2016 – National South)
Dartford 3 Bishop’s Stortford 1 (25/03/2016 – National South)
Bishop’s Stortford 1 Dartford 2 (24/10/2015 – National South)
Bishop’s Stortford 0 Dartford 1 (29/01/2011 – National South)
Dartford 3 Bishop’s Stortford 0 (24/08/2010 – National South)
Bishop’s Stortford 2 Dartford 1 (11/04/1981 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 1 (04/04/1981 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 4 (22/11/1975 – F.A Cup)
Bishop’s Stortford 3 Dartford 1 (27/10/1970 – F.A Cup)
Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 2 (24/10/1970 – F.A Cup)

Stats
Dartford will equal their season’s best of consecutive home wins in the league if they beat Bishop’s Stortford. From 12 November 2016 to 4 February 2017, the Darts won six in a row scoring 18 times. Dartford’s current sequence of five consecutive home wins has seen them score the same number of goals.

In seven of the 20 home league games this term, Dartford have scored three or more and all since the turn of the year.

The Darts have won 48 points at home this season with 15 wins and 3 draws. Another victory will take them above the last time Dartford achieved promotion from the National South in 2011/12, when the Darts won 15 and drew 4 to total 49 points.

Dartford have kept seven clean sheet at Princes Park in the league this campaign, matching the total in the 2012/2013 National League season when the Darts finished eighth.

On This Day
Dartford have won just once on 22 April since reforming and that was seven years ago. A Danny Harris double gave the Darts a 2-0 away win at Hendon, almost two weeks on from claiming the Isthmian Premier League title. The last victory at home was at Watling Street back in 1989 when Dartford beat Dorchester Town 4-0.

Dartford v Hampton and Richmond Borough

Dartford complete their Easter schedule by hosting Hampton and Richmond Borough and hope to avoid a repeat of the reverse fixture back in August.

Eight months ago on Bank Holiday August, the Darts travelled to the Beveree and suffered a 4-1 hiding. At the time the Beavers were a free scoring outfit and continued their run with goals by Christian Jolley, Michael Kamara, a Tom Bonner own goal and Nicke Kabamba. As early as the fourteenth minute, Danny Harris had equalised for the Darts but the afternoon belonged to the Middlesex club.

The Darts last hosted the Beavers six years ago and three  of the current squad started that day. Bonner, Elliot Bradbrook and Ryan Hayes helped Dartford win 2-1 with Lee Noble and Danny Harris making substitute appearances. The Darts made it three wins out of three to climb to the top of the table thanks to early goals from Charlie Sheringham and Elliot Bradbrook, the scorer of Hampton and Richmond Borough’s consolation was soon to be Darts, Jacob Erskine.

Another former Dartford player to have featured for the Beavers this season is versatile midfielder Nathan Collier. The former Darts made over 100 appearances for the club joining up with Tony Burman from Hampton and Richmond Borough in July 2012, he rejoined the Beavers last summer after a spell at Eastbourne Borough.

Under Alan Dowson, Hampton and Richmond Borough clinched the Isthmian Premier League title on the last day just over a year ago. This season they started strongly and had been a challenger at the top for the first three months of the campaign. The Middlesex may have fell out of the playoff places but they have remained in contention for the majority of the season. The Beavers’ boss believes it has been a ‘tremendous season’, especially when the club lost prolific scorers Jamal Lowe and Kabamba to League Two side Portsmouth in January.

Dartford’s penultimate home game will be followed by the visit of relegated Bishop’s Stortford in five days time. The final match of the regular campaign will see the Darts travel to the Dorset coast, to take on last year’s Southern Premier League champions Poole Town.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 3 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 0

Current League Form
Dartford (LWDLWW)
Lost 0-2 v Hungerford Town (A)
Won 4-3 v Eastbourne Borough (H)
Drew 2-2 v Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Lost 0-1 v St Albans City (A)
Won 4-0 v Margate (H)
Won 5-3 v Truro City (H)

Hampton and Richmond Borough (DWLDWD)
Drew 1-1 v Wealdstone (H)
Won 5-0 v Oxford City (A)
Lost 0-2 v Chelmsford City (H)
Drew 1-1 v Ebbsfleet United (H)
Won 3-1 v Whitehawk (A)
Drew 3-3 v Poole Town (A)

Previous Six Meetings
Hampton and Richmond Borough 4 Dartford 1 (29/08/2016 – National South)
Hampton and Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 3 (21/02/2012 – National South)
Dartford 2 Hampton and Richmond Borough 1 (20/08/2011 – National South)
Dartford 0 Hampton and Richmond Borough 4 (19/02/2011 – National South)
Hampton and Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 0 (19/08/2010 – National South)
Dartford 0 Hampton and Richmond Borough 1 (27/09/2008 – F.A Cup 2nd Qualifying)

Stats
The Darts have not lost back to back games in the league all season

3 – Dartford have only lost three games at home this campaign, whilst Hampton and Richmond have only lost three on their travels.

11 – Dartford have scored three or more goals in a league match on 11 occasions this term. Their best record since the 2011/12 campaign when the Darts achieved this feat 14 times.

77 – The Beavers are the fourth highest scorers in the National South, only the top three have outscored the Middlesex club.

On This Day
Dartford will be hoping to end a 36 year wait for a win on 17 April, last tasting victory in 1981 against Crawley Town. The Darts were victorious in the Southern League Southern Division fixture winning 2-1 at Watling Street. Three defeats and three draws later has seen Dartford travel to Barrow a year later only to lose 2-0 in the top division of non league, a 1-1 draw at Folkestone Invicta in the Kent League back in 1995 and a 1-0 defeat at Newport Isle of Wight. Thirteen years ago, Dartford were brushed aside 5-0 by Histon at home before two 2-2 draws in 2006 away to Enfield and in 2010 at home versus Aveley.

Hungerford Town v Dartford

Dartford will be guaranteed a National South playoff place if they beat Hungerford Town on Good Friday at Bulpit Lane.

Leading the Crusaders by nine points with four games to go, the Darts will move out of reach with victory and even with a draw they will still be in the driving seat. As Tony Burman’s side try to gather momentum in the remaining games they will hope to come back from Berkshire with the win they need.

Over the last few weeks Burman has admitted that tension is starting to creep into Dartford’s game. Defeat away to St Albans City followed by throwing away the lead twice against Hemel Hempstead Town, the Darts hosted Eastbourne Borough last weekend in another tense affair.

Andy Pugh had Dartford in front on eleven minutes only for the Sports to peg the hosts back through Mark Hughes. The goal of the game came from Luke Wanadio as he curled the Darts ahead before the break. Ryan Hayes, on the other wing put Dartford 3-1 up and a fourth came from Elliot Bradbrook. Just when the match looked settled, Eastbourne Borough staged a fight back with goals from Gavin McCallum and Ryan Worrall, leaving Burman’s side to hold on for an entertaining 4-3 victory.

Whilst the Darts have now won their last four home matches, it’s on the road where points are beginning to be dropped. Four draws in the last five away fixtures, including the defeat to St Albans City, means Dartford last won away from home in the league over two months ago.

The meeting with Hungerford Town will be the second one ever and back in August goalkeeper, Deren Ibrahim hit the headlines scoring the opener from inside his own half. The points were secured when Alex Brown made it 2-0 with a few minutes remaining.

Manager, Bobby Wilkinson has led Hungerford Town to their highest ever level and this term will see them finish in the top ten at least. Last season’s Southern Premier League playoff winners have had a decent campaign  taking advantage against teams below them. The Crusaders have however failed to beat any of the top seven, but have managed to draw against the top two at home.

Unbeaten in six league games, Hungerford Town won 2-1 last weekend over Whitehawk. The Berkshire club left it until injury time when Luke Williams scored the winner, the goal completed the turn around from a one goal deficit, Warren Bentley netted the equaliser earlier. At Bulpit Lane, the Crusaders are unbeaten in ten National South matches stretching back to November. Currently in sixth spot, Hungerford Town need the points on Good Friday to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Head to Head
Hungerford Town wins: 0 / Dartford wins: 1 / Draws: 0

Current League Form
Hungerford Town (WDDDWW)
Won 2-1 v Whitehawk (A)
Drew 1-1 v Poole Town (A)
Drew 0-0 v St Albans City (H)
Drew 0-0 v Welling United (A)
Won 2-1 v Weston-super-Mare (H)
Won 2-1 v Concord Rangers (H)

Dartford (WDLWWD)
Won 4-3 v Eastbourne Borough (H)
Drew 2-2 v Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Lost 0-1 v St Albans City (A)
Won 4-0 v Margate (H)
Won 5-3 v Truro City (H)
Drew 1-1 v Concord Rangers (A)

Previous Meeting
Dartford 2 Hungerford Town 0 (27/08/2016 – National South)

On This Day
Unbeaten in their last eight matches on 14 April, the Darts have won their last two against Sutton United and Hastings United respectively. Five years ago, a goal from Tony Garrod was enough to beat the U’s in the National South. Five years earlier, Dartford won 2-1 against Hastings United with goals from Carl Bruce and Brendon Cass. Sittingbourne held the Darts to a 1-1 draw in 2001 whilst in the Southern League Division One East. In 1990, Ashford Town were beaten at Watling Street 2-1 and two years prior Dartford won their Southern League Cup semi-final second leg encounter with Waterlooville 4-1, recording an 8-1 aggregate victory. Dartford lifted the cup almost a fortnight later beating Bromsgrove Rovers 4-3 over tow legs.

Dartford v Eastbourne Borough

Dartford’s playoff battle continues this weekend when they host mid-table side Eastbourne Borough at Princes Park.

When the two teams met in January, the game ended in farcical conditions as fog descended on Priory Lane. As a spectacle their was very little to see yet the game ended 3-2 to the Darts. Luke Wanadio opened the scoring but three minutes later Elliott Romain equalised. Andy Pugh then put Dartford back in front as the fog began to roll in, giving his side the lead going into the break. Conditions worsened in the second half, Kaka Dembele extended the lead and very few in the ground witnessed Nat Pinney net the final goal of the game.

Dropped points over the last seven weeks has left the Darts in fourth place, level on points with Chelmsford City. Looking over their shoulder Tony Burman’s side are only a win ahead of Poole Town, who have a game in hand. Whilst the teams currently occupying a playoff spot jostle for position, Eastbourne Borough will be hoping to finish as high as they can in the National South, the Sports are guaranteed a place in the division next season.

It was only last weekend which saw Dartford lose their third place spot. Defeat away to St Albans City was followed up with a 2-2 draw at Hemel Hempstead Town, the hosts were reduced to ten men. Burman assessed the performance when speaking to www.dartfordfc.com, he commented: “I felt the players worked really hard on Saturday and I think we all realised that once a team goes down to 10 men it’s not always easy to play against.  There seems to be a lot of  tension in the performances of the team of late which for me is affecting their decision making and their performance as individuals and as a group”.

A penalty scored by Elliot Bradbrook and a Luke Wanadio goal put Dartford ahead twice, however the Tudors showed character to come back with former Dart, Charlie Sheringham and defender Tony Diagne finding the net. Burman added: “It is obviously disappointing to take the lead twice and not come away winning the game especially away from home. The two goals scored against us from our point of view were poor goals to concede, and I think both highlighted that tension and decision making”.

Eastbourne Borough have taken ten points from their last six league games and have been amongst the goals. The Sports were thrashed by Chelmsford City 5-1 and after a successive defeat they beat Welling United 7-3 at home, Jamie Taylor notching a hat-trick. Last weekend, Tommy Widdrington’s side took on a Wealdstone team unbeaten in eleven and with slim hopes of the playoffs. The Sports ended that glimmer the Stones had with a resounding 5-1 victory featuring two more strikes from Taylor and a brace from Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain, younger brother to Arsenal midfielder Alex. Another threat in attack is Elliott Romain, scorer of 20 goals this term and third highest scorer in the National South. Widdrington has now stepped down as boss after five years in charge stabilising the club.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 7 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 2

Current League Form
Dartford (DLWWDW)
Drew 2-2 v Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Lost 0-1 v St Albans City (A)
Won 4-0 v Margate (H)
Won 5-3 v Truro City (H)
Drew 1-1 v Concord Rangers (A)
Won 2-0 v Bath City (H)

Eastbourne Borough (WDWLLW)
Won 5-1 v Wealdstone (H)
Drew 1-1 v Margate (A)
Won 7-3 v Welling United (H)
Lost 1-2 v Bath City (H)
Lost 1-5 v Chelmsford City (A)
Won 2-0 v Truro City (H)

Previous Six Meetings
Eastbourne Borough 2 Dartford 3 (24/01/2017 – National South)
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)

Stats
3 – Dartford have won their last three home matches beating Margate, Truro City and Bath City

4 – Elliot Bradbrook has scored in each of Dartford’s last three home games with four goals

7 – The Darts are unbeaten in seven games against Eastbourne Borough in all competitions, winning five a drawing two

71 – number of goals scored by Eastbourne Borough, only the top three in the division have scored more

On This Day
Dartford are on a 12 game unbeaten run in games played on the 8 April, including a 10-0 victory over Crawley Town in 1975. The Darts handed the Sussex club a thrashing when taking part in the MSFL. The unbeaten run consists of six wins and six draws with the last match at home in 2006 against Boreham Wood. The Southern League Division One East fixture ended 2-2. In fact Dartford have drawn their last three home games on this day, one being the F.A Trophy semi-final first leg goalless stalemate with Macclesfield Town. The Silkmen ended up victors in the tie finishing runners up at the Wembley final to Telford United. The Darts last win came 17 years ago in the 2-0 away triumph at Wisbech Town, the last home victory was against rivals Gravesend and Northfleet back in 1977 in an entertaining 3-2 encounter.