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Needham Market v Dartford

Dartford could move a step closer to the F.A Cup first round this weekend if they manage to avoid an upset against Needham Market.

The Darts travel to Suffolk for their third qualifying round tie knowing victory will put them within one more fixture of reaching the first round proper, which will be the fifth time in eight years. Needham Market, currently playing in the Isthmian Premier League have only progressed beyond this stage once, four years ago.

Tony Burman’s side suffered their second defeat of the season on Saturday, losing 3-0 at Weston-super-Mare. Only central defender Richard Sho-Silva was unavailable for selection, Mark Onyemah returned to the line-up whilst Duane Ofori-Acheampong was named amongst the bench four months after last playing for the Darts.

Critical of conceding two goals against Eastbourne Borough in the previous league game, Burman will be disappointed with conceding three more. Gethyn Hill scored a first half brace and Archie Collins added another as Weston-super-Mare brought the Darts down to earth. Having topped the National South table at the start of the day, the Darts dropped to fourth.

A fortnight ago, Dartford began their F.A Cup journey and although not at their best ran out 3-1 winners to Isthmian Division One North side Barking. Elliot Bradbrook put in a captain’s performance crowning his man of the match display with a hat-trick. Bradbrook twice scored from the penalty spot to help his team come from a goal down in an uncomfortable afternoon. The Essex League champions took the lead after Alfie Pavey scored at the wrong end giving Barking a shock lead.

Dartford last travelled to Suffolk in a F.A Cup fourth qualifying round match back in 2010 and were taken to a reply after a 0-0 draw with Leiston, three divisions below the Darts at the time. That run, seven years ago, ended in the first round at Port Vale, the first time in 21 years Dartford had reached that stage. Since then, Burman has guided the Darts to the first round on two more occasions and the second round almost three years ago, losing away to Bradford City.

Needham Market have yet to concede in this season’s F.A Cup having defeated Clapton and Chesham United on the way. Entering at the first qualifying round stage the Marketmen drew Clapton, two divisions below in the Essex League. The Suffolk side had to wait until just over an hour to break their opponents down through Gareth Heath, then two more followed from Luke Ingram and Callum Harrison in a 3-0 win.

Two weeks ago, Needham Market won at home against Southern Premier League side Chesham United. Harrison scored his second F.A Cup goal of the campaign after half an hour and four minutes into the second half Dan Morphew secured progression into the third qualifying round.

Former Dartford winger Jack Simmons is amongst the Marketmen’s ranks and is currently leading their assists chart. Simmons played for the Darts in 2015/16 making 29 appearances, 11 from the substitutes bench and scored the one goal.

Needham Market managed promotion from the Eastern Counties seven years ago, winning the title by a point. After four years in the Isthmian Division One North where they experienced three playoff defeats including a final, the Marketmen won the title by a single point again amassing 104 points and 101 goals. The Suffolk side finished 20th in the Isthmian Premier two seasons ago and ninth last term.

This season the Marketmen are in 14th in the Isthmian Premier after beating Harlow Town 3-1 on Tuesday night. Morphew, Heath and Sam Nunn all netted in the first half to earn the Suffolk side three points. Victory followed a 2-2 draw with Enfield Town and the F.A Cup win against Chesham United to extend their unbeaten run to three.

Current Form (all competitions)

Needham Market (WDWLDW) Dartford (LLWWWW)
Harlow Town A 3-1 Weston-super-Mare A 0-3
Enfield Town H 2-2 Cray Wanderers A 2-4
Chesham United H 2-0 Barking H 3-1
Lowestoft Town H 0-2 Eastbourne Borough H 4-2
Tooting & Mitcham United A 1-1 Chippenham Town H 3-0
Clapton A 3-0 Whitehawk A 4-0

Stats
Elliot Bradbrook has scored ten goals in his last five F.A Cup appearances.

There has been three or more goals in the last seven Dartford games.

Dartford have won their last three F.A Cup ties away from Princes Park all coming last season. The last time the Darts failed to score on their travels in the F.A Cup was in the 4-0 replay defeat at Port Vale in the first round in 2010.

The Darts last went out to lower league opposition in an away F.A Cup tie 15 years ago. Dartford in the Southern League Eastern Division lost 1-0 in a replay to Carterton Town in the Hellenic League. Since then Dartford have

On This Day
Dartford staged a late comeback to come from behind and beat Hyde in 2-1 at Princes Park. The visitors took the lead when Alex Brown hit a shot in the top corner. The Darts struggled to get going and when Harry Crawford missed a penalty it didn’t look like it would be Dartford’s day. Hyde had Adam Griffin red carded after picking up his second caution of the afternoon and from then on the Darts found some belief. Crawford levelled with a header and in stoppage time Richard Rose calmly chipped the ball into the Hyde net for the winner.

Weston-super-Mare v Dartford

League leaders Dartford make the long trip across the country on the weekend when they visit Weston-super-Mare in the National South.

With the top six separated by just a point the Darts superior goal difference keeps them above the rest for now, but they will be hoping to come back from the West country with a three point haul and their unbeaten away record intact.

Tony Burman was able to rest a number of regular starters on Tuesday night in the Kent Senior Cup tie against Cray Wanderers. The consequence of which was a 4-2 defeat to the Isthmian Premier League side, but the likes of Warren Mfula, Toby Ajala, Ronnie Vint, Alfie Cue, Tom Murphy and Keaton Wood started the match.

It was a second cup game in a few days for the Darts after they beat Barking 3-1 in the F.A Cup thanks to Elliot Bradbrook’s hat-trick. A feat he achieved against Weston-super-Mare last season in the 4-2 F.A Trophy triumph back in November.

Last season Dartford completed a treble against the Seagulls winning both National South fixtures and the F.A Trophy tie. At the Woodspring Stadium where they travel to on Saturday, the Darts won 2-1 with goals from Luke Wanadio and Ryan Hayes. The return fixture was just as close as Dartford edged out 3-2 winners.

After a break in league action, Burman’s side moved to the top in their last National South match against Eastbourne Borough. Victory was Dartford’s third in a row and sixth in the league this term. However, the Dartford boss still found something for his team to focus on, he commented to kentonline.co.uk: “We’ve been excellent with the chances created and defensively we’ve been good, although I was upset in the Eastbourne game”, he added: “We want to have the best defence in the league and we haven’t got that at the moment. It was taken away from us with those two goals”, he continued “It’s showing in the goal difference that we’ve converted a lot of chances and not let a lot of goals in. Being sloppy cost us last year and we’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen again”.

Burman believes consistency will be important to mounting a title challenge this term, he said: “A lot of teams are playing on the same level and it’s going to be about who’s consistent – not so much creeping away but trying to get those wins. Draws are not going to be good results, you’ve got to win your games”.

Weston-super-Mare suffered a last minute defeat on the weekend as they went out of the F.A Cup to Bognor Regis Town. Tristan Plummer impressed for the Seagulls and his deflected effort off team mate Jake Reid gave Weston-super-Mare a half-time lead. The tables turned in the second half, after Bognor Regis Town equalised Jake Mawford was sent off for the Seagulls. In the last minute the hosts James Crane’s headed goal prevented a replay back at the Woodspring Stadium.

Marc McGregor’s side were involved in an entertaining six goal thriller in their last league outing. Away to Oxford City, Dayle Grubb gave Weston-super-Mare a lead after just two minutes but Oxford City levelled. The Seagulls were reduced to ten men when Aden Baldwin was red carded just before the half hour mark. Grubb put the ten men in front five minutes before the interval but the lead was overturned in the second half. Oxford City’s Reece Fleet equalised, then the Nomads had Freddie Grant sent off, but like the Seagulls Oxford City scored with ten men to lead for the first time in the match. New signing Irnti Rapai saved the match for Weston-super-Mare scoring his second for the club in as many matches.

Before the 3-3 draw, the Seagulls went to Chelmsford City, who were leading the table at the time and came back with a point. Albanian striker Irnti Rapai, who had signed from Olympiacos Lavriou FC made his debut and scored in a 1-1 draw.

The Seagulls, on a two match unbeaten league run showed character at the start of the month following a 4-1 defeat to Havant and Waterlooville. Weston-super-Mare hosted a struggling Wealdstone side and recorded a comfortable 5-1 victory. Dayle Grubb and Jake Reid both notched braces and a fifth in injury time by Jake Lee put the gloss on a decent performance.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 7 / Weston-super-Mare wins: 2 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Weston-super-Mare (DDWLLD) Dartford (WWWDLW)
Oxford City A 3-3 Eastbourne Borough H 4-2
Chelmsford City A 1-1 Chippenham Town H 3-0
Wealdstone H 5-1 Whitehawk A 4-0
Havant & Waterlooville H 1-4 Hampton & Richmond A 2-2
Truro City A 1-2 East Thurrock United H 0-1
Chippenham Town H 2-2 Hemel Hempstead A 0-3

Previous Meetings

17.01.2017 Dartford 3 Weston-super-Mare 2
26.11.2016 Weston-super-Mare 2 Dartford 4
20.08.2016 Weston-super-Mare 1 Dartford 2
05.03.2016 Weston-super-Mare 2 Dartford 1
13.09.2015 Dartford 2 Weston-super-Mare 1
12.11.2011 Dartford 1 Weston-super-Mare 1

Stats
It’s been six years since either side has failed to register a goal in this fixture. Dartford beat the Seagulls 4-0 on the opening day of the 2011/12 campaign.

Dartford have scored in each of their last five trips to Weston-super-Mare, last failing to score in 1997 when the Southern League South match ended without a goal.

Dartford’s five game unbeaten away start in the league is their best since the Isthmian Premier title winning side of 2009/10, when they won their opening nine away games.

Elliot Bradbrook is the division’s second highest goalscorer with 7 goals. The Darts captain is one behind Weston-super-Mare’s Dayle Grubb and Philip Roberts of Braintree Town.

On This Day
Dartford beat local rivals Maidstone United in the Isthmian Premier League at Sittingbourne’s Central Park. Steve Butterworth’s low drive from outside of the box made it 1-0 and the lead was doubled with Rob Haworth’s header. The Stones pulled a goal back in the second half through Meshach Nugent. That win ended a three game losing streak on 23 September having been beaten 2-1 on each occasion by Ashford Town in 2003, Histon in 2000 and Fisher Athletic in 1997.

Cray Wanderers v Dartford

The Darts are back in cup action for the second time this week as they take on Isthmian Premier League side Cray Wanderers in the Kent Senior Cup.

For the second year running Dartford have been drawn against the Wands, this time at the second round stage. Just under a year ago, the Darts negotiated the first round tie winning 2-1 at Hayes Lane. Approaching last October’s Kent Senior Cup tie as holders, Dartford were made to work hard to progress in the county competition. Cray Wanderers took the lead when Ben Mundele netted his first goal for the club. Tony Burman introduced Andy Pugh at half-time and the substitute came up with the goods with an equaliser. Duane Ofori-Acheampong, who is yet to feature this season due to injury scored the decisive goal to put the Darts into round two.

With a stronger squad than last term, Burman could well look at some of the players who have not featured as much so far this season. The Darts warmed up for the county cup tie by beating Isthmian Division One North side Barking on Saturday in the F.A Cup. Elliot Bradbrook had to put in a captains performance scoring a hat-trick to see off the Essex club. Barking took the lead when Alfie Pavey netted an own goal, but two Bradbrook penalties either side of his second strike earned Dartford a 3-1 triumph.

Leading the National South table, Dartford are 36 places above Cray Wanderers in the non-league pyramid. The Wanderers are currently in 12th with two wins, four draws and a defeat. On Saturday, they went head to head against another unbeaten side Lewes and it was the Sussex club that ended Cray Wanderers run. Lewes came from behind to win 2-1 as the Wands ended the match with nine men.

Cray Wanderers entered this season’s Kent Senior Cup at the first round and were drawn away to Thamesmead Town. Aaron Rhule opened the scoring, Anthony Adesite grabbed the second and Ralique Lawrence rounded of the 3-0 victory.

Current Form (all competitions)

Cray Wanderers (LDDWWW) Dartford (WWWWDL)
Lewes A 1-2 Barking H 3-1
Hastings United H 1-1 Eastbourne Borough H 4-2
Chipstead Town H 0-0 Chippenham Town H 3-0
Shoreham A 3-0 Whitehawk A 4-0
Molesey H 4-0 Hampton & Richmond A 2-2
Thamesmead Town A 3-0 East Thurrock United H 0-1

Previous Meetings

04.02.2017 Cray Wanderers 1 Dartford 2
15.10.2011 Cray Wanderers 1 Dartford 2
02.01.2010 Cray Wanderers 1 Dartford 2
26.12.2009 Dartford 1 Cray Wanderers 1
03.02.2007 Cray Wanderers 0 Dartford 0
18.11.2006 Cray Wanderers 4 Dartford 0

 

 

Dartford v Barking

Dartford begin their F.A Cup campaign at home to Essex League champions Barking, in the second qualifying round this weekend.

The Darts prepared by moving top of the National South on goal difference following two victories in the space of three days. Eastbourne Borough were the latest victims at Princes Park even though the arrived in Kent unbeaten in their last eight games. Warren Mfula and Duane Ofori-Acheampong were both unavailable but recovering from injuries, whilst Mark Onyemah missed Tuesday’s game for family reasons, Danny Harris returned to action.

Alex Brown gave the Darts the lead with a shot from just outside the box and in the second half Alfie Pavey headed home for 2-0. A third arrived when Elliot Bradbrook notched his seventh of the season. The visitors managed to pull a goal back before Andy Pugh restored the three goal cushion. Tom Murphy made it 4-1, but there was still time for the Sports to earn a consolation as the game finished 4-2.

Dartford’s confidence is growing and with a competitive squad it will give Tony Burman a chance to look at others, who have been on the fringes of the starting eleven. Although the upset two years ago when the Darts went out to Uxbridge will serve as warning. Last term, Dartford made it to the F.A Cup first round going out in an entertaining 6-3 defeat to one of last season’s giant killers Sutton United.

Eleven and a half years have gone by since Dartford played Barking, although back then had merged with East Ham United. A pair of 2-2 draws in the Southern Division One East took place in 2005 and 2006. The previous season Barking and East Ham United won both league matches including a 6-1 away win in March 2005.

Fortunes have changed since then, Dartford’s homecoming led to promotions up the non league pyramid. Barking and East Ham United folded in 2006. Barking became the new club of the town and for the last eleven campaigns played in the Essex League which they won with 100 points and 125 goals last season.

The Blues still overhauled their squad in preparation for the Isthmian Division One North, only captain Ben O’Brien, Max Watters, Steve Willis and Timi Abiola have featured this term and were part of the championship winning side. Glen Colby was another member and the joint manager resigned recently leaving Justin Gardner in charge.

Barking’s F.A Cup journey started a month ago in the preliminary round against Saffron Walden Town of the Eastern Counties League. The home tie ended 0-0 with the Blues dominating possession but failing to breakdown their opponents. The replay three days later made up for a lack of goals as the two teams entertained in a seven goal thriller.

After falling behind, Barking’s Dan Gilchrist levelled and took the lead courtesy of Abs Seymour’s free kick. The lead was surrendered but Seymour had the Blues ahead again from a free kick, only for Saffron Walden Town to equalise once more. The winner came from Billy Jones and when captain Ben O’Brien was dismissed eight minutes from time the visitors piled on the pressure, but the Blues held out 4-3. In the following round the  cup tie was more straight forward against Gorleston, also of the Eastern Counties League. Goals from Theo Ola, a brace from Gilchrist and one for Alan Smalls meant a comfortable 4-0 triumph for Barking. The Blues have won their last three, the last two in the league against Grays Athletic o Saturday and Ware on Tuesday.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 2 / Barking wins 3 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings (^ – Eastern Floodlit Cup)

25.02.2006 Barking & East Ham Utd 2 Dartford 2
25.10.2005 Dartford 2 Barking & East Ham Utd 2
05.04.2005 Barking & East Ham Utd 1 Dartford 0
13.03.2005 Dartford 1 Barking & East Ham Utd 6
10.02.1981^ Barking 3 Dartford 1
24.11.1980^ Dartford 8 Barking 2
05.08.1980^ Dartford 2 Barking 0

Current League Form

Dartford (WWDLWW) Barking (WWWLLW)
Eastbourne Borough H 4-2 Ware A 1-0
Chippenham Town H 3-0 Grays Athletic H 3-1
Whitehawk A 4-0 Gorleston A 4-0
Hampton & Richmond A 2-2 Witham Town A 0-1
East Thurrock United H 0-1 Heybridge Swifts H 0-1
Hemel Hempstead Town A 3-0 Saffron Walden Town A 4-3

F.A Cup Stats
Since 2010, the Darts have reached the first round proper four times, including the run to the second round seasons ago.

In those seven years, Dartford have won nine out of ten against lower league opposition in the F.A Cup.

Barking last reached the second qualifying round in 1999 as Barking and East Ham United, they went a step further but were knocked out in the next round.

Since reforming as Barking in 2006, the Blues have only got past the preliminary stages once. Eleven years ago, they went out to Chelmsford City.

On This Day
Dartford thrashed Hemel Hempstead 9-2 away from home in 1972. The Darts won the first qualifying round in style eventually reaching the fourth qualifying round stage. Five years earlier, Dartford beat local rivals Gravesend and Northfleet 4-0 at Watling Street. In 1989, a win over Redbridge Forest set the Darts on their way to the first round. The first game of their run ended 4-2 with the story ending in a replay down in Exeter against the Grecians. Since then, Dartford drew 0-0 with Chertsey Town in 2000 and lost 2-0 to Hastings United in 2006.

Dartford v Eastbourne Borough

Dartford closed the gap at the top on the weekend and up next is an Eastbourne Borough side unbeaten in eight league games.

The Darts are gaining momentum and after beating Chippenham Town on Saturday found themselves two points off top spot in third place. In the space of a week, Dartford have hit seven goals without reply and now boast the best attack and second best defence.

Tony Burman stuck Keaton Wood in the first eleven to replace the injured Danny Harris, in the only change from the 4-0 win at Whitehawk. Warren Mfula and Duane Ofori-Acheampong were both unavailable but recovering from injuries, whilst Tom Murphy made a return from off the bench.

Ryan Hayes inspired Dartford to a 3-0 win at home to Chippenham by creating the first two goals then scoring the third. In a man of the match performance the winger provided an excellent cross for Alfie Pavey to head home his fourth in six games. The second assist came from another cross to Andy Pugh who slid in at the far post to extend the lead. With the points secure, Hayes made sure with a calm finish curling the ball into the far corner of the Chippenham Town net, Hayes’ second goal in as many games.

Similar to the Darts, Eastbourne Borough prefer stability with only five managers appointed in the last 34 years. So this summer when the Sports changed who’s in charge they were also making a statement. After ten years as a player at Bognor Regis Town and seven years as a manager, Jamie Howell shocked the Rocks with his switch to their Sussex rivals replacing Tommy Widdrington at Priory Lane.

Howell made a slow start losing his first two games at the helm with a pair of 3-2 defeats at home to Braintree Town and away to Havant and Waterlooville. Despite the losses, the Sports picked up where they left of last season amongst the top scorers in the league, last term they were the fifth highest scorers. The Sussex club have not tasted defeat since the second game of the season, getting off the mark with a 1-1 draw at Hampton and Richmond Borough, doubling their tally with a 0-0 draw at home to Welling United then winning four of their next five, including the 1-0 away victory over Howell’s former club Bognor Regis Town.

On Saturday, the Sports maintained their unbeaten run taking it to eight but had to work hard for a result. Two goals in first half stoppage time put St Albans City in command, former Dart Tom Gardiner scoring the first and Zane Banton the other. Eastbourne Borough came back when former Maidstone United player Emmanuel Odubade pulled a goal back from the spot with the penalty conceded by ex Dartford defender Tom Bender, and in the last minute Sergio Torres turned the defeat into a draw.

The man currently in form is striker Jamie Taylor who has netted five times in his last five appearances. Added to the midfield experience of Torres, who signed from rivals Whitehawk in the summer it’s no surprise the Sports can be potent in attack. The Darts will be familiar with goalkeeper Bailey Vose, who had a spell with Dartford last season covering for Deren Ibrahim whilst on international duty. Vose played three times keeping one clean sheet in his loan spell from Brighton and Hove Albion.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 8 / Eastbourne Borough: 4 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

08.04.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 3
16.08.2011 Eastbourne Borough 2 Dartford 3
20.02.2016 Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1
11.08.2015 Dartford 1 Eastbourne Borough 0
03.04.2012 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1
29.11.2011 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 1

Current League Form

Dartford (WWDLWW) Eastbourne Borough(DWWWDW)
Chippenham Town H 3-0 St Albans City A 2-2
Whitehawk A 4-0 Concord Rangers H 3-1
Hampton & Richmond A 2-2 Chippenham Town H 4-2
East Thurrock United H 0-1 Bognor Regis Town A 1-0
Hemel Hempstead Town A 3-0 Wealdstone H 1-1
Oxford City H 7-1 Truro City A 1-0

Stats
Since going 2-0 down at Hampton and Richmond Borough, the Darts have gone nine goal without reply.

Dartford have kept four clean sheets out of six home league games this season, last achieved in 1988 when they conceded just three times in that spell, This time the Darts have let in just two.

It’s still a long way off the record set in 1896 when Dartford scored 36 and conceded once in their opening seven Southern League Division Two home games, which included six clean sheets.

On This Day
Dartford start their F.A Cup campaign next weekend and eight years on 12 September they began their journey at Chipstead. The Darts led the Isthmian Premier League dropping just two points in their opening seven games and were in no mood to suffer an upset to a side a division below. Tony Burman faced former Dartford striker and team mate Micky Collins in the dugout and watched on as the Darts won 6-1. Ryan Hayes scored a free kick in the first minute and Lee Burns added a second goal five minutes later. Billy Burgess headed his first goal for the Darts before half-time to give the Darts a 3-0 lead at the break. In the second half, Dartford added another three when James White scored before Chipstead netted a penalty, Rob Haworth made it 5-1 and Adam Gross finished the rout with a rasping 30 yard volley.

Dartford v Chippenham Town

Dartford host Southern Premier League champions Chippenham Town this weekend in the first ever match between the two clubs.

The Darts approach their tenth game of the season after their mid-week win against bottom of the table Whitehawk. In a dominant first half display, Dartford took lead after just eight minutes when Alfie Pavey poked in the opener. The lead was doubled half way through the first period with Ryan Hayes’ low strike. On the stroke of half-time, Elliot Bradbrook tapped home Lyle Della-Verde’s cross. Della-Verde became the goalscorer in second half stoppage time to net the Darts fourth.

Tuesday’s fixture saw the return of goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim from international duty with Gibraltar. Strikers, Warren Mfula was missing from the matchday squad with a groin strain and Duane Ofori-Acheampong is recovering from injury. During the 4-0 win, Danny Harris was replaced in the first half with Keaton Wood taking his place, although Harris could still feature. Tom Murphy is available for squad selection and Ronnie Vint is looking to get back into the first eleven.

Last weekend, the Darts came from two goals down to earn a draw with Hampton and Richmond Borough. Andy Pugh scored his first goal of the season and Elliot Bradbrook netted the equaliser. Tony Burman’s side suffered a 1-0 defeat to East Thurrock United in their previous fixture at Princes park, which ended an unbeaten run of six league games including the 7-1 home win against Oxford City and 2-0 home victory over Concord Rangers.

Now top scorers in the National South and with one of the best defences, Tony Burman is pleased with the start of the 2017/18 campaign, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “Under the circumstances, with players missing still, we’ve done well. We’ve conceded six goals but one of those was a penalty and three were from free-kicks, so we’re not getting torn apart in open play. Defensively, we’ve been sound and we’ve had enough clean sheets to say that’s a decent start to the season”, he added: “We’ve had a lot of goals and I’ve always said that if you’re creating chances, you’ve got the opportunity to score. I’m not looking at one particular person to do it, it needs to be shared about. I’m pleased with the start. We’re slightly under target but hopefully we’ll get that changed in the coming games”.

Chippenham Town’s form is mixed as they settle in the National South, the first time the club has played at this level. After an opening day draw with newly promoted Havant and Waterlooville, the Bluebirds announced themselves to the division with an excellent 5-2 win at Bath City. After four games without victory, the Wiltshire club bagged their second at home to Oxford City to end August.

This month started with a 4-2 reverse at Eastbourne Borough in which they let the lead slip twice. On Tuesday night, Chippenham Town made sure they stayed in front after an early goal from David Pratt and a second by Jake Andrews.

Pratt who signed for Mark Collier’s Bluebirds from Bath City is now on five goals for the campaign, the striker also was amongst the goals in this division when he played for Basingstoke Town. Partnering Pratt up front is experienced striker Andrew Sandell, who has a decent record with the Bluebirds in front of goal and came up against the Darts for Newport County in the National League four years ago.

Chippenham Town were rewarded for their patience last season by becoming Southern League champions. The Wiltshire club won promotion in 2001 as runners-up from the Southern League Division One West, a year after losing the F.A Vase final to Deal Town. Another promotion followed as they finished second again, this time moving up to the Southern Premier League. Since then Chippenham Town reached the playoff final three times but kept falling at the final hurdle. Eventually and deservedly, the Bluebirds won the league last season with an impressive 103 points.

Saturday’s match is the first of three home matches in a week for the Darts,

Current League Form

Chippenham Town (WLWDDL) Dartford (WDLWWW)
Gloucester City H 2-0 Whitehawk A 4-0
Eastbourne Borough A 2-4 Hampton & Richmond A 2-2
Oxford City H 3-2 East Thurrock United H 0-1
Weston-super-Mare A 2-2 Hemel Hempstead Town A 3-0
East Thurrock United H 2-2 Oxford City H 7-1
Poole Town H 0-1 Concord Rangers H 2-0

Stats
Dartford are now the top scorers in the National South with 20 goals and have the second best defence.

The Darts kept their fifth clean sheet in nine games on Tuesday night and remain unbeaten away from home.

Chippenham Town are early starters, in 5 games out of 9 they have scored in the opening ten minutes.

In David Pratt’s first spell with Chippenham Town he was red carded after three seconds, a record set in 2008.

On This Day
Dartford last won on 9 September back in 1998 when they beat Reading Town 3-0 in a F.A Cup preliminary round replay, the first game ended 0-0 three days earlier. The Darts lost their next two games on this day, 1-0 against Spalding United in 2000 and 2-0 versus Hastings United in 2006. Two years later Dartford secured a 1-1 draw at home to Heybridge Swifts and three years ago a last gasp Harry Crawford goal earned a 2-2 draw with Eastleigh. The Darts were 2-0 down in the National League fixture and were given hope when Elliot Bradbrook scored. The comeback was complete in stoppage time by Crawford.

Whitehawk v Dartford

Dartford aim to close the gap on fifth place when they visit winless Whitehawk on Tuesday night.

The Darts showed their fighting spirit on the weekend by coming from two goals down and earn a draw against Hampton and Richmond Borough. The story was the same for the Hawks who hosted Poole Town and recorded the same score despite finding themselves two down as well.

Tony Burman watched on as Hampton and Richmond Borough’s Max Kretzschmar netted a pair of free kicks in the second and 28th minutes. The Darts for the second time this term found themselves two down and like their away trip to Braintree Town they came up with the goods. Andy Pugh pulled a goal back, his first goal of the season and once again Elliot Bradbrook netted, to remain the club’s top scorer in this campaign with five goals.

Dartford need to find ways of turning draws into victories having picked up the most draws in the division. On their travels the Darts have picked up a point in three of the four fixtures and twice they have had to come from two goals down. Currently six points behind the leaders and in sixth place, Dartford have plenty of time to make up the ground, however a more clinical attack could be the difference between an automatic promotion spot and a place in the playoffs.

Deren Ibrahim will return after representing Gibraltar in World Cup qualifying against Belgium and Bosnia. Duane Ofori-Acheampong is still out injured and Warren Mfula was missing from the matchday squad on the weekend. For the first time the squad is almost fully available for selection giving Tony Burman plenty of options.

The Darts will hope to reverse the result just over a year ago 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.

Whitehawk have drawn their last two matches at the Enclosed Ground, their only two points of the campaign. Sitting bottom of the National South, the Sussex club have had a turbulent few years. The 2014/15 playoff runners up have faltered of late and are desperate for some kind of stability. Last term, the Hawks went through a staggering five managers and almost fifty players finishing seventeenth. In the summer they lost regular top scorer Danny Mills to Dartford’s rivals Ebbsfleet United in the National League, the experienced Sergio Torres to Eastbourne Borough whilst Michael West and Elliot Omozusi to Chelmsford City.

After the 4-0 away defeat to Havant and Waterlooville, the Hawks parted company with manager Jimmy Dack who resigned. On the weekend for their 2-2 draw with Poole Town, Dan Harding stepped up as caretaker manager. The former defender gained lots of experience in the Football League during his playing career with the likes of Brighton and Hove Albion, Leeds United, Southampton, Ipswich Town and Nottingham Forest.

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

Current League Form

Whitehawk (DLDLLL) Dartford (DLWWWD)
Poole Town H 2-2 Hampton & Richmond A 2-2
Havant & Waterlooville A 0-4 East Thurrock United H 0-1
Braintree Town H 1-1 Hemel Hempstead Town A 3-0
Concord Rangers A 0-1 Oxford City H 7-1
Bognor Regis Town A 2-6 Concord Rangers H 2-0
Oxford City H 0-3 Havant & Waterlooville A 0-0

Previous Meetings

04.02.2017 Dartford 3 Whitehawk 1
10.08.2016 Whitehawk 1 Dartford 0
12.03.2016 Dartford 2 Whitehawk 4
19.12.2015 Whitehawk 0 Dartford 1
28.11.2015 Dartford 1 Whitehawk 2
04.09.1982 Dartford 5 Whitehawk 2

Stats
Dartford have not lost from a winning position so far this season and have picked up two points after falling behind. The Darts have only failed once to turn a game around when they lost to East Thurrock United.

The Darts have the third best defence in the National South conceding five goals in the first half and just one in the second half. Out of the 16 goals scored Dartford have netted ten in the second half making them formidable after the break, scoring ten and conceding just once.

On This Day
Dartford last conceded a goal on 5 September in 1987 winning four out of their last five games on this day. The last fixture may have been a 0-0 with Bath City in 2015, but the three previous resulted in 14 goals without reply for the Darts. In 2009, Hendon were blown away 5-0 in the Isthmian Premier League with goals from Lee Burns, Robbie Haworth, a brace from Jay May and Lee Noble. Five years earlier, Horsham YMCA suffered the same fate in the F.A Cup when the Darts won a preliminary round tie 5-0. In the F.A Vase first qualifying round some 22 years ago, Dartford won 4-0 away to Steyning Town.

Hampton and Richmond Borough v Dartford

The Darts aim to bounce back this weekend at Hampton and Richmond Borough after suffering their first defeat of the season.

Bank Holiday Monday was a game too far for the Darts as they went down 1-0 at home to East Thurrock United. The first home defeat in the National League South in their last nine was only the third at Princes Park in the league since the start of last season. Loan goalkeeper, Jordan Beeney could only tip Reece Harris’ free kick onto the crossbar for Sam Higgins to score the rebound. Dartford dropped to sixth in the league standings after seven matches, six points behind leaders Chelmsford City.

Tony Burman looked back on the Monday’s match wondering if he should have started Andy Pugh, he commented to www.kentonline.co.uk: “Warren (Mfula) has done brilliantly for us and it was probably a game too many”. Burman decided to stick with a winning team and with Tom Murphy and Duane Ofori-Acheampong still injured, Pugh would have been the other option up front. Deren Ibrahim will also be unavailable as he is on international duty with Gibraltar, so Beeney will start his second match on loan.

The Darts now turn their focus on maintaining an unbeaten away record after consecutive draws, against Braintree Town and Havant and Waterlooville, followed by the 3-0 Bank Holiday weekend win at Hemel Hempstead Town. So far in 2017, Dartford have lost just three on the road but have chalked up only five victories, seven matches have ended all square.

Hampton and Richmond Borough were fast out of the blocks last season, but not so much this time. The Beavers are the lowest scorers with five goals yet their defence has only conceded six. Manager, Alan Dowson has been in the loan market to improve attacking options recently signing Bradley Hudson-Odoi from Sutton United and Noel Mbo from Gillingham.

At the Beveree, the Middlesex have only lost once this term and that was their last match at home. Havant and Waterlooville struck a last minute winner courtesy of Wes Fogden. On Bank Holiday Monday, the Beavers reversed the scoreline winning 1-0 themselves against Welling United, Ryan Moss scoring the decisive goal on five minutes.

A slower start than expected, Hampton and Richmond Borough are currently fourteenth in the league standings. Dowson led his side to the playoffs four months ago at the expense of Poole Town and Hungerford Town, albeit finishing seventh in the National South. This time finishing seventh will be good enough to reach the playoffs on merit. The Beavers boss set his objectives at the start of the campaign believing his side will be challenging for promotion.

Dartford’s last trip to the Beveree ended in misery as a newly promoted Hampton and Richmond Borough took the Darts apart. Christian Jolley put the Beavers ahead on eight minutes charging down Deren Ibrahim’s clearance, but Danny Harris had Dartford level.  Just after Jolley was substituted, still dazed from Ibrahim’s failed clearance, the Beavers regained the lead through Michael Kamara. An own goal by Tom Bonner and a Nicke Kabamba deflected shot gave the Middlesex club a 4-1 win.

In the return fixture at Princes Park it was the Darts turn to outplay their opponents. 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 Borough, but the three points were secure once Ronnie Vint netted the third.

Collier is still at Hampton and Richmond Borough and has started every game for the Beavers this season. Former Dartford, striker Harry Crawford is also part of the squad and has made just two starts since joining from Welling United this summer.

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

Current League Form

Hampton & Richmond Borough             (WLLLDW) Dartford (LWWWDD)
Welling United A 1-0 East Thurrock United H 0-1
Havant & Waterlooville H 0-1 Hemel Hempstead Town A 3-0
Braintree Town A 1-2 Oxford City H 7-1
Hemel Hempstead Town A 0-1 Concord Rangers H 2-0
Eastbourne Borough H 1-1 Havant & Waterlooville A 0-0
Oxford City H 1-0 Braintree Town A 2-2

Previous Meetings

17.04.2017 Dartford 3 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
29.08.2016 Hampton & Richmond Borough 4 Dartford 1
21.01.2012 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 3
20.08.2011 Dartford 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
19.02.2011 Dartford 0 Hampton & Richmond Borough 4
17.08.2010 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 0

Stats
It will be the third game in a row in which the opposition has fielded a former Dartford player if Collier or Crawford start. Charlie Sheringham and Callum Driver lined up against the Darts for Hemel Hempstead Town. Lee Burns, Max Cornhill, Femi Akinwande and Lewis Smith started for East Thurrock United United, taking the tally up to six former Darts in the last two games.

Dartford have kept two clean sheets in a row away from home, they have kept three in a row since October 2016.

The Darts last went three away matches unbeaten at the start of the season in 2011. An opening day win at Weston- Super-Mare was followed up with draws against Dover Athletic and Chelmsford City. In 2009, Dartford won their opening nine away matches in the Isthmian Premier League.

On This Day
Eleven years has past since Dartford comprehensively beat Tunbridge Wells in the F.A Cup preliminary round 5-0, however the Darts went out at the next stage to Hastings United. The victory against Wells was the last in an unbeaten run on fixtures taking place on 2 September that stretched back to 1978, a total of six games. The last fixture on this day was nine years ago at home to Carshalton Athletic in the Isthmian Premier League. Goals from Jamie Day and John Guest were not enough in a 3-2 defeat.