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Dartford v Wealdstone

Dartford moved back to the top of the National South on the weekend and hope to retain the number one spot this week when they host Wealdstone.

The Darts maintained their solid home form on Saturday with a 4-1 win over Gloucester City. Warren Mfula opened the scoring with his fourth league goal of the campaign and Lyle Della Verde added a second by capitalising on a defensive error. Della Verde scored again in the second half with Alfie Pavey adding a fourth before the hour. The Tigers pulled a goal back but Dartford were too strong and moved to the top of the table. At Princes Park, Dartford have dropped just four points from their nine home games.

Tony Burman spoke to www.dartfordfc.com after the win and said: “I was delighted with the result and performance this week especially after Truro. The players reacted very well to the loss last week. We played against a good footballing side in Gloucester City and they caused us problems, but I thought we were ruthless in front of goal, and deserved the three points”.

Andy Pugh returns after serving a suspension, Tom Murphy will return to the squad whilst Duane Ofori-Acheampong was back in training last week after a long lay off. Keaton Wood left the club, the defender played 74 times for the Darts scoring four goals, he has made 13 appearances this term.

The Darts last faced Wealdstone at Princes Park over a year ago, on the first day of last season. It took until a minute before half time for Dartford to open their account when Luke Wanadio hit a low ball across the box for Elliot Bradbrook to finish. Early in the second half and Wealdstone were level through Elliot Benyon but the lead was restored after Ryan Hayes netted from the spot. The three points looked like they were heading for the Darts but in the final minute Eddie Oshodi headed an equaliser.

That draw in August 2016 was the last of a winless run against the Stones stretching back nine games to 1991. The away fixture last term saw Dartford record their biggest win against their opponents since that last victory, when they also scored four. Wanadio scored from the edge of the box, Hayes scored with a trademark curling effort, Bradbrook added a third and Andy Pugh secured the 4-0 victory.

Wealdstone made a slow start picking up six points in August out of the 21 available, the only win coming on the opening day of the season. Long serving manager Gordon Bartlett lasted five matches bringing an end to the 22-year spell at the helm. Still involved in the club Bartlett now oversees a new role supporting youth development, football in the community and over key football developments.

A day later, Bobby Wilkinson was announced as the new Stones boss after he enjoyed a successful period with Hungerford Town. Wilkinson led the Crusaders to the National South which included two promotions via the playoffs, his seven-year spell with his former club was successful enough to appeal to Wealdstone Chairman, Peter Marsden.

Since the arrival of Wilkinson, Wealdstone have lost just three competitive matches in their last 15, a run that includes winning their last seven home matches. Although the Stones have won once on the road since the managerial change they have drawn five out of nine, losing just three.

On the weekend Wealdstone had their four game winning streak brought to an end in an away defeat to Weston-super-Mare. Two goals inside the first eight minutes from Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain and Zac McEachran gave the hosts the perfect head start and Reece Fleet scored the decisive goal either side of an Abobaker Eisa brace. The 3-2 loss meant the Stones are now in twelfth, four points off the playoffs.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 12 / Wealdstone wins: 13 / Draws: 12

Previous Meetings

28.01.2017 Wealdstone 0 Dartford 4
06.08.2016 Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2
26.01.2016 Dartford 1 Wealdstone 2
03.10.2015 Wealdstone 2 Dartford 1
21.02.2012 Wealdstone 1 Dartford 0
14.02.2012 Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2

Current League Form

Dartford (WLWWLW) Wealdstone (LWWWDW)
Gloucester City H 4-1 Oxford City A 2-3
Truro City A 1-3 Hungerford Town H 1-0
St Albans City H 2-1 Welling United A 2-1
Bath City A 2-1 Truro City H 2-1
Chelmsford City A 0-1 Chippenham Town A 0-0
Bognor Regis Town H 1-0 Whitehawk H 2-1

Stats
Four of the last five home games against Wealdstone have ended in draws, the Stones won the other encounter.

Wealdstone have scored two goals in each of their last three visits to Princes Park.

Both teams have scored at least a goal in the last seven matches at against each other at Princes Park.

The Darts have won their last four home games in the National South.

On This Day
Eight years ago, Dartford were knocked out of the F.A Trophy to Kent rivals Dover Athletic at the third qualifying round stage. Adam Burchall gave the Whites the lead at the Crabble but the Darts went ahead through Jay May then Danny Harris. Dover Athletic equalised from the spot when Frannie Collin scored and the winner came from Nicky Southall. Three years prior that tie, the Darts beat Leatherhead 1-0 in the Isthmian Division One South courtesy of Jay May’s decisive goal. The last home match played on the 21 November was back in 1978 when Dartford lost 3-2 to Redditch United in the Southern Premier League.

Dartford v Gloucester City

Dartford welcome new opponents to Princes Park this weekend when they host one of the National South newbies Gloucester City.

Fifteen and a half years since their last meeting in the Southern League days, the Darts take on the Tigers who spent the last eight seasons in the National North. The Gloucestershire club switched regions in the summer and travel to Princes Park on the back of a three game unbeaten run.

Meanwhile, Dartford have lost back to back fixtures after defeats against Truro City on Saturday and Swindon Town in the F.A Cup the weekend before. The Darts long journey to Treyew Road started in the worst possible fashion when they found themselves three down after just nineteen minutes. Tyler Harvey scored for the host from the penalty spot and Cody Cooke’s three double gave the White Tigers three goals in six minutes. Ronnie Vint pulled a goal back mid-way through the first half in the 3-1 loss. It was yet another slow start after the F.A Cup tie versus League Two side Swindon Town saw Dartford three down inside 26 minutes in a 5-1 reverse.

Elliot Bradbrook missed the trip to Truro after the birth of his son, Duane Ofori-Acheampong is recovering from injury and Andy Pugh is serving a suspension, the second of three games. Lee Noble and Lyle Della-Verde were dropped to the bench whilst Ronnie Vint, Keaton Wood and Tom Murphy were given starts.

Despite consecutive losses, Dartford have won their last four National South fixtures at home stretching over September and October. In that run the Darts gained a crucial three points against St Albans City with a 2-1 win, beat Bognor Regis Town, triumphed over Eastbourne Borough and overcame Chippenham Town scoring 12 goals in the process.

Dartford’s last meeting against Gloucester City in 1992 ended without a goal for either side. However, the Darts did win the home game in the Southern Premier League that season at Watling Street 2-0.

Last weekend, Tigers boss Tim Harris celebrated his 300th game in charge of Gloucester City with a 3-1 away win at bottom club Whitehawk. Three second half goals from Karnell Chambers, Joseph Parker and Jack Storer secured the three points to leave the Tigers sixteenth in the National South.

Victory extended Gloucester City’s unbeaten run to three as they look to make up seven points to reach a playoff spot. However, Harris will be hoping the club can remain in the National South during a difficult time for the club. In the eight years spent in the National North, Gloucester City made the top ten for the first time last season, finishing tenth. Severe flooding of their home a decade ago has left them homeless with crowds of just under 350 each.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 25 / Gloucester City wins: 12 / Draws: 10

Previous Meetings

07.03.1992 Gloucester City 0 Dartford 0
26.10.1991 Dartford 2 Gloucester City 0
16.03.1991 Dartford 2 Gloucester City 1
29.09.1990 Gloucester City 2 Dartford 0
21.04.1990 Dartford 6 Gloucester City 2
20.01.1990 Gloucester City 0 Dartford 4

Current League Form

Dartford (LWWLWL) Gloucester City (WDWLLD)
Truro City A 1-3 Whitehawk H 3-1
St Albans City H 2-1 Concord Rangers A 1-1
Bath City A 2-1 Poole Town A 3-0
Chelmsford City A 0-1 Welling United H 0-1
Bognor Regis Town H 1-0 Braintree Town H 1-3
Weston-super-Mare A 0-3 Bognor Regis Town A 2-2

Stats
The Darts have won their last three home matches against Gloucester City.

Dartford have gone seven league games without keeping a clean sheet going back to 9 September against Chippenham Town.

Another game unbeaten will be the longest run without defeat in the National South for Gloucester City this season.

On This Day
Dartford are unbeaten in their last nine home matches on 18 November with five wins and four draws. Fisher Athletic were the last side the Darts face at home on this day in the Southern Division One East, Dartford won the match 3-1. The run of results include a friendly with an Arsenal XI in which the game finished 4-4 in 1972. The last team to beat the Darts at home on 18 November was Woolwich Arsenal Reserves in the Kent League back in 1899, the London club won 5-0. On the road, Dartford haven’t done so well with their last two results ending in defeat 4-1 away to Tonbridge Angels in 2008 and 4-0 at Cray Wanderers in 2006.

Truro City v Dartford

Dartford will make their longest journey of the season this weekend when they travel to fellow promotion hopefuls Truro City.

Dartford will hope to recreate last season’s performance at Treyew Road where they won 5-0. Keaton Wood, Andy Pugh, Duane Ofori-Acheampong’s brace and Alex Brown all found the back of the net in a comfortable win and biggest away victory for six and half years. The triumph secured the Darts first victory against the Cornwall club at the fifth attempt.

The Darts hit five again in the home match last term but conceded three in the process of completing the double of the White Tigers. Pugh scored two with Elliot Bradbrook, Luke Wanadio and Tom Murphy adding the other goals in an entertaining fixture.

After the euphoria of taking on Football League clubs in the F.A Cup, both teams can now concentrate on the National South. The Darts were comprehensively beaten at home to League Two side Swindon Town, whilst the White Tigers lost 3-1 to League One’s Charlton Athletic.

Hopeful of causing a cup upset, Dartford’s tie was effectively over in 26 minutes when Timi Elsnick, Harry Smith then Elsnick again put the Robins 3-0 up. Despite an encouraging final quarter of an hour in the first half, the Darts couldn’t manage anything to show for their efforts. Swindon Town added two more in quick succession at the start of the second half through Amine Lingazi and Paul Mullin, but at least Richard Sho-Silva gave Dartford fans something to cheer with a consolation.

Tony Burman was disappointed with his side’s defending, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “It’s disappointing because, defensively, we’re better than that. Yes, they were good finishes but we shouldn’t have given them the opportunities to finish their efforts like that”.

Andy Pugh will serve the second match of his three game ban for his red card at Bath City. Duane Ofori-Acheampong was not named in the squad for the F.A Cup fixture and is recovering from injury.

Currently leading the National South on goal difference, the Darts know a third league win in a row will more than likely keep them top of the table. Meanwhile, Truro City will want to close the four point gap on Dartford especially as they also have a game in hand.

After Sunday’s F.A Cup defeat to Charlton Athletic, manager Lee Hodges told BBC Radio Cornwall: “My main feeling is pride, we have faced a team a few leagues above and put in a performance that was great”, he added: “We have shown guts and determination and we left everything on the pitch against a very good team”.

Truro City struggled last term but this time they have put themselves amongst the many early front runners. The White Tigers hit form in September winning all five matches to extend a winning streak to six, Hodges picked up Manager of the Month. However, the curse of the monthly award struck as Truro City went on to pick up two points from their nine available in October.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 2 / Truro City wins: 3 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Truro City (DLDWWW) Dartford (WWLWLW)
Bognor Regis Town H 1-1 St Albans City H 2-1
Wealdstone A 1-2 Bath City A 2-1
Hampton & Richmond H 1-1 Chelmsford City A 0-1
East Thurrock United A 2-1 Bognor Regis Town H 3-1
Chippenham Town H 1-0 Weston-super-Mare A 0-3
Whitehawk H 7-2 Eastbourne Borough H 4-2

Previous Meetings

18.03.2017 Dartford 5 Truro  City 3
08.10.2016 Truro  City 0 Dartford 5
05.04.2016 Truro City 3 Dartford 0
19.09.2015 Dartford 0 Truro City 1
28.04.2012 Truro  City 1 Dartford 1
22.10.2011 Dartford 1 Truro  City 2

Stats
Dartford’s win at Bath City in their last away game in the National South ended a run of two successive defeats on the road in the league.

The Darts are the league’s top scorers with 34, only second place Braintree Town can match that.

Although Dartford have conceded 15 in their last three F.A Cup proper rounds (excluding qualifiers), they have the second best defence in the National South letting in just 15 in 16 games, three more goals than Chelmsford City.

On This Day
Princes Park opened as a full house packed the new stadium for Dartford’s homecoming. Hosting Horsham YMCA history was made by Brendon Cass who scored the first goal at the Darts new home, the time of the goal now etched on the window in the club bar. Cass scored again but the goal of the game came from Eddie McClements who struck a shot from outside the box. Nick Barnes scored the fourth and final goal in a 4-2 win on a day many fondly remember. Eleven years on Dartford have won 151, drawn 68, lost 78, scored 587 and conceded 374 in competitive matches at Princes Park. Happy Birthday.

Dartford v Swindon Town

Dartford can look forward to their biggest cup game at Princes Park in seven years when they take on League Two promotion chasers Swindon Town.

It’s only the second time in the history of Princes Park that Dartford have hosted a Football League side in a competitive match, a rare opportunity to become giantkillers. Whilst the Darts go into their F.A Cup first round tie having maintained and stretched their lead at the top of the National South last weekend, their former Premier League opponents are two divisions above in fifth place.

As well as prize money and coverage on a national level, Tony Burman is hoping the feel good factor returns to Dartford, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk after the draw was made and said: “It’s a good draw for us. It will be a big day for the club and the town and I hope it’ll bring in a big crowd. It’s something we can all look forward to”, he added: “It would be nice to get the enthusiasm going again and bring back some good times. Everyone deserves it”, he continued: “These days are something we all want to look forward to and be proud of what we’ve achieved as a football club and get the interest back”.

Last weekend, a consecutive 2-1 victory this time at home to St Albans City moved Tony Burman’s side two points clear at the summit of the National South. Richard Sho-Silva returned to the defence to partner Ronnie Vint, Mark Onyemah started after recovering from a minor injury and Tom Bonner was on the bench after being sidelined by a head injury against Bath City. Keaton Wood was suspended for the league win but will be available against Swindon Town. Andy Pugh will miss out after his red card appeal was rejected, the striker was sent off in the 2-1 win over Bath City.

The Darts welcomed the win over St Albans City, a side they have struggled against in recent meetings, thanks to a former Dartford player. Tom Bender scored an own goal in the second half which turned out to be decisive. Earlier in the match Sho-Silva caused some trouble with his long throws into the Saints box and on six minutes Elliot Bradbrook nodded one in for the opener. The Saints came back with an equaliser five minutes before the interval when Charlie Walker fired beyond Deren Ibrahim. In the second half Bender’s own goal gave Dartford an important three points on a day other promotion challengers slipped up.

Burman was delighted with the outcome and in his post match interview he said: “We had to dig in, we had a bit of luck which we haven’t had in other games”, he added: “What’s pleasing is from last Saturday, seven days in football, we’ve gone and won two games as a reaction from losing at Chelmsford City”.

Swindon Town will know preparation will be key to avoiding an upset at the first round stage. Ben Futcher, Assistant Manager told www.swindontownfc.co.uk: “We’ve seen the draw and it is somewhere we’ve not been before. Dartford are doing quite well in the league so it will be a tough game away from home, but one we’re looking forward to,” he added: “The early rounds are tough because the non-league sides can be banana skins and it will be a tough match, but we’ll prepare as we would for a league game and we’ll go there looking to win”.

The Robins will want to avoid slipping on a ‘banana skin’ after doing exactly that a year ago. After a 1-1 draw with National League side Eastliegh they lost 3-1 at home in the replay. Swindon Town also lost to non league opposition two years in a row in 2012 and 2013, both times against Macclesfield Town, Crawley Town in 2010 and Histon in 2008.

Last weekend, the Robins defeated Port Vale, the side Dartford lost to in a F.A Cup replay seven years ago after the 1-1 draw at Princes Park. The 3-0 victory earned David Flitcroft’s side back to back wins in which they took the lead early in the second half, through Matty Taylor’s free-kick. With twenty minutes remaining Paul Mullin made an impact grabbing the second goal of the afternoon and Kellan Gordon netted his first professional goal, seconds after entering the action as a substitute.

Away from home, the Robins have a strong defence conceding just five times on their travels in eight fixtures. They have won six of those matches on the road only losing twice. Luke Norris leads the way in the goal scoring charts with seven to his name and Mullin is behind with four league this term.

After relegation last season, Flitcroft was named boss in June and has made a solid start to life at the County Ground. The former Chester City, Rochdale and Bury midfielder started his managerial career at Barnsley just five years ago. He guided the Tykes to safety, moved to Bury to repeat the feat and took the Shakers up to League One, now the 43 year old hopes to get Swindon Town back up.

The Wiltshire club have been members of the Football League since 1920, they won the League Cup in 1969 beating Arsenal 3-1 at Wembley and reached the Premier League in 1993, finishing bottom in their only season in the top flight conceding a record 100 goals.

Only once before have the Darts faced the Robins and that was way back in 1933. The F.A Cup second round tie ended 1-0 to the hosts Swindon Town. In the thirties Dartford faced Swindon Town Reserves on six occasions, twice in the London Combination Second Division and four times in the Southern League. In each of the three campaigns Dartford won one and lost the other.

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

Previous Meeting

09.12.1933 Swindon Town 1 Dartford 0

Current Form

Dartford (WWLWWW) Swindon Town (WWLWLW)
St Albans City H 2-1 Port Vale A 3-0
Bath City A 2-1 Wycombe Wanderers H 1-0
Chelmsford City A 0-1 Lincoln City H 0-1
Burgess Hill Town (FAC) A 1-0 Mansfield Town A 3-1
Bognor Regis Town H 3-1 Cheltenham Town A 1-2
Needham Market (FAC) A 6-1 Cambridge United H 2-0

F.A Cup Stats
Dartford have won 3, drawn 8 and lost 19 against Football League opposition in the F.A Cup.

The Darts last beat Football League opposition in the 1968/69 season when the knocked out Aldershot 3-1 in the first round at home. The other two victories were against Exeter City in 1961/62, the first game ended 3-3 and the replay was won by the Darts 2-1. In the historic 1935/36 cup run Dartford beat Cardiff City 3-0 in the first round, the season the Darts lost 3-2 to top flight Derby County in the third round.

Four of the last five F.A Cup ties against Football League teams have ended in a replay. In 2010, the Darts lost 4-0 at Port Vale after a 1-1 draw. In 1989, Exeter City were held 1-1 at Watling Street before overcoming the Darts 4-1 in the second match. In consecutive seasons Dartford drew with AFC Bournemouth 1-1 in 1984 before losing 4-1 and a year later drew 0-0 prior the 2-0 replay defeat. Bradford City ended that sequence with a 4-1 win at Valley Parade in 2014.

On This Day
Exactly a year ago, the Darts lost an entertaining F.A Cup first round tie at home to Sutton United. The frenetic fixture started at blistering pace with Maxime Biamou scoring for the visitors inside the first minute. Elliot Bradbrook equalised before Roary Deacon put the U’s back in front. Bradbrook levelled again six minutes before Biamou grabbed his second. Early in the second half Duane Ofori-Acheampong had the Darts level for a third time but two goals from Ross Stern and another from Deacon set Sutton United on their way. The Surrey side ended up reaching the fifth round losing to Arsenal.