Archives for : February2018

Dartford v Truro City

Dartford end a tough February with a home fixture against playoff chasing Truro City in the National South this weekend.

The Darts currently have a three point cushion at the top of the table, but having played more games than anyone in the top seven they are being put under pressure by the chasing pack. One of those on the fringes of chasing are Truro City, who sit in seventh place and ten points behind Tony Burman’s men with two games in hand.

This fixture has brought with it plenty of goals over the last four meetings, the last time at Princes Park an eight goal thriller ended with the Darts winning 5-3. The visitors went in front when Andrew Neal took advantage of Deren Ibrahim’s mistake, but Andy Pugh equalised with his first of the afternoon. Elliot Bradbrook volleyed in the goal of the game from 25 yards to give the Darts a 2-1 half-time lead. In the second half Neal equalised for the White Tigers, but it wasn’t long until Luke Wanadio put Dartford ahead in a hectic final 25 minutes. Jamie Richards headed the White Tigers level at 3-3, however goals from Pugh and Tom Murphy sealed the win for Dartford.

That victory completed a double over the White Tigers last term after Dartford’s 5-0 demolition of the Cornwall club five months earlier. Keaton Wood, Andy Pugh, Duane Ofori-Acheampong’s brace and Alex Brown all helped Dartford to their first ever victory over Truro City.

However, it was Truro City who recorded their fourth victory in seven meetings against Dartford back in November. A disastrous start for the Darts saw them three down inside nineteen minutes. Within a six minute spell Tyler Harvey scored from the penalty spot and Cody Cooke netted twice. Ronnie Vint pulled a goal back mid-way through the first half in the 3-1 loss. Lee Hodges’ side also came away with wins at Princes Park in 2011 and 2015 and notched up a home win in 2016.

After consecutive defeats for the first time in almost two years, the Darts put an end to the losing streak last weekend. A trip to Wealdstone ended with a late comeback to keep Dartford in pole position at the top. The Stones had Iffy Allen sent off just before the break but still managed to take the lead with ten men. Dan Fitchett’s header was cancelled out by Danny Mills, only his second goal in 14 appearances. Minutes later top scorer Alfie Pavey scored the winner after coming off the substitutes bench, the striker is now second in the National South scoring charts on 17 goals.

Burman was pleased with the result and told after the game: “Football’s a strange game. We had to take some steps backwards in results over the last couple of weeks and at one stage today.  I thought in the first half we were excellent and maybe should’ve took the lead but we’ve had to dig deep and the guys have shown why they are where they are”.

One of the surprises of the afternoon was the exclusion of goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim from the starting eleven. Instead new signing Berti Schotterl made his debut, the 23 year old left German side Inter Leipzig in January and had been training with Fulham, who recommended him to the Dartford boss.

Burman feels that adding another goalkeeper to the squad will provide cover and competition in that position. Ibrahim, who has made 164 appearances for the Darts has been advised to ‘recharge his batteries’, Burman explained to “Deren has been in goal on his own for a long time and, in my opinion, he’s had some situations over the last couple of months where he could have done better”, he added: “Deren knew all about what I was deciding to do but it was a difficult situation”. By the sound of things the squad could be strengthened even more, Burman also commented: “I’ve got one who’s come in now and I’ve got some irons in the fire as well in case anything happens”.

Truro City have spent some of the campaign top of the National South, but their spell was brief and a steady season so far has them battling for a playoff spot. The Cornwall club have lost three of their last four matches including last weekend when they let a two goal slip. Captain, Ben Gerring headed the first and Aaron Lamont chipped in a second before half time. Oxford City then staged a second half comeback when Matt Patterson netted from the spot and Samuel Nombe scored twice. Whilst Gerring and Lamont have been scoring the majority of goals for Truro City recently, Cooke is the top scorer for the White Tigers in the league with 11 goals.

Lee Hodges spoke to after the game and said: “That’s two weeks in succession where we’ve worked extremely hard during the first half and then allowed the game to slip away after the break”, he added: “It’s hard to take; we rode our luck a little bit during the first half but we were compact and solid and when you’re 2-0 up at half-time at home, you expect to see the game out”.

Despite defeat Hodges remains confident that his side can prepare well enough to give the Darts something to think about, he commented: “I will go away and analyse what went wrong after the break; we’re all hurting but we’ll be ready for the challenge that Dartford will present to us in our next game”. he continued: “They are a good side and flying high at the top of the table, but I will be looking for us to go there and compete”.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 2 /Truro City wins: 4 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford (WLLWDW) Truro City (LLWLDW)
Wealdstone A 2-1 Oxford City H 2-3
Chelmsford City H 1-2 Wealdstone H 1-3
St Albans City A 0-4 Bognor Regis Town A 2-0
Whitehawk H 3-1 Whitehawk A 2-3
Chippenham Town A 2-2 Bath City A 0-0
Havant & Waterlooville H 1-0 Poole Town H 3-1

Previous Meetings

11.11.2017 Truro City 3 Dartford 1
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

It’s been two years since Dartford last suffered consecutive home defeats in the league. On 27 February 2016, the Darts lost 2-1 against Concord Rangers and on 12 March 2016 lost 4-2 versus Whitehawk.

There has been 20 goals in the last four meetings between these two sides, an average of 2.5 goals a game.

Dartford have scored in eleven consecutive home matches in the National South.

The Darts have the best home record in the division, whilst Havant and Waterlooville and Hampton and Richmond are the only two clubs to have accrued more away points than Truro City this term.

On This Day
Mark Green scored on his debut for the Darts in a 2-2 draw with Kent rivals Dover Athletic at the Crabble. Signed from Tonbridge Angels in 2007, Green made an excellent start to his Dartford career opening the scoring. The hosts went ahead with goals either side of the break only for Brendon Cass to equalise with thirteen minutes remaining. Green went on to make 37 starting appearances and 14 substitute appearances for Dartford scoring twice and picked up an Isthmian Division One North winners medal. The last home match for the Darts on this day was back in 2004 when they were thrashed 6-1 by Folkestone Invicta in the Southern League Eastern Division. In 2001, Dartford beat Langley Sports at home 1-0 and in the Kent League back in 1996, the Darts won 2-0 when they hosted Whitstable Town.

Wealdstone v Dartford

Dartford need to return to winning ways after a dip in form has left them clinging on to top spot and next up is an away trip to Wealdstone this weekend.

February doesn’t get much easier with a testing fixture at twelfth place Wealdstone, who have won their last three National South games and lost just twice against the Darts in the last sixteen meetings. Dartford have lost consecutive league matches for the first time in almost two years, but just about lead the National South by two points having played more games then their closest rivals.

Despite the Stones being one of Dartford’s bogey teams, the last trip to Grosvenor Vale ended in a comprehensive 4-0 victory last season. The Darts record their biggest win against their opponents since 1991. Luke Wanadio scored from the edge of the box, Ryan Hayes scored with a trademark curling effort, Elliot Bradbrook added a third and Andy Pugh netted the fourth.

The last clash between the two sides was in November on a night of mixed emotions for the Darts. Finding themselves 2-1 down, Dartford showed character to go in front at 3-2 with the goals coming from Alfie Pavey (two) and Andy Pugh. However, the three points were thrown away as the Stones levelled the game from the spot with three minutes to go in an entertaining 3-3 draw.

Penalty decisions and last minute goals seem to be a hot topic for Dartford this week after another three points were dropped last weekend. Ryan Hayes scored a superb solo goal at Princes Park against Chelmsford City but all was forgotten as the Clarets left it late to snatch victory. A controversial penalty was awarded with four minutes to go which Kudus Oyenuga scored, then in injury time Taylor Miles netted direct from a corner.

Another talking point was the first start of the campaign for Duane Ofori-Acheampong, who partnered Danny Mills up front. Burman choose to leave out form strikers Andy Pugh and Alfie Pavey for their physical presence against a strong Chelmsford City side. However, it was what Burman called the ‘lack of intelligence’ by his players that cost his side the match citing errors that led to the two conceded goals.

Pushing for the playoffs, Wealdstone went to Truro City last weekend and won 3-1 thanks to a brace from David Pratt and a third by Daniel Green, who scored at Princes Park earlier in the season. The league win is the Stones third in a row and was the sixth in all competitions under Bobby Wilkinson. On Tuesday night they lost a Middlesex Senior Cup semi-final on penalties versus Staines Town.

The Middlesex have a congested schedule this week with Dartford on Saturday followed by a Monday night clash with Gloucester City. The Stones will also have one eye on the up and coming F.A Trophy quarter final tie against Billericay Town. A run that has seen them knock out Chelmsford City, Wingate and Finchley then Hereford.

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

Current League Form

Wealdstone (WWWLDL) Dartford (LLWDWD)
Truro City A 3-1 Chelmsford City H 1-2
Weston-super-Mare H 2-1 St Albans City A 0-4
Bognor Regis Town H 3-0 Whitehawk H 3-1
Hampton & Richmond H 0-3 Chippenham Town A 2-2
Hampton & Richmond A 1-1 Havant & Waterlooville H 1-0
St Albans City H 1-3 Concord Rangers A 1-1

Previous Meetings

21.11.2017 Dartford 3 Wealdstone 3
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

Dartford last suffered back to back defeats in March 2016 losing three in a row between 5 March and 15 March to Weston-super-Mare (1-2), Whitehawk (2-4) and Maidenhead United (1-2).

The Darts won last season at Wealdstone which was the first time in eight attempts, stretching back to a 4-0 Southern League Cup win in 1989.

In the last three meetings between Dartford and Wealdstone 14 goals have been scored in total.

Both teams have scored in this fixture in 13 of the last 16 matches against each other.

On This Day
Dartford beat Runcorn in a F.A Trophy third round replay in 1987, on the way to the semi-final which they lost to Burton Albion. The replay was forced after a brave Tony Burman header levelled the first tie at 1-1, the return fixture ended 2-1 to the Darts. Dartford last won on 17 February back in 1996 when they beat Corinthian 3-0 at Gay Dawn Farm in the Kent League. The Darts have lost their last two fixtures on this day both at home. Seventeen years ago, Tonbridge Angels won with a single goal in the Southern League Division One East and in 2007, Fleet Town beat Dartford 2-1 in the Isthmian Division One South.

Dartford v Chelmsford City

Dartford will want to put last weekend’s disappointment behind them with a positive result against one of their bogey sides, Chelmsford City.

The Darts continue to tackle their tough February fixture list by hosting the Essex side in the National South this weekend. The Clarets have only lost once in their last eight meetings against Dartford and knocked Tony Burman’s side out at the playoff semi-final stage last term.

Back in October, Dartford suffered once more at Chelmsford City losing the encounter by a solitary goal from ex Ebbsfleet United midfielder Michael West. Despite the dismissal of Kudus Oyenuga after just 19 minutes, the Darts were unable to make the extra man count. It was the third game in the last five that the Clarets won in this fixture by one goal to nil.

In the seven games versus Chelmsford City at Princes Park, Dartford have yet to win managing just two draws in the National South in 2012 and 2016. It’s been almost 18 years since the Darts last beat the Essex side at home, 3-0 in the Southern League Southern division.

Dartford lead the standings with the best home record in the division, but they seem to be clinging on after a 4-0 away defeat last Saturday at St Albans City. Tony Burman was reflective after Dartford’s display speaking to after the game, he said: “We are obviously all very disappointed with the result on Saturday, and especially the score line”. January’s Manager of the Month, Burman added: “In hindsight I probably selected the wrong starting eleven but just felt they deserved another opportunity, but deep down I may have got it wrong. All in all we were beaten by the better side on the day and it’s another game where we must learn by our mistakes as there was too many of them during the game”.

The National South is crying out for a team to pull away at the summit, however no side is making that break. Just eight points separate the top down to Chelmsford City in eighth.

Chelmsford City were joint favourites at the start of the campaign alongside Dartford. Although Rod Stringer’s side started well with six victories in their opening seven games in August, the Clarets began to drop points with too many draws in September (four draws and a defeat). The winter months have been inconsistent for the Essex side with January proving the most difficult where they picked up just two points in five matches.

This month, Chelmsford City began with a 2-0 win over Chippenham Town with goals from Chris Dickson and Elliot Omozusi. Manager, Stringer told ClaretsTV after the game.”I’m delighted to get the win, we’ve had a really bad January in the league and it has been tough”, he added: “At the moment we’re buzzing and it helps to get back to back wins. Hopefully that might just revitalise the club. We’ve got a tough one next week away from home but hopefully we’ve got good form against Dartford. There are no easy games and it’s a tough division”.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 36 /Chelmsford City wins: 54 / Draws: 91

Current League Form

Dartford (LWDWDW) Chelmsford City (WLLDLD)
St Albans City A 0-4 Chippenham Town H 2-0
Whitehawk H 3-1 Hampton & Richmond H 1-2
Chippenham Town A 2-2 Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-3
Havant & Waterlooville H 1-0 Bath City H 1-1
Concord Rangers H 1-1 St Albans City A 1-2
Welling United H 4-1 Braintree Town H 2-2

Previous Meetings

21.10.2017 Chelmsford City 1 Dartford 1
07.05.2017 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 2
03.05.2017 Chelmsford City 0 Dartford 0
18.02.2017 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1
14.01.2017 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1
17.09.2016 Chelmsford City 2 Dartford 3

Dartford are unbeaten in ten home games in the National South (W8,D2), but have only kept two clean sheets in that time.

The Darts have beaten Chelmsford City just twice in the last 16 meetings in all competitions (W2, D5, L9)

Dartford have scored once in their last five games against the Clarets.

In the their last five league games, the Clarets have lost to three of the current top five.

Chelmsford City have scored in each of their last 16 games and in their last 7 away fixtures.

On This Day
It will be the first time since reforming that Dartford have had a home fixture on 10 February. The last match at home was back in 1983 when the Darts beat Chorley 3-0 in the F.A Trophy second round replay. Since then the Darts won 1-0 against Cray Wanderers in the Kent League back in 1993, and in 2001 Dartford drew 1-1 with Stamford in the Southern League Division One East. The last time the Darts played on this day was in 2007 when Steve Hafner and Brad Potter scored in a 2-1 victory over Sittingbourne in the Isthmian Division One South.

St Albans City v Dartford

February will be an important month for Dartford and they begin with a trip to Clarence Park to face St Albans City this weekend.

The Darts return to the venue where they have lost in their last two attempts without scoring. However, it was Dartford who came out on top earlier in the season when they met at Princes Park back in October. Starting the afternoon level on points with the Saints, a 2-1 victory moved the Darts three points ahead of their opponents to cement first place in the National South. Elliot Bradbrook headed the hosts in front before St Albans City levelled through Charlie Walker. Lyle Della-Verde was involved in the eventual winner when his cross was turned in by former Dart, Tom Bender.

Dartford’s win ended a run of three defeats in a row against the Hertfordshire club, who had kept clean sheets in each of those encounters. Dartford last beat St Albans away from home in 2011 when Lee Burns’ header from 30 yards bounced over the goalkeeper and helped the Darts to a 2-1 victory. Since then, Dartford travelled to Hertfordshire in April 2016 with a glimmer of hope of reaching the playoffs, only to end the campaign on a whimper. The Saints ran out 4-0 winners with two goals from James Kaloczi, a Becka-kah Dembele own goal and Louie Theophanous strike. Almost a year later Charlie Walker’s goal was enough to separate the two sides as the hosts won 1-0 to complete a double over the Darts. Earlier in the campaign, the Saints ended Dartford’s unbeaten home record with goals from Sam Merson and Bender.

Last weekend, Dartford beat one of the form teams of the National South to open a three point lead at the top of the table. Despite their opponents Whitehawk propping up the division, the Darts came through with a 3-1 home win. Ronnie Vint, who celebrated his century of starts for the club before the game opened the goalscoring. The defender scored after the Hawks failed to clear their lines from a Ryan Hayes free kick. The visitors were level on 56 minutes through David Ijaha, but Andy Pugh’s brace a day before his birthday secured another important three points.

Manager Tony Burman spoke to after the game, he said: “I was really pleased with the performance of the players throughout the ninety minutes, Whitehawk are a much improved side and now have some excellent players. It was very important to gain three points which helped us to reach our targets for the end of the month. Although our opponents caused us some problems I felt we managed them very well and probably in the second half when we had a spell with some good delivery from set pieces we could have increased our goals tally.  It is very important that we stay focused in what we want to achieve as we have another tough month coming up”.

The Darts are still searching for more consistencies in their away showings. With five wins, five draws and four defeats Dartford are currently three league matches unbeaten away from Prince Park in the National South, including home form they have not lost in their last seven league outings.

Striker, Danny Mills who has made nine starts and two substitute appearances, has had his loan spell extended until the end of the season. Burman told “I am delighted to have Danny on board for the rest of the season. It now means I have a formidable strike force to pick from for our run in, and with his experience covers any problems that may occur. Danny’s attitude and work rate has been spot on”.

Another former Dart that could be involved on the weekend is Tom Gardiner, who moved to the Saints due to work commitments last season. The defender was was named on the bench last weekend and made an appearance in their 7-2 smashing of East Thurrock United. The headlines belonged to Merson who netted four in the rout to take his tally to 13 league goals for the season, three behind Dartford’s Alfie Pavey who sits third in the scoring charts.

Guided by the experience of Ian Allinson, St Albans City have gone six National South fixtures at home without defeat. Similar to the Darts, the away form is holding the Hertfordshire back as they sit in sixth place. However, the Saints know if they win on the weekend as well as their game in hand then they could be level with Dartford once more.

Head to Head
St Albans City wins: 3 / Dartford wins: 7 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

St Albans City (WDWLDW) Dartford (WDWDWL)
East Thurrock United H 7-2 Whitehawk H 3-1
Eastbourne Borough A 1-1 Chippenham Town A 2-2
Chelmsford City H 2-1 Havant & Waterlooville H 1-0
Hemel Hempstead Town A 0-2 Concord Rangers A 1-1
Hemel Hempstead Town H 2-2 Welling United H 4-1
Wealdstone A 3-1 Hungerford Town A 0-1

Previous Meetings

28.10.2017 Dartford 2 St Albans City 1
25.03.2017 St Albans City 1 Dartford 0
08.11.2016 Dartford 0 St Albans City 2
30.04.2016 St Albans City 4 Dartford 0
06.02.2016 Dartford 2 St Albans City 0
02.04.2011 St Albans City 1 Dartford 2

Dartford are unbeaten against the current top six winning three and drawing three.

The Saints have taken just four points from 18 against teams in the top six, all of those came at home.

Pugh has now scored ten league goals for the Darts this term in 12 starts and eight substitute appearances. The striker has netted five in his last six National South appearances.

St Albans City have scored 29 home goals this term, the second highest in the division behind Dartford (37).

On This Day
Dartford have yet to concede a goal on 3 February since reforming. In the only two fixtures on this day, the Darts drew 0-0 at home to Cray Wanderers in 2007 and beat Herne Bay 2-0 in the Kent League back in 1996. In the Southern Premier League, the Darts drew 1-1 with Burton Albion in 1990 and three years prior they beat Folkestone 1-0 in the Kent Senior Cup quarter-final. The last defeat came in 1979 when Dartford lost 1-0 to Hillingdon Borough in the Southern Premier League.