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Dartford v Hampton and Richmond Borough

Dartford are involved in one of their biggest games of the season on Good Friday, when they take on third place Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Although the Darts and the Beavers are trailing Havant and Waterlooville, neither side will want to lose ground on the Hampshire club who are at home to Weston-super-Mare. By the end of the season the importance of this Easter fixture could have a huge impact.

In what will be the tenth meeting between the Darts and Hampton and Richmond Borough, there has only been one draw when these sides have previously met, that was back in September. On that day Nathan Collier started for the Beavers and on Friday he will be donning the Dartford shirt after returning to Princes Park in December.

At the Beveree earlier in the campaign, Hampton and Richmond Borough looked in control as they took a two goal lead inside the first half an hour. Max Kretzschmar scored a brace, his first a volley after just two minutes which flew past on loan goalkeeper Jordan Beeney into the top corner. The Beavers top scorer this term, Kretzschmar netted his second with a fine free kick over the Dartford wall. The Darts fought back when Andy Pugh pulled a goal back from close range to leave his side 2-1 down at the break. In the second half, Elliot Bradbrook’s shot found a way through the crowded penalty area to level up the game. Charlie Wassmer was sent off moments after Bradbrook’s equaliser, but Dartford’s second half pressure was withstood by the hosts.

Leading up to Dartford’s 2-0 win away to Oxford City on Saturday, manager Tony Burman’s requested supporters to back and respect his players in a passionate rant to the press. His side responded in the best possible way in an improved performance. The Darts were not at the races in the 1-0 home defeat against stragglers Poole Town, then they made hard work in a 3-2 victory over Hemel Hempstead Town, scoring twice in the final nine minutes.

On the weekend nerves were settled early as captain Elliot Bradbrook scored on just five minutes. Bradbrook was last season’s top scorer for the Darts, after continuing his scoring form in the early part of this term, his strike was long awaited. Oxford City hit the woodwork twice and goalkeeper Berti Schotterl made some decent saves to earn his first clean sheet for the Darts. Substitute, Tom Murphy made sure of the three points with a well taken curling effort, his fourth league goal of the campaign.

Meanwhile, Hampton and Richmond Borough had to rely on a late goal to earn a points against nine men Braintree Town. The Iron had Billy Crook sent off for a foul on Josh Casey, but they managed to take the lead with 12 minutes to go through Michael Barrington. The Beavers equalised just three minutes later when Ben Wynter scored for the hosts. Braintree Town then had Luke Allen dismissed in the closing stages for a second caution. Manager, Alan Dowson spoke to www.hamptonfc.net after the game and said: “I thought we were hopeless. Bottom line is, we were very lucky to come away with a point”.

The draw extended Hampton and Richmond Borough’s unbeaten run to seven games. Having tasted just four league defeats this season, the Beavers have been tough to beat. However, on 15 occasions they have been unable to convert one point into three, a scenario they experienced six times in a row back in September and the first game of October. Alan Dowson got his side involved in the title race with an eight game winning streak following those six draws. But the stalemates have returned since the festive season with half of Hampton and Richmond’s fixtures ending with both sides taking a point.

Last season at Princes Park, Dartford responded to the heavy 4-1 Bank Holiday August defeat at the Beveree by winning 3-1. Bradbrook opened the scoring on Easter Monday, Alex Brown doubled the lead and Collier pulled a goal back for the visitors. The two goal cushion was restored by defender Ronnie Vint to secure the three points.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 4 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford (WWLWWL) Hampton & Richmond Borough (DWDWWD)
Oxford City A 2-0 Braintree Town H 1-1
Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-2 Hungerford Town H 3-1
Poole Town H 0-1 Havant & Waterlooville A o-0
Truro City H 4-1 Weston-super-Mare H 3-0
Wealdstone A 2-1 Bognor Regis Town H 1-0
Chelmsford City H 1-2 Chippenham Town A 3-3

Previous Meetings

02.09.2017 Hampton & Richmond Borough 2 Dartford 2
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

Stats
Elliot Bradbrook’s goal on the weekend ended a 21 game wait in the National South. The Dartford captain last scored in the league on 7 October 2017 against Bognor Regis Town. His last league goal from open play was on 12 September 2017 versus Eastbourne Borough. Whilst Bradbrook’s last competitive goal was on 25 November 2017 in the 2-1 F.A Trophy win against Brentwood Town.

Ryan Hayes was an unused substitute against Oxford City, one more substitute appearance will take him up to 150 for the club. The winger has played a total of 575 games for the Darts.

Dartford have won four of their last five games and the clean sheet versus Oxford City was their first in eight matches.

On This Day
Dartford took one big step in their quest to reach Wembley with a 2-1 away win against Macclesfield Town, in the 1974 F.A Trophy semi-final first leg. Dave Cunningham scored in the 51st minute and Alan Payne added a second in the 68th minute. The away leg ended 0-0 and the Darts went on to reach the final where they lost to Morecambe 2-1. The Darts won ten games in a row on 30 March up until the 0-0 draw with Newport County in 2013, the last Dartford match on this day. Other highlights of the ten match winning streak include a 6-2 victory against Ashford Town in 1968, the Darts also won the return Southern League First Division fixture 6-0. Three consecutive clean sheets in 2-0 wins over Kettering Town (in the Conference Premier in 1985), Dover Athletic in the Southern Premier League back in 1991 and Crockenhill four years later in the Kent League.

Oxford City v Dartford

In what looks like a three way race to the National South title, Dartford face another crucial match when they take on Oxford City this weekend at Marsh Lane.

Dartford’s late showing at Princes Park last weekend heaped some pressure on league leaders Havant and Waterlooville, and with the Hawks dropping points Hampton and Richmond Borough have become serious contenders too.

The dramatic week started with the Darts four points behind the league leaders, who had a game in hand. However, Tony Burman led his side to an important three points even though it was far from comfortable. In the Princes Park snow, Dartford scored twice in the final ten minutes to win 3-2 against Hemel Hempstead Town, who themselves were looking to edge into the playoffs.

Danny Harris was out injured with a hamstring, Alfie Pavey and Danny Mills were named as substitutes and in came Ronnie Vint, Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Lee Noble. Just passed the half hour mark Andy Pugh put the Darts in front with a curling strike from outside the box which took a slight deflection. Hemel Hempstead Town were quickly level through former Ebbsfleet United striker Jordan Parkes and by half-time they were ahead when David Moyo scored moments before the interval. With Havant and Waterlooville and Hampton and Richmond Borough level at 0-0, and that’s how it stayed, it looked like a wasted opportunity for Burman’s side, until the final ten minutes. Pugh chipped in a wonderful equaliser and in the final minute, super sub and top scorer Alfie Pavey nodded home the dramatic winner.

Burman celebrated the last gasp winner on Saturday with a touchline sprint and after the game he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “We’ve won with a bit of character and desire and shown again that we’re back in the mix”. Looking forward he added: “It’s one game at a time but it’s the business end of the season and we’ve got to win as many as we can”.

In mid-week Havant and Waterlooville lost to Truro City leaving Dartford just two points behind their title rivals level on games played. On the same evening Hampton and Richmond Borough won 3-1 versus Weston-super-Mare to move onto 62 points with Dartford.

Dartford’s last three games at Marsh Lane have produced mix results conceding late just over year ago in 1-1 draw, Ryan Hayes scored his 99th goal for the club but Ezra Forde equalised. In 2015, the Darts lost 2-1 after Pugh had put Dartford ahead and just under a decade ago, the Darts won 4-2 in a F.A Trophy second qualifying round replay.

But it’s the home fixture this term in August that captures the attention of Dartford fans. Warren Mfula scored a hat-trick in a 7-1 triumph, the striker scoring the last three Dartford goals in the game. Before Mfula’s treble in 19 second half minutes, Richard Sho-Silva, Lyle Della-Verde, Alfie Pavey and Lee Noble all found the back of the Oxford City net.

Oxford City have improved since then and are currently on 41 points in 15th place. Mark Jones’ side have an even home record winning five, drawing five and losing six. Nine points above relegation and twelve behind the playoffs, it looks like City will stay in the National South for a fourth consecutive campaign and at this level for the seventh.

The Oxfordshire are started to take some notable scalps lately with a 2-0 home win over Chelmsford City, a 3-2 away victory against Truro City and a 4-1 triumph at home to Hemel Hempstead Town, all playoff hopefuls this season. Even when they did fall to defeat it was narrow and against the league leaders Havant and Waterlooville. Oxford City also beat Oxford United 1-0 to reach the Oxfordshire Senior Cup final this month.

Matt Paterson has provided the goals scoring 17 times in the National South, one less than Dartford’s Alfie Pavey. However, Paterson has scored just once in the last two months, but the pressure on the striker to find the net has been alleviated with the arrival of Samuel Nombe. The loanee from Milton Keynes Dons has managed five goals in as many games.

Jones has strengthened his squad since the defeat to Concord Rangers by looking towards Luton Town, most recently right sided midfielder Kavan Cotter joined on loan from the Hatters. Cotter teams back up with central defender Frankie Musonda who also came in from the Bedfordshire club.

Victory will be vital for the Darts as Havant and Waterlooville travel to Bath City and Hampton and Richmond Borough host Braintree Town. Dartford then face Hampton and Richmond Borough at home on Good Friday.

Head to Head
Oxford City wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Oxford City (WLWWWL) Dartford (WLWWLL)
Welling United A 3-1 Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-2
Havant & Waterlooville H 0-1 Poole Town H 0-1
Chelmsford City H 2-0 Truro City H 4-1
Truro City A 3-2 Wealdstone A 2-1
Hemel Hempstead Town H 4-1 Chelmsford City H 1-2
Concord Rangers A 1-2 St Albans City A 0-4

Previous Meetings

19.08.2017 Dartford 7 Oxford City 1
25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1
29.10.2016 Dartford 1 Oxford City 0
23.04.2016 Dartford 2 Oxford City 2
15.09.2015 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1
04.11.2008 Oxford City 2 Dartford 4
01.11.2008 Dartford 3 Oxford City 3

Stats
Dartford have won just two of their last seven away matches over 90 minutes matching their first seven away games of the season (W2, D3, L2).

The Darts have gone eight games without a clean sheet, the last time they achieved a clean sheet was in January against Havant and Waterlooville.

Andy Pugh has reached 150 appearances for the Darts starting 108 games and appearing 42 times as a substitute. Pugh also netted his 50th goal for the club thanks to his brace against Hemel Hempstead Town.

Only Elliot Bradbrook (131 goals), Ryan Hayes (108) and Danny Harris (75) have scored more goals for Dartford in the current squad than Pugh.

According to the BBC Sport website, out of the top 20 National South goalscorers Alfie Pavey has the best goals per minutes ratio (111 minutes per goal) and Pugh is third with 120 minutes per goal.

On This Day
Jay May scored a hat-trick in a victory against Corinthian Casuals. The 2007 Isthmian Division One South fixture ended up 4-0 to the Darts with Brendon Cass scoring the other. A year later Cass netted the winner and Dartford’s last away goal on this day in a 1-0 win over Canvey Island, the three points helping Dartford to the Isthmian Division One North title. Dartford have only produced one away goal in their last four away fixtures on this day. In 2015, the Darts took home a point drawing 0-0 with Alfreton Town in the National League and three years earlier, Dartford lost 1-0 at Dorchester Town. Way back in the Southern Premier League, another notable result was Dartford’s 6-2 victory over Weymouth.

Dartford v Hemel Hempstead Town

Knocked off top spot last Saturday, the Darts host playoff hopefuls Hemel Hempstead Town in the National South this weekend.

Dartford had led the league table since November and defeat to Poole Town eventually saw the Darts give up pole position.

The Darts can only focus on their own results and hope Havant and Waterlooville, the league leaders slip up over their remaining nine games. Manager, Tony Burman will be calling on his players to deliver after he questioned his players desire after the 1-0 loss at home to Poole Town, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk after the game and said: “There seems to be a lack of desire and that’s what’s disappointing for me”, he added: “If you don’t make it happen you’re going to be in trouble”.

It was only the third loss at Princes Park in the league last weekend and disappointingly came after an excellent performance two weeks earlier, against Truro City. Burman choose to keep the same side with Andy Pugh in a deeper role up front, however it was relegation strugglers Poole Town that took home the three points courtesy of Jamie Whisken’s winner.

Tony Burman was disappointed with the loss to Poole Town and told www.kentonline.co.uk: “I can’t put my finger on why we put in a performance like that. We’ve lost 1-0 at home and it was like a mid-table clash – and that’s wrong, he added: “The whole place should be buzzing and we have to turn that around”. At home Dartford have now been beaten in two of their last three outings and have lost grip on the title race, by losing three of their last five matches. The Darts have yielded just six points from a possible 15 in February and March.

Ahead of Saturday’s game against Hemel Hempstead Town Burman commented: “It’s a massive, tough game,” he continued: “It’s no good sulking. We’ve got to get the supporters behind us and get the encouragement because we need it now. They’re down in the dumps and we’ve got to get going. It’s all to play for. I don’t want to come off and hope that other teams have lost. We can’t have games like we had on Saturday, especially at this time of year. We’ve only got ourselves to blame”.

Hemel Hempstead Town have targets of their own and are currently fifth in the division. Finishing in the top seven will clinch a playoff place, so the Tudors will be eyeing up points to increase their two point lead over eighth spot.

Earlier in the campaign, Dartford beat the Hertfordshire club 3-0 in a convincing away display. Elliot Bradbrook scored two penalties either side an Alfie Pavey strike to secure victory. Last term at Princes Park, the Darts won 2-0 with goals from Danny Harris and Luke Wanadio and just over a year earlier the corresponding match ended 2-2, Ryan Hayes curling home the equaliser in added time, as the Darts completed a comeback from two goals down.

Hemel Hempstead Town won in their last outing beating East Thurrock United 2-0 with goals from Jordan Parkes and Sanchez Watt. However, the game will be remembered by a comical situation involving the referee and ex Arsenal midfielder Watt. Former Ebbsfleet United striker Parkes opened the scoring and Watt added a second before the controversial incident. Watt was dismissed for dissent only for the red card to be overturned due to a misunderstanding by the match official.

It was a second clean sheet in a row for the Tudors after their 0-0 draw with new league leaders Havant and Waterlooville a fortnight earlier. Dean Brennan’s side were also involved in an entertaining 3-3 draw with Chelmsford City a month ago, which ended a run of two straight defeats against Oxford City and Poole Town.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 3 / Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (LWWLLW) Hemel Hempstead Town (WDDLLW)
Poole Town H 0-1 East Thurrock United H 2-0
Truro City H 4-1 Havant & Waterlooville H 0-0
Wealdstone A 2-1 Chelmsford City A 3-3
Chelmsford City H 1-2 Oxford City A 1-4
St Albans City A 0-4 Poole Town H 0-1
Whitehawk H 3-1 Chelmsford City H 3-1

Previous Meetings

26.08.2017 Hemel Hempstead 0 Dartford 3
01.04.2017 Hemel Hempstead Town 2 Dartford 2
12.11.2016 Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 0
17.10.2015 Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 2
08.08.2015 Hemel Hempstead Town 1 Dartford 0
16.09.1972 Hemel Hempstead 2 Dartford 9

Stats
Danny Harris has scored in his last two appearances on the 17 March.

Dartford lost just one league game at home in 14, but are now on a run of two defeats from three home matches.

Hemel Hempstead Town have drawn all three away games against teams above them in the National South.

On This Day
Dartford have won their last four games on 17 March with the last victory coming three years ago in the National League away to Chester. As the Darts battled for survival a last minute winner from Danny Harris clinched the three points after Nathan Green equalised early in the second half. Six years ago, Dartford beat this season’s league leaders Havant and Waterlooville at Princes Park. The Hawks led and then missed a penalty to give the Darts a lifeline, which was taken thanks to goals from Lee Noble, Harris and Lee Wilkinson. In the Isthmian Division One South back in 2007, Dartford beat Godalming Town 3-1, Richard Avery, Anthony Hogg and Jay May all scoring. In 1990, the Darts beat Waterlooville 3-0 at Watling Street in the Southern Premier League.

Dartford v Poole Town

Only ten games remain in Dartford’s pursuit of the National South title and next up is the home fixture against Poole Town.

The Darts won 1-0 in the previous encounter back in December with Richard Sho-Silva’s winning header. The defender is currently out of action after an injury he picked up whilst playing for VCD Athletic. Last time at Princes Park, Dartford scored two first half goals in quick succession, Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Luke Wanadio put the Darts in the driving seat before Luke Parker pulled a late goal back for the Dolphins.

Dartford build up this weekend’s game on the back of consecutive wins and a week off. Following two straight defeats, the Darts bounced back coming from a goal down to triumph 2-1 away at Wealdstone, then followed that up with more success against Truro City. A week later, the snowy weather conditions gave every team in the division a break, as the National South fixture list was completely wiped out last weekend.

After manager, Tony Burman urged players and supporters to ‘pull in the right direction’ the Darts recorded their eleventh home league win this season a fortnight ago. Victory over Truro City extended Dartford’s lead at the top of the National South to four points after closest rivals Havant and Waterlooville drew 0-0 with Hemel Hempstead Town. The deficit was then cut last Tuesday when the Hawks beat Gloucester City to overtake Hampton and Richmond Borough in the table into second, three points behind the Darts.

Burman missed the 4-1 triumph over Truro City on Saturday through illness leaving assistant manager Paul Sawyer in charge. Danny Harris made his 300th start for the club and Elliot Bradbrook became only the ninth player to reach 400 appearances. An achievement the Dartford captain is proud of, he told www.kentishfootball.co.uk: “I have been lucky enough to have been part of the most exciting and successful periods in the club’s history and it’s honestly been a great privilege”, he added: “Dartford is my home-town club and it’s very special to me, so it’s been great to have spent the majority of my career here and most of it as team captain”.

Lee Noble, Ronnie Vint missed out on a starting place as the Darts lined up in a positive 4-3-3 formation, Alfie Pavey, Danny Mills and Andy Pugh up front. Meanwhile, Ofori-Acheampong has struggled with a tight hamstring but is hopeful to be back in contention this weekend.

Pugh scored in the first half with a superb volley from the edge of the box and in the second half three more goals were added. Alex Brown scored within a minute of the restart and Danny Mills added another a minute later. A fortuitous own goal added number four, but Darts goalkeeper Berti Schotterl was denied his first clean sheet when Niall Thompson scored a stunner in stoppage time.

Sawyer was pleased with the performance and the confidence the players showed, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “I thought we played extremely well, especially in the second half”, he continued: “In the first half we had to dig in because the wind was really strong…We got a great goal from Pughy and the hope at half-time is that you’ll come out second half and take advantage of those conditions – and we did. I thought we should have scored more goals but we played some lovely football”.

The teams chasing Dartford at the summit have games in hand but Sawyer remains focus on what his club has to do, he commented: “We can’t do a lot about what happens elsewhere. It’s for Havant to lose at the moment. They’ve got the games in hand and all we can do is look after our own performances”.

Striker, Danny Mills has scored twice in his last two games and he told www.kentonline.co.uk that the result versus Truro City has given the Darts confidence, he said: “I think we showed on Saturday that we’re definitely title contenders,” he added: “That was definitely a message. We’ve beaten a team who are in the play-offs and we’ve shown how good we can be on the day”, he continued: “There’s no doubt in my mind that we can go and win this league”.

Poole Town have followed up last season’s surprise performance, when they finished in a playoff spot, with a campaign of struggle. The Dolphins missed out on taking part in the playoffs last term due to ground grading and this time they find themselves in the bottom three fighting relegation. The Dorset club are four points from safety but still have three of the bottom six to play.

The Dolphins have lost their last three league games without scoring in their last two outings. Poole Town’s last victory came at the end of January against their closest relegation rivals Chippenham Town. Tom Killick’s side have heavily relied on the goals of Warren Bentley to keep them in touch, the striker was signed from Hungerford Town and was a prolific scorer for his former side Winchester City, where he scored 113 goals in two seasons, Bentley has netted 16 times this term.

For a team in the bottom three, the Dolphins away record reads like a mid-table side, but they have only taken two points from teams in the top six all season, scoring just three times and conceding 12.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 17 / Poole Town wins: 15 / Draws: 5

Current League Form

Dartford (WWLLWD) Poole Town (LLLDWW)
Truro City H 4-1 Braintree Town A 0-1
Wealdstone A 2-1 Eastbourne Borough H 0-4
Chelmsford City H 1-2 Havant & Waterlooville H 1-3
St Albans City A 0-4 Gloucester City A 2-2
Whitehawk H 3-1 Chippenham Town H 2-0
Chippenham Town A 2-2 Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-0

Previous Meetings

02.12.2017 Poole Town 1 Dartford 2
29.04.2017 Poole Town 2 Dartford 3
03.12.2016 Dartford 2 Poole Town 1
14.03.1992 Dartford 4 Poole Town 0
02.11.1991 Poole Town 0 Dartford 0
06.04.1991 Poole Town 1 Dartford 0

Stats
Dartford have won their last four matches against Poole Town scoring 10 and conceding 3. The previous four meetings ended with the Darts failing to score when they drew two and lost two.

The Darts have lost one of the last six home games against the Dolphins and just two in the last 13 home and away (W8, D3, L2).

Tom Bonner will make his 250th start for Dartford if selected in the first eleven.

If Ryan Hayes is a used substitute he will make his 150th appearance from off the bench.

On This Day
Ryan Hayes scored a Princes Park hat-trick against Croydon Athletic in the Isthmian Division One South fixture. The wingers first came from the penalty spot but his next strike was pure quality. On the corner of the 18 yard box, Hayes flicked the ball behind his standing leg before curling a shot in trademark fashion. His hat-trick was completed when he tucked away a one on one chance to clinch a 3-0 win for the Darts. Five years later, Jacob Erskine helped Dartford overcome an in form Farnborough at Princes Park. Still in the title race with Woking, the Darts hosted a Boro side who had one six on the bounce. Yet it took 18 minutes to break the deadlock when Erskine rounded the goalkeeper for his first. The striker repeated the trick early in the second half and a last minute third by Tony Garrod, against his former side made it 3-0.