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East Thurrock United v Dartford

Dartford will have the chance to increase their slender lead at the top of the National South on Tuesday when they visit East Thurrock United.

The Darts have just three games remaining and are just one goal ahead of second place Havant and Waterlooville. Going into the match against East Thurrock United, the Darts have put a great run together of eight wins from their last nine outings. Victory will put Dartford three points clear to put pressure on their title rivals, who will be in Hampshire senior cup action.

On the weekend Dartford recorded back to back 1-0 victories and their fourth clean sheet in five games. Danny Mills’ low diving header at the far post was enough to clinch another vital three points against Eastbourne Borough. Manager, Tony Burman spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk, he said: “I’m obviously delighted that we’ve got three points,” Burman added: “Although it was 1-0, like Gloucester the other night, we had a couple of chances to kill the game off in the second half. It didn’t happen but we still managed the game”.

Burman commented after the game and praised the fans, especially after he asked supporters to back his side after defeat at home to Poole Town, he said: “Back then, I was really disappointed with certain aspects of what was going on around the club”, he continued: “We needed to pull together because when we do, we’re excellent. That’s what we’re about and today we had fantastic support. It started from the first whistle and that’s all we were asking”, he added: “In all fairness, the supporters have reacted and I think they’ve been excellent in the games since then and they can see what the players have done”.

When Dartford met East Thurrock United in August it was the Rocks who grabbed a 1-0 win as they started their National South campaign exceeding expectations. On loan goalkeeper, Jordan Beeney could only tip Reece Harris’ free kick onto the crossbar for Sam Higgins to score the rebound, it was Dartford’s first home defeat of the campaign.

The Essex club lost on Saturday at home to county rivals Chelmsford City, Scott Fenwick scored all four goals for the Clarets as the hosts fell 4-2, Lewis Smith who once signed for the Darts but never played a match for the Darts scored for East Thurrock United. Sam Higgins, the National South’s top scorer with 26 goals scored the Rocks first of the afternoon. Currently five goals behind, Dartford striker Alfie Pavey will want to make up some ground on Higgins for the Golden Boot award.

Defeat for John Coventry’s side ended a run of consecutive wins after they had beaten Truro City and Concord Rangers. Now in thirteenth place with five games remaining, the Rocks will be aiming to finish as high up the table as possible and still could have a huge say in the title race. East Thurrock United will be taking on Havant and Waterlooville in their penultimate game.

In their ranks East Thurrock United have former Dartford favourite Lee Burns. The striker turned right back made 272 appearances for the Darts scoring 33 times. Midfielder, Max Cornhill also represented the Darts 66 times scoring nine goals. James White is also part of the East Thurrock United squad but has found appearances limited this season.

The Essex club started the campaign on a ten match unbeaten run winning six and drawing four, including the 1-0 victory at Princes Park. The Rocks went on to record eight matches without a win and since then have tasted victory just seven times in the last nineteen.

Head to Head
East Thurrock United wins: 3 / Dartford wins: 1 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

East Thurrock United (LWWLDW) Dartford (WWWWWW)
Chelmsford City H 2-4 Eastbourne Borough A 1-0
Truro City A 2-1 Gloucester City A 1-0
Concord Rangers A 4-1 Weston-super-Mare H 3-1
Chippenham Town H 0-2 Hampton & Richmond H 1-0
Poole Town H 2-2 Oxford City A 2-0
Bognor Regis Town A 2-0 Hemel Hempstead H 3-2

Previous Meetings

28.08.2017 Dartford 0 East Thurrock United 1
07.01.2016 Dartford 6 East Thurrock United 1
10.09.2016 East Thurrock United 1 Dartford 1
30.04.2005 Dartford 0 East Thurrock United 3
28.08.2004 East Thurrock United 2 Dartford 1

Stats
Dartford’s run of eight wins from nine matches the sequence set last season between 13 September 2016 and 3 December 2016.

The Darts sixth victory in a row also matches the run between 7 January 2017 and 11 February 2017. The last time Dartford won seven on the spin was in 2009 when they won the Isthmian Premier League, in that sequence the Darts ended up recording eight straight victories.

Only Dartford have scored more goals than East Thurrock United this season, the Darts have netted 76 times whilst the Rocks have scored 66, joint with Hemel Hempstead Town.

The Rocks have failed to win a home game against any of the current top seven this season (D2, L4)

On This Day
A year ago Dartford beat Hampton and Richmond Borough 3-1 at Princes Park with goals from Elliot Bradbrook, Alex Brown and Ronnie Vint. The goalscorer for the Beavers that day was Nathan Collier, now back at the Darts. That was victory was the first win on this day since 1981, a run of six games which ended in three draws and three losses, including the 5-0 reverse at home to Histon in 2004. The Darts last away triumph on 17 April was back in 1980 when they beat Fareham Town 2-1 in the Southern League Southern Division.

Eastbourne Borough v Dartford

Dartford are back at the top of the National South and are hoping to maintain their position against Eastbourne Borough this weekend.

The Darts travelled to Evesham on Tuesday night to take on Gloucester City. A hard fought victory was earned thanks to Alfie Pavey’s 21st league goal of the campaign. Dartford’s win against Gloucester City moved them level on points with Havant and Waterlooville, Pavey’s goal edged the Darts ahead on goal difference, the two sides are now seperated by a single goal.

Dartford now face the challenge of two more away games before the penultimate fixture at home then the final day of the season at Bognor Regis Town. Next up though is Eastbourne Borough and the Darts have hit form at the right moment. Tuesday’s triumph extended Dartford’s winning streak to five meaning they have now won seven of their last eight games. Defensively, Tony Burman’s side have also improved having conceded just once in their last four outings.

When Dartford last played Eastbourne Borough in September they ended up moving to the top of the National South back then. The Princes Park crowd witnessed six goals as the free scoring Darts claimed victory. Tony Burman’s side dominated the first half and opened the scoring when Alex Brown scored from just inside the penalty area. In the second half, Alfie Pavey headed in Ryan Hayes’s corner then Elliot Bradbrook nodded in a third. The Sports pulled a goal back through Jamie Taylor before the Darts scored a controversial fourth. The visitors took a quick free kick which was blocked by the grounded Hayes from close range, presumably to get the winger booked. However, the match official played on as Tom Murphy went through on goal to score. Lee Noble’s own goal took the gloss off the 4-2 leaving Burman disappointed at his side conceding two sloppy goals.

Last season, Dartford completed the double over Eastbourne Borough by a one goal margin. Twelve goals were scored over the two fixtures. The Darts won 3-2 in their last visit to Priory Lane on a foggy Tuesday night. In a game that could well have been abandoned, Kaka Dembele scored the winner after goals from Luke Wanadio and Andy Pugh. The return fixture at Princes Park ended 4-3 with Pugh and Wanadio finding the net again. Hayes and Bradbrook added two more to make it 4-1, but the Sports rallied to reduce the arrears late on. In the season before current Dartford defender Nathan Collier was wearing the Eastbourne Borough shirt having left the Darts that summer to move to the Sussex club.

Since the start of March, the Sports run of form has been inconsistent alternating wins and losses for the last seven games. However, it was their victory in the Sussex derby against Bognor Regis Town on Easter Monday which virtually assured them another campaign in the National South.

Last weekend, Eastbourne Borough were beaten by Oxford City when two early second half goals left the Sussex club too much to overturn. Matt Pickering turned the ball into his own net and Matt Paterson scored a penalty, conceded by former Crawley Town and Wycombe Wanderers midfielder Sergio Torres. The Sports set up a nervy finish for the hosts when Yemi Obudabe scored four minutes from time.

At Priory Lane, the Sports have won just twice in the National South in 14 attempts and only five times all season. Defensively, up until last weekend’s fixtures only Whitehawk had conceded more in total. The leaky defence has been a weakness for the Sussex club, who have managed to score 57 times at the right end, a similar figure to three of the top four and the majority of mid-table sides.

Head to Head
Eastbourne Borough wins: 4 / Dartford wins: 9 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Eastbourne Borough (LWLWLW) Dartford (WWWWWL)
Oxford City A 1-2 Gloucester City A 1-0
Bognor Regis Town H 3-0 Weston-super-Mare H 3-1
Chippenham Town A 0-4 Hampton & Richmond H 1-0
Wealdstone A 3-2 Oxford City A 2-0
Truro City H 1-3 Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-2
Bath City A 1-0 Poole Town H 0-1

Previous Meetings

12.09.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 2
08.04.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 3
16.08.2016 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

Stats
Andy Pugh has scored in his last three appearances against Eastbourne Borough.

Dartford have gone nine games unbeaten against the Sports stretching back to 2011. The Darts have won seven and drawn two in that time.

If the Darts win against Eastbourne Borough it will be the third time the Darts have completed a league double against the Sussex club, in the last four campaigns they have been in the same division.

Before that, the Sports won the first four meetings in the Southern Division One East to complete the double over the Darts in successive seasons.

On This Day
Dartford secured a place in the Southern League Cup final thirty years ago in comprehensive fashion. Leading the first leg over Wealdstone 4-0, the Darts won the return fixture 4-1 to record an impressive 8-1 aggregate victory. Dartford went on to turn around a 3-1 first leg loss to Bromsgrove Rovers by winning the second leg 3-0 to lift the cup. The last three games on 14 April have all been away from home, the most recent just a year ago when the Darts lost 2-0 to Hungerford Town. Before that defeat Dartford had gone eight matches unbeaten on this day which included a 4-3 win over Wealdstone in 1979, a 2-1 victory against Ashford United in 1990. In 2007, Carl Bruce and Brendon Cass scored in a 2-1 triumph over Hastings United and in 2012 a Tony Garrod goal helped the Darts beat Sutton United.

Gloucester City v Dartford

Dartford start a run of away games with a visit to Evesham to face Gloucester City on Tuesday night.

Aiming for promotion to the National League, the Darts are just three points off top spot with a game in hand. Whilst they travel across the country, league leaders Havant and Waterlooville will be preparing to host East Thurrock United.

Dartford build up to the away trip on the back of four consecutive wins, a feat last achieved in September. The last time the Darts won four in a row in the league was at the start of last year.

The latest victory came on the weekend at home to Weston-super-Mare where an early Alex Brown goal settled any nerves. The midfielder was labelled Dartford’s ‘unsung hero’ by manager Tony Burman for his work rate and was rewarded in the seventh minute. Andy Pugh’s vision picked out Alfie Pavey and when Brown combined with Duane Ofori-Acheampong he finished the move with the opener. After half hour it was 2-0 when captain Elliot Bradbrook turned home Lee Noble’s corner from close range. The Darts went three up in the second half when top scorer Alfie Pavey rounded the goalkeeper. The visitors grabbed a consolation in the last minute affecting Dartford’s goal difference, which could be crucial come the end of the season.

Burman spoke after the game, he said: “We’ve played against a team that play a lot of football and try and keep possession of the ball for long periods of time. When you try and chase to get it back it’s hard work. We looked a little bit lethargic, but the main thing was we won the game”.

With Havant and Waterlooville also winning Burman continued: “It’s still the same, we’ve got five games to go they have got four. We’ve got to just do our job think about ourselves, it’s a lot closer now than what we thought it was going to be a few weeks back”, he added: “We’ve recovered now from the defeat against Poole, that’s six out of seven games which we’ve won and that is decent. We will push again to reach our target which is to try and win the league”.

Victory has followed triumphs over Hampton and Richmond Borough, Oxford City and Hemel Hempstead Town. Next up is a run of four away games in the last five fixtures, including the next three in a row on the road against Gloucester City, Eastbourne Borough the East Thurrock United.

The Darts won the previous encounter versus Gloucester City back in November when the two sides met for the first time at Princes Park. Despite the 4-1 victory, Dartford were made to work for the result and goals from Warren Mfula, Alfie Pavey and a brace from Lyle Della-Verde provided a clinical performance.

The Tigers moved across to the National South in the summer and are currently in thirteenth place. In February, Gloucester City started moving away from trouble with a good run of form. The Tigers went unbeaten in six before a narrow defeat to league leaders Havant and Waterlooville. Last month saw a mixture of results with plenty of goals of late. Following consecutive 1-0 wins, the Tigers hit four at home to Hungerford Town before going down 3-1 to Hemel Hempstead Town. In the two games this month, the Tigers were thrashed 5-1 away to Bath City and beat Bognor Regis Town on the weekend.

Marc Richards guided his side to a 3-2 win over Bognor Regis Town, but made hard work of it in the closing stages. Taking a three goal lead thanks to a brace from Joseph Parker and the third from Matthew Williams, the Tigers conceded twice in the final five minutes, former Dart, Keaton Wood scoring for Bognor Regis Town. Gloucester City are five games unbeaten at home stretching back to the beginning of January.

Head to Head
Gloucester City wins: 12 / Dartford wins: 26 / Draws: 10

Current League Form

Gloucester City (WLLWWW) Dartford (WWWWLW)
Bognor Regis Town H 3-2 Weston-super-Mare H 3-1
Bath City A 1-5 Hampton & Richmond H 1-0
Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-3 Oxford City A 2-0
Hungerford Town H 4-0 Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-2
Eastbourne Borough A 1-0 Poole Town H 0-1
Chippenham Town H 1-0 Truro City H 4-1

Previous Meetings

18.11.2017 Dartford 4 Gloucester City 1
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

Stats
Dartford last beat Gloucester City away from home 28 years ago when they won 4-0 in the Southern Premier League.

An away defeat to the Tigers, the season after, is Dartford’s only loss against their opponents in the last seven meetings. The Darts have won five and drawn once of the other six games versus Gloucester City.

Dartford have failed to score in their last two away games against Gloucester City, losing 2-0 in 1990 and drawing 0-0 in 1992.

Ryan Hayes’ substitute appearance on Saturday was his 150th appearance from off the bench.

On This Day
Eight years ago Dartford clinched the Isthmian Premier League title destroying second place Kingstonian 6-2 on their own patch. The Darts celebrated in style starting with a well worked goal from Elliot Bradbrook. Ryan Hayes added a second from 25 yards before the hosts halved the deficit. Danny Harris headed in a third, Bradbrook scored his second of the afternoon then the K’s grabbed their second. Hayes netted another and to round up a memorable day Lee Burns made it 6-2. The Darts are unbeaten in six games on 10 April and recorded a famous 1-0 win over Grimsby Town in 2014. At Princes Park, the Darts beat the former Championship club with Max Cornhill heading the winner with 15 minutes to go.

Dartford v Weston-super-Mare

Dartford’s title push continues on Saturday when they host Weston-Super-Mare at Princes Park in the National South.

The Darts have just six games remaining to overturn a three point deficit, although they now have a game in hand. With the Easter Monday fixture against East Thurrock United postponed, Tony Burman’s side have had a few extra days rest, much needed after the difficult conditions on Good Friday.

In their last match, Dartford pulled out a superb result against third place Hampton and Richmond Borough with a last gasp Alfie Pavey winner. Victory kept the Darts two points behind league leaders Havant and Waterlooville, who had won their fixture 2-0 against Weston-super-Mare. The Hawks then dropped points on Monday, but managed a 0-0 draw with Whitehawk to leave the Darts three points behind.

Against Hampton and Richmond Borough, Burman named an unchanged side from the 2-0 away win at Oxford City. With the Princes Park pitch waterlogged in patches Burman praised the ground staff for getting the game on. As the top of the table clash progressed the weather conditions worsened turning the pitch into a mud bath. It looked like both sides were about to drop points in a goalless draw until Pavey’s calm dink over the Hampton and Richmond Borough goalkeeper sent the Darts fans wild in the final minute.

Burman spoke to www.dartfordfc.com after the game and said: “I thought on chances we deserved to get a result from the game, I’m delighted we’ve come away from the first game of the Easter period with three points”. The Darts boss applauded match winner Pavey and his teammates, he added: “He’s still learning, he’s a young lad, he’s not been the number one striker at other clubs and we’ve given him a opportunity here to learn from people and try and be a number one striker. He’s scoring goals which is great and if he’s scoring goals that means he’s happy. We’ve got a great strike force here, which I’m pleased and proud of”.

After defeat to Poole Town, Burman questioned his players desire but now he feels the tide has turned, he commented: “I mentioned back at the Poole game about desire, we can’t fault the last three games the desire has been back in the side”. Added to the fans pulling togther, the Dartford manager feels there is every chance to overturn the two point deficit, he added: “A little bit of belief has come back, we’ve had some words said on and off the field, but I have to say the support that the lads got was how it should be, they were the twelfth man and I can’t thank them enough for that and we need that especially at this stage of the season”.

Weston-super-Mare could complete a double over the Darts as they won the reverse fixture at the Woodspring Stadium back in September. The Seagulls toppled Burman’s side who were heading the National South standings at the time. Gethyn Hill’s double and a second half strike from Archie Collins completed a miserable afternoon for the Darts.

Last season Dartford completed a treble against the Seagulls winning both National South fixtures and the F.A Trophy tie. In the league at Princes Park the match ended 3-2 on an entertaining evening.  Alex Brown scored from twenty yards out to claim the winner but the Darts had to come from behind. Hill opened the scoring for the visitors who stayed in front at the interval. Tom Wynter scored and then Danny Harris gave Dartford the advantage, but the lead was cancelled out by Lloyd Humphries. With seven minutes remaining Brown’s effort found the back of the net to clinch victory. At the Woodspring Stadium in the league, the Darts won 2-1 with goals from Luke Wanadio and Ryan Hayes.

Weston-super-Mare are comfortably mid-table with the playoffs seven points away with only five games remaining. Their chances have taken a major dip along with their form, the Seagulls have lost six of their last eight matches only managing wins away to Eastbourne Borough and home to Bognor Regis Town.

The Darts will already know about the Seagulls top scorer, Hill who has managed 16 league goals this term. The striker is level with former Weston-super-Mare midfielder Dayle Grubb, who left in January to join Forest Green Rovers in League Two. Manager, Marc McGregor feels his team has been deserving of more positive results but admits his side need to be more ruthless in front of goal. The Seagulls boss is still confident he can guide them to a top seven finish and into the playoffs.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 7 / Weston-super-Mare wins: 3 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Weston-super-Mare (LLWLLL) Dartford (WWWLWW)
Havant & Waterlooville A 0-2 Hampton & Richmond H 1-0
Braintree Town H 1-2 Oxford City A 2-0
Bognor Regis Town H 1-0 Hemel Hempstead H 3-2
St Albans City H 0-2 Poole Town H 0-1
Chippenham Town A 0-2 Truro City H 4-1
Hampton & Richmond A 1-3 Wealdstone A 2-1

Previous Meetings

23.09.2017 Weston-super-Mare 3 Dartford 0
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

Stats
Dartford have won five of their last six National South games.

Alfie Pavey’s goal on Good Friday was his third last minute winner, earning the Darts nine crucial points.

The Darts have never lost to the Seagulls at home (W3, D3).

Weston-super-Mare have failed to score in three of their last five games netting just two goals.

The Seagulls win over Dartford in September was their only victory against top five opposition this season, they have lost the other seven.

On This Day
Dartford have won one of their last eight games on 7 April and that was back in 1984 when they beat Welling United 2-1 in the Southern League Premier. The most recent match on this day was hardly memorable as they battled out a 0-0 draw with Chelmsford City six years ago in the National South. In 2007, Eddie McClements scored in a 1-1 draw with Kingstonian and in 1990 the Darts lost 1-0 to Bath City. Thirty eight years ago, Dartford lost 1-0 in the Kent Senior Cup final to rivals Maidstone United.