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Slough Town v Dartford

Dartford have made big strides towards their promotion push and hope to continue moving up at Slough Town this weekend.

Consecutive victories without conceding against two teams in the top four have put the Darts in a stronger position for a playoff place. The starting eleven seems to have a more settled look and with thirteen games remaining there is a buzz back around the club.

If Tuesday night at Woking showed the work ethic of the squad, then their weekend’s showing against Bath City added extra quality. It took a Ronnie Vint header deep into injury time to secure maximum points at title chasing Woking, the Darts first ever win at the Kingfield Stadium. Joint manager, Jamie Coyle stated that his side needed to use the 1-0 triumph as a ‘springboard to go on another run’.

That run may just have started because the Darts followed up Tuesday night’s result with a second win in a row. Entertaining fourth place Bath City, Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle named an unchanged side, which was rewarded with a 3-0 win. Lee Noble opened the scoring with a cracking curling effort on sixteen minutes, the midfielder’s third goal this term. Charlie Sheringham made it 2-0 ten minutes later nodding in Ryan Hayes’s cross at the back post and the points were wrapped up in the second half when Phil Roberts bent the ball into the far corner from long range, his fourth goal in his last five appearances.

Dartford have tasted defeat just once in their last eight National South games and have yet to be beaten by Slough Town. In December, the Rebels took the lead at Princes Park when Josh Jackman’s low drive beat Bailey Vose on 37 minutes. In the second half, Andre Coker levelled up finishing a swift counter attack and leaving the points shared.

The Darts last visit to Arbour Park was as recently as October 2016 in the F.A Cup third qualifying round. At the time Dartford were a division higher with the hosts in contention at the top of the Southern Premier League. The Rebels, who were on a nine-match winning streak gave their visitors a run for their money, but Dartford’s determination and two late goals saw them scrape through in a 3-2 victory.

Less than five minutes had gone when Elliot Bradbrook scored an own goal, but the captain made up for it by scoring his 100th goal for the Darts to level the cup tie. In the second half, Deren Ibrahim gave away a penalty which James Dobson netted to give the hosts the lead again. With five minutes remaining, it was Bradbrook’s turn to score from the spot and with the tie heading for a replay Andy Pugh calmly slotted home the last-minute winner.

Since the New Year the Rebels form has been below par with just one league win in 2019. That victory completed a double over third place Chelmsford City, but the other eight fixtures have ended in three draws and five defeats. Management duo, Neal Baker and Jon Underwood have still led Slough Town to a healthy twelfth place, nine points behind the Darts, who occupy the last playoff place available.

The Berkshire club have taken one point from their last four games, losing to Gloucester city on Tuesday night. Matthew Lench, who rejoined the Rebels last month scored after thirteen minutes. Lench signed from Wealdstone, after some injury setbacks and a lack of opportunity, on the same day top scorer James Dobson left for Sutton United. That leaves Chris Flood leading the line who has one less goal than Dobson. Gloucester City came from behind to condemn Slough Town to a third defeat in four, a match which followed the Berkshire club’s 1-1 draw with Hampton and Richmond Borough. On that occasion Lee Togwell’s goal was cancelled out in the last minute by Marcel Barrington, denying the Rebels their first victory since mid-January.

Head to Head

Slough Town wins: 0 / Dartford wins: 3 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Slough Town (LDLLDW) Dartford (WWDLWD)
Gloucester City H 1-2 Bath City H 3-0
Hampton & Richmond A 1-1 Woking A 1-0
Billericay Town A 2-3 Concord Rangers H 1-1
Weston-super-Mare A 0-2 Chelmsford City A 1-2
Chippenham Town H 2-2 St Albans City H 3-2
Chelmsford City H 1-0 Wealdstone A 1-1

Previous Meetings

08.12.2018 Dartford 1 Slough Town 1
01.10.2016 Slough Town 2 Dartford 3
29.10.1988 Slough Town 1 Dartford 2
10.01.1981 Dartford 4 Slough Town 1

Stats

The Darts named an unchanged side in their last match for only the third time in the league this season. The last time Dartford had no changes to the starting XI was in November when the same eleven played against Gloucester City, Oxford City then Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Lee Noble is now just five goals away from joining four others in the squad who have scored 50 or more goals for the club. Charlie Sheringham reached this milestone this season joining Elliot Bradbrook, Ryan Hayes, Andy Pugh.

Slough Town have conceded just ten of their goals in the first half, the fewest in the division.

On This Day

Two games away from a Wembley appearance in the F.A Trophy, Dartford left Blundell Park needing a miracle. Grimsby Town beat the Darts 3-0 in the first leg with two goals from Craig Disley and one from Andy Cook, Lee Noble was red carded in stoppage time. In league matches on 16 February, Dartford are unbeaten in five games. The last league outing on this day was back in 2008 when the Darts beat Redbridge in the Isthmian Division One North, Jay May and John Guest netted the goals. Dartford also won 2-0 six years earlier in the Southern League Division One South against Chatham and beat Witney Town 1-0 in the Southern League South in 1999. Two draws against Dorchester Town in 1991 and Salisbury in 1980 take the unbeaten run back to 1974, when Dartford were beaten 2-0 at Kettering Town.

Dartford v Bath City

Dartford face yet another side aiming for a promotion challenge when they host an in form Bath City in the National South this weekend.

The Darts last four league games have been against teams pushing for the playoffs or the league title. A result on Saturday will see a decent return from those fixtures, especially off the back of Tuesday’s dramatic victory over title contenders Woking. Ronnie Vint headed home a 97th minute winner at the Kingfield Stadium to record Dartford’s first win at the Cards home and move his side into seventh.

In fact it was a game of cards with the hosts finishing the game with just nine men. Ben Gerring was sent off after the official was reminded he had already booked the Woking defender by the Darts management team. Then Armani Little was given a straight red card for striking Lee Noble. Sensing the advantage the Darts pushed for a goal and were rewarded when Vint headed into the Woking goal at the far post.

After the excellent win, Vint spoke to www.kentonline and said: “I got a bit of stick in the first half down in that corner so I thought ‘do you know what, 90th minute, I’m going to give a little bit back here’ and it was nice to see it go in”, he added: “The gaffers have been on my case about getting on the end of things and what a time to get my first header of the season. I’m delighted for the boys”.

The central defender praised his teammates and exclaimed: “It was a proper Dartford performance and we deserved three points.It’s a massive result for us. We’ve been in and out of the play-offs but we’re going in the right direction now”, he continued: “Recently the boys have been brilliant. Everyone’s getting on, they’re gelling and it’s a pleasure to be in the changing-room. When we get results like this, it can only help us going forward. We’re back in the play-offs now and we’ve got to stay in there”.

The Darts won the previous encounter against the Romans on the opening day of the season in dramatic circumstances. At Twerton Park, Dartford had to leave it late to come from behind and secure a 2-1 victory. Bath City’s summer recruit Adam Mann scored after ten minutes, but his strike was cancelled out by Elliot Bradbrook’s header in first half injury time.

With the game heading for a draw Robbie Cundy conceded a dubious penalty only for Bradbrook to miss the target. A couple of minutes later the Darts were awarded a second spot kick which was clear cut decision, this time new signing Delano Sam-Yorke stepped up and scored the winner.

Dartford did host Bath City in April during last season’s title push and on that occasion, it was a tenser affair. Although the Darts took a first half lead when Danny Mills headed in at the far post, the hosts had to wait until seventy minutes to secure the points through Alfie Pavey, who pounced on Brown’s shot across goal and keep up the decent home form versus the Romans.

In March 2017, Dartford recorded the same score with goals from Bradbrook and Duane Ofori-Acheampong and in January 2016, Dartford won 4-1. Andy Pugh’s brace and goals from Ryan Hayes and Callum McNaughton helped the Darts to victory, David Pratt scored for the visitors.

Bath City have finished ninth in the previous two campaigns and during pre-season manager Jerry Gill was confident the Romans would be challengers this term. The Romans have moved up the standings since the festive period and are currently on a nine-match unbeaten league run. Sitting in fourth place, six points behind league leaders Torquay United, Bath City have not lost on the road in the National South since 1 September.

The West Country side have yet to taste defeat in 2019 and their last outing ended in a 0-0 draw against Gloucester City. Without Kebin Amankwaah and Sean Rigg due to injury, the Romans had to settle for a point. Goalkeeper, Ryan Clarke saved a first half penalty to deny their opponents of their best chance, whilst Fredrick Hinds had the ball in the back of the net for Bath City, only for his effort to be ruled out for offside.

Since the back end of December, the Romans have been on form winning six and drawing three. Notably the Somerset club have thrashed Chippenham Town 5-0 and recorded excellent results by beating Torquay United 3-2 and Chelmsford city 2-0.

Although he has not scored in his last four matches Ross Stearn can be a threat up front, the 28-year-old has scored nine league goals this season. The striker has netted a brace against the Darts before at Princes Park during a 6-3 F.A Cup defeat to Sutton United. Ryan Brunt and Anthony Straker have also been amongst the goals this season with eight and seven scored respectively.

Since the opening day of the season, Dartford’s squad has seen numerous changes in contrast to the last starting eleven Bath City selected. On Tuesday night, the Darts fielded six players who had joined or rejoined the club after the opening day (Bailey Vose, Daniel Johnson, Jordan Wynter, Charlie Sheringham, Phil Roberts and Ryan Hayes, including substitutes used then Andre Coker can be added to that list). Bath City selected just three new players compared to the last encounter with the Darts, all of which were loanees added to the squad last month.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 32 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Current League Form

Dartford (WDLWDW) Bath City (DWWDWW)
Woking A 1-0 Gloucester City A 0-0
Concord Rangers H 1-1 Torquay United A 3-2
Chelmsford City A 1-2 East Thurrock United H 1-0
St Albans City H 3-2 Slough Town H 0-0
Wealdstone A 1-1 Dulwich Hamlet A 2-0
Welling United H 1-0 Chippenham Town H 5-0

Previous Meetings

04.08.2018 Bath City 1 Dartford 2
21.04.2018 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
24.10.2017 Bath City 1 Dartford 2
04.03.2017 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
22.10.2016 Bath City 0 Dartford 1
16.01.2016 Dartford 4 Bath City 1

Stats

Dartford have recorded six straight wins against Bath City completing a double in the past two campaigns.

The Romans last defeated the Darts back in 1990 when they won 1-0 in the Southern Premier League.

Dartford have kept four clean sheets in the previous six meetings against Bath City.

Bath City have kept seven clean sheets from their last nine fixtures.

Tuesday’s hero, Vint can make his 150th Dartford appearance if selected this weekend.

On This Day

Brendon Cass controversially scored a ‘ghost goal’ against AFC Sudbury to rescue a point and keep the Darts on top of the Isthmian Division One North table. The top two went head to head eleven years ago and it was John Guest who headed Dartford in front. The hosts fought back to lead with two goals from Jamie Rowe. On the stroke of half-time Cass had a shot saved by goalkeeper only for the ball to ricochet of the striker’s leg towards goal, an AFC Sudbury defender slid and cleared the ball off the line but the official awarded a goal to the Darts. The game ended up 2-2 contributing to the 89 points Dartford accrued to win the title, AFC Sudbury finished runners up.

Woking v Dartford

Dartford were without a game on the weekend, but are back in National South action this week when they visit title challengers Woking.

Four and half years have passed since the Darts last visited the Kingfield Stadium, a venue Dartford have yet to record a win at. Last time the two sides played in the National South they were going head to head for the title, with the Cards triumphing and the Darts going up in the playoffs.

Dartford have gone four games without a win on their travels. Defeats to Welling United and Chelmsford City sandwiched draws against East Thurrock United and Wealdstone. Despite the barren away spell manager Jamie Coyle has belief in the squad, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: ““If everyone does their job and wins their individual battles, there’s no reason why, with the quality we’ve got in our team, we can’t go there and win”, he continued: “Everyone’s beating everyone this season and we go into every game believing we can win. It’ll be no different when we go to Woking”.

During the National League years, Giuseppe Sole scored Woking’s winner from the penalty spot in 2012 in a game which saw Lee Noble pick up two yellow cards inside five minutes. The Cards claimed a 3-0 victory over a year later with Jack Marriott, now of Derby County on the scoresheet. In the last meeting Rory McAuley put the Darts ahead, but Sole was on hand again by equalising in injury time.

In the two campaigns Dartford met Woking in the National South they lost 1-0 in the promotion winning season and were involved in an entertaining 2-2 draw in the season before. Ryan Hayes cleverly lobbed goalkeeper Andy Little to put the Darts in front. After Elvis Hammond and Craig Faulconbridge gave Woking the lead, George Purcell produced a stunning half-volley over Little for the leveller.

Dartford were without a fixture on the weekend due to Hemel Hempstead Town’s involvement in the F.A Trophy. In their last outing the Darts were held to a 1-1 draw by Concord Rangers at Princes Park. Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle made three changes to the side that lost to Chelmsford City bringing in Elliot Bradbrook for the injured Billy Crook, Andre Coker replaced Ryan Hayes and Lee Noble was back in league action after serving a three-match ban. Dartford took the lead when former Beachboy, Ben Greenhalgh scored against his former club. Concord Rangers equalised when Jack Midson scored a penalty and after the Essex club were reduced to ten men, the Darts couldn’t turn a draw into victory.

Relegated from the National League last term Woking are challenging for the title and an immediate return. The Cards are going toe to toe with Torquay United who followed the Surrey club down to the National South. Manager, Alan Dowson was put in charge in the summer and the former Hampton and Richmond Borough boss has guided Woking to second so far, four points behind league leaders Torquay United. The Cards also have two games in hand, built up after a fantastic F.A Cup run which saw Woking reach the third round by beating Tooting and Mitcham United, Kempston Rovers, Welling United and Torquay United before causing a cupset against Swindon Town. The Cards lost admirably to Premier League opposition Watford by 2-0.

On the weekend, like many other fixtures, Woking’s game was called off meaning there last outing ended in defeat at home. Wealdstone ended the Surrey sides eleven-game unbeaten league run, but Dowson and company can still overhaul leaders Torquay United if they win their games in hand. Woking lost 2-0 failing to score for only the second time this term, the only other time was the reverse fixture against the Stones in August.

Likely to come back to Princes Park, utility man Nathan Collier has been a regular starter for Woking this term with 32 appearances. Collier worked with Dowson at Hampton and Richmond Borough and played for the Darts over two spells racking up 21 appearances last term for Dartford. Another former Dart in the squad is Duane Ofori-Acheampong, but the striker has been out of favour and has managed just 15 appearances, ten of those from the subs bench.

Due to the weather conditions Woking have had extra days to recover from their reverse against Wealdstone. Top scorers Jake Hyde and Max Kretzschmar have both been suffering with injuries and the additional respite may help them recover in time. Dowson has also strengthened the squad by adding Rhys Murrell-Williamson and Bradley Hudson-Odoi, brother of Chelsea’s Callum.

Head to Head

Woking wins: 5 / Dartford wins: 4 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Woking (LDWWWW) Dartford (DLWDWD)
Wealdstone H 0-2 Concord Rangers H 1-1
St Albans City A 1-1 Chelmsford City A 1-2
Welling United H 2-0 St Albans City H 3-2
Hampton & Richmond A 3-0 Wealdstone A 1-1
Eastbourne Borough H 2-0 Welling United H 1-0
Hampton & Richmond H 3-1 East Thurrock United A 2-2

Previous Meetings

03.03.2015 Dartford 1 Woking 3
12.08.2014 Woking 1 Dartford 1
18.02.2014 Dartford 5 Woking 1
12.11.2013 Woking 3 Dartford 0
01.04.2013 Dartford 4 Woking 1
14.08.2010 Woking 1 Dartford 0

Stats

Dartford have picked up an average of 1.15 points per game on their travels whilst Woking have averaged 2.08 points per game at home.

The Darts are yet to keep a clean sheet against Woking in eleven attempts.

Woking have the third best attack with 50 goals and third best defence conceding just 27.

On This Day

Lee Noble scored against his future club eleven years ago as Dartford battled with ten men for 85 minutes to earn a 2-2 draw at Brentwood Town. Jay May was dismissed after just five minutes leaving the Darts up against it. To make matters worse Danny Dafter, who also joined Dartford put the Essex club ahead. Dartford took the lead through goals from Brendon Cass and John Guest before Noble levelled in the last minute. It has been nineteen years since Dartford won on 5 February in a Southern League South contest against Tonbridge Angels, the Darts triumphed 3-0. Since then Dartford drew 1-1 with Erith and Belvedere in 2005, drew with Brentwood Town and lost 3-0 to Gateshead in the F.A Trophy third round.