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Torquay United v Dartford

Dartford make their second trip to Plainmoor on the weekend, this time taking on title challengers and second place Torquay United.

The Darts hope to record their first ever win against the Gulls and if they do so they could end the day in third place. Torquay United were leading the National South last weekend on goal difference, however a mid-week Woking win means the Devonshire club will be playing catch up, three points behind with a game in hand.

The attendance for Dartford’s last visit to Plainmoor was a mere 87 when they played Truro City, it’s safe to say a far bigger crowd will be watching this weekend. The hosts are looking to complete a double over the Darts after winning the reverse fixture in December 2-0. Gary Johnson’s side had to work hard for the victory after a much improved display from Dartford, who had the better chances in the first half. Those missed opportunities came back to haunt Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle’s side when Ruairi Keating volleyed into the roof of the net and Jamie Reid doubled the lead two minutes from time.

Elliot Bradbrook and Lee Noble were part of the squad last time Dartford played Torquay United at Plainmoor almost four years ago, although Noble was an unused substitute in the 0-0 draw. This year the duo will miss out through suspension after picking up too many yellow cards. The absence of Noble in Dartford’s previous fixture meant Joe Healy played his second game for the Darts in last weekend’s victory.

Dartford beat a struggling Gloucester City side at Princes Park thanks to a stunning Phil Roberts volley and a Charlie Sheringham penalty. Stretching their unbeaten run at home to eight, the Darts moved up to fifth in the National South despite not be at their very best. As well as Healy making his home debut, Callum Driver returned to the starting eleven for the first time since August replacing Mark Onyemah. Dartford took the lead just before the interval when Ryan Hayes found space on the right and picked out Roberts with a floating cross, Roberts watched the ball come down and hit a first time volley back across the goal into the far corner. Then seven minutes from time, the Darts won a penalty which Sheringham scored to make sure Dartford earned all three points.

Coyle praised his team after the game, the joint manager spoke to www.kentonlikne.co.uk and said: “I’m pleased with the result because it was tough conditions today. It wasn’t a good game of football to watch for the neutral but it was a real professional performance from the boys. We were a little bit scrappy in the first 10 minutes of the second half and they had a couple of half-chances where we switched off but overall it was a good collective performance”. After three games in a week, Coyle was also grateful that he could call up Healy in central midfield, he commented: “You could see there were a few tired legs out there, we’ve had three games in a week and some of the boys are pushing on 31, 32 but Joe Healy freshened it up for us. He’s come in, given us a hand again and done really well, got man-of-the-match”.

An unbeaten February helped Flanagan and Coyle to the Manager of the Month award, in that time they guided the Darts to three wins and two draws beating Woking twice along the way. March may have started with an away defeat to Dulwich Hamlet, but back to back victories mean the Darts have won five of their last seven.

In the home dugout Gary Johnson has got Torquay United back on track since taking over in September. The experienced boss has lifted the Gulls from fourteenth to second, as the Devonshire club bids to return to the National League at the first attempt. Torquay United climbed the table after going sixteen games unbeaten, which included a ten game winning streak. Since then pressure to claim the National South title could be playing its part in a few surprise results recently.

In the last eight games the Gulls have lost three times against Bath City, Welling United and in their last home outing versus bottom of the table side Weston-super-Mare. However, in that spell they have notched up impressive victories along the way including a 7-2 hammering of Oxford City and a 5-2 thrashing of Dulwich Hamlet. Despite the shock loss at home to Weston-super-Mare, Johnson’s side bounced back last weekend with a 2-0 win at Billericay Town, Jamie Reid scoring again to take his league tally to 23 for the campaign. Reid is on course for the Golden Boot, but Torquay United have plenty of firepower in their ranks top scoring in the division with 74 goals.

The league title is still in their hands, but with a run in which includes seven teams in the top half, including an away trip to league leaders Woking, it could go down to the wire and Dartford fans will know all about that.

Head to Head

Torquay United wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 0 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Torquay United (WLWWLW) Dartford (WWLWDW)
Billericay Town A 2-0 Gloucester City H 2-0
Weston-super-Mare H 1-2 Hemel Hempstead Town A 2-1
East Thurrock United A 2-1 Dulwich Hamlet A 0-2
Dulwich Hamlet H 5-2 Woking H 2-0
Welling United A 0-2 Slough Town A 2-2
Hemel Hempstead Town A 4-1 Bath City H 3-0

Previous Meetings

04.12.2018 Dartford 0 Torquay United 2
04.04.2015 Torquay United 1 Dartford 1
23.08.2014 Dartford 0 Torquay United 0

Stats 

Phil Roberts has scored four goals in his last four games and since being at Dartford he’s managed eight goals in 13 starts for the club.

A Dartford win will make it three in a row for the first time since November, when they last won consecutive away league games.

Jamie Reid has scored ten goals in his last ten league games.

The Gulls have scored in each of their last 11 home games, but have conceded two or more in their last three matches at Plainmoor.

On This Day

Dartford’s last win on 16 March was fifteen years ago when they beat Sittingbourne 1-0 in the Southern League Division One East. Since then the Darts have lost their last two, in 2010 Boreham Wood won 2-1 in the Isthmian Premier with Dartford’s goal coming from Lee Burns. Three years later in the National League, Dartford were beaten 3-0 at Hyde. The Darts have not won away from home on this day since 1963 against Merthyr Tydfil, a run of three defeats and a draw.

Dartford v Gloucester City

Dartford will aim to make it three consecutive home wins this weekend when they host a reformed Gloucester City battling against the drop.

The Darts have scored five without reply in their last two outings at Princes Park beating playoff contenders Bath City 3-0 and title challengers Woking 2-0. Unbeaten in their last seven home matches, Dartford have dropped just four points in that run and another victory will follow on from Tuesday night’s dramatic away triumph at Hemel Hempstead Town.

Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle made one change on Tuesday night to the team that were beaten at Dulwich Hamlet. Ryan Hayes who missed the weekend’s fixture returned, whilst Charlie Sheringham who has been out with an ankle injury was named on the bench against one of his former sides. The Darts edged a frustrating first half, but arguably the best chance fell to Hemel Hempstead Town’s central defender Darren Ward. The deadlock was finally broken with ten minutes remaining when the former Tudors striker Phil Roberts scored his sixth of the season. The hosts were awarded a penalty with three minutes to go and their top scorer Jordan Parkes made it count. With the game heading for a draw, Roberts popped up again a minute later to snatch three vital away points, a seventh goal in just thirteen appearances.

Tuesday’s result moved Dartford into sixth above Bath City and now they are just a couple of points behind third place Chelmsford City, whose match with Torquay United was postponed.  Pressure from teams trying to break into the top seven came from Wealdstone, who trounced Weston-Super-Mare and Concord Rangers who also left it late to beat Gloucester City.

Gloucester City went in one up at half time on against Concord Rangers thanks to Luke Russe’s stunning strike. On loan from Bristol Rovers until the end of the season, the midfielder let fly from distance to give the Tigers the lead. Manager, Mike Cook has been facing a goalkeeping crisis this week. In the 0-0 draw with Wealdstone, Cook was forced to bring in 38 year-old Tom King to make his National South debut, he was was brought in because loanees Jojo Wollacott and Freddie Lapworth were recalled by their parent club’s. For the game against Concord Rangers on Tuesday, Will Henry on loan from Swindon Town for the rest of the season made his debut. Henry was credited with an own goal leading to Concord Rangers’ equaliser and in the last minute Lee Minshull completed the comeback for the Essex club.

Dartford came back from a goal down in the earlier league meeting with Gloucester City back in November. The Tigers took the lead three minutes before the break when Joe Hanks’ free kick was crossed on to the head of Sam Avery who headed the ball past Bailey Vose. The lead didn’t last long because on the stroke of half-time Charlie Sheringham struck a low shot to level the game. After the interval, the game was settled three minutes into the second half. Sheringham turned provider when he squared the ball across goal for Ben Greenhalgh to tap in.

The Darts completed the double over Gloucester City last term with the last meeting at Princes Park finishing in a comfortable 4-1 victory. Warren Mfula opened the scoring after the striker wriggled free of his marker and stuck his shot into the far corner. The lead was doubled when Lyle Della-Verde tapped into an empty net, the winger netted again in the second half with an assured curling finish. Alfie Pavey made it four before Jamie Edge scored a consolation. Pavey was on hand again last April when he scored the winner in a tighter 1-0 away triumph.

After Marc Richards left the managerial role to take charge of Hereford, Gloucester City appointed Chris Todd as their manager in early October. The former Eastleigh boss lost his first six league games. Under pressure, the Tigers picked up just four points under Todd in twelve outings failing to pick up a win. After three months Todd left by mutual consent leaving the Tigers second from bottom and was replaced with Mike Cook.

Cook has managed to get Gloucester City out of the relegation zone and after two defeats at the start of his reign, the were unbeaten in seven before Tuesday night’s loss against Concord Rangers. The Tigers have tightened up their defence since the New Year with Cook making his side difficult to breakdown. The Tigers have kept six clean sheets in their last eight National South outings, but are four points and a place above the relegation zone.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 28 / Gloucester City wins: 12 / Draws: 10

Current League Form

Dartford (WLWDWW) Gloucester City (?WWLLD)
Hemel Hempstead Town A 2-1 Concord Rangers H 1-2
Dulwich Hamlet A 0-2 Wealdstone H 0-0
Woking H 2-0 Chelmsford City H 0-0
Slough Town A 2-2 Hampton & Richmond A 1-0
Bath City H 3-0 Slough Town A 2-1
Woking A 1-0 Bath City H 1-0

Previous Meetings

03.11.2018 Gloucester City 1 Dartford 2
10.04.2018 Gloucester City 0 Dartford 1
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

Stats

Dartford are unbeaten in six against Gloucester city (W5, D1), their last defeat against the Tigers was in the Southern Premier League 29 years ago.

The Darts have won their last four home meetings versus Gloucester City including a 6-2 win in the Southern Premier League back in 1990. Dartford’s last home defeat against the Tigers was in 1984.

Dartford are unbeaten at home against teams currently lower than eighth in the table (W6, D4).

Gloucester City have scored the fewest goals in the league, just 22 and have lost all eight games against sides in the top ten.

The Tigers have also recorded eight 0-0 draws this term helping them to the most clean sheets in the division (13). It also means they have failed to score more than any other club (16 times).

On This Day

Princes Park was rocking when Elliot Bradbrook scored a last minute winner against Wrexham six years ago. The Darts fell behind to a Danny Wright goal but equalised through Jack Evans. In stoppage time, Bradbrook headed in from a corner for a famous scalp. Both Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle missed out on a Kent derby win in 2010, the defensive duo were unavailable as the Darts beat local rivals Maidstone United 1-0, Lee Burns netting the winner. The two games prior that victory also ended 1-0 to Dartford, in 1996 Dean Bowey’s goal versus Furness in the Kent Trophy semi-final sent the Darts through to the final which they won, and in 1991 Bashley were beaten in the Southern Premier League. Dartford have won their last five games on 9 March and the run started in 1987 when Nuneaton Borough were beaten 3-1 in the F.A Trophy lquarter-final. The Darts have not tasted defeat on this day since 1964, a run of nine matches.

Hemel Hempstead Town v Dartford

Dartford are back in action on Tuesday night when they visit Hemel Hempstead Town and hope to put the weekend’s defeat behind them.

Despite a loss at Dulwich Hamlet, the Darts remain in seventh place thanks to the top six struggling to get positive results too. On Tuesday night the picture could easily change, a win will move Dartford into sixth, whilst defeat and a Wealdstone victory will see the Darts drop out of the playoff places.

Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle were unable to select Ryan Hayes on the weekend allowing Lee Noble to play out wide with Billy Crook coming in to the starting eleven. Jordan Wynter (arm) and Charlie Sheringham (ankle) were unavailable through injury, whilst in form strikers Darren McQueen and Phil Roberts were paired together up front again. Unfortunately, the form showed by McQueen and Roberts of late failed to materialise and for the first time since Boxing Day the Darts failed to find the net. Instead, new Dulwich Hamlet signing Jamie Mascoll opened the scoring in the first half and in the final minute Decarrey Sheriff sealed the win for the hosts at Champion Hill.

Earlier in the season, the Darts drew with Hemel Hempstead Town 0-0 at Princes Park and had a golden opportunity to win. With ten minutes to go the Darts won a penalty which Jamie Philpot blasted over the bar. The stalemate extended the Darts unbeaten run over the Tudors to six, which included a double over the Hertfordshire club last term.

Elliot Bradbrook will have fond memories of his last trip to Vauxhall Road, the midfielder’s brace of penalties either side Alfie Pavey’s goal gave the Darts a 3-0 victory. At Princes Park, it was Andy Pugh’s turn to score twice and help Dartford come from a goal down to win 3-2, Pavey was on hand again with a last minute winner, nine minutes after Pugh had equalised. In April 2017, Bradbrook scored another penalty at Vauxhall Road against the Tudors in a 2-2, Luke Wanadio was Dartford’s other scorer that day.

The only defeat tasted by the Darts against Hemel Hempstead Town came in 2015 on the opening day of the season. The Darts had just been relegated to the National South, whilst the Tudors finished a respectable ninth in their debut season at National South level. The game was settled by Oliver Hawkins, who now plays for Portsmouth in League One.

Hemel Hempstead Town have won just won of their last twelve National South games, but they have managed to pick up six draws in that time. On the weekend the Tudors fell to a single goal loss at Slough Town where Lee Togwell’s goal was enough to condemn Joe Deeney’s team to defeat. Deeney has been in charge at Vauxhall Road since the departure of Dean Brennan, who left to take the Billericay Town managerial role. The former assistant manager at Oxford City took charge in November and has recorded just four league wins in seventeen outings.

The Tudors last won at home almost three months ago and their last game at Vauxhall Road finished in a 2-2 draw with Concord Rangers. In fact they have drawn three of their last four home games, the only exception was the 4-1 loss against Torquay United.

Head to Head

Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 4 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Hemel Hempstead Town (LDLDLD) Dartford (LWDWWD)
Slough Town A 0-1 Dulwich Hamlet A 0-2
Concord Rangers H 2-2 Woking H 2-0
Woking A 1-3 Slough Town A 2-2
Dulwich Hamlet A 3-3 Bath City H 3-0
Torquay United H 1-4 Woking A 1-0
Chippenham Town A 1-1 Concord Rangers H 1-1

Previous Meetings

11.08.2018 Dartford 0 Hemel Hempstead Town 0
17.03.2018 Dartford 3 Hemel Hempstead Town 2
26.08.2017 Hemel Hempstead Town 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

Stats 

Dartford last failed to score in two consecutive away games back on matchday six, the Darts lost 2-0 to Concord Rangers on 14th August and 1-0 to Hungerford Town on 25th August. The barren spell lasted one more away game in a 2-0 loss at St Albans City on 1st September.

Hemel Hempstead Town have managed one win in eleven against teams in the top seven. At home they have managed two points from the top nine out of the 21 available.

The Tudors had scored in 14 consecutive league games before their blank on the weekend, the Darts had scored in ten games in a row before the 2-0 reverse at Dulwich Hamlet.

On This Day

Dartford last won on this day eight years ago when they left it late to beat Maidenhead United at Princes Park. With the game goaless until the seventieth minute, Ryan Hayes cross found Charlie Sheringham to give the Darts the lead. In the final four minutes Elliot Bradbrook scored twice to put the result beyond doubt. Since then, Dartford drew 1-1 with Stockport County in 2013, the National League fixture finished level after Danny Harris rescued a point for the hosts. The last outing on 5 March ended in defeat at Weston-super-Mare in which a mass brawl saw Elliot Bradbrook sent off. The Darts were two down by the time George Sykes pulled a goal back before half-time, but early in the second half the dismissal left Dartford with ten men for the final 53 minutes.

Dulwich Hamlet v Dartford

Dartford’s fixture this weekend has the potential to pull in a big crowd at Champion Hill where the Darts visit Dulwich Hamlet, last season’s Isthmian Premier Playoff winners.

The Darts make the short trip to South East London on the back of beating title challengers Woking and on a run of just one defeat in their last ten National South games. Victory last weekend completed a fantastic double over the Cards without conceding against the team looking to get back up into the National League.

Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle had to shuffle the defence slightly with Jordan Wynter ruled out through injury, Mark Onyemah replaced the full-back and performed as if he had never been away from the starting eleven. With Charlie Sheringham still not fit, the front two of Phil Roberts and loanee Darren McQueen proved their worth. Both strikers found the back of the net in a 2-0 win, Roberts has now scored five in his last seven league appearances, whilst McQueen has two goals in his first two games for the club.

Joint manager, Jamie Coyle was delighted with the performance and told www.kentonline.co.uk: “I’m absolutely over the moon, to play the team at the top of the league and for our keeper not to be bothered apart from one save is testament to the whole team and how well we defended collectively”, he added: “We defended really well and it wasn’t just the back five, it was the whole team. Out of possession, we had brilliant shape, it was hard to break down and we frustrated them”.

Coyle believes his squad have come to terms with the ‘Dartford way’, he said: “We always knew we’ve got some fantastic characters and when they all started to gel together, with the new boys buying into the philosophy of the club, we’re now getting 11 players that are all singing from the same hymn sheet and really driving forward”.

The Darts struggled in front of goal for the majority of the campaign, but now with Phil Roberts and Darren McQueen making good claims to start on the weekend, Charlie Sheringham and Andy Pugh in the squad Dartford’s attacking intent should improve for the run-in to the end of the season.

It has been just under twelve and half years since Dartford last played at Champion Hill in front of 300 supporters. Since then both sides have seen their attendances swell with the Darts returning home in 2006 and Hamlet attracting new fans over recent years. After the Woking game, captain Tom Bonner commented on how the bigger crowds play a part, he commented: “I’ve been here six years and I can’t think of too many games where we’ve been bad when the place is rocking. It just went to show on Saturday; a rocking crowd and we were brilliant”. Hopefully a large number of Dartford fans will be there at Champion Hill too.

When the two sides last met in SE22, Hamlet won 3-2 with Dartford’s goals coming from Dave Martin and Eddie McClements. Eight weeks later Dartford opened their new stadium at Princes Park after fourteen homeless years. The Hamlet have only just recently experienced homelessness even if it was temporary, the Southwark based club were forced to groundshare with Tooting and Mitcham United and after months of wrangling with Meadow Partners they returned home on Boxing Day.

Gavin Rose’s Hamlet side have conceded eight goals in their last two outings, five of which came against new league leaders Torquay United. The South Londoners found themselves brushed aside and were 4-0 down at half-time. The second half improved with goals from Dipo Akinyemi and Nathan Green but that just reduced the deficit to 5-2. Dulwich Hamlet are unbeaten in two at Champion Hill with their last outing there finishing 3-3 with Hemel Hempstead Town. Decarrey Sheriff’s last minute penalty rescued a point for Hamlet as they fought back from a two goal deficit.

Rose gave debuts to three new signings in the heavy loss at Torquay United including former Dart, Luke Wanadio. The winger made 53 appearances during the 2016/2017 season and scored 13 times before joining Bromley. Wanadio joined Dulwich Hamlet on loan from National League strugglers Aldershot Town. Aryan Tajbakhsh and Jamie Mascoll are the other new signings.

Having won promotion last term and starting the campaign away from home, Rose’s side will be content to consolidate their status in the National South. As it stands the South London club are six points above the drop zone in eighteenth place.

Head to Head

Dulwich Hamlet wins: 2 / Dartford wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dulwich Hamlet (LDWDLD) Dartford (WDWWDL)
Torquay United A 2-5 Woking H 2-0
Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-3 Slough Town A 2-2
Welling United H 2-1 Bath City H 3-0
Concord Rangers A 0-0 Woking A 1-0
Chelmsford City H 1-3 Concord Rangers H 1-1
East Thurrock United A 0-0 Chelmsford City A 1-2

Previous Meetings

20.10.2019 Dartford 2 Dulwich Hamlet 1
31.03.2007 Dartford 1 Dulwich Hamlet 1
19.09.2006 Dulwich Hamlet 3 Dartford 2
09.12.1996 Dulwich Hamlet 3 Dartford 1
04.12.1996 Dartford 0 Dulwich Hamlet 0

Stats

The Darts have kept three clean sheets in their last four league games. Before that they had only kept two in the previous twenty league matches.

A win for Dartford will complete a third double against a side this season having recently beaten Bath City and Woking.

Dartford have won two away games out of six against sides currently in the bottom half of the table

On This Day

Unbeaten in four games on the 2 March, Dartford last won on this day in 1996, a 3-1 victory over Sheppey United in the Kent League. Since then, the Darts have drawn two in a row at home to Banbury United in 2002 with the Southern League Division One East fixture ending 1-1. More recently, the Darts drew 2-2 away with Southport six years ago. Tom Bonner was on the scoresheet as the Darts were pegged back twice, Harry Crawford scored the opener. The unbeaten run goes back to 1991 when the Darts beat Burton Albion 2-0 in the Southern Premier League.