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Dartford v Maidstone United

Steve King takes charge of his first Kent derby as Dartford boss this weekend when his side hosts local rivals Maidstone United in the first of a double header.

The Darts will host the Stones this weekend and have been drawn away against them in the F.A trophy third qualifying round, which takes place next weekend. As well as the return National South fixture in April, the pair have also been drawn against each other in the Kent Senior Cup.

It has been almost four years to the day since the Darts last hosted the Stones in the National South, although the two were drawn in the Kent Senior Cup back in January. Since the arrival of Steve King, Dartford have won two and drawn one in the league but are without a home win since August. Meanwhile, Maidstone United fresh from their F.A Cup first round triumph are unbeaten in three league games, but without an away win since the first match in September.

Former Dartford manager John Still will be in the opposite dugout this weekend, the 69-year-old became Darts manager in 1983 leading the club to the Southern Premier League title in his first season. In the following campaign, Still guided the club to third in what is now the National League, which remains Dartford’s best ever league finish. He resigned in January 1986 after a difficult time on and off the pitch for the Darts in a season they ended up relegated, it took the club 26 years to return to the National League.

After the last set of Champions League games there was plenty of amusement at the fact an outfield player went in goal, this has become a familiar scenario in the last two games between Dartford and Maidstone United. In the Kent Senior Cup ten months ago, the Darts took the lead when Charlie Sheringham scored from a penalty, not the first time a spot kick was needed that night. The Stones won a penalty of their own five minutes before the break, which Bailey Vose saved.

Early in the second half goalkeeper Vose received his marching orders for a foul on Elliot Romain, now an in-form Dartford striker, leaving midfielder Ben Greenhalgh between the sticks for almost the entire second half. An inspired performance by Greenhalgh kept the score at 1-0 until nine minutes from time when Romain equalised. A penalty shoot-out followed and after 15 perfect spot kicks Maidstone United goalkeeper Josh Strizovic saved Daniel Johnson’s effort, sending the Stones into the last four.

In April 2016, Lee Burns ended up in goal during the closing stages of the game after Deren Ibrahim suffered an arm injury. Nathan Ferguson’s second-half winner was enough to earn Dartford a 2-1 win at the Gallagher Stadium, Elliot Bradbrook’s penalty was earlier cancelled out by Keaton Wood’s own goal.

However, the last Princes Park meeting in November 2015 ended all square in which current squad members Andy Pugh, Ryan Hayes, Ronnie Vint and Lee Noble all played a part. Alex Flisher, who had a spell with the Darts this season headed Maidstone United in front and with eight minutes to go Elliot Bradbrook’s equalised. The midfielder’s effort was initially ruled out for offside until it was overturned causing some controversy.

Four years ago, several players had represented both clubs, nowadays there are not so many. Aside from Romain the only other player who can list Dartford and Maidstone United in their career history is Ryan Johnson, the defender was part of Dartford’s Isthmian Premier League title winning squad in 2009/2010 making 17 appearances and scoring one goal.

Romain joined the Darts from Eastbourne Borough and the striker has scored twice in his first three appearances for the club. He was on target in the 2-1 away win at Hampton and Richmond Borough over a week ago and netted against his former side in the 2-0 victory at Priory Lane. Another of King’s signings found themselves of the scoresheet in Dartford’s last triumph, Kyjoun Marsh-Brown scored the opener versus Hampton and Richmond.

Dartford will be without Lee Noble who will no longer need an operation on his knee, Charlie Sheringham has been out with a dislocated shoulder, Jordan Wynter has been side-lined and Sam Blackman is yet to return from his pre-season leg break. King has already drafted in full back Liam Gordon from Dagenham and Redbridge to replace the departed Mark Onyemah, whilst Ben Greenhalgh has gone out on loan with Tonbridge Angels. The Dartford boss is looking to strengthen the squad and although he has left out wingers Ryan Hayes and Luke Wanadio in his selections, King claims he is still a fan of wingers and a traditional 4-4-2 formation but is looking for a ‘ball winner’ in midfield.

The Stones were involved in the F.A Cup last weekend taking part in the first round for the sixth consecutive season. An own goal by Torquay United’s Matt Buse was the difference sending Maidstone United through to the second round with a 1-0 win, the Kent side will face League One side Blackpool.

Both Dartford and Maidstone United played in form Hampton and Richmond Borough in their last league games. Whilst the Darts won in their trip to the Beveree, the Stones suffered a 2-1 loss ending a seven-game unbeaten run in all competitions. Kyron Farrell gave the hosts an early lead which was cancelled out by Nana Kyei, however Tyrone Lewthwaite scored a last-minute winner for Hampton and Richmond Borough. The Stones have drawn their last two away games, first they recorded a 1-1 draw with Bath City then repeated the same score line against Braintree Town.

John Still has some experience heads in his squad with the likes of former Wolverhampton Wanderers defender George Elokobi, where he made 85 appearances and Gavin Hoyte, who has represented several Football League clubs. Whilst Matt McClure is the club’s top scorer this term with Dan Wishart close behind.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 44 / Maidstone United wins: 44 / Draws: 17

Last Six Meetings

22.01.2019* Dartford 1 Maidstone United 1
09.04.2016 Maidstone United 1 Dartford 2
14.11.2015 Dartford 1 Maidstone United 1
20.03.2010 Dartford 3 Maidstone United 0
09.03.2010 Maidstone United 0 Dartford 1
31.01.2009 Dartford 1 Maidstone United 0

* – Kent Senior Cup, Maidstone United won 8-7 on penalties

Stats

Dartford are unbeaten in their last six league games against Maidstone United, winning five.

The Stones last beat Dartford in the league back in 2007 and the last away victory in league over the Darts came in 1978.

On This Day

John Still was in charge of the Darts on this day in 1985 when his side travelled to AFC Bournemouth in the F.A Cup first round. A 0-0 draw secured a replay, however for the second season in a row Dartford lost the rematch to the same opponents, this time a round earlier. Dartford last played on 16 November in 2015 when they knocked Gillingham out of the Kent Senior Cup second round, ending a run of seven games without a win on this day. In 2010, Tony Burman led his team out at Vale Park losing 4-0 in the F.A Cup first round replay to Port Vale. The last league triumph on 16 November came way back in 1963 when Dartford beat Wellington Town 5-3 at home in the Southern Premier League.

Hampton and Richmond Borough v Dartford

Dartford have the chance to overtake their opponents on Tuesday night with victory against Hampton and Richmond Borough in the National South.

The Darts visit the Beveree on the back of some excellent form on the road, whilst the Beavers have currently won their last four league outings. Steve King’s side know a win will move them up to at least thirteenth in the table, their highest placing of the season. Whilst Hampton and Richmond Borough could enter the top ten with a victory.

King has now been in charge for two league matches taking four points and so far he is content with the return, he spoke to the Darts Media Team after the 2-0 win at Eastbourne Borough on the weekend: “Unbeaten in the league, I’m happy with that. Two points per game is decent, but we’re a work in progress. We’ve brought three or four in and there will be more comings and goings, but we just have to trying to mold what we’re doing. The guys have been brilliant and bought into what we’ve asked and they have been fantastic so far and they are a lovely group to work with”.

Liam Gordon made his debut on the weekend against Eastbourne Borough, after arriving on loan from Dagenham and Redbridge, and Kyjuon Keanu-Marsh came off the bench for his first appearance. Gordon replaced the departed Mark Onyemah and Norman Wabo was named in the starting eleven instead of Andy Pugh. Once again, King opted to play a narrow formation and with the selection of Wabo injected more pace up front. Wabo started the scoring grabbing his fourth of the campaign, but the goal of the day belonged to Elliott Romain who opened his Dartford account in only his second game. The former Eastbourne Borough striker’s scorching 30 yard effort made sure the Darts recorded a 2-0 triumph.

After the game, defender Josh Hill echoed his manager’s sentiment, he commented: “It was a great win it was a really good win. The conditions were horrible and it was always going to be about the team that dealt with the conditions the best. We were really solid at the back, but also all eleven of us defended well, we were really organised”. Hill is also excited about what’s in store for the Darts, he explained: “For the first few games we’ve done alright, but it can only get better. As King gets his ideas across we can only get stronger and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season”. Looking at the short term, Hill added that Tuesday’s fixture “will be a different type of game because the conditions won’t be as bad. Away from home we’re going to games with more confidence”.

Dartford’s last trip to the Beveree was just under a year ago when they won 1-0 and it was Charlie Sheringham’s header that was decisive. In March the two sides drew 2-2 at Princes Park in the last meeting between them. Darren McQueen came off the bench to score a last minute equaliser, whilst earlier Sheringham netted a penalty. Hampton and Richmond Borough twice took the lead through Oliver Sprague then Christopher Dickson.

On the weekend Hampton and Richmond Borough secured their fourth consecutive win beating Dartford’s local rivals Maidstone United. The Beavers left it late, as substitute Tyrone Lewthwaite won the game from close range. Earlier, Kyron Farrell’s long range shot put the hosts ahead, but Maidstone United equalised through Nana Kyei, who scored against his former club. Prior the 2-1 win at home to the Stones, Gary McCann’s side had not conceded in three matches providing the foundations to their current good form.

Danilo Orsi-Dadamo is one to watch if selected, having scored seven goals from 16 appearances this term. The striker signed from Hungerford Town in the summer and scored when he returned to Bulpit Lane at the end of last month. Prior the trip to Berkshire, the Beavers beat Kent sides Welling United and Tonbridge Angels and now they set their sights on another Kent scalp making it four in their last five outings.

Dartford will be without Lee Noble, however better news was announced last week in that the midfielder will not be out for as long as first anticipated. Charlie Sheringham is recovering from a dislocated shoulder, Jordan Wynter is still working on a return and Sam Blackman remains out. Mark Onyemah left the club last week after 115 appearances for the Darts over two spells.

Head to Head

Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 4 / Dartford wins: 6 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (WDWLWL) Hampton & Richmond (WWWWLL)
Eastbourne Borough A 2-0 Maidstone United H 2-1
Chippenham Town H 1-1 Hungerford Town A 2-0
Oxford City A 1-0 Welling United A 1-0
Slough Town H 2-3 Tonbridge Angels H 1-0
Concord Rangers A 2-0 Slough Town A 1-3
Dorking Wanderers H 3-4 Concord Rangers H 2-3

Last Six Meetings

23.03.2019 Dartford 2 Hampton & Richmond 2
17.11.2018 Hampton & Richmond 0 Dartford 1
30.03.2018 Dartford 1 Hampton & Richmond 0
02.09.2017 Hampton & Richmond 2 Dartford 2
17.04.2017 Dartford 3 Hampton & Richmond 1
29.08.2016 Hampton & Richmond 4 Dartford 1

Stats

Another away victory for the Darts will make it six in a row in all competitions matching the run from 17 February 2018 to 4 August 2018.

Dartford are unbeaten in five games against Hampton and Richmond Borough and have scored in their last eight versus the Beavers.

The Beavers have won just two of their last nine against the Darts, but in those victories they put four goals past Dartford in each game.

On This Day

Dartford’s last two matches on this day were both F.A Cup first round ties and on each occasion they were convincingly knocked out. Two years ago the Darts lost 5-1 to League Two side Swindon Town, Timi Elsnick scored either side of Harry Smith’s goal giving the visitors a three goal lead at half-time. Early second half goals from Amine Lingazi and Paul Mullin put the Robins five up, but Richard Sho-Silva got the biggest cheer of the afternoon with Dartford’s consolation seven minutes from time. Dartford also reached the same stage twelve months earlier going down 6-3 to National League club Sutton United. The Darts pegged the U’s back three times before the Surrey club ran away three unanswered goals in the last half hour. Elliot Bradbrook scored a brace as did Sutton United’s Maxime Biamou, Roarie Deacon and Ross Stearn, Duane Ofori-Acheampong was Dartford’s other goalscorer. The last league game played on the 5 November was the 2-1 win at Salisbury City. It’s been five years since the Darts played on Guy Fawkes Day when they beat Salisbury City in the National South. Dartford were behind after just 80 seconds but fought back with goals from Jon Wallis and Jacob Erskine. Other notable results include the 5-1 Southern League Division One East win over Aveley in 2005 and a 6-2 Kent League Cup triumph against Greenwich Borough in 1994.

Eastbourne Borough v Dartford

Dartford play their first away fixture under new manager Steve King, travelling to Eastbourne Borough this weekend in the National South.

Familiar with the football scene in Sussex during spells at Lewes and Whitehawk, King will be hoping to lead the Darts to their fifth consecutive victory on the road in all competitions. Dartford are just a point from the relegation zone and a triumph at Priory Lane will see them rise above their opponents.

Attempting to make his mark and change the playing style at the Darts, King’s squad has been hampered by injuries to key players. Lee Noble faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines whilst Charlie Sheringham, Jordan Wynter and Sam Blackman are a few weeks away from a return. Added to that list, Mark Onyemah who had just got over an operation in the summer, hobbled off against Chippenham Town with what looked like a hamstring problem. However, since taking over the helm at Princes Park, King has managed to sign full back Jordan Gibbons from Chelmsford City and striker Elliott Romain from this weekend’s opponents.

Both new signings made their league debuts last weekend in the 1-1 home draw with Chippenham Town. Gibbons had already made his full debut in the F.A Cup reverse against Kingstonian, the right back retained his place in the line up and impressed against Chippenham Town. Initially the Darts played a narrow formation with Billy Crook, Luke Allen and Cameron Brodie as a midfield trio with Andy Pugh behind strikers Romain and Darren McQueen. The visitors took the lead through Kieran Parselle after Dartford failed to clear a controversially awarded free kick, the goalscorer was to make another impact on the game later on. With the Darts chasing at least a point, wingers Ryan Hayes and Luke Wanadio came off the bench to stretch the Chippenham Town defence. With five minutes left, Parselle was sent off and three minutes later central defender, Josh Hill moved up front and expertly curled in the equaliser.

King was left disappointed at the decision to award the visitors the free kick leading up to their goal, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk after the game and said: “Their goal I was little bit upset about because it wasn’t a free-kick on the far side, the referee even said it wasn’t so why did he give it?”. However the Dartford boss was pleased with his team adapting to a new style, he commented: “We’re keeping good possession of the ball and they’ll get braver as it comes along, it’s just that last little bit and that will come in time”, he continued: “The boys can’t do anymore than what has been asked of them, I thought they applied themselves brilliantly and bought into the way we’re playing and what we want to do”.

The new Dartford boss is likely to continue shaping the squad with new players and one area he has hinted at is left back. The signing of Gibbons on the opposite side of the pitch has given the Darts a flavour of what to expect, he explained: “Jordan on the right will get better as games go and he plays more matches”, he added: “Saturday (against Chippenham) was his third 90 minutes in two months so as he gets fitter and stronger he’ll be able to do more. We need to be able to do that on the left-hand side as well so we’ll get a left-sider in that can do that bit”.

As well as Romain returning to Priory Lane, goalkeeper Mark Smith also had a spell with the Sports. Romain joined the Sussex club in the summer and was Lee Bradbury’s first signing, however with Bradbury’s departure almost a fortnight ago and financial issues at Eastbourne Borough, King snapped up Romain after he was released and his recent comments shows he has faith in the striker, he explained: “I think he’s capable of 20 goals in this division. He’s done it at other clubs, Eastbourne Borough, Dagenham and Redbridge, Maidstone United, so for this level he’s a 20 goal-a-season man. He will get better and better in the system I play as time goes by”. Smith spent the first half of last season at Eastbourne Borough before a spell with Billericay Town, Smith has been ever present in the Dartford goal this term.

Seven of the current Dartford squad featured in the humiliating defeat last time the Darts visited Priory Lane. Under the guidance of former managers Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle, Dartford recorded their worst defeat in sixteen years when they went down 6-0. Charlie Walker kept hold of the match ball after his hat-trick, Kane Wills, Michael West and Corey Jordan also found the back of the Dartford net. The F.A Trophy third qualifying tie at the same venue went much better almost a year ago, Kudus Oyenuga’s late equaliser forced a replay cancelling out Dean Cox’s strike, the Darts went on to lose the replay at Princes Park 3-2.

Eastbourne Borough played on Tuesday night and were denied all three points against ten men Weymouth. Walker gave the hosts the lead before the Terras missed a penalty then had Brett Williams sent off. Weymouth were awarded a second penalty eight minutes from time and this time Alex McCarthy scored. It was the Sport’s second 1-1 draw in a row after their stalemate at Hemel Hempstead Town on the weekend, Greg Luer equalising for the Sussex side. Eastbourne Borough have now drawn the most games in the division, seven of their 15 National South fixtures this season.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 10 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 6 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford (DWLWLL) Eastbourne Borough (DDWLDL)
Chippenham Town H 1-1 Weymouth H 1-1
Oxford City A 1-0 Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-1
Slough Town H 2-3 St Albans City A 3-1
Concord Rangers A 2-0 Chelmsford City H 0-4
Dorking Wanderers H 3-4 Bath City A 2-2
Tonbridge Angels A 2-3 Slough Town H 0-2

Last Six Meetings

20.04.2019 Eastbourne Borough 6 Dartford 0
27.11.2018 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 3
24.11.2018 Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1
08.09.2018 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 2
14.04.2018 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1
12.09.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 2

Stats

Dartford have won their last four away games in all competitions, a fifth consecutive victory will be the first time the Darts have achieved this feat since April 2018.

Four of Dartford’s five goals against the Sports last season came in the last five minutes of matches.

Prior the F.A Trophy defeat and 6-0 hiding last season, the Darts had gone 12 games unbeaten in all competitions against Eastbourne Borough (W8, D4).

On This Day

Dartford set up a F.A Cup first round tie with Aldershot on this day in 1968. The Darts travelled to Guildford in the fourth qualifying round and won 1-0 setting up a chance to avenge defeat against the Shots four years earlier in the same competition. Dartford also reached the first round in 1982 having survived a scare at Boreham Wood three days earlier. Aidan O’Sullivan’s late equaliser earned a replay which took place on 2 November, the Darts were forced into extra time before going through with a 2-1 victory. The last game on this day came six years ago when the Darts were beaten by Forest Green Rovers in the National League, James Norwood scored the decisive goal in a match that featured Ryan Hayes and Josh Hill. Ten years earlier, Dartford drew a F.A Trophy first round tie with Ashford Town (Middlesex) and two days later went out of the competition after a replay.