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Dartford v Chelmsford City

Dartford will be determined to change their fortunes against Chelmsford City this weekend at Princes Park.

Although the Darts won the corresponding fixture last season, it was a rare victory against the Clarets. Elliot Bradbrook settled the match to claim Dartford’s only triumph in this fixture in nine previous attempts. The last two meetings have been at Melbourne Stadium with the Essex club securing a 4-0 win in August and a 2-1 victory just over a year ago.

Dartford followed up progression to the Kent Senior Cup final with a win at St Albans City last weekend, a ground where the Darts had lost in all the previous four visits there without even scoring. When Joe Iaciofano put the National South strugglers ahead from the spot, the Darts could have easily felt that the inevitable defeat was about to happen. However, Steve King’s side had other ideas and within seven minutes the Darts were level when Liam Nash scored his second league goal of the campaign. Five minutes into the second-half Dartford went ahead when they were awarded the second penalty of the afternoon, up stepped Darren McQueen to move his season’s tally to 18 in all competitions.

Steve King described Dartford’s performance as ‘gritty’ and was pleased with the two tactical sides his team needed to show. Whilst the first half was full of attacking intent, the second half was opposite, he explained to DFCTV: ‘’We dug deep, St Albans had a right go at us in the second half with long throws coming into our box, which we had to defend properly and I think we got it spot on’’. He added ‘’We showed another side where we didn’t want to get beaten and people were putting their body on the line’’. The Dartford boss was also delighted with Nash’s goal, work ethic and link up play. The striker told DFCTV after the 2-1 victory: ‘’I’m happy to contribute, my main objective in every game is to score, but I don’t put too much pressure on myself and I try to give an all-round game’’.

Chelmsford City are still hopeful they can reach the top seven and a playoff spot. Results this term had been inconsistent under Rod Stringer and after a 6-2 home defeat to Oxford City in November the former boss was under pressure. Although results improved over the next eight games where the Clarets won four and drew three, the 1-0 reverse at bottom side Hungerford Town was the final straw. At one point it looked as though the new manager was going to be the experienced Garry Hill, however the parties couldn’t agree terms.

Instead Robbie Simpson has been in charge on a temporary basis, he only signed for the club in August after he was released by Milton Keynes Dons. The striker has plenty of playing experience notably representing Cambridge United, Coventry City, Oldham Athletic and Exeter City. Celebrating his birthday this weekend, Simpson initially got off to a difficult start when his conceded five in his first match losing 5-3 at Dulwich Hamlet, the following match was a 2-0 loss at Dorking Wanderers.

However, the Clarets went three games unbeaten with a 3-1 home win over Tonbridge Angels and a creditable 1-1 draw with Slough Town. Struggling on the road this season with just two away wins in the National South, Simpson took his side to league leaders Wealdstone and came home with all three points. Former Dart, Tom Knowles netted the winning goal, but he has since returned to his parent club Cambridge United after 24 appearances and five goals for the Clarets.

On the weekend, Chelmsford City hosted F.A Trophy semi-finalists Concord Rangers in an Essex derby and drew 1-1. The Clarets earned a point despite playing 70 minutes a man down after Troy Brown was sent off. Brown pulled back Concord Rangers striker Decarrey Sherriff to give away a penalty, Sherriff took the spot kick and scored. The equaliser came four minutes prior half-time, Shaun Jeffers set up Tom Wraight who shot past Chris Haigh in the Concord goal.

Speaking to www.chelmsfordcityfc.com manager Simpson said: “I was disappointed until the sending off, games are running out and we can’t afford to not do the right things. It took us until the sending off to get going and do the basics properly. But after that I’m was so proud of my players, they ran their socks off and stuck to the task”.

Simpson can all upon the experience of former Premier League striker Leroy Lita, who came out of retirement to play for Salisbury before penning a short-term deal with the Clarets. Lita made his name at Bristol City prior to his time in the top flight with Reading and Swansea City. Chez Isaac will return to Princes Park after he short spell with the Darts lasted three months, the midfielder made a dozen appearances under the management of Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle. Shaun Jeffers scored in this fixture in August 2016 in a 1-1 draw, the striker is Chelmsford City’s top scorer this term with 13 league goals.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 37 / Wealdstone wins: 57 / Draws: 21

Current League Form

Dartford (WDWLWW)Chelmsford City (DWDWLL)
St Albans CityA2-1Concord RangersH1-1
WealdstoneA0-0WealdstoneA1-0
Eastbourne BoroughH2-1Slough TownH1-1
Hampton & RichmondH1-2Tonbridge AngelsH3-1
Chippenham Town A5-1Dorking WanderersA0-2
Dulwich Hamlet H1-0Dulwich HamletA3-5

Last Six League Meetings

12.08.2019Chelmsford City4Dartford1
19.01.2019Chelmsford City 2Dartford1
07.08.2018Dartford1Chelmsford City0
10.02.2018Dartford1Dartford2
21.10.2017Chelmsford City1Chelmsford City0
18.02.2017Dartford0Chelmsford City1

Stats

Dartford have won just five games in their last 25 competitive matches against Chelmsford City (D5, L15).

The Darts win against the Clarets last term was the first in ten attempts at home.

On This Day

Dartford have played their last four games on 14 March at home with mixed fortunes. The Darts last victory on this day was in 1998 when they claimed a 4-0 win over Waterlooville, who would later merge with Havant Town to form next weekend’s opponents Havant and Waterlooville. Six years earlier, Dartford won by the same score against Poole Town, both matches were in the Southern Premier League. The last two fixtures also ended in the same score, this time a pair of 1-0 defeats. First, Harrow Borough came to Princes Park and won in the Isthmian Premier League back in 2009 and most recently in 2015, Alfreton Town beat the Darts in the National League.



St Albans City v Dartford

Buoyed by the fact the Darts reached a cup final this week, Dartford return to league action this weekend when they visit St Albans City.

The Darts have had nothing to show in their last four visits to Clarence Park, losing them all without even finding the back of the net. Dartford’s last victory there was nine years ago remembered by a freak long range Lee Burns header, but it was young Jack Pallen that scored the winner in a 2-1 triumph.

Over the last three weeks Steve King has made good use of the squad he has assembled with mid-week Kent Senior Cup games scheduled between National South fixtures. In that time the Darts have picked up four points from six, including the stalemate with league leaders Wealdstone and progressed through two rounds of the county cup to reach the final.

On Tuesday night a strong Dartford side strolled past Phoenix Sports in the semi-final. King made five changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Wealdstone, goalkeeper Alhaji Sesay was back in goal, Ronnie Vint replaced Josh Hill at centre back, Jake Jebb made his second start for the club. Luke Wanadio and Liam Nash who were on the bench against the Stones were selected to start. Goals from Jordan Wynter, Liam Nash’s brace, Elliott Romain and Amrit Bansal-McNulty, who has now extended his loan until the end of the season earned the Darts a comprehensive 5-1 victory.

In Dartford’s last league game, King made six changes to the side and his team came away with a creditable draw with league leaders Wealdstone. A solid defence, in which Tom Bonner and Josh Hill excelled, and the impact of Wanadio’s appearance from off the bench were positives in difficult playing conditions. Dartford survived the biggest moment of the match though when Weadstone’s Dennon Lewis missed a penalty.

The Darts bagged their first point of the season when they last played St Albans City in August under the guidance of Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle. New signing and current top scorer for the Saints, Joe Iaciofano scored for the Hertfordshore club, his first goal of the campaign to give the visitors the lead. However, Wanadio netted his first goal since returning to the Darts in the second half.

At Princes Park, Dartford have fared better against the Saints, but it’s the away fixture against Ian Allinson’s side that has troubled them over the last four years. St Albans City have won four in a row against the Darts on their own patch scoring eleven without reply. Last season, Dartford were beaten 2-0 when Solomon Sambou and Khale da Costa scored. The year before on the final day of the season, Sam Merson’s brace helped the Saints to a 4-0 win, Charlie Walker scored the only goal three years ago and two own goals contributed to another 4-0 reverse for the Darts in 2016.

St Albans City are in a relegation fight sitting second from bottom in the National South with just three home wins in the league this season. Although form has picked up for Ian Allinson’s side as they try and get themselves out of trouble in a very tight battle at the bottom, only a point separate St Albans City in 21st and Concord Rangers fifteenth place

Last weekend, they lost a six pointer against Chippenham Town with former Dartford defender Tom Bender heading the Saints in front. However, two goals in the space of four minutes turned the match around when Kieran Parselle then Scott Twine helped Chippenham Town to victory. Bender made 20 appearances for the Darts during the 2014/2015 campaign and scored against the Darts in 2016 for St Albans City, a season later he scored an own goal which gave Dartford a home victory.

However last month, the Saints did beat promotion chasers Bath City then Havant and Waterlooville on the road. Their last victory at home, four weeks ago, was against Maidstone United. Out of the teams around the relegation zone, St Albans City have one of the better records over the last eight games.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / St Albans City wins: 5 / Draws: 5

Current League Form

Dartford (DWLWWL) St Albans (LWDWLL)
WealdstoneH0-0Chippenham TownA1-2
Eastbourne Borough H2-1Havant & WaterloovilleA2-1
Hampton & Richmond H1-2Oxford CityH0-0
Chippenham Town A5-1Bath CityA3-0
Dulwich Hamlet H1-0Welling UnitedH1-2
Slough Town A0-1 Hampton & RichmondA1-2

Last Six Meetings

06.08.2019Dartford1St Albans City1
12.01.2019Dartford3St Albans City2
01.09.2018St Albans City 2Dartford0
03.02.2018St Albans City 4Dartford0
28.10.2017Dartford2St Albans City 1
25.03.2017St Albans City 1Dartford0

Stats

The last away win in this fixture was on 8 November 2016, when St Albans City won 2-0 at Princes Park. Since then the home side has won five of the last six.

The Darts have gone eight games without a clean sheet against St Albans City.

Dartford’s draw with Wealdstone was their 200th league game since relegation from the National League. The Darts have won 100, drawn 46, lost 54, scored 331 goals and conceded 246 in that time.

St Albans City have lost all four home games against sides in the top five, but they have drawn all three against the teams directly below the Darts.

Only Hungerford Town have picked up fewer points at home than St Albans City this season.

On This Day

Inflatable penguins made their debut when Dartford last won on 7 March in 1989, the Darts beat Atherstone United 3-0 at Watling Street in the Southern League Cup semi-final first leg on their way to wining the competition. Thirty years ago, Dartford drew 2-2 with Welling United in the last eight of the Kent Senior Cup and then 0-0 with Gloucester City two years later in the Southern Premier League. Witney Town beat Dartford 3-1 in 1998, Tommy Osborne and Adam Gross scored in a 2-2 draw with Margate in 2009. The last two games have seen the Darts fail to score, in front of the BT Sports cameras six years ago Dartford lost 1-0 at home to Chester and a year later, the Darts drew 0-0 at FC Halifax Town.

Dartford v Phoenix Sports

Dartford are one game away from reaching the Kent Senior Cup final when they host Phoenix Sports in the last four on Tuesday night.

The Darts last reached the final four years ago when they beat Charlton Athletic and are bidding to win the competition for the twelfth time in their history. Standing in the way, Isthmian South East side Phoenix Sports are aiming to cause an upset to have a shot at claiming their first ever county cup.

In the first competitive meeting between the two sides, the pair have often played against each other in pre-season friendlies because of the proximity of both clubs, Dartford’s opponents are based in Barnehurst just three and a half miles away.

After the quarter-final victory in the last round, Dartford boss Steve King stated he was taking the competition seriously and despite fielding many players trying to force their way into the first team, the Darts beat Folkestone Invicta 4-0. After a flowing move down the right between Amrit Bansal-McNulty and Tyrique Hyde, striker Liam Nash headed in the opener. Hyde added a second from the spot in the first half and after the break Billy Crook scored his first for the club. Elliott Romain came off the subs bench and added a fourth.

In the previous round Dartford beat Maidstone United 1-0 with King handing first starts to Craig Braham-Barrett and Nash. The only goal of the game was scored by Kyjoun Marsh-Brown to put the Darts into the last eight of the competition.

Since Dartford’s win in the last eight they were back in National South action against league leaders Wealdstone. King made five changes with Craig Braham-Barrett, Tom Bonner, Noor Husin, Elliott Romain and Darren McQueen returning to the starting eleven, whilst Mark Smith kept his place in goal. The game ended 0-0 with the Stones spurning the best chance when Dennon Lewis missed a penalty.

Phoenix Sports have played three games in the Kent Senior Cup to reach the last four and they started of their campaign back in November. The Sports beat a youthful looking Margate side in round one racking up four goals. Ben Allen opened the scoring and added another before Margate’s William Risdon was sent off. On the hour Allen completed his hat-trick and a fourth was netted by Jeff Duah-Kessie, there was time for a consolation game when Elliott Reeves made it 4-1.

In round two, Paul Byron’s side beat a Charlton Athletic under 23’s team 2-1 by coming from behind. The Addicks took advantage of winning a penalty when Junior Quitirna gave the London club the lead. However, two goals in a minute after the interval from Lauris Chin and Duah-Kessie put Phoenix Sports into the last eight.

In the semi-final Phoenix Sports were drawn against Isthmian South East title contenders Ashford United. Lee Bird put Phoenix Sports ahead with a delightful lob over home goalkeeper Sam Mott. David Smith levelled the tie for the hosts, but with three minutes remaining Phoenix Sports were awarded a penalty, Kenny Alireu sent Mott the wrong way to claim the winner.

Phoenix Sports are currently ninth in the Isthmian South East division, two steps below the Darts. They are currently ten points off the playoff places and have Ashley Probets in their squad, the defender played for Dartford during pre-season in 2010 but couldn’t quite earn a place in the squad after Tony Burman signed Tom Bonner instead.

The other semi-final will be between Whitsable Town and Dover Athletic or Gillingham.

Stats

Steve King has used 20 players in the two rounds that Dartford have played in this season’s Kent Senior Cup

If Dartford win the semi-final they will reach their 25th Kent Senior Cup final.

On This Day

Dartford reached the Kent Senior Cup final back in 1987 when they beat Ashford Town 1-0, the Darts went on to beat Maidstone United to lift the cup without conceding a goal in the competition. The Darts retained the cup the season after and didn’t concede a single goal in that campaign either.