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Dartford v Dover Athletic

The Darts return to Conference South action against Kent rivals Dover Athletic on Saturday hoping to repeat last season’s corresponding fixture.

The Darts celebrate one of four goals in last season's meeting

Over the Easter period Dartford put in one of their performances of the season by brushing Dover aside in an excellent 4-0 victory. Charlie Sheringham gave The Darts the lead heading home a Lee Noble corner mid way through the first half. Tom Champion made it two nil in the second half and moments later Danny Harris acute lob made it three. The lead was extended to four when Sheringham scored his second to complete the triumph.

James Rogers was involved in Dartford’s victory last season and he may face his former club again after missing the fixture in August. Jon Wallis will also hope to play a part this time at Princes Park after being on the receiving end for Dover in April.

At The Crabble in August the two sides played out a 2-2 draw with Dover twice coming from behind to share the spoils. Sheringham opened the scoring in seconds but ex Dartford loanee George Purcell equalised for The Whites. Elliot Bradbrook made it 2-1 in first half injury time from a Richard Graham cross and on the hour Billy Bricknell earned Dover a point.

Dartford enter the Kent derby unbeaten in six league and cup matches after Tuesday’s replay win against Eastbourne Borough. Tony Burman spoke to PURE DFC about the replay, he said: “It was difficult for the guys first half because Eastbourne played at lot of people behind the ball. We’ve got to keep our concentration for a long time but having said that we got to make something happen”.

The Dartford boss was keen to address the first half difficulties at the break, he added: “We said at half time we had to keep our cool and we have got to make something happen. Whether that is a deflected shot or whether it comes off someone’s backside, or anything we need to make something happen ourselves.”

Tom Champion after his goal on Tuesday night

In the second half The Darts took the lead through Champion’s long range effort and from then on Burman was happier with his side, he commented: “It was a great strike, as soon as that happened and we went a goal up they started to move around a lot better, the passing got a little bit better and we had a little bit of belief, a little bit of confidence”.

After a second goal from Danny Harris, Eastbourne Borough were awarded a dubious penalty. Former Dart Carl Rook scored and The Dartford boss was far from impressed with the officials, he said: “The referee in my opinion had a howler, it was a bad decision for the penalty. To me the fellow has fallen over his own man and I can’t believe that the linesman can’t help the referee out in that situation he must have seen it”.

With full attention now on the home league match against Dover Athletic, Burman is asking for the fans to play their part, he added: “I really hope that the supporters get behind the team on Saturday. It is a big game to look forward to and with that support I’m sure the players will react and put in a good performance”.

Dover Athletic have changed manager since our visit to The Crabble. Martin Hayes was replaced with former football league striker Nicky Forster at the end of September. The Whites travel to Princes Park on the back of three straight defeats, two against Boreham Wood. The recent run of results have been Forster’s toughest test so far having drawn one and won four in the league matches prior their current poor form. The Whites enter Saturday’s derby six points behind Dartford and four points shy of the playoffs.

Forster has added Argentinian midfielder Agustin Battipiedi and winger Leon Redwood both from Brighton and Hove Albion since Dartford last played them in August. Kyle Vassell signed with The Whites from Brentford to bolster Dover’s attack.

Statistics

Dartford (4th) versus Dover Athletic (7th)

Current Form (league only)

Last five Dartford matches at home Last five Dover Athletic matches away
Drew 1-1 v Weston Super-Mare Lost 2-4 v Boreham Wood
Lost 1-2 v Truro City Won 4-1 v Maidenhead United
Won 3-1 v Tonbridge Angels Won 1-0 v Bromley
Won 2-1 v Staines Town Drew 0-0 v Welling United
Won 3-0 v Eastleigh Lost 1-3 v Woking

Attendances

Dartford average home attendance: 1185

Highest home attendance: 1550 v Bromley/ Lowest: 937 v Hampton and Richmond

Dover Athletic average away attendance: 726

Highest away attendance: 1306 v Woking / Lowest: 261 v Boreham Wood

Did you know…

Dartford are unbeaten against Dover Athletic in three matches, scoring eight and conceding just two goals.

Only Woking have conceded less second half goals than Dartford and Dover Athletic in the Conference South this season.

The Darts have netted in every competitive home fixture this season.

The Whites have yet to concede a league goal between 16 and 30 minutes.

*Attendances taken from www.bluesqsouth.com and minutes of goals scored taken from www.bbc.co.uk

Pictures courtesy of Dave Adkins

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