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Dartford v Sutton United

This weekend hopefully sees the visit of newly promoted and playoff contenders Sutton United at Princes Park.

Winter weather has disturbed Dartford’s schedule over the last fortnight with a number of postponements so staff, players and fans will be desperate for this game to go ahead.

Princes Park suffers wintry conditions

Dartford aim to make it eight straight wins in all competitions and maintain their one hundred percent start to 2012. The leagues top scorers have had plenty of rest since their extra time Kent Senior Cup triumph at Tonbridge Angels on the final day of last month.

Facing Sutton United should be a tough task for Tony Burman’s team. Over the two seasons in the Isthmian Premier League, The Darts have won once to Sutton United’s three triumphs.

The Darts last met Sutton United at Princes Park two years ago on their way to the Isthmian Premier League title. James Norwood gave the visitors a lead approaching half time sticking a low shot beyond Andrew Young. With eleven minutes remaining Sam Gargan made sure the away side went home with all three points. Despite defeat Dartford went on to win the league ahead of The U’s by a staggering eighteen points.

In November 2008 the visitors triumphed again in an entertaining five goal affair. David Hughes scored Sutton’s first and The U’s went into the break two up thanks to Chukki Eribenne’s turn and shot. The Darts started the second half well and pulled a goal back from a Danny Dafter flick at the near post. Sutton won a controversial penalty even though the foul took place outside the box, nonetheless Eribenne converted the spot kick to score the eventual winner. Rob Haworth nodded a consolation late on as The U’s ended up 3-2 winners.

The Darts have yet to face the Surrey side who have made great progress this season in both league and cup. The U’s suffered a baptism of fire in their opening fixture of the season with a crushing 5-0 defeat at home to Woking. Undeterred by their loss they put an excellent run together.

Danny Dafter craftily flicks in an attempt from a Ryan Hayes corner

Sutton United entered the playoffs on 10 September 2011 and have not dropped out since. A run of one defeat in fourteen after the opening game has helped Paul Doswell’s side accumulate enough points to maintain in a top five position. Over the last three months wins have turned to draws. Although the Isthmian League Champions have tasted defeat on only three more occasions they have only picked up two victories in their last eleven league matches.

So far the Surrey club have adapted well to the Conference South. To add to the early season successes they have also excelled in this years F.A Cup reaching the second round. The U’s knocked out Conference Premier side Kettering Town before bowing out to League One club Notts County.

Recently Sutton’s away form has been mixed, they have drawn with mid table sides Dorchester Town, Boreham Wood and Maidenhead United, defeated Chelmsford City  3-2 in an entertaining match and lost heavily to Eastleigh and Woking.

Paul Doswell strengthened the squad earlier this month by signing former Dagenham and Redbridge captain Anwar Uddin. In September he captured Joel Ledgister who impressed at Hampton and Richmond. Ledgister scored four league goals for The Beavers and added another two in the Conference South whilst with The U’s.

He can also rely on striker Craig Watkins who has scored 12 Conference South goals this season and his midfielder Harry Beautyman who has netted seven times in the leaue. Doswell raided one of his former clubs in the summer by capturing Anthony Riviere who scored for Eastleigh against Dartford last season and Tony Taggart who also joined Sutton United from The Spitfires.

Statistics (league only)

Dartford (2nd) v Sutton United (5th)

Current Form

Last five Dartford matches at home Last five Sutton United matches away
Won 6-0 v Thurrock Lost 0-4 v Eastleigh
Won 1-0  v Welling United Drew 1-1 v Maidenhead United
Drew 1-1 v Dorchester Town Won 3-2 v Chelmsford City
Lost 2-3 v Woking Drew 1-1 v Boreham Wood
Won 3-1 v Dover Athletic Lost 1-4 v Woking

Attendances

Dartford average home attendance: 1304 (2nd)

Highest home attendance: 2559 v Welling United/ Lowest: 924 v Dorchester Town

Thurrock average away attendance: 657 (9th)

Highest away attendance: 1730 v Woking / Lowest: 232v Boreham Wood

Did you know…

Dartford’s win against Thurrock secured their best winning league sequence since competing in the Conference South

In 2012, The Darts league record is won 5, drawn 0, lost 0, scored 18, conceded 3

Sutton United have the fourth best away record in the league, Dartford have the third best

The U’s are only one of three teams to have kept three consecutive clean sheets away from home, the other two teams are Boreham Wood and Dorchester Town

 


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