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Dartford v Forest Green Rovers

 

 

A third meeting in a fortnight with Forest Green Rovers awaits the Darts on Tuesday night at Princes Park.

Dartford will be hoping their F.A Cup exit has been put firmly behind them when they crashed out to Rovers in a replay. At the New Lawn a Jacob Erskine goal cancelled out James Norwood’s strike so the sides met again three days later.

It was looking good for the Darts in the return match when Harry Crawford scored in the first half until Yan Klukowski equalised. Klukowski completed a brace in the second half and goals from Matthew Taylor and Magno Vieira settled the cup tie.

After fourth qualifying round disappointment Tony Burman’s side went in front of the television cameras in a historic night at Princes Park just days later. Former football league side Mansfield Town became the next victim of Dartford’s hard work and commitment.

As the match approached half time the Darts hit double top when a well worked move was rolled home from the edge of the box by captain Elliot Bradbrook. All of a sudden it was 2-0, the Stags kicked off and winger Ryan Hayes intercepted a stray pass on the half way line, dribbled towards the edge of the box and curled a stunning shot into the top corner for a second goal in a minute.

Burman commented on his team’s attitude and display and told BBC Sport: “We rotated the squad, the guys have taken it in a professional manner and I’m delighted for them”, he added: “We put on a real good performance in front of a big crowd”.

Victory propelled the club into third place for a couple of hours at least and the Darts became the highest placed English non league team. Dartford have since dropped to fifth place after Grimsby Town’s win on Saturday and because Luton Town left it late to see off Forest Green Rovers last weekend.

Tuesday’s opponents went in front just after the break when Klukowski pounced on a goalkeeping error. Luton Town’s Stuart Fleet wood curled in a shot from the edge of the box before Rovers had Paul Green dismissed. In the final minute the Hatters stole the points from the spot thanks to Scott Rendell.

Dave Hockaday is not concerned by Forest Green Rovers fourth consecutive league defeat as he felt his side more than matched Luton Town, he spoke to BBC Sport and said: “We dominated our territory and had better of the possession, we just lost it at a couple of key moments but we have to learn”, he continued: “It’s four league games we’ve lost in a row, but I’m not worried because you couldn’t tell the two sides apart and we’re still right up there”.

Rovers run of defeats continued on Saturday but they fought back from 2-0 down in the F.A Cup in a spirited display. Against Dartford’s cup conquerors of two years ago Forest Green Rovers were eventually knocked out by League Two side Port Vale.

Vale opened the scoring early on through  Ashley Vincent and doubled their advantage five minutes later when Clayton McDonald put the visitors two up inside 12 minutes. James Norwood finished well before half time and on the other side of the break Eddie Oshodi tapped in from close range to level the tie. Vale substitute Ben Williamson had only been on the pitch for eight minutes when he netted the winner ten minutes from time.

For the third time this season the Darts entertain Forest Green Rovers looking for the first ever victory against the Gloucestershire club.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 0 / Forest Green Rovers wins: 1 / Draws: 3

Team News

Goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli returned after re-signing on loan until December. Tony Burman admitted to not giving enough game time to Louis Wells on BBC’s non league show but he wants Wells to regain ‘that title’ of being number one. Tom Champion returns from suspension which he served for picking up five cautions this campaign. If Lee Noble he will start his 100th league game for the Darts.

Forest Green Rovers will have Paul Green available to select after he missed Saturday’s F.A Cup tie with Port Vale. Jamie Collins has had surgery on his knee and is just over a month away from a return. Phil Marsh and Chris Todd are out on loan at  Hereford United.

Current League Form

Dartford (WDLWWW) Forest Green Rovers (LLLLWW)
Mansfield Town H 2-0 Luton Town H 1-2
Barrow A 0-0 Mansfield Town A 0-1
AFC Telford United H 1-4 Tamworth H 1-2
Grimsby Town H 2-0 Wrexham A 1-2
Hyde A 2-1 Lincoln City H 3-0
Braintree Town A 2-0 Hereford United A 2-1

Dartford are second in the form table behind Luton Town who they play on Tuesday

Forest Green Rovers have lost their last two away games and have dropped from top spot to sixth after losing their last four matches

Stats

Marcus Bettinelli has played 14 times for the Darts and has kept six clean sheets

Dartford have the best home record in the Conference Premier this season and have scored the most goal as the home side

Forest Green Rovers’ run of four successive defeats is their worst spell since September 2010 when they lost five in a row

Dave Hockaday’s side have the third best defence on their travels, they have conceded just 8. Only Wrexham have scored more than once as a home side against Rovers.

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