Rss

Luton Town v Dartford

 

It was only five years ago Dartford were seven steps below Saturday’s opponents Luton Town and now the sides go head to head in the Conference Premier.

A lot has changed in the six years Princes Park has been opened, Luton Town were a Championship club and Dartford were battling it out in Isthmian Division One. Whilst the former League Cup winners finished 124 places above Dartford in the football pyramid back in 2007, the Darts ended up seventh in the Isthmian Division One South. Now the two clubs are separated by just three places and three points.

On Tuesday night both Dartford and Luton Town were beaten by a solitary goal. The Darts faced for the third time in a fortnight Forest Green Rovers and yet again their opponents came out on top. Yan Klukowski scored the winner and his third against the Darts this season in the eleventh minute. Dartford striker Harry Crawford was dismissed early on and moments later the sides were even when Jamie Turley was also red carded.

Luton Town fell to a mid table Hereford United side at Edgar Street when James McQuilkin first strike of the season surprised the visitors. The Hatters created numerous chances in front of goal but their domination was not rewarded. The Bedfordshire club has seen their one point deficit at the top of the table increase to four.

After a fine start to their first season back in the Conference Premier, Dartford have one just once in their last six matches in all competitions. The trip to Kenilworth Road is a journey the majority of supporters have been looking forward to as the Hatters average a crowd of over 6000.

The Darts have been extremely tight on their travels conceding the second fewest amount of goals in the league. Marcus Bettinelli, Lee Burns, Mark Arber, Tom Bonner and Richard Rose have contributed to three consecutive clean sheets totalling over five hours of football. Up front the side have struggled to score away from Princes Park netting eight, the second lowest total.

Kenilworth Road brings its own pressures to the Luton Town team who are one of the favourites for promotion. Having missed out in the play-offs in all three of their Conference Premier seasons since relegation, the Hatters are not short of fire power. Paul Buckle was appointed to the lead the club in April and he has added some quality players to his squad.

Stuart Fleetwood and Scott Rendell have contributed to 16 league goals so far in a promising front line. Rendell joined in the summer from Wycombe Wanderers and Fleetwood has a host of Conference Premier experience. Buckle also captured midfielder Ronnie Henry from Stevenage to build a strong squad to choose from.

Team News

Dartford’s top scorer Harry Crawford will be suspended for three matches following his straight red card against Forest Green Rovers. Adam Green returned to league action for the first time in since 25 August when he made a substitute appearance on Tuesday night.

Last seasons top scorer for Gateshead Jon Shaw has been ruled out with a thigh injury. The 28 year old joined the Hatters in the summer and has managed just one league goal in 13 appearances. Alex Lawless who has racked up 14 league starts returned against Hereford United but will still have a fitness test. Defender Dean Beckwith is back in training following a groin injury as well as goalkeeper Mark Tyler. Paul Buckle could be set to give new signing Jonathan Smith his home début.

Current Form

Luton Town (WWLWW) Dartford (WDLWW)
Hereford United A 0-1 Forest Green Rovers H 0-1
Forest Green Rovers A 2-1 Mansfield Town H 2-0
Nuneaton A 2-0 Barrow A 0-0
Braintree Town H 2-3 AFC Telford United H 1-4
Lincoln City A 2-1 Grimsby Town A 2-0
Southport A 3-1 Hyde H 2-1

Stats

Five years ago Dartford and Luton Town were two teams who were worlds apart. The graph below shows the progress the Darts have made since 2007 compared to Luton’s decline.


Two players featured for Dartford and Luton Town back in 2007 and are in the squad for this season. Ryan Hayes has been involved in all of Dartford’s promotions whilst Luton Town goalkeeper Dean Brill left the Hatters before returning this year. Here are the classes of five years ago…

Dartford Luton Town
Kevin Hudson Ted Ansell Marlon Beresford Sam Parkin
Tommy Osborne Lew Watts Kevin Foley Adam Boyd
John Farley Anthony Hogg Sol Davis Keith Keane
Richard Avery Dominic Elmes Chris Coyne Danny Stevens
Anthony Henry James Carter Russell Perrett Besian Idrizaj
Ryan Briggs Nick Barnes Paul Underwood Shaun Ross
Steve Hafner John Guest Matthew Spring Leon Barnett
Jay May Alex O’Brien Stephen Robinson Markus Heikkinen
Brendon Cass Steve Norman Björn Runström Peter Holmes
Eddie McClements James Tedder Warren Feeney David Bell
Dave Martin Craig Maguire Dean Morgan Calvin Andrew
Brad Potter Carl Bruce Michael Leary Drew Talbot
Glen Billiness Tony Kessell Stephen O’Leary Ed Asafu-Adjaye
Ryan Hayes Mark Green Lewis Emanuel Dean Brill
Danny White Richard Langley Zac Barrett
Ahmet Brkovic Chris Pendleton

* Dartford squad taken from PUREDFC archives (Match threads / man of the match poll) and Luton Town squad taken from http://www.footballsquads.co.uk/eng/2006-2007/flcham/luton.htm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.