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Dartford v Cambridge United

 

The Darts play their final game of the calendar year on Saturday against former league club Cambridge United.

Earlier in the season Dartford upset the odds to record their first away win of the current campaign when they travelled to the Abbey Stadium.

After no goals in the first half Danny Harris opened his seasons account fortuitously putting the Darts in front three minutes into the second half. Out wide on the left Harris sent in a low cross which evaded everyone in the Cambridge United box and crept inside the far post. Dartford looked good for picking up three points but hopes were dashed five minutes from time when Sam Smith won a penalty, up stepped James Jennings and the scores were level. The Darts were not deterred and substitute Nathan Collier took his chances with a shot from the edge of the box, the ball deflected over the stranded Craig Ross to give Dartford a dramatic win.

The Darts have a chance to complete their first double over a Conference Premier club this season and warmed up with a much needed Kent derby win on Boxing Day. After going a goal down to Ebbsfleet United early in the second half, Harry Crawford restored parity four minutes later. The striker added to his goal tally netting for the ninth time in the league after 68 minutes. With ten minutes to go Elliot Bradbrook made three points certain to end Dartford’s barren spell of four straight defeats.

Tony Burman reflected on the Boxing Day derby and told BBC Radio Kent: “I thought Ebbsfleet came out and bossed the game for the first 20 minutes, but then I felt we grew into the game”, he added: “At half-time I thought ‘we’ve seen the best of Ebbsfleet, now we need to get into another gear”.

Striker Harry Crawford commented: “To get a win here, in a local derby on Boxing Day with a great support behind us is fantastic. There were nearly 3,500 fans here, so it was brilliant”, he added: “”We lost our last four league games but the lads didn’t let their heads drop”.

Cambridge United had dropped to the wrong end of the Conference Premier table falling to twentieth after a 6-2 loss at Newport County early last month. Since the setback the U’s have picked up the points to move up to tenth and to within five points of Dartford.

The U’s are now on a six game unbeaten run in the Conference Premier picking up maximum points against Macclesfield Town, Ebbsfleet United, Gateshead and Braintree Town with only Tamworth and Alfreton Town picking up draws against Richard Money’s men. Money has been in charge since October with former boss Jez George moving back to Director of Football.

Tom Elliott is one player to keep an eye out for after rediscovering his early season form. The former Stockport County striker scored five in his first four league games. A barren spell of one goal in ten league matches followed but the 22 year old has recently found his scoring touch.

Previous manager George has put a lot of faith into a youth system and defender Josh Coulson epitomises that. The longest serving player is only 21 years old and he has already surpassed 100 appearances for Cambridge United. Rory McAuley has featured in all but one league game and offers the U’s versatility. Former Ebbsfleet United man, Michael Gash is second in Cambridge United’s scoring charts with seven leagues goals.

Team News

Mark Arber completed his first full ninety minutes since returning from his injury in Dartford’s 3-1 victory against Ebbsfleet United. The Darts have no suspensions to worry about.

James Jennings picked up his fifth caution in Cambridge United’s Boxing Day win and misses Saturday’s match. Thomas Shaw also sits out due to suspension after being sent off for violent conduct at Braintree Town.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 8 / Cambridge United wins: 3 / Draws: 0 / Dartford Goals: 19 / Cambridge United Goals: 14
Current League Form

Dartford (WLLLLD) Cambridge United (WDWWDW)
Ebbsfleet United H 3-1 Braintree Town A 3-0
Kidderminster Harriers A 1-5 Alfreton Town A 1-1
Lincoln City H 2-4 Gateshead H 3-0
Nuneaton Town A 0-1 Ebbsfleet United A 4-2
Tamworth A 2-3 Tamworth H 1-1
Southport H 2-2 Macclesfield Town H 2-0

Last Meeting

27 August 2012 – Cambridge United 1 Dartford 2 – Att: 2691

Goalscorers: Harris (48), Jennings (85 pen), Collier (88)

The U’s Lineup: Ross, McAuley, Garner, Hudson, Jennings, Willmott, Berry, Wellard, Dunk, Elliott, Moke (subs used: Gibson, Hughes, Smith)

The Darts Lineup: Bettinelli, Burns, Bonner, Arber, Rose, Hayes, Wallis, Champion, Harris, Erskine, Bradbrook (subs used: Noble, Collier, Crawford)

Match Stats

Cambridge United

Dartford

Possession

53%

47%

Shots On Target

5

5

Shots Off Target

4

2

Corners

8

4

Fouls Won

12

9

Yellow Cards

1

1

Previous Meetings

19.02.1966 Cambridge United 3 Dartford 0
04.09.1965 Dartford 2 Cambridge United 1
13.03.1965 Dartford 2 Cambridge United 0
31.10.1964 Cambridge United 1 Dartford 2
15.04.1964 Dartford 0 Cambridge United 2

 

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