Dartford v Luton Town


The Darts host their first Conference Premier match at Princes Park in almost a month on Tuesday night, with the visit of Luton Town.

Dartford shocked the Hatters at Kenilworth Road three months ago with a surprise 2-0 win. Lee Noble scored direct from a free kick after six minutes to give the visitors a great start. Tom Bonner doubled his season’s tally with a close range header to put Tony Burman’s side two up before half time.  At the time the Darts were in their best form on the road but have not tasted success in the league away from Princes Park since.

On Saturday the trend continued in a 2-1 defeat against a struggling Lincoln City side. An early goal at Sincil Bank by Vadaine Oliver put the Imps one up inside six minutes. The 20 year old striker took advantage of some slack marking to net his sixth league goal of the season. Lee Noble was then on the receiving end of a poor challenge which saw Lincoln City’s Jake Sheridan sent off on 35 minutes.

Noble was involved in the action again levelling up the score fourteen minutes from time, the midfielder scored his first league goal since his opener at Kenilworth Road. Controversially the Imps won a penalty in the closing stages resulting in a fracas between players. Colin Larkin remained composed enough to net the winner, scoring his fourth against the Darts following his hat trick at Princes Park. The match ended with nine cautions, six for the home side and a dismissal, leaving Dartford with only a point from the last seven away games.

Dartford boss Tony Burman and Luton Town manager Paul Buckle have a dilemma to make when picking their starting eleven. Following Tuesday night’s fixture looms important cup ties for both clubs. The Darts’ small squad travel to Grimsby Town in the first leg of the F.A Trophy semi final, a round Dartford have not reached since 1989. Meanwhile the Hatters who caused a massive F.A Cup scalp knocking out Premier League side Norwich City, face Millwall in the fifth round. Buckle’s men became the first non league club to beat a top flight team since Sutton United’s famous victory against Coventry City, also in 1989.

Luton Town travel to Princes Park for the first time and are currently in touching distance of a playoff spot. Since November the Bedfordshire club have been inconsistent in the Conference Premier highlighted by their 6-1 mauling of Barrow before a 1-0 defeat to the same side a month later.

On the weekend Kenilworth Road played host to third place Forest Green Rovers. Andre Gray put the home side ahead on five minutes with his ninth league goal of the season. The Hatters were pegged back almost ten minutes later when Matthew Taylor equalised. In the second half Alex Lawless was cautioned twice in a matter of minutes to leave Luton Town a man down. Like Dartford’s match cards were handed out resulting in seven cautions and Forest Green Rovers’ Al Bangura joining Lawless in an early departure.

Paul Buckle still believes his side can win automatic promotion back to the Football League but they will need to make the most of the games in hand. Buckle has experience of taking clubs back to League Two as manager of Torquay United and to help him achieve his aim he has signed former Dartford winger Dave Martin.

Martin has featured in two league games so far since moving from Southend United and since leaving the Darts for Crystal Palace in 2007 he is at his sixth club. Dartford fans will certainly know that Martin is capable of producing spectacular goals like he managed against Burgess Hill Town and Godalming during his spell under Burman.

Team News

Tom Bonner will be the latest of a list of players to reach a milestone. The centre half will make his 150th appearance if selected, all of which have been starts. Bonner joins Lee Burns who reached 150 starts and Tom Champion who made his 100th start on Saturday. Dartford have no suspensions to worry about and a healthy squad.

Alex Lawless and Lathaniel Rowe-Turner are suspended after both players were sent off in recent matches. England C international Simon Ainge needed stitches after the national side lost 1-0 to Turkey at Princes Park and he missed Saturday’s game versus Forest Green Rovers. Ex Gillingham midfielder Danny Spiller and Garry Richards have been out with injury’s.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Luton Town wins: 1 / Dartford Goals: 2/ Luton Town Goals: 12

Current League Form

Dartford (LLWLDD) Luton Town (DLDWLW)
Lincoln City A 1-2 Forest Green Rovers H 1-1
Mansfield Town A 0-5 Barrow A 0-1
Macclesfield Town H 2-0 AFC Telford United A 0-0
Alfreton Town A 2-3 Barrow H 6-1
Ebbsfleet United A 2-2 Woking A 1-3
Cambridge United H 1-1 Woking H 3-1

Last Meeting

10 November 2012 – Luton Town 0 Dartford 2 – Att: 6567

Goalscorers: Noble (6), Bonner (41)

The Hatters Lineup: Brill, Howells, Ainge, Henry, Lawless, Mendy, O’Donnell, Smith, Rendell, Fleetwood, Gray (sub used: Walker)

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

Match Stats


The Darts have accrued the most points at home (16) against tables currently in the top half of the table.

Dartford have conceded the most goals by penalties (7) in the league this season, joint with Forest Green Rovers.

Luton Town are the best supported club averaging 6127 at Kenilworth Road this season. If the Hatters were in the Football League they would be fourth in the League Two average attendance table and tenth in League One average attendance table.

The Hatters have conceded most of their goals (10) in the first 15 minutes of matches.

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