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Southport v Dartford

 

The Darts return to their Conference Premier schedule this weekend when the travel up to Southport’s Haig Avenue for the first time.

After two weeks of F.A Trophy action Dartford will be hoping to record their first competitive away win of the year. The Darts last tasted triumph on the road nine games ago back in November.

Tony Burman’s side took on Southport for the first time in the clubs history prior their last away win at Kingstonian. Elliot Bradbrook scored a brace with a well taken long range effort and a penalty. On both occasions the Merseysiders pegged back Dartford with a headed goal from Steve Akrigg and a last minute equaliser from Karl Ledsham.

Saturday’s league fixtures could see significant changes in the Conference Premier standings as the tight and congested middle of the table covers seventh to fourteenth by just six points.

There was no mid week action for Dartford as they recover from their F.A Trophy exploits. Failure to reach Wembley after a 0-0 second leg draw with Grimsby Town has still seen positives from the teams performances, Burman spoke to newsshopper.co.uk and said: “The players gave everything I asked of them and I thought the performance and effort was fine”, he added: “to get to the last four of the competition is a fantastic effort by everyone”.

Dartford’s boss is determined to reach the 50 point target set out at the start of the season. In order to achive this the Darts are just two wins away. At the same time Burman hasn’t taken his eyes of the playoffs but realises form has to pick up to the standards set earlier in the season.

Southport will be looking to make the most of home advantage considering Dartford’s poor form on the road of late. The Sandgrounders have experienced mixed fortunes on their own patch and have one of the leakiest defences in the division, recording their last clean sheet at Haig Avenue against Ebbsfleet United on 15 September 2012.

Liam Watson’s team also missed out on game time on Tuesday night having last played a fixture last week. Hosting Conference South champions Woking the Sandgrounders had a difficult afternoon. Simon Grand was during the first half which the visitors punished before the break when Bradley Bubb opened the scoring. In the second half, Aaron Chalmers equalised for Southport from a free kick netting his first goal for the club. Parity lasted just eight minutes as Bubb completed a brace earning Woking three points.

The loss against Woking ended a four match unbeaten run which included a respectable 2-2 draw away to league leaders Wrexham and a 5-2 mauling of Barrow. The Merseyside club have certainly been in the thick of goal action totalling 114 goals (for and against) in matches they have played, only Cambridge United (116) have seen more but they have played two games extra.

Head to Head

Southport Wins 0 / Dartford Wins: 0 / Draws: 1

Team News

Lee Noble will be suspended for his red card received in the F.A Trophy first leg defeat at Grimsby Town a fortnight ago. The midfielder will serve his second of a four match ban. Mark Arber missed the second leg last week through illness and will be hoping he can recover before Saturday. Lee Burns returned after missing the first leg of the semi-final with a man of the match performance and Jack Evans’s loan spell has been extended.

Simon Grand will start his suspension this weekend after being sent off against Woking on the weekend. The defender has started all but one first team fixture in the Conference Premier this season. Liam Watson has strengthened his squad with the signing of Sean Clancy from second place Kidderminster Harriers. The 25 year old made just three substitute appearances for Harriers in the league this season. Goalkeeper Tony McMillan will play his 200th match for Southport if selected on Saturday, the 31 year old has featured in every league fixture this campaign.

Current League Form

Southport (LWWDDL) Dartford (WLLWLD)
Woking H 1-2 Luton Town H 1-0
Barrow H 5-2 Lincoln City A 1-2
Nuneaton Town A 1-0 Mansfield Town A 0-5
Hereford United A 2-2 Macclesfield Town H 2-0
Wrexham A 2-2 Alfreton Town A 2-3
Mansfield Town H 1-2 Ebbsfleet United A 2-2

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