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Dartford v Gateshead

 

Dartford hope to record their first ever victory over Gateshead this weekend at Princes Park.

Over the last four matches between the two sides Dartford have mustered up just one goal. More recently the Heed beat the Darts back in September in a dominant display. The long journey to the Gateshead International Stadium six months ago ended up 2-0 to the hosts. Goals from 34 year old midfielder Micky Cummins and 22 year old midfielder Josh Gillies deservedly ensured the Tynesiders picked up three points.

Two seasons ago Gateshead knocked out the Darts in a F.A Trophy third round tie. Then representing the Conference South, Tony Burman’s side were unable to cause an upset bowing out of the competition in a 3-0 loss. Phil Turnbull’s deflected shot gave Gateshead the lead just before the break. The now departed duo of Brain Wake and Kris Gale secured the win for the Heed.

Under the Tuesday night Princes Park floodlights Dartford looked to bounce back from their disappointing defeat at Hyde. This time Barrow were the visitors who are in a Conference Premier relegation scrap. The Darts were put under pressure in the opening ten minutes relying on two quality saves from Marcus Bettinelli and a goal line clearance. The Darts grew in confidence and just passed the half hour mark Elliot Bradbrook’s header was blocked on the line. Bradbrook caused problems earlier in the half being upended when almost clear on goal, Barrow’s debutant Steve Williams was cautioned.

New loan signing Jason Prior lasted just after the hour before being replaced by Jacob Erskine and Ryan Hayes came off for Lee Noble. Moments later Burns came to Dartford’s rescue again clearing Danny Rowe’s effort off the line. On 73 minutes Alex-Ray Harvey was brought down in the box by Richard Rose and up stepped Richie Baker to put the Bluebirds in front and earn the visitors three points. The second loss without scoring this week ended Dartford’s ten match unbeaten home run and left Dartford remaining in twelfth place on 49 points.

On Tuesday night, Gateshead hosted Hereford United and fell behind when Chris Sharp opened the scoring after seventeen minutes. The lead didn’t last long as the Heed equalised two minutes later through Ryan Donaldson. Just before the break the hosts turned the match around when James Brown made it 2-1 at half time.

It took just five minutes for the next twist in the match as Hereford United’s Marlon Jackson grabbed a second for the Bulls. Parity was short lived when Brown found the back of the net for a second time putting Gateshead in front.

The fixture congestion of four games in eight days is the result of earlier postponements. On Saturday, Gateshead travelled to the Impact Arena and let a two goal slip against Alfreton Town. Having led 2-0 at half time courtesy of an Anton Brown own goal and Josh Gillies’s spot kick the visitors looked in control. The Reds fought back in the final 13 minutes scoring from Ben Tomlinson’s header and a minute later Steven Hewitt put Alfreton Town level. Substitute Liam Hatch was dismissed reducing Gateshead to ten men and Scott Boden’s stoppage time winner completed the Reds comeback.

Although the visitors are just four points from safety at the time of writing, games in hand and a level goal difference puts the Tynesiders in a ‘false’ position. The Heed can easily climb up the Conference Premier ladder to safety but still need to look over their shoulders.

Gateshead have fallen victim to the wet winter failing to complete a home league match over a staggering 55 day period between November and December. The poor condition of their pitch is so severe they have resorted to playing at Hartlepool United’s Victoria Ground and York City’s Bootham Crescent. Last week the club announced their final game of the season will be at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium. It’s of little surprise that the club are in the process of planning a move away from the Gateshead International Stadium. At the time of writing Gateshead play again on Thursday night against Newport County.

Under Ian Bogie the Tynesiders had looked comfortable in eight place up to December. After a four match winless run Graham Wood relieved the former midfielder of his duties. Anth Smith came in as Caretaker Manager and after a difficult start to 2013 seems to have found his feet. The start of this year began with five successive defeats, a downturn in form saw the club drop from into the relegation zone. Smith now permanent manager until the end of the season has steadied the ship with just one defeat in five before Thursday’s fixture.

Team News

Jason Prior made his first team début on loan from AFC Wimbledon. Dartford’s new striker came in for Jacob Erskine to make his first start for the Darts.

Carl Magnay is out with ankle ligament damage for an expected two more weeks. The defender only recently returned to first-team action following injury and has made 28 league appearances. Liam Hatch will be suspended for his red card last weekend, the striker has served two matches already of his three game ban. Highly rated England Youth international Jake Fowler is on loan from Middlesbrough.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 0 / Gateshead wins: 3 / Draws: 1 / Dartford goals: 1 / Gateshead goals: 7

Current League Form

Dartford (LLWDDW) Gateshead (WLDWWL)
Barrow H 0-1 Hereford United H 3-2
Hyde A 0-3 Alfreton Town A 2-3
Wrexham H 2-1 AFC Telford United A 0-0
Stockport County H 1-1 Hyde H 3-0
Southport A 2-2 Kidderminster Harriers H 2-0
Luton Town H 1-0 Braintree Town H 1-2

Last Meeting

8 September 2012 – Gateshead 2 Dartford 0 – Att: 758

The Heed Lineup: Bartlett, Magnay, Boyle, Clark, Bush, Chandler, Gillies, Turnbull, Cummins, Donaldson, Odubade (subs used: Fisher, Marwood, McGorrigan)

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

Match Stats

 

Previous Meetings (* = F.A Trophy)

05.02.2011* Gateshead 3 Dartford 0
04.05.1985 Dartford 1 Gateshead 2
09.03.1985 Gateshead 0 Dartford 0

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