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Dartford v Kidderminster Harriers

Dartford slipped into the bottom four and hope to climb back out when they take on last season’s runners up Kidderminster Harriers this weekend.

Both sides were struggling at the wrong end of the table the last time they met at Princes Park over a year ago. The Darts kick started their last campaign with their first victory in the Conference Premier for 26 years.  Substitute Lee Burns headed the vital winner in the first half, his only goal of the season from a Ryan Hayes corner as Dartford won 1-0. The return fixture ended with the Harriers recording a convincing 5-1 reverse.

Dartford haven’t managed a home win since the opening day of the season and know points are crucial them to pull them away from the bottom four. Based on last season’s opening weeks, the Darts and Kidderminster Harriers know all to well that there is plenty to play for. When the two sides met last August the bottom two positions were occupied by both clubs with no points to show. Whilst Dartford finished a credible eighth, Kidderminster Harriers won 25 out of their last 29 games to finish runners up missing out on the title by two points on the final day. The Harriers failed to reach a Wembley playoff final losing to Wrexham 5-2 on aggregate.

Tony Burman’s men have lost their last three matches at Princes Park. The Darts followed the 2-0 loss against Braintree Town with 2-1 defeats against Lincoln City and Nuneaton Town. In the latest two home fixtures set pieces and early goals put Dartford on the back foot before Elliot Bradbrook pulled a goal back.

On Tuesday night, Dartford travelled to Kenilworth Road where they upset Luton Town 2-0 last season. This time around the scores were reversed by half time. Paul Benson scored his first goal in a Hatters shirt when his effort went in off the post. Elliot Bradbrook missed a great opportunity and within seconds Luke Guttridge scored at the other end. Alex Lawless who had just returned from injury made it 3-0 just after the hour when he took the ball round Alan Julian.

Kidderminster Harriers have got off to a better start than 12 months ago and are just five points of the pace at the top of the table, occupying third place.

Last weekend, the Harriers recorded their second 2-1 win in a row beating Hyde. Anthony Malbon’s close chest control and fine strike from outside the box gave the hosts the lead. Hyde’s Tom Collins levelled the score but Michael Gash headed in a first half winner. On Tuesday night, James Dance scored his third goal in as many games after six minutes to give the Harriers the lead at Tamworth. Gash doubled the advantage with his third goal of the season and Malbon converted from the spot in the final minute, the 3-0 victory is the Harriers third successive league triumph.

Malbon and  Gash have scored three goals each this term and have had the chance to develop an attacking force since March. Gash, who scored against the darts for his former club Cambridge United last term joined the Harriers to help their promotion push. The 27 year old scored six goals in 11 games in the final two months of the campaign. Meanwhile, Malbon top scored for the club in 2012/13 amassing an impressive 19 strikes after featuring in every Conference Premier match last season.  Kidderminster Harriers’s back four has remained a consistent foundation for the team to build on, with the same reliable players featuring nearly every week since the early months of last season.

Team News

Tyrone Sterling returned to the starting eleven in the week but was substituted after the hour mark. Mat Mitchel-King and Max Cornhill were still missing through injury, however Burman is hoping for both players to return.

Steve Burr handed James Grimes his first start against Tamworth whilst Joe Lolley has been absent for three matches because of a minor injury he received.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 11 / Kidderminster Harriers wins: 12 / Draws: 7 / Dartford Goals: 44 / Kidderminster Harriers Goals: 45

Current League Form

Dartford (LLDLWL) Kidderminster Harriers (WWWLLW)
Luton Town A 0-3 Tamworth A 2-0
Nuneaton Town H 1-2 Hyde H 2-1
Chester A 0-0 Welling United A 2-1
Lincoln City H 1-2 Luton Town H 0-2
Tamworth A 2-0 Nuneaton Town A 1-2
Braintree Town H 0-2 Chester H 3-1

Last Five Meetings

22.12.2012 Kidderminster Harriers 5 Dartford 1
05.12.2012 Dartford 1 Kidderminster Harriers 0
29.03.1986 Kidderminster Harriers 4 Dartford 1
05.10.1985 Dartford 5 Nuneaton Borough 1
19.01.1985 Kidderminster Harriers 1 Dartford 1

Last Meeting At Princes Park

20 April 2013 –  Dartford 1 Kidderminster Harriers 0 – Att: 1068

Goalscorers: Burns (36)

The Darts Lineup: Bettinelli, Rose, Bonner, Arber, Green, Hayes, Chaampion, Bradbrook, Rogers, Harris, Crawford,  (subs used: Burns, Noble)

The Harriers Lineup: Lewis, Briggs, Austin, Dunkley, Williams, Shakes, Vincent, Byrne, Johnson, Rowe, Malbon (subs used: Demetriou, Pilkington, Blissett)

Match Stats

dfc v khfc stats

Stats

3 – home league defeats in a row for Dartford, last seen at Princes Park between 13 November 2011 and 8 January 2012 when the Darts lost 4-0 to Dorchester Town, 2-1 versus Chelmsford City and 1-0 against Thurrock in the Conference South.

5 – number of goals scored by Dartford this season, the fewest in the Conference Premier. Kidderminster

8 – Dance, Gash and Malbon have scored the Harriers’s last eight league goals over five matches.

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