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Dartford v Eastleigh

Dartford welcome Conference South champions Eastleigh to Princes Park for the first time in three years.

Having beaten last season’s Conference North winners AFC Telford United two weeks ago, the Darts host another title winning side this weekend, for a consecutive home game. In fact for the third game running Tony Burman will guide his side against a newly promoted club, having visited Altrincham on non league day.

A fortnight ago, home fans were treated to Dartford’s first win of the campaign having seen a one goal deficit overturned. Luke Daley’s 20 yard effort opened his account for the club and Andy Pugh netted his first of the season in reply to Tony Gray’s goal for AFC Telford United. Tony Burman choose to play Peter Sweeney in a more central role and with the addition of Danny Harris in the second half the Darts showed enough character to take three points.

However, up at Altrincham once more the home side won 2-1 as Dartford suffered another away defeat. Damian Reeves scored a brace for Alty before Elliot Bradbrook scored a consolation.

In 2011, Burman’s promoted side recorded a first ever victory over Eastleigh winning 3-0 at Princes Park. Charlie Sheringham finished off a counter attack in the first half. The striker then added a second with twenty minutes remaining. Eastleigh’s Henrik Breimyr put the ball in his own net to round off a fine win for the Darts.

Previous meetings with Eastleigh have been far from impressive starting back in the Southern League Division One East. The Spitfires won encounters in 2003/2004, firstly winning 5-0 on their own patch then 5-1 at Stonebridge Road where the Darts resided that season.

When Dartford played the Hampshire side again six years later at least the score was reduced to a 3-0 defeat before a 0-0 draw in the Conference South. The following season with Burman guiding the club to the Conference Premier, a victory was finally recorded along with a 2-2 draw at the Silverlake Stadium.

Eastleigh, who turned full time when they last met the Darts are being backed to finish well in their first ever Conference Premier campaign. The Hampshire are currently sitting in an impressive fifth spot taking 13 points from their first seven games.

Last season Richard Hill started his second season in charge, having guided the Spitfires to the playoffs in his first effort he went one better with the Conference South title being clinched and history being made.

The Hampshire side look strong on paper thanks to some decent backing off the field. Up front James Constable returning to a league he has been prolific in. The former Oxford United striker is usually on the team sheet alongside Jack Midson and Stuart Fleetwood. Between them the trio have all shared the limelight in the Conference Premier at different points in their careers, Midson with AFC Wimbledon and Fleetwood at Forest Green Rovers. All three forwards have respectable strike rates in the fifth tier of English football. It says a lot when last season’s top scorer Craig McAllister has been used as a substitute.

Former Dart, Matthew Fry made his début over the Bank Holiday weekend and could face his former club. The defender made 15 Conference Premier starts for Dartford last term before re-joining Concord Rangers. This campaign he signed for Chelmsford City and played one match before swiftly moving on to his current club.

The Darts are unbeaten in three league matches against this weekend’s opponents and will be hoping to stretch the run to four.

Head to Head 

Dartford wins: 1/ Eastleigh wins: 4 / Draws: 2

Current Form

Dartford (LWLDLD) Eastleigh (WLWLDW)
Altrincham A 1-2 Southport H 2-1
AFC Telford United H 2-1 Macclesfield Town A 0-2
Barnet A 0-4 Welling United H 3-1
Torquay United H 0-0 Dover Athletic A 1-2
Kidderminster Harriers A 1-2 Gateshead H 2-2
Woking A 1-1 Aldershot Town H 1-0

Last Meeting at Princes Park

10 September 2011 – Dartford 3 Eastleigh 0 – Att: 1079

Goalscorer: Sheringham (2, 69), Own Goal (90)

Dartford Lineup: Young, Jones, Green, Bonner, Goodacre, Champion, Hayes, Wallis, Sheringham, Noble, Graham (subs used: Rodgers, Burns, Harris)

Eastleigh Lineup: Barfoot, Forbes, Cooper, Breimyr, Jordan, Tsovolos, White, Bottomley, Slabber, Gillespie, Holder-Spooner (subs used: Geteski, Wilson, O’Hara)

Previous Six League Meetings

19.11.2011 Eastleigh 2 Dartford 2
10.09.2011 Dartford 3 Eastleigh 0
15.03.2011 Dartford 0 Eastleigh 0
16.10.2010 Eastleigh 3 Dartford 0
03.04.2004 Dartford 1 Eastleigh 5
20.12.2003 Eastleigh 5 Dartford 0

 

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