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Dartford v FC Halifax Town

The Darts return to league action this week facing FC Halifax Town for the fifth time since the Yorkshire club reformed.

Dartford are in desperate need of points as they look for their first home win in the Conference Premier for two months. Tony Burman’s side have dropped to third from bottom after a run of seven defeats in eight league matches.

Most recently an early one goal lead was overturned by Kidderminster Harriers in the final ten minutes. Ryan Hayes scored directly from a corner with just 45 seconds on the clock. The visitors could thank Marvin Johnson for his brace to deny Dartford a much needed victory. Burman recognised that the fitness levels of his players was a factor in the 2-1 loss, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “I thought the lads worked really hard – and unfortunately that work-rate in the first half caused us problems in the second half. The players’ fitness levels probably weren’t quite up to what they should be because of not playing or injuries”.

Over the Christmas and New Year period the Darts suffered back to back losses against Braintree Town. Meanwhile, Southport picked up a win to extend the gap to safety and Alfreton Town’s draw with Torquay United put them above Dartford. With over half the campaign gone the January transfer window could be important to maintaining Conference Premier status.

Burman has already moved in the transfer marker giving Nathan Green his début against Kidderminster Harriers and releasing defender Tom Bender, after his short term contract finished. The Dartford boss has made his intentions clear by confirming he is on the look out to improve the squad, he said: “With the transfer window opening I have made a number of approaches for players to strengthen the team; some will be loan deals and I’m hoping that others will be permanent deals like Nathan’s”.

Since the New Year the injury list has shortened with Lee Burns returning on New Year’s day and Callum Driver returning to action. Andy Pugh has missed much of the campaign through injury and has been out for two months. Due to the delicacy of the injury the striker will not be rushed back into action but he has started light training.

On the weekend the Darts grabbed a morale boosting last minute winner to reach the F.A Trophy’s last 16. With captain Elliot Bradbrook missing from the line up, his brother Tom won a penalty which was stuck away by Harry Crawford, the strikers seventh in all competitions. Pat Harding equalised for hosts Burgess Hill Town six minutes before half time. It was left to Danny Harris to strike the decisive goal condemning the Hillians to only there second defeat of the season, both coming against Dartford.

FC Halifax Town enjoyed a first season in the Conference Premier since reforming. At the tail end of last term they put an incredible run of ten wins from 14 games, including seven clean sheets in a row. Missing out on a Wembley place via the playoffs did not deter the Yorkshire club this season. The Shaymen topped the table after five games with maximum points, however they have been unable to maintain momentum.

Since that early form the Shaymen have been inconsistent only once recording back to back wins since. A spell of three victories in 14 games pushed the club down to eleventh, however ground had been gained again over December. Aspin’s side are keen to start league action in 2015 having suffering consecutive postponements at home to Gateshead and away to Southport. The Yorkshire side have to look back to the end of September to find their last away win in the league when they beat Alfreton Town.

Just over a year ago, FC Halifax Town completed a double over Dartford with their win at Princes Park. The second half was dominated by the Shaymen and they were rewarded with goals from Joe Ironside and Josh Wilson. The Darts managed to claw one goal back late on when on loan defender Connor Essam halved the deficit.

The only other meeting between the two sides at Princes Park came in the F.A Trophy fourth round replay. After a 1-1 draw at the Shay, the Darts finally shrugged off their opponents in a close contest. Dartford came from a goal down to lead 3-1 thanks to goals from Lee Noble, Elliot Bradbrook and Ryan Hayes. FC Halifax Town’s Dan Gardner grabbed his second of the night with a minute to go to set up a nervy finish. Bradbrook still had time to miss a penalty which in the end didn’t prove decisive.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / FC Halifax Town wins: 2 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford (LLLWLL) FC Halifax Town (LDWLWW)
Kidderminster Harriers  H  1-2 Chester  H  0-2
Braintree Town  A  0-3 Gateshead  A  2-2
Braintree Town  H  0-2 Nuneaton Town  H  2-0
Wrexham  A  3-1 Torquay United  A  1-2
Eastleigh  A  0-2 Forest Green Rovers  H  1-0
Forest Green Rovers  A  1-2 Alfreton Town  H  2-0

Last Meeting at Princes Park

14 December 2013 – Dartford 1 FC Halifax Town 2 – Att: 952

Goalscorer: Ironside (63), Wilson (74), Essam (83)

Dartford Lineup: Julian, Sterling, Essam, Clark, Burns, Bradbrook, Noble, Martin, Stevenson, Godden, Birchall  (subs used: Cornhill, Harris)

FC Halifax Town Lineup: Glennon, McManus, Maynard, Pearson, Ainge, Roberts, Marshall, Smith, Gardner, Wilson, Ironside (subs used: Worthington, Holsgrove)

Match Stats

dfc v fcht

Previous Meetings (* – F.A Trophy)

14.12.2013 Dartford 1 FC Halifax Town 2
17.08.2013 FC Halifax Town 2 Dartford 0
06.02.2013* Dartford 3 FC Halifax Town 2
30.01.2013* FC Halifax Town 1 Dartford 1

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