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Torquay United v Dartford

Dartford visit Plainmoor for the first time to take on Torquay United and hope to bring back three points from the English Riviera.

Only once have these two teams met and that was back in August. A goalless draw left both sides waiting to score the first ever goal in this fixture. Elliot Bradbrook came the closest just under eight months ago when his penalty kick hit the crossbar, the miss proved vital as the deadlock could not be broken. Earlier in the match Jason Brown made a fantastic double stop in the Dartford goal and at the other end Andy Pugh’s header was well saved by Martin Rice.

The Darts are on the brink of relegation to the Conference South, on Saturday they need to avoid defeat and hope Aldershot Town and Alfreton Town fail to pick up a win. Any other outcome means Dartford live for another game, the forthcoming Easter Monday fixture at home to league leaders Barnet.

On Tuesday night, a crowd of just over 600 turned out at Princes Park for the lowest attendance of the campaign. The highlight of the 1-1 draw against Gateshead was a tremendous individual goal by on loan striker Jordan Chiedozie. The 20 year old ran at the Heed defence cut inside and curled a precise shot into the corner for the opener. Ahead for only nine minutes the Darts conceded from a corner when Tom Allan looped a header over Deren Ibrahim.

Since Dartford’s poor run of nine defeats in ten games they have avoided back to back defeats and the draw versus Gateshead kept that run going. After a disappointing performance in the 2-1 loss at home to Altrincham, Tony Burman was encouraged by what he saw in mid week. The Dartford boss told www.kentonline.co.uk: “To get a response from Saturday’s performance is a positive. We’d like to have the three points but we haven’t lost the game2, he added: “We tried to do some things which hopefully helped the crowd to get behind them. I felt it was better than Saturday”.

Goalscorer, Chiedozie netted his first in a Dartford shirt in only his second on loan from League Two side Cambridge United. Over the two matches his played the striker has looked lively enough to earn praise from Burman. Another player earning praise from supporters is Lee Noble, the midfielder’s man of the match performance in the defeat against Altrincham has given him the Pure DFC Player of the Year award for the third time. Approaching his 300th appearance for Dartford, Noble won the award in 2010/2011 as well as the following season.

Torquay United manager, Chris Hargreaves has found life tough in the Conference Premier with his side amongst one of the favourites at the start of the campaign. The tag given to the Gulls seemed apt in the first two months of the season with the Devonshire club reaching second spot. An unbeaten run of ten, which included eight clean sheets, gave Torquay United a start full of promise. The following six fixtures yielded one win and five defeats and from then on form has been inconsistent.

With just two league wins in 2015, a 5-1 home reverse at Braintree Town and Thea Bristow the club’s chairwoman departing earlier than expected, Torquay United have dropped to sixteenth with one win needed to secure Conference Premier football next season. Financially, Hargreaves realises his full time side may not be able to compete, a point he made to the media almost a fortnight ago

The Gulls host Dartford on the back of consecutive defeats at the hands of Woking and Southport. On Saturday they conceded late in the game to give Southport victory. Hargreaves called his captain’s actions a “moment of madness” when Luke Young was sent off. Despite being a man down Torquay United dominated for large spells but it was Southport who lead through Scott Kay. The Devonshire side were back level when Toby Ajala grabbed a deserved equaliser but their work was undone five minutes from time by Southport’s Paul Smith.

One bright note for Torquay United this term is the fact they reached the F.A Trophy last four. The eventual runners up Wrexham knocked the Gulls out of the competition 5-1 on aggregate.

Head to Head

Torquay United wins: 0 / Dartford wins: 0 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Torquay United (LLWLDL) Dartford (DLDLWL)
Southport  A  1-2 Gateshead  H  1-1
Woking  A  2-3 Altrincham  H  1-2
Kidderminster Harriers  H  2-1 Alfreton Town  A  0-0
Braintree Town  H  1-5 Southport  A  0-2
Nuneaton Town  A  0-0 Chester  A  2-1
Chester  H  0-1 Alfreton Town  H  0-1

Previous Meeting

23.08.2014 Dartford 0 Torquay United 0

Stats

6 – Torquay United’s six game winning streak early in the season is still the longest winning run by any club this term

12 – Dartford’s away record is good enough for a mid-table team, the Darts have the 12th best away form

14 – Luke Young has created the most goals in the Conference Premier this season leading the assists chart

69 – At the back, Torquay United’s Aaron Downes had made more defensive clearances than any other Conference Premier player this term

 

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