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Dartford v Gosport Borough

Dartford will be hoping to continue their unbeaten run at Princes Park today when they host Gosport Borough.

It’s been 26 years since the Darts last hosted the Hampshire side when they convincingly won 5-1 in the Southern Premier League. The fixture took place at Watling Street where the Boro failed to win in their last six attempts there, losing five.

On Tuesday night, Dartford had to show character to come from two down to beat Concord Rangers. Tony Burman’s side were undone by two Lewis Taafe both from defensive mistakes.

An Andy Pugh effort, helped by a deflection, gave the Darts a lifeline. The striker then curled a shot into the top corner five minutes from time to level the match. In injury time, top scorer Tom Bradbrook managed to score his fourth of the season in as many games to earn the Darts their first away win and points on the road.

Dartford have fared slightly better at Princes Park taking four out of a possible six points on their own patch. A 1-0 win over Eastbourne Borough was followed up by a 2-2 draw with Sutton United.

Tonight’s opponents have been on the rise after a rapid fall in the early nineties. At the end of the 1989/90 campaign Gosport Borough began their slide into the Wessex League, firstly relegated to the Southern League South then two years later into the regional division. The Boro spent 15 seasons in Wessex Leagues before rising again.

The man who has masterminded the club’s return is boss Alex Pike. Ten years at the helm he has brought stability and progression to the Boro, winning the Wessex League in 2006/07. Five years later, the Hampshire side were promoted to the Southern Premier League via the playoffs and repeated the feat again to reach the National League South the following season. Pike led Gosport Borough to the F.A Trophy final in 2013/14 losing to non-league double winners Cambridge United.

This season, Gosport Borough opened their campaign without conceding a goal in 318 minutes. An opening day goalless stalemate with St Albans City was followed up with a 4-0 away win at Weston Super Mare. The club’s golden boot winner from last season, Justin Bennett was the star of the show netting all four goals. A second 0-0 draw kept the unbeaten start going as they shared a point with Maidenhead United.

On Tuesday night, Pike’s side hosted last season’s playoff runners up Whitehawk. Like Dartford they left it late, this time grabbing a draw from two down.

It took until the 48th minute for the deadlock to be broken when the Hawks went in front courtesy of Scott Neilson. The away side won a penalty which was scored by Sam Deering five minutes later. Bennett halved the deficit with his fourth goal of the campaign in as many games. In the final minute Boro’s Rory Williams looped in a cross which found the back of the net.

Dartford will hope to continue their good run against Gosport Borough intact. The Darts last experienced a home defeat against the Hampshire side in April 1981 and have only lost once to the Boro in their last ten meetings.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 9 / Gosport Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 3

Last Meeting at Watling Street

22 August 1989 – Dartford 5  Gosport Borough 1
Having finished the last two seasons as runners up Dartford were amongst the favourites for promotion. Peter Taylor’s late eighties squad won their second home match of the campaign in style, keeping their perfect start to 1989/90 going.

Previous Six Meetings

24.10.1989 Gosport Borough 0 Dartford 1
22.08.1989 Dartford 5 Gosport Borough 1
04.04.1989 Dartford 4 Gosport Borough 2
04.03.1989 Gosport Borough 1 Dartford 2
05.03.1988 Gosport Borough 0 Dartford 1
26.09.1987 Dartford 2 Gosport Borough 2

On This Day (since reforming)

Hastings United 1 Dartford 3 – Dartford continued their 100% start to the 2009/10 season with a dominating display. Lee Burns clipped in the first goal in off the upright and Rob Haworth made sure the Darts were two up at half time. Ryan Hayes crossed for Burns to score his second, Hastings United’s Matt Maclean scored from distance into an empty net. Seventeen years ago, Dartford faced Fleet Town losing the away fixture 2-1 in the Southern League South.

 

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