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Margate v Dartford

Dartford start the Bank Holiday weekend with a tough trip to newly promoted Margate.

After a home defeat, the Darts will be hoping for a solid away performance at Hartsdown Park against the Isthmian Premier league playoff winners, who are looking for their first league win.

The last meeting between the two clubs should have taken place two years ago in the Kent Senior Cup second round. The Darts were unable to fulfil the fixture and were forced to withdraw from the competition meaning the last match versus the Gate was six years ago.

Dartford brushed aside Margate in 2009 with a 4-0 victory. A training ground free kick routine had the Darts one up after seven minutes. Ryan Hayes faked to cross but slid the ball through to Jamie Day who finished the move. Margate couldn’t cope with John Beales’ long throw in’s and twice the Darts benefited through Rob Haworth then Lee Burns. Alan Tait came on as a substitute and added to the scoreline.

At Hartsdown Park, the Darts are unbeaten in five competitive visits stretching back to 1998, when the Gate triumphed 3-0 in the Kent Senior Cup. Since then Dartford have won two and drawn three including a F.A Trophy victory ten years ago.

Over the last two National League South games, defensive errors have given manager Tony Burman to work on. Although Dartford won their last away outing 3-2 at Concord Rangers, they had to overturn a two goal deficit caused by poor defending. The warning signs developed into more costly mistakes resulting in a 3-2 defeat versus Gosport Borough four days later.

Burman knows his work on the training ground will be crucial this week and is determined to overcome the defensive frailties, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “It’s something that’s got to be stamped out. The players know that and I hope they learn because you just can’t give goals away like we have done in the last two games”.

At home to the Boro enough opportunities were created to win, however the Darts were left to rue missed chances. Burman commented: “In the last third, some of our play should have been a bit more intelligent than it was. The players are better than that but our touch, when it was played up to people, could have been better”, he added: “we’ve given the game away, I think, rather than losing it to the better side”.

One shining light is the form of Tom Bradbrook who has taken his goalscoring tally to five in the first five league games. The striker is only behind Bishop’s Stortford’s Elliott Buchanan and Gosport Borough’s Justin Bennett in the league’s top scorers list. Last weekend he was partnered with George Sykes due to the absence to the preferred Andy Pugh, who picked up an injury at Concord Rangers.

The Darts have a perfectly mediocre record this term sitting eleventh with seven points and a level goal difference. Margate on the other hand have drawn four of their opening five league games. On the opening day they faced another of the promoted sides Truro City, a penalty save by Nikki Bull helped the Gate earn a 1-1 draw with ten men.

Character was shown against Whitehawk when Terry Brown’s side fought from two down to pick up a point. The subsequent match ended in a 2-0 defeat to Havant and Waterlooville before dominating a goalless draw versus Wealdstone.

Last weekend Margate travelled to Basingstoke Town and for the third consecutive match failed to find the back of the net. Another stalemate thanks to the excellent performance from goalkeeper Bull made sure the fourth point of the season was picked up.

Manager, Terry Brown has also taken to the training ground to solve the misfiring Gate, he told www.margate-fc.co.uk: “If I look at the last three games we’ve hardly tested the goalkeeper regardless of what system we play or who you play because I’ve juggled that around. Nearly everyone in the squad has had some kind of game time”.

One familiar face who has had plenty of game time is former Dartford player Nathan Green. Last season the 23 year old spent six months at Princes Park making 15 appearances and scoring two goals. Green impressed the Darts but opted for a move to Margate in the summer after his contract ran out, so far he has started every league fixture this term.

Current League Form

Margate (DDLDD) Dartford (LWDWL)
Truro City  H  1-1 Hemel Hempstead Town  A  0-1
Whitehawk  A  2-2 Eastbourne Borough  H  1-0
Havant and Waterlooville  A  0-2 Sutton United  H  2-2
Wealdstone  H  0-0 Concord Rangers  A  3-2
Basingstoke Town  A  0-0 Gosport Borough  H  2-3

Previous Meetings

23.03.2010 Dartford 0 Margate 1
18.08.2009 Margate 0 Dartford 4
07.03.2009 Margate 2 Dartford 2
02.12.2008 Dartford 3 Margate 2
11.10.2008 Dartford 0 Margate 1
12.11.2005 Margate 0 Dartford 1

On This Day

Dartford have played one away fixture away on this day since reforming losing to Newport Isle of Wight fifteen years ago. At this level the Darts beat Bromley 3-1 to christen the newly working scoreboard. Elliot Bradbrook lashed a volley into the top corner. After a Danny Waldren equaliser Dartford came good in the final eight minutes with goals from Charlie Sheringham and Danny Harris. In 2009, Wealdstone were the first team to take a point off Dartford in a 1-1 draw, Lee Burns netted the Darts goal. In the nineties Yate Town were beaten 1-0 in the Southern League Southern division and Folkestone Invicta were 3-2 winners in the Kent League.

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