Oxford City v Dartford

Dartford meet Oxford City for the first time in seven years this week hoping to record consecutive wins.

For the first time the two sides are up against each other in a league fixture, having previously played in two entertaining F.A Trophy second qualifying matches. The Darts won a replay at Marsh Lane 4-2 having drew 3-3 at Princes Park, back in 2008.

The Darts form has been somewhat mixed this season leaving them mid table. Approaching Saturday’s home game, the Darts had gone two matches without scoring which almost stretched to three. Weston Super Mare were the weekend’s visitors and they almost went home with all three points.

Ronnie Vint’s defensive error let in Dayle Grubb with ten minutes to go who put the Seagulls a goal up. Sitting bottom of the league, Weston Super Mare were hoping to get off the foot of the table. A late Dartford fightback turned round fortunes, Danny Harris headed the equaliser from a corner with two minutes remaining and a Clayton Fortune own goal cruelly snatched victory away from the visitors. The Darts continue their run of not recording a successive win, lose or draw this term.

Tony Burman highlighted the importance set pieces played in the win, he spoke to and said: “We’ve said about the importance of the restarts, set-pieces, it’s something we’ve been strong at for most of the season and it’s paid off in the end”.

The Dartford boss was confident of turning the deficit around even without playing well, he added: “I believed we could get back into the game, even though we went 1-0 down. It showed good character to do that especially after the two chances that we missed prior to getting the goal back”, he continued: “People have got to realise what level we’re playing at. As much as you want to play lovely football, at the end of the day, you have to get a result”.

Noble who took part in an under 21 match last week returned to first team action after recovering from a chest infection. Lee Burns was suspended allowing Vint to start in the defensive back four. Barry Cogan had to settle for a place on the bench whilst Kaka Dembele made his second successive start.

If questions have been asked about the attacking prowess of the Darts, the same can’t be said about Tuesday’s opponents Oxford City. The Nomads are the current top scorers with 20 goals including a 6-0 away win at Truro City.

Another away victory at Concord Rangers on Saturday kept Oxford City in a healthy third spot. The 2-0 triumph was their fourth consecutive clean sheet. Summer signing Julen Fafuente opened the scoring and former Dart, Max Cornhill scored an own goal.

Last season was spent in the National North where they finished sixth. Under Justin Merrit and head coach Enrique Guillen their has been a Spanish vibe at Marsh Lane. A trio of Spaniards joined the club over the summer Jon Arzamendi, Carlos Pifarre and Fafuente to add to the three already there.

Dartford will be familiar with coming up against striker Bradley Bubb, the Grenadian international was at Farnborough and Basingstoke Town the last time the Darts played at National South level. Bubb, who signed from Havant and Waterlooville in the summer has scored five goals this season.

Previous Meetings

4 November 2008 –  Oxford City 2 Dartford 4 – view highlights

Another six goals but this time Dartford came out on top. City’s Jon Gardner put the hosts in the lead which was cancelled out by Cody McDonald’s fourth of the tie. Steve Butterworth, Lee Noble and once more McDonald again increased the Darts advantage. James Saulsbury’s spot kick halved the deficit for Oxford City as the match ended 4-2.

1 November 2008 – Dartford 3 Oxford City 3 – view highlights

In a set of entertaining F.A Trophy Second Qualifying ties, Dartford’s Cody McDonald poached the opener after two minutes. The visitors levelled with a superb curling effort from Jon Gardner. McDonald headed the Darts back in front and completed a hat trick after half time. The visitors forced a replay with goals from Andy Gunn and a last minute header by Steve Jackman.

Current League Form

Oxford City (WDWWLD) Dartford (WDLWLW)
Concord Rangers  A  2-0 Weston Super Mare  H  2-1
Whitehawk  H  0-0 Bath City  A  0-0
Truro City  A  6-0 Ebbsfleet United  H  0-1
Weston Super Mare  H  3-0 Margate  A  2-0
Havant & Waterlooville  A  1-2 Gosport Borough  H  2-3
Basingstoke Town  H  2-2 Concord Rangers  A  3-2

On This Day

Dartford’s return to the now named National League hit one of many high points three years ago. Hosting recently relegated Hereford United, another experienced Football League side, the home fans may not have been quite ready for what was in store. The Darts brushed the Bulls aside in a confident 4-0 win with goals from Ryan Hayes, James Rogers, Danny Harris and Jon Wallis. The previous two fixtures on 15 September ended 1-1 both in the F.A Cup first qualifying round. In 2007, Dartford were held by Sittingbourne and six years before that Deal Town.

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