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Whitehawk v Dartford

In form Dartford travel to Whitehawk for the first time, in an attempt to avenge the F.A Trophy exit just three weeks ago.

The Hawks won the cup tie 2-1 at Princes Park, on a day manager Tony Burman claimed the Darts never got out of ‘second gear’. Dartford took on their opponents after a two week break which finally showed. Sam Deering scored from the spot and Danny Stevens scored the winner, the Darts had equalised thanks to an own goal.

It wasn’t the best afternoon for Mark Onyemah, who was backed by Burman after the match. The full back made two crucial mistakes resulting in both of Whitehawk’s goals. The loanee from Luton Town will be hoping to make amends this weekend.

Burman is keen to get one back over Whitehawk, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “People probably don’t expect us to get anything from Whitehawk but we’d like to repay the defeat we suffered in the Trophy”.

After a slow start to their National South campaign, Burman has guided the Darts up to eighth thanks to an unbeaten run of six league matches. Four wins and two draws since mid-October has Dartford top of the current form table. He added: “Our six games without defeat have been spread over two months. We’ve played okay in those games but it’s nothing to get too excited about”, he continued: “We’re getting results at the moment and we’d like to continue that throughout December”.

The Darts are chasing down a playoff spot as they enter the busy festive schedule, Burman has already prepared his squad for the task ahead. George Sykes and Kaka Dembele returned from loan spells whilst academy players Ben Francis and Dajon Golding were included in the last match day squad at Basingstoke Town.

In that fixture, Elliot Bradbrook was the hero grabbing the winning goal from close range. The captain pounced to score in his fifth consecutive league game, taking his tally in that period to six goals. The first half strike was enough for Dartford as they looked comfortable in the strong winds. In the second half, the Darts were resolute against the conditions and deservedly held on to victory.

Dartford are now five points behind Whitehawk, who occupy the final playoff spot. By beating Basingstoke Town last weekend, the Darts have already made one game in hand count and they still have another over the Hawks.

This weekend could see former Dartford favourite Dave Martin in action. The winger made 71 starting appearances for the Darts scoring 16 times. Former Ebbsfleet United defender, Paul Lorraine has returned from a long term injury but was so close to wearing the Dartford shirt when he signed in June 2014. Due to Dartford’s reprieve in the National Premier, Lorraine departed because of work commitments.

Whitehawk started their National South campaign brightly losing just once in their opening thirteen fixtures, leaving the Hawks in third place. Last season’s playoff finalists hit a sticky patch in mid-October losing three out of four, including defeat to basement boys Basingstoke Town.

The Brighton based club can boast the best attack in the league, an attribute Burman points out could have its downfall, he commented to www.kentonline.co.uk: “They like to go forward at all costs and sometimes you can exploit that. It can be a good way of playing, to score lots of goals but they’ve also conceded some from winning positions”.

Steve King’s side made headlines in November with an entertaining 5-3 F.A Cup first round win over Lincoln City. The Hawks forced a replay in round two against Dagenham and Redbridge with a last minute equaliser. However, the dream of playing Premier League side Everton at Goodison Park ended when they were beaten 3-2 by the Daggers in Tuesday night’s replay.

In between cup exploits, Whitehawk picked up a 2-2 draw with Wealdstone and a decent victory over Maidstone United, a 1-0 win at the Gallagher Stadium. In the F.A Trophy last weekend they were eliminated in a 3-1 loss versus Dover Athletic.

Victory for either side this weekend will certainly do no harm to their playoff prospects.

Head to Head

Whitehawk wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 0 / Draws: 0

Current League Form

Whitehawk (WDLWLL) Dartford (WWDWWD)
Maidstone United  A  1-0 Basingstoke  A  1-0
Wealdstone  A  2-2 Havant & Waterlooville  H  4-2
Concord Rangers  H  0-2 Maidstone United  H  1-1
Margate  A  6-2 Hayes & Yeading Utd  H  2-0
Weston Super Mare  H  0-2 Bishop’s Stortford  A  2-1
Basingstoke Town  A  1-3 Hemel Hempstead Town  H  2-2

Previous Meetings (* – F.A Trophy)

28.11.2015* Dartford 1 Whitehawk 2

Stats

6 – Whitehawk recorded the biggest home win in the National South this season, the Hawks beat St Albans City 6-0 on 3 October 2015. The Hawks also hit six at Margate and are the only team to score six twice this term

14 – points accrued by Dartford in their last six matches to top the form guide

18 – number of goals scored in games featuring Dartford away from home, the second fewest. There has only been 13 goals scored in matches involving Maidstone United on their travels

40 – Whitehawk are the National South’s joint top scorers with Oxford City, striker Danny Mills has netted a quarter of the Hawks total.

On This Day

Seventeen years have passed since Dartford played on 19 December way back in 1998. An away trip to Corby Town ended with the Darts winning 2-1 in the Southern League Southern Division. Dartford haven’t played at home on 19 December since 1981, when they lost 3-0 to Dagenham in the Alliance Premier League.

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