Dartford search for their first win of their National South campaign when they host Gosport Borough on Tuesday night.
The Darts will hope to reverse the 3-2 scoreline from last season against the Hampshire club. Borough inflicted a first home defeat last term with Justin Bennett opening the scoring from the spot. Bennett double his tally for the afternoon in the second half before Elliot Bradbrook pulled a goal back. Gosport Borough restored their two goal lead through Lee Wort meaning Tom Bradbrook’s last minute header was merely a consolation.
Already Tony Burman has selection problems with Elliot Bradbrook out after damaging ligaments in the opening day draw with Wealdstone. Ronnie Vint was taken off with concussion in the 1-0 defeat at Whitehawk and after the game it was revealed he broke a bone in his hand. Andy Pugh has been struggling for fitness whilst Lee Noble’s groin injury is being managed by the club. Duane Ofori-Acheampong picked up a hamstring injury but he could feature along with Noble. Keaton Wood is suspended for his red card at Whitehawk for a second caution.
The Darts have picked up just two points this term, but can be encouraged by the way they played after being a man light and a goal down at Whitehawk. On Saturday Dartford took the lead at Chelmsford City only to come away with a draw. Luke Wandio scored his first for the club when he headed goalwards, Shaun Jeffers equalised for the Clarets.
Burman spoke to www.dartfordfc.com after the match, he said: “Before the game, if someone had offered us a point with the situation we’re in at the moment, I’d have been happy”.
Dartford finished just one place above Gosport Borough last season with a three point margin. Whilst the Darts slowly made their way into the playoff hunt, the Borough started the campaign brightly before slipping away from February.
Alex Pike’s job got slightly harder this summer when star striker Justin Bennett left for Wiltshire side Salisbury City. The task over the break for Pike was to find his replacement. Warren Bentley was finally captured by the Borough boss from Winchester City, Chris Flood signed from relegated Basingstoke Town and Ben Wright from Maidenhead United. Defensively, the Borough looked West with the signings of former Torquay United players Martin Rice and Aaron Dawson from Truro City.
The Borough took their end of season form from last term into the new campaign. After the opening day defeat at Wright’s former club, Pike was less than impressed by his side’s performance. Since then the Hampshire outfit have taken on Truro City and Eastbourne Borough at home, winning both games.
Pike’s side won both games 3-1 with new signing Warren Bentley scoring five of the six goals. Two against Truro City was followed by a hat trick at Eastbourne Borough to fire Gosport Borough into sixth place.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 10 / Gosport Borough wins: 5 / Draws: 3
Previous Six Meetings
There has been 22 goals scored between Dartford and Gosport Borough over their last five meetings. In that time Dartford recorded their biggest victory against Borough winning 5-1 in 1989 at Watling Street.
Gosport Borough’s win at Princes Park last season was their only away victory against a side who finished above them in 2015/16.
The Hampshire side’s away win last term was the first at Dartford for 35 years. The Darts put a run of five home wins and a draw in between the two defeats.
On This Day
Dartford last played on 16 August in 2014 when they lost 1-0 away to Kidderminster Harriers, Kyle Storer scoring the winner in the National League fixture. Three years earlier, Charlie Sheringham and Adam Green gave the Darts a 2-1 victory over Eastbourne Borough in the first home game of the National South campaign. On the opening day of the 2008/09 Tony Burman received a wake up call to life in the Isthmian Premier. Newly promoted, Dartford went down 3-0 at Hendon. The last home defeat on this day was sixteen years ago against Bashley but two years later the Darts beat Great Wakering Rovers 3-2, both matches in the Southern Division One East. The only other two games since reforming on 16 August ended all level against Weston-Super-Mare (0-0 in 1997) and Beckenham Town (1-1 in 1995).