A first win of the season has eluded Dartford so far, so they continue their search when they travel to Chelmsford City this weekend.
The Darts have found the Essex club a tricky side over recent years, however they managed to win at the Melbourne Stadium last time out on Boxing Day. A long ball from goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim found Andy Pugh for a well taken winning goal.
Tony Burman will be missing captain Elliot Bradbrook who was stretchered off in the opening 2-2 draw with Wealdstone. The Darts failed to hold on to a lead twice conceding deep into injury time.
On Wednesday night, Burman’s side travelled to Whitehawk and were involved in a frustrating fixture. Tom Wynter was punished early on when his handball led to a Hawks penalty scored by Ahmed Abdulla. In a scrappy match Keaton Wood was dismissed for two bookable offences leaving Dartford with ten men. The stop start nature of the game continued in the second half as the Hawks ran out 1-0 winners and a total of ten yellow cards were shown.
Duane Ofori-Acheampong made his first start in a Dartford shirt but was replaced by Pugh at half time, both strikers are still working at getting fully fit, although Ofori-Acheampong suffered a hamstring strain. Ronnie Vint was another to have been substituted at half time but with concussion and a broken bone in his wrist. The absence of Bradbrook meant that central defender Tom Bonner was given the captain’s armband.
Burman spoke to www.dartford.com after the match and said: ““Obviously its bad news for us with both Ronnie and Duane suffering injuries in the first half. Added to the injury of Elliot Bradbrook from Saturday, it’s obviously a major blow to the squad”.
Despite one point from the opening six the Darts manager remains positive, he commented: “I felt the players performed well throughout, and I also thought the players deserve a lot of credit for the way that they played”, he added: “Points wise it’s a disappointing start, but there was a hell of a lot of positives to take out of the game form my team’s point of view”.
Now under the leadership of Rod Stringer, Chelmsford City have taken four points from their opening two fixtures. The Clarets had a strong pre-season and new boss Stringer spent the summer shaping his squad. Two familiar faces to the Darts, Max Cornhill and Luke Daley started in their 2-2 draw with Truro City.
Chelmsford City were far than impressive as they found themselves two goals down. Cody Cooke scored for the White Tigers after just five minutes and Shane White but the Cornwall club in command. After the break, the Clarets responded and put plenty of pressure on Truro City. Former Welling United and Lincoln City central defender Chris Bush forced Chelmsford City back in the game and in the final minute Shamir Mullings rescued a point.
On Monday night, Chelmsford City netted two yet again but this time kept a clean sheet against Margate in a 2-0 win. Shamir Mullings was on the score sheet again, scoring the second of the night, however the first goal by Shaun Jeffers was a stylish scissorkick.
Also amongst the ranks, the Essex club signed Robbie Willmott from Ebbsfleet United, the winger has plenty of experience in leagues above with Cambridge United, Luton Town and Newport County. Billy Bricknell, so often a thorn in Dartford’s side and the Clarets top scorer last term has taken over as captain from the departed Mark Hughes. The midfielder started the draw at Truro City but only played half an hour against Margatge picking up an injury.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 35 / Chelmsford City wins: 50 / Draws: 89
Dartford’s last visit to Melbourne Stadium ended with their first win over Chelmsford City in twelve attempts, ending a 15 year wait.
The Clarets have kept five clean sheets in their last six home games against the Darts. The only goal conceded was in last season’s 1-0 defeat.
On This Day
The Darts lost their last match 3-0 on 13 August to Aldershot Town in the National League in 2013. Since reforming, Dartford had a perfect record on 13 August until defeat at the Shots. Whitstable Town (3-1 in 1994), Arlesey Town (1-0 in 2005) and Weston-Super-Mare (4-0 in 2011) were all beaten. The win at Weston-Super-Mare is Dartford’s only opening day triumph in the last four years.