Dartford host their first Non League Day fixture this weekend against league leaders Maidenhead United.
After a mixed Bank Holiday, the Darts will hope to return to winning ways following a performance to forget at Hampton and Richmond Borough. The 4-1 reverse overshadowed the last match at Princes Park in which Dartford beat Hungerford Town 2-0.
Manager Tony Burman said after Monday’s defeat: “This weekend typifies the highs and lows of football, and in the previous six games I felt we have looked very well organised and deserved something from each of our games”, he continued: “(Monday’s) result although against an in form team was very disappointing”, he added: “We were second best all over the park and the better side won the game. I didn’t think we deserved anything from the performance. However we move onto Saturday where I hope we can get back on track against the league leaders”.
On a positive note Elliot Bradbrook and Andy Pugh both played a part in the last two games as they step up their recovery from injury. Tom Bonner and Keaton Wood have now served their one match bans for red cards, Ronnie Vint could feature again although his hand was still in a cast last weekend. Striker Duane Ofori-Acheampong has also featured in the last three matches after a spell out but is in search for his first goal.
Maidenhead United finished level on points with Dartford last term missing out on the playoffs. During the chase to reach the top five the Darts beat the Magpies 2-0 in the last meeting at Princes Park. Two goals in six first half minutes from Danny Harris and Elliot Bradbrook secured victory.
Last season’s win over the Berkshire club maintained Dartford’s perfect home record against their opponents, an accolade the Darts will want to keep going.
This weekend’s fixture with Maidenhead United should provide the Darts with their toughest test. The Magpies top the National South with six wins and a defeat. Former Braintree Town boss, Alan Devonshire has led the Berkshire side to their best start since 2008 and face Dartford on the back of five consecutive victories. Up front the Magpies have Dave Tarpey, this season’s leading scorer in the National South with ten and the best defence who have not conceded in their last four games.
Over the Bank Holiday period Maidenhead United kept up their perfect home record without conceding a goal with a 2-0 win over Truro City. Victory followed back to back 1-0 triumphs against Essex duo Concord Rangers and Chelmsford City. The highlight of the Magpies campaign is a 5-0 home win against Hemel Hempstead Town in which Dave Tarpey netted four.
Current League Form (last six games)
|Dartford (LWWDDL)||Maidenhead United (WWWWWL)|
|Hampton & Richmond||A||1-4||Truro City||H||2-0|
|Hungerford Town||H||2-0||Concord Rangers||A||1-0|
|Gosport Borough||H||0-0||Hemel Hempstead Town||H||5-0|
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 7 / Maidenhead United wins: 2 / Draws: 3
Dartford have won all six home games against Maidenhead United stretching back to 1897. In that time the Darts have scored 23 and conceded twice versus the Magpies.
The Darts are unbeaten at home this season with two draws and a win, the last time they started off with a better home record was the first season back in the National League.
Alan Devonshire has seven former Braintree Town players in his squad, the side he used to manage.
Maidenhead United’s five consecutive wins is their best winning streak since 2007, when they won eight in a row
On This Day
Dartford’s last league win on 3 September came 19 years ago in a Southern League Southern Division match against Baldock Town. Since the 2-1 home win the Darts have beaten Deal Town (2000) 3-1 in the F.A Cup and three years ago Welling United 3-2 in the Kent Senior Cup. Between those triumphs, Dartford have lost 1-0 to Carterton Town in a 2002 F.A Cup tie, 3-1 to Boreham Wood and 3-2 against Basingstoke Town both in league fixtures. Herne Bay and Horsham also beat Dartford in the nineties, the only other two games on this day since reforming.