Dartford may have missed out on equalling a club record on Saturday but they have a chance to extend their unbeaten league run as they host St Albans City.
The Darts have had the extraordinary run of nine straight wins halted, yet in the National South they have won six of their last eight, drawing two in a run spanning two months. St Albans City have also hit form over the three matches taking maximum points and scoring ten goals in their last two league fixtures.
Last season Dartford struggled to break down a St Albans City side bottom of the table. Andy Pugh turned out to be the match winner with both goals in a 2-0, the last coming in stoppage time to calm any nerves around Princes Park. On the final day of the campaign, the Saints went on to record their first ever victory in normal time against the Darts in a commanding 4-0 win.
On the weekend, The Darts crashed out of the F.A Cup against last year’s National South champions Sutton United in a topsy-turvy affair. Dartford fell behind three times, the first after just 41 seconds but on each occassion pegged the U’s back. In a crazy opening 23 minutes Dartford found themselves 3-2 down. Elliot Bradbrook scored from the edge of the box and from the spot whilst Duane Ofori-Acheampong fired into the roof of the net. Maxime Biamou, Roary Deacon and Ross Stearn all notched a brace for the visitors in an entertaining 6-3 cup tie.
One of four teams yet to lost at home this term, Dartford know three points will take them above thri opponents and potentially into the playoff places. Tony Burman had a full squad to select from on the weekend with Tom Bonner returning, who slipped back into the first team.
Since February and a change in manager St Albans City have vastly improved. From bottom when they played Dartford last time at Princes Park to sixth this term, the Saints have the best record over the last nine months of the teams in the National South.
Ian Allinson, who led Boreham Wood to promotion to the National League in 2014/15 continues to work wonders in Hertfordshire. St Albans City have netted five in their last two league games beating Truro City 5-0 and Bishop’s Stortford 5-1. Whilst the Saints were commanding from the start against Truro City they had to wait an hour to break the deadlock against Bishop’s Stortford, courtesy of former Dartford defender Tom Bender, the left back made 20 appearances for the Darts in 2014/15.
Another familiar face at Clarence Park is Josh Hill, who had a short spell under Tony Burman in 2013/14 making just five appearances. Dartford will have to keep an eye on Louie Theophanous, the division’s third top scorer with 13 goals behind Wealdstone’s Elliot Benyon and Maidenhead United’s Dave Tarpey.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 6 / St Albans City wins: 1 / Draws: 4
Current League Form
Won 1-0 v Oxford City (H)
Won 1-0 v Bath City (A)
Won 5-0 v Truro City (A)
Won 2-1 v Concord Rangers (H)
Won 2-0 v Margate (A)
Drew 1-1 v East Thurrock United (A)
St Albans City (WWWDLL)
Won 5-1 v Truro City (H)
Won 5-0 v Bishop’s Stortford (A)
Won 2-1 v Gosport Borough (H)
Lost 1-3 v Ebbsfleet United (A)
Drew 2-2 v Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Drew 1-1 v Maidenhead United (A)
Last Six Meetings
St Albans City 4 Dartford 0 (30/04/2016 – National South)
Dartford 2 St Albans City 0 (06/02/2016 – National South)
St Albans City 1 Dartford 2 (02/04/2011 – National South)
Dartford 2 St Albans City 2 (22/03/2011 – National South)
Dartford 1 St Albans City 1 (25/11/2008 – F.A Trophy)
St Albans City 0 Dartford 0 (22/09/2009 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford conceded six goals for the first time at Princes Park on Saturday. The F.A Cup tie was the highest aggregate score matching the 7-2 wins against Witham Town and Burgess Hill Town and the 5-4 loss versus Aveley.
In the National South, the Darts went the whole of October without conceding a goal. The Dartford defence have kept three clean sheets in a row.
Elliot Bradbrook ended the F.A Cup campaign with seven goals in four games.
Last season St Albans City were bottom after 30 games but the last 12 fixtures saw a dramatic turnaround with eight wins, two draws and 2 defeats. During that run of form the Saints had the second highest points average (2.17) behind champions Sutton United (2.71). This term St Albans City have averaged two points a game.
On This Day
Dartford’s last league win on 8 November came in 1986 when they beat Gosport Borough in the Southern League Premier Division. Since then the Darts drew with Cambridge City 1-1 in the F.A Trophy and Banbury United 2-2 in the Southern League Division One East. A 2-1 defeat to Harrow Borough eight years ago in the Isthmian Premier League was followed by a F.A Cup win over Bromley in 2014, the match ended 4-3 in the first round.