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Bishop’s Stortford v Dartford

Dartford will be aiming for a fourth National League away win in a row when they visit bottom of the table side Bishop’s Stortford.

The Darts have experienced defeat in the league just once in their last ten matches and on their travels remain unbeaten since the end of August, in all competitions. Sitting in sixth place with a game in hand, Dartford’s success on the road owes a lot to a defence that has kept five clean sheets in their last seven outings.

Last weekend, a 2-0 win over Hemel Hempstead Town returned Tony Burman’s side back to winning ways. Danny Harris, a former Bishop’s Stortford player crowned his 250th start for the Darts with a well taken goal and substitute Luke Wanadio netted his fourth of the campaign. The victory came after consecutive defeats against Sutton United in the F.A Cup and promotion contenders St Albans City.

Victory over Bishop’s Stortford will be the club’s fifth in a row against the Hertfordshire side. Dartford completed a double last season and during the previous spell in the National South back in 2010/11.

The Darts had to take the lead twice just over a year ago to secure a win at Woodside Park. Barry Cogan gave Dartford the early momentum after just 12 minutes but the Blues equalised against the run of play. The winner came from captain Elliot Bradbrook in the second half, who finished coolly with a curling shot into the top corner. Almost five years ago, a Charlie Sheringham goal turned out to be the decider in a 1-0 triumph. At Princes Park, Tony Burman has led the Darts to two more triumphs over Bishop’s Stortford winning 3-1 and 3-0 respectively.

Tony Burman selected from almost a full squad last weekend and the only absentee will return. Goalkeeper, Deren Ibrahim was on international duty with Gibraltar and played in their 3-1 loss at Cyprus. Dartford’s number one earned his second cap for his country and is likely to return, replacing Bailey Vose who stood in last weekend.

Bishop’s Stortford are having their National South status tested this term, playing at this level since the reorganisation of the non league period in 2004, the Blues are a point adrift at the bottom. That gap could have been more had they not won their last home match against Weston-super-Mare, the side above Bishop’s Stortford in the table. Victory versus the Seagulls is the Hertfordshire’s club only home victory, they have lost the other eight.

The Blues started the campaign with Gordon Boateng in charge after former boss Rod Stringer moved to Chelmsford City in the summer. Boateng’s reign didn’t last long and was replaced last month by former Chelmsford City duo Mark Hawkes and Steve Smith. The pair got off to an awful start with their side shipping in eleven goals in their first two matches, a 6-0 defeat against league leaders Maidenhead United was followed up with a 5-1 loss to St Albans City.

In an attempt to turn the fortunes around at Woodside Park, Hawkes and Smith have brought in former Dartford academy player Femi Akinwande. The youngster, on loan from Colchester United is already making an impression for the Blues.

Head to Head
Bishop’s Stortford wins: 3 / Dartford wins: 4 / Draws: 2

Current League Form
Bishop’s Stortford (LWLLLL)
Lost 1-3 v Oxford City (A)
Won 2-1 v Weston-super-Mare (H)
Lost 0-1 v Eastbourne Borough (A)
Lost 1-5 v St Albans City (H)
Lost 0-6 v Maidenhead United (A)
Lost 0-3 v Whitehawk (H)

Dartford (WLWWWW)
Won 2-0 v Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Lost 0-2 v St Albans City (H)
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 (A)

Previous Meetings
Dartford 3 Bishop’s Stortford 1 (25/03/2016 – National South)
Bishop’s Stortford 1 Dartford 2 (24/10/2015 – National South)
Bishop’s Stortford 0 Dartford 1 (29/01/2011 – National South)
Dartford 3 Bishop’s Stortford 0 (24/08/2010 – National South)
Bishop’s Stortford 2 Dartford 1 (11/04/1981 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 1 (04/04/1981 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 4 (22/11/1975 – F.A Cup)
Bishop’s Stortford 3 Dartford 1 (27/10/1970 – F.A Cup)
Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 2 (24/10/1970 – F.A Cup)

Stats
Dartford have kept five clean sheets in their last seven games.

The Darts have won nine out of ten against teams currently in the bottom half the National South table.

Bishop’s Stortford’s have scored the fewest goals at home in the league this campaign, scoring just four in nine games.

On This Day
Dartford suffered their heaviest defeat at Princes Park three years ago losing 5-1 to Wrexham. The Darts took an early lead through Lee Burns but that just antagonised the Red Devils who hit back with five unanswered goals. It wasn’t too rosy five years ago either, Dartford let a two goal lead slip against ten man Eastleigh. Adam Green scored from the spot before the Spitfires were reduced to ten men and Jon Wallis made it 2-0. The Hampshire club went away with a point when Danny Smith and Tom Jordan scored for Eastleigh. In 1985, Dartford took AFC Bournemouth to a F.A Cup replay for a second year in a row. In the previous season defeat cost the Darts an historic trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United, this time a 2-0 loss prevented the Darts taking on Dagenham.

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