Dartford grabbed the local headlines this week by causing a F.A Trophy upset, this weekend they aim to do it in the league against leaders Maidenhead United at York Road.
The Darts are ‘buzzing’ ahead of their National South clash with the Magpies and know victory over their opponents will reduce the deficit to eight points with a game in hand. Tony Burman’s side will approach the fixture against the table toppers full of confidence after knocking rivals and National League side Dover Athletic out of the F.A Trophy.
In both ties, Dartford came from behind earning a 1-1 draw at Princes Park on Saturday before winning the replay 2-1. Defender, Ronnie Vint found the net in both games and believes results like Tuesday night’s will push the club forward, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “Maidenhead will be a tough game for us. They are top of the league and flying but after a game like this why can’t we go there and beat them? Take the confidence from this forward”.
Prior the F.A Trophy tie, Dartford beat fellow playoff chasers Poole Town in the National South, but the tough schedule follows the trip to Berkshire with a double header over local rivals Ebbsfleet United. A fifth consecutive away win in the league will keep their excellent form goingand could see the Darts rise to third in the table.
Only Poole Town have managed to overcome Alan Devonshire’s Maidenhead United side, in the second match of the campaign. The Magpies are currently 18 league games unbeaten and have not lost or failed to score at York Road this season.
With the two best defences in the National South going head to head, it’s no surprise that the reverse fixture this term ended 0-0 at Princes Park. The last visit to York Road back in March ended in Dartford’s first defeat against the Magpies in the post war era.
Tony Burman is hoping that striker Andy Pugh and defender Tom Gardiner will return from injury, however Tom Bonner will continue his suspension.
Maidenhead United have had a week off following their F.A Trophy exit at the hands of Wealdstone. The Magpies did bounce back from the defeat with a 2-0 victory over Margate. Unsurprisingly, National South’s top goalscorer Dave Tarpey found the net once more to notch his 22nd league goal this season. Former Braintree Town striker and captain Sean Marks scored the other.
In his second spell as manager, Alan Devonshire is hoping to repeat the honour of taking the Magpies up a division. The former West Ham United and England midfielder took the club up to the Isthmian Premier league sixteen years ago. This time he has built a squad capable of reaching the National League and sit six points ahead of second place St Albans City.
Devonshire is not letting his players get ahead of themselves though, he explained to www.maidenhead-advertiser.co.uk: “This time last year Ebbsfleet United had a 15-point lead whereas our lead is only six points. Ebbsfleet couldn’t handle it but Sutton United also went on a very good run of form”, he added: “We’re not getting carried away. We’re top of the table and deserve to be there and we’ll just carry on chipping away, trying to get results. That’s what we’ll be trying to do against Dartford on Saturday”.
Current League Form
Maidenhead United (WWWDDW)
Won 2-0 v Margate (H)
Won 3-2 v Ebbsfleet United (A)
Won 2-1 v Bath City (H)
Drew 0-0 v East Thurrock United (A)
Drew 2-2 v Hungerford Town (H)
Won 3-2 v Hampton and Richmond Borough (A)
Won 2-1 v Poole Town (H)
Won 3-0 v Bishop’s Stortford (A)
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)
Previous Six Meetings
Dartford 0 Maidenhead United 0 (03/09/2016 – National South)
Dartford 2 Maidenhead United 0 (02/04/2016 – National South)
Maidenhead United 2 Dartford 1 (15/03/2016 – National South)
Dartford 2 Maidenhead United 1 (31/03/2012 – National South)
Maidenhead United 1 Dartford 1 (13/03/2012 – National South)
Maidenhead United 2 Dartford 3 (30/04/2011 – National South)
4 – At York Road, Maidenhead United’s defence has only been breached four times in the National South, the best record in the division this season
15 – League goals conceded by the Darts this season, only Maidenhead United have let in fewer (13)
70 – Percentage of clean sheets the Magpies have kept at home in the league this term, seven clean sheets in 10 games.
The away side has not won in the last five meetings between the sides. Dartford were the last to achieve an away victory in this fixture back in April 2011.
Dartford went 119 years without defeat against Maidenhead United. The Darts lost 2-1 in 1897 and after five wins and two draws the run was ended in their last trip to play the Magpies at York Road in March this year.