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Dartford v Weston-super-Mare

Dartford could complete a treble over Weston-super-Mare as they return to National South action this week at Princes Park.

The Darts have already won twice at the Woodspring Stadium in league and trophy. Back in August, Dartford recorded their first win and handed out the Seagulls first defeat of the campaign. Luke Wanadio expertly gave Dartford the lead curling his shot into the top corner. Shawn McCoulsky levelled the match scoring his spot kick but Ryan Hayes netted the winner late on.

In the F.A Trophy the two teams were drawn together in third qualifying round. Elliot Bradbrook took the game by the scruff of the neck to lead the Darts to a 4-2 victory, despite being reduced to ten men. The captain netted a hat-trick to atone for last season’s trip to the Woodspring Stadium where he was sent off, Andy Pugh scored the other.

Dartford last beat a team three times in a season five years ago, when they defeated Basingstoke Town in the National South and in both legs of the playoff semi-final.

Just over a week ago, Tony Burman praised his team’s clinical performance as the beat East Thurrock United 6-1 at Princes Park. Six different goal scorers found the net to lift Dartford back into the playoff places by the end of the afternoon. The win was Dartford’s eighth at home in the league this term.

Weston-super-Mare are currently enjoying the benefits of a new manager since they last played the Darts. Scott Bartlett replaced Ryan Northmore after eight straight losses, and although his career with the Seagulls got off to slow start, the club are moving in the right direction.

Appointed at the beginning of October, Bartlett’s side picked up a disappointing two points from the first 18 in which he was in charge, including a 5-1 thrashing against East Thurrock United. When the maiden win arrived in a 4-3 triumph over Eastbourne Borough it started a glut of goals. A total of 21 were scored in three games even if the Seagulls went on to lose 5-3 to Hemel Hempstead Town and 4-2 to the Darts in the F.A Trophy.

The corner may well have been turned, Weston-super-Mare have tasted defeat just once in the last seven league matches and have won on their last three outings. Much of the good form can be attributed to Dayle Grubb, who recently signed a new contract and continues to play a pivotal role. New signing from Cinderford Town, Gethyn Hill has netted three times in his first four appearances alleviating the pressure on Bradley Ash, who often played as the lone striker this term.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 6 / Weston-super-Mare wins: 2 / Draws: 4

Current League Form
Dartford (WLWLWW)
Won 6-1 v East Thurrock United (H)
Lost 0-1 v Ebbsfleet United (A)
Won 2-1 v Ebbsfleet United (H)
Lost 0-5 v Maidenhead United (A)
Won 2-1 v Poole Town (H)
Won 3-0 v Bishop’s Stortford (A)
Won 2-0 v Hemel Hempstead Town (H)

Weston-super-Mare (WWWDLW)
Won 3-1 v Concord Rangers (A)
Won 4-2 v Truro City (H)
Won 2-1 v Truro City (A)
Drew 0-0 v Chelmsford City (H)
Lost 3-5 v Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Won 4-3 v Eastbourne Borough (A)

Previous Meetings
Weston-super-Mare 2 Dartford 4 (26/11/2016 – F.A Trophy)
Weston-super-Mare 1 Dartford 2 (20/08/2016 – National South)
Weston-super-Mare 2 Dartford 1 (05/03/2016 – National South)
Dartford 2 Weston-super-Mare 1 (13/09/2015 – National League)
Dartford 1 Weston-super-Mare 1 (12/11/2011 – National League)
Weston-super-Mare 0 Dartford 4 (13/08/2011 – National South)

On This Day
In four attempts Dartford have not won on 17 January since reforming, losing two and drawing two. It was a day to forget two years ago when Kent rivals Dover Athletic hit six past the Darts. The 6-1 defeat was a low point in a campaign which saw Dartford relegated from the National League. In 2009, Staines Town were held to a 0-0 draw at Princes Park, the Middlesex club went on to win promotion to the National South via the playoffs. In a six goal thriller, the Darts drew 3-3 away to Bashley in 2004 whilst in the Southern League Division One East and six years prior, Dartford lost 3-0 at home to Cirencester Town.

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