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Concord Rangers v Dartford

Dartford make the short journey to Essex on the weekend to face a few former players at Concord Rangers.

Managed by Adam Flanagan, Dartford’s Isthmian Premier League title-winning captain, Concord Rangers visited Princes Park back in September propping up the league table at the time. On the stroke of half time Duane Ofori-Acheampong volleyed in his first goal for the Darts in his ninth appearance for the club. The striker was involved in the second just before the hour mark setting up Danny Harris. Dartford had to hold on though when Jay Dowie scored a consolation five minutes from time.

Last term, the Darts had to produce a comeback full of character to overcome the Beachboys. Lewis Taafe opened the scoring for the hosts after just two minutes and doubled the lead on the hour. Andy Pugh’s deflected shot pulled a goal back and with five minutes to go he grabbed the equaliser. In the final minute Tom Bradbrook netted the winner as Dartford won 3-2 from two goals down.

Whatever the result, Dartford will remain third after the weekend but will hope to close the six point gap on rivals Ebbsfleet United in second. The five point advantage over fourth place Chelmsford City gives the Darts some stability for the time being. Unbeaten in their last three matches, Tony Burman has strengthened his strike force by signing Alfie Pavey on loan from Millwall. The 21-year-old has had previous spells on loan with Barnet, Aldershot Town, Bromley and Hampton and Richmond.

Concord Rangers may be in the lower half of the National South yet they have an eight point cushion on Gosport Borough, who occupy the final relegation spot. The Beachboys took a while to warm up this campaign going nine games without a win. The season began to take off after a 5-1 away win at Margate and decent form leading up to the New Year moved them out of the relegation places. Since then the Beachboys’ inconsistencies reflect their position in the National South.

It was just over a year ago when former Dartford midfielder James White scored a stunning decisive goal to give the Beachboys victory at Princes Park, their only ever win versus Dartford. White is still integral to the Concord Rangers team and made 112 appearances for the Darts.

In between the sticks Bailey Vose has made 14 appearances this season for Concord Rangers to add to the three starts he had for Dartford in November. Vose’s short spell included a home defeat to St Albans City and a clean sheet against Hemel Hempstead Town, as well as a Kent Senior Cup win over Cray Wanderers. The 18-year-old goalkeeper is on loan from Championship side Brighton and Hove Albion.

Jordan Chiedozie had a brief spell with Dartford on loan from Cambridge United in 2015 where he scored twice in four games. He returned to the Beachboys this term having previously been part of their 2014/15 squad.

Head to Head
Concord Rangers wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 3 / Draws: 0

Current League Form
Concord Rangers (DLWWLW)
Drew 0-0 v Margate (H)
Lost 3-4 v Chelmsford City (A)
Won 2-1 v Truro City (A)
Won 3-1 v Eastbourne Borough (H)
Lost 0-4 v Ebbsfleet United (A)
Won 3-2 v St Albans City (A)

Dartford (WDDLWW)
Won 2-0 v Bath City (H)
Drew 0-0 v Welling United (A)
Drew 1-1 v Oxford City (A)
Lost 0-1 v Chelmsford City (H)
Won 4-0 v Gosport Borough (A)
Won 3-1 v Whitehawk (H)

Previous Meetings
Dartford 2 Concord Rangers 1 (24/09/2016 – National South)
Dartford 1 Concord Rangers 2 (27/02/2016 – National South)
Concord Rangers 2 Dartford 3 (18/08/2015 – National South)
Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 3 (27/01/2009 – Isthmian League Cup)

Stats
1 – Dartford have conceded once in the last 360 minutes away from home, keeping three clean sheets in thbeir last four outings

2 – A second clean sheet in a row last weekend was the first time Dartford achieved this feat since November

4 – Concord Rangers are unbeaten in their last four home games

5 – The Darts have not lost on their travels since New Years Day spanning five matches

15 – In previous meetings, both sides have scored in every fixture with Dartford netting nine to the Beachboys’ six

293 – Concord Rangers have the second lowest average attendance in the National League, one ahead of Oxford City

On This Day
Steve Robinson was the hero in 1989 when he scored the only goal of the game against Altrincham in the F.A Trophy quarter-final. Dartford’s record appearance maker helped Peter Taylor’s side to a run which ended in the last four against Macclesfield Town. The last away match for the Darts on 11 March was 37 years ago in 1980. A trip South to Hastings United ended in a 2-1 Southern League Cup semi-final first leg loss. The Darts away goal made sure of a narrow 3-2 aggregate victory to reach the final, where Graham Carr’s side fell short to Kidderminster Harriers in the final.

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