Dartford’s playoff battle continues this weekend when they host mid-table side Eastbourne Borough at Princes Park.
When the two teams met in January, the game ended in farcical conditions as fog descended on Priory Lane. As a spectacle their was very little to see yet the game ended 3-2 to the Darts. Luke Wanadio opened the scoring but three minutes later Elliott Romain equalised. Andy Pugh then put Dartford back in front as the fog began to roll in, giving his side the lead going into the break. Conditions worsened in the second half, Kaka Dembele extended the lead and very few in the ground witnessed Nat Pinney net the final goal of the game.
Dropped points over the last seven weeks has left the Darts in fourth place, level on points with Chelmsford City. Looking over their shoulder Tony Burman’s side are only a win ahead of Poole Town, who have a game in hand. Whilst the teams currently occupying a playoff spot jostle for position, Eastbourne Borough will be hoping to finish as high as they can in the National South, the Sports are guaranteed a place in the division next season.
It was only last weekend which saw Dartford lose their third place spot. Defeat away to St Albans City was followed up with a 2-2 draw at Hemel Hempstead Town, the hosts were reduced to ten men. Burman assessed the performance when speaking to www.dartfordfc.com, he commented: “I felt the players worked really hard on Saturday and I think we all realised that once a team goes down to 10 men it’s not always easy to play against. There seems to be a lot of tension in the performances of the team of late which for me is affecting their decision making and their performance as individuals and as a group”.
A penalty scored by Elliot Bradbrook and a Luke Wanadio goal put Dartford ahead twice, however the Tudors showed character to come back with former Dart, Charlie Sheringham and defender Tony Diagne finding the net. Burman added: “It is obviously disappointing to take the lead twice and not come away winning the game especially away from home. The two goals scored against us from our point of view were poor goals to concede, and I think both highlighted that tension and decision making”.
Eastbourne Borough have taken ten points from their last six league games and have been amongst the goals. The Sports were thrashed by Chelmsford City 5-1 and after a successive defeat they beat Welling United 7-3 at home, Jamie Taylor notching a hat-trick. Last weekend, Tommy Widdrington’s side took on a Wealdstone team unbeaten in eleven and with slim hopes of the playoffs. The Sports ended that glimmer the Stones had with a resounding 5-1 victory featuring two more strikes from Taylor and a brace from Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain, younger brother to Arsenal midfielder Alex. Another threat in attack is Elliott Romain, scorer of 20 goals this term and third highest scorer in the National South. Widdrington has now stepped down as boss after five years in charge stabilising the club.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 7 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 2
Current League Form
Drew 2-2 v Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Lost 0-1 v St Albans City (A)
Won 4-0 v Margate (H)
Won 5-3 v Truro City (H)
Drew 1-1 v Concord Rangers (A)
Won 2-0 v Bath City (H)
Eastbourne Borough (WDWLLW)
Won 5-1 v Wealdstone (H)
Drew 1-1 v Margate (A)
Won 7-3 v Welling United (H)
Lost 1-2 v Bath City (H)
Lost 1-5 v Chelmsford City (A)
Won 2-0 v Truro City (H)
Previous Six Meetings
Eastbourne Borough 2 Dartford 3 (24/01/2017 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1 (20/02/2016 – National South)
Dartford 1 Eastbourne Borough 0 (11/08/2015 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1 (03/04/2012 – National South)
Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 1 (29/11/2011 – F.A Trophy replay)
Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 0 (26/11/2011 – F.A Trophy)
3 – Dartford have won their last three home matches beating Margate, Truro City and Bath City
4 – Elliot Bradbrook has scored in each of Dartford’s last three home games with four goals
7 – The Darts are unbeaten in seven games against Eastbourne Borough in all competitions, winning five a drawing two
71 – number of goals scored by Eastbourne Borough, only the top three in the division have scored more
On This Day
Dartford are on a 12 game unbeaten run in games played on the 8 April, including a 10-0 victory over Crawley Town in 1975. The Darts handed the Sussex club a thrashing when taking part in the MSFL. The unbeaten run consists of six wins and six draws with the last match at home in 2006 against Boreham Wood. The Southern League Division One East fixture ended 2-2. In fact Dartford have drawn their last three home games on this day, one being the F.A Trophy semi-final first leg goalless stalemate with Macclesfield Town. The Silkmen ended up victors in the tie finishing runners up at the Wembley final to Telford United. The Darts last win came 17 years ago in the 2-0 away triumph at Wisbech Town, the last home victory was against rivals Gravesend and Northfleet back in 1977 in an entertaining 3-2 encounter.