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Dartford v Oxford City

Dartford are back at Princes Park this weekend when they host Oxford City in the National South.

The Darts will want to recreate the victory achieved last season against the Nomads at home. Andy Pugh scored the decisive goal with a deft lob over the Oxford City goalkeeper. Dartford are unbeaten in the three fixtures against the Oxfordshire club at home, drawing twice in a F.A trophy tie almost nine years ago and a National South match 18 months ago.

Tagged as one of the favourites to win the title, Dartford have made a slow start as some of the expected challengers sit at the top end of the table. However, the Darts finally got their first win in mid-week beating Concord Rangers 2-0. Elliot Bradbrook netted his second goal of the season after a good counter attacking move, Lyle Della-Verde’s well taken effort secured the three points against his former club.

Burman praised winger Della-Verde after the game along with defender Richard Sho-Silva. In the build up to this weekend’s fixture, the Dartford boss also stressed the importance of keeping clean sheets, a feat that the Darts have achieved three time already this campaign in just four matches.

With Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Andy Pugh missing through injury at the start of the season, Tony Burman has turned to a striker he knows. Alfie Pavey, was on loan at the Darts last term and joined Kent rivals Welling United in the summer. The 21 year old has now signed for Dartford having appeared nine times scoring twice last season, although he only made two starts. Burman told www.dartfordfc.com: “I would like to welcome Alfie back to the club, Alfie has successfully worked with us before and he now returns to the club where I hope he can show his full potential”. Pavey was unavailable for selection on Tuesday night against Concord Rangers but can be selected this weekend. With goals lacking Burman is not overly concerned as he feels chances are still be created and the goals will come.

Pugh may be back against Oxford City if he comes through the last training session, Keaton Wood is still struggling with an achilles problem, but was named on the bench on Tuesday as emergency. Tom Murphy aggravated his ankle/ hamstring in the draw against Braintree Town last week.

 

Oxford City, who moved from the National North to South two years ago, started their season with a win, draw and loss before playing Hungerford Town on Tuesday night. The Nomads added a further three points with a mid-week win over the Crusaders thanks to some resolute defending and a clean sheet. Goals from Zac McEachran and Matt Patterson’s third of the season gave Oxford City a 2-0 victory.

Having finished the last two season’s in twelfth and fourteenth respectively, Oxford City manager Mark Jones has set a realistic target and wants his team to make use of the extra playoff spots available this term. A seventh place finish or above will give the Oxfordshire club a shot at the National League, which they have never reached.

The last meeting between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw in Oxford. Ryan Hayes scored the goal to take him within one more of a century. However, the Darts threw away a three point haul by conceding a last minute equaliser.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Oxford City wins: 1 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings

25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1
29.10.2016 Dartford 1 Oxford City 0
23.04.2016 Dartford 2 Oxford City 2
15.09.2015 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1
04.11.2008 Oxford City 2 Dartford 4
01.11.2008 Dartford 3 Oxford City 3

Stats

Dartford have equalled their best defensive record after four games since 1992. However, the three clean sheets in four games this term betters the two clean sheets in four recorded 25 years ago.

The last time Dartford kept three clean sheets in their opening four league games was in 1988, when their defence was only breached once. Including the Southern League Challenge Match, the Darts failed to concede in four of the first five games that year.

Last season’s home win is the only time a clean sheet has been recorded in this fixture, Dartford won 1-0.

On This Day

Eleven years ago, Brendon Cass netted a hat-trick as Dartford thrashed Burgess Hill Town 6-1 in Sussex. Cass was the star of the show but strike partner Jay May grabbed a brace. John Farley netted the other on his Dartford debut, but a serious injury meant he only ever started five times for the Darts. Cass also recorded another hat-trick against the Hillians five months later in a 7-2 win at Princes Park, memorable for that Dave Martin wonder goal.

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