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Dartford v East Thurrock United

Familiar faces will be returning to Princes Park on Bank Holiday Monday when the Darts host East Thurrock United.

A repeat of last season’s home fixture against the Rocks will be welcomed by Tony Burman’s men and will extend their unbeaten record. Victory will see the Darts move above their opponents and by the end of the afternoon could jump in to second place. East Thurrock United are also unbeaten, one of three teams left in the National South without defeat.

Just over seven months ago, the Darts were clinical in front of goal securing an impressive 6-1 win against East Thurrock United. Six different scorers found the net that day starting with a second minute Tom Bonner header. Alex Brown expertly hit a twenty yard volley to double the lead and by half-time the Darts were 4-1 up. Tom Murphy scored on his home debut before Tom Wraight pulled a goal back and Andy Pugh scored from close range. The second half yielded two more goals, one from Ryan Hayes and the other an Elliot Bradbrook spot kick.

The Darts will want to keep up the excellent home form in which they have dropped just two league points at Princes Park over the last nine home games. In fact, Tony Burman’s men have lost just two league home games since mid-March of last year.

At home, the season opened with a 0-0 draw against Hungerford Town, but a 2-0 victory against Concord Rangers earned the Darts their first win of the season. Lyle Della-Verde scored his first for the club seven minutes from time after Elliot Bradbrook gave the Darts a first half lead. Dartford’s last home fixture saw them rack up their biggest score since 1989 with a 7-1 win over Oxford City. Warren Mfula’s hat-trick came after goals from Richard Sho-Silva, Della-Verde, Alfie Pavey and Lee Noble.

Dartford extended their unbeaten start to the campaign with a 3-0 away win at Hemel Hempstead Town. Elliot Bradbrook netted two penalties to take his season’s tally to four in six games. Alfie Pavey scored the other, his second in as many games since his return to the club.

The Darts will see new loan signing Jordan Beeney step in between the sticks to replace Deren Ibrahim, the Gibraltar international. Beeney has been signed as cover from Charlton Athletic’s academy. Ibrahim will be represeting his country against Belgium and Bosnia in World Cup qualifiers.

East Thurrock United boss, John Coventry has five former Dartford players in his squad all could be making their return to Princes Park having featured this season. Former favourite Lee Burns, signed a year ago and made 272 appearances for Dartford scoring 33 times winning promotions, coming top scorer, winning a Player of the Year award and even turned out in goal. Max Cornhill is now back with the Rocks, the midfielder represented the Darts 66 times scoring nine goals.

Now more of a defender than a midfielder James White moved this summer joining East Thurrock United from Concord Rangers, White made 112 appearances for the Darts. The Rocks also signed Lewis Smith, who Dartford gambled on a few years ago only for the striker to move out to Australia before playing a single competitive match, he was later banned for 17 months by the F.A which ended recently. Femi Akinwande made it through the Dartford academy before Colchester United took a punt, after a successful loan spell at Rookery Hill he is now a permanent squad member.

East Thurrock United have also started this term well and their away record matches Dartford’s home one. The Essex club travelled to Whitehawk and won 3-2 with goals from Smith, Sam Higgins and Ben Marlow. They beat Poole Town by the same scoreline, this time Reece Harris and two goals from Montel Agyemang earned victory. Smith was also on hand twice in the away 2-2 draw with Chippenham Town. The Rocks have found the net with regularity so far, they also hit five at home against Braintree Town in a 5-3 victory.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 1 / East Thurrock United wins: 2 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

East Thurrock United (DWWWDW) Dartford (WWWDDD)
Bognor Regis Town H 2-0 Hemel Hempstead A 3-0
Chippenham Town A 2-2 Oxford City H 7-1
Braintree Town H 5-3 Concord Rangers H 2-0
Poole Town A 3-2 Havant & Waterlooville A 0-0
Whitehawk A 3-2 Braintree Town A 2-2
Hampton & Richmond Borough H 1-1 Wealdstone H 0-0

Previous Meetings

07.01.2016 Dartford 6 East Thurrock United 1
10.09.2016 East Thurrock United 1 Dartford 1
30.04.2005 Dartford 0 East Thurrock United 3
28.08.2004 East Thurrock United 2 Dartford 1

Stats
Since 25 March 2016, Dartford have an exceptional home record in the National South. The Darts have won 20, drawn 5 and lost 2, scoring 64 and conceding 24.

Princes Park has hosted four August Bank Holiday matches with the Darts winning two, drawing one and losing the other. Aveley were beaten 4-0 a decade ago and three years later Dartford drew 1-1 with Ebbsfleet United. Bromley were defeated 3-1 in 2011 and Ebbsfleet United won 1-0 at Princes Park two years ago.

On This Day
Thirteen years ago in the Southern League Eastern Division, Dartford met East Thurrock United for the very first time. The likes of Tostao Kwashi, Eddie McClements and Tommy Osborne were part of the Darts squad that lost 2-1 on that day. A year later Dartford were knocked out of the F.A Cup preliminary round by Dorking. In 2006, Whyteleafe were beaten 3-1 with a goal by Brendon Cass and two from Jay May settling the score. The last time Dartford played on 28 August was seven years ago against rivals Ebbsfleet United. The first league meeting since 1992 ended in 1-1 draw, it was also the first Princes Park meeting between the two clubs.

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