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Hampton and Richmond Borough v Dartford

The Darts aim to bounce back this weekend at Hampton and Richmond Borough after suffering their first defeat of the season.

Bank Holiday Monday was a game too far for the Darts as they went down 1-0 at home to East Thurrock United. The first home defeat in the National League South in their last nine was only the third at Princes Park in the league since the start of last season. Loan goalkeeper, Jordan Beeney could only tip Reece Harris’ free kick onto the crossbar for Sam Higgins to score the rebound. Dartford dropped to sixth in the league standings after seven matches, six points behind leaders Chelmsford City.

Tony Burman looked back on the Monday’s match wondering if he should have started Andy Pugh, he commented to www.kentonline.co.uk: “Warren (Mfula) has done brilliantly for us and it was probably a game too many”. Burman decided to stick with a winning team and with Tom Murphy and Duane Ofori-Acheampong still injured, Pugh would have been the other option up front. Deren Ibrahim will also be unavailable as he is on international duty with Gibraltar, so Beeney will start his second match on loan.

The Darts now turn their focus on maintaining an unbeaten away record after consecutive draws, against Braintree Town and Havant and Waterlooville, followed by the 3-0 Bank Holiday weekend win at Hemel Hempstead Town. So far in 2017, Dartford have lost just three on the road but have chalked up only five victories, seven matches have ended all square.

Hampton and Richmond Borough were fast out of the blocks last season, but not so much this time. The Beavers are the lowest scorers with five goals yet their defence has only conceded six. Manager, Alan Dowson has been in the loan market to improve attacking options recently signing Bradley Hudson-Odoi from Sutton United and Noel Mbo from Gillingham.

At the Beveree, the Middlesex have only lost once this term and that was their last match at home. Havant and Waterlooville struck a last minute winner courtesy of Wes Fogden. On Bank Holiday Monday, the Beavers reversed the scoreline winning 1-0 themselves against Welling United, Ryan Moss scoring the decisive goal on five minutes.

A slower start than expected, Hampton and Richmond Borough are currently fourteenth in the league standings. Dowson led his side to the playoffs four months ago at the expense of Poole Town and Hungerford Town, albeit finishing seventh in the National South. This time finishing seventh will be good enough to reach the playoffs on merit. The Beavers boss set his objectives at the start of the campaign believing his side will be challenging for promotion.

Dartford’s last trip to the Beveree ended in misery as a newly promoted Hampton and Richmond Borough took the Darts apart. Christian Jolley put the Beavers ahead on eight minutes charging down Deren Ibrahim’s clearance, but Danny Harris had Dartford level.  Just after Jolley was substituted, still dazed from Ibrahim’s failed clearance, the Beavers regained the lead through Michael Kamara. An own goal by Tom Bonner and a Nicke Kabamba deflected shot gave the Middlesex club a 4-1 win.

In the return fixture at Princes Park it was the Darts turn to outplay their opponents. Elliot Bradbrook drilled in a rebound for his 23rd goal in all competitions. A well worked team goal and quality finish from Alex Brown extended the lead before half time. Former Dartford player, Nathan Collier headed in for Hampton and Richmond Borough, but the three points were secure once Ronnie Vint netted the third.

Collier is still at Hampton and Richmond Borough and has started every game for the Beavers this season. Former Dartford, striker Harry Crawford is also part of the squad and has made just two starts since joining from Welling United this summer.

Head to Head
Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 4 / Dartford wins: 4 / Draws: 0

Current League Form

Hampton & Richmond Borough             (WLLLDW) Dartford (LWWWDD)
Welling United A 1-0 East Thurrock United H 0-1
Havant & Waterlooville H 0-1 Hemel Hempstead Town A 3-0
Braintree Town A 1-2 Oxford City H 7-1
Hemel Hempstead Town A 0-1 Concord Rangers H 2-0
Eastbourne Borough H 1-1 Havant & Waterlooville A 0-0
Oxford City H 1-0 Braintree Town A 2-2

Previous Meetings

17.04.2017 Dartford 3 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
29.08.2016 Hampton & Richmond Borough 4 Dartford 1
21.01.2012 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 3
20.08.2011 Dartford 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
19.02.2011 Dartford 0 Hampton & Richmond Borough 4
17.08.2010 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 0

Stats
It will be the third game in a row in which the opposition has fielded a former Dartford player if Collier or Crawford start. Charlie Sheringham and Callum Driver lined up against the Darts for Hemel Hempstead Town. Lee Burns, Max Cornhill, Femi Akinwande and Lewis Smith started for East Thurrock United United, taking the tally up to six former Darts in the last two games.

Dartford have kept two clean sheets in a row away from home, they have kept three in a row since October 2016.

The Darts last went three away matches unbeaten at the start of the season in 2011. An opening day win at Weston- Super-Mare was followed up with draws against Dover Athletic and Chelmsford City. In 2009, Dartford won their opening nine away matches in the Isthmian Premier League.

On This Day
Eleven years has past since Dartford comprehensively beat Tunbridge Wells in the F.A Cup preliminary round 5-0, however the Darts went out at the next stage to Hastings United. The victory against Wells was the last in an unbeaten run on fixtures taking place on 2 September that stretched back to 1978, a total of six games. The last fixture on this day was nine years ago at home to Carshalton Athletic in the Isthmian Premier League. Goals from Jamie Day and John Guest were not enough in a 3-2 defeat.

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