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Weston-super-Mare v Dartford

League leaders Dartford make the long trip across the country on the weekend when they visit Weston-super-Mare in the National South.

With the top six separated by just a point the Darts superior goal difference keeps them above the rest for now, but they will be hoping to come back from the West country with a three point haul and their unbeaten away record intact.

Tony Burman was able to rest a number of regular starters on Tuesday night in the Kent Senior Cup tie against Cray Wanderers. The consequence of which was a 4-2 defeat to the Isthmian Premier League side, but the likes of Warren Mfula, Toby Ajala, Ronnie Vint, Alfie Cue, Tom Murphy and Keaton Wood started the match.

It was a second cup game in a few days for the Darts after they beat Barking 3-1 in the F.A Cup thanks to Elliot Bradbrook’s hat-trick. A feat he achieved against Weston-super-Mare last season in the 4-2 F.A Trophy triumph back in November.

Last season Dartford completed a treble against the Seagulls winning both National South fixtures and the F.A Trophy tie. At the Woodspring Stadium where they travel to on Saturday, the Darts won 2-1 with goals from Luke Wanadio and Ryan Hayes. The return fixture was just as close as Dartford edged out 3-2 winners.

After a break in league action, Burman’s side moved to the top in their last National South match against Eastbourne Borough. Victory was Dartford’s third in a row and sixth in the league this term. However, the Dartford boss still found something for his team to focus on, he commented to kentonline.co.uk: “We’ve been excellent with the chances created and defensively we’ve been good, although I was upset in the Eastbourne game”, he added: “We want to have the best defence in the league and we haven’t got that at the moment. It was taken away from us with those two goals”, he continued “It’s showing in the goal difference that we’ve converted a lot of chances and not let a lot of goals in. Being sloppy cost us last year and we’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen again”.

Burman believes consistency will be important to mounting a title challenge this term, he said: “A lot of teams are playing on the same level and it’s going to be about who’s consistent – not so much creeping away but trying to get those wins. Draws are not going to be good results, you’ve got to win your games”.

Weston-super-Mare suffered a last minute defeat on the weekend as they went out of the F.A Cup to Bognor Regis Town. Tristan Plummer impressed for the Seagulls and his deflected effort off team mate Jake Reid gave Weston-super-Mare a half-time lead. The tables turned in the second half, after Bognor Regis Town equalised Jake Mawford was sent off for the Seagulls. In the last minute the hosts James Crane’s headed goal prevented a replay back at the Woodspring Stadium.

Marc McGregor’s side were involved in an entertaining six goal thriller in their last league outing. Away to Oxford City, Dayle Grubb gave Weston-super-Mare a lead after just two minutes but Oxford City levelled. The Seagulls were reduced to ten men when Aden Baldwin was red carded just before the half hour mark. Grubb put the ten men in front five minutes before the interval but the lead was overturned in the second half. Oxford City’s Reece Fleet equalised, then the Nomads had Freddie Grant sent off, but like the Seagulls Oxford City scored with ten men to lead for the first time in the match. New signing Irnti Rapai saved the match for Weston-super-Mare scoring his second for the club in as many matches.

Before the 3-3 draw, the Seagulls went to Chelmsford City, who were leading the table at the time and came back with a point. Albanian striker Irnti Rapai, who had signed from Olympiacos Lavriou FC made his debut and scored in a 1-1 draw.

The Seagulls, on a two match unbeaten league run showed character at the start of the month following a 4-1 defeat to Havant and Waterlooville. Weston-super-Mare hosted a struggling Wealdstone side and recorded a comfortable 5-1 victory. Dayle Grubb and Jake Reid both notched braces and a fifth in injury time by Jake Lee put the gloss on a decent performance.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 7 / Weston-super-Mare wins: 2 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Weston-super-Mare (DDWLLD) Dartford (WWWDLW)
Oxford City A 3-3 Eastbourne Borough H 4-2
Chelmsford City A 1-1 Chippenham Town H 3-0
Wealdstone H 5-1 Whitehawk A 4-0
Havant & Waterlooville H 1-4 Hampton & Richmond A 2-2
Truro City A 1-2 East Thurrock United H 0-1
Chippenham Town H 2-2 Hemel Hempstead A 0-3

Previous Meetings

17.01.2017 Dartford 3 Weston-super-Mare 2
26.11.2016 Weston-super-Mare 2 Dartford 4
20.08.2016 Weston-super-Mare 1 Dartford 2
05.03.2016 Weston-super-Mare 2 Dartford 1
13.09.2015 Dartford 2 Weston-super-Mare 1
12.11.2011 Dartford 1 Weston-super-Mare 1

Stats
It’s been six years since either side has failed to register a goal in this fixture. Dartford beat the Seagulls 4-0 on the opening day of the 2011/12 campaign.

Dartford have scored in each of their last five trips to Weston-super-Mare, last failing to score in 1997 when the Southern League South match ended without a goal.

Dartford’s five game unbeaten away start in the league is their best since the Isthmian Premier title winning side of 2009/10, when they won their opening nine away games.

Elliot Bradbrook is the division’s second highest goalscorer with 7 goals. The Darts captain is one behind Weston-super-Mare’s Dayle Grubb and Philip Roberts of Braintree Town.

On This Day
Dartford beat local rivals Maidstone United in the Isthmian Premier League at Sittingbourne’s Central Park. Steve Butterworth’s low drive from outside of the box made it 1-0 and the lead was doubled with Rob Haworth’s header. The Stones pulled a goal back in the second half through Meshach Nugent. That win ended a three game losing streak on 23 September having been beaten 2-1 on each occasion by Ashford Town in 2003, Histon in 2000 and Fisher Athletic in 1997.

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