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Dartford v Wealdstone

Dartford moved back to the top of the National South on the weekend and hope to retain the number one spot this week when they host Wealdstone.

The Darts maintained their solid home form on Saturday with a 4-1 win over Gloucester City. Warren Mfula opened the scoring with his fourth league goal of the campaign and Lyle Della Verde added a second by capitalising on a defensive error. Della Verde scored again in the second half with Alfie Pavey adding a fourth before the hour. The Tigers pulled a goal back but Dartford were too strong and moved to the top of the table. At Princes Park, Dartford have dropped just four points from their nine home games.

Tony Burman spoke to www.dartfordfc.com after the win and said: “I was delighted with the result and performance this week especially after Truro. The players reacted very well to the loss last week. We played against a good footballing side in Gloucester City and they caused us problems, but I thought we were ruthless in front of goal, and deserved the three points”.

Andy Pugh returns after serving a suspension, Tom Murphy will return to the squad whilst Duane Ofori-Acheampong was back in training last week after a long lay off. Keaton Wood left the club, the defender played 74 times for the Darts scoring four goals, he has made 13 appearances this term.

The Darts last faced Wealdstone at Princes Park over a year ago, on the first day of last season. It took until a minute before half time for Dartford to open their account when Luke Wanadio hit a low ball across the box for Elliot Bradbrook to finish. Early in the second half and Wealdstone were level through Elliot Benyon but the lead was restored after Ryan Hayes netted from the spot. The three points looked like they were heading for the Darts but in the final minute Eddie Oshodi headed an equaliser.

That draw in August 2016 was the last of a winless run against the Stones stretching back nine games to 1991. The away fixture last term saw Dartford record their biggest win against their opponents since that last victory, when they also scored four. Wanadio scored from the edge of the box, Hayes scored with a trademark curling effort, Bradbrook added a third and Andy Pugh secured the 4-0 victory.

Wealdstone made a slow start picking up six points in August out of the 21 available, the only win coming on the opening day of the season. Long serving manager Gordon Bartlett lasted five matches bringing an end to the 22-year spell at the helm. Still involved in the club Bartlett now oversees a new role supporting youth development, football in the community and over key football developments.

A day later, Bobby Wilkinson was announced as the new Stones boss after he enjoyed a successful period with Hungerford Town. Wilkinson led the Crusaders to the National South which included two promotions via the playoffs, his seven-year spell with his former club was successful enough to appeal to Wealdstone Chairman, Peter Marsden.

Since the arrival of Wilkinson, Wealdstone have lost just three competitive matches in their last 15, a run that includes winning their last seven home matches. Although the Stones have won once on the road since the managerial change they have drawn five out of nine, losing just three.

On the weekend Wealdstone had their four game winning streak brought to an end in an away defeat to Weston-super-Mare. Two goals inside the first eight minutes from Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain and Zac McEachran gave the hosts the perfect head start and Reece Fleet scored the decisive goal either side of an Abobaker Eisa brace. The 3-2 loss meant the Stones are now in twelfth, four points off the playoffs.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 12 / Wealdstone wins: 13 / Draws: 12

Previous Meetings

28.01.2017 Wealdstone 0 Dartford 4
06.08.2016 Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2
26.01.2016 Dartford 1 Wealdstone 2
03.10.2015 Wealdstone 2 Dartford 1
21.02.2012 Wealdstone 1 Dartford 0
14.02.2012 Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2

Current League Form

Dartford (WLWWLW) Wealdstone (LWWWDW)
Gloucester City H 4-1 Oxford City A 2-3
Truro City A 1-3 Hungerford Town H 1-0
St Albans City H 2-1 Welling United A 2-1
Bath City A 2-1 Truro City H 2-1
Chelmsford City A 0-1 Chippenham Town A 0-0
Bognor Regis Town H 1-0 Whitehawk H 2-1

Stats
Four of the last five home games against Wealdstone have ended in draws, the Stones won the other encounter.

Wealdstone have scored two goals in each of their last three visits to Princes Park.

Both teams have scored at least a goal in the last seven matches at against each other at Princes Park.

The Darts have won their last four home games in the National South.

On This Day
Eight years ago, Dartford were knocked out of the F.A Trophy to Kent rivals Dover Athletic at the third qualifying round stage. Adam Burchall gave the Whites the lead at the Crabble but the Darts went ahead through Jay May then Danny Harris. Dover Athletic equalised from the spot when Frannie Collin scored and the winner came from Nicky Southall. Three years prior that tie, the Darts beat Leatherhead 1-0 in the Isthmian Division One South courtesy of Jay May’s decisive goal. The last home match played on the 21 November was back in 1978 when Dartford lost 3-2 to Redditch United in the Southern Premier League.

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