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Chippenham Town v Dartford

Dartford continue their push to break away from the National South chasing pack when they visit Southern Premier League champions Chippenham Town.

Back in September, the Darts hosted the Bluebirds at Princes Park and the inspiration that afternoon was Ryan Hayes. The longest serving Dartford player was involved in all three goals by setting up two and scoring the other.

Hayes’ accurate cross was met by Alfie Pavey on 26 minutes to give Dartford the lead. In the second half, Hayes anticipated a defensive error and when he picked out Andy Pugh, the Darts doubled their lead. Good team work made the third goal with Hayes finishing off the move with a low shot into the corner.

Last weekend, Dartford moved clear at the top of the National South with a significant win over Havant and Waterlooville. The top two started the afternoon level on points making Tom Murphy’s decisive second minute goal important in the title race. The 26-year-old expertly volleyed Pavey’s flick on past Ryan Young in the Hawks’ goal early on, but it was an impressive defensive display that kept Havant and Waterlooville at bay.

Tony Burman was pleased with the result and what he called a battling performance, he told www.dartfordfc.com: “It’s a big win in respect that they had a game in hand and now they’ve got to win that game in hand. It doesn’t mean we’ve won the league or they’ve lost it. It’s another game where we’ve picked up three points, the bonus for us was a clean sheet”.

Chippenham Town are six points clear of the relegation zone having played a game more than Poole Town, who occupy the final relegation spot. The two were meant to go head to head on Tuesday in a rearranged fixture but the match was postponed for a second time.

The Bluebirds have tasted league victory just once in their last nine attempts, and that was against bottom of the table side Whitehawk. However, they have had their fair share of notable wins including the 3-2 triumph against Chelmsford City in October, the 5-1 win at home to Hemel Hempstead Town in September and the 5-2 away victory at Bath City in the second game of the season.

The Southern League Premier champions are relying on their home form this term. With five wins and five draws they have only lost three times at Hardenhuish Park in the National South. Last weekend manager Mark Collier was pleased with the Bluebirds 1-1 home draw with Braintree Town, he told the club’s website: “It’s a big point for us, we’ve had some difficult times, I think we deserved the point, we were under pressure, we put the right tactics in against as good a side I have seen in this league”, he continued: “We must take getting the point as a confidence boost, they have worked really hard against the best team in the division”.

Collier, has had to contend with experienced forward David Pratt leaving the club, the top scorer for the Bluebirds switched to Wealdstone. Over the last month, Collier has signed replacements in Jake Jackson from Southern Premier League side Frome Town and Nick McCootie from rivals Bath City. The Chippenham Town boss has also shifted his backroom staff in attempt to move further away from the drop zone.

Head to Head
Chippenham Town wins: 0 / Dartford wins: 1 / Draws: 0

Current League Form

Chippenham Town (DLLLLW) Dartford (WDWWDL)
Braintree Town H 1-1 Havant & Waterlooville H 1-0
Hungerford Town H 1-2 Concord Rangers A 1-1
Hungerford Town A 1-2 Welling United H 4-1
Bath City H 0-3 Welling United A 3-2
Havant & Waterlooville A 0-4 Braintree Town H 1-1
Whitehawk H 2-1 Hungerford Town A 0-1

Previous Meeting

09.09.2017 Dartford 3 Chippenham Town 0

Stats
Dartford may be top of the National South, but at step 2 of non league football, they have the fourth best points per game with 1.88. The Darts sit behind National North sides Salford City (2.23), Harrogate Town (2.00) and Brackley Town (1.92).

In their last eight away games in the National South, the Darts have lost half of those fixtures, won three and drew one.

Over 90 minutes, Dartford are unbeaten in seven matches in all competitions with three wins and four draws

On This Day
Dave Martin played his last game for Dartford on 20 January 2007 in a entertaining 4-3 win against Ashford Town. The Isthmian Division One South fixture saw the winger win the decisive penalty scored by Ryan Hayes. The Darts fought back from two down with Jay May scoring twice and Lew Watts the other. Martin went on to join Crystal Palace before playing at Millwall, Southend United and Luton Town amongst others. He returned to Dartford on loan in the 2013/14 campaign.

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