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Dartford v Whitehawk

League leaders Dartford will host bottom of the table side Whitehawk this weekend in the National South.

The Darts, who are three points clear at the top convincingly beat the Hawks back in September at the Enclosed Ground. The 4-0 victory was Dartford’s biggest win over the Sussex side since they first met in 1982.

Alfie Pavey was on the end of a goalmouth scramble to score the opener and Ryan Hayes doubled the lead, cutting inside before smashing the ball beyond Alex Tokarczyk in the Whitehawk goal. Captain, Elliot Bradbrook netted the third of the evening just before half-time. The fourth came in the second half when Lyle Della-Verde hit a shot across goal into the far corner.

Dartford increased their lead in the National South last weekend when they travelled to Chippenham Town. Alfie Pavey moved on to 20 goals for the season in all competitions with a brace but on each occasion the Bluebirds equalised as the game ended 2-2. Pavey volleyed home from close range for the first and nodded home the second, but manager Tony Burman was left with mixed feelings at the result.

Burman spoke to www.dartford.com after the match and said: “Once again I think we have played at a difficult away venue, and I felt for long periods of the game especially in the first half I was happy with the performance”, he added: “I think the most disappointing factor of the game was that if you take the lead away from home you should keep it”.

Having failed to stay in front, Burman reflected after the game: “Once it went to 2-2 Chippenham could have taken all three points but we seemed to click into ‘over my dead body mode’ and defended much better”.

The draw extends Dartford’s unbeaten run in the league to six and although they have opened a small advantage, the two closest title rivals had their matches postponed giving them games in hand. Hampton and Richmond sit in second place having played one less fixture, whilst Havant and Waterlooville are third, four points behind the Darts having played two games fewer.

On Tuesday night, the Darts arranged a friendly with VCD Athletic, the squad included Richard Sho-Silva, Lee Noble, Duane Ofori-Acheampong, Lyle Della-Verde and Alex Brown. All of which have been looking for more game time recently. Burman also took the chance to look at some of the academy players who are making their way through the ranks.

Dartford’s home record remains strong with eight victories and four draws in the 13 outings at Princes Park. On the contrary, Whitehawk have lost 11 of their 13 away fixtures this term.

However, the Hawks unbeaten this calendar year, have seen an upturn in fortune having waited until their 24th game to record their first win of the campaign. That maiden victory came against local rivals Eastbourne Borough on New Year’s Day in which they won 4-1. Since then the Sussex club have drawn 2-2 at home to Bognor Regis Town and beat Oxford City 1-0 away from home.

On the weekend, the Hawks grabbed their tenth point in four games with a 3-2 triumph against Truro City. The Sussex club had to come from 2-1 down, but goals from Kodi Lyons-Foster, an own goal and Gold Omotayo secured victory. The result leaves Whitehawk six points adrift at the bottom and 12 points from safety.

Omotayo is grabbing the headlines at the moment with six goals in as many appearances since joining the Hawks. The Swiss born 23 year-old arrived from fourth tier side Wettswill-Bonstetten in his home country and is looking for a professional deal in the summer.

In the space of 19 months, Whitehawk have gone full circle by re-appointing Steve King as boss. He managed the Hawks between 2014 and 2016 and enjoyed league success by keeping the club up on the final day of the 2014 campaign, led Whitehawk to the National South playoffs in his first full season and took them to the F.A Cup second round in 2014/15. Since leaving, the Sussex club have tried their luck with seven managers before returning to King hoping for stability again.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 4 /Whitehawk wins: 3 / Draws: 0

Current League Form

Dartford (DWDWWD) Whitehawk (WWDWLL)
Chippenham Town A 2-2 Truro City H 3-2
Havant & Waterlooville H 1-0 Oxford City A 1-0
Concord Rangers H 1-1 Bognor Regis Town H 2-2
Welling United H 4-1 Eastbourne Borough A 4-1
Welling United A 3-2 Eastbourne Borough H 0-1
Braintree Town H 1-1 East Thurrock United A 2-4

Previous Meetings

05.09.2017 Whitehawk 0 Dartford 4
04.02.2017 Dartford 3 Whitehawk 1
10.08.2016 Whitehawk 1 Dartford 0
12.03.2016 Dartford 2 Whitehawk 4
19.12.2015 Whitehawk 0 Dartford 1
28.11.2015 Dartford 1 Whitehawk 2

Stats
Ronnie Vint made his 100th start for the club last weekend, the defender came through the academy ranks and has now appeared in 106 games in total for the Darts.

Dartford have 34 league goals at home this season, the most in the National South.

Whitehawk have conceded the most goals home and away this campaign in the National South.

On This Day
Nine years ago, a goal from Brendon Cass and a brace by Cody McDonald sent Dartford through to the Isthmian League Cup fourth round. The Darts defeated Concord Rangers 3-1 before losing to Horsham at the next stage of the competition. Dartford last tasted league victory on 27 January 28 years ago in a 1-0 victory over Bromsgrove Rovers in the Southern Premier League. Sandwiched between that triumph and the cup win, Dartford lost 3-0 away to Bashley in 2001 and 3-2 at Horsham YMCA in 2007. Dartford have not lost at home on this day since 1951, the run of five matches include a 5-1 F.A Trophy replay win versus Newcastle Blue Star in 1987.

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