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Dartford v Hampton and Richmond Borough

Dartford are involved in one of their biggest games of the season on Good Friday, when they take on third place Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Although the Darts and the Beavers are trailing Havant and Waterlooville, neither side will want to lose ground on the Hampshire club who are at home to Weston-super-Mare. By the end of the season the importance of this Easter fixture could have a huge impact.

In what will be the tenth meeting between the Darts and Hampton and Richmond Borough, there has only been one draw when these sides have previously met, that was back in September. On that day Nathan Collier started for the Beavers and on Friday he will be donning the Dartford shirt after returning to Princes Park in December.

At the Beveree earlier in the campaign, Hampton and Richmond Borough looked in control as they took a two goal lead inside the first half an hour. Max Kretzschmar scored a brace, his first a volley after just two minutes which flew past on loan goalkeeper Jordan Beeney into the top corner. The Beavers top scorer this term, Kretzschmar netted his second with a fine free kick over the Dartford wall. The Darts fought back when Andy Pugh pulled a goal back from close range to leave his side 2-1 down at the break. In the second half, Elliot Bradbrook’s shot found a way through the crowded penalty area to level up the game. Charlie Wassmer was sent off moments after Bradbrook’s equaliser, but Dartford’s second half pressure was withstood by the hosts.

Leading up to Dartford’s 2-0 win away to Oxford City on Saturday, manager Tony Burman’s requested supporters to back and respect his players in a passionate rant to the press. His side responded in the best possible way in an improved performance. The Darts were not at the races in the 1-0 home defeat against stragglers Poole Town, then they made hard work in a 3-2 victory over Hemel Hempstead Town, scoring twice in the final nine minutes.

On the weekend nerves were settled early as captain Elliot Bradbrook scored on just five minutes. Bradbrook was last season’s top scorer for the Darts, after continuing his scoring form in the early part of this term, his strike was long awaited. Oxford City hit the woodwork twice and goalkeeper Berti Schotterl made some decent saves to earn his first clean sheet for the Darts. Substitute, Tom Murphy made sure of the three points with a well taken curling effort, his fourth league goal of the campaign.

Meanwhile, Hampton and Richmond Borough had to rely on a late goal to earn a points against nine men Braintree Town. The Iron had Billy Crook sent off for a foul on Josh Casey, but they managed to take the lead with 12 minutes to go through Michael Barrington. The Beavers equalised just three minutes later when Ben Wynter scored for the hosts. Braintree Town then had Luke Allen dismissed in the closing stages for a second caution. Manager, Alan Dowson spoke to www.hamptonfc.net after the game and said: “I thought we were hopeless. Bottom line is, we were very lucky to come away with a point”.

The draw extended Hampton and Richmond Borough’s unbeaten run to seven games. Having tasted just four league defeats this season, the Beavers have been tough to beat. However, on 15 occasions they have been unable to convert one point into three, a scenario they experienced six times in a row back in September and the first game of October. Alan Dowson got his side involved in the title race with an eight game winning streak following those six draws. But the stalemates have returned since the festive season with half of Hampton and Richmond’s fixtures ending with both sides taking a point.

Last season at Princes Park, Dartford responded to the heavy 4-1 Bank Holiday August defeat at the Beveree by winning 3-1. Bradbrook opened the scoring on Easter Monday, Alex Brown doubled the lead and Collier pulled a goal back for the visitors. The two goal cushion was restored by defender Ronnie Vint to secure the three points.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 4 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford (WWLWWL) Hampton & Richmond Borough (DWDWWD)
Oxford City A 2-0 Braintree Town H 1-1
Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-2 Hungerford Town H 3-1
Poole Town H 0-1 Havant & Waterlooville A o-0
Truro City H 4-1 Weston-super-Mare H 3-0
Wealdstone A 2-1 Bognor Regis Town H 1-0
Chelmsford City H 1-2 Chippenham Town A 3-3

Previous Meetings

02.09.2017 Hampton & Richmond Borough 2 Dartford 2
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

Stats
Elliot Bradbrook’s goal on the weekend ended a 21 game wait in the National South. The Dartford captain last scored in the league on 7 October 2017 against Bognor Regis Town. His last league goal from open play was on 12 September 2017 versus Eastbourne Borough. Whilst Bradbrook’s last competitive goal was on 25 November 2017 in the 2-1 F.A Trophy win against Brentwood Town.

Ryan Hayes was an unused substitute against Oxford City, one more substitute appearance will take him up to 150 for the club. The winger has played a total of 575 games for the Darts.

Dartford have won four of their last five games and the clean sheet versus Oxford City was their first in eight matches.

On This Day
Dartford took one big step in their quest to reach Wembley with a 2-1 away win against Macclesfield Town, in the 1974 F.A Trophy semi-final first leg. Dave Cunningham scored in the 51st minute and Alan Payne added a second in the 68th minute. The away leg ended 0-0 and the Darts went on to reach the final where they lost to Morecambe 2-1. The Darts won ten games in a row on 30 March up until the 0-0 draw with Newport County in 2013, the last Dartford match on this day. Other highlights of the ten match winning streak include a 6-2 victory against Ashford Town in 1968, the Darts also won the return Southern League First Division fixture 6-0. Three consecutive clean sheets in 2-0 wins over Kettering Town (in the Conference Premier in 1985), Dover Athletic in the Southern Premier League back in 1991 and Crockenhill four years later in the Kent League.

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