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St Albans City v Dartford

After a barren spell of victories and goals for Dartford they were back to winning ways on Bank Holiday Monday, now they have to end a poor run of form against St Albans City this weekend.

The Darts have lost three straight games at Clarence Park without finding the back of the net, hopefully the home win over East Thurrock United this week will provide Dartford with the confidence to break the sequence.

Joint manager, Jamie Coyle praised his team after the 2-0 win over the Rocks on monday, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “It’s been a tough couple of weeks, we’ve worked hard on the training pitch to get things right”.

Adam Flanagan and Coyle made two changes in an attempt to put things right with Lee Noble returning from injury and replacing Simon Mensah. The management duo recognised more was needed up front and in came Kudus Oyenuga for Alfie Cue.

The return and stand out performance of Noble was noted by Coyle, he commented: “He’s always on the front foot and in the face of the opposition. It allows everyone in midfield and the back four to get higher up the pitch and press with him”, he added: “He’s a catalyst of so much what the club has done in the past and what we’re going to do this year. You can really see when he doesn’t play that we miss him”.

Tom Bonner put Dartford ahead after a goal was wrongly ruled out earlier. Bonner smashed home a driven shot taking advantage of East Thurrock United’s goalkeeper who had flapped at Ben Greenhalgh’s corner. Noble provided a clever cross for the second goal, which Greenhalgh put away with a diving header at the far post, his first goal for the club.

Charlie Sheringham returns to the Darts for a third spell having previously scored 36 goals in 26 appearances, the 30 year old striker joins from Hemel Hempstead Town. Winger, Tom Knowles has also been signed on a one month loan from Cambridge United, the 18 year old has previous experience with St Ives Town, Cambridge City and St Neots Town. Meanwhile, Alfie Cue has gone out on a month loan to Leatherhead.

A win moved the Darts up six places to eleventh and a point behind a playoff place, whilst also ending a four game winless streak.

If goals are on the agenda then it normally involves St Albans City, already this season they have been involved in four games ending 3-2, winning two of those, against Hungerford Town on the opening day and Weston-super-Mare a week later.

On Bank Holiday Monday, the Saints lost one of those five goal thrillers to newly promoted and title challengers Billericay Town. Ian Allinson’s side were reduced to ten men just before half-time when Harold Joseph was red carded with his team 2-1 up. Billericay Town made use of the extra man scoring before the break then the winner in the second half. Two former Dartford defenders lined up in the starting eleven, Tom Bender who played 20 times during the 2014/2015 campaign and Richard Sho-Silva who managed 24 appearances last season scoring three goals.

Up front, Allinson can call upon striker Ralston Gabriel, the summer signing has started well at his new club scoring five times in St Albans City’s opening seven fixtures. Last season he netted 32 goals for Haringey Borough in their Isthmian Division One North playoff winning campaign, including four hat-tricks.

The Saints haven’t managed a repeat of last season’s start when they won six in a row. The Hertfordshire club finished four points and a place below the playoffs in the end but have only taken seven points from their first seven National South fixtures this time.

It was only seven months ago when the Darts last played at Clarence Park and were trounced 4-0, a repeat of the score in April 2016 at the same venue. Two goals from Sam Merson in three first half minutes followed by second-half strikes by Percy Kiangebeni and Rhys Murrell-Williamson earned the Saints three points last term. Earlier in that season, the Darts won at Princes Park 2-1 with Elliot Bradbrook opening the scoring and Bender’s own goal handing his former side the win. Bender also got on the scoresheet in November 2016 when St Albans City won 2-0 away from home, again Merson scored the other.

Dartford have managed just one win in their last five attempts against this weekend’s opponents.

Head to Head

St Albans City wins: 4 / Dartford wins: 7 / Draws: 4

Current Form

St Albans City (LDLLLL) Dartford (WLLLDW
Billericay Town A 2-3 East Thurrock United H 2-0
Eastbourne Borough H 1-1 Hungerford Town A 0-1
Oxford City A 1-2 Wealdstone H 0-3
Hampton & Richmond H 2-3 Concord Rangers A 0-2
Weston-super-Mare A 2-3 Hemel Hempstead Town H 0-0
Woking A 1-2 Chelmsford City H 1-0

Previous Meetings

03.02.2018 St Albans City 4 Dartford 0
28.10.2017 Dartford 2 St Albans City 1
25.03.2017 St Albans City 1 Dartford 0
08.11.2016 Dartford 0 St Albans City 2
30.04.2016 St Albans City 4 Dartford 0
06.02.2016 Dartford 2 St Albans City 0

Stats

In every St Albans City match this season both teams have scored, only once has this happened this term in Dartford games, on the opening day of the campaign.

The Darts have failed to score in four of their last five trips to Clarence Park.

Tom Bonner’s goal on Bank Holiday Monday ended a run of 411 minutes without scoring for the Darts.

A total of 28 goals have been scored in games involving St Albans City this season, more than any other team at four goals a game. There has only been 12 goals during Dartford matches the fourth fewest number of goals.

On This Day

Harry Crawford netted a hat-trick as Dartford completed one of their best performances in the National League on this day six years ago. The last time the Darts played on 1 September was at home to Alfreton Town and Crawford was the star of the show. The striker’s low drive opened the scoring, Jacob Erskine added a second and Ryan Hayes prodded in a third. Crawford scored again in the second half before Danny Meadows pulled a goal back for the Reds. Crawford secured the match ball scoring his third of the match from close range. Prior Dartford’s big win they had played their last four games on this day at home in the F.A Cup Preliminary Round beating Leatherhead 3-0 in 2007 with a brace from Brendon Cass and a goal by Tom Bradbrook. The Darts drew 2-2 with Carterton Town in 2002, defeated Eastbourne Borough 3-1 a year before and drew 1-1 with Horsham in 1996. The last away game was in 1990 and ended in a 4-0 defeat to Bromsgrove Rovers in the Southern Premier League.

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