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Billericay Town v Dartford

Dartford face a tough away match this weekend when they travel to Isthmian Premier League champions Billericay Town.

For the all the headlines created by the Essex club they have started life in the National South comfortably. The Blues are currently in second place, three points behind the leaders with an unbeaten home record.

Meanwhile the Darts are down in sixteenth with three away defeats in four, however they can take some confidence in the spirit they showed last weekend when drawing 2-2 with Eastbourne Borough, who started the day in third place.

Charlie Sheringham’s homecoming was described by the striker as ‘eventful’, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “I played quite well, scored a goal to equalise and was a little bit unfortunate to get sent off”, the 30-year-old will miss the trip to Essex. Debuting in last weekend’s draw was Amadou Ba, who made a positive impression in his first loan appearance from Southend United.

After failing to score in five of the last six matches before last weekend, Dartford were relieved to score twice last Saturday. Eastbourne Borough twice took the lead only for Sheringham’s penalty and Elliot Bradbrook’s close range volley in stoppage time to leave the scores level.

It’s been eight and half years since Dartford faced Billericay Town in the Isthmian Premier League. The Blues won both encounters winning 1-0 in February 2010 and a month later beating the Darts 4-1 at Princes Park. In the season before, Dartford did the double winning 1-0 courtesy of a Lee Noble free kick in October 2008 and 2-0 at home in February 2009, with goals from Brendon Cass and John Guest. Current managers Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle were part of the playing squad in each of those campaigns.

It’s not often a newly promoted team is one of the favourites to win the title and on field results so far prove Billericay Town deserve that tag. However, performances on the pitch have been overshadowed by off field drama which is nothing new to the club over the last few years.

For a team enjoying only their second ever campaign at National South level, the last one was in 2012/13 when the Blues finished second from bottom, the opening five games saw the Essex club drop just two points. Jake Robinson, who comfortably leads the National South goalscoring charts on ten goals, scored all four in the opening day victory at Truro City. A draw in their first home game with Concord Rangers was followed by three straight victories and then the drama began.

Losing for the first time in 18 league matches stretching back to March, Harry Wheeler was harshly sacked after defeat to Chippenham Town. A decision owner Glenn Tamplin admits was a mistake, he told www.essexlive.news: “I made a mistake in letting him go – it was my fault. I’m learning as I go and Harry is a great loss. I’ve tried getting Harry to come back but he doesn’t want to come back and I understand that because I sacked him and I shouldn’t have done”. Wheeler now at Maidstone United has taken head coach Tristan Lewis and sports scientist Craig Lewis with him.

The Blues went on to beat St Albans City on Bank Holiday Monday, then more off field controversy ensued after their second loss of the season at Woking.

Tamplin, who once appointed himself as manager, sacked himself then rehired himself two days later, is now trying to sell the club because of accusations affecting his family and health. However, if an investor cannot be found then Tamplin will continue, he told www.essexlive.news: “It is looking like I am going to stay because I can’t find investors that are willing to put their hand in their pocket every week like I do and I’m not going to hand it over to someone that is going to let the club sit in this league or go down a league and not continue with the dream that I sold to the fans and the community”.

With all the focus in the national media, Billericay Town were glad to be back in action again last weekend when they visited Hemel Hempstead Town. The Blues ran out 2-0 winners and for once Robinson was kept of the scoresheet. Adam Cunnington scored his first of the campaign and Moses Emmanuel netted his third for the season. Conor Hunte made his debut in a line up which included former Dartford goalkeeper Alan Julian, who made 45 appearances for the Darts during the 2013/2014 National League campaign.

Head to Head

Billericay Town wins: 2 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 0

Current Form

Billericay Town (WLWLWW) Dartford (DLWLLL)
Hemel Hempstead Town A 2-0 Eastbourne Borough H 2-2
Woking A 1-2 St Albans City A 0-2
St Albans City H 3-2 East Thurrock United H 2-0
Chippenham Town A 0-2 Hungerford Town A 0-1
Weston-super-Mare H 4-2 Wealdstone H 0-3
Welling United A 3-0 Concord Rangers A 0-2

Previous Meetings

06.03.2010 Dartford 1 Billericay Town 4
02.02.2010 Billericay Town 1 Dartford 0
14.02.2009 Dartford 2 Billericay Town 0
04.10.2008 Billericay Town 0 Dartford 1

Stats

Charlie Sheringham’s goal on Saturday was his first for the club since rejoining, his previous goal for the Darts was on 13 April 2013.

The Darts trailed twice last weekend and equalised on both occasions, the Darts have now picked up four points from losing positions (W1, D1).

Dartford are yet to score in the opening 15 minutes of either half.

On This Day

Dartford produced an excellent performance six years ago in the National League sweeping Hereford United aside at Princes Park. The 4-0 rout started with Ryan Hayes’ left foot drive into the top corner and followed by James Rodgers’ header from a Hayes cross. Danny Harris scored the Darts third and a Jon Wallis free kick completed the comprehensive victory. That win was the first on this day since 1991 when Dartford beat Ware 5-1 in the F.A Cup first qualifying round. The last fixture played by Dartford on 15 September was three years ago when they lost 2-1 to Oxford City, Andy Pugh scoring for the Darts.

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