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Dartford v Torquay United

Dartford’s exit from the F.A Trophy last week leaves them concentrating on the National South and next up is Torquay United at Princes Park. 

It was only twelve years ago since the Darts were competing for the Isthmian Division One North title, whilst Torquay United were battling to keep their Football League status. Although the two sides have met since then, back in the 2014/15 campaign, it’s the first time they have come up against each other in the National South.

The Darts last hosted the Seagulls just over four years ago in the National League. Torquay United were the big draw for the division back then and Dartford managed to draw 0-0, however it could have been better had Elliot Bradbrook not grazed the top of the crossbar from the penalty spot. At the end of that season Dartford were relegated and four years on Torquay United followed.

A week ago, Dartford were knocked out of the F.A Trophy by a former player in a dramatic finale to match. The replay took place after Kudus Oyenuga scored a late equaliser at Eastbourne Borough in a 1-1 draw. Once again Dartford found themselves behind in the tie when Dean Cox’s brace put the Sports in control. In the final minute of the ninety Andre Coker gave Dartford hope and in injury time academy player Taylor Fisher scored on only his second appearance. Heading into extra time, ex Dartford defender Tom Gardiner popped up with a header to knock out his former side.

Taylor Fisher who started the first game against Eastbourne Borough to make his debut, was trusted to come off the bench last week. Joint Manager, Adam Flanagan spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and praised the academy set up, he commented: “We’ve got some good young lads, it’s trying to build the environment where they can come into the team and perform well”, he added: “Taylor got an opportunity on Saturday and he took it. We’ve got Liam Gillies who is a potential prospect as well. There will be opportunities during the season for him to get minutes”, he continued: “We haven’t got a massive squad so there will be opportunities for these young players and we’ve got the confidence to throw them in”.

Only second defeat in eight competitive games, however they remain the form team in the National South with six wins from the last seven outings. At home in the league, the Darts are five unbeaten picking up 13 points from the last 15 available at Princes Park.
Captain, Tom Bonner is set to return from injury whilst former skipper Elliot Bradbrook returns after missing the F.A Trophy replay due to work commitments. Andy Pugh is still on the road to recovery from his leg break in pre-season.

Torquay United made a slow start to life in the National South and as early as September sacked Gary Owers after defeat to Chippenham Town. In came the experienced Gary Johnson, who is yet to taste a league defeat with his new club. The Gulls have won five and drawn three since Johnson’s appointment and have moved from 14th to third in the table.

Johnson has had international managerial experience with Latvia, won the F.A Trophy, National League and League Two with Yeovil Town then returned to the club to guide them to the Championship for the first time in the Glovers history. The 63 year old also led Bristol City to the Championship and Cheltenham Town back into the Football League.

Dartford boss, Flanagan recognises the influence Torquay United’s new boss has had since joining the Devonshire club, he said: “Since Gary Johnson’s gone there he has improved them. There’s a connection with his son so he’s had a few loans from Bristol City. The feedback is that they are the best team in the league. If you want to be in the mix then you need to challenge yourselves against these teams”.

The Darts will need to watch out for Jamie Reid, the striker has managed 12 goals this term and is the second highest scorer in the National South. The former Exeter City forward has his current total in Torquay United’s last 11 league games, including a hat-trick against Eastbourne Borough. Saikou Jennah has also been hitting the target of late with his trio of goals versus Concord Rangers and brace against Billericay Town recently. On Saturday, Torquay United visited newly promoted Dulwich Hamlet and goals from Reid and Jennah made sure of the three points.

Victory for the Devonshire club moved them into third place and a point behind league leaders Welling United. The Darts moved down to sixth on the weekend because they were without a fixture, but Flanagan and Coyle’s side are only four points from the top of the National League.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 0 / Torquay United wins: 0 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (WWWLWW) Torquay United
Hampton & Richmond A 1-0 Dulwich Hamlet A 2-0
Oxford City H 3-2 Concord Rangers H 4-1
Gloucester City A 2-1 St Albans City H 4-1
Truro City A 1-3 Billericay Town H 2-2
Dulwich Hamlet H 2-1 Weston-super-Mare A 2-2
Chippenham Town A 2-1 Wealdstone A 0-3

Previous Meetings

04.04.2015 Torquay United 1 Dartford 1
23.08.2014 Dartford 0 Torquay United 0

Stats

The Darts top the form guide over the last six games, one point ahead of Torquay United in second place.

The Gulls are unbeaten in their last nine away games making them the form team on the road.

Dartford and Torquay United have scored in each of the last nine league matches.

The Darts have scored two or more in their last five league matches at home. Torquay United have scored two or more in their last five away games in the National South.

On This Day

Dartford last won in the league on 4 December back in 1990 when they hosted Cambridge City in a Southern Premier League fixture, the Darts won 2-0. Since then they have been knocked out of the Kent Senior Cup in 1993 losing 5-1 to Folkestone Invicta, drew 0-0 with Dulwich Hamlet three years later in the F.A Trophy and lost 2-1 to Corby Town in the Southern League South in 1999. Since the turn of the millennium, 14 years ago the Darts drew 2-2 with Boreham Wood in the Southern League Division One East, beat Whitstable Town in the Isthmian League Cup in 2007 and lost their last fixture on this day 1-0 away to Nuneaton Town in the National League. In 1989, Dartford did record a comprehensive 5-0 triumph over Wealdstone in the Southern League Cup second round.

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