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Chelmsford City v Dartford

Dartford are involved in another clash against playoff hopefuls this weekend when they visit Chelmsford City on Saturday in the National South.

Over previous campaigns there has not been much between the two sides in where they have finished in the National South. The Clarets may have had the better in head to head matches, but the Darts are often better off come the end of season.

Dartford have won one of the last seven meetings, but have not finished below the Essex side in the football pyramid since 2011. Last time out Elliot Bradbrook separated the teams as the Darts triumphed 1-0, stopping Chelmsford City making it five consecutive wins at Princes Park. In a niggly contest, which saw managers from either side, Adam Flanagan and Rod Stringer sent off, Bradbrook’s looping header thirteen minutes from time claimed the three points for the hosts.

Joint manager, Jamie Coyle praised former captain Elliot Bradbrook when speaking to www.kentonline.co.uk, he commented: “He’s so important, he’s a leader and he led by example”. Coyle also highlighted the contribution made by Roberts, he added: “I’m really pleased for Phil Roberts. He was electric, unplayable, and he’s taken his goal brilliantly at the end – it was worthy of winning the game”, he continued: “He’s worked so hard to get sharp and to get match fit. It was always going to be a bedding-in phase with him but he’s shown the quality he’s got”.

Away from home, the Darts have claimed just one league win in the last nine attempts when visiting the Essex club. That triumph came four years ago on Boxing Day 2015, Andy Pugh getting the goal that mattered. Dartford’s only other victory in the last 21 years was an F.A Cup tie in September 2016 which ended 3-2. Last season, Chelmsford City ran out 1-0 winners with a goal from Michael West. The Clarets had to hold on for seventy minutes with ten men when Kudus Oyenuga, now a Dart, was sent off. Oyenuga could have the chance to face some of his former colleagues if selected.

Last weekend, Dartford started the day in ninth against a St Albans City side aiming for the top seven. Phil Roberts, formerly of Chelmsford City scored his first goals for the Darts in an entertaining 3-2 win. Bradbrook’s stunning 25-yard strike put the hosts in front, but Zane Banton levelled for the Hertfordshire club. Roberts slid in from close range to regain Dartford’s lead, but once more St Albans City struck back on half time through Sam Merson. Roberts calmly lobbed Dean Snedker with two minutes to go and help the Darts to victory, which moved his side into sixth place.

Roberts will want to continue his goal scoring antics when he comes up against one of his former goalkeepers. Whilst at Braintree Town, the striker played in the same team as Nathan McDonald, now at Chelmsford City. Roberts went on to sign for Hemel Hempstead Town before moving to Dartford last month.

Another Dart, Billy Crook was also in the Braintree Town team with McDonald, the midfielder made an impressive debut for Dartford on the weekend against St Albans City. Coyle told www.kentonline.co.uk: “Crooky had a brilliant debut considering he hasn’t played for weeks. He’s a player that is so comfortable on the ball and he can make you tick and build through the thirds. I’m really pleased for Billy. We knew he’s got quality and he’s only going to get better. He’s not fit at the moment and he got through 90 minutes because we’ve had another injury with Ronnie Vint so he’s only going to improve. It’s exciting times ahead”.

Vint was replaced at half-time following an injury to his knee, Lee Noble was out through suspension and will serve the last game of his ban at Chelmsford City, whilst Mark Onyemah was an unused substitute after recovering from injury. and Andy Pugh is on the road to recovery.

Meanwhile, Chelmsford City who had hit some good form with four consecutive league wins suffered a defeat versus Slough Town. Joe Anderson was back in the side after recovering from injury and top scorer Rhys Murphy was rested, but manager Rod Stringer did include midfielder Chez Isaac, who made 12 appearances for Dartford this term. With the help of a deflected shot, Slough Town’s Simon Dunn scored the decisive goal to end Chelmsford City’s winning streak. With the way results went, the Darts are now just two points shy of the Clarets with a game in hand.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 37 / Chelmsford City wins: 55 / Draws: 21

Current League Form

Chelmsford City (LWWWWL) Dartford (WDWDLW)
Slough Town A 0-1 St Albans City H 3-2
Hampton & Richmond H 2-0 Wealdstone A 1-1
Billericay Town A 1-0 Welling United H 1-0
Hemel Hempstead Town H 2-1 East Thurrock United A 2-2
Billericay Town H 5-1 Welling United A 0-2
Bath City A 0-2 Hungerford Town H 2-1

Previous Meetings

07.08.2018 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 0
10.02.2018 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 2
21.10.2017 Chelmsford City 1 Dartford 0
07.05.2017 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 2
03.05.2017 Chelmsford City 0 Dartford 0
18.02.2017 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1

Stats

Dartford are the only team in the top half of the National South to have a negative goal difference.

Only Torquay United (7) have conceded fewer goals than Dartford (8) in the last half hour of matches.

Chelmsford City are the most potent in the last half hour of the first half scoring 18 times, more than any other side in the league. Along with Woking the Clarets have scored the most in the first half (23).

The Clarets have top scorer Rhys Murphy, Scott Fenwick and Thomas Wraight in their ranks. Between them they have scored 32 league goals, one more than the entire Dartford team this season.

On This Day

Dartford last played on this day eleven years ago when they traveled to Great Wakering Rovers and won 2-0 in the Isthmian Division One North. A first half double by Ryan Hayes put the Darts four points clear at the top, the side also included Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle at the back. The only other fixture played on 19 January since Dartford reformed was back in 2002 when they lost 3-1 against Spalding United in the Southern League Division One East.

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