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Weston-super-Mare v Dartford

Dartford know victory at bottom of the table side Weston-super-Mare on the weekend will move them closer to securing a playoff place.

The Darts have taken just two points from their last three National South games, drawing their last two against Hampton and Richmond Borough, then relegation battlers Truro City. Consecutive draws followed defeat at league leaders Torquay United leaving Dartford in sixth place.

With five matches remaining Dartford will need to find form again to establish themselves in the top seven. At the moment they have a three-point cushion with Billericay Town and Concord Rangers hot on their heels. Joint Manager, Jamie Coyle spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk this week and said: “If we are going to maintain a play-off position, we need more from the whole team. I don’t think we’re under pressure because it’s still in our hands and we’ve got, on paper, winnable games. But they mean nothing unless we turn up and outwork the opposition. At times, in the last two home games, we haven’t done that and that’s where we’ve come unstuck”.

Last weekend Dartford had the chance to notch an eighteenth league victory when they took on Truro City at Princes Park, the visitors started the day a point above the relegation zone. Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle welcomed back Daniel Johnson to the starting line up at the expense of Mark Onyemah, whilst Elliot Bradbrook returned from suspension with Ben Greenhalgh taking a place on the bench. Nick Grimes who scored against the Darts earlier in the season gave Truro City the lead after 33 minutes. However, Bradbrook netted his seventh league goal of the campaign to earn a point.

Victory for Dartford will complete a double over Weston-super-Mare after winning 2-1 at Princes Park back in September. Both sides hit the woodwork before Lee Noble headed the opener from Greenhalgh’s cross. The visitors equalised in injury time when Gethyn Hill scored from 30 yards, the striker also scored two against Dartford this term. Weston-super-Mare hit the crossbar just after the hour mark and minutes later the Darts had their winner, Bradbrook set up Jamie Philpot to clinch the three points.

Coyle is confident his squad’s quality along with the required work rate should bring the desired result, he commented: “We’ve got an opportunity on Saturday to go to a team that are fighting for their lives. With the quality we’ve got in our squad, if we do turn up and put in that effort and real desire we’ve shown recently to get us where we are, we should have enough to win the game”, he continued: “But there’s no given in this league and all the teams we’re playing are fighting for something, whether it’s trying to get in the play-offs or staying away from the relegation zone”.

Dartford’s last visit to Woodspring Stadium ended in a dismal 3-0 defeat with Hill claiming a brace and Archie Collins scorer the other goal. However, in 2016 the Darts recorded two wins at the Woodspring Stadium beating the Seagulls 2-1 in the National South and 4-2 in the F.A Trophy, Bradbrook bagged a hat-trick. A third win at Princes Park in January 2017 completed the treble over the Somerset club that season.

Unless Weston-super-Mare perform the greatest of escapes, the Seagulls will be playing in the Southern Premier League South next season. The Somerset club are eight points adrift at the foot of the league and eleven points from safety. Relegation can be confirmed on the weekend if Weston-super-Mare lose, Truro City beat Concord Rangers and Hungerford Town avoid defeat against Slough Town. Relegation will see the end of their 15 year stay in the National South since the restructuring of the non-league pyramid in 2004.

Weston-super-Mare’s league position led to former manager Marc McGregor leaving the club by mutual consent just over three weeks ago. The Somerset side are looking for a change of direction by appointing a full-time manager, for now Mark McKeever in charge on an interim basis.

McKeever has only been at the helm for three league games and in his first earned a credible 2-2 away draw with Chelmsford City. The Seagulls showed the fighting spirit they need to survive by coming back from two goals down. In their last home match Weston-super-Mare fell to a late Welling United penalty in a 1-0 defeat and on Saturday they were beaten 3-0 by Concord Rangers.

Despite the league predicament the Seagulls are in, they do have something to cheer and could claim some silverware. Almost two weeks ago, Weston-super-Mare won their Somerset Premier Cup semi-final to give themselves a chance to retain the cup.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 9 / Weston-super-Mare wins: 3 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Weston-super-Mare (LLDLLL) Dartford (DDLWWL)
Concord Rangers A 0-3 Truro City H 1-1
Welling United H 0-1 Hampton & Richmond H 2-2
Chelmsford City A 2-2 Torquay United A 0-2
St Albans City A 0-2 Gloucester City H 2-0
Hungerford Town H 0-2 Hemel Hempstead Town A 2-1
Wealdstone H 0-5 Dulwich Hamlet A 0-2

Previous Six Meetings

29.09.2018 Dartford 2 Weston Super Mare 1
07.04.2018 Dartford 3 Weston Super Mare 1
23.09.2017 Weston Super Mare 3 Dartford 0
17.01.2017 Dartford 3 Weston super Mare 2
26.11.2016 Weston Super Mare 2 Dartford 4
20.08.2016 Weston Super Mare 1 Dartford 2

Stats 

Dartford have won 8 of their last 11 games against Weston-super-Mare (W8, D1, L2)

Lee Noble started his 350th game for the club on the weekend and Tom Bonner has now made 300 starts.

If featured, Charlie Sheringham will make his 100 appearance for the Darts, the striker has made 83 starts and 16 substitute appearances so far, scoring 53 goals.

Dartford have conceded the most goals (14) in the 15 minutes before the break, whilst Weston-super-Mare have conceded the most goals (14) in the opening 15 minutes of the second half.

Only Truro City have conceded more second half goals (43) than Weston-super-Mare (40).

On This Day

Dartford booked their place at Wembley 45 years ago with a 0-0 draw against Macclesfield Town at Watling Street. The second leg stalemate gave the Darts a 2-1 aggregate victory to claim a spot in the F.A Trophy final against Morecambe. Dartford lost their last fixture on this day at home to Barnet in the National League, Curtis Weston scored the only goal of the game in 2015 in the Bees title winning campaign. Dartford’s last away trip on 6 April came in 2013 when they beat AFC Telford United in the National League, Jason Prior and Charlie Sheringham scored in a 2-0 win.

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