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Dartford v Billericay Town

Dartford’s final home match of the regular National South season takes place on Easter Monday and it’s a must win game against Billericay Town.

The Darts can be proud of their home record this season which has helped them fight for a playoff place and a top seven finish. HOwever recent form has left Dartford’s playoff hopes hanging by a thread. Meanwhile their opponents Billericay Town had faltered away after a decent start to their first campaign back in the National South. At the beginning of the season, the Darts were aiming for a shot at promotion by any means, Billericay Town on the other hand were amongst the favourites for the title.

Without a win in six games Dartford have slipped to tenth in the National South, three points shy of a top seven place with two games to go. Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle will have to deal with a humiliating defeat to Eastbourne Borough and try and salvage something from the final two fixtures. The Darts were thrashed 6-0 on Saturday against a team needing to win to survive. Billericay Town on the other hand managed to stop their poor form with back to back wins over Gloucester City and Hemel Hempstead Town, the Essex club have a one point advantage over eighth place St Albans City.

When the two sides met back in September it was one of a group of games that gave Dartford belief in their yet to gel new look squad. The Darts were down in sixteenth after nine games and Billericay Town were second, three points behind leaders Woking. Dartford could have easily found themselves a goal down in the first half after Deren Ibrahim bundled over Jake Robinson, the Billericay Town striker took the resulting penalty only to hit the crossbar. Three minutes into the second half, the Blues won a second spot kick this time when Ronnie Vint fouled Danny Waldren, Robinson redeemed himself to give Ricay the lead. A dramatic point was salvaged deep into stoppage time, loanee Tom Knowles found Jamie Philpot who did what was needed to get the ball over the line. The 1-1 draw set up Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle’s side to go on a run of six wins from the next seven league games, still Dartford’s best spell of the campaign.

The last meeting at Princes Park between the two teams was one the Darts would rather forget. Despite picking up the Isthmian Premier League title at the end of the 2009/2010 season, Dartford lost twice to Billericay Town in that campaign. It’s a long time for manager Jamie Coyle to want revenge over the Essex club as he was in the starting eleven that day as well as Elliot Bradbrook, and Ryan Hayes who came on for the last half hour. The Blues swept aside the champions elect 4-1 as the Darts had a rare off day and had to win the game by coming from behind. James White set up Lee Burns for the first goal of the afternoon, but that was as good as things got for Dartford. Dave Wareham equalised for Ricay and he added his second two minutes after the break. Billy Bricknell made it 3-1 before Chris Wild was sent off for the visitors, however that made little difference because Danny Charge tapped in number four.

Despite Billericay Town’s lack of form at the business end of the season, they still have quality in their squad. Adam Cunnington, who scored at Princes Park for Tamworth rejoined the Blues recently, former Welling United striker Adam Coombes and they have former Dartford goalkeeper Alan Julian between the sticks. Julian made 45 appearances for Dartford during the 2013/2014 National League campaign and was sent off in Billericay Town’s 3-1 defeat a fortnight ago.

Dartford’s only other two meetings also came in the Isthmian Premier League in 2008 and 2009. A 2-0 home win ensured the Darts completed the double over the Essex club, Brendon Cass and John Guest the scorers. The fixture earlier that season ended 1-0 with Lee Noble scoring the only goal of the game.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Billericay Town wins: 2 / Draws: 1

Current Form

Dartford (LLLDDW) Billericay Town (WWLDLL)
Eastbourne Borough A 0-6 Hemel Hempstead Town H 2-1
Chippenham Town H 0-1 Gloucester City A 4-1
Weston-super-Mare A 1-3 Hampton & Richmond H 1-3
Truro City H 1-1 Dulwich Hamlet A 2-2
Hampton & Richmond H 2-2 Hungerford Town H 1-2
Torquay United A 0-2 Slough Town A 1-2

Previous Meetings

15.09.2018 Billericay Town 1 Dartford 1
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

Dartford suffered their biggest defeat in competitive competition for 16 years when they were hammered 6-0 at Eastbourne Borough on Saturday. They lost by the same margin away at Histon in 2003 in the Southern League Division One East.

Out of the top six in the division only champions Torquay United have beaten the Darts at Princes Park. The other four games have ended in four wins with the Darts scoring seven without reply.

Billericay Town will guarantee a playoff spot if they win on Easter Monday and if there is a winner between Concord Rangers versus St Albans City.

The Darts can only make the playoffs on the final day of the season if they avoid defeat on East Monday and even then they will need results to go their way next weekend.

On This Day

Dartford strolled to victory in their last home game on 22 April beating Bishop’s Stortford 4-0 two years ago. Andy Pugh, Elliot Bradbrook, Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Alfie Pavey all found the back of the net. Dartford’s Isthmian Premier League title party was in full swing when in the penultimate game of the season they beat Hendon 2-1 with Danny Harris scoring both. Two days later celebrations began down on the beach at Bognor Regis.

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