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St Albans City v Dartford

Buoyed by the fact the Darts reached a cup final this week, Dartford return to league action this weekend when they visit St Albans City.

The Darts have had nothing to show in their last four visits to Clarence Park, losing them all without even finding the back of the net. Dartford’s last victory there was nine years ago remembered by a freak long range Lee Burns header, but it was young Jack Pallen that scored the winner in a 2-1 triumph.

Over the last three weeks Steve King has made good use of the squad he has assembled with mid-week Kent Senior Cup games scheduled between National South fixtures. In that time the Darts have picked up four points from six, including the stalemate with league leaders Wealdstone and progressed through two rounds of the county cup to reach the final.

On Tuesday night a strong Dartford side strolled past Phoenix Sports in the semi-final. King made five changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Wealdstone, goalkeeper Alhaji Sesay was back in goal, Ronnie Vint replaced Josh Hill at centre back, Jake Jebb made his second start for the club. Luke Wanadio and Liam Nash who were on the bench against the Stones were selected to start. Goals from Jordan Wynter, Liam Nash’s brace, Elliott Romain and Amrit Bansal-McNulty, who has now extended his loan until the end of the season earned the Darts a comprehensive 5-1 victory.

In Dartford’s last league game, King made six changes to the side and his team came away with a creditable draw with league leaders Wealdstone. A solid defence, in which Tom Bonner and Josh Hill excelled, and the impact of Wanadio’s appearance from off the bench were positives in difficult playing conditions. Dartford survived the biggest moment of the match though when Weadstone’s Dennon Lewis missed a penalty.

The Darts bagged their first point of the season when they last played St Albans City in August under the guidance of Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle. New signing and current top scorer for the Saints, Joe Iaciofano scored for the Hertfordshore club, his first goal of the campaign to give the visitors the lead. However, Wanadio netted his first goal since returning to the Darts in the second half.

At Princes Park, Dartford have fared better against the Saints, but it’s the away fixture against Ian Allinson’s side that has troubled them over the last four years. St Albans City have won four in a row against the Darts on their own patch scoring eleven without reply. Last season, Dartford were beaten 2-0 when Solomon Sambou and Khale da Costa scored. The year before on the final day of the season, Sam Merson’s brace helped the Saints to a 4-0 win, Charlie Walker scored the only goal three years ago and two own goals contributed to another 4-0 reverse for the Darts in 2016.

St Albans City are in a relegation fight sitting second from bottom in the National South with just three home wins in the league this season. Although form has picked up for Ian Allinson’s side as they try and get themselves out of trouble in a very tight battle at the bottom, only a point separate St Albans City in 21st and Concord Rangers fifteenth place

Last weekend, they lost a six pointer against Chippenham Town with former Dartford defender Tom Bender heading the Saints in front. However, two goals in the space of four minutes turned the match around when Kieran Parselle then Scott Twine helped Chippenham Town to victory. Bender made 20 appearances for the Darts during the 2014/2015 campaign and scored against the Darts in 2016 for St Albans City, a season later he scored an own goal which gave Dartford a home victory.

However last month, the Saints did beat promotion chasers Bath City then Havant and Waterlooville on the road. Their last victory at home, four weeks ago, was against Maidstone United. Out of the teams around the relegation zone, St Albans City have one of the better records over the last eight games.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / St Albans City wins: 5 / Draws: 5

Current League Form

Dartford (DWLWWL) St Albans (LWDWLL)
WealdstoneH0-0Chippenham TownA1-2
Eastbourne Borough H2-1Havant & WaterloovilleA2-1
Hampton & Richmond H1-2Oxford CityH0-0
Chippenham Town A5-1Bath CityA3-0
Dulwich Hamlet H1-0Welling UnitedH1-2
Slough Town A0-1 Hampton & RichmondA1-2

Last Six Meetings

06.08.2019Dartford1St Albans City1
12.01.2019Dartford3St Albans City2
01.09.2018St Albans City 2Dartford0
03.02.2018St Albans City 4Dartford0
28.10.2017Dartford2St Albans City 1
25.03.2017St Albans City 1Dartford0

Stats

The last away win in this fixture was on 8 November 2016, when St Albans City won 2-0 at Princes Park. Since then the home side has won five of the last six.

The Darts have gone eight games without a clean sheet against St Albans City.

Dartford’s draw with Wealdstone was their 200th league game since relegation from the National League. The Darts have won 100, drawn 46, lost 54, scored 331 goals and conceded 246 in that time.

St Albans City have lost all four home games against sides in the top five, but they have drawn all three against the teams directly below the Darts.

Only Hungerford Town have picked up fewer points at home than St Albans City this season.

On This Day

Inflatable penguins made their debut when Dartford last won on 7 March in 1989, the Darts beat Atherstone United 3-0 at Watling Street in the Southern League Cup semi-final first leg on their way to wining the competition. Thirty years ago, Dartford drew 2-2 with Welling United in the last eight of the Kent Senior Cup and then 0-0 with Gloucester City two years later in the Southern Premier League. Witney Town beat Dartford 3-1 in 1998, Tommy Osborne and Adam Gross scored in a 2-2 draw with Margate in 2009. The last two games have seen the Darts fail to score, in front of the BT Sports cameras six years ago Dartford lost 1-0 at home to Chester and a year later, the Darts drew 0-0 at FC Halifax Town.

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