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Dartford v Barrow

 

Dartford will be pleased to return to Princes Park for their midweek fixture against relegation threatened Barrow.

On a ten match unbeaten run at home in all competitions the Darts have found opponents in the bottom half of the table difficult. When the two sides last met at Holker Street in October, Dartford recorded there only 0-0 draw in this season’s Conference Premier campaign. The long journey to Cumbria ended in Tony Burman’s side grinding out a point to bring home from the north west.

Another trip north west on Saturday was not quite as successful when the Darts failed to score on the road for the seventh time in the league. Their struggling opponents Hyde managed to breach the Dartford defence on three occasions to move five points clear of Barrow.

Up until half time the Darts were still in with a shout despite falling behind to a Scott Hogan goal. The home side took the initiative against their lacklustre visitors when Matthew Blinkhorn and Louis Almond sealed a much needed victory for the Tigers. With Woking adding to AFC Telford United’s 24 game winless streak and Cambridge United beating Grimsby Town, the Darts dropped to twelfth.

Barrow threw away a goal advantage on the weekend and suffered a last minute blow leaving Dave Bayliss’ side in trouble. Bluebirds top scorer Adam Boyes netted his twelfth of the season from six yards at Edgar Street to give the visitors the lead. Fourteen minutes later Barrow’s Sean McConville stopped a goalscoring opportunity and was sent off, Joshua O’Keefe put Hereford United level from the spot. Brian Smikle’s injury time winner for the Bulls left the Bluebirds third from bottom and three points from safety.

Defeat on the road leaves Barrow looking for their first away win in the Conference Premier in six attempts, the Cumbrian’s have picked up two points out of the last fifteen available. Defensively only Ebbsfleet United have conceded more and on three occasions Barrow have shipped in five goals or more on their travels  (1-6 v Luton Town, 1-8 v Mansfield Town and 2-5 v Southport). Despite their leaky defence the Bluebirds do have a better away record than home this season winning five, drawing five and losing nine.

A week ago after a ‘flat performance’ against Stockport County, manager Bayliss put his teams struggles down to inconsistency, speaking to www.barrowafc.com, he said: “We were fantastic against Forest Green yet with virtually the same players we go from that to perform like this. That’s why the players are at Barrow because they are so inconsistent”.

One consistency in the Barrow side is defender Michael Pearson who has started every league game this season. Partnering the number five is the experienced on loan Bury centre half Efetobore Sodje who has won a dozen Nigerian caps in his career. Richie Baker has chipped in with eight league goals from midfield in a side that has racked up the fewest in the division.

Team News

Lee Noble returned on Saturday coming off the bench at Hyde, the midfielder has completed his four match ban. Tom Champion still remains a booking away from suspension after picking up nine cautions this season.

Sean McConville’s handball on the weekend means he will be suspended. The 24 year old midfielder has made 21 league appearances this season, nine from the bench. Danny Rowe missed the weekend’s last minute defeat with a hamstring injury.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Barrow wins: 2 / Draws: 2 / Dartford goals: 7 / Barrow goals: 7

Current League Form

Dartford (LWDDWL) Barrow (LLDWLD)
Hyde A 0-3 Hereford United A 1-2
Wrexham H 2-1 Stockport County H 0-2
Stockport County H 1-1 Forest Green Rovers A 1-1
Southport A 2-2 Tamworth H 2-0
Luton Town H 1-0 Wrexham H 0-1
Lincoln City A 1-2 Lincoln City A 0-0

Last Meeting

13 October 2012 – Barrow 0 Dartford 0 – Att: 1278

The Bluebirds Lineup: Hurst, Flynn, Hessey, Pearson, Anderson, Baker, Harvey, Hunter, Rutherford, Boyes, Almond (subs used: Rowe, Jackson)

The Darts Lineup: Bettinelli, Burns, Bonner, Arber, Rose, Wallis, Rogers, Noble, Harris, Erskine, Collier (subs used: Hayes, Birchall, Crawford)

Match Stats

Previous Meetings

16.03.1986 Dartford 3 Barrow 2
23.11.1985 Barrow 1 Dartford 2
16.03.1985 Dartford 2 Barrow 0
08.09.1984 Barrow 0 Dartford 0
17.04.1982 Barrow 2 Dartford 0
29.08.1981 Dartford 0 Barrow 2

Stats

70 – The amount Barrow have conceded this season, only two more than the worst defence in the league. Away from home 42 goals have been shipped in, the same as Ebbsfleet United who have conceded the most.

12 – Barrow have failed to score on a dozen occasions in this season’s Conference Premier campaign

268 – The number of attempted shots at goal from Dartford this season, the lowest in the division. 56% of their shots have been on target the second highest ratio in the league.

Barrow v Dartford

 

After suffering their heaviest defeat of the season on Tuesday night the Darts aim to bounce back with a long trip to Barrow on Non League Day.

Dartford’s last journey to Holker Street ended in a 2-1 victory during their last spell in the Conference Premier which was to be their last away win of that season. Four months later the Darts completed a rare double winning 3-2 at Watling Street, which ended up being their last triumph of the 1985/86 campaign. The Darts have only played Barrow six times in each of their stints in the top flight of non league football.

Preparations for the weekend suffered a set back on Tuesday night as Tony Burman’s side were beaten 4-1 by AFC Telford United at Princes Park. The defeat keeps Dartford in the last playoff position and is the first time the team have lost in six league and cup matches.

Former Northern Ireland international Steve Jones opened the scoring when he made the most of some questionable defending. Two minutes later the 35 year old striker scored another to double the lead and his goal tally for the season. A deflected shot in the second half from Luke Hubbins made it 3-0 and a fourth was added in style when a 30 yarder was sent flying into Marcus Bettenelli’s net by Phil Trainer. Elliot Bradbrook nodded home a consolation but the hosts were unable to make the most of their chances throughout the ninety minutes.

Despite defeat fans applauded the performance considering the visitors were clinical in their finishing. Tony Burman also recognised the harshness of the league and told BBC Radio Kent: “We haven’t punished them in the first 20 minutes, we made two mistakes and got punished severely”, he added: “I don’t think we’ve played that badly. That’s what this league is about, you’ll play well and you’ll lose”.

The loss put an end to an exceptional run which included away wins at Braintree Town and Grimsby Town and a credible draw at Wrexham. Dartford’s fine form has propelled the Darts into fifth spot and will be hoping to overcome nineteenth place Barrow.

Barrow have shown some fighting spirit over the last week with back to back wins for the first time this season. Last Saturday the Bluebirds trailed 2-0 against Braintree Town before coming back to win 3-2, Louis Almond scored before the break and equalised with nine minutes to go. In the last minute summer signing Danny Rowe won it for Barrow.

Yet again on Tuesday night the Bluebirds staged a dramatic come back. Southport were two up after 73 minutes until Adam Boyes netted his fourth and fifth goals of the season the up popped up Richie Baker with four minutes remaining to earn Barrow their first home win in the league this season.

The two time F.A Trophy winners failed to win any of their first seven league matches but they have been lifted up the table after better performances since September. The Bluebirds are hoping for an improvement on their average gate of 879 by giving away 1200 free tickets to junior school children who will gain free entry with a paying adult.

Team News

Tom Champion picked up an injury in Tuesday nights defeat and was substituted with twenty minutes to go. Louis Wells and Adam Green have missed out on the last 12 and 10 league matches respectively.

Head to Head

Barrow Wins: 2 / Dartford Wins 3 / Draws: 1

Last Six Meetings

1986 Dartford 3 Barrow 2
1985 Barrow 1 Dartford 2
1985 Dartford 2 Barrow 0
1984 Barrow 0 Dartford 0
1982 Barrow 2 Dartford 0
1981 Dartford 0 Barrow 2

Current Form

Barrow (WWWDWL) Dartford (LWWWDW)
Southport H 3-2 AFC Telford United H 1-4
Braintree Town A 3-2 Grimsby Town A 2-0
Cambridge United H 1-4 Hyde H 2-1
Wrexham A 0-3 Braintree Town A 2-0
Ebbsfleet United A 4-2 Wrexham A 2-2
Newport County H 0-3 Hereford United H 4-0

Barrow have managed one win at Holker Street this campaign which came at their seventh attempt.

Dartford are unbeaten in three away games, winning their last two matches on the road.

Stats

4.37 – The last eight matches involving Barrow have averaged 4.37 goals per game, the league average is 3.05 goals per game

12 – Games since the Bluebirds kept a clean sheet, the longest sequence in the Conference Premier this season

15 – The most goals conceded at home by any club Barrow also have the worst home record in this campaign

Barrow may have left it late to win their last two matches but Dartford have scored the most goals in the final fifteen minutes of games. The Darts also like to keep it tight at the back for the first quarter of an hour as the graph below suggests: