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Chester v Dartford

Dartford make the mid-week trip to Chester just three days after their survival chances took a major blow.

Fortunes of the two clubs have contrasted over the last twelve months. The two sides were both reprieved at the end of last season having finished in the bottom four. Chester have grabbed the second chance with both hands whilst Dartford’s grip on the Conference Premier is loosening.

A last minute weekend defeat at the hands of Alfreton Town has made the Darts task very difficult. From the remaining ten games Tony Burman’s side have to recover an eleven point gap from Saturday’s opponents.

Chances went begging in the first half with Elliot Bradbrook and Andy Pugh missing opportunities. Pugh came close a few more times but the Reds goalkeeper Jason Mooney was equal to his efforts. Alfreton Town completed a third consecutive win without conceding a minute from time when Tom Shaw scored the winner.

In their last campaign, Chester finished in heartbreaking fashion. Steve Burr’s side were ‘relegated’ on the final minute of the final matchday on goal difference. With Hereford United and Salisbury City losing their Conference Premier status, the Blues like Dartford were given a second chance. Burr has now guided Chester to tenth spot in a much improved season.

On the weekend, the Blues came from two goals down to dent the title hopes of Grimsby Town. Ollie Palmer and John-Paul Pittman put the Mariners ahead but the comeback began with fifteen minutes to go. Ben Heneghan cut the deficit in half and John Rooney penalty six minutes from time levelled the match.

It’s not the first time Chester have come from a goal down, as Dartford know from their home game four months ago. Lee Noble volleyed home a Ryan Hayes cross to give the Darts a lead. Two minutes into the second half top scorer and captain Elliot Bradbrook increased the advantage. Within three minutes Chester began to turn the match around, Craig Mahon scored two in four minutes before Matty Hughes made it 3-2. A fourth arrived in the closing stages, Barnsley loanee Rhys Oates completed the comeback. The last meeting at the Deva Stadium ended 0-0 back in September 2013.

Dartford’s form has improved over the last six matches in comparison to the previous ten when they lost nine. Although the Darts have won once in the last six fixtures they have picked up points against Bristol Rovers, Aldershot Town and FC Halifax Town. Meanwhile, Chester have lost just twice from their last nine games, winning five and drawing twice.

Head to Head

Chester wins: 2 / Dartford wins: 0 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Chester (DWLLWW) Dartford (LDLDWD)
Grimsby Town  H  2-2 Alfreton Town  H  0-1
Torquay United  A  1-0 FC Halifax Town  A  0-0
Wrexham  A  0-1 Woking  H  1-3
Eastleigh  H  0-1 Aldershot Town  A  1-1
Lincoln City  A  1-0 AFC Telford United  A  3-2
Welling United  A  3-1 Bristol Rovers  H  2-2

Last League Meeting at the Deva Stadium

7 September 2013 – Chester 0 Dartford 0 – Att: 2587

Chester Lineup: Danby, Kay, Linwood, McIntyre, Higginbotham, Harrison, L Turner, N Turner, Mills, Titchiner, Chippendale (subs used: Seddon, Lindfield, Reed)

Dartford Lineup: Julian, Clark, Collier, Fry, Burns, Hayes, Noble, Bradbrook, Woodyard, Harris, Birchall (subs used: Rogers)

Match Stats

cfc v dfc

Previous Meetings

25.11.2014 Chester 2 Dartford 4
07.03.2014 Dartford 0 Chester 1
07.09.2013 Chester 0 Dartford 0

Dartford v Chester

This season Dartford could have lined up in a different league to their mid-week visitors Chester, instead the two sides meet for only the third time.

The story could have been so much different had it not been for the demise of Salisbury City and Hereford United. With the Darts finishing below their opponents last term, both clubs were reprieved for the current campaign.

For Chester, news of a second chance put the final day relegation heartbreak firmly behind them. A last minute Hereford United winner at Aldershot Town sent Chester down on goal difference, until the Bulls were thrown out of the Conference due to financial problems. Dartford’s reprieve was more chaotic than dramatic, as they heard later on in the summer that they too will get another opportunity in the Conference Premier.

Dartford are finding life just as tough the second time round, however this time last year the club were in the middle of a ten game losing streak. This term there are no signs of a repeat with the squad looking and playing better. Whilst it’s tight just above the bottom four, the Darts know a few wins could move them into mid table. With three tough fixtures coming up before the F.A Cup second round tie with League One side Bradford City, Tony Burman will be eyeing up three points against fellow part timers.

The squad has been stretched of late with striker Andy Pugh sidelined for a long spell following an operation. Tom Bradbrook has suffered recently but has now returned and at the back Mat Mitchel-King, Nathan Collier and Lee Burns have taken time out to recover. Burman has had to call in Callum Driver and play midfielder Elliot Bradbrook at centre back. With the captain moving further towards his own goal, midfielder’s Lee Noble and Max Cornhill have linked well with the influential Peter Sweeney, who missed the 1-0 defeat at Lincoln City with flu. With Pugh out for a while, Harry Crawford continues to stake a claim in the starting eleven.

In sixteenth place amongst four teams on 27 points Chester under Steve Burr have also made improvements, and despite inconsistent results they sit in a comfortable mid table position. It took the Cheshire club six games to record a win last term, this campaign it only took the third attempt. The Blues have just faced tricky home matches against Gateshead and Bristol Rovers and managed four points, but it’s their home form that has been more productive. On their travels, Chester have beaten Braintree Town and AFC Telford United but have lost seven and drawn one. The finest away day so far for Chester came in the F.A Cup first round where they went to League Two side Southend United and won 2-1.

The Blues have a midfield content on chipping in with goals thanks to the efforts of Sean McConville and John Rooney. Up front Craig Hobson often leads the line with former Macclesfield Town player Peter Winn. Manager, Steve Burr recently added to his squad with two loan signings, Josh O’Keefe formerly of Kidderminster Harriers is well accustomed to the Conference Premier having played for Hereford United, Lincoln City and Southport. Rhys Oates comes in from Barnsley having spent time in the Conference North with Gainsborough Trinity and Stockport County, the teenager also featured for Grimsby Town a couple of months ago.

The Darts are still looking for their first goal against the Blues having failed to find the net in both league fixtures last campaign. A goalless draw up in Cheshire was followed by a 1-0 defeat in front of the television cameras at Princes Park. A fine volley from Chester striker Gareth Seddon separated the two teams which at the time was an important six pointer. This season both sides will be hoping the result will carry less significance.

Head to Head 

Dartford wins: 0/ Chester wins: 1 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford (LDWLDD) Chester (DWLLWL)
Lincoln City A 0-1 Bristol Rovers H 2-2
Southport H 1-1 Gateshead H 1-0
Welling United A 2-1 Macclesfield Town A 1-3
Grimsby Town A 0-3 Eastleigh A 2-3
Aldershot Town H 1-1 Alfreton Town H 2-1
Macclesfield Town H 1-1 Dover Athletic A 1-2

Last League Meeting at Princes Park

7 March 2014 – Dartford 0 Chester 1 – Att: 1610

Goalscorer: Seddon (51)

Dartford Lineup: Julian, Mitchel-King, McAuley, Sterling, Cornhill, Woodyard, Stevenson, Bradbrook, Burns, Wall, Harris (subs used: Suarez, Noble, Collier)

Chester Lineup: Chapman, Lillock, L Turner, Heath, Linwood, Rooney, Bond, N Turner, Mahon, Seddon, Taylor (subs used: Lindfield, Daniels)

Match Stats

dfc v cfc stats

Previous Meetings

07.03.2014 Dartford 0 Chester 1
07.09.2013 Chester 0 Dartford 0

 

 

Chester

Deva Stadium Founded 2010 The Blues

Chester suffered their first setback last season and even then it turned out to be a positive outcome. When you put everything in perspective, the Blues have risen through the non league pyramid in the directest route possible since restarting four years ago. Winning three consecutive league titles, life in the Conference Premier didn’t seem possible when under their former guise Chester City crumbled and ceased to exist. Supporters made sure Chester would still have a team and from then on they have never looked back. A first campaign in the Conference Premier ended in relegation but at least a club exists, however in a dramatic twist Hereford United suffered financially leading to a reprieve for Chester.

CFCLast Season

Conference Premier: 21st

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

Top Scorer: Gareth Seddon

Average Attendance: 2366

Drama unfolded on the final day of the season and beyond. In the beginning high expectations surrounded the club after a rapid rise to the Conference Premier. Realistically, still a semi professional side it would always be tough to compete. With an impressive following the campaign got off to the worse possible start, Chester lost their opening five fixtures. What better way to end that run than a cross border derby win at Wrexham, the first since reforming. By December, the Blues languished in the bottom four and a change in management ensued. On the final day Chester led twice against Salisbury City and with four minutes to go were staying up. The Blues conceded and two minutes later news reached the Deva Stadium that Hereford United grabbed a winner to stay up. Or so they thought, debts at Edgar Street had mounted and after missing crucial deadlines to clear monies owed the Conference Premier relegated the Bulls, Chester get a second chance.

The Manager – Steve Burr

A first full season in Cheshire awaits Steve Burr having joined the club on 18 January 2014. The former Macclesfield Town striker, left Kidderminster Harriers last term in an eventful set of circumstances. Given permission to speak to Forest Green Rovers to fill the vacant post at the New Lawn, Burr turned down the offer. Three months later the experienced manager had joined Chester. Burr has spent fourteen years as a manager including a spell as England C assistant boss. Starting in the dugout at Nuneaton Borough was a tough place to begin, the club were relegated from the Conference Premier. After his sacking,  Burr bounced back with the Northern Premier League title at Hucknall Town which caught the eye of Northwich Victoria. Not helped by a ten point deduction, the Vics were relegated but the following season the Conference North title was claimed. Stalybridge Celtic were led to to the Conference North playoff final and Burr went close to returning Kidderminster Harriers back to the Football League.

The Summer

Steve Burr has been a busy man in the summer, having finished in the bottom four he is keen to avoid a repeat. In one of the highest profile signings during the break, former Scottish international Chris Iwelumo will start 2014/15 at Chester. Iwelumo played for Scottish Premiership side St Johnstone last term and made over 550 appearances in the Football League scoring 120 goals. A former Welsh international also joins, Gareth Roberts joins from Notts County. On the wing Peter Winn has signed from fellow Cheshire club Macclesfield Town, the 25 year old played in the league 37 times for the Silkmen in 2013/14. Sean McConville scored 11 in 38 games for Stalybridge Celtic from midfield and Burr has added the Liverpudlian to the squad. Former England C international and experienced Conference Premier defender Kieran Charnock, ex Alfreton Town goalkeeper Jon Worsnop join Matthew Brown, signed from Chesterfield and Danny Taylor from Colwyn Bay at the back. Kingsley James has left cash strapped Hereford United, Wayne Riley and Irish under 17 international John Disney comes in from Hednesford Town.

Chester have lost the services of three players to the ambitious Salford City in the Northern Premier League Division One North. Top scorer Gareth Seddon leaves the Deva Stadium after scoring seven in 35 games last term. Both Paul Linwood and Jason Jarrett made 29 league appearances in 2013/14 and join Seddon at Moor Lane.

Last Meetings vs The Darts

Dartford 0 Chester 1 – Conference Premier – 7 March 2014

A relegation battle in front of the television cameras was won by a brilliantly taken Gareth Seddon volley five minutes into the second half. Not the prettiest of matches but the Cheshire club looked good for their three points. Dartford’s Lee Noble came close to level things up near the end.

Chester 0 Dartford 0 – Conference Premier – 7 September 2013

The deadlock between the two sides earned Chester their first home points of the season. Whilst the home side looked good in the first half hour, the Darts pushed in the second half but neither side could find the net. The games best efforts came when Alex Titchiner tested Alan Julian from long range and Danny Harris was off target for Dartford.

League Performance Last Four Years

chester last 10 yrs

Best Performances

21st Conference Premier (2013/14) F.A Cup 4th Qualifying Round (2013/14) F.A Trophy 2nd Round (2011/12)

Dartford v Chester

To kick start the Conference Premier weekend, Dartford’s big six pointer against relegation rivals Chester will be in front of the BT Sports cameras.

The Darts have happy Princes Park memories in their last televised match in October 2012 when they beat last season’s Conference Premier champions Mansfield Town.

This time they face a Chester side who drew 0-0 against the Darts back in September, which earned the Blues their first home points of the season. Dartford goalkeeper, Alan Julian made a decent save from Alex Titchiner’s 25-yard effort and later on Danny Harris had the best chance for the Darts, but his shot flew across the Chester goal. The hosts could have taken the lead in the second half through Lewis Turner but he missed the target. Darts defender Kenny Clark also had an opportunity to nick three points for the visitors.

Dartford’s six match unbeaten run came to an end last weekend when they travelled to another relegation threatened side. Southport pulled away from the Darts in the league standings thanks to the influential Osayamen Osawe. The 21 year old caused the Darts defence all sorts of problems in the first half and he turned provider in the twelfth minute. Osawe’s cross gave the Sandgrounders top scorer Danny Hattersley a chance which he took from close range. During the second half, the Darts showed promise and began to get on top in the match, but were left with too much to do when Jason Walker added a second for the Merseysiders. The game was killed off by the hosts in the 78th minute as Osawe’s turn and shot made it 3-0 to Southport.

Tony Burman spoke to BBC Radio Kent after the match and said: “We were in the game until the second goal. Second half we took the game to Southport, but we were just not organised for the breakaway”. Dartford’s boss was also pleased with the early substitutions he made, he commented: “The guys who came on did well enough. When we were 1-0 down we took the game to Southport and we got no reward”. Once again Burman highlighted his goals for the end of the season he added: “It’s tight enough at that end of the table and the league we’re in is the five teams at the bottom of the table. We’ve got to finish top of that league”.

On the same afternoon Chester were involved in a thoroughly entertaining affair with Nuneaton Town. Reduced to ten men after just eight minutes, the Blues took the lead three times. Jason Jarrett was dismissed for fighting early on, but the Deva Stadium came alive when John Rooney fired Chester in front. Louis Moult levelled the match after half hour but Steve Burr’s side went back in front through Matty Taylor, his fifth goal in three games. Andy Brown headed home a second equaliser on the stroke of half time for the Boro. Ross Killock hit a third with twenty minutes remaining and with Chester close to victory Brown equalised again.

Chester changed tact in the New Year following the departure of Neil Young who had guided the club back to the Conference Premier. Young had taken just four wins in 25 matches leaving the Blues third from bottom. In came former Kidderminster Harriers boss Steve Burr who has four league wins from nine in charge, taking his new team out of the relegation zone.

The Blues, three points above Aldershot Town who are in the drop zone, have been vulnerable defensively of late. Just over a week ago they conceded another three but still claimed three points against second from bottom side Tamworth, by netting four of their own. With 13 goals scored in Chester’s last two league outings it could be a tense evening in front of the cameras.

Team News

Tony Burman is likely to bring back first team players who were rested in Tuesday’s Kent Senior Cup Quarter Final against Dover Athletic. Last weekend Mat Mitchel-King and Elliot Bradbrook couldn’t make it through the ninety minutes. Mitchel-King departed early in the first half with an ankle injury and Bradbrook dislocated his finger. Creative winger Ryan Hayes remains out of action for the Darts.

Chester will be with the suspended Jason Jarrett, the experienced midfielder has made 20 league appearances for the Blues this season. Steve Burr gave Ricky Bridge his début last weekend, the defender signed from Northern Premier League Division One side Newcastle Town.

Current Form

Dartford (LDWWWD) Chester (DWDWLL)
Southport A 0-3 Nuneaton Town H 3-3
Aldershot Town H 1-1 Tamworth A 4-3
Hereford United H 2-0 Lincoln City A 1-1
Woking H 5-1 FC Halifax Town H 2-1
Wrexham A 2-1 Macclesfield Town A 2-3
Cambridge United H 3-3 Welling United H 1-3

Stats

4 – Dartford are currently four league games unbeaten at Princes Park. Chester have yet to lose against the bottom four

6 – Chester’s top scorer in the league is Matty Taylor, the striker has made six appearances on loan from Forest Green Rovers averaging a goal a game

10 – Chester have racked up ten red cards in the Conference Premier this season more than any other club

258 – Dartford have had the fewest attempts at goal out of all Conference Premier clubs in this season’s league campaign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chester v Dartford

Dartford visit the Deva Stadium for the very first time to take on newly promoted Chester on Saturday.

The Darts travel North West in hope they can return to winning ways in the Conference Premier, after defeat at home to Lincoln City last weekend. Following the 2-0 triumph over Tamworth, Tony Burman’s side hosted the Imps and were two down inside half an hour. Elliot Bradbrook pulled back the deficit and a controversial refereeing decision which denied the Darts a penalty, prevented the points being shared.

On Tuesday night Nathan Collier, Tyrone Sterling, Alex Woodyard and Ryan Hayes featured in a much changed starting eleven against local rivals Welling United in the Kent Senior Cup. Burman also gave starts to newly added squad members Jay Porter, George Monger, Uche Ibemere and Mohamed Eisa.

Eisa struck first with a deflected effort giving the Darts a lead going into half time. Welling United hit back in the second half with a Loick Pires goal but Dartford stretched their lead to 3-1 with strikes from Woodyard and substitute Brima Daramy. The Wings managed a consolation through Loui Fazakerley, the defender scored the final goal of the evening but it was Dartford who progressed to the next round with a 3-2 victory.

Chester have pedigree at this level despite technically never playing in the Conference Premier. Formerly known as Chester City the club was dissolved after 125 years whilst participating in the top flight of non league. Only three years ago did the new Chester side start their journey back up the football pyramid smashing records along the way.

Managed by Neil Young since the club formed, Chester have won a treble of back to back promotions wining league titles on each occasion. Last season’s Conference North Team of the Year amassed 107 points last term with a goal difference of plus 71 and set six new records for the league.

In contrast the 2013/14 campaign has been far from successful for the Cheshire club who currently lie third from bottom, but would be a position lower if it wasn’t for Aldershot Town’s points deduction. Key losses over the summer in midfielder Antoni Sarcevic to Fleetwood Town and last season’s top scorer Nathan Jarman, who moved to North Ferriby United hasn’t helped the cause.

Young has pulled of a coup by capturing former Manchester United, Southampton and Stoke City defender Danny Higginbotham only last week. The 34 year old has ‘fallen in love with football again’ after moving from League One side Sheffield United. Despite five straight defeats for the newly promoted club, Higginbotham couldn’t have wished for a better start.

In the early kick off last weekend against Wrexham, the Blues claimed their first scalp of the season in the much anticipated derby. Paul Linwood headed the first goal from the six-yard after five minutes. Lewis Turner then made it 2-0 on 17 minutes with the help of twin brother Nathan who set the defender up. Young has urged his side not to relax after victory against the Welsh club and to use the win to push his side to more rewarding performances.

Team News

Dartford’s starting line up will be much changed from Tuesday nights cup match at Welling United with a number of more experienced players returning to the side. Mat Mitchel-King missed the defeat at home to Lincoln City through injury and Tony Burman has no suspension concerns.

Chester will be without Ashley Williams who has appeared in four of the Blues fixtures this term, starting twice. The midfielder was dismissed in Saturday’s win at Wrexham for violent conduct and will miss three games.

Current Form

Chester (WLLLLL) Dartford (LWLLLW)
Wrexham A 2-0 Lincoln City H 1-2
Forest Green Rovers H 1-2 Tamworth A 2-0
Kidderminster Harriers A 1-3 Braintree Town H 0-2
Woking H 0-2 FC Halifax Town H 0-2
Hereford United H 0-2 Aldershot Town A 0-3
Barnet A 0-3 Alfreton Town H 1-0

Stats

4 – number of goals scored by Dartford and Chester this season, only Tamworth have netted fewer.

22 – Chester have used 22 players, along with FC Halifax who were promoted from the Conference North with the Blues. No other team has used more players this term.

34 – The Blues have attempted the fewest shots at goal, hitting and missing the target 17 times.

315 – the number of minutes it took Chester to register their first Conference Premier goal.

321 – the number of minutes Dartford went without scoring a goal before the 2-0 win at Tamworth.