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Dartford v Luton Town

Dartford hope to cause an upset in a bid to escape the bottom four when they take on league leaders and title favourites Luton Town.

The Darts looked down and out at the end of 2013, however two defeats in 11 Conference Premier matches have pulled the club closer to safety. Tony Burman knows a shock victory over the Hatters will see his side move outside the relegation zone for the first time since the start of November, moving last season’s League Two side Aldershot Town and financial stricken Hereford United into the bottom four.

On the weekend, Dartford had to come from behind to earn a valuable three points. Hosting Macclesfield Town, the Silkmen took the lead against the run of play just before half time. Paul Turnbull hit a 25 yard strike beyond Alan Julian giving the visitors a half time lead. The Darts came out of the starting blocks quickly in the second half with Danny Harris heading home Lee Noble’s corner. With just under ten minutes remaining the Princes Park crowd celebrated as Max Cornhill grabbed a winner.

Burman spoke to BBC Radio Kent after the game and was pleased with how his side dealt with the pressure to get three points, he said: “A lot of the players, in the first half of the season, weren’t putting in decent enough performances”, he added: “There’s a few of them we felt were good players at the start of the season that are now telling us they are”.

Although the Darts remain in 22nd place the gap to safety has reduced from five to two points. Aldershot Town’s win versus relegated Hyde kept the Hampshire club’s noses in front, whilst Hereford United and Chester were beaten.

Earlier in the season the Darts were brushed aside at Kenilworth Road as the Hatters began their incredible run of 27 league matches without defeat, three games short of Crawley Town’s record set in 2010/11. Paul Benson scored his first goal in a Luton Town shirt when his effort went in off the post. Elliot Bradbrook missed a great opportunity and within seconds Luke Guttridge scored at the other end. Alex Lawless who had just returned from injury made it 3-0 just after the hour when he took the ball round Alan Julian.

Last time out at Princes Park, Dartford completed a double over the Bedfordshire club with a 1-0 victory. The first half was quiet with Nathan Collier forcing Mark Tyler into a save and Andre Gray striking the post for the Hatters. The second half had its moments and was lit up by Ryan Hayes, who settled the match with eighteen minutes remaining with a delightful curler. Back in November 2012 the Darts came home from Kenilworth Road with a shock 2-0 win. Lee Noble’s crossed free kick went straight in and Tom Bonner’s close range header earned Dartford three points.

Tony Burman will be without two loan players, Luton Town players Jim Stevenson in midfield and striker Alex Wall cannot face their parent club. Burman has used his connection with Hatters manager John Still, who managed the Darts between 1983-1986 when Burman was firing in goals for Dartford.

Luton Town sit 13 points clear at the summit of the Conference Premier and look likely to return to the Football League. However, the league’s top scorers have won two of their last six. After the Hatters lost their unbeaten run at home to Woking they bounced back with two victories. On the weekend, the Hatters faced a tough trip to FC Halifax Town who have lost just once at The Shay. It was the Yorkshire club that came out on top once more at home winning their fifth in a row thanks to goals from Marc Roberts and Conference Premier top scorer Lee Gregory.

Dartford’s defence will certainly have to be kept on their toes as they are likely to face Andre Gray, who is a goal behind Gregory on 26 and the experienced Paul Benson who’s tally is 17.

Expecting the biggest gate of the season, Burman will hope the noise levels can spur the Darts on to another much needed win.

Team News

Dartford will be without the impressive Alex Wall and Jim Stevenson, both players are contracted to Luton Town and are therefore illegible. Ryan Hayes is out of action due to a long term injury. Luton Town have been missing the services of  Jonathan Smith, Luke Guttridge and Danny Fitzsimons recently, but named an unchanged side in the defeat at FC Halifax Town.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Luton Town wins: 2 / Draws: 0

Current League Form

Dartford (WWDLLD) Luton Town (LWWLDD)
Macclesfield Town H 2-1 FC Halifax Town A 0-2
Hyde A 2-0 Grimsby Town A 2-1
Cambridge United A 1-1 Chester H 3-0
Chester H 0-1 Woking H 0-1
Southport A 0-3 Cambridge United A 1-1
Aldershot Town H 1-1 Salisbury City A 0-0

Last Meeting At Princes Park

12 February  2013 – Dartford 1 Luton Town 0 – Att: 1802

Goalscorers: Hayes (72)

The Darts Lineup: Bettinelli, Green, Arber, Bonner, Rose, Champion, Bradbrook, Hayes, noble, Harris, Collier (Sub used: Rogers, Wallis, Erskine)

The Hatters Lineup: Tyler, McNulty, Kovacs, Howells, Henry, Mendy, Martin, Neilson, Smith, Shaw, Gray (Sub used: O’Donnell, Rendell, Taylor)

Match Stats

dfc v ltfc stats

Previous Meetings

17.09.2013 Luton Town 3 Dartford 0
12.02.2013 Dartford 1 Luton Town 0
10.11.2012 Luton Town 0 Dartford 2
22.10.1904 Luton Town 12 Dartford 0

League Stats 

2 – Dartford’s come back on Saturday is only the second time the Darts have conceded first and went on to claim all three points. The only other time was their 5-1 thrashing of Woking

3 – Opening up Luton Town in the first fifteen minutes of matches is tough, the Hatters have only let in three goals during this period

10 – Since the loan signing of Alex Wall, the Darts have averaged more shots at goal. Dartford managed an average of seven attempts pre Wall which has now increased to 10.72 shots per game.

20 – The Hatters have kept the most clean sheets and at one point went 564 minutes without conceding. In that run the Hertfordshire club notched up back to back 7-0, 5-0 and 5-0 wins. Only Cambridge United have gone longer this season without conceding a goal (602 minutes)

88 – Luton Town have netted the most goals in the Conference Premier this season

1164 – Dartford’s average league crowd at Princes Park this season will be easily surpassed. The Hatters can boast the biggest support home and away this season, averaging just under 7000 at Kenilworth Road

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luton Town v Dartford

Dartford aim to pick up some much needed points on Tuesday night when they travel to Kenilworth Road and face Luton Town.

The Darts enjoyed both matches against the Hatters last term by completing their only double in the league. On top of a six point haul Luton Town failed to breach the Dartford defence on both occasions. Lee Noble’s sixth minute strike from a direct free kick out wide gave Tony Burman’s side a shock lead and the afternoon was made better after Tom Bonner gave the Darts a 2-0 lead before half time which was enough to take home three points. The corresponding fixture ten months ago was played in front of Dartford’s biggest audience last season. At Princes Park the double was completed in February with Ryan Hayes netting the winner.

With just two wins in eight league games Dartford find themselves in nineteenth position, picking up less than a point a match. The latest setback occurred on the weekend in a 2-1 defeat at home to joint leaders Nuneaton Town. The Darts found themselves two down with just eight minutes on the clock as they became another victim of Louis Moult’s goalscoring feats this season. Moult headed his first from a set piece before striking his own 25 yard free kick into the top corner. Elliot Bradbrook pulled back a goal for the Darts with a sublime overhead kick but the 2-1 half time scoreline remained the same after ninety minutes.

Burman was disappointed that his side were unable to create an equaliser, he told kentonline.co.uk: “We might have played some pretty football and passed it about but some of them, in my opinion, didn’t have the desire to make things happen in the second half”. The Dartford boss made his frustration known on defending free kicks, he commented: “It’s two set pieces again which we’ve been punished for”, he added: “The set-pieces are so important and I can’t keep telling the same people about it”.

Tuesday’s hosts have made a slow start considering the expectations of their large support. Five places and a win away from Dartford, Luton Town have also struggled to find the net scoring only five this term. At the other end the Hatters have remained resolute letting in a paltry four.

Manager, John Still and winger David Martin both have links with Dartford having represented the club. Still managed the Darts between 1983 and 1986 guiding the club to promotion reaching the Conference for the second time in the club’s history. After guiding Dartford to a record third place finish in 1985 he left in February 1986. Martin’s performances and wonder goals for the Darts earned him a deal with Crystal Palace prior his spells with Millwall, Derby County and Southend United.

On Friday night Luton Town went down to their first defeat in six games conceding for the first time in four matches. Away to Wrexham, the Hatters were beaten by goals from Andy Bishop and Johnny Hunt. Former Maidenhead United striker, Alex Wall was dismissed for violent conduct in a disappointing evening for the Bedfordshire club.

Team News

Mat Mitchell-King missed his third successive league game on the weekend through injury and midfielder Max Cornhill was also absent for the fourth time in a row. Tyrone Sterling returned to action as an 83rd minute substitute.

Luton Town will have Alex Wall missing through suspension. F.A Cup hero from last season Scott Rendell has gone out on loan to Woking. Alex Lawless made his first start of the season after being out with injury.

Head To Head

Luton Town wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 2

Last Meeting at Kenilworth Road

1 December 2012 –  Luton Town 0 Dartford 2 – Att: 6567

Goalscorers: Noble (6), Bonner (41)

The Hatters Lineup: Brill, Howells, Ainge, Henry, Lawless, Mendy, O’Donnell, Smith, Rendell, Fleetwood, Gray  (sub used: Walker)

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

Match Stats

ltfc v dfc stats
Stats

0 – Luton Town have failed to score in the first hour of matches this season. Dartford have yet to score in the final half an hour of matches.

5 – number of times the Hatters have failed to score this season. More than any other club except Macclesfield Town, who have also failed to find the net on five occasions

216  – number of minutes since the Darts conceded in the league away from home.

381 – minutes the Hatters went without conceding before their 2-0 defeat at Wrexham, only Cambridge United have kept more clean sheets

 

Dartford v Luton Town

 

The Darts host their first Conference Premier match at Princes Park in almost a month on Tuesday night, with the visit of Luton Town.

Dartford shocked the Hatters at Kenilworth Road three months ago with a surprise 2-0 win. Lee Noble scored direct from a free kick after six minutes to give the visitors a great start. Tom Bonner doubled his season’s tally with a close range header to put Tony Burman’s side two up before half time.  At the time the Darts were in their best form on the road but have not tasted success in the league away from Princes Park since.

On Saturday the trend continued in a 2-1 defeat against a struggling Lincoln City side. An early goal at Sincil Bank by Vadaine Oliver put the Imps one up inside six minutes. The 20 year old striker took advantage of some slack marking to net his sixth league goal of the season. Lee Noble was then on the receiving end of a poor challenge which saw Lincoln City’s Jake Sheridan sent off on 35 minutes.

Noble was involved in the action again levelling up the score fourteen minutes from time, the midfielder scored his first league goal since his opener at Kenilworth Road. Controversially the Imps won a penalty in the closing stages resulting in a fracas between players. Colin Larkin remained composed enough to net the winner, scoring his fourth against the Darts following his hat trick at Princes Park. The match ended with nine cautions, six for the home side and a dismissal, leaving Dartford with only a point from the last seven away games.

Dartford boss Tony Burman and Luton Town manager Paul Buckle have a dilemma to make when picking their starting eleven. Following Tuesday night’s fixture looms important cup ties for both clubs. The Darts’ small squad travel to Grimsby Town in the first leg of the F.A Trophy semi final, a round Dartford have not reached since 1989. Meanwhile the Hatters who caused a massive F.A Cup scalp knocking out Premier League side Norwich City, face Millwall in the fifth round. Buckle’s men became the first non league club to beat a top flight team since Sutton United’s famous victory against Coventry City, also in 1989.

Luton Town travel to Princes Park for the first time and are currently in touching distance of a playoff spot. Since November the Bedfordshire club have been inconsistent in the Conference Premier highlighted by their 6-1 mauling of Barrow before a 1-0 defeat to the same side a month later.

On the weekend Kenilworth Road played host to third place Forest Green Rovers. Andre Gray put the home side ahead on five minutes with his ninth league goal of the season. The Hatters were pegged back almost ten minutes later when Matthew Taylor equalised. In the second half Alex Lawless was cautioned twice in a matter of minutes to leave Luton Town a man down. Like Dartford’s match cards were handed out resulting in seven cautions and Forest Green Rovers’ Al Bangura joining Lawless in an early departure.

Paul Buckle still believes his side can win automatic promotion back to the Football League but they will need to make the most of the games in hand. Buckle has experience of taking clubs back to League Two as manager of Torquay United and to help him achieve his aim he has signed former Dartford winger Dave Martin.

Martin has featured in two league games so far since moving from Southend United and since leaving the Darts for Crystal Palace in 2007 he is at his sixth club. Dartford fans will certainly know that Martin is capable of producing spectacular goals like he managed against Burgess Hill Town and Godalming during his spell under Burman.

Team News

Tom Bonner will be the latest of a list of players to reach a milestone. The centre half will make his 150th appearance if selected, all of which have been starts. Bonner joins Lee Burns who reached 150 starts and Tom Champion who made his 100th start on Saturday. Dartford have no suspensions to worry about and a healthy squad.

Alex Lawless and Lathaniel Rowe-Turner are suspended after both players were sent off in recent matches. England C international Simon Ainge needed stitches after the national side lost 1-0 to Turkey at Princes Park and he missed Saturday’s game versus Forest Green Rovers. Ex Gillingham midfielder Danny Spiller and Garry Richards have been out with injury’s.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Luton Town wins: 1 / Dartford Goals: 2/ Luton Town Goals: 12

Current League Form

Dartford (LLWLDD) Luton Town (DLDWLW)
Lincoln City A 1-2 Forest Green Rovers H 1-1
Mansfield Town A 0-5 Barrow A 0-1
Macclesfield Town H 2-0 AFC Telford United A 0-0
Alfreton Town A 2-3 Barrow H 6-1
Ebbsfleet United A 2-2 Woking A 1-3
Cambridge United H 1-1 Woking H 3-1

Last Meeting

10 November 2012 – Luton Town 0 Dartford 2 – Att: 6567

Goalscorers: Noble (6), Bonner (41)

The Hatters Lineup: Brill, Howells, Ainge, Henry, Lawless, Mendy, O’Donnell, Smith, Rendell, Fleetwood, Gray (sub used: Walker)

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

Match Stats


Stats

The Darts have accrued the most points at home (16) against tables currently in the top half of the table.

Dartford have conceded the most goals by penalties (7) in the league this season, joint with Forest Green Rovers.

Luton Town are the best supported club averaging 6127 at Kenilworth Road this season. If the Hatters were in the Football League they would be fourth in the League Two average attendance table and tenth in League One average attendance table.

The Hatters have conceded most of their goals (10) in the first 15 minutes of matches.

Luton Town v Dartford

 

It was only five years ago Dartford were seven steps below Saturday’s opponents Luton Town and now the sides go head to head in the Conference Premier.

A lot has changed in the six years Princes Park has been opened, Luton Town were a Championship club and Dartford were battling it out in Isthmian Division One. Whilst the former League Cup winners finished 124 places above Dartford in the football pyramid back in 2007, the Darts ended up seventh in the Isthmian Division One South. Now the two clubs are separated by just three places and three points.

On Tuesday night both Dartford and Luton Town were beaten by a solitary goal. The Darts faced for the third time in a fortnight Forest Green Rovers and yet again their opponents came out on top. Yan Klukowski scored the winner and his third against the Darts this season in the eleventh minute. Dartford striker Harry Crawford was dismissed early on and moments later the sides were even when Jamie Turley was also red carded.

Luton Town fell to a mid table Hereford United side at Edgar Street when James McQuilkin first strike of the season surprised the visitors. The Hatters created numerous chances in front of goal but their domination was not rewarded. The Bedfordshire club has seen their one point deficit at the top of the table increase to four.

After a fine start to their first season back in the Conference Premier, Dartford have one just once in their last six matches in all competitions. The trip to Kenilworth Road is a journey the majority of supporters have been looking forward to as the Hatters average a crowd of over 6000.

The Darts have been extremely tight on their travels conceding the second fewest amount of goals in the league. Marcus Bettinelli, Lee Burns, Mark Arber, Tom Bonner and Richard Rose have contributed to three consecutive clean sheets totalling over five hours of football. Up front the side have struggled to score away from Princes Park netting eight, the second lowest total.

Kenilworth Road brings its own pressures to the Luton Town team who are one of the favourites for promotion. Having missed out in the play-offs in all three of their Conference Premier seasons since relegation, the Hatters are not short of fire power. Paul Buckle was appointed to the lead the club in April and he has added some quality players to his squad.

Stuart Fleetwood and Scott Rendell have contributed to 16 league goals so far in a promising front line. Rendell joined in the summer from Wycombe Wanderers and Fleetwood has a host of Conference Premier experience. Buckle also captured midfielder Ronnie Henry from Stevenage to build a strong squad to choose from.

Team News

Dartford’s top scorer Harry Crawford will be suspended for three matches following his straight red card against Forest Green Rovers. Adam Green returned to league action for the first time in since 25 August when he made a substitute appearance on Tuesday night.

Last seasons top scorer for Gateshead Jon Shaw has been ruled out with a thigh injury. The 28 year old joined the Hatters in the summer and has managed just one league goal in 13 appearances. Alex Lawless who has racked up 14 league starts returned against Hereford United but will still have a fitness test. Defender Dean Beckwith is back in training following a groin injury as well as goalkeeper Mark Tyler. Paul Buckle could be set to give new signing Jonathan Smith his home début.

Current Form

Luton Town (WWLWW) Dartford (WDLWW)
Hereford United A 0-1 Forest Green Rovers H 0-1
Forest Green Rovers A 2-1 Mansfield Town H 2-0
Nuneaton A 2-0 Barrow A 0-0
Braintree Town H 2-3 AFC Telford United H 1-4
Lincoln City A 2-1 Grimsby Town A 2-0
Southport A 3-1 Hyde H 2-1

Stats

Five years ago Dartford and Luton Town were two teams who were worlds apart. The graph below shows the progress the Darts have made since 2007 compared to Luton’s decline.


Two players featured for Dartford and Luton Town back in 2007 and are in the squad for this season. Ryan Hayes has been involved in all of Dartford’s promotions whilst Luton Town goalkeeper Dean Brill left the Hatters before returning this year. Here are the classes of five years ago…

Dartford Luton Town
Kevin Hudson Ted Ansell Marlon Beresford Sam Parkin
Tommy Osborne Lew Watts Kevin Foley Adam Boyd
John Farley Anthony Hogg Sol Davis Keith Keane
Richard Avery Dominic Elmes Chris Coyne Danny Stevens
Anthony Henry James Carter Russell Perrett Besian Idrizaj
Ryan Briggs Nick Barnes Paul Underwood Shaun Ross
Steve Hafner John Guest Matthew Spring Leon Barnett
Jay May Alex O’Brien Stephen Robinson Markus Heikkinen
Brendon Cass Steve Norman Björn Runström Peter Holmes
Eddie McClements James Tedder Warren Feeney David Bell
Dave Martin Craig Maguire Dean Morgan Calvin Andrew
Brad Potter Carl Bruce Michael Leary Drew Talbot
Glen Billiness Tony Kessell Stephen O’Leary Ed Asafu-Adjaye
Ryan Hayes Mark Green Lewis Emanuel Dean Brill
Danny White Richard Langley Zac Barrett
Ahmet Brkovic Chris Pendleton

* Dartford squad taken from PUREDFC archives (Match threads / man of the match poll) and Luton Town squad taken from http://www.footballsquads.co.uk/eng/2006-2007/flcham/luton.htm