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Billericay Town v Dartford

Dartford need an away win against Billericay Town to guarantee top spot in the National South this weekend.

The Darts are looking for their first away win in the league since the end of November, having lost their last two on their travels. Currently a point clear at the summit, Steve King’s side has hit an inconsistent patch of form winning just twice in the last eight National South outings.

On Tuesday, Dartford lost to an in form Eastbourne Borough taking their winless run to three since beating this weekend’s opponents a month ago. King made three changes to the starting eleven that drew with Welling United including the return of Ricky Modeste. The winger whose Dartford career has been hindered by injury, made his first start since the league opener in October. Craig King missed the reverse fixture against Billericay Town through suspension, the goalkeeper was back between the sticks. Influential in rescuing a point against Welling United, Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong returned to the starting eleven after a minor injury.

Another blank in front of goal in the first half made life particularly difficult for the Darts when they fell behind just before half-time. Prior conceding, Charlie Sheringham missed a one on one chance and Luke Allen came close. Nassim L’Ghoul’s overhead kick was also blocked by a raised arm but no spot kick was awarded.

The Darts continued to spurn opportunities in the second-half, speaking to DFC TV after the game Steve King commented: “We dominated the whole game but missed chance after chance especially in the second half”. Connor Essam had a header tipped over the bar, Sheringham had an effort cleared off the line leading to a second penalty shout and Tom Bonner hit the woodwork. Earlier, Dartford failed to take their chances and for the first time under Steve King the Darts have gone three league games without victory.

Billericay Town manager, Kevin Watson first took charge of the Essex club in the previous meeting with Dartford last month. A goalless first-half turned into a comfortable 3-0 win for the Darts. Sheringham scored a hat-trick on his return from his loan spell with Chelmsford City to record Dartford’s last win.

Dartford have won their last three against Saturday’s opponents, all at Princes Park. On the road the story is different and results have been evened out with a win, draw and defeat since the first meeting between the two sides in 2008. The Darts last visit to the New Lodge ended in a 1-1 draw in September 2018, Jamie Philpot’s last minute equaliser salvaging a point.

Billericay Town, under their new boss are unbeaten since defeat at Princes Park last month. A 2-0 home win over Dulwich Hamlet and an entertaining 3-3 in the Essex derby versus Chelmsford City came before the suspension of the league. Since then the landscape has changed with the club taking a stance which has affected team selection. To remain financially viable contracted players have been furloughed leaving non-contracted and under 23 players available to select.

If the task wasn’t daunting enough, in their last game Watson guided his side out against St Albans City, a team with the best points per game ratio and just one defeat to their name this season. As a contracted player, former Dartford winger Luke Wanadio was missing and one of eight changes to the team picked before the league suspension. One former Dart available was Rowan Liburd. The striker had a short loan spell under Steve King making three appearances in that time, his Dartford debut was against Billericay Town.

The performance against St Albans City took the division by surprise as understrength Ricay managed to earn a 2-2 draw. Liburd opened the scoring taking his tally to three goals in two games for the club he left in 2015 to pursue a Football League career. St Albans City went ahead in the second half, but Gabriel Ipanga Mbambo scored late on. Watson described the achievement as his proudest moment as a manager.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Billericay Town wins: 2 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford
(LDDWLW)
Billericay Town
(DDWLLL)
Eastbourne BoroughH0-1St Albans CityH2-2
Welling UnitedH1-1Chelmsford CityH3-3
Hungerford TownH1-1Dulwich HamletH2-0
Billericay TownH3-0DartfordA0-3
Braintree TownA1-2Oxford CityH1-3
Tonbridge AngelsH1-0Concord RangersH0-1

Previous League Meetings

12.01.2021Dartford3Billericay Town0
14.12.2019Dartford3Billericay Town2
22.04.2019Dartford2Billericay Town1
15.09.2018Billericay Town1Dartford1
06.03.2010Dartford1Billericay Town4
02.02.2010Billericay Town1Dartford0
14.02.2009Dartford2Billericay Town0
04.10.2008Billericay Town0Dartford1

Stats

Charlie Sheringham will make his 100th start for the club if selected. The striker has scored 54 goals in 99 starts and 20 substitute appearances.

Dartford are unbeaten in their last four games against Billericay Town (W3, D1) last losing in March 2010.

The Darts have scored three in their last two matches against the Essex side.

Dartford’s last clean sheet was in the reverse fixture a month ago.

On This Day

A second half comeback gave Dartford a resounding 4-1 Kent derby win against Tonbridge Angels eleven years ago. The Darts showed why they ended the season as Isthmian Premier League champions with an improved display after the interval. The Angels led at half-time when Paul Booth gave the visitors an advantage. The Darts levelled through Ryan Johnson, went in front when Danny Harris scored and pulled away with goals from Elliot Bradbrook and Rob Haworth. Fans of the Kent League days may remember the Darts winning 19 and drawing one in a twenty game spell. One of those matches was the 1-0 win against Crockenhill on 13 February 1996. That incredible run was still not enough to snatch the Kent League title away from Furness.

Dartford v Eastbourne Borough

Dartford host playoff chasing Eastbourne Borough three months on from the defeat they tasted in Sussex.

The Darts were beaten in their last meeting against the Sports going down 3-1, signalling the beginning of Dartford’s inconsistent form. Danny Bloor’s side scored twice in the last fifteen minutes to earn victory after Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong had equalised before the hour. Eastbourne Borough took the lead through Charley Kendall and regained control when Chris Whelpdale scored. Joel Rollinson’s last minute strike secured the three points.

At Princes Park though the Darts have had the upper hand over their opponents over the years. The only home defeat over the Sussex club came in the F.A Trophy in November 2018. In all competitions Dartford have won six of the last eight at home in this fixture.

After a three week break, the Darts were back in action on the weekend and yet again they made a slow start. Manager, Steve King had made three changes to the side that played three weeks prior, bringing in Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, Craig Braham-Barrett and Elliott Romain. Hosting local rivals and bottom side Welling United, Lyle Della-Verde scored against his former club to give the Wings a half-time lead. For the tenth straight league game, the Darts failed to score a first half goal and King wasn’t happy, he spoke to DFC TV after the game and said: “I thought we were poor, especially in the first half. We weren’t at it, which was very disappointing for me”.

Early in the second half Dipo Akinyemi had Welling United two up, but the Darts hit back in a five minute spell. Man of the match, Luke Allen and Dartford’s top scorer this season, Berkeley-Agyepong left the Kent derby level at full-time.

Similar to previous games, utilising the squad paid dividends firstly by preventing Connor Essam picking up a potential red card and secondly, by getting an improved performance. King commented: “We had to take Connor off otherwise he would have got sent off and he probably should have been sent off. We made a couple of changes, Jacob came on and changed the game”. The Darts boss even felt his side should have won highlighting Elliott Romain’s golden opportunity to score from three yards out and Sherigham’s one on one in the first half. He added: “We didn’t play well, but when we got to 2-2 we should have won the game”.

Eastbourne Borough have only tasted defeat once on the road this term in the National South. Bloor’s side approach their trip to Princes Park on the back of two excellent results leaving them in the final playoff spot. Six points against Havant and Waterlooville before the suspension of the league and against Hungerford Town on the weekend has put the Sports in a good position. They have two games in hand over Dartford and could move within two points if they win those, so victory on Tuesday night is an incentive in their bid to join in with the title race.

One player who has impressed since joining in the summer is Chris Whelpdale. He scored in the reverse fixture back in December and he now has seven league goals and eleven in 14 starts in all competitions. Although, Hungerford Town kept the top scorer out at the weekend, the Sports still won 3-2, scoring a brace in his first league start was Charlie Lambert. Rollinson repeated his feat of a last minute goal against Dartford with another ninetieth minute strike against the Crusaders, which ended up being the winner. The Sussex club have made good strides under Bloor and are the second highest scorers in the division.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 12 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 7 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford
(DDWLWD)
Eastbourne Borough
(WWLDLW)
Welling UnitedH1-1Hungerford TownH3-2
Hungerford TownH1-1Havant and WaterloovilleA2-1
Billericay TownH3-0Maidstone UnitedA2-3
Braintree TownA1-2Concord RangersA2-2
Tonbridge AngelsH1-0Dulwich HamletA1-2
Ebbsfleet UnitedH0-0DartfordH3-1

Previous League Meetings

05.12.2020Eastbourne Borough3Dartford1
22.02.2020Dartford2Eastbourne Borough1
02.11.2019Eastbourne Borough0Dartford2
20.04.2019Eastbourne Borough6Dartford0
08.09.2018Dartford2Eastbourne Borough2
14.04.2018Eastbourne Borough0Dartford1

Stats

Dartford are unbeaten in their last six home league games against Eastbourne Borough, winning five of those meetings

The last four league matches at Princes Park between the two sides has seen 20 goals at an average of five per game.

Eastbourne Borough have yet to win a league game at Princes Park, the Sports last beat the Darts on the road in league competition in 2003.

On This Day

Charlie Sheringham scored the second goal in a 3-0 home win against Bath City on this day. The National South fixture two years ago ended in a comfortable victory with Lee Noble and Phil Roberts sandwiching Sheringham’s close range header. The Darts have never lost a competitive home game on 9 February winning all eight. Rothwell Town were beaten 2-1 in 2002 and Basingstoke Town defeated 2-1 in 1980. Dartford beat rivals Gravesend and Northfleet 4-2 in 1972’s Kent Senior Cup quarter-final, claimed a pair of 2-1 victories against Yeovil and Peters in 1935 and Folkestone in 1929. The Darts smashed in six goals versus Ramsgate in 1924, winning 6-2 and triumphed 4-0 over Deptford Town in 1901. The only defeat came in 1889 when the Darts lost 3-1 to Horton Kirby in a friendly.

Dartford v Welling United

The two-week suspension of the National South comes to an end this weekend and Dartford’s first game is against local rivals Welling United.

Dartford top the league table with a three-point cushion and if they avoid defeat, they will remain at the summit. Welling United prop up the rest of the division four points adrift, however the Wings have played just 11 matches, the fewest in the National South.

The Darts know too well not to take their opposition’s league position for granted, it was just under a month ago that Steve King’s side lost to Braintree Town, who were at the foot of the division when they met. Since then the Darts have played just two more times winning convincingly against Billericay Town and drawing with Hungerford Town three weeks ago.

Despite the suspension of the National South and the uncertainty of financial support across all clubs, King has been pressing ahead with keeping the players fit over the last week including a mid-week friendly. Whilst this season has seen a fair amount of new challenges off the field, King is pleased at the progress of the team, he told DFC TV: “They have done magnificently, I believe league tables do not lie. We’ve played one or two games more than other clubs, but we’ve been professional, we’ve done our job and we can only play and beat what is in front of us”.

It’s the first meeting between Dartford and Welling United this season and a chance for King to get one over his former club, who he took to the playoff final in 2019. The Darts boss is not the only one in the Dartford squad up against their ex-employers. King has looked towards players he trusts from previous teams he has managed, so it’s no surprise a number of personnel have represented Welling United in the past including Josh Hill, Gavin McCallum, Craig Braham-Barrett, Ky Marsh-Brown, Jack Jebb and David Ijaha. On the opposing side, Lyle Della-Verde is a former Dart who made 34 appearances during the 2017/2018 campaign and scored five goals.

Dartford approach the Kent derby with a dominating record against their local rivals. Last season the Darts hit seven without reply winning 4-0 at Princes Park and 3-0 at Park View Road. Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong and Elliott Romain (two goals) were among the scorers in the home meeting, Darren McQueen scored the other. In the away match Romain found the net with McQueen notching a brace. In the last three campaigns this fixture has been played over the festive period and in that time the Darts have won five out of six.

Welling United have undergone a change in the dugout with the departure of Bradley Quinton. Quinton lasted a year in charge with one win in 11 league games this season and a shock F.A Cup exit to Sheppey United. Former Gillingham boss, Steve Lovell is now in the hotseat attempting to guide the Wings to safety, starting with his first game at the helm on Saturday.

Although the two week break wasn’t exactly good news for the league, it has allowed Lovell to assess his inherited squad and see their potential. The new Wings boss spoke to The Kent Non-League Podcast and commented: “There is some good players in the squad and I need to give them a chance. It’ll be a challenge and it’s going to be hard work. I’m pretty sure with the combination of the players we’ve got now and the players I’ll bring in, we’ll have a decent second part of the season”.

His new side’s last fixture was three weeks ago when The Wings lost 2-0 to title contenders St Albans City. The third successive home defeat was also the fourth game in a row in which the Wings failed to find the back of the net, picking up just one point from their last four games. Winless in their last six National South games, Welling United’s last win was in mid-November and so it’s now down to Lovell to restore confidence in the squad.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 22 / Welling United wins: 10 / Draws: 9

Current League Form

Dartford
(DWLWDL)
Welling United
(LDLDDW)
Hungerford TownH1-1St Albans CityH0-2
Billericay TownH3-0Oxford CityA0-0
Braintree TownA1-2Chippenham TownH0-1
Tonbridge AngelsH1-0Braintree TownA1-1
Ebbsfleet UnitedH0-0Billericay TownH2-2
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Hemel Hempstead TownA2-1

Previous Meetings

01.01.2020Dartford4Welling United0
26.12.2019Welling United0Dartford3
01.01.2019Dartford1Welling United0
26.12.2018Welling United2Dartford0
01.01.2018Dartford4Welling United1
26.12.2017Welling United2Dartford3

Stats

The Darts have won their last six home games against Welling United and eight of the last nine.

Home and away in all competitions Dartford have won eight, drawn four and lost one in their last 13 meetings with the Wings.

The Wings have failed to score in their last two visits to Princes Park and in three consecutive games home and away.

Dartford have gone six league games without repeating a consecutive result (DWLWDL)

The Darts have kept three clean sheets in their last five league outings and four clean sheets in their last five at Princes Park in the National South.

On This Day

Ryan Hayes scored what turned out to be the winner to book Dartford’s place in the F.A Trophy semi-final. Eight years ago, the Darts took on FC Halifax Town in a quarter-final replay and after falling behind in the second minute, the Darts turned the match around in the second half. A quick fire double from Lee Noble and Elliot Bradbrook and a third ten minutes from time by Hayes put the Darts in control. FC Halifax Town scored a late consolation when Dan Gardener scored his second, but Dartford held on. Five years ago an Andy Pugh double earned the Darts a 2-0 home win over St Albans City in the National South.

Dartford v Hungerford Town

Dartford returned to the top of the National South and hope to stay there when they host title challengers Hungerford Town this weekend.

The Darts will want to put some distance over the Crusaders as only four points separate the two sides. Whilst Steve King’s men lead the National South, Danny Robinson’s team are in fourth after the same amount of games.

Dartford could make it a first league double over their opponents after winning at Bulpit Lane in November. Finding themselves a goal down when Ryan Seager scored a penalty, the Darts rallied to take victory with two excellent goals by Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong.

Unbeaten in three games against Hungerford Town, the Darts have scored twice in each of those fixtures. A complete turnaround of form before Dartford’s current run, when they went four games without finding the net against the Berkshire club, losing three.

Last season, the two sides met just the once and it ended 2-2 at Bulpit Lane. The now departed pair of Darren McQueen and Luke Wanadio netted after Zidan Akers opened the scoring for Hungerford Town. Looking set for a victory the Darts conceded an equaliser two minutes from time, Conor Lynch rescuing a point for the hosts.

The last time Princes Park hosted this fixture, the Darts ran out 2-1 winners. Phil Roberts made his debut for Dartford, but it was his strike partner Jamie Philpot who put the Darts one up. Lee Noble extended the lead and in the last minute Marvel Ekpiteta grabbed a consolation.

Despite seven players unavailable and five changes to the starting eleven, Dartford approach this weekend’s game on the back of a 3-0 win over Billericay Town. A goalless first half left the Darts wondering whether their lack of goals would continue. However, returning from his successful loan spell at Chelmsford City, Charlie Sheringham scored a second-half hat-trick, his first in a competitive game for the club.

Sheringham scored five goals in five games with the Clarets and he was rewarded with a first Dartford start since November. The striker was one of five changes, another one of those was a surprise signing. With goalkeeper Craig King suspended, Steve King signed Daniel Wilks from Welling United who made his debut and kept a clean sheet. Josh Hill, David Ijaha and Luke Allen were the others selected in a much changed line up.

Craig Braham-Barrett, Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong and Noor Husin weren’t in the squad and Ricky Modeste is still recovering from injury. Cameron Brodie took his place on the bench after returning from a loan spell at Tilbury. Former Huddersfield Town youngster, Denilson Carvalho got a run out following his move from Tower Hamlets prior kick off. Jazzi Barnum-Bobb and Craig King will be suspended for this weekend’s game against Hungerford Town.

Victory against Billericay Town was just the tonic after King labelled the defeat against bottom club Braintree Town as ‘unacceptable and unrecognisable’. After addressing the surprise loss with his players, the Darts put in an outstanding display against Ricay. Not only did the Darts score three they created plenty of chances to add to the tally, including Connor Essam’s shot off the crossbar and two cleared off the line. King feels if his side wants to get a positive result on Saturday they will need to replicate their efforts from Tuesday night.

King is not the only manager making signings. After a blistering start in the National South, Hungerford Town have lost some ground after four defeats in their last seven league games. Antonio Diaz has arrived from Salisbury, Mike Atkinson from Bracknell Town, Andre Burley has had his loan spell extended to the end of the month and Jake Evans scored in their last game on his debut against Maidstone United.

The Crusaders have won three of their last four games showing signs they have returned to that early season form. In those matches Ryan Seager has netted four times as he continues to be the Berkshire club’s main man in front of goal. The striker has 12 goals to his name so far and is the league’s joint top scorer with former Dart, Jason Prior.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Hungerford Town wins: 3 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford
(WLWDLW)
Hungerford Town
(WLWWLL)
Billericay TownH3-0Maidstone UnitedH2-1
Braintree TownA1-2Havant and WaterloovilleA2-4
Tonbridge AngelsH1-0Bath CityA2-0
Ebbsfleet UnitedH0-0Hemel Hempstead TownA1-0
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Dulwich HamletH0-3
Hungerford TownA2-1Oxford CityH1-4

Previous Meetings

28.11.2020Hungerford Town1Dartford2
26.08.2019Hungerford Town2Dartford2
22.12.2018Dartford2Hungerford Town1
25.08.2018Hungerford Town1Dartford0
09.12.2017Hungerford Town1Dartford0
05.08.2017Dartford0Hungerford Town0
14.04.2017Hungerford Town2Dartford0
27.08.2016Dartford2Hungerford Town0

Stats

Dartford have kept three clean sheets in their last four games and have not conceded at home in the league since the 1-0 defeat against St Albans City on 17 November. The run of four home clean sheets in a row was last achieved between 28 December 2019 and 25 January 2020.

The Darts last managed five consecutive home clean sheets in the league back in the 2008/2009 Isthmian Premier League winning season.

Charlie Sheringham’s hat-trick on the weekend was the first for a Dartford player since Alfie Pavey’s against Needham Market on 30 September 2017. It was also the first Princes Park hat-trick since Warren Mfula scored three against Oxford City on 19 August 2017.

On This Day

Andy Pugh’s first half brace set Dartford on their way to a 4-1 home win over Bath City five years ago. A third was added to the striker’s double by Ryan Hayes before the visitors pulled a goal back. With three minutes remaining Callum McNaughton added some gloss with a fourth. In 2000, the Darts were knocked out of the F.A Trophy third round when they were beaten 2-1 by Heybridge Swifts. Dartford have won two of their last three games on this day 4-1, in 1988 they beat Burton Albion in the Southern Premier League at Watling Street.

Dartford v Billericay Town

The Darts have the opportunity to bounce back and regain top spot when they host Billericay Town on Tuesday night.

Dartford fell to defeat on the weekend against Braintree Town as top visited bottom. The 2-1 loss resulted in the Darts dropping to second after Dorking Wanderers won on Saturday.

Goalkeeper, Craig King started his three match ban for his red card versus rivals Ebbsfleet United, so Ethan Wady made his fifth start for the club. The only other change to the side that beat Tonbridge Angels 1-0 was the return of Femi Akinwande after seven years away. The on loan striker from Stevenage made a first appearance since his only start for the club, in a Kent Senior Cup tie back in March 2014.

After a fairly consistent start to the campaign, the Darts have now picked up just four points in their last four National South games. Braintree Town were the latest team to take points off Steve King’s side when they took a two goal lead through Percy Kiangebeni and Taofiqol Omowewe. Dartford’s Jazzi Barnum-Bobb became the second player in three matches to receive a red card and will now be facing suspension as well. Chris Dickson did manage to provide hope by scoring from the spot, the striker’s third goal in six appearances.

It’s been over a year since Dartford hosted Billericay Town in the only game they faced each other last season. The Darts moved above their visitors in the National South that day with a 3-2 thanks to the strike partnership of Darren McQueen and Elliott Romain. The breakthrough came after just ten minutes when McQueen smashed home the opener past former Dartford goalkeeper Alan Julian. Twelve minutes later when McQueen was denied by Julian, Romain was there to put in the rebound.

On the weekend new loan signing from Stevenage and former Dartford academy graduate, Femi Akinwande was up against his former team Braintree Town. On Tuesday night, the striker will face another previous club and, in the meeting last term he scored against the Darts to half the deficit. The two-goal advantage was restored by Romain who had his initial shot blocked by Julian, but once again he netted the follow up. Billericay Town made things uncomfortable towards the end when Jake Robinson scored from the spot.

Robinson has been in top form again for Ricay and at this level he knows where the goal is. In the 2017-2018 campaign he bagged 34 league goals and after a brief spell with Maidstone United he returned to New Lodge in March 2019. The striker has found his scoring boots again and this term he is in double figures already third in the National South scoring charts.

After an indifferent start and a 6-2 defeat to Hampton and Richmond Borough, former manager and Premier League midfielder Jamie O’Hara departed. Dan Brown and Ronnie Henry took charge for December losing to Essex rivals Braintree Town on penalties in the F.A Trophy before beating the Iron 3-1 in the league a fortnight later. January saw Ricay lose another Essex derby to Concord Rangers before being beaten 3-1 by Oxford City, former Dartford winger Luke Wanadio getting Billericay Town’s goal.

Wanadio returns to Princes park after two previous spells with the Darts both lasting one campaign. In 2016/2017 he made 53 appearances and scored 13 times helping the Darts to a third place finish. Last season he played 33 times scoring five goals before his summer move across the Thames.

New boss, Kevin Watson is yet to take charge of Ricay after the fixture against Eastbourne Borough was called off. The former Ebbsfleet United manager will lead his new side out for their first away game in almost two months.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Billericay Town wins: 2 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford
(LWDLWW)
Billericay Town
(LLWLDD)
Braintree TownA1-2Oxford CityH1-3
Tonbridge AngelsH1-0Concord RangersH0-1
Ebbsfleet UnitedH0-0Braintree TownH3-1
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Hampton and RichmondH2-6
Hungerford TownA2-1Maidstone UnitedA1-1
Slough TownH2-0Welling UnitedA2-2

Previous Meetings

14.12.2019Dartford3Billericay Town2
22.04.2019Dartford2Billericay Town1
15.09.2018Billericay Town1Dartford1
06.03.2010Dartford1Billericay Town4
02.02.2010Billericay Town1Dartford0
14.02.2009Dartford2Billericay Town0
04.10.2008Billericay Town0Dartford1

Stats

Dartford have lost two of their last four league games, as many defeats as in their first 11 National South fixtures.

The Darts are three unbeaten against Billericay Town, winning the last two meetings and drawing the other.

Dartford have won one of their last six competitive games in normal time (D2, L3). Billericay Town have won one of their last seven (D2, L4).

On This Day

Two years ago, a Phil Roberts wonder strike two minutes from time gave Dartford a 3-2 win over St Albans City. His second of the afternoon clinched all three points, Elliot Bradbrook opened the scoring. A flawless January in 2008 in which the Darts won all four league games, scoring 12 without conceding, kept Dartford on the Isthmian Division One North title track. It was on this day that Tony Burman’s side thrashed Illford 5-0 with a brace from Brendon Cass and goals by Jay May, John Guest and Steve Norman. That victory was the first of three consecutive wins on 12 January, all at Princes Park. In 2013, the Darts made it through to the F.A Trophy fourth round with a 4-2 win over Bromley. Dominic Green netted twice, Lee Burns and Harry Crawford to set up a tie against FC Halifax Town.

Braintree Town v Dartford

Top of the table Dartford visit bottom of the league Braintree Town in their first National South away game in over a month.

A combination of postponements and the short lived F.A Trophy campaign means the Darts have been staying at home for their league fixtures during December and January. On Saturday they are back on the road where they have taken a decent 13 points out of the six away days so far. In contrast, Braintree Town are struggling at the wrong end of the standings earning just seven points all season, four from their six home games.

It’s been over a year since the two sides last met and the Darts won 2-1 to record their first victory of the 2019/2020 season. On a hot August afternoon and despite conceding early and missing a penalty, Dartford showed character to come from behind to win. Returning Dart, Femi Akinwande scored the opener at Princes Park before Luke Wanadio missed from the spot. Akinwande has come back to Princes Park where he came through the academy. However, it was a former Braintree Town midfielder who levelled the game when Luke Allen got on the end of Alex Flisher’s long throw. Allen was part of the Braintree Town side that beat the Darts in the playoffs and ended up winning promotion in 2018. The Iron had Adam Mills sent off in the second half and when substitute Norman Wabo came off the bench, he netted the winner with three minutes to go.

Dartford have bounced back from their cup upset and defeat in their last National South away game with solid defensive displays. The Darts drew 0-0 in the North Kent derby with Ebbsfleet United and followed that up with a 1-0 win over Tonbridge Angels. Nassim L’Ghoul in only his third start for the club netted the winner. With the games coming thick and fast, Steve King made three changes selecting Jazzi Barnum-Bobb for the first time since the end of November, Jack Jebb and Ky Marsh-Brown, his first start for a month. Jordan Wynter, David Ijaha and Jack Barham dropped out of the starting eleven.

It’s clear where Dartford need to improve even though they are leading the table. The Darts have kept a clean sheet in half of their league games, but in attack they sit mid-table on goals per game. The situation has been compounded recently by the departure of strikers Moussa Bakayoko to Havant and Waterlooville and Alfie Pavey returning to his parent club Barnet.

One striker moving up the scoring charts is currently out on loan with Chelmsford City and he was on target against Braintree Town in the Irons last game. Charlie Sheringham netted as the Clarets beat their Essex rivals 4-2, Ryan Maxwell’s second league defeat in a row. Maxwell took over as boss from former Dartford player George Borg back in November after a 4-0 reverse at Eastbourne Borough.

Maxwell was part of the Braintree Town team that won the National South in 2011 under Rod Stringer. The 37-year-old fielded eight new players for his first game in charge in which the Iron beat F.A Trophy finalists Concord Rangers 2-0. A second straight victory, this time over Tonbridge Angels lifted the Essex club off the foot of the table, but a draw and a pair of defeats since has seen the Iron return to last place.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Braintree Town wins: 6 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford
(LWWLDW)
Braintree Town
(LWWDLL)
Tonbridge AngelsH1-0Chelmsford CityA2-4
Ebbsfleet UnitedH0-0Billericay TownA1-3
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Welling UnitedH1-1
Hungerford TownA2-1Tonbridge AngelsA2-0
Slough TownH2-0Concord RangersH1-0
St Albans CityH0-1Eastbourne BoroughA0-4

Last Six League Meetings

24.08.2019Dartford2Braintree Town1
23.12.2017Dartford1Braintree Town1
08.08.2017Braintree Town2Dartford2
01.01.2015Braintree Town3Dartford0
26.12.2014Dartford0Braintree Town2
18.04.2014Braintree Town1Dartford0

Stats

Last season’s win against Braintree Town was Dartford’s first against the Iron in nine games.

The Iron were unbeaten in eight against the Darts winning five and drawing three. The Essex club also kept six clean sheets in those games including five in a row.

Dartford’s only win in their five visits to Cressing Road was a 2-0 victory in 2012 (D2, L2)

The Darts have kept consecutive clean sheets in the league for the first time since the start of the campaign.

On This Day

It’s not often Dartford get to play on this day, the last time the Darts ventured out on 9 January was back in 1999 when they lost 1-0 at Yates Town in the Southern League Southern Division. In the Southern Premier Dartford won away 1-0 at Leicester United in 1988. The last home game on this day was a 0-0 draw with Nuneaton Borough back in another Southern Premier League fixture in 1971.

Dartford v Tonbridge Angels

Dartford host their second Kent derby at home in three days against Tonbridge Angels on Tuesday night.

Just over a year ago, The Darts claimed a 3-0 victory when they played the Angels with goals from Darren McQueen, Elliott Romain and Charlie Sheringham. King’s side will be hoping to secure their first victory of 2021 after the 0-0 draw with Ebbsfleet United on the weekend.

There was an unusual feeling to the North Kent derby without the normal New Year bumper crowd that would usually be expected. With plenty of games crammed into the next few weeks, King is expecting to make full use of the squad and rotate his starting eleven. Nassim L’Ghoul made his league debut, David Ijaha was in for Jack Jebb, whilst up front Jack Barham and Chris Dickson led the line after a couple of strikers left the club prior the derby. Alfie Pavey was recalled from his loan spell from Barnet and Moussa Bakayoko moved to Havant and Waterlooville. The only other change was Noor Husin coming back into midfield for Luke Allen.

King praised Husin’s performance after the 0-0 draw, he told DFC TV after the game: “Noor was the best player on this pitch by a mile”. Speaking after the stalemate King felt “Ebbsfleet United were a little bit better in the first half. We had a much better second half”, he continued: “We had the clear chances in the whole game, they had a little bit of lady luck, they didn’t have our chances”. The Darts boss also feels there is more to come from recent signing L’Ghoul, he explained: “He hasn’t played for a while, for me he is going to get better and better”.

In some way Dartford have got Tonbridge Angels to thank for a change of direction that took the Darts to the playoffs last season. In the away fixture last term, the Darts were struggling at the wrong end of the table and when they lost 3-2, Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle departed. With a vacant seat, Dartford found the man they were after and since taking charge, Steve King has transformed fortunes on the pitch.

Dartford are only just getting back in the rhythm of league football again after almost a month between their 3-1 defeat at Eastbourne Borough and their home game against rivals Ebbsfleet United. In between those games, the Darts won a penalty shoot out in the F.A Trophy, but suffered a cupset at the hands of Haringey Borough in the next round.

Aside from last season’s away defeat, the Darts have an excellent record against Tonbridge Angels since 2006 coming out on top in an impressive ten of the last 13 meetings, including a winning streak of eight games. Pre Princes Park the story was different with the Angels triumphing six of the eight meetings before Dartford’s stadium opened.

Returning to Dartford is midfielder Ben Greenhalgh who has impressed at Tonbridge Angels since joining them in November. He has chipped in with three goals this term including one in the Angels last league win at the start of last month against Concord Rangers, at the Darts the midfielder managed seven goals in 62 appearances.

The Angels have yet to draw on the road winning and losing three games so far. Up front they have managed just 12 goals, the joint lowest in the division. However with one or two games in hand over teams directly above them Steve McKimm’s side could move closer to the top ten with a couple of victories. Tonbridge Angels have been without a competitive game for three weeks since their F.A Trophy exit to AFC Hornchurch in round two.

McKimm has strengthened the midfield with the loan signing of Adam Lovatt from Sutton United. The 21-year-old has reportedly attracted attention from Stoke City and Sunderland and has trained with Leeds United and Leicester City too.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 68 / Tonbridge Angels wins: 38 / Draws: 24

Current League Form

Dartford
(WLWWLD)
Tonbridge Angels
(DLLLWL)
Ebbsfleet UnitedH0-0St Albans CityA1-3
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Concord RangersH2-0
Hungerford TownA2-1Hemel Hempstead TownH1-2
Slough TownH2-0Braintree TownH0-2
St Albans CityH0-1Ebbsfleet UnitedA0-1
Maidstone UnitedA2-0Eastbourne BoroughH2-2

Last Six League Meetings

28.12.2019Dartford3Tonbridge Angels0
03.09.2019Tonbridge Angels3Dartford2
03.03.2012Tonbridge Angels0Dartford1
24.09.2011Dartford3Tonbridge Angels1
13.02.2010Tonbridge Angels1Dartford4
13.10.2009Dartford2Tonbridge Angels0

Stats

The Darts have won their last five home games against Tonbridge Angels in all competitions.

Dartford have kept four clean sheets in their last five home fixtures versus the Angels.

The Darts have scored two or more goals in their last seven home meetings with Tonbridge Angels.

Dartford have won nine of the last ten competitive matches against the Angels, the only defeat was last season in September last year.

On This Day

Two years ago Dartford were denied victory in injury time at Wealdstone. Elliot Bradbrook opened the scoring with twenty minutes to go, but in the 92nd minute Eion McKeown equalised. The Darts lost to Alfreton Town in the National League eight years ago. Ryan Hayes and Nathan Collier scored for Dartford, Alfreton Town won it though in the last minute. There was no late drama in Dartford’s last win on this day, a 4-0 triumph against Witham Town during the Isthmian Division One North title winning season. Jamie Coyle, Eddie McClements, Ryan Hayes, Brendon Cass all found the back of the net completing a double over their opponents, the Darts won 7-2 just over a month before.

Dartford v Ebbsfleet United

The New Year starts with Dartford hosting local rivals Ebbsfleet United at Princes Park on Saturday.

A much anticipated fixture in what is normally a hectic festive schedule will certainly be different this time behind closed doors. The Darts and their opponents managed just three competitive matches in December at a time when football is usually non-stop. The two sides were due to meet on Boxing Day, but with a Dartford player testing positive for Covid-19 the whole squad has been in isolation.

In league competition the home side has dominated results in this fixture, the Darts winning six out of the last eight on their own patch, drawing one and suffering their only defeat in that spell five years ago.

Tom Bonner will lead the Darts into battle four years on from when he scored in the Kent derby. After rejoining Dartford, Bonner netted against his former club at Princes Park, Duane Ofori-Acheampong added a second before Anthony Cook pulled a goal back for the Fleet. At the end of the Boxing Day meeting between the two sides Dartford goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim celebrated in front of the away fans.

In the New Years Day meeting that followed the Fleet got revenge winning 1-0 at Stonebridge Road with a goal from Bradley Bubb. Bonner is the only Dartford survivor from those two clashes and knows exactly what the derby means between both sets of supporters.

Dartford sit in a healthy league position occupying second place, have won eight of their twelve National South matches and are two points behind leaders St Albans City. However, they will be looking to bounce back from a league defeat against Eastbourne Borough and the cupset versus Haringey Borough.

Nasim L’Ghoul could make his league debut for the Darts after featuring in the F.A Trophy exit last weekend. The winger played five times for Bromley this term and has played for King at Welling United. The 23-year-old Frenchman moved from the Wings to join Dover Athletic and King feels his a good fit for the Darts.

Ebbsfleet United have only managed ten league games this term, but they have a balanced record of four wins, three draws and three defeats. The Fleet have failed to score in their last three league outings picking up a point against local rivals Maidstone United and losing to Tonbridge Angels and Havant and Waterlooville.

Dennis Kutrieb took charge in the summer after the Fleet were relegated from the National League last season on points per game. The squad has been transformed and now includes former Dundee United striker Rakish Bingham, who is their top scorer this season. Michael West is back with the club for a third spell and like Bonner he knows how much this game means to the fans. The midfielder played in his first North Kent derby in 2010 scoring in the 1-1 draw at Princes Park.

Head to Head (since 1946)

Dartford wins: 69 / Ebbsfleet United wins: 55 / Draws: 32

Current League Form

Dartford
(LWWLWW)
Ebbsfleet United
(LLDWDW)
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Havant and WaterloovilleH0-3
Hungerford TownA2-1Tonbridge AngelsH0-1
Slough TownH2-0Maidstone UnitedH0-0
St Albans CityH0-1Chippenham TownA2-1
Maidstone UnitedA2-0Eastbourne BoroughA1-1
Hemel Hempstead TownA3-1Billericay TownA2-1

Last Six League Meetings

01.01.2017Ebbsfleet United1Dartford0
26.12.2016Dartford2Ebbsfleet United1
28.03.2016Ebbsfleet United1Dartford1
31.08.2015Dartford0Ebbsfleet United1
01.01.2013Ebbsfleet United2Dartford2
26.12.2012Dartford3Ebbsfleet United1

Stats

Dartford have won 14 of the last 19 home league matches against Ebbsfleet United / Gravesend and Northfleet (D2, L3)

The Darts last hosted their rivals in the New Years fixture in 1989 when Dartford thrashed Gravesend and Northfleet 5-0.

The away side has won just 15 out of the 69 league meetings between the two sides since 1946.

On This Day

Dartford are 13 games unbeaten on this day stretching back to 1954. The most recent fixture was in 2016 which ended in a 1-1 draw with Chelmsford City, Tom Bradbrook’s last minute equaliser cancelled out Billy Bricknell’s strike. Danny Harris scored the winner in 2012 against local rivals Welling United, it wasn’t the only 1-0 victory against the Wings that season as the Darts claimed a more important victory five months later to win promotion. A decade ago, Lee Burns and James White were on the scoresheet as Dartford beat Cray Wanderers 2-1. The last defeat on this day, 54 years ago was in the Southern League against Llanelly, the Darts were hammered 9-2.

Dartford v Haringey Borough

Dartford are in F.A Trophy action for the second time in four days this Saturday, when they host Isthmian Premier League side Haringey Borough.

In the previous round, the Darts were on the brink of defeat twice on Tuesday night at Slough Town. Finding themselves two goals down, Steve King’s side looked down and out. Josh Jackman gave Slough Town a half-time lead and Warren Harris punished Ethan Wady’s goalkeeping error.

King opted for a back three, but with a two goal deficit to claw back switched formation and it worked. First, Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong scored his fourth in three games, then three minutes later Moussa Bakayoko netted his second of the season, in only his third appearance to take the match to penalties.

Dartford put the ghost of playoff penalty heartache behind them. However, the contest looked over when set piece specialist Jack Jebb missed. Yet there was one more twist, Slough Town’s Louis Lomas fluffed his lines taking the spot kicks to sudden death. The Darts wrapped up a 6-5 victory from twelve yards after Jackman hit his effort wide.

Jernade Meade was handed his Dartford debut after the left sided player joined the club. The 28 year-old most recently spent time in Sweden and Norway and has made one Champions League appearance for Arsenal against Olympiakos. King also made five other changes from the defeat at Eastbourne Borough bringing in Craig Braham-Barrett, Josh Hill, David Ijaha, Elliott Romain and Jack Barham.

Dartford have never met Haringey Borough who are mid-table in the league below. Borough have already negotiated three rounds shocking Eastbourne Round on the weekend. Goals from Rakim Richards and a brace from Roman Michael-Percil saw the Tottenham based club ease into a three goal lead, Greg Luer grabbed a consolation for the Sports.

The previous two rounds ended with Haringey Borough winning 2-1. Borough faced Kent side Faversham Town in the third qualifying round and Bishop’s Stortford in round one. Looking to recreate their F.A Cup run of two years ago, when they reached the first round from starting in the preliminary stages, Borough have made it to the third round of the F.A trophy for the first time.

Guided by manager Tom Loizou, Haringey Borough are eleventh with four wins and four defeats in the Isthmian Premier this season. Aside from their two recent F.A Trophy games they haven’t played any other competitive match since the 4th November, a 3-1 defeat to Kingstonian.

Stats

Dartford’s second round win on Tuesday was the first victory in the F.A Trophy for three years.

The Darts last reached the third round five years ago when they went out to FC Halifax Town in a replay.

The last time Dartford got past round three they reached the semi-final in 2013.

Steve King recorded his first F.A Trophy win as manager of Dartford, but has yet to win over 90 minutes.

On This Day

Dartford have twice played a F.A Trophy tie on this day losing on penalties three years ago against Boreham Wood. Tom Murphy, Lyle Della-Verde and Alfie Pavey all missed from the spot after a 2-2 draw sent the first round clash to spot kicks, Ryan Hayes and Danny Mills scored in normal time. The Darts also went out at the same stage in 1987 losing to local rivals Maidstone United 1-0.

Slough Town v Dartford

Dartford once again come up against Slough Town for the fifth occasion this calendar year, this time in the F.A Trophy second round.

The Darts have already faced the Rebels twice this season with both teams recording a win apiece. Dartford have not progressed beyond the third qualifying round in their past two attempts going out to Maidstone United last term and Eastbourne Borough the year before, who the Darts could face in the next round should they make it through on Tuesday night.

Slough Town won the first of this season’s encounters knocking Dartford out of the F.A Cup with a last minute penalty. Jack McKnight stepped up to score the winner to put the Rebels into the next round. Just under a month ago, Dartford avenged the cup defeat with a 2-0 victory in the National South. Chris Dickson introduced himself in style with a brace on his debut, whilst in form Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong was harshly sent off, his red card later rescinded.

Without a competitive game over the last ten days, the Darts warmed up with a 3-0 friendly win over Whitehawk on the weekend. Tom Bonner, Jack Barham and Elliot Romain were the goalscorers. Their last competitive match ended in defeat at Eastbourne Borough. After Charley Kendall put the Sports ahead in the first-half, Berkeley-Agyepong equalised in the second-half to record his fourth goal of the season. The hosts ran away in the final fifteen minutes with goals from Chris Whelpdale and Joel Robinson.

Slough Town were also without a game on the weekend and have also been without a win in their last six outings. Although, the Rebels picked up a second draw in a row in their 0-0 stalemate at Havant and Waterlooville. It was the second point picked up in four days after a 2-2 draw at Chippenham Town, Ben Harris and Lee Togwell scoring to complete a comeback from two goals down.

The two sides have met once before in the F.A Trophy back in 1981. The first round tie finished with Dartford winning 4-1, the Daily Telegraph described the victory as probably the outstanding result of the round. The Darts went on to make the semi-final losing to Bishop’s Stortford. Since then the Darts have also been drawn against Slough Town in the F.A Cup three times winning the first two before this season’s defeat.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Slough Town wins: 3 / Draws: 2

Cup Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Slough Town wins: 1 / Draws: 0

Current League Form

Dartford
(LWWLWW)
Slough Town
(DDLLLL)
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Havant & WaterloovilleA0-0
Hungerford TownA2-1Chippenham TownA2-2
Slough TownH2-0DartfordA0-2
St Albans CityH0-1Hungerford TownH1-3
Maidstone UnitedA2-0Billericay TownA0-2
Hemel Hempstead TownA3-1Maidstone UnitedH2-3

Previous Six Meetings

21.11.2020Dartford2Slough Town0
03.10.2020Dartford0Slough Town1
19.07.2020Slough Town0Dartford3
18.01.2020Slough Town1Dartford0
28.09.2019Dartford2Slough Town3
16.02.2019Slough Town2Dartford2

Stats

Dartford have won just two of their last seven games against Slough Town D2, L3).

In the last four meetings between the two sides the winning team has kept a clean sheet.

Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong has scored Dartford’s last three goals.

Dartford last drew the same team in the F.A Cup and F.A Trophy in the 2014/2015 season when they beat Burgess Hill Town in each competition.

On This Day

Brendon Cass scored a Princes Park hat-trick thirteen years ago as the Darts beat Wivenhoe Town 4-2. On their way to the Isthmian North title, Dartford followed a 7-2 triumph over Witham and a 6-1 victory over Enfield Town by hitting their opponents for four, Jamie Coyle scored the other goal. Dartford’s last game on this day was also a F.A Trophy tie eight years ago. Tom Bonner was involved as the Darts beat Tonbridge Angels 3-0 with goals from Harry Crawford, Elliot Bradbrook and Jon Wallis, Tony Burman’s side went on to reach the last four losing to Grimsby Town in the semi-final. Three years earlier Dartford went out of the Isthmian League Cup third round in an entertaining 5-4 defeat to Aveley, Danny Harris, Adam Burchell (two goals) and Allan Tait netted for the Darts.