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Dartford v Hythe Town

Dartford enter the 150th edition of the F.A Cup this weekend with a home tie against Isthmian South East side Hythe Town in the second qualifying round.

Steve King will be looking to get off the mark in this competition as a Dartford boss having lost to Kingstonian in his first game in charge and Slough Town last season. Hythe Town have history with the Darts having caused a Kent Senior Cup upset in the final of 2012 beating Dartford on their own patch. Since then the Cannons have continued to play at step four, so like almost nine years ago the two sides are two divisions apart.

The level of football each team is currently playing makes no difference to King, he spoke to Dartford FC TV: “It’s going to be a tough game, it doesn’t matter the level, it’s a F.A Cup game and so the levels go out of the window”, he continued: “I’ve been in teams that have knocked Premiership sides out of the competition”. King knows Hythe Town will approach the second qualifying round tie as underdogs and the danger that poses to the Darts, he added: “Hythe Town are under no pressure, they have a decent manager who has put a good side together. It’s going to be a tough game and we need to be on it”.

Dartford were the last team to lose their perfect start to the campaign in the top six divisions, but they still came away with a point in their last outing, a 1-1 draw with Tonbridge Angels. King made two changes to the side that beat Bath City a week earlier including the introduction of Bagasan Graham, his first start for the club. Graham replaced Luke Wanadio, whilst up front Dan Roberts was in for Jake Robinson.

The Angels deservedly went ahead when Tommy Wood’s header beat Dan Wilks at the far post, only the fourth goal the Dartford goalkeeper has conceded this term. Then on the stroke of half-time birthday boy Jack Jebb took advantage of goalkeeper’s Jon Henly’s headed clearance. Jebb hit a well controlled half volley back over the Angels goalkeeper to level in style. The midfielder also hit the post before his first of the season and picked up the Man of the Match award.

Despite remaining unbeaten King was still left frustrated by aspects of Dartford’s performance partly down to how Tonbridge Angels executed their game plan, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “It’s the worst we’ve played this season but sometimes people look into it and think that but the opposition are there to stop you playing – and they did”.

Catch all the latest highlights and interviews on Twitter @dartfordfc or on Dartford FC TV

Whilst Dartford have played a game a week, Hythe Town’s fixture list has been more like the schedule non-league teams are used to at the early stages of the season. The Cannons have played seven games, two of which have been in the earlier rounds of the F.A Cup.

Starting from the preliminary round Hythe Town were involved in a dramatic game against Westfield with four goals in second half injury time. The Cannons went two up through Frannie Collin and Kane Phillip and looked in control, but Phillip was then sent off. Then the drama started as Westfield scored three in stoppage time to lead 3-2, but a minute after conceding Eli Benoit rescued the tie for the Cannons to force a replay. Hythe went to Westfields for a second attempt three days later and scored another three, this time they won 3-1 with goals from Tom Walmsley, Noel Leighton and Collin. In the last round Nathan Gordon’s goal was enough to see of Ascot United 1-0.

Hythe Town opened their campaign with a goal from former Dart, Alex Brown, however they lost 2-1 to Corinthian. The midfielder made 89 appearances for the Darts scoring ten times and is one of a few former Dartford players in the Cannons squad. James Rogers was part of the Darts midfield that won promotion to the National League in the 2012 playoffs, he made 102 appearances for the club. Tom Wynter delayed his retirement to return to Hythe Town, the defender made 81 appearances for Dartford. Alex Flisher was only at Princes Park for three months in which he made nine appearances and scored one goal.

Since the opening day, in the league the Cannons beat VCD Athletic, lost to Ramsgate, defeated East Grinstead Town and on Tuesday won 2-1 against Sittingbourne. Liam Smith and Collin put Hythe Town two up before the Brickies pulled a goal back. The Cannons are beginning to hit their stride with four victories in their last five games in all competitions and are now eighth in the Isthmian South East.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Hythe Town wins: 1 / Draws: 1

Current Form

Dartford
(DWWWWW)
Hythe Town
(WWWLWW)
Tonbridge AngelsH1-1SittingbourneH2-1
Bath CityA3-1East Grinstead TownA1-0
Eastbourne BoroughH3-1Ascot United (FAC)H1-0
Dulwich HamletA2-0RamsgateH0-3
Slough TownH3-0VCD AthleticA2-1
St Albans CityA3-1WestfieldA3-1

Previous Meetings

Dartford 0 – 1 Hythe Town (24/04/2012 – Kent Senior Cup Final)
Dartford 2 – 1 Hythe United (27/04/1996 – Kent League Division One)
Hythe United 0 – 0 Dartford (04/11/1995 – Kent League Division One)

Stats

  • Dartford have progressed past the second qualifying round in five of the last six seasons
  • Hythe Town last went beyond the second qualifying round 11 years ago and are competing in the F.A Cup for the 25th time
  • Dartford have lost their last two F.A Cup ties, the last time they lost three in a row was between 1950 and 1952 (Reading in 1950, Guildford City in 1951 and Hendon in 1952)
  • The Darts have also lost their last three home F.A Cup ties (Swindon Town in 2017, Kingstonian in 2019 and Slough Town in 2020)

On This Day

Brendon Cass netted a hat-trick in a F.A Cup first qualifying round replay to send Dartford through on this day in 2007. The Darts defeated Sittingbourne 5-1 with Adam Flanagan and Eddie McClements scoring the other two goals. This will be the tenth F.A Cup tie Dartford have played on 18 September and so far the Darts have won six. The very first F.A Cup fixture on this day was in 1897 when Dartford beat Mid Kent 5-2. Away ties at Bromley in 1926 and Callenders Athletic in 1948 both ended up in 2-1 victories. The biggest win came in 1982 as the Darts brushed Haywards Heath aside 6-1 and in 2001 Deal Town were beaten 3-0. Fixtures against Northfleet United in 1909 and Waltham and Hersham in 1971 ended in draws, whilst the only defeat came against Dorking in 2004 when the Darts lost 1-0.

Dartford v Tonbridge Angels

Dartford’s first Kent derby of the season could see them set a Post-war record of consecutive wins from the start of a league campaign.

The Darts host Tonbridge Angels having taken maximum points this term to lead the National South table by two points. Dartford last won their opening five league games in 1989/90 and have not won the first six for 125 years.

In 1896 the Darts recorded seven straight wins from the opening day of the Southern League Second Division championship winning season. Although they did manage six in a row in the London Professional Midweek League in 1933 and the Dartford and District Premier League in 1906, but these were additional competitions alongside the main league Dartford entered.

Last weekend, Steve King’s side recorded their third 3-1 victory of the campaign when they beat Bath City in their last outing. Dartford have now scored three in four of their five games so far with the goals shared evenly between the recognised strikers signed over the summer.

Ade Azeez returned to the starting line-up and opened the scoring against Bath City, the third time he has scored the opener since joining the Darts. The striker headed in his fourth of the season, which came after the hosts had an effort cleared off the line by Tom Bonner. Josh Hill and Kieran Murtagh came back into the side, but Jake Robinson retained his place and doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time heading from close range, adding to his brace against Eastbourne Borough.

Just like the victory over the Sports, the opposition improved in the second half and halved the deficit Alex Fletcher scoring for Bath City. Once again, the Darts saw off their opponents, this time with the help of goalkeeper Dan Wilks and a third goal scored by George Porter, who came off the bench to calmly score his second Dartford goal since arriving in the summer. 

Steve King spoke to Dartford FC TV after the game and commented: “That was the old cliché of a game of two halves. We controlled the game first half; we could have gone in at half-time two or three to the good. We were dominant without excelling, a bit like last week”, he continued: “Second half Bath came out and gave it a right good go, they should have easily scored one, two, maybe three goals. That was the toughest second-half against us we’ve had”. King also praised his squad and was pleased with timing of the substitutes who came on to make an impact. For a fifth match in a row a substitute came on to score a goal. 

Dartford have won the last six home games against Tonbridge Angels, the last a 1-0 victory in January when Nassim L’Ghoul’s late strike was enough to separate the sides. The previous two matches against the Angels at Princes Park have ended 3-0 meaning the Darts have kept three consecutive home clean sheets in this fixture. Dartford’s have form against their fellow Kent side with ten wins in the last eleven, the only dropped points came in Adam Flanagan’s and Jamie Coyle’s last match in charge when the Darts lost 3-2 at Longmead in September 2019.

Tonbridge Angels made a slow start to their campaign losing a Kent derby in their season’s opener. Steve McKimm’s made the short journey to Stonebridge Road and were humbled 5-1 by Ebbsfleet United. A successive loss followed at home to Bath City, but the Angels got off the mark versus Hungerford Town in a 3-1 victory, Joe Turner netted his 50th goal for the club in his 160th appearance. Unfortunately, their fourth fixture was abandoned late on when St Albans City’s Devante Stanley suffered a double leg break. On the weekend Ibrahim Olutade came off the bench to snatch a point for the Angels in the eighth minute of injury time to earn a 1-1 draw with Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Two former Darts started in their last outing, Ricky Modeste’s performance earned him a place in the National South’s team of the week. The winger made only three appearances in his only season with Dartford last term. Full back Craig Braham-Barrett is also on Tonbridge Angels’ book and he made 13 appearances last season taking his total for the Darts to 29 over two campaigns.

Assistant manager, Barry Moore told Angels TV after the 1-1 draw: “It felt like a win because we should have won, it’s not often that we say that. Hungerford set the ball rolling for a few of the lads, we played a bit more like the Tonbridge sides that we’ve had in the past in terms of getting teams on the back foot, pressing, working hard for each other and not giving up and against Hampton we proved that”.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 69 / Tonbridge Angels wins: 38 / Draws: 24

Current Form

Dartford
(WWWWW)
Tonbridge Angels
(DWLL)
Bath CityA3-1Hampton & RichmondH1-1
Eastbourne BoroughH3-1Hungerford TownA3-1
Dulwich HamletA2-0Bath CityH0-1
Slough TownH3-0Ebbsfleet UnitedA1-5
St Albans CityA3-1

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 1 – 0 Tonbridge Angels (05/01/2021 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Tonbridge Angels (28/12/2019 – National South)
Tonbridge Angels 3 – 2 Dartford (03/09/2019 – National South)
Tonbridge Angels 0 – 3 Dartford (15/10/2016 – F.A Cup)
Dartford 3 – 0 Tonbridge Angels (15/12/2012 – F.A Trophy)
Tonbridge Angels 0 – 1 Dartford (03/03/2012 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford have kept five clean sheets in their last six matches against Tonbridge Angels
  • In seven of the last ten meetings the winning side has scored three or more goals in the game
  • Substitutes have accounted for six of the 14 Dartford goals this season with a sub scoring in each game so far

On This Day

Dartford are looking for their first win on this day for 36 years after taking just one point in their last six outings on 11 September. Way back in 1985, the Darts beat Wycombe Wanderers in the Alliance Premier League, now the National League. It was only one of eight league victories that season as Dartford were relegated back to the Southern Premier League ending a two year stay at the top of non-league. In their last game on this day, Dartford drew 1-1 with Thurrock in 2010 with Elliot Bradbrook rescuing a point in the National South. In 2004, the Darts lost a seven-goal thriller 4-3 to Berkhamsted Town in the Southern League Division One Eastern. Eastbourne Borough (1-2 in 2001), Witney Town (0-1 in 1999), Thamesmead Town (0-4 in 1993) and Rushden Town (2-4 in 1990) were the others who inflicted defeat on Dartford since the Wycombe Wanderers triumph.

Bath City v Dartford

Dartford are the only side with a perfect record in the National South this season ahead of their trip to Bath City this weekend.

The Darts made it four straight victories by claiming all six points available over the Bank Holiday weekend and will approach Saturday’s game with confidence. Steve King has so far managed to keep a settled side making just six changes to the starting eleven so far this term. But the depth and quality of the squad has been called upon when needed, substitutes have chipped in with goals in each of the victories.

Four of those changes came in the Bank Holiday Monday win against Eastbourne Borough. Kieran Murtagh missed out through injury but should be okay to travel to Bath City and Danny Leonard was out through illness. George Porter started in the victory, but was substituted after picking up an injury.

The Darts followed up the 2-0 away triumph over Dulwich Hamlet with a wonderful first half home display against Eastbourne Borough. In only his second start for the club Jake Robinson opened his account with a brace, the first after seven minutes was a predatory finish. The striker netted a second from the penalty spot after some sublime build up play led to a handball. Robinson spoke to Dartford FC TV after the game and said: “I’m delighted to get off the mark and get going. All the strikers are firing and that’s a good sign”. The Sports hit back immediately after the break when Greg Luer made the most of a lack of concentration to cut Dartford’s lead in half. Ade Azeez was brought on and his well-placed header secured his third goal of the campaign and another three points for the Darts.

After an excellent first half, King was left frustrated by his team’s second half performance, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “The first half performance we played like Brazil, the second half we played like rag-arse rovers. It was chalk and cheese”. In his interview with Dartford FC TV the Darts boss gave a balanced appraisal.

Results wise it has been a brilliant start to the season for the Darts, but they will need to prepare well for their next opponents. Bath City’s heavy reverse on the weekend means that the Romans will want to desperately bounce back. Jerry Gill is one of a few managers to have got the better of King since he was appointed as Dartford boss. The Bath City boss led the Romans to a 3-0 win at Twerton Park in November 2019 inflicting King’s first league defeat as Dartford manager. Last season, the sides only played each other once with the Darts winning at Princes Park thanks to a Noor Husin goal.

Bath City began their campaign with consecutive wins, beating Billericay Town and Tonbridge Angels without conceding a goal. New signing from Weymouth, Cody Cooke scored in each of the opening three games which ended with a defeat in their last home fixture against Chelmsford City. The Bank Holiday period ended with the heavy 5-1 loss at Oxford City, the cause not helped by the sending off of Eddie Jones.

Recently, the Romans have missed the trickery of forward Mo Touray who hobbled off early in the Chelmsford City defeat. On loan from Salford City, Touray had to sit out last weekend’s fixture at Oxford City. Other than that forced change, Gill has only made four changes in total to the starting eleven, since the opening the day, but will be without Jones when his suspension begins.

Gill spoke to www.bathcityfc.com after the Oxford City match, he stated: “We were very good for 35 minutes, we were the dominant side and we scored a fantastic goal”. The Bath City boss was unhappy with key decisions for Oxford City’s opening goals, he commented: “What I can’t defend is two horrendous decisions that lead to the first two goals”, but for Gill it was no excuse, he continued: “I’m not blaming the referee for the result because what happened after that is we folded”. The Romans boss welcomes the visit of Dartford on the Saturday and is determined for his side to put “their own personality on the game”.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 34 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Current Form

Dartford
(WWWW)
Bath City
(WWLL)
Eastbourne BoroughH3-1Oxford CityA1-5
Dulwich HamletA2-0Chelmsford CityH1-2
Slough TownH3-0Tonbridge AngelsA1-0
St Albans CityA3-1Billericay TownH3-0

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 1 – 0 Bath City (17/10/2020 – National South)
Bath City 3 – 0 Dartford (30/11/2019 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Bath City (09/02/2019 – National South)
Bath City 1 – 2 Dartford (04/08/2018 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 0 Bath City (21/04/2018 – National South)
Bath City 2 – 1 Dartford (24/10/2017 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford have won eight of the last nine meetings against the Romans
  • Bath City’s win on 30 November 2019 ended a run of seven straight defeats against the Darts
  • Dartford have never won their opening five league games since reforming. The last time they achieved that feat was in the 1989/90 Southern League Premier season under Peter Taylor.

On This Day

Richard Rose’s injury time winner at Princes Park earned Dartford a 2-1 win over Newport County nine years ago. The Exiles were the pacesetters in the National League and went on to win promotion via the playoffs under the late Justin Edinburgh. Harry Crawford had given Dartford an early lead, but Newport County’s Aaron O’Conner levelled before Rose’s late goal.

Two years earlier the Darts were in the National South and Charlie Sheringham’s brace helped Dartford beat Weston-super-Mare 4-1. The striker opened and closed Dartford’s scoring with James White and an own goal sandwiched between.

The Darts have won their last three on this day all at home with this current run starting in 1999 when they beat Burnham 2-0 in the Southern League Cup. Out of the six away trips on 4 September, the Darts have won once in 1978 beating Tonbridge 3-2 in the Eastern Floodlit Cup. Dartford have never won an away match in the league on this day, the last being a 2-1 loss at Herne Bay in the Kent League.

Dulwich Hamlet v Dartford

Dartford have made an excellent start to their season and next up they will need to overcome several former players to record a maiden victory at Dulwich Hamlet.

The Darts drew in their last visit to Champion Hill but had lost the previous three in south east London. A perfect start this season will give Steve King’s men confidence as they sit top of the National South table after two games. An opening day victory at St Albans City was followed up with a comfortable and dominating display against Slough Town.

Last weekend, the first competitive game in front of home fans since March 2020 ended with Dartford winning 3-0 over the Rebels. Noor Husin gave a masterclass in midfield and his man of the match performance was rewarded with a goal. Dan Roberts impressed again with a key pass for the opening goal and a couple of assists, Ade Azeez scored his second in two games and George Porter got off the mark too.

Azeez tapped the opening goal into the Slough Town net in the first half after a neat move, Roberts’ precise cut back was nudged on by Danny Leonard and Azeez was there to finish. In the second half, Husin picked up Roberts’ rebound, and his quick feet and composure doubled the lead. Unselfish play by Roberts then led to the third when he squared the ball perfectly for Porter to open his goalscoring account. It could have been more, Jack Jebb hit the woodwork from a free-kick when the game was level and a number of saves from Slough Town’s Jonathan North kept the score down for the visitors.

Dartford FC TV caught up with Noor Husin after victory and he was pleased with his teammates, he said: “I thought we were really good, relentless from the first minute and could have had a lot more. I thought everyone was brilliant”, he continued: “Since I’ve come here it’s been one of the best dressing rooms I’ve been in, everyone’s together and whether you’re playing or not everyone is helping each other”.

Manager, Steve King also spoke to BBC Radio Kent after the win, he said: “I thought the boys were outstanding, limited them to very little and I’ve got to say Jonathan North has kept the scoreline down”. Husin’s quality display did not go unnoticed by King, he commented: “He’s a football league player all day long, he’s miles better than a lot of football league players I’ve seen”. King heaped ‘special praise’ on the Afghan international considering the events happening in Afghanistan, he continued: “to still come out and put in a performance like that and score is a credit to him”.

Looking ahead to the next fixtures King remains cautious but confident he added: “It’s only two wins. I’m level-headed enough to know that it could all fall apart. You could lose the next two and suddenly it’s not so clever”. However, the Dartford boss is pleased with the depth of the squad, the pace, athleticism, and the fact the ‘whole team is comfortable on the ball’. King feels he is now able to rotate players in the starting eleven without losing the level of performance he expects.

Dulwich Hamlet have many familiar faces in their ranks and three of them were handed their debuts on the opening day of the season. Striker, Danny Mills started his third season at Champion Hill and he scored against Chippenham Town in the 1-1 draw. The former Dart, who also enjoyed a spell at Whitehawk under Steve King was assisted by Darren McQueen, who was joint top scorer in the National South during the 2019/2020 campaign when he netted 18 times for Dartford. Chippenham Town equalised with a penalty conceded by another former Dart, Tyrone Sterling. The F.A Trophy finalist with Concord Rangers signed for Hamlet in the summer as did Jazzi Barnum-Bobb who left Princes Park after 19 appearances last term. Dulwich Hamlet also have Sanchez Ming and Giovanni McGregor in their squad.

It’s been a difficult start for the Londoners, who have been without their manager Gavin Rose after he contracted Covid-19 and spent a short time in hospital. So Junior Kadi, another familiar face to Dartford fans has been part of the coaching staff looking after the first team. Kadi was part of Dartford’s Isthmian Division One North title winning team making 28 appearances and scoring six goals.

Due to face each other three times last season, none of the fixtures took place as the campaign was curtailed. The Darts were scheduled to play Dulwich Hamlet twice in the league and in the London Senior Cup. Since the last meeting at Champion Hill in December 2019, Tyrique Hyde played against Dulwich Hamlet, joined them at the end of the season and returned to Dartford this summer. Also representing the Darts in the last visit to Champion Hill was McQueen, but it was his strike partner Elliott Romain who netted a penalty to cancel out Christian Smith’s free kick in a 1-1 draw. In the return fixture McQueen scored the only goal of the game as the Darts won 1-0 a month later.

Dulwich Hamlet have yet to taste a home defeat against the Darts winning 3-1 in a F.A Trophy third qualifying replay in 1996, then winning again in 2006 beating Dartford 3-2 in the Isthmian Division One South. In March 2019, Luke Wanadio was lining up against the Darts and part of the Hamlet side that won 2-0 in the National South, a third consecutive home victory for Dulwich Hamlet in this fixture. The draw six months later was Dartford’s first point gained from their visits to Champion Hill.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Dulwich Hamlet wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 1 – 0 Dulwich Hamlet (25/01/2020 – National South)
Dulwich Hamlet 1 – 1 Dartford (07/12/2019 – National South)
Dulwich Hamlet 2 – 0 Dartford (02/03/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Dulwich Hamlet (20/10/2018 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Dulwich Hamlet (31/03/2007 – Isthmian Division One South)
Dulwich Hamlet 3 – 2 Dartford (19/09/2006 – Isthmian Division One South)

Stats

  • The Darts have never beaten Dulwich Hamlet in consecutive games, a win on the weekend will make it a first after winning the last meeting 1-0 at Princes Park.
  • Josh Hill made his 50th start for the Darts against Slough Town last weekend
  • Victory on Saturday will be Dartford’s best start to a campaign since they won their opening three fixtures in 2011/2012. The season the Darts went on to win promotion to the National League.

On This Day

After 18 years apart in the league more than 2700 fans turned up at Princes Park to watch Dartford draw 1-1 with rivals Ebbsfleet United in 2010. Michael West gave Fleet the lead, but Charlie Sheringham’s penalty made sure the points were shared. The last fixture on this day seven years later ended in a 1-0 home loss to East Thurrock United.

The last away day on 28 August was in 2006 when the Darts went to Whyteleafe and won 3-1, Jay May netted a brace and Brendon Cass the other in the Isthmian Division One South. Dartford have only won five of their 21 games on this day, which includes a 2-1 victory over Merthyr Tydfil in the Southern League Challenge Match in 1989.

Dartford v Slough Town

Fans return to Princes Park this weekend for the first competitive game since March last year to watch Dartford host Slough Town in the National South.

The two sides were due to meet last term, but just before the Darts were due to visit the Rebels the season was curtailed. So despite coming up against each other five times in the previous calendar year, this time will be the first in 2021.

In form Dartford striker Dan Roberts will know the opposition well having played for the Berkshire club last season. He spoke to Dartford FC TV after the season’s opener and said: “Having been there for just over two years they are hard side to breakdown, they defend well and they will make it difficult for us to create chances”.

In total Roberts played 58 games for Slough Town scoring 13 times including a hat-trick against Dorking Wanderers. In pre-season the 23-year-old scored five goals and on the opening day of the season he became the match winner on his debut with a brace. The striker commented after the game: “It starts the group on a positive light. Winning the first game of the season sets the tone for the next four or five games. We’ve now got to put our thoughts on to the weekend, it’s another tough game and we’ve got to get another three points.”

Dartford manager, Steve King handed first starts to four players against one of the expected promotion candidates St Albans City last weekend. Keiran Murtagh and Jake Robinson were amongst the new starters, whilst debutants Danny Leonard and Ade Azeez made an immediate impact. Roberts and George Porter made their first competitive appearances for the club coming on as substitutes.

The Darts scored at the end of either half to take a satisfying opening day victory. The first half closed with Danny Leonard’s cross being headed home by Ade Azeez. In the second half, St Albans City were level when former Dart, Tom Bender scored an equaliser. After coming on as a substitute Roberts scored twice in the final minutes, getting on the end of a Josh Hill flick on then finishing a one on one opportunity. The match winner was delighted even though he didn’t make the starting eleven, he added: “As a player you’ve just got to say look when I get the opportunity to come on I’m going to make an impact. For me it’s all about just coming on and doing as well as I can for the team, working hard and when chances come up putting the ball in the back of the net”.

Dartford have now recorded back to back opening day victories for the first time since 2005 and 2006. Steve King felt the Darts were ‘exceptional’ against St Albans City and his team will need to be on their game come Saturday, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “It’s always a tough game against Slough and they had a good win last weekend against Chelmsford”.

Former Tonbridge Angels striker Tom Derry was one of five debutants in the Slough Town lineup and he managed to net the crucial goal against Chelmsford City. Joint manager, Neil Baker felt his side ‘rode their luck’ at times, but also controlled the game territorial wise, he spoke to www.sloughtownfc.net after the game and said: “It was a really hard working performance, everyone put in a shift”. After claiming all three points, Baker feels he can now “look forward to what is going to be a tough game against Dartford, one of the favourites for the league. Having won (on the opening day) it takes a little bit of pressure off that game”.

Over the previous two reduced campaigns the Darts have faced the Rebels six times. At Princes Park, Dartford lost two in a row before winning 2-0 in the last home meeting. Chris Dickson netted a brace on his debut to claim a first home victory over Slough Town since 1981.

Either side of the league victory, Slough Town knocked the Darts out of the F.A Cup with a last minute penalty, but Dartford won on penalties in the F.A Trophy tie. In the previous season, Dan Roberts scored for Slough Town in both games as the Rebels completed a league double. However when the two sides met in the playoffs, Dartford came out on top with a 3-0 away win.

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings (last six)

Slough Town 2 – 2 Dartford (15/12/2020 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 2 – 0 Slough Town (21/11/2020 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Slough Town (03/10/2020 – F.A Cup)
Slough Town 0 – 3 Dartford (19/07/2020 – National South Playoff)
Slough Town 1 – 0 Dartford (18/01/2020 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 3 Slough Town (28/09/2019 – National South)

Stats

  • The Darts have won just one league game against Slough Town drawing two and losing two.
  • In all competitions, out of the eleven meetings between the two sides the home team has only won three times.
  • Both teams scored in each of the first six meetings, which has only happened once in the last five, when they last met in December.
  • Since reforming Dartford have won 12, drawn 9, lost 7 of their opening home league games.
  • If selected in the starting eleven, Josh Hill will make his 50th start for the club. The defender has also made six substitute appearances and has scored six times for the Darts.

On This Day

Dartford claimed their first victory of the Isthmian Division One North title season on this day in 2007. After drawing 2-2 in the opening game, the Darts travelled to Wivenhoe Town. Adam Flanagan, Steve Norman and Jay May found the back of the net in a 3-0 win, goalkeeper Tony Kessell also saved a penalty.

At home, the Darts have only ever lost once on this day back in 1948 against Exeter Reserves in the Southern League. Since then they have won six and drawn four, including a 3-0 victory versus St Leonards in 2000 and a 2-1 derby triumph over Tonbridge Angels in 1996. The Darts also beat rivals Gravesend and Northfleet 3-0 in the first leg of the Southern League Cup in 1973. Dartford hung on in the return leg losing 2-0 to knock the Fleet out of the competiton 3-2 on aggregate. It’s been eleven years since the Darts played on the 21st August when they lost 2-1 at Farnborough in the National South, Lee Noble heading a late consolation.

St Albans City v Dartford

Dartford get their National South campaign underway this weekend with an away trip to St Albans City.

Both sides were in strong positions to mount a title challenge when last season was curtailed and expect to be pushing for promotion this time around.

St Albans City will be a perfect test on the opening day for the Darts. Although Dartford were two points better off last term, the Saints lost just once in the fifteen league matches they completed, four games fewer than the Darts.

Yet there is a parallel between this weekend’s opponents. When Steve King took charge of the Darts he turned them into promotion contenders after joining during a relegation battle. Saints manager, Ian Allinson has done the same over the last two years taking his club from a struggle at the bottom to a push for promotion.

Dartford’s last visit to Clarence Park in the 2019/2020 season coincided with St Albans City’s relegation battle and saw the Darts end a four game losing hoodoo. In those previous visits to Hertfordshire, the Darts ended with nothing to show in front of goal firing blanks and picking up no points. However in March 2020, King’s men stopped the rot and came home with all three points in a 2-1 victory. An early penalty scored by Joe Iaciofano meant Dartford had to come from behind and they obliged with goals from Liam Nash and a Darren McQueen spot kick.

Last season there was only enough time to meet the once at Princes Park, a stunning goal from Shaun Jeffers was enough to earn the Saints a single goal victory.

Pre-Season
The Darts have warmed up for this season with some decent results against Football League sides. One goal defeats at the hands of Ipswich Town and Charlton Athletic, victories over AFC Wimbledon and Sutton United and a draw with Southend United, who are looking to return to the Football League at the first attempt. New signing, Dan Roberts top scored in the friendlies with five goals since joining from Slough Town.

St Albans City began their pre-season with a resounding 8-1 victory over Arlesey Town, which included a Mitchell Weiss hat-trick. Romeo Akinola has netted six times in the friendlies including a braces against Kings Langley and Hanworth Villa. The Saints also beat a Watford XI, played two games in one day using different squads, losing to Bedford Town but beating AFC Dunstable and closed with a 1-1 draw versus Cheshunt.

Dartford St Albans City
Ipswich Town (home) – lost 0-1Arlesey Town (away) – won 8-1
Sittingbourne (home) – won 5-0Stevenage (home) – lost 0-1
Charlton Athletic (home) – lost 1-2Kings Langley (away) – won 2-1
Carshalton Athletic (away) – won 3-1Wealdstone (home) – drew 1-1
AFC Wimbledon (home) – won 1-0Hanworth Villa (away) – won 2-1
Sutton United (home) – won 3-1Watford XI (home) – won 2-1
Southend United (home) – drew 2-2Bedford Town (away) – lost 1-4
Sittingbourne (away) – won 2-0AFC Dunstable (away) – won 3-1
Lewes (away) – lost 1-2Hendon (home) – won 2-0
Cheshunt (away) – drew 1-1

Summer Signings
Over the summer, Dartford manager Steve King focused on improving his team’s attacking capabilities and with Jake Robinson joining from Billericay Town he is hoping for a good return in front of goal. Robinson will team up again with Luke Wanadio who returns for a third spell with the Darts and can supply creativity on the wing. George Porter netted in the friendlies against Carshalton Athletic and AFC Wimbledon and joins from Maidstone United. Ade Azeez will also be part of the squad after signing from Dover Athletic, but the former AFC Wimbledon and Partick Thistle striker picked up a hamstring injury over pre-season.

In midfield, Tyrique Hyde is another returnee arriving from Dulwich Hamlet, Danny Leonard comes in from Sheppey United and Kieran Murtagh has impressed and brings experience from Boreham Wood. The Darts haven’t made many changes in defence as last term that was an area in which the excelled, Bagasan Graham has joined to strengthen the back line though.

St Albans City manager Ian Allinson has has a quieter summer trusting most of the squad that performed so well last season. Former Dartford defender Tom Bender signed a new contract and will begin his seventh campaign with the Hertfordshire club. In the week leading up to kick off, the Saints have captured the services of Alkeo Bani, an Albanian under 19’s defender and John Goddard. Other new recruits include Callum Adebiyi from Southern Premier League side Kings Langley, Luke Brown from Hitchin Town. and Michael Oluwadara Dada from Chelmsford City.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 9 / St Albans City wins: 6 / Draws: 5

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 0 – 1 St Albans City (17/11/2020 – National South)
St Albans City 1 – 2 Dartford (07/03/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 St Albans City (06/08/2019 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 2 St Albans City (12/01/2019 – National South)
St Albans City 2 – 0 Dartford (01/09/2018 – National South)
St Albans City 4 – 0 Dartford (03/02/2018 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford won last season’s opener 1-0 against Chelmsford City. Victory this weekend will be the first time the Darts recorded consecutive opening day wins since 2006 (1-0 v Arlesey Town in 2005 and 4-0 v Weston-super-Mare in 2006).
  • The Darts last kept a clean sheet against the Saints in a 2-0 win on 6 February 2006, eleven games ago. It remains the only time St Albans City failed to score versus Dartford.
  • St Albans City have won four of their last five home matches in this fixture

On This Day

Dartford celebrated coming back from the brink in 1993 with a historic opening day Kent League win over Deal Town. It took just ten minutes for the party to begin when Micky Collins scored the winning goal in what was a momentous occasion for the club.

In the five fixtures that followed on this day, the Darts have taken just one point, a 2-2 draw with Havant and Waterlooville. The draw with the Hawks in 2010 signified the return to the second tier of non-league football having risen up from the Kent League.

The other four games since beating Deal Town were all away defeats without scoring. In 1999 the Darts lost 4-0 against Fisher Athletic (Southern League South), were beaten 3-0 by Boreham Wood in 2004 (Southern League Division One East), in 2012 Dartford were beaten 1-0 by Woking (National League) and three years ago lost 2-0 at Concord Rangers (National South).

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.