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Bognor Regis Town v Dartford

Dartford can win the National South title and promotion this weekend when they travel to already relegated Bognor Regis Town.

Nyewood Lane holds fond memories for the Darts, a venue where they celebrated at the end of the 2009/2010 campaign when Dartford went up as Isthmian Premier League champions. This time the circumstances are so much different.

Havant and Waterlooville’s 6-1 mid-week win over East Thurrock United on Wednesday night has left the Darts needing a bundle of goals. Dartford need to better Havant and Waterlooville’s result against Concord Rangers, or if both teams win the Darts’ winning margin needs to be greater than three goals more than Havant and Waterlooville’s winning margin.

Despite the three-goal deficit Dartford manager, Tony Burman remains positive, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “We’re in with a massive shout, the target was to be challenging for the league title and we’re still in prime position at the moment”.

He added: “Against Bognor we’ve got to think about ourselves and what we can do. Bognor is going to be hit with a lot of people from Dartford, it’s going to be a good day and hopefully it goes well for us”.

The Darts have won their last eight league games and another victory will mean the clubs longest winning streak in the league for nine years, when they ended up as Isthmian Premier League winners.

Over those last eight games Dartford have been less free scoring than earlier in the season, Burman commented: “I realise we haven’t played brilliant football over those games but we’re at the nitty gritty end of the season”, he continued: “It’s about work-rate and just winning games. We’ve got to get on with it and do what we can do. Hopefully it swings our way”.

Dartford’s defence has been formidable over the last month, conceding just one goal in the last seven games has kept them in with a chance of claiming a first league title in eight years. They are also the league’s top scorers with 79 and have Alfie Pavey who has netted 22 times, three behind the National South’s top scorer. Recently, Danny Mills has scored three in his last three appearances helping the Darts to vital points.

Earlier in the season, the Darts beat Bognor Regis Town at Princes Park. Alfie Pavey put the Darts ahead, but the visitors quickly levelled before the break. Elliot Bradbrook’s penalty restored Dartford’s lead and the points were secured when Andy Pugh’s header made it 3-1.

Bognor Regis Town will be leaving the National South through the relegation trapdoor, the Rocks were promoted last term through the Isthmian Premier League playoffs. Guaranteed to finish in last place after their 1-0 defeat to Chelmsford City on Tuesday night, the Sussex club have managed just five league wins all season.

With Dartford needing goals they will be hoping that former defender Keaton Wood doesn’t make too much of an impact. Wood made 74 appearances for the Darts and represented the England C Team during his spell at Princes Park, the 22-year-old left the club for Bognor Regis Town in November.

The Rocks have lost nine of their last ten games with the only success at home to St Albans City on 10 April. It’s been a season of struggle for Jack Pearce’s side who will bow out of the National South potentially having a say in where the league title will end up.

Head to Head
Bognor Regis Town wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 4 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Bognor Regis Town (LLLLWL) Dartford (WWWWWW)
Chelmsford City H 0-1 Bath City H 2-0
Oxford City City A 0-4 East Thurrock United A 1-0
Concord Rangers A 1-2 Eastbourne Borough A 1-0
Hemel Hempstead Town H 2-3 Gloucester City A 1-0
St Albans City H 2-1 Weston-super-Mare H 3-1
Gloucester City A 2-3 Hampton and Richmond H 1-0

Previous Meetings

07.10.2017 Dartford 3 Bognor Regis Town 1
24.04.2010 Bognor Regis Town 0 Dartford 2
07.11.2009 Dartford 3 Bognor Regis Town 3
02.05.1981 Dartford 1 Bognor Regis Town 1
13.12.1980 Bognor Regis Town 2 Dartford 2
01.05.1980 Bognor Regis Town 2 Dartford 0
10.11.1979 Dartford 2 Bognor Regis Town 0
06.04.1976 Bognor Regis Town 2 Dartford 2
06.09.1975 Dartford 3 Bognor Regis Town 1

Stats
The Darts have won eight league games in a row, a feat that was achieved in 1996 leading up to the final game of the season. Needing a win on the last day against Furness to clinch the title, the Darts drew 1-1 losing out to their opponents on goal difference.

Dartford’s run of six clean sheets in the last seven games is their best defensive display since they kept six clean sheets in a row in 2009. That was part of the last time Dartford won eight consecutive league games and won a championship.

The Darts have won five away games on a spin their best run since the 2009/2010 season when they recorded nine straight wins.

Dartford are two victories away from equalling a club record ten consecutive wins in all competitions last achieved in 1996. The Darts have won ten in a row in all competitions on six occasions in their history.

On This Day
Dartford had already secured second place in the National South six years ago when they played their final match of the season down at Truro City. The White Tigers took the lead through veteran striker and former Premier League player Barry Hayles, in the final minute Jacob Erskine equalised. Dartford were promoted that season through the playoffs beating local rivals Welling United in the final. Eleven years ago, the Darts also finished their 2006/2007 campaign in an entertaining defeat, Brendon Cass scored two and Ryan Hayes the pther in a 4-3 loss at Metropolitan Police.

Dartford v Bath City

Dartford will head into their final home game of the season against playoff hopefuls Bath City with a clear lead at the top of the National South.

The Darts recorded their third 1-0 victory in a week on Tuesday night to give themselves a three point advantage over title rivals Havant and Waterlooville, shifting the pressure onto the Hawks for their final three games of the season.

Leading up to the East Thurrock United game, Tony Burman gave an interview with www.kentonline.co.uk and is feeling a positive vibe, he said: “We’re in a real good place. I’ll tell you now, the group are really together and they’re believing. They’ve worked really hard all season and that work now has got to be carried out in the right manner. Also, the supporters are behind them and there’s a feelgood factor, which is nice, but all we do is take it into the next game”.

Now that vibe is getting stronger thanks to Danny Mills’ 78th minute header on Tuesday night earning Dartford their seventh straight victory. Although the Darts have not been as free scoring as earlier in the campaign, they have now recorded four clean sheets in a row on their travels and five in the last six outings home and away. If the Darts can take their winning streak to eight this weekend then potentially they could lead by six points going into the final week of the season.

Earlier this term Dartford won at Twerton Park and could repeat last season’s double over Bath City with victory at Princes Park. Back in October, the Darts ended up with ten men when Andy Pugh was red carded with the scores at 1-1, but Alfie Pavey pounced to score the decisive goal. The game started with Ryan Hayes trying his luck straight from kick-off and hitting the crossbar and with just over half hour played Pavey opened the scoring. Before the break Bath City’s Tom Smith equalised before Pavey netted the winner with almost ten minutes remaining. The last meeting at Princes Park was just over a year ago when Elliot Bradbrook scored a penalty and Duane Ofori-Acheampong added a second.

Bath City have hopes of their own in trying to reach the National South playoffs. A top seven place will qualify the Romans for a chance to return to the National League after a six-year absence.

Last weekend, the Romans pulled of a comprehensive 5-0 home win over Hungerford Town. Matt Richards scored from the spot early on and Opi Edwards made it 2-0 before the break. Second half goals from Andy Watkins, Jack Batten and Nat Jarvis secured back to back five goal hauls at home.

Manager, Jerry Gill spoke to somersetlive.co.uk after the game, he said: “Once we got into the game and scored the first goal I thought we were massively in the ascendancy”. The Bath City boss still believes a playoff place is possible, he commented: “It keeps us in the hunt, doesn’t it? In the race. A few results have gone with us, people will be getting twitchy at this stage of the season and we might be the ones that come late”, before adding: “”We really believe in this dressing room, as a staff and players, we can make it”.

Sandwiched between the 5-1 win against Gloucester City and the rout over Hungerford Town, the Somerset club lost on the road to Wealdstone. Gill’s side threw away the lead given to them by Richards, his first goal for the club. The Stones left it late to overturn the deficit and take three points from Bath City.

The Somerset club have been on the fringes of the playoffs all season, but have been unable to take the leap above that dotted line. Gill looked back to a number of good performances specifically picking out the narrow defeats to the Darts back in October and the losses to Braintree Town and Havant and Waterlooville in February and March respectively.

One player who caused Dartford some problems in the 6-3 F.A Cup defeat to Sutton United last term was Kevin Amankwaah, the full back joined Bath City in September and returned to action on Saturday, coming off the bench to replace the influential Dan Ball, who was substituted as a precaution due to a minor ankle injury. The Romans have also missed other key players like Frankie Artus and Sean Rigg to injuries.

On Tuesday night, the Romans went out of the Somerset Premier Cup on penalties against Weston-super-Mare. Bath City fielded a first team, but Andy Watkins’ brace only helped Bath City to a 2-2 draw. Their opponents went through to the final with a 4-3 shoot-out win.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 30 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Current League Form

Dartford (WWWWWW) Bath City (WLWDLW)
East Thurrock United A 1-0 Hungerford Town H 5-0
Eastbourne Borough A 1-0 Wealdstone A 1-2
Gloucester City A 1-0 Gloucester City H 5-1
Weston-super-Mare H 3-1 Hemel Hempstead A 1-1
Hampton & Richmond H 1-0 Havant & Waterlooville H 1-2
Oxford City A 2-0 Poole Town A 4-0

Previous Meetings

24.10.2017 Bath City 1 Dartford 2
04.03.2017 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
22.10.2016 Bath City 0 Dartford 1
16.01.2016 Dartford 4 Bath City 1
05.09.2015 Bath City 0 Dartford o
07.04.1990 Dartford 0 Bath City 1

Stats
Dartford have won the last four meetings against Bath City and are unbeaten against the Romans since returning to the National South in 2015 (W4, D1).

The Darts have kept five clean sheets in the last eight outings against the Romans conceding just three times.

At home, Dartford have won six, drew one and lost one against teams in the top ten.

The last time Bath City scored more than one goal against the Darts was in 1988, when the Romans won 4-2 in the Southern Premier League.

On This Day
The Darts will be playing their eighth home game in a row on 21 April, the previous seven has seen four Dartford victories, two draws and a defeat. The last outing on this day four years ago sealed the Darts relegation to the National South with a 3-2 loss at home to Tamworth, Elliot Bradbrook scored both Dartford’s goals. Six years ago, the Darts drew 2-2 after conceding a last minute equaliser against Boreham Wood, Tony Garrod and Jacob Erskine found the net that day. Lee Noble, Jay May, Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle all scored in Dartford’s final game of the 2008/09 campaign securing a 4-2 home win over Ashford Town (Middlesex). The Darts recorded the same score six years earlier beating St Leonards in the Southern League Eastern Division, and in 2007 drew 0-0 with Walton Casuals in the Isthmian Division One South.

East Thurrock United v Dartford

Dartford will have the chance to increase their slender lead at the top of the National South on Tuesday when they visit East Thurrock United.

The Darts have just three games remaining and are just one goal ahead of second place Havant and Waterlooville. Going into the match against East Thurrock United, the Darts have put a great run together of eight wins from their last nine outings. Victory will put Dartford three points clear to put pressure on their title rivals, who will be in Hampshire senior cup action.

On the weekend Dartford recorded back to back 1-0 victories and their fourth clean sheet in five games. Danny Mills’ low diving header at the far post was enough to clinch another vital three points against Eastbourne Borough. Manager, Tony Burman spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk, he said: “I’m obviously delighted that we’ve got three points,” Burman added: “Although it was 1-0, like Gloucester the other night, we had a couple of chances to kill the game off in the second half. It didn’t happen but we still managed the game”.

Burman commented after the game and praised the fans, especially after he asked supporters to back his side after defeat at home to Poole Town, he said: “Back then, I was really disappointed with certain aspects of what was going on around the club”, he continued: “We needed to pull together because when we do, we’re excellent. That’s what we’re about and today we had fantastic support. It started from the first whistle and that’s all we were asking”, he added: “In all fairness, the supporters have reacted and I think they’ve been excellent in the games since then and they can see what the players have done”.

When Dartford met East Thurrock United in August it was the Rocks who grabbed a 1-0 win as they started their National South campaign exceeding expectations. On loan goalkeeper, Jordan Beeney could only tip Reece Harris’ free kick onto the crossbar for Sam Higgins to score the rebound, it was Dartford’s first home defeat of the campaign.

The Essex club lost on Saturday at home to county rivals Chelmsford City, Scott Fenwick scored all four goals for the Clarets as the hosts fell 4-2, Lewis Smith who once signed for the Darts but never played a match for the Darts scored for East Thurrock United. Sam Higgins, the National South’s top scorer with 26 goals scored the Rocks first of the afternoon. Currently five goals behind, Dartford striker Alfie Pavey will want to make up some ground on Higgins for the Golden Boot award.

Defeat for John Coventry’s side ended a run of consecutive wins after they had beaten Truro City and Concord Rangers. Now in thirteenth place with five games remaining, the Rocks will be aiming to finish as high up the table as possible and still could have a huge say in the title race. East Thurrock United will be taking on Havant and Waterlooville in their penultimate game.

In their ranks East Thurrock United have former Dartford favourite Lee Burns. The striker turned right back made 272 appearances for the Darts scoring 33 times. Midfielder, Max Cornhill also represented the Darts 66 times scoring nine goals. James White is also part of the East Thurrock United squad but has found appearances limited this season.

The Essex club started the campaign on a ten match unbeaten run winning six and drawing four, including the 1-0 victory at Princes Park. The Rocks went on to record eight matches without a win and since then have tasted victory just seven times in the last nineteen.

Head to Head
East Thurrock United wins: 3 / Dartford wins: 1 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

East Thurrock United (LWWLDW) Dartford (WWWWWW)
Chelmsford City H 2-4 Eastbourne Borough A 1-0
Truro City A 2-1 Gloucester City A 1-0
Concord Rangers A 4-1 Weston-super-Mare H 3-1
Chippenham Town H 0-2 Hampton & Richmond H 1-0
Poole Town H 2-2 Oxford City A 2-0
Bognor Regis Town A 2-0 Hemel Hempstead H 3-2

Previous Meetings

28.08.2017 Dartford 0 East Thurrock United 1
07.01.2016 Dartford 6 East Thurrock United 1
10.09.2016 East Thurrock United 1 Dartford 1
30.04.2005 Dartford 0 East Thurrock United 3
28.08.2004 East Thurrock United 2 Dartford 1

Stats
Dartford’s run of eight wins from nine matches the sequence set last season between 13 September 2016 and 3 December 2016.

The Darts sixth victory in a row also matches the run between 7 January 2017 and 11 February 2017. The last time Dartford won seven on the spin was in 2009 when they won the Isthmian Premier League, in that sequence the Darts ended up recording eight straight victories.

Only Dartford have scored more goals than East Thurrock United this season, the Darts have netted 76 times whilst the Rocks have scored 66, joint with Hemel Hempstead Town.

The Rocks have failed to win a home game against any of the current top seven this season (D2, L4)

On This Day
A year ago Dartford beat Hampton and Richmond Borough 3-1 at Princes Park with goals from Elliot Bradbrook, Alex Brown and Ronnie Vint. The goalscorer for the Beavers that day was Nathan Collier, now back at the Darts. That was victory was the first win on this day since 1981, a run of six games which ended in three draws and three losses, including the 5-0 reverse at home to Histon in 2004. The Darts last away triumph on 17 April was back in 1980 when they beat Fareham Town 2-1 in the Southern League Southern Division.

Eastbourne Borough v Dartford

Dartford are back at the top of the National South and are hoping to maintain their position against Eastbourne Borough this weekend.

The Darts travelled to Evesham on Tuesday night to take on Gloucester City. A hard fought victory was earned thanks to Alfie Pavey’s 21st league goal of the campaign. Dartford’s win against Gloucester City moved them level on points with Havant and Waterlooville, Pavey’s goal edged the Darts ahead on goal difference, the two sides are now seperated by a single goal.

Dartford now face the challenge of two more away games before the penultimate fixture at home then the final day of the season at Bognor Regis Town. Next up though is Eastbourne Borough and the Darts have hit form at the right moment. Tuesday’s triumph extended Dartford’s winning streak to five meaning they have now won seven of their last eight games. Defensively, Tony Burman’s side have also improved having conceded just once in their last four outings.

When Dartford last played Eastbourne Borough in September they ended up moving to the top of the National South back then. The Princes Park crowd witnessed six goals as the free scoring Darts claimed victory. Tony Burman’s side dominated the first half and opened the scoring when Alex Brown scored from just inside the penalty area. In the second half, Alfie Pavey headed in Ryan Hayes’s corner then Elliot Bradbrook nodded in a third. The Sports pulled a goal back through Jamie Taylor before the Darts scored a controversial fourth. The visitors took a quick free kick which was blocked by the grounded Hayes from close range, presumably to get the winger booked. However, the match official played on as Tom Murphy went through on goal to score. Lee Noble’s own goal took the gloss off the 4-2 leaving Burman disappointed at his side conceding two sloppy goals.

Last season, Dartford completed the double over Eastbourne Borough by a one goal margin. Twelve goals were scored over the two fixtures. The Darts won 3-2 in their last visit to Priory Lane on a foggy Tuesday night. In a game that could well have been abandoned, Kaka Dembele scored the winner after goals from Luke Wanadio and Andy Pugh. The return fixture at Princes Park ended 4-3 with Pugh and Wanadio finding the net again. Hayes and Bradbrook added two more to make it 4-1, but the Sports rallied to reduce the arrears late on. In the season before current Dartford defender Nathan Collier was wearing the Eastbourne Borough shirt having left the Darts that summer to move to the Sussex club.

Since the start of March, the Sports run of form has been inconsistent alternating wins and losses for the last seven games. However, it was their victory in the Sussex derby against Bognor Regis Town on Easter Monday which virtually assured them another campaign in the National South.

Last weekend, Eastbourne Borough were beaten by Oxford City when two early second half goals left the Sussex club too much to overturn. Matt Pickering turned the ball into his own net and Matt Paterson scored a penalty, conceded by former Crawley Town and Wycombe Wanderers midfielder Sergio Torres. The Sports set up a nervy finish for the hosts when Yemi Obudabe scored four minutes from time.

At Priory Lane, the Sports have won just twice in the National South in 14 attempts and only five times all season. Defensively, up until last weekend’s fixtures only Whitehawk had conceded more in total. The leaky defence has been a weakness for the Sussex club, who have managed to score 57 times at the right end, a similar figure to three of the top four and the majority of mid-table sides.

Head to Head
Eastbourne Borough wins: 4 / Dartford wins: 9 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Eastbourne Borough (LWLWLW) Dartford (WWWWWL)
Oxford City A 1-2 Gloucester City A 1-0
Bognor Regis Town H 3-0 Weston-super-Mare H 3-1
Chippenham Town A 0-4 Hampton & Richmond H 1-0
Wealdstone A 3-2 Oxford City A 2-0
Truro City H 1-3 Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-2
Bath City A 1-0 Poole Town H 0-1

Previous Meetings

12.09.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 2
08.04.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 3
16.08.2016 Eastbourne Borough 2 Dartford 3
20.02.2016 Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1
11.08.2015 Dartford 1 Eastbourne Borough 0
03.04.2012 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1

Stats
Andy Pugh has scored in his last three appearances against Eastbourne Borough.

Dartford have gone nine games unbeaten against the Sports stretching back to 2011. The Darts have won seven and drawn two in that time.

If the Darts win against Eastbourne Borough it will be the third time the Darts have completed a league double against the Sussex club, in the last four campaigns they have been in the same division.

Before that, the Sports won the first four meetings in the Southern Division One East to complete the double over the Darts in successive seasons.

On This Day
Dartford secured a place in the Southern League Cup final thirty years ago in comprehensive fashion. Leading the first leg over Wealdstone 4-0, the Darts won the return fixture 4-1 to record an impressive 8-1 aggregate victory. Dartford went on to turn around a 3-1 first leg loss to Bromsgrove Rovers by winning the second leg 3-0 to lift the cup. The last three games on 14 April have all been away from home, the most recent just a year ago when the Darts lost 2-0 to Hungerford Town. Before that defeat Dartford had gone eight matches unbeaten on this day which included a 4-3 win over Wealdstone in 1979, a 2-1 victory against Ashford United in 1990. In 2007, Carl Bruce and Brendon Cass scored in a 2-1 triumph over Hastings United and in 2012 a Tony Garrod goal helped the Darts beat Sutton United.

Gloucester City v Dartford

Dartford start a run of away games with a visit to Evesham to face Gloucester City on Tuesday night.

Aiming for promotion to the National League, the Darts are just three points off top spot with a game in hand. Whilst they travel across the country, league leaders Havant and Waterlooville will be preparing to host East Thurrock United.

Dartford build up to the away trip on the back of four consecutive wins, a feat last achieved in September. The last time the Darts won four in a row in the league was at the start of last year.

The latest victory came on the weekend at home to Weston-super-Mare where an early Alex Brown goal settled any nerves. The midfielder was labelled Dartford’s ‘unsung hero’ by manager Tony Burman for his work rate and was rewarded in the seventh minute. Andy Pugh’s vision picked out Alfie Pavey and when Brown combined with Duane Ofori-Acheampong he finished the move with the opener. After half hour it was 2-0 when captain Elliot Bradbrook turned home Lee Noble’s corner from close range. The Darts went three up in the second half when top scorer Alfie Pavey rounded the goalkeeper. The visitors grabbed a consolation in the last minute affecting Dartford’s goal difference, which could be crucial come the end of the season.

Burman spoke after the game, he said: “We’ve played against a team that play a lot of football and try and keep possession of the ball for long periods of time. When you try and chase to get it back it’s hard work. We looked a little bit lethargic, but the main thing was we won the game”.

With Havant and Waterlooville also winning Burman continued: “It’s still the same, we’ve got five games to go they have got four. We’ve got to just do our job think about ourselves, it’s a lot closer now than what we thought it was going to be a few weeks back”, he added: “We’ve recovered now from the defeat against Poole, that’s six out of seven games which we’ve won and that is decent. We will push again to reach our target which is to try and win the league”.

Victory has followed triumphs over Hampton and Richmond Borough, Oxford City and Hemel Hempstead Town. Next up is a run of four away games in the last five fixtures, including the next three in a row on the road against Gloucester City, Eastbourne Borough the East Thurrock United.

The Darts won the previous encounter versus Gloucester City back in November when the two sides met for the first time at Princes Park. Despite the 4-1 victory, Dartford were made to work for the result and goals from Warren Mfula, Alfie Pavey and a brace from Lyle Della-Verde provided a clinical performance.

The Tigers moved across to the National South in the summer and are currently in thirteenth place. In February, Gloucester City started moving away from trouble with a good run of form. The Tigers went unbeaten in six before a narrow defeat to league leaders Havant and Waterlooville. Last month saw a mixture of results with plenty of goals of late. Following consecutive 1-0 wins, the Tigers hit four at home to Hungerford Town before going down 3-1 to Hemel Hempstead Town. In the two games this month, the Tigers were thrashed 5-1 away to Bath City and beat Bognor Regis Town on the weekend.

Marc Richards guided his side to a 3-2 win over Bognor Regis Town, but made hard work of it in the closing stages. Taking a three goal lead thanks to a brace from Joseph Parker and the third from Matthew Williams, the Tigers conceded twice in the final five minutes, former Dart, Keaton Wood scoring for Bognor Regis Town. Gloucester City are five games unbeaten at home stretching back to the beginning of January.

Head to Head
Gloucester City wins: 12 / Dartford wins: 26 / Draws: 10

Current League Form

Gloucester City (WLLWWW) Dartford (WWWWLW)
Bognor Regis Town H 3-2 Weston-super-Mare H 3-1
Bath City A 1-5 Hampton & Richmond H 1-0
Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-3 Oxford City A 2-0
Hungerford Town H 4-0 Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-2
Eastbourne Borough A 1-0 Poole Town H 0-1
Chippenham Town H 1-0 Truro City H 4-1

Previous Meetings

18.11.2017 Dartford 4 Gloucester City 1
07.03.1992 Gloucester City 0 Dartford 0
26.10.1991 Dartford 2 Gloucester City 0
16.03.1991 Dartford 2 Gloucester City 1
29.09.1990 Gloucester City 2 Dartford 0
21.04.1990 Dartford 6 Gloucester City 2

Stats
Dartford last beat Gloucester City away from home 28 years ago when they won 4-0 in the Southern Premier League.

An away defeat to the Tigers, the season after, is Dartford’s only loss against their opponents in the last seven meetings. The Darts have won five and drawn once of the other six games versus Gloucester City.

Dartford have failed to score in their last two away games against Gloucester City, losing 2-0 in 1990 and drawing 0-0 in 1992.

Ryan Hayes’ substitute appearance on Saturday was his 150th appearance from off the bench.

On This Day
Eight years ago Dartford clinched the Isthmian Premier League title destroying second place Kingstonian 6-2 on their own patch. The Darts celebrated in style starting with a well worked goal from Elliot Bradbrook. Ryan Hayes added a second from 25 yards before the hosts halved the deficit. Danny Harris headed in a third, Bradbrook scored his second of the afternoon then the K’s grabbed their second. Hayes netted another and to round up a memorable day Lee Burns made it 6-2. The Darts are unbeaten in six games on 10 April and recorded a famous 1-0 win over Grimsby Town in 2014. At Princes Park, the Darts beat the former Championship club with Max Cornhill heading the winner with 15 minutes to go.

Dartford v Weston-super-Mare

Dartford’s title push continues on Saturday when they host Weston-Super-Mare at Princes Park in the National South.

The Darts have just six games remaining to overturn a three point deficit, although they now have a game in hand. With the Easter Monday fixture against East Thurrock United postponed, Tony Burman’s side have had a few extra days rest, much needed after the difficult conditions on Good Friday.

In their last match, Dartford pulled out a superb result against third place Hampton and Richmond Borough with a last gasp Alfie Pavey winner. Victory kept the Darts two points behind league leaders Havant and Waterlooville, who had won their fixture 2-0 against Weston-super-Mare. The Hawks then dropped points on Monday, but managed a 0-0 draw with Whitehawk to leave the Darts three points behind.

Against Hampton and Richmond Borough, Burman named an unchanged side from the 2-0 away win at Oxford City. With the Princes Park pitch waterlogged in patches Burman praised the ground staff for getting the game on. As the top of the table clash progressed the weather conditions worsened turning the pitch into a mud bath. It looked like both sides were about to drop points in a goalless draw until Pavey’s calm dink over the Hampton and Richmond Borough goalkeeper sent the Darts fans wild in the final minute.

Burman spoke to www.dartfordfc.com after the game and said: “I thought on chances we deserved to get a result from the game, I’m delighted we’ve come away from the first game of the Easter period with three points”. The Darts boss applauded match winner Pavey and his teammates, he added: “He’s still learning, he’s a young lad, he’s not been the number one striker at other clubs and we’ve given him a opportunity here to learn from people and try and be a number one striker. He’s scoring goals which is great and if he’s scoring goals that means he’s happy. We’ve got a great strike force here, which I’m pleased and proud of”.

After defeat to Poole Town, Burman questioned his players desire but now he feels the tide has turned, he commented: “I mentioned back at the Poole game about desire, we can’t fault the last three games the desire has been back in the side”. Added to the fans pulling togther, the Dartford manager feels there is every chance to overturn the two point deficit, he added: “A little bit of belief has come back, we’ve had some words said on and off the field, but I have to say the support that the lads got was how it should be, they were the twelfth man and I can’t thank them enough for that and we need that especially at this stage of the season”.

Weston-super-Mare could complete a double over the Darts as they won the reverse fixture at the Woodspring Stadium back in September. The Seagulls toppled Burman’s side who were heading the National South standings at the time. Gethyn Hill’s double and a second half strike from Archie Collins completed a miserable afternoon for the Darts.

Last season Dartford completed a treble against the Seagulls winning both National South fixtures and the F.A Trophy tie. In the league at Princes Park the match ended 3-2 on an entertaining evening.  Alex Brown scored from twenty yards out to claim the winner but the Darts had to come from behind. Hill opened the scoring for the visitors who stayed in front at the interval. Tom Wynter scored and then Danny Harris gave Dartford the advantage, but the lead was cancelled out by Lloyd Humphries. With seven minutes remaining Brown’s effort found the back of the net to clinch victory. At the Woodspring Stadium in the league, the Darts won 2-1 with goals from Luke Wanadio and Ryan Hayes.

Weston-super-Mare are comfortably mid-table with the playoffs seven points away with only five games remaining. Their chances have taken a major dip along with their form, the Seagulls have lost six of their last eight matches only managing wins away to Eastbourne Borough and home to Bognor Regis Town.

The Darts will already know about the Seagulls top scorer, Hill who has managed 16 league goals this term. The striker is level with former Weston-super-Mare midfielder Dayle Grubb, who left in January to join Forest Green Rovers in League Two. Manager, Marc McGregor feels his team has been deserving of more positive results but admits his side need to be more ruthless in front of goal. The Seagulls boss is still confident he can guide them to a top seven finish and into the playoffs.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 7 / Weston-super-Mare wins: 3 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Weston-super-Mare (LLWLLL) Dartford (WWWLWW)
Havant & Waterlooville A 0-2 Hampton & Richmond H 1-0
Braintree Town H 1-2 Oxford City A 2-0
Bognor Regis Town H 1-0 Hemel Hempstead H 3-2
St Albans City H 0-2 Poole Town H 0-1
Chippenham Town A 0-2 Truro City H 4-1
Hampton & Richmond A 1-3 Wealdstone A 2-1

Previous Meetings

23.09.2017 Weston-super-Mare 3 Dartford 0
17.01.2017 Dartford 3 Weston-super-Mare 2
26.11.2016 Weston-super-Mare 2 Dartford 4
20.08.2016 Weston-super-Mare 1 Dartford 2
05.03.2016 Weston-super-Mare 2 Dartford 1
13.09.2015 Dartford 2 Weston-super-Mare 1

Stats
Dartford have won five of their last six National South games.

Alfie Pavey’s goal on Good Friday was his third last minute winner, earning the Darts nine crucial points.

The Darts have never lost to the Seagulls at home (W3, D3).

Weston-super-Mare have failed to score in three of their last five games netting just two goals.

The Seagulls win over Dartford in September was their only victory against top five opposition this season, they have lost the other seven.

On This Day
Dartford have won one of their last eight games on 7 April and that was back in 1984 when they beat Welling United 2-1 in the Southern League Premier. The most recent match on this day was hardly memorable as they battled out a 0-0 draw with Chelmsford City six years ago in the National South. In 2007, Eddie McClements scored in a 1-1 draw with Kingstonian and in 1990 the Darts lost 1-0 to Bath City. Thirty eight years ago, Dartford lost 1-0 in the Kent Senior Cup final to rivals Maidstone United.

Dartford v Hampton and Richmond Borough

Dartford are involved in one of their biggest games of the season on Good Friday, when they take on third place Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Although the Darts and the Beavers are trailing Havant and Waterlooville, neither side will want to lose ground on the Hampshire club who are at home to Weston-super-Mare. By the end of the season the importance of this Easter fixture could have a huge impact.

In what will be the tenth meeting between the Darts and Hampton and Richmond Borough, there has only been one draw when these sides have previously met, that was back in September. On that day Nathan Collier started for the Beavers and on Friday he will be donning the Dartford shirt after returning to Princes Park in December.

At the Beveree earlier in the campaign, Hampton and Richmond Borough looked in control as they took a two goal lead inside the first half an hour. Max Kretzschmar scored a brace, his first a volley after just two minutes which flew past on loan goalkeeper Jordan Beeney into the top corner. The Beavers top scorer this term, Kretzschmar netted his second with a fine free kick over the Dartford wall. The Darts fought back when Andy Pugh pulled a goal back from close range to leave his side 2-1 down at the break. In the second half, Elliot Bradbrook’s shot found a way through the crowded penalty area to level up the game. Charlie Wassmer was sent off moments after Bradbrook’s equaliser, but Dartford’s second half pressure was withstood by the hosts.

Leading up to Dartford’s 2-0 win away to Oxford City on Saturday, manager Tony Burman’s requested supporters to back and respect his players in a passionate rant to the press. His side responded in the best possible way in an improved performance. The Darts were not at the races in the 1-0 home defeat against stragglers Poole Town, then they made hard work in a 3-2 victory over Hemel Hempstead Town, scoring twice in the final nine minutes.

On the weekend nerves were settled early as captain Elliot Bradbrook scored on just five minutes. Bradbrook was last season’s top scorer for the Darts, after continuing his scoring form in the early part of this term, his strike was long awaited. Oxford City hit the woodwork twice and goalkeeper Berti Schotterl made some decent saves to earn his first clean sheet for the Darts. Substitute, Tom Murphy made sure of the three points with a well taken curling effort, his fourth league goal of the campaign.

Meanwhile, Hampton and Richmond Borough had to rely on a late goal to earn a points against nine men Braintree Town. The Iron had Billy Crook sent off for a foul on Josh Casey, but they managed to take the lead with 12 minutes to go through Michael Barrington. The Beavers equalised just three minutes later when Ben Wynter scored for the hosts. Braintree Town then had Luke Allen dismissed in the closing stages for a second caution. Manager, Alan Dowson spoke to www.hamptonfc.net after the game and said: “I thought we were hopeless. Bottom line is, we were very lucky to come away with a point”.

The draw extended Hampton and Richmond Borough’s unbeaten run to seven games. Having tasted just four league defeats this season, the Beavers have been tough to beat. However, on 15 occasions they have been unable to convert one point into three, a scenario they experienced six times in a row back in September and the first game of October. Alan Dowson got his side involved in the title race with an eight game winning streak following those six draws. But the stalemates have returned since the festive season with half of Hampton and Richmond’s fixtures ending with both sides taking a point.

Last season at Princes Park, Dartford responded to the heavy 4-1 Bank Holiday August defeat at the Beveree by winning 3-1. Bradbrook opened the scoring on Easter Monday, Alex Brown doubled the lead and Collier pulled a goal back for the visitors. The two goal cushion was restored by defender Ronnie Vint to secure the three points.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 4 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford (WWLWWL) Hampton & Richmond Borough (DWDWWD)
Oxford City A 2-0 Braintree Town H 1-1
Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-2 Hungerford Town H 3-1
Poole Town H 0-1 Havant & Waterlooville A o-0
Truro City H 4-1 Weston-super-Mare H 3-0
Wealdstone A 2-1 Bognor Regis Town H 1-0
Chelmsford City H 1-2 Chippenham Town A 3-3

Previous Meetings

02.09.2017 Hampton & Richmond Borough 2 Dartford 2
17.04.2017 Dartford 3 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
29.08.2016 Hampton & Richmond Borough 4 Dartford 1
21.01.2012 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 3
20.08.2011 Dartford 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
19.02.2011 Dartford 0 Hampton & Richmond Borough 4

Stats
Elliot Bradbrook’s goal on the weekend ended a 21 game wait in the National South. The Dartford captain last scored in the league on 7 October 2017 against Bognor Regis Town. His last league goal from open play was on 12 September 2017 versus Eastbourne Borough. Whilst Bradbrook’s last competitive goal was on 25 November 2017 in the 2-1 F.A Trophy win against Brentwood Town.

Ryan Hayes was an unused substitute against Oxford City, one more substitute appearance will take him up to 150 for the club. The winger has played a total of 575 games for the Darts.

Dartford have won four of their last five games and the clean sheet versus Oxford City was their first in eight matches.

On This Day
Dartford took one big step in their quest to reach Wembley with a 2-1 away win against Macclesfield Town, in the 1974 F.A Trophy semi-final first leg. Dave Cunningham scored in the 51st minute and Alan Payne added a second in the 68th minute. The away leg ended 0-0 and the Darts went on to reach the final where they lost to Morecambe 2-1. The Darts won ten games in a row on 30 March up until the 0-0 draw with Newport County in 2013, the last Dartford match on this day. Other highlights of the ten match winning streak include a 6-2 victory against Ashford Town in 1968, the Darts also won the return Southern League First Division fixture 6-0. Three consecutive clean sheets in 2-0 wins over Kettering Town (in the Conference Premier in 1985), Dover Athletic in the Southern Premier League back in 1991 and Crockenhill four years later in the Kent League.

Oxford City v Dartford

In what looks like a three way race to the National South title, Dartford face another crucial match when they take on Oxford City this weekend at Marsh Lane.

Dartford’s late showing at Princes Park last weekend heaped some pressure on league leaders Havant and Waterlooville, and with the Hawks dropping points Hampton and Richmond Borough have become serious contenders too.

The dramatic week started with the Darts four points behind the league leaders, who had a game in hand. However, Tony Burman led his side to an important three points even though it was far from comfortable. In the Princes Park snow, Dartford scored twice in the final ten minutes to win 3-2 against Hemel Hempstead Town, who themselves were looking to edge into the playoffs.

Danny Harris was out injured with a hamstring, Alfie Pavey and Danny Mills were named as substitutes and in came Ronnie Vint, Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Lee Noble. Just passed the half hour mark Andy Pugh put the Darts in front with a curling strike from outside the box which took a slight deflection. Hemel Hempstead Town were quickly level through former Ebbsfleet United striker Jordan Parkes and by half-time they were ahead when David Moyo scored moments before the interval. With Havant and Waterlooville and Hampton and Richmond Borough level at 0-0, and that’s how it stayed, it looked like a wasted opportunity for Burman’s side, until the final ten minutes. Pugh chipped in a wonderful equaliser and in the final minute, super sub and top scorer Alfie Pavey nodded home the dramatic winner.

Burman celebrated the last gasp winner on Saturday with a touchline sprint and after the game he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “We’ve won with a bit of character and desire and shown again that we’re back in the mix”. Looking forward he added: “It’s one game at a time but it’s the business end of the season and we’ve got to win as many as we can”.

In mid-week Havant and Waterlooville lost to Truro City leaving Dartford just two points behind their title rivals level on games played. On the same evening Hampton and Richmond Borough won 3-1 versus Weston-super-Mare to move onto 62 points with Dartford.

Dartford’s last three games at Marsh Lane have produced mix results conceding late just over year ago in 1-1 draw, Ryan Hayes scored his 99th goal for the club but Ezra Forde equalised. In 2015, the Darts lost 2-1 after Pugh had put Dartford ahead and just under a decade ago, the Darts won 4-2 in a F.A Trophy second qualifying round replay.

But it’s the home fixture this term in August that captures the attention of Dartford fans. Warren Mfula scored a hat-trick in a 7-1 triumph, the striker scoring the last three Dartford goals in the game. Before Mfula’s treble in 19 second half minutes, Richard Sho-Silva, Lyle Della-Verde, Alfie Pavey and Lee Noble all found the back of the Oxford City net.

Oxford City have improved since then and are currently on 41 points in 15th place. Mark Jones’ side have an even home record winning five, drawing five and losing six. Nine points above relegation and twelve behind the playoffs, it looks like City will stay in the National South for a fourth consecutive campaign and at this level for the seventh.

The Oxfordshire are started to take some notable scalps lately with a 2-0 home win over Chelmsford City, a 3-2 away victory against Truro City and a 4-1 triumph at home to Hemel Hempstead Town, all playoff hopefuls this season. Even when they did fall to defeat it was narrow and against the league leaders Havant and Waterlooville. Oxford City also beat Oxford United 1-0 to reach the Oxfordshire Senior Cup final this month.

Matt Paterson has provided the goals scoring 17 times in the National South, one less than Dartford’s Alfie Pavey. However, Paterson has scored just once in the last two months, but the pressure on the striker to find the net has been alleviated with the arrival of Samuel Nombe. The loanee from Milton Keynes Dons has managed five goals in as many games.

Jones has strengthened his squad since the defeat to Concord Rangers by looking towards Luton Town, most recently right sided midfielder Kavan Cotter joined on loan from the Hatters. Cotter teams back up with central defender Frankie Musonda who also came in from the Bedfordshire club.

Victory will be vital for the Darts as Havant and Waterlooville travel to Bath City and Hampton and Richmond Borough host Braintree Town. Dartford then face Hampton and Richmond Borough at home on Good Friday.

Head to Head
Oxford City wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Oxford City (WLWWWL) Dartford (WLWWLL)
Welling United A 3-1 Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-2
Havant & Waterlooville H 0-1 Poole Town H 0-1
Chelmsford City H 2-0 Truro City H 4-1
Truro City A 3-2 Wealdstone A 2-1
Hemel Hempstead Town H 4-1 Chelmsford City H 1-2
Concord Rangers A 1-2 St Albans City A 0-4

Previous Meetings

19.08.2017 Dartford 7 Oxford City 1
25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1
29.10.2016 Dartford 1 Oxford City 0
23.04.2016 Dartford 2 Oxford City 2
15.09.2015 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1
04.11.2008 Oxford City 2 Dartford 4
01.11.2008 Dartford 3 Oxford City 3

Stats
Dartford have won just two of their last seven away matches over 90 minutes matching their first seven away games of the season (W2, D3, L2).

The Darts have gone eight games without a clean sheet, the last time they achieved a clean sheet was in January against Havant and Waterlooville.

Andy Pugh has reached 150 appearances for the Darts starting 108 games and appearing 42 times as a substitute. Pugh also netted his 50th goal for the club thanks to his brace against Hemel Hempstead Town.

Only Elliot Bradbrook (131 goals), Ryan Hayes (108) and Danny Harris (75) have scored more goals for Dartford in the current squad than Pugh.

According to the BBC Sport website, out of the top 20 National South goalscorers Alfie Pavey has the best goals per minutes ratio (111 minutes per goal) and Pugh is third with 120 minutes per goal.

On This Day
Jay May scored a hat-trick in a victory against Corinthian Casuals. The 2007 Isthmian Division One South fixture ended up 4-0 to the Darts with Brendon Cass scoring the other. A year later Cass netted the winner and Dartford’s last away goal on this day in a 1-0 win over Canvey Island, the three points helping Dartford to the Isthmian Division One North title. Dartford have only produced one away goal in their last four away fixtures on this day. In 2015, the Darts took home a point drawing 0-0 with Alfreton Town in the National League and three years earlier, Dartford lost 1-0 at Dorchester Town. Way back in the Southern Premier League, another notable result was Dartford’s 6-2 victory over Weymouth.

Dartford v Hemel Hempstead Town

Knocked off top spot last Saturday, the Darts host playoff hopefuls Hemel Hempstead Town in the National South this weekend.

Dartford had led the league table since November and defeat to Poole Town eventually saw the Darts give up pole position.

The Darts can only focus on their own results and hope Havant and Waterlooville, the league leaders slip up over their remaining nine games. Manager, Tony Burman will be calling on his players to deliver after he questioned his players desire after the 1-0 loss at home to Poole Town, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk after the game and said: “There seems to be a lack of desire and that’s what’s disappointing for me”, he added: “If you don’t make it happen you’re going to be in trouble”.

It was only the third loss at Princes Park in the league last weekend and disappointingly came after an excellent performance two weeks earlier, against Truro City. Burman choose to keep the same side with Andy Pugh in a deeper role up front, however it was relegation strugglers Poole Town that took home the three points courtesy of Jamie Whisken’s winner.

Tony Burman was disappointed with the loss to Poole Town and told www.kentonline.co.uk: “I can’t put my finger on why we put in a performance like that. We’ve lost 1-0 at home and it was like a mid-table clash – and that’s wrong, he added: “The whole place should be buzzing and we have to turn that around”. At home Dartford have now been beaten in two of their last three outings and have lost grip on the title race, by losing three of their last five matches. The Darts have yielded just six points from a possible 15 in February and March.

Ahead of Saturday’s game against Hemel Hempstead Town Burman commented: “It’s a massive, tough game,” he continued: “It’s no good sulking. We’ve got to get the supporters behind us and get the encouragement because we need it now. They’re down in the dumps and we’ve got to get going. It’s all to play for. I don’t want to come off and hope that other teams have lost. We can’t have games like we had on Saturday, especially at this time of year. We’ve only got ourselves to blame”.

Hemel Hempstead Town have targets of their own and are currently fifth in the division. Finishing in the top seven will clinch a playoff place, so the Tudors will be eyeing up points to increase their two point lead over eighth spot.

Earlier in the campaign, Dartford beat the Hertfordshire club 3-0 in a convincing away display. Elliot Bradbrook scored two penalties either side an Alfie Pavey strike to secure victory. Last term at Princes Park, the Darts won 2-0 with goals from Danny Harris and Luke Wanadio and just over a year earlier the corresponding match ended 2-2, Ryan Hayes curling home the equaliser in added time, as the Darts completed a comeback from two goals down.

Hemel Hempstead Town won in their last outing beating East Thurrock United 2-0 with goals from Jordan Parkes and Sanchez Watt. However, the game will be remembered by a comical situation involving the referee and ex Arsenal midfielder Watt. Former Ebbsfleet United striker Parkes opened the scoring and Watt added a second before the controversial incident. Watt was dismissed for dissent only for the red card to be overturned due to a misunderstanding by the match official.

It was a second clean sheet in a row for the Tudors after their 0-0 draw with new league leaders Havant and Waterlooville a fortnight earlier. Dean Brennan’s side were also involved in an entertaining 3-3 draw with Chelmsford City a month ago, which ended a run of two straight defeats against Oxford City and Poole Town.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 3 / Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (LWWLLW) Hemel Hempstead Town (WDDLLW)
Poole Town H 0-1 East Thurrock United H 2-0
Truro City H 4-1 Havant & Waterlooville H 0-0
Wealdstone A 2-1 Chelmsford City A 3-3
Chelmsford City H 1-2 Oxford City A 1-4
St Albans City A 0-4 Poole Town H 0-1
Whitehawk H 3-1 Chelmsford City H 3-1

Previous Meetings

26.08.2017 Hemel Hempstead 0 Dartford 3
01.04.2017 Hemel Hempstead Town 2 Dartford 2
12.11.2016 Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 0
17.10.2015 Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 2
08.08.2015 Hemel Hempstead Town 1 Dartford 0
16.09.1972 Hemel Hempstead 2 Dartford 9

Stats
Danny Harris has scored in his last two appearances on the 17 March.

Dartford lost just one league game at home in 14, but are now on a run of two defeats from three home matches.

Hemel Hempstead Town have drawn all three away games against teams above them in the National South.

On This Day
Dartford have won their last four games on 17 March with the last victory coming three years ago in the National League away to Chester. As the Darts battled for survival a last minute winner from Danny Harris clinched the three points after Nathan Green equalised early in the second half. Six years ago, Dartford beat this season’s league leaders Havant and Waterlooville at Princes Park. The Hawks led and then missed a penalty to give the Darts a lifeline, which was taken thanks to goals from Lee Noble, Harris and Lee Wilkinson. In the Isthmian Division One South back in 2007, Dartford beat Godalming Town 3-1, Richard Avery, Anthony Hogg and Jay May all scoring. In 1990, the Darts beat Waterlooville 3-0 at Watling Street in the Southern Premier League.

Dartford v Poole Town

Only ten games remain in Dartford’s pursuit of the National South title and next up is the home fixture against Poole Town.

The Darts won 1-0 in the previous encounter back in December with Richard Sho-Silva’s winning header. The defender is currently out of action after an injury he picked up whilst playing for VCD Athletic. Last time at Princes Park, Dartford scored two first half goals in quick succession, Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Luke Wanadio put the Darts in the driving seat before Luke Parker pulled a late goal back for the Dolphins.

Dartford build up this weekend’s game on the back of consecutive wins and a week off. Following two straight defeats, the Darts bounced back coming from a goal down to triumph 2-1 away at Wealdstone, then followed that up with more success against Truro City. A week later, the snowy weather conditions gave every team in the division a break, as the National South fixture list was completely wiped out last weekend.

After manager, Tony Burman urged players and supporters to ‘pull in the right direction’ the Darts recorded their eleventh home league win this season a fortnight ago. Victory over Truro City extended Dartford’s lead at the top of the National South to four points after closest rivals Havant and Waterlooville drew 0-0 with Hemel Hempstead Town. The deficit was then cut last Tuesday when the Hawks beat Gloucester City to overtake Hampton and Richmond Borough in the table into second, three points behind the Darts.

Burman missed the 4-1 triumph over Truro City on Saturday through illness leaving assistant manager Paul Sawyer in charge. Danny Harris made his 300th start for the club and Elliot Bradbrook became only the ninth player to reach 400 appearances. An achievement the Dartford captain is proud of, he told www.kentishfootball.co.uk: “I have been lucky enough to have been part of the most exciting and successful periods in the club’s history and it’s honestly been a great privilege”, he added: “Dartford is my home-town club and it’s very special to me, so it’s been great to have spent the majority of my career here and most of it as team captain”.

Lee Noble, Ronnie Vint missed out on a starting place as the Darts lined up in a positive 4-3-3 formation, Alfie Pavey, Danny Mills and Andy Pugh up front. Meanwhile, Ofori-Acheampong has struggled with a tight hamstring but is hopeful to be back in contention this weekend.

Pugh scored in the first half with a superb volley from the edge of the box and in the second half three more goals were added. Alex Brown scored within a minute of the restart and Danny Mills added another a minute later. A fortuitous own goal added number four, but Darts goalkeeper Berti Schotterl was denied his first clean sheet when Niall Thompson scored a stunner in stoppage time.

Sawyer was pleased with the performance and the confidence the players showed, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “I thought we played extremely well, especially in the second half”, he continued: “In the first half we had to dig in because the wind was really strong…We got a great goal from Pughy and the hope at half-time is that you’ll come out second half and take advantage of those conditions – and we did. I thought we should have scored more goals but we played some lovely football”.

The teams chasing Dartford at the summit have games in hand but Sawyer remains focus on what his club has to do, he commented: “We can’t do a lot about what happens elsewhere. It’s for Havant to lose at the moment. They’ve got the games in hand and all we can do is look after our own performances”.

Striker, Danny Mills has scored twice in his last two games and he told www.kentonline.co.uk that the result versus Truro City has given the Darts confidence, he said: “I think we showed on Saturday that we’re definitely title contenders,” he added: “That was definitely a message. We’ve beaten a team who are in the play-offs and we’ve shown how good we can be on the day”, he continued: “There’s no doubt in my mind that we can go and win this league”.

Poole Town have followed up last season’s surprise performance, when they finished in a playoff spot, with a campaign of struggle. The Dolphins missed out on taking part in the playoffs last term due to ground grading and this time they find themselves in the bottom three fighting relegation. The Dorset club are four points from safety but still have three of the bottom six to play.

The Dolphins have lost their last three league games without scoring in their last two outings. Poole Town’s last victory came at the end of January against their closest relegation rivals Chippenham Town. Tom Killick’s side have heavily relied on the goals of Warren Bentley to keep them in touch, the striker was signed from Hungerford Town and was a prolific scorer for his former side Winchester City, where he scored 113 goals in two seasons, Bentley has netted 16 times this term.

For a team in the bottom three, the Dolphins away record reads like a mid-table side, but they have only taken two points from teams in the top six all season, scoring just three times and conceding 12.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 17 / Poole Town wins: 15 / Draws: 5

Current League Form

Dartford (WWLLWD) Poole Town (LLLDWW)
Truro City H 4-1 Braintree Town A 0-1
Wealdstone A 2-1 Eastbourne Borough H 0-4
Chelmsford City H 1-2 Havant & Waterlooville H 1-3
St Albans City A 0-4 Gloucester City A 2-2
Whitehawk H 3-1 Chippenham Town H 2-0
Chippenham Town A 2-2 Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-0

Previous Meetings

02.12.2017 Poole Town 1 Dartford 2
29.04.2017 Poole Town 2 Dartford 3
03.12.2016 Dartford 2 Poole Town 1
14.03.1992 Dartford 4 Poole Town 0
02.11.1991 Poole Town 0 Dartford 0
06.04.1991 Poole Town 1 Dartford 0

Stats
Dartford have won their last four matches against Poole Town scoring 10 and conceding 3. The previous four meetings ended with the Darts failing to score when they drew two and lost two.

The Darts have lost one of the last six home games against the Dolphins and just two in the last 13 home and away (W8, D3, L2).

Tom Bonner will make his 250th start for Dartford if selected in the first eleven.

If Ryan Hayes is a used substitute he will make his 150th appearance from off the bench.

On This Day
Ryan Hayes scored a Princes Park hat-trick against Croydon Athletic in the Isthmian Division One South fixture. The wingers first came from the penalty spot but his next strike was pure quality. On the corner of the 18 yard box, Hayes flicked the ball behind his standing leg before curling a shot in trademark fashion. His hat-trick was completed when he tucked away a one on one chance to clinch a 3-0 win for the Darts. Five years later, Jacob Erskine helped Dartford overcome an in form Farnborough at Princes Park. Still in the title race with Woking, the Darts hosted a Boro side who had one six on the bounce. Yet it took 18 minutes to break the deadlock when Erskine rounded the goalkeeper for his first. The striker repeated the trick early in the second half and a last minute third by Tony Garrod, against his former side made it 3-0.