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Dartford v Havant and Waterlooville

Dartford take on Isthmian Premier League champions Havant and Waterlooville this weekend in a top of the table clash at Princes Park. 

The top two go head to head with only goal difference separating the teams. Dartford boast the best home record and are the league’s top scorers this term. Havant and Waterlooville are the most productive away from home with nine wins, three draws and a defeat, accruing the most away points in the National South. The Darts are two goals better off but the Hawks have a game in hand.

Both squads have plenty of attacking options amongst their squads, so when the two battled out a 0-0 draw in the third game of the season back in August it came as a surprise. At the time, it felt like Dartford had dropped two points against a newly promoted side, but knowing how well the Hawks have performed this term in a tight division the away point could turn out useful come the end of April.

The lack of goals five months ago, contrasted with the last time Havant and Waterlooville visited Princes Park in December 2015. Dartford ran out 4-2 winners in a game which saw the Darts let slip a two-goal lead. Elliot Bradbrook’s penalty and Danny Harris’ strike on half-time put Dartford two up at the interval. Within eight minutes of the restart the scores were level when Havant and Waterlooville’s Dan Strugnell halved the deficit then Matt Paterson equalised. Bradbrook scored another before Ebou Adams netted his only goal for the club to secure victory.

It’s debatable at this stage of the season if Dartford dropped points last weekend at Concord Rangers. The Darts drew 1-1 against the Essex side who are now 13 unbeaten in the National South, however Elliot Bradbrook missed a penalty and Deren Ibrahim’s mistake for Steve Cawley’s goal almost proved costly. Ryan Hayes levelled the match with a well taken strike past former Dartford goalkeeper Louis Wells to earn an away point.

Tony Burman spoke to www.dartfordfc.com after the game and was pleased with his player’s application, he said: “Concord is always a difficult place to go and get a result and with our opponents undefeated in the last 12 league games, it did not make things any easier. I warned the players that you had to go there with the right attitude and I have to say I thought that they were spot on with this”.

Burman added: “Overall we played some excellent football throughout the whole game and created enough chances to win the match. Ryan got us back on level terms and if I am honest I felt we would go on to get three points”, he continued: “For where we want to be at the end of the season I suppose its two points dropped, but fair play to Concord who were a tough nut to crack. We have come away with a point which at the end of the season might be a valuable one”.

Since the start of December there has been much talk on whether top goalscorer Alfie Pavey should be starting. The striker has netted 18 times this term but his last start was at Poole Town on 2 December. Pavey, who had a spell out with a chest infection before the subsequent substitute appearances is being managed closely by Burman.

Another striker returning to fitness is Duane Ofori-Acheampong who has managed some game time from off the bench in the last few games, another appearance will make it number 50 for the striker. Lee Noble and Alex Brown have been out recently with Noble’s last start coming before Christmas and Brown’s last appearance was in the F.A Trophy replay at Boreham Wood.

Havant and Waterlooville’s options include two former Dartford players, Jason Prior and Bradley Tarbuck. Prior is the Hawks top scorer with 13 league goals an accolade he won last term. For the Darts Prior played 24 times scoring just twice. Tarbuck has netted just one in 18 appearances for the Hawks this season. There is also experience that can be drawn from Matt Tubbs and James Hayter, with the pair often making substitute appearances. The duo both scored in the New Year’s Day victory at Bognor Regis Town.

Tubbs continued his good form with two more goals on Tuesday night as the Hawks defeated Oxford City 3-2 to move second in the table. The former Crawley Town, AFC Bournemouth and Portsmouth striker has now netted eight in his last eight games. Victory extended Havant and Waterlooville’s unbeaten run in the National South to twelve, they last tasted defeat in the league on 23 September against Welling United.

Lee Bradbury has orchestrated the Hawks return to the National South, although he unexpectedly took the club down he helped the club bounce back at the first time of asking. Much of this season’s success has come on their travels with the Hawks undefeated in their last six away league fixtures.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 4 / Havant and Waterlooville wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Dartford (DWWDLW) Havant & Waterlooville (WWDWWD)
Concord Rangers H 1-1 Oxford City H 3-2
Welling United H 4-1 Bognor Regis Town A 3-0
Welling United A 3-2 Bognor Regis Town H 0-0
Braintree Town H 1-1 Eastbourne Borough A 4-1
Hungerford Town A 0-1 Chippenham Town H 4-0
Poole Town A 1-0 Chelmsford City H 1-1

Previous Meetings

12.08.2017 Dartford 0 Havant and Waterlooville 0
19.03.2016 Havant and Waterlooville 2 Dartford 0
05.12.2015 Dartford 4 Havant and Waterlooville 2
17.03.2012 Dartford 3 Havant and Waterlooville 1
07.01.2012 Havant and Waterlooville 1 Dartford 4
18.04.2011 Havant and Waterlooville 1 Dartford 0

Stats
Danny Harris failed to score for the first time against Havant and Waterlooville in August, the full back had previously netted five goals versus the Hawks in four appearances.

Dartford are unbeaten in their last five games against Havant and Waterlooville (W4, D1) which included league doubles in 2011-2012 and 2015-2016.

The Darts have never lost to the Hawks at Princes Park in three attempts (W2, D1). However, Havant and Waterlooville did win the first two matches at Dartford in 1999 (2-0 in the Southern League Southern Division) and 2000 (4-0 in the F.A Trophy third qualifying round)..

On This Day
Dave Martin scored a wonder goal and Brendon Cass a hat-trick eleven years ago when the Darts thrashed Burgess Hill Town 7-2. Martin’s long range drive into the top corner was the pick of the bunch on a memorable afternoon at Princes Park. The winger did add a second goal to his name with John Guest and Ryan Hayes scoring the other two. That is Dartford’s only win on 13 January in the last five attempts, losing the remaining four, most recently a 2-1 home loss against FC Halifax Town in 2015.

Concord Rangers v Dartford

Dartford look to extend their unbeaten run to four in the league when they travel to Concord Rangers this weekend.

The Darts maintained their position at the top of the National South over the festive period and have a two point cushion. Tony Burman led his side to double victory over local rivals Welling United, but will face a stern test against a Concord Rangers side unbeaten in their last twelve league outings.

In what will be the seventh meeting between Dartford and the Beachboys, the Darts kept up their good record against the Essex club back in August with a 2-0 win at Princes Park. Searching for the maiden win of the campaign, Dartford entered the match on the back of three consecutive draws. A goal in either half by Elliot Bradbrook and Lyle Della-Verde gave the Darts their first three point haul of the season.

On Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, Andy Pugh and Alfie Pavey came back to haunt their former club Welling United in both sets of fixtures. In the 3-2 Boxing Day victory, Pavey’s last minute scissor kick won the match in style, Pugh had earlier put Dartford two up. In the return fixture, Ryan Hayes opened the scoring and after conceding an equaliser the Darts could rely on Pugh to put them back ahead. Pavey came off the substitutes bench once more and this time netted a brace, taking his tally to 18 for the season. Dartford’s performance drew praise from former Dartford defender Jamie Coyle, now in charge at Welling United. Coyle tips the Darts for the title.

Much has been made of whether Alfie Pavey should start instead of Danny Mills, considering Pavey’s recent form from off the bench since returning to action. Burman backs Mills who is on loan from Ebbsfleet United, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “I’d like to have him here rather than being at another club,” said Burman. “The whole division wants to sign him so we can’t be wrong, can we? I’d like him to stay”. To add further competition to the front line, Duane Ofori-Acheampong managed to get some minutes on the pitch after a long term injury.

Concord Rangers had their Boxing Day game abandoned at 1-1 with East Thurrock United, but the two sides managed to finish the New Year’s Day meeting. Former Dartford play Femi Akinwande scored twice in a 3-2 win that stretched the Beachboys unbeaten run and move them into sixteenth. The Beachboys recent run of a dozen unbeaten matches only includes four wins, which have come in the last five outings in the National South.

Head to Head
Concord Rangers wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 4 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Concord Rangers (WDWWWD) Dartford (WWDLWD)
East Thurrock United A 3-2 Welling United H 4-1
Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-1 Welling United A 3-2
Wealdstone H 3-1 Braintree Town H 1-1
Bognor Regis Town A 2-1 Hungerford Town A 0-1
Chippenham Town H 4-2 Poole Town A 1-0
Welling United A 3-3 Wealdstone H 3-3

Previous Meetings

15.08.2017 Dartford 2 Concord Rangers 0
11.03.2017 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 1
24.09.2016 Dartford 2 Concord Rangers 1
27.02.2016 Dartford 1 Concord Rangers 2
18.08.2015 Concord Rangers 2 Dartford 3
27.01.2009 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 3

Stats
Alfie Pavey has now scored 14 league goals this season in just 16 starts and three substitute appearances. The striker has scored three in his last two appearances both off the bench.

Andy Pugh has scored four in his last three league appearances and has eight league goals from nine starts and seven substitute appearances. Pugh also made his 100th start for the club on New Year’s Day to go with the 42 substitute appearances, in that time Pugh has managed 45 goals for the Darts.

On This Day
For the first time in 22 years Dartford play on 6 January, a date in which they have been unbeaten for 56 years over six games. Greenwich Borough were the only side to take points off the Darts during that time, in a 0-0 Kent League draw back in 1996. Before then, Dartford won five in a row beating Moor Green 4-1 (Southern Premier League in 1990), Fisher Athletic 1-0 (Southern League Cup in 1987), Nuneaton Borough 1-0 (Southern League Cup in 1975), Dover Athletic 2-1 (Southern Premier League in 1973) and Folkestone Town 1-0 (Southern League First Division in 1968). The last defeat on this day was a 1-0 loss in 1962 against Ramsgate Athletic.

Dartford v Welling United

Dartford begin the New Year top of the National South and will look to maintain their position in the league when they host Welling United.

The New Year’s Day clash comes just six days after the Darts recorded a dramatic victory against the Wings in the reverse fixture. A spectacular injury time winner by former Welling United striker, Alfie Pavey decided the local derby in style.

In fact, the 3-2 victory was full of ex-players coming back to haunt their club. The scoring was opened on just three minutes by an unmarked Andy Pugh, after a cross from Ryan Hayes. The former Welling United frontman then made it 2-0 ten minutes into the second half, again Hayes supplying the cross for Pugh to tap home.

Welling United hit back with thirteen minutes to go when former Dart, Callum Driver scored a free-kick from just outside the area. Then Dartford threw their two-goal advantage away when captain Elliot Bradbrook upended brother Tom, another ex-Dart, to concede a penalty. Up stepped Jeffrey Monakana to level the score with just three minutes on the clock. In the third minute of injury time Pavey produced a moment to saviour as he scissor-kicked the winner in front of the jubilant away following.

Dartford’s first win against the Wings at Park View Road since 1983 secured top spot at the end of 2017. Victory ensured the Darts have a two-point cushion over Havant and Waterlooville and Chelmsford City, although both sides have a game in hand.

After the Boxing Day fixture, both managers spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk to give their reaction, Tony Burman commented: “I think we deserved to win the game. When we went 2-0 up we had a couple of other opportunities to increase the lead”, he added: “We were dead and buried when it went 2-2. We gave away two silly fouls and they’ve scored from a free-kick and a penalty. Defensively I thought we were reasonable but something like that changes things”.

Burman also justified his recent team selections specifically the games that top scorer and match winner Alfie Pavey has missed through a chest infection, he commented: “Believe you me, I will make him a lot better than what he is doing. He has got my belief and regardless of whether he has been playing or not, I’ve got to manage him in the way I think is right”, he added: “He is a young, good lad who has done ever so well for us. He has had some problems in the last month and I’m going to manage them problems the best way I can”.

Welling United player manager, Jamie Coyle was disappointed with defeat but pleased with the character shown by his players, and the improvement made after the 4-1 loss against Chelmsford City, he said: “After what happened on Saturday, we could have crumbled after going 1-0 down so early”, he continued: “We stuck at it, and I thought all over the pitch we more than competed and were the better team for the majority of the game. In both boxes, they defended really well and put their chances away”.

Coyle, another former Dart was unable to play due to illness despite looking forward to the fixture. Meanwhile, Bradley Goldberg was substituted at half-time due to an injury to his hamstring.

With Dartford in pole position going into the New Year, Burman feels his squad can kick on after decent performances against Boreham Wood, Braintree Town and now Welling United, he said: “We’re pleased with where we are. We realise we want to kick-start the season and we might just do that with what happened at the end of the Welling United game, he continued: “We know we’ve got to be professional and consistent and get four or five wins on the bounce. If we do that then that group (at the top of the league) will get smaller and it will help us hopefully to pull away from them”.

Head to Head
Welling United wins: 7 / Dartford wins: 17 / Draws: 10

Current League Form

Dartford (WDLWDW) Welling United (LLLDDW)
Welling United A 3-2 Dartford H 2-3
Braintree Town H 1-1 Chelmsford City A 1-4
Hungerford Town A 0-1 East Thurrock United H 0-3
Poole Town A 1-0 Hemel Hempstead Town A 2-2
Wealdstone H 3-3 Concord Rangers H 3-3
Gloucester City H 4-1 St Albans City A 2-1

Previous Meetings

26.12.2017 Welling United 2 Dartford 3
28.02.2017 Welling United 0 Dartford 0
22.11.2016 Welling United 2 Dartford 2
06.09.2016 Dartford 2 Welling United 1
19.10.2015 Dartford 3 Welling United 1
11.11.2014 Dartford 2 Welling United 1

Stats
It’s been 16 years since the Darts won on New Year’s Day when they beat Sittingbourne 5-2 in the Southern League Division One East. Since then, Dartford have lost five out of six and drew the other, including the defeat to Welling United in 2011.

Dartford have won four of the last five matches against the Wings at Princes Park.

If selected, Andy Pugh will make his 100th start for Dartford.

In 2017, Dartford collected 85 points in 44 games averaging at 1.93 points per game. Only on one occasion would that points average be enough to win the National South. Bromley won the title in 2014/15 with 77 points from 40 games.

On This Day
Dartford have won one New Year’s Day fixture since reforming and that was the 5-2 victory against Sittingbourne in 2001. That was the start of seven away days in a row on this day which has resulted in one draw and five defeats. The draw came in 2013 against Ebbsfleet United when the Darts conceded a last minute equaliser. Jon Wallis scored a free kick before Harry Crawford doubled the lead, Nathan Elder netted both goals for the Fleet. The last home match at home on the 1 January was in 1999, which saw Dartford draw 0-0 with Margate in the Southern League South Division and five years before that the Darts lost 3-2 at home to Alma Swanley.

Welling United v Dartford

Tony Burman will come up against a former player in the dugout when the Darts take on local rivals on Boxing Day.

Dartford will make the short journey to Park View Road to play Welling United, managed by Jamie Coyle. The Wings boss made 140 appearances for the Darts and was part of the team that won the Isthmian Division One North and Isthmian Premier leagues, in 2008 and 2010. The ex-Dartford defender is making a good start to his managerial career with his side currently eleventh in the National South four points off a playoff spot.

The Darts took four points from Welling United last term with the away match ending in a 0-0 draw back in February. It was the fourth time in a row at Park View Road that the two sides shared the points in the league. In September 2014, the National League meeting ended 2-2 with the Darts equalising on both occasions. Harry Beautyman put the Wings ahead but Peter Sweeney levelled for Dartford. The game was just 14 minutes old when Jamal Fyfield scored again for Welling United, but for the second time Elliot Bradbrook squared up the score.

Eight months previous, early goals settled another draw this time Dartford loanee Jim Stevenson had the visitors in front. However, Ross Lafayette’s penalty eight minutes later secured a 1-1 draw. The Boxing Day fixture six years ago also ended up 1-1 on a dramatic afternoon. Lee Clarke opened the scoring for Welling United and after Joe Healy was sent off it looked like the Wings would hold on. In the last minute, Clarke had the chance to secure victory but missed his penalty, then Dartford went down the other end and Lee Noble headed in the equaliser.

After taking on Braintree Town on the weekend, in a match that saw the top two battle it out, Welling United will provide a different test for the Darts. Burman spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “Welling are going through a transitional period but with all due respect to them, it’s a period at the right end of the table”, the Dartford boss added: “They’ve got players who we know and vice-versa, it will about what happens on the day”, he continued: “The bragging rights are there, it’s not the be all and end all but it’s nice to pick up the points over the Christmas period”.

Braintree Town started Saturday’s game well looking to build from the back and put the Darts under pressure. However, against the run of play some great work from Tom Murphy on the left saw him cross the ball to Andy Pugh who tapped in the opener on 17 minutes. The Darts grew into the first half after the goal until their opponents tried to get back on level terms, which they managed from a counter attack finished off by Marcel Barrington on the stroke of half time. The second half played out with no further goals and left the Darts clinging on to top spot on goal difference, level with four other teams on 39 points.

Burman commented after the game courtesy of www.kentonline.co.uk: “Hopefully we can get the few wins together we need but nothing happens in December, nothing happens in January. You’ve got to keep up there among the pack”, he added: “If we make a gap, great, but it just doesn’t work like that sometimes”.

Alex Brown served his one match suspension against the Iron and will be available for selection. Nathan Collier made his first start since returning to the Darts taking Brown’s place in midfield. Former Welling United striker Alfie Pavey has been named on the bench since returning from a chest infection, Burman said when speaking to www.kentonline.co.uk: “It’s well-publicised that Alfie’s had some breathing problems over the last few weeks, which has hampered him when the weather’s got cold”.

One of the outstanding players so far this campaign, Lee Noble was also left on the bench with Burman confirming to www.kentonline.co.uk: “”When I got here, he was out doing the warm-up,” he said. “He’s come through the warm-up on his own and I decided to put him on the bench. When he did the warm-up with the players, he’s come back in and his calf stiffened up so we had a little problem there”.

Meanwhile, Welling United were at title challengers Chelmsford City on the weekend and a costly start made the afternoon difficult for the Wings. After just a couple of minutes the Clarets were in front when Matthew Johnson scored for the hosts. Former Dart, Luke Daley volleyed home a second after six minutes and Kudus Onyenuga made it 3-0 before the half was over. Chris Dicksom added a fourth in the second half and Welling United’s Bradley Goldberg scored a consolation.

The Wings have won once in their last five outings which has seen them drop slightly off the playoff pace. Over September and October they managed a run of six wins from seven games which put the amongst the crowded field. Joe Healy is their main marksman this term with nine National South goals, whilst former Darts, Coyle and Tom Bradbrook have four goals each. Brother of Dartford captain Elliot, Tom last played at the beginning of the month in Welling United’s 2-2 draw with Truro City, the striker who made 103 appearances for Dartford and scored 24 times, wasn’t in the squad for the Wings defeat at Chelmsford City.

Head to Head
Welling United wins: 7 / Dartford wins: 17 / Draws: 10

Current League Form

Dartford (DLWDWL) Welling United (LLDDWL)
Braintree Town H 1-1 Chelmsford City A 1-4
Hungerford Town A 0-1 East Thurrock United H 0-3
Poole Town A 1-0 Hemel Hempstead Town A 2-2
Wealdstone H 3-3 Concord Rangers H 3-3
Gloucester City H 4-1 St Albans City A 2-1
Truro City A 1-3 Wealdstone H 1-2

Previous Meetings

28.02.2017 Welling United 0 Dartford 0
22.11.2016 Welling United 2 Dartford 2
06.09.2016 Dartford 2 Welling United 1
19.10.2015 Dartford 3 Welling United 1
11.11.2014 Dartford 2 Welling United 1
30.09.2014 Welling United 2 Dartford 2

Stats
Dartford’s last league victory at Welling United was in 1983. The Darts won 4-0 and since then have lost one and drawn the last four.

Over 90 minutes, Dartford are unbeaten in seven against the Wings. The Darts have lost just once in their last 13 against Welling United. Including the penalty shoot out loss in last season’s Kent Senior Cup, then the Darts have lost twice in that time.

The Darts are clinging on to top spot and clinging on to the best attacking record. Dartford are still the top scorers with 44 goals, but Braintree Town and East Thurrock United are just one behind.

On This Day
This will be the sixteenth Boxing Day fixture for Dartford since reformation and their record stands at won six, drawn three, lost six. In the time, the Darts have beaten rivals Ebbsfleet United twice in 2012 and 2016. Harry Crawford’s brace and Elliot Bradbrook’s goal earned Dartford a 3-1 win in 2012. Four years later, Tom Bonner’s header against his former side and Duane Ofori-Acheampong’s strike gave the Darts a 2-1 victory. The biggest score was racked up in 2007 when Dartford beat Canvey Island 6-1 in an Isthmian Division One North fixture. On that day six different scorers helped the Darts to the three points, Steve Norman, Ryan Hayes, Brendon Cass, Jay May, Eddie McClements and Jamie Coyle.

Dartford v Braintree Town

The top two go head to head at Princes Park this weekend as the Darts host second place Braintree Town.

Joint leaders on points Dartford have a superior goal difference and only victory will guarantee another weekend at the top of the National South. Braintree Town are level on points but so too are Hampton and Richmond Borough, in fact the top seven are separated by just one win.

Dartford met the Iron earlier in the season back in August. After an uninspiring opening day, the Darts played their first away match of the campaign against the Essex club, who are now looking to bounce back to the National League after relegation last term.

The Darts had to show their fighting spirit over four months ago, to earn a draw from 2-0 down. Braintree Town went in at half-time in the driving seat with goals from Karl Oliyide and Billy Crook. In the second half, Lee Noble’s header back to Tom Murphy pulled a goal back, but the goalscorer was forced off through injury. The equaliser came from captain Elliot Bradbrook who headed home after Tom Bonner nodded the ball back across goal from a corner. On that evening, Warren Mfula made his first start and Richard Sho-Silva his debut.

It’s been over five years since Dartford beat Braintree Town when Tom Bonner and Jacob Erskine scored the only two goals of the game. Since then, the Darts failed to score in the last five meetings against the Iron before the 2-2 draw this season. Dartford’s last two campaigns in the National League saw Braintree Town complete the double against the Darts on both occasions.

Tony Burman will be hoping his side can show the mentality needed by his players to beat a title challenger. In the last league fixture, Dartford lost 1-0 away to lowly Hungerford Town but an improved performance in the F.A Trophy earned them a replay against National League side Boreham Wood.

The replay on Tuesday night turned out to be a long evening for the Darts as they went out of the F.A Trophy on penalties.  A dramatic injury time equaliser from Shaun Jeffers sent the replay into extra time with Dartford agonisingly on the verge of progressing to the second round. The Darts had earlier gone in front when Ryan Hayes curled in the opening goal six minutes into the second half. With just under twenty minutes remaining, Woods top scorer Bruno Andrade levelled the tie. However, minutes later Mills scored his first for the Darts to regain the lead. Shaun Jeffers popped up in stoppage time to keep Boreham Wood in the F.A Trophy and send the match into extra time.

No goals in the extra thirty minutes meant Dartford had to deal with the pressure of spot kicks. Unfortunately it was all too much despite Elliot Bradbrook scoring the first. Tom Murphy, Lyle Della-Verde and Alfie Pavey all missed from 12 yards whilst the hosts scored all their attempts to win 3-1 on penalties.

Nathan Collier could make his first start since returning to the Darts, he has missed the last two matches because he was cup tied. Alex Brown will serve his one match suspension for the red card he received in the F.A Trophy draw with Boreham Wood.

Braintree Town also played their replay on Tuesday night against Brackley Town of the National North, who they drew with 0-0 on the weekend. Like Dartford’s match, the sides still couldn’t break the deadlock going in at half time goalless. Then six minutes into the second half Brackley Town’s Matt Lowe gave the hosts the lead and with just over ten minutes left, Shane Byrne made it 2-0 to knock out the Iron in the first round.

The Irons have been steady all season and expiring defeat just once in their first nine games gave Brad Quinton’s side some foundations to build on. In that time, they won five, drew three and lost once. Whilst the last month has been patchy in form for Braintree Town, like the Darts they have failed to break away from the chasing pack but have put themselves well in contention of promotion.

In their last league outing the Iron beat Eastbourne Borough at home 3-2. Twice the Essex club had to come from behind, Phil Roberts netted his thirteenth and fourteenth of the season to equalise on both occasions, the striker is currently the top scorer in the National South. The winner came from the penalty spot which Bill Crook converted from 12 yards.

Head to Head
Braintree Town wins: 6 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Dartford (LWDWLW) Braintree Town (WLDLWW)
Hungerford Town A 0-1 Eastbourne Borough H 3-2
Poole Town A 1-0 Wealdstone A 1-3
Wealdstone H 3-3 Truro City H 1-1
Gloucester City H 4-1 Weston-super-Mare H 0-1
Truro City A 1-3 Poole Town A 3-0
St Albans City H 2-1 Bognor Regis Town H 3-0

Previous Meetings

08.08.2017 Braintree Town 2 Dartford 2
01.01.2015 Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
26.12.2014 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
18.04.2014 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0
24.08.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
11.04.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 0

Stats
Dartford have yet to play any of the current top seven at home this season, on the road against those same teams the Darts have picked up six points from 18.

In contrast Braintree Town have yet to beat a top half team on the road and have conceded 12 goals in three matches against those they have played.

The Darts are the top scorers in the division with 43 goals, Braintree Town are second with 42 goals.

At the half way stage of the season Dartford games have averaged 3.14 goals a game against a league average of 3.01.

On Tuesday night, Ronnie Vint made his 100th appearance in a Darts shirt, his 94th start for the club.

On This Day
Dartford have drawn four of their last five games on 23 December with the most recent coming eleven years ago in the Isthmian Division One South. A 2-2 away draw with Walton casuals was secured with goals by Ryan Hayes and Jay May. Three of those matches, all away from home have ended in 1-1, Histon in 2000 (Southern League Division One East), Hastings United in 1978 and Telford United in 1972 (both Southern Premier League). In the middle of those fixtures the Darts beat Merthyr Tydfil 4-2 at home in a F.A Trophy first round replay back in 1986.

Hungerford Town v Dartford

Dartford begin December at the top of the National South and will visit Hungerford Town this weekend in an attempt to keep a three-point lead.

The Darts have spent almost three weeks in pole position with just six points separating the top eight. Looking for back to back away victories in the league for the first time this season, Dartford take on the Crusaders who themselves are desperate for a win.

Hungerford Town have picked up just one point from their last five National South fixtures, however they did manage to draw 0-0 with Dartford on the opening day of the campaign. Last term, the Berkshire club beat the Darts at Bulpit Lane 2-0 with goals from Louie Soares and Stefan Brown.

Tony Burman has made his intent clear with two signings in the last week. Danny Mills has joined the strike force from local rivals Ebbsfleet United and Nathan Collier returns to the club from Hampton and Richmond Borough. Mills was prolific in his spell at Whitehawk at this level scoring almost a goal every other game over a five year period. At Ebbsfleet United he has had limited chances to shine making just ten appearances and scoring once.

Mills spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “Going from playing 250 games in five years to not knowing if I’ll be in the squad has been really difficult”, he added: “But there comes a time when you have to make a decision. I want to go out and play football and after being used to playing so much, I wanted that feeling again. I wanted that excitement of looking forward to a game on a Saturday, knowing that you’re going to go out and play”.

He continued: “I wanted to go to a team that was challenging, up there at the top of the table, fighting for promotion. I want to play for something every week, I didn’t want to go to a team that was mid-table so when the opportunity to go to Dartford came up, it was a no-brainer”.

Mills went straight into the starting eleven last weekend as Dartford beat nine men Poole Town 1-0 in Dorset. A good defensive display and Richard Sho-Silva’s early winning goal was enough to earn three vital points. The result made even better considering the absentees of Ronnie Vint, Tom Bonner (who became a father this week) and Danny Harris, midfielder Alex Brown slotted into right back to replace Harris. In midfield, Lee Noble was also missing through suspension but he will return from his ban this weekend.

Manager Tony Burman told www.dartfordfc.com: “After Saturdays win, I felt we have played a lot better in previous games and lost but on a positive note we defended really well and looked organised defensively throughout the game. After conceding quite a few goals over the last month it was nice to keep a clean sheet and once again from a good defensive display”.

He commented: “When Richard scored our goal early in the game we had quite a few chances throughout the rest of the game to finish our opponents off, but good goalkeeping kept Poole in the game I felt. Overall with Tom Bonner, Danny Harris, Lee Noble all missing and with Alfie Pavey trying to play not feeling 100% all in all I’m delighted we gained three points”.

The signing of Collier adds further depth to the squad as well as versatility, he previously played 117 times for the Darts between 2012 and 2015. Collier has had spells with Eastbourne Borough and Hampton and Richmond Borough since leaving Princes Park.

Hungerford Town were one of the surprise packages last season but have had to deal with the departure of former boss Bobby Wilkinson, who joined Wealdstone in early in the campaign. Jon Boardman and Ian Herring are now in charge of a team sitting 18th in the National South table.

Last weekend the Crusaders ended a run of six consecutive defeat in all competitions with a 1-1 draw against Chelmsford City. Tom Meechan opened his Hungerford Town account in his first game back from a loan spell with St Neots Town, where he scored six goals in 14 appearances. Meechan’s strike was the first in five games for the Crusaders in a spell where they have netted just three times in their last eight outings.

Struggling with injuries and suspensions Hungerford Town had four academy players on the bench against the Clarets. Former Dartford loanee Alex Wall will continue his suspension for his red card in the F.A Trophy defeat versus Billericay Town, the same side that beat them 6-1 in the F.A Cup. Riak John is also unavailable whilst co-manager Ian Herring returned from his two-game ban in their last league match. Matt Williams has been signed from Evesham United to bolster the defence meaning Darnell Smith’s loan spell from Barnet has not been renewed.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Hungerford Town wins: 1 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings

05.08.2017 Dartford 0 Hungerford Town 0
14.04.2017 Hungerford Town 2 Dartford 0
27.08.2016 Dartford 2 Hungerford Town 0

Current League Form

Hungerford Town (LLWDLW) Dartford (WDWLWW)
Chelmsford City A 1-1 Poole Town A 1-0
Truro City H 0-1 Wealdstone H 3-3
Wealdstone A 0-1 Gloucester City H 4-1
Havant & Waterlooville H 0-1 Truro City A 1-3
Eastbourne Borough H 0-1 St Albans City H 2-1
St Albans City H 0-0 Bath City A 2-1

Stats
In the three encounters that have taken place between Dartford and Hungerford Town, the away side has never scored.

In the last six league games featuring Hungerford Town there has only been six goals scored at a goal a game. By contrast Dartford have seen a total of 22 goals scored at an average of 3.66 per game.

In all competitions, if Dartford win on the weekend they will record their longest winning away run this season of three consecutive victories.

On This Day
Dartford last won on the 9 December back in 1995 when they beat Ramsgate 3-0 in the Kent League First Division. A year later they were beaten 3-1 in a F.A Trophy third qualifying round replay against Dulwich Hamlet. In 2006, the Darts drew 1-1 with Dover Athletic, Brendon Cass scoring for Dartford at Princes Park. Nine years ago was the last time the Darts played on this day in a 4-2 Kent Senior Cup first round defeat to Bromley.

Poole Town v Dartford

Dartford travel to the Jurassic coast this weekend starting the day top of the National South when they visit Poole Town.

If their last trip to Tatnam Road is anything to go by, then it should be an entertaining afternoon. The Darts played their final game of last season against the Dolphins needing a win to clinch third place. Andy Pugh’s ninth minute tap in set Dartford on their way. However, Poole Town came from behind with a headed goal by Marvin Brooks and a second from Steve Devlin before half time. The game swung in second half injury time when Tom Murphy hooked the ball over his head from close range, then six minutes into stoppage time Lee Noble lashed home a winner.

Despite leading the National South table, Dartford’s advantage is minimal with the top eight separated by just four points. Recent form has been patchy with the last four results showing the Darts inconsistencies at the moment. Last weekend a late 2-1 F.A Trophy victory versus Brentwood Town masked the performance, Lee Noble scoring the winner against his former club who play two divisions below. The midfielder, who was sent off in the last league match, a 3-3 draw with Wealdstone, is suspended this weekend.

The two previous fixtures saw Dartford beat Gloucester City 4-1 at home but lose 3-1 down at Truro City. During the week manager, Tony Burman spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “The league is crying out for someone to go on a run. Each week, the results become stranger for the teams in the top few places and I’ve got to really start to look at it”, he added: “We’ve got to start trying to be consistent. We’ve done all right but I want better than all right and the players know that”, he continued: “Some of the performances have been below-par and you have to go through that in a season. Hopefully, you put things right and I’m sure we’ll be able to do that and have a run where we’re picking up wins instead of draws”.

Poole Town would have made the playoffs last season, but ground grading prevented them from participating. After winning the Southern League the year before, a fifth place finish was a great achievement for the club. This season they have failed to win at home picking up just three points out of 27 available. The opportunity for Dartford to improve their away form is their for the taking but Burman remains cautious, he commented: “Poole are a good side and they’re playing a lot better than their league position suggests. It’s a big pitch down there and I’m expecting a tough game. We’ve got to go to these away games and start picking up more points. Rather than drawing, we’ve got to try to win the games”.

The Dolphins went out of the F.A Trophy last weekend losing 3-1 to St Albans City and on Tuesday they won a Dorset Senior Cup game 10-2 against Hamworthy United. Manager Tom Killick, now in his thirteenth year can look towards the 4-0 away win at Eastbourne Borough at the start of the month for inspiration, however his side have lost their last two league games without scoring.

Warren Bentley signed for Poole Town this term and is their main goal threat, scoring 11 goals in 15 games in all competitions. The striker was prolific at Winchester City before joining Gosport Borough and then Hungerford Town. Bentley is only one league goal behind Dartford’s top scorer Alfie Pavey who has netted 11 National South goals this campaign.

The recent run of results has led to Poole Town chairman, Chris Reeves urging fans to turn up this weekend. In a statement published on www.pooletownfc.co.uk, he said: “If on Saturday against league leaders Dartford there is a bumper turnout of fans, all showing absolute backing and encouragement for a group of players who in the last few seasons have given us so much, that could be the very thing that makes the difference”.

Head to Head
Poole Town wins: 15 / Dartford wins: 16 / Draws: 5

Current League Form

Poole Town (LLWDLW) Dartford (DWLWWL)
Hampton & Richmond A 0-1 Wealdstone H 3-3
Braintree Town H 0-3 Gloucester City H 4-1
Eastbourne Borough A 4-0 Truro City A 1-3
Concord Rangers H 1-1 St Albans City H 2-1
Gloucester City H 0-3 Bath City A 2-1
Havant & Waterlooville A 2-2 Chelmsford City A 0-1

Previous Meetings

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
24.11.1990 Dartford 0 Poole Town 0

Stats
Dartford have lost three of their last four away games in the National South

The Darts have won four of the last six away matches against Poole Town (D1, L1)

Dartford have conceded in each of their last four away games in the league

The Darts have played only three teams currently in the bottom half of the table away from home this season. Whitehawk and Bath City were beaten but Dartford lost to Weston-super-Mare.

On This Day
A second round Kent Senior Trophy win against Folkestone Invicta took place 22 years ago. The Darts won the second round tie 1-0 against one of the favourites. Dean Bowey scored the winner in front of a crowd of 327. Victory kick started Dartford’s run to the final after beating Whitstable Town 2-1, Furness 1-0 then claim the trophy with a 3-0 win over Chatham Town. Since then, in 2006 Dartford have beaten Fleet Town 3-0 thanks to a Brendon Cass hat-trick. Two years later Dartford beat Margate 3-2 in the Isthmian League Cup second round, Sean Eferakorho, Rob Haworth and Ryan Hayes all getting a goal. The last match on 2 December was in 2014 when the Darts lost 2-0 in the National League against Eastleigh.

Dartford v Wealdstone

Dartford moved back to the top of the National South on the weekend and hope to retain the number one spot this week when they host Wealdstone.

The Darts maintained their solid home form on Saturday with a 4-1 win over Gloucester City. Warren Mfula opened the scoring with his fourth league goal of the campaign and Lyle Della Verde added a second by capitalising on a defensive error. Della Verde scored again in the second half with Alfie Pavey adding a fourth before the hour. The Tigers pulled a goal back but Dartford were too strong and moved to the top of the table. At Princes Park, Dartford have dropped just four points from their nine home games.

Tony Burman spoke to www.dartfordfc.com after the win and said: “I was delighted with the result and performance this week especially after Truro. The players reacted very well to the loss last week. We played against a good footballing side in Gloucester City and they caused us problems, but I thought we were ruthless in front of goal, and deserved the three points”.

Andy Pugh returns after serving a suspension, Tom Murphy will return to the squad whilst Duane Ofori-Acheampong was back in training last week after a long lay off. Keaton Wood left the club, the defender played 74 times for the Darts scoring four goals, he has made 13 appearances this term.

The Darts last faced Wealdstone at Princes Park over a year ago, on the first day of last season. It took until a minute before half time for Dartford to open their account when Luke Wanadio hit a low ball across the box for Elliot Bradbrook to finish. Early in the second half and Wealdstone were level through Elliot Benyon but the lead was restored after Ryan Hayes netted from the spot. The three points looked like they were heading for the Darts but in the final minute Eddie Oshodi headed an equaliser.

That draw in August 2016 was the last of a winless run against the Stones stretching back nine games to 1991. The away fixture last term saw Dartford record their biggest win against their opponents since that last victory, when they also scored four. Wanadio scored from the edge of the box, Hayes scored with a trademark curling effort, Bradbrook added a third and Andy Pugh secured the 4-0 victory.

Wealdstone made a slow start picking up six points in August out of the 21 available, the only win coming on the opening day of the season. Long serving manager Gordon Bartlett lasted five matches bringing an end to the 22-year spell at the helm. Still involved in the club Bartlett now oversees a new role supporting youth development, football in the community and over key football developments.

A day later, Bobby Wilkinson was announced as the new Stones boss after he enjoyed a successful period with Hungerford Town. Wilkinson led the Crusaders to the National South which included two promotions via the playoffs, his seven-year spell with his former club was successful enough to appeal to Wealdstone Chairman, Peter Marsden.

Since the arrival of Wilkinson, Wealdstone have lost just three competitive matches in their last 15, a run that includes winning their last seven home matches. Although the Stones have won once on the road since the managerial change they have drawn five out of nine, losing just three.

On the weekend Wealdstone had their four game winning streak brought to an end in an away defeat to Weston-super-Mare. Two goals inside the first eight minutes from Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain and Zac McEachran gave the hosts the perfect head start and Reece Fleet scored the decisive goal either side of an Abobaker Eisa brace. The 3-2 loss meant the Stones are now in twelfth, four points off the playoffs.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 12 / Wealdstone wins: 13 / Draws: 12

Previous Meetings

28.01.2017 Wealdstone 0 Dartford 4
06.08.2016 Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2
26.01.2016 Dartford 1 Wealdstone 2
03.10.2015 Wealdstone 2 Dartford 1
21.02.2012 Wealdstone 1 Dartford 0
14.02.2012 Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2

Current League Form

Dartford (WLWWLW) Wealdstone (LWWWDW)
Gloucester City H 4-1 Oxford City A 2-3
Truro City A 1-3 Hungerford Town H 1-0
St Albans City H 2-1 Welling United A 2-1
Bath City A 2-1 Truro City H 2-1
Chelmsford City A 0-1 Chippenham Town A 0-0
Bognor Regis Town H 1-0 Whitehawk H 2-1

Stats
Four of the last five home games against Wealdstone have ended in draws, the Stones won the other encounter.

Wealdstone have scored two goals in each of their last three visits to Princes Park.

Both teams have scored at least a goal in the last seven matches at against each other at Princes Park.

The Darts have won their last four home games in the National South.

On This Day
Eight years ago, Dartford were knocked out of the F.A Trophy to Kent rivals Dover Athletic at the third qualifying round stage. Adam Burchall gave the Whites the lead at the Crabble but the Darts went ahead through Jay May then Danny Harris. Dover Athletic equalised from the spot when Frannie Collin scored and the winner came from Nicky Southall. Three years prior that tie, the Darts beat Leatherhead 1-0 in the Isthmian Division One South courtesy of Jay May’s decisive goal. The last home match played on the 21 November was back in 1978 when Dartford lost 3-2 to Redditch United in the Southern Premier League.

Dartford v Gloucester City

Dartford welcome new opponents to Princes Park this weekend when they host one of the National South newbies Gloucester City.

Fifteen and a half years since their last meeting in the Southern League days, the Darts take on the Tigers who spent the last eight seasons in the National North. The Gloucestershire club switched regions in the summer and travel to Princes Park on the back of a three game unbeaten run.

Meanwhile, Dartford have lost back to back fixtures after defeats against Truro City on Saturday and Swindon Town in the F.A Cup the weekend before. The Darts long journey to Treyew Road started in the worst possible fashion when they found themselves three down after just nineteen minutes. Tyler Harvey scored for the host from the penalty spot and Cody Cooke’s three double gave the White Tigers three goals in six minutes. Ronnie Vint pulled a goal back mid-way through the first half in the 3-1 loss. It was yet another slow start after the F.A Cup tie versus League Two side Swindon Town saw Dartford three down inside 26 minutes in a 5-1 reverse.

Elliot Bradbrook missed the trip to Truro after the birth of his son, Duane Ofori-Acheampong is recovering from injury and Andy Pugh is serving a suspension, the second of three games. Lee Noble and Lyle Della-Verde were dropped to the bench whilst Ronnie Vint, Keaton Wood and Tom Murphy were given starts.

Despite consecutive losses, Dartford have won their last four National South fixtures at home stretching over September and October. In that run the Darts gained a crucial three points against St Albans City with a 2-1 win, beat Bognor Regis Town, triumphed over Eastbourne Borough and overcame Chippenham Town scoring 12 goals in the process.

Dartford’s last meeting against Gloucester City in 1992 ended without a goal for either side. However, the Darts did win the home game in the Southern Premier League that season at Watling Street 2-0.

Last weekend, Tigers boss Tim Harris celebrated his 300th game in charge of Gloucester City with a 3-1 away win at bottom club Whitehawk. Three second half goals from Karnell Chambers, Joseph Parker and Jack Storer secured the three points to leave the Tigers sixteenth in the National South.

Victory extended Gloucester City’s unbeaten run to three as they look to make up seven points to reach a playoff spot. However, Harris will be hoping the club can remain in the National South during a difficult time for the club. In the eight years spent in the National North, Gloucester City made the top ten for the first time last season, finishing tenth. Severe flooding of their home a decade ago has left them homeless with crowds of just under 350 each.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 25 / Gloucester City wins: 12 / Draws: 10

Previous Meetings

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
20.01.1990 Gloucester City 0 Dartford 4

Current League Form

Dartford (LWWLWL) Gloucester City (WDWLLD)
Truro City A 1-3 Whitehawk H 3-1
St Albans City H 2-1 Concord Rangers A 1-1
Bath City A 2-1 Poole Town A 3-0
Chelmsford City A 0-1 Welling United H 0-1
Bognor Regis Town H 1-0 Braintree Town H 1-3
Weston-super-Mare A 0-3 Bognor Regis Town A 2-2

Stats
The Darts have won their last three home matches against Gloucester City.

Dartford have gone seven league games without keeping a clean sheet going back to 9 September against Chippenham Town.

Another game unbeaten will be the longest run without defeat in the National South for Gloucester City this season.

On This Day
Dartford are unbeaten in their last nine home matches on 18 November with five wins and four draws. Fisher Athletic were the last side the Darts face at home on this day in the Southern Division One East, Dartford won the match 3-1. The run of results include a friendly with an Arsenal XI in which the game finished 4-4 in 1972. The last team to beat the Darts at home on 18 November was Woolwich Arsenal Reserves in the Kent League back in 1899, the London club won 5-0. On the road, Dartford haven’t done so well with their last two results ending in defeat 4-1 away to Tonbridge Angels in 2008 and 4-0 at Cray Wanderers in 2006.

Truro City v Dartford

Dartford will make their longest journey of the season this weekend when they travel to fellow promotion hopefuls Truro City.

Dartford will hope to recreate last season’s performance at Treyew Road where they won 5-0. Keaton Wood, Andy Pugh, Duane Ofori-Acheampong’s brace and Alex Brown all found the back of the net in a comfortable win and biggest away victory for six and half years. The triumph secured the Darts first victory against the Cornwall club at the fifth attempt.

The Darts hit five again in the home match last term but conceded three in the process of completing the double of the White Tigers. Pugh scored two with Elliot Bradbrook, Luke Wanadio and Tom Murphy adding the other goals in an entertaining fixture.

After the euphoria of taking on Football League clubs in the F.A Cup, both teams can now concentrate on the National South. The Darts were comprehensively beaten at home to League Two side Swindon Town, whilst the White Tigers lost 3-1 to League One’s Charlton Athletic.

Hopeful of causing a cup upset, Dartford’s tie was effectively over in 26 minutes when Timi Elsnick, Harry Smith then Elsnick again put the Robins 3-0 up. Despite an encouraging final quarter of an hour in the first half, the Darts couldn’t manage anything to show for their efforts. Swindon Town added two more in quick succession at the start of the second half through Amine Lingazi and Paul Mullin, but at least Richard Sho-Silva gave Dartford fans something to cheer with a consolation.

Tony Burman was disappointed with his side’s defending, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “It’s disappointing because, defensively, we’re better than that. Yes, they were good finishes but we shouldn’t have given them the opportunities to finish their efforts like that”.

Andy Pugh will serve the second match of his three game ban for his red card at Bath City. Duane Ofori-Acheampong was not named in the squad for the F.A Cup fixture and is recovering from injury.

Currently leading the National South on goal difference, the Darts know a third league win in a row will more than likely keep them top of the table. Meanwhile, Truro City will want to close the four point gap on Dartford especially as they also have a game in hand.

After Sunday’s F.A Cup defeat to Charlton Athletic, manager Lee Hodges told BBC Radio Cornwall: “My main feeling is pride, we have faced a team a few leagues above and put in a performance that was great”, he added: “We have shown guts and determination and we left everything on the pitch against a very good team”.

Truro City struggled last term but this time they have put themselves amongst the many early front runners. The White Tigers hit form in September winning all five matches to extend a winning streak to six, Hodges picked up Manager of the Month. However, the curse of the monthly award struck as Truro City went on to pick up two points from their nine available in October.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 2 / Truro City wins: 3 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Truro City (DLDWWW) Dartford (WWLWLW)
Bognor Regis Town H 1-1 St Albans City H 2-1
Wealdstone A 1-2 Bath City A 2-1
Hampton & Richmond H 1-1 Chelmsford City A 0-1
East Thurrock United A 2-1 Bognor Regis Town H 3-1
Chippenham Town H 1-0 Weston-super-Mare A 0-3
Whitehawk H 7-2 Eastbourne Borough H 4-2

Previous Meetings

18.03.2017 Dartford 5 Truro  City 3
08.10.2016 Truro  City 0 Dartford 5
05.04.2016 Truro City 3 Dartford 0
19.09.2015 Dartford 0 Truro City 1
28.04.2012 Truro  City 1 Dartford 1
22.10.2011 Dartford 1 Truro  City 2

Stats
Dartford’s win at Bath City in their last away game in the National South ended a run of two successive defeats on the road in the league.

The Darts are the league’s top scorers with 34, only second place Braintree Town can match that.

Although Dartford have conceded 15 in their last three F.A Cup proper rounds (excluding qualifiers), they have the second best defence in the National South letting in just 15 in 16 games, three more goals than Chelmsford City.

On This Day
Princes Park opened as a full house packed the new stadium for Dartford’s homecoming. Hosting Horsham YMCA history was made by Brendon Cass who scored the first goal at the Darts new home, the time of the goal now etched on the window in the club bar. Cass scored again but the goal of the game came from Eddie McClements who struck a shot from outside the box. Nick Barnes scored the fourth and final goal in a 4-2 win on a day many fondly remember. Eleven years on Dartford have won 151, drawn 68, lost 78, scored 587 and conceded 374 in competitive matches at Princes Park. Happy Birthday.