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Oxford City v Dartford

Dartford start the final day of the season in ninth place and could end up with a shot at promotion to the National League, when they travel to Oxford City.

The Darts have it all to do on Saturday, but gave themselves a fighting chance after beating Billericay Town on Easter Monday. Victory against the Essex side moved Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle’s side within a point of the Essex club, who currently occupy the final playoff place in seventh.

At one point it looked as though Dartford were withing a shout of finishing as high as third place, however a run of six games without a win including a 6-0 drubbing at relegation threatened Eastbourne Borough on Easter weekend left hopes hanging by a thread. Dartford’s heaviest loss since 2002 had Adam Flanagan questioning his player’s attitude and work ethic in the press.

The team responded even though they were within a few minutes of their season fizzling out.  Joe Healy and Andre Coker made way for Darren McQueen and Charlie Sheringham, the pair starting together for the first time. Louis Wells maintained his place in goal and with Bailey Vose being recalled to parent club Colchester United, Wells likely to now be first choice. Sheringham wasted a glorious opportunity to put the Darts in front when he had his penalty saved by Billericay Town goalkeeper, Mark Smith. Minutes later the visitors won a spot kick of their own after Daniel Johnson fouled Adam Cunnington, up stepped Jake Robinson who scored. Tom Murphy entered the action replacing McQueen and had a massive impact in closing stages. With two minutes remaining, Billericay Town defender Paul Rooney sliced a clearance and Murphy calmly side footed his shot into the net. The two minutes into added time Murphy used the time and space he had to drive the ball in for a dramatic winner.

Jamie Coyle spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “The boys have provided a real Dartford performance. If you look back over the years, they really dug in to the end and showed that belief and desire that we’ve been after recently. It was a fantastic result against a good side. The reaction from Saturday’s performance was the biggest plus for us. We were very poor at Eastbourne and the players know that. We know it as a management team and everyone around the club knows it. They’ve reacted in a positive way, defended brilliantly collectively and looked a constant threat”.

A win at Oxford City will give Dartford a chance of making the top seven, but they still need results to go their way. If Billericay Town fail to win at home against fifth place Bath City, and St Albans City cannot beat champions Torquay United at home then a Darts victory will be enough. The Darts have recent history of their season going down to the final match and the omens are not favourable. Last term they lost the title on the last day and three years ago they missed out on a playoff spot.

The National South meeting earlier in the season saw one of the best first-half displays from a Dartford side under Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle. After just five minutes Andre Coker scored his first goal for the club and ten minutes later Jordan Wynter doubled the lead to record his first goal too. Oxford City’s Joe Oastler headed in two minutes after Wynter scored. Charlie Sheringham added the third on half an hour nodding home Ben Greenhalgh’s cross. The visitors pushed to get back in the game and made the Darts work hard for the victory in the second half, the Hoops made it 3-2 through Zac McEachran.

Dartford’s last visit to Marsh Lane came in the F.A Cup third qualifying round this season and it was Oxford City who progressed. A hat-trick from Kabongo Tshimanga and a goal from Bobson Bawling gave the Hoops a 4-1 win, Elliot Bradbrook scoring a consolation for the Darts. Tshimanga’s 23 league goals have helped Oxford City to what looks like a mid-table finish, the striker is third in the National South goalscoring charts and poses a threat to the Dartford defence. The 21-year-old recently earned an England C call up alongside goalkeeper Craig King. Manager, Mark Jones watched his side lose both Easter fixtures 1-0 at Bath City and 3-1 at home to Slough Town.

Head to Head

Oxford City wins: 2 / Dartford wins: 6 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Oxford City (LLWWLW) Dartford (WLLLDDL)
Bath City A 0-1 Billericay Town H 2-1
Slough Town H 1-3 Eastbourne Borough A 0-6
Concord Rangers A 1-0 Chippenham Town H 0-1
Hemel Hempstead Town H 2-1 Weston-super-Mare A 1-3
Chelmsford City A 1-2 Truro City H 1-1
Dulwich Hamlet H 4-1 Hampton & Richmond H 2-2

Previous Six Meetings

13.11.2018 Dartford 3 Oxford City 2
06.10.2018 Oxford City 4 Dartford 1
24.03.2018 Oxford City 0 Dartford 2
19.08.2017 Dartford 7 Oxford City 1
25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1
29.10.2016 Dartford 1 Oxford City 0

Stats 

Charlie Sheringham made his 100th appearance on Saturday for the Darts (84 starts 16 sub appearances)

Only Woking (7) and St Albans City (9) have scored more 90 minute + goals than Dartford (6)

Dartford have conceded the most goals in the division in 15 mins before half-time(16), they have conceded the fewest in the middle third of the second half (5) in the league.

Kabongo Tshimanga has scored 23 league goals this season which equates to 37.1% of Oxford City’s tally, this is the highest proportion by any player in the league.

Dartford are second from bottom over the last six league games, only Truro City have earned fewer points.

Oxford City took a scalp when they beat Torquay United at Marsh Lane in August, however they won five and lost 12 against the top nine in the National South.

On This Day

Dartford have won their last three games on this day with the last victory taking place seventeen years ago. The Darts beat Wisbech Town 2-1 in the Southern League Division One East. Two years before, the Darts won just eighteen miles away from Oxford City when they beat Witney Town 1-0 in the Southern League South Division. In 1996, Dartford hosted Hythe United in the Kent League and recorded another 2-1 triumph.

Dartford v Billericay Town

Dartford’s final home match of the regular National South season takes place on Easter Monday and it’s a must win game against Billericay Town.

The Darts can be proud of their home record this season which has helped them fight for a playoff place and a top seven finish. HOwever recent form has left Dartford’s playoff hopes hanging by a thread. Meanwhile their opponents Billericay Town had faltered away after a decent start to their first campaign back in the National South. At the beginning of the season, the Darts were aiming for a shot at promotion by any means, Billericay Town on the other hand were amongst the favourites for the title.

Without a win in six games Dartford have slipped to tenth in the National South, three points shy of a top seven place with two games to go. Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle will have to deal with a humiliating defeat to Eastbourne Borough and try and salvage something from the final two fixtures. The Darts were thrashed 6-0 on Saturday against a team needing to win to survive. Billericay Town on the other hand managed to stop their poor form with back to back wins over Gloucester City and Hemel Hempstead Town, the Essex club have a one point advantage over eighth place St Albans City.

When the two sides met back in September it was one of a group of games that gave Dartford belief in their yet to gel new look squad. The Darts were down in sixteenth after nine games and Billericay Town were second, three points behind leaders Woking. Dartford could have easily found themselves a goal down in the first half after Deren Ibrahim bundled over Jake Robinson, the Billericay Town striker took the resulting penalty only to hit the crossbar. Three minutes into the second half, the Blues won a second spot kick this time when Ronnie Vint fouled Danny Waldren, Robinson redeemed himself to give Ricay the lead. A dramatic point was salvaged deep into stoppage time, loanee Tom Knowles found Jamie Philpot who did what was needed to get the ball over the line. The 1-1 draw set up Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle’s side to go on a run of six wins from the next seven league games, still Dartford’s best spell of the campaign.

The last meeting at Princes Park between the two teams was one the Darts would rather forget. Despite picking up the Isthmian Premier League title at the end of the 2009/2010 season, Dartford lost twice to Billericay Town in that campaign. It’s a long time for manager Jamie Coyle to want revenge over the Essex club as he was in the starting eleven that day as well as Elliot Bradbrook, and Ryan Hayes who came on for the last half hour. The Blues swept aside the champions elect 4-1 as the Darts had a rare off day and had to win the game by coming from behind. James White set up Lee Burns for the first goal of the afternoon, but that was as good as things got for Dartford. Dave Wareham equalised for Ricay and he added his second two minutes after the break. Billy Bricknell made it 3-1 before Chris Wild was sent off for the visitors, however that made little difference because Danny Charge tapped in number four.

Despite Billericay Town’s lack of form at the business end of the season, they still have quality in their squad. Adam Cunnington, who scored at Princes Park for Tamworth rejoined the Blues recently, former Welling United striker Adam Coombes and they have former Dartford goalkeeper Alan Julian between the sticks. Julian made 45 appearances for Dartford during the 2013/2014 National League campaign and was sent off in Billericay Town’s 3-1 defeat a fortnight ago.

Dartford’s only other two meetings also came in the Isthmian Premier League in 2008 and 2009. A 2-0 home win ensured the Darts completed the double over the Essex club, Brendon Cass and John Guest the scorers. The fixture earlier that season ended 1-0 with Lee Noble scoring the only goal of the game.

Head to Head

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

Current Form

Dartford (LLLDDW) Billericay Town (WWLDLL)
Eastbourne Borough A 0-6 Hemel Hempstead Town H 2-1
Chippenham Town H 0-1 Gloucester City A 4-1
Weston-super-Mare A 1-3 Hampton & Richmond H 1-3
Truro City H 1-1 Dulwich Hamlet A 2-2
Hampton & Richmond H 2-2 Hungerford Town H 1-2
Torquay United A 0-2 Slough Town A 1-2

Previous Meetings

15.09.2018 Billericay Town 1 Dartford 1
06.03.2010 Dartford 1 Billericay Town 4
02.02.2010 Billericay Town 1 Dartford 0
14.02.2009 Dartford 2 Billericay Town 0
04.10.2008 Billericay Town 0 Dartford 1

Stats

Dartford suffered their biggest defeat in competitive competition for 16 years when they were hammered 6-0 at Eastbourne Borough on Saturday. They lost by the same margin away at Histon in 2003 in the Southern League Division One East.

Out of the top six in the division only champions Torquay United have beaten the Darts at Princes Park. The other four games have ended in four wins with the Darts scoring seven without reply.

Billericay Town will guarantee a playoff spot if they win on Easter Monday and if there is a winner between Concord Rangers versus St Albans City.

The Darts can only make the playoffs on the final day of the season if they avoid defeat on East Monday and even then they will need results to go their way next weekend.

On This Day

Dartford strolled to victory in their last home game on 22 April beating Bishop’s Stortford 4-0 two years ago. Andy Pugh, Elliot Bradbrook, Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Alfie Pavey all found the back of the net. Dartford’s Isthmian Premier League title party was in full swing when in the penultimate game of the season they beat Hendon 2-1 with Danny Harris scoring both. Two days later celebrations began down on the beach at Bognor Regis.

Eastbourne Borough v Dartford

Dartford have three games to prove they are worthy of a playoff place with the first away to Eastbourne Borough on Easter weekend.

The Darts travel to Priory Lane on Saturday at a time when a lack of form and injuries are testing management duo Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle. Dartford had looked comfortable in the top seven a month ago, but two points out of the last fifteen available has seen them drop out of the playoffs.

Four of the last five league games have been against teams in the lower half of the table, two of which are in a relegation scrap. This weekend will be no different as Eastbourne Borough are above the drop zone by a single point and have not tasted victory in their last fourteen league outings.

However, Adam Flanagan feels a win in Sussex will turn the season around, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “We just need to get a win, if we get a win then I think we will be settled. We’ve got a group where they are confident they can beat any team in this league. But we’re on a negative run at the moment and we need to flip that round as quickly as we can”.

Dartford have also been hit by the news that former captain Elliot Bradbrook will retire at the end of the season. The midfielder started last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at home to Chippenham Town as centre back before leaving the pitch with a calf injury inside the first twenty minutes. Bradbrook will be a huge miss especially as he’s the second highest scorer in the club’s history with 142 goals in 444 appearances. Flanagan also confirmed that striker Phil Roberts will no longer play for the club, Charlie Sheringham is not available for all the remaining fixtures, whilst Billy Crook and Mark Onyemah have been out injured.

On a positive note, Andy Pugh returned to first team action with a substitute appearance against Chippenham Town. The striker has been recovery from pre-season’s leg break and managed to complete fifteen minutes. Flanagan commented on Pugh’s return, he said: “Ideally if everyone was fit and we had a bench full of players then you’d give him the season off and get him back for pre-season”, he added: “It’s good to have him back and we’ll work closely to make sure we don’t force too much out of him. If he can come on and score a goal or two then great and if his leg isn’t ready or there is any doubt, then we’re not going to push him”.

Defeat against Chippenham Town was only Dartford’s third at home this season and with one more to play at Princes Park they will need to make their away games count too. Flanagan reflected after the loss: “I actually think we’ve played worse and won. In possession we were quite good, moved the ball quite well and got lots of opportunities to get balls into the box. We didn’t test their keeper as much as we wanted. I thought it was an assured performance apart from not scoring”.

Back in September, the Darts had Bradbrook to thank in the reverse fixture against Eastbourne Borough when his last-minute equaliser salvaged a point. Twice Dartford had to come from behind, first when former Dartford winger Dave Martin scored for the Sports, Charlie Sheringham levelled the contest. Then early in the second-half Emmanuel Odubade put Eastbourne Borough ahead before Bradbrook netted at the end.

It’s been a year since the Darts last visited Priory Lane in the league when they were battling for the National South title. A sixth consecutive win was secured by a Danny Mills header to keep Dartford top of the table on goal difference with three games to go.

This season the two sides met in the F.A Trophy at the third qualifying round stage. At Priory Lane, Kudus Oyenuga’s late equaliser forced a replay cancelling out Dean Cox’s goal. In the rematch, the tie ended in dramatic fashion with three goals in the closing minutes. Dean Cox’s brace for the Sports had the Sussex side cruising until the 89th minute when Andre Coker pulled a goal back. Academy product, Taylor Fisher equalised two minutes into injury time and with the tie heading for another thirty minutes former Dart, Tom Gardiner headed the winner knocking Dartford out at the first hurdle.

Three former players could be involved on the weekend wearing the Eastbourne Borough colours, Gardiner appeared 75 times, Martin made 71 starting appearances and scored 16 goals and Marvin Hamilton made just one substitute appearance. The Sports have been on a dismal run that is threatening eight year run in the National South. The Sussex side have started to struggle in front of goal with Charlie Walker responsible for the Sports last three goals, scored over the last five games. In fact, in their 14 game winless streak they have failed to net on nine occasions.

The experienced Mark McGhee is now in charge at Priory Lane taking over from Jamie Howell in February. The Glaswegian has plenty of Football League managerial experience winning promotion with Reading, Millwall and Brighton and Hove Albion, the 61 year-old has also managed in the Scottish Premiership with Motherwell and Aberdeen. Whether McGhee will be in the same role next season remains to be seen as the club are looking for applicants for the position.

Eastbourne Borough have lost their last three league games helping Torquay United to the title last weekend. The Sports lost 2-0 to the champions which followed a 2-1 loss to relegation rivals Gloucester City and 3-2 at Hemel Hempstead Town. Their six game unbeaten run at the start of the campaign seems so long ago, now the Sports are in a ‘mini-league’ at the bottom of the table.

Head to Head

Eastbourne Borough wins: 5 / Dartford wins: 10 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Eastbourne Borough (LLLDLD) Dartford (LLDDLW)
Torquay United A 0-2 Chippenham Town H 0-1
Gloucester City H 1-2 Weston-super-Mare A 1-3
Hemel Hempstead Town A 2-3 Truro City H 1-1
Bath City H 0-0 Hampton & Richmond H 2-2
Hungerford Town A 0-2 Torquay United A 0-2
Chelmsford City H 1-1 Gloucester City H 2-0

Previous Six Meetings

27.11.2018 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 3
24.11.2018 Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1
08.09.2018 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 2
14.04.2018 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1
12.09.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 2
08.04.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 3

Stats 

Dartford have gone nine league games unbeaten against Eastbourne Borough (W7, D2).

Eastbourne Borough’s F.A Trophy win in November was the Sports first win against the Darts in 13 attempts.

The Darts are unbeaten in five games at Priory Lane in all competitions, last losing an away match against the Sussex club in 2002.

Five games without a win is the longest winless streak under Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle.

On This Day

Six years ago Dartford were officially crowned the best part time team in the country. The final game of the season may have ended 1-0 to Nuneaton Borough when Wesley York scored the only goal of the game, but the Darts enjoyed a fantastic campaign finishing eighth in the National League. Lee Noble scored nine years ago in a 1-1 draw at Wealdstone. Already crowned Isthmian Premier League champions, the Darts were held for a second game in a row.

Dartford v Chippenham Town

Dartford have been hit by a lack of form at a crucial part of the season and now they have to pick themselves up for the visit of Chippenham Town this weekend.

The Darts were in a strong position in the race for a playoff place, but in the space of a month they are now battling to remain in the top seven. On a positive note, Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle are still leading a side that are in sixth with just four National South games to go. Two of those remaining fixtures are at Princes Park starting with this weekend’s clash against an out of form Chippenham Town.

In the three previous meetings versus the Wiltshire club, Dartford have won twice and drawn once with the corresponding fixture last term ending in a 3-0 home win. Ryan Hayes had one of his inspiring days and his two assists and goal made sure the winger put in a ‘man of the match’ performance. Hayes put in the crosses to set up Alfie Pavey and Andy Pugh to give the Darts a two goal advantage. Hayes wrapped up the three points with a calm finish curling the ball into the far corner of the Chippenham Town net.

Earlier this season, back in October, the fixture will be remembered for what is normally a rare footballing moment. If Deren Ibrahim, Dartford’s former goalkeeper, had not already had a career goal to his name then his winning goal at Hardenhuish Park would have come as a surprise. The Darts took the lead when Jamie Philpot turned and hooked the ball into the goal at the near post, however the hosts were level just before the break through Nat Jarvis. In the second half, Ibrahim took a free-kick from midway inside his own half which sailed over the Bluebirds goalkeeper Brad House and straight in for the winner.

Last season, the Darts frustratingly came back from Hardenhuish Park with a point. Dartford who were sitting top of the National League were looking to extend their lead, but twice they went ahead only for Chippenham Town to fight back. Alfie Pavey made sure the Darts were in front at the interval only for Dean Evans to equalise early in the second half. Pavey completed a brace to make it 2-1, but once again the Bluebirds levelled, this time through Nick McCootie.

Dartford have taken just two points from their last twelve games drawing their last two matches they have played at Princes Park. Whilst the Darts can be excused for defeat down at league leaders Torquay United on 16th March, performances in their last three outings have been below par. At home Dartford recorded back to back draws against a mediocre Hampton and Richmond Borough team and Truro City who are fighting to stay up.

Last weekend, the Darts travelled to the West Country and lost 3-1 to almost relegated Weston-super-Mare, who are bottom of the National South. Callum Driver returned to the starting eleven as Ronnie Vint was named on the bench, whilst Ben Greenhalgh, Tom Murphy and Darren McQueen all started instead of Billy Crook, Phil Roberts and Charlie Sheringham. Full back Mark Onyemah remains injured and Andy Pugh is still making his recovery from his pre-season leg break. Weston-super-Mare raced into a 3-0 first half lead with goals from George Nurse and a Marlon Jackson brace. Although Hayes scored in the second half, the hosts recorded only their second home league win all season.

It’s unlikely that Roberts will feature again this season claimed joint boss Adam Flanagan, Roberts has netted eight goals in 17 games this season. Sheringham will not be available for all the remaining games whilst a few players are suffering injuries. Vint was named on the bench last weekend despite a knee problem, Onyemah has fluid on his knee and Crook suffered a knock against Truro City leading to his ankle swelling up. Pugh took a positive step towards his recovery from a double leg break, the striker scored in a behind closed doors game against Tonbridge Angels Academy team.

Chippenham Town are currently sitting where they finished last season in thirteenth. Guaranteed National South football for a third consecutive campaign, the Bluebirds have too much to do to reach the top seven. Mark Collier has built a squad who are comfortable in the division although they arrive at Princes Park having taken a solitary point from their last eighteen.

A draw with St Albans City was sandwiched between defeats against Oxford City, Woking, Wealdstone and East Thurrock United before their latest loss last weekend. Dulwich Hamlet became the last team to inflict misery on the Wiltshire club despite almost falling behind to a goal that was ruled out for offside. Hamlet did take the lead in the first half when Nyren Clunis won a penalty and Dipo Akinyemi scored it. Akinyemi stretched the deficit for Chippenham Town by volleying home his second, leaving Nick McCootie’s goal a consolation late on.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Chippenham Town wins: 0 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford (LDDLWW) Chippenham Town (LLLDLL)
Weston-super-Mare A 1-3 Dulwich Hamlet H 1-2
Truro City H 1-1 East Thurrock United A 1-2
Hampton & Richmond Borough H 2-2 Wealdstone A 0-1
Torquay United A 0-2 St Albans City H 0-0
Gloucester City H 2-0 Woking A 0-2
Hemel Hempstead Town A 2-1 Oxford City H 0-1

Previous Meetings

13.10.2018 Chippenham Town 1 Dartford 2
20.01.2018 Chippenham Town 2 Dartford 2
09.09.2017 Dartford 3 Chippenham Town 0

League Stats

With two home games to go, Dartford have the third best home record picking up 39 points (W11, D6, L2). Only Welling United (43) and Torquay United have recorded more points at home this season.

The Darts also have the fourth best defence at home conceding just 19 times, only Bath City (15), Concord Rangers (17) and Slough Town (18) have let in more home goals.

Over the last six games, Dartford’s next two home opponents Chippenham Town and Billericay Town are the worst two teams in the form table. Both opponents have picked up just one point from their last eighteen available.

On This Day

Nine years ago, Dartford started their aftershow party with a 1-0 away win at Harrow Borough. Having clinched the Isthmian Premier League title just three days before in a scintillating performance at Kingstonian, the Darts celebrated by recording victory over Harrow Borough on this day, Allan Tait scoring the winner. Dartford have won their last three games on 13 April with the most recent victory coming in 2013. Charlie Sheringham’s strike was the decider at Stockport County in a 1-0 win. Sheringham should have put the Darts ahead in the first half when he got onto the end of a James Rogers cross, only to somehow miss from two yards. But the forward redeemed himself when he nodded home Ryan Hayes’s delivery. Ten year ago, Dartford won their last home match played on 13 April beating Canvey Island 4-0. Lee Noble, Adam Flanagan, Rob Haworth and Ryan Hayes chipped in with the goals.

Weston-super-Mare v Dartford

Dartford know victory at bottom of the table side Weston-super-Mare on the weekend will move them closer to securing a playoff place.

The Darts have taken just two points from their last three National South games, drawing their last two against Hampton and Richmond Borough, then relegation battlers Truro City. Consecutive draws followed defeat at league leaders Torquay United leaving Dartford in sixth place.

With five matches remaining Dartford will need to find form again to establish themselves in the top seven. At the moment they have a three-point cushion with Billericay Town and Concord Rangers hot on their heels. Joint Manager, Jamie Coyle spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk this week and said: “If we are going to maintain a play-off position, we need more from the whole team. I don’t think we’re under pressure because it’s still in our hands and we’ve got, on paper, winnable games. But they mean nothing unless we turn up and outwork the opposition. At times, in the last two home games, we haven’t done that and that’s where we’ve come unstuck”.

Last weekend Dartford had the chance to notch an eighteenth league victory when they took on Truro City at Princes Park, the visitors started the day a point above the relegation zone. Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle welcomed back Daniel Johnson to the starting line up at the expense of Mark Onyemah, whilst Elliot Bradbrook returned from suspension with Ben Greenhalgh taking a place on the bench. Nick Grimes who scored against the Darts earlier in the season gave Truro City the lead after 33 minutes. However, Bradbrook netted his seventh league goal of the campaign to earn a point.

Victory for Dartford will complete a double over Weston-super-Mare after winning 2-1 at Princes Park back in September. Both sides hit the woodwork before Lee Noble headed the opener from Greenhalgh’s cross. The visitors equalised in injury time when Gethyn Hill scored from 30 yards, the striker also scored two against Dartford this term. Weston-super-Mare hit the crossbar just after the hour mark and minutes later the Darts had their winner, Bradbrook set up Jamie Philpot to clinch the three points.

Coyle is confident his squad’s quality along with the required work rate should bring the desired result, he commented: “We’ve got an opportunity on Saturday to go to a team that are fighting for their lives. With the quality we’ve got in our squad, if we do turn up and put in that effort and real desire we’ve shown recently to get us where we are, we should have enough to win the game”, he continued: “But there’s no given in this league and all the teams we’re playing are fighting for something, whether it’s trying to get in the play-offs or staying away from the relegation zone”.

Dartford’s last visit to Woodspring Stadium ended in a dismal 3-0 defeat with Hill claiming a brace and Archie Collins scorer the other goal. However, in 2016 the Darts recorded two wins at the Woodspring Stadium beating the Seagulls 2-1 in the National South and 4-2 in the F.A Trophy, Bradbrook bagged a hat-trick. A third win at Princes Park in January 2017 completed the treble over the Somerset club that season.

Unless Weston-super-Mare perform the greatest of escapes, the Seagulls will be playing in the Southern Premier League South next season. The Somerset club are eight points adrift at the foot of the league and eleven points from safety. Relegation can be confirmed on the weekend if Weston-super-Mare lose, Truro City beat Concord Rangers and Hungerford Town avoid defeat against Slough Town. Relegation will see the end of their 15 year stay in the National South since the restructuring of the non-league pyramid in 2004.

Weston-super-Mare’s league position led to former manager Marc McGregor leaving the club by mutual consent just over three weeks ago. The Somerset side are looking for a change of direction by appointing a full-time manager, for now Mark McKeever in charge on an interim basis.

McKeever has only been at the helm for three league games and in his first earned a credible 2-2 away draw with Chelmsford City. The Seagulls showed the fighting spirit they need to survive by coming back from two goals down. In their last home match Weston-super-Mare fell to a late Welling United penalty in a 1-0 defeat and on Saturday they were beaten 3-0 by Concord Rangers.

Despite the league predicament the Seagulls are in, they do have something to cheer and could claim some silverware. Almost two weeks ago, Weston-super-Mare won their Somerset Premier Cup semi-final to give themselves a chance to retain the cup.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 9 / Weston-super-Mare wins: 3 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Weston-super-Mare (LLDLLL) Dartford (DDLWWL)
Concord Rangers A 0-3 Truro City H 1-1
Welling United H 0-1 Hampton & Richmond H 2-2
Chelmsford City A 2-2 Torquay United A 0-2
St Albans City A 0-2 Gloucester City H 2-0
Hungerford Town H 0-2 Hemel Hempstead Town A 2-1
Wealdstone H 0-5 Dulwich Hamlet A 0-2

Previous Six Meetings

29.09.2018 Dartford 2 Weston Super Mare 1
07.04.2018 Dartford 3 Weston Super Mare 1
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

Stats 

Dartford have won 8 of their last 11 games against Weston-super-Mare (W8, D1, L2)

Lee Noble started his 350th game for the club on the weekend and Tom Bonner has now made 300 starts.

If featured, Charlie Sheringham will make his 100 appearance for the Darts, the striker has made 83 starts and 16 substitute appearances so far, scoring 53 goals.

Dartford have conceded the most goals (14) in the 15 minutes before the break, whilst Weston-super-Mare have conceded the most goals (14) in the opening 15 minutes of the second half.

Only Truro City have conceded more second half goals (43) than Weston-super-Mare (40).

On This Day

Dartford booked their place at Wembley 45 years ago with a 0-0 draw against Macclesfield Town at Watling Street. The second leg stalemate gave the Darts a 2-1 aggregate victory to claim a spot in the F.A Trophy final against Morecambe. Dartford lost their last fixture on this day at home to Barnet in the National League, Curtis Weston scored the only goal of the game in 2015 in the Bees title winning campaign. Dartford’s last away trip on 6 April came in 2013 when they beat AFC Telford United in the National League, Jason Prior and Charlie Sheringham scored in a 2-0 win.

Dartford v Truro City

Dartford can stretch their unbeaten home run in the National South to ten this weekend when they host relegation threatened Truro City.

It’s normally a fixture that guarantees goals with the last six meetings producing almost five a game. Earlier in the season the Darts were on the receiving end of a 3-1 defeat in front of just 87 spectators at Plainmoor in Torquay, a repeat of the score line from the campaign before. The White Tigers enjoyed a 12-minute spell at the end of the first half which resulted in three unanswered goals, to the dismay of goalkeeper Bailey Vose making his second debut for the Darts. Tyler Harvey arrived at the far post to score the first, then added a second a minute before the break and Nick Grimes increased Truro City’s advantage in first half stoppage time. Dartford’s consolation came in the final minute when substitute Kudus Oyenuga headed past Corey Harvey.

Dartford have won their last two home games against the White Tigers scoring nine times in the process. Last season Andy Pugh’s link up play made the forward line click and it was the striker who volleyed the Darts ahead. Alex Brown doubled the lead in the second half and Danny Mills curled in a cross which evaded the Truro City goalkeeper and into the net. An own goal made it four before Niall Thompson scored in stoppage time for the visitors, past another goalkeeping debutante Berti Schotterl.

The season prior the 4-1 victory saw the Darts hit five at home in an entertaining encounter. Pugh scored twice and Duane Ofori-Acheampong set up three, but it was the Cornishmen who took the lead through Andrew Neal. Pugh headed the equaliser from Ofori-Acheampong’s good work, then Elliot Bradbrook scored a cracker from 25 yards. In the second half Neal levelled the match before Luke Wanadio put the Darts in front once more. The scores were even yet again when Jamie Richards headed in a corner, but Dartford put distance between themselves and Truro City with goals from Pugh and Tom Murphy. The final goal was Dartford’s tenth versus the White Tigers in that campaign following a 5-0 away triumph at Treyew Road, goals from Keaton Wood, Pugh, an Ofori-Acheampong brace and Brown. At Princes Park, Truro City have enjoyed their fair share of wins despite their last two visits. The White Tigers beat the Darts 2-1 in 2011 and 1-0 in 2015.

Dartford’s unbeaten home streak just about remained intact last weekend when Darren McQueen rescued a point against Hampton and Richmond Borough. The Darts twice came from behind to earn a draw, first conceding when the match was seven minutes old through Oliver Sprague’s volley. Lee Noble won a second half penalty which Charlie Sheringham put straight down the middle, but the visitors regained the lead from a Chris Dickson strike. Into injury time at the end of the game, McQueen’s deflected shot made it 2-2 and there was even time for Sheringham to almost snatch victory.

Joint manager, Adam Flanagan felt his side gave an assured performance despite the lack of chances created in the game, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk after the win and said: “It was the best we’ve been in possession. We didn’t create the chances we’d have wanted to but I felt we put the ball into good areas. “We managed to pin them back, especially in the second half, and overall there were more positive than negatives”.

The draw means the gap between remaining in the playoff places and dropping out is now slender. Dartford are now three points ahead of eighth place Wealdstone, but the Stones have a superior goal difference. On paper, although the Darts have an easier fixture this weekend, Flanagan will want to keep his players focused and avoid complacency, he commented: “When you look at the fixtures they’re favourable but you can’t take anything for granted in this league. It’s going to be a challenge so we need to apply ourselves the right way and if we do that then we’ve got good quality in the team”, he added: “Our bench is looking strong and we believe in the players that we can secure a playoff place”.

Truro City are perilously close to relegation and are hovering a place above the bottom three with a one point advantage over Hungerford Town. The Cornish side are winless on the road in 2019 failing to win in their last six away games. The season has been tough for Truro City with former manager Lee Hodges resigning after two games, followed by a temporary move to Torquay United’s Plainmoor. In September, Leigh Robinson was appointed boss and although he oversaw a six game unbeaten run towards the start of his spell in charge, the White Tigers have recorded just five more wins since that run, they have currently won once in their last nine outings home and away. That current form has led to the departure of Robinson this week.

Taking over the managerial post is Paul Wilkinson until the end of the season with a remit of keeping Truro City in the National South. Wilkinson made over 650 professional appearances and scored over 150 goals. The 54-year-old started his career at Grimsby Town before joining Everton in 1985 winning the old First Division. He went on to play for Nottingham Forest, Watford, Middlesborough, Barnsley, Millwall and Northampton Town. After a decent playing career, Wilkinson has stayed involved and his only managerial role was as caretaker boss at Grimsby Town.

For a side battling relegation their attacking prowess could keep them up, Truro City with the help of Tyler Harvey up front have outscored the Darts this season. Harvey has 19 of Truro City’s 54 goals and whilst the striker is only behind three others for the National South’s Golden Boot, the White Tigers are eighth top scorers in the division. However, Wilkinson will have to find a way of tightening up the defence, which is the worst in the league.

Last weekend, Truro City added three more to the goals against column taking their total up to 75 for the campaign. A home defeat at the hands of Chelmsford City was compounded by the fact the hosts were reduced to ten men, Corey Harvey being dismissed after he conceded the penalty that led to the Clarets third goal. That means the White Tigers have lost three last three games letting in three goals in each of those fixtures, Dulwich Hamlet won 3-2 and fellow relegation battlers East Thurrock United won 3-1. If it hadn’t of been for a 1-1 draw at Bath City then Truro City would be approaching this weekend’s match on the back of a five game winless streak.

Also this week, Truro City added Brandon Diau from Southern Counties East side Tunbridge Wells. The midfield has been strengthened with the signing of Chris Regis, the 22 year old is a former under 17 England international and comes in from Torquay United. Ben Harding, who was interim manager earlier in the season has now left by mutual consent.

Head to Head

Truro City wins: 5 / Dartford wins: 3 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford (DLWWLW) Truro City (LLLDLD)
Hampton & Richmond Borough H 2-2 Chelmsford City H 0-3
Torquay United A 0-2 Dulwich Hamlet A 2-3
Gloucester City H 2-0 East Thurrock United H 1-3
Hemel Hempstead Town A 2-1 Bath City A 1-1
Dulwich Hamlet A 0-2 Woking H 0-1
Woking H 2-0 St Albans City A 2-2

Previous Meetings

27.10.2018 Truro City 3 Dartford 1
24.02.2018 Dartford 4 Truro City 1
11.11.2017 Truro City 3 Dartford 1
18.03.2017 Dartford 5 Truro City 3
08.10.2016 Truro City 0 Dartford 5
05.04.2016 Truro City 3 Dartford 0

League Stats

Dartford have beaten five of the current bottom six at home, with only Truro City to play.

Truro City have lost six out of eight against the current top nine, with only Dartford to play.

The home team has scored three or more in the last four meetings between the two sides.

There has been 129 goals in games featuring Truro City this season, the highest in the division.

Truro City have scored the most goals in the first fifteen minutes (11) and conceded the most (12) in the first 15 minutes of games.

On This Day

Dave Cunningham and Alan Payne scored to put Dartford on the verge of reaching Wembley 45 years ago. Cunningham’s 51st minute goal in the F.A Trophy semi-final at Macclesfield Town and Payne’s 68th minute strike gave the Darts a 2-1 advantage from the first leg, Macclesfield Town netted in the last minute to keep the tie alive. Dartford have won 11 of their last 12 games played on the 30 March drawing the other match as recently as 2013, when they drew 0-0 away at Newport County. A year ago, Alfie Pavey’s last minute winner on a Princes Park mud-bath gave the Darts a crucial home win over title contenders Hampton and Richmond Borough. The Darts last defeat on this day came in 1959 against Sittingbourne in the Kent Senior Shield semi-final, an unbeaten run of 13 games in total.

Dartford v Hampton & Richmond Borough

Almost a year on from their mud bath played out last season, Dartford are at home this weekend against Hampton and Richmond Borough.

A week shy from the anniversary of the corresponding fixture last season, the Darts will be hoping to return to winning ways and extend their unbeaten home run in the National South to nine. A year ago, both teams were challenging for the title, but Dartford’s last-minute victory on Good Friday all but ended Hampton and Richmond Borough’s hopes. The treacherous conditions made for an extremely scrappy clash, which was decided when Alfie Pavey calmly finished a one on one chance in the final minute.

This season Dartford have taken time to adapt to their summer of change but sit in sixth place. Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle took their Dartford team to Devon last weekend to take on arguably the best team in the National South. With Torquay United challenging Woking for the title, it was always going to be a tough afternoon for the Darts without the suspended Elliot Bradbrook and Lee Noble in the heart of midfield. That meant Joe Healy made his third start for the club and Jordan Wynter made his first start in a month after returning from injury. Meanwhile, Callum Driver kept his place at full back ahead of Mark Onyemah.

Dartford gained an early advantage when the hosts had defender Jean-Yves Koue Niate sent off in the 14th minute. Niate pushed over Darren McQueen when through on goal resulting in the red card. However, the Gulls struck first through top goalscorer Jamie Reid whose low strike deflected beyond Bailey Vose to give Torquay United a half-time lead. The striker netted his 25th league goal of the season in the second half following up Saikou Janneh’s strike to clinch a vital three points for the Devonshire club.

Despite the 2-0 loss at Torquay United, the Darts didn’t lose too much ground on those above them. Woking, Bath City, Chelmsford City and Welling United all drew, whilst Billericay Town who are a place below Dartford lost. Regardless of the result this weekend, Dartford will remain in the playoff places come the full-time whistle and realistically end the day in fourth.

Dartford’s home form has certainly aided a promotion push via the playoffs, the Darts have won six of their last seven league games at Princes Park and are unbeaten in the National South at home in 2019. They will have to host their next opponents Hampton and Richmond Borough without the suspended Bradbrook, who will serve the last of his two-match ban. However, Lee Noble will be available after completing his suspension.

Last season’s playoff finalists Hampton and Richmond Borough have struggled to get over their disappointment of missing out on promotion. Just like Dartford, the summer brought about many changes at the club with a new manager and a squad rebuild. The Middlesex club sit down in sixteenth place, seven points clear of the drop zone and are likely to play next term in the National South.

Initially the Beavers started their campaign in decent form reaching third after ten games, but since then they have won just four of their next 25 fixtures in the National South. Last weekend, Gary McCann’s side fell to a second successive defeat at the hands of playoff chasers Concord Rangers. Hampton and Richmond went behind when Jack Midson scored an early penalty, but the Beavers equalised with a spot kick of their own. Chris Dickson netted his 15th league goal of the season to make sure the scores were level at the interval. The Middlesex side struggled in the second half and in the end Concord Rangers ran out 4-1 winners when Daniel Green, Midson and Juan Prados added to the scoreline.

Away from the Beveree, Hampton and Richmond Borough lost their last outing narrowly to Bath City. However, they did go to Oxford City and record an entertaining 5-3 victory three days prior. The eight-goal thriller was the Beavers first away win in ten stretching back to mid-September.

At Princes Park in November, Charlie Sheringham’s headed goal was enough to beat Hampton and Richmond Borough at the Beveree. In recent years Dartford have had the better of the Beavers, last season Pavey scored the winner and in the away fixture, the Darts fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 thanks to goals from Andy Pugh and Elliot Bradbrook. Dartford have won the last three at Princes Park, Bradbrook, Alex Brown and Ronnie Vint scoring in a 3-1 win in 2017. Whilst Sheringham and Bradbrook also scored in the home clash eight years ago, which Dartford won 2-1.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 6 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford (LWWLWD) Hampton & Richmond (LLWDDL)
Torquay United A 0-2 Concord Rangers H 1-4
Gloucester City H 2-0 Bath City A 0-1
Hemel Hempstead Town A 2-1 Oxford City A 5-3
Dulwich Hamlet A 0-2 Eastbourne Borough H 0-0
Woking H 2-0 East Thurrock United A 0-0
Slough Town A 2-2 Gloucester City H 0-1

Previous Meetings

17.11.2018 Hampton & Richmond Borough 0 Dartford 1
30.03.2018 Dartford 1 Hampton & Richmond Borough 0
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

Stats

The Darts have lost one of the last seven meetings with Hampton and Richmond Borough (W5, D1, L1), but have failed to win on their last two visits to the Beveree (D1, L1).

Only Gloucester City (2) have scored fewer goals than the Beavers (9) in the opening 30 minutes of league matches.

Hampton and Richmond Borough have also conceded the most in the first half hour (24) and the most first half goals (32). Only two teams have conceded fewer than Dartford (9) in the first half hour, but the Darts have let in the most in the 15 minutes leading up to the interval (13).

Chris Dickson has scored 15 (40%) of Hampton and Richmond Borough’s 38 league goals. The highest portion of a club’s overall total in the division.

On This Day

Dartford have an excellent record in games played on 23 March winning 11 of their last 13 going back to 1964. The most recent victory was a 3-0 home win against Gateshead six years ago in the National League. Ryan Hayes came off the bench and influenced the final half an hour with two well taken goals and an assist for Charlie Sheringham. In 2010, Dartford lost 1-0 to Margate in the Isthmian Premier League, but before that slip up Dartford won five in a row against Fleet Town (3-0 in 2004), Sittingbourne (2-0 in 2002), Northwich Victoria (1-0 in 1985), Romford (3-2 in 1976) and Chelmsford City (2-0 in 1974). A draw in the Kent Floodlit Cup with Gravesend and Northfleet in 1971 prevented Dartford winning 11 in a row on this day. Prior that draw the Darts also beat Folkestone Town (2-0 in 1970), Gloucester City (1-0 in 1968), Erith and Belvedere (6-2 in 1966), Gravesend and Northfleet (3-0 in 1965) and Ramsgate Athletic (3-1 in 1964).

Torquay United v Dartford

Dartford make their second trip to Plainmoor on the weekend, this time taking on title challengers and second place Torquay United.

The Darts hope to record their first ever win against the Gulls and if they do so they could end the day in third place. Torquay United were leading the National South last weekend on goal difference, however a mid-week Woking win means the Devonshire club will be playing catch up, three points behind with a game in hand.

The attendance for Dartford’s last visit to Plainmoor was a mere 87 when they played Truro City, it’s safe to say a far bigger crowd will be watching this weekend. The hosts are looking to complete a double over the Darts after winning the reverse fixture in December 2-0. Gary Johnson’s side had to work hard for the victory after a much improved display from Dartford, who had the better chances in the first half. Those missed opportunities came back to haunt Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle’s side when Ruairi Keating volleyed into the roof of the net and Jamie Reid doubled the lead two minutes from time.

Elliot Bradbrook and Lee Noble were part of the squad last time Dartford played Torquay United at Plainmoor almost four years ago, although Noble was an unused substitute in the 0-0 draw. This year the duo will miss out through suspension after picking up too many yellow cards. The absence of Noble in Dartford’s previous fixture meant Joe Healy played his second game for the Darts in last weekend’s victory.

Dartford beat a struggling Gloucester City side at Princes Park thanks to a stunning Phil Roberts volley and a Charlie Sheringham penalty. Stretching their unbeaten run at home to eight, the Darts moved up to fifth in the National South despite not be at their very best. As well as Healy making his home debut, Callum Driver returned to the starting eleven for the first time since August replacing Mark Onyemah. Dartford took the lead just before the interval when Ryan Hayes found space on the right and picked out Roberts with a floating cross, Roberts watched the ball come down and hit a first time volley back across the goal into the far corner. Then seven minutes from time, the Darts won a penalty which Sheringham scored to make sure Dartford earned all three points.

Coyle praised his team after the game, the joint manager spoke to www.kentonlikne.co.uk and said: “I’m pleased with the result because it was tough conditions today. It wasn’t a good game of football to watch for the neutral but it was a real professional performance from the boys. We were a little bit scrappy in the first 10 minutes of the second half and they had a couple of half-chances where we switched off but overall it was a good collective performance”. After three games in a week, Coyle was also grateful that he could call up Healy in central midfield, he commented: “You could see there were a few tired legs out there, we’ve had three games in a week and some of the boys are pushing on 31, 32 but Joe Healy freshened it up for us. He’s come in, given us a hand again and done really well, got man-of-the-match”.

An unbeaten February helped Flanagan and Coyle to the Manager of the Month award, in that time they guided the Darts to three wins and two draws beating Woking twice along the way. March may have started with an away defeat to Dulwich Hamlet, but back to back victories mean the Darts have won five of their last seven.

In the home dugout Gary Johnson has got Torquay United back on track since taking over in September. The experienced boss has lifted the Gulls from fourteenth to second, as the Devonshire club bids to return to the National League at the first attempt. Torquay United climbed the table after going sixteen games unbeaten, which included a ten game winning streak. Since then pressure to claim the National South title could be playing its part in a few surprise results recently.

In the last eight games the Gulls have lost three times against Bath City, Welling United and in their last home outing versus bottom of the table side Weston-super-Mare. However, in that spell they have notched up impressive victories along the way including a 7-2 hammering of Oxford City and a 5-2 thrashing of Dulwich Hamlet. Despite the shock loss at home to Weston-super-Mare, Johnson’s side bounced back last weekend with a 2-0 win at Billericay Town, Jamie Reid scoring again to take his league tally to 23 for the campaign. Reid is on course for the Golden Boot, but Torquay United have plenty of firepower in their ranks top scoring in the division with 74 goals.

The league title is still in their hands, but with a run in which includes seven teams in the top half, including an away trip to league leaders Woking, it could go down to the wire and Dartford fans will know all about that.

Head to Head

Torquay United wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 0 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Torquay United (WLWWLW) Dartford (WWLWDW)
Billericay Town A 2-0 Gloucester City H 2-0
Weston-super-Mare H 1-2 Hemel Hempstead Town A 2-1
East Thurrock United A 2-1 Dulwich Hamlet A 0-2
Dulwich Hamlet H 5-2 Woking H 2-0
Welling United A 0-2 Slough Town A 2-2
Hemel Hempstead Town A 4-1 Bath City H 3-0

Previous Meetings

04.12.2018 Dartford 0 Torquay United 2
04.04.2015 Torquay United 1 Dartford 1
23.08.2014 Dartford 0 Torquay United 0

Stats 

Phil Roberts has scored four goals in his last four games and since being at Dartford he’s managed eight goals in 13 starts for the club.

A Dartford win will make it three in a row for the first time since November, when they last won consecutive away league games.

Jamie Reid has scored ten goals in his last ten league games.

The Gulls have scored in each of their last 11 home games, but have conceded two or more in their last three matches at Plainmoor.

On This Day

Dartford’s last win on 16 March was fifteen years ago when they beat Sittingbourne 1-0 in the Southern League Division One East. Since then the Darts have lost their last two, in 2010 Boreham Wood won 2-1 in the Isthmian Premier with Dartford’s goal coming from Lee Burns. Three years later in the National League, Dartford were beaten 3-0 at Hyde. The Darts have not won away from home on this day since 1963 against Merthyr Tydfil, a run of three defeats and a draw.

Dartford v Gloucester City

Dartford will aim to make it three consecutive home wins this weekend when they host a reformed Gloucester City battling against the drop.

The Darts have scored five without reply in their last two outings at Princes Park beating playoff contenders Bath City 3-0 and title challengers Woking 2-0. Unbeaten in their last seven home matches, Dartford have dropped just four points in that run and another victory will follow on from Tuesday night’s dramatic away triumph at Hemel Hempstead Town.

Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle made one change on Tuesday night to the team that were beaten at Dulwich Hamlet. Ryan Hayes who missed the weekend’s fixture returned, whilst Charlie Sheringham who has been out with an ankle injury was named on the bench against one of his former sides. The Darts edged a frustrating first half, but arguably the best chance fell to Hemel Hempstead Town’s central defender Darren Ward. The deadlock was finally broken with ten minutes remaining when the former Tudors striker Phil Roberts scored his sixth of the season. The hosts were awarded a penalty with three minutes to go and their top scorer Jordan Parkes made it count. With the game heading for a draw, Roberts popped up again a minute later to snatch three vital away points, a seventh goal in just thirteen appearances.

Tuesday’s result moved Dartford into sixth above Bath City and now they are just a couple of points behind third place Chelmsford City, whose match with Torquay United was postponed.  Pressure from teams trying to break into the top seven came from Wealdstone, who trounced Weston-Super-Mare and Concord Rangers who also left it late to beat Gloucester City.

Gloucester City went in one up at half time on against Concord Rangers thanks to Luke Russe’s stunning strike. On loan from Bristol Rovers until the end of the season, the midfielder let fly from distance to give the Tigers the lead. Manager, Mike Cook has been facing a goalkeeping crisis this week. In the 0-0 draw with Wealdstone, Cook was forced to bring in 38 year-old Tom King to make his National South debut, he was was brought in because loanees Jojo Wollacott and Freddie Lapworth were recalled by their parent club’s. For the game against Concord Rangers on Tuesday, Will Henry on loan from Swindon Town for the rest of the season made his debut. Henry was credited with an own goal leading to Concord Rangers’ equaliser and in the last minute Lee Minshull completed the comeback for the Essex club.

Dartford came back from a goal down in the earlier league meeting with Gloucester City back in November. The Tigers took the lead three minutes before the break when Joe Hanks’ free kick was crossed on to the head of Sam Avery who headed the ball past Bailey Vose. The lead didn’t last long because on the stroke of half-time Charlie Sheringham struck a low shot to level the game. After the interval, the game was settled three minutes into the second half. Sheringham turned provider when he squared the ball across goal for Ben Greenhalgh to tap in.

The Darts completed the double over Gloucester City last term with the last meeting at Princes Park finishing in a comfortable 4-1 victory. Warren Mfula opened the scoring after the striker wriggled free of his marker and stuck his shot into the far corner. The lead was doubled when Lyle Della-Verde tapped into an empty net, the winger netted again in the second half with an assured curling finish. Alfie Pavey made it four before Jamie Edge scored a consolation. Pavey was on hand again last April when he scored the winner in a tighter 1-0 away triumph.

After Marc Richards left the managerial role to take charge of Hereford, Gloucester City appointed Chris Todd as their manager in early October. The former Eastleigh boss lost his first six league games. Under pressure, the Tigers picked up just four points under Todd in twelve outings failing to pick up a win. After three months Todd left by mutual consent leaving the Tigers second from bottom and was replaced with Mike Cook.

Cook has managed to get Gloucester City out of the relegation zone and after two defeats at the start of his reign, the were unbeaten in seven before Tuesday night’s loss against Concord Rangers. The Tigers have tightened up their defence since the New Year with Cook making his side difficult to breakdown. The Tigers have kept six clean sheets in their last eight National South outings, but are four points and a place above the relegation zone.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 28 / Gloucester City wins: 12 / Draws: 10

Current League Form

Dartford (WLWDWW) Gloucester City (?WWLLD)
Hemel Hempstead Town A 2-1 Concord Rangers H 1-2
Dulwich Hamlet A 0-2 Wealdstone H 0-0
Woking H 2-0 Chelmsford City H 0-0
Slough Town A 2-2 Hampton & Richmond A 1-0
Bath City H 3-0 Slough Town A 2-1
Woking A 1-0 Bath City H 1-0

Previous Meetings

03.11.2018 Gloucester City 1 Dartford 2
10.04.2018 Gloucester City 0 Dartford 1
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

Stats

Dartford are unbeaten in six against Gloucester city (W5, D1), their last defeat against the Tigers was in the Southern Premier League 29 years ago.

The Darts have won their last four home meetings versus Gloucester City including a 6-2 win in the Southern Premier League back in 1990. Dartford’s last home defeat against the Tigers was in 1984.

Dartford are unbeaten at home against teams currently lower than eighth in the table (W6, D4).

Gloucester City have scored the fewest goals in the league, just 22 and have lost all eight games against sides in the top ten.

The Tigers have also recorded eight 0-0 draws this term helping them to the most clean sheets in the division (13). It also means they have failed to score more than any other club (16 times).

On This Day

Princes Park was rocking when Elliot Bradbrook scored a last minute winner against Wrexham six years ago. The Darts fell behind to a Danny Wright goal but equalised through Jack Evans. In stoppage time, Bradbrook headed in from a corner for a famous scalp. Both Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle missed out on a Kent derby win in 2010, the defensive duo were unavailable as the Darts beat local rivals Maidstone United 1-0, Lee Burns netting the winner. The two games prior that victory also ended 1-0 to Dartford, in 1996 Dean Bowey’s goal versus Furness in the Kent Trophy semi-final sent the Darts through to the final which they won, and in 1991 Bashley were beaten in the Southern Premier League. Dartford have won their last five games on 9 March and the run started in 1987 when Nuneaton Borough were beaten 3-1 in the F.A Trophy lquarter-final. The Darts have not tasted defeat on this day since 1964, a run of nine matches.

Hemel Hempstead Town v Dartford

Dartford are back in action on Tuesday night when they visit Hemel Hempstead Town and hope to put the weekend’s defeat behind them.

Despite a loss at Dulwich Hamlet, the Darts remain in seventh place thanks to the top six struggling to get positive results too. On Tuesday night the picture could easily change, a win will move Dartford into sixth, whilst defeat and a Wealdstone victory will see the Darts drop out of the playoff places.

Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle were unable to select Ryan Hayes on the weekend allowing Lee Noble to play out wide with Billy Crook coming in to the starting eleven. Jordan Wynter (arm) and Charlie Sheringham (ankle) were unavailable through injury, whilst in form strikers Darren McQueen and Phil Roberts were paired together up front again. Unfortunately, the form showed by McQueen and Roberts of late failed to materialise and for the first time since Boxing Day the Darts failed to find the net. Instead, new Dulwich Hamlet signing Jamie Mascoll opened the scoring in the first half and in the final minute Decarrey Sheriff sealed the win for the hosts at Champion Hill.

Earlier in the season, the Darts drew with Hemel Hempstead Town 0-0 at Princes Park and had a golden opportunity to win. With ten minutes to go the Darts won a penalty which Jamie Philpot blasted over the bar. The stalemate extended the Darts unbeaten run over the Tudors to six, which included a double over the Hertfordshire club last term.

Elliot Bradbrook will have fond memories of his last trip to Vauxhall Road, the midfielder’s brace of penalties either side Alfie Pavey’s goal gave the Darts a 3-0 victory. At Princes Park, it was Andy Pugh’s turn to score twice and help Dartford come from a goal down to win 3-2, Pavey was on hand again with a last minute winner, nine minutes after Pugh had equalised. In April 2017, Bradbrook scored another penalty at Vauxhall Road against the Tudors in a 2-2, Luke Wanadio was Dartford’s other scorer that day.

The only defeat tasted by the Darts against Hemel Hempstead Town came in 2015 on the opening day of the season. The Darts had just been relegated to the National South, whilst the Tudors finished a respectable ninth in their debut season at National South level. The game was settled by Oliver Hawkins, who now plays for Portsmouth in League One.

Hemel Hempstead Town have won just won of their last twelve National South games, but they have managed to pick up six draws in that time. On the weekend the Tudors fell to a single goal loss at Slough Town where Lee Togwell’s goal was enough to condemn Joe Deeney’s team to defeat. Deeney has been in charge at Vauxhall Road since the departure of Dean Brennan, who left to take the Billericay Town managerial role. The former assistant manager at Oxford City took charge in November and has recorded just four league wins in seventeen outings.

The Tudors last won at home almost three months ago and their last game at Vauxhall Road finished in a 2-2 draw with Concord Rangers. In fact they have drawn three of their last four home games, the only exception was the 4-1 loss against Torquay United.

Head to Head

Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 4 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Hemel Hempstead Town (LDLDLD) Dartford (LWDWWD)
Slough Town A 0-1 Dulwich Hamlet A 0-2
Concord Rangers H 2-2 Woking H 2-0
Woking A 1-3 Slough Town A 2-2
Dulwich Hamlet A 3-3 Bath City H 3-0
Torquay United H 1-4 Woking A 1-0
Chippenham Town A 1-1 Concord Rangers H 1-1

Previous Meetings

11.08.2018 Dartford 0 Hemel Hempstead Town 0
17.03.2018 Dartford 3 Hemel Hempstead Town 2
26.08.2017 Hemel Hempstead Town 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

Stats 

Dartford last failed to score in two consecutive away games back on matchday six, the Darts lost 2-0 to Concord Rangers on 14th August and 1-0 to Hungerford Town on 25th August. The barren spell lasted one more away game in a 2-0 loss at St Albans City on 1st September.

Hemel Hempstead Town have managed one win in eleven against teams in the top seven. At home they have managed two points from the top nine out of the 21 available.

The Tudors had scored in 14 consecutive league games before their blank on the weekend, the Darts had scored in ten games in a row before the 2-0 reverse at Dulwich Hamlet.

On This Day

Dartford last won on this day eight years ago when they left it late to beat Maidenhead United at Princes Park. With the game goaless until the seventieth minute, Ryan Hayes cross found Charlie Sheringham to give the Darts the lead. In the final four minutes Elliot Bradbrook scored twice to put the result beyond doubt. Since then, Dartford drew 1-1 with Stockport County in 2013, the National League fixture finished level after Danny Harris rescued a point for the hosts. The last outing on 5 March ended in defeat at Weston-super-Mare in which a mass brawl saw Elliot Bradbrook sent off. The Darts were two down by the time George Sykes pulled a goal back before half-time, but early in the second half the dismissal left Dartford with ten men for the final 53 minutes.