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Dartford v Chelmsford City

Dartford will be determined to change their fortunes against Chelmsford City this weekend at Princes Park.

Although the Darts won the corresponding fixture last season, it was a rare victory against the Clarets. Elliot Bradbrook settled the match to claim Dartford’s only triumph in this fixture in nine previous attempts. The last two meetings have been at Melbourne Stadium with the Essex club securing a 4-0 win in August and a 2-1 victory just over a year ago.

Dartford followed up progression to the Kent Senior Cup final with a win at St Albans City last weekend, a ground where the Darts had lost in all the previous four visits there without even scoring. When Joe Iaciofano put the National South strugglers ahead from the spot, the Darts could have easily felt that the inevitable defeat was about to happen. However, Steve King’s side had other ideas and within seven minutes the Darts were level when Liam Nash scored his second league goal of the campaign. Five minutes into the second-half Dartford went ahead when they were awarded the second penalty of the afternoon, up stepped Darren McQueen to move his season’s tally to 18 in all competitions.

Steve King described Dartford’s performance as ‘gritty’ and was pleased with the two tactical sides his team needed to show. Whilst the first half was full of attacking intent, the second half was opposite, he explained to DFCTV: ‘’We dug deep, St Albans had a right go at us in the second half with long throws coming into our box, which we had to defend properly and I think we got it spot on’’. He added ‘’We showed another side where we didn’t want to get beaten and people were putting their body on the line’’. The Dartford boss was also delighted with Nash’s goal, work ethic and link up play. The striker told DFCTV after the 2-1 victory: ‘’I’m happy to contribute, my main objective in every game is to score, but I don’t put too much pressure on myself and I try to give an all-round game’’.

Chelmsford City are still hopeful they can reach the top seven and a playoff spot. Results this term had been inconsistent under Rod Stringer and after a 6-2 home defeat to Oxford City in November the former boss was under pressure. Although results improved over the next eight games where the Clarets won four and drew three, the 1-0 reverse at bottom side Hungerford Town was the final straw. At one point it looked as though the new manager was going to be the experienced Garry Hill, however the parties couldn’t agree terms.

Instead Robbie Simpson has been in charge on a temporary basis, he only signed for the club in August after he was released by Milton Keynes Dons. The striker has plenty of playing experience notably representing Cambridge United, Coventry City, Oldham Athletic and Exeter City. Celebrating his birthday this weekend, Simpson initially got off to a difficult start when his conceded five in his first match losing 5-3 at Dulwich Hamlet, the following match was a 2-0 loss at Dorking Wanderers.

However, the Clarets went three games unbeaten with a 3-1 home win over Tonbridge Angels and a creditable 1-1 draw with Slough Town. Struggling on the road this season with just two away wins in the National South, Simpson took his side to league leaders Wealdstone and came home with all three points. Former Dart, Tom Knowles netted the winning goal, but he has since returned to his parent club Cambridge United after 24 appearances and five goals for the Clarets.

On the weekend, Chelmsford City hosted F.A Trophy semi-finalists Concord Rangers in an Essex derby and drew 1-1. The Clarets earned a point despite playing 70 minutes a man down after Troy Brown was sent off. Brown pulled back Concord Rangers striker Decarrey Sherriff to give away a penalty, Sherriff took the spot kick and scored. The equaliser came four minutes prior half-time, Shaun Jeffers set up Tom Wraight who shot past Chris Haigh in the Concord goal.

Speaking to www.chelmsfordcityfc.com manager Simpson said: “I was disappointed until the sending off, games are running out and we can’t afford to not do the right things. It took us until the sending off to get going and do the basics properly. But after that I’m was so proud of my players, they ran their socks off and stuck to the task”.

Simpson can all upon the experience of former Premier League striker Leroy Lita, who came out of retirement to play for Salisbury before penning a short-term deal with the Clarets. Lita made his name at Bristol City prior to his time in the top flight with Reading and Swansea City. Chez Isaac will return to Princes Park after he short spell with the Darts lasted three months, the midfielder made a dozen appearances under the management of Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle. Shaun Jeffers scored in this fixture in August 2016 in a 1-1 draw, the striker is Chelmsford City’s top scorer this term with 13 league goals.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 37 / Wealdstone wins: 57 / Draws: 21

Current League Form

Dartford (WDWLWW)Chelmsford City (DWDWLL)
St Albans CityA2-1Concord RangersH1-1
WealdstoneA0-0WealdstoneA1-0
Eastbourne BoroughH2-1Slough TownH1-1
Hampton & RichmondH1-2Tonbridge AngelsH3-1
Chippenham Town A5-1Dorking WanderersA0-2
Dulwich Hamlet H1-0Dulwich HamletA3-5

Last Six League Meetings

12.08.2019Chelmsford City4Dartford1
19.01.2019Chelmsford City 2Dartford1
07.08.2018Dartford1Chelmsford City0
10.02.2018Dartford1Dartford2
21.10.2017Chelmsford City1Chelmsford City0
18.02.2017Dartford0Chelmsford City1

Stats

Dartford have won just five games in their last 25 competitive matches against Chelmsford City (D5, L15).

The Darts win against the Clarets last term was the first in ten attempts at home.

On This Day

Dartford have played their last four games on 14 March at home with mixed fortunes. The Darts last victory on this day was in 1998 when they claimed a 4-0 win over Waterlooville, who would later merge with Havant Town to form next weekend’s opponents Havant and Waterlooville. Six years earlier, Dartford won by the same score against Poole Town, both matches were in the Southern Premier League. The last two fixtures also ended in the same score, this time a pair of 1-0 defeats. First, Harrow Borough came to Princes Park and won in the Isthmian Premier League back in 2009 and most recently in 2015, Alfreton Town beat the Darts in the National League.



St Albans City v Dartford

Buoyed by the fact the Darts reached a cup final this week, Dartford return to league action this weekend when they visit St Albans City.

The Darts have had nothing to show in their last four visits to Clarence Park, losing them all without even finding the back of the net. Dartford’s last victory there was nine years ago remembered by a freak long range Lee Burns header, but it was young Jack Pallen that scored the winner in a 2-1 triumph.

Over the last three weeks Steve King has made good use of the squad he has assembled with mid-week Kent Senior Cup games scheduled between National South fixtures. In that time the Darts have picked up four points from six, including the stalemate with league leaders Wealdstone and progressed through two rounds of the county cup to reach the final.

On Tuesday night a strong Dartford side strolled past Phoenix Sports in the semi-final. King made five changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Wealdstone, goalkeeper Alhaji Sesay was back in goal, Ronnie Vint replaced Josh Hill at centre back, Jake Jebb made his second start for the club. Luke Wanadio and Liam Nash who were on the bench against the Stones were selected to start. Goals from Jordan Wynter, Liam Nash’s brace, Elliott Romain and Amrit Bansal-McNulty, who has now extended his loan until the end of the season earned the Darts a comprehensive 5-1 victory.

In Dartford’s last league game, King made six changes to the side and his team came away with a creditable draw with league leaders Wealdstone. A solid defence, in which Tom Bonner and Josh Hill excelled, and the impact of Wanadio’s appearance from off the bench were positives in difficult playing conditions. Dartford survived the biggest moment of the match though when Weadstone’s Dennon Lewis missed a penalty.

The Darts bagged their first point of the season when they last played St Albans City in August under the guidance of Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle. New signing and current top scorer for the Saints, Joe Iaciofano scored for the Hertfordshore club, his first goal of the campaign to give the visitors the lead. However, Wanadio netted his first goal since returning to the Darts in the second half.

At Princes Park, Dartford have fared better against the Saints, but it’s the away fixture against Ian Allinson’s side that has troubled them over the last four years. St Albans City have won four in a row against the Darts on their own patch scoring eleven without reply. Last season, Dartford were beaten 2-0 when Solomon Sambou and Khale da Costa scored. The year before on the final day of the season, Sam Merson’s brace helped the Saints to a 4-0 win, Charlie Walker scored the only goal three years ago and two own goals contributed to another 4-0 reverse for the Darts in 2016.

St Albans City are in a relegation fight sitting second from bottom in the National South with just three home wins in the league this season. Although form has picked up for Ian Allinson’s side as they try and get themselves out of trouble in a very tight battle at the bottom, only a point separate St Albans City in 21st and Concord Rangers fifteenth place

Last weekend, they lost a six pointer against Chippenham Town with former Dartford defender Tom Bender heading the Saints in front. However, two goals in the space of four minutes turned the match around when Kieran Parselle then Scott Twine helped Chippenham Town to victory. Bender made 20 appearances for the Darts during the 2014/2015 campaign and scored against the Darts in 2016 for St Albans City, a season later he scored an own goal which gave Dartford a home victory.

However last month, the Saints did beat promotion chasers Bath City then Havant and Waterlooville on the road. Their last victory at home, four weeks ago, was against Maidstone United. Out of the teams around the relegation zone, St Albans City have one of the better records over the last eight games.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / St Albans City wins: 5 / Draws: 5

Current League Form

Dartford (DWLWWL) St Albans (LWDWLL)
WealdstoneH0-0Chippenham TownA1-2
Eastbourne Borough H2-1Havant & WaterloovilleA2-1
Hampton & Richmond H1-2Oxford CityH0-0
Chippenham Town A5-1Bath CityA3-0
Dulwich Hamlet H1-0Welling UnitedH1-2
Slough Town A0-1 Hampton & RichmondA1-2

Last Six Meetings

06.08.2019Dartford1St Albans City1
12.01.2019Dartford3St Albans City2
01.09.2018St Albans City 2Dartford0
03.02.2018St Albans City 4Dartford0
28.10.2017Dartford2St Albans City 1
25.03.2017St Albans City 1Dartford0

Stats

The last away win in this fixture was on 8 November 2016, when St Albans City won 2-0 at Princes Park. Since then the home side has won five of the last six.

The Darts have gone eight games without a clean sheet against St Albans City.

Dartford’s draw with Wealdstone was their 200th league game since relegation from the National League. The Darts have won 100, drawn 46, lost 54, scored 331 goals and conceded 246 in that time.

St Albans City have lost all four home games against sides in the top five, but they have drawn all three against the teams directly below the Darts.

Only Hungerford Town have picked up fewer points at home than St Albans City this season.

On This Day

Inflatable penguins made their debut when Dartford last won on 7 March in 1989, the Darts beat Atherstone United 3-0 at Watling Street in the Southern League Cup semi-final first leg on their way to wining the competition. Thirty years ago, Dartford drew 2-2 with Welling United in the last eight of the Kent Senior Cup and then 0-0 with Gloucester City two years later in the Southern Premier League. Witney Town beat Dartford 3-1 in 1998, Tommy Osborne and Adam Gross scored in a 2-2 draw with Margate in 2009. The last two games have seen the Darts fail to score, in front of the BT Sports cameras six years ago Dartford lost 1-0 at home to Chester and a year later, the Darts drew 0-0 at FC Halifax Town.

Dartford v Wealdstone

League leaders Wealdstone are next to visit Princes Park as the Darts search for a first home win against the Stones since the early nineties.

Dartford have won just two of their previous 15 meetings against Wealdstone since their last home victory against them in 1991, in that time they have drawn five of their last seven when hosting this weekend’s opponents.

A difficult task awaits Steve King’s side when they take on a side who convincingly defeated the Darts on the opening day. Ross Lafayette’s brace book ended Josh Hill’s equaliser, a Dennon Lewis deflection and a goal by Connor Stevens. However, plenty has changed at Princes Park since the 4-1 reverse at Grosvenor Vale, a new manager and playing style as well as wholesale changes to the squad has seen the Darts climb the National South ladder. Meanwhile, Wealdstone have looked down at the rest of the league occupying top spot for the majority of the season.

The Darts were in Kent Senior Cup action on Tuesday night which gave King a look at the rest of his squad. Josh Hill and Liam Nash were the only survivors from the starting eleven that beat Eastbourne Borough, whilst Billy Crook, Jordan Wynter and Amrit Bansal-McNulty turned substitute appearances into starting appearances. Mark Smith, Sanchez Ming, Miloud Djouahaer, Ronnie Vint, Tyrique Hyde and Giovanni McGregor were all called upon as the Darts progressed to the semi-final.

Nash scored the opener before Hyde netted a penalty as Dartford led Folkestone Invicta by two at the break. Crook added the Darts third, his first goal for the club and Elliott Romain, who returns from suspension came off the bench to score his 13th goal for the Darts.

In the league Dartford are in seventh place, three points clear of Hampton and Richmond Borough who beat the Darts three weeks ago. However, King’s side bounced back with a 2-1 victory over Eastbourne Borough. Two new signings made their debuts, Noor Husin from Stevenage and Jake Jebb, who played nine times for Wealdstone this season. Jebb started his Dartford career off by scoring a sublime free-kick and although Alhaji Sesay’s goalkeeping error was costly when the Sports levelled, Darren McQueen scored from the spot yet again to clinch all three points.

King explained that changes in midfield were necessary as he started with a different three against the Sports. The Dartford manager pointed out a lack of goals from the middle of the park and in recent weeks standards had dipped. On Tuesday night in the Kent Senior Cup, Crook and Hyde responded with a couple of goals.

In the same evening Wealdstone were in action when they hosted Chelmsford City. The Stones missed the chance to extend their lead at the summit losing 1-0, the first time they failed to score on their own patch. Former Dartford loanee, Tom Knowles netted the only goal of the game. Defeat ended a streak of five consecutive league wins and an unbeaten run of seven games in all competitions.

During their recent good form, the Stones hit seven goals in back to back games beating title challengers Bath City 7-0, a week after beating another challenger Havant and Waterlooville 4-2. In the match that followed the Bath City triumph, Wealdstone beat Staines Town 7-1 in the Middlesex Senior Cup. Moses Emmanuel and Dennon Lewis also found form in front of goal in that spell scoring four each.

Dartford may be aiming for a return to the National League via the playoffs after a five year absence, Wealdstone are hoping to reach the same destination as champions, returning to the top flight of non-league for the first time in 32 years.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 13 / Wealdstone wins: 15 / Draws: 14

Current League Form

Dartford (WLWWLW) Wealdstone (WWWWWL)
Eastbourne BoroughH2-1Chelmsford CityH0-1
Hampton & RichmondH1-2Dorking WanderersH3-1
Chippenham TownA5-1Billericay TownH3-0
Dulwich HamletH1-0Bath CityH7-0
Slough TownA0-1Havant and WaterloovilleA4-2
Oxford CityH3-0Welling UnitedH1-0

Last Six Meetings

03.08.2019Wealdstone4Dartford1
05.01.2019Wealdstone1Dartford1
18.08.2018Dartford0Wealdstone3
17.02.2018Wealdstone1Dartford2
21.11.2017Dartford3Wealdstone3
28.01.2017Wealdstone0Dartford4

Stats

Dartford are top of the form guide in the last 8 games. Wealdstone have lost three of their last eight.

Wealdstone top the scoring charts with 66 goals and have the best goal difference of +33.

The Darts have gained just four points from 24 against clubs currently in the top six.

Mark Smith, Josh Hill, Tom Bonner and Luke Wanadio are the only four players to have started in the opening day defeat and have made over 20 appearances this season.

On This Day

In the season of Dartford’s greatest ever F.A Cup run, when they went out to top flight Derby County in the third round, Dartford also recorded their last victory on the 29 February. In 1936 the Darts beat Bath City 4-2 in the Southern League Central Section. In their only other win on this day, the Darts beat Cray Wanderers by the same score in the Dartford and District League in 1908. Since then they have been beaten 1-0 in 1952 against Weymouth in the Southern League and in the same league drew with Margate 1-1 in 1964. The last fixture Dartford played on this day was in 1992 when they lost 1-0 to Halesowen Town, also in the Southern Premier League. Whilst the first game the Darts played on 29 February was in 1896 and ended in a dismal 7-3 Kent League defeat to local rivals Northfleet.

Dartford v Eastbourne Borough

Dartford are hoping to get back to winning ways this weekend by completing a double over Eastbourne Borough in the National South.

Storm Dennis caused havoc across the country last weekend resulting in both Dartford and Eastbourne Borough getting a ‘winter break’ of their own. The Darts were scheduled to take on Billericay Town, whilst the Sports were due to host league leaders Wealdstone, only for both fixtures to be called off because of the extreme weather conditions. So it has been a fortnight since both sides last played with Dartford losing their last outing at home against a Hampton and Richmond Borough side aiming for the playoffs. Eastbourne Borough picked up a draw versus Weymouth, another club aiming for a top seven finish.

When the Darts last met Eastbourne Borough, Steve King recorded his first victory as boss back in November. King handed a debut to Kyjoun Marsh-Brown and Liam Gordon, who has since returned to his parent club after a successful loan spell. Norman Wabo made a rare appearance under the current Dartford boss and opened the scoring after just four minutes, but the goal of the day was Elliott Romain’s thirty yard strike against his former club. The striker who has scored 12 goals in 19 games for the Darts will be suspended this weekend for his red card against Hampton and Richmond Borough. However, Amrit Bansal-McNullty returns from his suspension after his dismissal at Chippenham Town and new signing Giovanni McGregor is available after making his debut during Dartford’s last outing.

A fortnight ago, despite taking an early lead through Luke Wanadio’s sixth minute header, the Darts lost 2-1 to Hampton and Richmond Borough and manager Steve King was disappointed, he told DFCTV after the match: “We didn’t play at our level, we played nowhere near what we’re capable of and when you do that in this division and when you’re against a good side challenging for the playoffs you end up losing”. However, the Darts boss was impressed by Wanadio’s performance and believes there is more to come from the winger, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “He’s been one of the better players since I’ve come to the club. He wants to learn, he’s always listening and we’re only touching the iceberg. There’s a lot more to come”, King added: “There’s more goals to come from Luke. There was the year when he was at Dartford before and he scored 15 or so goals and then he got a move to Bromley. The only thing missing has been goals”.

Although there were some questionable decisions in the Hampton and Richmond Borough match, when Tom Bonner and Sanchez Ming ended up on the wrong side of challenges that may have seen a red card, King believes ultimately it was down to the team’s performance, he explained: “They were incidents that may change games, but that’s not the reason we’ve lost the game because we were not good enough”. Danilo Orsi-Dadamo and Ryan Hill were on target for the Beavers as the visitors took their chances, King believed ‘costly errors’ and a ‘lack of control in midfield’ were the main factors behind the defeat.

Eastbourne Borough have become draw specialists lately ending their last six league games all square. The run stretches back to New Years Day when they beat Dorking Wanderers and so the Sussex club are eight unbeaten and without defeat in 2020. The Sports under Danny Bloor, have become tougher to beat and are looking for ways to turn draws into victories. Their last stalemate was a last minute 2-2 draw with Weymouth in which the first half was a cagey affair. Eastbourne Borough’s Greg Luer put the hosts in front only for Abdulai Baggie and Jake McCarthy to give the Terras a one goal advantage. However, deep into stoppage time Charlie Walker grabbed an equaliser to extend the Sports unbeaten run.

Goals have not been in short supply in the last four meetings against Eastbourne Borough at Princes Park. The Darts have scored 12 and conceded ten in that time with the Sports winning 3-2 in their last visit in a F.A Trophy third qualifying round replay. Even though Andre Coker and Taylor Fisher scored two goals in as many minutes right at the end of the game, the visitors went straight down the other end to score an even later winner. In the last league meeting at Princes Park, Elliot Bradbrook scored a last minute equaliser, whilst Charlie Sheringham scored on his return to the club and got sent off. Often an entertaining affair between the two clubs, the Darts won the previous two matches at Princes Park 4-2 in September 2017 and 4-3 five months earlier.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 11 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 6 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford (WWLWWL) Eastbourne Borough (DDDDDD)
Hampton & Richmond H 1-2 Weymouth A 2-2
Chippenham Town A 5-1 Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1
Dulwich Hamlet H 1-0 Concord Rangers H 2-2
Slough Town A 0-1 Chelmsford City A 1-1
Oxford City H 3-0 St Albans City H 3-3
Dorking Wanderers A 3-2 Slough Town A 1-1

Last Six Meetings

12.09.2017 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 2
20.04.2019 Eastbourne Borough 6 Dartford 0
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

Stats

There has been 17 goals in the last three home games in the National South against Eastbourne Borough, an average of 5.66 goals per game.

Dartford have kept six league clean sheets in their last nine games. Billericay Town have gone 13 league games without a clean sheet.

Over the last eight matches Dartford have picked up 2.25 points per game, the joint best with league leaders Wealdstone.

Eastbourne Borough’s eight game unbeaten run is the best run since they won the National South title back in 2007/08.

On This Day

Lee Noble has scored in his last two games on 22 February, and both times the midfielder netted the second goal in a 2-0 victory. In 2011, conditions were poor in a hard earned 2-0 away win on a cold Tuesday night at Dorchester Town. Danny Harris opened the scoring when his persistence paid off with twelve minutes to go, Noble secured the win by calmly slotting the ball beyond the Dorchester Town goalkeeper. History repeated itself three years later when Noble wrapped up another 2-0 win, this time at home to Hereford United in the National League. Alex Wall had earlier put the Darts in front and with twenty minutes remaining Noble blasted a shot in after his own free-kick had been partially cleared.

Dartford v Hampton and Richmond Borough

Two teams with playoff aspirations go head to head this weekend when Dartford host Hampton and Richmond Borough at Princes Park.

Dartford won the last encounter on Guy Fawkes Night at the Beveree with new signings Kyjoun Marsh-Brown and Elliott Romain scoring in a busy ten-minute first half spell. Marsh-Brown celebrated his first start for the club by getting on the end of Liam Gordon’s pass to open his account, but the lead lasted just two minutes when Sam Deadfield equalised for the hosts. Ten minutes before half-time, Romain won a penalty when felled by Charlie Wassmer, the Darts striker picked himself up and netted the winner from the spot.

The Darts last hosted the Beavers in March last year and a late Darren McQueen strike earned Dartford a point. Hampton and Richmond Borough took an early lead through Oliver Sprague and held the advantage until the hour mark. Lee Noble earned the Darts a penalty which Charlie Sheringham dispatched. With nine minutes remaining, Chris Dickson looked to have won the match for the visitors, but McQueen had other ideas when his deflected stoppage time strike made it 2-2.

Steve King’s side moved up to sixth place last weekend with a resounding 5-1 win over struggling Chippenham Town, their biggest away win in the league since October 2016. Prior the game two signings were announced, attacking midfielder Giovanni McGregor wasn’t available for selection, but will be on loan from Crystal Palace until the end of the season. Instead Amrit Bansal-McNullty made an immediate impact scoring and getting sent off on his debut. The winger on loan from Queens Park Rangers was one of two changes as well as Liam Nash, the pair replaced Luke Wanadio and Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong, who returned to Aldershot Town after his successful loan spell.

The game was as good as over by half-time as the Darts rattled in five goals. Darren McQueen won and scored a penalty and the lead was doubled when Nash on his first league start for the Darts. Chippenham Town halved the deficit a minute later through Callum Gunner, but the two-goal cushion was restored when Bansal-McNullty squeezed the ball in from the tightest of angles. The 19-year-old was involved in the fourth when his free-kick was deflected in, and the loanee also won the penalty leading to McQueen’s second spot kick. Bansal-McNullty’s afternoon ended early when he received two yellow cards in a goalless second-half and manager Steve King was also given a red card.

Dartford have now opened up a seven-point gap to rivals Maidstone United in eighth place, although the Stones have three games in hand. Victory made it seven wins from their last eight league outings, whilst at home the Darts have won four National South matches in a row scoring eleven without reply.

If the Darts thought they had racked up the highest score of the weekend, they only had to look as far as their next opponents. Hampton and Richmond Borough hit Hungerford Town with a bigger result, winning 7-1. Striker, Danilo Orsi-Dadomo and Ryan Hill both bagged a brace in the rout with the former opening the scoring on three minutes. However, Hungerford Town were level two minutes later when Zidan Akers picked up a wayward throw from debutant goalkeeper Dion-Curtis Henry before equalising. Ryan Hill scored the first of two Hampton and Richmond Borough penalties, Orsi-Dadamo also netted from the spot just past he half hour mark. Hungerford Town had manager Ian Herring sent off and the afternoon got worse for the side at the foot of the table. Second-half goals from Dean Inman, debutante Niko Muir, a second from Hill and Sam Deadfield completed the comprehensive win for the Beavers.

The Beavers had a slow start to their campaign much like Dartford, the Middlesex club lost their first four and eight of their first eleven. However, they have slowly turned their fortunes around picking up ten wins in their last 16, losing just once on the road in the league since 14 September 2019. The Middlesex club are ninth and level on points with Maidstone United with two games in hand over the Darts.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (WWLWWW) Hampton & Richmond (WLWWLD)
Chippenham Town A 5-1 Hungerford Town H 7-1
Dulwich Hamlet H 1-0 Slough Town H 1-2
Slough Town A 0-1 St Albans City H 2-1
Oxford City H 3-0 Concord Rangers A 2-0
Dorking Wanderers A 3-2 Dulwich Hamlet H 0-3
Welling United H 4-0 Bath City H 0-0

Last Six Meetings

05.11.2019 Hampton & Richmond 1 Dartford 2
23.03.2019 Dartford 2 Hampton & Richmond 2
17.11.2018 Hampton & Richmond 0 Dartford 1
30.03.2018 Dartford 1 Hampton & Richmond 0
02.09.2017 Hampton & Richmond 2 Dartford 2
17.04.2017 Dartford 3 Hampton & Richmond 1

Stats

Dartford have kept four consecutive clean sheets at Princes Park going 387 minutes without conceding in the league at home.

Darren McQueen’s double against Chippenham Town means he and Elliot Romain are the two top goalscorers in the National South.

The Darts have failed to win at home against those currently in the top ten.

Dartford are unbeaten in six games against Hampton and Richmond Borough (W4, D2).

Hampton and Richmond Borough’s 7-1 win over Hungerford Town was the first time since 1994 that they had scored seven in a match. The last time was a 7-1 win against Leatherhead.

On This Day

Andy Pugh and Lee Noble starred in Dartford’s famous 2-1 win at Wrexham on this day six years ago. Battling relegation the Darts visited the Racecourse Ground and took the lead when Pugh took advantage as goalkeeper Andy Coughlin failed to hold a free-kick, Pugh netted the rebound from close range. Wrexham equalised through Joe Clarke, but on the stroke of half-time Elliot Bradbrook scored the winner. That was Dartford’s third consecutive victory on 8 February, Charlie Sheringham scored the only goal of the game in 2011 as the Darts beat Weston-super-Mare. The last home fixture on this day was won by Dartford back in 2003, the Darts beat Spalding United 2-1 in the Southern League Division One East.

Chippenham Town v Dartford

Dartford begin February with a trip to relegation threatened Chippenham Town this weekend in the National South.

When the sides met back in October it was Steve King’s first league game at the helm and a late goal rescued a draw for the Darts. Elliott Romain was signed the day before the match and made his debut, and since then he has scored twelve times in his seventeen appearances. The striker has struck up an excellent partnership with Darren McQueen, but it was defender Josh Hill who came off the bench that day to calmly curl the equaliser into the Chippenham Town net with three minutes to go.

A fortnight ago, the Darts suffered a setback against fellow playoff contenders Slough Town in a 1-0 defeat. Last weekend, it was Dartford’s turn to secure a single goal win when McQueen smashed home a first-half winner at home to Dulwich Hamlet.

With competition for places all over the pitch, Steve King recently praised goalkeeper Alhaji Sesay for keeping his place ahead of Mark Smith, the Dartford boss told www.kentonline.co.uk: “We’re on a great run and he’s kept five clean sheets. He is part of that back five which has kept those clean sheets so at the moment he deserves the shirt”.

One player Dartford will be missing is Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong who has been recalled by his parent club Aldershot Town after a successful loan spell, the midfielder scored twice in six appearances. His return to Hampshire may lead to a search for a replacement, King commented: “We haven’t got anything like him. We’ve got other midfield players in the club, but we need to find another Jacob”, he continued: “We haven’t got another Jacob in the building, so we’ll be actively looking for another central midfield player that is like that”.

Dartford have won nine times in fourteen National South outings since they last played Chippenham Town propelling themselves from eighteenth to seventh in the league. What looked like a battle to avoid relegation has now become a promotion push via the playoffs.

Chippenham Town have travelled in the opposite direction since the last meeting in October. The Bluebirds were sitting in twelfth after the 1-1 draw with the Darts and now they are second from bottom. However, they do have a respectable home record of four wins and five draws from thirteen played and the seventh best defensive record in the division, the problem is in front of goal where the Wiltshire club are the lowest scorers.

A solitary win in twelve outings contributed to the departure of former manager Mark Collier in early January. Since then the Bluebirds have drawn away at Dulwich Hamlet and at home to title chasers Havant and Waterlooville making it three consecutive draws for Chippenham Town. Leading the team will be temporary manager, Michael Cook who has been given the task of staving off relegation. The former Gloucester City manager will be in charge until the end of the season.

The Bluebirds rode their luck in their 0-0 draw with Havant and Waterlooville last weekend when the Hawks hit the woodwork four times. However, it was Chippenham Town’s Luke Hopper who missed the best opportunity failing to score a one on one with goalkeeper Ross Worner. In Cook’s first game though, the Bluebirds were denied victory in the last minute, Callum Gunner put Chippenham Town ahead, but his goal was cancelled out by Dulwich Hamlet’s Shamir Mullings.

Last time the Darts visited Hardenhuish Park the winning goal came from an unlikely source. Jamie Philpot netted the opener in the first half and Nat Jarvis equalised on the stroke of half-time. The winner came from goalkeeper, Derren Ibrahim who scored from a free-kick inside his own half.

Head to Head

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

Current League Form

Dartford (WLWWWW) Chippenham Town (DDDLLL)
Dulwich Hamlet H 1-0 Havant & Waterlooville H 0-0
Slough Town A 0-1 Dulwich Hamlet A 1-1
Oxford City H 3-0 Hemel Hempstead Town H 2-2
Dorking Wanderers A 3-2 Tonbridge Angels A 2-3
Welling United H 4-0 Bath City H 1-3
Tonbridge Angels H 3-0 Dorking Wanderers H 0-2

Last Five Meetings

26.10.2019 Dartford 1 Chippenham Town 1
13.04.2019 Dartford 0 Chippenham Town 1
13.10.2018 Chippenham Town 1 Dartford 2
20.01.2018 Chippenham Town 2 Dartford 2
09.09.2017 Dartford 3 Chippenham Town 0

Stats

Romain and McQueen have scored 19 of the 28 league goals scored under Steve King. Romain has gone three league goals without a goal, his longest barren spell in the league since joining the Darts. McQueen has scored nine goals in his last ten starts.

Dartford have won 10, drawn 5 and lost 2 against sides currently in the lower half of the table. The Darts have drawn all three games against those in the bottom three.

Chippenham Town have picked up 5 points out of a possible 30 against sides currently in the top seven.

On This Day

Dartford have won their last three matches played on 1 February and all three home games were won 1-0. Nine years ago, Elliot Bradbrook scored the only goal at Princes Park to record a rare victory over Braintree Town in the National South. In 1999, the Darts beat Chelmsford City and two years earlier Cinderford Town both in the Southern League Southern Division. Dartford’s last away day on this day was a 2-0 defeat in the Southern Premier League versus Worcester City. The last time both teams scored on 1 February was in 1986 when the Darts beat Altrincham at Watling Street in what is now the National League.

Dartford v Dulwich Hamlet

Dartford enter the last third of the season chasing a playoff spot and this weekend they hope to start a new winning run at home to Dulwich Hamlet.

Although King’s side experienced defeat on the weekend they have won six out of eight since the 1-1 draw with Dulwich Hamlet to move into the last playoff place. Unbeaten in three home games, the Darts have rattled in ten without reply, last conceding at Princes Park in the 1-0 loss against Concord Rangers just over a month ago.

The Darts drew with their opponents at the beginning of December rescuing a point at Champion Hill. Hamlet went ahead through Christian Smith’s free-kick, but Elliott Romain won then scored the equaliser from the penalty spot. Steve King had to patch up the midfield that day with Tyrique Hyde making his debut for the Darts. A lot has happened since then with the squad taking shape and Dartford getting in their grove.

After the 3-0 win against Oxford City in the Darts last home game, King named an unchanged team when they travelled to Slough Town last weekend. However, it was a Dan Roberts that scored the only goal of the game to give the Rebels their first win of 2020. Late on Sanchez Ming, who was already cautioned earlier in the match showed his frustration at a linesman and was sent off with a straight red card, however the red card has been overturned and the defender will be available for selection.

On Tuesday night more changes were made to give game time to others, only defenders Ming and Josh Hill remained in the side with King utilising the squad he has built. Mark Smith was back in goal after a spell out injured, whilst Craig Braham-Barrett and Liam Nash made their first starts for the club. Lee Noble was back in the side after his long term injury and Sam Blackman played his first game since his successful loan spell. Ronnie Vint, Charlie Sheringham and Kyjoun Marsh-Brown all got minutes as did Marcel Barrington who made an appearance as a substitute. A new face was introduced to the squad, Michael Onovwigun was part of the Dulwich Hamlet squad that won promotion to the National South and recently played for Carshalton Athletic and Lewes in the Isthmian Premier League, the midfielder started for the Darts. Marsh-Brown came up with the winner when his first half strike was the only goal of the game before Maidstone United’s Lewis Knight was sent off on the stroke of half-time.

Whilst Dartford were progressing to the last eight of the Kent Senior Cup, Dulwich Hamlet were in National South action against title chasing Havant and Waterlooville. The South Londoners were unbeaten in 2020, but were unable to keep that run going when the Hawks ran out 3-1 winners. It looked as though things were going Dulwich Hamlet’s way when Havant and Waterlooville missed a first-half penalty and former Dart, Danny Mills scored six minutes into the second-half. However, the visitors came back scoring three in the final fifteen minutes. Sam Magri scored from the spot, Bradley Tarbuck put the Hawks ahead with eight minutes to play and Alfie Rutherford made sure of an away win in the last minute.

Defeat ended a run of four games unbeaten which included a 3-0 victory over Hampton and Richmond Borough and an impressive 6-0 win over Braintree Town. Hamelt’s nine goals without reply was follwed up by a pair of 1-1 draws against Weymouth then Chippenham Town before Tuesday night’s loss.

Last season at Princes Park, Dartford came from behind to win 2-1. The South Londoners took the lead when Afolabi Akinyemi’s powerful shot beat goalkeeper Derren Ibrahim on nineteen minutes. Just before half-time the Darts were level courtesy of Jamie Philpot and in the second half Charlie Sheringham scored a penalty to claim victory. The reverse fixture finished with Hamlet winning 2-0 at Champion Hill.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Dulwich Hamlet wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Dartford (LWWWWW) Dulwich Hamlet (LDDWWL)
Slough Town A 0-1 Havant & Waterlooville H 1-3
Oxford City H 3-0 Chippenham Town H 1-1
Dorking Wanderers A 3-2 Weymouth A 1-1
Welling United H 4-0 Braintree Town H 6-0
Tonbridge Angels H 3-0 Hampton & Richmond A 3-0
Welling United A 3-0 Maidstone United A 1-4

Last Six Meetings

07.12.2019 Dulwich Hamlet 1 Dartford 1
02.03.2019 Dulwich Hamlet 2 Dartford 0
20.10.2019 Dartford 2 Dulwich Hamlet 1
31.03.2007 Dartford 1 Dulwich Hamlet 1
19.09.2006 Dulwich Hamlet 3 Dartford 2
09.12.1996 Dulwich Hamlet 3 Dartford 1

Stats

Dartford are unbeaten at home against Dulwich Hamlet winning one and drawing the other two.

The Darts have won four of their last five home games in the National South, they had previously won one of their opening eight league matches at Princes Park this campaign.

Dartford had scored 13 goals at home in their opening eight league fixtures, they have managed 13 in their last five league games at Princes Park.

On This Day

Dartford came back from two goals down to almost record an upset against Cambridge United six years ago. The Darts fell behind with two early goals at Princes Park when Ryan Bird scored a brace on his debut. Elliot Bradbrook scored a penalty and Max Cornhill equalised before half time, then after the break Danny Harris had the Darts ahead. Alan Julian saved a penalty, however Dartford were denied victory ten minutes from time by Luke Berry in an entertaining National League encounter. Harris also found the net three years earlier helping Dartford beat Tonbridge Angels 2-0 in the Kent Senior Cup first round, Sheringham scored the other and Dartford went on to win the competition beating Bromley 4-1 in the final.

Slough Town v Dartford

Dartford will be aiming for a sixth straight victory this weekend when they take on playoff contenders Slough Town at Arbour Park.

After the festive games in which the Darts took maximum points, the following three fixtures were singled out as tests against sides in the playoffs or in top form. That test continues at fourth place Slough Town and so far, Dartford have passed with flying colours. Another win will put Steve King’s men level on points with their opponents.

Oxford City were comfortably beaten 3-0 at Princes Park despite Dartford ‘not being at their best’ according to Luke Wanadio. The winger told DFCTV after the game: “It shows progression since the gaffer has come to the club, it shows we’re united as a team and it shows that we can grind out results even when we’re not at our best, it’s brilliant we just need to keep the wins coming”.

Prior the Oxford City game, King urged his players not to let standards slip and signed two more players who were named on the substitute’s bench. Defender, Craig Braham-Barrett is a Montserrat international and previously worked with King at Welling United, Whitehawk, Farnborough and Macclesfield Town. Liam Nash is a striker and like Braham-Barrett joined the Darts from Hemel Hempstead Town. Nash scored seven league goals in the first three months of this season for the Tudors. Meanwhile, Cameron Brodie has gone out on loan with Isthmian Division One South East side Sittingbourne.

There was only one change to the line-up that beat Dorking Wanderers, Tyrique Hyde celebrated his loan extension by returning to the starting eleven after recovering from injury, the midfielder replaced Kyjoun Marsh-Brown. Just before half time Darren McQueen scored his fourth penalty in five games and third in a row to give the Darts the lead. Due to a lengthy stoppage earlier in the half, when Oxford City’s Finn Tapp suffered a head injury, Dartford scored a second in injury time through Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong, his second for the club. A third was added just before the hour mark when Billy Crook sprayed a wonderful cross field ball to Wanadio who fired his shot goalward to wrap up a 3-0 victory. The run of five consecutive wins has included 16 goals scored and only two conceded and now King’s side are topping the form table.

The away trip to Slough will be another measure of Dartford’s potential, King told www.kentonline.co.uk: “These are the games where I start to see where we are actually at, like the Dorking game”, he added: “Slough is a tough place to go. They are a solid outfit with some bits of quality in the side”.

Tony Burman was in temporary charge during the reverse fixture back in September when the Darts threw away a two-goal lead. Slough Town came back to claim their first ever win over Dartford after Darren McQueen and Josh Hill scored within two minutes of each other. The rebels pulled a goal back before the break through Dan Roberts and in the second half Matthew Lench and Ben Harris completed the turnaround.

McQueen made his Dartford debut the last time the club visited Arbour Park and he found the back of the net in a 2-2 draw. The striker put the Darts ahead after Ben Greenhalgh’s opener was cancelled out by Ben Harris, but Slough Town’s Ben Fraser scored an equaliser to leave the game all square.

If joint managers failed to work at Dartford it’s quite the opposite at Slough Town. Jon Underwood and Neal Baker have been in charge for almost seven years and in that time, they have won two promotions, a county cup and reached the F.A Cup second round twice and first round once. This season the duo has turned the Rebels into playoff contenders after their eleventh-place finish last term.

The Berkshire club lost their opening three games but took 24 points from the next 30 available in a ten-match unbeaten run. The Rebels may have lost to Oxford City to end that sequence, but they started another one by winning five and drawing two of their next seven. However, Slough Town approach their home fixture with the Darts on the back of four games without victory, picking up three draws in the process.

Last weekend, the Rebels took the lead twice with Lench’s goal cancelled out by Billericay Town’s Odysseus Alfa, then George Wells restored Slough Town’s lead only for Ronnie Henry’s last-minute equaliser to deny Underwood and Baker another victory. Despite the current winless streak, just one team has come away with all three points when visiting Arbour Park this campaign and that was Dorking Wanderers on the opening day. Twelve home matches later, the Berkshire club have picked up eight more home victories and four draws.

Sam Blackman returns to the Dartford squad after a successful loan spell at Hythe in the Isthmian Division One South East, the midfielder scored four goals in his spell there. Rowan Liburd’s loan spell with the Darts ‘didn’t work out’ so the striker has returned to Hereford. Luke Allen remains injured and is likely to be out for longer than expected.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Slough Town wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (WWWWWL) Slough Town (DDLDWW)
Oxford City H 3-0 Billericay Town A 2-2
Dorking Wanderers A 3-2 Eastbourne Borough H 1-1
Welling United H 4-0 Wealdstone A 1-2
Tonbridge Angels H 3-0 Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-1
Welling United A 3-0 Wealdstone H 2-1
Concord Rangers H 0-1 Braintree Town H 1-0

Last Six Meetings

28.09.2019 Dartford 2 Slough Town 3
16.02.2019 Slough Town 2 Dartford 2
08.12.2018 Dartford 1 Slough Town 1
01.10.2016 Slough Town 2 Dartford 3
29.10.1988 Slough Town 1 Dartford 2
10.01.1981 Dartford 4 Slough Town 1

Stats

Dartford last won five league games in a row at the end of the 2017-18 season when they agonisingly finished runners up on goal difference. The Darts finished their campaign with nine straight victories and the following season they won their opening two, taking the total to 11 wins in a row.

The Darts have kept four clean sheets in their last five games, their best defensive spell since that winning run at the tail end of 2017-18. Dartford kept six clean sheets in seven back then, and including the two opening games the following season made it seven clean sheets in ten league matches.

Dartford have won six penalties in their last nine league games, scoring five.

Only league leaders Wealdstone (33) have picked up more home points than Slough Town (28). Only Havant and Waterlooville (27) have picked up more away points than Dartford (20).

On This Day

Dartford’s last away win on 18 January came in 1992 when they beat Waterlooville in the Southern Premier Division. It was the second 5-0 victory in three league games after the Darts thrashed rivals Gravesend and Northfleet on New Year’s Day. Since then Dartford have claimed one victory on this day in five more attempts, the 1-0 home win against Sittingbourne in the Southern League Division One East, 17 years ago. Sandwiched between the two triumphs the Darts lost 1-0 to Newport Isle of Wight in the Southern League South in 2003 and two years later were beaten 2-1 by Folkestone Invicta, in the Kent Senior Cup second round. Dartford’s last home game on 18 January ended with James White scoring a late leveller in a 1-1 National South draw against Staines Town in 2011. The last away fixture was three years later when the Darts were defeated 1-0 by Salisbury City in the National League.

Dartford v Oxford City

The Darts have been making big strides recently and hope to continue moving forwards when they host Oxford City this weekend in the National South.

Dartford completed their fourth consecutive victory in their last match beating playoff hopefuls and Isthmian Premier League champions Dorking Wanderers. In an eventful afternoon, the Darts went two up with more goals from Darren McQueen and Elliott Romain. Dartford ‘dominated the game until 2-0’, but ‘switched off’ according to manager Steve King. The home side hit back with goals from Jimmy Muitt and Luke Moore setting up an exciting finale in which both sides hit the woodwork in the final ten minutes. Then eight minutes into injury time McQueen won a penalty, dusted himself off and netted the winner.

The Darts have not had much luck with injuries this season, but manager Steve King has been able to quickly plug the holes when necessary. Prior the 3-2 win at Dorking Wanderers, Jordan Wynter hurt his knee in the warm up allowing Kyjoun Marsh-Brown to step in at late notice. Steve King had already brought in full back Nick Arnold from Wealdstone before the game and he explained his decision to DFCTV, he said: “I’ve always wanted at least three full backs. I’ve worked with him before, he’s a very talented boy who started his career at Reading, played at Wycombe Wanderers and went to Whitehawk with me and played in two playoff finals. He signed for Aldershot Town, won a cap for the England C team and more recently played for Wealdstone”.

Wynter joins a list of players who have recently suffered from injury including goalkeeper Mark Smith, midfielder Luke Allen and loanee Tyrique Hyde, who has extended his stay for another month. King has used the loan market to his benefit by bringing players to the club, equally he is using the loan system to benefit current squad members. This week Ryan Hayes went out on dual registration to Sevenoaks Town and Norman Wabo loaned to Cheshunt. Sam Blackman is already at Hythe Town and the Dartford boss intends to send Lee Noble and Cameron Brodie out on loan to build up his match fitness and gain experience in Brodie’s case.

Ahead of the Oxford City game, King stated: “We will see what bodies we’ve got available and we will prepare properly as we always do. We’ve got a good harmony going on here”. It’s that harmony that has seen Dartford make ‘good strides’, King added: “We’ve scored at least three goals four times in a row. We’re going in the right direction because sides are playing us now and they realise it’s not the Dartford it was, it’s now a completely different Dartford and they know they’re going to be in a game”. He continued: “Whoever we play now that’s the level I wanted to get to, where nobody could come and roll us over and I think we’re getting close to that level”.

The form of Romain and McQueen has been extraordinary with the duo responsible for 17 of the 24 league goals scored by the Darts since King has been in charge. A better brand of football and tighter defence in recent weeks has moved the Darts away from looking to maintain their National South status to thinking about gate-crashing the playoffs. The positivity of Dartford’s form is starting to be mirrored off the pitch, King commented: “The mindset has completely changed for the fans, the boys have done brilliantly to change that. Fans are now coming to games excited about what is going to happen”.

It was an end of an era for two managers last time Dartford played Oxford City. Tony Burman led the Darts out for the last time during his interim spell and Mark Jones was in charge for his last league game as Oxford City’s boss. Equal on points before kick-off, Dartford moved three points ahead by full-time as they secured a 1-0 away victory courtesy of Ben Greenhalgh’s curling effort which found the top corner. Greenhalgh has spent the last two months on loan at Tonbridge Angels and the goal he scored at Oxford City turned out to be his last for the Darts, the midfielder left this week by mutual consent after 62 Dartford appearances and seven goals since joining in at the beginning of last season.

Although Jones led Oxford City to a cup win a weekend later, he left the club by mutual consent after failing to win a league game for two months. Since then, Andy Ballard and Justin Merritt have taken charge. Ballard was assistant manager to Jones and has a 20-year affiliation with the club, Merritt is the Director of Football and managed the Hoops between 2014 and December 2016.

Defensively, Oxford City have been vulnerable but since Jones’ departure they have scored with more frequency turning defeats into valuable points. The interim duo has improved Oxford City’s form with six wins, two draws and two defeats. They got off to a brilliant start winning four and drawing one of their first five matches.

Last weekend, Oxford City followed in Dartford’s footsteps by taking a two-goal lead, letting it slip before finding a winner. Only the Hoops managed their 3-2 victory by stunning table toppers Wealdstone. Joe Oastler and Elliot Benyon helped Oxford City go 2-0 ahead before Jacob Mendy and Adam Coombes levelled the match. Finn Tapp headed the decisive goal to secure Oxford City’s third win in their last four outings.

The Hoops other two victories completed a festive double over Hungerford Town with Kyran Lofthouse scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory on New Year’s Day. In the reverse fixture on Boxing Day, Oxford City netted three times in a 22-minute spell eventually winning 3-2. Sandwiched between those two triumphs, the Hoops lost 2-1 at Weymouth.

Both teams have started to hit form after managerial changes this term, the Darts have the second-best record over the last six games whilst Oxford City have the fourth.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Oxford City wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (WWWWLW) Oxford City (WWLWWL)
Dorking Wanderers A 3-2 Wealdstone H 3-2
Welling United H 4-0 Hungerford Town A 2-1
Tonbridge Angels H 3-0 Weymouth A 1-2
Welling United A 3-0 Hungerford Town H 3-2
Concord Rangers H 0-1 St Albans City H 3-3
Billericay Town H 3-2 Maidstone United H 1-4

Last Six Meetings

12.10.2019 Oxford City 0 Dartford 1
27.04.2019 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1
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

Stats

Dartford have won their last three home matches against Oxford City including a 7-1 mauling in August 2017.

Dartford under Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle this season

Won 1, Drew 4, Lost 4, Scored 11, Conceded 20, Points per game: 0.77

Dartford under Steve King this season

Won 7, Drew 3, Lost 2, Scored 24, Conceded 12, Points per game: 2.00

Oxford City under Mark Jones this season

Won 2, Drew 4, Lost 7, Scored 11, Conceded 21, Points per game: 0.76

Oxford City under Andy Ballard and Justin Merritt this season

Won 7, Drew 2, Lost 2, Scored 29, Conceded 22, Points per game: 2.09

On This Day

In the summer of 1958 a young Pele helped Brazil win the World Cup, in the same year Dartford won their last game they played on 11 January. The Darts beat a Lovells Athletic side 3-1 at home in the Southern League and are still waiting to win again on this day. Since then, the Darts have played six times all away from home including two F.A Trophy first round ties. Dartford lost to Dover 2-1 in 1975 and drew with Merthyr Tydfil 1-1 in 1992. In 1962 the Darts lost 4-0 against Hastings United in the Southern Premier League and five years later they drew 2-2 with Wisbech Town in the Southern League First Division. Boston United beat Dartford 3-0 in what is now the National League back in 1986 and the last match 23 years ago saw Witney Town thrash the Darts 5-1 in the Southern League Southern Division.

Dorking Wanderers v Dartford

A new ground will be ticked off the list this weekend when Dartford visit Isthmian Premier League champions Dorking Wanderers.

The Darts were in tip top form over the festive period taking maximum points including a convincing double over local rivals Welling United. Hoping to continue the momentum that has lifted Dartford into playoff places, Steve King’s side face a tougher test when they visit Meadowbank.

If the reverse fixture at Princes Park in September is anything to go by, then fans could be in for a treat. Dorking Wanderers ran out victors in a seven-goal thriller, which saw Tony Burman return to the dugout as interim manager. Wanderers scored first when a counter attack was finished from long range by Niall McManus. The Darts took the lead with two Ben Greenhalgh goals in the space of four minutes, then on the stroke of half-time former Dartford striker Jason Prior netted a penalty.

In the second-half, Dartford went in front once again when Charlie Sheringham got on the end of a Ryan Hayes cross. However, in the final six minutes the game swung in Dorking Wanderers’ favour, Giuseppe Sole scored from a free-kick, Lee Noble was sent off and in the final minutes James McShane grabbed the winner.

Dartford managed to score ten goals without reply over the festive season with Elliot Romain and Darren McQueen sharing eight between them. The beginning of a new decade couldn’t have gone any better with the Darts turning over Welling United 4-0 on New Year’s Day. The only change to the starting eleven that beat Tonbridge Angels was Sanchez Ming returning to the side replacing the injured Tyrique Hyde. On loan from Aldershot Town, Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong scored his first Dartford goal in only his second appearance, Elliott Romain added two more to his season’s tally of 11 in 13 games and Darren McQueen scored his tenth of the campaign.

Dartford manager, Steve King told DFCTV that he is pleased with the ‘strides’ his team have taken, but the game versus Dorking Wanderers this weekend could provide more answers, he said: “The test for me now becomes, can we play a team in the top seven and see exactly where we are or where we’re improving or where we’re short?”. He continued: “It will be a tough game, my friend is the owner and manager and he’s done brilliantly. He’s got a good club and players, they are beating everybody at home and have got themselves up to fourth in the division”. Having been out of work before being appointed Dartford boss, King will already know what Dorking Wanderers are about, he explained: “I know how tough it is going to be, I know their players from when I did a bit of commentary work there at the start of the season”.

Dartford’s full back, Liam Gordon has returned to his parent club after ten appearances for the Darts, whilst midfielder’s Lee Noble and Luke Allen may have to wait another two to three weeks before a return. Defender, Josh Hill suffered a dead leg and had his red card successfully appealed against Tonbridge Angels. Hyde has been nursing a bruised heel and Mark Smith will provide competition with in form goalkeeper Alhaji Sesay after recovering from a knee injury.

Dorking Wanderers have risen through the non-league pyramid with five promotions in nine seasons. Founder member of the club, Marc White is the manager and he led the Surrey side to the Isthmian Premier League title last term. This year begun with the Wanderers tasting only their sixth defeat of the season in their first campaign at National South level.

The loss at Eastbourne Borough ended a run of seven consecutive victories in all competitions and their two-month unbeaten run, consisting of seven wins and three draws. During their winning spell they beat playoff challengers Weymouth and Maidstone United, knocked Leatherhead and Bromley out of the F.A Trophy and kept six clean sheets in seven outings.

Looking to complete the double over Eastbourne Borough, following a 4-0 win on Boxing Day against the Sports, White’s side were beaten 3-2 at Priory Lane on New Year’s Day. White made three changes to the side that won 2-0 against Chippenham Town with Sole, McManus and Luke Moore replacing Dan Gallagher, Tom Richards and Jack Barham, who was recalled by Barnet from his loan spell. Matthew Briggs sent Dorking Wanderers 1-0 up at the break, but the second-half belonged to Eastbourne Borough who scored three unanswered goals before Prior grabbed a consolation.

Despite the New Year’s Day setback, Dorking Wanderers are in fourth place a point behind second place and eight adrift of the league leaders. The Surrey club have an exemplary home record taking eight victories from 12. Meanwhile, the Darts are in seventh with an away record of five wins and five defeats from a dozen.

Out of the top ten sides, Dartford and Dorking Wanderers have the worst defensive record, however over the last six matchday’s they have kept seven clean sheets between them, both sides showing signs of improvements at the back. In attack there doesn’t seem to be much of an issue with Wanderers the fourth highest scorers in the National South and the Darts the fifth, helped by Dartford’s Elliott Romain who is joint top of the goalscoring charts and Dorking Wanderers’ Jason Prior who is just two goals behind.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 0 / Dorking Wanderers wins: 1 / Draws: 0

Current League Form

Dartford (WWWLWD) Dorking Wanderers (LWWWWW)
Welling United H 4-0 Eastbourne Borough A 2-3
Tonbridge Angels H 3-0 Chippenham Town A 2-0
Welling United A 3-0 Eastbourne Borough H 4-0
Concord Rangers H 0-1 Maidstone United A 3-2
Billericay Town H 3-2 Weymouth H 1-0
Dulwich Hamlet A 1-1 Welling United H 2-0

Last Six Meetings

07.09.2019 Dartford 3 Dorking Wanderers 4

Stats

Dartford’s 4-0 win against Welling United was the first time the Darts have scored more than three goals in a league game since 24 February 2018 when they beat Truro City 4-1.

The Darts kept a third consecutive clean sheet on New Year’s Day, the first time since April 2018 when they managed four in a row.

Under Steve King, Elliott Romain and Darren McQueen have scored 13 goals in the 9 games when they have both started. The pair have scored 12 in the last 6 in which they were both selected in the starting eleven.

Dorking romped to the league title last season and have settled comfortably in the National South. In 2019 the Wanderers won 31, drew 9 and lost 6 in all competitions.

On This Day

Dartford last won on the 4 January way back in 1986 when they beat Barnet 5-3 at Watling Street, in which is now the National League. The home win rewarded the Darts with two points in the Gola League, bizarrely an away victory was worth three points that season. Victory put some gloss on a difficult period for the club as the financial situation started to unravel, three games later manager John Still resigned. Dartford have played three matches since that triumph, in 1992 they lost 1-0 at Bromsgrove Rovers in the Southern Premier League, were beaten 3-1 at Stamford in the Southern Division One East eleven years later and most recently, lost 2-1 to Kidderminster Harriers at Princes Park five years ago in the National League.