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Dartford v Chippenham Town

Steve King takes charge of his first National South game as Dartford manager this weekend when they host Chippenham Town.

In their last league fixture, the Darts made sure they gave interim boss Tony Burman the perfect send off. Since the departure of Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle, Burman has instilled more belief and confidence in the squad winning four of his six games at the helm.

A fortnight ago, Dartford recorded a fourth consecutive away victory in all competitions when they beat Oxford City 1-0. The match marked the return of Andy Pugh, who was recalled from East Thurrock United and Mark Onyemah, who made his first appearance since March. Ben Greenhalgh scored the winner just past the half hour mark curling his shot beyond Craig King in the Oxford City goal.

King has already taken charge of one Darts game in last weekend’s F.A Cup tie versus Kingstonian. The new boss is willing to give players opportunities to impress, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “I’ve told them that they will all get an opportunity”, however King will not shirk from making improvements to the squad if needed, he explained: “Different managers get more out of some players but if it’s not working then I will make changes that I feel are necessary”.

Dartford took three points off Chippenham Town last term losing the last meeting between the two sides at Princes Park in April. Adriel George scored for the visitors twelve minutes from time to put a dent in Dartford’s playoff hopes. The reverse fixture at Hardenhuish Park, just over a year ago was an unusual affair in that goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim scored the winning goal in a 2-1 victory.

The Bluebirds are now in their third season in the National South and have been very consistent. In their first two campaigns they finished thirteenth and this time they are sitting mid-table. Mark Collier’s side are unbeaten in four National South matches winning their last outing 1-0 at Concord Rangers. Luke Hopper’s second-half penalty was enough to gain three more points for the Bluebirds which had Collier praising his squad’s mentality, spirit and endeavour.

Chippenham Town lost to Dorking Wanderers at the beginning of September before setting off on their unbeaten run. The Wiltshire club beat Tonbridge Angels 2-1 then recorded successive draws against Chelmsford City and Dulwich Hamlet, returning to winning ways by beating Concord Rangers.

Just over two years ago, Dartford hosted Chippenham Town for the first time and ran out 3-0 winners. Two of the current squad found the back of the net that day, Andy Pugh and Ryan Hayes adding to Alfie Pavey’s opener. In the return fixture the match finished 2-2 with the Darts twice squandering the lead. Pavey hit a brace, but both goals were cancelled out first by Dean Evans then by Nick McCootie.

Head to Head

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

Current League Form

Dartford (WLWLLD) Chippenham Town (WDDWLL)
Oxford City A 1-0 Concord Rangers A 1-0
Slough Town H 2-3 Dulwich Hamlet H 2-2
Concord Rangers A 2-0 Chelmsford City A 3-3
Dorking Wanderers H 3-4 Tonbridge Angels H 2-1
Tonbridge Angels A 2-3 Dorking Wanderers A 0-1
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Braintree Town H 1-2

Previous Meetings

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

Dartford have lost their last two home games in the league for the first time since February/March 2016, the last time they lost three in a row was in March 2015 whilst in the National League.

The Darts have scored in seven consecutive home games, the last team to keep a clean sheet at Princes Park was Chippenham Town.

Chippenham Town have the best defence in the National South conceding on average a goal a game in their 13 matches.

The Bluebirds have scored the fewest number of goals (5) on the road in the division, only Tonbridge Angels (4) have scored fewer.

Chippenham Town’s last away match in the National South was their first league triumph on the road since beating Dartford in April at Princes Park, ending a run of seven away games without victory.

On This Day

Dartford made a rare television appearance seven years ago and what a memorable Friday night under the Princes Park floodlights it was. Live coverage of the home National League fixture against Mansfield Town ended with the Darts recording a famous 2-0 win. Elliot Bradbrook scored from 20 yards in first-half stoppage time and a minute later a Ryan Hayes special helped move Dartford into third place in the league. The Darts have won their last five home games on 26 October and in 2010 they beat Leiston 3-2 in the F.A Cup fourth qualifying round. Dartford drew the first game 0-0 but made it through to round one with goals from Danny Harris, Carl Rook and Tom Bonner setting up a tie with Port Vale. The last game on this day came against rivals Ebbsfleet United also in the F.A Cup fourth qualifying round, Lee Noble scored after the Fleet missed an earlier penalty and Anthony Cook equalised to force a replay, which the Darts won 1-0 three days later.

Oxford City v Dartford

Celebrating Non-League Day, the Darts are back in National South action this weekend taking on Oxford City at Marsh Lane.

Dartford’s playoff ambitions ended at Saturday’s venue six months ago on the final day of last season. Ronnie Vint’s goal put fate in Dartford’s hands as they moved into the playoff places. Then in an eight-minute second half spell Zac McEachran and Kabongo Tshimanga ended Darts’ hopes of finishing in the top seven.

This time the Darts approach their trip with more confidence having won three of their last four matches in all competitions. A couple of 2-0 victories over Concord Rangers in the league and Horsham in the F.A Cup was followed up by a 3-2 reverse at home to Slough Town. On the weekend, Dartford continued their progress in the F.A Cup comfortably beating Southern Premier South side Blackfield and Langley to record their third consecutive away victory.

In charge of the third qualifying round tie, Tony Burman opted to play Cameron Brodie at right back to replace the departed Alex Flisher. Returning from suspension, Lee Noble was back in the team alongside Luke Allen and Tom Bonner came in at left back. Up front Darren McQueen made way for Adam Cunnington.

Charlie Sheringham almost opened the scoring after just three minutes, but his effort was ruled out for offside. However, the striker only had to wait a little longer when he linked up with Cunnington to score from close range. Luke Allen netted his second F.A Cup goal in as many games after a well worked move and just before half-time Mark Smith’s stunning save kept the score at 2-0. In the second-half, Allen won a penalty which Sheringham converted and despite the hosts pulling a goal back, Cunnington headed in the fourth which was to be his last for the club after he left by mutual consent this week.

As well as Brodie racking up more minutes, two other academy players featured as substitutes and were introduced. Alfie Evans showed promise in midfield and Jay Bacon replaced the injured Sheringham, who will now be out with a dislocated shoulder. In other team news, Rob Howard will be available for selection after missing the F.A Cup fixture to prevent getting cup tied. Jordan Wynter and Sam Blackman and  are moving towards full recoveries, Mark Onyemah could be fit after a knee injury. .

Oxford City beat the Darts twice at home last term also winning a F.A Cup fixture 4-1, Tshimanga’s hat-trick was the highlight of the cup tie. Since Dartford’s return to the National South in 2015, the Darts have only managed a single victory at Marsh Lane in five attempts. Elliot Bradbrook and Tom Murphy scored the goals to secure a 2-0 win back in March 2018.

Under the guidance of Mark Jones, Oxford City are level on points with Dartford with the same goal difference. Where the Darts have outscored Saturday’s opponents, the Hoops have a stronger defence. Winless in five league games, the Oxfordshire club last tasted victory in the National South on August’s Bank Holiday, their only home win and only other league triumph came two weeks earlier.

The latest reverse came in their last league fixture against Braintree Town. A first-half penalty was scored by Braintree Town’s Ade Cole and was enough to condemn the Hoops to their sixth defeat of the campaign. Either side the National South loss, Oxford City have progressed through to the F.A Cup fourth qualifying round scoring nine times without reply. Southern League Division One Central side north Leigh were beaten 7-0, goals coming from six different players and an own goal.

Jones’ side will take more confidence from last weekend’s third qualifying round win, especially as it was against fellow National South side Hampton and Richmond Borough. In a six minute second-half spell Nana Owusu netted from the spot and McEachran added a second to earn a fourth qualifying round tie with Margate.

Head to Head

Oxford City wins: 2 / Dartford wins: 4 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (LWLLDD) Oxford City (LDLDLW)
Slough Town H 2-3 Braintree Town A 0-1
Concord Rangers A 2-0 Billericay Town H 2-2
Dorking Wanderers H 3-4 Wealdstone A 0-1
Tonbridge Angels A 2-3 Weymouth H 0-0
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Havant & Waterlooville H 0-3
Hungerford Town A 2-2 Bath City A 2-1

Last Six Meetings

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
25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1

Stats

Dartford are on a three game winning run in all competitions, the last time they won for four straight away matches was from 17 February 2018 to 4 August 2018. The Darts won their last five away games in the 2017/2018 campaign and the opening away match last season.

The Darts have scored two or more goals in each of their last six outings, they last managed that in September 2017. They last managed two or more goals in seven consecutive games the year before during September and October of 2016

The Darts have lost their last two games at Marsh Lane and have won once in their last five attempts at Oxford City.

On This Day

Dartford last tasted defeat on 12 October in 1963 and since then they have played six, won three and drew three. The last two fixtures on this day ended all square in normal time with the most recent six years ago against Hereford United. The National League match finished 2-2 with Lee Noble opening the scoring before Kevin Krans and Ross Dyer put the hosts ahead. A point was rescued when Uche Ibemere’s late goal made sure of the draw. Nine years ago, a dramatic evening saw Dartford beat Canvey Island on penalties after playing out an enthralling 3-3 F.A Cup third qualifying round replay. Danny Harris, Carl Rook and Paul Goodacre put the Darts 3-1 up, but they let the lead slip as Canvey Island forced extra time then penalties, the shoot-out finished 9-8.

Dartford v Slough Town

Dartford are back in National South action this weekend hosting a Slough Town side unbeaten in their last nine games in all competitions.

The Darts are starting to look more like their old self since the return of interim manager Tony Burman picking up two victories in their last three outings. Under Burman, Dartford lost to Dorking Wanderers but still managed to score three and followed up the improved performance with a pair of 2-0 wins.

In their last National South fixture Dartford managed to triumph on the road for the first time in ten attempts. Charlie Sheringham opened the scoring after four minutes and Alex Flisher scored his first for the club, whilst the defence kept a first away clean sheet since early February.

Dartford’s defence hasn’t been breached in the last 183 minutes of football. Another 2-0 victory over Isthmian Premier league side Horsham, in the second qualifying round of the F.A Cup, has seen the back line receive plenty of praise from Burman, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and was impressed with the attitude of his players, he said: “We’re getting a bit of belief in the players, what they should do and how they should do it. I know we’ve got the quality in the squad it’s just bringing out the work-rate, that bit of hunger and desire. We put our bodies on the line and that attitude was great throughout the game”.

The Darts made one change to the side that defeated Concord Rangers with the young Cameron Brodie starting and Rob Howard making way, Lee Noble was suspended for a second game of his three match ban and will miss this weekend’s fixture against Slough Town. Darren McQueen retained his starting place and was rewarded by scoring the opener just before half-time, Luke Allen secured victory late on, helping Dartford earn a third qualifying round tie against Southern Premier League South side Blackfield and Langley. It wasn’t all comfortable for the Darts as Mark Smith’s inspired performance between the sticks kept Horsham at bay.

Slough Town increased their unbeaten run to nine with a F.A Cup win over Hellenic Premier League side Flackwell Heath last weekend. Ben Harris scored twice before Manny Williams sealed the deal in a 3-0 win. Joint Manager, Jon Underwood claimed his team were ‘very professional’, he told www.sloughtown.net: “These games are never easy, but our attitude was spot on”.

In the National South, the Rebels got off to a poor start losing their opening three matches all by single goal margins. However consecutive draws steadied the ship and since then Slough Town’s season has taken off. The Berkshire club have taken 16 points from their the last 18 available making them the second best team over the last six fixtures, only table toppers Wealdstone are showing better form.

Last season, Andre Coker earned Dartford a point at home when they hosted Slough Town. The visitors took the in the first half with a fine striker from Josh Jackman. The return fixture saw the two sides draw again, this time the score was 2-2. Ben Harris scored in the first minute, Ben Greenhalgh equalised and Darren McQueen netted on his debut. The Rebels were all square again courtesy of Sean Fraser as the match ended with the sides taking a point each.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Slough Town wins: 0 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (WLLDDW) Slough Town (WWWDWW)
Concord Rangers A 2-0 Hampton & Richmond H 3-1
Dorking Wanderers H 3-4 Eastbourne Borough A 2-0
Tonbridge Angels A 2-3 Hemel Hempstead Town H 2-0
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 St Albans City H 1-1
Hungerford Town A 2-2 Dulwich Hamlet A 3-2
Braintree Town H 2-1 Bath City H 3-2

Last Five Meetings

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 have never lost to Slough Town winning three and drawing two of the five meetings stretching back to 1981.

In each game between the two sides both teams have scored, leading to an average of 3.8 goals per game.

On This Day

This weekend will be Dartford’s seventh home game in a row played on 28 September in which they have won three and lost three. The Darts most recently beat Southport in the National League six years ago thanks to Adam Birchall’s winner. Previously Dartford lost a pair of Southern League East matches in 2004 against Chatham Town (1-0) and in 2002 they lost 2-0 to Histon. In 1998, the Darts defeated Bashley in the Southern League South and year earlier they went out at the F.A Cup second qualifying stage versus Staines Town. Whilst in 1996, Dartford beat Fleet Town 1-0, also in the Southern League South.

Concord Rangers v Dartford

The Darts are back in action this weekend chasing their first away win of the season against fifth place Concord Rangers.

Tony Burman will remain in the hotseat as interim manager, until the club find a suitable candidate to replace previous joint managers Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle. Last weekend, Burman began his stint in charge in defeat as seven goals were shared with newly promoted Dorking Wanderers.

Angonisingly the final six minutes at Princes Park proved pivotal as the Darts tried to hold on to a crucial lead. Two changes were made to the starting elevn after the 3-2 loss at Tonbridge Angels, Charlie Sheringham replaced Norma Wabo to start with striker Adam Cunnington for the first time and Jordan Wynter returned to the line up with loanee Rob Howard stepping aside. Although the Darts started brightly, the visitors were in front after 12 minutes when Niall McManus hit a brilliant long range effort beyond Mark Smith. Dartford went ahead with Ben Greenhalgh’s quick fire brace, his first goals of the campaign. However, in first half stoppage time Dartford conceded a penalty and former Dart, Jason Prior equalised.

The second half had more goals in store, Ryan Hayes and Luke Allen combined well before Hayes put in a delightful cross for Sheringham to score. In the closing stages during a six minute spell the match turned dramatically, former Woking striker Guiseppe Sole levelled with a brilliant free-kick, Lee Noble was harshly sent off and with two minutes on the clock James McShane grabbed Dorking Wanderers a winner.

Burman praised his side work ethic, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “I was delighted with the effort the players put in”, before questioning some important decisions from the match officials, he added: “The penalty decision against us I can say is a poor goal in respect of the way we defended. Was it a penalty? I honestly don’t think it was”, he continued: “No-one thought it was a sending-off other than their bench. I wouldn’t say they got him sent-off but their reaction wasn’t good and it shouldn’t be like that. It was a poor decision”. Aside from getting the rub of the green, Burman also pinpointed where the Darts can improve, he exclaimed: “I have to question a few of them who haven’t played. I thought the fitness was down from what it should be. That’s no disrespect to anybody, I’m just giving an honest opinion”.

Around the club there has been plenty of focus off the pitch including the role Burman has with the first team, he commented: “The long-term is not for me”, he added: “I am happy with what I do at the club in the academy during the daytime and that’s my goal now”. Whoever the successful applicant is in however long it takes to find the right boss, they will need to strengthen a defence that has conceded the most goals in the division. In contrast to the previous season at least the Darts are starting to put the ball in the oppositions net with more frequency, scoring five in their last two defeats.

Burman was pleased with Sheringham’s performance last weekend and Greenhalgh made it in the National South’s team of the week. Luke Wanadio was out injured, Sam Blackman is starting to do fitness work and Mark Onyemah is getting closer to a return. Adam Cunnington is banned for one game after picking up too many cautions and Lee Noble starts a three match suspension after his red card.

Concord Rangers have started their campaign brightly building on their success last term under Sammy Moore. The Beachboys reached the playoff places but were unable to participate due to league rules. Moore left in the summer and his replacement Danny Scopes has kept the momentum going. The Essex club won their opening three matches to top the table, but then suffered three defeats in four picking up a single point. Concord Rangers have recovered since are currently unbeaten in their last three matches beating Welling United and Hampton and Richmond Borough either side of a draw against local rivals Braintree Town.

In their last two games the Essex club have scored vital late goals, Marcel Barrington scored a brace to help his side win 3-2 last weekend. Barrington was in the Braintree Town side along with Dartford’s Josh Hill, Billy Crook and Luke Allen that beat the Darts in the playoffs just over a year ago. After the victory, defender Joe Claridge commented via the club’s Twitter account: “It’s a great three points…it wasn’t ideal going behind but it shows the character of this set of players, even though we were 2-1 down the management team still believed we could get three points”, he continued: “We are ten games in and in a good place, not only looking at the table and on the pitch, but as a team”.

Billy Roast will return to Princes Park, the defender made seven appearances for the Darts last term after he followed Adam Flanagan from the Beachboys to Dartford, but this summer he made his return to Concord Rangers via Maldon and Tiptree. Roast was in the Dartford team that lost to Concord Rangers last term, whilst Ryan Hayes was lining up against the Darts alongside Sam Blackman. The Beachboys won 2-0 with former Dart, Alex Wall scoring as well as D’Sean Theobalds. The return fixture ended 1-1 at Princes Park with former Concord Rangers midfielder, Greenhalgh opening the scoring and Jack Midson equalising from the spot.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Concord Rangers wins: 2 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Dartford (LLDDWL) Concord Rangers (WDWLLD)
Dorking Wanderers H 3-4 Hampton & Richmond H 3-2
Tonbridge Angels A 2-3 Braintree Town A 2-2
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Welling United H 3-0
Hungerford Town A 2-2 St Albans City A 1-2
Braintree Town H 2-1 Maidstone United H 0-1
Weymouth A 1-3 Dulwich Hamlet A 2-2

Last Six Meetings

26.01.2019 Dartford 1 Concord Rangers 1
14.08.2018 Concord Rangers 2 Dartford 0
06.01.2018 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 1
15.08.2017 Dartford 2 Concord Rangers 0
11.03.2017 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 1
24.09.2016 Dartford 2 Concord Rangers 1

Stats

For the first time, last season Dartford failed to beat Concord Rangers in at least one of their league games against them.

Concord Rangers are unbeaten in their last three games against Dartford, their longest unbeaten run versus the Darts.

Dartford have picked up one point out of their last nine away games, drawing one and losing eight going back to March last season.

In nine of Dartford’s ten games this season both teams have scored, the exception being on the opening day at Wealdstone.

On This Day

Louis Moult scored a brace to defeat Dartford six years ago at Princes Park, the striker’s double helped Nuneaton Town to a 2-1 victory in the National League, Elliot Bradbrook scoring a consolation for the Darts. In 2003, Dartford progressed in the F.A Cup with a 3-0 home victory over Peacehaven and Telscombe, the Darts went out in the next round against Bromley. A home friendly at Summer’s Meadow, Lowfield Street versus Pickwicks way back in 1895 saw Dartford rack up ten goals without reply on this day.

Dartford v Dorking Wanderers

Dartford’s era without Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle begins this weekend when they welcome Isthmian Premier League champions Dorking Wanderers to Princes Park, in the first ever clash between the two sides.

Tony Burman will be back in the dugout for the first time since he quit as manager fourteen months ago. The 61-year-old takes over on an interim basis for the third time and has previously led the Darts to two league titles, a playoff promotion and a couple of Kent Senior Cup triumphs. Since Princes Park opened in 2006, Burman guided Dartford from the Isthmian Division One to the National League, experienced relegation back to the National South and agonisingly missed out on a third league title before leaving as manager.

Ahead of Tuesday night’s game Flanagan reflected on his team’s performance, the joint manager expected a points tally good enough for a top seven spot, but the club has fallen short, he told www.dartfordfc.com: “It has been a frustrating August for everyone involved at the club and our points return hasn’t been to the level we had set”. By the end of Tuesday night, the Darts were looking for their first away win and a new manager.

Defeat at Tonbridge Angels signalled the end of the management duo, who left by mutual consent following the 3-2 loss at Longmead. Continuing from last season Dartford were beginning to rely on home form and searching for improvements, with only two wins from their last 17 league games. The Kent derby against Tonbridge Angels, who were also in the bottom three, became a great opportunity to find that elusive away victory. In came Norman Wabo to the starting eleven, after his three goals in four substitute appearances, Ryan Hayes and Ben Greenhalgh, replacing Darren McQueen, Luke Wanadio and the injured Tom Bonner.

Tonbridge Angels took the lead from the penalty spot, Joe Turner putting his shot past Mark Smith. Falling a goal behind livened Dartford up for the final fifteen minutes of the first half. The Darts were rewarded with an equaliser when Josh Hill pounced on a clearance to make it all square. However, almost straight from the restart the Angels regained their advantage through Turner once more. Charlie Sheringham came on for the second half and made an impact later on with a headed goal, however the Angels edged in front with five to play, Tom Derry scoring the winner.

After the disappointing result, co-chairman Dave Skinner spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk about Flanagan and Coyle’s resignation, he explained: “They’re both stalwarts of the club and have got the club at heart – the same as we have”, he added: “They had a target to meet and they haven’t reached the target. We changed the squad from last season. On paper the squad is very good but somehow it just hasn’t worked. For the quality of the squad we’ve got, we’d expect to be higher up than we are”.

As well as Bonner picking up a groin injury against Hemel Hempstead Town, Sam Blackman remains out with a broken ankle and Mark Onyemah is fairly close to a return after his summer operation, former boss Flanagan commented last week: “Mark has completed one full training session which is a real positive and the hope is that he will be ready to get some match minutes in the next two or three weeks”. Andy Pugh and Billy Crook are out on loan at East Thurrock United, unfortunately the pair picked up injuries in their opening couple of matches for the Essex club.

Jason Prior returns to Princes Park and could lead the line for Dorking Wanderers, the striker top scored for the Surrey club in their title winning season and leads the way this term. The 30-year-old caused heartbreak for Darts fans almost 18 months ago. Prior played 24 times for Dartford during 2013 and scored twice, five years later he scored a dramatic last-minute winner for Havant and Waterlooville, snatching the National South title away from the Darts on the final day.

His latest club has been on the rise winning promotion five times in nine seasons to propel themselves up from the Sussex League Division Three to the National South. Momentum has been with the Wanderers and as recently as July 2018 they moved in to the refurbished Meadowbank Park, formerly home of the disbanded Dorking F.C. Manager, Marc White matches the club’s ambitions of going further up the football pyramid and is a founder member of the club.

White’s side started their first ever campaign in the National South how they finished their championship winning season. Three straight victories at Slough Town and at home to Hemel Hempstead Town, then Tonbridge Angels had the newcomers joint top, the winning streak continuing from last term was stretched to nine consecutive league wins.

However, the Wanderers came down with a heavy bump losing 6-0 to Havant and Waterlooville, the beginning of a winless run. Although Dorking Wanderers bounced back with a point at St Albans City they fell to defeats at home to Hampton and Richmond, then away to Braintree Town. Last weekend they drew 0-0 with Dulwich Hamlet and on Tuesday night they ended their winless streak with victory at home against Chippenham Town, Matthew Briggs netting the winner.

Injuries haven’t helped the Surrey club recently, with last season’s Player of the Year and Club Captain Sami-El Abd rupturing a cruciate ligament, ruling him out for the rest of the campaign. Manager, White was devastated at the news, he told www.dorkingwanderers.com: “Sami is absolutely gutted as is everyone involved in the club. He is our on-the-pitch leader and will be a huge loss for us this season”. Ed Harris and Luke Moore are likely to be out for a couple more weeks and Lewis Taylor for longer with a groin injury.

Current League Form

Dartford (LDDWLL) Dorking Wanderers (WDLLDL)
Tonbridge Angels A 2-3 Chippenham Town H 1-0
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Dulwich Hamlet H 0-0
Hungerford Town A 2-2 Braintree Town A 2-3
Braintree Town H 2-1 Hampton & Richmond H 0-1
Weymouth A 1-3 St Albans City A 1-1
Chelmsford City A 0-4 Havant and Waterlooville A 0-6

Stats

Dartford have made their worst league start in five years picking up just seven points from nine games. In 2013, the Darts picked up six points in the National League after nine matches (W1, D3, L5).

The Darts are four games unbeaten at home this season (W1, D3) and have lost just once in the league at Princes Park since early December 2018 (W8, D7, L1).

Under Flanagan and Coyle, Dartford’s home record in the National South was Won 9, Drawn 9, Lost 3, but the away form reads Won 6, Drawn 5, Lost 15. In all competitions Dartford Won 20, Drew 15, Lost 21.

Dartford used 47 players in all competitions during Flanagan and Coyle’s fourteen months in charge.

On This Day

The last time a goal was scored in a Dartford game on 7 September was 22 years ago. The Darts beat Clevedon Town 3-1 in the Southern League South Division. The last two fixtures on this day have ended 0-0 both away from home, Fleet Town in 2002 and Chester six years ago in the National League. Currently Dartford are on an unbeaten run of six matches on 7 September stretching back to 1987 when they lost 3-0 away to Chelmsford City in the Southern Premier League. The last home defeat on this day was back in 1964 against Margate, a Southern League Cup tie.

Tonbridge Angels v Dartford

In search for a their first away victory of the campaign, Dartford travel to Longmead Stadium on Tuesday night to take on Tonbridge Angels.

It will be the first Kent derby in a league fixture between the two sides in seven years, although in that time they have met in the F.A Trophy and F.A Cup. The Darts will be hoping that their current form against the Angels will count for something as both sides are struggling to pick up victories this term. Dartford have won eight in a row in all competitions against the Isthmian Premier League playoff winners of last season.

Most recently, Dartford recorded a pair of 3-0 cup victories over the Angels. Three years ago, Alex Brown, Andy Pugh and Elliot Bradbrook put the Darts into the F.A Cup first round and in 2012, Harry Crawford, Bradbrook and Jon Wallis helped Dartford into the F.A Trophy third round.

Dartford last visited Longmead Stadium in the league in March 2012, Tom Champion scored the winner. The Darts beat Tonbridge Angels three times in that season, winning 4-2 after extra-time in the Kent Senior Cup last eight, goals from Jack Pallen, a brace from Richard Graham and one from Lee Burns. Whilst at Princes Park in September 2011, Dartford ran out 3-1 winners goals courtesy of Bradbrook, Danny Harris and Charlie Sheringham with the visitors grabbing a consolation goal when striker Frannie Collin scored from the penalty spot.

The Darts picked up a second successive draw on the weekend against Hemel Hempstead Town, once again Norman Wabo came of the bench to score. With the departure of promising young full-back Luke Warner-Eley, Dartford started captain Tom Bonner at left back and Ronnie Vint returned to the starting eleven after he had recovered from being ill over the Bank Holiday.

Despite the change at the back, Dartford still conceded early on when Sam Ashford lofted an effort over Mark Smith on just nine minutes. The Darts won a penalty just past the half hour mark when Adam Cunnington was fouled in the box, the striker dusted himself off to take the spot kick but was denied by Tudors goalkeeper Sam Beasant. Shortly afterwards Bonner was forced off through injury and replaced by Ben Greenhalgh. Dartford improved in the second half, even more so in the final twenty minutes and with six minutes remaining Wabo equalised, his third of the campaign to maintain Dartford’s unbeaten home run.

Bonner will have to see if his fit for Tuesday night’s fixture at Tonbridge Angels, but at least defender Jordan Wynter will return from his three match suspension. Sam Blackman is still out with a long term injury, whilst Luke Warner-Eley and Amos Nasha have left the club.

Tonbridge Angels moved off the foot of the table in their last home match with a 1-1 draw against Weymouth. Prior the match manager, Steve McKimm spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk about the position his side are in since winning promotion almost four months ago, the Angels boss is not prepared to press the panic button at such an early stage, he commented: “After 20 games we’ll assess where we are and what we need to do”, he added: “Make no bones about it, if we are in desperate trouble I know this club will be able to find some resources for me to be able to go and keep us afloat. We haven’t worked hard for five years to get to this level to go straight back down and the club haven’t either”.

In a gritty performance, the Angels added a point to their league total, however the second half was just three minutes old when Weymouth’s Brett Williams put the Terras in front. Steve McKimm’s side won a disputed penalty and after they eventually decided Joe Turner should take the spot kick, he had his effort saved. A second penalty was awarded with five minutes to go and this time Ade Yussuf had a go, after his first spot-kick was ruled out for encroachment he put his second attempt away. Afterwards, McKimm told www.tonbridgeangels.co.uk: “I’m very pleased with the performance, we passed the ball much better today, and cut out the errors. Perhaps I’m a little disappointed we didn’t take all the points but all the players did really well and once again have shown we can compete at this level”.

Life back in the National South started with three straight defeats for the Angels until they recorded their maiden win against Concord Rangers at Longmead. A creditable draw away to Bath City was followed up by no points over the Bank Holiday period, McKimm’s side lost to Havant and Waterlooville then the Kent derby at Welling United. However, the draw with Weymouth was their fifth point, two behind the Darts.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 67 / Tonbridge Angels wins: 37 / Draws: 24

Current League Form

Dartford (DDWLLD) Tonbridge Angels (DLLDWL)
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Weymouth H 1-1
Hungerford Town A 2-2 Welling United A 2-4
Braintree Town H 2-1 Havant & Waterlooville H 1-3
Weymouth A 1-3 Bath City A 0-0
Chelmsford City A 1-4 Concord Rangers H 1-0
Havant and Waterlooville H 1-1 Dorking Wanderers A 1-3

Last Six Meetings

15.10.2016 Tonbridge Angels 0 Dartford 3
15.12.2012 Dartford 3 Tonbridge Angels 0
03.03.2012 Tonbridge Angels 0 Dartford 1
31.01.2012 Tonbridge Angels 2 Dartford 4
24.09.2011 Dartford 3 Tonbridge Angels 1
25.01.2011 Dartford 2 Tonbridge Angels 0

Stats

The Darts have not conceded in this fixture in the last three meetings and have won the last eight versus the Angels.

Dartford top scorer, Norman Wabo has scored all three of his goals after starting as a substitute.

Tonbridge Angels last beat the Darts in November 2008 and have never won at Princes Park since it opened.

Only bottom side Hungerford Town (-10) has a worse goal difference than Dartford and Tonbridge Angels (-8).

Only Chippenham Town (6) have scored fewer goals than the Angels (7) in the National South.

On This Day

Dartford last won a league game on the 3 September back in 1997 when they beat Baldock Town 2-1 in the Southern League Southern Division. The Darts have managed to win a couple of cup ties, in 2000 they beat Deal Town in the F.A Cup Preliminary Round (MORE?) and six years ago they defeated Welling United in the Kent Senior Cup 3-2. Mohamed Eisa scored for the Darts and since then he has made his name in the Football League at Cheltenham Town and now at Peterborough United, Adam Woodyard who also moved up the football pyramid netted as did Brima Daramy. Between those two victories Dartford had lost three in a row at Carterton in a F.A Cup replay seventeen years ago, away to Boreham Wood in the Southern League Division One East in 2005 and six years later at Basingstoke Town in the National South. The last game on this day was a 0-0 draw at home to eventual National South champions Maidenhead United in 2016.

Dartford v Hemel Hempstead Town

Dartford aim to protect their unbeaten home start of the season this weekend when they host second place Hemel Hempstead Town in the National South.

The Darts picked up four points from six over the Bank Holiday weekend beating Braintree Town 2-1 in the last match at Princes Park. Despite falling behind the Darts equalised through Luke Allen three minutes before the break. In the second half, the Iron were reduced to ten men before substitute Norma Wabo scored a late winner. On Monday, a late goal denied Dartford maximum Bank Holiday points in the  2-2 draw at Hungerford Town.

Dartford will see the opportunity as two points dropped having overturned a one goal deficit. Luke Warner-Eley returned to the starting eleven whilst Ronnie Vint missed the fixture through illness. Jordan Wynter was suspended and will serve the final game of his three match ban against Hemel Hempstead Town, and Sam Blackman remains a long term absentee. Charlie Sheringham was missing from the matchday squad on Monday and fellow striker, Andy Pugh has gone out on loan to East Thurrock United, where he netted a brace on his debut and completed the full ninety minutes.

Joint-manager Adam Flanagan told www.dartfordfc.com: “Andy Pugh has worked so hard to recover from his broken leg and he now needs to get his final sharpness by playing games. East Thurrock United will provide the competitiveness and opportunity to do this. We hope that he does well and that his move will get him back firing in goals ready for a return to full fitness and Dartford very soon”.

Flanagan and Jamie Coyle watched their side pick up an away point on Monday to end a run of seven consecutive away defeats in the National South, stretching back to March, the Darts last away victory was against Hemel Hempstead Town. The Crusaders took the lead when Zidan Akers put the hosts ahead after seven minutes. Darren McQueen recorded his first Dartford goal of the campaign in style with an acrobatic overhead kick and by half-time Luke Wanadio had given the Darts a one goal advantage. With two minutes to go, last season’s match winner Conor Lynch ensured the game ended 2-2. It was the fourth point gained in three days for the Darts taking their tally up to six, but they are down in the relegation places third from bottom with the joint worst goal difference.

Hemel Hempstead Town gained maximum points over the Bank Holiday weekend first dispatching Oxford City then defeating Billericay Town. The Tudors moved into second place and had they not just recently lost to Wealdstone they could have been joint top with the Stones. Debutante, Daniel Phillips scored early on against Oxford City, but the lead was cancelled out in the second half when Kyran Wiltshire scored a free-kick. Ricardo German made an instant impact when he arrived off the bench scoring the winner and his form continued two days later.

The Tudors took on Billericay town and faced a former favourite and their record scorer Jordan Parkes, but it was German who made the headlines. Hemel Hempstead Town left it until the last ten minutes to secure victory scoring three times with the first from Liam Nash. Once again, German started on the bench and he added a brace to take his tally to four goals in his last sixty minutes of football, his other strike was on the opening day of the season.

Princes Park will welcome back three former players Connor Essam, Tyrone Sterling and Alex Wall who were all in Dartford’s 2013/2014 squad. Essam captains the Tudors and has scored once this term, the defender had two loan spells with the Darts making a total of 14 appearances, eight of which was in his first spell when Dartford won promotion to the National League. Sterling had a single season with the Darts and made 36 appearances whilst on loan from Dover Athletic, the defender was signed by Hemel Hempstead Town from Concord Rangers. Wall has been out injured of late and also joined the Tudors in the summer from Concord Rangers. Just over a year ago he had signed for the Darts but left before the campaign began, the striker scored six times in 11 appearance during his loan spell five years ago.

New Tudors manager, Sammy Moore guided Concord Rangers to the playoffs last term going above expectations for the club, however the Essex club was unable to compete in the end of season showdown. Moore brought with him a few other players from his former side including forwards Liam Nash and Sam Ashford, as well as goalkeeper Sam Beasant.

Just over a year ago, Dartford and Hemel Hempstead Town played out a goalless draw at Princes Park. The last meeting between the two sides five months ago ended with a 2-1 win for the Darts. Phil Roberts scored twice against his former club in the final ten minutes either side of Jordan Parkes’ penalty.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 3 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford (DWLLDD) Hemel Hempstead Town (WWLWWL)
Hungerford Town A 2-2 Billericay Town H 3-0
Braintree Town H 2-1 Oxford City A 2-1
Weymouth A 1-3 Wealdstone H 0-3
Chelmsford City A 0-4 Dulwich Hamlet H 1-0
Havant and Waterlooville H 1-1 Hampton & Richmond A 2-1
St Albans City H 1-1 Dorking Wanderers A 1-3

Last Six Meetings

05.03.2019 Hemel Hempstead Town 1 Dartford 2
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

Stats

Since defeat to Hemel Hempstead Town on the opening day of the 2015/2016 campaign, the Darts have gone seven unbeaten against the Tudors.

At Princes Park, Dartford are unbeaten against the Tudors winning and drawing two.

On This Day

Dartford lost to local rivals Ebbsfleet United four years ago in the National South, a crowd of 2551 witnessed Jordan Parkes score the only goal of the game. The striker went on to return to Hemel Hempstead Town before leaving the club this summer. Ebbsfleet United’s line up that day included current Dartford captain Tom Bonner and Adam Cunnington came off the bench as a late substitute. Another former Dart, Matthew Godden started for the Fleet, the striker is now at Coventry City. In 2013, Elliot Bradbrook scored a consolation goal as the Darts lost 2-1 to Lincoln City in the National League. Dartford’s last win on this day was against AFC Hornchurch in the Isthmian Premier League, goals from Lee Burns and Bradbrook secured a 2-0 victory in the season that saw the Darts end up as champions.

Hungerford Town v Dartford

Dartford recorded their first win of the season on the weekend to give them confidence ahead of their Bank Holiday Monday trip to Hungerford Town.

Under pressure from results in the first five games of the campaign, joint manager Adam Flanagan highlighted the importance of getting positive results over the Bank Holiday weekend, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “We’ve got two big games coming up over the Bank Holiday and I think we need two wins”.

On Saturday, Dartford completed half of the mission with a 2-1 home win against Braintree Town. Norman Wabo opened his goalscoring account in the 3-1 reverse at Weymouth and despite defeat he admitted his first goal will help him find the net more regularly, he commented: “I feel like the weight on my shoulders has lifted and I can play freely and get a lot more goals for the club”. At a time when the Darts have been feeling the pressure, Wabo relishes the opportunity, he continued: “It’s better to go out when there’s a bit of pressure on you and the fans are watching. It tends to bring out the best in me”. The former Southend United man proved his claim with another strike in the home win on Saturday.

The Darts had to come from behind when a former player, Femi Akinwande gave the Iron an early lead. Dartford won a penalty with half hour played but the chance was squandered by Luke Wanadio, his shot saved by Michael Johnson. But the Darts fought back when former Braintree Town midfielder Luke Allen equalised and with three minutes remaining substitute, Wabo scored the winner. Victory over the Iron will provide the Darts with a much needed boost as they ended a run of eight without a win against the Essex club.

The return of Darren McQueen from his dislocated shoulder meant only Sam Blackman on the injury list before the Braintree Town game. Jordan Wynter was suspended and will serve the second of his three match ban against Hungerford Town. Wynter’s absence made way for Ronnie Vint’s first appearance of the season on Saturday, whilst Allen and Wanadio were back from injuries, Alex Flisher earned a starting place and Rob Howard made his debut, meaning Ryan Hayes and Ben Greenhalgh were dropped to the bench and Luke Warner-Eley missed out. Howard was signed prior the weekend from Southend United, the 19 year-old will spend a month on loan with the Darts.

In recent seasons Dartford have struggled when visiting Bulpit Lane, losing all three without scoring. A second victory in three days, against two teams they have previously found difficult to beat, will ease the pressure on joint managers Flanagan and Jamie Coyle. Last season the Darts lost 1-0 on their visit to the Crusaders, Conor Lynch scoring the winner.

Hungerford Town expected a tough season based on previous performances, aside from a sixth place finish in their first campaign at this level the Crusaders have staved off relegation going to the final day on each occasion. Ian Herring guided the Berkshire club to safety both times and this season his side have gained four points in the opening six fixtures.

Like Dartford, the Crusaders have picked up all their points from the three home games so far, beating Slough Town in their first match at Bulpit Lane this season. The experienced James Constable, who netted against Dartford for Eastleigh in the National League, has plenty of know how from his time in the Football League with various clubs. The 34-year-old got off the mark to find the winner against the Rebels and scored in the following 3-1 reverse against Maidstone United. In a local derby, Hungerford Town drew their third home games against Chippenham Town 1-1.

On the road, the Crusaders are still waiting to pick up a point and on Saturday they lost 3-1 to league leaders Wealdstone. Herring went for a more defensive approach playing five at the back, however with home advantage on Monday that formation could change to a more attacking approach. Hungerford Town have the second worst goal difference in the division behind Dartford and are just a point behind in the league standings, the Crusaders are second from bottom.

Head to Head

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

Current League Form

Dartford (WLLDDL) Hungerford Town (LDLLWL)
Braintree Town H 2-1 Wealdstone A 1-3
Weymouth A 1-3 Chippenham Town H 1-1
Chelmsford City A 1-4 Bath City A 1-2
Havant and Waterlooville H 1-1 Maidstone United H 1-3
St Albans City H 1-1 Slough Town H 1-0
Wealdstone A 0-4 Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-4

Last Six Meetings

22.12.2018 Dartford 2 Hungerford Town 1
25.08.2018 Hungerford Town 1 Dartford 0
09.12.2017 Hungerford Town 1 Dartford 0
05.08.2017 Dartford 0 Hungerford Town 0
14.04.2017 Hungerford Town 2 Dartford 0
27.08.2016 Dartford 2 Hungerford Town 0

Stats

Dartford have yet to claim victory at Bulpit Lane, losing in all three trips there without scoring.

The Darts won in the last meeting to end Hungerford Town’s four game unbeaten run in this fixture. It was also the first time that the away team scored in this fixture.

The Darts last lost their opening three away league games in 2010. The last time they lost their first four was in 1990, when they were racked up nine consecutive away loses in the Southern Premier League.

On This Day

Dartford have won their last three games on 26 August without conceding a goal. The last outing two years ago against Hemel Hempstead Town ended in a 3-0 victory at Hemel Hempstead Town. It took until the second half to register a goal when Elliot Bradbrook netted a penalty, Alfie Pavey doubled the advantage before Bradbrook completed a brace. An away National League fixture at Tamworth finished with the Darts winning 2-0 in 2013, Danny Harris opened the scoring on three minutes and Kenny Clark recorded his only goal in a Dartford shirt. Jay May helped the Darts triumph at home against Kingstonian in the Isthmian Division One South back in 2006, the striker scored the only goal of the game.

Dartford v Braintree Town

Dartford are determined to record their first win of the season this weekend when they host Braintree Town in the National South.

The Darts have got off to a disappointing start picking up two points in their opening five games and are currently second from bottom, their worst start to a league campaign in 41 years. After three matches Braintree Town were in a worse position with three straight defeats, however they visit Princes Park on the back of consecutive victories.

Last weekend, Dartford fell to a third consecutive away loss, their seventh in a row including the tail end of last term. Travelling to the Dorset coast to take on Southern Premier League South champions Weymouth, the Darts found themselves three goals down when Abdulai Baggie and Brett Williams’ brace put the hosts in command. Norman Wabo scored a consolation for the Darts and his first for the club since joining in the summer.

Lee Noble made his first appearance returning from injury and replaced the young Cameron Brodie. Luke Wanadio and Wabo were  replaced in the starting line up with Ryan Hayes and Andy Pugh. After suffering a dislocated shoulder in pre-season, Alex Flisher made his first appearance by coming off the bench, Luke Allen, Wanadio and Darren McQueen were out through injury. With Jordan Wynter suspended for the next three games, Ronnie Vint could make his first start this season against Braintree Town.

The central defender has had to show patience with Josh Hill partnering Tom Bonner the preferred pairing in the middle of defence. Joint manager, Adam Flanagan has praised the Vint and told www.kentonline.co.uk: “His attitude’s been great and he deserves an opportunity in the team now. He’ll be back in the team and hopefully his time on the sideline has made him hungry and motivated to want to come in and do really well”.

Flanagan also hinted that the Darts are likely to stick to formations they are familiar with, he added: “Playing a three at the back might be difficult because you’re looking at wing-backs and we’ve not got Jordan Wynter for three games so that might impact on that”, but he’s not ruled out a back three in the future, he continued: “It is something we might consider looking at but going into the games we’ve got coming up, you wouldn’t want to make huge formation changes. We’d rather stick to the formations we’ve played this year, which would be 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. We want Ron to come in and do well so to come into the team having waited patiently and then try to move formation, it might not play to his strengths”.

At least at home Dartford are unbeaten, however they are also searching for a first win repeating the home start of three years ago when they drew with Wealdstone then Gosport Borough. This time, the Darts drew 1-1 with St Albans City followed by the same score against Havant and Waterlooville.

Previous meetings give the Iron the upper-hand with Dartford last beating the Essex side seven years ago, the last victory at Princes Park came a year earlier. Just over a year ago, after the Darts narrowly missed out on the National South title on the final day of the season, the two sides met in a playoff semi-final.  Billy Crook, who signed for the Darts in January scored the winner to consign Dartford to another campaign in the National South, Braintree Town went on to win promotion. Crook was invited back to pre-season this summer and is currently playing for East Thurrock United.

In Tony Burman’s last season in charge both fixtures ended in a stalemate with the clash at Princes Park finishing 1-1. Andy Pugh opened the scoring after Tom Murphy’s good work on the wing, but Marcel Barrington equalised for the Iron in a game that saw Nathan Collier make his second debut for the Darts. The meeting at Cressing Road finished 2-2 after Dartford found themselves two down with goals from Karl Oliyide and Crook, but Murphy and Elliot Bradbrook struck in the second half.

During Dartford’s spell in the National League, the Iron became their nemesis as the Essex side recorded back to back doubles over the Darts. However, in Dartford’s first back in the top flight of non-league football they did pick up four points against their opponents including their last win against Braintree Town in 2012, goals scored by Tom Bonner and Jacob Erskine.

Braintree Town appointed Glen Driver as boss in the summer following relegation to the National South. The new manager has recruited young players including former Dart, Femi Akinwande. The striker had the opportunity in professional football with Colchester United making three appearances for the U’s. Akinwande has scored in his last two games, first in the 3-0 win at St Albans City and then in the 5-0 thrashing of Eastbourne Borough.

The Iron have scored eight times without reply in their previous two outings putting their three game losing streak well and truly behind them. In a slow start to their campaign, Driver’s side lost to Bath City, Billericay Town and Wealdstone before notching their maiden win at St Albans City and securing a comprehensive victory over Eastbourne Borough. Midfielder Adam Mills has netted three times so far and so has Tom Richardson, who signed in the summer from Isthmian Division One North side Aveley having scored 23 times last season.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Braintree Town wins: 6 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (LLDDL) Braintree Town (WWLLL)
Weymouth A 1-3 Eastbourne Borough H 5-0
Chelmsford City A 1-4 St Albans City A 3-0
Havant and Waterlooville H 1-1 Wealdstone H 0-4
St Albans City H 1-1 Billericay Town H 2-3
Wealdstone A 0-4 Bath  City A 0-2

Last Six Meetings

06.05.2018 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 1
23.12.2017 Dartford 1 Braintree Town 1
08.08.2017 Braintree Town 2 Dartford 2
01.01.2015 Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
26.12.2014 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
18.04.2014 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0

Stats

Dartford have failed to score in six of their last eight meetings against Braintree Town.

Braintree Town are unbeaten in their last eight games versus the Darts.

The last time Dartford picked up two points from the opening five games was in 1978. They drew with Worcester City, lost to Weymouth, drew with Bath City then were beaten by AP Leamington and Yeovil Town in the Southern Premier League.

On This Day

Dartford’s last game on 24 August was against Braintree Town six years ago. The Iron won 2-0 with goals from Alan Massey and Liam Enver-Marum in the National League. Charlie Sheringham was on the scoresheet nine years ago against his former side Bishops Stortford, the striker netted in a 3-0 victory, Danny Harris and Carl Rook also scored that day.

Weymouth v Dartford

Dartford visit Southern Premier South champions Weymouth on the weekend in hope they secure their first win of the season.

The Darts have taken just two points in their opening four games in their worst start to a campaign in five years. Meanwhile, newly promoted Weymouth have settled in the National South going unbeaten with two victories and two draws. Over the years, the Terras have often got the better of the Darts, but the last meeting between the two sides was almost 22 years ago. Victory for Dartford will be the first triumph at the Dorset club since April 1990.

On Monday night, Dartford capitulated away from home once again falling to a heavy 4-0 reverse at Chelmsford City. It was the second away game in a row in which the Darts conceded four, the first time being on the opening day of the season at Wealdstone. In both of those matches Dartford fell apart over a short second half period, at Wealdstone they let in three goals in twelve minutes and on Monday they shipped in three in a fifteen minute spell.

The pair of defeats sandwiched a couple of 1-1 draws at home to St Albans City then Havant and Waterlooville. Joint manager, Jamie Coyle is concerned with his side defending, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “We’re conceding sloppy goals which we didn’t do last year which is a concern for us”, he continued: “Some of them are coming from set-pieces which is really disappointing. We’ve got a lot of work to do”.

Despite two heavy defeats, the Darts have been competitive in parts and have arguably been the better side at times with the scorelines flattering the opposition, Coyle added: “We’ve said that too many times this season. The first half was the most we’ve dominated a side this season. We had some glorious chances, put some great set-pieces into the box and unfortunately didn’t score the goal”.

New striker Adam Cunnington has performed well as a target man since joining the Darts, but he has asked his team-mates to mix up their style of play, he told www.kentonline.co.uk:We’ve got to make sure we don’t go too direct and make sure we mix it up a little bit”, he continued: “We did that to a degree at Chelmsford in the first half and looked a better side for it. Second half, we went one-nil down and went long ball again. Every flick-on isn’t going to go through, teams aren’t silly”.

After two away games where Dartford fell apart, Cunnington commented: “We’ve got to stand up and be counted. You can’t be losing games 4-0 in National South. You have to stay in games and then you never know, you might nick a goal at the end and come away with a draw”.

The 31-year-old is keen for the side to get off to a good start on Saturday at Weymouth, he added: “We’ve had a real tough start – no excuses – we should have picked up more points. But we have to look forward. We’ll go there knowing we can hurt them, we’ve just got to take those chances early on. It settles everyone’s nerves a bit and then we can relax and play our football. By the looks of it, that’s the key to us at the moment”.

With a sizeable injury list, which includes summer signing Sam Blackman as a long term absentee, there is hope returning players may turn Dartford’s fortunes around. Charlie Sheringham and Alex Flisher were named on the bench after a spell on the sidelines, but Lee Noble and Darren McQueen have played no part in any matchday squad this term. Luke Allen who impressed in his first three games in a Dartford shirt was out injured on Monday, whilst Jordan Wynter is due to serve a ban after his straight red card against Chelmsford City, although the defender will be available versus Weymouth.

It’s been a tough start for Adam Flanagan and Coyle, but on the South Coast it’s been anything but. The Terras began their return to the National South after a ten year absence with a 2-1 win at Maidstone United. The two clubs were two divisions apart last term and a brace from Ben Thomson gave Weymouth a perfect start. Mark Molesley’s side drew against early pace setters Bath City 1-1 before a Josh McQouid inspired hat-trick earned them a 4-1 victory against Chelmsford City last weekend.

On Tuesday night, the Terras drew 1-1 at Slough Town in an encounter which Molesley described as topsy-turvy, he spoke to www.dorsetecho.co.uk and said: “It was a topsy-turvy one, we started well and it went a bit backfoot for our usual performance”, he added: “We had plenty of chances and were knocking on the door, we just couldn’t find that breakthrough unfortunately. It’s a tough place to come and we’re still unbeaten, so there’s plenty of positives and plenty of stuff to improve on”.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 17 / Weymouth wins: 34 / Draws: 15

Last Six Meetings

27.12.1997 Weymouth 2 Dartford 0
23.08.1997 Dartford 2 Weymouth 3
15.02.1997 Weymouth 2 Dartford 1
05.10.1996 Dartford 3 Weymouth 5
22.12.1990 Weymouth 0 Dartford 0
18.08.1990 Dartford 5 Weymouth 3

Stats

Dartford last beat Weymouth 29 years ago winning 5-3 at Watling Street.

Since Dartford’s last victory, the Terras have gone five unbeaten, drawing one before winning the last four matches.

The Darts have won just twice and drawn three in their last 20 league visits to Weymouth stretching back to 1959.

On This Day

John Hunt netted a hat-tick as Dartford beat Greenwich Borough in the Kent League back in 1994. In his second spell for the Darts, Hunt went on to score one more time making ten appearances. Dartford’s last win on this day came in 2002 when summer signing Shaun Loft scored a brace in a 3-0 home win against Kings Lynn. Two years later the Darts were involved in a six goal thriller drawing 3-3 with Great Wakering Rovers at Stonebridge Road. Dartford have never played at Princes Park on this day, but since the stadium opened they were involved in an away fixture at the Beveree, Hampton and Richmond running out 1-0 winners nine years ago, the last time the Darts played on the 17th August.