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Newport County v Dartford

The Darts attempt to break their away day hoodoo when they visit Newport County’s Rodney Parade for the first time on Saturday.

Dartford’s trip to Wales will be a tough task against a side pushing an automatic promotion place back to the Football League. The Exiles face a challenge of their own by playing their fourth game in eight days when they host Tony Burman’s side.

Way back in September a dramatic finish by the Darts upset the odds against an in form Newport County side. The Exiles had won their opening five matches of the season before tasting defeat against their Welsh rivals Wrexham. Dartford had lost their first three games but won the next trio of fixtures.

Richard Rose settles Tuesday's match

Rose settled the last meeting

Harry Crawford, now at Barnet, got the second half off to a flyer when after four minutes he followed up Jacob Erskine’s’ header which hit the crossbar. Five minutes later the Exiles top scorer latched onto a through ball to take it round the advancing Marcus Bettinelli and equalise. With the scores level and the game into injury time Richard Rose used his strength to shrug of his marker and rifle in a top corner winner.

Sill in search for a first away win in the Conference Premier this year, the Darts have gone ten matches without a win picking up a disappointing two points. Burman has been searching the loan market to find an answer and when Harry Crawford was recalled by Barnet he acquired strikers Charlie Sheringham and Jason Prior. Sheringham opened his account on Saturday in a 3-0 win against Gateshead but neither players could score in the 1-0 defeat at Hereford United on Tuesday night.

Burman confirmed his reasons for the double signing and told kentonline.co.uk: “After Saturday’s game, we’ve got eight games in 20 days and it’s going to be tough. That’s why I’ve brought people in”, he added: “I want to help them and they’ve helped me, Charlie especially has helped this club. If there was an opportunity to help him, I felt we should give it to him”.

Csaba Somogyi warms up for Fulham

Somogyi warms up for Fulham

Reliable goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli suddenly returned to parent club Fulham with Louis Wells back between the sticks on Tuesday. Burman delved into the loan market once more bringing in Csaba Somogyi from the Cottagers. The 27 year old Hungarian looks likely to start due to Wells’ latest injury.

Newport County’s gruelling fixture congestion may jeopardise their title push but with three games in hand, over top side Kidderminster Harriers, they are just eight points adrift. Justin Edinburgh’s side have not dropped below the playoffs all season and will only face one side in the top five during their end of season run in, on the final day of the season against Grimsby Town.

At Rodney Parade form has slipped for the Welsh club starting with a 5-0 defeat on New Years Day against Forest Green Rovers. In their last six home matches Newport County have only beaten basement boys AFC Telford United, who have recently set a Conference record of 27 matches without a win.

The Exiles success has been built around a potent strike force as the club have netted 74 goals in this campaign, one less than top scorers Mansfield Town. Aaron O’Connor is one behind the Conference Premier’s top scorer Bradley Bubb, notching up 18 goals in 31 league appearances. O’Connor missed a month of action in February and his return to full fitness will aid Newport County’s title bid. Alongside O’Connor up front is Christian Jolley who has a better strike rate of nine goals in 16 league matches.

This week Edinburgh ended a three game winless run by leading his side to a 2-0 win at Southport, O’Connor and Jolley scoring for the visitors. Ironically, the Exiles played on Thursday night against hosts Gateshead at Boston United’s York Street stadium. Neither side could break the deadlock in a 0-0 draw.

Recently the Newport County Director of Football, Tim Harris has expressed concerns over the fixture pile up, he told BBC Sport: “Our preferred option is for the league to move the deadline back a week and give everyone a bit of breathing space”. Manager, Edinburgh has been critical over the subject and commented to www.newport-county.co.uk: “The bottom line is the League let us down”.

In the last three matches against Welsh sides the Darts have left it late. Rose’s last minute winner against Saturday’s opponents in September was followed by Lee Noble’s ninetieth minute equaliser at Wrexham. This month Wrexham were victims again when Elliot Bradbrook nodded in a winner with seconds to go at Princes Park.

Team News

Mark Arber will serve his one match suspension on the weekend after his red card at Hereford United in the week. Jon Wallis and Ryan Hayes have been suffering from a virus in recent weeks. Tom Champion remains one caution away from suspension and if he avoids another caution, up to 14 April, he will not be suspended for his tenth yellow card. Louis Wells returned to first team action after his loan spell at Hayes and Yeading but cover Csaba Somogyi could deputise.

Alex Gileby has joined Newport County on loan from Colchester United and has yet to make an appearance for the Exiles. Michael Boateng joined just over a week ago made his début in Tuesday nights 2-0 win at Southport, the defender came in from Conference South’s Sutton United. Max Porter suffered a set back a fortnight ago has he hopes to recover from his injury, the play making midfielder has played twenty six times this season. Ismail Yakubu failed to shake off an injury and missed the draw versus Gateshead.

Head to Head

Newport County wins: 2 / Dartford wins: 1 / Newport County Goals: 7 / Dartford Goals: 6

Current League Form

Newport County (DWLLDW) Dartford (LWLLWD)
Gateshead A 0-0 Hereford United A 0-1
Southport A 2-0 Gateshead H 3-0
Stockport County A 0-1 Barrow A 0-1
Kidderminster Harriers H 1-2 Hyde A 0-3
Ebbsfleet United A 1-1 Wrexham H 2-1
Hereford United A 3-2 Stockport County H 1-1

Last Meeting

4 September 2012 – Dartford 2 Newport County 1 – Att: 1446

Goalscorers: Crawford (49), O’Connor (54), Rose (90)

The Darts Lineup: Bettinelli, Burns, Bonner, Arber, Rose, Hayes, Champion, Bradbrook, Rogers, Erskine, Crawford (subs used: Harris, Noble, Wallis)

The Exiles Lineup: Pidgeley, James, Yakubu, Pipe, Porter, Sandell, Thomson, Flynn, O’Connor, Crow, Louis (subs used: Swallow, Harris)

Match Stats

dfc v ncfc stats

Previous Meetings

18.04.1998 Dartford 4 Newport County 2
31.01.1998 Newport County 3 Dartford 1

Season Stats (collated using BBC Sport match statistics)

0 – Newport County are the only side to have had a player sent off in the Conference Premier league this season.

57 – The percentage of shots on target for Dartford. However the Darts have had the fewest attempts at goal (288) than any other club. Newport County have had 396 attempts with 54% hitting the target.

Both sides have suffered from the penalty spot this season conceding more from twelve yards than scoring. Here is an alternative league table based on goal difference from penalties only (excludes missed penalties).

pen stats

Dartford v Newport County

 

Top of the table side Newport County will be in town on Tuesday night as Dartford aim to continue their winning run.

The Darts last took on the Welsh club 14 years ago winning 4-2 at Ship Lane during their homeless years in the Southern Premier League. In the away fixture earlier in the 1997/98 season Newport AFC won 3-1 at their former ground.

Dartford go into Tuesday nights fixture on the back of three successive wins including a 5-1 victory against Alfreton Town on the weekend. Credit is due to the squad after a difficult opening week the Darts have also beaten Kidderminster Harriers 1-0 and shocked Cambridge United at the Abbey Stadium 2-1.

Hat-trick hero Harry Crawford

Harry Crawford claimed the match ball on Saturday when his hat-trick deservedly earned the striker man of the match. The 20 year old celebrated his third start in a Dartford shirt on 11 minutes when his low accurate drive beat Jon Stewart in the Alfreton Town goal. Strike partner Jacob Erskine used his strength to double the lead before Elliot Bradbrook’s header made it 3-0 right on half time.

After the restart Ryan Hayes delicately chipped a free kick into the Alfreton Town box for Crawford to take advantage of a flick on. Danny Meadows pulled a goal back with ten minutes remaining but just two minutes later Crawford pressured Darran Kempson into a mistake and finished at the second time of asking.

The visitors may have had the majority of possession yet they rarely threatened the Dartford goal. With exception of a consolation Alfreton Town came close twice when Richard Rose and Mark Arber both cleared the ball off the goal line.

Tony Burman was relieved his side managed to get the three points before Tuesday’s game and the long trip to Gateshead, he told PURE DFC: “It was a massive three points with the games we have coming up in the future, it’s daunting but we’ve had a very good week”, he added: “The players have worked hard for a long time now, that’s how we play and that’s how we are. There is a lot more quality to come out on top of our work rate”.

Newport County may have lost the Welsh derby to Wrexham on Saturday but they still sit at summit of the Conference Premier. Five straight wins in August gave last seasons F.A Trophy runners up maximum points thanks to wins against Mansfield Town, Nuneaton, Lincoln City, Braintree Town and Hereford United.

Manager Justin Edinburgh signed Aaron O’Connor in the summer and the striker has weighed in with six goals in as many games, although he has netted just once on the road. Both Edinburgh and O’Connor scooped awards last month with Manager of the Month and Player of the Month respectively. O’Connor’s strike partner Jefferson Louis played against the Darts two years ago scoring for Maidenhead United.

The Exiles recently appointed Lee Scadding as the clubs new Chairman. Known as Sir Les he struck it lucky in the EuroMillions winning £45.5 million in 2009. Scadding will hope with his backing the Welsh club can return to the Football League after 24 years.

Team News

Marcus Bettinelli has impressed with his commanding performances in goal and he will continue on loan as a replacement for injured Louis Wells. Pacey striker and last seasons top scorer Danny Harris was the latest casualty when he was not included in Saturday’s squad against Alfreton Town after he picked up a knock. Adam Green was another player not to take part, the full back has managed four starts this season before being substituted with an injury against Kidderminster Harriers.

Current Form

Dartford

Newport County

Tamworth

H

2-3

Mansfield Town

A

4-3

Woking

A

0-1

Nuneaton

H

4-0

Macclesfield Town

A

0-2

Lincoln City

H

2-1

Kidderminster Harriers

H

1-0

Braintree Town

A

2-1

Cambridge United

A

2-1

Hereford United

H

2-0

Alfreton Town

H

5-1

Wrexham

A

0-2

Did you know…

It is the first time since March 1985 the Darts have achieved three consecutive wins in the top flight of non league football.

Newport County’s six yellow cards on Bank Holiday Monday is the most picked up by any one side this season.

The Darts 5-1 win versus Alfreton Town and The Exiles 4-0 victory against Nuneaton are the biggest winning margins this season.

Stats

Dartford lead the head to head record against Newport County by two goals. Both sides have won three times in eight meetings. The Darts have scored 18 to the Exiles 16.

The Darts are at their most potent in the 15 minutes before half time netting four times. Newport County have scored the same amount in the opening 15 minutes.

Defensively, Dartford have conceded five times in the final 15 minutes. Newport County are at their must vulnerable after half time with four goals let in between 45 and 60 minutes.