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Southport v Dartford

A glimmer of survival hope is beginning to flicker for the Darts and next up is another ‘six pointer’ away to Southport.

Dartford’s away form is keeping the side within a chance of staying in the Conference Premier; the Kent side are now four unbeaten on the road. Southport are in equally good form having lost just once in their last seven outings, which has included four draws.

Tony Burman’s side have just nine games remaining and are nine points behind Southport and Alfreton Town, their next two games. With the game in hand also on the horizon at the end of the month, the picture at the bottom could look very different as the season approaches the Easter period.

After a last minute home defeat against Alfreton Town, the Darts looked down and out until a mid-week victory at Chester. An inspired performance by goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim contributed to the three points despite falling behind. Oliver McBurnie gave the hosts the lead with a header in the second half. Within a minute the scores were level when Nathan Green scored his second of the campaign when he poked home the equaliser. Harry Crawford hit the woodwork for the Darts and as the game looked as if it was heading for a draw, it was Dartford’s turn to net a last minute winner. Danny Harris claimed the decisive goal despite other sources claiming Kingsley James had put through his own net.

In what will be the sixth meeting between the two clubs, there is little that separate the teams head to head. Dartford are yet to taste victory up in Merseyside against Southport and just over a year ago were brushed aside 3-0. Goals from Danny Hattersley, Jason Walker and Osayaman Osawe made sure the Sandgrounders took maximum points.

Two years ago, the Darts managed a 2-2 draw which saw Harry Crawford score his first goal of his second loan spell with the club. Andy Owens equalised for the hosts but Tom Bonner had Dartford back ahead. Southport equalised when Shaun Whalley scored from the spot to share the points. Burman has also led Dartford to one victory and two draws back at Princes Park with the fixture earlier this term ending 1-1.

Southport have finished consistently over the past three seasons and their current placing of nineteenth shows no change. The Sandgrounders have blown hot and cold this campaign, unbeaten runs such as the six without loss in October and November have contrasted with twice losing four in a row. At present the Merseyside club are on a decent streak unbeaten in four with just one goal conceded.

Two players at opposite ends of the pitch are impressing at Haig Avenue. Richard Brodie, the clubs top scorer on 11 goals this season turned his loan deal into a permanent contract in the summer. At the back Luke Foster has made impressive performances picking up the most man of the match awards for Southport this term.

Team News

Goalkeeper, JasonBrown and striker Andy Pugh have been out with hamstring injuries but Pugh is likely to return. Tom Bradbrook is out with a groin injury and older brother Elliot Bradbrook is one caution away from a suspension.

Southport will be without Joe Thomas who has returned to Bury following his month’s loan. Meanwhile Joe Connor is making good progress recovering from injury and could be added to the squad for the weekend.

Head to Head

Southport wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 1 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Southport (WDDWLD) Dartford (WLDLDW)
Aldershot Town  A  2-1 Chester  A  2-1
Wrexham  A  0-0 Alfreton Town  H  0-1
Nuneaton Town  H  0-0 FC Halifax Town  A  0-0
FC Halifax Town  H  1-0 Woking  H  1-3
Forest Green Rovers  A  3-5 Aldershot Town  A  1-1
Dover Athletic  A  2-2 AFC Telford United  A  3-2

Last League Meeting at Haig Avenue

1 March 2014 – Southport 3 Dartford 0 – Att: 1041

Goalscorers: Hattersley (12), Walker (71), Osawe (78)

Southport Lineup: Hurst, Fitzpatrick, Flynn, Nsiala, George, O’Sullivan, Brown, Ledsham, Walker, Osawe, Hattersley (subs used: Challonor, Brodie, Mukendi)

Dartford Lineup: Julian, Collier, McAuley, Mitchel-King, Burns, Cornhill, Stevenson, Bradbrook, Woodyard, Harris, Wall (subs used: Clark, Noble, Suarez)

Match Stats

dfc v sfc2

Previous Meetings

15.11.2014 Dartford 1 Southport 1
01.03.2014 Southport 3 Dartford 0
28.09.2013 Dartford 1 Southport 0
02.03.2013 Southport 2 Dartford 2
17.11.2012 Dartford 2 Southport 2

Stats

15 – number of goals Southport have scored at home, the lowest home total in the league

44 – league games since Dartford won consecutive matches

49 – Richard Brodie has been caught offside the most number of times in the Conference Premier this season

72 – Southport have received the most yellow cards this term

On This Day

Since reforming, Dartford have played twice on 21 March and lost on both occasions. Fifteen years ago, the Darts lost 4-1 in the Southern League Southern Division to Folkestone Invicta. The most recent loss was in the Isthmian Premier League in 2009 when they were beaten 2-0 by AFC Hornchurch.

Dartford v Southport

The Darts will be involved in another crucial Conference Premier fixture this weekend, hosting a Southport side unbeaten in five games.

It’s been a fine week for Dartford with the F.A Cup win at Bromley earning the club a second round tie away to Bradford City, the Darts will appear in round two for the first time in thirty years. Just days later, a second victory in three days took Tony Burman’s side above their mid week opponents Welling United and today’s visitors Southport to move out of the relegation places.

On Tuesday night, a rare first half league goal put the Darts ahead after good work down the right by Ryan Hayes and Danny Harris. Welling United’s Chris Bush cut out Harris’ cross which fell kindly to Max Cornhill, the midfielder from outside the box struck a well taken shot beyond the Wings goalkeeper to net his second league goal this season.

Early in the second half it took substitute Harry Crawford just six minutes to double the Darts lead. Hayes was involved again when his cross found Crawford who headed in the second goal. England C international, Jake Gallagher picked up a second caution for Welling United leaving his side with ten men. The visitors pulled a goal back late on when Harry Beautyman scored once again against Burman’s side. In the final minute Welling United were reduced to nine when Chris Bush retaliated on Lee Noble. Dartford move up to nineteenth spot with their first league win in seven attempts.

Consecutive triumphs for the first time this campaign has also seen the Darts progress in the F.A Cup. Having fallen behind in the first half against Conference South side Bromley, Harris and Hayes scored within ten minutes of the restart. The hosts equalised a minute later, Moses Ademola capitalised on Jason Brown’s error. Elliot Bradbrook’s header was nudged home by Harris, Danny Waldren then made it 3-3 before brother Tom Bradbrook scored the winner in a dramatic encounter.

Last season, in the third ever meeting between Dartford and Southport, the Darts recorded the first win. A 1-0 victory at Princes Park followed consecutive 2-2 draws in the previous campaign. Preparations in the home match against the Sandgrounders last term were hardly ideal with goalkeeper Alan Julian stuck in traffic, Mitchel-King was close to starting the game in between the sticks. Fortunately, the afternoon improved for Tony Burman when just past the half hour mark, Elliot Bradbrook got on the end of Lee Noble’s corner only for Southport goalkeeper Danny Hurst to parry the captain’s shot. Striker Adam Birchall followed up the rebound to secure three points for Dartford.

The Sandgrounders have picked up form after slipping into the bottom four at the beginning of October. Results led to the sacking of former Hereford United boss Martin Foyle, in charge at Haig Avenue for just 14 games winning only three. Four defeats in a row sealed Foyle’s fate and after a 5-2 loss at home to Woking new manager Gary Brabin was appointed.

Brabin has history with the Merseysiders after managing the club for two months in 2008, before moving on to Cambridge United and Luton Town. The 43 year old also represented Southport as a player eight years ago.

Since Brabin’s return Southport are unbeaten in league and cup earning three draws and two wins. Similar to last season, the Sandgrounders have taken advantage against teams around them in the league. Braintree Town and Welling United were beaten 2-0 and 1-0 respectively and a 3-3 draw versus Lincoln City plus a 2-2 stalemate with Dover Athletic either side the two victories completes the league run. In the F.A Cup first round last weekend Southport travelled to East London and held League Two side Dagenham and Redbridge to a 0-0 draw.

Southport boss Brabin was content with the progress shown since his appointment, he told www.southportfc.net after the draw last weekend: “Our lads produced a really good, professional performance. We’ve been working on a number of things since I’ve been at the club and I thought it was evident today. Over the past few weeks we’ve had good periods in certain games but today we saw a really good ninety minute performance. We defended well, we had some really good spells of possession, we worked hard and were disciplined. It as a really thorough performance and the longer the game went on the more likely I thought we were to get the winner. A lot of people watching today would not have been able to tell the difference between the two sides and this result will give the lads a lot of belief going forward”.

Team News

Tony Burman gave new signing Callum Driver a debut from off the bench, the former West Ham United defender put pen to paper hours before the Welling United game. The 22 year old played nine games for Conference South side Whitehawk before being released last month. Defender, Mat Mitchel-King, who pulled out of the entertaining 4-3 F.A Cup first round win at Bromley during the warm up, didn’t feature on Tuesday night. Tom Bradbrook, the match winner last weekend was also missing from the mid week squad. Lee Burns who has suffered from a rib injury this term was replaced with three minutes to go in the Kent derby against Welling United. Rory McAuley is one caution away from picking up a one match ban.

Southport defender Clayton McDonald will serve the third match of his suspension. Scott Kay and Luke Foster have picked up four yellow cards this term and another against Dartford will rule them out of their next match.

Head to Head 

Dartford wins: 1 / Southport wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (WLDDLD) Southport (DWWDLW)
Welling United A 2-1 Dover Athletic H 2-2
Grimsby Town A 0-3 Welling United H 1-0
Aldershot Town H 1-1 Braintree Town A 2-0
Macclesfield Town H 1-1 Lincoln City H 3-3
Bristol Rovers A 0-1 Woking H 2-5
Grimsby Town H 1-1 Grimsby Town A 1-0

Last League Meeting at Princes Park

28 September 2013 – Dartford 1 Southport 0 – Att: 1025

Goalscorer: Birchall (32)

Dartford Lineup: Julian, Clark, Fry, Burns, Bradbrook, Noble, Collier, Woodyard, Hayes, Harris, Birchall (subs used: Cornhill, Ibemere, Prior)

Southport Lineup: Hurst, Smith, Akrigg, Challoner, Fitzpatrick, Brown, Chalmers, Milligan, Ledsham, George, Osawe (subs used: Almond, Hattersley, Irie-Bi)

Match Stats

dfc v sfc

Previous Meetings

01.03.2014 Southport 3 Dartford 0
28.09.2013 Dartford 1 Southport 0
24.03.2013 Southport 2 Dartford 2
17.11.2012 Dartford 2 Southport 2

Stats

1 – Dartford led at half time in the league for the first time this season on Tuesday night. Max Cornhill’s goal meant the Darts went into the break against Welling United 1-0.

2 – Harry Crawford’s goal on Tuesday night was the first time in the league this term the Darts had a two goal cushion.

50 – Harry Crawford made his 50th Dartford appearance in the 4-3 F.A Cup win at Bromley. The striker, now in his third spell with the club has started 33 games and made 17 substitute appearances scoring 20 goals (excludes the Welling United game)

250 – Danny Harris will make his 250th appearance in a Darts shirt if he features this weekend. Harris has started 182 times, made 67 substitute appearances and has netted 66 goals.

00:57 – the number of seconds gone when Southport conceded against Dover Athletic, the quickest goal scored this campaign.

94:57 – the Sandgrounders have also conceded the latest goal when Jamie Jackson of FC Halifax Town scored.

 

Southport

Haig Avenue Founded 1881 The Sandgrounders

Southport’s latest spell in the Conference Premier has mainly seen them finish in the lower region of the league. A former Football League club voted out in 1978, the Merseyside club has only spent four season’s in the Conference North and the other sixteen in the Premier over the last twenty years. The Sandgrounders in that time have faced two relegations but have managed to return on each occasion. Since promotion in as champions in 2010 Southport did manage a seventh place finish in their second campaign back, a vast improvement who were reprieved a year before due to the demise of Rushden and Diamonds. The Merseysiders haven’t managed to repeat that performance but will begin their fifth consecutive term in the Conference Premier.

sfcLast Season

Conference Premier: 18th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Semi Final

Top Scorer: Dan Hattersley

Average Attendance: 1049

Southport’s home form was enough to keep the club up, the eighth best record in the league. On their travels it was a completely different story with just a solitary victory, only bottom club Hyde had a worse set of results. A run of three wins in 24 matches saw the end of Alan Wright’s spell as manager. The former Aston Villa defender was unable to push the club into a safer position and a relegation battle ensued for the best part of the campaign. Southport opted for experience and so former Accrington Stanley boss John Coleman came in to keep the side afloat. It took a while for Coleman to get his side to gel, picking up one league win in his first nine Conference Premier matches. In February and March the Sandgrounders found form confirmed survival on Easter Monday in front of a home crowd. As the summer started Coleman decided to move on leaving chairman Charlie Clapham looking for a new leader from the dugout.

The Manager – Martin Foyle

Last season wasn’t pleasant for Foyle at financially stricken Hereford United. Not only did the Bulls struggle on and off the pitch, Foyle was left unpaid and issued a winding up petition against his former employers. The only honour, on a personal level was January’s Manager of the Month. Appointed after relegation to non league, when the troubles began he guided the Bulls to a sixth place finish.  The former Port Vale striker has managed the Valiants as well as standing in at Wrexham five years ago. Foyle also took York City to Wembley in 2009′s F.A Trophy and again in the 2010 playoff final, on both occasions the Minstermen were beaten. Spells at Bristol Rovers and Northwich Victoria has added to Foyle’s experience off the field to go with his 20 years of life on the pitch. As a player, the 51 year old scored over 150 goals in the Football League for Aldershot Town, Oxford United and Port Vale.

The Summer
England C goalkeeper Daniel Lloyd-Weston signs from Foyle’s previous club Hereford and 26 year old midfielder Stephen Brogan arrives from Forest Green Rovers. Brogan started his career at Rotherham United making 76 appearances before suffering a broken leg. Forward Richard Brodie completes a  permanent deal with the Sandgrounders after a loan spell last term. Centre half Luke Foster arrives from Lincoln City and midfielder Scott Kay signs from Macclesfield Town. Dom Collins, another ex Hereford United player will also begin a new start at Haig Avenue. Danny Hurst who was transfer listed due to work comitments has dropped a division to play for Stockport County.

Last Meetings vs The Darts

Southport 3 Dartford 0 – Conference Premier – 1 March 2014

Southport pulled away from the threat of relegation with a comfortable home win. Top scorer for the Sandgrounders Danny Hattersley opened the scoring. Debutant, Jason Walker doubled the hosts lead and Osayaman Osawe who was so affective throughout made it three.

Dartford 1 Southport 0 – Conference Premier – 28 September 2013

An Adam Birchall winner with just over half an hour gone was enough for victory, the striker put Lee Noble’s corner into the net. Southport’s Jamie Milligan struck the woodwork before Birchall’s goal and Max Cornhill came close for the Darts second. Dartford’s single goal triumph was the fourth of the season.

Next Meetings

Saturday 15 November 2014 at Princes Park

Saturday 21 March 2015 at Haig Avenue

League Performance Last Ten Years

southport last ten yearsBest Performances

4th Division Three North (1924/25 & 1938/39) F.A Cup Quarter Final (1930/31) F.A Trophy Runners Up (1997/98)

Southport v Dartford

Dartford travel up to Merseyside on Saturday determined to finish above their relegation rivals Southport by the end of the afternoon.

The Darts enter the weekend a point behind the Sandgrounders who themselves leap frogged Tony Burman’s side on Tuesday night. Since returning to the Conference Premier, the Darts have yet to fall behind against the Merseysiders. In the two meetings last term both fixtures finished 2-2 with Dartford leading four times. The last visit to Southport saw Harry Crawford score his first goal of his second loan spell with the club. Andy Owens equalised for the hosts but Tom Bonner had the Darts back ahead. The Sandgrounders equalised when Shaun Whalley scored from the spot to share the points.

This season’s match at Princes Park could have seen defender Mat Mitchel-King starting in goal. With Alan Julian stuck in traffic, Derren Ibrahim and Tom Welham were unavailable for selection. Luckily, Julian arrived in time and the pre match preparations didn’t deter the Darts. Just past the half hour mark, Elliot Bradbrook got on the end of Lee Noble’s corner only for Southport goalkeeper Danny Hurst to parry the captain’s shot. Striker Adam Birchall followed up the rebound to secure three points for Dartford.

On Tuesday night satisfaction turned to disappointment at Princes Park with the Darts going agonisingly close to picking up a valuable three points. With the first half coming to an end, Aldershot Town goalkeeper Glenn Morris upended the impressive Alex Wall. Morris was red carded for his foul in the box and captain Elliot Bradbrook netted his seventh league goal of the season. The Shots, needing the points as much as Dartford, waited until two minutes from time to snatch a 1-1 draw. Brett Williams took advantage of the space given to him and hit a fine long range effort past Alan Julian. The 26 year old striker has now scored 18 in the Conference Premier this term. Despite ending the evening with a draw the Darts are now unbeaten in their last six league matches.

Meanwhile up in Merseyside, Southport moved up the league standings with a 2-1 triumph over playoff chasers Grimsby Town. John Coleman’s side had to come from behind to jump out of the relegation zone when Grimsby Town’s Lennell John-Lewis opened the scoring. The Sandgrounders hit back with goals from Scott Brown and Osayamen Osawe to record their second home win in a row.

It’s Southport’s home record of eight wins and four draws that is keeping the club afloat. On their travels they have a solitary victory to their name against bottom side Hyde on the opening day of the season. In December, after the club suffered four straight defeats the previous month, chairman Charlie Clapham appointed former Conference Premier winning manager John Coleman. The former Accrington Stanley boss also played for the Sandgrounders during the eighties.

Head to Head

Southport wins: 0 / Dartford wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Southport (WLWDLL) Dartford (DWWWDW)
Grimsby Town H 2-1 Aldershot Town H 1-1
Forest Green Rovers A 1-3 Hereford United H 2-0
Salisbury City H 3-1 Woking H 5-1
Grimsby Town A 0-0 Wrexham A 2-1
Barnet A 0-1 Cambridge United H 3-3
Wrexham H 1-2 Kidderminster Harriers A 2-1

Last Meeting at Haig Avenue

2 March 2013 – Southport 2 Dartford 2 – Att: 823

Goalscorers: Crawford (29), Owens (40), Bonner (59), Whalley (83 pen)

The Sandgrounders Lineup: McMillan, Smith, Owens, Byrne, Willis, Parry, Whalley, Ledsham, Chalmers, Kay, Poku (subs used: Clancy, Almond)

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

Match Stats

sfc v dfc stats
Previous Meetings

28.09.2013 Dartford 1 Southport 0
02.03.2013 Southport 2 Dartford 2
17.11.2012 Dartford 2 Southport 2

League Stats

33 – Number of players Dartford and Southport have both used in this season’s Conference Premier campaign

15 – Number of players for each side who have registered a league goal this term

7 – Number of goals scored by each clubs league top scorer this season, Dartford’s Elliot Bradbrook and Southport’s Danny Hattersley

Southport have beaten six of the top seven at home and have yet to play third placed Barnet

Dartford v Southport

Dartford could make it successive home wins this weekend if they can overcome Southport for the first time in their history.

Both fixtures between the Darts and the Sandgrounders finished with identical score lines. In total Dartford took the lead four times against Saturday’s opponents and were pegged back each time. At Princes Park, Elliot Bradbrook scored a brace with a well taken long range effort and a penalty. The Merseysiders equalised with a headed goal from Steve Akrigg and repeated the same feat by grabbing a last minute draw courtesy of Karl Ledsham.

In the previous fixture Harry Crawford scored his first goal since returning to the club which took his tally to a dozen for the season. Crawford’s stuck in the opener with his first goal outside of Kent in a Dartford shirt. Andy Owens equalised for Southport but Tom Bonner had the Darts back ahead. Once again, Southport equalised when Shaun Whalley scored from the spot. A second successive stalemate means that neither side have ever beaten each other.

The last seven days started off extremely well for the Darts when they defeated an in form Kidderminster Harriers 3-0. Jason Prior, Elliot Bradbrook and Danny Harris all featured on the score sheet in a well deserved victory. On Tuesday night, Dartford travelled to Lincolnshire to face Grimsby Town, who knocked the Darts out of last season’s F.A Trophy semi-final.

Grimsby Town looked in control when Danny Harris opened the scoring half way through the first period. Dartford’s winger scored his second in as many games with a well taken side footed finish. The lead lasted just eight minutes but if it wasn’t for Grimsby Town’s goalkeeper, James McKeown’s stop moments before the Darts could have been two up. McKeown’s clearance found Rob Hannah, he laid the ball off to Patrick McLaughlin who struck from 20 yards to equalise. The Mariners piled on more pressure and after a number of corners Shaun Pearson gave the hosts the lead. Once more Dartford suffered from a set piece play and in an 11 minute spell Grimsby Town scored a third courtesy of Lenell John-Lewis.

Early in the second half the Darts were given hope when the quick thinking Lee Noble scored directly from a free kick with the Grimsby Town defenders still preparing the wall. In the final five minutes the game got away from Dartford when Scott Kerr and Craig Disley condemned the Darts to a 5-2 away defeat.

Saturday’s opponents began their campaign in fine form topping the league table after two matches with a perfect record. Four wins from the opening half dozen fixtures left the Sandgrounders in the playoff zone. However, a run of four games without a win followed, including a 4-1 away defeat to Tamworth.

On Tuesday, Southport hosted another of the Conference Premier’s surprise packages in Alfreton Town. The hosts went into the fixture after failing to score in their previous two games and at half time the sides headed back to the dressing rooms with nothing to show. Alfreton Town gained an advantage when John Akinde scored his fifth of the campaign but the lead was cancelled out by Nick Fenton’s own goal. Southport’s barren spell without their own player scoring ended when Osayamen Osawe netted the winner, the striker’s third of the season.

The Merseysiders finished a place above the relegation places last term with a four point cushion. Boss Liam Watson left the managerial role to join relegated AFC Telford United in the Conference North. Chairman, Charles Clapham MBE was quick to appoint Alan Wright who takes his first job in the world of football management. The 41 year old made his name at Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers as a full back.

Team News

Tyrone Sterling hobbled off after just 17 minutes up at Blundell Park on Tuesday night. Max Cornhill took his place on the substitute bench and made an appearance later on whilst Mat Mitchel-King was still out. Tony Burman only named four substitutes in the match against Grimsby Town.

Current League Form

Dartford (LWLLDL) Southport (WLLDLW)
Grimsby Town A 2-5 Alfreton Town H 2-1
Kidderminster Harriers H 3-0 Braintree Town A 0-1
Luton Town A 0-3 Lincoln City A 0-1
Nuneaton Town H 1-2 Welling United H 2-2
Chester A 0-0 Tamworth A 1-4
Lincoln City H 1-2 Aldershot Town H 1-0

Last Meeting At Princes Park

17 November 2012 – Dartford 2 Southport 2 – Att: 1506

Goalscorers: Bradbrook (17), Akrigg (21), Bradbrook (33 pen), Ledsham (90)

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

The Sandgrounders Lineup: Mcmillan, Smith, Lever, Akrigg, Grand, Whalley, Ledsham, Moogan, Poku, Almond, Tames (subs used: Lynch, Chalmers, Stephenson)

Match Stats

dfc v sfc stats

Stats (collated from www.bbc.co.uk/sport)

0 – Along with Gateshead, Dartford are the only other side yet to score in the final 15 minutes of a league match this campaign

37 – The Darts have had the least shots off target this season, but only Chester have had fewer attempts in total

88 – Fouls Dartford have conceded, one less than Hyde who have given away the least fouls

291 – The number of minutes Southport went without their own player scoring. Osawe’s winner on Tuesday night put an end to the barren spell

Southport v Dartford

 

The Darts return to their Conference Premier schedule this weekend when the travel up to Southport’s Haig Avenue for the first time.

After two weeks of F.A Trophy action Dartford will be hoping to record their first competitive away win of the year. The Darts last tasted triumph on the road nine games ago back in November.

Tony Burman’s side took on Southport for the first time in the clubs history prior their last away win at Kingstonian. Elliot Bradbrook scored a brace with a well taken long range effort and a penalty. On both occasions the Merseysiders pegged back Dartford with a headed goal from Steve Akrigg and a last minute equaliser from Karl Ledsham.

Saturday’s league fixtures could see significant changes in the Conference Premier standings as the tight and congested middle of the table covers seventh to fourteenth by just six points.

There was no mid week action for Dartford as they recover from their F.A Trophy exploits. Failure to reach Wembley after a 0-0 second leg draw with Grimsby Town has still seen positives from the teams performances, Burman spoke to newsshopper.co.uk and said: “The players gave everything I asked of them and I thought the performance and effort was fine”, he added: “to get to the last four of the competition is a fantastic effort by everyone”.

Dartford’s boss is determined to reach the 50 point target set out at the start of the season. In order to achive this the Darts are just two wins away. At the same time Burman hasn’t taken his eyes of the playoffs but realises form has to pick up to the standards set earlier in the season.

Southport will be looking to make the most of home advantage considering Dartford’s poor form on the road of late. The Sandgrounders have experienced mixed fortunes on their own patch and have one of the leakiest defences in the division, recording their last clean sheet at Haig Avenue against Ebbsfleet United on 15 September 2012.

Liam Watson’s team also missed out on game time on Tuesday night having last played a fixture last week. Hosting Conference South champions Woking the Sandgrounders had a difficult afternoon. Simon Grand was during the first half which the visitors punished before the break when Bradley Bubb opened the scoring. In the second half, Aaron Chalmers equalised for Southport from a free kick netting his first goal for the club. Parity lasted just eight minutes as Bubb completed a brace earning Woking three points.

The loss against Woking ended a four match unbeaten run which included a respectable 2-2 draw away to league leaders Wrexham and a 5-2 mauling of Barrow. The Merseyside club have certainly been in the thick of goal action totalling 114 goals (for and against) in matches they have played, only Cambridge United (116) have seen more but they have played two games extra.

Head to Head

Southport Wins 0 / Dartford Wins: 0 / Draws: 1

Team News

Lee Noble will be suspended for his red card received in the F.A Trophy first leg defeat at Grimsby Town a fortnight ago. The midfielder will serve his second of a four match ban. Mark Arber missed the second leg last week through illness and will be hoping he can recover before Saturday. Lee Burns returned after missing the first leg of the semi-final with a man of the match performance and Jack Evans’s loan spell has been extended.

Simon Grand will start his suspension this weekend after being sent off against Woking on the weekend. The defender has started all but one first team fixture in the Conference Premier this season. Liam Watson has strengthened his squad with the signing of Sean Clancy from second place Kidderminster Harriers. The 25 year old made just three substitute appearances for Harriers in the league this season. Goalkeeper Tony McMillan will play his 200th match for Southport if selected on Saturday, the 31 year old has featured in every league fixture this campaign.

Current League Form

Southport (LWWDDL) Dartford (WLLWLD)
Woking H 1-2 Luton Town H 1-0
Barrow H 5-2 Lincoln City A 1-2
Nuneaton Town A 1-0 Mansfield Town A 0-5
Hereford United A 2-2 Macclesfield Town H 2-0
Wrexham A 2-2 Alfreton Town A 2-3
Mansfield Town H 1-2 Ebbsfleet United A 2-2

Dartford v Southport

 

Dartford take on last season’s surprise package Southport for the first time in the clubs history at Princes Park on Saturday.

Whilst the Darts have taken well deserved plaudits in the first three months of 2012/13 campaign, a year ago their opponents were about to leap into third place in their return to the Conference Premier.

The two sides are experiencing inconsistent form over the last six league matches but the Darts will be full of confidence following another scalp on Saturday. Another visit to a former football league side ended in a Dartford victory adding Luton Town to the ever growing list.

Lee Noble scored direct from a free kick after six minutes at Kenilworth Road, his second league goal of the season. Tom Bonner doubled his season’s tally with a close range header to put Tony Burman’s side two up before half time.  Yet again the back five managed a clean sheet, their fourth consecutive away from home.

Victory lifted Dartford back into the play off places as they replaced Luton Town, Burman spoke to BBC Radio Kent: “I am absolutely delighted. It was a good away performance against a top, top club. It’s one of the best results I’ve had so far”. Despite a better home record this season the Dartford boss feels less pressure on the road, he added: “First half we were excellent, our passing was good. It’s easier playing away. The expectation is not high and it is on our opponents Luton, but it was a great performance from us”.

On the weekend of Princes Park’s sixth birthday the progress the club was summed up by last weekend’s attendance at Kenilworth Road, Burman commented: “I’m just delighted Dartford are playing at this level, in front of six-and-a-half thousand people. It’s a dream come true”.

The Darts approach their fixture with Southport without top scorer Harry Crawford who has netted all six of his goals at home. It is likely Jacob Erskine and Danny Harris will partner each other up front. The duo have only started once together at home on the opening day of the season. At the back the defence picks itself, after 16 consecutive league games the back five have been unchanged keeping clean sheets in almost half of those matches.

Southport travel down from the north west and went down to a early goal last weekend when they lost to a second minute strike by Mansfield Town’s Ben Hutchinson. Defeat leaves the Sandgrounders one place above the relegation zone two points ahead of our Kent rivals Ebbsfleet United.

It will be the second consecutive away fixture for Southport and of late they have one just once in six attempts on the road. Defensively, only three teams have conceded more goals than the Sandgrounders who have not kept a clean sheet for nine league matches. Part of that defence includes the ever present goalkeeper Tony McMIllan and defender Simon Grand, midfielder Andy Parry has also started every league game of 2012/13. Up front the club have struggled for a regular striker and have had to rely on defender Chris Lever to top score with five league goals, all penalties.

Now managed by Liam Watson, the Merseysiders have bounced between the top two tiers of non league football since the turn of the millennium. The club are in their third spell in non league’s top division having been relegated in 2003 and 2007. Up until 1978 Southport were an established football league club reaching Division Three North, today’s equivalent of League One.

Team News

Harry Crawford will serve his second match of his three game ban after his sending off against Forest Green Rovers. Elliot Bradbrook was cautioned in Saturday’s win and is one yellow card from a suspension.

Steve Akrigg remains sidelined with a long term injury caused by a dislocated shoulder. The centre half has managed just six league appearances for the Sandgrounders. Steve Grand and Godfrey Poku have both currently amassed four cautions this season, Poku has just returned from suspension after his red card against Wrexham.

Current League Form

Dartford (WLWDLW) Southport (LLDWLW)
Luton Town A 2-0 Mansfield Town A 0-1
Forest Green Rovers H 0-1 Wrexham H 1-4
Mansfield Town H 2-0 Hereford United H 2-2
Barrow A 0-0 Woking A 3-2
AFC Telford United H 1-4 Barrow A 2-3
Grimsby Town A 2-0 Nuneaton H 3-1

Dartford failed to score in their last home match for the first time in the league this season and have yet to record a league draw at Princes Park

Southport have lost four of their last five away fixtures

Stats

Dartford seem to struggle to find the net in the second third of each half, see below the times in which the Darts have scored.

Defensively Dartford keep things tight at the back in the opening half hour of each half.