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Dartford v Hungerford Town

Dartford returned to the top of the National South and hope to stay there when they host title challengers Hungerford Town this weekend.

The Darts will want to put some distance over the Crusaders as only four points separate the two sides. Whilst Steve King’s men lead the National South, Danny Robinson’s team are in fourth after the same amount of games.

Dartford could make it a first league double over their opponents after winning at Bulpit Lane in November. Finding themselves a goal down when Ryan Seager scored a penalty, the Darts rallied to take victory with two excellent goals by Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong.

Unbeaten in three games against Hungerford Town, the Darts have scored twice in each of those fixtures. A complete turnaround of form before Dartford’s current run, when they went four games without finding the net against the Berkshire club, losing three.

Last season, the two sides met just the once and it ended 2-2 at Bulpit Lane. The now departed pair of Darren McQueen and Luke Wanadio netted after Zidan Akers opened the scoring for Hungerford Town. Looking set for a victory the Darts conceded an equaliser two minutes from time, Conor Lynch rescuing a point for the hosts.

The last time Princes Park hosted this fixture, the Darts ran out 2-1 winners. Phil Roberts made his debut for Dartford, but it was his strike partner Jamie Philpot who put the Darts one up. Lee Noble extended the lead and in the last minute Marvel Ekpiteta grabbed a consolation.

Despite seven players unavailable and five changes to the starting eleven, Dartford approach this weekend’s game on the back of a 3-0 win over Billericay Town. A goalless first half left the Darts wondering whether their lack of goals would continue. However, returning from his successful loan spell at Chelmsford City, Charlie Sheringham scored a second-half hat-trick, his first in a competitive game for the club.

Sheringham scored five goals in five games with the Clarets and he was rewarded with a first Dartford start since November. The striker was one of five changes, another one of those was a surprise signing. With goalkeeper Craig King suspended, Steve King signed Daniel Wilks from Welling United who made his debut and kept a clean sheet. Josh Hill, David Ijaha and Luke Allen were the others selected in a much changed line up.

Craig Braham-Barrett, Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong and Noor Husin weren’t in the squad and Ricky Modeste is still recovering from injury. Cameron Brodie took his place on the bench after returning from a loan spell at Tilbury. Former Huddersfield Town youngster, Denilson Carvalho got a run out following his move from Tower Hamlets prior kick off. Jazzi Barnum-Bobb and Craig King will be suspended for this weekend’s game against Hungerford Town.

Victory against Billericay Town was just the tonic after King labelled the defeat against bottom club Braintree Town as ‘unacceptable and unrecognisable’. After addressing the surprise loss with his players, the Darts put in an outstanding display against Ricay. Not only did the Darts score three they created plenty of chances to add to the tally, including Connor Essam’s shot off the crossbar and two cleared off the line. King feels if his side wants to get a positive result on Saturday they will need to replicate their efforts from Tuesday night.

King is not the only manager making signings. After a blistering start in the National South, Hungerford Town have lost some ground after four defeats in their last seven league games. Antonio Diaz has arrived from Salisbury, Mike Atkinson from Bracknell Town, Andre Burley has had his loan spell extended to the end of the month and Jake Evans scored in their last game on his debut against Maidstone United.

The Crusaders have won three of their last four games showing signs they have returned to that early season form. In those matches Ryan Seager has netted four times as he continues to be the Berkshire club’s main man in front of goal. The striker has 12 goals to his name so far and is the league’s joint top scorer with former Dart, Jason Prior.

Head to Head

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

Current League Form

Dartford
(WLWDLW)
Hungerford Town
(WLWWLL)
Billericay TownH3-0Maidstone UnitedH2-1
Braintree TownA1-2Havant and WaterloovilleA2-4
Tonbridge AngelsH1-0Bath CityA2-0
Ebbsfleet UnitedH0-0Hemel Hempstead TownA1-0
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Dulwich HamletH0-3
Hungerford TownA2-1Oxford CityH1-4

Previous Meetings

28.11.2020Hungerford Town1Dartford2
26.08.2019Hungerford Town2Dartford2
22.12.2018Dartford2Hungerford Town1
25.08.2018Hungerford Town1Dartford0
09.12.2017Hungerford Town1Dartford0
05.08.2017Dartford0Hungerford Town0
14.04.2017Hungerford Town2Dartford0
27.08.2016Dartford2Hungerford Town0

Stats

Dartford have kept three clean sheets in their last four games and have not conceded at home in the league since the 1-0 defeat against St Albans City on 17 November. The run of four home clean sheets in a row was last achieved between 28 December 2019 and 25 January 2020.

The Darts last managed five consecutive home clean sheets in the league back in the 2008/2009 Isthmian Premier League winning season.

Charlie Sheringham’s hat-trick on the weekend was the first for a Dartford player since Alfie Pavey’s against Needham Market on 30 September 2017. It was also the first Princes Park hat-trick since Warren Mfula scored three against Oxford City on 19 August 2017.

On This Day

Andy Pugh’s first half brace set Dartford on their way to a 4-1 home win over Bath City five years ago. A third was added to the striker’s double by Ryan Hayes before the visitors pulled a goal back. With three minutes remaining Callum McNaughton added some gloss with a fourth. In 2000, the Darts were knocked out of the F.A Trophy third round when they were beaten 2-1 by Heybridge Swifts. Dartford have won two of their last three games on this day 4-1, in 1988 they beat Burton Albion in the Southern Premier League at Watling Street.

Dartford v Billericay Town

The Darts have the opportunity to bounce back and regain top spot when they host Billericay Town on Tuesday night.

Dartford fell to defeat on the weekend against Braintree Town as top visited bottom. The 2-1 loss resulted in the Darts dropping to second after Dorking Wanderers won on Saturday.

Goalkeeper, Craig King started his three match ban for his red card versus rivals Ebbsfleet United, so Ethan Wady made his fifth start for the club. The only other change to the side that beat Tonbridge Angels 1-0 was the return of Femi Akinwande after seven years away. The on loan striker from Stevenage made a first appearance since his only start for the club, in a Kent Senior Cup tie back in March 2014.

After a fairly consistent start to the campaign, the Darts have now picked up just four points in their last four National South games. Braintree Town were the latest team to take points off Steve King’s side when they took a two goal lead through Percy Kiangebeni and Taofiqol Omowewe. Dartford’s Jazzi Barnum-Bobb became the second player in three matches to receive a red card and will now be facing suspension as well. Chris Dickson did manage to provide hope by scoring from the spot, the striker’s third goal in six appearances.

It’s been over a year since Dartford hosted Billericay Town in the only game they faced each other last season. The Darts moved above their visitors in the National South that day with a 3-2 thanks to the strike partnership of Darren McQueen and Elliott Romain. The breakthrough came after just ten minutes when McQueen smashed home the opener past former Dartford goalkeeper Alan Julian. Twelve minutes later when McQueen was denied by Julian, Romain was there to put in the rebound.

On the weekend new loan signing from Stevenage and former Dartford academy graduate, Femi Akinwande was up against his former team Braintree Town. On Tuesday night, the striker will face another previous club and, in the meeting last term he scored against the Darts to half the deficit. The two-goal advantage was restored by Romain who had his initial shot blocked by Julian, but once again he netted the follow up. Billericay Town made things uncomfortable towards the end when Jake Robinson scored from the spot.

Robinson has been in top form again for Ricay and at this level he knows where the goal is. In the 2017-2018 campaign he bagged 34 league goals and after a brief spell with Maidstone United he returned to New Lodge in March 2019. The striker has found his scoring boots again and this term he is in double figures already third in the National South scoring charts.

After an indifferent start and a 6-2 defeat to Hampton and Richmond Borough, former manager and Premier League midfielder Jamie O’Hara departed. Dan Brown and Ronnie Henry took charge for December losing to Essex rivals Braintree Town on penalties in the F.A Trophy before beating the Iron 3-1 in the league a fortnight later. January saw Ricay lose another Essex derby to Concord Rangers before being beaten 3-1 by Oxford City, former Dartford winger Luke Wanadio getting Billericay Town’s goal.

Wanadio returns to Princes park after two previous spells with the Darts both lasting one campaign. In 2016/2017 he made 53 appearances and scored 13 times helping the Darts to a third place finish. Last season he played 33 times scoring five goals before his summer move across the Thames.

New boss, Kevin Watson is yet to take charge of Ricay after the fixture against Eastbourne Borough was called off. The former Ebbsfleet United manager will lead his new side out for their first away game in almost two months.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Billericay Town wins: 2 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford
(LWDLWW)
Billericay Town
(LLWLDD)
Braintree TownA1-2Oxford CityH1-3
Tonbridge AngelsH1-0Concord RangersH0-1
Ebbsfleet UnitedH0-0Braintree TownH3-1
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Hampton and RichmondH2-6
Hungerford TownA2-1Maidstone UnitedA1-1
Slough TownH2-0Welling UnitedA2-2

Previous Meetings

14.12.2019Dartford3Billericay Town2
22.04.2019Dartford2Billericay Town1
15.09.2018Billericay Town1Dartford1
06.03.2010Dartford1Billericay Town4
02.02.2010Billericay Town1Dartford0
14.02.2009Dartford2Billericay Town0
04.10.2008Billericay Town0Dartford1

Stats

Dartford have lost two of their last four league games, as many defeats as in their first 11 National South fixtures.

The Darts are three unbeaten against Billericay Town, winning the last two meetings and drawing the other.

Dartford have won one of their last six competitive games in normal time (D2, L3). Billericay Town have won one of their last seven (D2, L4).

On This Day

Two years ago, a Phil Roberts wonder strike two minutes from time gave Dartford a 3-2 win over St Albans City. His second of the afternoon clinched all three points, Elliot Bradbrook opened the scoring. A flawless January in 2008 in which the Darts won all four league games, scoring 12 without conceding, kept Dartford on the Isthmian Division One North title track. It was on this day that Tony Burman’s side thrashed Illford 5-0 with a brace from Brendon Cass and goals by Jay May, John Guest and Steve Norman. That victory was the first of three consecutive wins on 12 January, all at Princes Park. In 2013, the Darts made it through to the F.A Trophy fourth round with a 4-2 win over Bromley. Dominic Green netted twice, Lee Burns and Harry Crawford to set up a tie against FC Halifax Town.

Braintree Town v Dartford

Top of the table Dartford visit bottom of the league Braintree Town in their first National South away game in over a month.

A combination of postponements and the short lived F.A Trophy campaign means the Darts have been staying at home for their league fixtures during December and January. On Saturday they are back on the road where they have taken a decent 13 points out of the six away days so far. In contrast, Braintree Town are struggling at the wrong end of the standings earning just seven points all season, four from their six home games.

It’s been over a year since the two sides last met and the Darts won 2-1 to record their first victory of the 2019/2020 season. On a hot August afternoon and despite conceding early and missing a penalty, Dartford showed character to come from behind to win. Returning Dart, Femi Akinwande scored the opener at Princes Park before Luke Wanadio missed from the spot. Akinwande has come back to Princes Park where he came through the academy. However, it was a former Braintree Town midfielder who levelled the game when Luke Allen got on the end of Alex Flisher’s long throw. Allen was part of the Braintree Town side that beat the Darts in the playoffs and ended up winning promotion in 2018. The Iron had Adam Mills sent off in the second half and when substitute Norman Wabo came off the bench, he netted the winner with three minutes to go.

Dartford have bounced back from their cup upset and defeat in their last National South away game with solid defensive displays. The Darts drew 0-0 in the North Kent derby with Ebbsfleet United and followed that up with a 1-0 win over Tonbridge Angels. Nassim L’Ghoul in only his third start for the club netted the winner. With the games coming thick and fast, Steve King made three changes selecting Jazzi Barnum-Bobb for the first time since the end of November, Jack Jebb and Ky Marsh-Brown, his first start for a month. Jordan Wynter, David Ijaha and Jack Barham dropped out of the starting eleven.

It’s clear where Dartford need to improve even though they are leading the table. The Darts have kept a clean sheet in half of their league games, but in attack they sit mid-table on goals per game. The situation has been compounded recently by the departure of strikers Moussa Bakayoko to Havant and Waterlooville and Alfie Pavey returning to his parent club Barnet.

One striker moving up the scoring charts is currently out on loan with Chelmsford City and he was on target against Braintree Town in the Irons last game. Charlie Sheringham netted as the Clarets beat their Essex rivals 4-2, Ryan Maxwell’s second league defeat in a row. Maxwell took over as boss from former Dartford player George Borg back in November after a 4-0 reverse at Eastbourne Borough.

Maxwell was part of the Braintree Town team that won the National South in 2011 under Rod Stringer. The 37-year-old fielded eight new players for his first game in charge in which the Iron beat F.A Trophy finalists Concord Rangers 2-0. A second straight victory, this time over Tonbridge Angels lifted the Essex club off the foot of the table, but a draw and a pair of defeats since has seen the Iron return to last place.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Braintree Town wins: 6 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford
(LWWLDW)
Braintree Town
(LWWDLL)
Tonbridge AngelsH1-0Chelmsford CityA2-4
Ebbsfleet UnitedH0-0Billericay TownA1-3
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Welling UnitedH1-1
Hungerford TownA2-1Tonbridge AngelsA2-0
Slough TownH2-0Concord RangersH1-0
St Albans CityH0-1Eastbourne BoroughA0-4

Last Six League Meetings

24.08.2019Dartford2Braintree Town1
23.12.2017Dartford1Braintree Town1
08.08.2017Braintree Town2Dartford2
01.01.2015Braintree Town3Dartford0
26.12.2014Dartford0Braintree Town2
18.04.2014Braintree Town1Dartford0

Stats

Last season’s win against Braintree Town was Dartford’s first against the Iron in nine games.

The Iron were unbeaten in eight against the Darts winning five and drawing three. The Essex club also kept six clean sheets in those games including five in a row.

Dartford’s only win in their five visits to Cressing Road was a 2-0 victory in 2012 (D2, L2)

The Darts have kept consecutive clean sheets in the league for the first time since the start of the campaign.

On This Day

It’s not often Dartford get to play on this day, the last time the Darts ventured out on 9 January was back in 1999 when they lost 1-0 at Yates Town in the Southern League Southern Division. In the Southern Premier Dartford won away 1-0 at Leicester United in 1988. The last home game on this day was a 0-0 draw with Nuneaton Borough back in another Southern Premier League fixture in 1971.

Dartford v Tonbridge Angels

Dartford host their second Kent derby at home in three days against Tonbridge Angels on Tuesday night.

Just over a year ago, The Darts claimed a 3-0 victory when they played the Angels with goals from Darren McQueen, Elliott Romain and Charlie Sheringham. King’s side will be hoping to secure their first victory of 2021 after the 0-0 draw with Ebbsfleet United on the weekend.

There was an unusual feeling to the North Kent derby without the normal New Year bumper crowd that would usually be expected. With plenty of games crammed into the next few weeks, King is expecting to make full use of the squad and rotate his starting eleven. Nassim L’Ghoul made his league debut, David Ijaha was in for Jack Jebb, whilst up front Jack Barham and Chris Dickson led the line after a couple of strikers left the club prior the derby. Alfie Pavey was recalled from his loan spell from Barnet and Moussa Bakayoko moved to Havant and Waterlooville. The only other change was Noor Husin coming back into midfield for Luke Allen.

King praised Husin’s performance after the 0-0 draw, he told DFC TV after the game: “Noor was the best player on this pitch by a mile”. Speaking after the stalemate King felt “Ebbsfleet United were a little bit better in the first half. We had a much better second half”, he continued: “We had the clear chances in the whole game, they had a little bit of lady luck, they didn’t have our chances”. The Darts boss also feels there is more to come from recent signing L’Ghoul, he explained: “He hasn’t played for a while, for me he is going to get better and better”.

In some way Dartford have got Tonbridge Angels to thank for a change of direction that took the Darts to the playoffs last season. In the away fixture last term, the Darts were struggling at the wrong end of the table and when they lost 3-2, Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle departed. With a vacant seat, Dartford found the man they were after and since taking charge, Steve King has transformed fortunes on the pitch.

Dartford are only just getting back in the rhythm of league football again after almost a month between their 3-1 defeat at Eastbourne Borough and their home game against rivals Ebbsfleet United. In between those games, the Darts won a penalty shoot out in the F.A Trophy, but suffered a cupset at the hands of Haringey Borough in the next round.

Aside from last season’s away defeat, the Darts have an excellent record against Tonbridge Angels since 2006 coming out on top in an impressive ten of the last 13 meetings, including a winning streak of eight games. Pre Princes Park the story was different with the Angels triumphing six of the eight meetings before Dartford’s stadium opened.

Returning to Dartford is midfielder Ben Greenhalgh who has impressed at Tonbridge Angels since joining them in November. He has chipped in with three goals this term including one in the Angels last league win at the start of last month against Concord Rangers, at the Darts the midfielder managed seven goals in 62 appearances.

The Angels have yet to draw on the road winning and losing three games so far. Up front they have managed just 12 goals, the joint lowest in the division. However with one or two games in hand over teams directly above them Steve McKimm’s side could move closer to the top ten with a couple of victories. Tonbridge Angels have been without a competitive game for three weeks since their F.A Trophy exit to AFC Hornchurch in round two.

McKimm has strengthened the midfield with the loan signing of Adam Lovatt from Sutton United. The 21-year-old has reportedly attracted attention from Stoke City and Sunderland and has trained with Leeds United and Leicester City too.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 68 / Tonbridge Angels wins: 38 / Draws: 24

Current League Form

Dartford
(WLWWLD)
Tonbridge Angels
(DLLLWL)
Ebbsfleet UnitedH0-0St Albans CityA1-3
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Concord RangersH2-0
Hungerford TownA2-1Hemel Hempstead TownH1-2
Slough TownH2-0Braintree TownH0-2
St Albans CityH0-1Ebbsfleet UnitedA0-1
Maidstone UnitedA2-0Eastbourne BoroughH2-2

Last Six League Meetings

28.12.2019Dartford3Tonbridge Angels0
03.09.2019Tonbridge Angels3Dartford2
03.03.2012Tonbridge Angels0Dartford1
24.09.2011Dartford3Tonbridge Angels1
13.02.2010Tonbridge Angels1Dartford4
13.10.2009Dartford2Tonbridge Angels0

Stats

The Darts have won their last five home games against Tonbridge Angels in all competitions.

Dartford have kept four clean sheets in their last five home fixtures versus the Angels.

The Darts have scored two or more goals in their last seven home meetings with Tonbridge Angels.

Dartford have won nine of the last ten competitive matches against the Angels, the only defeat was last season in September last year.

On This Day

Two years ago Dartford were denied victory in injury time at Wealdstone. Elliot Bradbrook opened the scoring with twenty minutes to go, but in the 92nd minute Eion McKeown equalised. The Darts lost to Alfreton Town in the National League eight years ago. Ryan Hayes and Nathan Collier scored for Dartford, Alfreton Town won it though in the last minute. There was no late drama in Dartford’s last win on this day, a 4-0 triumph against Witham Town during the Isthmian Division One North title winning season. Jamie Coyle, Eddie McClements, Ryan Hayes, Brendon Cass all found the back of the net completing a double over their opponents, the Darts won 7-2 just over a month before.

Dartford v Ebbsfleet United

The New Year starts with Dartford hosting local rivals Ebbsfleet United at Princes Park on Saturday.

A much anticipated fixture in what is normally a hectic festive schedule will certainly be different this time behind closed doors. The Darts and their opponents managed just three competitive matches in December at a time when football is usually non-stop. The two sides were due to meet on Boxing Day, but with a Dartford player testing positive for Covid-19 the whole squad has been in isolation.

In league competition the home side has dominated results in this fixture, the Darts winning six out of the last eight on their own patch, drawing one and suffering their only defeat in that spell five years ago.

Tom Bonner will lead the Darts into battle four years on from when he scored in the Kent derby. After rejoining Dartford, Bonner netted against his former club at Princes Park, Duane Ofori-Acheampong added a second before Anthony Cook pulled a goal back for the Fleet. At the end of the Boxing Day meeting between the two sides Dartford goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim celebrated in front of the away fans.

In the New Years Day meeting that followed the Fleet got revenge winning 1-0 at Stonebridge Road with a goal from Bradley Bubb. Bonner is the only Dartford survivor from those two clashes and knows exactly what the derby means between both sets of supporters.

Dartford sit in a healthy league position occupying second place, have won eight of their twelve National South matches and are two points behind leaders St Albans City. However, they will be looking to bounce back from a league defeat against Eastbourne Borough and the cupset versus Haringey Borough.

Nasim L’Ghoul could make his league debut for the Darts after featuring in the F.A Trophy exit last weekend. The winger played five times for Bromley this term and has played for King at Welling United. The 23-year-old Frenchman moved from the Wings to join Dover Athletic and King feels his a good fit for the Darts.

Ebbsfleet United have only managed ten league games this term, but they have a balanced record of four wins, three draws and three defeats. The Fleet have failed to score in their last three league outings picking up a point against local rivals Maidstone United and losing to Tonbridge Angels and Havant and Waterlooville.

Dennis Kutrieb took charge in the summer after the Fleet were relegated from the National League last season on points per game. The squad has been transformed and now includes former Dundee United striker Rakish Bingham, who is their top scorer this season. Michael West is back with the club for a third spell and like Bonner he knows how much this game means to the fans. The midfielder played in his first North Kent derby in 2010 scoring in the 1-1 draw at Princes Park.

Head to Head (since 1946)

Dartford wins: 69 / Ebbsfleet United wins: 55 / Draws: 32

Current League Form

Dartford
(LWWLWW)
Ebbsfleet United
(LLDWDW)
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Havant and WaterloovilleH0-3
Hungerford TownA2-1Tonbridge AngelsH0-1
Slough TownH2-0Maidstone UnitedH0-0
St Albans CityH0-1Chippenham TownA2-1
Maidstone UnitedA2-0Eastbourne BoroughA1-1
Hemel Hempstead TownA3-1Billericay TownA2-1

Last Six League Meetings

01.01.2017Ebbsfleet United1Dartford0
26.12.2016Dartford2Ebbsfleet United1
28.03.2016Ebbsfleet United1Dartford1
31.08.2015Dartford0Ebbsfleet United1
01.01.2013Ebbsfleet United2Dartford2
26.12.2012Dartford3Ebbsfleet United1

Stats

Dartford have won 14 of the last 19 home league matches against Ebbsfleet United / Gravesend and Northfleet (D2, L3)

The Darts last hosted their rivals in the New Years fixture in 1989 when Dartford thrashed Gravesend and Northfleet 5-0.

The away side has won just 15 out of the 69 league meetings between the two sides since 1946.

On This Day

Dartford are 13 games unbeaten on this day stretching back to 1954. The most recent fixture was in 2016 which ended in a 1-1 draw with Chelmsford City, Tom Bradbrook’s last minute equaliser cancelled out Billy Bricknell’s strike. Danny Harris scored the winner in 2012 against local rivals Welling United, it wasn’t the only 1-0 victory against the Wings that season as the Darts claimed a more important victory five months later to win promotion. A decade ago, Lee Burns and James White were on the scoresheet as Dartford beat Cray Wanderers 2-1. The last defeat on this day, 54 years ago was in the Southern League against Llanelly, the Darts were hammered 9-2.