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Archives for : February2021

Billericay Town v Dartford

Dartford need an away win against Billericay Town to guarantee top spot in the National South this weekend.

The Darts are looking for their first away win in the league since the end of November, having lost their last two on their travels. Currently a point clear at the summit, Steve King’s side has hit an inconsistent patch of form winning just twice in the last eight National South outings.

On Tuesday, Dartford lost to an in form Eastbourne Borough taking their winless run to three since beating this weekend’s opponents a month ago. King made three changes to the starting eleven that drew with Welling United including the return of Ricky Modeste. The winger whose Dartford career has been hindered by injury, made his first start since the league opener in October. Craig King missed the reverse fixture against Billericay Town through suspension, the goalkeeper was back between the sticks. Influential in rescuing a point against Welling United, Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong returned to the starting eleven after a minor injury.

Another blank in front of goal in the first half made life particularly difficult for the Darts when they fell behind just before half-time. Prior conceding, Charlie Sheringham missed a one on one chance and Luke Allen came close. Nassim L’Ghoul’s overhead kick was also blocked by a raised arm but no spot kick was awarded.

The Darts continued to spurn opportunities in the second-half, speaking to DFC TV after the game Steve King commented: “We dominated the whole game but missed chance after chance especially in the second half”. Connor Essam had a header tipped over the bar, Sheringham had an effort cleared off the line leading to a second penalty shout and Tom Bonner hit the woodwork. Earlier, Dartford failed to take their chances and for the first time under Steve King the Darts have gone three league games without victory.

Billericay Town manager, Kevin Watson first took charge of the Essex club in the previous meeting with Dartford last month. A goalless first-half turned into a comfortable 3-0 win for the Darts. Sheringham scored a hat-trick on his return from his loan spell with Chelmsford City to record Dartford’s last win.

Dartford have won their last three against Saturday’s opponents, all at Princes Park. On the road the story is different and results have been evened out with a win, draw and defeat since the first meeting between the two sides in 2008. The Darts last visit to the New Lodge ended in a 1-1 draw in September 2018, Jamie Philpot’s last minute equaliser salvaging a point.

Billericay Town, under their new boss are unbeaten since defeat at Princes Park last month. A 2-0 home win over Dulwich Hamlet and an entertaining 3-3 in the Essex derby versus Chelmsford City came before the suspension of the league. Since then the landscape has changed with the club taking a stance which has affected team selection. To remain financially viable contracted players have been furloughed leaving non-contracted and under 23 players available to select.

If the task wasn’t daunting enough, in their last game Watson guided his side out against St Albans City, a team with the best points per game ratio and just one defeat to their name this season. As a contracted player, former Dartford winger Luke Wanadio was missing and one of eight changes to the team picked before the league suspension. One former Dart available was Rowan Liburd. The striker had a short loan spell under Steve King making three appearances in that time, his Dartford debut was against Billericay Town.

The performance against St Albans City took the division by surprise as understrength Ricay managed to earn a 2-2 draw. Liburd opened the scoring taking his tally to three goals in two games for the club he left in 2015 to pursue a Football League career. St Albans City went ahead in the second half, but Gabriel Ipanga Mbambo scored late on. Watson described the achievement as his proudest moment as a manager.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Billericay Town wins: 2 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford
(LDDWLW)
Billericay Town
(DDWLLL)
Eastbourne BoroughH0-1St Albans CityH2-2
Welling UnitedH1-1Chelmsford CityH3-3
Hungerford TownH1-1Dulwich HamletH2-0
Billericay TownH3-0DartfordA0-3
Braintree TownA1-2Oxford CityH1-3
Tonbridge AngelsH1-0Concord RangersH0-1

Previous League Meetings

12.01.2021Dartford3Billericay Town0
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

Charlie Sheringham will make his 100th start for the club if selected. The striker has scored 54 goals in 99 starts and 20 substitute appearances.

Dartford are unbeaten in their last four games against Billericay Town (W3, D1) last losing in March 2010.

The Darts have scored three in their last two matches against the Essex side.

Dartford’s last clean sheet was in the reverse fixture a month ago.

On This Day

A second half comeback gave Dartford a resounding 4-1 Kent derby win against Tonbridge Angels eleven years ago. The Darts showed why they ended the season as Isthmian Premier League champions with an improved display after the interval. The Angels led at half-time when Paul Booth gave the visitors an advantage. The Darts levelled through Ryan Johnson, went in front when Danny Harris scored and pulled away with goals from Elliot Bradbrook and Rob Haworth. Fans of the Kent League days may remember the Darts winning 19 and drawing one in a twenty game spell. One of those matches was the 1-0 win against Crockenhill on 13 February 1996. That incredible run was still not enough to snatch the Kent League title away from Furness.

Dartford v Eastbourne Borough

Dartford host playoff chasing Eastbourne Borough three months on from the defeat they tasted in Sussex.

The Darts were beaten in their last meeting against the Sports going down 3-1, signalling the beginning of Dartford’s inconsistent form. Danny Bloor’s side scored twice in the last fifteen minutes to earn victory after Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong had equalised before the hour. Eastbourne Borough took the lead through Charley Kendall and regained control when Chris Whelpdale scored. Joel Rollinson’s last minute strike secured the three points.

At Princes Park though the Darts have had the upper hand over their opponents over the years. The only home defeat over the Sussex club came in the F.A Trophy in November 2018. In all competitions Dartford have won six of the last eight at home in this fixture.

After a three week break, the Darts were back in action on the weekend and yet again they made a slow start. Manager, Steve King had made three changes to the side that played three weeks prior, bringing in Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, Craig Braham-Barrett and Elliott Romain. Hosting local rivals and bottom side Welling United, Lyle Della-Verde scored against his former club to give the Wings a half-time lead. For the tenth straight league game, the Darts failed to score a first half goal and King wasn’t happy, he spoke to DFC TV after the game and said: “I thought we were poor, especially in the first half. We weren’t at it, which was very disappointing for me”.

Early in the second half Dipo Akinyemi had Welling United two up, but the Darts hit back in a five minute spell. Man of the match, Luke Allen and Dartford’s top scorer this season, Berkeley-Agyepong left the Kent derby level at full-time.

Similar to previous games, utilising the squad paid dividends firstly by preventing Connor Essam picking up a potential red card and secondly, by getting an improved performance. King commented: “We had to take Connor off otherwise he would have got sent off and he probably should have been sent off. We made a couple of changes, Jacob came on and changed the game”. The Darts boss even felt his side should have won highlighting Elliott Romain’s golden opportunity to score from three yards out and Sherigham’s one on one in the first half. He added: “We didn’t play well, but when we got to 2-2 we should have won the game”.

Eastbourne Borough have only tasted defeat once on the road this term in the National South. Bloor’s side approach their trip to Princes Park on the back of two excellent results leaving them in the final playoff spot. Six points against Havant and Waterlooville before the suspension of the league and against Hungerford Town on the weekend has put the Sports in a good position. They have two games in hand over Dartford and could move within two points if they win those, so victory on Tuesday night is an incentive in their bid to join in with the title race.

One player who has impressed since joining in the summer is Chris Whelpdale. He scored in the reverse fixture back in December and he now has seven league goals and eleven in 14 starts in all competitions. Although, Hungerford Town kept the top scorer out at the weekend, the Sports still won 3-2, scoring a brace in his first league start was Charlie Lambert. Rollinson repeated his feat of a last minute goal against Dartford with another ninetieth minute strike against the Crusaders, which ended up being the winner. The Sussex club have made good strides under Bloor and are the second highest scorers in the division.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 12 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 7 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford
(DDWLWD)
Eastbourne Borough
(WWLDLW)
Welling UnitedH1-1Hungerford TownH3-2
Hungerford TownH1-1Havant and WaterloovilleA2-1
Billericay TownH3-0Maidstone UnitedA2-3
Braintree TownA1-2Concord RangersA2-2
Tonbridge AngelsH1-0Dulwich HamletA1-2
Ebbsfleet UnitedH0-0DartfordH3-1

Previous League Meetings

05.12.2020Eastbourne Borough3Dartford1
22.02.2020Dartford2Eastbourne Borough1
02.11.2019Eastbourne Borough0Dartford2
20.04.2019Eastbourne Borough6Dartford0
08.09.2018Dartford2Eastbourne Borough2
14.04.2018Eastbourne Borough0Dartford1

Stats

Dartford are unbeaten in their last six home league games against Eastbourne Borough, winning five of those meetings

The last four league matches at Princes Park between the two sides has seen 20 goals at an average of five per game.

Eastbourne Borough have yet to win a league game at Princes Park, the Sports last beat the Darts on the road in league competition in 2003.

On This Day

Charlie Sheringham scored the second goal in a 3-0 home win against Bath City on this day. The National South fixture two years ago ended in a comfortable victory with Lee Noble and Phil Roberts sandwiching Sheringham’s close range header. The Darts have never lost a competitive home game on 9 February winning all eight. Rothwell Town were beaten 2-1 in 2002 and Basingstoke Town defeated 2-1 in 1980. Dartford beat rivals Gravesend and Northfleet 4-2 in 1972’s Kent Senior Cup quarter-final, claimed a pair of 2-1 victories against Yeovil and Peters in 1935 and Folkestone in 1929. The Darts smashed in six goals versus Ramsgate in 1924, winning 6-2 and triumphed 4-0 over Deptford Town in 1901. The only defeat came in 1889 when the Darts lost 3-1 to Horton Kirby in a friendly.

Dartford v Welling United

The two-week suspension of the National South comes to an end this weekend and Dartford’s first game is against local rivals Welling United.

Dartford top the league table with a three-point cushion and if they avoid defeat, they will remain at the summit. Welling United prop up the rest of the division four points adrift, however the Wings have played just 11 matches, the fewest in the National South.

The Darts know too well not to take their opposition’s league position for granted, it was just under a month ago that Steve King’s side lost to Braintree Town, who were at the foot of the division when they met. Since then the Darts have played just two more times winning convincingly against Billericay Town and drawing with Hungerford Town three weeks ago.

Despite the suspension of the National South and the uncertainty of financial support across all clubs, King has been pressing ahead with keeping the players fit over the last week including a mid-week friendly. Whilst this season has seen a fair amount of new challenges off the field, King is pleased at the progress of the team, he told DFC TV: “They have done magnificently, I believe league tables do not lie. We’ve played one or two games more than other clubs, but we’ve been professional, we’ve done our job and we can only play and beat what is in front of us”.

It’s the first meeting between Dartford and Welling United this season and a chance for King to get one over his former club, who he took to the playoff final in 2019. The Darts boss is not the only one in the Dartford squad up against their ex-employers. King has looked towards players he trusts from previous teams he has managed, so it’s no surprise a number of personnel have represented Welling United in the past including Josh Hill, Gavin McCallum, Craig Braham-Barrett, Ky Marsh-Brown, Jack Jebb and David Ijaha. On the opposing side, Lyle Della-Verde is a former Dart who made 34 appearances during the 2017/2018 campaign and scored five goals.

Dartford approach the Kent derby with a dominating record against their local rivals. Last season the Darts hit seven without reply winning 4-0 at Princes Park and 3-0 at Park View Road. Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong and Elliott Romain (two goals) were among the scorers in the home meeting, Darren McQueen scored the other. In the away match Romain found the net with McQueen notching a brace. In the last three campaigns this fixture has been played over the festive period and in that time the Darts have won five out of six.

Welling United have undergone a change in the dugout with the departure of Bradley Quinton. Quinton lasted a year in charge with one win in 11 league games this season and a shock F.A Cup exit to Sheppey United. Former Gillingham boss, Steve Lovell is now in the hotseat attempting to guide the Wings to safety, starting with his first game at the helm on Saturday.

Although the two week break wasn’t exactly good news for the league, it has allowed Lovell to assess his inherited squad and see their potential. The new Wings boss spoke to The Kent Non-League Podcast and commented: “There is some good players in the squad and I need to give them a chance. It’ll be a challenge and it’s going to be hard work. I’m pretty sure with the combination of the players we’ve got now and the players I’ll bring in, we’ll have a decent second part of the season”.

His new side’s last fixture was three weeks ago when The Wings lost 2-0 to title contenders St Albans City. The third successive home defeat was also the fourth game in a row in which the Wings failed to find the back of the net, picking up just one point from their last four games. Winless in their last six National South games, Welling United’s last win was in mid-November and so it’s now down to Lovell to restore confidence in the squad.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 22 / Welling United wins: 10 / Draws: 9

Current League Form

Dartford
(DWLWDL)
Welling United
(LDLDDW)
Hungerford TownH1-1St Albans CityH0-2
Billericay TownH3-0Oxford CityA0-0
Braintree TownA1-2Chippenham TownH0-1
Tonbridge AngelsH1-0Braintree TownA1-1
Ebbsfleet UnitedH0-0Billericay TownH2-2
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Hemel Hempstead TownA2-1

Previous Meetings

01.01.2020Dartford4Welling United0
26.12.2019Welling United0Dartford3
01.01.2019Dartford1Welling United0
26.12.2018Welling United2Dartford0
01.01.2018Dartford4Welling United1
26.12.2017Welling United2Dartford3

Stats

The Darts have won their last six home games against Welling United and eight of the last nine.

Home and away in all competitions Dartford have won eight, drawn four and lost one in their last 13 meetings with the Wings.

The Wings have failed to score in their last two visits to Princes Park and in three consecutive games home and away.

Dartford have gone six league games without repeating a consecutive result (DWLWDL)

The Darts have kept three clean sheets in their last five league outings and four clean sheets in their last five at Princes Park in the National South.

On This Day

Ryan Hayes scored what turned out to be the winner to book Dartford’s place in the F.A Trophy semi-final. Eight years ago, the Darts took on FC Halifax Town in a quarter-final replay and after falling behind in the second minute, the Darts turned the match around in the second half. A quick fire double from Lee Noble and Elliot Bradbrook and a third ten minutes from time by Hayes put the Darts in control. FC Halifax Town scored a late consolation when Dan Gardener scored his second, but Dartford held on. Five years ago an Andy Pugh double earned the Darts a 2-0 home win over St Albans City in the National South.