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 “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 “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

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