Gateshead v Dartford

Dartford make a long trip North East on the weekend in search for their first ever win and goal at Gateshead in three previous attempts.

The Darts first met the Tynesiders 28 years ago in what is today’s equivalent of the Conference Premier. An F.A Trophy defeat over two and a half years ago coupled with last season’s loss has left Dartford waiting for their first away victory at the Gateshead International Stadium.

Just over a year ago, the Heed claimed all three points to end Dartford’s run of four consecutive wins. A goal five minutes before half time lifted the home side when Micky Cummins headed in the opener. Gateshead continued to dominate possession with Josh Gillies securing the match just past the hour to complete a 2-0 triumph. In the return fixture at Princes Park, a Ryan Hayes inspired performance led Dartford to a 3-0 win. In the space of twenty second half minutes Hayes bagged a brace and Charlie Sheringham finished off the scoring.

Dartford enter their away jaunt on the back of a 1-0 win over Southport, however the afternoon didn’t start off to plan. Tony Burman was twenty minutes away from starting defender Mat Mithcel-King in goal because first choice keeper Alan Julian was stuck in traffic. The Darts boss defended his decision to exclude a goalkeeper on the bench, he told BBC Radio Kent: “We made a decision in the summer that we might not have a keeper on the bench as many times as what we would like”. The squad does include two other shot stoppers, Derren Ibrahim is on dual registration with Leatherhead and Tom Welham is in Spain on lengthy course and is due back in December.

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 net his second goal of the campaign. The much needed home win lifted the Darts to seventeenth but it’s the away form which needs improving, Dartford have suffered back to back away defeats conceding eight goals in the process.

Last time the Darts faced Gateshead, the Heed were managed by Anth Smith. The former Gateshead boss took on the role last term and after three straight defeats to open this campaign his offer to resign was leaked on social media. Making his position untenable according to chairman Graham Wood, the Heed were left managerless until a month ago.

In the interim period Gateshead lost, drew and won a game each and now Gary Mills is in charge. The 51 year old won the European Cup as a player with Nottingham Forest in 1980. In the dug out he led Tamworth to the Conference North title four years ago and York City to F.A Trophy and Conference Premier playoff glory in 2012.

The Heed sit one place above Dartford level on points, separated by goal difference the North East club have struggled against sides in the top half of the table making the most of games against sides in the lower section. Over the last week Mills has brought in former Tottenham Hotspur and Reading midfielder Darren Caskey as his assistant. Mills spoke to BBC Sport and said: “He is someone I have known for a long time. He prepares his teams like I do and we are on the same wave length”, he added: “Darren has a strong background in both Football League and non-league circles, has a wealth of experience and is a bubbly character”.

Dartford will be on the look out for striker Colin Larkin on the weekend who’s featured in every league match so far. The 31 year old enjoyed scoring a first half hat trick at Princes Park for Lincoln City in December and a last minute penalty at Sincil Bank in February. John Oster recently joined on non contract terms, the 34 year old winger earned 13 caps for Wales and has Football League experience behind him.

Team News

Elliot Bradbrook is one caution away from picking up a suspension. The Dartford captain picked up his fourth yellow card in the 1-0 win against Southport. Tyrone Sterling was the only player unavailable for selection last weekend through injury. Gateshead’s Marcus Maddison is also a booking from suspension.

Head to Head

Gateshead wins: 3 / Dartford wins: 1 / Draws 1

Current Form

Gateshead (LWWLLW) Dartford (WLWLLD)
Forest Green Rovers A 0-1 Southport H 1-0
Chester H 3-2 Grimsby Town A 2-5
Tamworth A 1-0 Kidderminster Harriers H 3-0
Wrexham H 0-3 Luton Town A 0-3
Cambridge United A 0-1 Nuneaton Town H 1-2
Hereford United H 2-1 Chester A 0-0

Last League Meeting at the International Stadium

8 September 2012 – Gateshead 2 Dartford 0 – Att: 758

Goalscorers: Cummins (40), Gillies (63)

The Heed Lineup: Bartlett, Magnay, Boyle, Clark, Bush, Chandler, Gillies, Turnbull, Cummins, Donaldson, Odubade (subs used: McGorrigan, Marwood, Fisher)

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

Match Stats

Last Five Meetings (FAT = F.A Trophy)

23.03.2013 Dartford 3 Gateshead 0
08.09.2012 Gateshead 2 Dartford 0
05.02.2011 (FAT) Gateshead 3 Dartford 0
04.05.1985 Dartford 1 Gateshead 2
09.03.1985 Gateshead 0 Dartford 0


0 – Dartford have yet to concede a goal when they have gone on to win a league match this season

2 – Danny Harris has scored half of Dartford’s away goals in the Conference Premier this term

5 – Gateshead have scored in all but one of their home fixtures in the 2013/2014 campaign

503 – The Heed  recorded the lowest average home attendance in 2012/13. This time only Alfreton Town have a lower home average so far.

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