Dartford v Aldershot Town

Dartford’s battle against the drop continues this week when they host Aldershot Town for the first time in 46 years.

A fourth win in five has given the Darts the chance of survival that looked a long way away just over a month ago. Meanwhile, their opponents have been dragged into what Tony Burman has called a ‘mini league’ having won one of their last seven.

The Shots lead that ‘mini league’ on goal difference from Chester who are above the relegation line. Dartford also on 32 points have played more matches but have the momentum. Southport and Tamworth make up the other clubs aiming to beat the drop into the second tier of non league football.

Dartford briefly adventured out of the bottom four on Saturday for the first time since early November. Hosting a struggling Hereford United side Alex Wall gave the Darts a twelfth minute lead. The Luton Town loanee’s third in two games caught Bulls goalkeeper Rhys Evans off guard. Results temporarily went Dartford’s way elsewhere but Burman’s men kept their eye on the task at hand. Hereford United’s pressure in the second half threatened to spoil the afternoon until Lee Noble’s wonderful volley twenty minutes from time sealed another important victory.

Burman praised his team’s back line for holding out, he told BBC Radio Kent:  “We came under a lot of pressure. They get the ball in the box early, but I thought we defended really well”. So far this calendar year the Darts have won four, drawn two and lost once and its this good form the manager recognises, he added: “I’ve got to give credit to the players, they have been excellent since the turn of the year and that little bit of a spark is there”.

Earlier this season, the Shots came out on top to help them chip away at their 10 point deficit. Lee Noble hit the woodwork before the Shots took the lead through Brett Williams, signed from Reading the striker notched his first for the Hampshire side after 18 minutes. It took the home side until the hour mark to double their advantage through Manny Oyeleke and with three minutes remaining Aaron Wickham scored a third.

Dartford last played Aldershot Town at home in 1968 when they reached the F.A Cup first round. The Shots had beaten Dartford four years earlier in the competition but this time the Darts took a Football League scalp. In front of over 4000 spectators the Darts reached the second round with a 3-1 triumph.

Aldershot Town have only recently started to look over their shoulder. Not helped by the ten point deduction at the start of the season, the Shots have been inconsistent. During their best part of the season they beat Southport 5-0 and Tamworth 6-0 winning four out five matches. With only three away victories in the league, Scott’s side are still at risk of slumping to a successive relegation.

On the weekend, the Hampshire club travelled up north to bottom club Hyde and come away with a 2-2 draw. Top scorer for the club, Brett Williams put Aldershot Town ahead but two minutes later Adam Blakeman levelled. Hyde went in front with fifteen minutes to go through Jordan Clark and with five minutes remaining Joe Partington equalised. The Shots have now won one of their last nine away matches in the Conference Premier.

Shots boss, Andy Scott felt his side should have beaten Hyde, he told BBC Radio Surrey: “”We’ve created enough chances to win two games today”. The manager noted a lack of width and urgency in the first half and a finishing touch in the second. Aldershot Town’s manager went on to state: “I am obviously disappointed but when you make individual errors we can’t dwell on it and it’s another point to the total”.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Aldershot Town wins: 6 / Draws: 5

Current League Form

Dartford (WWWDWL) Aldershot Town (DDLDWD)
Hereford United H 2-0 Hyde A 2-2
Woking H 5-1 Forest Green Rovers H 2-2
Wrexham A 2-1 Nuneaton Town A 1-2
Cambridge United H 3-3 FC Halifax Town H 2-2
Kidderminster Harriers A 2-1 Barnet A 3-1
Salisbury City A 0-1 Gateshead A 0-0



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