Dartford v Southport

The Darts will be involved in another crucial Conference Premier fixture this weekend, hosting a Southport side unbeaten in five games.

It’s been a fine week for Dartford with the F.A Cup win at Bromley earning the club a second round tie away to Bradford City, the Darts will appear in round two for the first time in thirty years. Just days later, a second victory in three days took Tony Burman’s side above their mid week opponents Welling United and today’s visitors Southport to move out of the relegation places.

On Tuesday night, a rare first half league goal put the Darts ahead after good work down the right by Ryan Hayes and Danny Harris. Welling United’s Chris Bush cut out Harris’ cross which fell kindly to Max Cornhill, the midfielder from outside the box struck a well taken shot beyond the Wings goalkeeper to net his second league goal this season.

Early in the second half it took substitute Harry Crawford just six minutes to double the Darts lead. Hayes was involved again when his cross found Crawford who headed in the second goal. England C international, Jake Gallagher picked up a second caution for Welling United leaving his side with ten men. The visitors pulled a goal back late on when Harry Beautyman scored once again against Burman’s side. In the final minute Welling United were reduced to nine when Chris Bush retaliated on Lee Noble. Dartford move up to nineteenth spot with their first league win in seven attempts.

Consecutive triumphs for the first time this campaign has also seen the Darts progress in the F.A Cup. Having fallen behind in the first half against Conference South side Bromley, Harris and Hayes scored within ten minutes of the restart. The hosts equalised a minute later, Moses Ademola capitalised on Jason Brown’s error. Elliot Bradbrook’s header was nudged home by Harris, Danny Waldren then made it 3-3 before brother Tom Bradbrook scored the winner in a dramatic encounter.

Last season, in the third ever meeting between Dartford and Southport, the Darts recorded the first win. A 1-0 victory at Princes Park followed consecutive 2-2 draws in the previous campaign. Preparations in the home match against the Sandgrounders last term were hardly ideal with goalkeeper Alan Julian stuck in traffic, Mitchel-King was close to starting the game in between the sticks. Fortunately, the afternoon improved for Tony Burman when 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 secure three points for Dartford.

The Sandgrounders have picked up form after slipping into the bottom four at the beginning of October. Results led to the sacking of former Hereford United boss Martin Foyle, in charge at Haig Avenue for just 14 games winning only three. Four defeats in a row sealed Foyle’s fate and after a 5-2 loss at home to Woking new manager Gary Brabin was appointed.

Brabin has history with the Merseysiders after managing the club for two months in 2008, before moving on to Cambridge United and Luton Town. The 43 year old also represented Southport as a player eight years ago.

Since Brabin’s return Southport are unbeaten in league and cup earning three draws and two wins. Similar to last season, the Sandgrounders have taken advantage against teams around them in the league. Braintree Town and Welling United were beaten 2-0 and 1-0 respectively and a 3-3 draw versus Lincoln City plus a 2-2 stalemate with Dover Athletic either side the two victories completes the league run. In the F.A Cup first round last weekend Southport travelled to East London and held League Two side Dagenham and Redbridge to a 0-0 draw.

Southport boss Brabin was content with the progress shown since his appointment, he told after the draw last weekend: “Our lads produced a really good, professional performance. We’ve been working on a number of things since I’ve been at the club and I thought it was evident today. Over the past few weeks we’ve had good periods in certain games but today we saw a really good ninety minute performance. We defended well, we had some really good spells of possession, we worked hard and were disciplined. It as a really thorough performance and the longer the game went on the more likely I thought we were to get the winner. A lot of people watching today would not have been able to tell the difference between the two sides and this result will give the lads a lot of belief going forward”.

Team News

Tony Burman gave new signing Callum Driver a debut from off the bench, the former West Ham United defender put pen to paper hours before the Welling United game. The 22 year old played nine games for Conference South side Whitehawk before being released last month. Defender, Mat Mitchel-King, who pulled out of the entertaining 4-3 F.A Cup first round win at Bromley during the warm up, didn’t feature on Tuesday night. Tom Bradbrook, the match winner last weekend was also missing from the mid week squad. Lee Burns who has suffered from a rib injury this term was replaced with three minutes to go in the Kent derby against Welling United. Rory McAuley is one caution away from picking up a one match ban.

Southport defender Clayton McDonald will serve the third match of his suspension. Scott Kay and Luke Foster have picked up four yellow cards this term and another against Dartford will rule them out of their next match.

Head to Head 

Dartford wins: 1 / Southport wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (WLDDLD) Southport (DWWDLW)
Welling United A 2-1 Dover Athletic H 2-2
Grimsby Town A 0-3 Welling United H 1-0
Aldershot Town H 1-1 Braintree Town A 2-0
Macclesfield Town H 1-1 Lincoln City H 3-3
Bristol Rovers A 0-1 Woking H 2-5
Grimsby Town H 1-1 Grimsby Town A 1-0

Last League Meeting at Princes Park

28 September 2013 – Dartford 1 Southport 0 – Att: 1025

Goalscorer: Birchall (32)

Dartford Lineup: Julian, Clark, Fry, Burns, Bradbrook, Noble, Collier, Woodyard, Hayes, Harris, Birchall (subs used: Cornhill, Ibemere, Prior)

Southport Lineup: Hurst, Smith, Akrigg, Challoner, Fitzpatrick, Brown, Chalmers, Milligan, Ledsham, George, Osawe (subs used: Almond, Hattersley, Irie-Bi)

Match Stats

dfc v sfc

Previous Meetings

01.03.2014 Southport 3 Dartford 0
28.09.2013 Dartford 1 Southport 0
24.03.2013 Southport 2 Dartford 2
17.11.2012 Dartford 2 Southport 2


1 – Dartford led at half time in the league for the first time this season on Tuesday night. Max Cornhill’s goal meant the Darts went into the break against Welling United 1-0.

2 – Harry Crawford’s goal on Tuesday night was the first time in the league this term the Darts had a two goal cushion.

50 – Harry Crawford made his 50th Dartford appearance in the 4-3 F.A Cup win at Bromley. The striker, now in his third spell with the club has started 33 games and made 17 substitute appearances scoring 20 goals (excludes the Welling United game)

250 – Danny Harris will make his 250th appearance in a Darts shirt if he features this weekend. Harris has started 182 times, made 67 substitute appearances and has netted 66 goals.

00:57 – the number of seconds gone when Southport conceded against Dover Athletic, the quickest goal scored this campaign.

94:57 – the Sandgrounders have also conceded the latest goal when Jamie Jackson of FC Halifax Town scored.


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