Forest Green Rovers v Dartford

Dartford face a run of five away games in six league matches starting with a visit to playoff chasers Forest Green Rovers this weekend.

With just one win in eleven attempts against the Gloucestershire club, the Darts will be desperate to improve that sequence in fear of being cut adrift in the bottom four. Tony Burman’s side are three points from safety having played a game more than their closest competitors.

Earlier in this season, Rovers came away from Princes Park with a victory to stretch their unbeaten record against Dartford to five in all competitions. Experienced striker, Lee Hughes scored what turned out to be the decider when he deflected Sam Wedgbury’s shot beyond goalkeeper Jason Brown. After a goalless first half in which the Darts hit the woodwork twice, Marcus Kelly put Forest Green Rovers ahead ten minutes into the second half. Hughes doubled the lead which was halved in the final minute when Max Cornhill grabbed a consolation during injury time.

Dartford’s options up front were limited this week with both Andy Pugh and Harry Crawford injured. With just Tom Bradbrook left as the only other recognised striker Tony Burman looked to the loan market. In comes Bradley Tarbuck from League Two side Portsmouth, the 19 year old secured a contract with Pompey this summer and will hope to impress in Dartford colours. The striker made his debut for the South coast club at the start of last season in a League Cup tie against Plymouth. Earlier this month, he came off the bench in a League Two win versus Carlisle United.

After a mid-week capitulation at home to Chester, the Darts need to concentrate on improving their away form. On Tuesday night, Dartford were well on course for a fifth win of the campaign. Lee Noble opened his account for the season with a goal on 15 minutes, the midfielder volleyed home a Ryan Hayes cross to give his side the lead. Two minutes into the second half top scorer and captain Elliot Bradbrook increased the advanateg, this time Noble was the provider for Bradbrook to head the ball beyond Jon Worsnop. Within three minutes Chester began to turn the match around, Craig Mahon scored two in four minutes before Matty Hughes made it 3-2 ten minutes after the Darts went two up. A fourth arrived in the closing stages, Barnsley loanee Rhys Oates completed the comeback.

Burman spoke to after the defaet, he said: “We did ever so well in the first half,” Burman said. “We took the lead and had great start to the second half but unfortunately we then pressed the self-destruct button”, he added: “Certain players, experienced players, made schoolboy errors, it’s as simple as that, and we’ve been punished for it”.

Unbeaten in nine league fixtures, which includes a current run of four consecutive draws, Forest Green Rovers are showing signs of losing the inconsistencies shown from previous campaigns. Only three sides have beaten the Gloucestershire side in the league, however too many draws could cost Ady Pennock’s men come April.

The latest draw and their tenth this term came on Tuesday night in a 0-0 stalemate with newly promoted Dover Athletic at The Crabble. Pennock was pleased with the collective effort of his side and spoke to, he commented: “It wasn’t a classic. It’s a difficult place to come – they’ve won their last six games on the spin here”, he continued: “We have been conceding a few goals in the last three games. We have been working on that in the last week and the back four have done really well”.

Typically, Forest Green Rovers have options in front of goal with 38 year old Hughes and top scorer James Norwwod, who has scored seven in 21 appearances. Jon Parkin adds more experience, ‘the Beast’ has six league goals this term. Former Welling United midfielder Kurtis Guthrie continues to impress at the New Lawn and in between the sticks Sam Russell has been ever present in the league this season and for the previous two campaigns.

Despite a winless streak of five against Forest Green Rovers, you only have to go back to April last year for Dartford’s last triumph when they won 3-2 at The New Lawn.

Team News

Tony Burman managed to secure a months loan for Bardley Tarbuck to cover for the injured Andy Pugh. Fellow striker, Harry Crawford has been out with a hip problem and Lee Burns also remains sidelined.

Forest Green Rovers welcomed the return of Wedgbury in the 0-0 draw with Dover Athletic, the midfielder managed 35 minutes against the Kent club. Knee injuries have prevented Aarran Racine, Steve Arnold and James Jennings from playing, the trio also missed the mid-week stalemate.

Head to Head

Forest Green Rovers wins: 7 / Dartford wins: 1 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Forest Green Rovers (DDDDWD) Dartford (LLDWLD)
Dover Athletic  A  0-0 Chester  H  2-4
Torquay United  A  3-3 Lincoln City  A  0-1
Eastleigh  H  1-1 Southport  H  1-1
Lincoln City  H  3-3 Welling United  H  2-1
Bristol Rovers  A  1-0 Grimsby Town  A  0-3
Gateshead  H  1-1 Aldershot Town  H  1-1

Last Meeting at The New Lawn

2 November 2013 – Forest Green Rovers 1 Dartford 0 – Att: 960

Goalscorer: Norwood (5)

Forest Green Rovers Lineup: Russell, Green, Bennett, Stokes, Asafu-Adjaye, Turley, Klukowski, Kelly, Bangura, Wright, Norwood (subs used: Hodgkiss)

Dartford Lineup: Julian, Clark, Fry, Mitchel-King, Collier, Burns, Woodyard, Cornhill, Godden, Hayes, Birchall (subs used: Ibemere, Hill)

Match Stats

dfc v fgr stats


Last Five Meetings (* – F.A Trophy)

20.09.2014 Dartford 1 Forest Green Rovers 2
12.04.2014 Dartford 0 Forest Green Rovers 1
03.12.2013* Forest Green Rovers 1 Dartford 0
30.11.2013* Dartford 1 Forest Green Rovers 1
02.11.2013 Forest Green Rovers 1 Dartford 0


1 – number of times Dartford have scored more than one goal against Forest Green Rovers in their 3-2 win in April 2013

9 – Forest Green Rovers are on their longest unbeaten league run for five years. In 2009, Rovers drew eight out of nine games in an unbeaten sequence lasting almost three months

18 – games since Dartford kept a clean sheet. Also, it’s been 18 years since the Darts kept a clean sheet against Forest Green Rovers back in the Southern League Southern Division.

79 – Rovers have been caught offside on the most occasions this term, 16 more times than any other club

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