Dover Athletic v Dartford

Dartford’s current form is dividing opinion on the terraces but the club will need to stick together in a crucial Kent derby against Dover Athletic this weekend.

Tony Burman will hope he can lead his side to a league double over Dover Athletic after beating them 2-1 at home earlier in the season. The Darts visit the Crabble seven points from safety and on the back of four straight league defeats. One win and eight defeats has seen the club pick up just three points from the last 27 available. Meanwhile, Dover Athletic have settled in their first season back and are currently unbeaten in eleven Conference Premier matches.

Burman watched his side slump to a 2-1 home defeat in midweek despite having a two man advantage. Harry Crawford scored his second in as many games as early as the ninth minute. FC Halifax Town’s Matt Pearson tapped in the equaliser just passed the half hour mark. Just before the break the Shaymen were reduced to ten men when Lois Maynard was dismissed for violent conduct on Lee Noble. The visitors went ahead from the penalty spot when Rory McAuley was penalised for handball. Scott Boden stepped up and put FC Halifax Town in the lead with twenty minutes remaining. Moments after the penalty, James Bolton was then red carded for an awful foul on Max Cornhill but the Shaymen held on with nine left on the pitch.

Pressure is mounting on Burman and urges everyone to get behind the team, he told “We need everybody’s cause, on and off the field, to (get out of trouble). Unfortunately, the place isn’t like that at the moment”, he added:”I’ve got to take full responsibility because it’s my team that’s out there. We’ve got ourselves into a rut and there’s not much else that can go wrong”.

At least Dartford enter Saturday’s fixture unbeaten in four league matches against Dover Athletic. During the two year spell the clubs met in the Conference South, the Darts won three and drew the other game. Last time at the Crabble a crowd of 1455 witnessed an entertaining 2-2 draw which ended Dartford’s 100% record. A quick start by the visitors had Dartford ahead after 30 seconds when Charlie Sheringham followed up a rebound. Former Darts striker George Purcell levelled the score and in first half injury time Elliot Bradbrook put Dartford in the lead once more. Dover Athletic ended their opponents perfect start to the campaign when Billy Bricknell made it 2-2 on the hour.

In the season before Dover Athletic were brought down to earth on their own patch following their F.A Cup exploits at Gillingham. The Darts won 2-0 thanks to goals from Ryan Hayes and Ollie Berquez. At Princes Park, Dartford won both fixtures 4-0 and 3-1 respectively. Last term the two sides did met in the Kent Senior Cup quarter final in which Dover Athletic won 3-0 on their way to the final, which they lost to Ebbsfleet United.

Dover Athletic’s season has turned around having been second from bottom after eleven games, the Whites had only two wins and a draw to show for their efforts. Since then they have only lost twice in the league and went 16 games unbeaten in all competitions until Premier League side Crystal Palace knocked them out of the F.A Cup third round. Chris Kinnear’s side have only played once in the league this year beating Kent rivals Welling United 2-0 on New Years Day. Victory gave them a festive double over the Wings and sandwiched in between was a creditable 2-2 draw at league leaders Barnet. Two cup competitions have been on the agenda in 2015 keeping confidence at the Crabble high, Dover Athletic also remain in the F.A Trophy and are unbeaten in eight home matches in the Conference Premier.

The Darts could face some former players, full back Tyrone Sterling was at Princes Park last season making 38 league appearances and Connor Essam spent two loan spells with the club. Stefan Payne can be a threat up front, the former Gillingham striker has so far netted 11 league goals for the Whites. During the January transfer window Soloman Taiwo and Adam Mekki have been signed on a permanent basis but former Dartford defender Tom Bonner has chosen to move on to rivals Ebbsfleet United.

Team News

Elliot Bradbrook has been struggling with a knee injury which kept the captain out of the F.A Trophy win at Burgess Hill Town and defeat to FC Halifax Town. Should Bradbrook return he will make his 250th start for the club. Goalkeeper Jason Brown should return after missing recent fixtures due to a back injury and personal reasons. Lee Burns, if selected will make his 250th appearance, 15 of which have come from the substitutes bench.

Head to Head

Dover Athletic wins: 34 / Dartford wins: 32 / Draws: 23

Current League Form

Dover Athletic (WDWDDW) Dartford (LWLLLL)
Welling United A 2-0 FC Halifax Town H 1-2
Barnet A 2-2 Kidderminster Harriers H 1-2
Welling United H 4-0 Braintree Town A 0-3
Altrincham A 2-2 Braintree Town H 0-2
Torquay United H 2-2 Wrexham A 3-1
Gateshead A 2-1 Eastleigh A 0-2

Last Meeting at the Crabble

23 August 2011 – Dover Athletic 1 Dartford 0 – Att: 1455

Goalscorers: Sheringham (1), Purcell (20), Bradbrook (46), Bricknell (61)

Dartford Lineup: Young, Jones, Green, Bonner, Goodacre, Champion, Hayes, Wallis, Sheringham, Bradbrook, Graham (subs used: Harris, Noble, Burns)

Previous Six Meetings (* Kent Senior Cup )

26.12.2014 Dartford 2 Dover Athletic 1
04.03.2013* Dartford 0 Dover Athletic 3
03.12.2011 Dartford 3 Dover Athletic 1
23.08.2011 Dover Athletic 2 Dartford 2
25.04.2011 Dartford 4 Dover Athletic 0
09.11.2010 Dover Athletic 0 Dartford 2


6 – Dover Athletic have won all six matches against teams below them in the league and have yet to concede a goal

8 – the penalty conceded against FC Halifax Town on Tuesday night means Dartford have given away the most penalties in the league, joint with Lincoln City

9 – Dover Athletic have hit the woodwork the most times in the league matching Bristol Rovers total

25 – seconds were on the clock when Ryan Hayes scored against Kidderminster Harriers over a week ago, the quickest goal in this season’s Conference Premier

34 – number of fouls Lee Noble has conceded without picking up a yellow card


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