Dartford v St Albans City

Dartford have an opportunity to bounce back this weekend when they host bottom of the table side St Albans City.

In the tenth meeting between the clubs, the Darts are unbeaten against the Hertfordshire side stretching back 43 years, when they first met.

Another postponement last weekend left Dartford without a match, whilst St Albans City were involved in the National South’s only fixture to go ahead. Tony Burman’s side have lost their last two league matches against playoff contenders Sutton United and struggler’s Wealdstone. The Saints are without a win in their last seven attempts and nine away from home.

Just days after losing 2-0 at Sutton United, Dartford managed to drop all three points against Wealdstone. Andy Pugh scored his seventh of the campaign taking advantage of Ryan Hayes’ excellent cross. Dominating possession and spurning chances, the Darts were left to regret not taking their opportunities. A couple of veterans turned the match on its head, when Scott McGleish and Jefferson Louis scored in the final fifteen minutes to condemn Dartford to defeat.

Burman admitted Sutton United were the better team a fortnight ago, however he was disappointed with how they let a lead slip when they hosted the Stones. In particular, he singled out his younger players and told “This is what happens when you have younger, inexperienced players in your side. As much as we’ve done really well, maybe some of them have got to stop reading the papers”, he added: “This is a wake-up call. Maybe one or two of them have been reading too much into what’s going on instead of concentrating on their game. I think they went back to what they want to do instead of what I want them to do”.

Despite two consecutive losses, Dartford had just been on an eleven game unbeaten run, the type of form Burman is keen to achieve again. The Darts boss admitted he may have to alter the formation again and has the players in the squad to do so. Although Lee Burns, Lee Noble and Danny Harris were amongst the three players missing for the Wealdstone match due to injury.

Almost five years ago, St Albans City were propping up the National South table back then, and left Princes Park with a point. A late penalty miss from Ryan Hayes cost Dartford all three points in an action packed 2-2 draw. Inih Effiong put the Saints ahead only for Charlie Sheringham’s brace to put the Darts in front. Ollie Kelly grabbed a late equaliser and in the final minute Hayes failed to hit the net from the spot.

The Saints were relegated that campaign with a points deduction and had to spend three seasons in the Southern Premier League, before returning to the National South. Last term they recorded their highest finish in six years but with only five wins this time St Albans City are bottom and three points from safety.

Harry Wheeler’s side have picked up just six points on the road, scoring the fewest and conceding the second highest behind Havant and Waterlooville away from home. After another defeat at the hands of Oxford City, the Saints boss has decided to shake things up at Clarence Park with the signings of Al Bangura, Michael Thalassitis and Ugo Udoji. Even then, the new look side fell to a 1-0 defeat last week against Truro City.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / St Albans City wins: 0 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford (LLWDDW) St Albans City (LLLDDL)
Wealdstone  H  1-2 Truro City  H  0-1
Sutton United  A  0-2 Oxford City  A  1-5
Bath City  H  4-1 Sutton United  H  0-5
Chelmsford City  H  1-1 Bishop’s Stortford  H  1-1
Margate  H  1-1 Chelmsford City  H  1-1
Chelmsford City  A  1-0 Bishop’s Stortford  A  1-2

Last League Meeting at Princes Park

22 March 2011 – Dartford 2 St Albans City 2 – att 674
Goalscorer: Charlie Sheringham (2)

The Darts Lineup: Andrew Young, Matt Jones, Tom Bonner, Joe Bruce, Paul Goodacre, Tom Champion, Lee Noble, James White, Charlie Sheringham, Lee Burns, Danny Harris (subs used: Ryan Hayes, Jon Main)

Previous Six Meetings (* – F.A Cup / + – F.A Trophy)

02.04.2011 St Albans City 1 Dartford 2
22.03.2011 Dartford 2 St Albans City 2
25.11.2008+ Dartford 1 St Albans City 1
22.11.2008+ St Albans City 0 Dartford 0
04.10.1988* St Albans City 2 Dartford 4
01.10.1988* Dartford 1 St Albans City 1


On This Day

Dartford have played three times on 6 February since reforming winning two and losing one. The last fixture was in the 2012/13 F.A Trophy at Princes Park when the Darts scraped past FC Halifax Town 3-2. The quarter final replay was decided by a Ryan Hayes who scored what turned out to be the winner. The Shaymen went ahead through Dan Gardner but in the second half Lee Noble and Elliot Bradbrook gave Dartford the lead. Hayes went on to score the third before Gardner pulled a goal back to set up a nervy finish. Six years ago, an all too familiar tale was written when Sutton United won 2-0 this time at Princes Park. In 1999, Dartford beat Tonbridge Angels 1-0 in the Southern League Southern Division.

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