Eastbourne Borough v Dartford

Dartford will want to continue their push for a playoff place by picking up points at Eastbourne Borough this weekend.

The Darts slipped out of the top five on Tuesday night without even playing, now they are a point behind fifth place Truro City. Eastbourne Borough, unbeaten in their last three league matches, climbed up to twelfth in mid-week with a win over Whitehawk.

Tony Burman spoke to  about Saturday’s match in Sussex, he said: “Eastbourne have had some good results although they’re inconsistent but it will be difficult for us. They’ve got some experienced players and some young players”, he added: “Eastbourne had a draw at home last Saturday but if we play as well as we can do, we’re going to be difficult to beat”.

Dartford’s squad have had a week off following the postponement last Saturday. However, in their last league fixture they got back to winning ways against St Albans City. A far from vintage performance against the side at the foot of the table saw the Darts win 2-0. Andy Pugh settled any nerves ten minutes into the second half with a well placed shot. The striker added a second in the final minute when his effort bobbled over Joe Welch to clinch a 2-0 win.

Burman knows Pugh holds the key to more successes and praised the striker after his man of the match performance and tenth goal of the season, he told “We’re fortunate at the moment that we’ve got someone in form who’s playing up front and he’s put two good strikes in and won us the game”, he added: “We know he can play very well and he can score you goals. I think he was a cut above the rest and not only the two goals he scored but his link-up play as well”. Pugh has now netted seven times in his last six starts.

The Dartford boss wasn’t entirely pleased with his side, whose showing wasn’t ‘easy on the eye’, he commented: “If it was a day to win a game ugly, we did it. It wasn’t the purest of games and the wind and conditions didn’t help us on that”.

The Darts hope victory over the Saints will kick start another unbeaten run. Back to back defeats ended an eleven game streak without loss. With the rescheduled away fixture at playoff contenders Gosport Borough coming up, three points at Eastbourne Borough will only breed confidence.

Danny Harris is in contention of making his 300th appearance for the club, Tom Bradbrook is fit again, Lee Noble is a doubt but Barry Cogan may need a fitness test. Lee Burns has not featured over the last two months with injury.

Eastbourne Borough have had a mixed campaign so far and have beaten just one side above them in the table. The Sports only triumph came against Maidstone United back in August. The Sussex club has taken advantage of those below them leaving them mid-table.

Tommy Widdrington’s side seem to have opened up since Boxing Day. In January, consecutive wins at home to Wealdstone (3-0) and Bath City (5-2) were followed by a 3-1 defeat to Gosport Borough and a 4-1 loss at Concord Rangers. Goals have been flooding in, as the next two draws ended 4-4 away to Hayes and Yeading United and 3-3 at home to Weston-Super-Mare. On Tuesday night, the goal total was more modest as two early strikes put the Sports in command against Whitehawk, the Hawks only managed a consolation late on.

The Sussex club has two former Darts in their ranks. Nathan Collier played in practically every outfield position making over 100 appearances for Dartford, nearly half of those as a substitute. Jack Evans only made 15 appearances in a loan spell during the 2012/13 season. Widdrington has also added centre defender Callum Buckley to the squad, on loan from AFC Bournemouth.

Head to Head (includes Langney Sports)

Dartford wins: 6 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Eastbourne Borough (WDDLLW) Dartford (WLLWDD)
Whitehawk  A  2-1 St Albans City  H  2-0
Weston-Super-Mare  H  3-3 Wealdstone  A  1-2
Hayes & Yeading United  A  4-4 Sutton United  H  0-2
Concord Rangers  A  1-4 Bath City  H  4-1
Gosport Borough  A  1-3 Chelmsford City  H  1-1
Bath City  H  5-2 Margate  A  1-1

Last League Meeting at Priory Lane

3 April 2012 – Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1  – Att: 823

Goalscorers Elliot Bradbrook (58)

Dartford Lineup: Louis Wells, Lee Burns, Adam Green, Tom Bonner, Luke Wilkinson, Tom Champion, Lee Noble, James Rogers, Jacob Erskine, Elliot Bradbrook, Danny Harris (no subs used)

Previous Meetings (* = F.A Trophy)

11.08.2015 Dartford 1 Eastbourne Borough 0
03.04.2012 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1
29.11.2011* Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 1
26.11.2011* Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 0
16.08.2011 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 1
04.03.2003 Dartford 0 Eastbourne Borough 1
20.08.2002 Eastbourne Borough 4 Dartford 0
30.10.2001 Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 0
11.09.2001 Dartford 1 Eastbourne Borough 2
23.04.2001 Langney Sports 1 Dartford 2
24.02.2001 Dartford 1 Langney Sports 0


1 – When Dartford play Eastbourne Borough at Priory Lane, only once has the losing team managed to score

3 – Dartford have kept three clean sheets in their last four contests against Eastbourne Borough

5 – number of games the Darts have gone unbeaten against the Sports, stretching back to 2001

9 – consecutive games three or more goals have been scored in a match featuring Eastbourne Borough

12 – goals Dartford have scored in the final 15 minutes of matches, one more than the total scored in the first half of games

On This Day

Dartford last played away from home on 20 February back in 1988. In the Southern League Premier Division, the Darts drew 0-0 with Crawley Town, now in League Two. The last fixture played on this day was a 3-2 victory over Ashford Town (Middlesex), a result which kept Dartford in command at the top of the Isthmian Premier League. The Tangerines were ahead from a penalty after seven minutes, then an own goal and Danny Harris strike put the Darts in front. Ashford Town (Middlesex) levelled just before the break but just after half time Lee Burns scored the winner. One memorable match in 1982 involved Dartford drawing 4-4 with Kettering Town at Rockingham Road. The two relegation struggler’s couldn’t be separated in Ernie Morgan’s first game in charge, following the sacking of Glen Coupland.

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