Rss

Dartford v Oxford City

Dartford have two games left to try and get into the playoffs, starting with their final home game against Oxford City.

The Darts are one of eight teams attempting to take the final two places whilst Oxford City’s chances ended last weekend. With Maidstone United and Ebbsfleet United set for the playoffs, Dartford could become the third Kent club making the top five.

Tony Burman watched his side drop two points to relegated Basingstoke Town last weekend in a 0-0 draw. He told www.dartford.com after the game: “It needed us to score early in the game to open things up a little bit. We huffed and puffed but the players gave a good account of themselves, we just couldn’t break the five man defence”.

With no midweek fixture Burman is hoping some respite may work to his squad’s advantage, he added: “It’s going to be a busy two weeks for some of the teams. It’s a welcome rest for us to get some of the players who have injuries to come back into the frame”.

Goalkeeper, Dean Gardikiotis made his debut replacing the Deren Ibrahim who was out with a dislocated shoulder. Barry Cogan missed out with a hamstring injury, Lee Noble with a groin strain and Callum McNaughton has a fractured metatarsal. Defender, Paul Lorraine was absent through illness and is still waiting his first start for the Darts. Danny Harris and Tom Bradbrook made the bench after suffering with injury problems recently.

Dartford have now lost just once in their last six outings and are now three unbeaten at Princes Park. The clean sheet against Basingstoke Town was the tenth for the Darts this term, their fifth at home.

The Darts current form has kept them in with a chance which pleases Burman, he commented: “I’m pleased we’re challenging for the playoffs that was the aim. We all know we’ve had two difficult years in the top league. I feel we’ve managed to come back this season and we’ve kept our own”, he continued: “It’s been strange league and we’ve done well, to go in to the last two games with something to play for, I think it’s a credit to the players”.

Earlier in the season when Burman’s side were finding their feet, the Darts faced a free scoring Oxford City team in second place. Ryan Hayes expertly found Andy Pugh to set up the only goal of the first half. Top scorers in the National South at the time, Oxford City pressed in the second half and were rewarded with an equaliser by Jon Arzamendi and a winner from Kynan Isaac.

Last weekend, Oxford City’s chances of reaching the playoffs took a final blow at the expense Hemel Hempstead Town. Both sides were eyeing up fifth spot in a game that drifted in the first half, but the Tudors hit two quick goals before half time through Morgan Ferrier and Graeme Montgomery. Hemel Hempstead Town added another in the second half courtesy of Michael Richens and Oxford City’s Lee Henderson made it 3-1.

City have been efficient in front of goal this term with Bradley Bubb the main marksman. The 27 year old has plenty of experience at this level with Havant and Waterlooville, Farnborough Town and Basingstoke Town. The Grenada international has scored 17 times for Oxford City this term and has football league experience as well.

Manager, Justin Merritt is about to complete a second campaign in charge and led City in the National North last term. Oxford City missed out of the playoffs by a point and inconsistencies this season could cost them again. Merritt’s side have brushed aside opponents at times beating Truro City 6-0 and Concord Rangers 5-1. They have drawn all three against the top two in the division, they host Sutton United on the final day. Yet City have failed to beat struggling teams Havant and Waterlooville, Hayes and Yeading United and Basingstoke Town, they also lost 5-2 to Weston-Super-Mare.

Up until mid-November it looked promising for Oxford City but two wins in 15 attempts derailed the side. After last weekend’s result, City have one point in their last six league outings.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Oxford City wins: 1 / Draws 1

Current League Form 

Dartford (DWLWDW) Oxford City (LLLDLL)
Basingstoke Town H 0-0 Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-3
Maidstone United A 2-1 Whitehawk A 0-2
Truro City A 0-3 Hayes & Yeading Utd H 2-2
Maidenhead United H 2-0 Bishop’s Stortford A 0-3
Ebbsfleet United A 1-1 Truro City H 1-2
Bishop’s Stortford H 3-1 Basingstoke Town A 0-2

Last Meeting at Princes Park

1 November 2008 – Dartford 3 Oxford City 3 – view highlights – attendance: 749

In a set of entertaining F.A Trophy Second Qualifying ties, Dartford’s Cody McDonald poached the opener after two minutes. The visitors levelled with a superb curling effort from Jon Gardner. McDonald headed the Darts back in front and completed a hat trick after half time. The visitors forced a replay with goals from Andy Gunn and a last minute header by Steve Jackman.

Previous Meetings (* – F.A Trophy)

12.12.2015 Oxford City 1 Dartford 2
04.11.2008* Oxford City 2 Dartford 4
01.11.2008* Dartford 3 Oxford City 3

Stats

Dartford last won their final home league game of the season five years ago against Dover Athletic. The Darts won 4-0 with two goals from Charlie Sheringham and one each from Tom Champion and Danny Harris.

15 – number of league goals scored at home by the Bradbrook brothers. Tom has netted eight times at Princes Park in the National South this season, one more than Elliot. The total scored by the duo account for 45% of Dartford’s league goals scored at home.

30 – points taken by the Darts at home this season, the best return since the 2012/13 campaign in the National League

1039 – the average league attendance at Princes Park this season.

2251 – highest attendance at home this term when the Darts played Ebbsfleet United on 31 August 2015

738 – lowest league attendance at Princes Park versus Havant and Waterlooville on 5 December 2015

On This Day

Dartford won eleven of their last thirteen matches on 23 March stretching back to 1964. Margate are the only team to beat the Darts when they met six years ago. Gravesend and Northfleet were lucky enough to get a draw in 1971 when the sides met in the Kent Floodlight Cup. Gateshead were the last team to be beaten by Dartford when a Ryan Hayes inspired performance earned the Darts three points in the Conference Premier. After coming on as a substitute Hayes scored two and set up Charlie Sheringham in a 3-0 win. Between 1974 and 2004, the Darts won five in a row beating Fleet Town (2004), Sittingbourne (2002), Northwich Victoria (1985), Romford (1976) and Chelmsford City (1974). Folkestone Town and Gloucester City were the other sides defeated by Dartford in 1970 and 1968 respectively.

Comments are closed.