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Dartford v Havant and Waterlooville

Two of the National South favourites go head to head at Princes Park this weekend as league leaders Dartford host Havant and Waterlooville.

The Darts climbed to the top of the table on Tuesday night, but know this weekend’s visitors will be a stern test. Both sides have broken each other’s hearts in recent times with the Hawks claiming the National South title on the final day of the 2017/2018 campaign and the Darts winning the playoff semi-final clash in July.

Yet it’s Dartford who have had the upper hand in this fixture going eight unbeaten against the Hampshire side. Darren McQueen’s brace three months ago completed a 2-1 victory, giving Steve King’s side a shot at the promotion final. Jonah Ayunga scored for Havant and Waterlooville, who shared the golden boot last term with McQueen, both players have since moved on to a higher level.

Playoff showdown: Dartford in action against Havant and Waterlooville in July

It’s been over a year since the last league meeting between the two clubs, which ended in a 1-1 draw under the stewardship of Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle. The cliché of a game of two halves rang true for this contest as the Darts had the better of the first period, taking the lead when Adam Cunnington headed Ben Greenhalgh’s cross for the lead. Dartford were put under pressure in the second half and it finally took its toll just past the hour when Alfie Rutherford equalised. The reverse fixture was scheduled to be the next match of the 2019/2020 season, only for the campaign to be cut short.

On Tuesday night Dartford kept their unbeaten league start intact to move to the top of the National South. Prior kick off the Darts announced a new signing welcoming Moussa Bakayoko into the squad. Replacing Elliott Romain in the starting line up, the Ivorian took just nine minutes to make his mark scoring against Chippenham Town on his debut. The 23-year-old former Derry City forward, was the only change to the eleven that started in the 1-0 win against Bath City. The hosts equalised through Joe Hanks, becoming the first to score against Dartford in the league this season after 291 minutes of football. In the closing stages captain Tom Bonner popped up with the winner in the 82nd minute.

Last weekend, Havant and Waterlooville continued their unbeaten start reaching the first round of the F.A Cup for the first time since 2014. Tommy Wright’s strike in the top corner, Roarie Deacon’s low driven effort and Theo Widdrington’s injury time goal secured a 3-0 victory over Bath City. The Hampshire side will take on Cray Valley Paper Mills, whose assistant boss is former Dartford favourite Tommy Osbourne. Dartford women’s team coach, Connor Dymond is also in the Cray Valley Paper Mills side, he scored in the last round as the Millers shocked Maidenhead United.

As well as three F.A Cup victories against Horsham, Chatham Town and Bath City, the Hawks have only played two league games so far. Their season’s opener was delayed with the away game at Dulwich Hamlet postponed.

Havant and Waterlooville finally kicked off their National South campaign just three weeks ago beginning with a 2-2 draw at home to Maidstone United. Manager, Paul Doswell identified his team’s home form needed improving, going as far as suggesting it cost them promotion last season. Once again, they failed to take all three points at Westleigh Park conceding a two-goal lead in second half injury time. New signing and joint top scorer in the National South last time out, Joe Iaciofano opened his Havant and Waterlooville account before adding his second. In the closing stages, the Stones scored twice in stoppage time courtesy of George Porter and Joe Ellul.

Unbeaten in the league on the road since April 2019, the Hawks grabbed their first win of the season at Billericay Town. This time late goals from Doswell’s side changed the outcome of the match with the hosts taking the lead just before half-time through Josh Hutchinson. With ten minutes remaining Sam Magri nodded Havant and Waterlooville level, then in stoppage time Wright found a winner.

Havant and Waterlooville have had a settled squad so far this term with Doswell only making two changes to the starting eleven all season. Iaciofano is already on four goals in all competitions and scored against the Darts for St Albans City last term. He is already striking up a productive partnership with Deacon and Wright, the trio are responsible for 11 of the 13 goals the Hawks have scored in all competitions.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 6 / Havant & Waterlooville wins: 3 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford (WWDW) Havant & Waterlooville(WD)
Chippenham TownA2-1Billericay TownA2-1
Bath CityH1-0Maidstone UnitedH2-2
Hampton & RichmondA0-0
Chelmsford CityH1-0

Previous Six Meetings

25.07.2020Havant & Waterlooville1Dartford2
10.08.2019Dartford1Havant & Waterlooville1
13.01.2018Dartford1Havant & Waterlooville0
12.08.2017Havant & Waterlooville0Dartford0
19.03.2016Havant & Waterlooville0Dartford2
05.12.2015Dartford4Havant & Waterlooville2

Stats

Dartford are unbeaten in eight matches against Havant and Waterlooville (W6, D2).

The Darts have not lost at home to the Hawks for 20 years (W3, D2), when the Hampshire side won a F.A Cup third qualifying round fixture 4-0.

Dartford have kept three clean sheets out of the last five meetings.

Six of Dartford’s last eight games on Halloween have ended 2-1, Dartford winning four by that scoreline.

On This Day

Adam Flanagan made his 100th start for the Darts in a 3-0 F.A Trophy win against Chipstead Town. Jamie Day, Danny Harris and Ryan Hayes all found the back of the net in the second qualifying round eleven years ago. The Darts had beaten their opponents 6-1 in the F.A Cup just seven weeks earlier. Dartford went out of the F.A Cup in 1990 at the final qualifying stage when they lost 2-1 to Boston United, the year before they beat Baldock Town by the same score in a Southern League Cup fixture. Dartford’s last league game on this day came in 1981 when they were beaten by Trowbridge Town 2-1 in the Alliance Premier League. It’s been 50 years since the Darts won a league game on this day when they beat Wimbledon 2-1 in the Southern Premier League.

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