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Dartford v Billericay Town

The Darts have the opportunity to bounce back and regain top spot when they host Billericay Town on Tuesday night.

Dartford fell to defeat on the weekend against Braintree Town as top visited bottom. The 2-1 loss resulted in the Darts dropping to second after Dorking Wanderers won on Saturday.

Goalkeeper, Craig King started his three match ban for his red card versus rivals Ebbsfleet United, so Ethan Wady made his fifth start for the club. The only other change to the side that beat Tonbridge Angels 1-0 was the return of Femi Akinwande after seven years away. The on loan striker from Stevenage made a first appearance since his only start for the club, in a Kent Senior Cup tie back in March 2014.

After a fairly consistent start to the campaign, the Darts have now picked up just four points in their last four National South games. Braintree Town were the latest team to take points off Steve King’s side when they took a two goal lead through Percy Kiangebeni and Taofiqol Omowewe. Dartford’s Jazzi Barnum-Bobb became the second player in three matches to receive a red card and will now be facing suspension as well. Chris Dickson did manage to provide hope by scoring from the spot, the striker’s third goal in six appearances.

It’s been over a year since Dartford hosted Billericay Town in the only game they faced each other last season. The Darts moved above their visitors in the National South that day with a 3-2 thanks to the strike partnership of Darren McQueen and Elliott Romain. The breakthrough came after just ten minutes when McQueen smashed home the opener past former Dartford goalkeeper Alan Julian. Twelve minutes later when McQueen was denied by Julian, Romain was there to put in the rebound.

On the weekend new loan signing from Stevenage and former Dartford academy graduate, Femi Akinwande was up against his former team Braintree Town. On Tuesday night, the striker will face another previous club and, in the meeting last term he scored against the Darts to half the deficit. The two-goal advantage was restored by Romain who had his initial shot blocked by Julian, but once again he netted the follow up. Billericay Town made things uncomfortable towards the end when Jake Robinson scored from the spot.

Robinson has been in top form again for Ricay and at this level he knows where the goal is. In the 2017-2018 campaign he bagged 34 league goals and after a brief spell with Maidstone United he returned to New Lodge in March 2019. The striker has found his scoring boots again and this term he is in double figures already third in the National South scoring charts.

After an indifferent start and a 6-2 defeat to Hampton and Richmond Borough, former manager and Premier League midfielder Jamie O’Hara departed. Dan Brown and Ronnie Henry took charge for December losing to Essex rivals Braintree Town on penalties in the F.A Trophy before beating the Iron 3-1 in the league a fortnight later. January saw Ricay lose another Essex derby to Concord Rangers before being beaten 3-1 by Oxford City, former Dartford winger Luke Wanadio getting Billericay Town’s goal.

Wanadio returns to Princes park after two previous spells with the Darts both lasting one campaign. In 2016/2017 he made 53 appearances and scored 13 times helping the Darts to a third place finish. Last season he played 33 times scoring five goals before his summer move across the Thames.

New boss, Kevin Watson is yet to take charge of Ricay after the fixture against Eastbourne Borough was called off. The former Ebbsfleet United manager will lead his new side out for their first away game in almost two months.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Billericay Town wins: 2 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford
(LWDLWW)
Billericay Town
(LLWLDD)
Braintree TownA1-2Oxford CityH1-3
Tonbridge AngelsH1-0Concord RangersH0-1
Ebbsfleet UnitedH0-0Braintree TownH3-1
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Hampton and RichmondH2-6
Hungerford TownA2-1Maidstone UnitedA1-1
Slough TownH2-0Welling UnitedA2-2

Previous Meetings

14.12.2019Dartford3Billericay Town2
22.04.2019Dartford2Billericay Town1
15.09.2018Billericay Town1Dartford1
06.03.2010Dartford1Billericay Town4
02.02.2010Billericay Town1Dartford0
14.02.2009Dartford2Billericay Town0
04.10.2008Billericay Town0Dartford1

Stats

Dartford have lost two of their last four league games, as many defeats as in their first 11 National South fixtures.

The Darts are three unbeaten against Billericay Town, winning the last two meetings and drawing the other.

Dartford have won one of their last six competitive games in normal time (D2, L3). Billericay Town have won one of their last seven (D2, L4).

On This Day

Two years ago, a Phil Roberts wonder strike two minutes from time gave Dartford a 3-2 win over St Albans City. His second of the afternoon clinched all three points, Elliot Bradbrook opened the scoring. A flawless January in 2008 in which the Darts won all four league games, scoring 12 without conceding, kept Dartford on the Isthmian Division One North title track. It was on this day that Tony Burman’s side thrashed Illford 5-0 with a brace from Brendon Cass and goals by Jay May, John Guest and Steve Norman. That victory was the first of three consecutive wins on 12 January, all at Princes Park. In 2013, the Darts made it through to the F.A Trophy fourth round with a 4-2 win over Bromley. Dominic Green netted twice, Lee Burns and Harry Crawford to set up a tie against FC Halifax Town.

Braintree Town v Dartford

Top of the table Dartford visit bottom of the league Braintree Town in their first National South away game in over a month.

A combination of postponements and the short lived F.A Trophy campaign means the Darts have been staying at home for their league fixtures during December and January. On Saturday they are back on the road where they have taken a decent 13 points out of the six away days so far. In contrast, Braintree Town are struggling at the wrong end of the standings earning just seven points all season, four from their six home games.

It’s been over a year since the two sides last met and the Darts won 2-1 to record their first victory of the 2019/2020 season. On a hot August afternoon and despite conceding early and missing a penalty, Dartford showed character to come from behind to win. Returning Dart, Femi Akinwande scored the opener at Princes Park before Luke Wanadio missed from the spot. Akinwande has come back to Princes Park where he came through the academy. However, it was a former Braintree Town midfielder who levelled the game when Luke Allen got on the end of Alex Flisher’s long throw. Allen was part of the Braintree Town side that beat the Darts in the playoffs and ended up winning promotion in 2018. The Iron had Adam Mills sent off in the second half and when substitute Norman Wabo came off the bench, he netted the winner with three minutes to go.

Dartford have bounced back from their cup upset and defeat in their last National South away game with solid defensive displays. The Darts drew 0-0 in the North Kent derby with Ebbsfleet United and followed that up with a 1-0 win over Tonbridge Angels. Nassim L’Ghoul in only his third start for the club netted the winner. With the games coming thick and fast, Steve King made three changes selecting Jazzi Barnum-Bobb for the first time since the end of November, Jack Jebb and Ky Marsh-Brown, his first start for a month. Jordan Wynter, David Ijaha and Jack Barham dropped out of the starting eleven.

It’s clear where Dartford need to improve even though they are leading the table. The Darts have kept a clean sheet in half of their league games, but in attack they sit mid-table on goals per game. The situation has been compounded recently by the departure of strikers Moussa Bakayoko to Havant and Waterlooville and Alfie Pavey returning to his parent club Barnet.

One striker moving up the scoring charts is currently out on loan with Chelmsford City and he was on target against Braintree Town in the Irons last game. Charlie Sheringham netted as the Clarets beat their Essex rivals 4-2, Ryan Maxwell’s second league defeat in a row. Maxwell took over as boss from former Dartford player George Borg back in November after a 4-0 reverse at Eastbourne Borough.

Maxwell was part of the Braintree Town team that won the National South in 2011 under Rod Stringer. The 37-year-old fielded eight new players for his first game in charge in which the Iron beat F.A Trophy finalists Concord Rangers 2-0. A second straight victory, this time over Tonbridge Angels lifted the Essex club off the foot of the table, but a draw and a pair of defeats since has seen the Iron return to last place.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Braintree Town wins: 6 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford
(LWWLDW)
Braintree Town
(LWWDLL)
Tonbridge AngelsH1-0Chelmsford CityA2-4
Ebbsfleet UnitedH0-0Billericay TownA1-3
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Welling UnitedH1-1
Hungerford TownA2-1Tonbridge AngelsA2-0
Slough TownH2-0Concord RangersH1-0
St Albans CityH0-1Eastbourne BoroughA0-4

Last Six League Meetings

24.08.2019Dartford2Braintree Town1
23.12.2017Dartford1Braintree Town1
08.08.2017Braintree Town2Dartford2
01.01.2015Braintree Town3Dartford0
26.12.2014Dartford0Braintree Town2
18.04.2014Braintree Town1Dartford0

Stats

Last season’s win against Braintree Town was Dartford’s first against the Iron in nine games.

The Iron were unbeaten in eight against the Darts winning five and drawing three. The Essex club also kept six clean sheets in those games including five in a row.

Dartford’s only win in their five visits to Cressing Road was a 2-0 victory in 2012 (D2, L2)

The Darts have kept consecutive clean sheets in the league for the first time since the start of the campaign.

On This Day

It’s not often Dartford get to play on this day, the last time the Darts ventured out on 9 January was back in 1999 when they lost 1-0 at Yates Town in the Southern League Southern Division. In the Southern Premier Dartford won away 1-0 at Leicester United in 1988. The last home game on this day was a 0-0 draw with Nuneaton Borough back in another Southern Premier League fixture in 1971.

Dartford v Tonbridge Angels

Dartford host their second Kent derby at home in three days against Tonbridge Angels on Tuesday night.

Just over a year ago, The Darts claimed a 3-0 victory when they played the Angels with goals from Darren McQueen, Elliott Romain and Charlie Sheringham. King’s side will be hoping to secure their first victory of 2021 after the 0-0 draw with Ebbsfleet United on the weekend.

There was an unusual feeling to the North Kent derby without the normal New Year bumper crowd that would usually be expected. With plenty of games crammed into the next few weeks, King is expecting to make full use of the squad and rotate his starting eleven. Nassim L’Ghoul made his league debut, David Ijaha was in for Jack Jebb, whilst up front Jack Barham and Chris Dickson led the line after a couple of strikers left the club prior the derby. Alfie Pavey was recalled from his loan spell from Barnet and Moussa Bakayoko moved to Havant and Waterlooville. The only other change was Noor Husin coming back into midfield for Luke Allen.

King praised Husin’s performance after the 0-0 draw, he told DFC TV after the game: “Noor was the best player on this pitch by a mile”. Speaking after the stalemate King felt “Ebbsfleet United were a little bit better in the first half. We had a much better second half”, he continued: “We had the clear chances in the whole game, they had a little bit of lady luck, they didn’t have our chances”. The Darts boss also feels there is more to come from recent signing L’Ghoul, he explained: “He hasn’t played for a while, for me he is going to get better and better”.

In some way Dartford have got Tonbridge Angels to thank for a change of direction that took the Darts to the playoffs last season. In the away fixture last term, the Darts were struggling at the wrong end of the table and when they lost 3-2, Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle departed. With a vacant seat, Dartford found the man they were after and since taking charge, Steve King has transformed fortunes on the pitch.

Dartford are only just getting back in the rhythm of league football again after almost a month between their 3-1 defeat at Eastbourne Borough and their home game against rivals Ebbsfleet United. In between those games, the Darts won a penalty shoot out in the F.A Trophy, but suffered a cupset at the hands of Haringey Borough in the next round.

Aside from last season’s away defeat, the Darts have an excellent record against Tonbridge Angels since 2006 coming out on top in an impressive ten of the last 13 meetings, including a winning streak of eight games. Pre Princes Park the story was different with the Angels triumphing six of the eight meetings before Dartford’s stadium opened.

Returning to Dartford is midfielder Ben Greenhalgh who has impressed at Tonbridge Angels since joining them in November. He has chipped in with three goals this term including one in the Angels last league win at the start of last month against Concord Rangers, at the Darts the midfielder managed seven goals in 62 appearances.

The Angels have yet to draw on the road winning and losing three games so far. Up front they have managed just 12 goals, the joint lowest in the division. However with one or two games in hand over teams directly above them Steve McKimm’s side could move closer to the top ten with a couple of victories. Tonbridge Angels have been without a competitive game for three weeks since their F.A Trophy exit to AFC Hornchurch in round two.

McKimm has strengthened the midfield with the loan signing of Adam Lovatt from Sutton United. The 21-year-old has reportedly attracted attention from Stoke City and Sunderland and has trained with Leeds United and Leicester City too.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 68 / Tonbridge Angels wins: 38 / Draws: 24

Current League Form

Dartford
(WLWWLD)
Tonbridge Angels
(DLLLWL)
Ebbsfleet UnitedH0-0St Albans CityA1-3
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Concord RangersH2-0
Hungerford TownA2-1Hemel Hempstead TownH1-2
Slough TownH2-0Braintree TownH0-2
St Albans CityH0-1Ebbsfleet UnitedA0-1
Maidstone UnitedA2-0Eastbourne BoroughH2-2

Last Six League Meetings

28.12.2019Dartford3Tonbridge Angels0
03.09.2019Tonbridge Angels3Dartford2
03.03.2012Tonbridge Angels0Dartford1
24.09.2011Dartford3Tonbridge Angels1
13.02.2010Tonbridge Angels1Dartford4
13.10.2009Dartford2Tonbridge Angels0

Stats

The Darts have won their last five home games against Tonbridge Angels in all competitions.

Dartford have kept four clean sheets in their last five home fixtures versus the Angels.

The Darts have scored two or more goals in their last seven home meetings with Tonbridge Angels.

Dartford have won nine of the last ten competitive matches against the Angels, the only defeat was last season in September last year.

On This Day

Two years ago Dartford were denied victory in injury time at Wealdstone. Elliot Bradbrook opened the scoring with twenty minutes to go, but in the 92nd minute Eion McKeown equalised. The Darts lost to Alfreton Town in the National League eight years ago. Ryan Hayes and Nathan Collier scored for Dartford, Alfreton Town won it though in the last minute. There was no late drama in Dartford’s last win on this day, a 4-0 triumph against Witham Town during the Isthmian Division One North title winning season. Jamie Coyle, Eddie McClements, Ryan Hayes, Brendon Cass all found the back of the net completing a double over their opponents, the Darts won 7-2 just over a month before.

Dartford v Ebbsfleet United

The New Year starts with Dartford hosting local rivals Ebbsfleet United at Princes Park on Saturday.

A much anticipated fixture in what is normally a hectic festive schedule will certainly be different this time behind closed doors. The Darts and their opponents managed just three competitive matches in December at a time when football is usually non-stop. The two sides were due to meet on Boxing Day, but with a Dartford player testing positive for Covid-19 the whole squad has been in isolation.

In league competition the home side has dominated results in this fixture, the Darts winning six out of the last eight on their own patch, drawing one and suffering their only defeat in that spell five years ago.

Tom Bonner will lead the Darts into battle four years on from when he scored in the Kent derby. After rejoining Dartford, Bonner netted against his former club at Princes Park, Duane Ofori-Acheampong added a second before Anthony Cook pulled a goal back for the Fleet. At the end of the Boxing Day meeting between the two sides Dartford goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim celebrated in front of the away fans.

In the New Years Day meeting that followed the Fleet got revenge winning 1-0 at Stonebridge Road with a goal from Bradley Bubb. Bonner is the only Dartford survivor from those two clashes and knows exactly what the derby means between both sets of supporters.

Dartford sit in a healthy league position occupying second place, have won eight of their twelve National South matches and are two points behind leaders St Albans City. However, they will be looking to bounce back from a league defeat against Eastbourne Borough and the cupset versus Haringey Borough.

Nasim L’Ghoul could make his league debut for the Darts after featuring in the F.A Trophy exit last weekend. The winger played five times for Bromley this term and has played for King at Welling United. The 23-year-old Frenchman moved from the Wings to join Dover Athletic and King feels his a good fit for the Darts.

Ebbsfleet United have only managed ten league games this term, but they have a balanced record of four wins, three draws and three defeats. The Fleet have failed to score in their last three league outings picking up a point against local rivals Maidstone United and losing to Tonbridge Angels and Havant and Waterlooville.

Dennis Kutrieb took charge in the summer after the Fleet were relegated from the National League last season on points per game. The squad has been transformed and now includes former Dundee United striker Rakish Bingham, who is their top scorer this season. Michael West is back with the club for a third spell and like Bonner he knows how much this game means to the fans. The midfielder played in his first North Kent derby in 2010 scoring in the 1-1 draw at Princes Park.

Head to Head (since 1946)

Dartford wins: 69 / Ebbsfleet United wins: 55 / Draws: 32

Current League Form

Dartford
(LWWLWW)
Ebbsfleet United
(LLDWDW)
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Havant and WaterloovilleH0-3
Hungerford TownA2-1Tonbridge AngelsH0-1
Slough TownH2-0Maidstone UnitedH0-0
St Albans CityH0-1Chippenham TownA2-1
Maidstone UnitedA2-0Eastbourne BoroughA1-1
Hemel Hempstead TownA3-1Billericay TownA2-1

Last Six League Meetings

01.01.2017Ebbsfleet United1Dartford0
26.12.2016Dartford2Ebbsfleet United1
28.03.2016Ebbsfleet United1Dartford1
31.08.2015Dartford0Ebbsfleet United1
01.01.2013Ebbsfleet United2Dartford2
26.12.2012Dartford3Ebbsfleet United1

Stats

Dartford have won 14 of the last 19 home league matches against Ebbsfleet United / Gravesend and Northfleet (D2, L3)

The Darts last hosted their rivals in the New Years fixture in 1989 when Dartford thrashed Gravesend and Northfleet 5-0.

The away side has won just 15 out of the 69 league meetings between the two sides since 1946.

On This Day

Dartford are 13 games unbeaten on this day stretching back to 1954. The most recent fixture was in 2016 which ended in a 1-1 draw with Chelmsford City, Tom Bradbrook’s last minute equaliser cancelled out Billy Bricknell’s strike. Danny Harris scored the winner in 2012 against local rivals Welling United, it wasn’t the only 1-0 victory against the Wings that season as the Darts claimed a more important victory five months later to win promotion. A decade ago, Lee Burns and James White were on the scoresheet as Dartford beat Cray Wanderers 2-1. The last defeat on this day, 54 years ago was in the Southern League against Llanelly, the Darts were hammered 9-2.

Dartford v Haringey Borough

Dartford are in F.A Trophy action for the second time in four days this Saturday, when they host Isthmian Premier League side Haringey Borough.

In the previous round, the Darts were on the brink of defeat twice on Tuesday night at Slough Town. Finding themselves two goals down, Steve King’s side looked down and out. Josh Jackman gave Slough Town a half-time lead and Warren Harris punished Ethan Wady’s goalkeeping error.

King opted for a back three, but with a two goal deficit to claw back switched formation and it worked. First, Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong scored his fourth in three games, then three minutes later Moussa Bakayoko netted his second of the season, in only his third appearance to take the match to penalties.

Dartford put the ghost of playoff penalty heartache behind them. However, the contest looked over when set piece specialist Jack Jebb missed. Yet there was one more twist, Slough Town’s Louis Lomas fluffed his lines taking the spot kicks to sudden death. The Darts wrapped up a 6-5 victory from twelve yards after Jackman hit his effort wide.

Jernade Meade was handed his Dartford debut after the left sided player joined the club. The 28 year-old most recently spent time in Sweden and Norway and has made one Champions League appearance for Arsenal against Olympiakos. King also made five other changes from the defeat at Eastbourne Borough bringing in Craig Braham-Barrett, Josh Hill, David Ijaha, Elliott Romain and Jack Barham.

Dartford have never met Haringey Borough who are mid-table in the league below. Borough have already negotiated three rounds shocking Eastbourne Round on the weekend. Goals from Rakim Richards and a brace from Roman Michael-Percil saw the Tottenham based club ease into a three goal lead, Greg Luer grabbed a consolation for the Sports.

The previous two rounds ended with Haringey Borough winning 2-1. Borough faced Kent side Faversham Town in the third qualifying round and Bishop’s Stortford in round one. Looking to recreate their F.A Cup run of two years ago, when they reached the first round from starting in the preliminary stages, Borough have made it to the third round of the F.A trophy for the first time.

Guided by manager Tom Loizou, Haringey Borough are eleventh with four wins and four defeats in the Isthmian Premier this season. Aside from their two recent F.A Trophy games they haven’t played any other competitive match since the 4th November, a 3-1 defeat to Kingstonian.

Stats

Dartford’s second round win on Tuesday was the first victory in the F.A Trophy for three years.

The Darts last reached the third round five years ago when they went out to FC Halifax Town in a replay.

The last time Dartford got past round three they reached the semi-final in 2013.

Steve King recorded his first F.A Trophy win as manager of Dartford, but has yet to win over 90 minutes.

On This Day

Dartford have twice played a F.A Trophy tie on this day losing on penalties three years ago against Boreham Wood. Tom Murphy, Lyle Della-Verde and Alfie Pavey all missed from the spot after a 2-2 draw sent the first round clash to spot kicks, Ryan Hayes and Danny Mills scored in normal time. The Darts also went out at the same stage in 1987 losing to local rivals Maidstone United 1-0.

Slough Town v Dartford

Dartford once again come up against Slough Town for the fifth occasion this calendar year, this time in the F.A Trophy second round.

The Darts have already faced the Rebels twice this season with both teams recording a win apiece. Dartford have not progressed beyond the third qualifying round in their past two attempts going out to Maidstone United last term and Eastbourne Borough the year before, who the Darts could face in the next round should they make it through on Tuesday night.

Slough Town won the first of this season’s encounters knocking Dartford out of the F.A Cup with a last minute penalty. Jack McKnight stepped up to score the winner to put the Rebels into the next round. Just under a month ago, Dartford avenged the cup defeat with a 2-0 victory in the National South. Chris Dickson introduced himself in style with a brace on his debut, whilst in form Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong was harshly sent off, his red card later rescinded.

Without a competitive game over the last ten days, the Darts warmed up with a 3-0 friendly win over Whitehawk on the weekend. Tom Bonner, Jack Barham and Elliot Romain were the goalscorers. Their last competitive match ended in defeat at Eastbourne Borough. After Charley Kendall put the Sports ahead in the first-half, Berkeley-Agyepong equalised in the second-half to record his fourth goal of the season. The hosts ran away in the final fifteen minutes with goals from Chris Whelpdale and Joel Robinson.

Slough Town were also without a game on the weekend and have also been without a win in their last six outings. Although, the Rebels picked up a second draw in a row in their 0-0 stalemate at Havant and Waterlooville. It was the second point picked up in four days after a 2-2 draw at Chippenham Town, Ben Harris and Lee Togwell scoring to complete a comeback from two goals down.

The two sides have met once before in the F.A Trophy back in 1981. The first round tie finished with Dartford winning 4-1, the Daily Telegraph described the victory as probably the outstanding result of the round. The Darts went on to make the semi-final losing to Bishop’s Stortford. Since then the Darts have also been drawn against Slough Town in the F.A Cup three times winning the first two before this season’s defeat.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Slough Town wins: 3 / Draws: 2

Cup Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Slough Town wins: 1 / Draws: 0

Current League Form

Dartford
(LWWLWW)
Slough Town
(DDLLLL)
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Havant & WaterloovilleA0-0
Hungerford TownA2-1Chippenham TownA2-2
Slough TownH2-0DartfordA0-2
St Albans CityH0-1Hungerford TownH1-3
Maidstone UnitedA2-0Billericay TownA0-2
Hemel Hempstead TownA3-1Maidstone UnitedH2-3

Previous Six Meetings

21.11.2020Dartford2Slough Town0
03.10.2020Dartford0Slough Town1
19.07.2020Slough Town0Dartford3
18.01.2020Slough Town1Dartford0
28.09.2019Dartford2Slough Town3
16.02.2019Slough Town2Dartford2

Stats

Dartford have won just two of their last seven games against Slough Town D2, L3).

In the last four meetings between the two sides the winning team has kept a clean sheet.

Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong has scored Dartford’s last three goals.

Dartford last drew the same team in the F.A Cup and F.A Trophy in the 2014/2015 season when they beat Burgess Hill Town in each competition.

On This Day

Brendon Cass scored a Princes Park hat-trick thirteen years ago as the Darts beat Wivenhoe Town 4-2. On their way to the Isthmian North title, Dartford followed a 7-2 triumph over Witham and a 6-1 victory over Enfield Town by hitting their opponents for four, Jamie Coyle scored the other goal. Dartford’s last game on this day was also a F.A Trophy tie eight years ago. Tom Bonner was involved as the Darts beat Tonbridge Angels 3-0 with goals from Harry Crawford, Elliot Bradbrook and Jon Wallis, Tony Burman’s side went on to reach the last four losing to Grimsby Town in the semi-final. Three years earlier Dartford went out of the Isthmian League Cup third round in an entertaining 5-4 defeat to Aveley, Danny Harris, Adam Burchell (two goals) and Allan Tait netted for the Darts.

Eastbourne Borough v Dartford

Steve King takes his Dartford side to Eastbourne Borough on the weekend aiming to stay top of the National League South.

The Darts moved into pole position with an excellent result at Hungerford Town in their last away game to remain at the summit. Their closest challengers then dropped points on Tuesday night meaning Dartford head into Saturday’s fixture with a two point lead, whilst Eastbourne Borough currently occupy seventh place.

Dartford have won eight of their first eleven games in their best start to a season since winning the Isthmian Premier League in 2009. The latest victory came against Hungerford Town in a top of the table clash. Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong had a huge impact from off the bench turning defeat into a triumph. The midfielder had started every game before travelling to Bulpit Lane and was almost ruled out after his harsh dismissal against Slough Town, however his red card was rescinded allowing the former Aldershot Town man to be available.

A soft first-half penalty conceded by former Eastbourne Borough full back, Gavin McCallum led to Hungerford Town’s Ryan Seager goal from the spot. McCallum played almost 150 games for the Sports scoring 25 times. Berkeley-Agyepong and Alfie Pavey were introduced in the second half and the pair combined for the equaliser. Pavey’s header back across to Berkeley-Agyepong was smashed home from inside the box. If the Dartford midfielder needed an assist for his first goal it was a superb solo effort for his second. Receiving the ball from a short throw-in, Berkeley-Agyepong made his way across the pitch and unleashed an unstoppable long range shot to score the winner.

Dartford’s first ever win at Bulpit Lane was their fourth consecutive away win. Steve King described his side’s performance as ‘bitty’ but a half-time chat helped turn the game around, he commented to Dartford FC TV: “We didn’t do enough in the first half with too many long balls”, he added: “We felt we needed to do more in possession, we needed to be braver on the ball”. King also pointed out that the quality of his squad helped earn the three points, he said: “We made subs early to change the shape and it got us back in the game. Jacob had a knock during the week and didn’t train and we thought we have quality players, so we didn’t need to risk him. We went with what we went with, it didn’t quite work then Jacob has come on and scored one good goal and one fantastic goal”.

Dartford have won their last two matched against Eastbourne Borough since a heavy 6-0 defeat at Priory Lane in April 2019. Striker, Elliott Romain will be available after serving his one match ban and could play a part against his old side, who he scored against in last season’s visit to Sussex. Romain was on target as well as Norman Wabo in a 2-0 victory. The return fixture ended 2-1 to the Darts which included Jack Jebb’s stunning free-kick at Princes Park.

The Darts will be without the injured Ricky Modeste, whilst Craig Braham-Barrett and David Ijaha have been nursing injuries. Charlie Sheringham and Ronnie Vint have gone out on loan, Abdul Osman has left the club, but Moussa Bakayoko returned to the bench on the weekend.

Under Danny Bloor, Eastbourne Borough have started their campaign well. The Sports finished their last three season’s in eighteenth place and so far this term they are in the final playoff place. The Sussex club, also made the first round of the F.A Cup where they were beaten 3-0 by Blackpool, but they have only picked up two points in their last three outings.

Former Dartford full back, Nick Arnold is in the Sports squad but has yet to make an appearance. Bloor will have a variety of attacking players to choose from including Charlie Walker, Dean Cox and Chris Whelpdale, all three of them have netted against the Darts in the past. Charley Kendall is also one to watch, his four goals whilst on loan has led to an extended stay and along with Kai Innocent. The duo have been an integral part of the Sports side so far this season.

At home, Eastbourne Borough have an even record of two wins, two draws and two defeats. In their last home fixture, they went down 1-0 versus St Albans City to a Shaun Jeffers goal, which will sound familiar to the Darts after the same combination at Princes Park last month. They did however comfortably beat basement side Braintree Town 4-0 earlier in November before a pair of away draws against Tonbridge Angels and Oxford City.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 12 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 6 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford
(WWLWWL)
Eastbourne Borough
(DWLWWL)
Hungerford TownA2-1St Albans CityH0-1
Slough TownH2-0Oxford CityA1-1
St Albans CityH0-1Tonbridge AngelsA2-2
Maidstone UnitedA2-0Braintree TownH4-0
Hemel Hempstead TownA3-1Ebbsfleet UnitedH1-1
Dorking WanderersH2-3Welling UnitedH2-1

Last Six League Meetings

22.02.2020Dartford2Eastbourne Borough1
02.11.2019Eastbourne Borough0Dartford2
20.04.2019Eastbourne Borough6Dartford0
08.09.2018Dartford2Eastbourne Borough2
14.04.2018Eastbourne Borough0Dartford1
12.09.2017Dartford4Eastbourne Borough2

Stats

Dartford have lost just once in the league against Eastbourne Borough in their last 12 games against the Sports (W9, D2)

The Darts have won four of their last six league visits to Priory Lane (D1, L1)

Josh Hill made his 50th Dartford appearance on Saturday. His fifth substitute appearance at Hungerford Town brought up the defender’s half century.

On This Day

Brian Gregory scored a hat-trick inside eight minutes to help Dartford to a 5-0 victory over Yeovil Town in 1981. The much travelled striker only just signed for the Darts from rivals Dover Athletic and made an instant impact in the Alliance Premier League win. Elliot Bradbrook scored twice as the Darts beat Havant and Waterlooville 4-2 at Princes Park in 2015. The former Darts captain opened the scoring from the spot and Danny Harris doubled the lead in first-half stoppage time. Havant and Waterlooville hit back in the second-half with goals from Dan Strugnell and Matt Paterson. Dartford managed to pull away again when Bradbrook netted once more and Ebou Adams grabbed his first senior goal. Dartford’s last away game on this day was in 1998 when they lost 3-2 at Baldock Town in the Southern League South.

Hungerford Town v Dartford

Dartford travel to third place Hungerford Town this weekend in search of their first ever victory at Bulpit Lane.

The Darts are hoping to regain top spot after slipping to second on Tuesday night. Dorking Wanderer’s win in mid-week leaves Steve King’s side level on points with the Surrey club, but behind on goal difference. Hungerford Town have ambitions of their own knowing a win will leapfrog them above the Darts.

Bulpit Lane has not been a happy hunting ground for Dartford in recent years. Suffering defeat in their first three visits without scoring a goal. Last season, the only meeting between the two clubs, the Darts showed progress in a 2-2 draw. After Hungerford Town took the lead through Zidan Akers, Dartford hit back when Darren McQueen equalised and Luke Wanadio put the visitors in front. However, Dartford were denied their first win at the Crusaders and with two minutes left Conor Lynch levelled the match.

Steve King’s ruthless streak was rewarded last weekend with the signing of former Charlton Athletic striker Chris Dickson. The experienced 35-year-old scored twice on his debut against Slough Town. At National South level he has been a reliable source of goals most recently for Chelmsford City and Hampton and Richmond Borough. At AFC Hornchurch he has netted 30 goals in 46 games and has joined the Darts on dual registration. He has been added to the front line which now boasts loanee Alfie Pavey as well as Jack Barham, Elliott Romain and Charlie Sheringham. The squad now has extra depth up front where King feels the side need improving. For all Dartford’s creative play the Dartford manager believes they are lacking the finishing edge.

After a scrappy first half against Slough Town, King’s half-time team talk did wonders and so victory was just the tonic after the 1-0 home defeat to St Albans City. The Darts boss was pleased to get the side’s home form back on track, especially after defeat against Dorking Wanderers at Princes Park earlier in the month. Hungerford Town will provide another type of test on the road against a top three team, Dartford will want to lay down a marker.

It will come as a relief that this week Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong’s red card versus Slough Town has been rescinded, the midfielder has started every game this season and is a key player in the middle of the park. On the injury front, Ricky Modeste is out with a hairline fracture of the knee, whilst Craig Braham-Barrett, David Ijaha and Abdul Osman have been out in recent weeks. King has also been able to call upon goalkeeper Ethan Wady who got the nod over Craig King last weekend and Connor Essam has kept his place in the side, despite competition from Ronnie Vint. Luke Allen also made his first start of the campaign proving King will happily make changes.

Hungerford Town have turned the table upside down with their early season form. The Crusaders finished bottom of the National South last term and would have been relegated in any normal year. But 2020 is no normal year and the Berkshire club under the stewardship of Danny Robinson have won six of their opening nine games, they only won eight in 33 attempts last season.

The Crusaders have been here before, when they were one of the surprise packages after winning promotion. Hungerford Town finished their first ever campaign in the National South in sixth place and were denied a playoff spot due to ground regulations. Hit by the dreaded second season syndrome, the Berkshire side stayed up on the last day in the following two campaigns before finishing last in March.

Manager, Robinson won the F.A Vase with Thatcham Town and took them up the non-league pyramid, they were also on the verge of another promotion before the pandemic ended the 2019/2020 season. His appointment this summer has seen almost a new squad assembled. Ryan Seager is one of the new signings impressing, the striker has scored seven in nine games since joining from Yeovil Town.

Although early days, Hungerford Town have already proven they can mix it with the pace setters. Victory over league leaders Dorking Wanderers and a draw with unbeaten St Albans City have been added to victories against teams at the bottom end of the table, who they would have been competing with eight months ago.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Hungerford Town wins: 3 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford
(WLWWLW)
Hungerford Town
(DWLWWL)
Slough TownH2-0St Albans CityA0-0
St Albans CityH0-1Slough TownA3-1
Maidstone UnitedA2-0Hampton & RichmondH0-1
Hemel Hempstead TownA3-1Braintree TownA2-1
Dorking WanderersH2-3Dorking WanderersH2-0
Havant & WaterloovileH2-1Ebbsfleet UnitedA2-3

Last Six Meetings

26.08.2019Hungerford Town2Dartford2
22.12.2018Dartford2Hungerford Town1
25.08.2018Hungerford Town1Dartford0
09.12.2017Hungerford Town1Dartford0
05.08.2017Dartford0Hungerford Town0
14.04.2017Hungerford Town2Dartford0

Stats

Dartford have never won at Bulpit Lane (D1, L3) and last season’s visit was the first time in four attempts in which the Darts managed to score.

The Darts have score in three of their seven meetings against the Crusaders, each time netting twice.

Tom Bonner made his 350th start in a Dartford shirt when he lined up against Slough Town. The defender is now on 352 appearances in total.

On This Day

Steve King faced his future employers five years ago and knocked them out of the F.A Trophy. His Whitehawk side came to Princes Park and won the third qualifying round tie 2-1. In that Whitehawk side that day was Craig Braham-Barrett and David Ijaha was an unused substitute. Danny Mills, Dave Martin and Paul Lorraine were other Dartford links involved in Whitehawk’s starting eleven. The last win for the Darts on this day was back in 1987 when they beat Dorchester Town 2-1 in the Southern Premier League. Since then the Darts drew a Southern League Southern Division fixture 0-0 with Ashford Town in 1998 and lost 1-0 at home to AFC Hornchurch, in the Isthmian Premier League in 2009 before the trophy exit in 2015.

Dartford v Slough Town

Dartford have the chance to avenge their F.A Cup exit against Slough Town when they host the Rebels for a second time this season on the weekend.

In unusual circumstances, the Darts opened their season in the F.A Cup losing to Saturday’s opponents. Jack McKnight’s last-minute penalty knocked Dartford out at the first hurdle, in the second qualifying round. Victory for Slough Town meant they redressed their own defeat against the Darts in July’s National South playoff eliminator.

Leading up to this weekend’s fixture, Dartford top the National South table by a point having played the most games in the division, thanks to their early cup exit. Steve King has managed to rack up the points in their first nine games, but they couldn’t add to their tally following a defeat at home to St Albans City on Tuesday night.

Charlie Sheringham making his first league start of the campaign was left to rue his second-half penalty miss as St Albans City won 1-0. A last minute strike from Shaun Jeffers was the difference between the two sides condemning the Darts to their second National South loss of the season.

Prior kick off the Darts announced the return of Alfie Pavey on a loan deal until the end of January from Barnet. The striker scored 29 goals in 55 appearances in a previous loan spell and during the 2017/2018 campaign, when he won the National South Player of the Year award. Gavin McCallum also made his first league start of the season replacing the injured Craig Braham-Barrett. Jack Barham was named on the bench alongside Pavey with the pair making an appearance later on.

Highlights of last season’s game at Prince Park courtesy of DFC TV

Slough Town opened their campaign by recording another 1-0 victory, after their F.A Cup win against the Darts. The triumph over Hemel Hempstead Town was followed by defeat at Dorking Wanderers and an F.A Cup exit of their own. What followed was a dramatic 4-4 with Welling United with the Rebels score two injury time goals to complete a comeback from 3-1 down in the last twenty minutes.

The Berkshire club approach this weekend’s fixture on the back of three straight defeats against Maidstone United, Billericay Town then Hungerford Town on Tuesday night.

The Rebels found themselves behind early in the game when Ryan Seager scored on six minutes, he also had another but his effort was ruled out for offside. Slough Town were forced to make a change when Cameron McGilp came off injured before Dan Roberts chipped in an equaliser. Parity lasted a short while because two minutes before the interval Seager scored again. Craig Fasanmade extended Hungerford Town’s lead to leave the Rebels sitting in fourteenth place in the National South.

Last season Dartford squandered a two-goal lead at Princes Park under the guidance of Tony Burman. Darren McQueen and Josh Hill scored within a couple of minutes of each other to hand the Darts a comfortable advantage. It took just another two minutes for Dan Roberts to set Slough Town on their way. The Rebels kept the momentum going in the second half and when Matt Lench then Ben Harris netted, the visitors went home with all three points.

In January, Slough Town completed a league double with a 1-0 home victory, in which Dartford’s Sanchez Ming was sent off. The third meeting between the two sides came in the playoff elimination round. A brace from Charlie Sheringham and Luke Wanadio’s strike helped the Darts progress with a 3-0 win.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Slough Town wins: 3 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford
(LWWLWW)
Slough Town
(LLLWDL)
St Albans CityH0-1Hungerford TownH1-3
Maidstone UnitedA2-0Billericay TownA0-2
Hemel Hempstead TownA3-1Maidstone UnitedH2-3
Dorking WanderersH2-3Bath CityH2-1
Havant & WaterloovileH2-1Welling UnitedH4-4
Chippenham TownA2-1Dorking WanderersA1-3

Last Six Meetings

03.10.2020Dartford0Slough Town1
19.07.2020Slough Town0Dartford3
18.01.2020Slough Town1Dartford0
28.09.2019Dartford2Slough Town3
16.02.2019Slough Town2Dartford2
08.12.2018Dartford1Slough Town1

Stats

Dartford’s only home win against Slough Town came 39 years ago in the F.A Trophy, the Darts won 4-1 in the first round

The Rebels are unbeaten in their three visits to Princes Park (W2, D1)

Dartford won their first three meetings with Slough Town, all cup ties. Since then the Darts have won just one in the last six (D2, L3)

On This Day

New loan signing Alfie Pavey scored a brace to keep Dartford top of National League South three years ago. In an entertaining 3-3 draw the Darts twice came from behind against Wealdstone thanks to Pavey before substitute Andy Pugh fired Dartford ahead with ten minutes left. However, the Stones levelled from the spot three minutes from time before Lee Noble saw red in stoppage time. In 2009, the Darts were knocked out of the F.A Trophy against rivals Dover Athletic. After falling a goal behind, Jay May and Danny Harris put the Darts in front, but Dartford conceded twice more in a 3-2 defeat. May also scored on this day in 2006 netting the winner against Leatherhead in the Isthmian Division One South.

Dartford v St Albans City

Dartford host unbeaten St Albans City on Tuesday night with the chance to increase their lead over their opponents.

The Darts extended their advantage at the top of the National South on the weekend after beating rivals Maidstone United. Victory took Steve King’s side four points clear at the summit, but St Albans City pose an early threat despite sitting in seventh place.

Ian Allinson’s team have only played five league games and in their solitary away day so far, the Saints dropped their only points of the campaign. On the weekend, whilst the Hertfordshire club had a day off, Dartford travelled to Maidstone United for their first Kent derby of the season.

Captain, Tom Bonner helped secure a third straight away win for the Darts on his 350th appearance for the club. Dartford’s clinical finishing was enough to separate the two sides. Bonner’s strike opened the scoring and a few minutes later, Charlie Sheringham made sure of the three points with Dartford’s second goal in a 2-0 derby day win.

Steve King labelled Saturday’s triumph as a ‘strong win’ and a ‘gritty performance’ when speaking to DFC TV. The Dartford boss praised the way his side adapted to the conditions throughout the afternoon, he explained: “A win is a win, you get three points. It was just one of those games where you just had to get through it basically”.

Dartford’s last home match against St Albans City courtesy of DFV TV

Dartford had to contend with the injury to left back Craig Braham-Barrett, but the versatility of the squad certainly helped. Jordan Wynter slipped into the full back position with David Ijaha coming into the holding midfield role. When the Darts chased a winner, Charlie Sheringham was able to come on as the side moved to a 4-3-3 formation. King commented: “With all that going on, they have done brilliantly to come away with a clean sheet and three points against a good side”.

Once again former players could feature against their previous club. Josh Hill and Luke Allen have made just three substitute appearances between them this season and both spent time at St Albans City. In the other camp, Tom Bender and Luke Warner-Eley return to Princes Park with the Saints. Bender played 16 times for the Darts, scored against Dartford in November 2016 and netted an own goal a year later.

Luke Warner-Eley made his Dartford debut against the Saints under Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle and went on to make six appearances, the defender featured in the 1-1 draw between the two sides at Princes Park last season. Saints top scorer last season, Joe Iaciofano scored for the visitors, but Luke Wanadio equalised in the second half. In the away fixture Dartford ended a four match losing streak at Clarence Park with a 2-1 victory, goals from Darren McQueen and Liam Nash.

St Albans City struggled last term and were in twentieth place when the season stopped. Like Dartford they lost their top scorer in the summer, and whilst the Darts have been able to spread their goalscorers out around the squad, the Saints have Shaun Jeffers top of their leaderboard with five. Ian Allinson has recruited well this term and results have shown an upturn in form.

A week ago, the Saints came from behind at Clarence Park to beat Braintree Town 2-1, their third consecutive win following home victories over Chippenham Town and Ebbsfleet United. On the opening day of the campaign they also won on their own patch, but their only away fixture in the National South ended in a 1-1 draw against Concord Rangers.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 9 / St Albans City wins: 5 / Draws: 5

Current League Form

Dartford
(WWLWWW)
St Albans City
(WWWDW)
Maidstone UnitedA2-0Braintree TownH2-1
Hemel Hempstead TownA3-1Chippenham TownH3-0
Dorking WanderersH2-3Ebbsfleet UnitedH3-2
Havant &WaterloovileH2-1Concord RangersA1-1
Chippenham TownA2-1Hampton & RichmondH1-0
Bath CityH1-0

Last Six Meetings

07.03.2020St Albans City1Dartford2
06.08.2019Dartford1St Albans City1
12.01.2019Dartford3St Albans City2
01.09.2018St Albans City2Dartford0
03.02.2018St Albans City4Dartford0
28.10.2017Dartford2St Albans City1

Stats

Dartford are unbeaten in their last three home matches against St Albans City (W2, D1)

The Darts have lost just once at home against the Saints in normal time, which was in November 2016 (W5, D4)

St Albans City have scored in each of their last nine games against the Darts and have kept five clean sheets in those matches.

Tom Bonner is the second highest scorer at the club (17) one ahead of Elliott Romain (16). Charlie Sheringham is now on 51 career goals for the Darts.

On This Day

Dartford’s academy team may have bowed out of the F.A Youth Cup first round this year against Metropolitan Police, but the senior team beat the Met in front of the Match of the Day cameras in 1984. Dartford won the first round tie 3-0 with now Braintree Town boss George Borg scoring a fine goal. The Darts went out at the next round against AFC Bournemouth, who subsequently lost to Manchester United in the next round, a year after the Cherries famously shocked the Red Devils.

Mark Arber played the majority of the match with a fractured cheekbone in Dartford’s last home game on this day. Elliot Bradbrook twice put the Darts ahead against Southport in the National League eight years ago, but the visitors equalised through Steve Akrigg and in the last minute, Karl Ledsham. Two years ago, Charlie Sheringham scored the only goal of the game as Dartford beat Hampton and Richmond Borough at the Beveree.