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Stockport County v Dartford

Dartford play their fourth game in eight days when they take the long trip to relegation threatened Stockport County.

For the first time in club history the Darts will visit Edgeley Park keen to add to their last away win a week ago. With their hosts a point from the drop and suffering a season of turmoil Tony Burman will feel his side have every chance.

Only a month ago the two sides crossed paths for a début meeting and couldn’t be separated. A low turn out witnessed Stockport County take the lead against the run of play when a dipping shot was parried into the path of Mark Cullen for the on loan striker to score with eleven minutes played. The Hatters settled into the match and went into the dressing room at half time a goal to the good.

After an hour Tony Burman changed to a more attacking formation throwing on Jacob Erskine and Jack Evans. The game came to life and with twenty minutes remaining Danny Harris bundled the ball over the line for the equaliser.

Over the last eight days Dartford have broken their away day blues by beating relegated AFC Telford United, lost spiritedly at home to promotion contenders Grimsby Town and drew with fellow part timers Braintree Town. The Darts made six changes for the home fixture against the Irons on Thursday and after a dour first half neither side could break the deadlock in a 0-0 draw, despite Charlie Sheringham hitting the post. The stalemate moved Burman’s team up to eighth a point ahead of Braintree Town in twelfth.

Stockport County have had a week to recharge their batteries after beating Alfreton Town 3-2 at the Impact Arena last weekend. At the time the win moved the Hatters out of the bottom four until the mid week fixtures reversed their hard work. Alfreton Town took the lead through Danny Meadows then Ian Bogie’s side hit back with goals from James Tunnicliffe, Mark Cullen and Jon Nolan. A last minute consolation by Nathan Arnold wasn’t enough for the home side.

Victory was only the Hatters third triumph in their last 13 matches and at Edgeley Park they have picked up three points out of the last 18 available. Bogie has only been in charge for just under a month leading his new club to a win against Newport County, a draw at Macclesfield Town and a defeat versus Grimsby Town before the 3-2 win on Saturday. The former Gateshead boss had been out of work for three months and replaced Bosnian Darije Kalezic who lasted just a dozen games. Bogie is the third manager of Stockport County since January when Jim Gannon left the Greater Manchester side.

One player that will be missed for the Hatters is top scorer Danny Hattersley. The 21 year old has scored ten times for Stockport County and has joined Southport on loan until the end of the season. Southport sit just two points off the drop zone and Hattersley is already helping his new team attempt to finish above his parent club.

Recently, the Hatters have opted for experience up front with Jonathan Macken starting the last four fixtures. The Irishman had spells with Preston North End, Manchester City, Crystal Palace and Barnsley. Whilst Tunnicliffe and Sean Newton have remained a constant fixture in defence during a season which has seen the Hatters use over 35 different players.

Team News

Ryan Hayes returned from his frozen shoulder and so the only injury concern is to goalkeeper Louis Wells. Stockport County have Andrew Halls suspended for his red card against Grimsby Town, the right back was dismissed for two bookings. Alex Kenyon is a caution away from a suspension after picking up nine cautions this campaign. The cut off date for ten cautions is this Sunday.

Current League Form

Stockport County (WLDWLL) Dartford (DLWWDL)
Alfreton Town A 3-2 Braintree Town H 0-0
Grimsby Town H 1-2 Grimsby Town H 1-2
Macclesfield Town A 1-1 AFC Telford United A 2-0
Newport County H 1-0 Woking H 4-1
Luton Town A 0-1 Newport County A 0-0
Braintree Town H 1-3 Hereford United A 0-1

Last Meeting

5 March 2013 – Dartford 1 Stockport County 1 – Att: 757

Goalscorers: Cullen (11), Harris (70)

The Darts Lineup: Bettinelli, Burns, Bonner, Champion, Green, Hayes, Wallis, Bradbrook, Rogers, Harris, Crawford (subs used: Evans, Erskine, Collier)

The Hatters Lineup: O’Donnell, Halls, Newton, Hammer, Tunnicliffe, Kenyon, Nolan, Mainwaring, Whitehead, Cullen, Cirak (subs used: Hackney, Macken)

Match Stats

dfc v scfc match stats

League Stats

Only Gayle Southwell of Grimsby Town has appeared as a substitute more times than Nathan Collier in this season’s Conference Premier.

Out of all Conference Premier clubs, Dartford have had the fewest attempts at goal this season hitting the target 200 times out of 341.

Dartford have ended with two goals in a match on 18 occasions, more than any other Conference Premier club.

Dartford v Stockport County


Dartford play their second of three games in a week when they host Stockport County on Tuesday night.

The Darts hope to stretch their unbeaten run at Princes Park to six games in all competitions against a struggling former football league club. Stockport County are the only side Dartford have yet to play this season and their opponents are just three points from safety.

Over the last week two cup runs have ended for Tony Burman’s side when they drew 0-0 with Grimsby Town at home, losing 3-0 on aggregate. Towards the end of last week the Darts conceded their place in the Kent Senior Cup as they were unable to fulfil their second round match with Margate. A backlog of fixtures built up by a wet Winter and an excellent F.A Trophy run prevented Dartford reaching a third successive county cup final.

Burman spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live’s Non League Show and stated: “I’m bitterly disappointed with that decision. Myself I’ve always seen the Kent Senior Cup as a very respectable competition. It should have been sorted out in a different way but there you go. We haven’t pulled out we just couldn’t play four or five games in one week and expect to play the Kent Senior Cup game in that week as well”.

Despite the two cup exits Burman’s squad travelled up to Merseyside on the weekend to face Southport. Recently away from home has proven difficult for the club with one point from seven matches on the road prior the match.

Like the fixture earlier in November against the Sandgrounders, Dartford took the lead in the first half. Harry Crawford scored his first goal since returning to the club taking his tally to 12 for the season. Crawford’s stuck in the opener which his first goal outside of Kent in a Dartford shirt. Southport equalised five minutes before the break when Andy Owens found the net taking advantage of the under pressure Marcus Bettinelli, the officials awarded a goal as Bettinelli claimed he was fouled.

For the fourth time this season Dartford took the lead against their hosts, Tom Bonner notched his third league goal of the campaign when he scrambled the ball over the line. Then for the fourth time this season Southport equalised against the Darts courtesy of Shaun Whalley’s spot kick seven minutes from time.

Dartford defender Tom Bonner told BBC Radio Kent “It’s always good to get on the score sheet but it’s disappointing to go in front and lose the lead and to do it twice. We’re gutted today”, he added: “I thought we stood up to them really well. It was a lack of concentration for the penalty and we’re gutted we didn’t get three points today”.

Despite alterations in the back four Dartford have only conceded once at home in 2013. Lee Burns and Mark Arber have had time on the sidelines through injury whilst Adam Green has pushed in front of Richard Rose as first choice left back. What does bode well for the Darts is they have the sixth best home record whilst Stockport County have won just three away from Edgeley Park.

Tuesday’s visitors Stockport County took ten years to fall from the second tier of English football to the Conference Premier. Former Hatters defender Jim Gannon managed the Hatters up until the end of January when he was dismissed 14 months into his second tenure as boss.

Darije Kalezic has been in charge at Edgeley Park and on Saturday he lost to a former Dartford manager John Still. Still’s first game as Luton Town boss inflicted a 1-0 defeat on Stockport County. Stuart Fleetwood missed a penalty for the visitors but his side went into the break a goal up. Jake Howells’ low drive made sure the three points were taken back to Kenilworth Road leaving Stockport County in seventeenth place.

The Lancashire club are without a win in four in which they have scored just twice versus Hereford United a week ago. This season Stockport County have scored the fewest goals away from home but their defensive record rivals those in the playoff spots.

Born in Switzerland, Kalezic has already altered his squad hoping his team will avoid another relegation. The Bosnian has extended Mark Cullen’s loan spell to the end of the season from Hull City, signed midfielder Greg McDermott and Paul Marshall on a non contract basis. McDermott is son of Terry McDermott and joined from Newcastle United whilst Marshall came from FC Halifax Town and played against the Darts in the F.A Trophy Quarter Final. Johan Hammer has came in on a months loan from Everton and has featured in every game since joining. Former Carlisle United and Colchester United midfielder Simon Hackney has signed on a free transfer. The new players have been added to the likes of ever present defender James Tunnicliffe and top scorer Danny Hattersley.

Team News

Lee Noble continues his suspension serving his third of four games for his red card against Grimsby Town in the F.A Trophy first leg.  If selected central midfielder Jon Wallis will make his 50th start for the club in all competitions and Adam Green will make his 50th league start. Mark Arber has missed the last week of action with a virus. Tom Champion is one caution away from a suspension after picking up nine yellow cards so far this season.

Current League Form

Dartford (DWLLWL) Stockport County (LLLDWL)
Southport A 2-2 Luton Town H 0-1
Luton Town H 1-0 Hereford United H 2-3
Lincoln City A 1-2 Tamworth H 0-1
Mansfield Town A 0-5 Ebbsfleet United A 0-0
Macclesfield Town H 2-0 Lincoln City H 2-0
Alfreton Town A 2-3 Wrexham A 1-3


7 – Stockport County are at their least potent in front of goal in the final 15 minutes, only Gateshead have scored fewer times during this period this season

8 – Dartford have conceded the most goals from spot kicks this season

16 – The Darts have conceded the most goals in the last 15 minutes of matches, joint with Hyde

23 – The number of players Dartford have used in the Conference Premier, the fewest by any club. Stockport County have used 10 more players and are in fourth spot

Stockport County’s large following as seen a decline over the last decade, averaging attendances of 3353 this season compared to Dartford’s 1494 the Greater Manchester club will desperately hope to stop falling down the league pyramid.