Dartford a back in action at Princes Park this weekend when they host Concord Rangers in the National South.
It’s been three weeks since a home game for the Darts and after losing in their last league outing they picked up a draw on Tuesday night. Under a new manager Concord Rangers have started to pick up crucial points as they begin to move up the table.
Dartford went into the Oxford City game on Tuesday on the back of two defeats, in which they conceded seven goals. A 3-1 loss on the road at Farnborough was followed up by a cup upset against Swindon Supermarine in the F.A Trophy. After that 4-0 reverse to the Southern Premier South side, Alan Dowson and company travelled to Marsh Lane to face a team who had only lost once in the league at home.
The central defensive partnership of Connor Essam and Tom Bonner was reunited after a two game absence. It was the captain Bonner who headed the Darts in front in a well earned 1-1 draw. Dartford came close to returning home with all three points but were denied by Canice Carroll’s late equaliser three minutes from time. Dowson made five changes in total from the team that exited the F.A Trophy bringing in goalkeeper, Archie Mair on a months loan from Norwich City’s under 21 team. As well as Essam returning to the starting eleven, Keiran Murtagh, Samir Carruthers and Davide Rodari were back in the side. There was no Josh Johnson after completing a month of his loan and Joe Young who missed the Swindon Supermarine game on the weekend.
Dartford picked up just one point against Concord Rangers last term and that was at Princes Park in January. Despite Jake Robinson hitting the crossbar late on, the game ended 0-0 in Ronnie Vint’s last appearance for the Darts. Both meetings in 2021/2022 were close encounters and it was the Beachboys who came out on top at Thames Road just over a year ago. The match was settled when Lamar Reynolds scored the only goal just past the hour mark.
Concord Rangers have improved over the last month since a change of manager. The Beachboys were down in 22nd when Chris Search departed having won only twice in the opening 14 fixtures. With eight points on the board, the Essex club felt it was time to make a change in the dugout. In came Rob Small who took Bowers and Pitsea from the Essex Senior League to the Isthmian Premier division and after losing his opener, the Beachboys have since gone unbeaten in the National South. Small had success in his eight years at Bowers and Pitsea and also took then to the F.A Cup first round for the first time ever losing narrowly to Lincoln City 1-0 at Sincil Bank. Small also took the Essex club to the semi-final of the F.A Vase in 2016.
Unbeaten in the National South in their last four games, the Beachboys strung three consecutive wins together since a 3-0 defeat at Hampton and Richmond Borough. Concord Rangers won by the same score in the following match defeating Dover Athletic with goals from Ryan Blackman, Nana Kyei and Aron Pollock. Another three were netted at home versus Chippenham Town after falling behind at Thames Road. Alex Bray, Saleem Akanbi and Blackman were all on the scoresheet to pick up maximum points.
The last two league games for the Beachboys involved Kent sides Tonbridge Angels and Welling United. Ben Williamson scored the winning goal against the Angels in a 1-0 victory and four days later Concord Rangers drew with the Wings. With home advantage and playing 70 minutes with an extra man, the Beachboys were unable to take advantage of Welling United’s Sid Nelson’s sending off. Instead the visitors took the lead when Taylor Mahoney netted for the Kent side. Concord Rangers managed to get a grip on the game and were rewarded with an equaliser by Louis Ramsey.
Since then, Small’s side have been in cup action losing to lower league opposition Harrow Borough 4-2 in the F.A Trophy. The Southern Premier League South side caused an upset going three up inside the opening 35 minutes. Blackman scored in first-half stoppage time and when Harrison Day grabbed another for the Beachboys the comeback was on. However in the last minute Harrow Borough regained a two goal lead to send the Essex club out.
On Tuesday night they took on Aveley in the Essex Senior Cup, a team representing the Isthmian Premier League and were taken to penalties. After a 1-1 draw the Beachboys won the shootout 4-2. Former Dart midfielder D’Sean Theobalds was named on the bench, but ex Dartford winger Ricky Modeste was not included, the pair could return to Princes Park on the weekend. Theobalds played seven games under Steve King during last season and scored one goal, whilst Modeste signed in August 2020 and made only three appearances for the club.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 5 / Concord Rangers wins: 4 / Draws: 4
Current League Form
|Oxford City||A||1-1||Welling United||H||1-1|
|Braintree Town||H||4-1||Chippenham Town||H||3-1|
|Welling United||H||5-1||Dover Athletic||A||3-0|
|Weymouth||H||3-0||Hampton and Richmond||A||0-3|
|Slough Town||A||2-1||Bath City||H||0-2|
Last Six Meetings
Dartford 0 – 0 Concord Rangers (25/01/2022 – National South)
Concord Rangers 1 – 0 Dartford (02/11/2021 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Concord Rangers (21/12/2019 – National South)
Concord Rangers 0 – 2 Dartford (14/09/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Concord Rangers (26/01/2019 – National South)
Concord Rangers 2 – 0 Dartford (14/08/2018 – National South)
- Dartford have won just one of their last seven games against Concord Rangers (D3, L3)
- The Darts are winless in three at home versus the Beachboys (D2, L1)
- Dartford have failed to score in their last three matches against Concord Rangers
On This Day
Elliot Bradbrook scored a F.A Trophy hat-trick on this day to send Dartford into round one. Weston-super-Mare took the lead through Bradley Ash, but before the break Andy Pugh levelled. Bradbrook put the Darts back in front and the tie could have turned after Tom Bonner was sent off. Ash converted the subsequent penalty equalising for the hosts. A replay would have been a good result with ten men, however Bradbrook had other ideas scoring twice to claim the match ball and a 4-2 victory. That win is Dartford’s only triumph on this day in the last six outings. Three years ago they went out at the same stage of the competition to local rivals Maidstone United in a replay. In the twelve home matches on 26 November, the Darts have won just three, 4-0 against Faversham in 1898, 3-2 versus Chelmsford City in 1960 and the last win at home came in 1988 when Dartford beat Worcester City 2-0.