Dartford search for their first ever victory over Taunton Town this weekend in a vital National South six pointer at Princes Park.
The Darts eased their worries last weekend with an important derby day win against bottom side Dover Athletic. That put Tony Burman’s side eight points clear of the drop zone until a narrow loss at Slough Town on Tuesday night cut the margin to five.
Taunton Town are closer to the bottom four with off field problems making their task even harder. The Peacocks have slid down the National South table and for now are on the right side of the relegation line by a single point. This week the Somerset club had better news, but still face financial challenges.
In mid-week Burman stuck to the starting eleven that beat Dover Athletic on Saturday. Facing a team 17 home games unbeaten the last thing the Darts needed was to fall behind in the first minute. Nathan Minhas was at the far post to take advantage of a long throw to give Slough Town an early lead. The hosts were in front for just five minutes though. Ollie Box scored on his first senior league start on the weekend and netted another on Tuesday night. The youngster’s excellent beginning to life in the first team continued with a composed finish.
The Rebels regained their lead when Fumnaya Shomotun conceded a penalty and Johnny Goddard converted. Box’s night got even better to bring Dartford level again with a deft flick. A back and forth first half took another turn approaching half-time. The hosts sent in another long throw, the Darts failed to clear and David Ogbonna made it 3-2. Unfortunately that turned out to be the winning goal and with Joash Nembhard’s late red card, the defender will soon be facing a suspension.
Striker, Ibby Akanbi could make his debut after joining on loan from St Albans City. The 26-year-old has experience in the National South with Kent sides Maidstone United and Tonbridge Angels as well Worthing. Akanbi has also had spells in the National League with Aldershot Town and Dagenham Redbridge. Sam Odaudu, Tommy Block and Luke Allen have all been out injured, Tyrell Miller-Rodney missed the Slough Town defeat through suspension.
Last time the Darts faced Taunton Town was earlier this season. Dartford suffered a narrow defeat down in Somerset which ended an unbeaten run of four. In a close encounter, Dave Sims-Burgess’ goal proved to be decisive for the hosts condemning the Darts to a third consecutive defeat against the Peacocks.
In the only meeting at Princes Park between the two sides back in April 2023, the Peacocks came out on top once again. The visitors started the better and saw Ollie Chamberlain strike the woodwork before Nat Jarvis tapped in the rebound only for the goal to be ruled out for offside. The Darts responded when they hit the post after Allen’s teasing cross and later in the first-half his shot came off the crossbar. Very little happened in the second forty five until Taunton Town’s Cameron Evans netted a winner with three minutes to go.
The reverse fixture in August 2022 ended in a 2-1 loss. Newly promoted Taunton Town came from behind to take all three points down in Somerset. Davide Rodari opened the scoring before Sims-Burgess and Ross Stearn completed the comeback for the Peacocks.
Taunton Town started this season in promising fashion tasting defeat just once in their opening 12 games. By early October they were joint top on points with Yeovil Town and very much the surprise package. Since then the club have been battling to stay afloat as they fell down the league standings. The Peacocks have won just once, a 4-0 home triumph against Farnborough on 9 December, since their excellent start. Now they are winless in 11 and recently against fellow struggling teams, Dover Athletic, Welling United and Truro City they only managed draws. Last weekend the Peacocks were humbled at St Albans City 6-0 stretching their run f failing to score to three matches.
On top of the on field issues the Peacocks have struggled to get home fixtures played and Tuesday night was no exception. Another postponement and with Truro City moving into Wordworth Drive means 20 games need to be crammed in between now and the end of April. Off the field the Somerset were facing a winding up petition from HMRC, had been placed under a transfer embargo and Chairman, Kevin Sturmey has been signed off from work. In January several players departed the club and prior the embargo loan deals and reinforcements from Bridgwater and Taunton College have plugged the gaps. On Wednesday the club released a statement confirming they have settled a HMRC bill and the transfer embargo has been lifted.
The Peacocks will see this weekend’s game as one of three key fixtures coming up. In March they have to travel to Eastbourne Borough after an ‘away’ game against tenants Truro City a fortnight earlier.
Current League Form
|Taunton Town (DLDDDL)
|St Albans City
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 0 / Taunton Town wins: 3 / Draws: 0
Last Six Meetings
Taunton Town 1 – 0 Dartford (09/09/2023 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Taunton Town (13/04/2023 – National South)
Taunton Town 2 – 1 Dartford (20/08/2022 – National South)
- Dartford have lost their last two league games at home. The last time they lost three consecutive league matches at Princes Park was in March 2015 in the National League
- The Darts have only ever lost three in a row in the National South once. That was in their debut campaign back in 2010/2011
- Taunton Town were one of three teams to complete the league double over Dartford last season
On This Day
Danny Harris made his 300th start for the club on this day six years ago and celebrated with a 4-1 win against Truro City. Andy Pugh, Alex Brown and Danny Mills all scored before an own goal added a fourth for the Darts. A Kent derby versus Dover Athletic also took place on this day in 2007. Brendon Cass and Mark Green were the scorers in a 2-2 draw at the Crabble in the Isthmian Division One South.