Dartford are the only side with a perfect record in the National South this season ahead of their trip to Bath City this weekend.
The Darts made it four straight victories by claiming all six points available over the Bank Holiday weekend and will approach Saturday’s game with confidence. Steve King has so far managed to keep a settled side making just six changes to the starting eleven so far this term. But the depth and quality of the squad has been called upon when needed, substitutes have chipped in with goals in each of the victories.
Four of those changes came in the Bank Holiday Monday win against Eastbourne Borough. Kieran Murtagh missed out through injury but should be okay to travel to Bath City and Danny Leonard was out through illness. George Porter started in the victory, but was substituted after picking up an injury.
The Darts followed up the 2-0 away triumph over Dulwich Hamlet with a wonderful first half home display against Eastbourne Borough. In only his second start for the club Jake Robinson opened his account with a brace, the first after seven minutes was a predatory finish. The striker netted a second from the penalty spot after some sublime build up play led to a handball. Robinson spoke to Dartford FC TV after the game and said: “I’m delighted to get off the mark and get going. All the strikers are firing and that’s a good sign”. The Sports hit back immediately after the break when Greg Luer made the most of a lack of concentration to cut Dartford’s lead in half. Ade Azeez was brought on and his well-placed header secured his third goal of the campaign and another three points for the Darts.
After an excellent first half, King was left frustrated by his team’s second half performance, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “The first half performance we played like Brazil, the second half we played like rag-arse rovers. It was chalk and cheese”. In his interview with Dartford FC TV the Darts boss gave a balanced appraisal.
Results wise it has been a brilliant start to the season for the Darts, but they will need to prepare well for their next opponents. Bath City’s heavy reverse on the weekend means that the Romans will want to desperately bounce back. Jerry Gill is one of a few managers to have got the better of King since he was appointed as Dartford boss. The Bath City boss led the Romans to a 3-0 win at Twerton Park in November 2019 inflicting King’s first league defeat as Dartford manager. Last season, the sides only played each other once with the Darts winning at Princes Park thanks to a Noor Husin goal.
Bath City began their campaign with consecutive wins, beating Billericay Town and Tonbridge Angels without conceding a goal. New signing from Weymouth, Cody Cooke scored in each of the opening three games which ended with a defeat in their last home fixture against Chelmsford City. The Bank Holiday period ended with the heavy 5-1 loss at Oxford City, the cause not helped by the sending off of Eddie Jones.
Recently, the Romans have missed the trickery of forward Mo Touray who hobbled off early in the Chelmsford City defeat. On loan from Salford City, Touray had to sit out last weekend’s fixture at Oxford City. Other than that forced change, Gill has only made four changes in total to the starting eleven, since the opening the day, but will be without Jones when his suspension begins.
Gill spoke to www.bathcityfc.com after the Oxford City match, he stated: “We were very good for 35 minutes, we were the dominant side and we scored a fantastic goal”. The Bath City boss was unhappy with key decisions for Oxford City’s opening goals, he commented: “What I can’t defend is two horrendous decisions that lead to the first two goals”, but for Gill it was no excuse, he continued: “I’m not blaming the referee for the result because what happened after that is we folded”. The Romans boss welcomes the visit of Dartford on the Saturday and is determined for his side to put “their own personality on the game”.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 34 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19
|Eastbourne Borough||H||3-1||Oxford City||A||1-5|
|Dulwich Hamlet||A||2-0||Chelmsford City||H||1-2|
|Slough Town||H||3-0||Tonbridge Angels||A||1-0|
|St Albans City||A||3-1||Billericay Town||H||3-0|
Previous Meetings (last six)
Dartford 1 – 0 Bath City (17/10/2020 – National South)
Bath City 3 – 0 Dartford (30/11/2019 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Bath City (09/02/2019 – National South)
Bath City 1 – 2 Dartford (04/08/2018 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 0 Bath City (21/04/2018 – National South)
Bath City 2 – 1 Dartford (24/10/2017 – National South)
- Dartford have won eight of the last nine meetings against the Romans
- Bath City’s win on 30 November 2019 ended a run of seven straight defeats against the Darts
- Dartford have never won their opening five league games since reforming. The last time they achieved that feat was in the 1989/90 Southern League Premier season under Peter Taylor.
On This Day
Richard Rose’s injury time winner at Princes Park earned Dartford a 2-1 win over Newport County nine years ago. The Exiles were the pacesetters in the National League and went on to win promotion via the playoffs under the late Justin Edinburgh. Harry Crawford had given Dartford an early lead, but Newport County’s Aaron O’Conner levelled before Rose’s late goal.
Two years earlier the Darts were in the National South and Charlie Sheringham’s brace helped Dartford beat Weston-super-Mare 4-1. The striker opened and closed Dartford’s scoring with James White and an own goal sandwiched between.
The Darts have won their last three on this day all at home with this current run starting in 1999 when they beat Burnham 2-0 in the Southern League Cup. Out of the six away trips on 4 September, the Darts have won once in 1978 beating Tonbridge 3-2 in the Eastern Floodlit Cup. Dartford have never won an away match in the league on this day, the last being a 2-1 loss at Herne Bay in the Kent League.