Dartford start the Easter weekend with a visit to relegation threatened Billericay Town on Good Friday.

In a commanding position to reach the playoffs, the Darts can stretch their unbeaten run in the National South to six ahead of a big Kent derby on Easter Monday. Billericay Town are in a scrap at the bottom of the division hoping to survive the drop to the Isthmian Premier League.

Steve King’s side continued their unbeaten home run in the league with a last gasp 1-1 draw against Hemel Hempstead Town on Saturday. Although the Dartford boss wasn’t impressed with his side’s performance against Hemel Hempstead Town, he did praise the ‘never say die’ attitude of his players.

Dartford made five changes to the side that drew their last league game at Oxford City by the same score. Dan Wilks returned in goal, Kalvin Kalala, Ody Alfa and Ade Azeez were back in the line up, whilst Tyrique Hyde replaced Samir Carruthers who was unavailable against his parent club. The Darts had a difficult afternoon falling behind when Gus Scott-Moriss gave the visitors the lead. Dartford’s unbeaten home run looked like it was about to end, but in the last minute Marcus Dinanga popped up with the equaliser, the striker’s seventh goal in nine appearances for the club. The draw leaves Dartford six points behind second place and two in front of rivals Ebbsfleet United in fourth.

A late goal preserves Dartford’s unbeaten home run. Highlights of last weekend’s game – Dartford FC TV

On the road, Dartford are unbeaten in three with a 1-0 triumph over Hampton and Richmond Borough followed by a 1-1 draw against playoff contenders Oxford City. Confidence was boosted with a Kent Senior Cup quarter-final win over Isthmian Premier League side Margate, in which King gave minutes to players returning from injury and others who have lacked game time. Training on a 3G surface may help the Darts like it did with the visits to Oxford City and Margate. As well as this fixture with Billericay Town their final two away days in the regular season will be on artificial grass too.

Dartford’s last visit to Billericay Town was in September 2018 and it took a last minute equaliser by Jamie Philpot for the Darts to avoid defeat. Since then the last four meetings in this fixture have all Dartford’s way at Princes Park with the previous two ending 1-0 to the Darts.

With ten league goals this term, Jake Robinson could make a return to his previous hunting ground where he had plenty of success in front of goal. The striker joined the Darts in the summer from Billericay Town where he set a record for goals in a season for the Blues back in 2018. He also netted 82 league goals in 113 appearances for the Essex club over two spells. In this campaign Robinson has scored 16 times in 27 games in all competitions.

Jake Robinson scores against his former club. Highlights of the previous meeting – Dartford FC TV

Also potentially facing former clubs will be Femi Akinwande and Bagasan Graham who manager Jody Brown has selected in recent games. Akinwande came through Dartford’s academy before making it into the senior team. The forward left Princes Park and in his time away gained Football League experience with Colchester United and Stevenage before returning to the Darts last season. The 25-year-old is in his second spell with Billericay Town. Graham’s Dartford career was short lived and it seemed so long ago that he made his solitary appearance this season against Tonbridge Angels in September. Norman Wabo, who featured at Princes Park as a substitute for Billericay Town in the reverse fixture, is currently out on dual registration at Potters Bar Town and Denilson Carvalho last played in the first team in February.

Billericay Town boss, Jody Brown took over October from Kevin Watson with the Blues in deep trouble at the foot of the table. The Blues boss didn’t have to wait long for his first victory as he watched his new side beat Dulwich Hamlet then Slough Town. However, Brown was still shaping his squad and a run of seven straight defeats followed leaving the Essex club in a precarious position. Being allowed the time to build a team and implement his ideas, Billericay Town have lost just five times since in 18 matches. The fact they have drawn eight of those games suggest their is room for improvement.

Lately, Billericay Town have started to find important victories picking up four wins from the last nine outings, but they have lost their last two. In their last home game they were beaten 1-0 by Chippenham Town and on the weekend they went down 2-0 at Hampton and Richmond Borough. However, the Essex side still have everything to play for, as it’s pretty tight at the bottom. The Blues are second from bottom on goal difference just ahead of Welling United. They go to Essex rivals Chelmsford City on Easter Monday with their local rivals just one place and three points ahead of them. Another six pointer is on its way when they take on Bath City who are immediately above the Clarets. Throw in two fixtures against playoff hopefuls Eastbourne Borough and Ebbsfleet United, then an Essex derby on the final day against Braintree Town and it’s going to be quite a tense run in for Brown’s side.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 6 / Billericay Town wins: 2 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford
(LWDWDD)
    Billericay Town
(WWWDLL)
   
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Hampton & Richmond A 0-2
Oxford City A 1-1 Chippenham Town H 0-1
Hampton & Richmond A 1-0 Havant & Waterlooville A 2-2
Havant & Waterlooville H 1-1 Oxford City H 3-1
Chelmsford City H 2-1 St Albans City H 2-1
Chippenham Town A 2-4 Hungerford Town A 4-1

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 1 – 0 Billericay Town (04/12/2021 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Billericay Town (12/01/2021 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Billericay Town (14/12/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Billericay Town (22/04/2019 – National South)
Billericay Town 1 – 1 Dartford (15/09/2018 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 4 Billericay Town (06/03/2010 – Isthmian Premier)

Stats

  • Despite nine meetings, the Darts have only played three away games in this fixture. The first and last victory at New Lodge was 1-0 in 2008 with a Lee Noble winner (W1, D1, L1).
  • Dartford have kept two clean sheets in a row against the Blues, which they also achieved in 2008 and 2009.
  • The Darts have only failed to score once against Billericay Town back in 2010, their only away defeat in this fixture.

On This Day

Dartford’s Wembley dream ended on this day in 1989. After a 0-0 draw at Watling Street against Macclesfield Town in the F.A Trophy semi-final, the Darts travelled to the Silkmen and lost 4-1, Kurt Davidson registering Dartford’s goal. The last game on this day was a 4-0 Isthmian Premier League triumph at Waltham Abbey. James White, Lee Noble, Carl Rook and Lee Burns netted that day, the Darts ended the campaign as league champions. In 1939, the Kent Senior Shield was lifted with a handsome 4-0 victory over Northfleet United. Silverware glossed over a terrible campaign in which Dartford finished bottom of the Southern League conceding 119 goals.