Category: Match Preview (Page 1 of 6)

Folkestone Invicta v Dartford

Silverware is up for grabs for Dartford when they aim to retain the Kent Senior Cup against Folkestone Invicta on Tuesday night in Chatham.

On the way to winning the last edition of the competition the Darts beat Folkestone Invicta in the quarter-final. Steve King will be hoping for history to repeat itself and help Dartford lift the cup for the thirteenth time. Folkestone Invicta are in their sixth Kent Senior Cup final, but have yet to get their hands on the trophy.

For a second consecutive county cup campaign the Darts will be facing Invicta. In a last eight meeting just over two years ago, Dartford scored two goals in each half on their way to a 4-0 victory. Liam Nash set the Darts on their way with a goal just past the half hour mark. Tyrique Hyde, one of three in the current squad who started in the last game against Invicta, doubled the lead. Billy Crook and Elliot Romain extended Dartford’s advantage to send them into the final four where they beat Phoenix Sports 5-1. In the final played this season back in November, Jake Robinson scored a hat-trick in a 6-1 victory over Whitstable Town.

Highlight’s of the Darts beating Invicta on the way to reaching the 2020 final – Dartford FC TV

Dartford will want to end their season in style after playoff heartbreak on Thursday night. King made just the one change to the side that thrashed Eastbourne Borough 7-2 on the last day of the regular season. Jernade Meade was back in the starting eleven replacing Jordan Wynter. The Darts were unable to find their scoring boots for a second home game in a row drawing another blank, this time against Chippenham Town in the National South playoff eliminator. Dan Roberts had the best opportunity early in the tie, but Dartford created little else at Princes Park. The visitors hit the woodwork and missed the rebound late on in normal time as it finished 0-0. Extra time followed and with both sides still unable to score it went down to penalties. Despite a pair of saves from goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cook in the shoot-out, the Darts lost 3-2 and will be playing National South football next season.

The Darts finished fourth in the league and having been knocked out of the playoffs it allows King to select a strong side for the Kent Senior Cup final. After a blistering start to the campaign the Darts lost touch with the front runners dropping too many points in October, November and January. A run of five straight victories in February put Dartford in with a chance, but disappointing defeats on the road and a spell of more draws left too much to do in the end. At Princes Park, King led his side to a 17-game unbeaten home run in the league, the best from the start of a campaign for 96 years. More recently on the road, Dartford have scored 13 in their last two outings beating Slough Town 6-0 before the emphatic victory at Eastbourne Borough.

Folkestone Invicta also had an outstanding start in their Isthmian Premier campaign and at one stage it looked like promotion was a possibility. Neil Cugley guided Invicta to a 12-game unbeaten run from the start of the season picking up 26 points early doors. However, just two wins in eight slowed Folkestone Invicta’s progress. Whilst results became consistently good again, the final run-in saw Invicta drop out of the playoff places after one triumph in their last nine outings, their last fixture an entertaining 4-4 draw with Haringey Borough. In the end they finished their Isthmian Premier League campaign in sixth, missing out on a playoff place.

Helping Folkestone Invicta to their second sixth place finish in a full season in a row, Luke Wanadio permanently signed for the club in February. The winger made 15 appearances and scored five goals since joining from Dartford initially on loan. Wanadio had three spells with the Darts making a total of 99 appearances and scoring 18 times. Defender Ryan Johnson also once donned a Dartford shirt back in the 2009/2010 Isthmian Premier winning campaign appearing 17 times for the club and scoring one goal. This season Johnson made 36 appearances to reach half a century for Invicta.

Story so far

Second Round
Dartford 2-1 Dover Athletic
Jordan Greenidge scored twice on debut to start Dartford’s defence of the Kent Senior Cup. The striker opened his account after eighteen minutes and added a second with fifteen minutes to go. Dover Athletic pulled a goal back, but the Darts went through to the last eight of the competition.

Folkestone Invicta 0-0 VCD Athletic (Folkestone Invicta won 3-2 on penalties)
Neither side could make the important breakthrough in a goalless draw after 90 minutes. So the tie went straight to penalties with Invicta making it into the last eight. Out of the four missed penalties all of them missed the target, VCD Athletic failing to score three of them. Invicta were more clinical from 12 yards securing a 3-2 shoot-out victory.

Quarter Final
Margate 2-4 Dartford
Luke Allen opened the scoring after just six minutes to get Dartford on the way, but Margate equalised six minutes later through James Bessey-Saldanha. The Darts pulled away in the second half with goals from Kalvin Kalala, Ade Azeez and Ody Alfa before Vance Bola pulled one back for the hosts.

Folkestone Invicta 3-1 Ebbsfleet United
Two first-half goals in the space of five minutes changed this tie in Folkestone Invicta’s favour. Club record goalscorer, Ian Draycott added to his career tally putting the hosts ahead, then Invicta went two goals up after David Smith scored one of his 34 netted this term. Rakish Bingham gave Invicta something to think about by getting one back for Fleet, but the tie was settled when Simo Mbonkwi scored on debut

Semi Final
Welling United 2-2 Dartford (Dartford won 5-3 on penalties)
The Darts had one hand removed from the cup they are defending when Welling United went two up. A brace from Henry Burnett had the Wings in control, but Jordan Greenidge got the Darts back in the tie. The returning Dan Roberts won a stoppage time penalty, up stepped Jake Robinson to force a penalty shoot-out. Dartford scored all five and Reice Charles-Cook made a save to see the Darts through to the final.

Hythe Town 0-2 Folkestone Invicta
Two first half strikes from Ade Yusuff and David Smith put Invicta in command, the pair ended up with 62 goals between them this season in all competitions. Over a thousand turned up to watch the semi-final as the kick off was delayed due to crowd congestion. Yussuf scored with a low drilled shot and Smith finished a well taken goal, which was enough to settle this semi-final.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 6 / Folkestone Invicta wins: 10 / Draws: 4

Current Form (all competitions)

Dartford
(WDWLWD)
    Folkestone Invicta
(WDWLDW)
   
Chippenham Town* (NSPO) H 0-0 Hythe Town (KSC) A 2-0
Eastbourne Borough A 7-2 Haringey Borough A 4-4
Braintree Town H 0-1 Margate H 0-1
Slough Town A 6-0 Leatherhead A 1-0
Welling United (KSC)** A 2-2 Corinthian Casuals H 2-2
St Albans City H 3-1 Ebbsfleet United (KSC) H 3-1

NSPO = National South Playoff / KSC = Kent Senior Cup
* lost 3-2 on penalties
** won 5-3 on penalties

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 4 – 0 Folkestone Invicta (25/02/2020 – Kent Senior Cup)
Folkestone Invicta 1 – 4 Dartford (07/12/2011 – Kent Senior Cup)
Dartford 2 – 2 Folkestone Invicta (12/09/2006 – Isthmian League Cup)*
Dartford 1 – 2 Folkestone Invicta (18/01/2005 – Kent Senior Cup)
Folkestone Invicta 0 – 1 Dartford (13/03/2004 – Southern League Division One)
Dartford 1 – 6 Folkestone Invicta (24/02/2004 – Southern League Division One)
*Dartford won 5-3 on penalties

Stats

  • Dartford have played five times against Folkestone Invicta in the Kent Senior Cup (W2, L3)
  • The Darts are three games unbeaten against Invicta (W2, D1) having lost the previous eight in a row between 1998 and 2005
  • The last four meetings have been cup ties and Dartford have won the last three

On This Day

Dartford have only played twice on this day with a record of one win and one defeat. The 1946/1947 Southern League campaign went on until mid-June, so even after the 1-0 loss at Hereford, the Darts still had six more games to go. Dartford ended the season in 11th place, a month earlier they won the Kent Senior Cup for the fifth time. Thirty years later, Dartford played their final home game of the 1976/1977 season beating Atherstone United 2-1, three days later they completed the Southern Premier League in 18th place. Silverware was also picked up that season when they beat Yeovil Town in the Southern League Cup in April.

Dartford v Chippenham Town

Dartford start their National South playoff campaign with home advantage against Chippenham Town on Thursday night.

The Darts signed off the regular season in style to bag a home tie in the eliminator round. A resounding 7-2 win on Saturday against an Eastbourne Borough side, who have also made the playoffs will give Steve King’s team confidence in their push for promotion to the National League. Finishing fourth means Dartford are up against Chippenham Town, who sneaked into the playoffs on the final day of the season.

Dartford ended the campaign strongly on the road scoring an incredible 13 goals in their final two away matches. The Darts beat Slough Town 6-0 and followed that up with a handsome win at Eastbourne Borough. Yet in between those victories they lost only their second match at home versus Braintree Town, a second defeat at Princes Park in three games after going an impressive 17 unbeaten on their own patch.

King made another six changes for the final game of the season in a campaign which has seen the Darts use 45 players in all competitions. Dan Roberts retuned to the starting eleven for the first time since November and first league appearance since he came on as a substitute against Ebbsfleet United in February, the forward has been on loan at Carshalton Athletic. Jordan Wynter also returned from injury, whilst Samir Carruthers, Kalvin Kalala, Kristian Campbell and Marcus Dinanga were also selected. Three of those managed to get on the scoresheet justifying King’s rotation policy on the weekend. Dan Roberts opened the scoring as early as the fourth minute, whilst Dinanga and Kalala both netted a brace. Kory Roberts and Jordan Greenidge also found the back of the Eastbourne Borough net on a fantastic afternoon for the Darts.

Dartford sign off the National South campaign in style at Eastbourne Borough – Dartford FC TV

Dinanga approaches the playoffs in red hot form, the striker only joined Dartford in February on loan from Altrincham. In that time the 24-year-old has scored 13 goals in 15 appearances and ended up as Dartford’s top goalscorer in the league. Greenidge is another loanee after arriving from Weymouth, he has taken his opportunities when presented with them scoring six in eight appearances including three in his last two outings. King can also call upon Ade Azeez and Jake Robinson, the pair have scored 33 between them in all competitions since joining in the summer. Defensively, the Darts have managed 18 clean sheets and, in the league, boasted the second-best defensive record. Captain, Tom Bonner has marshalled the back line and since Conor Essam’s injury in March has struck up a good partnership with on loan defender Kory Roberts. Meanwhile, player of the season Dan Wilks has been out injured, but goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cook has been more than an adequate replacement in the final four games.

King, who has lost playoff finals with Dartford, Welling United and Whitehawk now has the dilemma of whether to stick with the players involved in the last two away wins or use his squad with the thought of a potential semi-final on Sunday. Although planning too far ahead would be foolish with Chippenham Town on the horizon. The Bluebirds have taken four points off the Darts this term.

Chippenham Town sneaked into the playoffs after some good form. The Bluebirds beat Havant and Waterlooville on the final day to take the last spot from their opponents. The Wiltshire club will be a tough prospect for the Darts having taken four points off them this term

The sides played out an entertaining 3-3 draw at Princes Park during the last meeting at Dartford’s home in November. The Darts came from behind to lead at the break, then twice gave up their advantage. Dan Griffiths put the visitors in front, but his goal was cancelled out by Ade Azeez. The now departed Noor Husin put Dartford in front before the interval and in the second-half Ricky Aguiar equalised again for the visitors. Azeez looked like he’d won the match for the Darts with thirteen to go, but in the final minute Luke Russe rescued a point for the Wiltshire club.

The Darts last home meeting against Chippenham Town back in November – Dartford FC TV

In the return fixture Dartford needed victory to keep the pressure on at the top and keep their title aspirations alive. Having just beaten league leaders Dorking Wanderers a win for Steve King’s side would have put his side in with a really good shout for top spot. However, the Darts were stunned in a 4-2 defeat which saw Keiran Murtagh sent off. The midfielder is likely to miss the playoffs after picking up an injury at Slough Town.

Jordan Greenidge scored to give Dartford a seven minute lead, his first league strike for the club. Four minutes after Kieran Murtagh was cautioned, the hosts equalised through Jordan Young, then before the interval Murtagh received a second yellow card and was sent off. Chippenham Town made the man advantage count in the second period. First, Young put the Bluebirds ahead, then Alefe Santos D’Abadia stretched the hosts lead. Ade Azeez gave Dartford hope, however Chippenham Town secured maximum points with a fourth scored by Joe Hanks.

The Darts last meeting against Chippenham Town in March – Dartford FC TV

Chippenham Town finished 15 points behind the Darts and made it into the playoffs in a pressure game at Havant and Waterlooville. The Bluebirds needed to win at Westleigh Park to fly past the Hawks and into the final playoff place. Heading into the clash, Gary Horgan’s side were four unbeaten with three wins and a draw. The interim manager has only been in charge for five weeks taking over from Mike Cook. Although Horgan lost his first match in charge against runners up Dorking Wanderers, he has improved Chippenham Town’s form at the right time taking the club from eleventh to seventh.

The unbeaten run was extended on the final day with the decisive 2-0 triumph over Havant and Waterlooville. A Jordan Young double was enough to not only secure a top seven finish but also record the club’s highest ever finish in the National South. Young finished top scorer in the league for the Bluebirds with nine goals. Since defeat at Dorking Wanderers, the Wiltshire club kept back-to-back clean sheets in victories over playoff contenders Oxford City and mid-table side Dulwich Hamlet. The Bluebirds took a crucial point against Ebbsfleet United, the side waiting for the winner of this eliminator tie and were disappointed not to have won after squandering the lead twice. A last-minute winner from Noah Coppin against Hungerford Town in their penultimate match set up the final day drama in Hampshire.

The Bluebirds have not only found form at the perfect moment they also have a respectable record against the teams that have made the playoffs. They have lost the fewest against their competitors and have beaten Dorking Wanderers, Dartford and Oxford City. However, those victories came at Hardenhuish Park and on their travels they have yet to beat a side finishing between second and sixth picking up four draws out of five.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Chippenham Town wins: 2 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Dartford
(WLWWLW)
    Chippenham Town
(LWWDWW)
   
Eastbourne Borough A 7-2 Havant and Waterlooville A 2-0
Braintree Town H 0-1 Hungerford Town H 3-2
Slough Town A 6-0 Ebbsfleet United A 2-2
St Albans City H 3-1 Dulwich Hamlet H 2-0
Maidstone United H 0-1 Oxford City H 1-0
Billericay Town A 2-0 Dorking Wanderers A 0-3

Previous Meetings

Chippenham Town 4 – 2 Dartford (12/03/2022 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 3 Chippenham Town (06/11/2021 – National South)
Chippenham Town 1 – 2 Dartford (27/10/2020 – National South)
Chippenham Town 1 – 5 Dartford (01/02/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Chippenham Town (26/10/2019 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Chippenham Town (13/04/2019 – National South)
Chippenham Town 1 – 2 Dartford (13/10/2018 – National South)
Chippenham Town 2 – 2 Dartford (20/01/2018 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Chippenham Town (09/09/2017 – National South)

Stats

  • The last four meetings between Dartford and Chippenham Town has seen 21 goals (5.25 goals per game)
  • Dartford have lost two of their last three at home after going 17 unbeaten at Princes Park in the league
  • The Darts are unbeaten at home against sides that have reached the playoffs (W3, D2)
  • Chippenham Town have not won on the road against the other teams in the playoffs (D4, L1)
  • Dartford have the joint best home defence conceding 18. Chippenham Town have the joint best away defence conceding just 20.

Season Comparison

Dartford
Won 21 Drawn 11 Lost 8 For 75 Against 42 Points 74 Goal Difference +33
(Home record W10, D8, L2, F32, A18, Pts 38, GD +14)

Chippenham Town
Won 16 Drawn 11 Lost 13 For 61 Against 50 Points 59 Goal Difference +11
(Away record W6, D8, L6, F22, A20, Pts 26, GD +2)

Eastbourne Borough v Dartford

Dartford’s final game of the National South season against Eastbourne Borough will decide who both sides will face in the playoffs.

These two sides could easily be going head-to-head again as early as mid-week depending on this weekend’s results. If the Darts finish lower than third, they will be taking on the team that finishes sixth or potentially seventh in the playoff eliminator round.

Dartford are currently fourth and to avoid the eliminator round they must beat Eastbourne Borough and hope Ebbsfleet United drop points at home to Chelmsford City. Any other outcome will see the Darts start their playoff campaign on Wednesday 11 May, if they finish fifth or Thursday 12 May, if they stay in fourth. The Darts can only finish fifth if they lose to Eastbourne Borough and Oxford City beat Bath City at Twerton Park, there also needs to be a three-goal swing.

Eastbourne Borough are likely to finish sixth and can only be caught by seventh place Havant and Waterlooville. For that to happen, the Hawks will need to win their clash for the last playoff spot against eighth place Chippenham Town. Danny Bloor’s side have a six-goal advantage over Havant and Waterlooville.

Playoff fixtures
Wednesday 11 May 2022 – Eliminator Match A (5th v 6th)
Thursday 12 May 2022 – Eliminator Match B (4th v 7th)
Saturday 14 May 2022* – Semi Final (2nd v Eliminator Winner Match A)
Sunday 15 May 2022 – Semi Final (3rd v Eliminator Winner Match B)
Saturday 21 May 2022 – Promotion Final
*Subject to change to Sunday 15 May if both clubs are in agreement

Third place was in Dartford’s hands after an impressive 6-0 away win at Slough Town last weekend. With a Bank Holiday fixture also scheduled, Steve King chose to make six changes in the final home game of the regular season and saw his side come undone in a poor display against lowly Braintree Town. The Dartford boss was without Player of the Season Dan Wilks, so Reice Charles-Cook continued in goal. Keiran Murtagh, who managed to score three times in his last two games looks likely to be out for the playoffs after injury at Slough Town. Jordan Wynter is also struggling with injury, whilst Jernade Meade is being carefully reintroduced after a period on the sidelines, he started in the 1-0 defeat on Monday. In form striker Marcus Dinanga made a substitute appearance against Braintree Town, suggesting King is being cautious about his fitness ahead of the playoffs. Dinanga has scored 11 goals in his 14 appearances for the Darts and could be key to their success.

Highlight’s of Dartford’s last game against Eastbourne Borough – Dartford FC TV

The reverse fixture took place on August Bank Holiday and 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 and the second came from the penalty spot, after some sublime build up play led to a handball. 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 victory for the Darts.

Victory over Eastbourne Borough came six months after losing to the Sussex side at Princes Park. The winning goal for the Sports came from Chris Whelpdale. Nine days later the National South 2020/2021 campaign was declared null and void. In fact, Eastbourne Borough were one of the very few teams the Darts played twice that season. Dartford’s last visit to Priory Lane in December 2020 resulted in a 3-1 loss. Charley Kendall, Whelpdale and Joe Rollinson all scored for the hosts, Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong netted a consolation.

Eastbourne Borough have had a very good season under Danny Bloor and in the club’s last three full campaigns they had finished eighteenth. The Sports manager joined the Sussex side around the same time King started his Dartford journey, so it’s also his first full season in charge at Priory Lane. Perhaps with the knowledge of almost certainly making the playoffs, their form has dipped since the start of April. Currently on a run of three straight defeats after a pair of draws, the Sports are winless in five league outings, but they had already done enough to guarantee a top seven place.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend, Eastbourne Borough first lost in what was an important game at the time for Billericay Town. The Sports fell to their first home loss since early February and only their fifth on their own patch this term in the National South. Two early goals gave the visitors hope of staying in the division, although that hope was ended two days later. Eastbourne Borough pulled a goal back through Charlie Walker, but it wasn’t enough to avoid defeat to the team bottom of the table. Then on Monday they lost 2-0 at Tonbridge Angels to leave them in sixth place but guaranteed their highest finish since returning to the National South in 2011.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 13 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 8 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford
(DWLWWL)
    Eastbourne Borough
(WDDLLL)
   
Braintree Town H 0-1 Tonbridge Angels A 0-2
Slough Town A 6-0 Billericay Town H 1-2
St Albans City H 3-1 Havant and Waterlooville A 0-3
Maidstone United H 0-1 Welling United H 3-3
Billericay Town A 2-0 Slough Town A 2-2
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Concord Rangers H 2-0

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 3 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (30/08/2021 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (09/02/2021 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 3 – 1 Dartford (05/12/2020 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (22/02/2020 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 0 – 2 Dartford (02/11/2019 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 6 – 0 Dartford (20/04/2019 – National South)

Stats

  • After going 12 games unbeaten against the Sports, Dartford have won three of the last seven meetings (D0, L4)
  • Dartford have won just two of their last eight final matches of the season (D2, L4) both on the South coast (Poole Town and Bognor Regis Town)

On This Day

Dartford were beaten in the National South playoff semi-final against Chelmsford City five years ago. Two goals in the final twenty minutes put the Clarets 2-0 up on aggregate, Duane Ofori-Acheampong scored a last minute consolation. That defeat is one of only two on this day, the Darts also lost 1-0 to Bath City in 1977. Dartford have won six and drawn two in the ten outings on 7 May. The last victory came in 1983 when Dartford won on the road at Enderby Town in the Southern Premier League. Between 1927 and 1955, the Darts won all five on this day including a 7-0 Southern League East victory over Bournemouth and Boscombe Reserves in 1932. Dartford are unbeaten when away from home on this day, winning three and drawing the other.

Dartford v Braintree Town

Dartford prepare for the National South playoffs in their last home league game of the season against Braintree Town this Bank Holiday.

The Darts secured a place in the playoffs after their Good Friday victory. Since then they have been jockeying for a league position to get as much home advantage as possible for the end of season finale. Braintree Town managed to turn their fortunes around this season after looking like they were in serious relegation trouble.

A convincing win on Saturday at Slough Town will give Steve King’s side plenty of confidence ahead of this Bank Holiday fixture. Two changes were made to the last league outing which the Darts won 3-1 against St Albans City. After his goal in the Kent Senior Cup semi-final, Jordan Greenidge started as well as Olumide Durojaiye. In form striker, Marcus Dinanga took barely any time at all to open the scoring and the advantage doubled when Keiran Murtagh flicked in Jack Jebb’s corner. Murtagh waited until his 39th appearance for his first goals for the club last weekend, now he has three in his last two. However, the midfielder’s afternoon was cut short when he went off injured. By half-time the Darts were three up through Dinanga, his 11th goal in only 13 appearances. Kalvin Kalala got in on the act with his second league goal for the Darts. Greenidge justified his selection in the starting line up with Dartford’s fifth, since arriving from Weymouth the striker has scored five in seven games. To wrap things up, Durojaiye scored his first goal for the Darts, to make it 6-0.

Back in December, Dartford visited Cressing Road to take on Braintree Town who were second from bottom. The Darts who were joint top at the time came away with a point but only just. Perhaps that gave Braintree Town the belief they needed to improve results over the next three months. Kalvin Kalala made his Dartford debut and his new side had to wait until the last kick of the game to snatch a point. A stunning stoppage time free-kick from Jack Jebb completed a two goal comeback after a Jake Robinson penalty halved the deficit. The visitors went two goals up through Gabriel Piorkowski and Gio Crichlow.

Highlight’s of Dartford taking on Braintree Town in December – Dartford FC TV

Over the years Dartford have found victories rare against Braintree Town with only three in 15 attempts. In fact the Essex side went eight unbeaten against the Darts, until the last time they visited Princes Park in August 2019. On that day, a late Norman Wabo goal was decisive in a 2-1 win for the Darts. Former Dartford academy player, Femi Akinwande put the Iron in front before Luke Wanadio missed a penalty. However, the hosts recovered with goals from former Braintree Town midfielder Luke Allen and Wabo’s winner. Tony Burman was in charge in the only other home win against the Essex side back in 2011, Elliot Bradbrook netting the only goal of the game.

Highlight’s of Dartford’s last win over Braintree Town – Dartford FC TV

The 2-2 draw at the end of last year was the start of four draws in five for the Darts, a period that saw them lose ground at the top. Although King’s side made up ground with five straight victories, away defeats at Hungerford Town and Chippenham Town dented their title aspirations. The Darts were hanging in the title race until a pair of draws early last month and since Good Friday’s win over Billericay Town they have also reached a second Kent Senior Cup final in a row.

During that same period Braintree Town tightened up at the back going through a spell of eight clean sheets in eleven games. Between mid January through to mid March, the Iron only lost twice picking up six wins and five draws including a victory over Ebbsfleet United, their only victory against a top six side this season. That’s not to say they have fared badly against the teams at the top because they have drawn five against those teams.

In April, the Iron could have easily been dragged back in to the relegation battle after three straight defeats without scoring. However four points in their last two outings, a draw with Oxford City followed by Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Hemel Hempstead Town guarantee National South football next season.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Braintree Town wins: 7 / Draws: 5

Current League Form

Dartford
(DDWLWW)
    Braintree Town
(WLLLDW)
   
Slough Town A 6-0 Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-1
St Albans City H 3-1 Oxford City A 1-1
Maidstone United H 0-1 Concord Rangers H 0-1
Billericay Town A 2-0 Havant and Waterlooville A 0-4
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Hampton and Richmond H 0-1
Oxford City A 1-1 SloughTown A 2-0

Previous Meetings (last six)

Braintree Town 2 – 2 Dartford (28/12/2021 – National South)
Braintree Town 2 – 1 Dartford (09/01/2021 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Braintree Town (24/08/2019 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Braintree Town (06/05/2018 – National South Playoff)
Dartford 1 – 1 Braintree Town (23/12/2017 – National South)
Braintree Town 2 – 2 Dartford (08/08/2017 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford are yet to lose to a team in the bottom six (W8, D3)
  • The Darts have lost just once at home in the league this season (W10, D8, L1). The last time they lost one at home in the league was in the 1995/96 Kent League First Division campaign (W16, D2, L1)
  • Dartford have scored in their last three games against Braintree Town. The Darts have never scored in four consecutive matches against the Iron.

On This Day

Dartford are unbeaten in their last ten games on this day recording eight victories in that time, including a Kent Senior Cup final win and a National South semi-final playoff victory. The Darts won promotion to the National League ten years ago and the 1-0 playoff semi-final win at Basingstoke Town helped set them on their way. Lee Noble scored an important winner in the first leg, but not quite as important as the winner he scored 11 days later in the final. A year before saw Dartford lift the county cup for the first time in 23 years by beating Bromley 4-1 in the final. Elliot Bradbrook, Ryan Hayes, Danny Harris and an own goal ensured the Darts picked up some silverware. Heartbreakingly, it was 26 years ago that Dartford lost the Kent League First Division title on goal difference in tense and dramatic circumstances. Needing to beat league leaders Furness on the final day of the season, the Darts only managed a 1-1 draw after Sean Bristow equalised.

Slough Town v Dartford

Dartford aim to build momentum ahead of the playoffs and next up is an away trip to Slough Town on the weekend.

A runner up spot is out of reach for the Darts and so their attention turns to moving into third and receiving a bye into the semi-finals of the playoffs. Although mathematically they can still draw level on points with second place Dorking Wanderers, the Darts will need a massive goal swing. After victory in their last league outing, Steve King’s side are sitting in fourth just a point behind rivals Ebbsfleet United and level on goal difference.

Slough Town can still make the playoff places but were hindered by Tuesday night’s result at Concord Rangers. The Rebels are four points from a top seven finish with two games remaining. The Berkshire club enter this weekend’s game unbeaten in their last five league matches drawing their last two.

The Darts can go into Saturday’s fixture with confidence after beating St Albans City last weekend and then reaching a second Kent Senior Cup final in a row. In their penultimate home game of the regular National South season, Steve King’s side put their derby day defeat against Maidstone United behind them. Four changes were made to the starting eleven with goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cook making his third appearance. Kristian Campbell, Ade Azeez and Keiran Murtagh all returned to the line-up with Murtagh making an important contribution to the game. The midfielder scored twice and set up Marcus Dinanga in a 3-1 victory which saw the Darts pass 100 goals in all competitions since the start of the campaign. Dinanga will be hoping to maintain his scoring streak having scored in five of his last six appearance, taking his tally to nine in 12 appearances for the season.

Dartford make it into the Kent Senior Cup Final – Dartford FC TV

A further eight changes were made in the Kent Senior Cup semi-final against Welling United on Tuesday night in a tie that went to penalties. Former Slough Town forward, Dan Roberts returned to the squad on the bench and made an impact in a dramatic twist at the end of the game. The Darts found themselves two goals down by half-time when Henry Burnett scored twice. Dartford rallied in the second-half and Jordan Greenidge scored his 4th for the club in seven appearances to provide hope. Deep into stoppage time, Dan Roberts won a penalty, up stepped Jake Robinson to net his 17th of the campaign. Dartford scored all five penalties and Charles-Cook made a crucial save to secure a 5-3 shoot-out victory.

The reverse fixture against Slough Town in August ended with Dartford earning a comfortable 3-0 triumph. In the first competitive game in front of home fans since March 2020, Noor Husin gave a masterclass in midfield and his man of the match performance was rewarded with a goal. Against his old club, Dan Roberts impressed with a key pass for the opening goal and a couple of assists, whilst Ade Azeez and George Porter netted the other two goals.

Dartford’s win against Slough Town earlier in the season – Dartford FC TV

Dartford’s last visit to Arbour Park came in December 2020 when they drew Slough Town in the F.A Trophy second round. Like Tuesday night’s county cup win, Dartford came from two goals down to take the game to penalties. Josh Jackson and Warren Harris put the hosts in command, but goals from Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong and Moussa Bakayoko within three minutes of each other forced spot-kicks, Dartford won 6-5 in the shoot-out. That was the third time the two sides met in that campaign over a two-month period. The Rebels won a F.A Cup tie 1-0 at Princes Park and in the league, Dartford triumphed at home with both goals from Chris Dickson.

The Darts last visited the Rebels in a National South fixture back in January 2020. On the scoresheet that day for Slough Town was Dan Roberts, he also netted in the reverse fixture that season as his former club completed a league double. However, the two sides were to meet again in the playoffs and this time the Darts won 3-0 thanks to Charlie Sheringham’s brace and Luke Wanadio’s strike. 

Dartford’s last visit to Arbour Park courtesy of Slough Town FC

Slough Town have put a positive run together to try and gatecrash the playoffs, however in their current sequence of five without defeat they have drawn three and those dropped points could be decisive. On Tuesday night they went to Concord Rangers knowing victory will give them a better chance of a top seven finish. It looked good for the Rebels just past the hour mark when Ben Harris scored, but the Beachboys were level when Mamadou Jobe netted in the 1-1 draw. The result was a repeat of their weekend game against Chelmsford City in which Slough Town threw away a lead, this time whilst the Clarets were down to ten men. Prior the two draws, the Rebels put back-to-back wins together beating Tonbridge Angels 1-0 and Hemel Hempstead Town 2-0.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 6 / Slough Town wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Dartford
(WDDWLW)
    Slough Town
(LLDWWD)
   
St Albans City H 3-1 Chelmsford City A 1-1
Maidstone United H 0-1 Hemel Hempstead Town H 2-0
Billericay Town A 2-0 Tonbridge Angels A 1-0
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Eastbourne Borough H 2-2
Oxford City A 1-1 Dorking Wanderers A 0-5
Hampton & Richmond A 1-0 Braintree Town H 0-2

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 3 – 0 Slough Town (21/08/2021 – National South)
Slough Town 2 – 2 Dartford (15/12/2020 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 2 – 0 Slough Town (21/11/2020 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Slough Town (03/10/2020 – F.A Cup)
Slough Town 0 – 3 Dartford (19/07/2020 – National South Playoff)
Slough Town 1 – 0 Dartford (18/01/2020 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford are unbeaten in their last three matches against Slough Town (W2, D1)
  • Five of the six visits to Arbour Park have ended with three or more goals scored, the Darts have won 3, drawn 2 and lost 1. The defeat being the only game with less than three goals scored.
  • The Darts have kept three clean sheets in their last five games against the Rebels having previously gone seven consecutive fixtures without keeping a clean sheet when playing the Berkshire club.

On This Day

The last four games played on this day were all end of season fixtures, the most recent ended in a dismal 4-0 defeat at St Albans City six years ago. However, five years earlier the Darts enjoyed an entertaining 3-2 win at Maidenhead United with goals from Charlie Sheringham, Jack Pallen and Ryan Hayes. Barton Rovers were beaten 2-0 on their own patch to close out the 2005/2006 Southern League Division One Eastern campaign and 12 months earlier Dartford lost their last home game on this day 3-0 against East Thurrock United in the same division. In 1988, Dartford kept their Southern Premier League title hopes alive with a 2-1 victory over VS Rugby. However, the season ended in heartbreak the following week as they lost on goal difference to Aylesbury United by just four goals. Two years earlier, Dartford said goodbye to the top tier of non-league as they were relegated from the Alliance Premier League. The Darts lost 5-0 at Runcorn and had to wait 26 years to return to the non-league top flight.

Welling United v Dartford

Dartford will reach the Kent Senior Cup final for a second time in a row if they can overcome Welling United in the semi-final on Tuesday night.

Unbeaten in the county cup for over three years, the Darts are aiming to earn their 13th Kent Senior title. The current holders have already secured a playoff place in the National South and will be seen as favourites to claim some silverware. Welling United are in a relegation battle hoping to avoid the drop into the Isthmian Premier League, the Wings have three titles to their name last making the final five years ago.

It’s possible both sides will make plenty of changes to their starting eleven with Dartford still trying to achieve a higher finish in the league before the playoffs. Understandably, National South survival will be paramount for Welling United who have three games to keep in front of bottom side Billericay Town.

Dartford boss, Steve King has an excellent record against his former club. Since joining the Darts in October 2019 he has guided them to four wins and a draw, scoring 19 and conceding just four. Welling United have to go back to just over three years for their only triumph in the last ten versus Dartford. However, it was the Wings who came out on top the last time these two sides met in the Kent Senior Cup.

Dartford highlight’s of their last trip to Park View Road – Dartford FC TV

Like this season, the Darts went into that tie in 2016 as cup holders. After a 2-2 draw they went out on penalties. Under the guidance of former Dartford midfielder Jamie Day, the Wings took the lead through another former Darts player, Harry Crawford. Winger, Ryan Hayes scored from the spot to level and Keaton Wood put the Darts in front, but a late equaliser from Matt Fish took the tie to penalties, which Welling United won 4-1.

The result will be familiar to Welling United fans this term, they have drawn both their Kent Senior Cup matches this season 2-2, also with late goals and ended up progressing on penalties. Dartford on the other hand have had a smoother passage to the semi-final with a 2-1 win over relegated National League side Dover Athletic and a 4-2 victory against Isthmian Premier League team Margate.

Dartford have dominated this fixture in the 2021/2022 campaign winning 6-0 at Park View Road in September.  Ade Azeez and Luke Allen both netted a brace, but it was Noor Husin who opened the scoring, whilst Danny Leonard grabbed the other. At Princes Park the Darts weren’t as commanding, Welling United went ahead twice before falling to defeat. Afolabi Akinyemi twice put the Wings in front, but Dartford hit back, firstly when Marcus Dinanga scored his first for the club and secondly, when Danny Leonard equalised. Goals from Allen and a second from Dinanga made sure the Darts won 4-2 to complete a league double over Welling United.

Dartford win at Princes Park in their last meeting against Welling United – Dartford FC TV

The Darts warmed up to the semi-final tie with another 3-1 victory over St Albans City in the National South on the weekend. A repeat of the score on the opening day of the season saw Keiran Murtagh score his first goals for the Darts on his 39th appearance. The midfielder netted a brace before Dinanga scored his ninth in just 12 appearances. Dartford also passed 100 goals in all competitions since the beginning of the season.

Welling United were also in action and earned an important point to give them a slender cushion at the bottom. Yet it could have been so much better as the Wings led 2-1 going into injury time at the end of the match. James Roberts gave Havant and Waterlooville the lead, but Warren Feeney’s side turned the game around after Akinyemi and Ade Shokunbi scored. In the final stages, Jake Andrews equalised for the Hawks in the 95th minute. Feeney will be Welling United’s third manager to take on the Darts this season after Mark Goldberg took temporary charge following Steve Lovell’s sacking in September, and former Dartford boss Peter Taylor was in the dugout back in February.

The winner of this semi-final tie will face either Folkestone Invicta or Hythe Town in the final.

Story so far

Second Round
Dartford 2-1 Dover Athletic
Jordan Greenidge scored twice on debut to start the defence of the Kent Senior Cup. The striker opened his account after eighteen minutes and added a second with fifteen minutes to go. Dover Athletic pulled a goal back, but the Darts went through to the last eight of the competition.

Herne Bay 2-2 Welling United (Welling United won 5-4 on penalties)
A stoppage time equaliser from Bradley Pearce took this tie to penalties, which Welling United won. The Wings took the lead in the first-half when Kristan Campbell set up Matty Hew. Herne Bay’s Dan Johnson scored twice to set up an upset, but up popped Pearce to save the tie for the Wings. The visitors prevailed in spot-kicks with D’Sean Theobalds scoring one of the five for Welling United.

Quarter Final
Margate 2-4 Dartford
Luke Allen opened the scoring after just six minutes to get Dartford on the way, but Margate equalised six minutes later through James Bessey-Saldanha. The Darts pulled away in the second half with goals from Kalvin Kalala, Ade Azeez and Ody Alfa before Vance Bola pulled one back for the hosts.

Welling United 2-2 Tonbridge Angels (Welling United won 4-3 on penalties)
Another late goal and another game of penalties sent Welling United into the last four. The Angels went ahead as early as the ninth minute when Jake Embury scored for the visitors, but Mason Saunders-Henry levelled before the interval. The Wings missed a penalty and Tonbridge Angels took advantage with a goal from Ibrahim Olutade. With time running out Welling United were awarded another spot kick which scored, then the hosts went on to win the shoot-out.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 24 / Welling United wins: 10 / Draws: 10

Current Form (all competitions)

Dartford
(DWDWLW)
    Welling United
(LLDDLD)
   
St Albans City H 3-1 Havant & Waterlooville H 2-2
Maidstone United A 0-1 Dorking Wanderers H 0-4
Billericay Town A 2-0 Eastbourne Borough A 3-3
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Tonbridge Angels (KSC) H 2-2*
Margate (KSC) A 4-2 Ebbsfleet United H 2-4
Oxford City A 1-1 Tonbridge Angels A 0-1

*Welling United won 4-3 on penalties

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 4 – 2 Welling United (05/02/2022 – National South)
Welling United 0 – 6 Dartford (25/09/2021 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 2 Welling United (06/02/2021 – National South)
Dartford 4 – 0 Welling United (01/01/2020 – National South)
Welling United 0 – 3 Dartford (26/12/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Welling United (01/01/2019 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford have played 13 times against Welling United in the Kent Senior Cup (W8, D2*, L3) * – lost one on penalties
  • The Darts have only drawn the Wings once in the Kent Senior Cup semi-final winning 2-0 in 1988. Dartford went on to lift the county cup.
  • Dartford have lost just once in normal time in their last 16 matches against Welling United (W10, D5, L1). The Darts have won five of the last six, drawing the other.
  • The Darts have won by an aggregate score of 10-2 against Welling United this season eclipsing the previous best of 7-0 in the 2019/2020 campaign.

On This Day

Dartford lifted the Kent Senior Cup in 2016 beating Charlton Athletic in the final at Princes Park. Having beaten Welling United, Gillingham, Herne Bay and Greenwich Borough on the way, the Darts took on the Addicks and won 3-1. Elliot Bradbrook opened the scoring before Charlton Athletic levelled nine minutes later. Ronnie Vint then Ben Francis scored in the second-half to claim the cup. In 1988, Dartford staged a superb second leg comeback to win the Southern League Cup. Finding themselves 3-1 down from the first leg, the Darts won 3-0 at Watling Street to win the cup 4-3 on aggregate thanks to goals from Gary Britnell,, Kurt Davidson and Colin Johnson. in 2008, Brendon Cass scored the winner against Wingate and Finchley on the final day of the season to help continue the Isthmian Division One North title celebrations. The Darts wrapped up the title early and lifted the trophy at Princes Park on this day.

Dartford v St Albans City

Dartford are in action this weekend when they host St Albans City in their penultimate home game of the National South regular season.

With a National South playoff place secured, the Darts will be aiming for home advantage, which is dependent on where they finish at the end of the season. Steve King’s side lost their first home game in the league on Easter Monday against rivals and league leaders Maidstone United and will be determined to bounce back. St Albans City still have a shot at making the playoffs despite a dip in form since the beginning of last month.

The reverse fixture against the Saints was played on the opening day of the season. At the time the prospect of taking on St Albans City to begin the campaign seemed difficult. Saints had a strong 2020/2021 and after 15 games were only behind league leaders Dorking Wanderers on points per game, before the season was cut short. However, the Darts passed with flying colours setting off on a fantastic run of seven victories and a draw in their first eight National South games.

Ade Azeez and Dan Roberts scored on debut at Clarence Park in a 3-1 win. The Darts scored at the end of either half to claim all three points and it was another debutante, Danny Leonard who provided the cross for Azeez’s first goal for the club. A former Dartford player, Tom Bender equalised for the hosts, but two late goals from substitute Dan Roberts secured the win. Keiran Murtagh, Jake Robinson and George Porter also made their first appearances.

Highlights of the opening day meeting courtesy of SACFC TV

St Albans City won on their last visit to Princes Park when Shaun Jeffers scored a late wonder goal. The striker put in a fine performance capping it off with the match winner. Dartford’s form over the Saints has improved in the last three years with three victories and a draw in the last five meetings. Prior this current run the Darts had won once in six, failing to score in five of those.

Dartford had a mixed Easter with a comfortable victory against Billericay Town and a narrow defeat to Maidstone United. King made two changes to the team that beat Billericay Town 2-0 on Good Friday. Goals from Jack Jebb and Marcus Dinanga secured a playoff place. For the Easter Monday fixture full back, Jernade Meade made his first league start since the beginning of the year and Samir Carruthers was back in midfield. Kristian Campbell and Murtagh were named as substitutes.

However, it was former Dartford striker, Jack Barham who came back to haunt his old side again. After netting a hat-trick in the reverse league fixture, the striker scored the winner putting an end to the Darts unbeaten home run in the National South. The Stones looked the better side and also missed a penalty when Dan Wilks saved from Barham. The closest Dartford came was when Carruthers hit the post, but the Darts were unable to derail their rivals title push.

Defeat means that the Darts have dropped to fourth in the table relinquishing a bye into the playoff semi-final and home advantage. With four games remaining they are only a point of a top three finish just behind local rivals Ebbsfleet United. If King’s side can climb above the Fleet and stay ahead of Oxford City and Eastbourne Borough then they can avoid that extra playoff match.

St Albans City need to make up three points just to get into the playoffs and on current form they will be pleased to sneak in. Although their last three outings have ended in a draw, a defeat and a win they had just lost six in a row and taken just one point from 21 available. On Monday they drew 0-0 with Hampton and Richmond Borough and on Good Friday lost 3-0 to lowly Chelmsford City.

Former Dart, Tom Bender was a substitute in the goalless draw with Hampton and Richmond Borough. He was part of Dartford’s 2014/2015 campaign and made 20 appearances in the National League for the Dartfs. The defender moved on to Forest Green Rovers before joining St Albans City during the 2015/2016 season. As well as scoring against the Darts on the opening day this term, Bender also grabbed a goal at Princes Park in November 2016 when the Saints won 2-0. Almost a year later he also netted an own goal which handed Dartford a 2-1 victory in October 2017.

However, the Darts will have to watch out for striker, Shaun Jeffers who has scored 25 league goals and 32 in all competitions, way more than anyone else for the club this term. Jeffers signed for St Albans City in the summer of 2020 and has so far scored 44 times in 67 appearances for the Saints. He also scored for his former side against the Darts whilst at Chelmsford City back in August 2016.

After taking on the Darts this weekend it doesn’t get any easier for the Hertfordshire side. The Saints host title chasing Dorking Wanderers, travel to playoff certainties Oxford City before ending at home to Tonbridge Angels. It’s been against the top sides that St Albans City have struggled to gain points on the road by failing to beat any of the top six on their travels.   

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 10 / St Albans City wins: 6 / Draws: 5

Current League Form

Dartford
(DWDDWL)
    St Albans City
(LLLWLD)
   
Maidstone United H 0-1 Hampton & Richmond A 0-0
Billericay Town A 2-0 Chelmsford City H 0-3
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Hungerford Town A 2-0
Oxford City A 1-1 Maidstone United A 2-3
Hampton & Richmond A 1-0 Concord Rangers A 1-2
Havant & Waterlooville H 1-1 Ebbsfleet United H 0-1

Previous Meetings (last six)

St Albans City 1 – 3 Dartford (14/08/2021 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 St Albans City (17/11/2020 – National South)
St Albans City 1 – 2 Dartford (07/03/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 St Albans City (06/08/2019 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 2 St Albans City (12/01/2019 – National South)
St Albans City 2 – 0 Dartford (01/09/2018 – National South)

Stats

  • Tom Bonner has now made 400 starts as a Dartford player and 403 appearances in total. The defender is now 9th on the all time appearance list for the club.
  • Dartford have won three of the last five fixtures against St Albans City, drawing twice and losing once.
  • The Darts had scored in their previous 14 league games before the blank at home to Maidstone United.

On This Day

Dartford are playing on St George’s Day for only the second time in 17 years this weekend. The last fixture on this day was in 2016 when the Darts drew 2-2 at home against Oxford City. Elliot Bradbrook’s scored a brace as the Darts levelled twice, the last equaliser coming from a late penalty. Dartford’s last win on 23 April was in 2001 when they beat Langley Sports 2-1 in the Southern League Division One East. In the same division four years later, the last defeat on this day came against Fisher Athletic by the same score line.

Dartford v Maidstone United

Dartford can have a say in the National South title race on Easter Monday when they host rivals Maidstone United.

A bumper crowd is expected for this Kent derby and with the Darts protecting their unbeaten home run and the Stones top of the table there is plenty up for grabs. Dartford secured a playoff place on Good Friday and they will want to derail their rivals bid for the title and promotion back to the National League after a three year absence.

Steve King has led the Darts to 17 home games in the National South without defeat and are currently on a seven match unbeaten league run home and away. However, with five fixtures remaining they are ten points adrift from the Stones and six behind second place Dorking Wanderers. Dartford warmed up ahead of the Kent derby with an away day at Billericay Town in which former Maidstone United defender started for the first time in over a month. Midfielder’s Luke Allen and Keiran Murtagh were back in the starting eleven and Jake Robinson was preferred to Ade Azeez up front. Two second-half strikes from Jack Jebb and Marcus Dinanga earned the Darts a 2-0 victory. Dinanga has now scored in four consecutive league games and has eight in just ten appearances since joining Dartford.

Dartford make it a Good Friday against Billericay Town – Dartford FC TV

The Darts will want to put behind them and avenge the defeat suffered at the Gallagher Stadium back in December. Maidstone United won 4-0 that day and to rub salt into Dartford’s wound, former striker Jack Barham scored a hat-trick and he has three of those this term. Defeat ended a run of seven unbeaten at the time and displaced the Darts from the top of the table. Instead, the Darts will want to reproduce the kind of performance that earned them a 3-0 victory at the same venue in the F.A Cup two months earlier. Goals from Noor Husin, Danny Leonard and Ade Azeez ensured King’s men had the bragging rights back then and a foot in the next round.

Since Dartford’s cup victory the tables have turned as Maidstone United’s form since late November propelled them to the summit. The Stones have won 18 of their last 22 league games, drawing twice and losing twice. A sticky patch for the Darts from October to January saw them playing catch up, but an excellent win against title challengers Dorking Wanderers got them back in with a shout a month ago. However, a loss at Chippenham Town and few more draws mean they are likely to finish in the playoffs.

Dartford win the F.A Cup tie at the Gallagher Stadium – Dartford FC TV

In this fixture the Darts are unbeaten at home in the league since 1978 and a former Maidstone United player could help them maintain that record on Monday. Jake Robinson could potentially make an impact in front of goal if selected against the Stones, the striker had a brief spell with Maidstone United between December 2018 and March 2019 scoring just twice in eleven appearances.

Prior the heavy reverse four months ago, the Darts had completed a three game winning streak against their rivals in all competitions without conceding. What is more impressive is all those matches came on the road. The aforementioned F.A Cup triumph came after a 2-0 victory at the Gallagher Stadium last season in which Tom Bonner and Charlie Sheringham scored in the final twelve minutes. In January 2020, the Darts progressed in a Kent Senior Cup tie with a 1-0 win, Ky Marsh-Brown scored the decisive goal. Dartford went on to lift the cup with the final being played this season. It was the fourth time the two teams faced each other in that campaign, the previous three came within a space of ten days.

Dartford’s last game against Maidstone United – Dartford FC TV

A pair of 2-2 draws, firstly in the National South then in the F.A Trophy proved it was difficult to separate the two rivals. In the league game, Dartford made a dramatic late comeback at home after Dan Wishart and Ibby Akanbi scored in three second-half minutes. However, Bonner scored with just three minutes on the clock and Darren McQueen levelled with a minute to go in the last league meeting played between the two at Princes Park.

In the F.A Trophy, Elliott Romain scored twice against his former club as Dartford came from behind twice. Maidstone United took the lead through Wishart and again when Justin Amaluzor scored. The replay back at Princes Park was decided when Iffy Allen netted the winner.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 46 / Maidstone United wins: 46 / Draws: 19

Current League Form

Dartford
(WDWDDW)
    Maidstone United
(LWWWWW)
   
Billericay Town A 2-0 Chippenham Town A 2-1
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Havant & Waterlooville H 4-0
Oxford City A 1-1 St Albans City H 3-2
Hampton & Richmond A 1-0 Braintree Town A 2-1
Havant & Waterlooville H 1-1 Dulwich Hamlet H 2-0
Chelmsford City H 2-1 Slough Town A 1-2

Previous Meetings (last six)

Maidstone United 4 – 0 Dartford (11/12/2021 – National South)
Maidstone United 0 – 3 Dartford (02/10/2021 – F.A Cup)
Maidstone United 0 – 2 Dartford (14/11/2020 – National South)
Maidstone United 0 – 1 Dartford (21/01/2020- Kent Senior Cup)
Dartford 0 – 1 Maidstone United (26/11/2019 – F.A Trophy)
Maidstone United 2 – 2 Dartford (23/11/2019 – F.A Trophy)

Stats

  • Dartford are unbeaten in their last eight home league games against Maidstone United (W4, D4)
  • The Darts can equal their unbeaten home run of 18 back in April 1979 to February 1980 if they avoid defeat on Easter Monday.
  • Dartford last went 18 home league games unbeaten from the start of a campaign in 1925/26 when they finished the Kent League First Division without defeat at home (W15, D3).

On This Day

Dartford have beaten Maidstone United twice on this day, 1-0 in the Southern Premier League back in 1977 and 3-0 in a Kent League fixture in 1913. The Stones won the other fixture also in the Southern Premier League winning 3-1 in 1974. That home defeat 48 years ago was the last time the Darts lost on their own patch on 18 April. Since then they beat Nuneaton Borough 1-0 in 1978 and drew 1-1 in the Southern League Cup Final first leg against Burton Albion. Under Peter Taylor, Dartford went on to win 2-0 in the second leg to lift the cup. Newport AFC were beaten 4-2 in the Southern League South (1998) and the Darts hit four again in 2009 against Ramsgate. A Rob Haworth brace as well as goals from Ryan Hayes and Lee Noble gave Dartford three Isthmian Premier League points.

Billericay Town v Dartford

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.

Dartford v Hemel Hempstead Town

Kent Senior Cup semi-finalists Dartford return to league action on the weekend when they host Hemel Hempstead Town in the National South.

The Darts continued their aim to retain the county cup on Tuesday night after beating Margate in the last eight. Comfortably in the playoff places, Dartford are hoping to make a strong finish to their campaign. Despite a slow start to their season, Hemel Hempstead Town are not too far away from a top seven place but could do with a maximum themselves at Princes Park.

Steve King made seven changes for the cup tie with Margate on Tuesday to give game time to those who have been patiently waiting for their chance. Kelvin Kalala, Che Krabbendem, Jordan Greenidge, Ody Alfa and Ade Azeez all started the quarter-final tie. The Darts also welcomed back Jernade Meade and Luke Allen from their injuries and it was Allen who made an immediate impact scoring after just six minutes, his fifth of the campaign in all competitions. The midfielder played the first half before being replaced by Tyrique Hyde at half-time. Meade had a bit longer on the pitch and came off for 16-year-old academy player Jayden Boulton who made his senior debut. The lead was short lived though as the hosts levelled six minutes later when James Bessey-Saldanha made it 1-1.

Highlights of Dartford’s Kent Senior Cup win on Tuesday night – Dartford FC TV

In the second-half, Kalala put Dartford back in front and Azeez added a third just past the hour mark. Ody Alfa got in on the act with his first goal for the Darts, whilst George Porter was another to return from injury with a substitute appearance. There was still time for Vance Bola to pull one back for Margate, but in the end it was a positive night for King’s men who made it through to the semi-final despite a makeshift defence.

Dartford’s 1-1 draw in their last league outing at Oxford City means winning the title will now be a stretch. The Darts will need to focus on finishing in the playoffs and preferably gaining home advantage. A 14-point cushion with seven matches remaining makes it very likely Dartford will end up in the top seven, but aiming for second will give them home ties in the semi-final and if they progress the final. To do that King’s side need to make up seven points on Dorking Wanderers, but the Darts do have a game in hand. A home playoff tie could be crucial seeing as the Darts are unbeaten at Princes Park in the league winning nine out of 16. They had previously won five in a row before the 1-1 draw with Havant and Waterlooville in their last home match.

Highlights of Dartford’s last National South match last weekend – Dartford FC TV

Tyrique Hyde made the headlines last time Dartford faced Hemel Hempstead Town in November. The midfielder was recalled from his loan spell with the Tudors and on his return to Vauxhall Road made an impact. Claiming a first league win since early October, Dartford won 3-2. It was Hyde who opened the scoring before Alfie Cerulli equalised for the hosts. Ade Azeez netted a penalty, then Hyde gave the Darts a two-goal cushion. Hemel Hempstead Town grabbed a late consolation when Cerulli added his second of the afternoon. Samir Carruthers made a substitute appearance for the Tudors; the midfielder is currently on loan with the Darts.

Last season this fixture wasn’t played at Princes Park as Dartford only played Hemel Hempstead Town once at their place. Craig King was Dartford’s goalkeeper that day in a 3-1 victory which saw former Tudor, Connor Essam score. However, the defender is likely to be out for the rest of the season through injury. This time King will be trying to stop Dartford’s attack, the 24-year-old switched allegiances initially on loan, then his impressive performances earned him a permanent deal with Hemel Hempstead Town. King made 18 appearances for the Darts before Daniel Wilks displaced him as Dartford’s goalkeeper.

Hemel Hempstead Town last visited Princes Park in August 2019 and went home with a draw. A late goal from substitute Norman Wabo rescued the match for the Darts after falling behind. Sam Ashford chipped Mark Smith to give the Tudors an early lead. Dartford then squandered a great opportunity to level when Adam Cunnington missed a penalty. With six minutes to go in the second-half Wabo found the equaliser and although the Darts pressed for a winner, they couldn’t find it.

Watch highlights of the last time Dartford hosted Hemel Hempstead Town – Dartford FC TV

Former Oxford City boss, Mark Jones was appointed Hemel Hempstead Town’s manager in September after the Tudors picked up one point in their opening six games under Lee Bircham. Now the Hertfordshire side are mid-table and five points adrift the last playoff place, with seven games to go. The last two games have resulted in some high scoring affairs, the last being a 2-2 draw at home to Chelmsford City. The Tudors showed character to come back from two down, former Dartford striker Charlie Sheringham, then Matt Rush put the Clarets in command. With fifteen minutes remaining the hosts clawed back the deficit with two goals in six minutes, first Charlee Hughes then Pierre Fonkeu completing the comeback.

If four goals in a game isn’t enough then the home match against Tonbridge Angels produced even more. The Tudors ran out 4-3 winners with Fonkeu scoring his first for the club to get things underway. Sam Mantom missed a penalty conceded by former Dartford defender Craig Braham-Barrett, the spot kick saved by former Tudor, Jonathan Henly. The Angels levelled when Teddy Perkins headed into the net, but Craig Fasanmade had the hosts ahead at half-time. James Taylor made it all square again in the second-half before Jack Westbrook restored Hemel Hempstead Town’s lead. The game had just about everything including a red card after Fasanmade was sent off which handed an advantage to Tonbridge Angels. They made it count with a third leveller, Taylor once again. However, the entertainment wasn’t over because in the 94th minute Chris Paul won it for the Tudors. A minute later the Tudors were reduced to nine men when Joash Nembhard was dismissed.

On the road, the Tudors’ form has seen them lose all five matches against those in the top six with only Dartford left to play. The last two on their travels have resulted in a pair of 2-1 defeats against Dorking Wanderers and Bath City.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 1 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford
(WLWDWD)
    Hemel Hempstead Town
(LWLLWD)
   
Oxford City A 1-1 Chelmsford City H 2-2
Hampton & Richmond A 1-0 Tonbridge Angels H 4-3
Havant & Waterlooville H 1-1 Bath City A 1-2
Chelmsford City H 2-1 Dorking Wanderers A 1-2
Chippenham Town A 2-4 Welling United A 2-1
Dorking Wanderers H 3-2 St Albans City H 0-2

Previous Meetings (last six)

Hemel Hempstead Town 2 – 3 Dartford (20/11/2021 – National South)
Hemel Hempstead Town 1 – 3 Dartford (10/11/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Hemel Hempstead Town (31/08/2019 – National South)
Hemel Hempstead Town 1 – 2 Dartford (05/03/2019 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 0 Hemel Hempstead Town (11/08/2018 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 2 Hemel Hempstead Town (17/03/2018 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford are unbeaten in ten games in this fixture (W6, D4). Hemel Hempstead Town’s only victory was in their debut National South season in 2015.
  • The Darts are unbeaten at home against the Tudors (W2, D3)
  • Dartford have scored two or more against Hemel Hempstead Town in nine of the 12 meetings
  • If the Darts avoid defeat they will surpass the 1987/88 unbeaten home run from the start of a campaign (16 matches).
  • Dartford will also record their longest unbeaten home run in the league since April 1979 to February 1980 (18 matches).

On This Day

Lee Burns ended up between the sticks in the Kent derby against rivals Maidstone United six years ago. The defender played the last few minutes in goal after Deren Ibrahim suffered an injury. On loan midfielder Nathan Ferguson scored a cracking winner after Elliot Bradbrook’s penalty put Dartford ahead, which was cancelled out by Keaton Wood’s own goal. Dartford’s last home match on this day was a 2-1 loss against Grimsby Town in 2013, the Mariners coming from behind in the National League after Jack Evans scored for the Darts. The last home win on 9 April was a 3-2 victory over Woking in the National South, Bradbrook, Sheringham and Jack Pallen scoring for Dartford.

After a 1-1 draw against Yeovil Town in the Southern League Cup Final first leg in 1977, Vic Akers went on to become the first Dartford captain to lift the Southern League Cup when the Darts won the second leg 2-0 on this day. Three years later Dartford reached the final again drawing 0-0 in the first leg on the 9 April against Kidderminster Harriers. The second leg finished 4-1 to the Harriers.

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