Dartford return to a venue they haven’t visited in just over two years in a rare Monday night fixture at Chelmsford City.

Unbeaten in the National South so far with only two points dropped, the Darts will be determined to bounce back after their shock F.A Cup exit. On that same day, the Clarets were also knocked out of the competition to lower league opposition and have since been in league action against Oxford City just two days ago.

Steve King’s side have had longer to recover from the 3-1 loss at AFC Sudbury, but they arranged a friendly mid-week against Brentwood Town which ended 1-1. As well as a couple of triallists, academy player Gabriel Duo started, and latest signing Emmanuel Sonupe found the back of the net to add to his two London Senior Cup goals.

After a bit of time to reflect and being ‘hit hard’ by the cup defeat, King spoke to Dartford FC TV before the friendly and was pleased with the way his side dominated until key decisions went against the Darts. Captain Tom Bonner was sent off for a second caution despite appearing to win a clean header and AFC Sudbury’s equaliser didn’t appear to cross the line, he said: “It’s hit me hard, it’s hit me as hard as the playoff final to be honest because I hate unjust in life, some of the decisions contributed to us losing a football match. We were dominant in the first half; they didn’t really come out of their own half”. The Darts were unable to make their domination count and King recognised this, he commented: “A little bit of our play, the final bit wasn’t quite there, but we were dominant”.

Craig King was selected in goal for the cup tie and so far, he has been restricted to cup matches this season. To get more game time he has joined up with Tyrique Hyde on loan at Hemel Hempstead Town until January, although Dartford do have a 24-hour call back option should they need to call upon the goalkeeper.

As Dartford boss, Steve King has yet to visit Chelmsford City so the last time the side travelled over the Thames to take on the Clarets, Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle were at the helm. It was not a day to remember for the Darts in August 2019 as they crashed to a 4-0 defeat. All the goals came in the second half with Chris Whelpdale scoring the opener before Jordan Wynter was sent off. Chelmsford City took full advantage of the extra man and goals from Sam Higgins, Jonny Giles and an own goal by former Claret, Josh Hill finished off the rout.

Since King has been in charge, Dartford have won both meetings at Princes Park without conceding a goal. On the opening day of last season Ky Marsh-Brown scored the only goal of the game to clinch victory, whilst in the previous campaign the Darts were a little more convincing. After a 3-0 win secured by goals from Hill, Elliott Romain and Noor Husin the regular season was halted due to the pandemic. The three-goal triumph highlighted how far Dartford had progressed under King in such a short space of time. As previously mentioned, the Darts lost the reverse fixture that season under King’s predecessors.

Chelmsford City enter Monday night’s game having played on the weekend against Oxford City. Former Dartford striker, Charlie Sheringham was involved for the Clarets in their 1-1 draw. A last gasp equaliser from Adam Morgan rescued a point for the Essex club after falling behind mid-way through the first-half. This term Sheringham has been forming a partnership with the experienced Simeon Jackson, the former Gillingham and Norwich City forward made around 300 football league appearances. Sheringham enjoyed a loan spell with the Clarets whilst with the Darts and impressed enough for the Essex club to come calling again, this term he has netted seven times for his new club. As a former Dart, the striker scored a total of 54 goals in 119 appearances over a few spells with the club. Another former Dartford player in the Chelmsford City squad is midfielder Chez Isaac, he made 12 appearances for the Darts and has had limited game time this season with the Clarets.

Like Dartford, a managerial change has taken place at Chelmsford City since they last hosted the Darts. Rod Stringer was replaced by Robbie Simpson, who has the Clarets in sixteenth position, but without a home win in the National South this term. Defeats to Maidstone United and Dulwich Hamlet sandwiched draws with Ebbsfleet United and Dorking Wanderers leaving them waiting for their maiden home league victory. On the road, the Essex club have earned two wins and a draw as well as two defeats to leave them with nine from their opening nine games.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 40 / Chelmsford City wins: 55 / Draws: 22

Current League Form

Dartford
(WWDWWW)
    Chelmsford City
(DLLWDD)
   
Hungerford Town H 1-0 Oxford City A 1-1
Welling United A 6-0 Hampton & Richmond A 2-4
Tonbridge Angels H 1-1 Dulwich Hamlet H 0-2
Bath City A 3-1 Chippenham Town A 3-2
Eastbourne Borough H 3-1 Dorking Wanderers H 2-2
Dulwich Hamlet A 2-0 Ebbsfleet United H 0-0

Previous Meetings

Dartford 1 – 0 Chelmsford City (06/10/2020 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Chelmsford City (14/03/2020 – National South)
Chelmsford City 4 – 0 Dartford (12/08/2019 – National South)
Chelmsford City 2 – 1 Dartford (09/01/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Chelmsford City (07/08/2018 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 2 Chelmsford City (10/02/2018 – National South)

Stats

  • The Darts have won the last two meetings without conceding, both at home. The last time Dartford won three in a row against Chelmsford City was between 1992 and 1998.
  • Dartford are winless in their last four visits to Chelmsford City and have won just two of their last 12 away from home against the Clarets in all competitions
  • Chelmsford City have won seven of the last eleven meetings home and away

On This Day

It’s been 39 years since Dartford’s last victory on this day, a convincing 4-0 home win against Gosport Borough in the Southern Premier League. Three draws and three losses later and the Darts are still waiting to notch another triumph on 23 October. The last three outings have all been cup ties, a 4-1 defeat versus Forest Green Rovers in a F.A Cup fourth qualifying replay in 2012, a goaless draw in the 2010 F.A Cup run against Leiston and a 3-0 F.A Trophy loss to AFC Hornchurch in a first qualifying round replay back in 2007.

In the league, the last fixture on this day in 2004 ended with the Darts being held to a 1-1 draw with local rivals Erith and Belvedere in the Southern League Division One East. Five years earlier Bashley won 3-1 in the Southern League South and in 1993, Dartford recorded another 0-0 draw in the Kent League against Folkestone Invicta. Perhaps the most entertaining game came in 1926, Dartford drew 5-5 with Reading Reserves in the Southern League Eastern Section.