Dartford return to league action this weekend and are back on the road to face Chippenham Town in the National South.
The Darts are in a good position to challenge for promotion and after an outstanding display against league leaders Dorking Wanderers last weekend, Steve King has challenged his squad to maintain the levels of performance going into the last quarter of the campaign. Chippenham Town, just outside the playoff places are looking to pick up points to get themselves into the top seven.
King praised his whole team after beating Dorking Wanderers last Saturday and after George Porter grabbed a brace, the Darts boss claimed it was the midfielder’s best game in a Dartford shirt deserving of the man of the match award. Porter scored the first and last goal in the 3-2 victory, whilst the National South’s February Player of the Month, Marcus Dinanga scored the other. Dartford have a game in hand over last weekend’s opponents and rivals Maidstone United in second place and are currently seven points adrift leading into the last few months of the season.
Injury to loanee Junior Tiensia meant a debut for new loan signing Jayden Sweeney, who arrived from Leyton Orient before the Dorking Wanderers match. King was impressed with Sweeney on the weekend and the full back started again on Tuesday night against Dover Athletic in Kent Senior Cup. However, the headlines were written by Jordan Greenidge who scored twice on his debut to help the Darts into the next round to face Margate. The striker was released in January by Newport County and signed by Weymouth; his debut was against the Darts in the F.A Trophy. Greenidge opened his account after eighteen minutes and added a second with fifteen minutes to go. Midfielder, David Ijaha came off the bench to make an appearance after being out injured for the last eight months. Dover Athletic pulled a goal back, but it wasn’t enough for the National League’s bottom side and so it’s Dartford who progress in the competition they won in November.
This weekend, if the Darts can pick up maximum points, they could either pull away from Ebbsfleet United in fifth or move above Oxford City into third as the pair also play each other on Saturday. King’s side have clawed their way back in contention after five consecutive victories stretched an unbeaten run in the league to eight. However, the last away day put an end to their excellent form as the Darts fell to a 2-1 defeat at Hungerford Town, putting more pressure on the proceeding match against Dorking Wanderers. But once again Dartford proved they can bounce back and after two straight home wins in league and cup, the Darts face a tough away trip to Chippenham Town.
Four months ago, the sides played out an entertaining 3-3 draw at Princes Park. Dartford 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.
Dartford have always come away with something when visiting Hardenhuish Park. Their first trip to play Chippenham Town in January 2018 ended 2-2. Since then, the Darts have won all three visits scoring nine but have yet to keep a clean sheet. Last time out in Wiltshire, Moussa Bakayoko scored nine minutes into his Dartford debut and after Joe Hanks equalised, Tom Bonner netted the winner late in the second half. Just over two years ago the Darts ran out 5-1 winners with all the goals coming in the first half. Darren McQueen opened and closed the rout with goals in between from Liam Nash, Amrit Bansal-McNulty and an own goal. The first of the three victories in a row came in October 2018 when goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim scored the decisive goal in a 2-1 triumph.
Chippenham Town’s playoff aspirations have faltered lately, and they have been consistent in their inconsistency this season with ten wins, draws and defeats. The Bluebirds are only four points away from seventh place, but winless in four National South games. During that spell the Wiltshire club have lost both away fixtures 1-0, first against Welling United at the beginning of the run and then on the weekend at Braintree Town. Their two outings between those defeats ended in 1-1 home draws against Eastbourne Borough then versus Hampton and Richmond Borough. On both occasions Chippenham Town took the lead only to concede late equalisers.
After defeat at Braintree Town, Cook called on his team to be more ruthless in front of goal, but he was pleased with the overall performance and the opportunities they created. Since the start of the year Chippenham Town have failed to score in half of their league games and when they have found the net on the three occasions in their last six outings, they have not scored more than once. Cook has added to his striking options to address the lack of goals. Mohammad Dabre has come in from Swindon Town on loan and Jordan Young has turned his loan into a permanent deal, signing from Gloucester City.
The Bluebirds have been difficult to beat against the top sides this term, picking up home wins against St Albans City and Dorking Wanderers. They have only lost twice to the current sides above them in the National South, but six of those eleven matches have ended in the points being shared including the draw at Princes Park in November.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 4 / Chippenham Town wins: 1 / Draws: 3
Current League Form
|Dorking Wanderers||H||3-2||Braintree Town||A||0-1|
|Hungerford Town||A||1-2||Hampton & Richmond Borough||H||1-1|
|Bath City||H||2-0||Eastbourne Borough||H||1-1|
|Havant and Waterlooville||A||1-0||Welling United||A||0-1|
|Welling United||H||4-2||Concord Rangers||H||1-0|
|Ebbsfleet United||H||1-0||Chelmsford City||A||0-0|
Previous Meetings (last six)
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)
- The Darts are unbeaten in all four visits to Chippenham Town (W3, D1)
- In this fixture both teams have scored in six of the eight meetings. Both teams have only failed to net in one game each.
- This match as produced 16 goals in four games at Hardenhuish Park averaging four goals a game
- David Ijaha’s appearance on Tuesday night means Dartford have used 40 players in all competitions this season
- Jordan Wynter can make his 100th appearance for the Darts if selected. The versatile defender has made 90 starts and 9 substitute appearances scoring twice.
On This Day
It has been 25 years since Dartford last won on 12 March and that was a 1-0 victory against Buckingham Town in the Southern League South. That was the last triumph of five in a row on this day stretching back to 1983. The last two away wins on 8 March were both against Slade Green in the Kent League, the Darts won 1-0 in 1994 and 2-0 a year later. Dartford’s last outing on this day came moments after Steve King lost his job at Whitehawk six years ago. Interim manager Pablo Asensio had taken two games in charge before coming up against Dartford, but Burman’s side threw away a two goal lead courtesy of an Andy Pugh brace. Future Dart, Danny Mills scored a hat-trick as the Hawks came back to win 4-2. In 2011, Dartford drew 2-2 with Basingstoke Town at the Camrose, Ryan Hayes and Danny Harris scored the goals. One game to forget was in 2005 when Dartford lost 6-1 at home to Barking and East Ham United in the Southern League Division One East.