Dartford can make it back-to-back away wins when they go west again to face Chippenham Town this weekend in the National South.
The Darts have already beaten Bath City and lost to Taunton Town on their travels and now face the side that beat them in last season’s playoff eliminator. Chippenham Town took until the Bank Holiday weekend to score their first goal and have five points from as many games.
After a third consecutive 2-1 defeat on the weekend, at the hands of Worthing, the Darts bounced back on Monday with a 2-0 victory over Hemel Hempstead Town, the only time Dartford haven’t travelled over to the west side of the country for an away game this term. Dowson made two changes to the side that threw away a goal lead at home to Worthing, opting to bring Jordan Wynter and Keiran Murtagh back into the starting eleven.
Samir Carruthers has been an important player in midfield for the Darts this season and he scored twice against his previous club. Former Dartford goalkeeper, Craig King couldn’t stop the midfielder’s second-half double as the Darts picked up their third victory of the campaign. Early in the second-half, Carruthers delicately curled the ball into the top corner from just inside the box. Another followed, this time the 29-year-old scored directly from a free-kick bending the ball over the wall and in.
Speaking to Dartford FC TV after Monday’s game, Carruthers is confident in the side’s ability, he commented: “As long as we kept in the game in the first half, we knew our quality would come out in the second-half”, he continued: “We just need to have a bit more belief in ourselves. When we believe in ourselves and play football in the right way, defend, and work hard together we’re a good side. It will be difficult for a lot of teams to stop us”.
In both Bank Holiday weekend fixtures goalkeeper, Dan Wilks, Davide Rodari and Charlie Sheringham, who is yet to feature since his injury in pre-season have been sidelined. Dowson is confident Rodari and Sheringham could be ready as well as Alex Wall, who only played in the Worthing defeat. Sam Odaudu will be out for a couple of weeks; the midfielder is due an operation on his mouth.
Last season’s meetings provided 12 goals in the league before the 0-0 playoff tie, which ended in Chippenham Town winning on penalties at Princes Park. A Hardenhuish Park last time out, the Bluebirds ran out 4-2 winners. On loan Jordan Greenidge scored his first league goal for the Darts, but Jordan Young equalised. Just before the interval Kieran Murtagh received a second yellow card and was sent off. Young, then Alefe Santos D’Abadia stretched the hosts lead and whilst Ade Azeez gave Dartford hope, Joe Hanks sealed a home win for the Wiltshire side.
The reverse fixture at Princes Park earlier in the campaign saw the two sides shared the points in an entertaining 3-3 draw. Dan Griffiths put Chippenham Town in front, but his goal was cancelled out by Azeez and then Noor Husin added a second. Ricky Aguiar equalised for the Bluebirds, and it stayed level until Azeez looked like he’d won the match for the Darts, but in the final minute Luke Russe scored the leveller.
Chippenham Town started the season against the side who ended their last campaign. After beating the Darts in the playoff eliminator, the Bluebirds lost to Ebbsfleet United after extra time in May. Fast forward three months and they returned to Stonebridge Road and lost 3-0 in their opening game of the 2022/2023 season. After a couple of postponements, the Bluebirds waited a fortnight for their next game which ended 0-0 at Isthmian Premier League champions Worthing. A consecutive goalless draw in the rescheduled home game against Chelmsford City followed meaning Gary Horgan’s side had failed to score in a third match in a row.
Finally, the Bluebirds found the back of the net after 347 minutes without a goal. Russe’s winner in the 77th minute was enough to earn victory against Hungerford Town as Chippenham Town kept another home clean sheet. Back on the road on Monday, Chippenham Town were beaten 3-1 by Southern Premier South champions Taunton Town. This time Russe scored in his own net to give the Peacocks an advantage. Chippenham Town’s Caine Bradbury was introduced at half-time and after five minutes he made an impact with an equaliser. Parity didn’t last long because two minutes later, Taunton Town scored again through Jake Wannell, then Ollie Chamberlain put the game out of Chippenham Town’s reach.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 4 / Chippenham Town wins: 2 / Draws: 4
Current League Form
|Hemel Hempstead Town||A||2-0||Taunton Town||A||1-3|
|Taunton Town||A||1-2||Chelmsford City||H||0-0|
|Havant and Waterlooville||H||1-2||Worthing||A||0-0|
Last Six Meetings
Dartford 0 – 0 Chippenham Town (12/05/2022 – National South Playoff)*
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)
* – Chippenham Town won 3-2 on penalties
- The Darts have gone three games without victory against Chippenham Town
- Dartford were unbeaten in their first four visits to Hardenhuish Park (W3, D1), but lost away from home for the first time against the Bluebirds in their last trip there last season
On This Day
Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle suffered defeat in their last game in charge with the Darts three years ago. Dartford went to Tonbridge Angels and lost 3-2 despite equalising twice in the game. Josh Hill and Charlie Sheringham scored for the Darts, but two goals from Joe Turner and another by Tom Derry gave the Angels victory. The last league win on this day came in 1997 when Dartford beat Baldock Town 3-1 in the Southern League South. Since then the Darts have lost 3-1 to Boreham Wood in 2005, were beaten 3-2 at Basingstoke Town in 2011 and drew 0-0 with Maidenhead United in 2016. It’s not been a good day to travel for the Darts as they have won one (Wealdstone 2-0 in 1977), drawn one and lost eight of their away games on 3 September.