Dartford can make it another double over Bath City this weekend when they host the Romans at Princes Park in another earlier kick-off.
The Darts slipped off the top of the table in their early kick off last weekend and a fifth straight league win over Bath City will maintain some pressure on league leaders Ebbsfleet United. The Romans have found the last couple of months tough, but a win for Jerry Gill’s side can help keep their playoff push going.
The two sides battled it out on the opening day back in August and in a tightly contested affair, the Darts ran out 2-0 winners. Striker, Pierre Fonkeu had a debut to remember striking twice in the second-half to earn Dartford all three points. Alan Dowson also gave first league starts to Davide Rodari and Sam Odaudu at Twerton Park. It was goalkeeper Dan Wilks who provided a wonderful assist for Fonkeu’s opener and his second came after a generous deflection off Bath City defender Zac Bell.
Last season, former boss Steve King described the Darts performance against Bath City as ‘workman like’ in another 2-0 win. Kalvin Kalala netted his first goal for the club and towards the end, Danny Leonard won a penalty which Marcus Dinanga scored. The reverse fixture was won 3-1 in September 2021 with Jake Robinson scoring twice and George Porter netting Dartford’s third. Bath City’s Alex Fletcher scored in that match, the forward suffered a serious injury last month and needed emergency neurosurgery. We all wish Alex Fletcher well in his road to recovery.
With the chance to remain top of the National South, Dartford fell to a late goal at Chelmsford City last weekend. Alan Dowson named an unchanged side for the third game running, but they were unable to breakdown the Clarets defence and for the first time this season Dartford failed to score in the league. Dowson spoke to Dartford FC TV after the games and commented: “I thought we were excellent, I thought we were the better side against a good team, I thought we were unlucky”. The Darts manager felt his side were defensively sound, but needed more from his strikers, he added: “We had some good possession and good chances in the area, but we’ve got to do better”.
After an 11-game unbeaten run in the league only dropping two points, Dartford have now just won once in their last four National South fixtures. That means they occupy second place but are now four points from the top having played three games more than league leaders. Chasing the Darts down are Havant and Waterlooville and Chelmsford City who have games in hand.
Although Bath City was beaten on the opening day, they began their campaign strongly going on to win four and drawing one of their next five league games. A defeat at Ebbsfleet United put an end to their early good form and since then the Somerset club have shown some inconsistencies. However, Bath City had only lost once on the road in the National South, now they have lost twice in a row on their travels. On Tuesday night, former Dartford striker Elliott Romain scored the only goal as the Romans fell to the Hemel Hempstead Town.
A consecutive away day without scoring, manager Gill doesn’t want drawing blanks to become a habit. Although he was pleased with his side’s display, he told Bath City FC TV: “I thought we deserved to win to be honest. We have to give credit them (Hemel Hempstead Town) for taking the three points because they hung in there”. The forward duo of Fletcher and Cody Cooke have found themselves on the scoresheet regularly, Cooke is top scorer for the Romans with 12 in all competitions this season.
It’s no surprise that with the pair currently out of action, the Romans have been lacking composure and that clinical edge in front of goal, Gill explained: “We do miss the two lads, of course we do, because that’s all our goals in our team. When you got someone like Cody Cooke and Alex Fletcher who stay so calm and just slot balls in in and around that 18-yard box it makes a huge difference”. The Bath City boss is hopeful that Jordan Dyer and Joe Raynes will return to action after missing the defeat in mid-week and the experienced Chris Lines recovers from a “few knocks”. Ahead of Saturday’s match against the Darts, Gill commented: “We’ve got to look forward to Dartford, which will be an extremely tough game. We’re going to have to defend against some real strong physical boys there and we’re going to have to, when you get your opportunities, take them”.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 27 / Bath City wins: 46 / Draws: 20
Current League Form
|Chelmsford City||A||0-1||Hemel Hempstead Town||A||0-1|
|Concord Rangers||H||3-1||Welling United||H||1-1|
|Oxford City||A||1-1||St Albans City||A||0-3|
|Braintree Town||H||4-1||Chelmsford City||H||0-1|
|Welling United||H||5-1||Dover Athletic||H||0-1|
Last Six Meetings
Bath City 0 – 2 Dartford (06/08/2022 – National South)
Bath City 0 – 0 Dartford (27/11/2021 – F.A Trophy)*
Bath City 1 – 3 Dartford (04/09/2021 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Bath City (17/10/2020 – National South)
Bath City 3 – 0 Dartford (30/11/2019 – National South)
* – Dartford won 5-3 on penalties
- Dartford have lost just once in their last 14 games against Bath City (W11, D2)
- In those 14 matches, the Darts have kept nine clean sheets and only once have the Romans scored more than one goal
- Dartford have now lost four and drawn one to goals scored in the last ten minutes
On This Day
A Ronnie Vint equaliser in a F.A Trophy first round derby with rivals Dover Athletic took the tie into a replay on this day six years ago. The Darts went on to win at the Crabble three days later and Vint scored again in a 2-1 victory. Five years earlier Jacob Erskine scored a brace and Elliot Bradbrook netted from the spot as Dartford won 3-0 against Brackley Town, also in the F.A Trophy first round. Dartford’s last league outing on this day ended 4-2 versus Enfield in the Southern League Division One East. The last league defeat on 10 December was back in 1994 when Dartford lost 3-1 to Furness.