Dartford hope to get back to winning ways when they host Braintree Town at Princes Park on Tuesday night.
Alan Dowson’s side have been beaten in their last two home games in all competitions. Victory against the Iron will move the Darts ahead of their opponents in the National South. On the road Braintree Town have recorded just one triumph all season. The Iron have lost their last three on their travels in league and cup. Yet both sides are within a win of the playoff places, Dartford are three points adrift, Braintree Town are just one point away.
A break from National South action on Saturday ended in F.A Trophy defeats for the Darts and the Iron. Dartford fell to a last gasp goal to Kent rivals Maidstone United in the second round. Moussa Diarra came the closest for the Darts in the first half by hitting the woodwork. The hosts had opportunities in the second-half often missing the target. Both goalkeepers were not really troubled until a stoppage time winner from Maidstone United striker Levi Amantchi.
Dowson handed keeper Ryan Sandford his debut against his former club. The impressive Archie Wood kept his place in the side with Paul Rooney making way. Brandon Barzey was on international duty, Harvey Bradbury suspended and will miss the Braintree Town game and Tommy Block injured. Joash Nembhard returned from suspension. Ollie Box was named on the bench after his recall from a loan spell at Margate.
Dartford did manage to claim all three points in their last league game, down at Worthing. Victory mid-week will make it back to back wins in the National South for the first time since the end of September and start of October. A topsy-turvy game in Sussex ended 4-3. A prolific spell at the end of the first-half turned a one goal deficit into a 3-1 lead. The Darts capitalised on poor defending from the hosts as Alex Wall, Luke Coulson and Jordan Wynter found the back of the net. The Rebels fought back to level the game, but Tyrell Miller-Rodney won it for Dowson’s side.
Dartford also scored four last time they played host to Braintree Town. Charlie Sheringham netted from the spot five minutes after the break before Tom Bonner was sent off. Coulson scored a stunning volley and after the Iron pulled a goal back, Samir Carruthers scored a late brace.
The reverse fixture at Cressing Road, where Braintree Town have lost just three times in 33 league games under Angelo Harrop, the Darts picked up a creditable draw. The hosts took the lead in the first-half. Baris Altintop, now with the Darts set up Aaron Blair. Slick football led to the equaliser with Jernade Meade finishing off a neat team goal.
Altintop spent a season with the Iron after he signed for the Essex club from King’s Langley. The defender has since made 18 starts for Dartford this term. Another former Iron in the Darts ranks is Luke Allen. The midfielder spent two campaigns with Braintree Town scoring a playoff goal against Dartford. Allen will make his 105th appearance for the Darts if selected on Tuesday night
If Braintree Town could recreate their home form they would be challenging for the top places in the division. Instead their struggles on the road leave them outside the top seven. Their latest setback was in the F.A Trophy as they were beaten 3-0 by National North side Gloucester City.
The Iron had a slow start to their league campaign winning just once in August. Finishing the opening month two places above the drop zone, they have since climbed the table. A 4-0 win over Worthing provided confidence to begin September. Although the next four were drawn they went on to record back to back victories.
Braintree Town lost their first game in eight when they took on league favourites Yeovil Town. However, the Essex side bounced back at home with two convincing wins. First, Havant and Waterlooville were beaten 4-0, then St Albans City 4-1. Yet another away defeat held the Iron back after losing to Eastbourne Borough just under a fortnight ago.
Prior the F.A Trophy exit on the weekend, Harrop led his team to third consecutive home triumph scoring four times once more. This time it was against Welling United. Shaq Coulthirst, Blair and a Matt Ward brace earned another 4-1 win.
Current League Form
|Dartford (WDLWLW)||Braintree Town (WLWWLW)|
|Chelmsford City||H||1-2||Eastbourne Borough||A||1-3|
|Weston-super-Mare||H||4-2||St Albans City||H||4-0|
|Hemel Hempstead||A||1-2||Havant & Waterlooville||H||4-1|
|Eastbourne Borough||A||1-1||Yeovil Town||A||0-2|
|Havant & Waterlooville||H||2-0||Hemel Hempstead||A||2-0|
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 4 / Braintree Town wins: 8 / Draws: 6
Last Six League Meetings
Braintree Town 1 – 1 Dartford (18/02/2023 – National South)
Dartford 4 – 1 Braintree Town (05/11/2022 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Braintree Town (02/05/2022 – National South)
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)
- The Darts have recorded just two victories in the last 14 matches against Braintree Town (D5, L7)
- Dartford’s 4-1 win last November was their biggest victory against the Iron and the first time they scored more than twice in a game versus the Essex club
- The Darts are unbeaten in two matches against the Iron (W1, D1), their best streak since four without defeat between 2011 and 2013 (W2, D2)
- Only Maidstone United and Chelmsford City (18) have conceded fewer goals than Braintree Town (19) this season
- Only Yeovil Town (37) and Bath City (35) have scored more goals than the Iron (31) this season
On This Day
Chris Dickson’s five minute brace early in the second half handed Dartford victory on this day. The Darts hosted Slough Town three years ago and won 2-0. Dickson scored a minute after the interval and moments later doubled the lead. The former Charlton Athletic striker played eight times for the Darts scoring three.
Three years earlier, Dartford were involved in a six goal thriller at home against Wealdstone. Alfie Pavey scored a pair of equalisers as the Darts fell behind twice. Andy Pugh put the hosts ahead for the first time, yet the Stones levelled from the spot with three minutes remaining. In stoppage time Lee Noble was sent off with the match tied at 3-3.