The Darts hope to return to winning ways against Chelmsford City at Princes Park on Tuesday night in the National South.
Dartford’s title aspirations took a massive blow on the weekend losing 4-2 at Chippenham Town. Although there is still a quarter of the season to go, the ten point deficit from top spot will be difficult to overturn, especially now the Darts have dropped to fifth place.
Steve King made another five changes to the line up that beat Dover Athletic 2-1 in the Kent Senior Cup a week ago. Jordan Wynter was selected for his 100th appearance in place of Kory Roberts. Whilst Ody Alfa, Kalvin Kalala, Jack Jebb and George Porter were also restored to the side having played in the 3-2 victory against Dorking Wanderers.
New striker, Jordan Greenidge had already made an impression with a brace in the the Kent Senior Cup win. He scored his third goal in just his second appearance to get the Darts off to a great start on seven minutes. Then four minutes after Kieran Murtagh was cautioned, the hosts equalised through Jordan Young. Before the interval Murtagh received a second yellow card and was sent off, the second red card in as many away games for the Darts.
Chippenham Town made the man advantage count in the second period. First, Young put the Bluebirds ahead, then Alefe Santos D’Abadia stretched the hosts lead. Ade Azeez gave Dartford hope by netting his first goal in 20 appearances, his last goals against the same opposition in November. However, Chippenham Town secured maximum points with a fourth scored by Joe Hanks.
It’s a good job Steve King’s side remain unbeaten at Princes Park in the National South this term. If the title and automatic promotion remains out of reach then finishing second will guarantee home advantage in the playoffs. King will need to keep his team focussed on booking a playoff spot first, then aim for that runners up position to aid their attempt at promotion.
Standing in Dartford’s way this weekend is Chelmsford City and possibly two former players. Charlie Sheringham and Chez Isaac both had spells at Princes Park with different degrees of success. Sheringham had three spells with the Darts scoring 54 goals in 119 appearances, before joining the Clarets after an impressive loan spell. Chez Isaac spent just two months at Dartford in 2018 and made 12 appearances in that time, the midfielder moved to Chelmsford City where he has been ever since.
Since his appointment as Dartford boss, Steve King is unbeaten in his three previous matches against Chelmsford City, two of those games were at Princes Park. The first time King led the Darts out to take on the Clarets was almost two years to the day, the last fixture of the 2019/2020 campaign before the season was cut short. Dartford won 3-0 that day with goals from Josh Hill, Elliott Romain and Noor Husin. The two sides didn’t have to wait long for the next meeting as the fixture list threw the pair together on the opening day of the following season. This time the Darts won 1-0 with Ky Marsh-Brown scoring the only goal of the game. The reverse fixture this term ended 0-0 in Essex.
The schedule hasn’t been kind to the Clarets over the last month. Dartford will be the fourth side in the top six to have faced Chelmsford City. In fact Robbie Simpson’s side has yet to taste a win against any team in the top seven with five draws, four one goal defeats and a 2-0 loss at Dorking Wanderers. Despite the number of losses and their current position, Chelmsford City are often competitive and difficult to overcome.
The Clarets under Simpson are down in the bottom five, but have one of the better goal differences in the lower half of the table. Victory for Chelmsford City could propel them up a few positions in the standings, however they have lost four on the bounce. On the weekend their latest reverse was against playoff contenders Eastbourne Borough. With the match heading for a goalless draw, goalkeeper Jacob Marsden put the ball in his own net whilst under pressure from Borough’s Charley Kendall.
Marsden has had two tough moments in his last two games, also conceding a penalty in the 2-1 defeat at Havant and Waterlooville. At home to Oxford City, the Clarets had Dara Dada sent off as they went on to lose 2-1 and before that Chelmsford City fell to Dorking Wanderers. The Clarets will visit Princes Park hoping to break their current poor run.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 40 / Chelmsford City wins: 55 / Draws: 23
Current League Form
|Chippenham Town||A||2-4||Eastbourne Borough||H||0-1|
|Dorking Wanderers||H||3-2||Havant and Waterlooville||A||1-2|
|Hungerford Town||A||1-2||Oxford City||H||1-2|
|Bath City||H||2-0||Dorking Wanderers||A||0-2|
|Havant and Waterlooville||A||1-0||Hampton & Richmond Borough||H||1-0|
|Welling United||H||4-2||Braintree Town||A||2-2|
Previous Meetings (last six)
Chelmsford City 0 – 0 Dartford (25/10/2021 – National South)
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 are 14 home league games unbeaten, the best from the beginning of a season since the 16 set in 1988/89 Southern Premier League.
- The Darts current unbeaten home league run is also the best run since the 15 at the end of 1995/96 Kent League season and into the start of 1996/97 Southern League South campaign.
- Dartford have won the last three home games against Chelmsford City. The Darts last won four home fixtures in a row against the Clarets between 1960 and 1965.
- The Darts have kept three consecutive clean sheets against Chelmsford City. A fourth match without conceding will be a record versus the Clarets.
On This Day
It was a great day for defenders on this day in 2008 when Dartford beat Enfield Town. Not only did the defence keep a clean sheet they were responsible for all three goals. John Guest, Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle all found the back of the net to claim Dartford’s last win on this day. Since then a 0-0 draw with Eastleigh (2011), a 1-1 draw with Cambridge United thanks to a last minute Alex Wall equaliser (2014) and a 2-1 loss against Maidenhead United (2016) means the Darts are winless in three on the 15 March. A 2-0 away victory over Welling United on this day in 1988 set up a Kent Senior Cup final with Maidstone United, the Darts claimed the cup beating the Stones 2-1.