Dartford are back at home for the first time in almost a month when they host Chippenham Town on the weekend in the National South.

After starting the campaign on an eleven-game unbeaten run, which included ten wins, the Darts are four games without victory and have failed to score in their last three outings. It’s certainly Steve King’s biggest challenge this season as he aims to begin another positive sequence, starting against a team he faced in his first league game as a Dartford manager. 

King started league life with the Darts against Chippenham Town earning his first point as Dartford boss just over two years ago. A superb late Josh Hill goal rescued a point for the Darts against ten men. The defender was moved up front to try and impact the game and with three minutes remaining he cut inside and unleashed a curling shot into the top corner. The strike came a couple of minutes after Kieran Parselle was red carded for the visitors, the defender had given Chippenham Town a first-half lead.

Highlights of Steve King’s first league match in charge courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Dartford also won the subsequent two meetings, both on their travels so are unbeaten against the Bluebirds under King. In the last meeting Moussa Bakayoko scored nine minutes into his Dartford debut with one of the best team goals scored by the Darts under Steve King, but Chippenham Town equalised through Joe Hanks. Another late goal settled the game, this time Tom Bonner sent the ball into the back of the net to earn a 2-1 victory. The previous trip to Hardenhuish Park was more comfortable for the Darts as they 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 scored by Liam Nash, Amrit Bansal-McNulty before the midfielder was sent off in the second half and an own goal.

The Darts have good form over the Wiltshire club losing just once out of seven back in April 2019, when Chippenham Town came to Princes Park and won 1-0 thanks to an Adriel George tap in. It turned out to be Elliot Bradbrook’s final game for the Darts after a superb career with the club.

Highlights of Dartford’s last match against Chippenham Town courtesy of Blue Army TV

Over a month ago, the Darts would be quietly confident facing a mid-table side, but current form has resulted in their unbeaten league start ending with consecutive 1-0 losses to Dorking Wanderers on the weekend then Concord Rangers on Tuesday night. Prior the pair of defeats, the Darts were held 0-0 by ten men Chelmsford and went out to lower league side AFC Sudbury in the F.A Cup. Dartford’s last win was in fact in their last home fixture, a 1-0 triumph over Hungerford Town. But the goals have dried up, after 34 goals in their opening ten outings they have yielded just two in the last five.

Chippenham Town have been consistent in their results since promotion to the National South four years ago. Consecutive thirteenth place finishes followed by fourteenth, the Bluebirds were sixteenth when last season was halted and were matching their points per game from those previous three campaigns. Unsurprisingly the Wiltshire club are at it again in mid-table, clear from a battle at the bottom but not quite close enough to the playoffs.

However, Mike Cook’s side are winless in their last seven outings in all competitions after a bright start to their season. Chippenham Town won three, drew two and lost one of their opening six National South matches, since then they have picked up just three points from draws in their last six and lost to Isthmian South East side Hastings United in the third qualifying round of the F.A Cup.

Last weekend, Chippenham Town picked up a point at home to bottom of the table Braintree Town. Parselle put the Bluebirds ahead, but they were on the back foot in the second half and almost held out for a win until stoppage time when the Iron equalised. It was a second time in a week that Chippenham Town failed to beat a team at the bottom of the league on their own patch. The Bluebirds were beaten 2-1 by Hemel Hempstead Town, who had Dartford’s Tyrique Hyde in their starting eleven.

On their travels they have picked up points against Dulwich Hamlet, St Albans City, Eastbourne Borough and Hampton and Richmond Borough as well as victories over Concord Rangers and Slough Town. Out of the sixteen league goals scored this season they have been shared out with the experienced Marlon Jackson leading the way with three.

Both sides will be hoping to keep unbeaten runs alive with Dartford yet to taste defeat at Princes Park this season and Chippenham Town yet to lose on the road.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Chippenham Town wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford
(LLDWWD)
    Chippenham Town
(DLDDLL)
   
Concord Rangers A 0-1 BraintreeTown H 1-1
Dorking Wanderers A 0-1 Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-2
Chelmsford City A 0-0 Hampton and Richmond A 0-0
Hungerford Town H 1-0 Eastbourne Borough A 2-2
Welling United A 6-0 Welling United H 1-3
Tonbridge Angels H 1-1 Ebbsfleet United H 2-5

Previous Meetings

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)
Chippenham Town 2 – 2 Dartford (20/01/2018 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford’s only defeat against the Bluebirds was also the only time the Darts have failed to score in this fixture
  • Both teams have kept just one clean sheet against each other in seven meetings
  • Under Steve King, Dartford are on their longest streak without a goal. The Darts last failed to score in four consecutive matches in August 2018
  • The Darts have never lost three consecutive games under King.

On This Day

Dartford were six minutes away from causing a memorable F.A Cup upset eleven years ago. Elliot Bradbrook headed the Darts ahead against League Two opposition Port Vale in the 39th minute. Tony Burman’s side were hanging on towards the end and when John McCombe equalised the tie needed a replay back at Vale Park, which the Darts lost 4-0. Three years earlier Dartford drew 0-0 with Edgware Town in the Isthmian Division One North, the only other time the Darts have not lost in their last six matches on 6 November. The last victory on this day was way back in 1984 when Dartford beat AP Leamington 2-0 in the Southern League Challenge Match.