Dartford have the opportunity to close the gap on their opponents Chippenham Town on Tuesday night.
The Darts are just two places above the bottom four and four points behind the Bluebirds with a game in hand. However, Tony Burman’s side are also looking over their shoulder and hoping to put some distance between those below them in the table.
Dartford are on their worst league run in eight years and bottom of the form guide. Just six points above the relegation zone, the Darts need to turn recent improved performances into much needed points. Chippenham Town are not in the greatest form themselves. The Bluebirds have won one of their last eight and haven’t tasted victory on the road this year.
Tony Burman seems to be getting closer to his first points since returning to the dugout. In each of the three league games he has been in charge, the Darts have lost by a single goal. On the weekend it was Bath City’s turn to benefit. Burman made one change to his side that started the 2-1 reverse at Farnborough. In came new loan signing and familiar face Elliott Romain. The striker joins on loan from Isthmian Premier side Horsham to start his second spell with the Darts. Previously the 32-year-old scored 16 times in 45 appearances for Dartford before leaving in June 2020. The match was decided when goalkeeper, Billy Terrell made a mistake and despite Joash Nembhard’s effort to clear the ball off the line, Cody Cooke tucked home the ninth minute winner for Bath City.
Burman spoke to Dartford FC TV after the game and said: “In the first half we wasn’t that great. We got caught on the ball trying to play out from the back. Bath should have increased their lead as we were not organised in the first half. We came out second half and had a great response from the players. I thought we put enough pressure on Bath to equalise”. The second-half provides optimism and with three struggling sides to play in the next their next four outings, the Darts will be hoping their luck will change. The Dartford boss added: “We need something to change and hopefully you can just believe and hope that things will go our way”.
After two difficult fixtures on the road, the Darts will be determined to make home advantage count and help them end their current run. At Princes Park they have drawn two and lost one of their previous three in the National South. Dartford’s last home win in the league was their joint biggest in the competition this season, against Torquay United in late November.
Victory on Tuesday night will complete a double over Chippenham Town. When the Darts travelled to Wiltshire in early October they beat the Bluebirds 4-1. Harvey Bradbury scored a couple of penalties to put Dartford in control at Hardenhuish Park. A third was added before half-time when Brandon Barzey was rewarded for his endeavour and his first goal for the club. Owen Windsor pulled a goal back, but Joshua Johnson sealed the win. Maxwell Statham was sent off after picking up two yellow cards.
Chippenham Town last visited Princes Park just over a year ago. Jack Smith scored and assisted for the hosts in a 2-0 win for the hosts. The midfielder opened the scoring in the second minute. Later on, Smith set up Luke Allen to put the game to bed.
The Bluebirds have failed to score in their last two outings. On the weekend they were beaten with a former Dart scoring the winner. Fifteen minutes from time Braintree Town grabbed the only goal of the game when Tom Blackwell’s corner was headed home by Baris Altintop.
Just over a week ago, Gary Horgan’s side were in Kent and went home with nothing to show. Kodi Lyons-Foster put Tonbridge Angels in front before Sean Shields added a second. Prior their two match losing streak, the Bluebirds beat Havant and Waterlooville and picked up creditable draws against Torquay United and Aveley.
Current League Form
|Chippenham Town (LDDWLL)
|Havant & Waterlooville
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 6 / Chippenham Town wins: 3 / Draws: 4
Last Six Meetings
Chippenham Town 1 – 4 Dartford (07/10/2023 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 0 Chippenham Town (11/02/2023 – National South)
Chippenham Town 2 – 1 Dartford (03/09/2022 – National South)
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 won 3-2 on penalties
- Dartford’s clean sheet in the home fixture last season was their first against Chippenham Town since the first meeting in September 2017
- Dartford are unbeaten in three home league matches against the Bluebirds (W1, D2)
- In normal time the Darts have only lost once at Princes Park against the Wiltshire side (W2, D3). Chippenham Town added a penalty shoot-out win in May 2022 to their solitary league victory in April 2019
- Dartford last lost five league games in a row during the 2014/2015 National League campaign. The run started on Boxing Day 2014 until 17 January 2015.
On This Day
Dartford have won their last three league games on this day with the last coming 14 years ago. During the Isthmian Premier League title winning campaign, the Darts brushed Tonbridge Angels aside at Longmead. Ryan Johnson, Danny Harris, Elliot Bradbrook and Rob Haworth scored in a 4-1 win. In another title chasing season the Darts beat Crockenhill 1-0 in 1996, but ended up runners up of the Kent League on goal difference. The same end of season fate happened to Dartford in 1988. The Darts beat Shepshed Charterhouse 5-1 that year on 13 February and went on to finish second by four goals. Hopefully goal difference won’t be a factor this term.