Dartford’s quest for securing a runner up spot continues this Easter Monday in their final home Kent derby of the season against rivals Dover Athletic.
In league competition, the Darts have fared extremely well in local derbies this term dropping just two points from their six so far and winning all three at Princes Park. In their last home game, Dartford bounced back from defeat with a resounding 4-0 victory over Dulwich Hamlet before travelling away to Eastbourne Borough on Good Friday. Dover Athletic look set to be playing National South football again next season, their last away trip saw the Whites end a four game losing streak before hosting Welling United.
Down in Sussex, the Darts fell to another away defeat in the league stretching their winless streak on the road to six. Yet it all looked good at by the end of the first half when Harvey Bradbury gave the Darts a 1-0 lead. The striker headed in his third goal for the club in four appearances. However the afternoon soon unravelled early in the second half when Eastbourne Borough scored twice in as many minutes. First Leone Gravata pounced to level, then Luke Pearce put the hosts ahead. The task was hard enough to mount a comeback after hat-trick hero from the Dulwich Hamlet win, Alex Wall was taken off in the first-half and things were to get worse at 2-1 down. Jernade Meade was already on a caution before another incident saw the defender pick up another resulting in his dismissals. To compound matters after Dowson had used up all his substitutes, Samir Carruthers was injured leaving the Darts with nine men. Early player news is that Wall has a calf strain, whilst Carruthers could be out for the rest of the season.
Meanwhile, Dover Athletic kept a clean sheet on Good Friday but were unable to breach Welling United’s defence in a goalless Kent derby at the Crabble. The hosts enjoyed the better chances in a fairly even fixture which failed to produce any clear cut opportunities for either side. Although the draw followed up an excellent 3-1 away win at Braintree Town, the Whites have now failed to score in their last four home outings.
Back in September, the Darts won their first Kent derby of the campaign winning 3-1 at the Crabble. All the goals came before the break with the returning Samir Carruthers scoring a well-crafted opener. Luke Coulson was also back in the starting eleven on that Tuesday night and his selection was justified when he chipped in a second, the winger had already set up Carruthers for the first. A productive 18-minute spell ended when Maxwell Statham put Dartford out of sight. However, the hosts managed to pull one back through Luke Baptiste.
Dartford have now won their last three against their opponents stretching back to December 2016. That game came in the first round of the F.A Trophy and after a 1-1 draw at Princes Park, in which Ronnie Vint equalised, the two sides faced each other again in a replay. Vint was at it again three days later at the Crabble scoring the leveller after Jim Stevenson had the hosts in front. This time the Darts managed to find a winner when Luke Wanadio curled home a low shot, the winger who had three spells with the Darts is now at Dover Athletic. Wanadio came close to reaching 100 Dartford appearances needing just one more game before leaving and scored 18 times for the club.
Last season, the Darts began their defence of the Kent Senior Cup against the Whites winning a second round tie in March 2022. Jordan Greenidge scored twice on his debut to send Dartford on their way and like this season Baptiste scored a consolation goal. Princes Park last hosted a league game versus Dover Athletic during the 2014/2015 National League campaign. Lining up against the Darts in September 2014 was central defensive pairing Connor Essam and Tom Bonner, whilst Tyrone Sterling was also in the starting eleven for the Whites.
Essam had three loan and two permanent spells with Dover Athletic making 151 appearances for the club in total, chipping in with nine goals. Bonner was on loan at the Crabble between August 2014 and January 2015 and played 22 times for the Whites. Sterling is currently in his third spell at Dover Athletic and during the 2013/2014 campaign made 36 appearances in the National League for the Darts. To complete the list of former players Emmanuel Adebowale played just three times over a two-year period between 2017 and 2019 for Dover Athletic.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 15 / Dover Athletic wins: 11 / Draws: 12
Current League Form
|Eastbourne Borough||A||1-2||Welling United||H||0-0|
|Dulwich Hamlet||H||4-0||Braintree Town||A||3-1|
|Chelmsford City||H||1-2||St Albans City||A||0-1|
|Farnborough||H||3-1||Hampton & Richmond||H||0-3|
|Hungerford Town||A||1-1||Chippenham Town||A||1-3|
Last Six Meetings
Dover Athletic 1 – 3 Dartford (13/09/2022 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Dover Athletic (08/03/2022 – Kent Senior Cup)
Dover Athletic 1 – 2 Dartford (13/12/2016 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 1 – 1 Dover Athletic (10/12/2016 – F.A Trophy)
Dover Athletic 6 – 1 Dartford (17/01/2015 – National League)
Dartford 2 – 1 Dover Athletic (16/09/2014 – National League)
- Dartford have lost just once in the league at home versus Dover Athletic (W4, D4)
- The Darts have won the last three league games at home against the Whites with an aggregate score of 9-2
- Tom Bonner has now made 450 Dartford appearances (447 starts, 3 substitute appearances and 19 goals)
- Dartford have gained the most points in Kent derbies this season, Dover Athletic have picked up the fewest
On This Day
Dartford clinched the Isthmian Premier League title to return to the second tier of non-league football on this day in 2010. Travelling across to Surrey to take on second place Kingstonian, the Darts were in jubilant mood after a memorable 6-2 win. A team goal had Dartford in front when Adam Gross, Ryan Hayes, Billy Burgess linked up before his cross was finished by Elliot Bradbrook. Eight minutes later Hayes rifled home an effort from 25 yards before Kingstonian’s Simon Huckle halved the deficit. The Darts went into the break with a 3-1 lead once Danny Harris headed in another. The goals kept coming and Bradbrook scored into an empty net for his second, then once more the K’s pulled one back courtesy of the eventual golden boot winner Bobby Traynor. The soon to be champions added further gloss to a perfect afternoon when Hayes completed his brace and Dartford’s top scorer Lee Burns made it 6-2. The Darts have won their last four games on this day, defeating King’s Lynn 1-0 in 2004 before the title clincher at Kingsmeadow. At Princes Park in 2014, Dartford beat Grimsby Town with Max Cornhill scoring the only goal of the game. Another four years later, Dartford repeated the same score at Gloucester City, this time Alfie Pavey netting the winner.