Dartford’s rescheduled North Kent derby takes place on Tuesday night with the prospect of overtaking their rivals Ebbsfleet United in the National South.
The Darts will be desperate to avenge the New Year defeat when they host their local rivals and maintain their unbeaten home record. Last month the Fleet came away with a 1-0 victory thanks to a late strike from Ben Chapman. In Steve King and Dennis Kutrieb’s second North Kent derby it was another tight affair, the first meeting between the two ended goalless. Whilst Dartford created some great opportunities, Ebbsfleet United were good on the ball and Chapman’s winner was enough for the Fleet.
The home side has dominated this fixture over the years with just one away victory recorded in the last 13 meetings since Gravesend and Northfleet became Ebbsfleet United in 2007. Dartford’s last victory against their rivals was on Boxing Day just over five years ago when Tom Bonner opened the scoring against his former club and Duane Ofori-Acheampong added a second, Anthony Cook scored Fleet’s consolation. The return fixture ended 1-0 to Ebbsfleet United on New Year’s Day. The sides had to wait another four years to meet again, the 0-0 draw in January last year.
When this fixture was due to take place on Boxing Day there was a three-way tie at the summit of the National South, which included these two local rivals. Due to the number of Covid cases in the Ebbsfleet United camp the match was postponed. A lot can change in a month and now Dartford are ten points behind the leaders whilst Ebbsfleet United have fallen seven points behind top spot and sit in fourth, one place ahead of the Darts but with an inferior goal difference.
On the weekend, Dartford approached their away trip to Tonbridge Angels on the back of a six game winless run in the National South, although they did beat Weymouth in the F.A Trophy during that time. Finally the league streak was broken and the Darts claimed a 3-2 victory thanks to a terrific Danny Leonard brace to take him to seven goals in all competitions and another Jack Jebb free-kick. Although Dartford found their goalscoring form by hitting three in the league for the first time in a couple of months, the Angels didn’t give in. First the hosts halved the deficit to 2-1 and right at the end they pulled a goal back, then had an effort cleared off the line. Leonard was later substituted in the match after a head injury and Ade Azeez came off after what looked like a hamstring issue.
With the departure of defender Ronnie Vint, Josh Hill’s long term injury and Connor Essam missing after picking up a knock against Concord Rangers, new loan signing Korey Roberts made his debut after coming in from National League side Bromley. Dartford boss, Steve King shuffled the midfield with Tyrique Hyde, Leonard and Kieran Murtagh making the starting line up. In form striker, Jake Robinson made a substitute appearance, perhaps being rested for the North Kent derby.
Dartford have managed one Kent derby win in the league this season, the 6-0 thrashing of Welling United, that came two weeks after the 1-1 home draw with Tonbridge Angels. Since then, the Darts have lost to Ebbsfleet United and Maidstone United without scoring. Although, Dartford did beat the Stones in the F.A Cup and claimed victories against Hythe Town in the Kent Senior Cup and Cray Wanderers in the F.A Trophy. Ebbsfleet United have so far won three and lost three of their Kent derbies. Aside from the victory in the reverse fixture against the Darts, the Fleet recorded big wins against Tonbridge Angels (5-1) on the opening day and Welling United (6-0) in November. Ebbsfleet United went out of the F.A Trophy to Cray Wanderers on penalties, but their nemesis this term is Maidstone United who completed a double over the Fleet.
After a 3-2 home loss against the Stones in November, Kutrieb’s side fell to a second defeat against their Kent rivals a week ago. This time it was 4-0 at the Gallagher Stadium, Joan Luque’s penalty, George Fowler and a Sam Corne brace condemned Fleet to a second heavy defeat in a row completing a tough week, not only for Kutrieb but for Sefa Kahraman too. Both Kutrieb and Kahraman were sent off at the Gallagher Stadium, a second match in a row for the latter. Three days earlier, the defender left his side down to ten men for 73 minutes against league leaders Dorking Wanderers, the Fleet were hammered 5-1.
On the weekend, Ebbsfleet United needed to bounce back at home to Hampton and Richmond Borough, who had recently drawn 2-2 with the Darts. The Fleet recorded a 1-0 victory against the Beavers with the winning strike from Will Wood. Ebbsfleet United were pleased to see the return of Joe Martin considering Kahraman began his suspension and Sido Jombati’s injury at Dorking Wanderers. Former Dart, Elliott Romain made a start after fellow striker Rakish Bingham looks to have picked up a long tern injury. Romain made the short journey to Stonebridge Road in the summer after two campaigns at Princes Park. The striker scored 15 in his debut season and added one more last term making 45 appearances in total for the Darts.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 66 / Ebbsfleet United wins: 56 / Draws: 33
Current League Form
|Tonbridge Angels||A||3-2||Hampton and Richmond||H||1-0|
|Concord Rangers||H||0-0||Maidstone United||A||0-4|
|Hampton and Richmond||H||2-2||Dorking Wanderers||A||1-5|
|Dulwich Hamlet||H||1-1||Hemel Hempstead Town||A||3-1|
|Braintree Town||A||2-2||Billericay Town||H||0-0|
Previous Meetings (last six)
Ebbsfleet United 1 – 0 Dartford (02/01/2022 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 0 Ebbsfleet United (02/01/2021 – National South)
Ebbsfleet United 1 – 0 Dartford (01/01/2017 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Ebbsfleet United (26/12/2016 – National South)
Ebbsfleet United 1 – 1 Dartford (28/03/2016 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Ebbsfleet United (31/08/2015 – National South)
- Dartford have won six of their last nine home league games against Ebbsfleet United, drawing two and losing the other
- The 0-0 draw in the corresponding fixture last term was Dartford’s first league clean sheet against the Fleet since the 5-0 New Years Day victory in 1992.
- Dartford are 15 games unbeaten at home in all competitions this season, the best home run from the start of a campaign since 2011/12 when they were unbeaten in the first 14 home matches.
- The Darts are three unbeaten home matches away from equalling the record of 18 home games without a defeat from the start of a season, set in 1908/1909 (competitive matches only). In that campaign Dartford remained unbeaten at home with 17 wins and a draw.
On This Day
Dartford blew away Chippenham Town on their own patch inside the first forty minutes two years ago. Darren McQueen’s spot kick got the goal rush underway and within five minutes Liam Nash and a skillful Amrit Bansal-McNulty finish put the Darts 3-1 up. McQueen found the back of the net again and an own goal left the final score 5-1, all goals in the first half. Victory was the fourth in a row in this day, the previous three all 1-0 wins at home. In 2011, Elliot Bradbrook scored the winner against Braintree Town in the National South, in 1999 the Darts beat Chelmsford City and two years earlier Cinderford Town both in the Southern League South. Stretching back to 1969, Dartford have won seven, drawn one and lost one on 1 February, the previous nine between 1896 and 1964 resulted in just two victories and seven defeats.