Dartford search for their first league win of the year this weekend when they host Hampton and Richmond Borough in the National South.
Last term, the delayed start to the campaign meant that these two sides faced each other in the second game of the season as late as October. The fixture at the Beveree ended 0-0, the reverse match failed to take place as 2020/2021 was cut short. That means the last meeting between the Darts and the Beavers at Princes Park took place in February 2020 and it was the visitors who came out on top. Luke Wanadio headed Dartford in front early on against his former side, the winger recently made his 99th Dartford appearance when he came on against Dulwich Hamlet. The Beavers hit back through Danilo Orsi-Dadomo and Ryan Hill to record their first victory at Princes Park for nine years.
The Darts are looking for their first league win in over a month, the last National South victory came against Billericay Town at the start of December. Since then they have lost to rivals Maidstone United and Ebbsfleet United and earned draws at Braintree Town, thanks to a superb last minute Jack Jebb free-kick and Dulwich Hamlet, Robinson scoring the leveller in that game.
During that spell, Dartford have progressed through two rounds of the F.A Trophy and are now in the last sixteen. A 3-1 victory over Cray Wanderers was followed up by an impressive 1-0 win over National League side Weymouth on the weekend. King made just two changes to the side that drew 1-1 in Dartford’s last league outing against Dulwich Hamlet. New loan signing Kai Woollard-Innocent made his debut replacing Michael Kedman and Kieran Murtagh got the nod over Tyrique Hyde. Drafted in to the squad after Jernade Meade’s injury, Innocent made a steady start to his loan spell from Queens Park Rangers.
King described the trophy tie as a game of two halves as Dartford dominated the first. Jebb became the match winner in the first forty five with a well taken drilled shot from outside the box, the midfielder’s fourth of the campaign in all competitions. In the second half, some However, goalkeeper Dan Wilks continued his excellent form in goal with a fine second-half display to add to the fine performance against Dulwich Hamlet, which included a contender for save of the season.
Dartford will be need to look for inspiration elsewhere in midfield with the departure of key player Noor Husin. The midfielder joined Southend United with the Darts getting an undisclosed fee before his contract runs out in the summer. The Afghan international made 50 appearances for Dartford and scored six goals.
This month there has also been some comings and goings at the Beveree as the Middlesex side push for a playoff challenge. Currently in fifteenth, just five points adrift of a top seven spot, the Beavers have as good a chance as any of the chasing pack. Gary McCann employed three new players ahead of their 2-1 win over Concord Rangers earlier this month. Zach Robinson had a loan spell with Hemel Hempstead Town this season, the 19-year-old AFC Wimbledon forward is now part of the squad. Defenders, Leo Hamblin and Tommy Block as well as midfielder Shane Dunne all arrive from Woking.
Departing the club on New Years Eve, Ryan Gondoh joined Wealdstone after four goals in 17 games this term. Sheffield Wednesday loanee, Charles Hagan has returned to the League One side after six appearances, Cole Brown left after only 15 appearances since 2019 and Charlie Wassmer had his contract terminated after an incident at Slough Town. Youngster Ronan Hutchins went out on loan to Tring Athletic.
A familiar face to Dartford fans is goalkeeper Alan Julian, who made 45 appearances for the Darts on his way to picking up the 2013/2014 Supporters Player of the Year. He left that May to play for Sutton United before moving on to Bromley, Billericay Town then Hampton and Richmond Borough.
Up towards the end of November, Hampton and Richmond Borough were in a strong position. Sitting sixth in the National South six points off the Darts, who were leading the way, with a game in hand. The Beavers had just lost once in their last ten picking up points against Maidstone United, Oxford City, Chippenham Town and beating Ebbsfleet United in that spell. Then they went out of the F.A Trophy to Southern League Division One South side Plymouth Parkway and results have taken a turn. The Beavers lost five of their next six league games and when they took on St Albans City, Slough Town and Hungerford Town in that time they conceded ten.
Over the last three fixtures, Hampton and Richmond Borough managed to defeat Concord Rangers 2-1 with a last-minute winner. Tyrell Miller-Rodney scored a rare goal for the Middlesex club and when Jake Peck equalised two minutes from time it looked like the Beavers earned a point. In the final minute, Jake Gray hit a low cross into the Concord Rangers box which was turned into his own goal by Jayden Randall. On the weekend the score was reversed in a much-improved display against the newest league leaders Dorking Wanderers. Another Gray cross was finished by Ruaridh Donaldson, but the Beavers couldn’t hold on and when former Dart, Jason Prior scored a penalty and Wes Fogden netted the winner, McCann’s team came away empty handed.
On Tuesday night the Beavers lost again making it six defeats in seven, in their rescheduled game against Braintree Town. Earlier in the season the game was abandoned with the Iron leading a goal to nil, this time it finished 4-2 to the Essex club lifting them off the foot of the table. Yet it was Hampton and Richmond Borough who took the lead when Jack McKnight, a former Slough Town striker and teammate of Dartford’s Dan Roberts scored a penalty. Braintree Town hit back with three goals in sixteen first-half minutes. Late on, Brandon Barzey gave the Beavers hope, but that was extinguished in the final minute as the Iron went on to secure a 4-2 win.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 7 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 5 / Draws: 3
Current League Form
|Hampton & Richmond
|Dulwich Hamlet||H||1-1||Braintree Town||H||2-4|
|Ebbsfleet United||A||0-1||Dorking Wanderers||H||1-2|
|Braintree Town||A||2-2||Concord Rangers||H||2-1|
|Maidstone United||A||0-4||Hungerford Town||A||0-3|
|Billericay Town||H||1-0||Slough Town||A||1-4|
|Hemel Hempstead Town||A||3-2||St Albans City||A||0-3|
Previous Meetings (last six)
Hampton & Richmond Borough 0 – 0 Dartford (10/10/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough (08/02/2020 – National South)
Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 – 2 Dartford (05/11/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough (23/03/2019 – National South)
Hampton & Richmond Borough 0 – 1 Dartford (17/11/2018 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Hampton & Richmond Borough (30/03/2018 – National South)
- Dartford have lost just one of the last eight games against Hampton and Richmond Borough, winning four and drawing three of the other matches
- Hampton and Richmond Borough are unbeaten in their last two games against the Darts, their longest streak since winning three in a row between 2008 and 2010
- The 0-0 draw in the last meeting ended a run of ten consecutive games in which the Darts scored against the Beavers, a run stretching back to those three consecutive defeats
On This Day
Dartford claimed a memorable victory in 2011 beating Farnborough 4-1, despite playing most of the match with ten men. Lee Noble controversially dismissed which only fired up the supporters and galvanised the Darts. Before that moment Noble won a tenth minute penalty, scored by Charlie Sheringham, but the visitors were soon level when Bradley Bubb equalised. Ten minutes before half-time Noble was sent off, but against the odds the Darts blew Fanrborough away in the second half. Sheringham scored again three minutes after the interval, a bandage-headed Tom Champion drilled home a third and Tom Bonner’s long throw was headed in by Danny Harris to make it four.
That victory is Dartford’s only one on this day since a 2-0 win in 1983 against Chelmsford City in the Southern Premier League. Three 0-0 draws followed the win over the Clarets, in 1994 against Corinthian, in 2000 versus Erith and Belvedere and in 2002 against Fisher Athletic. The Darts suffered defeats to Aveley (0-2 in 2005) and Heybridge Swifts (0-3 in 2008) meaning five games without scoring for Dartford on this day. That ended run ended in style with the win over Farnborough. Most recently, the Darts went out of the Kent Senior Cup in the last eight, losing 8-7 on penalties after drawing 1-1 with Maidstone United.