Dartford have made a perfect start to the season and will want to maintain their recent form against Havant and Waterlooville on Tuesday night.
The Darts have won their opening two National South fixtures and are currently on a run of seven unbeaten against the Hawks. At Princes Park, over the same number of games Dartford have not yet to lose to the Hampshire side. Havant and Waterlooville have to go back 22 years since their last win away from home in this fixture, a F.A Cup third qualifying round tie.
Last season the spoils were shared in a 1-1 draw with Alex Wall scoring the equaliser for Havant and Waterlooville. The striker made the switch to Dartford over the summer to begin his third spell with the club. So far this term, Wall has come off the bench in both fixtures and will be hoping to make an impact against his former side. Dartford had taken the lead in last season’s meeting through Kory Roberts and could have had a second, but Ade Azeez’s penalty was saved by Ross Worner. The reverse match ended in a Dartford victory with Luke Allen scoring the only goal of the game.
Allen made his first start of the campaign on the weekend coming in for the injured Kristian Campbell. That was the only change ahead of the first home game against newly promoted Cheshunt with Sam Odaudu filling in at left back. Defender, Maxwell Statham made his first competitive appearance as a late substitute. Despite the tweaking of the defence, the Darts almost came away with a consecutive clean sheet, but it was Pierre Fonkeu who grabbed the headlines again. The striker netted a brace to add to the two he scored at Bath City on the opening day. Cheshunt grabbed a late consolation when former Dartford academy graduate Dajon Golding made it 2-1.
Speaking to Dartford FC TV after the game, Martin Tyler said: “We won but we can do better”, he added: “When we get the ball we’ve shown we’re a pretty decent side, but we need to get the ball a bit more often. We’re still trying to get the blend right. We’ve not got that many players, so I think there is still that bit of scope for investment to strengthen the squad, but we’re doing okay”.
Havant and Waterlooville were pipped to the final playoff place last season and this time out they have picked up four points in their two openers. A 3-1 victory at home on the first day of the season against Slough Town set them on their way with a stunning goal from Jake McCarthy followed by Gianni Crichlow’s first for the club, since signing from Braintree Town in the summer. Crichlow scored the equaliser for the Iron last season against the Darts in a 2-2 draw. After Ben Harris halved the deficit for Slough Town, Crichlow was involved again setting up Paul Rooney for a third.
On the weekend, the Hawks showed spirit to earn a point in their first away day of the campaign. Another former Dartford striker made an impact on the game, but not in a good way for the Hawks. Jason Prior retaliated and when he kicked out at a Braintree Town player he was shown a red card, leaving his side down to ten men for the remaining 70 minutes. Despite the disadvantage, the visitors went ahead when James Roberts hit his effort into the top corner, for his second in as many games. The hosts levelled in the second half, Levi Amantchi heading in the equaliser in a 1-1 draw.
Looking ahead to Havant and Waterlooville’s trip to Princes Park, Roberts spoke to HWFC Media after the draw, he commented: “Every game in this league is tough, every away game is tough and we go to one of the teams that expect to be up there”, he continued: “We had two really difficult games against Dartford last year so we know what to expect, we know they will be very, very good. We know that it will be a real challenge”.
Over the summer manager Paul Doswell made a few signings including the return of Jason Prior, who scored the championship winning goal in his previous spell with the Hawks denying the Darts the National South title on the final day. After scoring over 40 goals for Enfield Town last season, Muhammadu Faal has made the step up. Danny Wright and Jake Andrews moved from Torquay United and Joash Nembhard arrived from Hemel Hempstead Town. The centre back is likely to come face to face with former teammate’s Fonkeu and Samir Carruthers.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 7 / Havant and Waterlooville wins: 4 / Draws: 5
Last Six Meetings
Dartford 1 – 1 Havant and Waterlooville (19/03/2022 – National South)
Havant and Waterlooville 0 – 1 Dartford (09/02/2022 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Havant and Waterlooville (31/10/2020 – National South)
Havant and Waterlooville 1 – 2 Dartford (25/07/2020 – National South Playoff)
Dartford 1 – 1 Havant and Waterlooville (10/08/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Havant and Waterlooville (13/01/2018 – National South)
- Dartford are unbeaten in their last seven games against Havant and Waterlooville (W4, D3)
- The Darts are also seven unbeaten at home against the Hawks (W4, D3)
- Dartford have scored in their last six meetings versus the Hampshire side
On This Day
Charlie Sheringham and Adam Green scored against Eastbourne Borough on this day in 2011. The National South fixture at Princes Park finished 2-1, Dartford’s last victory on this day. Since then, the Darts lost 1-0 on the road to Kidderminster Harriers in the National League eight years ago. The most recent outing was a 0-0 home draw with Gosport Borough back in the National South two years later. After winning the Isthmian Division One North in 2008, the Darts were welcomed to the Isthmian Premier League with a 3-0 away humbling at Hendon on the opening day. Also on 16 August, Dartford played out a 3-2 victory against Great Wakering Rovers in 2005 and suffered their only home defeat on this day two years earlier against Bashley, the Darts have won four and drawn three of the other home fixtures.