The first of three consecutive home games takes place on Tuesday night with Dartford hosting Slough Town in the National South.
Two league games and the London Senior Cup quarter-final will bring February to a closure for the Darts. Alan Dowson’s side will be hopeful they can extend their unbeaten run in the league to three and close the gap at the top of the table. Slough Town will be trying to end a run of two straight defeats and put more distance between them and the bottom four.
After fighting back twice in the Kent derby draw with Welling United and beating Chippenham Town, the Darts claimed another useful point at Cressing Road on the weekend. Once again Dartford found themselves behind but managed to find the equaliser at Braintree Town, who themselves kept their unbeaten home run intact. Dowson was forced in to making one change due to the rib injury to Charlie Sheringham, meaning Pierre Fonkeu led the attack. New loan signing from AFC Wimbledon, Isaac Ogunbere took his place on the bench but awaits a debut after not being called upon. There was still no sign of Tommy Block and Sam Oduadu in the squad, the pair have been out with injuries. The good news is Alex Wall has served his three match ban and will be available against Slough Town, bringing a much needed option up front. Midfielder, Cameron Brodie has been recalled from his loan spell with Margate.
The hosts took the lead in the first-half after Ben Dudzinski in his second start for Dartford made a crucial mistake in goal. Braintree Town’s Baris Altintop set up Aaron Blair, who cut inside and drilled a low shot at Dudzinski. The Darts keeper watched as the ball slide underneath him out of his grasp and into the net. Slick football led to the equaliser just past the hour with Keiran Murtagh, Luke Coulson, Samir Carruthers and Maxwell Statham combining before Jernade Meade finished off the move with his first ever goal for the club.
Dowson was content with the 1-1 away draw, he explained to Dartford FC TV: “It’s a tough place to come and they have got a decent side, their home record speaks for itself. The first half I though we were poor, the second half brilliant. We had enough chances and enough possession to win it”. Midfielder, Carruthers picked up a caution and he will face a two match ban starting next weekend making him available for Tuesday. However the Dartford boss feels some ‘tweaks’ will be needed against Slough Town so he can make use of the squad, he added: “A couple of people need a little rest, they have played every week in the last six weeks. So I think a couple of people need a rest on Tuesday night”.
Dartford are on good form in games against Slough Town and earlier in the campaign they came from behind to win 2-1 at Arbour Park. The Rebels took the lead through Josh Jackman and continued to be in front at the interval. In the second-half, Dowson tweaked the side with the introduction of Fonkeu and that proved pivotal later on. Sheringham scored to put Dartford on level terms, then Fonkeu won it for the Darts.
Last season at Princes Park, saw the first competitive fans back in front of fans since March 2020 and Dartford celebrated with a 3-0 win. Noor Husin gave a masterclass in midfield and his man of the match performance was rewarded with a goal. Ade Azeez scored the second and George Porter scored his first goal for the club. The return fixture last term went even better as the Darts claimed their second 6-0 away win of the season. Marcus Dinanga got the goals flowing early on before Murtagh doubled the lead, then Dinanga added a third by half-time. Kalvin Kalala, Jordan Greenidge and Olumide Durojaiye netted in the second-half to wrap up a comprehensive win.
Since promotion to the National South in 2018, Slough Town have been steady. Led by Jon Underwood and Neil Baker, the duo began this season in their tenth year with the Rebels, but in November with the club in twelfth the club felt it was time for a change. Now Scott Davies is in charge as player-manager and after a run of seven matches unbeaten from Boxing Day steadied the Rebels once again. Davies took over during a spell which saw the Berkshire winless in 12 picking up just three draws, and his league management debut was humbling to say the least, the Rebels lost 5-1 at home to Eastbourne Borough. Defeat at Ebbsfleet United followed, but Davies picked up his fist point with a goalless draw versus Concord Rangers. Then after a loss to Havant and Waterlooville, Slough Town went on to claim three victories and four draws to move up the standings.
The Rebels have lost their last fixtures without scoring, first against Chelmsford City, then on the weekend versus a George Alexander inspired Welling United. The Wings loanee netted a first half hat-trick as Slough Town fell to a 3-0 defeat. Alexander started his scoring spree in the fourth minute firing a low shot beyond goalkeeper Will Dennis. Half an hour later he added a second and completed his treble within the next three minutes. In Slough Town’s starting eleven was Temi Eweka, who started out at Dartford’s academy. The 23-year-old defender made three appearances for the Darts before moving on. After impressing at Bracknell Town he was signed by Maidenhead United in the summer and is now on loan with the Rebels.
On the road, Slough Town have only beaten Oxford City of the sides above them in the table. However they have consistently beaten those below them home and away helping them stay six points clear of the drop zone in sixteenth place.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 8 / Slough Town wins: 3 / Draws: 3
Current League Form
|Braintree Town||A||1-1||Welling United||H||0-3|
|Chippenham Town||H||2-0||Chelmsford City||A||0-2|
|Welling United||A||2-2||Hampton & Richmond||A||1-0|
|Hemel Hempstead Town||H||1-3||Cheshunt||A||1-1|
Last Six Meetings
Slough Town 1 – 2 Dartford (25/10/2022 – National South)
Slough Town 0 – 6 Dartford (30/04/2022 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Slough Town (21/08/2021 – National South)
Slough Town 2 – 2 Dartford (15/12/2020 – F.A Trophy)*
Dartford 2 – 0 Slough Town (21/11/2020 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Slough Town (03/10/2020 – F.A Cup)
* – Dartford won 6-5 on penalties
- Dartford are unbeaten in five games against Slough Town in normal time (W4, D1)
- The Darts have won the last two meetings at Princes Park with an aggregate score of 5-0
- Dartford completed a double over the Rebels last term with an aggregate score of 9-0
On This Day
It’s been 25 years since Dartford won on 21 February back when Havant and Waterlooville had not yet merged. The Darts travelled to Hampshire in 1998 to take on Havant Town and came home with a 1-0 Southern League South victory. That was the last of an unbeaten run of 13 games on this day in which the Darts won ten and drew three. The biggest victory came in 1914 when Dartford beat Rochester 8-0 in the Kent League. In 1931, the Darts won 5-0 against Chatham in the Kent Senior Cup quarter-final. On the way to winning the 1989 Southern League Cup, Dartford beat rivals Dover Athletic 4-1 in the last eight. Dartford are currently on a run of three consecutive losses after defeats to Tonbridge Angels in 2004, Ashford Town (Middlesex) five years later and Wealdstone in a F.A Trophy replay in 2012.