Dartford hope to return to winning ways when they host Isthmian Premier League champions Worthing this weekend.
The Darts were victorious in their opening two fixtures, but have fallen short in their last two outings with a pair of defeats. Worthing are settling quickly in their first ever campaign in the National South and are one of four unbeaten teams in the division.
Alan Dowson needs to pick up his players after consecutive 2-1 losses, first at Princes Park against Havant and Waterlooville then at Taunton Town last weekend. Whilst the Hawks are expected to be challenging for promotion and currently in second place, Taunton Town are new to the division and still finding their feet. On Saturday down in Somerset, the Darts named an unchanged side for a third consecutive match and once again Davide Rodari’s goal wasn’t enough to earn any points. The man on loan from Crawley Town netted his second of the season to add to the one he scored against Havant and Waterlooville. Dartford now occupy tenth place thanks to their opening two wins at Bath City and Cheshunt in which Pierre Fonkeu grabbed a brace in each game.
Four games into the new campaign and Dowson’s identified what is needed to improve the team, he spoke to Dartford FC TV after Saturday’s loss and said: “Last year’s team I’ve looked at them and the new signings I’ve looked at them and we need some legs in the team”, he added: “we haven’t got anybody to win the ball back. The two centre halves will get stuck in, but around the pitch I haven’t got anybody else who is going to win a battle for us”. Leading up to this weekend’s match, the Dartford boss has been looking for the ideal type of player to compliment a team who have shown they are more than capable in possession of the ball.
Pleased with the performances of the opening three games and up to the point Taunton Town turned a one goal deficit around, Dowson may make some changes to the line-up after selecting the same eleven for the last three outings, especially with two games coming up over the Bank Holiday weekend. Goalkeeper, Daniel Wilks played his 50th game in goal for the Darts with an ankle injury and didn’t train with the team on Monday. Dowson is hopeful Wilks will be fit enough to start against Worthing. Goalscorer, Rodari limped off against Taunton Town after getting a knock on his knee, but the Dartford boss is optimistic the forward will be available. Meanwhile, Cameron Brodie has gone out on loan to Isthmian Premier League side Margate.
Worthing claimed the Isthmian Premier title with three games to spare last term, scoring a century of goals and accruing 97 points. The momentum has continued under Adam Hinshelwood with two wins on the road and two draws on their own patch. The signing of former Dart, Jake Robinson may have caught the eye. However, after his debut goal the striker picked up a knee injury ruling him out of a Princes Park return and for most of the season. Robinson scored 17 goals in 32 games for Dartford including a hat-trick in the delayed Kent Senior Cup final.
Two of Worthing’s opponents were two divisions higher last season and the Reds have picked up four points in those meetings. The first points came on the opening day with Robinson responsible for Worthing’s first ever goal in the National South after just five minutes against Dover Athletic, but Lee Martin spoiled the party as it ended 1-1.
The Sussex side didn’t have to wait long for their maiden victory beating another Kent side, Welling United 4-2. Again, Worthing were fast out the blocks when Callum Kealy put the Reds ahead, the forward signed from Dorking Wanderers in the summer. Former Dartford midfielder Tyrique Hyde levelled two minutes later before Lewis White and Joe Rye gave Hinshelwood’s men a two-goal advantage. Another ex-Dart, Ade Azeez scored to put the Wings within touching distance, but Kealy’s second secured Worthing’s first ever National South maximum.
A second win followed over Weymouth, who were playing in the National League last term. The Reds swept the Terras aside with a 3-0 win, two goals from last season’s top scorer Ollie Pearce and another by Joel Colbran continued Worthing’s unbeaten start. Last weekend the Sussex club extended their current run and kept a second clean sheet in a row earning a 0-0 draw at home to Chippenham Town. Hinshelwood gave debuts to Sammie McLeod, Adam Adam and Daniel Bowry when the trio came off the bench as substitutes. After four outings Worthing sit in third place on eight points.
Since promotion Adam Hinshelwood has strengthened his squad with several players providing National South experience. Playoff winner, Kane Wills moved back to Worthing from Dorking Wanderers, Nodirbek Bobomurodov arrived from Hungerfod Town and Charlie Towning from Eastbourne Borough. Lewis White has made the step up from Carshalton Town, whilst Adam El-Abd gives Worthing plenty of Football League experience.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 3 / Worthing wins: 1 / Draws: 1
Current League Form
|Taunton Town||A||1-2||Chippenham Town||H||0-0|
|Havant and Waterlooville||H||1-2||Weymouth||A||3-0|
|Bath City||A||2-0||Dover Athletic||H||1-1|
Last Five Meetings
Worthing 1 – 2 Dartford (26/09/2009 – F.A Cup)
Worthing 2 – 1 Dartford (20/11/1982 – F.A Cup)
Dartford 3 – 0 Worthing (12/11/1927 – F.A Cup)
Dartford 1 – 0 Worthing (12/10/1921 – F.A Cup)
Worthing 0 – 0 Dartford (08/10/1921 – F.A Cup)
- Dartford have won both games played at home against Worthing
- The Darts have not played the Rebels for 12 years and have never met in a league fixture
- Dartford have only ever played Worthing in F.A Cup matches. The pair have been drawn out together four times, the Darts progressed in the competition on three occasions to Worthing’s one.
- The Darts last lost three league games in a row in April 2019, towards the end of the 2018/2019 campaign
On This Day
Goalkeeper, Deren Ibrahim scored a long-range free kick six years ago on this day as the Darts beat Hungerford Town 2-0. Ibrahim opened the scoring with just over ten minutes remaining and when Alex Brown doubled the lead the points were made safe. Tom Bonner scored in 2018 when the Darts beat East Thurrock United 2-0 at Princes Park, Ben Greenhalgh wrapped up the victory. In 2012, Nathan Collier’s late looping winner at Cambridge United earned Dartford a famous win in the National League. Danny Harris put the Darts in front before James Jennings levelled for the hosts. Dartford have won five of their last six on 27 August with Chelmsford City the only side to take points off the Darts in a 0-0 draw 11 years ago. Jay May scored a Princes Park hat-trick in 2007 as Tony Burman’s Isthmian Division North title winning side beat Aveley 4-0, Brendon Cass scored the other. The same score was recorded six years earlier in the local derby against Erith and Belvedere.