Dartford will be hoping to celebrate Non-League Day this weekend by coming home with vital points from their away trip to Hampton and Richmond Borough.
The Darts are currently third in the National South and trying to chase down the top two heading into the final stretch of the season. Hampton and Richmond Borough still have a chance of reaching the playoffs and are unbeaten in four.
Hampton and Richmond Borough did Dartford a favour on the weekend, but there was no such favour from a former Dart at Princes Park. Whilst Steve King’s side were held at home, the Beavers put in a fine display against league leaders Dorking Wanderers. King made two changes to the team that beat Chelmsford City in mid-week bringing in Ody Alfa and Marcus Dinanga for Danny Leonard and Kalvin Kalala. The squad was also bolstered with the signing of Kristian Campbell from Welling United, he made a substitute appearance early on replacing the injured George Porter. Steve King has known Campbell for a while, and he believes the full back compliments the side.
The Darts took the lead when Kory Roberts headed back across the goal and into the net for his first in a Dartford shirt. The Hawks were level shortly after as former Dartford striker Alex Wall slid in to make it 1-1. However, the Darts squandered a big opportunity to close the gap on Dorking Wanderers when Ade Azeez had his penalty saved by Ross Worner. King felt his side should have taken their chances and won the game. He also praised the man of the match performance from Roberts and Jack Jebb’s deliveries into the Havant and Waterlooville box, but acknowledges the Darts need to finish the opportunities in front of goal.
Meanwhile, Hampton and Richmond Borough drew with league leaders Dorking Wanderers. Josh Taylor sneaked a shot past Beavers goalkeeper, Reice Charles-Cook at the near post to give the hosts the lead after half an hour. Hampton and Richmond Borough fought back in six second-half minutes; first Kyron Farrell brilliantly scored direct from a free-kick then Dean Inman headed the Beavers in front from another set-piece. With fifteen minutes remaining Wes Fogden popped up with the equaliser as his side dropped important points. Come full-time the Darts had not lost any ground on the former league leaders, however Maidstone United have now taken over at the top and hold a nine-point advantage over King’s men.
Entering the final seven games of the campaign, Dartford will have to maintain some pressure on the top two starting against Hampton and Richmond Borough. Steve King’s side then travel to fifth place Oxford City and host mid-table Hemel Hempstead Town before their game in hand versus Billericay Town. Hopefully the Darts will still be in touch when the potentially big Kent derby arrives with Maidstone United on 18 April. To be able to maintain that pressure, the absentees of six players last weekend means King is looking to sign some new players before they face Hampton and Richmond Borough. One of those to have joined the Dartford ranks is Samir Carruthers, who will be hoping to make his debut after arriving from Hemel Hempstead Town, the central midfielder has made 24 appearances in the National South this term. Carruthers started his senior career at Aston Villa making three Premier League appearances. The 28 year old gained further experience at Milton Keynes Dons, Sheffield United, Oxford United and Cambridge United before joining the Tudors in the summer of 2020.
Keiran Murtagh will be available after serving his suspension, Jernade Meade and Josh Hill remain out injured, whilst Leonard and Jordan Wynter were unable to play in the draw last Saturday. George Porter was taken off early in the match against Havant and Waterlooville and Luke Allen has been out for the last four league matches.
Allen was involved in the reverse fixture against Hampton and Richmond Borough back in January. In Dartford’s first game without creative midfielder Noor Husin, who had left the club for National League side Southend United, Allen was back in the first team and since then the central midfielder has shown his qualities until picking up his injury in the defeat at Hungerford Town. A couple of months ago, the Darts were off to a great start scoring after five minutes against this weekend’s opponents, Connor Essam headed the ball for Jake Robinson to score. The Beavers equalised through Sam Deadfield, but Dartford were back in front with a carbon copy of the first goal as Essam and Robinson combined again. Hampton and Richmond Borough were level once more ten minutes into the second half, Jack McKnight converting a penalty to make sure the points were shared. Last season Dartford only managed to play the Beavers once and that was a 0-0 draw in October 2020 at the Beveree. The stalemate extended Dartford’s unbeaten run at Hampton and Richmond Borough to four.
Hampton and Richmond Borough have won their last two home games in the National South beating relegation threatened Welling United. A game which saw the new Wings boss Warren Feeney take charge of his first game. The Beavers yet again made their set-pieces count with both James Roberts and Farrell scoring direct from free-kicks in the 2-1 victory. Ten days earlier the Middlesex club had recorded the same score against Dulwich Hamlet, but this time they came from behind. Former Dartford goalkeeper Alan Julian was unable to keep out Jordan Green’s penalty after just two minutes. The Beavers were level before half-time when Zach Robinson levelled. Then in the second-half Hampton and Richmond Borough won a penalty of their own resulting in Quade Taylor’s sending off for handball, Roberts stepped up to score the winner. Sandwiched between the two victories, Gary McCann’s side suffered the same fate a Dartford by getting knocked out of a county cup to Brentford B. This time it was the Middlesex Senior Cup semi-final, with the Bees going on to win 1-0.
The Beavers are on their best current run in the league since the seven unbeaten near the start of the campaign. After a spell of one defeat in ten between the end of August and through to the end of November, the Middlesex club took just three points in the next 21 available before the 2-2 draw with Dartford in January. They followed up with a 4-0 victory over Bath City before going on a four-game losing streak, which was ended with a 1-1 draw against Chippenham Town and started this current run Hampton and Richmond Borough are on.
McCann has managed to strengthen his squad ahead of the transfer deadline giving new signing Wassim Aouachria his debut in the draw with Dorking Wanderers. The forward is on loan from Charlton Athletic joining fellow Addick, Lucas Ness who extended his loan spell until the end of the season.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 7 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 5 / Draws: 4
Current League Form
|Hampton & Richmond
|Havant & Waterlooville||H||1-1||Dorking Wanderers||A||2-2|
|Chelmsford City||H||2-1||Welling United||H||2-1|
|Chippenham Town||A||2-4||Dulwich Hamlet||H||2-1|
|Dorking Wanderers||H||3-2||Chippenham Town||A||1-1|
|Hungerford Town||A||1-2||Chelmsford City||A||0-1|
|Bath City||H||2-0||Oxford City||H||0-3|
Previous Meetings (last six)
Dartford 2 – 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough (22/01/2022 – National South)
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 have scored in this fixture in 11 of their last 12 meetings, the only time they failed to score in that spell was in the last visit to the Beveree
- The Darts have lost the fewest games in the National South this season, all six coming away from home.
- Dartford have scored in their last ten league games, their best streak of the season and longest since the 2019/2020 season (13 games between 17 August 2019 and 16 November 2019).
On This Day
Charlie Sheringham scored twice in 2011 as the Darts beat Lewes 3-0 at Princes Park. Danny Harris scored the other that day in Dartford’s only win on 26 March in five attempts since 1994, when they beat Faversham Town 2-1 in the Kent League. The last away outing for the Darts on this day was in 2013 when they went to Hereford United in the National League and lost 1-0, the fourth consecutive away defeat on 26 March, the other three being 3-0 at Chelmsford City in 1999, 1-0 at Gosport Borough in 1983 and 2-1 against Canterbury City in 1968. Dartford’s last victory on their travels on this day was in 1958 when they beat Headington United 4-3 in the Southern League.