A win for Dartford will take them back above Havant and Waterlooville as the two sides meet at Westleigh Park on Wednesday night.
The Darts gained a point on the weekend but dropped a place in the league standings after Havant and Waterlooville picked up maximum points in their fixture. Dartford have won just one in their last five since their eleven game unbeaten run ended a month ago, now they face the top two in the National South in their next three games. The Hawks bounced back from only their third defeat of the campaign with a victory on the weekend.
Both sides have been capable of stringing impressive runs together, the Darts took an incredible 31 points from a possible 33 between September and early November. Whilst the Hawks opened their season with nine wins and two draws in their first 11 fixtures. One of those victories for the Hampshire side came at Princes Park in August.
Former Dartford striker, Jason Prior missed Havant and Waterlooville’s last match, but he didn’t miss the target four months ago. Prior opened the scoring in the last meeting and although Davide Rodari scored his first for the Darts since joining from Crawley Town in the summer, Havant and Waterlooville went on to win 2-1 when Oscar Gobern scored. Prior, who tends to find the net regularly against Dartford will be determined to get fit from his shoulder injury and face his former club.
The Darts were successful in their last visit to Westleigh Park. Luke Allen’s strike on the stroke of half-time was enough to secure a 1-0 win. Dartford’s defensive qualities shone through as Havant and Waterlooville rarely threatened in front of goal. The subsequent meeting between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw at Princes Park, Korey Roberts’ goal was cancelled out by Alex Wall, who is now back with the Darts and could face his former club on Wednesday night. Dartford squandered a chance to win though when Ade Azeez had his penalty saved by Ross Worner, the shot stopper is currently on Havant and Watewrlooville’s injury list.
On Saturday, Malachi Napa was handed his Dartford debut in a 0-0 draw with Bath City. The winger is on loan from Wealdstone and has been on Dartford’s radar for a while. After a spell at Dowson’s former club Woking, Napa played for Maldon and Tiptree before joining Wealdstone in the summer. However the new signing was unable to make an impact as the Darts drew a blank for a second game in a row, the first time under Dowson.
The Dartford boss spoke to Dartford FC TV after the game and said: “I’m delighted with a point to be honest as I thought we got battered”. Despite losing to Chelmsford City the week before the 0-0 draw with Bath City, the performance was better against the Clarets. Looking ahead to taking on Havant and Waterlooville then the festive double header over Ebbsfleet United, Dowson commented: “I can’t wait to get the games done, but I think we need to make one or two adjustments. If we play like that we’ll get done in all three games, but if we play how we did last week then we’ll have a go”.
Havant and Waterlooville are two points behind league leaders Ebbsfleet United having played two extra games. The Hawks suffered a surprisingly heavy defeat in their last home games losing 5-1 to Worthing. Yet the won by the same score in the home fixture before that brushing Dulwich Hamlet aside and bounced back with a 3-1 victory at Slough Town on Saturday. The Hawks had to come from behind to beat the Rebels with a first goal for the club for Charlie Ruff. The experienced Danny Wright put Havant and Waterlooville in front before Billy Clifford wrapped up the three points.
The Hawks have been potent in front of goal with only leaders Ebbsfleet United scoring more in the league this term. Helped by the know how of Prior and Danny Wright, the Hawks also have Muhammadu Faal, James Roberts and Jake McCarthy chipping in with goals.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 7 / Havant and Waterlooville wins: 5 / Draws: 5
Current League Form
|Havant and Waterlooville
|Bath City||H||0-0||Slough Town||A||3-1|
|Concord Rangers||H||3-1||Tonbridge Angels||A||1-1|
|Oxford City||A||1-1||Chippenham Town||A||3-0|
|Braintree Town||H||4-1||Hemel Hempstead Town||H||2-0|
Last Six Meetings
Dartford 1 – 2 Havant and Waterlooville (16/08/2022 – National South)
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 are unbeaten in their last three visits to Westleigh Park winning the last two (W2, D1)
- The Darts have kept two clean sheets in their last three away games againsgt the Hawks
- Defeat to Havant and Waterloville earlier in the season was Dartford’s first against the Hampshire side in eight games.
On This Day
Tom Champion was the hero on this day in 2010 when he scored the winning goal in a F.A Trophy replay against then National League side Crawley Town. The midfielder’s stoppage time goal caused an upset versus the Sussex side who went on to easily win promotion to the Football League. Strike duo Elliott Romain and Darren McQueen combined to help Dartford to a 3-2 win over Billericay Town three years ago. McQueen opened the scoring putting past former Dartford goalkeeper Alan Julian. Romain doubled the lead before half-time. Another ex-Dart scored for Ricay when Femi Akinwande pulled a goal back, but Romain restored the advantage before future Dart, Jake Robinson made it 3-2. Dartford’s last away game on 14 December was in 1999 when they drew 1-1 with Hastings United in the Southern League South. The Darts last away win was in 1976 against rivals Maidstone United in a Southern League Cup replay, Dartford won the entertaining tie 4-3. Finally, before Havant and Waterlooville’s merger, the Darts drew 0-0 with Havant Town on this day in 1996.