Dartford return to National South action this weekend at Hemel Hempstead Town and aim to record a first league win for over a month.

The Darts may have suffered single goal defeats in their last two matches on the road, but they can approach this weekend’s fixture with confidence after an emphatic London Senior Cup victory on Tuesday night. Progressing to the next round ended a run of six games without a win in all competitions.

Steve King made seven changes and named a strong side against Essex Senior League side Cockfosters and was rewarded with a 9-0 victory, Dartford’s biggest win since 1975 when they beat Crawley Town by ten without reply. Recalled from his loan spell at Hemel Hempstead Town, Tyrique Hyde made an immediate impact by opening the rout. The midfielder made seven appearances for the Tudors and during his loan spell Hemel Hempstead Town’s form improved. The Darts benefited from an own goal before new D’Sean Theobalds made it three and Emmanuel Sonupe netted on the stroke of half time. The goals kept coming in the second half when former Tudor, Connor Essam got in on the act, Sonupe completed a hat-trick, the returning Jake Robinson got the eighth and Dan Roberts finished the job. The last time Dartford ended a match with nine goals on the scoreboard was the 1972 F.A Cup first qualifying round tie against Hemel Hempstead Town, the final score was 9-2.

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As well as Theobalds, Robinson and Sonupe amongst the changes from the entertaining 0-0 draw with Oxford City, Tom Bonner returned to the starting eleven after serving a suspension, Michael Kedman made only his fourth start, Danny Leonard was in after the winger missed the Oxford City match through illness and there was a first appearance for former Brentford full back Josh Clarke. The 27-year-old spent seven years with the Bees and made 72 appearances and has had plenty of loan spells during that time.

Dartford’s last National South outing saw an improved performance against promotion challengers Oxford City. Although the game finished 0-0 the Darts created plenty of chances to win, instead the stalemate took King’s side to five without victory in the league. Despite the barren spell, King thought his side were ‘fantastic’ on the weekend and deserved the win. King confirmed after the game that Luke Allen needed to be assessed, the midfielder was stretchered off and taken to hospital, whilst Jordan Wynter will continue to be out for the foreseeable future. Noor Husin is expected to return after being away on international duty.

Away from home the winless run is four games in all competitions stretching back to the impressive 3-0 F.A Cup triumph over rivals Maidstone United. The Darts have failed to score in their last three on the road, but after the London Senior Cup goal fest, the three scored at home against Chippenham Town a fortnight ago, the encouraging chances created last weekend and their early season form shows Dartford have enough potential in front of goal.

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The last visit to Vauxhall Road was just over a year ago when Dartford extended their unbeaten run over the Tudors to nine by winning 3-1. Essam caused problems for his former club and opened the scoring. Jack Jebb got his second assist of the afternoon when Nathan Carlyle put in his own net. The Darts went three up before half-time through Elliott Romain before Bernard Christie pulled one back for the hosts in the second half.

Hemel Hempstead Town are searching for their first win against Dartford since August 2015 when they opened their campaign as a newly promoted club with a 1-0 victory. This season started precariously for the Hertfordshire club, but former Dartford winger, Ky Marsh-Brown scored on his debut in a 4-2 defeat against Maidstone United. The Tudors went on to lose their first six in the league including a 6-0 reverse at home to Dulwich Hamlet. A first point was earned at home to Eastbourne Borough and a second consecutive draw this time in the F.A Cup against Ware of the Isthmian South Central division ended Lee Bircham’s time as manager. The Tudors were knocked out in the replay and now they have former Oxford City boss, Mark Jones in charge.

Since Jones’ arrival form has improved and he immediately guided his new side off the bottom of the table. In his first league game in charge, the Tudors recorded their first win against Billericay Town and traded places with their opponents. Despite a heavy 4-0 defeat against his old club Oxford City, Jones has overseen two victories and two draws in the last four outings. In the previous two matches Alfie Cerulli and Craig Fasanmade were the two goalscorers, Fasanmade played under Jones at Oxford City and scored against the Darts back in January for Hungerford Town.

As well as Essam and Hyde having links with Hemel Hempstead Town, Deshane Dalling who has made just one start and three substitute appearances for the Darts turned out for the Tudors earlier in the season. Dartford goalkeeper, Craig King is currently on loan at Vauxhall Road where he has so far made one appearance.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 6 / Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 1 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford
(DDLLDW)
    Hemel Hempstead Town
(WDWDLW)
   
Oxford City H 0-0 Chelmsford City A 2-1
Chippenham Town H 3-3 Dorking Wanderers H 2-2
Concord Rangers A 0-1 Chippenham Town A 2-1
Dorking Wanderers A 0-1 Welling United H 1-1
Chelmsford City A 0-0 Oxford City H 0-4
Hungerford Town H 1-0 Billericay Town A 3-2

Previous Meetings

Hemel Hempstead Town 1 – 3 Dartford (10/11/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Hemel Hempstead Town (31/08/2019 – National South)
Hemel Hempstead Town 1 – 2 Dartford (05/03/2019 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 0 Hemel Hempstead Town (11/08/2018 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 2 Hemel Hempstead Town (17/03/2018 – National South)
Hemel Hempstead Town 0 – 3 Dartford (26/08/2017 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford are unbeaten in their last nine games against Hemel Hempstead Town, winning five and drawing four
  • The Darts have won on their last three visits to Vauxhall Road scoring eight and conceding two
  • The last time Dartford went six league games without a win in a season was towards the end of the 2018-2019 campaign 

On This Day

Carl Rook’s brace eleven years ago was enough for Dartford to beat Thurrock in the third qualifying round of the F.A Trophy. Victory was the Darts third away win in a row on 20 November after triumphs against Waltham Forest in 2007 and Stamford in 1999. Jamie Coyle scored twice against Waltham Forest, Ryan Hayes and Brendon Cass added to the score in a 4-2 win, the Darts went on to claim the Isthmian Division North title that season. Dartford’s last away league defeat on this day was back in 1965 against Wellington Town in the Southern Premier League.