The Darts will need to pick up some points at Hemel Hempstead Town on Bank Holiday Monday to end their barren spell in the National South.
Dartford’s run of defeats continued on Saturday as they conceded deep into injury time at home to Worthing. For a second game in a row, the Darts let slip a one goal lead to lose 2-1 to a newly promoted side. Connor Essam, once of Hemel Hempstead Town provided the Darts with an early lead after ten minutes, his header found the corner of the Worthing net. Despite Luke Allen and new loan signing Adam Lovatt having chances to extend the lead it remained 1-0 at the break. Six minutes into the second half and Worthing were level when Callum Kealy’s shot beat Young. After a spell of pressure from the visitors, Dartford came close when Campbell’s free-kick hit the crossbar just passed the hour. In the final minute of injury time the Rebels took home the three points after Joel Colbran scored the winner.
Goalkeeper, Dan Wilks was ruled out with an ankle injury meaning a debut was given to Joe Young. The Wolverhampton Wanderers academy goalkeeper is on loan until January and has represented England at various youth levels. Davide Rodari, who had scored in his previous two appearances was also missing through injury. Lovatt was also given his debut after coming in on loan from League Two side Sutton United. Dowson made a further three changes with Kristian Campbell returning from injury, whilst Alex Wall and Maxwell Statham made their first starts since signing in the summer.
A second consecutive home loss with an away defeat in between means Alan Dowson’s side have slipped to 13th place, after winning their opening two games of the campaign. However, the Darts can still be optimistic travelling to Vauxhall Road having won their last four there and are unbeaten in 11 against Hemel Hempstead Town.
The two clubs have formed links over the previous couple of years and that was demonstrated by this fixture last term. Tyrique Hyde was on loan at Hemel Hempstead Town from the Darts, but the midfielder was recalled prior the meeting between the two sides at Vauxhall Road. Hyde made an impact scoring twice in a 3-2 Dartford victory, Ade Azeez was the other goalscorer from the penalty spot. Alfie Cerulli had earlier equalised at 1-1 for the Tudors and he was also responsible for a late consolation.
In the reverse fixture Dartford hosted the Tudors for the first time since 2019. The Darts had a difficult afternoon falling behind when Gus Scott-Moriss gave the visitors the lead. Under Steve King, the hosts were trying to maintain an unbeaten home run in the league that had stretched to 16 games. So, there was relief when it was extended to a 17th match thanks to Marcus Dinanga’s last-minute equaliser. Samir Carruthers missed out that day as he was on loan from the Tudors, the midfielder could make his first start against his former side. Former Dart, Craig King was in goal for the Tudors in the draw and remains at the club, the goalkeeper made 18 appearances for Dartford before his move to Hertfordshire.
Over this summer, the Darts have signed striker Pierre Fonkeu from Hemel Hempstead Town and already he has netted four goals this season in five games. Just as productive in front of goal, Jordan Greenidge has scored three in his opening five appearances for Hemel Hempstead Town after signing from Weymouth. The striker was on loan at Dartford last season and scored six times in only eight matches. Kory Roberts also impressed on loan in his 22 appearances under Steve King, the defender joined the Tudors from Bromley. Finally, Jernade Meade could be up against his former side after switching clubs over the summer, the full back played 25 times for the Darts.
The trio of former Darts have been part of Mark Jones’ newly assembled squad. The Tudors boss handed out nine debuts on the opening day, only Craig King and Charlee Hughes starting from the squad that was there last term. Roberts, Meade and Greenidge were all involved, and it was Greenidge who scored the winner in a 1-0 win over newly promoted Farnborough. The striker was at it again in the following outing putting the Tudors in front against Hampton and Richmond Borough. However, the Beavers equalised to share the points.
Like the Darts, the Tudors are on a three game losing streak, firstly defeat at Braintree Town where Hemel Hempstead Town were beaten 3-1, Ogo Obi scoring his first for the club since signing from Hanwell Town. Then a 4-2 loss against Welling United which saw the Tudors throw away a two goal lead given to them by Josh Castiglione and Greenidge’s penalty. The Wings hit back with three goals in six second-half minutes. Stefan Payne then Anthony Papadopoulos had the scores level and on the 55th minute Payne scored what turned out to be the winner. On Saturday, the Tudors played their second of three games against Kent sides and were humbly beaten by Dover Athletic 4-0.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 7 / Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 1 / Draws: 5
Current League Form
|Hemel Hempstead Town
|Taunton Town||A||1-2||Welling United||H||2-3|
|Havant and Waterlooville||H||1-2||Braintree Town||A||1-3|
|Cheshunt||H||2-1||Hampton & Richmond||A||1-1|
Last Six Meetings
Dartford 1 – 1 Hemel Hempstead Town (09/04/2022 – National South)
Hemel Hempstead Town 2 – 3 Dartford (20/11/2021 – National South)
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 are unbeaten in 11 games against Hemel Hempstead Town (W6, D5)
- The Darts have won each of their last four visits to Vauxhall Road and are unbeaten in five.
- Dartford have gone three games without a league point for the first time since April 2019. The Darts last lost four consecutive league matches in March 2016.
On This Day
Dartford were on the receiving end of Alan Dowson’s Hampton and Richmond Borough six years ago. The Darts were thumped 4-1 at the Beveree with Christian Jolley, now Dowson’s assistant at Princes Park getting the first goal. Danny Harris equalised, but goals from Michael Kamara, Nicke Kabamba and a Tom Bonner own goal completed the win for the Middlesex club. A year before, the Darts had a better afternoon in their Kent derby with Margate, goals from Lee Noble and Elliot Bradbrook secured a 2-0 victory. Bradbrook also netted in the 2011 triumph against Bromley, Charlie Sheringham and Harris also scored as the Darts recorded a 3-1 win. Two years earlier, Lee Burns found the back of the Wealdstone net in a 1-1 draw. Dartford’s biggest win on this day came in 1959 when they beat Kettering Town in the Southern Premier League, Tommy Huckstepp scored 37 goals in 43 games in that campaign.