Page 3 of 6

Needham Market v Dartford

Dartford are on the brink of reaching the F.A Trophy quarter-final for the first time in nine years when they visit Needham Market on the weekend.

The Darts have fond memories of their one and only visit to Bloomfields when they progressed in the F.A Cup. This time round the Marketmen could provide a tougher test after making club history causing upsets along the way.

Alfie Pavey inspired Dartford in the only meeting between the two sides in September 2017 when his first-half hat-trick set the tone. The striker scored from a tight angle, headed in a second and secured the match ball with his third. Early in the second-half Tom Murphy got on the end of a counter attack to make it four before Elliott Bradbrook missed a penalty. Needham Market pulled a goal back through Sam Nunn, but Andy Pugh restored the four-goal lead. The hosts had Billy Holland sent off and to round off the rout, Ryan Hayes made it 6-1 with virtually the last kick of the game.

After a string of draws in the National South and victory in the previous round against National League side Weymouth, the Darts have hit some form and are eight games unbeaten in all competitions. Steve King led his side to three consecutive Kent derby wins beating Tonbridge Angels, Ebbsfleet United and Welling United before their trip to Havant and Waterlooville on Wednesday night.

King made two changes to the side that beat Welling United with Kalvin Kalala coming in for Danny Leonard and new loan signing Ody Alfa making his debut. The 22-year-old from Queens Park Rangers will be with the Darts until the end of the season, the forward has previously had spells with Maidenhead United and last season with Billericay Town. Luke Allen’s strike on the stroke of half-time was enough to secure a 1-0 win and move the Darts within four points of league leaders Dorking Wanderers and up into third place. Havant and Waterlooville rarely threatened in front of goal mainly due to a decent defensive display from the Darts, especially Korey Roberts. Returning from injury, Tom Bonner came off the bench to shore things up at the back and see the game out.

Watch Steve King’s interview with Dartford FC TV

In Dartford’s F.A Trophy run they have overcome a mixture of opponents defeating fellow National South side Bath City on penalties, overcoming Cray Wanderers from the division below and knocking out the Terras in the last round. Experience of a F.A Cup exit to lower league opposition this season means the Darts should not take this tie for granted, especially with the results achieved by Needham Market in the last two rounds of the competition.

The Marketmen under former midfielder Kevin Horlock began their journey in the third qualifying round and are still standing after five games. Horlock has a wealth of Football League experience with Swindon Town, Manchester City in the late nineties and early noughties, West Ham United, Ipswich Town before the tail end of his playing career. Whilst in management, as an assistant at Needham Market, Horlock was also assistant with Northern Ireland’s under 21 side and kept that role whilst managing Chatham Town afterwards. Prior his appointment at Bloomfields in June 2019, he also had a spell as Maldon and Tiptree boss.

Three players, Luke Ingram, Jake Dye and Daniel Morphew are still in the Needham Market squad that lost against he Darts back in 2017. They have played their part in the club’s trophy run which has included wins against St Ives Town, Margate, Welwyn City Garden and most notably Wealdstone and Yeovil Town both of the National League. Ingram is the top appearance maker of this current squad and is in his ninth campaign, Dye is an academy product and has made over 200 appearances and is now in his eighth season with the club and Morphew has been a constant in defence over the years.

In the Southern Premier Central, the Marketmen are playing catch up with games in hand caused by a fantastic trophy run. The Suffolk side are tenth in the league 11 points from a playoff spot with four matches extra to play. In all competitions they are six unbeaten at home with victories over Wealdstone, Hitchin Town and Leiston and draws against Peterborough Sports, Hednesford Town and in their last outing Royston Town. The 2-2 draw with Royston Town stretched their unbeaten league run to four, but they were two up in that game entering the 88th minute. The Marketmen have now lost just once in their last 11 competitive matches and with home advantage, previous upsets under their belt and club history already made they will be looking for yet another scalp.

F.A Trophy story so far…

Third Qualifying Round
St Ives Town 0-2 Needham Market
Paired up against fellow Southern Premier Central side St Ives Town, the Marketmen got their F.A Trophy adventure underway with a two goal victory. Luke Ingram expertly controlled and finished to open the scoring and four minutes from time Byron Lawrence’s superb free-kick sealed the deal.

First Round
Needham Market 3-2 Margate
Making it to the second round created history for Needham Market as they beat Kent club Margate with a dramatic late goal. The Marketmen went two goals up with a Harvey Sayers solo effort and Ben Fowkes’ strike on the stroke of half-time. Margate hit back with second-half goals by Vance Bola and former Dart, Ben Greenhalgh. Then three minutes into stoppage time Hans Mpongo headed the winner.

Second Round
Bath City 0-0 Dartford (Dartford won 5-3 on penalties)
A tight affair at Twerton Park ended with no goals scored after normal time and so the tie went straight to penalties. The Darts scored all five of their spot kicks and after two penalties each gained an advantage when Dan Wilks saved from Alex Fletcher. The Darts kept their heads and with Tyrique Hyde last to go for the visitors, the midfielder slotted home.

Needham Market 3-1 Welwyn City Garden
Although not the winner this time, Mpongo netted again in stoppage time to make sure Needham Market’s journey continued. A division higher than their opponents, the Marketmen scored twice in as many minutes just after the hour mark, first Luke Ingram then Jake Dye. In the last minute Welwyn City Garden halved the deficit, but Mpongo added a third.

Third Round
Cray Wanderers1-3 Dartford
Three goals in five first half minutes settled Dartford’s nerves in round three. The Kent derby against Isthmian Premier League side Cray Wanderers could have been a banana skin but the Darts negotiated their way through to the next round. Jake Robinson opened the scoring past former Dartford goalkeeper Bailey Vose. The striker added a second from the penalty spot and Danny Leonard made it three. The Wands scored a consolation in the second half when Jai Reason scored.

Needham Market 2-1 Wealdstone
The first of two upsets came in the third round as Needham Market knocked out National League side Wealdstone. Callum Sturgess got his side off to a perfect start after eight minutes to set up a trophy shock. Ten minutes before the interval Ingram doubled the lead and when Matthew Buse pulled a goal back it set up a tense finish.

Fourth Round
Dartford 1-0 Weymouth
The Darts knocked out higher league opposition and avenged a National South playoff defeat with victory at Princes Park. Jack Jebb scored the decisive goal and despite pressure from the visitors goalkeeper Dan Wilks kept the Terras at bay.

Yeovil Town 1-1 Needham Market (Needham Market won 8-7 on penalties)
The Marketmen caused a massive upset by beating a team famous for their F.A Cup giantkilling. Goalkeeper Marcus Garnham was the hero with four penalty saves in the shoot-out, after 22 spot kicks the shot stopper kept out Morgan Williams to grab the headlines. Williams has earlier opened the scoring in the first-half, a strike that was cancelled out just before half-time by Fowkes.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Needham Market wins: 0 / Draws: 0

Current Form (all competitions)

Dartford
(DDWWWW)
    Needham Market
(WLWDWD)
   
Havant and Waterlooville A 1-0 Royston Town H 2-2
Welling United H 4-2 Leiston H 3-0
Ebbsfleet United H 1-0 Redditch United A 0-0
Tonbridge Angels A 3-2 Hitchin Town H 3-1
Concord Rangers H 0-0 AFC Rushden & Diamonds A 0-2
Hampton and Richmond H 2-2 Yeovil Town (FAT)* A 1-1

(FAT – F.A Trophy) / * Needham Market won 8-7 on penalties

Previous Meeting

Needham Market 1 – 6 Dartford (30/09/2017 – F.A Cup Third Qualifying Round)

Stats

  • Dartford have won four in a row for the first time since October
  • The Darts have won three F.A Trophy ties this season, the first time since their run to the semi-final in 2012/2013
  • Jack Jebb will make his 50th Dartford appearance if selected on the weekend. The midfielder has started 47 games, made two substitute appearances and has scored seven goals.

On This Day

The Darts completed a league double over Luton Town in the National League on this day. Ryan Hayes fine effort was enough to take victory, earlier in the game Andre Gray struck the post. Dartford’s last away game ended in a 1-1 draw with Braintree Town, the Darts went a goal down after a Billy Burgess own goal and Jon Main levelled the National South match. In 2005, the Dartford brushed aside Berkamsted Town 5-0 in the Southern League Division One East. The only F.A Trophy tie on this day ended without a goal as the Darts drew 0-0 against Atherstone United in 1972, Dartford won the replay 1-0 two days later.

Havant and Waterlooville v Dartford

Dartford travel full of confidence when they visit Havant and Waterlooville in the National South on Wednesday.

The Darts have had a fantastic week with three consecutive Kent derby victories to move them fourth in the table, seven points behind the league leaders with a game in hand. Meanwhile, Havant and Waterlooville are going through a tougher spell and are without a win in seven sitting in mid-table.

To add to the recent good form, Dartford are unbeaten in their last nine matches against the Hawks, winning seven and drawing two. The last of those victories was in the previous meeting back in October 2020 at Princes Park. Behind closed doors due to Covid restrictions, Jack Barham scored twice on Halloween as Dartford recorded a 2-1 win. The striker netted a penalty then headed a Jack Jebb cross home. Josh Taylor pulled a goal back before Billy Clifford was sent off in this niggly affair.

Highlights of Dartford’s last meeting with Havant and Waterlooville – Dartford FC TV

It was Dartford’s second 2-1 triumph against the Hampshire side in a row, the previous came at Westleigh Park in the delayed 2019/2020 playoff semi-final, also behind closed doors. The parallels last season’s meeting being Darren McQueen netting a brace, one of which was a penalty and Havant and Waterlooville being reduced to ten men when Josh Taylor was red carded. This time Dartford came from behind to win after Jonah Ayunga had put the hosts ahead.

Despite the contrasting form between the two sides and Dartford’s recent record over Paul Doswell’s side, manager Steve King isn’t being complacent, he spoke to Dartford FC TV after the Welling United triumph and commented: “Havant are not having a great time, but they are good side and they have got some very good players, so if you are not on it they will beat you. They are a capable side, some of their players I would take, they are fantastic players so it’s just not working for them at the moment, but sometimes it takes just one result for you to kick on”.

Dartford took maximum points last week starting with the 3-2 victory over Tonbridge Angels they followed that up with a terrific team effort to beat rivals Ebbsfleet United 1-0. On Saturday they completed a Kent derby hat-trick running out 4-2 winners against Welling United, but it was far from easy. Led by former Dartford player manager Peter Taylor, the Wings took the lead twice making the Darts work hard for their three points. King made just the one change to the side that beat Ebbsfleet United bringing in Connor Essam for the injured Tom Bonner.

Dartford FC TV brings you highlights of Dartford matches plus post match interviews

Conceding within the opening minutes through Afolabi Akinyemi’s strike, Dartford were on level terms when new signing Marcus Dinanga lobbed Jack Sims in the Welling United goal. However, moments after equalising the visitors won a penalty which Akinyemi scored. It was all level again before the interval when Danny Leonard scored his eighth of the season in an entertaining half. In the second half, the Darts showed their quality and when Luke Allen fired from outside of the box and Dinanga grabbed hos second with a superb finish the points were safe.

King pointed out after the game that the quality of finishing and the ‘game changers’ from the substitutes bench made the difference. He also praised his two goal hero Dinanga and is confident the striker can bring more to the side, he said: “Marcus will score goals for us, give him the right service he will score goals for us. He has got a little bit of everything, wins headers, he’s strong boy, he’s got a good left foot and he took his goals well”.

The trio of competitive derbies have taken its toll on the squad and leading up to the Havant and Waterlooville game Steve King has freshened the squad up. With Tom Bonner and Josh Hill injured on the weekend, the Darts have already brought in Korey Roberts and was forced to field Essam ahead of schedule after his shoulder injury. Jernade Meade remains out, the impressive Leonard was hauled off with a leg issue on Saturday and Josh Clarke hasn’t featured since the home draw with Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Catch Dartford FC TV speaking to manager Steve King after the Welling United victory

Winless in seven league games, Havant and Waterlooville were expected to be higher in the league standings this term. The Hawks won back to back titles to reach the National League before relegation after their first season back in that division. The Hampshire side were declared runners up two years ago in the National South, losing their playoff against the Darts. Last term their record was that of a mid-table side when the season was cut short after just 14 games.

Confidence took a massive blow on Boxing Day when Havant and Waterlooville were trounced 8-0 by Dorking Wanderers, the Hawks had Paul Rooney sent off after just four minutes. Since then Paul Doswell’s team have picked up three points and their winless run at Westleigh Park is now at nine in the league, stretching back to the 5-2 win against Concord Rangers on 9 October. On Saturday they fell to their second defeat in a row losing at home to St Albans City, that result followed the 3-1 loss at Oxford City. Prior those losses, the Hawks managed to draw two on the spin versus bottom side Billericay Town and lowly Tonbridge Angels. Whilst the New Year started with a return fixture against Dorking Wanderers which ended 3-1 to the Surrey side.

One player who could make a return to Princes Park is Alex Wall. The striker was a used substitute on the weekend and made 11 appearances on loan at Dartford in 2014 scoring six times. Wall returned to Princes Park in the summer of 2018, but left before a ball was kicked. Since then, Wall has had a successful spell with Concord Rangers reaching the F.A Trophy final as well as spells at Hemel Hempstead Town and Woking, before joining Havant and Waterlooville in the summer.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / Havant and Waterlooville wins: 3 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford
(DDDWWW)
    Havant & Waterlooville
(DLDDLL)
   
Welling United H 4-2 St Albans City H 0-1
Ebbsfleet United H 1-0 Oxford City A 1-3
Tonbridge Angels A 3-2 Tonbridge Angels H 1-1
Concord Rangers H 0-0 Billericay Town A 1-1
Hampton and Richmond H 2-2 Dorking Wanderers H 1-3
Dulwich Hamlet H 1-1 Hemel Hempstead Town H 0-0

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 2 – 1 Havant & Waterlooville (31/10/2020 – National South)
Havant & Waterlooville 1 – 2 Dartford (25/07/2020 – National South Playoff)
Dartford 1 – 1 Havant & Waterlooville (10/08/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Havant & Waterlooville (13/01/2018 – National South)
Havant & Waterlooville 0 – 0 Dartford (12/08/2017 – National South)
Havant & Waterlooville 0 – 2 Dartford (19/03/2016 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford are unbeaten in their last four away games against Havant and Waterlooville winning three and drawing the other
  • The Darts have only lost once at Westleigh Park, the 1-0 defeat in April 2011 is the last time the Hawks beat Dartford.
  • Havant and Waterlooville won the first five meetings between the two sides from 1999 to 2011, since then Dartford have been unbeaten in the last nine

On This Day

A ‘ghost goal’ earned Dartford a crucial point at AFC Sudbury on this day in a 2-2 draw. John Guest headed the Darts in front, but James Rowe’s brace put the hosts a goal up. Then came the controversy, Brendon Cass tried forcing the ball over the goal line but came up short, but the referee thought otherwise and gave the goal. Only two of the current squad were involved in Dartford’s last win on 9 February. Jordan Wynter and Tom Bonner were part of the defence three years ago as the Darts beat Bath City 3-0 at Princes Park. Goals from Lee Noble, Charlie Sheringham and Phil Roberts cemented a convincing win. Dartford’s last outing on this day was a 1-0 home loss versus Eastbourne Borough twelve months ago. On the road to Wembley in 1974, the Darts negotiated their way into round three of the F.A Trophy with a 2-1 replay victory at Minehead, despite having top scorer John Mitchell sent off.

Dartford v Welling United

A third consecutive Kent derby for the Darts could see them complete a double over Welling United against a former player manager this weekend.

Over the last week Dartford have beaten Tonbridge Angels as well as local rivals Ebbsfleet United and now face Peter Taylor and his Welling United side. The current Wings boss wasn’t in charge when the Darts hammered the Wings on their own patch 6-0 back in September. To add extra spice in the dugout, Steve King will also face one of his former clubs, who he led to the playoff final in May 2019 before moving to Dartford five months later.

Dartford were fast out of the blocks in the reverse fixture at Park View Road, Noor Husin finishing a well worked move in the opening minutes of the game. Dan Roberts set up Ade Azeez midway through the first half and when Danny Leonard scored his first league goal for the club, the Darts were three up before half-time. Dartford’s excellent combination play continued and a two-minute brace from Luke Allen stretched the lead to five and there was still time for Azeez to grab his second in the rout.

Highlights of Dartford’s win against Welling United in September courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Allen was also on the scoresheet in the last meeting between the two sides at Princes Park. In Steve Lovells first game in charge at Welling United almost a year ago, the Wings went two up through former Dart, Lyle Della-Verde and a penalty converted by Anthony Cook. It took a spell of five second-half minutes for the Darts to level when Allen started the comeback and Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong completed it, denying the Wings their first win at Dartford since Boxing Day 2013. Lovell left the Wings five days before the 6-0 drubbing earlier this season. 

Much of King’s success at Welling United was built on excellent home form, something the Dartford boss is recreating this season. The Darts approached their rescheduled North Kent derby at home to Ebbsfleet United on the back of a 15 game unbeaten run at Princes Park in all competitions this term. Danny Leonard maintained his place in the side despite being taken off against Tonbridge Angels with a head injury, Ade Azeez was absent after he looked to have picked up an injury in the same game, Jernade Meade and Connor Essam are also nursing injuries. Jake Robinson and Luke Allen returned to the starting eleven and Marcus Dinanga made his Dartford debut. The 24-year-old has already played for Altrincham in the National North and has also had a loan spell at Kidderminster Harriers.

Watch Dartford’s victory over Ebbsfleet United – Dartford FC TV

Jake Robinson scored a first half winner by getting on the end of Kai Innocent’s cross to take him to nine league goals. The striker has now scored 11 in his last 13 appearances in all competitions, and could have added another with a glorious chance just before the half hour mark. Former Dart, Elliott Romain was replaced by Dominic Poleon at half-time, the striker should have scored early in the second half and came close again later on for the Fleet. The visitors piled on the pressure looking for the equaliser and after making all their substitutes Joe Martin went off injured leaving the Fleet down to ten men for the final 15 minutes. Dartford’s excellent performance was rewarded with a 1-0 win to extend the unbeaten home run to 16.

Former Welling United centre back, Josh Hill will not get to face his old side as he is out for the rest of the season. However, Dan Wilks and Jack Jebb are likely to feature, the pair were down at Park View Road during Steve King’s reign there. George Porter is another of the Darts to return to his former home. 

Welling United manager, Peter Taylor had one of the most successful spells in Dartford’s history between July 1986 and 1990. Whilst player manager he made 253 appearances and scored 94 goals. He led the Darts to two Southern League runner up finishes, two Southern League Cup titles and reached the F.A Trophy semi-finals twice. After managing the Darts, Taylor was one of the most successful England under 21 managers, famously took charge of the England senior team for a game giving David Beckham the captain’s armband and has gained vast amounts of experience with various Football League clubs.

Highlights of the last time Dartford hosted Welling United courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Since taking charge of Welling United, the Wings have recorded five league victories and three draws from 17 games. Five points clear of Braintree Town below them, Welling United have earned enough points to close the gap on teams above them, only goal difference separates them with Tonbridge Angels and Chelmsford City are only two points better off. Yet to beat a top five team this term, Taylor’s side have been picking up points against their direct competitors down at the bottom.

However, they did have a chance to put more distance between themselves and Braintree Town in their last outing over ten days ago, but the game finished 2-2. The Iron were even two up with the first goal coming fortuitously, Welling United goalkeeper Jack Sims punched the ball against Braintree Town’s Matt Johnson and into the net. Kyran Clements got on the end of a long throw to double the Iron’s lead, but the Wings fought back. Two headers one from Dipo Akinyemi and the other by Aaron Barnes made sure the points were shared. Welling United also had an opportunity to pass Chelmsford City in the National South standings three weeks ago, this time the game ended scoreless. 

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 23 / Welling United wins: 10 / Draws: 10

Current League Form

Dartford
(LDDDWW)
    Welling United
(LWLDLD)
   
Ebbsfleet United H 1-0 Braintree Town A 2-2
Tonbridge Angels A 3-2 Oxford City H 0-1
Concord Rangers H 0-0 Chelmsford City A 0-0
Hampton and Richmond H 2-2 St Albans City H 2-3
Dulwich Hamlet H 1-1 Dulwich Hamlet A 1-0
Ebbsfleet United A 0-1 Maidstone United A 1-4

Previous Meetings (last six)

Welling United 0 – 6 Dartford (25/09/2021 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 2 Welling United (06/02/2021 – National South)
Dartford 4 – 0 Welling United (01/01/2020 – National South)
Welling United 0 – 3 Dartford (26/12/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Welling United (01/01/2019 – National South)
Welling United 2 – 0 Dartford (26/12/2018 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford have lost just once in their last 15 matches against Welling United, winning nine and drawing five
  • The Darts are seven home games unbeaten versus the Wings winning six in a row before the draw in February last year
  • Dartford have kept four clean sheets in the last five fixtures against Welling United
  • The Wings have only won three times in 20 attempts when visiting Dartford

On This Day

Ronnie Vint’s 97th minute winner on a Tuesday night at the Kingfield sparked jubilant celebrations three years ago. The academy graduated who recently moved to Dulwich Hamlet headed the winner as the Darts recorded their first ever away win against Woking. Eleven years ago, Datford fans embarked on the long journey to the North East, but came home defeated as their side went out of the F.A Trophy losing to Gateshead 3-0 in the third round. Future Dartford legend, Lee Noble impressed Tony Burman in a 2-2 draw with Brentwood Town in 2008. The midfielder scored the equaliser against the Darts after Brendon Cass and John Guest had put Dartford 2-1 up. Since reforming, Dartford’s only two home matches on this day have resulted in comfortable victories. Tonbridge Angels were beaten 3-0 in the 1999/2000 Southern League South season and Crockenhill defeated 4-1 in the Kent League back in 1994.

Dartford v Ebbsfleet United

Dartford’s rescheduled North Kent derby takes place on Tuesday night with the prospect of overtaking their rivals Ebbsfleet United in the National South.

The Darts will be desperate to avenge the New Year defeat when they host their local rivals and maintain their unbeaten home record. Last month the Fleet came away with a 1-0 victory thanks to a late strike from Ben Chapman. In Steve King and Dennis Kutrieb’s second North Kent derby it was another tight affair, the first meeting between the two ended goalless. Whilst Dartford created some great opportunities, Ebbsfleet United were good on the ball and Chapman’s winner was enough for the Fleet.

You can catch all the Dartford highlights on Dartford FC TV

The home side has dominated this fixture over the years with just one away victory recorded in the last 13 meetings since Gravesend and Northfleet became Ebbsfleet United in 2007. Dartford’s last victory against their rivals was on Boxing Day just over five years ago when Tom Bonner opened the scoring against his former club and Duane Ofori-Acheampong added a second, Anthony Cook scored Fleet’s consolation. The return fixture ended 1-0 to Ebbsfleet United on New Year’s Day. The sides had to wait another four years to meet again, the 0-0 draw in January last year.

When this fixture was due to take place on Boxing Day there was a three-way tie at the summit of the National South, which included these two local rivals. Due to the number of Covid cases in the Ebbsfleet United camp the match was postponed. A lot can change in a month and now Dartford are ten points behind the leaders whilst Ebbsfleet United have fallen seven points behind top spot and sit in fourth, one place ahead of the Darts but with an inferior goal difference.  

On the weekend, Dartford approached their away trip to Tonbridge Angels on the back of a six game winless run in the National South, although they did beat Weymouth in the F.A Trophy during that time. Finally the league streak was broken and the Darts claimed a 3-2 victory thanks to a terrific Danny Leonard brace to take him to seven goals in all competitions and another Jack Jebb free-kick. Although Dartford found their goalscoring form by hitting three in the league for the first time in a couple of months, the Angels didn’t give in. First the hosts halved the deficit to 2-1 and right at the end they pulled a goal back, then had an effort cleared off the line. Leonard was later substituted in the match after a head injury and Ade Azeez came off after what looked like a hamstring issue.

You can catch all the Dartford highlights on Dartford FC TV

With the departure of defender Ronnie Vint, Josh Hill’s long term injury and Connor Essam missing after picking up a knock against Concord Rangers, new loan signing Korey Roberts made his debut after coming in from National League side Bromley. Dartford boss, Steve King shuffled the midfield with Tyrique Hyde, Leonard and Kieran Murtagh making the starting line up. In form striker, Jake Robinson made a substitute appearance, perhaps being rested for the North Kent derby.

Dartford have managed one Kent derby win in the league this season, the 6-0 thrashing of Welling United, that came two weeks after the 1-1 home draw with Tonbridge Angels. Since then, the Darts have lost to Ebbsfleet United and Maidstone United without scoring. Although, Dartford did beat the Stones in the F.A Cup and claimed victories against Hythe Town in the Kent Senior Cup and Cray Wanderers in the F.A Trophy. Ebbsfleet United have so far won three and lost three of their Kent derbies. Aside from the victory in the reverse fixture against the Darts, the Fleet recorded big wins against Tonbridge Angels (5-1) on the opening day and Welling United (6-0) in November. Ebbsfleet United went out of the F.A Trophy to Cray Wanderers on penalties, but their nemesis this term is Maidstone United who completed a double over the Fleet.

After a 3-2 home loss against the Stones in November, Kutrieb’s side fell to a second defeat against their Kent rivals a week ago. This time it was 4-0 at the Gallagher Stadium, Joan Luque’s penalty, George Fowler and a Sam Corne brace condemned Fleet to a second heavy defeat in a row completing a tough week, not only for Kutrieb but for Sefa Kahraman too. Both Kutrieb and Kahraman were sent off at the Gallagher Stadium, a second match in a row for the latter. Three days earlier, the defender left his side down to ten men for 73 minutes against league leaders Dorking Wanderers, the Fleet were hammered 5-1.

On the weekend, Ebbsfleet United needed to bounce back at home to Hampton and Richmond Borough, who had recently drawn 2-2 with the Darts. The Fleet recorded a 1-0 victory against the Beavers with the winning strike from Will Wood. Ebbsfleet United were pleased to see the return of Joe Martin considering Kahraman began his suspension and Sido Jombati’s injury at Dorking Wanderers. Former Dart, Elliott Romain made a start after fellow striker Rakish Bingham looks to have picked up a long tern injury. Romain made the short journey to Stonebridge Road in the summer after two campaigns at Princes Park. The striker scored 15 in his debut season and added one more last term making 45 appearances in total for the Darts.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 66 / Ebbsfleet United wins: 56 / Draws: 33

Current League Form

Dartford
(DLDDDW)
    Ebbsfleet United
(DWWLLW)
   
Tonbridge Angels A 3-2 Hampton and Richmond H 1-0
Concord Rangers H 0-0 Maidstone United A 0-4
Hampton and Richmond H 2-2 Dorking Wanderers A 1-5
Dulwich Hamlet H 1-1 Hemel Hempstead Town A 3-1
Ebbsfleet United A 0-1 Dartford H 1-0
Braintree Town A 2-2 Billericay Town H 0-0

Previous Meetings (last six)

Ebbsfleet United 1 – 0 Dartford (02/01/2022 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 0 Ebbsfleet United (02/01/2021 – National South)
Ebbsfleet United 1 – 0 Dartford (01/01/2017 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Ebbsfleet United (26/12/2016 – National South)
Ebbsfleet United 1 – 1 Dartford (28/03/2016 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Ebbsfleet United (31/08/2015 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford have won six of their last nine home league games against Ebbsfleet United, drawing two and losing the other
  • The 0-0 draw in the corresponding fixture last term was Dartford’s first league clean sheet against the Fleet since the 5-0 New Years Day victory in 1992.
  • Dartford are 15 games unbeaten at home in all competitions this season, the best home run from the start of a campaign since 2011/12 when they were unbeaten in the first 14 home matches.
  • The Darts are three unbeaten home matches away from equalling the record of 18 home games without a defeat from the start of a season, set in 1908/1909 (competitive matches only). In that campaign Dartford remained unbeaten at home with 17 wins and a draw.

On This Day

Dartford blew away Chippenham Town on their own patch inside the first forty minutes two years ago. Darren McQueen’s spot kick got the goal rush underway and within five minutes Liam Nash and a skillful Amrit Bansal-McNulty finish put the Darts 3-1 up. McQueen found the back of the net again and an own goal left the final score 5-1, all goals in the first half. Victory was the fourth in a row in this day, the previous three all 1-0 wins at home. In 2011, Elliot Bradbrook scored the winner against Braintree Town in the National South, in 1999 the Darts beat Chelmsford City and two years earlier Cinderford Town both in the Southern League South. Stretching back to 1969, Dartford have won seven, drawn one and lost one on 1 February, the previous nine between 1896 and 1964 resulted in just two victories and seven defeats.

Tonbridge Angels v Dartford

Dartford have three consecutive Kent derbies coming up starting with the visit to Tonbridge Angels this weekend.

The Angels were the first team to take points off the Darts this season after Steve King’s side made a blistering start to their campaign. Dartford won their opening five National South games before drawing 1-1 at Princes Park against this weekend’s opponents. In that game the visitors went ahead when Tommy Wood scored a header, but on his birthday, Jack Jebb equalised putting in a Player of the Match performance. King’s side went on to win two more in the league before a dip of form has left them in fifth place.

Dartford have turned into draw specialists of late continuing to struggle to win their first league game since the start of December. Defeats to rivals Maidstone United and Ebbsfleet United sandwiched a stalemate with Braintree Town and since then three consecutive draws with Dulwich Hamlet, Hampton and Richmond Borough then Concord Rangers on Tuesday night. Dropped points has seen the Darts lose ground at the top of the National South and looking over their shoulder to maintain a playoff position.

In an attempt to halt his longest winless streak since becoming Dartford boss, King made five changes in Dartford’s last outing, a 0-0 home draw with lowly Concord Rangers. D’Sean Theobalds made his first appearance since the Kent Senior Cup final at the end of November, Ronnie Vint added an extra man in defence which included Jordan Wynter. It turned out to be Vint’s last game for the club after 202 appearances and 11 goals since coming through the academy system. George Porter and Ade Azeez also returned to the starting eleven. Goalkeeper, Dan Wilks and striker Jake Robinson, who hit the crossbar late on, once again stood out on a night where the Darts were unable to break the deadlock.

As a replacement for the departing Vint, the Darts have signed defender Kory Roberts from National League side Bromley. Roberts came through Walsall’s academy and made 26 appearances over a four year period for the senior team. The 24 year-old joined Bromley in September 2020 and has had loan spells with AFC Telford United and Rushall Olympic.

Speaking to www.kentonline.co.uk, captain Tom Bonner still has the belief that his side can start picking up wins again, he commented: “We just need to relax and get a bit of swagger back. We’re the same players, the same club, the same fans, that went on an unbelievable run and I believe we can do it again. We just need that win to push us on”, he continued: “There’s about 20 games left – a lot of points to play for. Until it’s mathematically impossible, I’ll keep believing”.

Dartford have a decent record against Tonbridge Angels in recent years, although their last visit to Longmead ended in defeat and a managerial departure. In Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle’s last fixture as joint Dartford managers, the Darts went down 3-2 as Tom Derry scored the winner late in the derby. Joe Turner put the Angels ahead from the spot, but Josh Hill pounced on a clearance to make it all square. However, almost straight from the restart the hosts regained their advantage through Turner once more. Charlie Sheringham came on and scored a header to level again until Tom Derry came up with the decisive goal. Victory for Steve McKimm’s side was the first in ten meetings in which Dartford had won eight on the spin.

Tonbridge Angels are on their way to joining Dartford as draw specialists as they approach Saturday’s fixture on the back of consecutive 1-1 draws. The Angels fitted in a mid-week match on Wednesday down at Havant and Waterlooville. An injury time equaliser from former Welling United striker Adam Coombes earned the Angels a precious point to move the above his old club on goal difference. On the weekend Joe Turner early goal was cancelled out as Tonbridge Angels picked up a home point against Hemel Hempstead Town.

McKimm can be pleased that his side are going through their best spell of the season, unbeaten since the festive defeats against Maidstone United on Boxing Day and in the New Year. In that spell the Angels progressed to the last 16 of the F.A Trophy for the first time in their history when they knocked out National League side King’s Lynn Town on penalties. The Tonbridge Angels boss can be thankful for the services of Joe Turner and Tommy Wood up front. The pair have netted ten of the last 12 goals scored by the Kent side going back to the end of October when former Dartford winger Ricky Modeste scored. Although Modeste has not had much game time another former Dart, Craig Braham-Barrett has, the defender has racked up 18 appearances since moving to Longmead in the summer.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 69 / Tonbridge Angels wins: 38 / Draws: 25

Current League Form

Dartford
(LDLDDD)
    Tonbridge Angels
(LLWWDD)
   
Concord Rangers H 0-0 Havant & Waterlooville A 1-1
Hampton & Richmond H 2-2 Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1
Dulwich Hamlet H 1-1 Chippenham Town A 1-0
Ebbsfleet United A 0-1 Hungerford Town H 2-1
Braintree Town A 2-2 Maidstone United A 0-2
Maidstone United A 0-4 Maidstone United H 0-1

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 1 – 1 Tonbridge Angels (11/09/2021 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Tonbridge Angels (05/01/2021 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Tonbridge Angels (28/12/2019 – National South)
Tonbridge Angels 3 – 2 Dartford (03/09/2019 – National South)
Tonbridge Angels 0 – 3 Dartford (15/10/2016 – F.A Cup)
Dartford 3 – 0 Tonbridge Angels (15/12/2012 – F.A Trophy)

Stats

  • Dartford have kept five clean sheets in their last seven matches against Tonbridge Angels
  • Since moving to Princes Park, The Darts have won five and lost two of their last seven visits to Longmead, before that they had won just twice and lost eight in the late nineties to early 2000’s.
  • Dartford have drawn three league games in a row for the first time since August 2017, the start of the 2017/2018 campaign. They last drew four consecutive league matches in April 1992.

On This Day

It has been eleven years since Dartford played on 29 January and that was in a 1-0 away victory against Bishop’s Stortford. Current captain, Tom Bonner started the National South fixture which was decided by Charlie Sheringham. In league competition Dartford have won their last three on this day. As well as victory at Bishop’s Stortford, the Darts won 2-1 in the Southern League Division One East against Chatham Town in 2002 and then Wivenhoe Town in 2005. Dartford’s only defeat in their last four outings on this day was a 4-1 reverse against Ebbsfleet United, a Kent Senior Cup second round tie back in 2008.

Dartford v Concord Rangers

Dartford are back in action under the Princes Park floodlights on Tuesday night when they host Concord Rangers in the National South.

Earlier in the season Dartford were beaten by the Beachboys, Lamar Reynolds scoring the decisive goal for the Essex side. It was the second straight 1-0 defeat against Concord Rangers after losing the last meeting between the two sides at Princes Park in December 2019. Joel Nouble netted from the spot and earlier in the match Dartford’s Elliott Romain missed a penalty. In their first seven matches against Concord Rangers, the Darts only once tasted defeat. In recent years the tables have turned, Dartford have won just one of the last five.

The Darts are five league games without victory matching the run towards the end of October through to mid November. With three points from the last 15 available, Dartford have slipped to fifth in the division and will be determined to pick up maximum points on Tuesday night. Concord Rangers made a steady start to their campaign, but the Essex club have won once in their last eight league outings picking up just one point in the last four matches.

Highlights of Dartford’s previous meeting against Concord Rangers this season – Dartford FC TV

Positively, Steve King’s side remain unbeaten at home with four victories and five draws, but they will be looking to turn single points into three, something they have failed to do in their last two league fixtures at home. The Darts came from behind against Dulwich Hamlet to rescue a draw just over a fortnight ago and on the weekend they went in front twice in the 2-2 draw with Hampton and Richmond Borough. Those stalemates sandwiched the F.A Trophy victory over National League side Weymouth to extend Dartford’s unbeaten run to three in all competitions.

Jake Robinson is the man in form at the moment with five goals in his last five league outings. His brace on Saturday took the striker to an impressive 14 goals in 15 appearances for the Darts this season, eight goals in nine in the National South. Despite his impressive tally, King commented in the local press last week his desire to bring in another forward. Ade Azeez is looking to break a run of eight games without a goal and Dan Roberts has managed only two league goals so far this season. Whilst Luke Wanadio has gone out on loan to Folkestone Invicta for a month, one appearance shy of a century for the Darts.

The departure of creative midfielder Noor Husin to Southend United prior the weekend allowed Luke Allen to return to action after a two month absence through injury. Danny Leonard also rejoined the starting eleven, the winger had missed four games last appearing in the F.A Trophy win over Cray Wanderers in which he scored. Dartford got off to a great start scoring after five minutes, Connor Essam headed the ball for Robinson to score. The Beavers equalised through Sam Deadfield, but Dartford were back in front with a carbon copy of the first goal, Essam to Robinson made it 2-1. Hampton and Richmond Borough were level again ten minutes into the second half, Jack McKnight converted a penalty, his second from the spot against the Darts after his winner for previous club Slough Town in October 2020.

Concord Rangers have lost their last two on the road and whilst they scored in both games they shipped in six. On the weekend they were beaten by Dulwich Hamlet with two late goals making the final score 4-1. Up until the final minute, the Beachboys were only a goal down after Danny Green scored from the spot, the winger’s seventh league goal of the campaign. Two former Darts, Giovanni McGregor and Danny Mills had earlier put Dulwich Hamlet in command and to secure victory for the Londoners, Ibra Sekajja grabbed an injury time brace at the end.

The Beachboys are now down in fifteenth place as one of four Essex clubs in the bottom six. Aside from the defeat at home to Chelmsford City, they did manage to earn five points over the festive period with a win and draw over Billericay Town and at the beginning of December they picked up a point at home to Braintree Town. However, the Beachboys have lost their last four in the league against sides outside of Essex going back two months. Since consecutive victories versus the Darts and Eastbourne Borough in November, they have been beaten by Bath City, Ebbsfleet United, Hampton and Richmond Borough and Dulwich Hamlet.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Concord Rangers wins: 4 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Dartford
(WLDLDD)
    Concord Rangers
(LWLDLL)
   
Hampton & Richmond H 2-2 Dulwich Hamlet A 1-4
Dulwich Hamlet H 1-1 Hampton & Richmond A 1-2
Ebbsfleet United A 0-1 Billericay Town H 0-0
Braintree Town A 2-2 Chelmsford City H 1-3
Maidstone United A 0-4 Billericay Town A 3-1
Billericay Town H 1-0 Ebbsfleet United A 1-2

Previous Meetings (last six)

Concord Rangers 1 – 0 Dartford (02/11/2021 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Concord Rangers (21/12/2019 – National South)
Concord Rangers 0 – 2 Dartford (14/09/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Concord Rangers (26/01/2019 – National South)
Concord Rangers 2 – 0 Dartford (14/08/2018 – National South)
Concord Rangers 1 – 1 Dartford (06/01/2018 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford are unbeaten in nine home league games (W5, D4), their best run since ten unbeaten from December 2018 to March 2019 (W6, D4)
  • In the last five matches that resulted in a win in this fixture, the victorious team has kept a clean sheet
  • Since being appointed Dartford boss, Steve King has never gone six league games without victory or drawn three consecutive games in the National South

On This Day

Unbeaten in their last three games on 25 January, all at home, Dartford beat Dulwich Hamlet 1-0 two years ago with a goal from Darren McQueen. In recent times the stand out game was a classic 3-3 draw with Cambridge United in 2014. The Darts found themselves two down after 16 minutes when Ryan Bird scored a brace on his debut. However, the hosts turned the match around and went in front after Elliot Brabrook netted a penalty then Max Cornhill equalised in first half stoppage time. The Darts took the lead through Danny Harris and were left hanging on towards the end. Ashley Chambers had his penalty saved by Dartford goalkeeper Alan Julian before Luke Berry levelled. Three years earlier the Darts won 2-0 in the Kent Senior Cup first round, on the way to winning the competition. Harris and Charlie Sheringham scored the goals to take the hosts through against Tonbridge Angels.

Dartford v Hampton and Richmond Borough

Dartford search for their first league win of the year this weekend when they host Hampton and Richmond Borough in the National South.

Last term, the delayed start to the campaign meant that these two sides faced each other in the second game of the season as late as October. The fixture at the Beveree ended 0-0, the reverse match failed to take place as 2020/2021 was cut short. That means the last meeting between the Darts and the Beavers at Princes Park took place in February 2020 and it was the visitors who came out on top. Luke Wanadio headed Dartford in front early on against his former side, the winger recently made his 99th Dartford appearance when he came on against Dulwich Hamlet. The Beavers hit back through Danilo Orsi-Dadomo and Ryan Hill to record their first victory at Princes Park for nine years.

To catch up on highlights of Dartford games visit Dartford FC TV

The Darts are looking for their first league win in over a month, the last National South victory came against Billericay Town at the start of December. Since then they have lost to rivals Maidstone United and Ebbsfleet United and earned draws at Braintree Town, thanks to a superb last minute Jack Jebb free-kick and Dulwich Hamlet, Robinson scoring the leveller in that game.

During that spell, Dartford have progressed through two rounds of the F.A Trophy and are now in the last sixteen. A 3-1 victory over Cray Wanderers was followed up by an impressive 1-0 win over National League side Weymouth on the weekend. King made just two changes to the side that drew 1-1 in Dartford’s last league outing against Dulwich Hamlet. New loan signing Kai Woollard-Innocent made his debut replacing Michael Kedman and Kieran Murtagh got the nod over Tyrique Hyde. Drafted in to the squad after Jernade Meade’s injury, Innocent made a steady start to his loan spell from Queens Park Rangers.

King described the trophy tie as a game of two halves as Dartford dominated the first. Jebb became the match winner in the first forty five with a well taken drilled shot from outside the box, the midfielder’s fourth of the campaign in all competitions. In the second half, some However, goalkeeper Dan Wilks continued his excellent form in goal with a fine second-half display to add to the fine performance against Dulwich Hamlet, which included a contender for save of the season.

To catch up on highlights of Dartford games visit Dartford FC TV

Dartford will be need to look for inspiration elsewhere in midfield with the departure of key player Noor Husin. The midfielder joined Southend United with the Darts getting an undisclosed fee before his contract runs out in the summer. The Afghan international made 50 appearances for Dartford and scored six goals.

This month there has also been some comings and goings at the Beveree as the Middlesex side push for a playoff challenge. Currently in fifteenth, just five points adrift of a top seven spot, the Beavers have as good a chance as any of the chasing pack. Gary McCann employed three new players ahead of their 2-1 win over Concord Rangers earlier this month. Zach Robinson had a loan spell with Hemel Hempstead Town this season, the 19-year-old AFC Wimbledon forward is now part of the squad. Defenders, Leo Hamblin and Tommy Block as well as midfielder Shane Dunne all arrive from Woking.

Departing the club on New Years Eve, Ryan Gondoh joined Wealdstone after four goals in 17 games this term. Sheffield Wednesday loanee, Charles Hagan has returned to the League One side after six appearances, Cole Brown left after only 15 appearances since 2019 and Charlie Wassmer had his contract terminated after an incident at Slough Town. Youngster Ronan Hutchins went out on loan to Tring Athletic.

A familiar face to Dartford fans is goalkeeper Alan Julian, who made 45 appearances for the Darts on his way to picking up the 2013/2014 Supporters Player of the Year. He left that May to play for Sutton United before moving on to Bromley, Billericay Town then Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Up towards the end of November, Hampton and Richmond Borough were in a strong position. Sitting sixth in the National South six points off the Darts, who were leading the way, with a game in hand. The Beavers had just lost once in their last ten picking up points against Maidstone United, Oxford City, Chippenham Town and beating Ebbsfleet United in that spell. Then they went out of the F.A Trophy to Southern League Division One South side Plymouth Parkway and results have taken a turn. The Beavers lost five of their next six league games and when they took on St Albans City, Slough Town and Hungerford Town in that time they conceded ten.

Post match interviews with Steve King are available on Dartford FC TV

Over the last three fixtures, Hampton and Richmond Borough managed to defeat Concord Rangers 2-1 with a last-minute winner. Tyrell Miller-Rodney scored a rare goal for the Middlesex club and when Jake Peck equalised two minutes from time it looked like the Beavers earned a point. In the final minute, Jake Gray hit a low cross into the Concord Rangers box which was turned into his own goal by Jayden Randall. On the weekend the score was reversed in a much-improved display against the newest league leaders Dorking Wanderers. Another Gray cross was finished by Ruaridh Donaldson, but the Beavers couldn’t hold on and when former Dart, Jason Prior scored a penalty and Wes Fogden netted the winner, McCann’s team came away empty handed.

On Tuesday night the Beavers lost again making it six defeats in seven, in their rescheduled game against Braintree Town. Earlier in the season the game was abandoned with the Iron leading a goal to nil, this time it finished 4-2 to the Essex club lifting them off the foot of the table. Yet it was Hampton and Richmond Borough who took the lead when Jack McKnight, a former Slough Town striker and teammate of Dartford’s Dan Roberts scored a penalty. Braintree Town hit back with three goals in sixteen first-half minutes. Late on, Brandon Barzey gave the Beavers hope, but that was extinguished in the final minute as the Iron went on to secure a 4-2 win.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 5 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Dartford
(DLDLWW)
    Hampton & Richmond
(LLWLLL)
   
Dulwich Hamlet H 1-1 Braintree Town H 2-4
Ebbsfleet United A 0-1 Dorking Wanderers H 1-2
Braintree Town A 2-2 Concord Rangers H 2-1
Maidstone United A 0-4 Hungerford Town A 0-3
Billericay Town H 1-0 Slough Town A 1-4
Hemel Hempstead Town A 3-2 St Albans City A 0-3

Previous Meetings (last six)

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 1 – 0 Hampton & Richmond Borough (30/03/2018 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford have lost just one of the last eight games against Hampton and Richmond Borough, winning four and drawing three of the other matches
  • Hampton and Richmond Borough are unbeaten in their last two games against the Darts, their longest streak since winning three in a row between 2008 and 2010
  • The 0-0 draw in the last meeting ended a run of ten consecutive games in which the Darts scored against the Beavers, a run stretching back to those three consecutive defeats

On This Day

Dartford claimed a memorable victory in 2011 beating Farnborough 4-1, despite playing most of the match with ten men. Lee Noble controversially dismissed which only fired up the supporters and galvanised the Darts. Before that moment Noble won a tenth minute penalty, scored by Charlie Sheringham, but the visitors were soon level when Bradley Bubb equalised. Ten minutes before half-time Noble was sent off, but against the odds the Darts blew Fanrborough away in the second half. Sheringham scored again three minutes after the interval, a bandage-headed Tom Champion drilled home a third and Tom Bonner’s long throw was headed in by Danny Harris to make it four.

That victory is Dartford’s only one on this day since a 2-0 win in 1983 against Chelmsford City in the Southern Premier League. Three 0-0 draws followed the win over the Clarets, in 1994 against Corinthian, in 2000 versus Erith and Belvedere and in 2002 against Fisher Athletic. The Darts suffered defeats to Aveley (0-2 in 2005) and Heybridge Swifts (0-3 in 2008) meaning five games without scoring for Dartford on this day. That ended run ended in style with the win over Farnborough. Most recently, the Darts went out of the Kent Senior Cup in the last eight, losing 8-7 on penalties after drawing 1-1 with Maidstone United.

Dartford v Weymouth

Dartford can make the last sixteen of the F.A Trophy for the first time in seven years when they host Weymouth this weekend.

The fourth round tie will be decided on the day against the National League side who won promotion by beating the Darts in the 2020 playoff final. In what was the last meeting between the two sides, the final score was 0-0 and in the penalty shootout Dartford drew another blank missing all three spot kicks to hand the Terras victory.

For a generation of supporters, a certain quarter-final tie against Weymouth may stir up memories of Dartford’s run to the F.A Trophy final in 1974. The only time these two sides have met in the competition ended in a 2-1 victory for the Darts, an own goal settling the tie. Dartford went on to reach Wembley losing by the same score against Morecambe.

However, Dartford’s record when up against the Dorset club doesn’t make for good reading over the years, their last win over Weymouth coming 32 years ago. After a draw and five consecutive league defeats to the Terras, before the playoff heartbreak, the Darts will enter this fixture as underdogs and hope to cause an upset.

This will be Weymouth’s first ever visit to Princes Park because the return National South fixture in the 2019/2020 campaign wasn’t able to take place, the pandemic cutting short the season. At the Bob Lucas stadium in August 2019, the Darts suffered a 3-1 defeat, Norman Wabo scoring a consolation goal after Abdulai Baggie and a Brett Williams brace putting Weymouth in control.

After consecutive league defeats against Kent rivals, the Darts faced another tough fixture last weekend. Hosting Dulwich Hamlet, the game was put in doubt after heavy rain. Hamlet were a place below Dartford in the table before kick off and on the day couldn’t be separated at full time in a 1-1 draw. King described the conditions as horrendous and praised both sets of players for providing an end to end game. Hamlet took the lead from a through former Dart, Tyrone Sterling. Disappointed by conceding a set piece, King was happier with his side’s approach play and in the second half they were rewarded with another Jake Robinson goal. The striker now has 12 goals in all competitions from just 11 starts and two substitute appearances.

Highlights of Dartford’s last match courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Speaking to Dartford FC TV after the game King praised Robinson, he commented: “there’s moments where games are tight, he will nick you that little winner. He’s not got the legs that he used to have but his in the right place at the right time. He’s a goalscorer and he’s a natural”. Expressing sympathy for the strikers, King identified that his players are getting in good positions on the wing, but the quality of the crossing needs improving, to help the strikers out. The Darts have now won just once in their last five outings in all competitions and that was in the last round of the F.A Trophy against Cray Wanderers.

The Darts will be without full-back Jernade Meade who picked up a hairline fracture, he is likely to be out for a couple of months. However, Luke Allen and Danny Leonard are back in contention. To cover Meade’s position, King has brought in Kai Woollard-Innocent on loan from Queens Park Rangers. The 21 year-old impressed King whilst at Eastbourne Borough last season and has been with Queens Park Rangers since he was eight.

Despite Dartford’s patchy results over the last three months, their opponents are going through a tougher spell. Weymouth have been in torrid form in the National League with seven straight losses, but that sequence was broken up by their F.A Trophy win over Hungerford Town. Sitting third from bottom the Terras last league victory was against the team below them, Kings Lynn at the end of October. The only other home win in the National League was against Maidenhead United and they are one place above the Terras.

Their last outing proved to be the last under Brian Stock as the club parted ways with the former Welsh international on Wednesday. Stock’s final game ended in a 1-0 defeat at home to Southend United. The Terras can look forward to Bradley Ash’s return from injury, the former Chippenham Town and Weston-super-Mare striker came off the bench in the latter stages of the defeat. Tom Bearwish also managed a substitute appearance after being out with injury, whilst Sean Shields is currently unavailable.

Like Dartford, the Terras have a prolific goalscorer from a division below the National League. Brandon Goodship is in his second spell with Weymouth returning to the club from Southend United in the summer. The striker scored 77 goals in 97 appearances in his first spell with the Terras earning an England C cap whilst in the Southern Premier League and consecutive golden boot awards. 

F.A Trophy story so far…

Second Round
Bath City 0-0 Dartford (Dartford won 5-3 on penalties)
A tight affair at Twerton Park ended with no goals scored after normal time and so the tie went straight to penalties. The Darts scored all five of their spot kicks and after two penalties each gained an advantage when Dan Wilks saved from Alex Fletcher. The Darts kept their heads and with Tyrique Hyde last to go for the visitors, the midfielder slotted home.

Third Round
Cray Wanderers 1-3 Dartford
Three goals in five first half minutes settled Dartford’s nerves in round three. The Kent derby against Isthmian Premier League side Cray Wanderers could have been a banana skin but the Darts negotiated their way through to the next round. Jake Robinson opened the scoring past former Dartford goalkeeper Bailey Vose. The striker added a second from the penalty spot and Danny Leonard made it three. The Wands scored a consolation in the second half when Jai Reason scored.

Hungerford Town 0-1 Weymouth
Josh McQuoid’s late winner was enough for the National League side to get past National South’s Hungerford Town. With eight minutes left on the clock, Terras midfielder Cameron Murray split the Crusaders defence with a pass for McQuoid to strike beyond Luke Cairney.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 17 / Weymouth wins: 35 / Draws: 16

Current Form (all competitions)

Dartford
(DLDWLW)
    Weymouth
(LLWLLL)
   
Dulwich Hamlet H 1-1 Southend United H 0-1
Ebbsfleet United A 0-1 Eastleigh A 2-3
Braintree Town A 2-2 Hungerford Town (FAT) A 1-0
Cray Wanderers (FAT) A 3-1 Wrexham A 0-1
Maidstone United A 0-4 Torquay United H 1-2
Billericay Town H 1-0 Woking H 2-3

(FAT – F.A Trophy)

Previous Six Meetings

Weymouth 0 – 0 Dartford* (01/08/2020 – National South Playoff Final)
Weymouth 3 -1 Dartford (17/08/2019 – National South)
Weymouth 2 – 0 Dartford (27/12/1997 – Southern League Southern Division)
Dartford 2 – 3 Weymouth (23/08/1997 – Southern League Southern Division )
Weymouth 2 – 1 Dartford (15/02/1997 – Southern League Southern Division )
Dartford 3 – 5 Weymouth (05/10/1996 – Southern League Southern Division )
* Weymouth won 3-0 on penalties

Stats

  • Dartford’s win percentage over Weymouth is 25%, the second lowest out of teams the Darts have played over 30 times (Yeovil Town is the lowest at 23.44%)
  • The Darts have won their last four cup games since exiting the F.A Cup in October
  • Another appearance from Luke Wanadio will take the winger to a century for the Darts. Over three spells at the club, Wanadio has started 81 times, made 18 substitute appearances and scored 18 goals

On This Day

Dartford have never lost an F.A Trophy tie on this day winning two and drawing two. In 2011, George Purcell scored the winning goal in round two against underdogs Ashford Town (Middlesex) who played two divisions below the Darts. Two replays were required in 1991 as Dartford drew 1-1 in the original rematch with Carshalton Athletic, the Darts went on to win at the third attempt. Lewes were beaten 2-0 in 1983 and five years earlier Dartford drew 2-2 with Horsham both in the first round. The Darts have won their last two games on this day, Jon Wallis and Lee Noble scored in a 2-0 National League win over Macclesfield Town in 2013, two years prior was the F.A Trophy tie with Ashford Town (Middlesex). Apart from the draw with Carshalton Athletic, the Darts have won the other five home games on 15 January including an 11-1 victory over Faversham Town in the 1966 Kent Senior Cup, a 5-1 win against Colchester United in the Southern League back in 1949 and a 5-3 triumph versus Faversham in 1898, also in the Kent Senior Cup.

Dartford v Dulwich Hamlet

Dartford will want to extend their unbeaten home start in the National South to eight games on the weekend when they host Dulwich Hamlet.

The Darts have the only unbeaten home record in the division and will welcome valuable points after two disappointing Kent derby defeats and a draw against second from bottom Braintree Town on the road. Dulwich Hamlet on the other hand know victory will draw them level with Dartford in the league and a game in hand still to play, as fifth place takes on sixth.

Steve King’s side won the reverse fixture back in August with goals from Josh Hill and former Hamlet midfielder Tyrique Hyde. The 2-0 victory kept Dartford’s perfect start to the campaign with maximum points from their opening three games. The Hamlet included four former Darts in their starting eleven, Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, Tyrone Sterling, Giovanni McGregor and Darren McQueen, whilst Danny Mills was on the bench.

Highlights of Dartford’s last match against the Hamlet courtesy of Dartford FC TV

It was the second consecutive game in which Dartford beat this weekend’s opponents without conceding. The last time the two sides met at Princes Park, just over two years ago, McQueen scored the only goal of the game against his future employers. Previous home ties include a 2-1 win in October 2018, Jamie Philpot and Charlie Sheringham found the back of the net, and a 1-1 draw back in 2007 with Jay May scoring for the Darts. In the two other meetings, the 1996 F.A Trophy third qualifying round tie ended 0-0 and almost a century ago a friendly was won 3-1 by Dartford. Fortunes reverse when the Darts travel to SE22 with the victory in August their only one.

Dartford began 2022 with a 1-0 defeat at North Kent rivals Ebbsfleet United, leaving the Darts five points off the top with a game in hand. King opted to recall Ronnie Vint for his 200th game for the club, whilst Jordan Wynter and Michael Kedman made way for Josh Clarke and Jernade Meade. Also returning to the starting line up was Jack Jebb after his stunning last minute free-kick against Braintree Town, which earned a 2-2 draw. Danny Leonard was missing with Covid, whilst Josh Hill and Luke Allen remain long term absences through injury.

A second Kent derby loss in a row to start the New Year, after the 4-0 reverse at Maidstone United, left the Darts disappointed, King spoke to Dartford FC TV after the game and commented: “We were the better side in terms of the chances we had, I thought we had the clear cut chances. Ebbsfleet looked pleasing on the eye, good on the ball, their rotations were good, their movement was good, they had good energy, but we didn’t deserve to lose that football match”.

King pointed out that one of the factors between the two sides was the difference in professional status giving their opponents a slight edge, he commented: “We only train for two to three hours a week, it showed for me in athleticism. We defended brilliantly, we changed the shape and to a man we were fantastic. The only real time they cut us open was when they scored”.

Dartford can now look forward to a run of home games starting with Dulwich Hamlet. King added: “We haven’t lost at home this season so it will be nice to try and get some points on the board. But, again you look at the games we have got, Ebbsfleet, Dulwich, Weymouth (in the F.A Trophy), it’s an unforgiving division”.

Dartford’s last home match against Dulwich Hamlet – Dartford FC TV

Dulwich Hamlet have recorded the same scores as the Darts over the last two games both against teams in a relegation battle, a 2-2 away draw with Tonbridge Angels was followed up by a 1-0 defeat at home to Welling United. A former Hamlet player came back to haunt his old side by netting the decisive goal, Dipo Akinyemi’s 56th minute strike was enough for the Wings. Those setbacks followed Hamlets excellent 5-2 victory over title chasing Ebbsfleet United in which Dulwich Hamlet came from behind twice. Sterling, McQueen and McGregor all scored and Mills grabbed an assist.

Gavin Rose’s side have only lost one game on the road in the National South and that was to Oxford City towards the end of November. The Hamlet have also scored the third most amount of goals in the division so certainly have enough firepower to challenge the Dartford defence. The London based club have had a steady campaign so far with notable wins against Hemel Hempstead Town which ended 6-0 and a pair of 4-3 victories over Hampton and Richmond Borough and St Albans City.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Dulwich Hamlet wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Dartford
(LDLWWD)
    Dulwich Hamlet
(LDWDLW)
   
Ebbsfleet United A 0-1 Welling United H 0-1
Braintree Town A 2-2 Tonbridge Angels A 2-2
Maidstone United A 0-4 Ebbsfleet United H 5-2
Billericay Town H 1-0 Havant & Waterlooville A 2-2
Hemel Hempstead Town A 3-2 Oxford City A 0-2
Oxford City H 0-0 St Albans City A 4-3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dulwich Hamlet 0 – 2 Dartford (28/08/2021 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Dulwich Hamlet (25/01/2020 – National South)
Dulwich Hamlet 1 – 1 Dartford (07/12/2019 – National South)
Dulwich Hamlet 2 – 0 Dartford (02/03/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Dulwich Hamlet (20/10/2018 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Dulwich Hamlet (31/03/2007 – Isthmian Division One South)

Stats

  • Dartford are unbeaten in all five home games against Dulwich Hamlet (W3, D2)
  • The Darts have conceded five at home this season in the National South, the fewest in the division
  • Over the last eight league games Dartford are 15th in the form table and Dulwich Hamlet are fourth

On This Day

Dartford have played just once in the Princes Park era and that was at home against Thurrock in 2011. Lee Noble was welcomed back from his loan spell, but it was former Dart, Matt Bodkin who scored the winner. In the nine post World War two matches on this day, before that 1-0 loss, the Darts had won seven, drew one and lost one. In half of those games the Darts have scored four goals beating Lloyds Sittingbourne (1949), Tonbridge (1966), Worcester City (1972), Redditch United (1977) and an entertaining 4-4 draw with Tunbridge Wells in the Kent League back in 1996.

Ebbsfleet United v Dartford

One of four teams could end up top of the National South by the end of the weekend. Two of those sides go head to head when Dartford visit local rivals Ebbsfleet United in the North Kent derby.

After the Boxing Day fixture at Princes Park was postponed, the Darts travel to Stonebridge Road knowing a first league away win against the Fleet in 42 years will give them the upper hand over their rivals. Dartford have picked up five draws and suffered as many defeats in their previous league visits since the 1-0 victory in March 1979.

Separated by just two goals in the current National South standings, the Darts and the Fleet are part of a cluster of five teams separated by just four points. Both sides struggled against teams at the foot of the table in their last outing as they watched their other Kent rivals Maidstone United leap to second, leaving Dartford in fourth and Ebbsfleet United in third.

Highlights of Dartford’s last league game at Braintree Town courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Steve King has made twelve changes over the last two games, seven from the heavy 4-0 league defeat in the Kent derby against Maidstone United, then a further five changes from the F.A Trophy victory over Cray Wanderers. King started with the preferred central defensive pair of Tom Bonner and Connor Essam, recalled Kieran Murtagh and Ade Azeez and gave a debut to Kalvin Kalala for the latest outing at Braintree Town.

Kalala impressed King whilst at Torquay United where he left for French fifth tier side Entente Feignies Aulnoye. The 23-year-old showed his ability against the Iron and is seen as a replacement for Emmanuel Sonupe who has moved to El Paso Locomotive in America. Excited by what the winger can bring to the team, King explained to Dartford FC TV: “He’s a fantastic player. When he was at Torquay United and they won the league two years ago he was one of the best players in the division by a country mile”.

Yet it was a substitute that saved the day on Tuesday with the last kick of the game. A stunning free-kick from Jack Jebb completed a comeback from two down to level the National South fixture as it finished 2-2. The Darts aiming for top spot against a Braintree Town side struggling at the bottom of the table saw the hosts take a two goal lead. Early in the second half Gabriel Piorkowski scored from a fine long distance effort and the lead was doubled through Gio Crichlow. Dartford were up against it and were heading for yet another defeat at Cressing Road, but Jake Robinson’s spot kick gave the Darts hope and when a free-kick was awarded on the edge of the hosts box, Jack Jebb stepped up to steal a point.

The performance was far from Dartford’s best and King acknowledged this in his post match interview with Dartford FC TV. Despite scraping a last minute draw the Darts came away disappointed as they could have gone top of the National South missing an opportunity. On the bright side, the Darts are well within a shout at this stage in the season and King believes that no one will run away with the league title in such a competitive division.

Steve King speaks to Dartford FC TV after the draw with Braintree Town

Luckily Dartford haven’t lost too much ground at the top end of the table. Their tremendous start to the season when they won seven of the opening eight games has been slowed down of late with just two victories in the next nine, during which they have struggled to break down relegation battling teams such as Braintree Town and Billericay Town. Desperate to get back on form, King commented that the North Kent derby will be yet another tough game, but whatever the result his side will not get carried away.

Ebbsfleet United also struggled against Billericay Town as they were held to a 0-0 draw over the Bank Holiday. The Fleet, returning from a Covid outbreak which led to the Boxing Day postponement against the Darts, named a side that included just two changes compared to the team that played ten days prior in the 3-0 win versus Bath City. One of those changes was former Dart, Elliott Romain dropping to the substitutes bench, but the striker featured in both fixtures scoring a brace against Bath City. Whilst with the Darts Romain managed to score 16 goals in 45 appearances and is highly rated by manager Fleet Dennis Kutrieb. However, it was Billericay Town’s goalkeeper Rhys Lovett, a recent signing from Maidenhead United, who earned praise on Tuesday for his outstanding performance in keeping the Fleet out.

Manager Dennis Kutrieb explained that the isolation period was far from ideal as he’d prefer his team to be playing rather than having games postponed. After a ‘rusty’ first half performance at home to Billericay Town which the manager put down to the isolation period his side did improve but disappointingly failed to take all three points. The Fleet boss cited that one day of training made things difficult to get ready for their last match and welcomes the time he now has in the build up to Sunday’s derby, he told BBC Radio Kent: “We can recover and prepare, but at least we have five more days and we should look better. I’m looking forward to the game because it’s a great game…for everyone, for us, for Dartford, for the fans”.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 66 / Ebbsfleet United wins: 55 / Draws: 33

Current League Form

Dartford
(DLWWDD)
    Ebbsfleet United
(DWWLLL)
   
Braintree Town A 2-2 Billericay Town H 0-0
Maidstone United A 0-4 Bath City H 3-0
Billericay Town H 1-0 Concord Rangers H 2-1
Hemel Hempstead Town A 3-2 Dulwich Hamlet A 2-5
Oxford City H 0-0 Oxford City A 0-1
Chippenham Town H 3-3 Maidstone United A 2-3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 0 – 0 Ebbsfleet United (02/01/2021 – National South)
Ebbsfleet United 1 – 0 Dartford (01/01/2017 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Ebbsfleet United (26/12/2016 – National South)
Ebbsfleet United 1 – 1 Dartford (28/03/2016 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Ebbsfleet United (31/08/2015 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Ebbsfleet United (29/10/2013 – F.A Cup)

Stats

  • Dartford last beat Ebbsfleet United as the away team at Stonebridge Road in 1989 during a Kent Senior Cup tie which ended 2-0.
  • Ebbsfleet United are 11 unbeaten in all competitions as the home side in this fixture
  • The 0-0 draw in January was Dartford’s first league clean sheet against the Fleet since the 5-0 New Years Day victory in 1992

On This Day

Dartford are unbeaten in 14 games on this day stretching back to 1954. The Darts have drawn their last two, 0-0 with Ebbsfleet United at the start of 2021 and 1-1 against Chelmsford City in 2016, Tom Bradbrook scoring a 94th minute equaliser. Danny Harris netted the winning goal in 2012 as the Darts beat Welling United 1-0 and in 2010, Lee Burns and James White were on hand in a 2-1 triumph over Cray Wanderers. Other Kent derby fixtures on this day include draws with Sittingbourne (2006) and Dover Athletic (1989) and a 2-1 victory against Maidstone United in 1982. So the unbeaten run includes eight wins and six draws since the Darts last lost on this day, a 9-2 hammering against Llanelly in the Southern League.

« Older posts Newer posts »