Dartford could climb to second in the National South if they manage to beat Slough Town at Arbour Park on Tuesday night.
Alan Dowson’s side closed the gap on Havant and Waterlooville on the weekend and with the Hawks playing on Wednesday, the Darts can overtake the Hampshire club. First, Slough Town stand in their way looking to bounce back from three straight defeats in the league.
Dartford completed a double over Slough Town last season scoring nine goals without reply. The previous visit to Arbour Park ended 6-0 to the Darts. Marcus Dinanga took barely any time at all to open the scoring and the advantage was doubled when Keiran Murtagh flicked in Jack Jebb’s corner. By half-time the Darts were three up through Dinanga and on cruise control. Kalvin Kalala got in on the act, Jordan Greenidge added a fifth and Olumide Durojaiye scored to wrap up the comprehensive victory.
In August, the Darts faced Slough Town at Princes Park and claimed a comfortable 3-0 win in the first competitive game in front of home fans since March 2020. Noor Husin’s performance was rewarded with a composed finish for the opening goal. Ade Azeez and George Porter added the other two.
Dowson made nine changes to the team that beat Tooting and Mitcham United in the London Senior Cup, only Sam Oduadu and Jack Smith remained in the starting line up. It was Smith who opened the scoring on Saturday in the 1-1 draw at St Albans City, his first goal for the Darts during his loan spell. However, the Saints equalised through the prolific Shaun Jeffers. The result stretched Dartford’s unbeaten run to seven in the National League keeping them in third place.
Dartford coach, Steve Haughney spoke to Dartford FC TV after the draw at his former club St Albans City and said: “The first forty five minutes were a bit of a basketball match as in end to end, both sides looked dangerous going forward and opportunities were created both ends”. Once again, Dowson made use of the interval and in the second-half Haughney thought the Darts were “good value, but without creating too much”.
Signed on loan from Oxford United, Josh Johnson was given his debut at Clarence Park, he was the only change to the team that won Dartford’s last league game 2-0 against Tonbridge Angels. Haughney was pleased with his debut, he commented: “He brings energy, he brings enthusiasm. I don’t think he’s played competitively for a while but you can see what’s coming, I think he’s a good player”.
Looking ahead to Tuesday night Haughney trusts the Dartford players to put in a shift, he added: “We know it’s opportunity knocks again, another ninety minutes and I know for a fact that group have worked so hard and they’ll go to Slough on Tuesday and work hard again. It’s in their make up, it’s in their DNA and they are buying in to what the management team are doing”.
Slough Town suffered a disappointing result on Saturday losing 3-2 to bottom side Weymouth. Their opponents were also reduced to ten men before grabbing a winner late in the games. The Terras took the lead when Bradley Ash converted a spot kick and in the second-half Teddy Howe made it two for the visitors. Slough Town fought back from two down with Arnold Matshazi scoring first before Nathan Carlyle was sent off for Weymouth. Scott Davies made the man advantage count equalising direct from a free-kick. However with two minutes left on the clock Cam Murray won it for the Terras.
Dan Roberts made his third league appearance for the Rebels in his one month loan spell. The forward was a favourite in his first spell at Arbour Park making 58 appearances scoring 13 goals. His hard work and pace earned him a move to the Darts in the summer of 2021 and so far he has started just 11 games under Steve King and now Dowson. The 24-year-old has the highest substitute appearances in the current Dartford squad with 26 and has scored six times for the Darts.
Slough Town have had a patchy start to their campaign highlighted by the fact they are mid-table with almost identical home and away records. Opening the season with one point from a possible nine, the Rebels went on to lose just once in the next seven, a 5-1 hammering at Bath City. In that spell they managed to pick up five wins and a draw and by the end of September were ninth and just a point behind Dartford in seventh. However, three losses in a row has seen the Berkshire club lose ground, but Neal Baker and Jon Underwood will be determined to get the Rebels back on track.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 7 / St Albans City wins: 3 / Draws: 3
Current League Form
|St Albans City||A||1-1||Weymouth||H||2-3|
|Tonbridge Angels||H||2-0||Dover Athletic||A||0-3|
|Dulwich Hamlet||A||2-1||Hemel Hempstead Town||H||0-2|
|Hungerford Town||H||2-0||Chippenham Town||A||1-0|
|Eastbourne Borough||H||2-1||Braintree Town||A||1-1|
|Hampton & Richmond||H||2-1||Taunton Town||H||1-0|
Last Six Meetings
Slough Town 0 – 6 Dartford (30/04/2022 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Slough Town (21/08/2021 – National South)
Slough Town 2 – 2 Dartford (15/12/2020 – F.A Trophy)*
Dartford 2 – 0 Slough Town (21/11/2020 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Slough Town (03/10/2020 – F.A Cup)
Slough Town 0 – 3 Dartford (19/07/2020 – National South Playoff)
* – Dartford won 6-5 on penalties
- Dartford have won the last three league games scoring 11 without reply
- The Darts have gone four games unbeaten in all competitions against the Rebels, winning three and going through on penalties in the F.A Trophy
- Dartford are unbeaten in three away games against the Rebels
On This Day
Dartford are unbeaten in their last eight games on this day, but five of those have been draws. The last outing on 25 October ended without a goal as the Darts drew 0-0 at Chelmsford City a year ago. Harry Crawford scored twice and Elliot Bradbrook netted from the spot in 2014 to help Dartford qualify for the F.A Cup first round by beating Burgess Hill Town 3-1. That victory was the last in a sequence of three straight victories on this day. In 2011, Jacob Erskine, James Rogers and Jack Pallen scored in a 3-0 win across the River Thames against Thurrock. Three years earlier, the Darts beat Tooting and Mitcham United 2-0 thanks to Cody McDonald and Rob Haworth finding the back of the net. Prior the run of three consecutive wins, Dartford drew four in a row versus Barking and East Ham United (2-2 in 2005), Fleet Town (0-0 in 2003), Newport Isle of Wight (1-1 in 2000) and Bashley (2-2 in 1997). The last defeat on this day came back in 1988 against Sutton United in the first round of the Club Call Cup. The same season the U’s recorded that famous F.A Cup win against Coventry City in the third round.