Dartford return to action in the National South with a visit to Chippenham Town this weekend hoping to build on recent positive results.
Mounting pressure was eased towards the end of the month with a pair of victories in league and cup. Remaining calm and with the backing of the board, Dowson led the Darts to consecutive wins over Tonbridge Angels and Harrow Borough. September was also tough for Chippenham Town, who were without a win in that time until victory down in Devon in their previous outing.
Early F.A Cup exits meant both sides brought forward fixtures last weekend and came away triumphant. Following up a much-needed league win in the Kent derby against Tonbridge Angels, the Darts hosted Isthmian Premier League side Harrow Borough in the London Senior Cup. A week earlier, Paul Rooney netted his first for the club to score the decisive goal against the Angels and end a four-game losing streak. The Dartford boss made seven changes to that winning team in the county cup.
Goalkeeper, Tom Wray, defender Manny Adebowale and academy graduate Jayden Boulton were all given their first starts of the campaign. Maxwell Statham, who has been out for three and half weeks with injury and Tommy Block, a month returned to the side. Block managed 35 minutes of the first half before making way as a precaution. Former Crystal Palace under 18 midfielder Kevin Gonzalez made his debut and Jordan Wynter returned to the starting eleven. A dominant display ensured the Darts progressed to the next round despite the 1-0 scoreline courtesy of Henry Lukombo’s own goal.
Up into eight place and two points behind the playoff places, Chippenham Town took maximum points last Saturday in their trip to Plymouth to face Truro City. The Bluebirds welcomed Luke Haines back from suspension, but Tom Owen-Evans was not up to full fitness following a spell out injured. Matt McClure pulled out of the 4-1 F.A Cup defeat against Hungerford Town in the warmup three weeks ago, but the striker has made an impact since returning to the starting eleven. He scored twice as the Bluebirds won 2-0 against Truro City to claim their fourth league win of the season. McClure, now on five league goals for the campaign, also grabbed the opener in Chippenham Town’s 1-1 draw at Weymouth seven days earlier.
Dartford have lost on their last two visits to Hardenhuish Park having dropped just two points there previously. It’s a game that often brings goals going back to Dartford’s first trip to face Chippenham Town in Wiltshire back in January 2018. Alfie Pavey scored twice in a 2-2 draw that day as the spoils were shared. Sandwiched between a pair of 2-1 victories, in which goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim famously scored the winner in the first of those fixtures, the Darts claimed their biggest ever win against the Bluebirds when they won 5-1 with all the goals coming in the first-half. After four unbeaten matches on the road versus Chippenham Town, the run ended in March last year when the home side put four past Dartford in a 4-2 win. Incredibly the reverse fixture that season finished 3-3 at Princes Park.
Last season’s visit resulted in another 2-1 scoreline, this time in favour of the Bluebirds. A last-minute Jordan Young free-kick clinched three points for this weekend’s opponents, however the talking point came when Chippenham Town equalised before the break. Three defenders combined to give Dartford the lead, Connor Essam’s cross was knocked down by Tom Bonner for Maxwell Statham to nod home. Then the Bluebirds won a dubious penalty. Alefe Santos took the spot kick and a goalkeeping error from Joe Young saw Santos’ effort spilt before the keeper scrambled back to make a save, unfortunately the match officials ruled the ball over the line.
Current League Form
|Dartford (WWLLLW)||Chippenham Town (DWDDLD)|
|St Albans City||A||0-1||Maidstone United||H||0-2|
|Slough Town||H||1-2||Taunton Town||H||3-3|
|Taunton Town||A||0-1||Dover Athletic||A||1-1|
|Dover Athletic||H||2-0||Slough Town||H||2-1|
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 5 / Chippenham Town wins: 3 / Draws: 4
Last Six Meetings
Dartford 2 – 0 Chippenham Town (11/02/2023 – National South)
Chippenham Town 2 – 1 Dartford (03/09/2022 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 0 Chippenham Town (12/05/2022 – National South Playoff)*
Chippenham Town 4 – 2 Dartford (12/03/2022 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 3 Chippenham Town (06/11/2021 – National South)
Chippenham Town 1 – 2 Dartford (27/10/2020 – National South)
* Chippenham Town won 3-2 on penalties
- Dartford have kept a clean sheet in each of their three victories this season
- The Darts have lost their last two visits to Chippenham Town, but were unbeaten in the previous four (W3, D1)
- This fixture at Hardenhuish Park has average 4.16 goals a game and no clean sheets. Dartford have netted 14 goals to Chippenham Town’s 11.
- Dartford’s clean sheet in the home fixture last season was their first against Chippenham Town since the first meeting in September 2017
- If featured, Maxwell Statham will make his 50th appearance for the Darts (46 starts, 3 substitute)
On This Day
Alfie Pavey, Elliot Bradbrook and Andy Pugh helped Dartford to victory on this day in 2017. The Darts beat Bognor Regis Town 3-1 at Princes Park to claim all three points. A crowd of over 5000 witnessed Dartford’s defeat at Bristol Rovers in the National League nine years ago, Matty Taylor scoring the only goal. In 2006, Dartford strolled to a comfortable 4-1 victory in the F.A Trophy preliminary round against Ilford. The last win on this day away from home came in 1989 when Dartford beat Cambridge City 2-1 in the Southern Premier League. Since then the Darts have drawn one and lost three in away games on 7 October.