Dartford travel to the Sussex coast and will take on Eastbourne Borough in the Natonal League on Tuesday night.
The Darts could end up in the playoff places by the end of the evening. A victory and other results going their way will be enough to enter the top seven. Improved form over the last month has led to Alan Dowson’s side winning four of their last five.
Eastbourne Borough made changes on and off the field this summer. A takeover and an injection of cash put the Sports among the favorites for promotion. However, a slow start and inconsistent results leaves Mark Beard’s side in the bottom six.
The Darts got one over their former manager on the weekend with a 2-0 win over Havant and Waterlooville. Yet it was an ex-Hawk who stole the headlines with a brace. Central defender, Joash Nembhard was at the double to continue his goalscoring form. Ever present in the National South this season, the 25-year-old has now scored three in his last two appearances. Dowson made one change to the starting lineup by replacing Jayden Boulton with Jordan Wynter. The versatile midfielder made his 150th start for the club. Meanwhile, Luke Allen featured as a substitute to make his 100th appearance.
Dowson praised Wynter’s performance and his midfield partner Paul Rooney after the win. Delighted with recent progress, the Dartford boss was pleased with the back four after a third consecutive home clean sheet. However, Dowson urges his squad to continue their good form now there are no major fitness doubts.
Speaking to Dartford FC TV after the home victory, Dowson commented about Tuesday’s clash with Eastbourne Borough, he said: “It’ll be a tough game, they have a young side and they have got some decent players. But, if we are going to challenge and believe we will be around the playoffs and beyond, we’ve got to go on and get results. We’ve got to make this push and I believe we can do it”.
The 4-3 defeat at Hampton and Richmond Borough has been Dartford’s only blip in a month. Whilst a 4-1 triumph at Chippenham Town means the Darts have netted seven in their last two away games. At home, a pair of 1-0 wins in league and cup kickstarted the current run of form. Tonbridge Angels were beaten with a Rooney goal. Harrow Borough were knocked out of the London Senior Cup after an own goal.
The home side won 2-1 in both of these fixtures last season. Dartford travelled to Priory Lane back in April and took the lead. Harvey Bradbury made a blistering start to his Dartford career heading in his third goal in four appearances. The hosts turned the game around with goals from Leone Gravata and Luke Pearce. Substitutions and further injuries left the Darts down to nine men by the end of the match. In goal for Dartford that day was Eastbourne Borough goalkeeper Ben Dudzinski. The former Dart played 13 times for Dowson keeping five clean sheets before his switch in the summer.
Cup involvements and rearranged games has seen Eastbourne Borough’s fixture list top heavy with away games. The Sussex side will be at home for the first time in the league for over a month. In fact just one of their last six National South matches have been at Priory Lane. The last resulted in a manager returning to BN23 with Welling United. The Sports drew 2-2 with Danny Bloor’s side and took the lead from the spot through Decarrey Sheriff. The Wings scored twice to lead, but Shiloh Remy made sure the points were shared.
The Sports lost on the weekend going down to a 3-1 defeat at Weymouth. Slipping to nineteenth, Beard’s side were below par on Saturday. They fell behind when Tom Bearwish and Ezio Touray scored in the first-half for the Terras. After the break, Fletcher Holman pulled a goal back, but former Dart, Dan Roberts sealed victory for Weymouth. Beard made two changes to the side that beat St Albans City a fortnight earlier. Zak Emmerson earned a place in the starting eleven thanks to a hat-trick against the Saints. The 19-year-old came off the bench at half-time to score his first senior treble. Eastbourne Borough came from behind twice to win 3-2 at Clarence Park.
Current League Form
|Dartford (LLWWLW)||Eastbourne Borough (WLDLWL)|
|Havant & Waterlooville||H||2-0||Weymouth||A||1-3|
|Hampton & Richmond||A||3-4||St Albans City||A||3-2|
|Chippenham Town||A||4-1||Taunton Town||A||1-2|
|Tonbridge Angels||H||1-0||Welling United||H||2-2|
|St Albans City||A||0-1||Yeovil Town||A||2-3|
|Slough Town||H||1-2||Havant & Waterlooville||A||2-1|
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 15 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 9 / Draws: 4
Last Six Meetings
Eastbourne Borough 2 – 1 Dartford (07/04/2023 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (27/09/2022 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 2 – 7 Dartford (07/05/2022 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (30/08/2021 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (09/02/2021 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 3 – 1 Dartford (05/12/2020 – National South)
- In the last six league trips to Priory Lane the winning side has alternated. Eastbourne Borough were triumphant last time out
- Dartford’s last visit to Priory Lane saw a three game winning streak against the Sports come to an end
- The Darts have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last seven versus Eastbourne Borough (W4, L3)
- Dartford have scored seven in their last two away games. As many as their previous ten on the road, stretching back to 4 March 2023.
On This Day
Elliot Bradbrook scored in each of Dartford’s last three games on 24 October. The Darts have won their last four games on this day with the most recent against Bath City in 2017. Bradbrook’s first-half penalty was added to in the second-half by Duane Ofori-Acheampong in a 2-0 win.
Bradbrook also scored two years earlier when the Darts beat Bishop’s Stortford 2-1. In the opposition lineup that day was Charlie Sheringham. It was Barry Cogan who put Dartford in front before Christian Smith levelled, then Bradbrook netted the winner.
Aveley were swept aside in 2009 despite Adam Flanagan getting sent off. At 1-1, the Darts had to play the majority of the second-half with ten men. Bradbrook opened the scoring, but the Millers equalised through Ryan Edgar. After the red card, Jamie Coyle, Ryan Hayes and Jay May secured the 4-1 victory. Dartford went on to take the Isthmian Premier League title that season.