Tag: National South (Page 1 of 4)

Eastbourne Borough v Dartford

Dartford’s final game of the National South season against Eastbourne Borough will decide who both sides will face in the playoffs.

These two sides could easily be going head-to-head again as early as mid-week depending on this weekend’s results. If the Darts finish lower than third, they will be taking on the team that finishes sixth or potentially seventh in the playoff eliminator round.

Dartford are currently fourth and to avoid the eliminator round they must beat Eastbourne Borough and hope Ebbsfleet United drop points at home to Chelmsford City. Any other outcome will see the Darts start their playoff campaign on Wednesday 11 May, if they finish fifth or Thursday 12 May, if they stay in fourth. The Darts can only finish fifth if they lose to Eastbourne Borough and Oxford City beat Bath City at Twerton Park, there also needs to be a three-goal swing.

Eastbourne Borough are likely to finish sixth and can only be caught by seventh place Havant and Waterlooville. For that to happen, the Hawks will need to win their clash for the last playoff spot against eighth place Chippenham Town. Danny Bloor’s side have a six-goal advantage over Havant and Waterlooville.

Playoff fixtures
Wednesday 11 May 2022 – Eliminator Match A (5th v 6th)
Thursday 12 May 2022 – Eliminator Match B (4th v 7th)
Saturday 14 May 2022* – Semi Final (2nd v Eliminator Winner Match A)
Sunday 15 May 2022 – Semi Final (3rd v Eliminator Winner Match B)
Saturday 21 May 2022 – Promotion Final
*Subject to change to Sunday 15 May if both clubs are in agreement

Third place was in Dartford’s hands after an impressive 6-0 away win at Slough Town last weekend. With a Bank Holiday fixture also scheduled, Steve King chose to make six changes in the final home game of the regular season and saw his side come undone in a poor display against lowly Braintree Town. The Dartford boss was without Player of the Season Dan Wilks, so Reice Charles-Cook continued in goal. Keiran Murtagh, who managed to score three times in his last two games looks likely to be out for the playoffs after injury at Slough Town. Jordan Wynter is also struggling with injury, whilst Jernade Meade is being carefully reintroduced after a period on the sidelines, he started in the 1-0 defeat on Monday. In form striker Marcus Dinanga made a substitute appearance against Braintree Town, suggesting King is being cautious about his fitness ahead of the playoffs. Dinanga has scored 11 goals in his 14 appearances for the Darts and could be key to their success.

Highlight’s of Dartford’s last game against Eastbourne Borough – Dartford FC TV

The reverse fixture took place on August Bank Holiday and in only his second start for the club Jake Robinson opened his account with a brace. The first after seven minutes was a predatory finish and the second came from the penalty spot, after some sublime build up play led to a handball. The Sports hit back immediately after the break when Greg Luer made the most of a lack of concentration to cut Dartford’s lead in half. Ade Azeez was brought on and his well-placed header secured victory for the Darts.

Victory over Eastbourne Borough came six months after losing to the Sussex side at Princes Park. The winning goal for the Sports came from Chris Whelpdale. Nine days later the National South 2020/2021 campaign was declared null and void. In fact, Eastbourne Borough were one of the very few teams the Darts played twice that season. Dartford’s last visit to Priory Lane in December 2020 resulted in a 3-1 loss. Charley Kendall, Whelpdale and Joe Rollinson all scored for the hosts, Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong netted a consolation.

Eastbourne Borough have had a very good season under Danny Bloor and in the club’s last three full campaigns they had finished eighteenth. The Sports manager joined the Sussex side around the same time King started his Dartford journey, so it’s also his first full season in charge at Priory Lane. Perhaps with the knowledge of almost certainly making the playoffs, their form has dipped since the start of April. Currently on a run of three straight defeats after a pair of draws, the Sports are winless in five league outings, but they had already done enough to guarantee a top seven place.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend, Eastbourne Borough first lost in what was an important game at the time for Billericay Town. The Sports fell to their first home loss since early February and only their fifth on their own patch this term in the National South. Two early goals gave the visitors hope of staying in the division, although that hope was ended two days later. Eastbourne Borough pulled a goal back through Charlie Walker, but it wasn’t enough to avoid defeat to the team bottom of the table. Then on Monday they lost 2-0 at Tonbridge Angels to leave them in sixth place but guaranteed their highest finish since returning to the National South in 2011.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 13 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 8 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford
(DWLWWL)
    Eastbourne Borough
(WDDLLL)
   
Braintree Town H 0-1 Tonbridge Angels A 0-2
Slough Town A 6-0 Billericay Town H 1-2
St Albans City H 3-1 Havant and Waterlooville A 0-3
Maidstone United H 0-1 Welling United H 3-3
Billericay Town A 2-0 Slough Town A 2-2
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Concord Rangers H 2-0

Previous Meetings (last six)

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)
Dartford 2 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (22/02/2020 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 0 – 2 Dartford (02/11/2019 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 6 – 0 Dartford (20/04/2019 – National South)

Stats

  • After going 12 games unbeaten against the Sports, Dartford have won three of the last seven meetings (D0, L4)
  • Dartford have won just two of their last eight final matches of the season (D2, L4) both on the South coast (Poole Town and Bognor Regis Town)

On This Day

Dartford were beaten in the National South playoff semi-final against Chelmsford City five years ago. Two goals in the final twenty minutes put the Clarets 2-0 up on aggregate, Duane Ofori-Acheampong scored a last minute consolation. That defeat is one of only two on this day, the Darts also lost 1-0 to Bath City in 1977. Dartford have won six and drawn two in the ten outings on 7 May. The last victory came in 1983 when Dartford won on the road at Enderby Town in the Southern Premier League. Between 1927 and 1955, the Darts won all five on this day including a 7-0 Southern League East victory over Bournemouth and Boscombe Reserves in 1932. Dartford are unbeaten when away from home on this day, winning three and drawing the other.

Dartford v Braintree Town

Dartford prepare for the National South playoffs in their last home league game of the season against Braintree Town this Bank Holiday.

The Darts secured a place in the playoffs after their Good Friday victory. Since then they have been jockeying for a league position to get as much home advantage as possible for the end of season finale. Braintree Town managed to turn their fortunes around this season after looking like they were in serious relegation trouble.

A convincing win on Saturday at Slough Town will give Steve King’s side plenty of confidence ahead of this Bank Holiday fixture. Two changes were made to the last league outing which the Darts won 3-1 against St Albans City. After his goal in the Kent Senior Cup semi-final, Jordan Greenidge started as well as Olumide Durojaiye. In form striker, Marcus Dinanga took barely any time at all to open the scoring and the advantage doubled when Keiran Murtagh flicked in Jack Jebb’s corner. Murtagh waited until his 39th appearance for his first goals for the club last weekend, now he has three in his last two. However, the midfielder’s afternoon was cut short when he went off injured. By half-time the Darts were three up through Dinanga, his 11th goal in only 13 appearances. Kalvin Kalala got in on the act with his second league goal for the Darts. Greenidge justified his selection in the starting line up with Dartford’s fifth, since arriving from Weymouth the striker has scored five in seven games. To wrap things up, Durojaiye scored his first goal for the Darts, to make it 6-0.

Back in December, Dartford visited Cressing Road to take on Braintree Town who were second from bottom. The Darts who were joint top at the time came away with a point but only just. Perhaps that gave Braintree Town the belief they needed to improve results over the next three months. Kalvin Kalala made his Dartford debut and his new side had to wait until the last kick of the game to snatch a point. A stunning stoppage time free-kick from Jack Jebb completed a two goal comeback after a Jake Robinson penalty halved the deficit. The visitors went two goals up through Gabriel Piorkowski and Gio Crichlow.

Highlight’s of Dartford taking on Braintree Town in December – Dartford FC TV

Over the years Dartford have found victories rare against Braintree Town with only three in 15 attempts. In fact the Essex side went eight unbeaten against the Darts, until the last time they visited Princes Park in August 2019. On that day, a late Norman Wabo goal was decisive in a 2-1 win for the Darts. Former Dartford academy player, Femi Akinwande put the Iron in front before Luke Wanadio missed a penalty. However, the hosts recovered with goals from former Braintree Town midfielder Luke Allen and Wabo’s winner. Tony Burman was in charge in the only other home win against the Essex side back in 2011, Elliot Bradbrook netting the only goal of the game.

Highlight’s of Dartford’s last win over Braintree Town – Dartford FC TV

The 2-2 draw at the end of last year was the start of four draws in five for the Darts, a period that saw them lose ground at the top. Although King’s side made up ground with five straight victories, away defeats at Hungerford Town and Chippenham Town dented their title aspirations. The Darts were hanging in the title race until a pair of draws early last month and since Good Friday’s win over Billericay Town they have also reached a second Kent Senior Cup final in a row.

During that same period Braintree Town tightened up at the back going through a spell of eight clean sheets in eleven games. Between mid January through to mid March, the Iron only lost twice picking up six wins and five draws including a victory over Ebbsfleet United, their only victory against a top six side this season. That’s not to say they have fared badly against the teams at the top because they have drawn five against those teams.

In April, the Iron could have easily been dragged back in to the relegation battle after three straight defeats without scoring. However four points in their last two outings, a draw with Oxford City followed by Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Hemel Hempstead Town guarantee National South football next season.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Braintree Town wins: 7 / Draws: 5

Current League Form

Dartford
(DDWLWW)
    Braintree Town
(WLLLDW)
   
Slough Town A 6-0 Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-1
St Albans City H 3-1 Oxford City A 1-1
Maidstone United H 0-1 Concord Rangers H 0-1
Billericay Town A 2-0 Havant and Waterlooville A 0-4
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Hampton and Richmond H 0-1
Oxford City A 1-1 SloughTown A 2-0

Previous Meetings (last six)

Braintree Town 2 – 2 Dartford (28/12/2021 – National South)
Braintree Town 2 – 1 Dartford (09/01/2021 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Braintree Town (24/08/2019 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Braintree Town (06/05/2018 – National South Playoff)
Dartford 1 – 1 Braintree Town (23/12/2017 – National South)
Braintree Town 2 – 2 Dartford (08/08/2017 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford are yet to lose to a team in the bottom six (W8, D3)
  • The Darts have lost just once at home in the league this season (W10, D8, L1). The last time they lost one at home in the league was in the 1995/96 Kent League First Division campaign (W16, D2, L1)
  • Dartford have scored in their last three games against Braintree Town. The Darts have never scored in four consecutive matches against the Iron.

On This Day

Dartford are unbeaten in their last ten games on this day recording eight victories in that time, including a Kent Senior Cup final win and a National South semi-final playoff victory. The Darts won promotion to the National League ten years ago and the 1-0 playoff semi-final win at Basingstoke Town helped set them on their way. Lee Noble scored an important winner in the first leg, but not quite as important as the winner he scored 11 days later in the final. A year before saw Dartford lift the county cup for the first time in 23 years by beating Bromley 4-1 in the final. Elliot Bradbrook, Ryan Hayes, Danny Harris and an own goal ensured the Darts picked up some silverware. Heartbreakingly, it was 26 years ago that Dartford lost the Kent League First Division title on goal difference in tense and dramatic circumstances. Needing to beat league leaders Furness on the final day of the season, the Darts only managed a 1-1 draw after Sean Bristow equalised.

Dartford v St Albans City

Dartford are in action this weekend when they host St Albans City in their penultimate home game of the National South regular season.

With a National South playoff place secured, the Darts will be aiming for home advantage, which is dependent on where they finish at the end of the season. Steve King’s side lost their first home game in the league on Easter Monday against rivals and league leaders Maidstone United and will be determined to bounce back. St Albans City still have a shot at making the playoffs despite a dip in form since the beginning of last month.

The reverse fixture against the Saints was played on the opening day of the season. At the time the prospect of taking on St Albans City to begin the campaign seemed difficult. Saints had a strong 2020/2021 and after 15 games were only behind league leaders Dorking Wanderers on points per game, before the season was cut short. However, the Darts passed with flying colours setting off on a fantastic run of seven victories and a draw in their first eight National South games.

Ade Azeez and Dan Roberts scored on debut at Clarence Park in a 3-1 win. The Darts scored at the end of either half to claim all three points and it was another debutante, Danny Leonard who provided the cross for Azeez’s first goal for the club. A former Dartford player, Tom Bender equalised for the hosts, but two late goals from substitute Dan Roberts secured the win. Keiran Murtagh, Jake Robinson and George Porter also made their first appearances.

Highlights of the opening day meeting courtesy of SACFC TV

St Albans City won on their last visit to Princes Park when Shaun Jeffers scored a late wonder goal. The striker put in a fine performance capping it off with the match winner. Dartford’s form over the Saints has improved in the last three years with three victories and a draw in the last five meetings. Prior this current run the Darts had won once in six, failing to score in five of those.

Dartford had a mixed Easter with a comfortable victory against Billericay Town and a narrow defeat to Maidstone United. King made two changes to the team that beat Billericay Town 2-0 on Good Friday. Goals from Jack Jebb and Marcus Dinanga secured a playoff place. For the Easter Monday fixture full back, Jernade Meade made his first league start since the beginning of the year and Samir Carruthers was back in midfield. Kristian Campbell and Murtagh were named as substitutes.

However, it was former Dartford striker, Jack Barham who came back to haunt his old side again. After netting a hat-trick in the reverse league fixture, the striker scored the winner putting an end to the Darts unbeaten home run in the National South. The Stones looked the better side and also missed a penalty when Dan Wilks saved from Barham. The closest Dartford came was when Carruthers hit the post, but the Darts were unable to derail their rivals title push.

Defeat means that the Darts have dropped to fourth in the table relinquishing a bye into the playoff semi-final and home advantage. With four games remaining they are only a point of a top three finish just behind local rivals Ebbsfleet United. If King’s side can climb above the Fleet and stay ahead of Oxford City and Eastbourne Borough then they can avoid that extra playoff match.

St Albans City need to make up three points just to get into the playoffs and on current form they will be pleased to sneak in. Although their last three outings have ended in a draw, a defeat and a win they had just lost six in a row and taken just one point from 21 available. On Monday they drew 0-0 with Hampton and Richmond Borough and on Good Friday lost 3-0 to lowly Chelmsford City.

Former Dart, Tom Bender was a substitute in the goalless draw with Hampton and Richmond Borough. He was part of Dartford’s 2014/2015 campaign and made 20 appearances in the National League for the Dartfs. The defender moved on to Forest Green Rovers before joining St Albans City during the 2015/2016 season. As well as scoring against the Darts on the opening day this term, Bender also grabbed a goal at Princes Park in November 2016 when the Saints won 2-0. Almost a year later he also netted an own goal which handed Dartford a 2-1 victory in October 2017.

However, the Darts will have to watch out for striker, Shaun Jeffers who has scored 25 league goals and 32 in all competitions, way more than anyone else for the club this term. Jeffers signed for St Albans City in the summer of 2020 and has so far scored 44 times in 67 appearances for the Saints. He also scored for his former side against the Darts whilst at Chelmsford City back in August 2016.

After taking on the Darts this weekend it doesn’t get any easier for the Hertfordshire side. The Saints host title chasing Dorking Wanderers, travel to playoff certainties Oxford City before ending at home to Tonbridge Angels. It’s been against the top sides that St Albans City have struggled to gain points on the road by failing to beat any of the top six on their travels.   

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 10 / St Albans City wins: 6 / Draws: 5

Current League Form

Dartford
(DWDDWL)
    St Albans City
(LLLWLD)
   
Maidstone United H 0-1 Hampton & Richmond A 0-0
Billericay Town A 2-0 Chelmsford City H 0-3
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Hungerford Town A 2-0
Oxford City A 1-1 Maidstone United A 2-3
Hampton & Richmond A 1-0 Concord Rangers A 1-2
Havant & Waterlooville H 1-1 Ebbsfleet United H 0-1

Previous Meetings (last six)

St Albans City 1 – 3 Dartford (14/08/2021 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 St Albans City (17/11/2020 – National South)
St Albans City 1 – 2 Dartford (07/03/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 St Albans City (06/08/2019 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 2 St Albans City (12/01/2019 – National South)
St Albans City 2 – 0 Dartford (01/09/2018 – National South)

Stats

  • Tom Bonner has now made 400 starts as a Dartford player and 403 appearances in total. The defender is now 9th on the all time appearance list for the club.
  • Dartford have won three of the last five fixtures against St Albans City, drawing twice and losing once.
  • The Darts had scored in their previous 14 league games before the blank at home to Maidstone United.

On This Day

Dartford are playing on St George’s Day for only the second time in 17 years this weekend. The last fixture on this day was in 2016 when the Darts drew 2-2 at home against Oxford City. Elliot Bradbrook’s scored a brace as the Darts levelled twice, the last equaliser coming from a late penalty. Dartford’s last win on 23 April was in 2001 when they beat Langley Sports 2-1 in the Southern League Division One East. In the same division four years later, the last defeat on this day came against Fisher Athletic by the same score line.

Dartford v Maidstone United

Dartford can have a say in the National South title race on Easter Monday when they host rivals Maidstone United.

A bumper crowd is expected for this Kent derby and with the Darts protecting their unbeaten home run and the Stones top of the table there is plenty up for grabs. Dartford secured a playoff place on Good Friday and they will want to derail their rivals bid for the title and promotion back to the National League after a three year absence.

Steve King has led the Darts to 17 home games in the National South without defeat and are currently on a seven match unbeaten league run home and away. However, with five fixtures remaining they are ten points adrift from the Stones and six behind second place Dorking Wanderers. Dartford warmed up ahead of the Kent derby with an away day at Billericay Town in which former Maidstone United defender started for the first time in over a month. Midfielder’s Luke Allen and Keiran Murtagh were back in the starting eleven and Jake Robinson was preferred to Ade Azeez up front. Two second-half strikes from Jack Jebb and Marcus Dinanga earned the Darts a 2-0 victory. Dinanga has now scored in four consecutive league games and has eight in just ten appearances since joining Dartford.

Dartford make it a Good Friday against Billericay Town – Dartford FC TV

The Darts will want to put behind them and avenge the defeat suffered at the Gallagher Stadium back in December. Maidstone United won 4-0 that day and to rub salt into Dartford’s wound, former striker Jack Barham scored a hat-trick and he has three of those this term. Defeat ended a run of seven unbeaten at the time and displaced the Darts from the top of the table. Instead, the Darts will want to reproduce the kind of performance that earned them a 3-0 victory at the same venue in the F.A Cup two months earlier. Goals from Noor Husin, Danny Leonard and Ade Azeez ensured King’s men had the bragging rights back then and a foot in the next round.

Since Dartford’s cup victory the tables have turned as Maidstone United’s form since late November propelled them to the summit. The Stones have won 18 of their last 22 league games, drawing twice and losing twice. A sticky patch for the Darts from October to January saw them playing catch up, but an excellent win against title challengers Dorking Wanderers got them back in with a shout a month ago. However, a loss at Chippenham Town and few more draws mean they are likely to finish in the playoffs.

Dartford win the F.A Cup tie at the Gallagher Stadium – Dartford FC TV

In this fixture the Darts are unbeaten at home in the league since 1978 and a former Maidstone United player could help them maintain that record on Monday. Jake Robinson could potentially make an impact in front of goal if selected against the Stones, the striker had a brief spell with Maidstone United between December 2018 and March 2019 scoring just twice in eleven appearances.

Prior the heavy reverse four months ago, the Darts had completed a three game winning streak against their rivals in all competitions without conceding. What is more impressive is all those matches came on the road. The aforementioned F.A Cup triumph came after a 2-0 victory at the Gallagher Stadium last season in which Tom Bonner and Charlie Sheringham scored in the final twelve minutes. In January 2020, the Darts progressed in a Kent Senior Cup tie with a 1-0 win, Ky Marsh-Brown scored the decisive goal. Dartford went on to lift the cup with the final being played this season. It was the fourth time the two teams faced each other in that campaign, the previous three came within a space of ten days.

Dartford’s last game against Maidstone United – Dartford FC TV

A pair of 2-2 draws, firstly in the National South then in the F.A Trophy proved it was difficult to separate the two rivals. In the league game, Dartford made a dramatic late comeback at home after Dan Wishart and Ibby Akanbi scored in three second-half minutes. However, Bonner scored with just three minutes on the clock and Darren McQueen levelled with a minute to go in the last league meeting played between the two at Princes Park.

In the F.A Trophy, Elliott Romain scored twice against his former club as Dartford came from behind twice. Maidstone United took the lead through Wishart and again when Justin Amaluzor scored. The replay back at Princes Park was decided when Iffy Allen netted the winner.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 46 / Maidstone United wins: 46 / Draws: 19

Current League Form

Dartford
(WDWDDW)
    Maidstone United
(LWWWWW)
   
Billericay Town A 2-0 Chippenham Town A 2-1
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Havant & Waterlooville H 4-0
Oxford City A 1-1 St Albans City H 3-2
Hampton & Richmond A 1-0 Braintree Town A 2-1
Havant & Waterlooville H 1-1 Dulwich Hamlet H 2-0
Chelmsford City H 2-1 Slough Town A 1-2

Previous Meetings (last six)

Maidstone United 4 – 0 Dartford (11/12/2021 – National South)
Maidstone United 0 – 3 Dartford (02/10/2021 – F.A Cup)
Maidstone United 0 – 2 Dartford (14/11/2020 – National South)
Maidstone United 0 – 1 Dartford (21/01/2020- Kent Senior Cup)
Dartford 0 – 1 Maidstone United (26/11/2019 – F.A Trophy)
Maidstone United 2 – 2 Dartford (23/11/2019 – F.A Trophy)

Stats

  • Dartford are unbeaten in their last eight home league games against Maidstone United (W4, D4)
  • The Darts can equal their unbeaten home run of 18 back in April 1979 to February 1980 if they avoid defeat on Easter Monday.
  • Dartford last went 18 home league games unbeaten from the start of a campaign in 1925/26 when they finished the Kent League First Division without defeat at home (W15, D3).

On This Day

Dartford have beaten Maidstone United twice on this day, 1-0 in the Southern Premier League back in 1977 and 3-0 in a Kent League fixture in 1913. The Stones won the other fixture also in the Southern Premier League winning 3-1 in 1974. That home defeat 48 years ago was the last time the Darts lost on their own patch on 18 April. Since then they beat Nuneaton Borough 1-0 in 1978 and drew 1-1 in the Southern League Cup Final first leg against Burton Albion. Under Peter Taylor, Dartford went on to win 2-0 in the second leg to lift the cup. Newport AFC were beaten 4-2 in the Southern League South (1998) and the Darts hit four again in 2009 against Ramsgate. A Rob Haworth brace as well as goals from Ryan Hayes and Lee Noble gave Dartford three Isthmian Premier League points.

Billericay Town v Dartford

Dartford start the Easter weekend with a visit to relegation threatened Billericay Town on Good Friday.

In a commanding position to reach the playoffs, the Darts can stretch their unbeaten run in the National South to six ahead of a big Kent derby on Easter Monday. Billericay Town are in a scrap at the bottom of the division hoping to survive the drop to the Isthmian Premier League.

Steve King’s side continued their unbeaten home run in the league with a last gasp 1-1 draw against Hemel Hempstead Town on Saturday. Although the Dartford boss wasn’t impressed with his side’s performance against Hemel Hempstead Town, he did praise the ‘never say die’ attitude of his players.

Dartford made five changes to the side that drew their last league game at Oxford City by the same score. Dan Wilks returned in goal, Kalvin Kalala, Ody Alfa and Ade Azeez were back in the line up, whilst Tyrique Hyde replaced Samir Carruthers who was unavailable against his parent club. The Darts had a difficult afternoon falling behind when Gus Scott-Moriss gave the visitors the lead. Dartford’s unbeaten home run looked like it was about to end, but in the last minute Marcus Dinanga popped up with the equaliser, the striker’s seventh goal in nine appearances for the club. The draw leaves Dartford six points behind second place and two in front of rivals Ebbsfleet United in fourth.

A late goal preserves Dartford’s unbeaten home run. Highlights of last weekend’s game – Dartford FC TV

On the road, Dartford are unbeaten in three with a 1-0 triumph over Hampton and Richmond Borough followed by a 1-1 draw against playoff contenders Oxford City. Confidence was boosted with a Kent Senior Cup quarter-final win over Isthmian Premier League side Margate, in which King gave minutes to players returning from injury and others who have lacked game time. Training on a 3G surface may help the Darts like it did with the visits to Oxford City and Margate. As well as this fixture with Billericay Town their final two away days in the regular season will be on artificial grass too.

Dartford’s last visit to Billericay Town was in September 2018 and it took a last minute equaliser by Jamie Philpot for the Darts to avoid defeat. Since then the last four meetings in this fixture have all Dartford’s way at Princes Park with the previous two ending 1-0 to the Darts.

With ten league goals this term, Jake Robinson could make a return to his previous hunting ground where he had plenty of success in front of goal. The striker joined the Darts in the summer from Billericay Town where he set a record for goals in a season for the Blues back in 2018. He also netted 82 league goals in 113 appearances for the Essex club over two spells. In this campaign Robinson has scored 16 times in 27 games in all competitions.

Jake Robinson scores against his former club. Highlights of the previous meeting – Dartford FC TV

Also potentially facing former clubs will be Femi Akinwande and Bagasan Graham who manager Jody Brown has selected in recent games. Akinwande came through Dartford’s academy before making it into the senior team. The forward left Princes Park and in his time away gained Football League experience with Colchester United and Stevenage before returning to the Darts last season. The 25-year-old is in his second spell with Billericay Town. Graham’s Dartford career was short lived and it seemed so long ago that he made his solitary appearance this season against Tonbridge Angels in September. Norman Wabo, who featured at Princes Park as a substitute for Billericay Town in the reverse fixture, is currently out on dual registration at Potters Bar Town and Denilson Carvalho last played in the first team in February.

Billericay Town boss, Jody Brown took over October from Kevin Watson with the Blues in deep trouble at the foot of the table. The Blues boss didn’t have to wait long for his first victory as he watched his new side beat Dulwich Hamlet then Slough Town. However, Brown was still shaping his squad and a run of seven straight defeats followed leaving the Essex club in a precarious position. Being allowed the time to build a team and implement his ideas, Billericay Town have lost just five times since in 18 matches. The fact they have drawn eight of those games suggest their is room for improvement.

Lately, Billericay Town have started to find important victories picking up four wins from the last nine outings, but they have lost their last two. In their last home game they were beaten 1-0 by Chippenham Town and on the weekend they went down 2-0 at Hampton and Richmond Borough. However, the Essex side still have everything to play for, as it’s pretty tight at the bottom. The Blues are second from bottom on goal difference just ahead of Welling United. They go to Essex rivals Chelmsford City on Easter Monday with their local rivals just one place and three points ahead of them. Another six pointer is on its way when they take on Bath City who are immediately above the Clarets. Throw in two fixtures against playoff hopefuls Eastbourne Borough and Ebbsfleet United, then an Essex derby on the final day against Braintree Town and it’s going to be quite a tense run in for Brown’s side.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 6 / Billericay Town wins: 2 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford
(LWDWDD)
    Billericay Town
(WWWDLL)
   
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Hampton & Richmond A 0-2
Oxford City A 1-1 Chippenham Town H 0-1
Hampton & Richmond A 1-0 Havant & Waterlooville A 2-2
Havant & Waterlooville H 1-1 Oxford City H 3-1
Chelmsford City H 2-1 St Albans City H 2-1
Chippenham Town A 2-4 Hungerford Town A 4-1

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 1 – 0 Billericay Town (04/12/2021 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Billericay Town (12/01/2021 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Billericay Town (14/12/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Billericay Town (22/04/2019 – National South)
Billericay Town 1 – 1 Dartford (15/09/2018 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 4 Billericay Town (06/03/2010 – Isthmian Premier)

Stats

  • Despite nine meetings, the Darts have only played three away games in this fixture. The first and last victory at New Lodge was 1-0 in 2008 with a Lee Noble winner (W1, D1, L1).
  • Dartford have kept two clean sheets in a row against the Blues, which they also achieved in 2008 and 2009.
  • The Darts have only failed to score once against Billericay Town back in 2010, their only away defeat in this fixture.

On This Day

Dartford’s Wembley dream ended on this day in 1989. After a 0-0 draw at Watling Street against Macclesfield Town in the F.A Trophy semi-final, the Darts travelled to the Silkmen and lost 4-1, Kurt Davidson registering Dartford’s goal. The last game on this day was a 4-0 Isthmian Premier League triumph at Waltham Abbey. James White, Lee Noble, Carl Rook and Lee Burns netted that day, the Darts ended the campaign as league champions. In 1939, the Kent Senior Shield was lifted with a handsome 4-0 victory over Northfleet United. Silverware glossed over a terrible campaign in which Dartford finished bottom of the Southern League conceding 119 goals.

Dartford v Hemel Hempstead Town

Kent Senior Cup semi-finalists Dartford return to league action on the weekend when they host Hemel Hempstead Town in the National South.

The Darts continued their aim to retain the county cup on Tuesday night after beating Margate in the last eight. Comfortably in the playoff places, Dartford are hoping to make a strong finish to their campaign. Despite a slow start to their season, Hemel Hempstead Town are not too far away from a top seven place but could do with a maximum themselves at Princes Park.

Steve King made seven changes for the cup tie with Margate on Tuesday to give game time to those who have been patiently waiting for their chance. Kelvin Kalala, Che Krabbendem, Jordan Greenidge, Ody Alfa and Ade Azeez all started the quarter-final tie. The Darts also welcomed back Jernade Meade and Luke Allen from their injuries and it was Allen who made an immediate impact scoring after just six minutes, his fifth of the campaign in all competitions. The midfielder played the first half before being replaced by Tyrique Hyde at half-time. Meade had a bit longer on the pitch and came off for 16-year-old academy player Jayden Boulton who made his senior debut. The lead was short lived though as the hosts levelled six minutes later when James Bessey-Saldanha made it 1-1.

Highlights of Dartford’s Kent Senior Cup win on Tuesday night – Dartford FC TV

In the second-half, Kalala put Dartford back in front and Azeez added a third just past the hour mark. Ody Alfa got in on the act with his first goal for the Darts, whilst George Porter was another to return from injury with a substitute appearance. There was still time for Vance Bola to pull one back for Margate, but in the end it was a positive night for King’s men who made it through to the semi-final despite a makeshift defence.

Dartford’s 1-1 draw in their last league outing at Oxford City means winning the title will now be a stretch. The Darts will need to focus on finishing in the playoffs and preferably gaining home advantage. A 14-point cushion with seven matches remaining makes it very likely Dartford will end up in the top seven, but aiming for second will give them home ties in the semi-final and if they progress the final. To do that King’s side need to make up seven points on Dorking Wanderers, but the Darts do have a game in hand. A home playoff tie could be crucial seeing as the Darts are unbeaten at Princes Park in the league winning nine out of 16. They had previously won five in a row before the 1-1 draw with Havant and Waterlooville in their last home match.

Highlights of Dartford’s last National South match last weekend – Dartford FC TV

Tyrique Hyde made the headlines last time Dartford faced Hemel Hempstead Town in November. The midfielder was recalled from his loan spell with the Tudors and on his return to Vauxhall Road made an impact. Claiming a first league win since early October, Dartford won 3-2. It was Hyde who opened the scoring before Alfie Cerulli equalised for the hosts. Ade Azeez netted a penalty, then Hyde gave the Darts a two-goal cushion. Hemel Hempstead Town grabbed a late consolation when Cerulli added his second of the afternoon. Samir Carruthers made a substitute appearance for the Tudors; the midfielder is currently on loan with the Darts.

Last season this fixture wasn’t played at Princes Park as Dartford only played Hemel Hempstead Town once at their place. Craig King was Dartford’s goalkeeper that day in a 3-1 victory which saw former Tudor, Connor Essam score. However, the defender is likely to be out for the rest of the season through injury. This time King will be trying to stop Dartford’s attack, the 24-year-old switched allegiances initially on loan, then his impressive performances earned him a permanent deal with Hemel Hempstead Town. King made 18 appearances for the Darts before Daniel Wilks displaced him as Dartford’s goalkeeper.

Hemel Hempstead Town last visited Princes Park in August 2019 and went home with a draw. A late goal from substitute Norman Wabo rescued the match for the Darts after falling behind. Sam Ashford chipped Mark Smith to give the Tudors an early lead. Dartford then squandered a great opportunity to level when Adam Cunnington missed a penalty. With six minutes to go in the second-half Wabo found the equaliser and although the Darts pressed for a winner, they couldn’t find it.

Watch highlights of the last time Dartford hosted Hemel Hempstead Town – Dartford FC TV

Former Oxford City boss, Mark Jones was appointed Hemel Hempstead Town’s manager in September after the Tudors picked up one point in their opening six games under Lee Bircham. Now the Hertfordshire side are mid-table and five points adrift the last playoff place, with seven games to go. The last two games have resulted in some high scoring affairs, the last being a 2-2 draw at home to Chelmsford City. The Tudors showed character to come back from two down, former Dartford striker Charlie Sheringham, then Matt Rush put the Clarets in command. With fifteen minutes remaining the hosts clawed back the deficit with two goals in six minutes, first Charlee Hughes then Pierre Fonkeu completing the comeback.

If four goals in a game isn’t enough then the home match against Tonbridge Angels produced even more. The Tudors ran out 4-3 winners with Fonkeu scoring his first for the club to get things underway. Sam Mantom missed a penalty conceded by former Dartford defender Craig Braham-Barrett, the spot kick saved by former Tudor, Jonathan Henly. The Angels levelled when Teddy Perkins headed into the net, but Craig Fasanmade had the hosts ahead at half-time. James Taylor made it all square again in the second-half before Jack Westbrook restored Hemel Hempstead Town’s lead. The game had just about everything including a red card after Fasanmade was sent off which handed an advantage to Tonbridge Angels. They made it count with a third leveller, Taylor once again. However, the entertainment wasn’t over because in the 94th minute Chris Paul won it for the Tudors. A minute later the Tudors were reduced to nine men when Joash Nembhard was dismissed.

On the road, the Tudors’ form has seen them lose all five matches against those in the top six with only Dartford left to play. The last two on their travels have resulted in a pair of 2-1 defeats against Dorking Wanderers and Bath City.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 1 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford
(WLWDWD)
    Hemel Hempstead Town
(LWLLWD)
   
Oxford City A 1-1 Chelmsford City H 2-2
Hampton & Richmond A 1-0 Tonbridge Angels H 4-3
Havant & Waterlooville H 1-1 Bath City A 1-2
Chelmsford City H 2-1 Dorking Wanderers A 1-2
Chippenham Town A 2-4 Welling United A 2-1
Dorking Wanderers H 3-2 St Albans City H 0-2

Previous Meetings (last six)

Hemel Hempstead Town 2 – 3 Dartford (20/11/2021 – National South)
Hemel Hempstead Town 1 – 3 Dartford (10/11/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Hemel Hempstead Town (31/08/2019 – National South)
Hemel Hempstead Town 1 – 2 Dartford (05/03/2019 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 0 Hemel Hempstead Town (11/08/2018 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 2 Hemel Hempstead Town (17/03/2018 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford are unbeaten in ten games in this fixture (W6, D4). Hemel Hempstead Town’s only victory was in their debut National South season in 2015.
  • The Darts are unbeaten at home against the Tudors (W2, D3)
  • Dartford have scored two or more against Hemel Hempstead Town in nine of the 12 meetings
  • If the Darts avoid defeat they will surpass the 1987/88 unbeaten home run from the start of a campaign (16 matches).
  • Dartford will also record their longest unbeaten home run in the league since April 1979 to February 1980 (18 matches).

On This Day

Lee Burns ended up between the sticks in the Kent derby against rivals Maidstone United six years ago. The defender played the last few minutes in goal after Deren Ibrahim suffered an injury. On loan midfielder Nathan Ferguson scored a cracking winner after Elliot Bradbrook’s penalty put Dartford ahead, which was cancelled out by Keaton Wood’s own goal. Dartford’s last home match on this day was a 2-1 loss against Grimsby Town in 2013, the Mariners coming from behind in the National League after Jack Evans scored for the Darts. The last home win on 9 April was a 3-2 victory over Woking in the National South, Bradbrook, Sheringham and Jack Pallen scoring for Dartford.

After a 1-1 draw against Yeovil Town in the Southern League Cup Final first leg in 1977, Vic Akers went on to become the first Dartford captain to lift the Southern League Cup when the Darts won the second leg 2-0 on this day. Three years later Dartford reached the final again drawing 0-0 in the first leg on the 9 April against Kidderminster Harriers. The second leg finished 4-1 to the Harriers.

Oxford City v Dartford

Dartford continue their push for a National South title challenge on the weekend when they visit playoff hopefuls Oxford City.

The Darts maintained pressure on the top two in their last outing with victory over Hampton and Richmond Borough to go three unbeaten. This weekend’s host have slipped off the pace after suffering a second defeat in a row.

Last time the two sides met in November, Dartford were going through a period of dropping points after opening the season with seven wins and a draw. The 0-0 draw at Princes Park was the last of a five-game winless streak in which goals dried up. It was the fourth game in that sequence without a Dartford goal and the inconsistent results continued up to the end of January. However, the Darts have got back on track, but whether there is enough time to catch the league leaders remains to be seen.

Highlights of this season’s reverse fixture between Dartford and Oxford City – Dartford FC TV

Beating Hampton and Richmond Borough last Saturday helped Dartford close the gap on second place Dorking Wanderers. The weekend almost turned out perfectly as league leaders Maidstone United were being held, however a winner deep into injury time means the Darts remain nine points adrift with a game in hand. The two Kent rivals are due to face each other on Easter Monday.

Steve King gave new signing Samir Carruthers his debut, Kristian Campbell his first start and Olumide Durojaiye his maiden appearance as a substitute. The Dartford boss explained that a change of tactics and a limit on loan players allowed to start was the reason Campbell was selected ahead of Jayden Sweeney, who has impressed King during his loan spell. Danny Leonard, Keiran Murtagh and Jake Robinson also returned to the side helping the Darts claim victory, Marcus Dinanga scoring the winner pouncing on a loose ball to score his fifth goal in only seven appearances. 

Speaking after the win, King was pleased with the performance and praised the defence, he commented: “We were good, defensively we were fantastic. We dominated the majority of the game, they had a right go as well, we had to be on it all the time. We were more than worth our win”. The form of Kory Roberts has also impressed the manager especially as the defender has moved to full back, King added: “He’s been a great acquisition since he has come in and I think he has grown and got better and better and better”.

Watch highlights of Dartford’s win over Hampton and Richmond Borough – Dartford FC TV

All four remaining away games will be played on a 3G surface starting with the visit to Oxford City. King believes the pitches may suit Dartford’s playing style, but he is expecting a tricky afternoon in Oxfordshire, he said: “All we can do is look out for ourselves. We’ve got to keep trying to win games of football, this will be a tough game. Oxford are a good side, they have been up there in the top seven the whole season, so when you’ve been in the top seven the whole season, you’re a good side. We’ve got to go there with the same attitude we did against Hampton and Richmond Borough”.

Dartford’s last visit to Marsh Lane was in October 2019, the final league match before King took charge at Princes Park. Ben Greenhalgh’s run down the right wing was finished when he cut inside to curl the ball into the Hoops net for the decisive strike. The return match that season ended more comfortably for the Darts as they won 3-0 with goals from Darren McQueen, Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong and Luke Wanadio. The two sides didn’t meet in the following campaign which was cut short due to the pandemic.

Steve King speaks to Dartford FC TV after Saturday’s 1-0 win at the Beveree

Up until January and under former Oxford City boss David Oldfield, who left to manage National League side Weymouth, had only lost twice in the National South and those defeats came against the current top two, Maidstone United and Dorking Wanderers. Ross Jenkins stepped up after Oldfield’s departure and early last month he was announced as the new first team head coach. This week Jenkins led Oxford City to the Oxfordshire Senior Cup Final beating North Leigh 4-1 in the semi-final. Joe Iaciofano scored the first two goals for the Hoops either side of North Leigh’s equaliser and Jacob Bancroft added two more. Oxford City will play their city rivals Oxford United in the final and hope to win the county cup for a 38th time.

In the National South the Hoops are going through a sticky patch as they aim to maintain a playoff place. Back-to-back 3-1 defeats to Billericay Town and Ebbsfleet United leave them in sixth, but still with a healthy advantage over eighth place St Albans City, who are nine points further back. Oxford City have only been beaten twice by teams below them in the standings, both against Billericay Town. However, their form versus those in the top five has yielded just one win, two draws and six defeats. On their own patch they have won their last three including a handsome 5-0 win over Tonbridge Angels.

Oxford City manager, Jenkins has called on supporters to help his side ahead of the home match on the weekend, he told www.oxfordcityfc.co.uk: “They’ve supported us up and down the country this season and to get a good crowd here on Saturday and everyone getting behind the boys would be massive for us”, he continued: “I think Dartford will bring a few fans too, they’re doing well and they’ve got a few good results. Every game is going to be a tough one, including Saturday. Hopefully we can please everyone but we’re going into the game to put on a good performance and win a game of football, like they are as well, so it should be competitive”.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 8 / Oxford City wins: 3 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford
(LWLWDW)
    Oxford City
(LWWDLL)
   
Hampton & Richmond A 1-0 Billericay Town A 1-3
Havant & Waterlooville H 1-1 Ebbsfleet United A 1-3
Chelmsford City H 2-1 St Albans City A 1-1
Chippenham Town A 2-4 Tonbridge Angels H 5-0
Dorking Wanderers H 3-2 Chelmsford City A 2-1
Hungerford Town A 1-2 Maidstone United A 1-2

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 0 – 2 Oxford City (13/11/2021 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Oxford City (11/01/2020 – National South)
Oxford City 0 – 1 Dartford (12/10/2019 – National South)
Oxford City 2 – 1 Dartford (27/04/2019 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 2 Oxford City (13/11/2018 – National South)
Oxford City 4 – 1 Dartford (06/10/2018 – F.A Cup)

Stats

  • Dartford have kept three consecutive clean sheets against Oxford City.
  • The Darts have only lost once in the league versus the Hoops back in April 2019 (W6, D3).
  • Only once have Dartford failed to score in this fixture and that was in the meeting earlier this season.
  • The Darts have also scored in their last eleven league matches.

On This Day

Dartford drew at Yeovil Town 1-1 in the Southern League Cup Final on this day back in 1977. The first leg finished even, but Vic Akers went on to become the first Dartford captain to lift the Southern League Cup when the Darts won the second leg 2-0 a week later. Dartford have won their last five games on 2 April, the most recent triumph came six years ago against Maidenhead United. Two goals in three minutes by Danny Harris and Elliot Bradbrook secured a 2-0 win. In 2011, Lee Burns scored a bizarre long range header at St Albans City in a 2-1 victory, the winner coming from a young Jack Pallen. In the Southern League Division One East, the Darts beat Barton Rovers 4-0 in 2005 and Rothwell Town 1-0 in 2003. In the Kent League in 1994, Dartford defeated Cray Wanderers 2-1.

Hampton and Richmond Borough v Dartford

Dartford will be hoping to celebrate Non-League Day this weekend by coming home with vital points from their away trip to Hampton and Richmond Borough.

The Darts are currently third in the National South and trying to chase down the top two heading into the final stretch of the season. Hampton and Richmond Borough still have a chance of reaching the playoffs and are unbeaten in four.

Hampton and Richmond Borough did Dartford a favour on the weekend, but there was no such favour from a former Dart at Princes Park. Whilst Steve King’s side were held at home, the Beavers put in a fine display against league leaders Dorking Wanderers. King made two changes to the team that beat Chelmsford City in mid-week bringing in Ody Alfa and Marcus Dinanga for Danny Leonard and Kalvin Kalala. The squad was also bolstered with the signing of Kristian Campbell from Welling United, he made a substitute appearance early on replacing the injured George Porter. Steve King has known Campbell for a while, and he believes the full back compliments the side.

The Darts took the lead when Kory Roberts headed back across the goal and into the net for his first in a Dartford shirt. The Hawks were level shortly after as former Dartford striker Alex Wall slid in to make it 1-1. However, the Darts squandered a big opportunity to close the gap on Dorking Wanderers when Ade Azeez had his penalty saved by Ross Worner. King felt his side should have taken their chances and won the game. He also praised the man of the match performance from Roberts and Jack Jebb’s deliveries into the Havant and Waterlooville box, but acknowledges the Darts need to finish the opportunities in front of goal.

Highlights of Dartford’s last game against Havant and Waterlooville – Dartford FC TV

Meanwhile, Hampton and Richmond Borough drew with league leaders Dorking Wanderers. Josh Taylor sneaked a shot past Beavers goalkeeper, Reice Charles-Cook at the near post to give the hosts the lead after half an hour. Hampton and Richmond Borough fought back in six second-half minutes; first Kyron Farrell brilliantly scored direct from a free-kick then Dean Inman headed the Beavers in front from another set-piece. With fifteen minutes remaining Wes Fogden popped up with the equaliser as his side dropped important points. Come full-time the Darts had not lost any ground on the former league leaders, however Maidstone United have now taken over at the top and hold a nine-point advantage over King’s men.

Entering the final seven games of the campaign, Dartford will have to maintain some pressure on the top two starting against Hampton and Richmond Borough. Steve King’s side then travel to fifth place Oxford City and host mid-table Hemel Hempstead Town before their game in hand versus Billericay Town. Hopefully the Darts will still be in touch when the potentially big Kent derby arrives with Maidstone United on 18 April. To be able to maintain that pressure, the absentees of six players last weekend means King is looking to sign some new players before they face Hampton and Richmond Borough. One of those to have joined the Dartford ranks is Samir Carruthers, who will be hoping to make his debut after arriving from Hemel Hempstead Town, the central midfielder has made 24 appearances in the National South this term. Carruthers started his senior career at Aston Villa making three Premier League appearances. The 28 year old gained further experience at Milton Keynes Dons, Sheffield United, Oxford United and Cambridge United before joining the Tudors in the summer of 2020.

Keiran Murtagh will be available after serving his suspension, Jernade Meade and Josh Hill remain out injured, whilst Leonard and Jordan Wynter were unable to play in the draw last Saturday. George Porter was taken off early in the match against Havant and Waterlooville and Luke Allen has been out for the last four league matches.

Allen was involved in the reverse fixture against Hampton and Richmond Borough back in January. In Dartford’s first game without creative midfielder Noor Husin, who had left the club for National League side Southend United, Allen was back in the first team and since then the central midfielder has shown his qualities until picking up his injury in the defeat at Hungerford Town. A couple of months ago, the Darts were off to a great start scoring after five minutes against this weekend’s opponents, Connor Essam headed the ball for Jake Robinson to score. The Beavers equalised through Sam Deadfield, but Dartford were back in front with a carbon copy of the first goal as Essam and Robinson combined again. Hampton and Richmond Borough were level once more ten minutes into the second half, Jack McKnight converting a penalty to make sure the points were shared. Last season Dartford only managed to play the Beavers once and that was a 0-0 draw in October 2020 at the Beveree. The stalemate extended Dartford’s unbeaten run at Hampton and Richmond Borough to four.

Highlights of the last time the Darts played Hampton and Richmond Borough – Dartford FC TV

Hampton and Richmond Borough have won their last two home games in the National South beating relegation threatened Welling United. A game which saw the new Wings boss Warren Feeney take charge of his first game. The Beavers yet again made their set-pieces count with both James Roberts and Farrell scoring direct from free-kicks in the 2-1 victory. Ten days earlier the Middlesex club had recorded the same score against Dulwich Hamlet, but this time they came from behind. Former Dartford goalkeeper Alan Julian was unable to keep out Jordan Green’s penalty after just two minutes. The Beavers were level before half-time when Zach Robinson levelled. Then in the second-half Hampton and Richmond Borough won a penalty of their own resulting in Quade Taylor’s sending off for handball, Roberts stepped up to score the winner. Sandwiched between the two victories, Gary McCann’s side suffered the same fate a Dartford by getting knocked out of a county cup to Brentford B. This time it was the Middlesex Senior Cup semi-final, with the Bees going on to win 1-0.

The Beavers are on their best current run in the league since the seven unbeaten near the start of the campaign. After a spell of one defeat in ten between the end of August and through to the end of November, the Middlesex club took just three points in the next 21 available before the 2-2 draw with Dartford in January. They followed up with a 4-0 victory over Bath City before going on a four-game losing streak, which was ended with a 1-1 draw against Chippenham Town and started this current run Hampton and Richmond Borough are on.

McCann has managed to strengthen his squad ahead of the transfer deadline giving new signing Wassim Aouachria his debut in the draw with Dorking Wanderers. The forward is on loan from Charlton Athletic joining fellow Addick, Lucas Ness who extended his loan spell until the end of the season.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 5 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford
(WLWLWD)
    Hampton & Richmond
(LLDWWD)
   
Havant & Waterlooville H 1-1 Dorking Wanderers A 2-2
Chelmsford City H 2-1 Welling United H 2-1
Chippenham Town A 2-4 Dulwich Hamlet H 2-1
Dorking Wanderers H 3-2 Chippenham Town A 1-1
Hungerford Town A 1-2 Chelmsford City A 0-1
Bath City H 2-0 Oxford City H 0-3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 2 – 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough (22/01/2022 – National South)
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)

Stats

  • Dartford have scored in this fixture in 11 of their last 12 meetings, the only time they failed to score in that spell was in the last visit to the Beveree
  • The Darts have lost the fewest games in the National South this season, all six coming away from home.
  • Dartford have scored in their last ten league games, their best streak of the season and longest since the 2019/2020 season (13 games between 17 August 2019 and 16 November 2019).

On This Day

Charlie Sheringham scored twice in 2011 as the Darts beat Lewes 3-0 at Princes Park. Danny Harris scored the other that day in Dartford’s only win on 26 March in five attempts since 1994, when they beat Faversham Town 2-1 in the Kent League. The last away outing for the Darts on this day was in 2013 when they went to Hereford United in the National League and lost 1-0, the fourth consecutive away defeat on 26 March, the other three being 3-0 at Chelmsford City in 1999, 1-0 at Gosport Borough in 1983 and 2-1 against Canterbury City in 1968. Dartford’s last victory on their travels on this day was in 1958 when they beat Headington United 4-3 in the Southern League.

Dartford v Havant and Waterlooville

Title hopes remain just about alive for Dartford and they need to keep up the pressure on the weekend when they host Havant and Waterlooville.

Unbeaten at Princes Park in the league, the Darts claimed another home victory in mid-week stretching their run to fifteen. On the same night league leaders Dorking Wanderers lost meaning Steve King’s side are now seven points behind the top two with a game in hand. Havant and Waterlooville had promotion aspirations of their own at the start of the campaign, the Hampshire club are two points adrift of the playoffs in tenth after victory on Wednesday.

On Tuesday night, King was back in the dugout after having surgery and missing the previous game. The Dartford boss made four changes to the side that were beaten by Chippenham Town. Jordan Wynter hobbled off in the 4-2 loss against the Bluebirds so in came Kory Roberts. Whilst Tyrique Hyde made his first league start in over a month and Ade Azeez and Danny Leonard were selected for their first league outing since defeat at Hungerford Town. Dropping to the bench, Ody Alfa, Jordan Greenidge and Kieran Murtagh were joined by Jake Robinson and Marcus Dinanga, the latter pair missed the trip to Wiltshire on the weekend. Murtagh will be unavailable this weekend as he serves a one match ban for his red card against Chippenham Town.

Two first-half free-kicks gave Dartford the advantage when dead ball specialist Jack Jebb scored directly in the sixteenth minute. The midfielder was at it again from a set-piece when he put one in the box for Danny Leonard to finish, his tenth goal since joining the club in the summer. The Clarets pulled a goal back in the second-half when Tom Blackwell scored. However, the visitors had Eduino Vaz sent off after a foul on George Porter. The Darts held out to claim their ninth home league win of the campaign.

Dartford’s last game against Havant and Waterlooville – Dartford FC TV

Victory once again showed the character within the squad to bounce back from defeat, but now it’s up to the Darts to show enough consistency to close the gap on Dorking Wanderers and Maidstone United, the latter they still have to play next month. King spoke to Dartford FC TV after the game and commented: “We’ve shown different sides to the team. Dorking we was unbelievable, then we go away to Chippenham and it was disappointing that we lost with four goals”. The Dartford boss accepts that his side need to pick up the points by any means possible, he said: “A win is a win, I think that is the important thing this time of year. If we can add some fantastic performances in between that’s brilliant, if we can’t then I don’t really care”.

In the reverse fixture Ody Alfa made his debut after arriving on loan from Queens Park Rangers, but it was Luke Allen’s strike on the stroke of half-time that secured a 1-0 win. Although Havant and Waterlooville rarely threatened in front of goal, Dartford’s solid defensive display helped them through to the final whistle with all three points. The triumph extended the Darts unbeaten run against the Hawks to six. The last meeting at Princes Park was behind closed doors in October 2020. 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.

There is every reason for Dartford to be cautious in this tight division. When they played at Westleigh Park last month the Hawks approached the fixture on a poor run. This time Paul Doswell’s side enter this weekend’s game in better form. A loss at Concord Rangers after the Dartford defeat was the last of a four-game streak without picking up a point, in fact the Hawks had picked up just three draws in a run of nine games. This time they come off the back of victories against Ebbsfleet United, a draw at Slough Town and back-to-back wins versus Chelmsford City and Dulwich Hamlet.

Dartford’s last home game against the Hawks in October 2020 – Dartford FC TV

Last month’s signing, Manny Duku scored his first goal for the club in the 4-2 win over Ebbsfleet United and scored the winner against Dulwich Hamlet. Whilst former Dartford striker Alex Wall came off the bench to score in the 2-1 win over Chelmsford City. Wall made eleven 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.

On Wednesday night, Havant and Waterlooville saw that unbeaten run extended to five at home to Hungerford Town, who were a place above the Hawks at the start of the evening. Goalkeeper, Ross Worner returned to the side as did Jake McCarthy. The Hawks scored twice in each half to climb above the Crusaders in the National South.

Stefan Payne opened the scoring from the edge of the box and Duku notched another for the hosts as they looked comfortable at the interval. In the second-half Hungerford Town had goalkeeper Luke Cairney injured, resulting in defender Keith Emmerson going in goal. The Hawks made it count when captain Joe Oastler completed a brace to round of a pleasing night for Doswell’s side.

Head to Head

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

Current League Form

Dartford
(WWLWLW)
    Havant & Waterlooville
(LWDWWW)
   
Chelmsford City H 2-1 Hungerford Town H 4-0
Chippenham Town A 2-4 Dulwich Hamlet A 1-0
Dorking Wanderers H 3-2 Chelmsford City H 2-1
Hungerford Town A 1-2 Slough Town A 1-1
Bath City H 2-0 Ebbsfleet United H 4-2
Havant and Waterlooville A 1-0 Concord Rangers A 1-3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Havant & Waterlooville 0 – 1 Dartford (09/02/2022 – National South)
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)

Stats

  • Dartford have lost just once in the last ten against Havant and Waterlooville, the Darts have won seven and drawn the other two.
  • The Darts have yet to lose at Princes Park to the Hawks. Since 2010 Dartford have won four drawn two in this fixture.
  • Havant and Waterlooville’s only away victories against Dartford came in a league game in 1999 and a F.A cup tie in 2000.
  • Dartford are 15 home league games unbeaten, the best from the beginning of a season since the 16 set in 1988/89 Southern Premier League.
  • The Darts current unbeaten home league run is also the best run since the 15 at the end of 1995/96 Kent League season and into the start of 1996/97 Southern League South campaign.

On This Day

Dartford played Havant and Waterlooville six years ago on this day and lost 2-0 at Westleigh Park. Veteran striker James Hayter scored to headers to clinch victory for the Hawks. The previous two outings on 19 March have also ended in defeat, 1-0 at home to Barrow in 2013 and two years earlier 2-0 away versus Staines Town. The Darts last victory on this day was back in 1994 when they beat Tunbridge Wells 1-0 away from home in the Kent League. The last home triumph on this day was 32 years ago against local rivals Welling United, the match finished 2-1 in the Kent Senior Cup quarter final replay.

Dartford v Chelmsford City

The Darts hope to return to winning ways against Chelmsford City at Princes Park on Tuesday night in the National South.

Dartford’s title aspirations took a massive blow on the weekend losing 4-2 at Chippenham Town. Although there is still a quarter of the season to go, the ten point deficit from top spot will be difficult to overturn, especially now the Darts have dropped to fifth place.

Steve King made another five changes to the line up that beat Dover Athletic 2-1 in the Kent Senior Cup a week ago. Jordan Wynter was selected for his 100th appearance in place of Kory Roberts. Whilst Ody Alfa, Kalvin Kalala, Jack Jebb and George Porter were also restored to the side having played in the 3-2 victory against Dorking Wanderers.

New striker, Jordan Greenidge had already made an impression with a brace in the the Kent Senior Cup win. He scored his third goal in just his second appearance to get the Darts off to a great start on seven minutes. Then four minutes after Kieran Murtagh was cautioned, the hosts equalised through Jordan Young. Before the interval Murtagh received a second yellow card and was sent off, the second red card in as many away games for the Darts.

Chippenham Town made the man advantage count in the second period. First, Young put the Bluebirds ahead, then Alefe Santos D’Abadia stretched the hosts lead. Ade Azeez gave Dartford hope by netting his first goal in 20 appearances, his last goals against the same opposition in November. However, Chippenham Town secured maximum points with a fourth scored by Joe Hanks.

Highlights of Dartford’s visit to Chelmsford City earlier in the season – Dartford FC TV

It’s a good job Steve King’s side remain unbeaten at Princes Park in the National South this term. If the title and automatic promotion remains out of reach then finishing second will guarantee home advantage in the playoffs. King will need to keep his team focussed on booking a playoff spot first, then aim for that runners up position to aid their attempt at promotion.

Standing in Dartford’s way this weekend is Chelmsford City and possibly two former players. Charlie Sheringham and Chez Isaac both had spells at Princes Park with different degrees of success. Sheringham had three spells with the Darts scoring 54 goals in 119 appearances, before joining the Clarets after an impressive loan spell. Chez Isaac spent just two months at Dartford in 2018 and made 12 appearances in that time, the midfielder moved to Chelmsford City where he has been ever since.

Since his appointment as Dartford boss, Steve King is unbeaten in his three previous matches against Chelmsford City, two of those games were at Princes Park. The first time King led the Darts out to take on the Clarets was almost two years to the day, the last fixture of the 2019/2020 campaign before the season was cut short. Dartford won 3-0 that day with goals from Josh Hill, Elliott Romain and Noor Husin. The two sides didn’t have to wait long for the next meeting as the fixture list threw the pair together on the opening day of the following season. This time the Darts won 1-0 with Ky Marsh-Brown scoring the only goal of the game. The reverse fixture this term ended 0-0 in Essex.

Watch the last time Dartford hosted Chelmsford City at Princes Park – Dartford FC TV

The schedule hasn’t been kind to the Clarets over the last month. Dartford will be the fourth side in the top six to have faced Chelmsford City. In fact Robbie Simpson’s side has yet to taste a win against any team in the top seven with five draws, four one goal defeats and a 2-0 loss at Dorking Wanderers. Despite the number of losses and their current position, Chelmsford City are often competitive and difficult to overcome.

The Clarets under Simpson are down in the bottom five, but have one of the better goal differences in the lower half of the table. Victory for Chelmsford City could propel them up a few positions in the standings, however they have lost four on the bounce. On the weekend their latest reverse was against playoff contenders Eastbourne Borough. With the match heading for a goalless draw, goalkeeper Jacob Marsden put the ball in his own net whilst under pressure from Borough’s Charley Kendall.

Marsden has had two tough moments in his last two games, also conceding a penalty in the 2-1 defeat at Havant and Waterlooville. At home to Oxford City, the Clarets had Dara Dada sent off as they went on to lose 2-1 and before that Chelmsford City fell to Dorking Wanderers. The Clarets will visit Princes Park hoping to break their current poor run.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 40 / Chelmsford City wins: 55 / Draws: 23

Current League Form

Dartford
(WWWLWL)
    Chelmsford City
(DWLLLL)
   
Chippenham Town A 2-4 Eastbourne Borough H 0-1
Dorking Wanderers H 3-2 Havant and Waterlooville A 1-2
Hungerford Town A 1-2 Oxford City H 1-2
Bath City H 2-0 Dorking Wanderers A 0-2
Havant and Waterlooville A 1-0 Hampton & Richmond Borough H 1-0
Welling United H 4-2 Braintree Town A 2-2

Previous Meetings (last six)

Chelmsford City 0 – 0 Dartford (25/10/2021 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Chelmsford City (06/10/2020 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Chelmsford City (14/03/2020 – National South)
Chelmsford City 4 – 0 Dartford (12/08/2019 – National South)
Chelmsford City 2 – 1 Dartford (09/01/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Chelmsford City (07/08/2018 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford are 14 home league games unbeaten, the best from the beginning of a season since the 16 set in 1988/89 Southern Premier League.
  • The Darts current unbeaten home league run is also the best run since the 15 at the end of 1995/96 Kent League season and into the start of 1996/97 Southern League South campaign.
  • Dartford have won the last three home games against Chelmsford City. The Darts last won four home fixtures in a row against the Clarets between 1960 and 1965.
  • The Darts have kept three consecutive clean sheets against Chelmsford City. A fourth match without conceding will be a record versus the Clarets.

On This Day

It was a great day for defenders on this day in 2008 when Dartford beat Enfield Town. Not only did the defence keep a clean sheet they were responsible for all three goals. John Guest, Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle all found the back of the net to claim Dartford’s last win on this day. Since then a 0-0 draw with Eastleigh (2011), a 1-1 draw with Cambridge United thanks to a last minute Alex Wall equaliser (2014) and a 2-1 loss against Maidenhead United (2016) means the Darts are winless in three on the 15 March. A 2-0 away victory over Welling United on this day in 1988 set up a Kent Senior Cup final with Maidstone United, the Darts claimed the cup beating the Stones 2-1.

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