Dartford return to National South action when they host Tonbridge Angels in another Kent derby this weekend.
The Darts were knocked out of the F.A Cup last time out losing to Welling United. Another early cup exit and a fourth straight loss, for the first time in seven years, has arguably put the most amount of pressure on Alan Dowson since his appointment. Tonbridge Angels threatened to make the playoffs last term under Jay Saunders, but they have also started this season slowly. A point better off than Dartford, the Angels were another team to exit the cup last Saturday.
Dowson is confident in his ability to turn results around and in a statement this week has the support of the board. The Darts boss also spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “I don’t feel under pressure. If anybody else wants to put me under pressure, that’s up to them”. Ten games down and Dowson believes mitigating circumstances haven’t helped the cause. Injuries to players in the early stages of the season has meant he is yet to find the ‘right team’.
Last weekend he made two changes with Paul Rooney coming back into the side and Charlie Sheringham making his first start since the final game of last season. Tyrell Miller-Rodney was named on the bench, but Harvey Bradbury was left out through illness. Alex Wall was among the substitutes after a long spell out injured, alongside Brandon Barzey who returned from international duty. Recovering from injury, Maxwell Statham was not ready to face his former club, neither were Tommy Block and Luke Allen. However, Dowson confirmed the trio could be in contention to return this weekend.
Last weekend, Dartford’s Lewis Manor and Welling United’s hat-trick hero, Antony Papadopoulos were both on target as the Darts twice went in front to lose 3-2. Manor was lurking at the far post to head in the opener from close range. However, after the drinks break Welling United piled on the pressure and just before half-time were level when Papadopoulos scored direct from a free-kick. Route one football led to Dartford retaking the lead in the second half. Mitch Beeney hit a long goal kick which found Manor who volleyed from a tight angle. Once again the Wings equalised when Papadopoulos scored from the edge of the box. The midfielder then completed his treble tapping the winner into the Dartford net.
The Darts will be keen to end a three game losing streak in the league and will draw on their recent Kent derby record for inspiration. In the nine local league fixtures under Dowson, Dartford have won eight and drawn one. The last time they hosted Tonbridge Angels goals from Samir Carruthers and Pierre Fonkeu earned Dartford a 2-0 victory. Carruthers was pivotal in October’s meeting scoring direct from a corner then getting involved in the second goal as well. His flick on for Charlie Sheringham led to an effort on target, which Fonkeu followed up and scrambled over the line. In the return fixture back in April, Malachi Napa netted the only goal of the game to complete a double over the Angels.
Another hat-trick hero influenced Tonbridge Angels’ F.A Cup tie last weekend. Just like the Darts, the Kent side were determined to put the shock exit from a year ago behind them. Jay Saunders named a strong side against Haringey Borough, which included former Darts Jordan Greenidge and Jernade Meade. Greenidge scored six goals in just eight appearances during his short stay at Princes Park, whilst Meade played 40 games for the Darts over two spells.
The headlines were written by Matthew Young, whose three goals helped Haringey Borough to a 4-2 cupset. The unfortunate Greenidge gave away a penalty to present Young with the chance from the spot, which he duly took. Greenidge equalised, however Borough were back in front when Young scored on the stroke of half-time. The match ball was claimed with a third in the second-half and when Gianni Crichlow pulled a goal back the Angels had hope. With seven minutes to go, Walter Figuera made sure to send Haringey Borough into the next round.
That’s now one win in six for the Angels as they struggle to replicate the form that took them to an all-time high of ninth place last season. That solitary victory at the beginning of the month saw Tonbridge Angels put five past Slough Town. Considering they have scored just eight in the league it is clear where improvements are needed, the Kent club have failed to score in six National South matches out of the nine played. Last time in the league, Saunders’ side were comfortably beaten at home by Taunton Town.
|Dartford (WWLLLL)||Tonbridge Angels (LLWDLL)|
|Welling United (FAC)||H||2-3||Haringey Borough (FAC)||A||2-4|
|St Albans City||A||0-1||Taunton Town||H||0-3|
|Slough Town||H||1-2||Braintree Town||H||0-0|
|Taunton Town||A||0-1||Slough Town||A||5-2|
|Dover Athletic||H||2-0||Welling United||H||0-1|
|FAC – F.A Cup|
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 72 / Tonbridge Angels wins: 38 / Draws: 25
Last Six Meetings
Tonbridge Angels 0 – 1 Dartford (15/04/2023 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 0 Tonbridge Angels (15/10/2022 – National South)
Tonbridge Angels 2 – 3 Dartford (29/01/2022 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Tonbridge Angels (11/09/2021 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Tonbridge Angels (05/01/2021 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Tonbridge Angels (28/12/2019 – National South)
- Dartford have won nine of their last 11 league games against Tonbridge Angels (D1, L1)
- In all competitions the Darts have lost just one in the last 16 meetings (W13, D2)
- In the league, the Darts have won five of the last six at Princes Park versus the Angels (D1, L0).
- In all competitions Dartford have won seven of the last nine at home against Tonbridge Angels (D2, L0)
- The Darts have scored in each of the last 19 games in this fixture
On This Day
Rob Haworth scored what turned out to be a Kent derby winner against rivals Maidstone United on this day in 2008. Dartford’s only victory in their last five outings on this day came on the road at Central Park. The Darts led on 18 minutes after Steve Butterworth hit a low drive beyond the Stones keeper. One became two shortly afterwards and some slick build up play was finished off by a Haworth header. The hosts halved the deficit through Meshach Nugent, but the Darts stood firm to claim bragging rights. Way back in 1967, Dartford faced Tonbridge in the Southern League First Division and recorded a 1-0 win.