Adrian Pennock takes charge of his first Dartford game this weekend when his new side takes on Torquay United.

The new boss has been keeping an eye on recent performances prior his appointment and will put his knowledge and experience to the test on Saturday. Pennock is looking for a positive approach as the Darts get ready to fight to remain in the National South. A run of just one win in 11 games has left Dartford with ’11 cup finals’ to play according to the former Gillingham and Barrow manager.

Torquay United are on a run akin to the Darts with just one victory in 13 attempts. The Gulls solitary league win in that sequence was against bottom of the table Dover Athletic, the only side Dartford have beaten in the league since Boxing Day. The Gulls have since announced they are struggling financially, have seen Gary Johnson leave the club and replaced in the dugout by Aaron Downes.

Dartford claimed their first ever win over Torquay United in the meeting earlier this season. A 12 minute spell at the end of the first half put the Darts in control. Three players opened their goalscoring account for the club. Richard Chin’s return to the club went perfectly well and he put the hosts in front with a curling shot into the top corner. George Alexander scored on debut with a delightful turn and shot. Finally, Moussa Diarra volleyed his side further ahead in a 3-0 win.

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Match highlights courtesy of Dartford FC TV

The Darts had four previous failed attempts at victory over the Gulls. The first fixture between the two sides came in August 2014 at Princes Park. Elliot Bradbrook skimmed the top of the crossbar from a penalty in a 0-0 draw. Eight months later at Plainmoor, James McQuilkin broke the deadlock from 20 yards. With eight minutes to go, Jordan Chiedozie equalised from close range.

After both sides were relegated to the National South, in different seasons, their paths crossed again during the 2018/2019 campaign. Torquay United came out on top on both occasions winning 2-0 home and away. At Princes Park, the Gulls went top of the league thanks to two goals in the final quarter of the match. Ruairi Keating crashed a volley into the roof of the net and Jamie Reid sealed maximum points. By the time the reverse fixture came around, Torquay United were battling for the title. Gary Johnson’s side were reduced to ten men as early as the 13th minute when Jean-Yves Koue Niate was sent off. Despite having a man advantage Dartford couldn’t make it count. Instead, Reid scored another two goals against the Darts to complete a double.

The Darts are perilously close to the relegation zone after a late capitulation over a week ago against Aveley. Dartford now have a four-point cushion, but those on their tails have games in hand which could see Pennock’s side drop into the bottom four. The 52-year-old will use his experience and contacts to try and guide his latest club towards safety. He has already secured the return of Jordan Greenidge from Tonbridge Angels. The striker was on loan at Dartford during the 2020/2021 season where he managed six goals in eight appearances.

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Interview courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Once again, crucial points were dropped from a winning position in Dartford’s last outing. In Tony Burman’s last game as interim manager, he made three changes to the starting lineup. Tyrell Miller-Rodney and Olly Box returned to the side at the expense of Maxwell Statham, who picked up a knock and Elliott Romain, whilst Manny Adebowale replaced the suspended Joash Nembhard at the back. Brandon Barzey was named on the bench after recovering from a hamstring injury he picked up over a month ago. Tommy Block, Sam Odaudu and Luke Allen were still on the injury list.

Dartford put in a good performance for most of the game and were rewarded when Fumnaya Shomotun scored his second in as many games. Rooney was forced off injured leaving defensive options dwindling, which Aveley took advantage from. With ten minutes to go and against the run of play Nana Kyei equalised. A couple of minutes later Billy Terrell conceded a penalty and Siju Odelusi completed the turnaround.

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Highlights courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Torquay United are facing financial problems off the pitch which has seen them serve notice of their intention to appoint administrators. At present that just means the Gulls are looking to find new owners. However, should the club enter administration then a ten-point deduction and transfer embargo will be imposed. Since the announcement Gary Johnson departed as manager and in his place is Aaron Downes. His first game was against Aveley in which he witnessed a two-goal lead vanish either side of half-time. Aaron Jarvis and Bradley Ash netted their tenth goals of the season to put Torquay United in command. However, Siju Odelusi pulled one back from the spot just before the break. Eduino Vaz equalised early in the second-half to secure a 2-2 draw.

Last weekend Torquay United secured a third consecutive draw in a 1-1 stalemate at Weymouth. Arkell Jude-Boyd scored his first goal for the Gulls to put Torquay United ahead. Once again, Downes’ side let the lead slip and conceded just before half-time when Ezio Touray made it 1-1.

The start of Torquay United’s current run of draws, which also includes a 1-1 stalemate with Farnborough, ended a sequence of five straight defeats against playoff chasing opponents. The Gulls were beaten by Worthing, St Albans City, Maidstone United, Slough Town and Braintree Town. In 2024, the only victory tasted by the Devonshire side was at home versus bottom of the table Dover Athletic. That triumph is their only one in 14 attempts in all competitions stretching back to mid-December.

Torquay United’s current run of form, like Dartford’s is concerning. Only the Devonshire club have a 14-point cushion over the relegation zone and are just ten points away from the playoffs. So, the off-field issues may have a huge impact on how their season pans out. A points deduction will drag them into a battle at the bottom and a fight for survival. Should Torquay United find investors then they are likely to have enough to remain in the National South.

Current League Form

Dartford (LLWLDL) Torquay United (LLLDDD)
Aveley H 1-2 Weymouth A 1-1
Taunton Town H 1-1 Aveley H 2-2
Slough Town A 2-3 Farnborough A 0-0
Dover Athletic A 2-1 Braintree Town A 0-1
Chippenham Town H 0-1 Slough Town H 3-4
Bath City A 0-1 Maidstone United A 2-3

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Torquay United wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Last Six Meetings

Dartford 3 – 0 Torquay United (25/11/2023 – National South)
Torquay United 2 – 0 Dartford (16/03/2019 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 2 Torquay United (04/12/2018 – National South)
Torquay United 1 – 1 Dartford (04/04/2015 – National League)
Dartford 0 – 0 Torquay United (23/08/2014 – National League)


  • Only Torquay United and Dover Athletic (3) have picked up fewer points in the last eight games than Dartford (4)
  • Goalkeeper, Billy Terrell has yet to keep a clean sheet in his nine appearances since joining the club on loan

On This Day

Dartford have won their last six fixtures on 9 March and are unbeaten in their last ten. The run includes two F.A Trophy quarter-final wins, a Kent Senior Trophy triumph and a Southern League Cup semi-final draw. One of those F.A Trophy victories was on route to reaching Wembley in 1974. Thanks to an own goal, the Darts beat Weymouth 2-1 on the road.

Three years later Dartford drew 1-1 with Kettering Town in the Southern League Cup semi-final first leg. The return fixture at Watling Street finished 4-2 to send the Darts into the final where they beat Yeovil Town 3-1 on aggregate.

In 1996 Dartford had an almighty title tussle with Furness eventually losing out on goal difference. The two sides met on this day in the Kent Senior Trophy semi-final and Dean Bowey scored the winner. Steve Robinson went on to lift the trophy after the Darts beat Chatham Town 3-0 in the final.

Lee Burns scored the winner against Maidstone United in the Isthmian Premier League Kent derby in 2010. The Darts claimed a huge scalp in the National League beating Wrexham 2-1 in 2013. Burman’s side came from behind after Danny Wright opened the scoring at Princes Park. Jack Evans equalised for the hosts and Elliot Bradbrook netted a stoppage time header. Dartford’s last game on this day was four years ago when Phil Roberts scored a stunning volley and Charlie Sheringham converted from the spot.