Dartford will be hoping to end a long unwanted run this weekend when they visit relegation threatened Weymouth in the National South.
It’s been 33 years since the Darts won at the Bob Lucas Stadium, the scene of Dartford’s playoff heartbreak, and throughout the decades the Terras have dominated in this fixture on home soil. This time Alan Dowson’s side head into this fixture on the back off a five-game unbeaten league run and occupy second place. Weymouth have picked up just four points in their last five outings, but trounced Concord Rangers last weekend in a six pointer at the bottom of the table.
Since the penalty shootout playoff final defeat in August 2020, Dartford have recorded consecutive victories over the Dorset club without conceding a goal, however those were at Princes Park. A rare triumph on the Jurassic Coast on Saturday will be only the third time the Darts have completed a league double over the Terras. In October, loanee Joshua Johnson scored a delightful long-range effort on his home debut to give Dartford a first-half lead. Alex Wall started the afternoon as a substitute and finished with a brace in a 3-0 win, scoring his first from the penalty spot and lashing home another later on. Last term the Darts also won at home as the two sides met in the F.A Trophy, Jack Jebb scored the only goal of the game to send his side into the next round.
Although Dartford drew 0-0 after normal time on their last visit to the Bob Lucas Stadium, they missed all three penalties to hand Weymouth a place in the National League and successive promotions. The Terras survived their first campaign back at the top table of non-league but suffered the dreaded second season syndrome by finishing second from bottom, making a swift return to the National South.
In Weymouth’s playoff winning year they beat the Darts at the Bob Lucas Stadium under Mark Molesley with a first-half strike from Abdulai Baggie setting them on their way. Yemi Odubade and the experienced Brett Williams added two more before Norman Wabo scored a last-minute consolation. That result under Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle left the Darts down in 21st place.
Both sides have made a few managerial changes since the 2019/2020 season. Whilst the Darts went through a spell with Steve King before Dowson taking charge, Weymouth have seen Molesley leave for a shot at a higher level, Brian Stock and David Oldfield at the helm and now they have former Hungerford Town boss Bobby Wilkinson leading the way.
For the Darts, Dowson is having a solid debut season in the dugout guiding his team to second and momentarily getting involved in a title race at the turn of the year. However, Dartford are now 14 points behind leaders Ebbsfleet United with a game in hand yet have a considerable cushion on the teams chasing a top seven place. Securing a runner up spot has become a priority to secure home advantage in the playoffs and the current unbeaten run is helping Dartford’s push. Draws against Welling United, Braintree Town and last weekend Oxford City have alternated with victories over Chippenham Town and Slough Town.
On Tuesday night the Darts were knocked out of the London Senior Cup by Haringey Borough as Dowson gave fringe and academy players an opportunity to impress. The Darts went ahead when Marvin Herschel netted his third of the season, but the Borough hit back with two goals to progress into the semi-final for a second year in a row. Samir Carruthers featured in the county cup defeat; however, the midfielder will serve the last game of his suspension this weekend after he picked up ten yellow cards this term. Tommy Block and Sam Odaudu have been out injured, Block is yet to make his Dartford debut and Odaudu has not featured since Boxing Day.
When Wilkinson took over at Weymouth, they were bottom having picked up just two points in their opening eight fixtures. The Terras are now 26 points better off and although still in the bottom four they are only three points adrift from safety. In their last outing they picked up a vital three points against Concord Rangers winning 5-0 and sending the Beachboys to the bottom of the charts. The Terras went four up by the interval and the goals started flowing when Bradley Ash headed the opener. Harry Kyprianou was alert to score a rebound before Tom Blair and Akeem Rose added two more. Ash scored the only goal in the second half, his 16th of the season. Victory in Essex ended a four-match winless run in which Weymouth picked up a single point at home to St Albans City.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 19 / Weymouth wins: 35 / Draws: 16
Current League Form
|Oxford City||H||0-0||Concord Rangers||A||5-0|
|Braintree Town||A||1-1||St Albans City||H||0-0|
|Chippenham Town||H||2-0||Hemel Hempstead Town||A||1-2|
|Welling United||H||2-2||Concord Rangers||H||1-2|
Last Six Meetings
Dartford 3 – 0 Weymouth (29/10/2022 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Weymouth (15/01/2022 – F.A Trophy)
Weymouth 0 – 0 Dartford (01/08/2020 – National South Playoff Final)*
Weymouth 3 – 1 Dartford (17/08/2019 – National South)
Weymouth 2 – 0 Dartford (27/12/1997 – Southern League South)
Dartford 3 – 2 Weymouth (23/08/1997 – Southern League South)
*Weymouth won 3-0 on penalties
- Dartford have gone 11 away games in the National South without a clean sheet
- However, the Darts have kept three consecutive clean sheets versus the Terras having never previously kept successive clean sheets against them
- Dartford have won just six away matches at Weymouth (D7, L23)
On This Day
Elliot Bradbrook scored from the penalty spot and Duane Ofori-Acheampong netted a second as the Darts beat Bath City 2-0 at Princes Park six years ago. Victory ended a run of three straight home losses without a goal on the 4 March having been beaten 3-0 by Dover Athletic three years earlier, 1-0 against Enfield Town in 2006 and 1-0 versus Eastbourne Borough in 2003. Dartford have drawn their last two away games 1-1 on this day. Firstly at Chelmsford City in 1991 and four years later with Tunbridge Wells in the Kent League Cup semi-final first leg. The Darts won the return leg to reach the final where they lost 3-0 to Ramsgate a month later. Dartford have played Weymouth twice before on 4 March both in the fifties winning 4-2 in 1950 and drawing 2-2 in 1959.