Dartford could have been playing Hungerford Town for a second weekend in a row, instead they will just meet in the National South after a week away from competitive action.
Following exits from the F.A Trophy, both sides would have drawn each other in the next round had they not lost to Eastbourne Borough and Dorchester Town. Whilst Dartford booked themselves a friendly at Tonbridge Angels to fill up last weekend, their opponents kept their schedule free.
Four months on from defeat at Bulpit Lane, the Darts hope to avoid a second defeat against the Crusaders this season. Back in August, Dartford lost 1-0 to the Berkshire club when Conor Lynch scored the winner just before the hour. Only three of the current regulars were in the line-up that day, Tom Bonner, Ronnie Vint and Mark Onyemah. The single goal victory for Hungerford Town was their second in a row against the Darts having won by the same score just over a year ago.
Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle will be hoping to notch Dartford’s second ever win against the Crusaders. The corresponding fixture last term came on the opening day with the match ending up goalless. In the campaign before, the match at Princes Park made headlines when goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim scored from a free-kick inside his own half. The Darts claimed their only victory over the Berkshire club when Alex Brown extended the lead with his first for the club.
In comparison to last season, after the same number of league games, Dartford have accrued four fewer points. Although defensively they have conceded only two more, the Darts were 20 goals better off in the attacking department, an area of improvement both managers have singled out recently.
In attempt to address the lack of goals, Dartford gave a debut to Phil Roberts in their last league outing. The striker made a substitute appearance in the 1-1 draw with Slough Town at Princes Park and is yet to make his first competitive start. Released by Arsenal five years ago, Roberts spent his early career in Scotland at Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Falkirk, Dundee and Alloa Athletic. The 24-year-old had a loan spell at Sligo Rovers in Ireland before joining Chelmsford City and Chesham United on dual registration. At Braintree Town, he scored 17 goals in 30 appearances, his most prolific spell before Chelmsford City brought him back. Dartford signed Roberts from Hemel Hempstead Town where he failed to make an appearance.
A second league game without a win, following the 2-0 defeat at home to Torquay United, the Darts had won the previous three in the National South. With all the F.A Trophy action last weekend, Dartford are in seventh, the last playoff place.
Hungerford Town lost the services of manager Bobby Wilkinson last season and his replacement, Ian Herring guided them to safety on the final day. The Crusaders are competing in their third campaign at National South level and have a relegation battle on their hands once more. Hungerford Town have picked up fifteen points from twenty games so far, which includes just four wins. One of those wins was in their last league outing over Chippenham Town.
A stunning late strike from Darren Foxley completed a 2-1 triumph at Bulpit Lane against ten men Chippenham Town, in which the hosts had to come from behind. Nick McCootie scored an early goal for the visitors, Rhys Kavanagh equalised from a rebound and in the final minute Foxley curled his shot into the top corner to snatch victory.
The win ended a five game winless streak for Herring’s men stretching back to the back end of October. On their travels the Crusaders have to look back to Bank Holiday August for their last and only away victory, their only other positive result on the road was a draw and they have lost eight of their last ten away fixtures. The league’s second leakiest defence, Hungerford Town are also third from bottom in the goalscoring charts, the Darts have only scored three more though.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 1 / Hungerford Town wins: 3 / Draws: 1
Current League Form
|Dartford (DLWWWL)||Hungerford Town (LWDLLW)|
|Slough Town||H||1-1||Chippenham Town||H||2-1|
|Torquay United||H||0-2||Welling United||A||1-3|
|Hampton & Richmond||A||1-0||Billericay Town||H||2-2|
|Oxford City||H||3-2||Eastbourne Borough||A||1-3|
Dartford have conceded the fewest goals in last half hour of league matches this season (5)
Hungerford have scored the fewest number of first half goals (7) and conceded the most second half goals (25) in the division
The Darts have used 26 different players in league matches this season compared with 24 at the same stage last term
Dartford are one of two teams in the top 12 with a negative goal difference
Hungerford Town have the worst goal difference (-24) in the National South
The away side has never scored in this fixture after five attempts.
On This Day
Dartford have gone seven games without a win on 22 December picking up four draws and three defeats. The last time Dartford played on this day ended in a hiding as Kidderminster Harriers claimed a 5-1 home win. Jacob Erskine had the audacity to equalise for the Darts in 2012, then the Harriers scored four unanswered goals. Rewind back to 1956 and Dartford recorded their last win on this day against…Kidderminster Harriers. A seven goal thriller ended up with Dartford recording a 4-3 Southern League victory.
DATE: Saturday 22nd December 2018
VENUE: Princes Park, Grassbanks, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1RT
KICK OFF: 15:00 pm
TURNSTILES: Open from 12:30pm
Youth (13-17) : £5
Children ( u12) £2
SEATING: Seating is available on a first come first served basis in certain areas of the stadium.
FACILITIES: Bar and food open from 12:30pm
PARKING: Parking is free of charge in the clubs car park but is a first come first served basis.
MATCH UPDATES: Full Coverage will on twitter @dartfordfc
MATCH SPONSOR: NBC Ltd in association with 4roles4goals
Today’s match sponsor is the local Construction Company, NBC Group.
NBC recognises its responsibilities to employees, customers, suppliers, the wider community and to the environment and to this end have kindly sponsored today’s game to demonstrate their commitment to these values by generously offering their tickets to Young People.
Forever thankful to NBC Group for being the Borough Business who gave 4Roles4Goals their first test event, NBC Group have been supportive throughout the year and have been able to offer a very special experience to the Young People who are forming a junior media team and producing their own publication about the day.
Jag Sindhu, Director of NBC Group, says ‘Diligence offered us the opportunity to do a match day as a Christmas Gift last year and we are so excited to repeat the sponsorship for Young People this Christmas. We not only wanted to offer the experience to Young People, but wanted demonstrate the values of NBC in supporting a local football team. It is also nice for a construction company to do something different as a Merry Christmas!’
NBC Group is an award winning Construction Company and also a major supplier of labour to the industry. Our team has developed a measurable programme to ensure that we can continue to strive to increase our contribution. Our management system for health, safety, environment and quality is certified to:
- ISO 9001:2008
- ISO 14001:2004
- OHSAS 18001:2007
Our unblemished health and safety record and the appointment of a full time H&S Manager, who provides ongoing support to our site teams, is a testament to NBC’s commitment to health and safety.
We will continue to deliver high performance in all aspects of our work and set ourselves stringent targets to ensure that we can exceed our client expectations.
‘The innovative use of the day for a Junior Press Team is genius and worth every penny to show Young People the day to day working of business.” Jag Sidnu, on 4Roles4Goals last year, 22 December 2017.