Dartford welcome relegated Bishop’s Stortford to Princes Park this weekend in the Darts last home match of the regular campaign.
With a playoff place confirmed on Easter Monday and a showdown against Chelmsford City, the Darts know that finishing third will give them a home advantage in the second leg. So with two league games to go, Dartford will be hoping to build momentum for the semi-final on the 3rd and 7th May.
Tony Burman stated reaching the playoffs was one of his best achievements since being at the club. The Dartford boss watched his side beat Hampton and Richmond 3-1 on Easter Monday, to make up for the poor 2-0 defeat at Hungerford Town on Good Friday.
The Darts outplayed the Middlesex club and took the lead when Elliot Bradbrook drilled in a rebound for his 23rd goal in all competitions. A well worked team goal and quality finish from Alex Brown extended the lead before half time. Former Dartford player, Nathan Collier headed in for Hampton and Richmond, but the three points were secure once Ronnie Vint netted the third.
The Darts will be aiming for a sixth consecutive win over Bishop’s Stortford to complete a double over their opponents. Back in November, Tony Burman’s side strolled to a 3-0 victory, in which goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim celebrated his 100th appearance with a clean sheet. An own goal got Dartford on the move with Andy Pugh and Elliot Bradbrook adding more to the tally.
Last season at Princes Park, the Darts hosted Bishop’s Stortford just over a year ago. Danny Harris scored against his former club after just five minutes, but the Blues drew level when Ronnie Vint headed past his own goalkeeper. Keaton Wood scrambled home his first for the Darts and after Tom Bradbrook had a goal chalked off, the striker made it 3-1. The victory completed a double last term after a 2-1 triumph at Bishop’s Stortford. Dartford also won both fixtures during the 2010/2011 campaign and victory this weekend will mean three consecutive doubles over the Blues.
Manager, Kevin Watson has been unable to steer Bishop’s Stortford to safety. Relegated a fortnight ago, the Blues have struggled all season and can only avoid finishing bottom if they overtake Margate, who are a point ahead. The Blues have gone eight games without a league goal and on Easter Monday lost 5-0 for the second time in three matches, conceding their 100th goal of the season. Bishop’s Stortford will be without Darren Purse and Luke Callandar for the rest of the season due to suspension, while Adam Everett will play his final game of the campaign on Saturday.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 5 / Bishop’s Stortford wins: 3 / Draws: 2
Current League Form
Won 3-1 v Hampton and Richmond Borough (H)
Lost 0-2 v Hungerford Town (A)
Won 4-3 v Eastbourne Borough (H)
Drew 2-2 v Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Lost 0-1 v St Albans City (A)
Won 4-0 v Margate (H)
Bishop’s Stortford (LLLLLL)
Lost 0-5 v Wealdstone (A)
Lost 0-2 v Gosport Borough (H)
Lost 0-5 v Weston-super-Mare (A)
Lost 0-2 v Oxford City (H)
Lost 0-2 v Maidenhead United (H)
Lost 0-8 v Ebbsfleet United (A)
Bishop’s Stortford 0 Dartford 3 (19/11/2016 – National South)
Dartford 3 Bishop’s Stortford 1 (25/03/2016 – National South)
Bishop’s Stortford 1 Dartford 2 (24/10/2015 – National South)
Bishop’s Stortford 0 Dartford 1 (29/01/2011 – National South)
Dartford 3 Bishop’s Stortford 0 (24/08/2010 – National South)
Bishop’s Stortford 2 Dartford 1 (11/04/1981 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 1 (04/04/1981 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 4 (22/11/1975 – F.A Cup)
Bishop’s Stortford 3 Dartford 1 (27/10/1970 – F.A Cup)
Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 2 (24/10/1970 – F.A Cup)
Dartford will equal their season’s best of consecutive home wins in the league if they beat Bishop’s Stortford. From 12 November 2016 to 4 February 2017, the Darts won six in a row scoring 18 times. Dartford’s current sequence of five consecutive home wins has seen them score the same number of goals.
In seven of the 20 home league games this term, Dartford have scored three or more and all since the turn of the year.
The Darts have won 48 points at home this season with 15 wins and 3 draws. Another victory will take them above the last time Dartford achieved promotion from the National South in 2011/12, when the Darts won 15 and drew 4 to total 49 points.
Dartford have kept seven clean sheet at Princes Park in the league this campaign, matching the total in the 2012/2013 National League season when the Darts finished eighth.
On This Day
Dartford have won just once on 22 April since reforming and that was seven years ago. A Danny Harris double gave the Darts a 2-0 away win at Hendon, almost two weeks on from claiming the Isthmian Premier League title. The last victory at home was at Watling Street back in 1989 when Dartford beat Dorchester Town 4-0.