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MATCH PREVIEW – Dartford v Chelmsford City

Match preview Dartford v Chelmsford

Dartford are back in action against Chelmsford City on Tuesday night after a weekend break

An early F.A Cup exit left the Darts without a fixture on Saturday and time to recover. Dartford’s last game was a week ago when they picked up maximum points against Weston-super-Mare. Another win this mid-week will make it five in a row at Princes Park in all competitions. Chelmsford City return to Kent after facing Tonbridge Angels on the weekend. The Clarets are on a drawing streak which could extend to five if the spoils are shared.

In the 4-2 win over Weston-super-Mare a week ago, Alan Dowson made a couple of changes. The Darts boss opted to go with two strikers. Lewis Manor made his first start in a month to partner Harvey Bradbury up front. Maxwell Statham was also selected replacing Sam Odaudu. Brandon Barzey was named on the substitutes bench.

Mitchell Beeney played an important part in Dartford’s victory. At 1-0 down the goalkeeper saved a penalty. Luke Coulson also made important contributions by scoring from the spot and setting up the other three goals. The captain assisted Paul Rooney for the equaliser before putting the Darts in front. Alex Wall came on as a substitute and had an eventful evening. The striker netted a brace and was sent off, he will face suspension.

Victory continued Dartford’s positive run at Princes Park. If away form fails to improve then keeping their current home form will be crucial. Chelmsford City should pose a bigger challenge than their previous four visitors. The Clarets are right behind the Darts in eleventh place level on points.

Prior the triumph against Weston-super-Mare, the Darts beat bottom of the table Havant and Waterlooville. In the London Senior Cup they defeated a lower league side in Harrow Borough. Towards the end of September the Darts won a Kent derby against lowly Tonbridge Angels.

The Angels were Chelmsford City’s last opponents. Once again, Robbie Simpson’s side were unable to turn a draw into victory. The Clarets drew their seventh game of the season and fourth in a row. The Essex club found themselves a goal down in the opening ten minutes. Scott Wagstaff scored for Tonbridge Angels from close range. The hosts then had Ben Swift sent off with less than 15 minutes on the clock. Chelmsford City were level before the break when Luke Jenkins scored. However, the visitors were frustrated and couldn’t take full advantage of having an extra man.

A run of defeats and draws has seen the Clarets slip down the National South after a promising start. Their campaign opened with a seven match unbeaten run including four wins, finishing with a creditable draw at table toppers Yeovil Town. In September three consecutive losses saw Chelmsford City drop from fourth to tenth. Although the barren spell ended with a win at Weston-super-Mare, the Clarets have finished level against Slough Town, Dover Athletic, Taunton Town and now Tonbridge Angels.

Highlights courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Two former Dartford players turned last season’s meeting around in the last seven minutes. Samir Carruthers, who left the Darts for the Clarets in the summer, was involved in Dartford’s goal. The midfielder linked up with Jack Smith, who set up Coulson to score. Ody Alfa equalised with an unstoppable shot and in injury time Giovanni McGregor curled in the winner.

Carruthers could be one of three former players against their old club. The 30-year-old played 47 times for the Darts scoring ten goals. Jazzi Barnum-Bobb made 19 appearances and is in second spell with Chelmsford City. For Dartford, Charlie Sheringham spent a loan spell and a season with the Clarets.

Current League Form

Dartford (WLWDLW) Chelmsford City (LWDDDD)
Weston-super-Mare H 4-2 Tonbridge Angels A 1-1
Hemel Hempstead A 1-2 Taunton Town H 0-0
Eastbourne Borough A 1-1 Dover Athletic H 3-3
Havant & Waterlooville H 2-0 Slough Town A 0-0
Hampton & Richmond A 3-4 Weston-super-Mare A 3-0
Chippenham Town A 4-1 St Albans City H 0-2

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 41 / Chelmsford City wins: 57 / Draws: 23

Last Six Meetings

Dartford 1 – 2 Chelmsford City (25/03/2023 – National South)
Chelmsford City 1 – 0 Dartford (03/12/2022 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Chelmsford City (15/03/2022 – National South)
Chelmsford City 0 – 0 Dartford (25/10/2021 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Chelmsford City (06/10/2020 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Chelmsford City (14/03/2020 – National South)

Statistics

  • Chelmsford City were one of three teams to complete a double over the Darts last season
  • Dartford have won four of the last five league meetings at Princes Park (D0, L1)
  • The Darts last won five in a row at home just under a year ago. Between 24 September 2022 and 26 November 2022, Dartford racked up nine consecutive home victories in all competitions.

On This Day

It’s a good job Jason Prior doesn’t play for Chelmsford City. In Dartford’s last two games on this day, the striker has haunted the Darts.

Prior scored a Princes Park hat-trick in 2009, for the opposition. Bognor Regis Town stunned high flying Darts in a thrilling 3-3 draw. Only Wealdstone had taken points from an unbeaten Dartford side in the opening 12 matches. The Rocks were sat at the foot of the table. A late Billy Burgess equaliser saved Dartford’s blushes, but it was Prior’s trio of headers that stole the show. After going two down, Danny Harris lobbed the goalkeeper and added a second to level. Bognor Regis Town went in front again through their future Dart, but Burgess maintained the hosts unbeaten record.

Three years ago, Prior scored a brace for Dorking Wanderers as the Darts lost 3-2 at home. Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong tapped in an equaliser, then Prior was at it again. Jack Jebb levelled the score against his future employers with a brilliant free-kick. Then the visitors had time to find a winner when Matt Briggs grabbed Dorking’s third.