Dartford host unbeaten St Albans City on Tuesday night with the chance to increase their lead over their opponents.
The Darts extended their advantage at the top of the National South on the weekend after beating rivals Maidstone United. Victory took Steve King’s side four points clear at the summit, but St Albans City pose an early threat despite sitting in seventh place.
Ian Allinson’s team have only played five league games and in their solitary away day so far, the Saints dropped their only points of the campaign. On the weekend, whilst the Hertfordshire club had a day off, Dartford travelled to Maidstone United for their first Kent derby of the season.
Captain, Tom Bonner helped secure a third straight away win for the Darts on his 350th appearance for the club. Dartford’s clinical finishing was enough to separate the two sides. Bonner’s strike opened the scoring and a few minutes later, Charlie Sheringham made sure of the three points with Dartford’s second goal in a 2-0 derby day win.
Steve King labelled Saturday’s triumph as a ‘strong win’ and a ‘gritty performance’ when speaking to DFC TV. The Dartford boss praised the way his side adapted to the conditions throughout the afternoon, he explained: “A win is a win, you get three points. It was just one of those games where you just had to get through it basically”.
Dartford had to contend with the injury to left back Craig Braham-Barrett, but the versatility of the squad certainly helped. Jordan Wynter slipped into the full back position with David Ijaha coming into the holding midfield role. When the Darts chased a winner, Charlie Sheringham was able to come on as the side moved to a 4-3-3 formation. King commented: “With all that going on, they have done brilliantly to come away with a clean sheet and three points against a good side”.
Once again former players could feature against their previous club. Josh Hill and Luke Allen have made just three substitute appearances between them this season and both spent time at St Albans City. In the other camp, Tom Bender and Luke Warner-Eley return to Princes Park with the Saints. Bender played 16 times for the Darts, scored against Dartford in November 2016 and netted an own goal a year later.
Luke Warner-Eley made his Dartford debut against the Saints under Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle and went on to make six appearances, the defender featured in the 1-1 draw between the two sides at Princes Park last season. Saints top scorer last season, Joe Iaciofano scored for the visitors, but Luke Wanadio equalised in the second half. In the away fixture Dartford ended a four match losing streak at Clarence Park with a 2-1 victory, goals from Darren McQueen and Liam Nash.
St Albans City struggled last term and were in twentieth place when the season stopped. Like Dartford they lost their top scorer in the summer, and whilst the Darts have been able to spread their goalscorers out around the squad, the Saints have Shaun Jeffers top of their leaderboard with five. Ian Allinson has recruited well this term and results have shown an upturn in form.
A week ago, the Saints came from behind at Clarence Park to beat Braintree Town 2-1, their third consecutive win following home victories over Chippenham Town and Ebbsfleet United. On the opening day of the campaign they also won on their own patch, but their only away fixture in the National South ended in a 1-1 draw against Concord Rangers.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 9 / St Albans City wins: 5 / Draws: 5
Current League Form
|St Albans City|
|Maidstone United||A||2-0||Braintree Town||H||2-1|
|Hemel Hempstead Town||A||3-1||Chippenham Town||H||3-0|
|Dorking Wanderers||H||2-3||Ebbsfleet United||H||3-2|
|Havant &Waterloovile||H||2-1||Concord Rangers||A||1-1|
|Chippenham Town||A||2-1||Hampton & Richmond||H||1-0|
Last Six Meetings
|07.03.2020||St Albans City||1||Dartford||2|
|06.08.2019||Dartford||1||St Albans City||1|
|12.01.2019||Dartford||3||St Albans City||2|
|01.09.2018||St Albans City||2||Dartford||0|
|03.02.2018||St Albans City||4||Dartford||0|
|28.10.2017||Dartford||2||St Albans City||1|
Dartford are unbeaten in their last three home matches against St Albans City (W2, D1)
The Darts have lost just once at home against the Saints in normal time, which was in November 2016 (W5, D4)
St Albans City have scored in each of their last nine games against the Darts and have kept five clean sheets in those matches.
Tom Bonner is the second highest scorer at the club (17) one ahead of Elliott Romain (16). Charlie Sheringham is now on 51 career goals for the Darts.
On This Day
Dartford’s academy team may have bowed out of the F.A Youth Cup first round this year against Metropolitan Police, but the senior team beat the Met in front of the Match of the Day cameras in 1984. Dartford won the first round tie 3-0 with now Braintree Town boss George Borg scoring a fine goal. The Darts went out at the next round against AFC Bournemouth, who subsequently lost to Manchester United in the next round, a year after the Cherries famously shocked the Red Devils.
Mark Arber played the majority of the match with a fractured cheekbone in Dartford’s last home game on this day. Elliot Bradbrook twice put the Darts ahead against Southport in the National League eight years ago, but the visitors equalised through Steve Akrigg and in the last minute, Karl Ledsham. Two years ago, Charlie Sheringham scored the only goal of the game as Dartford beat Hampton and Richmond Borough at the Beveree.