Dartford can extend their unbeaten run to a dozen matches when they visit Southern Premier South playoff winners Farnborough this weekend.
The Darts have won ten and drawn one of their last 11 games and have the potential to top the National South standings when the full-time scores roll in on Saturday. Farnborough may have taken a while settling in on their return to the division but are enjoying an unbeaten streak of their own.
Dartford were in pole position come the end of last weekend’s results and they have found their scoring boots of late. Only once had the Darts scored more than twice, in the Kent derby win over Dover Athletic two months ago, now they have scored twelve in three games hitting Weymouth for three, Welling United for five and most recently Braintree Town for four. Alan Dowson made one change to the side that thrashed local rivals Welling United for the game against Braintree Town, Charlie Sheringham was back in attack replacing Davide Rodari. The Dartford boss will need to reshuffle again this weekend, this time in defence due to the one game suspension picked up by captain Tom Bonner.
Dowson’s side have showed character this season, firstly overcoming a spell of five defeats in seven earlier in the campaign, then with comeback wins over Eastbourne Borough, Dulwich Hamlet and Slough Town and on Saturday they had to play out half an hour with ten men. The Darts often struggled against Braintree Town in the past, but this time they won 4-1 with an outstanding second-half display. Sheringham netted from the spot five minutes after the break and the game could have turned after Bonner was sent off for a second caution. However, Dartford stretched their lead when Luke Coulson scored potentially the goal of the season. His second in as many games since coming back from injury was a spectacular volley from outside the box. Braintree Town pulled a goal back with just over ten minutes to play, the header from Kyran Clements testing Dartford’s resolve. Dowson introduced Samir Carruthers and Keiran Murtagh and the pair combined for a third in the last minute, Carruthers finishing off a fine move. Then there was time for Carruthers to score the second penalty of the afternoon for his eighth of the campaign.
Martin Tyler spoke to Dartford FC TV afterwards and said: “No one could have written the scenario like this to be honest and we’ve ended up singing in the Dartford rain, but the scoreline doesn’t in any way reflect what a tight game it was and what Braintree brought to the match”, he added: “The reason we’ve had a recent run of good results is the competition for places has been that much hotter, so even someone like Samir (Carruthers) who has played in the Premier League cannot be guaranteed a start”.
The last time Dartford won 4-1 and were reduced to ten men was 11 years ago against Farnborough. On that day Sheringham scored twice including one from a penalty. Tom Champion and Danny Harris were the other scorers, Lee Noble was sent off when the scores were level at 1-1. In the reverse fixture five months earlier Noble scored a last-minute consolation in a 2-1 defeat. The next season Dartford won promotion to the National League via the playoffs and completed a double over Boro winning 2-1 at Cherrywood Road thanks to goals from Sheringham and Lee Burns, then at Princes Park Jacob Erskine netted twice and Tony Garrod sealed a 3-0 victory.
Farnborough are on a nine-game unbeaten streak in all competitions and wrote some F.A Cup headlines last weekend by upsetting League Two Sutton United. Last term, Dartford signed Michael Fernandes on loan from Colchester United before the campaign had started, however he didn’t manage a competitive game before moving to Farnborough. The winger scored with three minutes to go in the F.A Cup tie and a second was added by Francis Amarty in injury time. Confidence has been growing at Boro since their promotion and slow start to this season. In cup games they have beaten last season’s promotion rivals Hayes and Yeading United, brushed aside Dartford’s F.A Trophy opponents Swindon Supermarine in a 5-1 win, hit Biggleswade Town for seven and in the Hampshire Senior Cup defeated Cove 7-2 as well.
In the National South, Farnborough lost seven of their opening ten games ending September down in the relegation zone. Spencer Day’s side have climbed five places over the last month picking up 11 points out of a possible 15, their latest a 0-0 draw at home to Eastbourne Borough. Day spoke to Farnborough TV after the Tuesday night’s game, he commented: “I think it was a fair result, it was a very poor performance from us, very much the cliché after the lord mayor’s show at the weekend”. Attention now turns to hosting the Darts and Day said: “It’s a massive game, it’s a hell of a challenge, it’s the first team right at the top of the table that we’ve faced at home, it’s a massive challenge. Dowse is doing a great job there and it’s going to be a very difficult game”.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 3 / Farnborough wins: 4 / Draws: 2
Current League Form
|St Albans City
Last Six Meetings
Dartford 3 – 0 Farnborough (10/03/2012 – National South)
Farnborough 1 – 2 Dartford (17/09/2011 – National South)
Dartford 4 – 1 Farnborough (22/01/2011 – National South)
Farnborough 2 – 1 Dartford (21/08/2010 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 2 Farnborough Town (23/11/1998 – F.A Trophy)
Farnborough Town 1 – 1 Dartford (21/11/1998 – F.A Trophy)
- The Darts have never won at Farnborough in five attempts (D2, L3)
- Half of Dartford’s games this season have ended 2-1 (W5, L5)
- Farnborough have won four times in this fixture, three of them were 2-1 victories.
On This Day
Danny Harris and Luke Wanadio scored the goals to claim a 2-0 win over Hemel Hempstead Town on this day six years ago. The last away day on 12 November came in 2013 with the Darts being humbled by Woking 3-0 in the National League. Dartford’s last victory on their travels on this day was in 2005 when they beat Margate in the F.A Trophy 1-0. The Darts have only tasted victory two other times away from home on 12 November. In 1996 they beat Tooting and Mitcham United 3-2 also in the F.A Trophy and in 1921 they defeated Bexley Heath 3-1 in the Kent Senior Cup.