Upcoming MatchMargate vs Dartford/July 16, 2024/Hartsdown Park

MATCH PREVIEW – Havant & Waterlooville v Dartford

Havant Match Preview

Dartford have four games to save their National South status and face another six pointer at Havant and Waterlooville this weekend.

The Darts slipped into the bottom four over Easter with a pair of defeats. On Good Friday they were beaten by promotion chasing Chelmsford City and three days later lost a crucial match versus Eastbourne Borough. With no victories in their last ten league outings and Adrian Pennock desperate for his maiden win as Dartford boss the pressure is on. Havant and Waterlooville looked set on filling one of the other relegation spots at the end of February, but the Hawks have since gained eleven points to give themselves a glimmer of hope.

Pennock’s side took a major blow on Easter Monday as they fell to a 2-0 home loss to Eastbourne Borough. The disappointment was compounded by the fact that the Sports climbed above the Darts in the standings swapping safety for a relegation place. Dartford are now a point behind the Sussex club having played an extra game. Meanwhile, Havant and Waterlooville may have suffered a heavy reverse on Good Friday, but a late Ryan Seagar winner at Aveley on Monday put the Hampshire club within five points of Eastbourne Borough.

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Highlights courtesy of Dartford FC TV

In their quest for survival Dartford could all but confirm Havant and Waterlooville’s relegation from the National South. A rare victory for the Darts and a win for Eastbourne Borough against Weymouth will leave the Hawks needing to win all three of their remaining fixtures. However, Dartford also need the Sussex side to drop points to be in with a chance of climbing out of the drop zone.

Three changes were made to the starting eleven that lost 4-1 at Chelmsford City on Good Friday. Pennock selected Harrison Sodje, Luke Allen and Tommy Block against Eastbourne Borough. Oliver Bray was out with a hamstring strain and will be assessed ahead of this weekend’s trip to Hampshire and Manny Adebowale is also on the treatment table. Sam Odaudu is not yet available but has been working on his recovery.

An early groin injury to Block was a sign of things to come as he lasted just ten minutes. Then a goalkeeping error by Rhys Byrne gifted Yahya Bamba a tap in to put the visitors in command. Late in the first-half Eastbourne Borough struck the post twice either side of Brandon Barzey leaving the pitch with a hamstring injury. The Darts were fortunate to be just a goal down at the break. The second-half continued in much the same way when the Sports hit the post for a third time. Although Luke Coulson had one cleared off the line, Bamba struck his second to make it worse for Pennock’s side. Oliver Box did crash a late effort of the crossbar, but the Darts fell to their twelfth defeat in sixteen and drew a blank for the thirteenth time this season.

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Highlights courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Dartford’s Joash Nembhard, Tyrell Miller-Rodney and Paul Rooney all featured against their former club Havant and Waterlooville earlier in the season, whilst Alex Wall wasn’t involved. The Darts got one over a former manager in Steve King, on his return to Princes Park and Nembhard made sure. The defender scored a brace in a 2-0 victory opening the scoring by following up Baris Altintop’s free-kick just eight minutes in. Another set-piece led to the second goal when Luke Coulson’s delivery finally found Nembhard who volleyed home.

Last season’s visit to Westleigh Park also featured a former Hawk notching a brace and this time it was Wall. The midfield duo of Luke Allen and Samir Carruthers combined for the first goal setting up Wall for his first of the evening. Allen netted the winner at Havant and Waterlooville in February 2022 and he was involved again for the second. The Hawks halved the deficit when Jake McCarthy scored, but Wall put the game beyond doubt two minutes later.

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Highlights courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Havant and Waterlooville bounced back from two heavy defeats with an Easter Monday victory over playoff chasing Aveley. The previous two outings ended in a 4-1 loss at Weymouth and a 5-1 reverse to Worthing. Needing to secure maximum points to keep their hopes of survival alive, the Hawks led five minutes after the break courtesy of Joe McNerney. However, the Essex side took were level seven minutes later when Razzaq Coleman De-Graft equalised. A draw was turned into a much needed win after Ryan Seager grabbed the winner with just three minutes on the clock. The triumph on the road featured former Darts, Jack Jebb who made 67 appearances and Kai Innocent who featured eight times for Dartford.

Interim manager, Cliff De Gordon has guided his side to within five points of safety after improved results last month. As well as the win at Aveley to kick start April, the Hawks beat Hemel Hempstead Town 2-0 in Hertfordshire and defeated Slough Town 2-1 at home. Draws against Tonbridge Angels and Dover Athletic have kept the points ticking over in their bid to remain in the National South. Another win on Saturday will put the Hampshire side a point behind the Darts with three games to go.

Current League Standings

Team Played Pts GD
Hemel Hempstead 43 48 -15
Welling United 42 48 -16
Truro City 37 46 -6
Torquay United 41 45 -8
Eastbourne Borough 41 41 -26
DARTFORD 42 40 -18
Taunton Town 39 40 -22
Havant & Waterlooville 42 36 -33
Dover Athletic 42 26 -33

Current League Form

Dartford (LLDDLL) Havant & Waterlooville (DWDLLW)
Eastbourne Borough H 0-2 Aveley A 2-1
Chelmsford City A 1-4 Worthing H 1-5
Truro City A 0-0 Weymouth A 1-4
Hemel Hempstead H 1-1 Dover Athletic A 0-0
Maidstone United H 0-2 Slough Town H 2-1
Braintree Town A 0-2 Tonbridge Angels H 2-2

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 9 / Havant and Waterlooville wins: 5 / Draws: 5

Last Six Meetings

Dartford 2 – 0 Havant and Waterlooville (21/10/2023 – National South)
Havant and Waterlooville 1 – 3 Dartford (14/12/2022 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 2 Havant and Waterlooville (16/08/2022 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Havant and Waterlooville (19/03/2022 – National South)
Havant and Waterlooville 0 – 1 Dartford (09/02/2022 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Havant and Waterlooville (31/10/2020 – National South)

Statistics

  • Dartford have won their last two away games in the league at Westleigh Park and last three including the playoff win in July 2020
  • The Darts have won just one in their last 18 league games (D5, L12)
  • Dartford have picked up just one point in their last five away games in the National South.

On This Day

Dartford reached Wembley with a 0-0 F.A Trophy semi-final second leg draw against Macclesfield Town on this day. After taking a 2-1 lead from the first leg, Ernie Morgan’s side held on at Watling Street for 90 nail biting minutes to set up a final with Morecambe. The Darts also officially secured another National League season on this day in 2013 with a 2-0 away win against AFC Telford United. The Darts travelled to the New Bucks Head Stadium and goals from Jason Prior and Charlie Sheringham earned Tony Burman’s maximum points. Dartford went on to finish eighth and become the best part-time team in the country. That was the last time the Darts tasted victory on this day. Since then, Dartford have been defeated 1-0 at home to Barnet in 2015 and 3-1 away versus Weston-super-Mare in 2019, Ryan Hayes with a consolation goal. In 1931, Dartford took a step towards lifting their first ever Kent Senior Cup with a 2-2 draw against Folkestone. The replay took place two days later which the Darts won 5-2.