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MATCH PREVIEW – Worthing v Dartford

WORTHING Match Preview

Dartford were left without a game on the weekend so next up they will travel to Worthing this Tuesday.

The Darts hope to avenge last season’s double defeat to the Rebels. With just two wins on the road Alan Dowson’s side have yet to build any momentum and sit in mid-table. Dartford’s last victory on their travels was over a month ago at Chippenham Town, they have picked up just a single point in their last three away trips.

Worthing reached the playoff semi-final last term in their first National South campaign. Once again, the Sussex club are in a strong position to challenge for promotion. The Rebels also had their fixture called off on the weekend, but have won their last two.

Last week, the Darts were unable to make it five home victories in a row. Instead, a sense of déjà vu swept over Princes Park against Chelmsford City. Squandering a one goal lead ended with the same result as last season. Not only that, for a second game running against the Clarets a former Dartford player scored. Dowson made no changes to the side that beat Weston-super-Mare 4-2 a week earlier. Alex Wall wasn’t in the matchday squad after his red card against the Seagulls. Limited options up front and no strikers on the bench proved costly.

Highlights courtesy of Dartford FC TV

In March, the Darts went one up at Princes Park before former players Ody Alfa and Giovanni McGregor earned Chelmsford City victory. This time it was Maxwell Statham who had the hosts ahead. The defender got on the end of Luke Coulson’s free-kick to net his second of the campaign. At the end of the first-half Joash Nembhard conceded a penalty. Up stepped Samir Carruthers to equalise against his old club. Ten minutes into the second-half the Clarets scored again through Charlie Ruff and went on to win 2-1.

All seven league games Dartford have lost this term have been by a single goal deficit. However, defeat was not helped by yet another sending off. For a third game in a row the Darts picked up a red card, their fifth of the season. This time it was Harvey Bradbury’s turn, who was involved in a scuffle and now faces suspension. With Lewis Manor already substituted and no strikers on the bench there was little alternatives in attack. Dartford did manage to rally when down to ten men and created opportunities to level. Yet it was all too frustrating for manager Alan Dowson, who picked up a caution to add to his sending off against Hemel Hempstead Town.

Inconsistent form leaves Dartford down in fifteenth but still just four points off the top seven. Worthing are just outside the playoff places in eighth on goal difference. However, the Rebels do have games in hand having played the fewest in the division.

Highlights courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Former players and sending offs seem to have been a theme of late. So last season’s visit to Woodside Road will sound all too familiar. The Darts had an awful afternoon down at Worthing in January. Conceding three goals, an ex-Dart scoring and Wall’s red card left Dartford with nothing to show. Two early goals from the hosts put the Darts on the back foot and they never recovered. Statham scored an own goal in eighth minute and three minutes later Ollie Pearce doubled the Rebels lead. In the second half, former Dartford loanee, Davide Rodari made it 3-0 before Wall was dismissed for an off the ball incident.

The reverse fixture at Princes Park five months earlier also ended in defeat. Worthing came from behind to win 2-1. Connor Essam headed home the opening goal after ten minutes. Early in the second-half Callum Kealy levelled things up. In the final minute of injury time Joel Colbran scored the winner for the Rebels.

Highlights courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Worthing had an excellent first season at this level and have continued where they left off. Adam Hinshelwood’s side won six of their opening eight league games. In their next fixture they finished the day in second. However that draw at Hemel Hempstead Town was also the start of a five match winless streak. In that time, the Sussex side suffered heavy away defeats to a strong Maidstone United and an in form Hampton and Richmond Borough. Whilst at home they were beaten by league leaders Yeovil Town. On their own patch, the loss to the Glovers was the first in two months for the Rebels.

Despite the dip in form the distraction of cup ties kept morale flowing. In September they won a pair of Sussex derbies in the F.A Cup. Eastbourne Borough were knocked out by a solitary goal then Whitehawk were beaten. The Rebels went on to win against Bath City and reach the first round for the first time since 1999. Worthing’s journey ended at Alfreton Town just over a week ago. In county competition the Rebels started their defence of the Sussex Senior Cup with a 6-2 win over Crawley Town.

In their last home game the Rebels recorded a consecutive league victory with a 3-0 triumph over Havant and Waterlooville. Kane Wills set Worthing on their way eight minutes before the break. In the second-half Ollie Pearce doubled the lead and in the final minute Danny Cashman wrapped things up. The Rebels also beat Bath City on the road 2-0 the week before the F.A Cup exit.

Current League Form

Dartford (LWDLWL) Worthing (LDLLWW)
Chelmsford City H 1-2 Havant & Waterlooville H 3-0
Weston-super-Mare H 4-2 Bath City A 2-0
Hemel Hempstead A 1-2 Hampton & Richmond A 1-4
Eastbourne Borough A 1-1 Yeovil Town H 1-2
Havant & Waterlooville H 2-0 Worthing H 2-2
Hampton & Richmond A 3-4 Maidstone United A 0-4

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Worthing wins: 3 / Draws: 1

Last Six Meetings

Worthing 3 – 0 Dartford (28/01/2023 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 2 Worthing (27/08/2022 – National South)
Worthing 1 – 2 Dartford (26/09/2009 – F.A Cup)
Worthing 2 – 1 Dartford (20/11/1982 – F.A Cup)
Dartford 3 – 0 Worthing (12/11/1927 – F.A Cup)
Dartford 1 – 0 Worthing (12/10/1921 – F.A Cup)

Statistics

  • In the seven meetings between the sides only two have been in the league and Worthing won them both last season
  • Dartford’s only win in four away games against Worthing came in the F.A Cup. Elliott Bradbrook and Jay May scored in a second qualifying round tie back in 2009
  • Maxwell Statham could make his 50th start for the Darts (49 starts, 4 substitute appearances, 7 goals)

On This Day

Tony Sitford’s overhead kick two minutes from time earned a F.A Cup replay against Aldershot on this day in 1964. The Football League side had led since the 40th minute until the Darts levelled in front of 5700 fans. The replay saw the end of Dartford’s run when they were beaten 1-0, the attendance surpassed 9000.

Dartford claimed bragging rights in their Kent derby with Maidstone United three years ago. The Darts left it late to take victory when Tom Bonner and Charlie Sheringham scored at the Gallagher Stadium. The same Kent derby took place five years earlier, but this time at Princes Park. The National South fixture ended all square with another late Dartford goal. Alex Flisher put the Stones ahead before Elliot Bradbrook equalised.

The Darts lost their first match at Princes Park on this day in 2006. After a homecoming win three days earlier, Dartford lost 3-0 to Boreham Wood in the Isthmian League Cup.