Dartford can win the National South title and promotion this weekend when they travel to already relegated Bognor Regis Town.
Nyewood Lane holds fond memories for the Darts, a venue where they celebrated at the end of the 2009/2010 campaign when Dartford went up as Isthmian Premier League champions. This time the circumstances are so much different.
Havant and Waterlooville’s 6-1 mid-week win over East Thurrock United on Wednesday night has left the Darts needing a bundle of goals. Dartford need to better Havant and Waterlooville’s result against Concord Rangers, or if both teams win the Darts’ winning margin needs to be greater than three goals more than Havant and Waterlooville’s winning margin.
Despite the three-goal deficit Dartford manager, Tony Burman remains positive, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “We’re in with a massive shout, the target was to be challenging for the league title and we’re still in prime position at the moment”.
He added: “Against Bognor we’ve got to think about ourselves and what we can do. Bognor is going to be hit with a lot of people from Dartford, it’s going to be a good day and hopefully it goes well for us”.
The Darts have won their last eight league games and another victory will mean the clubs longest winning streak in the league for nine years, when they ended up as Isthmian Premier League winners.
Over those last eight games Dartford have been less free scoring than earlier in the season, Burman commented: “I realise we haven’t played brilliant football over those games but we’re at the nitty gritty end of the season”, he continued: “It’s about work-rate and just winning games. We’ve got to get on with it and do what we can do. Hopefully it swings our way”.
Dartford’s defence has been formidable over the last month, conceding just one goal in the last seven games has kept them in with a chance of claiming a first league title in eight years. They are also the league’s top scorers with 79 and have Alfie Pavey who has netted 22 times, three behind the National South’s top scorer. Recently, Danny Mills has scored three in his last three appearances helping the Darts to vital points.
Earlier in the season, the Darts beat Bognor Regis Town at Princes Park. Alfie Pavey put the Darts ahead, but the visitors quickly levelled before the break. Elliot Bradbrook’s penalty restored Dartford’s lead and the points were secured when Andy Pugh’s header made it 3-1.
Bognor Regis Town will be leaving the National South through the relegation trapdoor, the Rocks were promoted last term through the Isthmian Premier League playoffs. Guaranteed to finish in last place after their 1-0 defeat to Chelmsford City on Tuesday night, the Sussex club have managed just five league wins all season.
With Dartford needing goals they will be hoping that former defender Keaton Wood doesn’t make too much of an impact. Wood made 74 appearances for the Darts and represented the England C Team during his spell at Princes Park, the 22-year-old left the club for Bognor Regis Town in November.
The Rocks have lost nine of their last ten games with the only success at home to St Albans City on 10 April. It’s been a season of struggle for Jack Pearce’s side who will bow out of the National South potentially having a say in where the league title will end up.
Head to Head
Bognor Regis Town wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 4 / Draws: 4
Current League Form
|Bognor Regis Town (LLLLWL)||Dartford (WWWWWW)|
|Chelmsford City||H||0-1||Bath City||H||2-0|
|Oxford City City||A||0-4||East Thurrock United||A||1-0|
|Concord Rangers||A||1-2||Eastbourne Borough||A||1-0|
|Hemel Hempstead Town||H||2-3||Gloucester City||A||1-0|
|St Albans City||H||2-1||Weston-super-Mare||H||3-1|
|Gloucester City||A||2-3||Hampton and Richmond||H||1-0|
|07.10.2017||Dartford||3||Bognor Regis Town||1|
|24.04.2010||Bognor Regis Town||0||Dartford||2|
|07.11.2009||Dartford||3||Bognor Regis Town||3|
|02.05.1981||Dartford||1||Bognor Regis Town||1|
|13.12.1980||Bognor Regis Town||2||Dartford||2|
|01.05.1980||Bognor Regis Town||2||Dartford||0|
|10.11.1979||Dartford||2||Bognor Regis Town||0|
|06.04.1976||Bognor Regis Town||2||Dartford||2|
|06.09.1975||Dartford||3||Bognor Regis Town||1|
The Darts have won eight league games in a row, a feat that was achieved in 1996 leading up to the final game of the season. Needing a win on the last day against Furness to clinch the title, the Darts drew 1-1 losing out to their opponents on goal difference.
Dartford’s run of six clean sheets in the last seven games is their best defensive display since they kept six clean sheets in a row in 2009. That was part of the last time Dartford won eight consecutive league games and won a championship.
The Darts have won five away games on a spin their best run since the 2009/2010 season when they recorded nine straight wins.
Dartford are two victories away from equalling a club record ten consecutive wins in all competitions last achieved in 1996. The Darts have won ten in a row in all competitions on six occasions in their history.
On This Day
Dartford had already secured second place in the National South six years ago when they played their final match of the season down at Truro City. The White Tigers took the lead through veteran striker and former Premier League player Barry Hayles, in the final minute Jacob Erskine equalised. Dartford were promoted that season through the playoffs beating local rivals Welling United in the final. Eleven years ago, the Darts also finished their 2006/2007 campaign in an entertaining defeat, Brendon Cass scored two and Ryan Hayes the pther in a 4-3 loss at Metropolitan Police.
DATE: Saturday 28th April 2018
VENUE: Nyewood Lane, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, PO21 2TY
KICK OFF: 3:00pm
Senior Citizen (aged over 65) £10.00
Under 18s (and students with ID) £5.00
Senior Citizen £11.00
TURNSTILES: Open from 1:00pm
For those on the supporters coach, the coach will be leaving at 10:30am – Spaces still available; contact Mick Austin 07969 181 796
TWITTER UPDATES : Full match commentary will be on @dartfordfc