Dartford host Southern Premier League champions Chippenham Town this weekend in the first ever match between the two clubs.
The Darts approach their tenth game of the season after their mid-week win against bottom of the table Whitehawk. In a dominant first half display, Dartford took lead after just eight minutes when Alfie Pavey poked in the opener. The lead was doubled half way through the first period with Ryan Hayes’ low strike. On the stroke of half-time, Elliot Bradbrook tapped home Lyle Della-Verde’s cross. Della-Verde became the goalscorer in second half stoppage time to net the Darts fourth.
Tuesday’s fixture saw the return of goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim from international duty with Gibraltar. Strikers, Warren Mfula was missing from the matchday squad with a groin strain and Duane Ofori-Acheampong is recovering from injury. During the 4-0 win, Danny Harris was replaced in the first half with Keaton Wood taking his place, although Harris could still feature. Tom Murphy is available for squad selection and Ronnie Vint is looking to get back into the first eleven.
Last weekend, the Darts came from two goals down to earn a draw with Hampton and Richmond Borough. Andy Pugh scored his first goal of the season and Elliot Bradbrook netted the equaliser. Tony Burman’s side suffered a 1-0 defeat to East Thurrock United in their previous fixture at Princes park, which ended an unbeaten run of six league games including the 7-1 home win against Oxford City and 2-0 home victory over Concord Rangers.
Now top scorers in the National South and with one of the best defences, Tony Burman is pleased with the start of the 2017/18 campaign, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “Under the circumstances, with players missing still, we’ve done well. We’ve conceded six goals but one of those was a penalty and three were from free-kicks, so we’re not getting torn apart in open play. Defensively, we’ve been sound and we’ve had enough clean sheets to say that’s a decent start to the season”, he added: “We’ve had a lot of goals and I’ve always said that if you’re creating chances, you’ve got the opportunity to score. I’m not looking at one particular person to do it, it needs to be shared about. I’m pleased with the start. We’re slightly under target but hopefully we’ll get that changed in the coming games”.
Chippenham Town’s form is mixed as they settle in the National South, the first time the club has played at this level. After an opening day draw with newly promoted Havant and Waterlooville, the Bluebirds announced themselves to the division with an excellent 5-2 win at Bath City. After four games without victory, the Wiltshire club bagged their second at home to Oxford City to end August.
This month started with a 4-2 reverse at Eastbourne Borough in which they let the lead slip twice. On Tuesday night, Chippenham Town made sure they stayed in front after an early goal from David Pratt and a second by Jake Andrews.
Pratt who signed for Mark Collier’s Bluebirds from Bath City is now on five goals for the campaign, the striker also was amongst the goals in this division when he played for Basingstoke Town. Partnering Pratt up front is experienced striker Andrew Sandell, who has a decent record with the Bluebirds in front of goal and came up against the Darts for Newport County in the National League four years ago.
Chippenham Town were rewarded for their patience last season by becoming Southern League champions. The Wiltshire club won promotion in 2001 as runners-up from the Southern League Division One West, a year after losing the F.A Vase final to Deal Town. Another promotion followed as they finished second again, this time moving up to the Southern Premier League. Since then Chippenham Town reached the playoff final three times but kept falling at the final hurdle. Eventually and deservedly, the Bluebirds won the league last season with an impressive 103 points.
Saturday’s match is the first of three home matches in a week for the Darts,
Current League Form
|Chippenham Town (WLWDDL)||Dartford (WDLWWW)|
|Eastbourne Borough||A||2-4||Hampton & Richmond||A||2-2|
|Oxford City||H||3-2||East Thurrock United||H||0-1|
|Weston-super-Mare||A||2-2||Hemel Hempstead Town||A||3-0|
|East Thurrock United||H||2-2||Oxford City||H||7-1|
|Poole Town||H||0-1||Concord Rangers||H||2-0|
Dartford are now the top scorers in the National South with 20 goals and have the second best defence.
The Darts kept their fifth clean sheet in nine games on Tuesday night and remain unbeaten away from home.
Chippenham Town are early starters, in 5 games out of 9 they have scored in the opening ten minutes.
In David Pratt’s first spell with Chippenham Town he was red carded after three seconds, a record set in 2008.
On This Day
Dartford last won on 9 September back in 1998 when they beat Reading Town 3-0 in a F.A Cup preliminary round replay, the first game ended 0-0 three days earlier. The Darts lost their next two games on this day, 1-0 against Spalding United in 2000 and 2-0 versus Hastings United in 2006. Two years later Dartford secured a 1-1 draw at home to Heybridge Swifts and three years ago a last gasp Harry Crawford goal earned a 2-2 draw with Eastleigh. The Darts were 2-0 down in the National League fixture and were given hope when Elliot Bradbrook scored. The comeback was complete in stoppage time by Crawford.
DATE: Saturday 8th September 2017
VENUE: Princes Park, Grassbanks, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1RT
KICK OFF: 3:00pm
TURNSTILES: Open from 12:30pm
Adults: £14, Concessions £7, Youth ( 13-17) £5, Children:£2, Under 5’s FREE
SEATING: Seating is available on a first come first served basis in certain areas of the stadium.
FACILITIES: Bar and food open from 12:30pm
PARKING: Parking is free of charge in the clubs car park but is a first come first served basis.
MATCH UPDATES: Available on Twitter @dartfordfc and on website www.dartfordfc.com
MATCH SPONSOR: Dartford FC Business Club for more information please click HERE