Dartford will need to extend their unbeaten home run to four this weekend to be in with a chance of leapfrogging fellow playoff chasers St Albans City.
Victory will move the Darts above the Saints who hold a one point advantage leading up to the National South fixture. The Hertfordshire club already got one over Dartford this term by claiming a 2-0 triumph at Clarence Park in September. Solomon Sambou and Khale Da Costa scored the goals to earn St Albans City three points and earn a fourth win in five over the Darts.
However, the last meeting at Princes Park went Dartford’s way partly due to a former player and last season’s National South Player of the Year. Alfie Pavey found the back of the St Albans City net and unfortunately so did defender Tom Bender to score an own goal. It wasn’t the first time Bender had scored in Saints shirt at Princes Park, during the 2016/2017 campaign he scored at the right end past Bailey Vose, who was making his league debut for the Darts in his first spell with the club, Sam Merson netted the other as the Darts fell to a 2-0 defeat. In February 2016, Andy Pugh was on hand twice to give Dartford a 2-0 home victory.
Dartford were denied all three points last weekend in second half injury time. Visiting an out of form Wealdstone without the suspended Lee Noble, the injured Charlie Sheringham and Mark Onyemah, the Darts called in Jamie Philpot up front, Ryan Hayes in midfield and Jordan Wynter at the back. Former captain, Elliot Bradbrook scored a header with twenty minutes remaining, but his seventh goal of the campaign was not enough as Wealdstone’s Eoin McKeown equalised very late on. The draw extended Dartford’s unbeaten run to three as they look towards the playoff places.
This week, Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle have added another member to the squad by signing 28-year-old midfielder Billy Crook from Braintree Town. A statement from the joint managers said: ”Billy showed last season against Dartford, what a great player he is and this was recognised by getting in the team of the year. He was a major part in the success Braintree had and after not being able to do something in the summer it was good to finally be able to bring him to the club”. Crook caused heartbreak to Dartford in May when his goal knocked the Darts out of the National South playoffs.
St Albans City travel to Princes Park on the back of a seven game unbeaten run. Their best sequence of the season has lifted the Saints towards the playoffs after previously losing three in a row. Four wins by a single goal margins and three draws have earned Ian Allinson’s side 15 points from the last 21 available.
The Saints top scorer this season, David Moyo netted the winner last weekend against Oxford City to record his tenth goal of the campaign. Moyo joined the club in the summer after leaving Hemel Hempstead Town. Tom Bender is still plying his trade with the Hertfordshire club, the defender played 20 times for the Darts during the 2014/2015 campaign.
Despite victory over Oxford City, Ian Allinson thought his side was second best and needed some luck, he told www.hertsad.co.uk: ““We haven’t played well. I can’t blame the players for their commitment and endeavour and work rate but the quality was poor”, he added: ““We can’t play well every week and sometimes you have to dig deep and we’ve done that. You have to ride your luck at times and we’ve picked up 13 points from the five games”.
Head to Head
St Albans City wins: 5 / Dartford wins: 7/ Draws: 4
|Dartford (DWDLWD)||St Albans City (WDWWWD)|
|Welling United||H||1-0||Hemel Hempstead Town||A||1-1|
|East Thurrock United||A||2-2||Billericay Town||H||2-1|
|Welling United||A||0-2||Hemel Hempstead Town||H||2-1|
|Hungerford Town||H||2-1||Eastbourne Borough||A||2-1|
|01.09.2018||St Albans City||2||Dartford||0|
|03.02.2018||St Albans City||4||Dartford||0|
|28.10.2017||Dartford||2||St Albans City||1|
|25.03.2017||St Albans City||1||Dartford||0|
|08.11.2016||Dartford||0||St Albans City||2|
|30.04.2016||St Albans City||4||Dartford||0|
Dartford have only lost one at home to St Albans City which was in November 2016, however the Darts have won one and lost four of the last five meetings.
The Darts have failed to score in four of the last five matches against St Albans City.
However, the Darts were unbeaten for the first ten games against the Saints winning six and drawing four up until the recent run of four defeats in five.
All but one of Elliot Bradbrook’s goals this season (his last six) have come in the last 20 minutes of matches.
Former Dart, Tom Bender has scored in his last two visits at Princes Park, one for St Albans City and the other an own goal.
The Saints have scored the most goals (5) in 90+ minutes of games. They have scored 30% of their goals in the final 15 minutes of matches.
On This Day
Dartford have scored 12 goals in their last three home games on 12 January with the most recent match played six years ago against Bromley in the F.A Trophy third round. Dominic Green scored his only two goals for the club in a loan spell that spanned five appearances, Lee Burns and Harry Crawford scored the others in a 4-2 win. In 2008, Dartford trounced Ilford in the Isthmian Division One North. Brendon Cass scored twice, Jay May, John Guest and Steve Norman to complete the 5-0 rout. Another cup tie took place on this day in 1988 with the Darts beating Hastings Town 3-0 in the Southern League Cup third round.
DATE: Saturday 12th January 2019
VENUE: Princes Park, Grassbanks, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1RT
KICK OFF: 15:00 pm
TURNSTILES: Open from 12:30pm
Youth (13-17) : £5
Children ( u12) £2
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: Full Coverage will on twitter @dartfordfc
MATCH SPONSOR: Fox Estates
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