Dartford can stretch their unbeaten home run in the National South to ten this weekend when they host relegation threatened Truro City.
It’s normally a fixture that guarantees goals with the last six meetings producing almost five a game. Earlier in the season the Darts were on the receiving end of a 3-1 defeat in front of just 87 spectators at Plainmoor in Torquay, a repeat of the score line from the campaign before. The White Tigers enjoyed a 12-minute spell at the end of the first half which resulted in three unanswered goals, to the dismay of goalkeeper Bailey Vose making his second debut for the Darts. Tyler Harvey arrived at the far post to score the first, then added a second a minute before the break and Nick Grimes increased Truro City’s advantage in first half stoppage time. Dartford’s consolation came in the final minute when substitute Kudus Oyenuga headed past Corey Harvey.
Dartford have won their last two home games against the White Tigers scoring nine times in the process. Last season Andy Pugh’s link up play made the forward line click and it was the striker who volleyed the Darts ahead. Alex Brown doubled the lead in the second half and Danny Mills curled in a cross which evaded the Truro City goalkeeper and into the net. An own goal made it four before Niall Thompson scored in stoppage time for the visitors, past another goalkeeping debutante Berti Schotterl.
The season prior the 4-1 victory saw the Darts hit five at home in an entertaining encounter. Pugh scored twice and Duane Ofori-Acheampong set up three, but it was the Cornishmen who took the lead through Andrew Neal. Pugh headed the equaliser from Ofori-Acheampong’s good work, then Elliot Bradbrook scored a cracker from 25 yards. In the second half Neal levelled the match before Luke Wanadio put the Darts in front once more. The scores were even yet again when Jamie Richards headed in a corner, but Dartford put distance between themselves and Truro City with goals from Pugh and Tom Murphy. The final goal was Dartford’s tenth versus the White Tigers in that campaign following a 5-0 away triumph at Treyew Road, goals from Keaton Wood, Pugh, an Ofori-Acheampong brace and Brown. At Princes Park, Truro City have enjoyed their fair share of wins despite their last two visits. The White Tigers beat the Darts 2-1 in 2011 and 1-0 in 2015.
Dartford’s unbeaten home streak just about remained intact last weekend when Darren McQueen rescued a point against Hampton and Richmond Borough. The Darts twice came from behind to earn a draw, first conceding when the match was seven minutes old through Oliver Sprague’s volley. Lee Noble won a second half penalty which Charlie Sheringham put straight down the middle, but the visitors regained the lead from a Chris Dickson strike. Into injury time at the end of the game, McQueen’s deflected shot made it 2-2 and there was even time for Sheringham to almost snatch victory.
Joint manager, Adam Flanagan felt his side gave an assured performance despite the lack of chances created in the game, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk after the win and said: “It was the best we’ve been in possession. We didn’t create the chances we’d have wanted to but I felt we put the ball into good areas. “We managed to pin them back, especially in the second half, and overall there were more positive than negatives”.
The draw means the gap between remaining in the playoff places and dropping out is now slender. Dartford are now three points ahead of eighth place Wealdstone, but the Stones have a superior goal difference. On paper, although the Darts have an easier fixture this weekend, Flanagan will want to keep his players focused and avoid complacency, he commented: “When you look at the fixtures they’re favourable but you can’t take anything for granted in this league. It’s going to be a challenge so we need to apply ourselves the right way and if we do that then we’ve got good quality in the team”, he added: “Our bench is looking strong and we believe in the players that we can secure a playoff place”.
Truro City are perilously close to relegation and are hovering a place above the bottom three with a one point advantage over Hungerford Town. The Cornish side are winless on the road in 2019 failing to win in their last six away games. The season has been tough for Truro City with former manager Lee Hodges resigning after two games, followed by a temporary move to Torquay United’s Plainmoor. In September, Leigh Robinson was appointed boss and although he oversaw a six game unbeaten run towards the start of his spell in charge, the White Tigers have recorded just five more wins since that run, they have currently won once in their last nine outings home and away. That current form has led to the departure of Robinson this week.
Taking over the managerial post is Paul Wilkinson until the end of the season with a remit of keeping Truro City in the National South. Wilkinson made over 650 professional appearances and scored over 150 goals. The 54-year-old started his career at Grimsby Town before joining Everton in 1985 winning the old First Division. He went on to play for Nottingham Forest, Watford, Middlesborough, Barnsley, Millwall and Northampton Town. After a decent playing career, Wilkinson has stayed involved and his only managerial role was as caretaker boss at Grimsby Town.
For a side battling relegation their attacking prowess could keep them up, Truro City with the help of Tyler Harvey up front have outscored the Darts this season. Harvey has 19 of Truro City’s 54 goals and whilst the striker is only behind three others for the National South’s Golden Boot, the White Tigers are eighth top scorers in the division. However, Wilkinson will have to find a way of tightening up the defence, which is the worst in the league.
Last weekend, Truro City added three more to the goals against column taking their total up to 75 for the campaign. A home defeat at the hands of Chelmsford City was compounded by the fact the hosts were reduced to ten men, Corey Harvey being dismissed after he conceded the penalty that led to the Clarets third goal. That means the White Tigers have lost three last three games letting in three goals in each of those fixtures, Dulwich Hamlet won 3-2 and fellow relegation battlers East Thurrock United won 3-1. If it hadn’t of been for a 1-1 draw at Bath City then Truro City would be approaching this weekend’s match on the back of a five game winless streak.
Also this week, Truro City added Brandon Diau from Southern Counties East side Tunbridge Wells. The midfield has been strengthened with the signing of Chris Regis, the 22 year old is a former under 17 England international and comes in from Torquay United. Ben Harding, who was interim manager earlier in the season has now left by mutual consent.
Head to Head
Truro City wins: 5 / Dartford wins: 3 / Draws: 1
Current League Form
|Dartford (DLWWLW)||Truro City (LLLDLD)|
|Hampton & Richmond Borough||H||2-2||Chelmsford City||H||0-3|
|Torquay United||A||0-2||Dulwich Hamlet||A||2-3|
|Gloucester City||H||2-0||East Thurrock United||H||1-3|
|Hemel Hempstead Town||A||2-1||Bath City||A||1-1|
|Woking||H||2-0||St Albans City||A||2-2|
Dartford have beaten five of the current bottom six at home, with only Truro City to play.
Truro City have lost six out of eight against the current top nine, with only Dartford to play.
The home team has scored three or more in the last four meetings between the two sides.
There has been 129 goals in games featuring Truro City this season, the highest in the division.
Truro City have scored the most goals in the first fifteen minutes (11) and conceded the most (12) in the first 15 minutes of games.
On This Day
Dave Cunningham and Alan Payne scored to put Dartford on the verge of reaching Wembley 45 years ago. Cunningham’s 51st minute goal in the F.A Trophy semi-final at Macclesfield Town and Payne’s 68th minute strike gave the Darts a 2-1 advantage from the first leg, Macclesfield Town netted in the last minute to keep the tie alive. Dartford have won 11 of their last 12 games played on the 30 March drawing the other match as recently as 2013, when they drew 0-0 away at Newport County. A year ago, Alfie Pavey’s last minute winner on a Princes Park mud-bath gave the Darts a crucial home win over title contenders Hampton and Richmond Borough. The Darts last defeat on this day came in 1959 against Sittingbourne in the Kent Senior Shield semi-final, an unbeaten run of 13 games in total.
DATE: Saturday 30th March 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
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