Dartford’s title push continues on Saturday when they host Weston-Super-Mare at Princes Park in the National South.
The Darts have just six games remaining to overturn a three point deficit, although they now have a game in hand. With the Easter Monday fixture against East Thurrock United postponed, Tony Burman’s side have had a few extra days rest, much needed after the difficult conditions on Good Friday.
In their last match, Dartford pulled out a superb result against third place Hampton and Richmond Borough with a last gasp Alfie Pavey winner. Victory kept the Darts two points behind league leaders Havant and Waterlooville, who had won their fixture 2-0 against Weston-super-Mare. The Hawks then dropped points on Monday, but managed a 0-0 draw with Whitehawk to leave the Darts three points behind.
Against Hampton and Richmond Borough, Burman named an unchanged side from the 2-0 away win at Oxford City. With the Princes Park pitch waterlogged in patches Burman praised the ground staff for getting the game on. As the top of the table clash progressed the weather conditions worsened turning the pitch into a mud bath. It looked like both sides were about to drop points in a goalless draw until Pavey’s calm dink over the Hampton and Richmond Borough goalkeeper sent the Darts fans wild in the final minute.
Burman spoke to www.dartfordfc.com after the game and said: “I thought on chances we deserved to get a result from the game, I’m delighted we’ve come away from the first game of the Easter period with three points”. The Darts boss applauded match winner Pavey and his teammates, he added: “He’s still learning, he’s a young lad, he’s not been the number one striker at other clubs and we’ve given him a opportunity here to learn from people and try and be a number one striker. He’s scoring goals which is great and if he’s scoring goals that means he’s happy. We’ve got a great strike force here, which I’m pleased and proud of”.
After defeat to Poole Town, Burman questioned his players desire but now he feels the tide has turned, he commented: “I mentioned back at the Poole game about desire, we can’t fault the last three games the desire has been back in the side”. Added to the fans pulling togther, the Dartford manager feels there is every chance to overturn the two point deficit, he added: “A little bit of belief has come back, we’ve had some words said on and off the field, but I have to say the support that the lads got was how it should be, they were the twelfth man and I can’t thank them enough for that and we need that especially at this stage of the season”.
Weston-super-Mare could complete a double over the Darts as they won the reverse fixture at the Woodspring Stadium back in September. The Seagulls toppled Burman’s side who were heading the National South standings at the time. Gethyn Hill’s double and a second half strike from Archie Collins completed a miserable afternoon for the Darts.
Last season Dartford completed a treble against the Seagulls winning both National South fixtures and the F.A Trophy tie. In the league at Princes Park the match ended 3-2 on an entertaining evening. Alex Brown scored from twenty yards out to claim the winner but the Darts had to come from behind. Hill opened the scoring for the visitors who stayed in front at the interval. Tom Wynter scored and then Danny Harris gave Dartford the advantage, but the lead was cancelled out by Lloyd Humphries. With seven minutes remaining Brown’s effort found the back of the net to clinch victory. At the Woodspring Stadium in the league, the Darts won 2-1 with goals from Luke Wanadio and Ryan Hayes.
Weston-super-Mare are comfortably mid-table with the playoffs seven points away with only five games remaining. Their chances have taken a major dip along with their form, the Seagulls have lost six of their last eight matches only managing wins away to Eastbourne Borough and home to Bognor Regis Town.
The Darts will already know about the Seagulls top scorer, Hill who has managed 16 league goals this term. The striker is level with former Weston-super-Mare midfielder Dayle Grubb, who left in January to join Forest Green Rovers in League Two. Manager, Marc McGregor feels his team has been deserving of more positive results but admits his side need to be more ruthless in front of goal. The Seagulls boss is still confident he can guide them to a top seven finish and into the playoffs.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 7 / Weston-super-Mare wins: 3 / Draws: 4
Current League Form
|Weston-super-Mare (LLWLLL)||Dartford (WWWLWW)|
|Havant & Waterlooville||A||0-2||Hampton & Richmond||H||1-0|
|Braintree Town||H||1-2||Oxford City||A||2-0|
|Bognor Regis Town||H||1-0||Hemel Hempstead||H||3-2|
|St Albans City||H||0-2||Poole Town||H||0-1|
|Chippenham Town||A||0-2||Truro City||H||4-1|
|Hampton & Richmond||A||1-3||Wealdstone||A||2-1|
Dartford have won five of their last six National South games.
Alfie Pavey’s goal on Good Friday was his third last minute winner, earning the Darts nine crucial points.
The Darts have never lost to the Seagulls at home (W3, D3).
Weston-super-Mare have failed to score in three of their last five games netting just two goals.
The Seagulls win over Dartford in September was their only victory against top five opposition this season, they have lost the other seven.
On This Day
Dartford have won one of their last eight games on 7 April and that was back in 1984 when they beat Welling United 2-1 in the Southern League Premier. The most recent match on this day was hardly memorable as they battled out a 0-0 draw with Chelmsford City six years ago in the National South. In 2007, Eddie McClements scored in a 1-1 draw with Kingstonian and in 1990 the Darts lost 1-0 to Bath City. Thirty eight years ago, Dartford lost 1-0 in the Kent Senior Cup final to rivals Maidstone United.
DATE: Saturday 7th April 2018
VENUE: Princes Park, Grassbanks, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1RT
KICK OFF: 3:00pm
TURNSTILES: Open from 12:30pm
Youth (13-17) : £5
Children ( u12) :£2
Under 5 : 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.
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