Dartford’s fixture this weekend has the potential to pull in a big crowd at Champion Hill where the Darts visit Dulwich Hamlet, last season’s Isthmian Premier Playoff winners.
The Darts make the short trip to South East London on the back of beating title challengers Woking and on a run of just one defeat in their last ten National South games. Victory last weekend completed a fantastic double over the Cards without conceding against the team looking to get back up into the National League.
Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle had to shuffle the defence slightly with Jordan Wynter ruled out through injury, Mark Onyemah replaced the full-back and performed as if he had never been away from the starting eleven. With Charlie Sheringham still not fit, the front two of Phil Roberts and loanee Darren McQueen proved their worth. Both strikers found the back of the net in a 2-0 win, Roberts has now scored five in his last seven league appearances, whilst McQueen has two goals in his first two games for the club.
Joint manager, Jamie Coyle was delighted with the performance and told www.kentonline.co.uk: “I’m absolutely over the moon, to play the team at the top of the league and for our keeper not to be bothered apart from one save is testament to the whole team and how well we defended collectively”, he added: “We defended really well and it wasn’t just the back five, it was the whole team. Out of possession, we had brilliant shape, it was hard to break down and we frustrated them”.
Coyle believes his squad have come to terms with the ‘Dartford way’, he said: “We always knew we’ve got some fantastic characters and when they all started to gel together, with the new boys buying into the philosophy of the club, we’re now getting 11 players that are all singing from the same hymn sheet and really driving forward”.
The Darts struggled in front of goal for the majority of the campaign, but now with Phil Roberts and Darren McQueen making good claims to start on the weekend, Charlie Sheringham and Andy Pugh in the squad Dartford’s attacking intent should improve for the run-in to the end of the season.
It has been just under twelve and half years since Dartford last played at Champion Hill in front of 300 supporters. Since then both sides have seen their attendances swell with the Darts returning home in 2006 and Hamlet attracting new fans over recent years. After the Woking game, captain Tom Bonner commented on how the bigger crowds play a part, he commented: “I’ve been here six years and I can’t think of too many games where we’ve been bad when the place is rocking. It just went to show on Saturday; a rocking crowd and we were brilliant”. Hopefully a large number of Dartford fans will be there at Champion Hill too.
When the two sides last met in SE22, Hamlet won 3-2 with Dartford’s goals coming from Dave Martin and Eddie McClements. Eight weeks later Dartford opened their new stadium at Princes Park after fourteen homeless years. The Hamlet have only just recently experienced homelessness even if it was temporary, the Southwark based club were forced to groundshare with Tooting and Mitcham United and after months of wrangling with Meadow Partners they returned home on Boxing Day.
Gavin Rose’s Hamlet side have conceded eight goals in their last two outings, five of which came against new league leaders Torquay United. The South Londoners found themselves brushed aside and were 4-0 down at half-time. The second half improved with goals from Dipo Akinyemi and Nathan Green but that just reduced the deficit to 5-2. Dulwich Hamlet are unbeaten in two at Champion Hill with their last outing there finishing 3-3 with Hemel Hempstead Town. Decarrey Sheriff’s last minute penalty rescued a point for Hamlet as they fought back from a two goal deficit.
Rose gave debuts to three new signings in the heavy loss at Torquay United including former Dart, Luke Wanadio. The winger made 53 appearances during the 2016/2017 season and scored 13 times before joining Bromley. Wanadio joined Dulwich Hamlet on loan from National League strugglers Aldershot Town. Aryan Tajbakhsh and Jamie Mascoll are the other new signings.
Having won promotion last term and starting the campaign away from home, Rose’s side will be content to consolidate their status in the National South. As it stands the South London club are six points above the drop zone in eighteenth place.
Head to Head
Dulwich Hamlet wins: 2 / Dartford wins: 1 / Draws: 2
Current League Form
|Dulwich Hamlet (LDWDLD)||Dartford (WDWWDL)|
|Hemel Hempstead Town||H||3-3||Slough Town||A||2-2|
|Welling United||H||2-1||Bath City||H||3-0|
|Chelmsford City||H||1-3||Concord Rangers||H||1-1|
|East Thurrock United||A||0-0||Chelmsford City||A||1-2|
The Darts have kept three clean sheets in their last four league games. Before that they had only kept two in the previous twenty league matches.
A win for Dartford will complete a third double against a side this season having recently beaten Bath City and Woking.
Dartford have won two away games out of six against sides currently in the bottom half of the table
On This Day
Unbeaten in four games on the 2 March, Dartford last won on this day in 1996, a 3-1 victory over Sheppey United in the Kent League. Since then, the Darts have drawn two in a row at home to Banbury United in 2002 with the Southern League Division One East fixture ending 1-1. More recently, the Darts drew 2-2 away with Southport six years ago. Tom Bonner was on the score sheet as the Darts were pegged back twice, Harry Crawford scored the opener. The unbeaten run goes back to 1991 when the Darts beat Burton Albion 2-0 in the Southern Premier League.
DATE: Saturday 1st March 2019
VENUE: Champion Hill Stadium, Edgar Kail Way, East Dulwich, SE22 8BD
KICK OFF: 15:00pm
TURNSTILES: Open from 13:00pm
- Adults – £12
- Concessions – £5
- Concessions cover Seniors – 60+, Teenagers (13-19), Unemployed (JSA), NHS Staff, Blue Light Services, Serving Members of the Armed Forces, Local Authority workers and Full Time Students, Recipients of DLA and Local Authority Workers, Carers accompanying those with disabilities
- Under 13s FREE
(Please bring a form of valid ID that shows your entitlement to concession price admission),
FACILITIES: Bar and food open from 12:30pm
MATCH UPDATES: Full Coverage will be on twitter and website @dartfordfc
COACH: – departure time midday, £10 members, £12 non-members– To make your booking, please speak to Mick Austin either by calling/texting on 07969 181796.
TRAVEL: – By car: Simply type in the postcode ‘SE22 8BD’ into your SatNav device. We have some limited car parking at the ground, and there is also plenty of on-street parking in the locality, within a five minute radius, but please check for any local parking restrictions.
By train:The nearest stations are East Dulwich, which is a five minute walk; or Denmark Hill; which is a ten minute stroll, or a short bus ride.
From East Dulwich station: Turn left, past the pizza shop and then chip shop. Go through the park at the bottom of the hill and you will see the ground. For midweek games, when the gates are closed, walk halfway up the hill and turn left at the lights.
From Denmark Hill station: Turn left, this is Champion Park. You will see a bus stop opposite the Salvation Army Training College. Any bus from here passes the ground, three stops away. Or walk past the bus stop, turn right and up the slight incline on the main road. Over the lights at the top of Dog Kennel Hill, and the ground will be on your right, halfway down the hill, turning into Edgar Kail Way.
You can check train times by looking at www.nationalrail.co.uk
From central London East Dulwich is served by trains from London Bridge; whilst Denmark Hill has services from London Victoria & London Blackfriars.
There are plenty of services from both stations after midweek matches.
PLEASE NOTE: Train services can be disrupted by engineering works at weekends, and East Dulwich station can be closed, served by replacement bus services.