A first win has eluded Dartford so far this season and on the weekend they visit Southern League playoff winner Havant and Waterloovile in search for victory.
The Darts have drawn both matches this term and will be up against the Hawks who have yet to taste defeat since their return to the National South.
Opening with an uninspiring goalless draw at home to Hungerford Town, the Darts had to find their fighting spirit on Tuesday night coming from two goals down to earn another draw. Burman explained his tactics for the 0-0 stalemate a week ago and changed them for their visit to Braintree Town.
Warren Mfula made his first start as the only recognised striker. Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Andy Pugh were out injured along with defender Ronnie Vint, who suffered ligament damage in the opening game of the season. New signing, Richard Sho-Silva made his debut replacing Vint.
Braintree Town went in at the half-time break in command leading 2-0 with goals from Karl Oliyide and Billy Crook. In the second half, Lee Noble’s header back to Tom Murphy pulled a goal back, but the goalscorer was forced off through injury to add to the list of Dartford casualties. The equaliser came from captain Elliot Bradbrook who headed home after Tom Bonner nodded the ball back across goal from a corner.
Burman was pleased with the way his team started but a 15 minute spell at the end of the first half saw his side ‘lose all organisation’. The Dartford boss was delighted with the way his players fought back, he told kentonline.co.uk: “They were excellent getting back into the game and we could have won it at the end”, he summarised: “I’m delighted we got something out of the game. Other than a crazy 15 minutes, I was more than happy with the performance”.
Meanwhile, Havant and Waterlooville were involved in the only other fixture without goals on the opening day. The Hawks visited Southern Premier League champions Chippenham Town. Like the Darts, injuries played their part and manager Lee Bradbury naming half fit players on the bench. The Hawks boss was pleased with the result claiming it was a point gained.
On Tuesday night, Havant and Waterlooville endured an enthralling clash at home to Eastbourne Borough. Bradbury was able to name an unchanged side which came away with a 3-2 win. Theo Widdrington scored from long range, Rory Williams made it two with another effort from outside the box and former Dart, Jason Prior made it 3-0. Eastbourne Borough set up a nervy finish even with ten men after Gavin McCallum was dismissed. Two goals in as many minutes at the end of the game from Ryan Worrall and Will Hendon kept the Hawks on their toes.
Dartford’s last visited Westleigh Park in March last year and lost 2-0, two James Hayter headers sealed the win for the Hawks. The Darts only win away to Havant and Waterlooville came in 2012 when the away side dominated in a commanding 4-1 victory. Elliot Bradbrook and Danny Harris both scored a brace that day.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 4 / Havant and Waterlooville wins: 3 / Draws: 2
|19.03.2016||Havant and Waterlooville||2||Dartford||0|
|05.12.2015||Dartford||4||Havant and Waterlooville||2|
|17.03.2012||Dartford||3||Havant and Waterlooville||1|
|07.01.2012||Havant and Waterlooville||1||Dartford||4|
|18.04.2011||Havant and Waterlooville||1||Dartford||0|
|14.08.2010||Dartford||2||Havant and Waterlooville||2|
Dartford have won three of the last four meetings against the Hawks. In those three wins the Darts netted 11 times.
Danny Harris has scored in every game his featured in against the Hawks, scoring five times in four games with the Darts winning on each occasion.
Former Dart, Jason Prior top scored for the Hawks last season with 17 goals. The striker represented Dartford in 2012/13 as part of the team that finished as the highest part timers. Prior made nine appearances scoring once, he made 15 more appearances the following campaign adding one more goal to his tally.
Dartford’s first ever fixture in the National South was a 2-2 draw against Havant and Waterlooville on 14 August 2010.
The last time Dartford drew their opening two league games was in 1995. The season’s opener on 12 August ended 0-0 away to Herne Bay in the Kent League. Four days later the Darts drew 1-1 with Beckenham Town at home.
On This Day
Dartford last played on 12 August in the National League three years ago, when they drew 1-1 with Woking. An injury time equaliser by Giuseppe Sole denied the Darts all three points after Rory McAuley had scored earlier in the half. The draw was Dartford’s first points of the season after an opening defeat against Wrexham.
DATE: Saturday 12th August 2017
VENUE: Martin Road, Havant, Hants, PO9 5TH
KICK OFF: 15:00PM
ADMISSION: Adults: £12, Concessions £9,
MATCH UPDATES: Available on Twitter @dartfordfc and on website www.dartfordfc.com
Coach Travel: To make your booking, please speak to Mick Austin by calling/texting on 07969 181796 – 10:30 – cost £20 members, £22 non-members