Dartford begin December at the top of the National South and will visit Hungerford Town this weekend in an attempt to keep a three-point lead.
The Darts have spent almost three weeks in pole position with just six points separating the top eight. Looking for back to back away victories in the league for the first time this season, Dartford take on the Crusaders who themselves are desperate for a win.
Hungerford Town have picked up just one point from their last five National South fixtures, however they did manage to draw 0-0 with Dartford on the opening day of the campaign. Last term, the Berkshire club beat the Darts at Bulpit Lane 2-0 with goals from Louie Soares and Stefan Brown.
Tony Burman has made his intent clear with two signings in the last week. Danny Mills has joined the strike force from local rivals Ebbsfleet United and Nathan Collier returns to the club from Hampton and Richmond Borough. Mills was prolific in his spell at Whitehawk at this level scoring almost a goal every other game over a five year period. At Ebbsfleet United he has had limited chances to shine making just ten appearances and scoring once.
Mills spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “Going from playing 250 games in five years to not knowing if I’ll be in the squad has been really difficult”, he added: “But there comes a time when you have to make a decision. I want to go out and play football and after being used to playing so much, I wanted that feeling again. I wanted that excitement of looking forward to a game on a Saturday, knowing that you’re going to go out and play”.
He continued: “I wanted to go to a team that was challenging, up there at the top of the table, fighting for promotion. I want to play for something every week, I didn’t want to go to a team that was mid-table so when the opportunity to go to Dartford came up, it was a no-brainer”.
Mills went straight into the starting eleven last weekend as Dartford beat nine men Poole Town 1-0 in Dorset. A good defensive display and Richard Sho-Silva’s early winning goal was enough to earn three vital points. The result made even better considering the absentees of Ronnie Vint, Tom Bonner (who became a father this week) and Danny Harris, midfielder Alex Brown slotted into right back to replace Harris. In midfield, Lee Noble was also missing through suspension but he will return from his ban this weekend.
Manager Tony Burman told www.dartfordfc.com: “After Saturdays win, I felt we have played a lot better in previous games and lost but on a positive note we defended really well and looked organised defensively throughout the game. After conceding quite a few goals over the last month it was nice to keep a clean sheet and once again from a good defensive display”.
He commented: “When Richard scored our goal early in the game we had quite a few chances throughout the rest of the game to finish our opponents off, but good goalkeeping kept Poole in the game I felt. Overall with Tom Bonner, Danny Harris, Lee Noble all missing and with Alfie Pavey trying to play not feeling 100% all in all I’m delighted we gained three points”.
The signing of Collier adds further depth to the squad as well as versatility, he previously played 117 times for the Darts between 2012 and 2015. Collier has had spells with Eastbourne Borough and Hampton and Richmond Borough since leaving Princes Park.
Hungerford Town were one of the surprise packages last season but have had to deal with the departure of former boss Booby Wilkinson, who joined Wealdstone in early in the campaign. Jon Boardman and Ian Herring are now in charge of a team sitting 18th in the National South table.
Last weekend the Crusaders ended a run of six consecutive defeat in all competitions with a 1-1 draw against Chelmsford City. Tom Meechan opened his Hungerford Town account in his first game back from a loan spell with St Neots Town, where he scored six goals in 14 appearances. Meechan’s strike was the first in five games for the Crusaders in a spell where they have netted just three times in their last eight outings.
Struggling with injuries and suspensions Hungerford Town had four academy players on the bench against the Clarets. Former Dartford loanee Alex Wall will continue his suspension for his red card in the F.A Trophy defeat versus Billericay Town, the same side that beat them 6-1 in the F.A Cup. Riak John is also unavailable whilst co-manager Ian Herring returned from his two-game ban in their last league match. Matt Williams has been signed from Evesham United to bolster the defence meaning Darnell Smith’s loan spell from Barnet has not been renewed.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 1 / Hungerford Town wins: 1 / Draws: 1
Current League Form
|Hungerford Town (LLWDLW)||Dartford (WDWLWW)|
|Chelmsford City||A||1-1||Poole Town||A||1-0|
|Havant & Waterlooville||H||0-1||Truro City||A||1-3|
|Eastbourne Borough||H||0-1||St Albans City||H||2-1|
|St Albans City||H||0-0||Bath City||A||2-1|
In the three encounters that have taken place between Dartford and Hungerford Town, the away side has never scored.
In the last six league games featuring Hungerford Town there has only been six goals scored at a goal a game. By contrast Dartford have seen a total of 22 goals scored at an average of 3.66 per game.
In all competitions, if Dartford win on the weekend they will record their longest winning away run this season of three consecutive victories.
On This Day
Dartford last won on the 9 December back in 1995 when they beat Ramsgate 3-0 in the Kent League First Division. A year later they were beaten 3-1 in a F.A Trophy third qualifying round replay against Dulwich Hamlet. In 2006, the Darts drew 1-1 with Dover Athletic, Brendon Cass scoring for Dartford at Princes Park. Nine years ago was the last time the Darts played on this day in a 4-2 Kent Senior Cup first round defeat to Bromley.
DATE: Saturday 9th December 2017
VENUE: Bulpit Lane, Hungerford, West Berkshire, RG17 0AY
KICK OFF: 3:00pm
Adults – £12.00
Concessions: – £6.00 -*Concession available to over 60s, students, registered disabled, armed forces, OAP club members and all emergency services showing a current valid ID
Under 16’s – FREE
TURNSTILES: Open from 12:30pm
TRAVEL: PLEASE BE AWARE OF THE BELOW.
HIGHWAYS England has announced it will be closing the M4 in both directions, “for essential bridge maintenance” over several coming weekends.
The repairs wil take place at three bridges that carry the M4 over the B4009 at Hampstead Norreys Road, Brocks Lane and Burnt Hill Road near Hermitage.
This work will involve road resurfacing, replacing the central reservation deck beams, bridge joints and sections of safety barrier.
During works to demolish and install the large bridge deck beams, the M4 will be shut between junctions 12 and 13 on selected weekends, from 9pm Friday through to 5am Monday.
These closures are currently planned for: Friday, December 8, to Monday, December 11; from December 15 to 18; from January 12 to 15 next year and from January 19 to 22 next year.
A clearly-signed diversion will be in place via the A4 through Newbury, Thatcham and Woolhampton.
At the same time it will be necessary to close the roads underneath the M4 bridges as follows – the B4009 to the north of Hermitage; Brocks Lane, Frilsham, to the south of Everington Lane; and the road from Yattendon to Frilsham.
Traffic from the B4009 will be diverted to the A34. Diversions for the other road will be through Yattendon.
MATCH UPDATES: Available on Twitter @dartfordfc and on website www.dartfordfc.com