Dartford travel to the Jurassic coast this weekend starting the day top of the National South when they visit Poole Town.
If their last trip to Tatnam Road is anything to go by, then it should be an entertaining afternoon. The Darts played their final game of last season against the Dolphins needing a win to clinch third place. Andy Pugh’s ninth minute tap in set Dartford on their way. However, Poole Town came from behind with a headed goal by Marvin Brooks and a second from Steve Devlin before half time. The game swung in second half injury time when Tom Murphy hooked the ball over his head from close range, then six minutes into stoppage time Lee Noble lashed home a winner.
Despite leading the National South table, Dartford’s advantage is minimal with the top eight separated by just four points. Recent form has been patchy with the last four results showing the Darts inconsistencies at the moment. Last weekend a late 2-1 F.A Trophy victory versus Brentwood Town masked the performance, Lee Noble scoring the winner against his former club who play two divisions below. The midfielder, who was sent off in the last league match, a 3-3 draw with Wealdstone, is suspended this weekend.
The two previous fixtures saw Dartford beat Gloucester City 4-1 at home but lose 3-1 down at Truro City. During the week manager, Tony Burman spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “The league is crying out for someone to go on a run. Each week, the results become stranger for the teams in the top few places and I’ve got to really start to look at it”, he added: “We’ve got to start trying to be consistent. We’ve done all right but I want better than all right and the players know that”, he continued: “Some of the performances have been below-par and you have to go through that in a season. Hopefully, you put things right and I’m sure we’ll be able to do that and have a run where we’re picking up wins instead of draws”.
Poole Town would have made the playoffs last season, but ground grading prevented them from participating. After winning the Southern League the year before, a fifth place finish was a great achievement for the club. This season they have failed to win at home picking up just three points out of 27 available. The opportunity for Dartford to improve their away form is their for the taking but Burman remains cautious, he commented: “Poole are a good side and they’re playing a lot better than their league position suggests. It’s a big pitch down there and I’m expecting a tough game. We’ve got to go to these away games and start picking up more points. Rather than drawing, we’ve got to try to win the games”.
The Dolphins went out of the F.A Trophy last weekend losing 3-1 to St Albans City and on Tuesday they won a Dorset Senior Cup game 10-2 against Hamworthy United. Manager Tom Killick, now in his thirteenth year can look towards the 4-0 away win at Eastbourne Borough at the start of the month for inspiration, however his side have lost their last two league games without scoring.
Warren Bentley signed for Poole Town this term and is their main goal threat, scoring 11 goals in 15 games in all competitions. The striker was prolific at Winchester City before joining Gosport Borough and then Hungerford Town. Bentley is only one league goal behind Dartford’s top scorer Alfie Pavey who has netted 11 National South goals this campaign.
The recent run of results has led to Poole Town chairman, Chris Reeves urging fans to turn up this weekend. In a statement published on www.pooletownfc.co.uk, he said: “If on Saturday against league leaders Dartford there is a bumper turnout of fans, all showing absolute backing and encouragement for a group of players who in the last few seasons have given us so much, that could be the very thing that makes the difference”.
Head to Head
Poole Town wins: 15 / Dartford wins: 16 / Draws: 5
Current League Form
|Poole Town (LLWDLW)||Dartford (DWLWWL)|
|Hampton & Richmond||A||0-1||Wealdstone||H||3-3|
|Braintree Town||H||0-3||Gloucester City||H||4-1|
|Eastbourne Borough||A||4-0||Truro City||A||1-3|
|Concord Rangers||H||1-1||St Albans City||H||2-1|
|Gloucester City||H||0-3||Bath City||A||2-1|
|Havant & Waterlooville||A||2-2||Chelmsford City||A||0-1|
Dartford have lost three of their last four away games in the National South
The Darts have won four of the last six away matches against Poole Town (D1, L1)
Dartford have conceded in each of their last four away games in the league
The Darts have played only three teams currently in the bottom half of the table away from home this season. Whitehawk and Bath City were beaten but Dartford lost to Weston-super-Mare.
On This Day
A second round Kent Senior Trophy win against Folkestone Invicta took place 22 years ago. The Darts won the second round tie 1-0 against one of the favourites. Dean Bowey scored the winner in front of a crowd of 327. Victory kick started Dartford’s run to the final after beating Whitstable Town 2-1, Furness 1-0 then claim the trophy with a 3-0 win over Chatham Town. Since then, in 2006 Dartford have beaten Fleet Town 3-0 thanks to a Brendon Cass hat-trick. Two years later Dartford beat Margate 3-2 in the Isthmian League Cup second round, Sean Eferakorho, Rob Haworth and Ryan Hayes all getting a goal. The last match on 2 December was in 2014 when the Darts lost 2-0 in the National League against Eastleigh.
DATE: Saturday 2nd December 2017
VENUE: The Black Gold Stadium – Tatnam, Oakdale School, Poole, Dorset, BH15 3JR
KICK OFF: 3:00pm
Adults – £12.00
Concessions: Seniors/Students/Disabled/Unemployed/Forces – £8.00
Cons/U18’s – £5.00
U13’s – £1.00
TURNSTILES: Open from 1:30pm
PARKING: PARKING IS AVAILABLE IN THE SCHOOL CAR PARK ON SCHOOL LANE OR ADDITIONAL CAR PARKING:
THIS IS AVAILABLE AT POOLE STADIUM OFF WIMBORNE ROAD. A FOOTPATH RUNS FROM THERE ALONGSIDE THE RAILWAY LINE TO STERTE BRIDGE/TATNAM ROAD OPPOSITE THE GROUND.
MATCH UPDATES: Available on Twitter @dartfordfc and on website www.dartfordfc.com