Dartford need to return to winning ways after a dip in form has left them clinging on to top spot and next up is an away trip to Wealdstone this weekend.
February doesn’t get much easier with a testing fixture at twelfth place Wealdstone, who have won their last three National South games and lost just twice against the Darts in the last sixteen meetings. Dartford have lost consecutive league matches for the first time in almost two years, but just about lead the National South by two points having played more games then their closest rivals.
Despite the Stones being one of Dartford’s bogey teams, the last trip to Grosvenor Vale ended in a comprehensive 4-0 victory last season. The Darts record their biggest win against their opponents since 1991. Luke Wanadio scored from the edge of the box, Ryan Hayes scored with a trademark curling effort, Elliot Bradbrook added a third and Andy Pugh netted the fourth.
The last clash between the two sides was in November on a night of mixed emotions for the Darts. Finding themselves 2-1 down, Dartford showed character to go in front at 3-2 with the goals coming from Alfie Pavey (two) and Andy Pugh. However, the three points were thrown away as the Stones levelled the game from the spot with three minutes to go in an entertaining 3-3 draw.
Penalty decisions and last minute goals seem to be a hot topic for Dartford this week after another three points were dropped last weekend. Ryan Hayes scored a superb solo goal at Princes Park against Chelmsford City but all was forgotten as the Clarets left it late to snatch victory. A controversial penalty was awarded with four minutes to go which Kudus Oyenuga scored, then in injury time Taylor Miles netted direct from a corner.
Another talking point was the first start of the campaign for Duane Ofori-Acheampong, who partnered Danny Mills up front. Burman choose to leave out form strikers Andy Pugh and Alfie Pavey for their physical presence against a strong Chelmsford City side. However, it was what Burman called the ‘lack of intelligence’ by his players that cost his side the match citing errors that led to the two conceded goals.
Pushing for the playoffs, Wealdstone went to Truro City last weekend and won 3-1 thanks to a brace from David Pratt and a third by Daniel Green, who scored at Princes Park earlier in the season. The league win is the Stones third in a row and was the sixth in all competitions under Bobby Wilkinson. On Tuesday night they lost a Middlesex Senior Cup semi-final on penalties versus Staines Town.
The Middlesex have a congested schedule this week with Dartford on Saturday followed by a Monday night clash with Gloucester City. The Stones will also have one eye on the up and coming F.A Trophy quarter final tie against Billericay Town. A run that has seen them knock out Chelmsford City, Wingate and Finchley then Hereford.
Head to Head
Wealdstone wins: 13 / Dartford wins: 12 / Draws: 13
Current League Form
|Wealdstone (WWWLDL)||Dartford (LLWDWD)|
|Truro City||A||3-1||Chelmsford City||H||1-2|
|Weston-super-Mare||H||2-1||St Albans City||A||0-4|
|Bognor Regis Town||H||3-0||Whitehawk||H||3-1|
|Hampton & Richmond||H||0-3||Chippenham Town||A||2-2|
|Hampton & Richmond||A||1-1||Havant & Waterlooville||H||1-0|
|St Albans City||H||1-3||Concord Rangers||A||1-1|
Dartford last suffered back to back defeats in March 2016 losing three in a row between 5 March and 15 March to Weston-super-Mare (1-2), Whitehawk (2-4) and Maidenhead United (1-2).
The Darts won last season at Wealdstone which was the first time in eight attempts, stretching back to a 4-0 Southern League Cup win in 1989.
In the last three meetings between Dartford and Wealdstone 14 goals have been scored in total.
Both teams have scored in this fixture in 13 of the last 16 matches against each other.
On This Day
Dartford beat Runcorn in a F.A Trophy third round replay in 1987, on the way to the semi-final which they lost to Burton Albion. The replay was forced after a brave Tony Burman header levelled the first tie at 1-1, the return fixture ended 2-1 to the Darts. Dartford last won on 17 February back in 1996 when they beat Corinthian 3-0 at Gay Dawn Farm in the Kent League. The Darts have lost their last two fixtures on this day both at home. Seventeen years ago, Tonbridge Angels won with a single goal in the Southern League Division One East and in 2007, Fleet Town beat Dartford 2-1 in the Isthmian Division One South.
DATE: Saturday 17th February 2018
VENUE: Grosvenor Vale, Ruislip, Middlesex, HA4 6JQ
KICK OFF: 3:00pm
- Adults £13
- Concessions* £9 ( Over 65 and Students)
- Juniors (U18s) £3
- ** Under 14s are admitted FREE to NLS games when accompanied by an adult.
TURNSTILES: Open from 1:00pm
- From the M1: Follow Signs for Heathrow Airport on the M25. Come off at Junction 16 onto the A40, come off at The Polish War Memorial junction A4180 sign posted to Ruislip, continue on West End Road, right into Grosvenor Vale after approx 1.5 miles, the ground is at the end of the road.
- From the M4: Junction 4B, take the M25 Towards Watford, come Off Junction 16 and join A40 towards Wembley, come off at The Polish War Memorial junction A4180 sign posted to Ruislip, continue on West End Road, right into Grosvenor Vale after approx 1.5 miles, the ground is at the end of the road.
- From the M40: Bottom of M40, join A40 towards Wembley, come off at The Polish War Memorial junction A4180 sign posted to Ruislip, continue on West End Road, right into Grosvenor Vale after approx 1.5 miles, the ground is at the end of the road.
- From the M25: Junction 16 off onto A40, come off at The Polish War Memorial junction A4180 sign posted to Ruislip, continue on West End Road, right into Grosvenor Vale after approx 1.5 miles, the ground is at the end of the road.
- From Heathrow Airport: Follow Signs to M4. Follow M4 Towards Reading. Take Junction 4B onto M25 come off at Junction 16 and join A40 towards Wembley, come off at The Polish War Memorial junction A4180 sign posted to Ruislip, continue on West End Road, right into Grosvenor Vale after approx 1.5 miles, the ground is at the end of the road.
- Ruislip Underground Station (Metropolitan/Piccadilly Line) On immediately leaving the station turn left and walk up the stairs (Waitrose will be opposite you), turn left and go over the bridge, past the Barn Hotel, for approx 250 yards and turn left into Grosvenor Vale.
- Ruislip Gardens Underground Station (Central Line). Turn right into West End Road, under the railway bridge, past the shops keep going for approx 1/2 mile, turn right into Grosvenor Vale, the ground is at the end of the road. The E7 bus runs between Ealing Broadway and Ruislip Stations. There are stops on both sides of West End Road for Grosvenor Vale.
For those on the supporters coach, the coach will be leaving at 11:30am – Spaces still available; contact Mick Austin 07969 181 796
TWITTER UPDATES : Full match commentary will be on @dartfordfc