Dartford were without a game on the weekend, but are back in National South action this week when they visit title challengers Woking.
Four and half years have passed since the Darts last visited the Kingfield Stadium, a venue Dartford have yet to record a win at. Last time the two sides played in the National South they were going head to head for the title, with the Cards triumphing and the Darts going up in the playoffs.
Dartford have gone four games without a win on their travels. Defeats to Welling United and Chelmsford City sandwiched draws against East Thurrock United and Wealdstone. Despite the barren away spell manager Jamie Coyle has belief in the squad, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “If everyone does their job and wins their individual battles, there’s no reason why, with the quality we’ve got in our team, we can’t go there and win”, he continued: “Everyone’s beating everyone this season and we go into every game believing we can win. It’ll be no different when we go to Woking”.
During the National League years, Giuseppe Sole scored Woking’s winner from the penalty spot in 2012 in a game which saw Lee Noble pick up two yellow cards inside five minutes. The Cards claimed a 3-0 victory over a year later with Jack Marriott, now of Derby County on the scoresheet. In the last meeting Rory McAuley put the Darts ahead, but Sole was on hand again by equalising in injury time.
In the two campaigns Dartford met Woking in the National South they lost 1-0 in the promotion winning season and were involved in an entertaining 2-2 draw in the season before. Ryan Hayes cleverly lobbed goalkeeper Andy Little to put the Darts in front. After Elvis Hammond and Craig Faulconbridge gave Woking the lead, George Purcell produced a stunning half-volley over Little for the leveller.
Dartford were without a fixture on the weekend due to Hemel Hempstead Town’s involvement in the F.A Trophy. In their last outing the Darts were held to a 1-1 draw by Concord Rangers at Princes Park. Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle made three changes to the side that lost to Chelmsford City bringing in Elliot Bradbrook for the injured Billy Crook, Andre Coker replaced Ryan Hayes and Lee Noble was back in league action after serving a three-match ban. Dartford took the lead when former Beachboy, Ben Greenhalgh scored against his former club. Concord Rangers equalised when Jack Midson scored a penalty and after the Essex club were reduced to ten men, the Darts couldn’t turn a draw into victory.
Relegated from the National League last term Woking are challenging for the title and an immediate return. The Cards are going toe to toe with Torquay United who followed the Surrey club down to the National South. Manager, Alan Dowson was put in charge in the summer and the former Hampton and Richmond Borough boss has guided Woking to second so far, four points behind league leaders Torquay United. The Cards also have two games in hand, built up after a fantastic F.A Cup run which saw Woking reach the third round by beating Tooting and Mitcham United, Kempston Rovers, Welling United and Torquay United before causing a cupset against Swindon Town. The Cards lost admirably to Premier League opposition Watford by 2-0.
On the weekend, like many other fixtures, Woking’s game was called off meaning there last outing ended in defeat at home. Wealdstone ended the Surrey sides eleven-game unbeaten league run, but Dowson and company can still overhaul leaders Torquay United if they win their games in hand. Woking lost 2-0 failing to score for only the second time this term, the only other time was the reverse fixture against the Stones in August.
Likely to come back to Princes Park, utility man Nathan Collier has been a regular starter for Woking this term with 32 appearances. Collier worked with Dowson at Hampton and Richmond Borough and played for the Darts over two spells racking up 21 appearances last term for Dartford. Another former Dart in the squad is Duane Ofori-Acheampong, but the striker has been out of favour and has managed just 15 appearances, ten of those from the subs bench.
Due to the weather conditions Woking have had extra days to recover from their reverse against Wealdstone. Top scorers Jake Hyde and Max Kretzschmar have both been suffering with injuries and the additional respite may help them recover in time. Dowson has also strengthened the squad by adding Rhys Murrell-Williamson and Bradley Hudson-Odoi, brother of Chelsea’s Callum.
Head to Head
Woking wins: 5 / Dartford wins: 4 / Draws: 2
Current League Form
|Woking (LDWWWW)||Dartford (DLWDWD)|
|St Albans City||A||1-1||Chelmsford City||A||1-2|
|Welling United||H||2-0||St Albans City||H||3-2|
|Hampton & Richmond||A||3-0||Wealdstone||A||1-1|
|Eastbourne Borough||H||2-0||Welling United||H||1-0|
|Hampton & Richmond||H||3-1||East Thurrock United||A||2-2|
Dartford have picked up an average of 1.15 points per game on their travels whilst Woking have averaged 2.08 points per game at home.
The Darts are yet to keep a clean sheet against Woking in eleven attempts.
Woking have the third best attack with 50 goals and third best defence conceding just 27.
On This Day
Lee Noble scored against his future club eleven years ago as Dartford battled with ten men for 85 minutes to earn a 2-2 draw at Brentwood Town. Jay May was dismissed after just five minutes leaving the Darts up against it. To make matters worse Danny Dafter, who also joined Dartford put the Essex club ahead. Dartford took the lead through goals from Brendon Cass and John Guest before Noble levelled in the last minute. It has been nineteen years since Dartford won on 5 February in a Southern League South contest against Tonbridge Angels, the Darts triumphed 3-0. Since then Dartford drew 1-1 with Erith and Belvedere in 2005, drew with Brentwood Town and lost 3-0 to Gateshead in the F.A Trophy third round.
DATE: Tuesday 5th February 2019
VENUE: The Laithwaite Community Stadium, Kingfield Road, Woking, Surrey, GU22 9AA
KICK OFF: 19:45pm
TURNSTILES: Open from 18:00pm
Concessions: £10 *Concession – Over 65
Students: u19 – £5
Child (under 16) £5
FACILITIES: Bar and food open from 18:00pm
MATCH UPDATES: There will be no coverage on @dartfordfc, please follow Woking twitter for full match coverage.
COACH: – departure time 16:15pm, £15 members, £17 non-members– To make your booking, please speak to Mick Austin either by calling/texting on 07969 181796.