Dartford are hoping to get back to winning ways this weekend and be the first team to beat Billericay Town at the New Lodge in the league this season.
The Darts were beaten at home in their last outing against a Hampton and Richmond Borough side aiming for the playoffs. Billericay Town took on league leaders Wealdstone and like so many this campaign ended up coming away with nothing to show.
Despite taking an early lead through Luke Wanadio’s sixth minute header, the Darts lost 2-1 to Hampton and Richmond Borough and manager Steve King was disappointed, he told DFCTV after the match: “We didn’t play at our level, we played nowhere near what we’re capable of and when you do that in this division and when you’re against a good side challenging for the playoffs you end up losing”.
Although there were some questionable decisions, when Tom Bonner and Sanchez Ming ended up on the wrong side of challenges that may have seen a red card, King believes ultimately it was down to the team’s performance, he explained: “They were incidents that may change games, but that’s not the reason we’ve lost the game because we were not good enough”. Danilo Orsi-Dadamo and Ryan Hill were on target for the Beavers as the visitors took their chances, King believed ‘costly errors’ and a ‘lack of control in midfield’ were the main factors behind the defeat.
Billericay Town have a strong unbeaten home record winning five and drawing six, King added: “Billericay is not going to be easy, their home form is as good as any in the division. It’s a very tough place to go with a testing pitch as well”. The Darts will go to Essex without Elliot Romain, who has ten league goals in 17 league starts. The striker was sent off against Hampton and Richmond Borough picking up two yellow cards. However, Amrit Bansal-McNullty returns from his suspension after his dismissal at Chippenham Town and new signing Giovanni McGregor is available after making his debut on the weekend.
Dartford have won their last two meetings with Billericay Town both at Princes Park. In December, the 3-2 victory ensured the Darts finished the afternoon ahead of their opponents in the National South as they climbed above the Essex club in the league. Goalkeeper, Alhaji Sesay made his debut and since then he’s made the number one shirt his own. On the same day Steve King handed debuts to loanee Rowan Liburd, who has since returned to Hereford and to midfielder Miloud Djouaher, who made a substitute appearance.
It took just ten minutes for Darren McQueen to give Dartford the lead when he smashed the ball past former Dart, Alan Julian in the Blues goal. A fine attacking move put the Darts two up when Liam Gordan’s cross was met by McQueen, his header was parried by Julian and Elliot Romain followed up. However, Dartford let the advantage slip as another former Darts, Femi Akinwande pulled one back. Romain scored his second of the day from another rebound and Billericay’s Odysseus Alfa netted a penalty.
Last season’s meeting at Princes Park was just as entertaining with both sides challenging for a playoff place. Tom Murphy became the hero with two late goals overturning Jake Robinson’s strike for Billericay Town. Dartford last visited New Lodge in September 2018 and a last-minute Jamie Philpot goal rescued a point for the Darts after Jake Robinson’s spot kick had given the Blues the lead.
This month, manager Jamie O’Hara extended his contract with the Essex club. The former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder will remain at the club until the end of the 2020-2021 campaign. Since taking over as boss the 33-year-old has guided his team to just two league victories in 15 attempts, and one of those was a 3-1 home victory over league leaders Wealdstone just over a month ago.
Although Billericay Town are three points above relegation, they are playing catch up with their games due to the amount of postponements at New Lodge. The Blues have only lost nine times, one fewer than the Darts, and need to find a way of turning draws into victories. Last weekend they faced the daunting task of picking up points at Wealdstone and ended up losing 3-0. To rub salt in to the Billericay Town wound Moses Emmanuel scored, and Ross Lafayette grabbed a brace, two former Blues players.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 4 / Billericay Town wins: 2 / Draws: 1
Current League Form
|Hampton & Richmond||H||1-2||Wealdstone||A||0-3|
|Chippenham Town||A||5-1||Tonbridge Angels||H||3-3|
|Dulwich Hamlet||H||1-0||Dorking Wanderers||A||4-4|
|Slough Town||A||0-1||Slough Town||H||2-2|
|Dorking Wanderers||A||3-2||Bath City||A||1-2|
Last Six Meetings
Dartford last won at Billericay Town in October 2008 with Lee Noble scoring the winning goal. Since then the Darts have lost and drawn one when visiting the Essex club.
The Darts have won their last two matches against Billericay Town both at Princes Park.
Dartford have kept six league clean sheets in their last nine games. Billericay Town have gone 11 league games without a clean sheet.
Over the last eight matches Dartford have picked up 2.25 points per game, the joint best with league leaders Wealdstone.
On This Day
Ryan Hayes scored a late free-kick to earn a draw with local rivals Welling United nine years ago. The National South fixture at Princes Park was heading Welling United’s way after Jack Parkinson headed the Wings in front. However, with six minutes left Hayes hit his free-kick with power and swerve to share the points. The Darts last won on 15 February back in 1992 when they beat Trowbridge Town 2-0 at home in the Southern Premier League. In between their last victory and the draw with Welling United, the Darts lost 2-1 at Weymouth in 1997 and 4-1 versus Erith and Belvedere in 2003.