Upcoming MatchMargate vs Dartford/July 16, 2024/Hartsdown Park

MATCH PREVIEW – Concord Rangers v Dartford

concord rangers match preview

Dartford look to put more distance between them and the chasing pack when they visit relegation battlers Concord Rangers on the weekend.

The Darts are in a healthy position eyeing up a runners up place and home advantage in the playoffs. With nine games remaining, Dartford are six points clear of Oxford City and Braintree Town in joint third and twelve ahead of eighth spot. Concord Rangers are trying to stay in the National South and although they have games in hand at the foot of the table, they desperately need to get a positive result at Thames Road on Saturday.

YouTube player
Match Highlights – Concord Rangers v Dartford (02/11/2021) – Dartford FC TV

For a third game in four, the Darts travel to a side in the drop zone and on the previous two occasions they managed to pick up just one point. Last time they travelled across the River Thames to take on the Beachboys they lost 1-0 on a cold November evening. Lemar Reynolds scored the decisive goal to separate the two teams. It was just as tight two months later when a goalless draw was played out at Princes Park.

However, Dartford got the better of the Beachboys earlier this season thanks to the influential Samir Carruthers. The midfielder stood out and opened the scoring in the first half with a deflected effort, but Mo Bettamer levelled the score from the spot just before the break. A neat move in the second-half saw Pierre Fonkeu swivel and shoot beyond goalkeeper Mitch Beeney to regain Dartford’s lead. Maximum points were secured when Dan Wilks’ drop kick found its way to the edge of the Concord Rangers box. A lack of communication between Beeney and Aron Pollock led to the defender passing the ball into his own goal.

YouTube player
Match Highlights – Dartford v Concord Rangers (26/11/2022) – Dartford FC TV

On the road the Darts have struggled lately and after disappointing displays against teams in the bottom four, a 3-1 defeat at Weymouth and a difficult 1-1 draw at Hungerford Town, the Darts put on an excellent performance last weekend. Luke Coulson returned to the starting eleven to run the show against Farnborough by scoring and assisting in the second half. Whilst the winger was included in the matchday squad, defender Connor Essam missed out meaning Keiran Murtagh dropped to centre back. New signing, Harvey Bradbury made an impact when he came on for his debut and Sam Odaudu made a first appearance since Boxing Day from off the bench. Jernade Meade and Jordan Wynter were out injured after missing the draw at Hungerford Town, whilst Tommy Block and Charlie Sheringham have been longer term absentees.

The Darts made a bright start and on six minutes Statham poked the ball over the line from a Carruthers corner, the defender’s first goal since the derby day win at Ebbsfleet United. Corners caused problems for the visitors with Murtagh hitting the bar on 20 minutes and later Statham had what would have been his second ruled out for a foul. Coulson came out in the second half confidently and doubled the lead within five minutes of the restart by rounding Jack Turner and slotting into an empty net. With the Darts two up Dowson introduced Bradbury for his debut and it wasn’t long before the striker got off the mark. Parsons who squandered several chances in first half scored a consolation for the visitors to deny Dartford a sixth clean sheet in seven league games at Princes Park.

YouTube player
Match Highlights – Dartford v Farnborough (11/03/2023) – Dartford FC TV

Alex Wall now has more competition up front which has been missing since Sheringham’s injury. The striker could be facing one of his former clubs who he historically helped get to the F.A Trophy final in September 2020. Wall scored an 80th minute winner against Halesowen Town in the semi-final before narrowly losing at Wembley to Harrogate Town. His first spell at Thames Road came after he was signed by the Darts in the summer of 2018 and released before the season began. He netted 21 goals in 34 appearances for the Beachboys in that campaign then teamed up with Dowson at Woking for a short period. A second stint with the Essex club followed and that’s when the striker wrote his name in the Concord Rangers history books. On the other side, Ricky Modeste could come up against some of his former teammates. The winger made just three appearances for the Darts during the 2020/2021 season.

After a tough start to their campaign Concord Rangers have struggled this term. A run of one draw and eight defeats led to Chris Search being replaced by current manager Rob Small, who joined from Bowers and Pitsea. The new boss inherited a side with only eight points from 12 matches and although he lost his first game in charge, the Beachboys went on to win four of the next six. Since early December the Essex side have won just two of their last 14, one away at Weymouth and the other last weekend at Welling United.

The much-needed victory at Park View Road came after a couple of relegation six pointers in which they lost 5-0 in the reverse fixture versus Weymouth, drew 2-2 with Chippenham Town and were beaten 2-0 by Slough Town. A debut was given to Max Hudson who has joined on loan from Ipswich Town and Ben Steward, who worked with Small at Bowers and Pitsea and has signed from East Thurrock United. Charlie Campbell was included in the matchday squad after arriving on loan from Norwich City. However, it was Mo Bettamer who scored the match winner 50 seconds into the second half to win in Kent.

Concord Rangers returned to the foot of the table on Tuesday night in an Essex derby with Chelmsford City. Bettamer was involved in another early goal, this time five minutes into the match when he headed the Beachboys in front. Two former Darts helped the Clarets turnaround as the visitors ran out 2-1 winners. Ody Alfa set up Michael Folivi for the equaliser before the interval. Then with 12 minutes remaining Beeney saved Folivi’s penalty only for Giovanni McGregor to score the rebound. Rob Small’s side have now lost all ten games against opposition in the current top six and are six points adrift from safety.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 6 / Concord Rangers wins: 4 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford
(DWDLDW)
Concord Rangers
(DLDLWL)
Farnborough H 3-1 Chelmsford City H 1-2
Hungerford Town A 1-1 Welling United A 1-0
Weymouth A 1-3 Slough Town H 0-2
Oxford City H 0-0 Chippenham Town A 2-2
Slough Town H 1-0 Weymouth H 0-5
Braintree Town A 1-1 Tonbridge Angels A 2-2

Last Six Meetings

Dartford 3 – 1 Concord Rangers (26/11/2022 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 0 Concord Rangers (25/01/2022 – National South)
Concord Rangers 1 – 0 Dartford (02/11/2021 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Concord Rangers (21/12/2019 – National South)
Concord Rangers 0 – 2 Dartford (14/09/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Concord Rangers (26/01/2019 – National South)

Statistics

  • Dartford are on a run of five away games without a win in the league, the longest spell under Alan Dowson’s time in charge (D3, L2)
  • The Darts last went six without an away league victory in a single season during the 2016/2017 campaign (25 February 2017 to 14 April 2017)
  • It’s been five months since Dartford’s last clean sheet on the road in the National South versus Tonbridge Angels on 15 October 2022 (13 matches)

On This Day

Dartford hit Truro City for five for a second time in the 2016/2017 campaign when they won 5-3. On a day Tom Bonner was presented with an award for 200 appearances and Ryan Hayes for 100 matches, the Darts came from behind to lead 2-1 at the break. Andrew Neal scored for the visitors before Andy Pugh and Elliot Bradbrook put the Darts in front. In the second-half the goals continued. Neal equalised for Truro City, then Luke Wanadio restored Dartford’s lead. The entertaining game was tied at 3-3 when Jamie Richards scored 12 minutes from time, but Pugh and Tom Murphy finally secured victory for the Darts. On the way to claiming the Isthmian Premier League title in 2010, Dartford beat Horsham 3-1 at Princes Park with Bradbrook netting a brace and Allan Tait scoring the other. The last away fixture on 18 March was back in 2006 when the Darts were beaten 3-2 at Wingate and Finchley in the Southern DIvision One East.