Dartford host their first game for just over a month when they welcome Oxford City to Princes Park this weekend.
The Darts have been on tour since their triumph over Concord Rangers at the end of September, travelling to the outskirts of London as well as back and forth from Kent to the West of England. During that time Tony Burman has overseen a perfect record and an eight match winning streak going back to 13 September.
Unbeaten at home this campaign the Darts will be full of confidence, especially after their latest away victory over Bath City. In a tight affair the National South fixture looked to be heading for a goalless draw until Luke Wanadio scored his third of the season to seal the three points. A fifth consecutive triumph on their travels in all competitions means Dartford are seventh in the league and a point off the playoffs.
Last term the Darts slipped up in their quest for a playoff spot when they played Oxford City. A last minute penalty from Elliot Bradbrook salvaged a point, but all three were needed to give Dartford a chance of reaching the top five. The spot kick was Bradbrook’s second of the afternoon, both of his goals came after Oxford City took the lead through Matty Wichelow then Julen Lafuente.
Oxford City started with promise last term outscoring the majority of opponents reaching second place in November. The rest of the campaign fizzled out as the club finished twelfth. This time the Nomads are closer to the relegation places and currently occupy eighteenth place, three points above the drop zone.
Justin Merritt’s side have only won twice since the opening day victory over Welling United, picking up just nine points from the last 42 available. Wins away to Bath City and Poole Town are the Nomads highlights so far, but on three separate occasions they have managed to lose three league games in a row. A 0-0 draw in a six pointer against Weston-super-Mare last weekend equals their best run this season of two league matches unbeaten.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 1 / Oxford City wins: 1 / Draws: 2
Current League Form
Won 1-0 v Bath City
Won 5-0 v Truro City (A)
Won 2-1 v Concord Rangers (A)
Won 2-0 v Margate (A)
Drew 1-1 v East Thurrock United (A)
Won 2-1 v Welling United (H)
Oxford City (DWLLLD)
Drew 0-0 v Weston-super-Mare (H)
Won 3-1 v Poole Town (A)
Lost 0-1 v East Thurrock United (H)
Lost 0-3 v Whitehawk (A)
Lost 1-3 v Maidenhead United (H)
Drew 1-1 v Truro City (H)
Dartford 2 Oxford City 1 (23/04/2016 – National South)
Oxford City 2 Dartford 1 (15/09/2015 – National South)
Oxford City 2 Dartford 4 (04/11/2008 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 3 Oxford City 3 (01/11/2008 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford have won eight games in a row in all competitions beating their best run since January 2012.
Another victory will equal the run set twenty years ago between 20 March 1996 and 27 April 1996. With eight Kent League wins and a Kent Senior Trophy triumph the Darts won nine in a row. The club record of ten consecutive wins was set just eight days before. If it wasn’t for a draw with Deal Town between the two winning streaks, a Dartford victory against the coastal club would have set a staggering record of 20 wins in a row.
The Darts have kept three clean sheets in a row for the first time since December. Dartford won three back to back away games 1-0 in the National South. This time the trio of away wins and clean sheets have came in league and cup with the Darts scoring nine without reply.
Only league leaders Maidenhead United (8) and local rival Ebbsfleet United (10) have conceded fewer goals than Dartford (12) in this season’s National South.
On This Day
Local rivals Ebbsfleet United visited Princes Park in a F.A Cup replay three years ago. The fourth qualifying round tie ended with Dartford earning the bragging rights thanks to an Elliot Bradbrook winner from the spot. Victory ended a run of four straight loses on 29 October against Bromley in the F.A Cup fourth qualifying round five years ago, Stamford Town in 2005, Crawley Town in 1996 and Deal Town in the F.A Vase back in 1994. Prior the winless sequence the Darts had won six in a row between 1977 and 1991, proceeding to the F.A Cup first round on three occasions in 1983, 1988 and 1989.