MATCH PREVIEW | Dartford v Billericay Town

The Darts have the opportunity to bounce back and regain top spot when they host Billericay Town on Tuesday night.

Dartford fell to defeat on the weekend against Braintree Town as top visited bottom. The 2-1 loss resulted in the Darts dropping to second after Dorking Wanderers won on Saturday.

Goalkeeper, Craig King started his three match ban for his red card versus rivals Ebbsfleet United, so Ethan Wady made his fifth start for the club. The only other change to the side that beat Tonbridge Angels 1-0 was the return of Femi Akinwande after seven years away. The on loan striker from Stevenage made a first appearance since his only start for the club, in a Kent Senior Cup tie back in March 2014.

After a fairly consistent start to the campaign, the Darts have now picked up just four points in their last four National South games. Braintree Town were the latest team to take points off Steve King’s side when they took a two goal lead through Percy Kiangebeni and Taofiqol Omowewe. Dartford’s Jazzi Barnum-Bobb became the second player in three matches to receive a red card and will now be facing suspension as well. Chris Dickson did manage to provide hope by scoring from the spot, the striker’s third goal in six appearances.

It’s been over a year since Dartford hosted Billericay Town in the only game they faced each other last season. The Darts moved above their visitors in the National South that day with a 3-2 thanks to the strike partnership of Darren McQueen and Elliott Romain. The breakthrough came after just ten minutes when McQueen smashed home the opener past former Dartford goalkeeper Alan Julian. Twelve minutes later when McQueen was denied by Julian, Romain was there to put in the rebound.

On the weekend new loan signing from Stevenage and former Dartford academy graduate, Femi Akinwande was up against his former team Braintree Town. On Tuesday night, the striker will face another previous club and, in the meeting last term he scored against the Darts to half the deficit. The two-goal advantage was restored by Romain who had his initial shot blocked by Julian, but once again he netted the follow up. Billericay Town made things uncomfortable towards the end when Jake Robinson scored from the spot.

Robinson has been in top form again for Ricay and at this level he knows where the goal is. In the 2017-2018 campaign he bagged 34 league goals and after a brief spell with Maidstone United he returned to New Lodge in March 2019. The striker has found his scoring boots again and this term he is in double figures already third in the National South scoring charts.

After an indifferent start and a 6-2 defeat to Hampton and Richmond Borough, former manager and Premier League midfielder Jamie O’Hara departed. Dan Brown and Ronnie Henry took charge for December losing to Essex rivals Braintree Town on penalties in the F.A Trophy before beating the Iron 3-1 in the league a fortnight later. January saw Ricay lose another Essex derby to Concord Rangers before being beaten 3-1 by Oxford City, former Dartford winger Luke Wanadio getting Billericay Town’s goal.

Wanadio returns to Princes park after two previous spells with the Darts both lasting one campaign. In 2016/2017 he made 53 appearances and scored 13 times helping the Darts to a third place finish. Last season he played 33 times scoring five goals before his summer move across the Thames.

New boss, Kevin Watson is yet to take charge of Ricay after the fixture against Eastbourne Borough was called off. The former Ebbsfleet United manager will lead his new side out for their first away game in almost two months.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Billericay Town wins: 2 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford
(LWDLWW)
Billericay Town
(LLWLDD)
Braintree TownA1-2Oxford CityH1-3
Tonbridge AngelsH1-0Concord RangersH0-1
Ebbsfleet UnitedH0-0Braintree TownH3-1
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Hampton and RichmondH2-6
Hungerford TownA2-1Maidstone UnitedA1-1
Slough TownH2-0Welling UnitedA2-2

Previous Meetings

14.12.2019Dartford3Billericay Town2
22.04.2019Dartford2Billericay Town1
15.09.2018Billericay Town1Dartford1
06.03.2010Dartford1Billericay Town4
02.02.2010Billericay Town1Dartford0
14.02.2009Dartford2Billericay Town0
04.10.2008Billericay Town0Dartford1

Stats

Dartford have lost two of their last four league games, as many defeats as in their first 11 National South fixtures.

The Darts are three unbeaten against Billericay Town, winning the last two meetings and drawing the other.

Dartford have won one of their last six competitive games in normal time (D2, L3). Billericay Town have won one of their last seven (D2, L4).

On This Day

Two years ago, a Phil Roberts wonder strike two minutes from time gave Dartford a 3-2 win over St Albans City. His second of the afternoon clinched all three points, Elliot Bradbrook opened the scoring. A flawless January in 2008 in which the Darts won all four league games, scoring 12 without conceding, kept Dartford on the Isthmian Division One North title track. It was on this day that Tony Burman’s side thrashed Illford 5-0 with a brace from Brendon Cass and goals by Jay May, John Guest and Steve Norman. That victory was the first of three consecutive wins on 12 January, all at Princes Park. In 2013, the Darts made it through to the F.A Trophy fourth round with a 4-2 win over Bromley. Dominic Green netted twice, Lee Burns and Harry Crawford to set up a tie against FC Halifax Town.