Fresh from progression in the F.A Trophy, Dartford return to National South action this weekend when they host bottom of the table Billericay Town.
Unbeaten in four against this weekend’s opponents, the Darts have played their last three matches at Princes Park against the Blues, all ending in victories. Whilst the Darts are challenging at the top, Billericay Town are three points adrift at the foot of the table.
The last two meetings came in different campaigns as each season was cut short. Last term a Charlie Sheringham inspired hat-trick led the Darts to a comfortable 3-0 triumph. Returning from a loan spell, the striker impressed in the second half netting all three of his goals to see off the Essex side. In the previous season, this match was much closer with the Darts edging out Billericay Town 3-2, goals from Darren McQueen and a brace from Elliott Romain. It was also a tight affair back in April 2019 with Dartford heading for defeat until a late brace from Tom Murphy made sure the Darts completed a 2-1 comeback.
Potentially, Jake Robinson could line up against his former club having been a prolific scorer for the Essex side over two spells. One of his Billericay Town goals was in that 3-2 reverse back in December 2019. In April 2018, the striker made history at New Lodge scoring 57 goals in one season to set a club record. He netted 13 times in the following campaign and moved to Maidstone United. After three months with the Stones and just one goal, he returned to Billericay Town and picked up where he left off. Robinson impressed again in his second spell adding many more goals to his tally.
At Dartford, the 35 year-old has spent time on the sidelines recovering from injury and a start on the weekend will be his first in the league since September, when he scored against Bath City to make it three league goals in four National South appearances. Coming back to match fitness, manager Steve King has started Robinson in the recent cup games where he scored against Cockfosters and claimed the matchball with a hat-trick in the Kent Senior Cup final win over Whitstable Town.
Robinson also started in Dartford’s last outing which ended in a penalty shoot out victory at Bath City in the F.A Trophy. That takes the Darts unbeaten run to six now, which includes three wins and three draws in normal time. Another former Billericay Town player involved in Saturday’s win was Luke Wanadio, who made his way across the Thames with Robinson in the summer, the winger came on as a substitute as the Darts claimed a 5-3 triumph in the shoot-out.
King was pleased to get through into the next round on a difficult afternoon where the ‘wind played havoc with the game’. Speaking to Dartford FC TV after the trophy tie, King felt it was a similar game to the league meeting between the two teams when each side dominated a half each.
Looking forward to this weekend’s league match, King is not taking Billericay Town’s lowly league position for granted and feels the Darts are starting to reach their early season promise, he explained: “We’re six unbeaten now and we’ve got to continue and keep the run going. Billericay are having a tough time at the moment”, he continued: “It’s going to be another tough game, if we drop the standards we will lose the football match. That’s the pressure that’s on, they need to stand up and be counted and I think a lot of the games lately we’ve been okay, we’ve been back to somewhere near to what we was”.
Billericay Town started the campaign with Kevin Watson in charge, but after just one point from the opening six league games he left the New Lodge. Jody Brown was appointed and the day after he watched the Blues win their first league game of the season beating a decent Dulwich Hamlet side. Brown was in the dugout for the next fixture and claimed the club’s second straight success on debut winning against Slough Town. Since then they have suffered six National South defeats on the spin. During their current run they have netted just twice and shipped in fourteen goals.
Brown has made a few adjustments to the squad adding a former Dart in Denilson Carvalho to the team. Carvalho had a very brief spell with Dartford and his only appearance was in the 3-0 win against Billericay Town. Before Brown’s arrival, the Blues squad already had a number of links with the Darts and in particular signings made by Steve King. Midfielder, Bagasan Graham moved into the New Lodge in September, his only start for the Darts was in the 1-1 draw with Tonbridge Angels this season. Rowan Liburd and Norman Wabo also had a spell at Princes Park in 2019/2020, Liburd is currently out on loan at Cheshunt, but Wabo is featuring under Brown. The forward scored four times in his spell with Dartford in 18 appearances. He was also on target in Billericay Town’s last game, his fifth of the season, but they went out of the F.A Trophy on penalties against Maidstone United.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 5 / Billericay Town wins: 2 / Draws: 1
|Hemel Hempstead Town||A||3-2||Hampton & Richmond Borough||H||0-1|
|Oxford City||H||0-0||Chippenham Town||A||0-3|
|Chippenham Town||H||3-3||Hungerford Town||H||1-4|
|Concord Rangers||A||0-1||Welling United||A||0-1|
|Dorking Wanderers||A||0-1||St Albans City||A||1-4|
|Chelmsford City||A||0-0||Tonbridge Angels||H||0-1|
Previous Meetings (last six)
Dartford 1 – 0 Billericay Town (12/01/2021 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Billericay Town (14/12/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Billericay Town (22/04/2019 – National South)
Billericay Town 1 – 1 Dartford (15/09/2018 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 4 Billericay Town (06/03/2010 – Isthmian Premier)
Billericay Town 1 – 0 Dartford (02/02/2010 – Isthmian Premier)
- Dartford have won their last three matches against Billericay Town all at Princes Park
- The Darts are four games unbeaten against the Blues
- Billericay Town’s only victories against the Darts came in 2010, when Dartford won the Isthmian Premier League
On This Day
Yohance Lewis scored a brace in an Isthmian League Cup tie against Whitstable Town on this day in 2007. His goals helped the Darts reach the fourth round in a 3-0 victory, Tom Bradbrook netted the other. That is Dartford’s only triumph on this day in their last seven attempts. The Darts have lost the last two 2-0 against Torquay United in 2018 and 1-0 versus Nuneaton Town six years earlier. A couple notable wins on this day include a 5-0 thrashing over Wealdstone in the Southern League Cup back in 1989 and an away F.A Trophy triumph against rivals Gravesend and Northfleet in 1971, the Darts progressed in a 2-0 victory.