Dartford will want to extend their unbeaten home start in the National South to eight games on the weekend when they host Dulwich Hamlet.
The Darts have the only unbeaten home record in the division and will welcome valuable points after two disappointing Kent derby defeats and a draw against second from bottom Braintree Town on the road. Dulwich Hamlet on the other hand know victory will draw them level with Dartford in the league and a game in hand still to play, as fifth place takes on sixth.
Steve King’s side won the reverse fixture back in August with goals from Josh Hill and former Hamlet midfielder Tyrique Hyde. The 2-0 victory kept Dartford’s perfect start to the campaign with maximum points from their opening three games. The Hamlet included four former Darts in their starting eleven, Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, Tyrone Sterling, Giovanni McGregor and Darren McQueen, whilst Danny Mills was on the bench.
It was the second consecutive game in which Dartford beat this weekend’s opponents without conceding. The last time the two sides met at Princes Park, just over two years ago, McQueen scored the only goal of the game against his future employers. Previous home ties include a 2-1 win in October 2018, Jamie Philpot and Charlie Sheringham found the back of the net, and a 1-1 draw back in 2007 with Jay May scoring for the Darts. In the two other meetings, the 1996 F.A Trophy third qualifying round tie ended 0-0 and almost a century ago a friendly was won 3-1 by Dartford. Fortunes reverse when the Darts travel to SE22 with the victory in August their only one.
Dartford began 2022 with a 1-0 defeat at North Kent rivals Ebbsfleet United, leaving the Darts five points off the top with a game in hand. King opted to recall Ronnie Vint for his 200th game for the club, whilst Jordan Wynter and Michael Kedman made way for Josh Clarke and Jernade Meade. Also returning to the starting line up was Jack Jebb after his stunning last minute free-kick against Braintree Town, which earned a 2-2 draw. Danny Leonard was missing with Covid, whilst Josh Hill and Luke Allen remain long term absences through injury.
A second Kent derby loss in a row to start the New Year, after the 4-0 reverse at Maidstone United, left the Darts disappointed, King spoke to Dartford FC TV after the game and commented: “We were the better side in terms of the chances we had, I thought we had the clear cut chances. Ebbsfleet looked pleasing on the eye, good on the ball, their rotations were good, their movement was good, they had good energy, but we didn’t deserve to lose that football match”.
King pointed out that one of the factors between the two sides was the difference in professional status giving their opponents a slight edge, he commented: “We only train for two to three hours a week, it showed for me in athleticism. We defended brilliantly, we changed the shape and to a man we were fantastic. The only real time they cut us open was when they scored”.
Dartford can now look forward to a run of home games starting with Dulwich Hamlet. King added: “We haven’t lost at home this season so it will be nice to try and get some points on the board. But, again you look at the games we have got, Ebbsfleet, Dulwich, Weymouth (in the F.A Trophy), it’s an unforgiving division”.
Dulwich Hamlet have recorded the same scores as the Darts over the last two games both against teams in a relegation battle, a 2-2 away draw with Tonbridge Angels was followed up by a 1-0 defeat at home to Welling United. A former Hamlet player came back to haunt his old side by netting the decisive goal, Dipo Akinyemi’s 56th minute strike was enough for the Wings. Those setbacks followed Hamlets excellent 5-2 victory over title chasing Ebbsfleet United in which Dulwich Hamlet came from behind twice. Sterling, McQueen and McGregor all scored and Mills grabbed an assist.
Gavin Rose’s side have only lost one game on the road in the National South and that was to Oxford City towards the end of November. The Hamlet have also scored the third most amount of goals in the division so certainly have enough firepower to challenge the Dartford defence. The London based club have had a steady campaign so far with notable wins against Hemel Hempstead Town which ended 6-0 and a pair of 4-3 victories over Hampton and Richmond Borough and St Albans City.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 4 / Dulwich Hamlet wins: 3 / Draws: 3
Current League Form
|Ebbsfleet United||A||0-1||Welling United||H||0-1|
|Braintree Town||A||2-2||Tonbridge Angels||A||2-2|
|Maidstone United||A||0-4||Ebbsfleet United||H||5-2|
|Billericay Town||H||1-0||Havant & Waterlooville||A||2-2|
|Hemel Hempstead Town||A||3-2||Oxford City||A||0-2|
|Oxford City||H||0-0||St Albans City||A||4-3|
Previous Meetings (last six)
Dulwich Hamlet 0 – 2 Dartford (28/08/2021 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Dulwich Hamlet (25/01/2020 – National South)
Dulwich Hamlet 1 – 1 Dartford (07/12/2019 – National South)
Dulwich Hamlet 2 – 0 Dartford (02/03/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Dulwich Hamlet (20/10/2018 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Dulwich Hamlet (31/03/2007 – Isthmian Division One South)
- Dartford are unbeaten in all five home games against Dulwich Hamlet (W3, D2)
- The Darts have conceded five at home this season in the National South, the fewest in the division
- Over the last eight league games Dartford are 15th in the form table and Dulwich Hamlet are fourth
On This Day
Dartford have played just once in the Princes Park era and that was at home against Thurrock in 2011. Lee Noble was welcomed back from his loan spell, but it was former Dart, Matt Bodkin who scored the winner. In the nine post World War two matches on this day, before that 1-0 loss, the Darts had won seven, drew one and lost one. In half of those games the Darts have scored four goals beating Lloyds Sittingbourne (1949), Tonbridge (1966), Worcester City (1972), Redditch United (1977) and an entertaining 4-4 draw with Tunbridge Wells in the Kent League back in 1996.