Dartford host playoff chasing Eastbourne Borough three months on from the defeat they tasted in Sussex.
The Darts were beaten in their last meeting against the Sports going down 3-1, signalling the beginning of Dartford’s inconsistent form. Danny Bloor’s side scored twice in the last fifteen minutes to earn victory after Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong had equalised before the hour. Eastbourne Borough took the lead through Charley Kendall and regained control when Chris Whelpdale scored. Joel Rollinson’s last minute strike secured the three points.
At Princes Park though the Darts have had the upper hand over their opponents over the years. The only home defeat over the Sussex club came in the F.A Trophy in November 2018. In all competitions Dartford have won six of the last eight at home in this fixture.
After a three week break, the Darts were back in action on the weekend and yet again they made a slow start. Manager, Steve King had made three changes to the side that played three weeks prior, bringing in Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, Craig Braham-Barrett and Elliott Romain. Hosting local rivals and bottom side Welling United, Lyle Della-Verde scored against his former club to give the Wings a half-time lead. For the tenth straight league game, the Darts failed to score a first half goal and King wasn’t happy, he spoke to DFC TV after the game and said: “I thought we were poor, especially in the first half. We weren’t at it, which was very disappointing for me”.
Early in the second half Dipo Akinyemi had Welling United two up, but the Darts hit back in a five minute spell. Man of the match, Luke Allen and Dartford’s top scorer this season, Berkeley-Agyepong left the Kent derby level at full-time.
Similar to previous games, utilising the squad paid dividends firstly by preventing Connor Essam picking up a potential red card and secondly, by getting an improved performance. King commented: “We had to take Connor off otherwise he would have got sent off and he probably should have been sent off. We made a couple of changes, Jacob came on and changed the game”. The Darts boss even felt his side should have won highlighting Elliott Romain’s golden opportunity to score from three yards out and Sherigham’s one on one in the first half. He added: “We didn’t play well, but when we got to 2-2 we should have won the game”.
Eastbourne Borough have only tasted defeat once on the road this term in the National South. Bloor’s side approach their trip to Princes Park on the back of two excellent results leaving them in the final playoff spot. Six points against Havant and Waterlooville before the suspension of the league and against Hungerford Town on the weekend has put the Sports in a good position. They have two games in hand over Dartford and could move within two points if they win those, so victory on Tuesday night is an incentive in their bid to join in with the title race.
One player who has impressed since joining in the summer is Chris Whelpdale. He scored in the reverse fixture back in December and he now has seven league goals and eleven in 14 starts in all competitions. Although, Hungerford Town kept the top scorer out at the weekend, the Sports still won 3-2, scoring a brace in his first league start was Charlie Lambert. Rollinson repeated his feat of a last minute goal against Dartford with another ninetieth minute strike against the Crusaders, which ended up being the winner. The Sussex club have made good strides under Bloor and are the second highest scorers in the division.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 12 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 7 / Draws: 4
Current League Form
|Welling United||H||1-1||Hungerford Town||H||3-2|
|Hungerford Town||H||1-1||Havant and Waterlooville||A||2-1|
|Billericay Town||H||3-0||Maidstone United||A||2-3|
|Braintree Town||A||1-2||Concord Rangers||A||2-2|
|Tonbridge Angels||H||1-0||Dulwich Hamlet||A||1-2|
Previous League Meetings
Dartford are unbeaten in their last six home league games against Eastbourne Borough, winning five of those meetings
The last four league matches at Princes Park between the two sides has seen 20 goals at an average of five per game.
Eastbourne Borough have yet to win a league game at Princes Park, the Sports last beat the Darts on the road in league competition in 2003.
On This Day
Charlie Sheringham scored the second goal in a 3-0 home win against Bath City on this day. The National South fixture two years ago ended in a comfortable victory with Lee Noble and Phil Roberts sandwiching Sheringham’s close range header. The Darts have never lost a competitive home game on 9 February winning all eight. Rothwell Town were beaten 2-1 in 2002 and Basingstoke Town defeated 2-1 in 1980. Dartford beat rivals Gravesend and Northfleet 4-2 in 1972’s Kent Senior Cup quarter-final, claimed a pair of 2-1 victories against Yeovil and Peters in 1935 and Folkestone in 1929. The Darts smashed in six goals versus Ramsgate in 1924, winning 6-2 and triumphed 4-0 over Deptford Town in 1901. The only defeat came in 1889 when the Darts lost 3-1 to Horton Kirby in a friendly.