Upcoming MatchHendon vs Dartford/April 23, 2024/Silver Jubilee Park

MATCH PREVIEW – Dartford v Eastbourne Borough

Dartford’s battle for survival continues this Easter Monday when they have home advantage in a relegation six pointer against Eastbourne Borough.

Dartford have just five games remaining to save their season and remain in the National South. The Darts have spent nine consecutive years in the second tier of the non-league and will not fancy returning to the Isthmian Premier League, for the first time since 2010. Eastbourne Borough’s 13-year stay is also under threat and were last playing step three football in 2003/2004.

Prior the beginning of the campaign few would have expected to see Dartford and Eastbourne Borough in their current predicament. The Darts were runners up last season and the Sports had just turned full-time and touted to challenge at the other end of the table. By January, managers Alan Dowson exited Princes Park and Mark Beard departed Priory Lane. Now it’s down to Adrian Pennock to steer the Darts and Adam Murray to guide the Sports to safety.

It wasn’t such a good Friday for either side as both the Darts and the Sports fell to heavy defeats. Pennock made six changes to the team that drew 0-0 versus Truro City. Jordan Greenidge returned from suspension replacing Oliver Bray up front. Brandon Barzey was back from international duty and lined up on the wing instead of Fumnaya Shomotun. Oliver Box recovered from an ankle injury, Maxwell Statham and Joash Nembhard also started as well as Taylor Maloney. Luke Allen and Jack Smith were named on the substitutes bench, but Tommy Block and Harrison Sodje were rested.

The Darts found themselves a goal down against Chelmsford City with half an hour played when Clarets top scorer, Charlie Ruff netted from a couple of yards out. Approaching the interval the hosts doubled their advantage through former Dartford loanee George Alexander. Pennock made a half-time change bringing on Smith for Luke Coulson and within two minutes of the restart Barzey pulled a goal back. However, the Essex club pulled clear in the final ten minutes. First Alexander scored his fourth goal against the Darts for a third different club, then Ruff added his second of the afternoon.

Eastbourne Borough also faced a playoff chasing side on Good Friday. Welcoming Maidstone United to Priory Lane, the Sports conceded a penalty after just five minutes. Sam Corne dispatched the spot kick to put the visitors ahead. It got worse for the Sussex club after Sam Beard was sent off for two cautions just minutes apart. Disadvantaged, the hosts were undeterred and Pierce Bird equalised ten minutes before half-time. The goalscorer’s afternoon was cut short early in the second-half when he was dismissed, leaving the Sports down to nine. Maidstone United pressed home their advantage by regaining the lead courtesy of Matt Rush. In the final five minutes Lemar Reynolds added three more to complete a quick fire hat-trick.

Highlights courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Dartford will be desperate to repeat the win they achieved in this fixture last season. Under the Princes Park floodlights the Darts came from behind to claim maximum points. Eastbourne Borough took the lead through Leone Gravata, but the hosts were soon level when Charlie Sheringham linked up with Samir Carruthers, who scored with half an hour played. Carruthers was involved again in the winner by providing the pass to Kristian Campbell who set up Luke Allen in a 2-1 victory.

That was the second successive home win over the Sussex side as the Darts also won 3-1 in August 2021 at Princes Park. Jake Robinson opened his account with a brace, the first after seven minutes was a predatory finish, his second was from the penalty spot. The Sports hit back immediately after the break when Greg Luer made the most of a lack of concentration to cut Dartford’s lead in half. Ade Azeez was brought on and his well-placed header restored the two goal cushion.

In between those home wins the Darts also trounced the Sports 7-2 in Sussex on the final day of the 2021/2022 campaign. Dan Roberts opened the scored in the fourth minute, whilst Marcus Dinanga and Kalvin Kalala both netted a brace. Kory Roberts and Jordan Greenidge also found the back of the Eastbourne Borough net on a fantastic afternoon for the Darts. However, the Sports have taken four points from the last six available in this fixture all at Priory Lane.

Highlights courtesy of Dartford FC TV

The reverse fixture this season ended with honours even. An early second-half strike from Fletcher Holman gave Eastbourne Borough an advantage which was cancelled out by Brandon Barzey’s equaliser. Moussa Diarra was lining up at the back for the Darts that day, the defender is now at Eastbourne Borough. The 34-year-old made 23 appearances in a Dartford shirt scoring one goal. Another former player was on the bench for the Sports back in October, Ben Dudzinski played 13 games in goal for the Darts last season.

Current League Standings

Team Played Pts GD
Welling United 41 47 -16
Truro City 36 45 -6
Hemel Hempstead 41 45 -15
Torquay United 40 44 -8
DARTFORD 41 40 -16
Taunton Town 37 40 -19
Eastbourne Borough 40 38 -28
Havant & Waterlooville 41 33 -34
Dover Athletic 41 23 -34

Current League Form

Dartford (LLLDDL) Eastbourne Borough (LLWDWD)
Chelmsford City A 1-4 Maidstone United H 1-5
Truro City A 0-0 Slough Town A 1-1
Hemel Hempstead H 1-1 Taunton Town H 2-0
Maidstone United H 0-2 Dover Athletic H 1-1
Braintree Town A 0-2 Hemel Hempstead H 1-0
Torquay United A 1-4 Hampton & Richmond A 0-1

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 15 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 9 / Draws: 5

Last Six Meetings

Eastbourne Borough1 – 1 Dartford (24/10/2023 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 2 – 1 Dartford (07/04/2023 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (27/09/2022 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 2 – 7 Dartford (07/05/2022 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (30/08/2021 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (09/02/2021 – National South)

Statistics

  • At home, Dartford have lost just once in the league in their last nine games against the Sports (W7, D1)
  • At Princes Park, the Darts have won eight out of 11 against Eastbourne Borough in all competitions (D1, L2)
  • The Darts have gone eight games at home without a clean sheet against the Sussex club

On This Day

Alex Wall scored a hat-trick a year ago as the Darts strolled to a 4-0 home victory against Dulwich Hamlet. Harvey Bradbury added another with five minutes to go to make it three wins in their last five on this day. Six years earlier Dartford drew 2-2 with Hemel Hempstead Town in Hertfordshire, Danny Harris and Luke Wanadio scoring for the visitors. In 2013 the Darts put in a brilliant performance at Princes Park beating Woking 4-1 in the National League. Goals from Nathan Collier, a brace from Lee Noble and one for Charlie Sheringham secured victory. Pre homecoming Dartford also recorded a 2-0 victory at Ilford in the Southern League Division One East in 2006. The only team to get the better of Dartford in the last five outings on this day are now in the Premier League. Luton Town won 2-1 at Princes Park with two late goals. Mikkel Suarez put the hosts in front, but Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu and Andre Gray netted for the Hatters.