MATCH PREVIEW: Dover Athletic v Dartford

Dartford’s first Kent derby takes place on Tuesday night when they travel to the Crabble and take on Dover Athletic.

After a weekend of national mourning the National South restarts with Dartford hoping to get back to winning ways. Avoiding defeat will keep the Darts ahead of their Kent rivals in the league as just a couple of points and two places separate the pair.

In their last outing over a week ago against Chippenham Town, Alan Dowson made two changes to the side that won 2-0 at Hemel Hempstead Town on Bank Holiday Monday bringing in Luke Allen and Dan Roberts to replace Luke Coulson and Samir Carruthers. It was Carruthers who scored a brace at Hemel Hempstead Town, but the midfielder picked up a knock and wasn’t named in the starting line-up. However, the midfielder should be back available and with goalkeeper Dan Wilks returning to training and Davide Rodari fit again, the Darts are almost back to full strength. Sam Odaudu is recovering from surgery on his mouth. 

Three defenders combined for the opening goal against the Bluebirds with Connor Essam sending in a cross to Tom Bonner who headed across goal for Maxwell Statham to nod in his first for the club. All was going well heading for the interval until Alefe Santos won a dubious penalty, then just about scored it. Goalkeeper, Joe Young spilt the ball before scrambling back to make a save, the match official decided the ball had crossed the line despite Dartford’s protests. With the points looking like they will be shared the hosts won a free-kick in the final minute, Jordan Young scored to win the match for Chippenham Town.

Highlights – Chippenham Town v Dartford (03/09/2022) – courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Tom Bonner, Conor Essam and Dover Athletic’s Luke Wanadio and Tyrone Sterling will know all about this rivalry having played in this fixture previously for both teams. The Darts travel down to the coast for a first league meeting at the Crabble in almost eight years and last time it was a day to forget, Dartford were heavily beaten 6-1 in the National League. Nicky Deverdics’ early header put Dover Athletic ahead, but Harry Crawford poked home to level. Richard Orlu restored the lead and Tom Murphy netted his first of the afternoon. Liam Bellamy netted a fourth, Barry Cogan from a penalty made it five and Murphy completed his brace in a convincing home win.

However, since then the Darts are unbeaten against the Whites and in that same season, they did win the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign at Princes Park. Bonner, Essam and Sterling were all lining up against the Darts, whilst Luke Wanadio scored the winner against his future employers. Yet it was Dartford goalkeeper, Jason Brown who turned out to be the real match winner. His penalty save in second-half injury time preserved Dartford’s lead in a 2-1 victory. Earlier, Tom Bradbrook put the hosts in front before Ricky Miller equalised for Dover Athletic from the spot. Wanadio put Dartford back in front, then Brown’s heroics kept the score at 2-1.

Since those league meetings the two sides have met three times in cup competitions with Dartford coming out on top. The 2016 F.A Trophy tie needed a replay after Ronnie Vint levelled for the Darts in the first match. The defender equalised again in the rematch at the Crabble and once again Wanadio found a winner. Another 2-1 win came Dartford’s way last season in the Kent Senior Cup setting them on their journey to the final, which they won. Jordan Greenidge scored a double on debut with Luke Baptiste grabbing a consolation for the Whites.

Highlights – Dartford v Dover Athletic (08/03/2022 – Kent Senior Cup) – courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Wanadio is now playing alongside Alfie Pavey and Tyrone Sterling in the Dover Athletic team. The tricky winger had three spells with the Darts turning out 99 times and scoring 18 goals. Pavey also had a number of stints at Dartford, his most successful being the 2017/2018 campaign when he claimed 27 goals. In defence, Sterling was part of the 2013/2014 squad and he represented Dartford 36 times registering one goal.

Dover Athletic have lost their last two league games conceding three on each occasion. The Kent derby defeat to early pace setters Ebbsfleet United was followed by a 3-1 reverse at Eastbourne Borough. Wanadio scored Dover Athletic’s goal equalising after the Sports led through Chris Whelpdale. Two goals by Jake Hutchinson pulled the Sussex club clear as the hosts won 3-1. In the Kent derby, Fleet’s Dominic Poleon came back to haunt his former club with a brace and Rakish Bingham also found the back of the Dover net.

The Whites have lost four of their last five, but breaking up the run of defeats Hessenthaler’s side did beat Hemel Hempstead Town 4-0 at the Crabble. Goals from Jake Goodman, Jordan Higgs, Noah Carney and Luke Baptiste confirmed Dover Athletic’s second win of the season, the other was a 1-0 triumph at home to Hungerford Town.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 14 / Dover Athletic wins: 11 / Draws: 12

Current League Form

Dartford
(WLLLWL)
Dover Athletic
(WLLWLL)
Chippenham Town A 1-2 Eastbourne Borough A 1-3
Hemel Hempstead Town A 2-0 Ebbsfleet United A 0-3
Worthing H 1-2 Hemel Hempstead Town H 4-0
Taunton Town A 1-2 Havant and Waterlooville A 2-4
Havant and Waterlooville H 1-2 Tonbridge Angels H 1-2
Cheshunt H 2-1 Hungerford Town H 1-0

Last Six Meetings

Dartford 2 – 1 Dover Athletic (08/03/2022 – Kent Senior Cup)
Dover Athletic 1 – 2 Dartford (13/12/2016 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 1 – 1 Dover Athletic (10/12/2016 – F.A Trophy)
Dover Athletic 6 – 1 Dartford (17/01/2015 – National League)
Dartford 2 – 1 Dover Athletic (16/09/2014 – National League)
Dartford 0 – 3 Dover Athletic (04/03/2014 – Kent Senior Cup)

Statistics

  • Dartford are unbeaten in three games against Dover Athletic, all of them cup ties (W2, L1)
  • The Darts have only won twice in the league at the Crabble in 1991 and 2010 (D4, L3)
  • Dartford’s last league trip to the Crabble was their joint heaviest defeat against Dover Athletic (lost 6-1 away in 2015 and at home in 2002).

On This Day

Tom Bonner and Luke Wanadio were involved in Dartford’s 2-0 win over Margate on this day in 2016. Substitute Andy Pugh pounced from close range to open the scoring with skipper Elliot Bradbrook adding the second from the spot two minutes from the end. A year earlier, the Darts left it late again with a 2-1 victory over Weston-super-Mare. They trailed to Dayle Grubb’s goal with 88 minutes on the clock but substitute Danny Harris levelled the scores before a Clayton Fortune own goal handed Dartford all three points. Also on this day, Dartford progressed in the F.A Cup to the second qualifying round in 1980 with a 4-1 win over Saffron Walden Town, in 1997 by beating Herne Bay 2-1 and most recently in 2008 against Hastings United. Goalkeeper, Deren Ibrahim made his debut against the Sussex club, Brandon Cass opened the scoring and from 2-1 down the Darts won 3-2 after Steve Butterworth and Danny Dafter scored.