This weekend Dartford will be determined to get back to winning ways when they visit Hemel Hempstead Town in the National South.A six match unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday with defeat at St Albans City, the second time the Saints have beaten the Darts this term. The result leaves Tony Burman’s side still in third place, ten points ahead of Hungerford Town in sixth.
Charlie Walker’s second half goal was the difference between the two teams on a disappointing afternoon for the Darts.
Burman was pleased with the opening 45 minutes, he told www.dartfordfc.com: “Our first half performance was good enough going up the slope and against the wind. We created two or three chances which we should of converted”, but felt the game was lost in the second half, he added: “At half time I felt we should of gone on and stamped our authority on the game but unfortunately this did not happen. We have not played badly many times this season but the performance in the second half was well below par”, he continued: “We are all disappointed with the result but as I have said before these things happen at this time of year. We need to move on and prepare ourselves for the next game as we enter the final month of the season”.
Last season, Dartford visited Vauxhall Road on the opening day of the campaign. Having been relegated from the National League, the Darts were taken by surprise in a 1-0 loss, the Tudors goal coming from Ollie Hawkins. In the two fixtures since, both at Princes Park, Dartford drew 2-2 from two goals down and this term won 2-0 thanks to strikes from Danny Harris and Luke Wanadio.
Deren Ibrahim will return from international duty, the goalkeeper was selected in the 5-0 defeat against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Over the last two National South matches, Billy Collings has stood in having been signed on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion. Andy Pugh picked up a knock against Margate and took no part in the defeat last weekend, whilst on loan Millwall striker, Alfie Pavey made a third substitute appearance. Burman also added academy players to the squad in the run in to the end of the season, including Henry Fulton who has featured in a Kent Senior Cup tie.
Hemel Hempstead Town may have lost top scorer Jake Robinson to the Billericay Town revolution, but a familiar face has come in on loan from Dartford’s rivals Ebbsfleet United. Former Dart, Charlie Sheringham has started life at Vauxhall Road on excellent form scoring seven goals since joining in February, including a hat-tick against Gosport Borough. In defence, Callum Driver has also been involved regularly this season having joined on loan from Maidstone United.
In another link with Ebbsfleet United, manager Deam Brennan managed to recapture the services of crowd favourite Jordan Parkes. The striker found getting game time at Stonebridge Road difficult, along with Sheringham, and opted to return to Hemel Hempstead Town this summer. Parkes praised his team mate Sheringham an interview with www.hemelfc.com, he said: “Charlie Sheringham has been brilliant for us since he came in, Charlie was one of my mates at Ebbsfleet and as soon as Deano said there was a chance for us to bring him in, I was straight on the phone to him persuading him that he would enjoy it here”, he added: “He is definitely enjoying his football and scoring freely. He was exactly the type of player that we needed to bring in, someone that we can use as a target, who is reliable, works hard and wants to succeed within the game”.
The Tudors will no doubt be playing National South football again next term, but in their second season at this level they have managed to impress as an attacking team. The Hertfordshire club have scored the same as the Darts, but defensively they have shipped in 72 goals, only three teams have leakier defences.
Hemel Hempstead Town’s last home outing ended in a 3-2 victory over Margate with Sheringham scoring a brace. The win was sandwiched between two defeats including a 6-0 thrashing at Bath City. On their day they are capable of recording big wins like the 6-0 thrashing of Gosport Borough and 4-1 triumph over Whitehawk. It’s these results that sum up the Tudors’ campaign where inconsistency leaves them in twelfth place.
Head to Head
Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 1
Current League Form
Hemel Hempstead Town (LWLDWW)
Lost 0-2 v Concord Rangers (A)
Won 3-2 v Margate (H)
Lost 0-6 v Bath City (A)
Drew 2-2 v Chelmsford City (H)
Won 4-1 v Whitehawk (A)
Won 6-0 v Gosport Borough (A)
Lost 0-1 v St Albans City (A)
Won 4-0 v Margate (H)
Won 5-3 v Truro City (H)
Drew 1-1 v Concord Rangers (A)
Won 2-0 v Bath City (H)
Drew 0-0 v Welling United (A)
Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 0 (12/11/2016 – National South)
Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 2 (17/10/2015 – National South)
Hemel Hempstead Town 1 Dartford 0 (08/08/2015 – National South)
Hemel Hempstead 2 Dartford 9 (16/09/1972 – F.A Cup)
139 – goals scored involving games Hemel Hempstead Town have played this term, the highest in the division at 3.86 goals per game.
102 – Dartford games have featured just over a century of goals at 2.83 goals a match.
35 – the Darts have conceded just under one goal a game and have the third best defence in the league, behind the top two in the division
72 – in contrast Hemel Hempstead have let in more than double compared to the Darts, only Gosport Borough, Truro City and Bishop’s Stortford have worse defences
On This Day
April Fools Day, four years ago saw the Darts thrash Woking 4-1 in the National League. Nathan Collier broke the deadlock then Jayden Stockley levelled for the Cards. Lee Noble had Dartford back in front before half time and on the hour Sheringham made the game safe. Noble completed the fine win with a long range free kick. A year later, the Darts fell to a 2-1 loss to Luton Town, Mikkel Suarez scored a rare goal and with twelve minutes remaining it looked as though another upset against the Hatters was developing. Kenny Clark was red carded and with ten men the match turned in Luton Town’s favour. Pelly Ruddock had the Hatters level and now a Premier League star, Andre Gray netted the winner. Dartford’s last away game on 1 April came eleven years ago when they beat Illford 2-0 in the Southern League Division One East.