Dartford are involved in their second Kent derby in a week when they travel to the coast to face Margate.
The Darts have tasted victory just once on the road this term and are still trying to find their flow ahead of their trip to Hartsdown Park, a venue they have enjoyed visiting in recent years.
Last term, Dartford won 2-0 with goals from Lee Noble and Elliot Bradbrook and seven year ago they strolled to a 4-0 victory. This season, both teams enter the derby on the back of three games without defeat and separated by one point.
On Saturday, the Darts also travelled locally across the Thames to take on East Thurrock United. In a tepid affair, the hosts scored and missed a penalty, which Deren Ibrahim saved. Ryan Hayes came off the bench to make an impact yet again, the midfielder scored the equaliser to become the top marksmen for Dartford this campaign. Hayes is having to make do with substitute appearances and his 93rd goal for the club adds to the part he had in the winning goal against Welling United last week. The loyal servant created the winner for Elliot Bradbrook in a 2-1 triumph over their local rivals.
Manager, Tony Burman stated that his team is yet to get out of third gear and judging by his comments after the draw at East Thurrock United he still looking for the perfect formula, he said: “East Thurrock is a difficult place to come. You have to start with the right attitude and realise sometimes you dig in and it’s not going to be pretty. I think the game quality wise wasn’t great, and probably the best thing I can say is we got something for our efforts”.
With the squad almost back to full capacity, Keaton Wood took his place on the bench on Saturday after missing the 0-0 draw with Maidenhead United with a dead leg. Ronnie Vint has managed just two games this term before breaking his wrist, but his cast has been deemed unsuitable by match officials.
Margate were spared relegation last season by the thinnest of margins when they survived by a single goal. This term they started off with a 1-0 win at home to Bath City before returning to that relegation form. Four defeats on the spin was ended in a 3-1 triumph over Weston-super-Mare but then came a 4-0 mauling at the hands of Ebbsfleet United.
Form has now taken an upturn with a 1-1 draw at home to Hungerford Town and back to back league wins for the first time since February. On the weekend the Gate defeated Bishop’s Stortford 2-0 with goals from Michael Thalassitis and a penalty from new loanee Vas Karagiannis, who manager Nikki Bull has brought in from Maidstone United. Margate also managed what Dartford couldn’t by beating East Thurrock United 2-1 last Tuesday.
Head to Head
Margate wins 42 / Dartford wins: 45 / Draws: 29
Current League Form (Last six games)
Drew 1-1 v East Thurrock United (A)
Won 2-1 v Welling United (H)
Drew 0-0 v Maidenhead United (H)
Lost 1-4 v Hampton and Richmond Borough (A)
Won 2-0 v Hungerford Town (H)
Won 2-1 v Weston-super-Mare (A)
Won 2-0 v Bishop’s Stortford (A)
Won 2-1 v East Thurrock United (H)
Drew 1-1 v Hungerford Town (H)
Lost 0-4 v Ebbsfleet United (A)
Won 3-1 v Weston-super-Mare (H)
Lost 0-1 v Poole Town (A)
Previous Six Meetings
Dartford 1 Margate 1 (28/12/2015)
Margate 0 Dartford 2 (29/08/2015)
Dartford 0 Margate 1 (23/03/2010)
Margate 0 Dartford 4 (18/08/2009)
Margate 2 Dartford 2 (07/03/2009)
Dartford 3 Margate 2 (02/12/2008)
Excluding the Kent Senior Cup tie scheduled three years ago, Dartford’s last away defeat at Hartsdown Park came in 1998 in the same competition, since then the Darts have won three and drawn three. The Kent Senior Cup tie in 2013 never took place and as a result Dartford were forced to withdraw from the competition.
The last time Margate won at home in the league against Dartford was in 1997, the Gate’s 1-0 victory came in the Southern League Southern division.
Dartford’s last two visits to Margate have ended with a clean sheet with the Darts scoring six without reply. In fact the Darts have kept four clean sheets in their last five trips to Hartsdown Park.
On This Day
Dartford’s last five matches on 13 September have alternated results between winning and losing. Last season the Darts beat Weston-Super-Mare 2-1 in a dramatic late turn around. Dayle Grubb had the Seagulls ahead with ten minutes remaining until Danny Harris levelled with two minutes to go. In the injury time Clayton Fortune turned the ball in to his own net to hand victory to the Darts. In 1997 and 2008, Dartford progressed in the F.A Cup with wins over Herne Bay (2-1) and Hastings United (3-2) respectively. Defeats arrived at the hand of Gateshead (0-1) two years ago and Chelmsford City (0-2) in 1999.