Dartford lost ground on the league leaders this week and will be looking to make it back up at Oxford City on Saturday.
The Darts beat the Nomads in October with a brilliantly taken goal by Andy Pugh. The Dartford striker raced on to a flick on to delicately lob the ball over the Oxford City goalkeeper. Last term the away fixture saw the Darts suffer their only ever loss to Oxford City. Pugh was the goalscorer again when he broke the deadlock against a high flying Oxford City side, the score remained 1-0 at half time. The match turned around though when the Nomads made some changes to come back to win 2-1.
Last weekend, Tony Burman’s side were just a point behind league leaders Ebbsfleet United and second place Maidenhead United a week ago. A home defeat to playoff contenders Chelmsford City coupled with victories for the top two left the Darts further behind. Burman had to add academy players Richard Seixas and Shai Thorley-Porter to the bench with the youngsters featuring later on in the game, Michael Habte, another academy player was also named amongst the bench.
The squad has been left thin on the ground of late with the knee injury to Duane Ofori-Acheampong, Lee Noble coming back to fitness and Kaka Dembele going out on loan to Leatherhead. After midweek fixtures, Dartford are now seven points behind new leaders Maidenhead United and trail rivals Ebbsfleet United by five.
Oxford City are now led by Mark Jones who took charge just two months ago from Justin Merritt. The Nomads were six points above the drop in seventeenth and have since risen three places with a greater cushion of nine points on the teams in the relegation zone. Jones has changed supporting staff and signed centre back Jean Niate. Loan players from Oxford United have returned and others such as goalkeeper Tyrell Belford have left with Shaun McAuley and Tom Winters going out on loan.
Shipping players out has made way for new signings Kaiman Anderson, Wilson Carvalho and Ezra Forde. Already Jones admits he is building with one eye on next season but his priority is to keep the Nomads in the National South.
Last weekend, a 1-0 victory means Oxford City are now unbeaten in their last three league games. Lee Henderson scored the all important goal in a game that saw veteran Jefferson Louis return to the starting line up. The previous two games before beating Hemel Hempstead Town ended in 1-1 draws with Bath City and Wealdstone respectively.
Head to Head
Oxford City wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 2
Current League Form
Oxford City (WDDLDL)
Won 1-0 v Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Drew 1-1 v Bath City (H)
Drew 1-1 v Wealdstone (A)
Lost 0-4 v Welling United (A)
Drew 3-3 v Concord Rangers (A)
Lost 2-3 v Truro City (A)
Lost 0-1 v Chelmsford City
Won 4-0 v Gosport Borough (A)
Won 3-1 v Whitehawk (H)
Won 4-0 Wealdstone (A)
Won 3-2 v Eastbourne Borough (A)
Won 3-2 v Weston-super-Mare (H)
Previous Six Meetings
Dartford 1 Oxford City 0 (29/10/2016 – National South)
Dartford 2 Oxford City 1 (23/04/2016 – National South)
Oxford City 2 Dartford 1 (15/09/2015 – National South)
Oxford City 2 Dartford 4 (04/11/2008 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 3 Oxford City 3 (01/11/2008 – F.A Trophy)