Competitive football returns to Princes Park tonight as Dartford host St Albans City under the floodlights looking to get off the mark.
The Darts fell to their heaviest opening day defeat in twenty years when they lost 4-1 at Wealdstone on the weekend. Strikers Darren McQueen, Alex Flisher were both missing with a dislocated shoulder, Charlie Sheringham with a thigh injury and Sam Blackman with a broken ankle. Last minute signings ensured some strikers were available for selection but only four substitutes were named on the bench.
Debutante, Josh Hill headed his first goal for the club to level the match on the stroke of half-time, after the Darts found themselves behind to a Ross Lafayette penalty inside the first ten minutes. The match got away from the Darts towards the closing stages when Wealdstone netted three times in twelve minutes. Dennon Lewis hit a deflected shot to give the Stones the lead on 74 minutes, Connor Stevens scored a free header with ten minutes to go then Lafayette struck again.
Flanagan and Coyle gave debuts to goalkeeper Mark Smith, defender Luke Warner-Eley, midfielder Luke Allen and new signings Amos Nasha and Adam Cunnington. Winger, Luke Wanadio started his first match since returning to the club and Norman Wabo made his first appearance coming on as a substitute.
St Albans City started their National South season with a dour 0-0 draw at home to Chippenham Town. Former Dartford defender Tom Bender wasn’t in the matchday squad, but manager Ian Allinson handed first starts to England C international David Longe-King, Joe Iaciofano, Darren Foxley and Bobson Bawling.
In January, Dartford beat St Albans City in an entertaining match between the two sides at Princes Park. The first half saw four goals with Elliott Bradbrook’s 25 yard screamer into the top corner putting the Darts in front. Twice the visitors had to equalise, Zane Banton first made it all square, but five minutes later Phil Roberts netted his first Dartford goal. St Albans City were level again on the stroke of half-time when Sam Merson made it 2-2. However, Roberts, who had waited for his fourth appearance to open his account scored the winner with two minutes remaining, helping the Darts to victory.
Since Dartford’s return to the National South, they have beaten the Saints in three of the last four games at Princes Park, another home triumph this season will make it three on the bounce against the Hertfordshire club. St Albans City last took maximum points in Dartford in November 2016 and have won all four on their own patch without conceding.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 7 / St Albans City wins: 5 / Draws: 4
Last Six Meetings
|12.01.2019||Dartford||3||St Albans City||2|
|01.09.2018||St Albans City||2||Dartford||0|
|03.02.2018||St Albans City||4||Dartford||0|
|28.10.2017||Dartford||2||St Albans City||1|
|25.03.2017||St Albans City||1||Dartford||0|
|08.11.2016||Dartford||0||St Albans City||2|
At Princes Park, the Darts have won the last two and lost just once to the Saints in six meetings over ninety minutes. Although the F.A Trophy tie in 2008 finished with St Albans City winning on penalties.
St Albans City have won five of the last seven meetings between the two sides. However four of those matches were at Clarence Park without Dartford scoring.
Dartford last lost their opening two games of the season in 2012, they lost in the National League to Tamworth and Woking, then Macclesfield Town made it three in a row. The Darts ended up finishing as the highest part time team in the country that season, in eighth place.
On This Day
Dartford opened their 2016/2017 campaign at home to Wealdstone and the result was much better than Saturday’s. The Darts had to settle for a point despite taking the lead twice in a 2-2 draw. Luke Wanadio, making his debut set up Elliot Bradbrook for the first goal, which was cancelled out just after the break. Ryan Hayes netted from the spot, but deep into injury time Eddie Oshodi rescued a point for the visitors.