In search for a their first away victory of the campaign, Dartford travel to Longmead Stadium on Tuesday night to take on Tonbridge Angels.
It will be the first Kent derby in a league fixture between the two sides in seven years, although in that time they have met in the F.A Trophy and F.A Cup. The Darts will be hoping that their current form against the Angels will count for something as both sides are struggling to pick up victories this term. Dartford have won eight in a row in all competitions against the Isthmian Premier League playoff winners of last season.
Most recently, Dartford recorded a pair of 3-0 cup victories over the Angels. Three years ago, Alex Brown, Andy Pugh and Elliot Bradbrook put the Darts into the F.A Cup first round and in 2012, Harry Crawford, Bradbrook and Jon Wallis helped Dartford into the F.A Trophy third round.
Dartford last visited Longmead Stadium in the league in March 2012, Tom Champion scored the winner. The Darts beat Tonbridge Angels three times in that season, winning 4-2 after extra-time in the Kent Senior Cup last eight, goals from Jack Pallen, a brace from Richard Graham and one from Lee Burns. Whilst at Princes Park in September 2011, Dartford ran out 3-1 winners goals courtesy of Bradbrook, Danny Harris and Charlie Sheringham with the visitors grabbing a consolation goal when striker Frannie Collin scored from the penalty spot.
The Darts picked up a second successive draw on the weekend against Hemel Hempstead Town, once again Norman Wabo came of the bench to score. With the departure of promising young full-back Luke Warner-Eley, Dartford started captain Tom Bonner at left back and Ronnie Vint returned to the starting eleven after he had recovered from being ill over the Bank Holiday.
Despite the change at the back, Dartford still conceded early on when Sam Ashford lofted an effort over Mark Smith on just nine minutes. The Darts won a penalty just past the half hour mark when Adam Cunnington was fouled in the box, the striker dusted himself off to take the spot kick but was denied by Tudors goalkeeper Sam Beasant. Shortly afterwards Bonner was forced off through injury and replaced by Ben Greenhalgh. Dartford improved in the second half, even more so in the final twenty minutes and with six minutes remaining Wabo equalised, his third of the campaign to maintain Dartford’s unbeaten home run.
Bonner will have to see if his fit for Tuesday night’s fixture at Tonbridge Angels, but at least defender Jordan Wynter will return from his three match suspension. Sam Blackman is still out with a long term injury, whilst Luke Warner-Eley and Amos Nasha have left the club.
Tonbridge Angels moved off the foot of the table in their last home match with a 1-1 draw against Weymouth. Prior the match manager, Steve McKimm spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk about the position his side are in since winning promotion almost four months ago, the Angels boss is not prepared to press the panic button at such an early stage, he commented: “After 20 games we’ll assess where we are and what we need to do”, he added: “Make no bones about it, if we are in desperate trouble I know this club will be able to find some resources for me to be able to go and keep us afloat. We haven’t worked hard for five years to get to this level to go straight back down and the club haven’t either”.
In a gritty performance, the Angels added a point to their league total, however the second half was just three minutes old when Weymouth’s Brett Williams put the Terras in front. Steve McKimm’s side won a disputed penalty and after they eventually decided Joe Turner should take the spot kick, he had his effort saved. A second penalty was awarded with five minutes to go and this time Ade Yussuf had a go, after his first spot-kick was ruled out for encroachment he put his second attempt away. Afterwards, McKimm told www.tonbridgeangels.co.uk: “I’m very pleased with the performance, we passed the ball much better today, and cut out the errors. Perhaps I’m a little disappointed we didn’t take all the points but all the players did really well and once again have shown we can compete at this level”.
Life back in the National South started with three straight defeats for the Angels until they recorded their maiden win against Concord Rangers at Longmead. A creditable draw away to Bath City was followed up by no points over the Bank Holiday period, McKimm’s side lost to Havant and Waterlooville then the Kent derby at Welling United. However, the draw with Weymouth was their fifth point, two behind the Darts.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 67 / Tonbridge Angels wins: 37 / Draws: 24
Current League Form
|Dartford (DDWLLD)||Tonbridge Angels (DLLDWL)|
|Hemel Hempstead Town||H||1-1||Weymouth||H||1-1|
|Hungerford Town||A||2-2||Welling United||A||2-4|
|Braintree Town||H||2-1||Havant & Waterlooville||H||1-3|
|Chelmsford City||A||1-4||Concord Rangers||H||1-0|
|Havant and Waterlooville||H||1-1||Dorking Wanderers||A||1-3|
Last Six Meetings
The Darts have not conceded in this fixture in the last three meetings and have won the last eight versus the Angels.
Dartford top scorer, Norman Wabo has scored all three of his goals after starting as a substitute.
Tonbridge Angels last beat the Darts in November 2008 and have never won at Princes Park since it opened.
Only bottom side Hungerford Town (-10) has a worse goal difference than Dartford and Tonbridge Angels (-8).
Only Chippenham Town (6) have scored fewer goals than the Angels (7) in the National South.
On This Day
Dartford last won a league game on the 3 September back in 1997 when they beat Baldock Town 2-1 in the Southern League Southern Division. The Darts have managed to win a couple of cup ties, in 2000 they beat Deal Town in the F.A Cup Preliminary Round (MORE?) and six years ago they defeated Welling United in the Kent Senior Cup 3-2. Mohamed Eisa scored for the Darts and since then he has made his name in the Football League at Cheltenham Town and now at Peterborough United, Adam Woodyard who also moved up the football pyramid netted as did Brima Daramy. Between those two victories Dartford had lost three in a row at Carterton in a F.A Cup replay seventeen years ago, away to Boreham Wood in the Southern League Division One East in 2005 and six years later at Basingstoke Town in the National South. The last game on this day was a 0-0 draw at home to eventual National South champions Maidenhead United in 2016.