Following last week’s excellent 2-0 win at Billericay, United face up to another promotion rival at Plainmoor on Saturday.
Who’s the boss?
Dartford are one of the few sides in senior football to boast joint-managers, Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle. The duo were appointed in May, just a few days after last year’s promotion near-miss signalled the departure of the long-serving Tony Burman. Flanagan had previously led Brentwood Town to promotion from Isthmian League Division One North, and followed that up with 3 years at Concord Rangers, where he won the Essex Senior Cup. Coyle, meanwhile, was previously assistant manager at Leatherhead as they won promotion to the Isthmian Premier Division, and spent last season as the manager of Welling United. The managerial change appears to have paid off, as they were won the ‘Manager Of The Month’ award for February.
How are they doing?
Dartford are currently in 6th place, with 59 points from their 34 games. With three wins and a draw from their previous five matches, they are also one of the form sides in the division. Whilst their goal tally of 45 is the lowest in the top half of the table, victories over much-fancied sides Chelmsford and Welling, not to mention league ‘doubles’ over Bath and Woking is warning enough that United will need to be on the top of their game to prevail.
Players to watch
It was always going to be a daunting challenge for Charlie Sheringham to live up to his father Teddy’s standards, however the 30 year-old striker has forged a decent career in his own right, including spells in the Football League with Bournemouth and Wimbledon. This season represents his third spell with the club, and he has responded with eight goals, including a penalty in last week’s 2-0 victory over Gloucester. Captain Tom Bonner has once again proved to be a rock at the heart of the Kent side’s defence, making 34 appearances. Bonner has clocked up over 200 games over two periods with the club, either side of spells with Cambridge, Dover and Ebbsfleet.
Played for both
Former Torquay strikers Leo Fortune-West and Duane Ofori-Acheampong are two players who have represented both sides. An early spell at The Darts for Fortune-West preceded a long Football League career, which included a short spell with The Gulls during 2006/07. Ofori-Acheampong was a popular member of Chris Hargreaves’ 2014/15 squad, where the former Southend youngster notched 5 goals in 30 league appearances, prior to joining Dover.
United and Dartford have clashed on three previous occasions, with both meetings in 2014/15 ending in a draw. Late goals from Ruairi Keating and Jamie Reid helped secured a 2-0 win at Princes Park for Gary Johnson’s side back in December, a result which saw The Gulls move to the top of the league for the first time.