Dartford FC V Chelmsford City FC
National League South, Princes Park Stadium, Tuesday 7th November, 7:45pm kick-off.
The Clarets make their second trip over the Dartford Bridge from Essex to Kent in less than a week, with another trip to the county known as the Garden of England, this time to face rivals Dartford.
Alan Dowson’s side are in a decent run of form heading into this one, having recorded a draw and four wins in their last seven league games, the most recent of which was a 4-2 victory against Weston Super Mare last Tuesday. The Darts can approach Tuesday night’s clash following a week’s worth of preparations to face City, having not played at the weekend due to scheduled opponents Yeovil’s FA Cup commitments.
With both sides level on points prior to Tuesday’s game, Clarets fans can look forward to an exciting night under the lights at Princes Park.
Last season’s National League South runners-up have enjoyed a mixed 2023/24 campaign so far, as they vie to return to the National League for the first time since 2014/15.
Despite decent recent form, Alan Dowson’s side experienced a difficult start to the season, only winning two of their opening their nine league matches. The Darts’ patchy early season results came after the departures of some key players from Princes Park during the summer.
Club captain Tom Bonner and impressive midfielder Samir Carruthers both left the club, with Bonner retiring and Carruthers making the move to the Melbourne Community Stadium. Defender Connor Essam, who made 108 starts for the club in three seasons, also left Princes Park and moved on to Faversham.
One player who the Darts did retain was their top scorer from last season, Alex Wall. Wall netted 11 times in the league in 22/23 and scored his first two goals of the season in his side’s win against Weston last week. The Darts started with Lewis Manor and Harvey Bradbury up front in this game, with Wall replacing Manor in the 65th minute. Despite scoring two goals, Wall was also shown two yellow cards in his eventful cameo, meaning he will be suspended for Tuesday’s match.
Midfielder Luke Coulson also found the net in Dartford’s win against the Seasiders, continuing his impressive form so far this season, having registered four goals and six assists in the National League South in 2023//24.
Coulson’s impressive contribution along with strong recent form at Princes Park have been key factors behind the Darts’ improvement since the start of the season. Alan Dowson’s side can record a fifth consecutive win in all competitions at home by taking three points tomorrow. City, on the other hand, will be looking to make it two wins from two at Princes Park in 2023.
Most recent meeting:
City and Dartford last faced each other in March this year, with the Clarets clinching a dramatic late win at Princes Park. Both sides squandered inviting early chances, with Alex Wall missing a header from point blank range, and City forward Michael Folivi firing an effort just wide.
Alan Dowson’s men took a one goal lead into half time though, following some good link-up play down the left-hand side between Jack Smith and Luke Coulson, with the latter scoring from close range past Jacob Marsden. Coulson was inches away from securing a brace when he hit the post in the second half, but City were able to stay in the game and the introduction of Giovanni McGregor from the bench proved to be a turning point for Robbie Simpson’s team.
McGregor cut in-field from the left flank in the 82nd minute to find Ody Alfa on the right hand-side. Then-QPR loanee Alfa unleashed a powerful effort, which found the top corner of Dan Wilks’ goal, allowing City to draw level late in the game.
Not for the first time in recent years though, there was more late drama at Princes Park for the Clarets, with McGregor completing a productive showing from the bench by finding a winner in the 93rd minute. After collecting Liam Trotter’s interception in the middle of the park, the Wealdstone loanee carried the ball towards the edge of the box and then unleashed a low effort which curled past Wilks and into the bottom corner of the Dartford goal.
McGregor’s winner sparked jubilant scenes amongst the Clarets fans behind the goal, sending the pleb army wild at full time as City earned an important three points in their play-off push.
Anthony Wordsworth missed Saturday’s game at Tonbridge through illness and could make a return to the match day squad if he has recovered. Callum Watts’ fitness will be assessed again after he also missed out at the weekend, following the injury which forced him off against Taunton on October 28th.
Clarets manager Robbie Simpson confirmed after Saturday’s match that club captain Dave Winfield is closing in on a return to action, however Tuesday’s game looks set to come too soon for the centre back.
Ticket prices online:
Adult – £16
Concession (Over 65, Full-time students, unemployed & registered disabled) – £11
Youth (13-17) – £7Junior (5-12) – £2
Under 5s accompanied by an adult enter free
Children under 15 only admitted if with an adult.
Supporters can also buy tickets on the day at the turnstiles at Princes Park for the same prices.
It takes around 50 minutes to travel from the Melbourne Community Stadium to Princes Park by car. As was the case on Saturday against Tonbridge, supporters making the journey from Essex into Kent by car will use the Dartford Crossing enroute, and should remember to pay the Dart Charge. Dartford suggest arriving 45 minutes before kick-off to ensure you get a parking space at Princes Park.
The sold-out Chelmsford City Supporters Club coach will leave Melbourne Park at 5:30pm on Tuesday.
How to follow the game:
Supporters have an array of ways to follow the game if they can’t make it to Princes Park.
National League TV will be live-streaming tomorrow’s match.
Additionally, Clarets fans can find pre-match coverage of Tuesday’s game, and live updates of proceedings at Princes Park by following the club’s X (formerly known as Twitter) page: @OfficialClarets and Instagram page: chelmsfordcityfc.
Radio Clarets will be providing live audio commentary of Tuesday’s match at Princes Park.
Post-match reaction will be found on the club’s website, official social media channels and on ClaretsTV following the game.
Words By Jake Dixon