Chelmsford City FC V Dartford FC, National League South, Melbourne Community Stadium, Friday 29th March 2024, 3pm kick-off.

Chelmsford City will look to complete a league double over Dartford for the second season in a row when Robbie Simpson’s Clarets take on their relegation-threatened Kent rivals on Good Friday.

Ahead of the Easter Weekend, City currently sit 2nd place in the National League South standings and will be looking to maintain their eight-point advantage over 3rd place Braintree Town by adding to Dartford’s fears of dropping out of the second tier of Non-League Football.

Relegation worries will be looming large amongst Darts fans, with goal difference currently separating Ady Pennock’s 20th placed side from falling below Taunton Town, who occupy the final relegation spot at present. Taunton however, have four games in hand over Pennock’s men, meaning those at Princes Park will still be looking over their shoulders even if they do achieve a much-needed win later this week.

Here’s all that Clarets supporters need to know ahead of the game…

Team & match stats:

·       The Darts have scored eight goals in their previous ten league games. Only Weston-super-Mare (seven) have scored less in the same period of games.

·       Dartford have lost twenty National League South matches in 2023-24. By experiencing one more league defeat this season, the Darts will have lost as many league games in one season as they did in the previous two seasons combined (twenty-one defeats).

·       City have won each of the last three clashes between the sides.

·       Dartford are looking to record a league win at Melbourne Community Stadium for the first time since December 2015.


Firmly in the midst of a worrying relegation battle, Friday’s opponents surely would not have anticipated being in the perilous position they find themselves in when they last faced Chelmsford City back in November.

The Clarets were level on points with Dartford ahead of their November midweek trip to Princes Park. City went on to win that night after goals from ex-Dart Samir Carruthers and Charlie Ruff secured a comeback 2-1 victory in Kent.

Since then, both sides have gone on to experience completely contrasting campaigns, with the Clarets pushing at the top end of the table and the Darts struggling to record the victories needed to replicate their recent playoff pushes.

As Dartford’s season stagnated following a frustrating Christmas period, those in charge at Princes Park elected to part company with manager Alan Dowson in early January. At the time of this decision, the Darts sat in mid-table, seven points away from the play-offs and ten points above the relegation zone. Dowson’s departure has not inspired a turnaround in form however, with the Darts collecting a mere six points in the thirteen games they have played since the 53-year-old was relieved of his duties.

Poor form in 2024 has seen Dartford win just once in the league during this calendar year, resulting in the Kent club being firmly sucked into the battle at the bottom of the table. The Darts completed a seven-week search for Dowson’s replacement at the beginning of this month when they confirmed the appointment of Ady Pennock as new first team manager. Pennock has previously managed Forest Green Rovers, Gillingham, Barrow, and most recently Singaporean Premier League side Brunei DPMM.

After losing his first three league games in the dugout, Pennock has now gone two games undefeated in the National League South, most recently drawing 0-0 against fellow relegation strugglers Truro City on Tuesday night.

But with games running out for the Darts at a faster rate than they are for relegation rivals such as Taunton Town, Truro City, and Eastbourne Borough, Pennock will surely be doing all he can to upset the Clarets’ playoff charge when his side visit Essex on Friday.

Team News:

Club captain Dave Winfield and midfielder Finley Barbrook will be available for selection again, having completed their respective suspensions.

Ody Alfa missed last week’s win against Taunton Town due to illness and will hope to have recovered in time for Friday’s fixture.

Cameron James was forced off with an injury problem early on in the game at Wordsworth Drive. Robbie Simpson went on to admit in his post-match interview following Saturday’s game that he didn’t expect James to be ready for this week’s Good Friday clash.

Ticketing information:

Ticket prices online:

Adult – £14
Concession/Senior (65+) – £9
Student (17-24 with valid ID) – £4
Youth (12-17) – £4
Under-12s – Free

Supporters can also buy tickets on the day at Melbourne Community Stadium. Matchday turnstile prices are as follows:

Adult – £17
Concession/Senior (65+) – £1
Student (17-24 with valid ID) – £6.50
Youth (12-17) – £6.50
Under-12s – Free

Singer Sarah Beth will be singing live ahead of kick off on Friday, with supporters of both clubs welcome to enjoy Sarah’s live music in the clubhouse.

How to follow the game:

Radio Clarets will provide live audio commentary of proceedings at Melbourne Community Stadium.

Clarets fans can find pre-match coverage of Friday’s match and live updates of proceedings in Essex by following the club’s X (formerly Twitter) page: @OfficialClarets and Instagram page: chelmsfordcityfc.

Post-match reactions will be found on the club’s website, official social media channels and on ClaretsTV.

Words by Jake Dixon.

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