Dartford FC Preview
After an embattled performance in the FA Trophy, Carshalton will need to draw on all their resources come Saturday when they face they toughest opposition to date, in the form of runaway league leaders Dartford.
With a solid 1-1 draw against Blue Square South’s Worcester City still fresh in their memories, the Robins will be confident of providing another good account of themselves.
Dartford though will undoubtedly be imperious opponents, as they currently lie eleven points clear at the top of the table, with four games in hand over their nearest rivals.
Dartford’s campaign has gone flawlessly thus far, dominating the league and having only lost one game all season.
Tony Burnham’s side haven’t played since the 2nd January, where they enjoyed a hard-fought 2-1 away win at relegation threatened Cray Wanderers.
Despite taking a two goal lead, thanks to first half strikes from Lee Burns and James White, the Darts were forced onto the back foot for much of the second half, although eventually held on.
Averaging just under three goals a game and with a staggering goal difference of +41, it becomes abundantly clear why Dartford have been top of the division since the season began.
Robins fans can take some solace though from Dartford’s only league loss this season, which came at the hands of AFC Hornchurch, a side who Carshalton downed 1-0 in October.
Dartford – Players to watch
Rob Howarth – Journeyman forward and formerly of Carshalton having spent a brief spell with the Robins in 2007. He has nine goals so far this campaign.
Elliot Bradbrook – An attacking midfielder who is tipped to make his highly anticipated return after suffering from an ankle injury.
Andy Young – A useful goalkeeper, formerly of Blue Square South’s Bishops Stortford and has been in commanding form of late.
Adam Gross – A solid left-back and a former youth international for Wales.
Ø Have the best home record in the league, with seven wins from a possible eleven.
Ø Undoubtedly have the best home attendances within the division, with an average of over a thousand people a game.
Ø Currently enjoy a 100% record away from home, with nine wins out of nine.
Ø Haven’t won a league game in six outings.
Ø The Robins have also only won once on their travels in their past six away games in the league.
Ø Lost 4-0 to Dartford when the two sides last met in September.
The Key battles
Dartford possesses a formidable line-up, with the most successful attacking frontline in the division.
On Saturday though, the Darts will be without key striker Lee Burns, who begins a three match suspension.
The fact that he’s also the second highest scorer in the league, the news will no doubt come as a relief for the likes of Rob Watkins and Justyn Roberts who will already be in store for a tough afternoon.
With Burns suspended, Carshalton’s backline will be focussed even more on former Robins’ striker Rob Howarth, who comes face to face with his former side.
Dartford will also be without attacking midfielder Lee Noble, who is serving a one match ban.