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Hello again, welcome to another edition of Walking With The Darts, a monthly update on all things related to Dartford FC, courtesy of Dartford Living Magazine.

In case you missed the March issue of our magazine, here’s a reminder 👇

Since last speaking with you all, I’m sad to report that Dartford fell to defeat in the Buildbase FA Trophy against an extremely difficult Needham Market side in Suffolk. There was very little to choose between the two sides over the course of ninety minutes, but a 76th minute penalty in favour of the Southern League Premier Central Division Marketman proved to be enough to send them through to the Quarter Finals stage at the expense of the Darts.

However, I’m delighted to say that (at the time of writing) Steve King’s men have found a rich vein of form in the National League South, having registered four straight wins against tough opposition. This included hard-fought victories over local rivals Ebbsfleet and Welling United at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park, where bumper crowds had the stadium rocking despite the cold weather that we’re all used to at this time of the year. Both results ensured that the Darts’ unbeaten home run increases to an amazing seventeen games in all competitions.

Meanwhile, having lost just four times on the road in the league, the Darts returned to winning ways with two excellent victories at Tonbridge Angels and Havant & Waterlooville recently. And, despite this week’s trip to Hungerford Town being postponed due to the bad weather, the Darts have pulled themselves back into contention at the top end of the National League South table. With games coming thick and fast as we approach the final stages of the season, it’s going to be a nervous, yet exciting couple of months for everyone involved. Not to mention the small matter of the Kent Senior Cup, which sees us begin our defence of the trophy by hosting Dover Athletic.

The last month has also seen some activity in the transfer market with several players arriving and leaving the football club. We sadly said goodbye to influential midfielder Noor Husin (Southend United) and long-serving defender Ronnie Vint (Dulwich Hamlet), while Dan Roberts (Carshalton) and Luke Wanadio (Folkestone Invicta) have gone out on loan for a month to gain minutes and match fitness. However, Ody Alfie (on loan from QPR), Marcus Dinanga (on loan from Altrincham), Che Krabbendam (signed from St Albans City), and Junior Tiensia (on loan from Millwall) have arrived and will surely add even more quality to Steve King’s side.

Connor Dymond’s Dartford Women’s side, meanwhile, are still flying high in second place in the London & South East Regional Women’s League table. Having fallen to a 2-0 defeat away at league leaders Ashford Middlesex WFC at the end of January, the women responded with an impressive 4-1 victory over Whyteleafe recently to keep the momentum going for a top three finish. The team’s success doesn’t end there, though, as they were victorious over Dulwich earlier this month to book themselves a place in the Quarter Finals of the League Cup where they will be travelling to Worthing at the end of the month. With the women being the holders of this trophy (having won it in 2019), another victory will see them be just one match away from another cup final! And, speaking of holding and defending silverware, don’t forget that the women face Gillingham FC in the final of the Women’s Kent Cup Final, having brushed aside Aylesford 8-1 back in January.

Finally, the Dartford Women’s team also welcomed the Year-6 Girls 6-a-side football team from Northumberland Heath Primary School recently. The schoolgirls joined Dartford Women for a training session, before having a tour of Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park and enduring a “very energetic” warm up together! Dartford Women had this to say about the activities:

“The [school] team had told their teacher and coach that they wanted us [Dartford Women] for inspiration, as they enter the final rounds of the football tournament they’re in. It’s safe to say they were the ones providing us with so much inspiration!

“We chatted about our experiences playing women’s football, how long we’d all been playing, and how much football has contributed to all of our lives. From the friendships we have made, to the moments we have shared. We encouraged the team to keep playing and to keep enjoying their football. Good luck to the girls in their tournament. Look out for them as Mascots at our future matches hopefully, and who knows, maybe in the WSL! Thanks so much for coming to see us, Dartford Women.”

What an inspiring story. Yet more evidence of how vital football (and a football club) is to our local communities and schools. We wish the Year-6 Girls 6-a-side football team from Northumberland Heath Primary School a huge good luck in their upcoming tournament.

That’s it from me this month, so until next time, look after each other and keep safe.

By Chris Palmer