City are on the well-trodden path to Kent again on Saturday when they will face high fliers Dartford. Following recent defeats at St Albans and Hemel Hempstead, supporters will be hoping to get back to winning ways.
However, those hoping to follow their team should note that the kick-off has been brought forward to 12:30pm following an agreement between the two clubs.
The Darts sit in second place, four points behind leaders Ebbsfleet, although they have played three more matches. As a result, it is already looking likely they will need to secure all six points in the two festive derbies with their Kent neighbours for any chance of winning the title.
This will be the second meeting of the season between City and Dartford as they played the opening fixture in August weather which is a total contrast to the low temperatures expected on Saturday. Thanks to a Pierre Fonkeu strike and a Zak Bell own goal, the visitors came away with a 2-0 win, making it eleven victories in their last twelve games against City.
Dartford’s record of fourteen wins is the second best in the division, with seven consecutive wins at Prices Park after losses to Havant and Worthing back in August. Fonkeu has scored a further six goals since the opening fixture while his teammate Samir Carruthers is on nine.
However, the fine form in the League shown by Paul Doswell’s team was not matched in knock out competitions with defeats by lower level clubs at the first time of asking by Beckenham in the Cup and by Swindon Supermarine in the Trophy.
City last travelled to Princes Park in February with the 2-0 win under previous manager Steve King completing the double for his team meaning that we have yet to win at their new home.
The two old rivals met many times at The Darts’ former Watling Street ground where we had a very good record and secured a memorable win in our very last visit in 1990. City were involved in a three-horse race for the title with Dover and Dartford but a Gary Smart goal effectively eliminated the latter to set up a dramatic finale.
Princes Park is certainly very different to the old ground and is widely regarded as one of the best in the league. Unlike many new grounds, this one has character and provides comfort for both seating and standing spectators. It was constructed with the environment in mind and is famous for its ‘wooden man’ who appears to be holding up the roof above the terrace!
Unfortunately, the Supporters Club has received insufficient bookings for a coach but for those wishing to drive, the 150 mile trip from Bath will take around three hours.
The train trip from Bath Spa will take about the same time, changing in London, with Princes Park one mile from Dartford station. Hopefully those supporters who have already purchased tickets have done so for a train which will get there in time for the rescheduled match.