22 derbies for the ’22 derby – Ebbsfleet United Football Club


A story as old as time … well, as old as the fleet and Dartford existed anyway. Our rivalry predates the formation of the current club in 1946, with the Darts being regular enemies of Northfleet United since the late 19th century and regular visitors to Stonebridge Road since the early 20th century.

We feature 22 previous Fleet and Darts clashes over the years as we look forward to the first match of 2022 – and the first Fleet-Dartford Derby with fans since New Years Day 2017.

N ° 1 – October 14, 1893: Dartford 3-1 Northfleet United

The very first meeting of the clubs was a friendly one, with Northfleet being a season and a half away from competitive Kent League football. Dartford’s field at Summers Meadow, Lowfield Street, was described as a bumpy swamp surrounded by water-filled ditches from which the ball had to be constantly retrieved. And in the days when the heavy balloon easily held water, it soon became nearly impossible to hit it from more than a few feet away. Darts fans were also not described favorably, with the local correspondent – perhaps with a hint of bias given the score – accusing them of being “rude thugs who constantly mistreated the referee”.

N ° 2 – October 12, 1895: Northfleet United 3-3 Dartford

Played at Northfleet’s Collins Meadow pitch, it was the two clubs’ first meeting in the FA Cup. What was extraordinary was that the fleet managed to erect a brand new 400-seat stand on the morning of the match! The installation company came from Bermondsey and started working at 8:30 am and seven hours later had finished the stand as well as the (arguably rudimentary!) Construction of the locker rooms! A 3-3 draw followed (goals from skipper Teddy Bundock, James Moody and Taylor) which meant a replay two days later at Dartford – Northfleet won this 3-2 with Bundock and Moody again on target.

The Fleet, 1895 style.

N ° 3 – January 27, 1906: Northfleet United 1-0 Dartford

Dartford’s very first visit to Stonebridge Road came over 115 years ago in this West Kent League game, with Parker scoring the only goal in the first season of operation on the then brand new pitch . It was a fairly insignificant game, with both teams stuck in the middle of the table and far behind champions Eltham.

N ° 4 – November 14, 1914: Dartford 4-3 Northfleet United

As the first Battle of Ypres was launched along the Western Front just across the English Channel, the fleet and the darts were still playing football! Since war broke out in the late summer of 1914, football authorities have assessed their initial desire to continue playing alongside the national interest. The Kent League season was due to unfold, but local newspapers said they would not report any results as the football was trivial given the escalating conflict. The fleet has advanced in the FA Cup, beating Cray Wanderers and needing three games to pass Sittingbourne, before this trip to Dartford in the second qualifying round. Northfleet scored the opening goal, but Dartford eventually took a 4-2 lead before a late consolation from the fleet. The 1,200-strong crowd wouldn’t see another such match for some time – Dartford’s draw with Chatham in the next round would never happen and Fleet Chairman Joe Lingham shut the club down in writing: “It is evident that the virility of our country will be required for service against the enemy. It usually feels like now is not the time to play games. Fleet’s two scorers in that last match both joined the military that month – Beldham served in the Norfolk Regiment and Arthur Seccombe in the Royal Artillery – he lost his brother and his teammate Northfleet Henry, killed at the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917.

N ° 5 – April 21, 1924: Northfleet United 1-0 Dartford

A crowd of 8,000 gathered on Maidstone pitch as the two North Kent clubs reached the Kent Senior Cup final. Ted Goldsmith’s sixth-minute goal gave the fleet the trophy, our first of five consecutive triumphs in this competition – still a record to date. It has been a hugely successful decade for the fleet, which also won two Kent League titles, were runners-up twice, returned to the Southern League and only finished below Dartford once in 10 year.

N ° 6 – September 2, 1939: Dartford 3-4 Northfleet United

Just as Northfleet went into hibernation at the start of World War I against Dartford, history repeated itself at the start of World War II. The score was even the same – 4-3 – although this time in favor of the fleet as Syd Roberts, Jack Browne, future Spurs League winner The Bennett and Simpson were all on track for the visitors at this time. Kent League match. The game was played the day after Germany invaded Poland and the day before Neville Chamberlain declared war – and once again was left to former player and president Joe Lingham of lock the gates to Stonebridge Road. The Kent League resumed later that year, but Lingham declined the offer to join – he died in 1943 and the club accompanied him, Northfleet United never resumed.

A familiar looking Stonebridge Road welcomes Dartford (stripes) in 1939

N ° 7 – September 11, 1946: Fleet 4-0 Dartford

The first reunion of the current incarnation of the fleet and the darts took place just 12 days after the launch of the new Gravesend & Northfleet. A crowd of 4,320 watched the Reds demolish Dartford in the Kent Senior Shield, with future darts player Len Wakeman scoring twice alongside Ron Palmer and an own goal. The two clubs have met five times this season, including the first festive matches, with two wins each (a 5-0 for the Fleet and a 6-0 for Dartford among them!) And a draw. (Click below to continue)


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