Grier's Guide to Dartford
When: Saturday 19th October 2019, 3.00pm
The town: Fairly large town just inside the M25 in the north west of Kent. Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were both born there.
The ground: Princes Park, Darenth Rd, Dartford DA1 1RT. It opened in 2007, allowing Dartford to return home after over a decade sharing outside the town. It's an elegant ground, enclosed all the way round with seating down one side and covered terracing on the other three. It also boasts impressive green credentials with solar panels, a water recycling system and a living roof.
Directions: A short way from junction 2 of the M25, it shouldn't be too bad a run from Kingston as long as the traffic is OK. Parking is free although the car park can get full early. There are frequent trains from Waterloo East, with the fastest taking 35 minutes, leaving a 20 minute walk to the ground.
Our record there: Our only previous visit came in the fourth game of the 2009-10 season and it was a harrowing experience. We lost 5-0 but were outclassed about as comprehensively as you can be in a league game and the scoreline genuinely flattered Ks, with Dartford missing a penalty as well as having one cleared off the line and two disallowed. It left Ks rock bottom of the league with four heavy defeats in four games and Alan Dowson took decisive action - it would be the last game that a number of long-serving popular players played for Ks and the following Saturday at Hendon we had no fewer than six new players. We won 3-0, on what would soon be christened Dowson Day, and quickly charged back up the league table before eventually losing the playoff final.
Recent form: Dartford are a big club and will rightly start as favourites having reached the Conference South playoffs in two of the last three seasons. They've made a shaky start this time round though - they sit 17th in the table and have parted ways with joint managers Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan. Former Welling boss Steve King replaces them with this being his first game in charge.
Players to watch: Ben Greenhalgh won an Inter Milan contract as a youngster when he won the reality TV show Football's Next Star. He didn't play for the Nerazzuri but he did score eight goals on loan at Como before returning home and forging a successful non-league career with clubs including Maidstone and Concord. Charlie Sheringham, son of Teddy, misses the game having dislocated his shoulder recently.
Crowd: Crowds are typically around the 1,000 mark and the enclosed ground should help with the atmosphere.
Drinking: The station is in the town centre where there's a wide array of pubs. As you head out south-east towards the ground you'll come to the Dartford Jug, a fairly new place very much in keeping with the Kentish micropub trend. The Malt Shovel's building partially dates back to the 15th century and then the closest pub to the ground is The Ivy Leaf, which is large and traditional.
Food: Not much around the ground itself but there's McDonald's, Subway and a cluster of more local outlets near the motorway junction.