The Darts will hope to continue January’s perfect record with a Kent Senior Cup victory away to Tonbridge Angels on Tuesday night.
Dartford are trying to retain the cup this season and Tonbridge bring back good memories of last seasons road to glory. The Darts faced Tomy Warrilow’s men in round one last season running out 2-0 winners. Danny Harris opened the scoring on the hour when Ryan Hayes’ deep free kick to the far post was knocked down to Harris who swept the ball home. Charlie Sheringham replaced Hayes in the 85th minute then wrapped up the win by taking the ball down on his chest before cutting inside the defender and curling the ball beyond the Tonbridge keeper into the net.
The two sides have already met this season back in September and Tony Burman’s men triumphed 3-1. Elliot Bradbrook opened the scoring ten minutes into the league meeting capitalising on a Scott Kinch slip. Harris doubled the lead blasting a shot from the dge of the box. Charlie Sheringham scored another on 77 minutes to wrap up the game but The Angels managed to pull one goal back from the spot when Frannie Collin, Conference South’s top scorer netted from the spot four minutes from time.
In Dartford’s 2009/10 promotion season Harris made an impact on his debut when The Darts won 2-0 more to follow. In the return fixture at Longmead the double was completed in a 4-1 win. Harris was on the score sheet again and has scored in each of his four competitive matches against The Angels since joining The Darts.
Dartford capped off an excellent week by defeating bottom side Thurrock emphatically. Birthday boy and captain Elliot Bradbrook opened the scoring in a 6-0 victory and netted another later on. Goals came from all over the pitch with Harris, Rogers and Burns also scoring. Tony Garrod became the fifth different scorer of the day when he netted his first goal for the club.
Speaking to PURE DFC on Saturday Tony Burman said this month had been ‘outstanding’, he added after Dartford’s 6-0 thrashing of Thurrock: “I’m absolutely delighted for the players because it is an important week, it was against three teams who are fighting for their lives and they’re the teams that you can drop points against.
“Everyone expects you to win and it sometimes rolls over onto the pitch and you become a little bit complacent. I have to say the players have been absolutely superb. Their attitude has been spot on and they have been very professional in the way that they have approached the games. You sensed it last week at Hampton and we followed it up at Staines and we’ve done another job today and I’m absolutely delighted for them”.
A respite from the Conference South will ease the pressure on The Darts who will want to maintain their excellent form, Burman commented on the week ahead: “It’s a different type of week, it’s an enjoyable week, we do not have to worry about points. We want to stay in the competitions and continue with what we are doing but it’s not the league, it’s not three points, it’s whether we get through to the next rounds”.
The Darts boss welcomes the county cup tie, he added: “Tuesday nights given me the opportunity to give people ninety minutes, to get their fitness up. Lads who have been on the bench will play and we’ll go and enjoy it”.
Tonbridge will be approaching Tuesday’s game having had a rest on the weekend but they did trounce Eastbourne Borough 5-1 just over a week ago. That, however has been their only win in the league in eight matches. For their first season in the second tier of non league football The Angels are holding their own and occupy 12th spot.
Managed by former Dart, Tommy Warrilow will be looking to break the Dartford hoodoo in recent years. Up front The Angels can rely on the goalscoring prowess of Frannie Collin who has 19 Conference South goals to his name this season. Warrilow has also recenty signed Nathan Koranteng who scored Boreham Wood’s third against Dartford back in October.
The winners will be rewarded with a semi-final home tie against Championship outfit Charlton Athletic. Dover Athletic await Ebbsfleet United or Hythe Town in the other half of the draw.
Lee Noble is suffering with a bruised back and missed Saturday’s fixture, but was due to play originally and could feature. Jack Pallen has returned from Leatherhead after his loan spell and will also be available for selection.
The Journey So Far
Thamesmead Town 0 Tonbridge Angels 3
The Angels hurdled past their first obstacle with a 3-0 away win against Isthmian League North’s Thamesmead Town. Tonbridge went ahead in the 25th minute via a fine strike from Lee Browning, they remained 1-0 ahead at half time but increased thier lead shortly after half time and in the 51st minute got the killer third goal from a tight angle.
Folkestone Invicta 1 Dartford 4
The Darts started their defence of the Kent Senior Cup with a comfortable victory against Isthmian Premier League side Folkestone Invicta. The hosts took the lead early on against a Dartford line up containing seven changes from the previous match. Jacob Erskine had the sides level after bundling the ball over the line, Tom Bonner made it 2-1 just before the interval. Richard Graham scored twice in the second half with a delightful chip over the goalkeeper and a header from a Ryan Hayes cross.
Tonbridge Angels 3 Sittingbourne 1
A quick free kick after just two minutes was scored by Ade Olurunda to give The Angels an early lead. Ten minutes before half time Mikel Suarez powerfully headed home to double the advantage. Josh West’s calm lob over Lee Worgan halved the deficit but The Angels hit back with fifteen minutes to play when Frannie Collin finished off the visitors.
|Last five Tonbridge Angels matches at home||Last five Dartford matches away|
|Won 5-1 v Eastbourne Borough||Won 4-1 v Staines Town|
|Drew 1-1 v Bromley||Won 3-1 v Hampton and Richmond|
|Lost 1-2 v Havant and Waterlooville||Won 4-1 v Havant and Waterlooville|
|Drew 1-1 v Welling United||Drew 1-1 v Welling United|
|Won 3-2 v Staines Town||Drew 2-2 v Eastleigh|
Attendances (league only)
Tonbridge Angels average home attendance: 628
Highest home attendance: 922 v Woking / Lowest: 464 v Eastleigh
Dartford average away attendance: 787
Highest away attendance: 1815 v Welling United/ Lowest: 378 v Staines Town
Did you know…
Adam Green is the only Dartford player to have played all league matches this season but he is yet to make a Kent Senior Cup appearance.
Tonbridge Angels have scored the most penalties (7) in the Conference South this season, Frannie Collin has scored six of them.
Dartford and Tonbridge have met twice on 31 January. In 1951, The Darts won 4-2 in a Kent Senior Cup Second Round Replay. In 1977, Dartford triumphed 4-1 in a league meeting.
Tonbridge last won the Kent Senior Cup in 1975 to add to their only other victory ten years earlier.