Archives for : November2012

Tamworth v Dartford


In the first of the return fixtures Dartford travel to The Lamb Ground on Saturday and hope to avenge their opening day loss to Tamworth.

Adam Cunnington stole the show for Tamworth back in August claiming the crucial goals to inflict defeat on the Darts. Former Fleetwood Town midfielder, Peter Till opened the scoring for the visitors and Cunnington doubled the lead. On the stroke of half time Elliot Bradbrook neatly tucked away a free kick to lift Princes Park’s hopes. Cunnington hit a super strike in the second half with fifteen minutes remaining, the strikers second was enough to seal an away win despite Harry Crawford’s début goal.

It was a harsh lesson for Tony Burman after the clubs first Conference National fixture in 26 years but he was pleased with what he witnessed, he told PURE DFC on the opening day: “We’ve played pretty well – I’m disappointed we’ve not got all three points to be honest. We’ve made three mistakes on the goals, and we’ve been punished”.

Elliot Bradbrook's free kick beats Tony Breedon in the Tamworth goal

Fortunes have since changed with Dartford rising to fifth in the table even though they lost their opening three fixtures. Away from home a strong defence has built a great foundation for the team who have now gone just over four and half matches without conceding on their travels. Marcus Bettinelli, Mark Arber, Tom Bonner, Lee Burns and Richard Rose has helped the club go five matches unbeaten away from Princes Park.

On Saturday the Darts progressed in the F.A Trophy beating Isthmian Premier League side Kingstonian 4-0. New loan signing Semi Ajayi conceded a penalty in the opening minutes giving the K’s the chance to shock their visitors. Marcus Bettinelli kept out Andre McCollin’s spot kick to deny the hosts.

Jacob Erskine opened the goalscoring from close range after a tidy piece of build up play by Dartford. The K’s were reduced to ten men when Simon Huckle’s challenge on Elliot Bradbrook was deemed a straight red card. In the second half, Ajayi made himself a nuisance from a set piece which Bradbrook flicked into the goal with his head. Danny Harris spurned a few opportunities before expertly curling the ball beyond Rob Tolfrey and Nathan Collier wrapped up proceedings with a calmly taken fourth.

Tamworth have hit their worst form of the season after a promising start to their campaign. After their first four matches the Lambs were in third place and unbeaten. Four wins and ten defeats later has seen the club struggle of late especially at home. The Lamb Ground has witnessed the fewest goals in the league (19) and the lowest amount scored by a home team (7). Marcus Law’s team have now gone 299 minutes without a league goal. Another blank on Saturday will equal the clubs previous Conference Premier record set in 2009 when they suffered a four game barren spell at the Lamb Ground.

One player to watch is striker Adam Cunnington who has scored 12 league goals in 20 starts, more than half of the squad’s total. Former team mate of Mark Arber at Dagenham and Redbridge the 25 year old has settled into life with Tamworth. One cap England international Lee Hendrie has made all his appearances in the last seven league matches with the Lambs and brings experience to the midfield.

Without a win in six league fixtures the Staffordshire club took on Lincoln City last weekend in the F.A Trophy. Their visitors were unbeaten in ten and were dispatched by Lloyd Kerry’s hat trick in a 3-1 victory. The Lambs came from behind to progress in the competition and picked out Corby Town in round two.

Team News

Mark Arber remains sidelined after suffering a fractured jaw against Southport a fortnight ago. Harry Crawford returns from his three match ban and will be available for selection. Defender, Semi Ajayi could make his league début for the Darts after signing on loan from Charlton Athletic.

Jean Paul Marna left Tamworth by mutual consent returning to France. The 31 year old striker has suffered from an achilles injury this season and has made just three starts and a substitute appearance in the Conference Premier this season.

Current League Form

Tamworth (DDLLLL) Dartford (DWLWDL)
Cambridge United A 1-1 Southport H 2-2
AFC Telford United H 0-0 Luton Town A 2-0
Macclesfield Town A 0-2 Forest Green Rovers H 0-1
Grimsby Town H 0-1 Mansfield Town H 2-0
Ebbsfleet United H 0-1 Barrow A 0-0
Hyde A 1-2 AFC Telford United H 1-4

Last Meeting

11 August 2012 – Dartford 2 Tamworth 3 – Att: 1370

Goalscorers: Till (27), Cunnington (40), Bradbrook (45), Cunnington (76), Crawford (79)

The Darts Lineup: Wells, Burns, Bonner, Arber, Green, Noble, Champion, Bradbrook, Rogers, Erskine, Harris (subs used: Hayes, Wallis, Crawford)

The Lambs Lineup: Breedon, Tait, Oji, Marshall, Barrow, Kelly, Till, Kerry, Marna, Wright, Cunnington (subs used: Gudger, Liabo)

Match Stats

Season Stats

18 – Dartford have used the fewest players in the league this season. Tamworth have used 27 players the second highest in the Conference National in 2012/13.

126 – The amount of shots off target recorded by the Lambs in the league this season, more than any other club

1106 – Tamworth’s average home attendance in the Conference Premier this campaign

2562 – Dartford’s average away attendance is the highest in the league this term

Most goals have been scored or conceded in the last fifteen minutes of the first half in matches involving the two sides…

Did you know…

Tamworth defender Tom Marshall is living two dreams at the moment. When the 25 year old is not playing for the Lambs he is busy creating basslines in his band Stubblemelt. Check out the indie rockers at

Kingstonian v Dartford


Dartford return to the venue where they clinched the Isthmian Premier League title two and half years ago in an F.A Trophy tie against Kingstonian.

On 10 April 2010, Dartford fans travelled to Kingsmeadow hoping to be part of a memorable celebration. The Darts put in a championship winning display when they thrashed their hosts in second place 6-2 sewing up the league title with six games to spare.

The Darts went into half time with a 3-1 lead when Elliot Bradbrook finished from close range and Ryan Hayes smashed in number two from twenty yards. The lead was halved when Simon Huckle headed the K’s back in the game but It wasn’t long before Dartford restored the two goal advantage courtesy of Danny Harris’ header.

The second half started as it finished, Bradbrook capitalised on some slack goalkeeping before Bobby Traynor pulled a goal back. Hayes netted a rebound for number five and Lee Burns wrapped up proceedings with a volley ten minutes from time.

The Darts celebrate against Kingstonian in a title winning season

Dartford put 11 goals passed Kingstonian that season beating the Surrey club 5-0 at Princes Park. With the side free scoring at the start of the season, Burns stole the show with a hat trick. Like the return fixture it was Bradbrook who opened the scoring, Burns added two more before Hayes made it 4-0. The hat trick was completed by Burns six minutes from time. The striker went on to score 22 league goals for the Darts in 2009/2010 before being converted into a right back.

The Darts enter Saturday’s cup tie on the back of a 2-2 home draw against Southport. Bradbrook scored a brace with a well taken long range effort and a penalty. On both occasions Southport pegged back Dartford with a headed goal from Steve Akrigg and a last minute equaliser from Karl Ledsham.

The draw keeps Dartford in the final playoff spot having experience mixed form of late. Tony Burman spoke to BBC Sport, he said: “I didn’t think we performed as well as we should do but to be fair to Southport they kept going. We had too many players below par today and that cost us in the end”, he added: “That’s the first time we looked jaded”.

For the first time in nine seasons Dartford have not had to qualify for the first round but the Darts will hope to avoid a shock similar to last season when they were knocked out at the third round stage to Wealdstone. The K’s currently play in the same division as last season’s conquerors and sit in ninth place.

The back to back F.A Trophy winners of 1999-2000 were overturned on the weekend falling victims to bottom of the table side Thurrock who won 4-0. The K’s did however return to action on Tuesday night in front of 80 hardy souls in a League Cup away win versus Harrow Borough. Kingstonian won 1-0 in their eighth cup match of the season.

To reach the first round Alan Dowson’s side have beaten Eastbourne Town, Burnham and after a replay Brentwood Town. Starting in the first qualifying round two late Wade Small goals gave Kingstonian a 2-1 win after falling behind. Burnham were seen off a month later but it was Andre McCollin getting a double in a much more comfortable victory. The K’s needed two attempts to defeat Brentwood Town following a 2-2 draw at Kingsmeadow the job was finished in style. Within 23 minutes the Surrey club were 4-0 up thanks to goals from Matt Pattison who opened and closed the scoring for the K’s, Kieran Murphy and Craig Mullen.

Dowson has been at the helm since 2007 and when the Darts last played Kingstonian he had goalkeeper Rob Tolfrey and midfielder Huckle in the side that lost. The K’s strike force consists of McCollin who has netted nine goals in 15 appearances and attacking midfielder Pattison has scored eight in 18 games.

Team News

Mark Arber will be out for approximately five weeks after fracturing his jaw in Saturday’s draw with Southport. The experienced Dartford defender played the remaining 70 minutes after clashing with Southport’s goalscorer Steve Akrigg for the first equaliser. Incoming on loan is 19 year old defender Semi Ajayi from Charlton Athletic, Ajayi will be with the Darts for a month. Harry Crawford serves his final match suspension and Elliot Bradbrook remains one caution away from picking up five this season.

Lewis Taylor and Jon McDonald are the latest players to join Kingstonian. Midfielder, Taylor has been signed from Carshalton Athletic and 27 year old defender McDonald joins from Havant and Waterlooville.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Kingstonian wins: 1 / Draws 1

Current Form

(League games unless stated – ILC – Isthmian League Cup / FAT – F.A Trophy / FAC – F.A Cup)

Kingstonian (WLWDLW) Dartford (WDLWW)
Harrow Borough (ILC) A 1-0 Southport H 2-2
Thurrock A 0-4 Luton Town A 2-0
Brentwood Town (FAT) A 4-1 Forest Green Rovers H 0-1
Brentwood Town (FAT) H 2-2 Mansfield Town H 2-0
Wingate and Finchley H 0-1 Forest Green Rovers (FAC) H 1-4
Burnham (FAT) H 2-1 Forest Green Rovers (FAC) A 1-1

F.A Trophy Previous Records

Dartford v Southport


Dartford take on last season’s surprise package Southport for the first time in the clubs history at Princes Park on Saturday.

Whilst the Darts have taken well deserved plaudits in the first three months of 2012/13 campaign, a year ago their opponents were about to leap into third place in their return to the Conference Premier.

The two sides are experiencing inconsistent form over the last six league matches but the Darts will be full of confidence following another scalp on Saturday. Another visit to a former football league side ended in a Dartford victory adding Luton Town to the ever growing list.

Lee Noble scored direct from a free kick after six minutes at Kenilworth Road, his second league goal of the season. Tom Bonner doubled his season’s tally with a close range header to put Tony Burman’s side two up before half time.  Yet again the back five managed a clean sheet, their fourth consecutive away from home.

Victory lifted Dartford back into the play off places as they replaced Luton Town, Burman spoke to BBC Radio Kent: “I am absolutely delighted. It was a good away performance against a top, top club. It’s one of the best results I’ve had so far”. Despite a better home record this season the Dartford boss feels less pressure on the road, he added: “First half we were excellent, our passing was good. It’s easier playing away. The expectation is not high and it is on our opponents Luton, but it was a great performance from us”.

On the weekend of Princes Park’s sixth birthday the progress the club was summed up by last weekend’s attendance at Kenilworth Road, Burman commented: “I’m just delighted Dartford are playing at this level, in front of six-and-a-half thousand people. It’s a dream come true”.

The Darts approach their fixture with Southport without top scorer Harry Crawford who has netted all six of his goals at home. It is likely Jacob Erskine and Danny Harris will partner each other up front. The duo have only started once together at home on the opening day of the season. At the back the defence picks itself, after 16 consecutive league games the back five have been unchanged keeping clean sheets in almost half of those matches.

Southport travel down from the north west and went down to a early goal last weekend when they lost to a second minute strike by Mansfield Town’s Ben Hutchinson. Defeat leaves the Sandgrounders one place above the relegation zone two points ahead of our Kent rivals Ebbsfleet United.

It will be the second consecutive away fixture for Southport and of late they have one just once in six attempts on the road. Defensively, only three teams have conceded more goals than the Sandgrounders who have not kept a clean sheet for nine league matches. Part of that defence includes the ever present goalkeeper Tony McMIllan and defender Simon Grand, midfielder Andy Parry has also started every league game of 2012/13. Up front the club have struggled for a regular striker and have had to rely on defender Chris Lever to top score with five league goals, all penalties.

Now managed by Liam Watson, the Merseysiders have bounced between the top two tiers of non league football since the turn of the millennium. The club are in their third spell in non league’s top division having been relegated in 2003 and 2007. Up until 1978 Southport were an established football league club reaching Division Three North, today’s equivalent of League One.

Team News

Harry Crawford will serve his second match of his three game ban after his sending off against Forest Green Rovers. Elliot Bradbrook was cautioned in Saturday’s win and is one yellow card from a suspension.

Steve Akrigg remains sidelined with a long term injury caused by a dislocated shoulder. The centre half has managed just six league appearances for the Sandgrounders. Steve Grand and Godfrey Poku have both currently amassed four cautions this season, Poku has just returned from suspension after his red card against Wrexham.

Current League Form

Dartford (WLWDLW) Southport (LLDWLW)
Luton Town A 2-0 Mansfield Town A 0-1
Forest Green Rovers H 0-1 Wrexham H 1-4
Mansfield Town H 2-0 Hereford United H 2-2
Barrow A 0-0 Woking A 3-2
AFC Telford United H 1-4 Barrow A 2-3
Grimsby Town A 2-0 Nuneaton H 3-1

Dartford failed to score in their last home match for the first time in the league this season and have yet to record a league draw at Princes Park

Southport have lost four of their last five away fixtures


Dartford seem to struggle to find the net in the second third of each half, see below the times in which the Darts have scored.

Defensively Dartford keep things tight at the back in the opening half hour of each half.

Luton Town v Dartford


It was only five years ago Dartford were seven steps below Saturday’s opponents Luton Town and now the sides go head to head in the Conference Premier.

A lot has changed in the six years Princes Park has been opened, Luton Town were a Championship club and Dartford were battling it out in Isthmian Division One. Whilst the former League Cup winners finished 124 places above Dartford in the football pyramid back in 2007, the Darts ended up seventh in the Isthmian Division One South. Now the two clubs are separated by just three places and three points.

On Tuesday night both Dartford and Luton Town were beaten by a solitary goal. The Darts faced for the third time in a fortnight Forest Green Rovers and yet again their opponents came out on top. Yan Klukowski scored the winner and his third against the Darts this season in the eleventh minute. Dartford striker Harry Crawford was dismissed early on and moments later the sides were even when Jamie Turley was also red carded.

Luton Town fell to a mid table Hereford United side at Edgar Street when James McQuilkin first strike of the season surprised the visitors. The Hatters created numerous chances in front of goal but their domination was not rewarded. The Bedfordshire club has seen their one point deficit at the top of the table increase to four.

After a fine start to their first season back in the Conference Premier, Dartford have one just once in their last six matches in all competitions. The trip to Kenilworth Road is a journey the majority of supporters have been looking forward to as the Hatters average a crowd of over 6000.

The Darts have been extremely tight on their travels conceding the second fewest amount of goals in the league. Marcus Bettinelli, Lee Burns, Mark Arber, Tom Bonner and Richard Rose have contributed to three consecutive clean sheets totalling over five hours of football. Up front the side have struggled to score away from Princes Park netting eight, the second lowest total.

Kenilworth Road brings its own pressures to the Luton Town team who are one of the favourites for promotion. Having missed out in the play-offs in all three of their Conference Premier seasons since relegation, the Hatters are not short of fire power. Paul Buckle was appointed to the lead the club in April and he has added some quality players to his squad.

Stuart Fleetwood and Scott Rendell have contributed to 16 league goals so far in a promising front line. Rendell joined in the summer from Wycombe Wanderers and Fleetwood has a host of Conference Premier experience. Buckle also captured midfielder Ronnie Henry from Stevenage to build a strong squad to choose from.

Team News

Dartford’s top scorer Harry Crawford will be suspended for three matches following his straight red card against Forest Green Rovers. Adam Green returned to league action for the first time in since 25 August when he made a substitute appearance on Tuesday night.

Last seasons top scorer for Gateshead Jon Shaw has been ruled out with a thigh injury. The 28 year old joined the Hatters in the summer and has managed just one league goal in 13 appearances. Alex Lawless who has racked up 14 league starts returned against Hereford United but will still have a fitness test. Defender Dean Beckwith is back in training following a groin injury as well as goalkeeper Mark Tyler. Paul Buckle could be set to give new signing Jonathan Smith his home début.

Current Form

Luton Town (WWLWW) Dartford (WDLWW)
Hereford United A 0-1 Forest Green Rovers H 0-1
Forest Green Rovers A 2-1 Mansfield Town H 2-0
Nuneaton A 2-0 Barrow A 0-0
Braintree Town H 2-3 AFC Telford United H 1-4
Lincoln City A 2-1 Grimsby Town A 2-0
Southport A 3-1 Hyde H 2-1


Five years ago Dartford and Luton Town were two teams who were worlds apart. The graph below shows the progress the Darts have made since 2007 compared to Luton’s decline.

Two players featured for Dartford and Luton Town back in 2007 and are in the squad for this season. Ryan Hayes has been involved in all of Dartford’s promotions whilst Luton Town goalkeeper Dean Brill left the Hatters before returning this year. Here are the classes of five years ago…

Dartford Luton Town
Kevin Hudson Ted Ansell Marlon Beresford Sam Parkin
Tommy Osborne Lew Watts Kevin Foley Adam Boyd
John Farley Anthony Hogg Sol Davis Keith Keane
Richard Avery Dominic Elmes Chris Coyne Danny Stevens
Anthony Henry James Carter Russell Perrett Besian Idrizaj
Ryan Briggs Nick Barnes Paul Underwood Shaun Ross
Steve Hafner John Guest Matthew Spring Leon Barnett
Jay May Alex O’Brien Stephen Robinson Markus Heikkinen
Brendon Cass Steve Norman Björn Runström Peter Holmes
Eddie McClements James Tedder Warren Feeney David Bell
Dave Martin Craig Maguire Dean Morgan Calvin Andrew
Brad Potter Carl Bruce Michael Leary Drew Talbot
Glen Billiness Tony Kessell Stephen O’Leary Ed Asafu-Adjaye
Ryan Hayes Mark Green Lewis Emanuel Dean Brill
Danny White Richard Langley Zac Barrett
Ahmet Brkovic Chris Pendleton

* Dartford squad taken from PUREDFC archives (Match threads / man of the match poll) and Luton Town squad taken from

Dartford v Forest Green Rovers



A third meeting in a fortnight with Forest Green Rovers awaits the Darts on Tuesday night at Princes Park.

Dartford will be hoping their F.A Cup exit has been put firmly behind them when they crashed out to Rovers in a replay. At the New Lawn a Jacob Erskine goal cancelled out James Norwood’s strike so the sides met again three days later.

It was looking good for the Darts in the return match when Harry Crawford scored in the first half until Yan Klukowski equalised. Klukowski completed a brace in the second half and goals from Matthew Taylor and Magno Vieira settled the cup tie.

After fourth qualifying round disappointment Tony Burman’s side went in front of the television cameras in a historic night at Princes Park just days later. Former football league side Mansfield Town became the next victim of Dartford’s hard work and commitment.

As the match approached half time the Darts hit double top when a well worked move was rolled home from the edge of the box by captain Elliot Bradbrook. All of a sudden it was 2-0, the Stags kicked off and winger Ryan Hayes intercepted a stray pass on the half way line, dribbled towards the edge of the box and curled a stunning shot into the top corner for a second goal in a minute.

Burman commented on his team’s attitude and display and told BBC Sport: “We rotated the squad, the guys have taken it in a professional manner and I’m delighted for them”, he added: “We put on a real good performance in front of a big crowd”.

Victory propelled the club into third place for a couple of hours at least and the Darts became the highest placed English non league team. Dartford have since dropped to fifth place after Grimsby Town’s win on Saturday and because Luton Town left it late to see off Forest Green Rovers last weekend.

Tuesday’s opponents went in front just after the break when Klukowski pounced on a goalkeeping error. Luton Town’s Stuart Fleet wood curled in a shot from the edge of the box before Rovers had Paul Green dismissed. In the final minute the Hatters stole the points from the spot thanks to Scott Rendell.

Dave Hockaday is not concerned by Forest Green Rovers fourth consecutive league defeat as he felt his side more than matched Luton Town, he spoke to BBC Sport and said: “We dominated our territory and had better of the possession, we just lost it at a couple of key moments but we have to learn”, he continued: “It’s four league games we’ve lost in a row, but I’m not worried because you couldn’t tell the two sides apart and we’re still right up there”.

Rovers run of defeats continued on Saturday but they fought back from 2-0 down in the F.A Cup in a spirited display. Against Dartford’s cup conquerors of two years ago Forest Green Rovers were eventually knocked out by League Two side Port Vale.

Vale opened the scoring early on through  Ashley Vincent and doubled their advantage five minutes later when Clayton McDonald put the visitors two up inside 12 minutes. James Norwood finished well before half time and on the other side of the break Eddie Oshodi tapped in from close range to level the tie. Vale substitute Ben Williamson had only been on the pitch for eight minutes when he netted the winner ten minutes from time.

For the third time this season the Darts entertain Forest Green Rovers looking for the first ever victory against the Gloucestershire club.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 0 / Forest Green Rovers wins: 1 / Draws: 3

Team News

Goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli returned after re-signing on loan until December. Tony Burman admitted to not giving enough game time to Louis Wells on BBC’s non league show but he wants Wells to regain ‘that title’ of being number one. Tom Champion returns from suspension which he served for picking up five cautions this campaign. If Lee Noble he will start his 100th league game for the Darts.

Forest Green Rovers will have Paul Green available to select after he missed Saturday’s F.A Cup tie with Port Vale. Jamie Collins has had surgery on his knee and is just over a month away from a return. Phil Marsh and Chris Todd are out on loan at  Hereford United.

Current League Form

Dartford (WDLWWW) Forest Green Rovers (LLLLWW)
Mansfield Town H 2-0 Luton Town H 1-2
Barrow A 0-0 Mansfield Town A 0-1
AFC Telford United H 1-4 Tamworth H 1-2
Grimsby Town H 2-0 Wrexham A 1-2
Hyde A 2-1 Lincoln City H 3-0
Braintree Town A 2-0 Hereford United A 2-1

Dartford are second in the form table behind Luton Town who they play on Tuesday

Forest Green Rovers have lost their last two away games and have dropped from top spot to sixth after losing their last four matches


Marcus Bettinelli has played 14 times for the Darts and has kept six clean sheets

Dartford have the best home record in the Conference Premier this season and have scored the most goal as the home side

Forest Green Rovers’ run of four successive defeats is their worst spell since September 2010 when they lost five in a row

Dave Hockaday’s side have the third best defence on their travels, they have conceded just 8. Only Wrexham have scored more than once as a home side against Rovers.