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Ebbsfleet United v Dartford

 

Dartford open the New Year by facing local rivals Ebbsfleet United for a second time this week and hope to add to their Boxing Day victory.

The Darts recorded their first league win over the Fleet for twenty years on Wednesday to end their four game losing streak. Just after half time Liam Enver-Marum put Ebbsfleet United in front and four minutes later Harry Crawford started his festive goal cheer. The Dartford striker equalised before completing his brace putting the Darts ahead. Captain Elliot Bradbrook settled the score with ten minutes remaining to secure maximum points.

Tony Burman’s side then hosted an in form Cambridge United team on the weekend in a second consecutive fixture at Princes Park. The Darts put in a spirited and gutsy performance to end 2012 and come away with a well earned draw. Crawford’s swivel and turn half way through the first half put Dartford 1-0 up, the striker notched his third goal in two matches and tenth of the season. Michael Gash’s free kick on the stroke of half time found its way through the defence to tie the game. The visitors created more chances in the second half but were denied by the superb Marcus Bettinelli between the Dartford sticks.

Dartford manager Tony Burman was content with a point and told BBC Radio Kent: “We could have said on chances it was a fair result”, he added: “I’m just pleased we haven’t lost. We’ve taken four points off Cambridge which is a great achievement for us”. As recent weather conditions played havoc with pitches up and down the country the Darts have managed to fulfill their festive fixtures. Burman recognises the toll it’s taking on the players and is delighted with the commitment shown, he commented: “The players gave their all on Boxing Day and today and [having played] on heavy pitches, they’re absolutely shattered”.

Four points from the last six leaves Dartford nestling in seventh place and the draw versus Cambridge United keeps them ahead of the U’s. However, Burman’s side have lost their last three away matches. Meanwhile, The Fleet are struggling this season and after their loss on Boxing Day the club are second from bottom. Liam Daish’s side were left without a match on the weekend when their match at Kenilworth Road against Luton Town was called of due to a waterlogged pitch.

Ebbsfleet United have lost their last three league games conceding eleven goals in the process. The Fleet boss has suggested he may have to look towards the transfer market to get the club away from trouble. Daish spoke to BBC Radio Kent and said: “I know they’re working hard but there’s a bit of naivety there”, he added: “It needs to be addressed and it probably needs to be addressed with different personnel”.

The last meeting between the two sides at Stonebridge Road went the way of Ebbsfleet United as Dartford were beaten 2-1. Fleet defender Derek Duncan curled in a free kick for the opener on ten minutes. Four minutes later Ryan Hayes sent in a cross from a dead ball situation and Elliot Bradbrook headed the leveller. The match turned on 32 minutes when Calum Willock outpaced the last defender and won a spot kick. Joe Bruce was dismissed and Willock got up to put the Fleet ahead. To rub salt into the Dartford wound James White was also sent off after coming on as a substitute.

Head to Head

Ebbsfleet United wins: 107 / Dartford wins: 115 / Draws 88 / Dartford goals for: 476 / Ebbsfleet United goals: 454

Team News

Lee Burns failed a fitness test on Saturday and sat out the full ninety minutes for the first time in the league this campaign. Lee Noble was substituted against Cambridge United on the hour with a possible hamstring strain. Marcus Bettinelli continues his loan spell on a month to month basis but he can be recalled by Fulham at any time. Tom Bonner and Lee Noble remain one caution away from suspension for five yellow cards.

Prior the Boxing Day clash the Fleet lost the services of Patrick Ada after his contract was terminated by the club for his imprisonment. The loan spell of striker Matthew Godden ended when Scunthorpe United recalled the player. Nathan Elder had been out with injury before the game at Princes Park but the forward made a return that day. Moses Ashokodi has also been missed by the team in recent weeks through injury. Lian Enveer-Marum and Neil Barrett are currently on four cautions for the season and another yellow will rule them out of the Fleet’s next match.

Form

Ebbsfleet United (LLLDWW) Dartford (DWLLLL)
Dartford A 1-3 Cambridge United A 1-1
Mansfield Town A 1-4 Ebbsfleet United H 3-1
Cambridge United H 2-4 Kidderminster Harriers H 1-5
Grimsby Town H 1-1 Lincoln City A 2-4
Macclesfield Town A 2-1 Nuneaton Town H 0-1
Hyde H 3-2 Tamworth A 2-3

Last Meeting at Stonebridge Road

28 December 2010 – Ebbsfleet United 1 Dartford 2- Att: 2435

Goalscorers: Duncan (10), Bradbrook (14), Willock (32 pen)

The Fleet Lineup: Edwards, Stone, Lorraine, Easton, Duncan, Howe, Marwa, Phipp, West, Williams, Willock (subs used: Shakes, Ginty)

The Darts Lineup: Young, Burgess, Bonner, Bruce, Goodacre, Champion, Hayes, Sheringham, Purcell, Burns, Bradbrook (subs used: White, Berquez, Burchell)

Stats

Harry Crawford is still searching for his first away goal in the Conference Premier league this season

Dartford and Ebbsfleet United have now gone seven league matches without a clean sheet

The Darts recent record in the first New Year fixtures has seen one defeat in seven which happened at Welling United

2011/12 Welling United H 1-0
2010/11 Welling United A 1-2
2009/10 Cray Wanderers A 2-1
2008/09 Staines Town H 0-0
2007/08 Witham Town A 4-0
2006/07 Whyteleafe H 4-2
2005/06 Sittingbourne H 0-0

 

Dartford v Cambridge United

 

The Darts play their final game of the calendar year on Saturday against former league club Cambridge United.

Earlier in the season Dartford upset the odds to record their first away win of the current campaign when they travelled to the Abbey Stadium.

After no goals in the first half Danny Harris opened his seasons account fortuitously putting the Darts in front three minutes into the second half. Out wide on the left Harris sent in a low cross which evaded everyone in the Cambridge United box and crept inside the far post. Dartford looked good for picking up three points but hopes were dashed five minutes from time when Sam Smith won a penalty, up stepped James Jennings and the scores were level. The Darts were not deterred and substitute Nathan Collier took his chances with a shot from the edge of the box, the ball deflected over the stranded Craig Ross to give Dartford a dramatic win.

The Darts have a chance to complete their first double over a Conference Premier club this season and warmed up with a much needed Kent derby win on Boxing Day. After going a goal down to Ebbsfleet United early in the second half, Harry Crawford restored parity four minutes later. The striker added to his goal tally netting for the ninth time in the league after 68 minutes. With ten minutes to go Elliot Bradbrook made three points certain to end Dartford’s barren spell of four straight defeats.

Tony Burman reflected on the Boxing Day derby and told BBC Radio Kent: “I thought Ebbsfleet came out and bossed the game for the first 20 minutes, but then I felt we grew into the game”, he added: “At half-time I thought ‘we’ve seen the best of Ebbsfleet, now we need to get into another gear”.

Striker Harry Crawford commented: “To get a win here, in a local derby on Boxing Day with a great support behind us is fantastic. There were nearly 3,500 fans here, so it was brilliant”, he added: “”We lost our last four league games but the lads didn’t let their heads drop”.

Cambridge United had dropped to the wrong end of the Conference Premier table falling to twentieth after a 6-2 loss at Newport County early last month. Since the setback the U’s have picked up the points to move up to tenth and to within five points of Dartford.

The U’s are now on a six game unbeaten run in the Conference Premier picking up maximum points against Macclesfield Town, Ebbsfleet United, Gateshead and Braintree Town with only Tamworth and Alfreton Town picking up draws against Richard Money’s men. Money has been in charge since October with former boss Jez George moving back to Director of Football.

Tom Elliott is one player to keep an eye out for after rediscovering his early season form. The former Stockport County striker scored five in his first four league games. A barren spell of one goal in ten league matches followed but the 22 year old has recently found his scoring touch.

Previous manager George has put a lot of faith into a youth system and defender Josh Coulson epitomises that. The longest serving player is only 21 years old and he has already surpassed 100 appearances for Cambridge United. Rory McAuley has featured in all but one league game and offers the U’s versatility. Former Ebbsfleet United man, Michael Gash is second in Cambridge United’s scoring charts with seven leagues goals.

Team News

Mark Arber completed his first full ninety minutes since returning from his injury in Dartford’s 3-1 victory against Ebbsfleet United. The Darts have no suspensions to worry about.

James Jennings picked up his fifth caution in Cambridge United’s Boxing Day win and misses Saturday’s match. Thomas Shaw also sits out due to suspension after being sent off for violent conduct at Braintree Town.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 8 / Cambridge United wins: 3 / Draws: 0 / Dartford Goals: 19 / Cambridge United Goals: 14
Current League Form

Dartford (WLLLLD) Cambridge United (WDWWDW)
Ebbsfleet United H 3-1 Braintree Town A 3-0
Kidderminster Harriers A 1-5 Alfreton Town A 1-1
Lincoln City H 2-4 Gateshead H 3-0
Nuneaton Town A 0-1 Ebbsfleet United A 4-2
Tamworth A 2-3 Tamworth H 1-1
Southport H 2-2 Macclesfield Town H 2-0

Last Meeting

27 August 2012 – Cambridge United 1 Dartford 2 – Att: 2691

Goalscorers: Harris (48), Jennings (85 pen), Collier (88)

The U’s Lineup: Ross, McAuley, Garner, Hudson, Jennings, Willmott, Berry, Wellard, Dunk, Elliott, Moke (subs used: Gibson, Hughes, Smith)

The Darts Lineup: Bettinelli, Burns, Bonner, Arber, Rose, Hayes, Wallis, Champion, Harris, Erskine, Bradbrook (subs used: Noble, Collier, Crawford)

Match Stats

Cambridge United

Dartford

Possession

53%

47%

Shots On Target

5

5

Shots Off Target

4

2

Corners

8

4

Fouls Won

12

9

Yellow Cards

1

1

Previous Meetings

19.02.1966 Cambridge United 3 Dartford 0
04.09.1965 Dartford 2 Cambridge United 1
13.03.1965 Dartford 2 Cambridge United 0
31.10.1964 Cambridge United 1 Dartford 2
15.04.1964 Dartford 0 Cambridge United 2

 

Dartford v Ebbsfleet United

Princes Park hosts the first Boxing Day clash between local rivals Dartford and Ebbsfleet United since 1989 when the clubs met in the Southern Premier League.

After 18 years apart the two sides will meet for the third time within the last two seasons. The Fleet got the better of Dartford in the Conference South as they returned to the summit of non league at the first attempt.

The two sides last met at Princes Park in August 2010 whilst playing in the Conference South. A bumper crowd of 2781 welcomed the old rivalry back for the first league fixture since 1992. A scrappy and competitive match ensued and a tense first half saw both sides level at the break without a goal to celebrate.

Ebbsfleet United took the lead just past the hour when a free kick was powerfully headed beyond John Whitehouse by Fleet’s Michael West. The Darts were only behind for a while and with 15 minutes to play Danny Harris was upended by Paul Lorraine in the penalty area. Charlie Sheringham took responsibility and netted the equaliser resulting in the match ending 1-1.

Dartford fans enjoy the build up before the first league meeting between the two sides in 18 years

At Stonebridge Road, the Darts found life tougher and the festive spirit was spoilt in a 2-1 defeat. After a frantic start Ebbsfleet United won a free kick and as Dartford were still setting up Derek Duncan curled in the opener on ten minutes. Again the Darts replied quickly when four minutes later Ryan Hayes sent in a cross from a dead ball situation and Elliot Bradbrook headed the leveller. The match turned on 32 minutes when Calum Willock outpaced the last defender Joe Bruce and won a spot kick. Bruce was dismissed and Willock got up to put the Fleet ahead. To rub salt into the Dartford wound James White was also sent off late on after coming on as a substitute.

Dartford may have hit a barren spell in the league of four consecutive losses but to be on the fringes of the playoffs, due the excellent form at the end of August and throughout September has left the Darts in a strong position. Tony Burman has worked well with a relatively small number of players and injury to Mark Arber coupled with a few suspensions has tested Dartford’s squad. The festive period will only add to the challenging demands of a part time side as the fixtures come thick and fast.

In the only Conference Premier game that survived the weekend washout Dartford suffered their heaviest defeat of the season. The Darts were a goal down inside four minutes, Cheyenne Dunkley finished like a striker hitting a shot into the corner of Marcus Bettinelli’s net. The lead lasted five minutes when Jacob Erskine’s firm header levelled the match rewarding the striker with his first league goal in three months. In form striker Jamille Matt put the Harriers back in front from close range on 32 minutes as the home side went into the break a goal to the good.

Matt added a further goal in the second half with 20 minutes to go, scoring his sixth league goal in five appearances. Substitute defender Mike Williams was only on the pitch for a couple of minutes when he made it 4-1 and a last minute strike by Lee Vaughan made it five.

Since the last meeting at Princes Park between the two clubs Ebbsfleet United still have Preston Edwards, Paul Lorraine and Tom Phipp as part of their squad regularly involved in matchdays. Up front 27 year old Nathan Elder has ten league goals to his name (up to 8 December) and almost had to give up the game three years ago when the striker suffered a serious eye injury. Recently the signing of Scunthorpe United forward Matthew Godden has added fire power in place of Elder as the 21 year old netted three times in his first three starts.

Whilst Tony Burman’s side have propelled up the Conference Premier ladder into playoff contention, Ebbsfleet United have struggled on the field and are fighting amongst the relegation contenders. Apart from a six match unbeaten run from mid October to the first day of December, the Fleet have found points hard to come by. Liam Daish’s side have picked up one point in their last three league fixtures which has included a 4-1 defeat at Mansfield Town and a 4-2 loss at home against Cambridge United. The Fleet

Off the field has also been concerning for Daish’s side. The Ebbsfleet United manager expressed his concerns before and after the match against Mansfield Town. Prior the fixture he backed up the concerns of Fleet Chairman Jessica McQueen and the lack of a sustainable financial plan. After the match Daish highlighted the lack of strength on the field with key players unavailable for selection his side lacked a physical presence.

It’s been 20 years since the Darts finished a league season ahead of the Fleet which happened to be Dartford’s last full season before reformation. In that season, Ebbsfleet United in their former guise as Gravesend and Northfleet finished rock bottom dropping into the Southern League (South Division). Two decades on and Dartford are enjoying bragging rights so far as they aim to stay ahead of their rivals.

Team News

Mark Arber returned to action featuring in the final twenty minutes on Saturday against Kidderminster Harriers. Lee Noble’s appearance from off the bench means the midfielder is one game away from making 200 appearances, which has included 139 starts and 25 goals. Tony Burman will get to choose from a full squad of players.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 114 / Ebbsfleet United wins: 107 / Draws 88 / Dartford goals for:against: 473:453

Form

Dartford (LLLLDW) Ebbsfleet United (LLDWWD)
Kidderminster Harriers A 1-5 Mansfield Town A 1-4
Lincoln City A 2-4 Cambridge United H 2-4
Nuneaton Town A 0-1 Grimsby Town H 1-1
Tamworth H 2-3 Macclesfield Town A 2-1
Southport A 2-2 Hyde H 3-2
Luton Town H 2-0 AFC Telford United A 2-2

Last Meeting at Princes Park

28 August 2010 – Dartford 1 Ebbsfleet United 1 – Att: 2781

Goalscorers: West (62), Sheringham (74 pen)

The Darts Lineup: Whitehouse, Burgess, Bonner, Bruce, Goodacre, Shinn, Hayes, Champion, Sheringham, Burns, Harris (subs used: Bradbrook, Rook, Noble)

The Fleet Lineup: Edwards, Henry, Duncan, Carew, Pooley, Lorraine, West, Marwa, Willock, Phipp (subs used: Easton, Benjamin)

Previous League Meetings

28.12.2010 Ebbsfleet United 2 Dartford 1
18.04.1992 Gravesend and Northfleet 1 Dartford 1
01.01.1992 Dartford 5 Gravesend and Northfleet 0
01.04.1991 Dartford 3 Gravesend and Northfleet 0
01.01.1991 Gravesend and Northfleet 3 Dartford 1
16.04.1990 Gravesend and Northfleet 1 Dartford 0
26.12.1989 Dartford 5 Gravesend and Northfleet 0

Stats

Dartford see most goal action in the final fifteen minutes of both halves. The charts below show the timings of goals scored for each club (top) and when each side are most vulnerable (below)

* picture courtesy of Dave Adkins and stats collated from www.bbc.co.uk/sport

Kidderminster Harriers v Dartford

 

Dartford have the chance to complete their first league double over a club this season when they travel to Kidderminster Harriers.

The Darts kick started their campaign in the last meeting between the two sides back in August with a 1-0 victory. Substitute Lee Burns headed the vital and his only goal of the season after 36 minutes from a Ryan Hayes corner. Marcus Bettinelli crowned his Princes Park début with a fine display and Adam Green hobbled off with the injury he has suffered from for most of the season.

By the end of Saturday’s match Tony Burman will have seen his squad reach the half way point of the league campaign with still plenty to play for. The Darts continued their F.A Trophy last weekend with a comfortable 3-0 triumph of fellow Kent side Tonbridge Angels.

Dartford got back to winning ways last weekend after losing their last three fixtures. In a cup derby at Princes Park the Darts knocked out the Conference South side. Harry Crawford got his team on their way when at the second attempt he finished a one on one chance to give the Darts an early lead. In the second half Crawford was upended in the penalty box and captain Elliot Bradbrook scored from the spot in his 150th start for the club. The third goal was the pick of the bunch, created by Jacob Erskine’s back heel, Jon Wallis took a touch before emphatically hitting a fine long range strike into the top corner.

In the Conference Premier, Dartford have recorded just one victory in the last six outings leaving the club falling out of the playoffs. The Darts will want to make the most of the journey to the Aggborough Stadium to ensure they keep in touch with the top five and keep the Harriers below them in the standings.

Saturday’s fixture will be a tougher prospect then the meeting back in August as the Harriers are the form side of the Conference Premier. Languishing at the foot of the table three months ago, in a run which included five straight defeats, Kidderminster Harriers are now flying up the table after five consecutive wins.

An unbeaten home spell of eight games, including five clean sheets has helped set Steve Burr’s side on their way up the ladder. The Harriers surprised league leaders Newport County a fortnight ago in a 3-2 victory. Jamille Matt netted all three goals and since returning to the side has been in form with four league goals in as many matches. Prior the strikers time out of football he had scored 17 goals in 38 starts for the club.

Last weekend the Harriers were on the wrong end of a cup upset against Dartford’s next F.A Trophy opponents Bromley. Josh Gowling conceded the vital penalty which Danny Waldren dispatched just before the break. Anthony Malbon had the chance to force a replay in the last minute but his spot kick was saved by Joe Welch as Bromley held on to win 1-0. Kidderminster Harriers suffered only their second defeat in 17 competitive matches.

Dartford will hope to avoid a similar scoreline to the time they last travelled to Aggborough. The Darts were defeated 4-1 during their last spell in the top non league division back in March 1986.

Team News

Mark Arber is still recovering from his fractured jaw but has returned to training. The centre half is available for selection but is unlikely to be rushed back into action.

The Harriers still have Jack Byrne and Marvin Johnson on the injury list and Kyle Storer returns from his one match suspension.

Head to Head

Kidderminster Harriers wins: 11 / Dartford wins: 11 / Draws: 7

Current League Form

Kidderminster Harriers (WWWWWL) Dartford (LLLDWL)
Newport County H 3-2 Lincoln City H 2-4
Tamworth A 1-0 Nuneaton Town A 0-1
Wrexham H 2-0 Tamworth A 2-3
AFC Telford United A 2-0 Southport H 2-2
Nuneaton Town H 1-0 Luton Town A 2-0
Woking A 2-2 Forest Green Rovers H 0-1

Last Meeting

15 August 2012 – Dartford 1 Kidderminster Harriers 0 – Att: 1068

Goalscorer: Burns (36)

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

The Harriers Lineup: Lewis, Austin, Dunkley, Williams, Shakes, Vincent, Byrne, Johnson, Rowe, Malbon (subs used: Demetriou, Pilkington, Blissett)

Match Stats

Season Stats

Against teams in the top half of the Conference Premier Dartford lead the way


 

 

 

0 – The Harriers are one of three teams yet to have scored a league penalty this season and have yet to have a player sent off.

5 – Kidderminster Harriers currently hold this seasons longest winning, drawing and losing streaks each lasting five matches

67 – The number of shots off target Dartford have racked up, the fewest in the division. However, only Southport have attempted less shots at the opposition’s goal in total.

416 – Between 6 November 2012 and 8 December 2012 the Harriers went 416 minutes without conceding a goal. Only Wrexham have lasted longer (464 minutes) this season without letting in a goal

2231 – The average attendance involving league games when Dartford are the away side. Only Wrexham and Macclesfield Town have a better away average.

* stats collated from bbc.co.uk and statto.com

Dartford v Tonbridge Angels

 

Dartford welcome Conference South side Tonbridge Angels to Princes Park on Saturday in the second round of the F.A Trophy.

It will be the ninth meeting between the two sides over the last four years with the Darts unbeaten in six against the Angels. Last season Dartford completed a treble, winning twice in the Conference South and once in the Kent Senior Cup.

At Princes Park, a 3-1 victory was the last of a four game winning streak in September 2011. Elliot Bradbrook opened proceedings ten minutes in with clinical finish. Danny Harris scored his fourth in five games against the Angels just past the hour and Charlie Sheringham added a third.  Last season’s Conference South top scorer, Frannie Collin grabbed a consolation from the penalty spot four minutes from time.

Elliot Bradbrook opens the scoring in Dartford's 3-1 victory last season

The other two fixtures at Longmead Stadium were much tougher as Dartford battled out a 1-0 win in March. Tom Champion scored the winner in the 18th minute to keep the Darts in their promotion push. In the Kent Senior Cup Dartford triumphed 4-2 albeit from two goals down and after extra time. Goals from Richard Graham (2), Jack Pallen and Lee Burns secured a semi final place for the 2011 winners.

After two straight away defeats to Tamworth and Nuneaton Town the Darts took on Lincoln City at Princes Park on Saturday. The Darts suffered a dreadful start conceding four goals in the first half. Set pieces were a thorn in Dartford’s side when on seven minutes Daniel Gray nodded the Imps in front and Colin Larkin benefited from a free kick heading in a second from close range. The away side went three up when a cut back was finished by Larkin and the 30 year old striker completed his hat trick following up another set piece.

Jacob Erskine replaced Danny Harris at half time and within four minutes of the restart he set up Harry Crawford. The Darts put in a spirited display in the second half and the introduction of Ryan Hayes added an extra dimension. Crawford scored a second with 19 minutes to go after another assist from Erskine. Despite going for broke Dartford were unable to stage a dramatic comeback losing 4-2.

Whilst Dartford were in home action Tonbridge Angels travelled down to Basingstoke Town in the Conference South. Managed by former Dart Tommy Warrilow the Angels lost to a solitary goal scored by Simon Dunn six minutes from time. It’s the second successive defeat for Tonbridge Angels without a goal. The result leaves the Kent club in sixteenth position with only four wins from eighteen league fixtures.

After losing their opening two fixtures in their second Conference South season Tonbridge Angels went nine league games unbeaten. In that spell they managed five consecutive draws and since their unbeaten run they have hit a run of inconsistency.

Warrilow’s second hand man is well remembered on the terraces of Princes Park, Alex O’Brien captained the Dartford side that triumphed in the 2009/10 season winning the Isthmian Division One North League and promotion. The defensive midfielder made 52 appearances for the Darts and scored just once, an important goal at Potters Bar Town during the title run in.

The Angels also have George Purcell in their ranks who spent a short spell with the Darts on loan two years ago. The 24 year old made seven appearances scoring twice. Henry Muggeridge played a few pre season matches with Dartford in the summer and has quickly become a crowd favourite at Longmead.

Victory for the Darts will put them into the F.A Trophy third round for the third time in a row.

Danny Harris scores on his début in 2009 against Tonbridge Angels

Team News

Mark Arber remains sidelined with a fractured jaw and goalkeeper Louis Wells is out on loan at Leatherhead. Elliot Bradbrook could be set to makes his 150th start for the Darts since joining in 2009. The midfielder has made a further nine substitute appearances and his last goal against Southport was his 50th.

Tonbridge Angels will be without Mikel Suarez who suffered a severe head injury in October leaving the striker in intensive care. Suarez is on the road to recovery and PureDFC wish him a speedy recovery.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 67 / Tonbridge Angels wins: 37 / Draws 24 / Dartford goals: 250 / Tonbridge Angels goals: 187

Current Form

(League games unless stated – FAT – F.A Trophy / FAC – F.A Cup / KSC – Kent Senior Cup)

Dartford (LLLWDW) Tonbridge Angels (LLWDWW)
Lincoln City H 2-4 Basingstoke A 0-1
Nuneaton Town A 0-1 Truro City A 0-2
Tamworth A 2-3 Merthyr Town (FAT) A 2-1
Kingstonian (FAT) A 4-0 Hayes and Yeading H 1-1
Southport H 2-2 Maidstone United (KSC) A 3-2
Luton Town A 2-0 Hitchin Town (FAT) H 2-1

Road To Wembley

First Round

Kingstonian 0 Dartford 4

The happy memories of promotion two years ago came back to the Darts in round one. The trip to Kingsmeadow started badly when début defender Semi Ajayi conceded a penalty with four minutes on the clock. Fortunatley Andre McCollin’s spot kick was saved by the other loan signing Marcus Bettinelli. From then on Dartford didn’t look back, Jacob Erskine flicked in number one before Simon Huckle was dismissed for the hosts. The lead was doubled when Elliot Bradbrook flicked the ball goalwards with his head and Danny Harris expertly curled home a third. Nathan Collier wrapped up the match by coolly slotting the ball underneath the oncoming goalkeeper.

Merthyr Town 1 Tonbridge Angels 2

Tonbridge Angels booked a place in the next round and sealed their visit to Princes Park by overcoming Southern Division One side Merthyr Town. Sony Miles scored a rebound on twenty one minutes to put the Angels in front and just before the hour Steve Williams scored a penalty to level the tie. Merthyr Town were reduced to ten men when Garyn Preen was red carded and with the match heading to a replay up popped Lee Browning in the fourth minute of injury time to win it for the Angels.

Third Qualifying Round

Tonbridge Angels 2 Hitchin Town 1

The Angels played host to Southern Premier League side Hitchin Town and despite playing a part of the match with ten men they held on to win. Former Dart, George Purcell opened the scoring on four minutes after good link up play with Ross Treleaven. With half an hour played the visitors earned a penalty which was finished by John Fendo but the one goal margin was restored shortly afterwards. Chris Piper scored Tonbridge Angel’s second of the afternoon to send the Kent side through.

 

Dartford v Lincoln City

 

Dartford host another former football league on Saturday with a home match against Lincoln City.

This season the Darts have managed to rise to the occasion and surprise a number of neutrals and will be hoping to cause another upset. Their opponents are just beginning to hit form at a time when Dartford have been in their most inconsistent period of the season so far.

On Tuesday night Tony Burman watched his side lose to bottom of the table side Nuneaton Town. The Darts fell behind on the stroke of half time when Andy Brown headed in from a free kick. The Boro earned the three points to take them off the foot of the table by the end of the evening. The result at Liberty Way followed an unlucky 3-2 defeat at the Lamb Ground against Tamworth. For the first time since the start of the season Dartford suffered back to back loses.

Dartford’s last home win came in the live television fixture in October when Mansfield Town were defeated 2-0. Excluding the F.A Trophy win over Isthmian Premier League side Kingstonian the Darts have just picked up one draw in their last four matches, adding a solitary league point out of the last nine available.

After a slow start which saw Lincoln City win just three in fourteen league matches, the club put a run of six league games without defeat picking up 14 points in the process, on Tuesday night that run came to an end. The Imps took on Woking who had just fallen victim to a drubbing by Hyde. Kevin Betsy put the Cards ahead early on when he converted a sixth minute penalty and in the second half Bradley Bubb made it 2-0 inflicting Lincoln City’s eighth league defeat of the season. Over the last two months the Imps have moved from twenty first in the Conference Premier table to twelfth.

On the weekend David Holdsworth’s side were involved in a dramatic F.A Cup second round tie with Mansfield Town which ended 3-3. After falling behind to a Matt Green goal, Alan Power curled in a free kick and Jamie Taylor put Lincoln City ahead. Mansfield’s Louis Briscoe scored a stunning volley to level the scores but the Imps went in front again when Power netted a rebound. In injury time the tie was forced to a replay thanks to Matt Rhead’s last gasp header. The winners of the televised replay on 12 December will earn a third round clash with Liverpool.

Dartford will have to keep tabs on Lincoln City striker Jamie Taylor who has scored a goal every other league game this campaign. The 29 year old has recorded five goals in his last five Conference Premier matches but has only netted two of his nine on the road. Midfielder Daniel Gray and goalkeeper Paul Farman have started every game for the Imps this season.

Saturday’s clash against the Imps will be the first time Dartford have played their opponents.

Team News

Tom Bonner and Elliot Bradbrook return from their one match suspensions picked up against Tamworth and served against Nuneaton Town. Centre back Mark Arber remains out with a fractured jaw.

Current League Form

Dartford (LLDWLW) Lincoln City (LWWWDW)
Nuneaton Town A 0-1 Woking H 0-2
Tamworth A 2-3 Hereford United H 3-2
Southport H 2-2 Barrow A 2-1
Luton Town A 2-0 Braintree Town H 3-0
Forest Green Rovers H 0-1 Stockport County H 3-3
Mansfield Town H 2-0 Wrexham A 4-2

Stats

1 – In their last home game, Dartford picked up their first home draw in the league this season and scored their first penalty this campaign. Only Kidderminster Harriers, Newport County and Gateshead have yet to score a penalty in 2012/13.

5 – The Darts have conceded five goals from the penalty spot, the same as Forest Green Rovers and more than any other team

19 – The number of points Dartford have grabbed off teams who have played in the football league within the last ten years

Did you know…

Lee Burns is the only player to have appeared in every Conference Premier fixture this campaign. Tom Bonner had previously shared the accolade of featuring in every match until his suspension on Tuesday night.

Nuneaton Town v Dartford

 

Dartford travel to Nuneaton Town on Tuesday night to face the Conference North playoff winners of last season.

Both clubs finished in the top five in their respective divisions and on the same day earned promotion. Whilst the Darts defeated Welling United 1-0 in the southern playoff final, Nuneaton Town overcame Gainsborough Trinity by the same scoreline in the northern final.

Seven months on and it’s Dartford coping with top flight non league football better than Tuesday’s opponents. Despite Saturday’s difficult afternoon in Tamworth, the Darts are currently in fifth place and will go to Nuneaton 19 points ahead of their opponents.

Dartford travel to Liberty Way on the back of another 3-2 defeat at the hands of Tamworth. League debutant Semi Ajayi put the Darts in front after 16 minutes with a header. Tom Bonner was sent off for deliberate handball and Scott Barrow scored from the resulting penalty. Ten men Dartford took the lead with twenty minutes remaining when Danny Harris scored his fourth league goal of the season, his first on the road. With five minutes remaining Barrow netted another penalty before former Premier League midfielder Lee Hendrie scored the winner two minutes from time.

It was a frustrating end to Saturday afternoon, Dartford boss Tony Burman spoke to BBC Sport: “Decisions sometimes go for you, sometimes they don’t. I thought it was a bit harsh, the second penalty”, he added: “They’ve got a third goal which is disappointing because we took the lead twice in the game. It was a brave performance, we didn’t play poorly, the work rate was excellent”. Defeat continues Dartford’s recent inconsistencies but the fine form beforehand has kept the side challenging for the playoffs.

Nuneaton Town fans have several reasons to be cheerful since demotion from the Conference North to Southern League Division One Midlands in the summer of 2008. Reverting back to their former name the Borough turned into Town and after restructuring the club has worked its way back to the Conference Premier.

Still known as the Boro the Warwickshire club have become playoff kings winning three finals in four years to propel themselves back to the top non league division. Currently at the foot of the league Nuneaton Town also went down to a one goal margin on the weekend. Substitute James Norwood scored the winner for Forest Green Rovers in the second half, the Boro had Gavin Cowan dismissed two minutes later.

Despite Nuneaton Town’s lowly position they have been a tough nut to crack at Liberty Way with only two league defeats. The Boro have picked up six draws in ten games including five in a row and are currently unbeaten in seven home fixtures in the Conference Premier. A solitary win on their travels leaves the Boro five points from safety.

Dartford last played Nuneaton in their previous guise when the club were known as Nuneaton Borough. The two sides met in the 1987/88 Southern Premier League season with the Darts winning 3-1 at Watling Street and drawing 0-0 away. Dartford finished runners up on goal difference conceding just four more goals than champions Aylesbury United. Nuneaton Borough were relegated in second to last place and had to play the following season in the Southern League Midlands Division. In the previous season Dartford won 3-1 in an F.A Trophy Quarter Final.

Team News

Mark Arber remains out for Dartford with a fractured jaw and Tom Bonner will serve a one match suspension for Saturday’s red card. Elliot Bradbrook picked up his fifth yellow card and will also sit out the fixture against Nuneaton Town.

Gavin Cowan will not be able to take part following his red card on the weekend. Striker Kyle Patterson moved on loan to Conference North side Worcester City and Kevin Malaga’s loan spell has ended after three leagues appearances.

Current League Form

Nuneaton Town (LWLDDL) Dartford (LDWLWD)
Forest Green Rovers A 0-1 Tamworth A 2-3
Stockport County H 2-0 Southport H 2-2
Kidderminster Harriers A 0-1 Luton Town A 2-0
Mansfield Town H 1-1 Forest Green Rovers H 0-1
Barrow H 1-1 Mansfield Town H 2-0
Luton Town A 0-2 Barrow A 0-0

Stats

0 & 2 – Away from Princes Park, Dartford have either not scored or netted twice in every away league match this season.

2 – The number of outfield players with an appearance yet to score for Dartford in the league this campaign. Adam Green and Mark Arber will be hoping to get off the mark by the end of the season. The Darts have the highest ratio of goal scorers against players used.

5 – From 15 September to 6 November 2012 Nuneaton Town’s five consecutive home draws is a club record as Nuneaton Town.

9 – Liberty Way hosted the highest aggregate score this season when the Boro were beaten 5-4 by Ebbsfleet United.

Did you know…

On Saturday, the Darts were up against Tamworth’s Tom Marshall. Stubblemelt’s bassist may back up vocals but Kyle Perry of Nuneaton Town is the lead singer in the band.

As Nuneaton Borough the club went an astonishing 35 home games without defeat from 15 October 1983 to 22 April 1985, a Conference record. During that time Dartford lost 5-1 to the Conference runners up of 1985, the Darts ended up in third place that season.