Archives for : July2013

Dartford v Charlton Athletic XI & Concord Rangers v Dartford XI

On Tuesday night the Darts will be happy to recreate their Kent Senior Cup semi final win over Charlton Athletic from two seasons ago.

Dartford triumphed over the Addicks in a 3-1 victory with goals from Jack Pallen, Lee Noble and Elliot Bradbrook. The win put the Darts through to their second successive Kent Senior Cup final where they lost to Hythe Town.

Dartford have failed to win any of their pre season fixtures with the latest defeat coming at the hands of another Conference South side. Tony Burman’s side went down 2-0 against Tonbridge Angels on Saturday which followed a 1-0 loss versus Bromley.

On the weekend Burman took a look at Matt Mitchell-King who played against the Darts for rivals Ebbsfleet United last week. The defender was released in the summer by Dartford’s first opponents AFC Wimbledon. Uche Ibemere who scored for a Dartford XI against East Thurrock United was the only other non senior player to start. New signing Kenny Clark and captain Bradbrook were unavailable against the Angels.

As the new season comes ever closer, Burman is still trying to add to the squad looking for someone to partner Jason Prior up front. Goals have been at a premium so far with midfielder Bradbrook leading the way with three during this summer’s friendlies.

Charlton Athletic last played the Darts by making up a side of academy and senior players. Whilst the senior side have started pre season well the XI team were unbeaten having played a number of local non league clubs. The summer started with a 2-1 away win at Maidstone United, followed by a 1-1 draw with Bromley. Thurrock were defeated 3-1 but the streak ended at against Ebbsfleet United on Sunday with a 2-1 defeat. Youngster Oliver Muldoon has been the pre season star for the Addicks scoring four goals in as many games.

Concord Rangers v Dartford XI

On Wednesday, a Dartford XI side will be back in Essex to face newly promoted club Concord Rangers, who went up via the Isthmian Premier League playoffs.

The Darts XI recorded their first victory on Sunday against local side Sutton Athletic. Bode Aniougbe curled a shot in the top corner to give Dartford a half time lead. Jeff Allen doubled the advantage by tapping in number two at the far post and George Monger’s lob added a third. There was still time for a fourth goal as Kakaa Dembele slid home to cap of a 4-0 victory.

Concord Rangers were playing in the Essex Senior League just five years ago and have risen up the non league pyramid.  The Beach Boys reached new ground by achieving their highest ever finish last season and will participate in the Conference South for the first time in their history. A fourth place spot last term guaranteed a playoff spot where the Essex club beat Wealdstone and Lowestoft Town.

Managed by Danny Cowley, Concord Rangers are having a superb pre season so far beating Stevenage Borough XI (6-1), local rivals Canvey Island (4-0), Waltham Abbey (3-1), St Albans City (3-0) and Southend United XI (6-0).

A couple of former Darts are now with the Conference South club including midfielder James White who made over a hundred appearances between 2008 and 2011, winning  the Isthmian Premier League. Defender Paul Goodacre had a good two years with the Darts featuring in both Conference South seasons. Striker, Tony Stokes was once signed on dual registration and remains a regular for the Beach Boys.

Tonbridge Angels v Dartford

The Darts are still in search of their first pre season win when they visit Tonbridge Angels on Saturday.

A trip to Longmead will be familiar to most players and the travelling support as the two sides have crossed paths in all but the F.A Cup over the last four years.

Last season Dartford knocked Angels out of the F.A Trophy on their way to a semi final place.  Harry Crawford scored the opener at Princes Park in the first half and won a penalty in the second. Elliot Bradbrook scored from the spot doubling Dartford’s advantage before Jon Wallis hit a fine long range strike into the top corner.

Tony Burman’s senior side faced rivals Ebbsfleet United on Tuesday night and came away with a 1-1 draw. The Fleet, who have made wholesale changes following their relegation to the Conference South took the lead. Billy Bricknell so often a thorn in Dartford’s side scored against the club again, the former Chelmsford City and Dover Athletic midfielder was set up by Ben May. Ryan Hayes hit the woodwork twice as did summer signing Jason Prior. Late into the game Elliot Bradbrook’s equaliser sealed a third pre season draw for the Darts.

Dartford boss, Burman revealed this week that he has been speaking to Gillingham manager Martin Allen over a potential loan deal for striker Adam Burchall. The 28 year old spent time with the Darts last season scoring against Grimsby Town and eventually making six appearances.

Tonbridge Angels finished 16th in the Conference South last season and started their warm up against F.A Vase finalists Tunbridge Wells. The Angels won the Courier Cup by beating their opponents 5-1, Luke Blewden netted twice along with Henry Muggeridge, new signing Ryan Watts and trialist Emmanuel Akokhia. Tommy Warrilow’s men followed victory up with a 1-1 draw with Conference South champions Welling United and a 1-0 triumph away to Belgian club KVV Vosselaar. On Thursday night the Angels lost 1-0 to a last minute Maidstone United goal.

Sutton Athletic v Dartford XI

On Sunday, a young Dartford side will play Kent Invicta League club Sutton Athletic who finished eighth in the division last season. Based in Hextable, Sutton Athletic play at level 10 in the football pyramid and finished the previous year in sixth spot.

Dartford XI enter this weekends fixture on the back of a 3-1 defeat to Isthmian Premier League side East Thurrock United. Three goals down at half time, Uche Ibemere pulled a second half strike back from the spot. The former VCD Athletic and Chatham Town striker has also featured in some of the earlier friendlies with many of the academy players.


Princes Among Men 2009-10 sample chapter

With the publication of ‘Princes Among Men’ rapidly approaching, my co-authors and I are releasing a season’s write-up, free for download in PDF format, on the Pure DFC website. The 2009-2010 season is the chosen season, in which the club won promotion from the Ryman Premier Division.
This chapter will be included in the book, due for release in early December 2013.
‘Princes Among Men’ contains over 500 pages, which includes 250 illustrations, colour and black & white photographs, and will be a hardback publication.
Please feel free to email comments to regarding this free taster section of ‘Princes Among Men’. You can still receive an advanced subscription for the price of £10 which will include £5 off of the cover price of £30.00, as well as a reserved copy and your name in the Advanced Subscription section of the book. This offer will expire on the 31st August 2013. For more details on this, you can also email

To download this – please visit

Dartford v Ebbsfleet United

Dartford will not be meeting local rivals Ebbsfleet United in the Conference Premier this season but the sides meet in a friendly on Tuesday night.

League meetings last term resulted in the Darts feeling the festive spirit with a 3-1 win at Princes Park and a 2-2 stalemate at Stonebridge Road. In the first meeting Fleet top scorer Liam Enveer-Marum opened the scoring just after half time. A Harry Crawford double had Dartford ahead and the win was sealed by captain Elliot Bradbrook.

On New Years Day the honours were even thanks to last gasp equaliser by Ebbsfleet United’s Nathan Elder. Jon Wallis and Crawford put the Darts two up but Elder’s double ensured the points were shared.


Ryan Hayes celebrates against the Fleet

The Darts remain winless during their warm up to their second season in the Conference Premier. After two draws the club has suffered two defeats with the latest at Bromley. Former Dartford striker Jay May, brother of Ben scored the winner at Hayes Lane to give the hosts a 1-0 victory. Pacey winger Lanre Azeez has featured for Tony Burman’s side in pre season having been part of Fleet’s youth team and senior squads. The 20 year old played in 30 of Ebbsfleet United’s matches last season starting 11 times.

Most of the summer football news in Kent has revolved around Ebbsfleet United’s survival and subsequent takeover. The MyFootballClub experiment finally succumbed and a group of Kuwati investors saved the Fleet. Advised by former Charlton Athletic Chief Executive Peter Varney,  KEH Sports Limited took over the club.

Ebbsfleet United have a new look management team with strong Charlton Athletic connections, former player Steve Brown is now in charge and his number two is Steve Gritt who managed the Addicks. Brown has raided Dover Athletic for Ben May, Shane Huke, Dean Rance, Daryl McMahon and Billy Bricknell with the majority of players familiar to Dartford’s time in the Conference South. Stacy Long returns to Stonebridge Road, his last spell ended with a F.A Trophy winners medal. The Fleet have also added Osei Sankofa, Michael Thalassitis, Aiden Palmer, Brandon Hall and Michael Corcoran to their ranks.


Azeez in action for the Fleet last season

Stepping in to replace Southend United on Tuesday night, the Fleet will be amongst the favourites in the Conference South following relegation last season. Last time Ebbsfleet United participated in the Conference South it was they who had the edge over Dartford, drawing 1-1 in August 2010 before winning 2-1 at home in December that year.

Ebbsfleet United have played just twice so far during pre season starting off against Isthmian Premier League side Thamesmead Town. Two goals each from Long and May with Rance getting on the score sheet as well handed the Fleet a 5-1 triumph. On Saturday they took on Maidstone United at the Gallagher Stadium and this time the Fleet were beaten 3-0.

East Thurrock United v Dartford XI

Also this week, a Dartford XI travel to Rookery Hill to face East Thurrock United on Wednesday night. The Essex club finished fifth in last season’s Isthmian Premier League having been promoted to the division two years ago. The Rocks have played Dartford six times and although they have never won a friendly against the Darts they have been victorious in their only two competitive matches.

Back in 2004/05, East Thurrock United did the double over Dartford with 4-0 and 3-0 wins in the Southern League East division. The Rocks ended up runners up behind Fisher Athletic that season with the Darts finishing 16th. In the four friendlies since, the Darts have won three and drawn one.

Bromley v Dartford

Still looking for their first pre season win Dartford travel to Bromley on the weekend to continue preparations for the upcoming campaign.

Two draws against League Two opposition and a 4-0 defeat against a Reading XI is how the Darts have fared so far. However, the results are less important than the fitness levels the senior and academy players are building up before August 10.

With Reading’s first team out in Portugal it was left to their youngsters to visit Princes Park on Tuesday night. Gozie Ugwu, Craig Tanner and Aaron Tshibola all got on the score sheet before Tanner completed his brace in the first half. Dartford would have been delighted that the Royals failed to add to their tally in the second half.

Preceding the mid week fixture there was more squad news to come with the announcement of Jason Prior putting pen to paper. The striker will start the 2013/14 campaign with the Darts having previously played for the club on loan last term. Midfielder Jon Wallis was released due to other commitments, the 27 year old joined Dartford in 2011 helping the side to promotion via the Conference South playoffs.


Jay May during his spell with the Darts

The Darts were triumphant against this Saturday’s opponents in January’s F.A Trophy third round meeting. A 4-2 victory at Princes Park helped Dartford reach the semi finals for the first time in 24 years.

New loan signing Dominic Green took no time at all to score on his début taking advantage of a poor back pass. Bromley’s Pierre Joseph-Dubois hit a decent strike past Marcus Bettinelli to level up. A clever counter attack finished by Green ensured the Darts restored their lead before half time. In the second half, Lee Burns netted from Ryan Hayes’ delightful back heel and Harry Crawford continued his excellent form in front of goal. There was time for consolation when Joseph-Dubois scored again for Bromley.

The two Kent clubs have crossed paths many times in recent seasons playing seven times since Dartford’s promotion to the Conference South in 2010.

One summer signing the Darts will be familiar with is Jay May. The striker played for the club over three spells having come through the youth team ranks. Enjoying Dartford’s rise through the Isthmian leagues he struck up a formidable partnership with Brendon Cass between 2006 and 2008 where he netted 35 league goals in two seasons. The 30 year old returned in 2007 moved to Bromley and came back to the Darts again in March 2009.  May joined Bromley from Billericay Town having scored 11 times last campaign.

Bromley have also played three friendlies starting with League One club Gillingham going down to three first half goals. A first win followed at Beckenham Town when the Lillywhites came from behind twice in a 3-2 triumph. A young Charlton Athletic side turned up at Hayes Lane on Tuesday night and were held to a 1-1 draw.


Dartford v Reading XI

One of Dartford’s top pre season friendlies will take place on Tuesday night when Princes Park hosts a Reading XI side.

The Darts go into the match on the back of consecutive draws against League Two clubs AFC Wimbledon and Dagenham and Redbridge. During those friendlies Tony Burman has been able to assess his current squad whilst looking for new recruits.

On Saturday nine academy players ended the 1-1 draw with Dagenham and Redbridge, which saw Ryan Hayes cut inside and score with his trademark finish. A Kenny Clark own goal levelled the game as the players notched up more minutes ahead of the new season.

Tony Burman has made it clear over the last week that he’s targeting striker Jason Prior. The 24 year old who was released by AFC Wimbledon in the summer is still to make up his mind. Prior spent some of last year on loan at Princes Park scoring once during his spell.

New signings, Tyrone Sterling was substituted as a precaution when he picked up a hamstring injury and Lewis Smith is unavailable for three months having secured work in Australia. Contracted midfielder Jon Wallis wasn’t available for the second pre season friendly.

Reading were relegated from the Premier League last season finishing second from bottom. With Nigel Adkins about to embark on his first full season at the Madejski Stadium, the 48 year old may well use this opportunity to look beyond his current senior squad.

The Royals opened their pre season on the weekend defeating Wycombe Wanderers 3-1 at Hogwood Park. Adam Le Fondre, Pavel Pogrebnyak and debutant Danny Williams scored the goals to seal the win. Adkins put out a strong side in both halves including former Real Madrid winger Royston Drenthe.

Dartford last played Reading 63 years ago in a F.A Cup second round tie. Having beaten King’s Lynn and Guildford City along the way, the Darts run ended when the Royals won 4-0.

Dartford v Dagenham & Redbridge

Another League Two club visits Princes Park in Dartford’s second pre season fixture this summer, this time the Darts will warm up against Dagenham and Redbridge.

Three years ago the two sides met in a friendly before at Princes Park with the hosts winning. The Darts were competing in the Conference South at the time and goals from Tom Bonner, Elliot Bradbrook and Ollie Berquez sealed a 3-1 win. Dagenham and Redbridge had previously won a friendly 2-1 in December 2008 against the Darts.

Tony Burman will get some more time to look at his squad and potential new recruits after using 20 players in the pre season opener versus AFC Wimbledon. The Dons may have led 2-0 at half time but two late Bradbrook strikes, one from the spot, completed a comeback.


Wilkinson scored four goals in 18 matches for the Darts

New signings Alan Julian, Kenny Clark, Matthew Fry, Tyrone Sterling and Max Cornhill took part alongside senior and academy players. Trialist, Uche Ibehere played the first half being replaced by Jason Prior who played nine games on loan with the Darts last season scoring once.

Jon Wallis and new striker Lewis Smith were missing from Saturday’s 2-2 draw. Smith signed for Dartford from AFC Hornchurch but will now miss the next three months due to work commitments in Australia.

The Daggers opened their pre season without conceding a goal. A 4-0 away win against Isthmian League Division One South side Whitstable Town was followed up with a 5-0 demolishing at Conference South’s Dover Athletic. On Tuesday, Dulwich Hamlet came from behind to win 2-1 and inflict Dagenham and Redbridge’s first summer loss.

In recent years links between the two clubs have increased with players such as Mark Arber, Richard Rose, Dominic Green and Luke Wilkinson wearing the colours of both sides. Wilkinson remains with the Daggers but a groin strain has kept him out of the practice matches so far.

With the departure of former Dartford boss John Still who joined Luton Town towards the end of last season, Wayne Burnett is now at the helm having been Still’s assistant.

Dartford v AFC Wimbledon

Football and Charlie Sheringham return to Princes Park on Saturday when Dartford begin their warm up to the 2013/14 Conference Premier season.

Tony Burman will get his first chance to see his squad and new players rack up game time against League Two side AFC Wimbledon. He could also face former Dartford striker Sheringham who joined the Dons in the summer. The 25 year old scored 41 competitive goals for the Darts over two spells with the club.

Burman has had to patch up Dartford’s defence and attack because of transfer activity this summer. Lee Burns is the only defender to remain with the Darts after a new contract was signed. Experienced defender Mark Arber joins Corby Town whilst Tom Bonner teams up with midfielder Tom Champion at Cambridge United. Adam Green, Richard Rose and Louis Wells were released by the club.

First Signing: Kenny Clark

Kenny Clark

Burns looks forward to working with centre half Kenny Clark who became Burman’s first signing. The 24 year old won Player of the Year in his first season with Chelmsford City back in 2011 and played 43 Conference South matches last term. Burman told BBC Radio Kent: “At 24 he is a good prospect and he wants to play at the highest level he can”.

In between the sticks the Darts welcome ex Gillingham goalkeeper Alan Julian. The 29 year old was released by playoff winners Newport County and so he misses out on a return to the Football League.  Last season Dartford used two loan signings from Fulham in Marcus Bettinelli and Csaba Somogyi.

Burman told “Alan’s not played many games over the last couple of seasons. He lost his place at Newport but he wants to be number one, he wants to be the best”, the Dartford boss added: “His attitude will rub off on our players. He’s not coming here for the sake of it, he wants to win games”. Julian admitted travelling was also a key factor in a forgetful season with the Exiles and is excited by the new challenge at Princes Park.

Matt Fry

Matt Fry

Youngster, Matt Fry is looking to rebuild his promising career and put himself back in the Football League shop window. An injury hit start for the highly rated defender is now behind him. Signed from Isthmian League Premier’s playoff winners Concord Rangers, the 22 year old suffered a serious injury at West Ham United aged just 15. Spells with Charlton Athletic, Bradford City and Gillingham has given Fry the hunger to climb the football ladder, he spoke to and commented: “I’ve played at the top end of League One, challenging for the league with Charlton, so if I can get my fitness levels back, there’s no reason I can’t get back there”.

Coming in from Kent rivals Dover Athletic is 25 year old defender Tyrone Sterling. The left back spent six months at The Crabble and his commitment and desire to play at a higher level for Dartford impresses Burman.

With the release of Jacob Erskine and loanees Jason Prior and Sheringham returning to parent clubs attacking options are currently threadbare as Burman continues his search. Whoever the manager picks they will be partnered by new Dartford striker Lewis Smith, joining from a successful spell at AFC Hornchurch.


Lewis Smith

The Dartford boss tried signing the 23 year old last summer but Smith wanted to stay with the Urchins after their promotion to the Conference South. His side were relegated in their first season but that didn’t stop Smith from scoring a dozen goals. Burman feels his new forward is ‘potentially a very good prospect’.

One area that is safely secured is the middle of the park as the majority of last season’s midfield has been retained. Captain Elliot Bradbrook, crowd favourite Ryan Hayes, Jon Wallis, Lee Noble, James Rogers, Danny Harris and Nathan Collier all put pen to paper. Added to the list is attacking midfielder Max Cornhill, the 26 year old joined Chelmsford City in 2011 and follows Clark from Melbourne Park to Princes Park. Burman stated Max has a ‘good pedigree’ and believes the former Claret is a decent addition to the squad.

Managed by former Wimbledon and Watford midfielder Neil Ardley, AFC Wimbledon had a tough time in League Two last season finishing 20th after battling to stay in the Football League. The Dons started the final day in the bottom two, however a 2-1 home win over Fleetwood Town secured their place in League Two.

Ardley released ten players over the break including Jason Prior who had a loan spell with the Darts last season. Midfielder, Chris Arthur comes in from Conference South side Havant and Waterlooville, defender Barry Fuller signs from relegated Barnet and former Gillingham and Crystal Palace defender Andy Frampton arrives on a free transfer. George Francomb will play at Kingsmeadow following his release from Norwich City, the midfielder appeared 16 times for the Dons in 2012/13 during his loan spell.


Dartford and AFC Wimbledon warm up for their F.A Trophy clash almost eight years ago

Since formation in 2002, AFC Wimbledon took nine years to reach the Football League with five promotions, including three titles. In the Combined Counties League the club set a 78 game unbeaten record, the longest for a senior team in the United Kingdom. The Dons are currently the youngest club to participate in the Football League following their playoff promotion in 2011 against Luton Town.

Dartford last faced AFC Wimbledon in November 2005 at Stonebridge Road. In a F.A Trophy Third Qualifying Round the Darts forced a replay after a goalless draw. The return fixture ended up with Dartford drawing another blank but late goals from Richard Butler and Barry Moore in the final four minutes ensured the Dons progressed in the competition.