Archives for : October2014

Grimsby Town v Dartford

After making it to the F.A Cup first round for a consecutive season Dartford are back in league action against Grimsby Town this weekend.

The Darts have drawn four of their last five Conference Premier outings and take on the Mariners, who managed to go the whole of October unbeaten in all competitions.

Tony Burman’s side may have lost only once in their last seven matches but wins have been hard to achieve. A victory last weekend came in the F.A Cup against Isthmian Division One South side Burgess Hill Town, the last league victory was over a month ago. At least the Darts managed to avoid a cup shock thanks to a brace from Harry Crawford and a penalty by Elliot Bradbrook. A pleased Burman said the game, “was a potential banana skin for us against a side that haven’t lost all season and you have to respect that, whatever league they’re in”. The Dartford boss was impressed with Crawford’s goals but accepted the team’s second half performance could have been better.

A return to league action before the second round away tie at Bromley will as usual have Burman’s full attention, he commented: “The accountants are always happy with a run in the cup and it definitely lifts the club”, he continued: “The most important thing for us, though, is to stay in the league. We’ve worked hard to get this club to where we are and it’s taken a while, I don’t want to go back down to those leagues. Staying in the division is the ultimate aim, but I wouldn’t mind it if we had a little enjoyment in the F.A Cup on the way”.

Grimsby Town will enter this weekend’s league fixture on the back of three successive wins. The latest a 3-0 home triumph over Conference North side Guiseley. With few chances in the contest The Mariners had to wait an hour to open the scoring when Nathan Arnold headed in the first. Lenell John-Lewis secured a first round birth after netting six minutes later and again with fifteen minutes to go. John-Lewis has already caused the Darts problems in the past and this season has found the net seven times in 14 Conference Premier outings.

Over the last couple of campaigns Grimsby Town have built on solid defensive records, this term they have the second best overall and home defence conceding just four at Blundell Park in eight games. Goalkeeper, James McKeown along with regulars Carl Magnay and Aristote Nsiala have a large part to play at the back. Up front the Mariners have the fourth best record, largely down to the back to back 6-1 and 7-0 wins over Gateshead and Alfreton Town respectively.

Manager, Paul Hurst has almost led the club to glory in the F.A Trophy and playoffs in recent seasons and will be determined to make the step up, returning the Lincolnshire side back to the Football League. The Mariners are three points off the top five having lost once in their last eight fixtures, including the recent 3-2 away win at Torquay United.

Less than a month ago the Darts were denied a win at Princes Park by the Mariners when a late penalty meant both teams had to settle for a point. Elliot Bradbrook hit the woodwork but his brother Tom found the back of the net with another header just past the hour mark. Tom’s third headed goal of the campaign left the Darts in front until the 86th minute. In a match which saw seven cautions by official Christopher Powell, Nathan Collier saw red when his professional foul brought down John-Lewis, who equalised from the spot.

Blundell Park will hold mixed emotions for Dartford having visited three times in two season’s. When Dartford returned to top flight non league football they caused an upset by beating Grimsby Town 2-0. Tom Champion and Adam Birchall scored the goals which at the time took the Darts as high as fifth place.

On the other side of the coin, an F.A Trophy run to the semi final in that same campaign effectively ended in the first leg at Blundell Park. Craig Disley’s brace included a fine volley before Anthony Cook added a third to give the Mariners a 3-0 first leg lead. The return leg at Princes Park ended goalless ending Dartford’s dreams of reaching Wembley for the first time since 1974. Last season seven goals were scored with Danny Harris getting the opener, however by half time Grimsby Town were 3-1 up with goals from Pat McLaughlin, Shaun Pearson and John-Lewis. Lee Noble got Dartford back in the match but two late strikes by Scott Kerr and Disley finished off the Darts 5-2.

Team News

Lee Burns was last involved on matchday against Grimsby Town lasting just 21 minutes. The versatile full back was substituted after picking up an injury. Striker Tom Bradbrook has been struggling with a calf strain and has missed the last two competitive fixtures. Defender Rory McAuley has picked up four cautions this season and is one more away from suspension.

Ever present in the Conference Premier this term, Grimsby Town defender Scott Brown missed the F.A Cup tie against Guiseley through injury. The 29 year old is suffering from an ankle ligament injury and  is also one caution away from picking up a ban.

Head to Head

Grimsby Town wins: 4 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Grimsby Town (WWDDLW) Dartford (DDLDDW)
 Torquay United  A  3-2  Aldershot Town  H  1-1
 Wrexham  A  1-0  Macclesfield Town  H  1-1
 Altrincham  H  0-0  Bristol Rovers  A  0-1
 Dartford  A  1-1  Grimsby Town  H  1-1
 Southport  H  0-1  Welling United  A  2-2
 Chester  H  3-0  Nuneaton Town  A  2-1

Last Meeting at Blundell Park

24 September 2013 – Grimsby Town 5 Dartford 2 – Att: 2503

Goalscorer: Harris (24), McLaughlin (32), Pearson (36), John-Lewis (43), Noble (55), Kerr (85), Disley (90)

Grimsby Town Lineup: McKeown, Pearson, Doig, Bignot, Goodall, Kerr, Neilson, Jones, McLaughlin, John-Lewis, Hannah, (subs used: Disley, Hearn, Thomas)

Dartford Lineup: Julian, Sterling, Clark, Fry, Bradbrook, Collier, Burns, Woodyard, Hayes, Harris, Birchall (subs used: Noble, Ibemere, Cornhill)

Match Stats

gtfc v dfc stats

Previous Meetings (* – F.A Trophy semi-final / ** – Friendly)

04.10.2014 Dartford 1 Grimsby Town 1
10.04.2014 Dartford 1 Grimsby Town 0
25.09.2013 Grimsby Town 5 Dartford 2
09.04.2013 Dartford 1 Grimsby Town 2
23.02.2013* Dartford 0 Grimsby Town 0
16.02.2013* Grimsby Town 3 Dartford 0
06.10.2012 Grimsby Town 0 Dartford 2
17.04.1897** Dartford 2 Grimsby Town 3

League Stats

4 – Games since Dartford conceded more than a goal, currently the longest sequence in the division

4 – Goals conceded by Grimsby Town at home, the best home defence with Bristol Rovers

5 – Dartford have conceded the most penalties this campaign, one of which was against Grimsby Town in their last meeting

25 – The Darts have failed to win by more than a goal in their last 25 league fixtures, currently the longest spell in the Conference Premier

40 – the number of seconds it took Grimsby Town’s Scott Neilson to get booked against Alfreton Town, the quickest caution this season

100 – Nathan Collier who appeared in Saturday’s 3-1 cup win made his 100th appearance for the Darts, his 53rd start for club

229 – Grimsby Town have recorded the most shots at goal this season. The Mariners have managed 220 on target and 109 off target, all totals being the highest in the division this term

Dartford v Burgess Hill Town

The F.A Cup returns and has paired Dartford with Burgess Hill Town, two sides who last met almost eight years ago in the Isthmian Division One South.

Thirteen goals in the last two meetings against the Hillians, including arguably the best goal seen at Princes Park provide fond memories for Darts fans.

On the opening day of Dartford’s homecoming season, three months before the Darts moved into their new home, a memorable away day gave Dartford the best possible start. In a 6-1 victory, fans favourite Brendon Cass opened his season with a hat trick, John Farley recorded his only goal of 2006/07 and Jay May notched a brace.

At Princes Park, the Darts opened 2007 in even more style putting a further seven past the Hillians. Cass grabbed another hat trick against the Sussex club but it was David Martin’s wonder strike which got the terraces talking, the winger later earned a deal with Championship side Crystal Palace. Defender, John Guest and no other than Ryan Hayes were the other two scorers on the day in an astounding 7-2 win.

This season Dartford have become draw specialists in recent weeks sharing the spoils in four of their last five fixtures. The most recent was the 1-1 draw with Aldershot Town. Mid way through the first half the Shots took the lead when Josh Scott beat Jason Brown after good work from striker Brett Williams. A couple of second half substitutions helped the Darts get back in the game, Peter Sweeney and Lee Noble brightened things up with Sweeney getting more involved.  The midfielder found Harry Crawford advancing who crossed to Andy Pugh for the equaliser. Brown made some important saves to ensure Dartford ended the afternoon with a point, however Tony Burman’s side did slip into the bottom four.

The Darts boss was disappointed with the first half last weekend, he told “When our goalkeeper’s had the most possession out of our 11 players on the field.I’m thinking ‘what the hell’s going on?’ Why on earth we kept passing it back to him from the halfway line is beyond me”. However, the second half display was improved and Burman felt his side could have done more to take all three points, he added: “We went more positive and got the ball forward and started to cause them problems”, he continued: “When you get a goal back like that, you’re looking for your team to kick on and raise the tempo because they’ve got the enthusiasm because you’ve scored – but it wasn’t to be”.

Burman is unlikely to dwell on the fact Dartford have a fine record against their F.A Cup opponents, and knows a tricky tie is expected against the Isthmian Division One South leaders. Whilst Dartford have since climbed up to the Conference Premier, this weekend’s opponents Burgess Hill Town remain in the same division and are hoping to create their own piece of history.

Unbeaten in all competitions, the Hillians approach the F.A Cup on the back of a stunning 15 consecutive wins. The Sussex side have opened up a nine point lead as they set the early pace. Never before have Burgess Hill Town made it to the F.A Cup first round proper, however they have made it to the fourth qualifying stage on two occasions. In 1999, a 4-1 defeat away to Hereford United ended a run that included eight games and three replays. In 2008, the Hillians missed out after losing 3-0 to Harlow Town.

Burgess Hill Town began their cup run back in August when they hosted Sussex League side Eastbourne Town in the Preliminary Round. A home tie at their Green Elephants Stadium may not have been a vintage performance but substitute Lee Harding netted the only goal with 11 minutes to go.

Rob O’Toole was the hero in the First Qualifying Round scoring a hat-trick at Croydon. The Hillians got off to a great start when O’Toole tapped in after two minutes. Croydon levelled before half time when Tristan Toney curled the ball beyond goalkeeper Josh James. O’Toole and Toney traded goalscoring blows once more to leave the scores at 2-2, and with seven minutes remaining O’Toole scored the winner to conclude the five goal thriller.

Hampshire club Fleet Town were swept aside in the next round on their own patch. By half time Burgess Hill Town had built up an unassailable 3-0 lead. Greg Luer’s brace either side of O’Toole’s fourth F.A Cup goal of the campaign was added to by Scott Kirkwood in the second half.

A fortnight ago, the Hillians caused their biggest upset in their excellent run. Drawn away to Conference South club Sutton United, Ian Chapman’s side entered Gander Green Lane as underdogs. Kirkwood was the first to put the ball passed former Dartford goalkeeper Alan Julian after only four minutes. The hosts came out of the blocks quickly in the second half and equalised through Michael Spillane. Burgess Hill Town left it to the final fifteen minutes to march into the next round. Luer put the Sussex club ahead and with three minutes to go, Dann Perry took his chance to seal a shock victory.

Last weekend Burgess Hill Town commenced their F.A Trophy campaign and got off to a winning start. Hosting Aveley of the Isthmian Division One North, the Hillians won the tie with a Luer penalty just after half time. Manager, Ian Chapman used his squad handing starts to Perry and Lee Harding who have mainly featured from the substitutes bench.

The Sussex club were promoted from their County League in 2003 winning promotion to the Southern League Eastern Division. In their only campaign in that particular division, Burgess Hill Town met Dartford and lost both matches. Since then, the Hillians have completed 10 years in the Isthmian League in Division One.

Team News

Lee Burns has been missing with injury sustained against Grimsby Town at the beginning of the month. Peter Sweeney’s return last weekend and Lee Noble’s second half appearance continues the duo’s recovery.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Burgess Hill Town wins 1 / Draws: 0

Current Form (* – F.A Cup / ** – F.A Trophy / *** – League Cup)

Dartford (DDLDDW) Burgess Hill Town (WWWWWW)
Aldershot Town H 1-1 Aveley** H 1-0
Macclesfield Town H 1-1 Sittingbourne A 4-0
Bristol Rovers A 0-1 Sutton United* A 3-1
Grimsby Town H 1-1 Redhill*** A 3-1
Welling United A 2-2 Guernsey A 2-0
Nuneaton Town A 2-1 Mertsham H 2-0

Previous Meetings

13.01.2007** Dartford 7 Burgess Hill Town 2
19.08.2006** Burgess Hill Town 1 Dartford 6
28.10.2003^ Dartford 0 Burgess Hill Town 3
21.10.2003* Dartford 2 Burgess Hill Town 1
20.08.2003* Burgess Hill Town 0 Dartford 1

*Southern League Division One Eastern / **Isthmian Division One South / ^ Southern League Cup

F.A Cup Performances (Last Ten Years)

Season Dartford Burgess Hill Town
2013/14 1st Rd v Salisbury City 2Q v Bromley
2012/13 4Q v Forest Green Rovers Pre v Littlehampton Town
2011/12 4Q v Bromley Pre v Thamesmead Town
2010/11 1st Rd v Port Vale 2Q v Metropolitan Police
2009/10 3Q v Chelmsford City Pre v Chipstead
2008/09 2Q v Hampton and Richmond 4Q v Harlow Town
2007/08 3Q v Bromley 1Q v Dover Athletic
2006/07 1Q v Hastings United Pre v Maidstone United
2005/06 Pre v Dorking 1Q v Walton and Hersham
2004/05 1Q v Dorking Pre v Brockenhurst


Dartford v Aldershot Town

Dartford look to create some distance between them and the bottom four when they host Aldershot Town this weekend.

The Darts picked up a single point from the Shots last term and last defeated the Hampshire side 46 years ago. In that time both clubs have fallen to the depths of non-league before rising back up the football pyramid.

Aldershot Town may have experienced troubles over the last two campaigns with relegation out of the Football League and last season’s ten point deduction; however they started this campaign on an even keel on and off the pitch.

Eight months ago, the Darts saw satisfaction turn to disappointment against the Shots as they battled out a contest at the bottom of the Conference Premier. With the first half coming to an end, Aldershot Town goalkeeper Glenn Morris upended loanee Alex Wall. Morris was red carded for his foul in the box and captain Elliot Bradbrook scored. The Shots, needing the points as much as Dartford, waited until two minutes from time to snatch a 1-1 draw. Brett Williams took advantage of the space given to him and hit a fine long range effort past Alan Julian.

The Darts had a rare week off since their last game in which Ryan Hayes almost earned his side all three points. The midfielder could make his 400th Dartford appearance this weekend, a total which includes 285 starts. After an unlucky defeat at Bristol Rovers in mid-week, Tony Burman saw his side in front for just two minutes against Macclesfield Town.

In the first half only one decent chance of note was fashioned by either side when the Silkmen’s Waide Fairhurst tested goalkeeper Jason Brown. More opportunities were created in the second forty five minutes with Mat Mitchel-King hitting the base of the post and Hayes putting the rebound over. Macclesfield Town’s Adrain Moke came close when his shot beat Brown and came off both posts, before the Dartford goalkeeper smothered the ball. With five minutes to go, Hayes scored his first of the season bending the ball beyond Rhys Taylor to record his 81st goal for the club. The lead lasted just two minutes; Rory McAuley failed to clear his lines leaving Matthew Barnes-Homer to level the match in his second spell for the Silkmen.

Meanwhile, Aldershot Town were involved in an entertaining 2-2 home draw against Bristol Rovers continuing their inconsistent campaign. Last season’s top scorer at the Recreation Ground, Brett Williams put the hosts ahead with a 16th minute penalty only for Andy Monkhouse to equalise before half time. The West Country side then went ahead through a penalty of their own scored by Matthew Taylor. Shots were thankful for Jordan Roberts’ free kick which put Andy Scott’s men back on level terms, however the midfielder was sent off in injury time for a second caution.

Five points ahead of the Darts in 15th place, the Shots have won just once on the road which was three months ago. Scoring only five times on their travels the Hampshire club rely on Williams to find the net. The striker top scored last term and his seven strikes this time is five more than his closest club rival in the scoring charts. Defensively, Aldershot Town remain tight at the back conceding only nine, the sixth best away defence.

Prior last season’s meeting with each other you have to go back to the sixties for a pair of F.A Cup fixtures. In 1968, the Darts reached the First Round proper and were rewarded with a tie against Aldershot, then of the Football League’s Fourth Division. Dartford caused an upset winning 3-1 in front of 4105 supporters. The scalp erased memories of a F.A Cup replay defeat four years earlier.

Team News

Peter Sweeney and Lee Noble missed out on the 1-1 draw with Macclesfield Town both midfielders have been struggling with injuries. Tom Bradbrook lasted just over ten minutes against the Silkmen before injury saw him replaced by Danny Harris. Lee  Burns is also out of action and Adam Green has signed a loan deal with Leatherhead.

Aldershot Town’s Anthony Tomkin has been struggling with a calf injury, Mark Molesley with tendonitis and Jordan Roberts will be suspended for his red card last weekend. The Shots have also made two loan signings, returning to the club for a third loan spell is Manny Oyeleke. Andre McCollin also arrives from Kingstonian, the striker missed a penalty against the Darts in an F.A Trophy tie two years ago.

Head to Head 

Dartford wins: 4 / Aldershot Town wins: 6 / Draws: 6

Current Form

Dartford (DLDDWL) Aldershot Town (DLWLDW)
Macclesfield Town H 1-1 Bristol Rovers H 2-2
Bristol Rovers A 0-1 Chester A 0-1
Grimsby Town H 1-1 Alfreton Town H 2-0
Welling United A 2-2 Dover Athletic A 0-3
Nuneaton Town A 2-1 Gateshead A 1-1
Forest Green Rovers H 1-2 Lincoln City H 1-0

Last League Meeting at Princes Park

25 February 2014 – Dartford 1 Aldershot Town 1 – Att: 1125

Goalscorer: Bradbrook (45 pen), Williams (88)

Dartford Lineup: Julian, Mitchel-King, McAuley, Sterling, Burns, Woodyard, Stevenson, Bradbrook, Cornhill, Harris, Wall (subs used: Swallow, Noble)

Aldershot Town Lineup: Morris, Oastler, Barker, Gibbs, Roberts, Taiwo, Stanley, Partington, B Williams, Bubb, Plummer (subs used: L Williams, Tonkin, Scott)

Match Stats

dfc v atfc stats

Previous Five Meetings (* – F.A Cup)

25.02.2014 Dartford 1 Aldershot Town 1
13.08.2013 Aldershot Town 3 Dartford 0
16.11.1968* Dartford 3 Aldershot Town 0
18.11.1964* Aldershot Town 1 Dartford 0
14.11.1964* Dartford 1 Aldershot Town 1



Dartford v Macclesfield Town

Dartford hope to keep an unbeaten home record going against Macclesfield Town this weekend at Princes Park.

Since the first meeting between the two sides in 1974 an away team has yet to win in this fixture. Last season the Darts had to come from behind to win 2-1, a story all too familiar with the three victories this term. The Silkmen who led against the run of play through Paul Turnbull’s 25 yard first half strike let their lead slip in the second half. Danny Harris headed Dartford level converting Lee Noble’s corner and with just under ten minutes remaining the Princes Park crowd celebrated as Max Cornhill grabbed a winner.

In the only other meeting at Princes Park, home supporters were treated to a wonder goal by Jon Wallis, who lobbed former Ebbsfleet United goalkeeper Lance Cronin from 40 yards. Substitutes Danny Harris and Lee Noble combined again in this fixture with eight minutes remaining to secure another Dartford victory. The other two home matches were F.A Trophy semi-final ties played at Watling Street in 1974 and 1986, both times ending 0-0.

After a win against Nuneaton Town and two consecutive draws versus Welling United and Grimsby Town, the Darts travelled to the West Country on Tuesday night to take on Bristol Rovers. Relegated from the Football League last term, the Gas started the match seven games unbeaten at home.

Tony Burman was without the suspended Nathan Collier and the injured Lee Noble and Lee Burns, Peter Sweeney was also missing from the squad having limped off at full time last weekend. Adam Green returned to the starting lineup as did striker Harry Crawford. Once more Dartford fell behind but this time couldn’t overturn the deficit. Bristol Rovers striker Adam Cunnington was brought down in the box after 37 minutes and a penalty was awarded. Matthew Taylor just about scored from the spot when the unfortunate effort from Jason Brown almost kept the ball out. The defeat leaves the Darts above the bottom four in 19th position due to a better goal difference.

Macclesfield Town visit Princes Park with two away wins from seven. With the exception of the opening six unbeaten matches the Silkmen are still looking for some consistency and occupy 9th place, three points away from the playoffs. On Tuesday night the Cheshire club hosted league leaders Barnet on the back of three games without victory. The sequence ended as the Silkmen inflicted Barnet’s third defeat of the season.

An early second half strike by Scott Barrow from outside the box gave Macclesfield Town the lead. A second goal followed almost fifteen minutes later when Chris Holroyd doubled the advantage. Barnet cut the deficit in two, former Alfreton Town and Ebbsfleet United striker John Akinde netted a header but the Silkmen held on for a decent result.

With last season’s financial issues, manager John Askey has opted for a tight squad this term with four players featuring in every game. Striker Waide Fairhurst is the side’s top scorer with four, defenders Scott Barrow and George Pilkington as well as goalkeeper Rhys Taylor have been ever present. Three other players have played in all but one fixture showing Askey’s reliance on a settled team.

Team News

Nathan Collier returns from his one match ban for his red card against Grimsby Town. Rory McAuley is one caution away from his fifth of the campaign which will result in a games suspension. Lee Noble and Lee Burns are still recovering from injuries whilst Peter Sweeney missed the mid week match at Bristol Rovers.

The Silkmen’s Danny Whitaker has been sidelined with a back injury and so has Paul Turnbull, who came on just before half time on Tuesday for Will Haining. Andy Halls returns from a one-match suspension for five yellow cards of the season in the 2-2 draw with Forest Green.

Head to Head 

Dartford wins: 3 / Macclesfield Town wins: 3 / Draws: 2

Current Form

Dartford (LDDWLW) Macclesfield Town (WDLLWD)
Bristol Rovers A 0-1 Barnet H 2-1
Grimsby Town H 1-1 Forest Green Rovers H 2-2
Welling United A 2-2 Altrincham A 0-1
Nuneaton Town A 2-1 Lincoln City A 0-2
Forest Green Rovers H 1-2 Southport H 3-0
Dover Athletic H 2-1 Gateshead H 1-1

Last League Meeting at Princes Park

29 March 2014 – Dartford 2 Macclesfield Town 1 – Att: 1105

Goalscorer: Turnbull (42), Harris (47), Cornhill (81)

Dartford Lineup: Julian, Mitchel-King, McAuley, Sterling, Burns, Noble, Stevenson, Bradbrook, Cornhill, Harris, Wall (subs used: Swallow, Collier)

Macclesfield Town Lineup: Taylor, Williams, Pilkington, Andrew, Martin, Turnbull, Mackreth, Whitaker, Gnahoua, Holroyd, Boden (subs used: Lewis, Rowe)

Match Stats

dfc v mtfc match stats

Previous Meetings (* F.A Trophy semi finals)

29.03.2014 Dartford 2 Macclesfield Town 1
16.11.2013 Macclesfield Town 3 Dartford 1
15.01.2013 Dartford 2 Macclesfield Town 0
18.08.2012 Macclesfield Town 2 Dartford 0
15.04.1989* Macclesfield Town 4 Dartford 1
08.04.1989* Dartford 0 Macclesfield Town 0
06.04.1974* Dartford 0 Macclesfield Town 0
30.03.1974* Macclesfield Town 1 Dartford 2


12 – games since Dartford and Macclesfield Town recorded a 0-0 draw. The last goalless draw for the Darts came on 23 August 2014 against Torquay United, the same day the Silkmen drew 0-0 with Kidderminster Harriers.

14 – matches since the Silkmen won consecutive matches, the last time they achieved this feat was at the start of this season

15 – since Dartford lost consecutive games, at the end of last season when they lost four in a row

Bristol Rovers v Dartford

In form Bristol Rovers are next up for the Darts on the Tuesday night as the sides face each other for the first time in almost eighty years.

Both sides have recorded similar results  over the last three Conference Premier games with one win followed by two successive draws. However, it’s the Pirates who are unbeaten in seven league games and all season at the Memorial Ground, where Dartford will visit for the very first time.

Last week manager Tony Burman remained positive ahead of two difficult fixtures against Grimsby Town and Bristol Rovers, he told “We’ve got a tough game again on Saturday – Grimsby at home – and then Bristol Rovers away on Tuesday. It’s relentless, but at the moment, the guys are starting to get things right. They’re starting to believe and the work rate is there”, he added: To go to Bristol Rovers is going to be another great experience, like when we played Luton Town and Cambridge United last year”.

A late goal on Saturday denied Dartford another famous win against Grimsby Town. Having beaten the Mariners at Blundell Park two seasons ago then at home last year, the Darts almost added a third victory. Elliot Bradbrook hit the woodwork but his brother Tom found the back of the net with another header just past the hour mark. Tom’s third headed goal of the campaign left the Darts in front until the 86th minute. In a match which saw seven cautions by official Christopher Powell, Nathan Collier saw red when his professional foul brought down Lenell John-Lewis, who equalised from the spot.

Prior the 1-1 draw Burman said: “I’m in a more positive mood now than what I’ve been in for a long time, simply because the players are reacting. Slowly but surely, they’re getting into the routine”, he added: “They know what’s wanted from them and they’re having a good go at making things right”.

Before the Mariners visited Princes Park many would have taken a point but being so close to victory left the Dartford boss commenting: “I think we should have kept the three points. We went a goal up and we’ve been punished for a mistake. It’s a bitter pill to swallow but I can’t fault the effort, the way the guys played”.

A draw against one of the early season contenders and a third match unbeaten will give the Darts a positive vibe. Dartford’s squad will now be tested at the back with Collier about to serve a suspension and Lee Burns picking up an injury. Burns was on the wrong end of a hefty challenge on the weekend resulting in the right back being substituted.

Now the Darts face a Bristol Rovers team who were tipped as one of the favourites to go back up. The Pirates, relegated from the Football League last term draw similarities to Luton Town in that they have a strong following. This season Bristol Rovers are already averaging over 5500 at the Memorial Ground and with 94 years of life in the Football League are a big club in the Conference Premier.

At the start of this season, Bristol Rovers picked up one point from the first nine available losing to table toppers Barnet and newly promoted Altrincham. Only one more defeat has been tasted since at part timers Braintree Town, but a five game winning run in September has left Darrell Clarke’s side a point away from a playoff spot.

Clarke, who earned a good reputation at Salisbury City watched his side draw to a late goal on the weekend. Dover Athletic’s Tom Murphy scored in the last minute to cancel out Adam Cunnington’s first half strike. Clarke spoke to BBC Radio Bristol about the disappointment felt by the squad, he said: “It’s a very quiet changing rooms in there. Obviously the lads are very disappointed, as well as the staff, because we should not have chucked it away. We should be sat here with three points”.

The Bristol Rovers boss felt his side could have been better in front of goal and is hoping for an improved result on Tuesday, he continued: “We just need to be more clinical at the top end. But I’m not going to be to critical of the boys. It’s another game where we are undefeated and it’s about all the negatives about today being put right for Tuesday night”.

With a strike force as good as a mid table team, the Pirates have scored 17 times in 14 fixtures, only two more than the Darts. Somewhat surprising with the likes of Cunnington, who scored 29 times over the last two campaigns with Cambridge United and Tamworth. Matthew Taylor is also a good prospect in the Conference Premier having been signed from Forest Green Rovers.

Defensively, the Pirates have the second best home record conceding only three times. At the back their tight defensive displays is the result of a regular back line featuring goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall, Lee Brown, Tom Lockyer and Tom Parkes. In the middle of the park, former Dartford favourite Dave Martin has appeared a dozen times this campaign. The 29 year old had two spells at Princes Park scoring 16 goals in 90 appearances. Martin’s performances and spectacular goals in the Isthmian League’s earned him a move to Crystal Palace before spells with Millwall, Derby County, Southend United, Notts County, Walsall and Luton Town. The winger played 11 times on loan at Dartford last season.

The two sides last met in a F.A Cup tie back in 1934 at the second round stage. Dartford of the Southern League had beaten Enfield 3-0 to qualify for the proper stages, then defeated Bedford Town in a close encounter which ended 3-2. In front of a home crowd of 6805, Bristol Rovers in the Division Three South at the time, edged out the Darts 1-0 at Watling Street.

Team News

Lee Noble hasn’t featured for the Darts since the 2-1 home win versus Dover Athletic, the midfielder has been struggling with an ankle injury. Lee Burns who suffered a rib injury earlier in the season will need to be assessed after suffering from a hefty challenge to the chest on the weekend. Nathan Collier will begin is suspension for the red card he received four minutes from time.

Steve Mildenhall returns from suspension for his sending off against Eastleigh. In the same game Ollie Clarke picked up two cautions and served a ban on the weekend. Andy Monkhouse was included in the matchday squad after returning from injury and missing a month out.

Head to Head

Bristol Rovers wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 0 / Draws: 0

Current Form

Bristol Rovers (DDWWWW) Dartford (DDWLWL)
Dover Athletic H 1-1 Grimsby Town H 1-1
Eastleigh A 1-1 Welling United A 2-2
Southport A 1-0 Nuneaton Town A 2-1
Woking H 2-0 Forest Green Rovers H 1-2
Nuneaton Town H 3-1 Dover Athletic H 2-1
Lincoln City A 3-2 Gateshead A 0-1

Previous Meeting (F.A Cup Second Round)

08.12.1934 Dartford 0 Bristol Rovers 1


Dartford v Grimsby Town

The Darts face a tough fixture to kick start this month when they prepare for the visit of Grimsby Town this weekend.

Hoping to repeat the upset of last season’s 1-0 win at Princes Park, Dartford go into the Conference Premier fixture having lost just once in their last four outings.

After beating Nuneaton Town from a goal down on the weekend, the Darts were at it again. On Tuesday night they had to come from behind twice at Welling United, who remain unbeaten at home. Tom Bender made his first start for the Darts whilst in form Danny Harris made the first eleven, returning striker Andy Pugh was on the bench and made a late appearance.

An entertaining first half ended level with Welling United taking the lead on six minutes. Ben Jefford’s cross was nudged beyond Jason Brown by Harry Beautyman, but the lead lasted just three minutes. Peter Sweeney scored his first goal for the club and his side’s maiden first half strike of the season. The Wings went ahead once more when Jamal Fyfield headed in Beautyman’s cross to leave the Darts a goal down. Yet again Dartford fought back and a trio of long throw in’s by Mat Mitchel-King put the hosts under pressure, Elliot Bradbrook benefited the most when he hit he’s fourth of the season.

Almost six months have passed since Max Cornhill’s header with fifteen minutes to go gave the Darts a massive three points against the Mariners. A minute before the winning goal Grimsby Town were reduced to ten men when Jamal Fyfield received a second caution. At the time, victory for the Darts put them a point away from safety with four games to go.

In the campaign before, Grimsby Town visited Princes Park twice and went home with fond memories. Jack Evans scored the Darts only goal in the 26th minute following up Nathan Collier’s rebound. Despite working hard, the Darts conceded two late goals. Andy Cook equalised with fifteen minutes to go and full back Aswad Thomas secured an away win, which earned Grimsby Town a playoff spot.

The other result ended 0-0 in the second leg of the F.A Trophy semi-final which was enough to see the Mariners reach Wembley. The 3-0 aggregate win earned Grimsby Town a place in the final which they lost on penalties to Wrexham.

Grimsby Town have finished fourth in the past two seasons losing out in the playoffs, yet again they are pushing for a return to the Football League. Their fifth campaign in the Conference Premier with three consecutive draws with the side taking 254 minutes to score their first goal. Over the Bank Holiday period the Mariners took off in style, a surprise 6-1 away win at Gateshead was followed by  7-0 home win at Blundell Park against Alfreton Town. Since August, Grimsby have won three, lost three and drawn once to leave them in a mid table spot.

On the weekend the Mariners swept Chester aside in a 3-0 victory at home. Shaun Pearson scored from close range and Ross Hannah doubled the lead early in the second half. Hannah then missed a penalty but in the final minute Nathan Arnold made it three having returned from injury. Paul Hurst’s side hosted Southport in the week and went down to a Richard Brodie goal eight minutes from time, the striker grabbed the winner against his former club.

Team News

Lee Noble missed a third successive match through an ankle injury. Andy Pugh returned to action after suffering tendinitis of the Achilles.

Grimsby Town’s Jon-Paul Pittman is still recovering from injury, Nathan Arnold is back in training and Aswad Thomas missed Tuesday’s defeat. Lenell John-Lewis was back in the starting eleven, the striker has scored three this campaign.

Head to Head 

Dartford wins: 2 / Grimsby Town wins: 4 / Draws: 1

Current Form

Dartford (DWLWLD) Grimsby Town (LWWDLL)
Welling United A 2-2 Southport H 0-1
Nuneaton Town A 2-1 Chester H 3-0
Forest Green Rovers H 1-2 Kidderminster Harriers A 1-0
Dover Athletic H 2-1 FC Halifax Town A 1-1
Gateshead A 0-1 Torquay United H 0-2
Eastleigh H 2-2 Lincoln City A 2-3

Last League Meeting at Princes Park

10 April 2014 – Dartford 1 Grimsby Town 0 – Att: 1257

Goalscorer: Cornhill (75)

Dartford Lineup: Julian, Mitchel-King, McAuley, Sterling, Burns, Noble, Stevenson, Swallow, Cornhill, Harris, Suarez (subs used: Collier, Eisa)

Grimsby Town Lineup: McKeown, Doig, Fyfield, McDonald, Walker, Colbeck, Thanoj, McLaughlin, Tounkara, Cook (subs used: Southwell, Winfarrah)

Match Stats

dfc v gtfc

Previous Meetings (* – F.A Trophy semi-final / ** – Friendly)

10.04.2014 Dartford 1 Grimsby Town 0
25.09.2013 Grimsby Town 5 Dartford 2
09.04.2013 Dartford 1 Grimsby Town 2
23.02.2013* Dartford 0 Grimsby Town 0
16.02.2013* Grimsby Town 3 Dartford 0
06.10.2012 Grimsby Town 0 Dartford 2
17.04.1897** Dartford 2 Grimsby Town 3


13 – After 13 games last season Dartford were in 18th place with one point per game, the same as this term

24 – Only Barnet (31) have scored more goals than Grimsby Town this season

50 – Mat Mitchel-King made his 50th start for the Darts against Nuneaton Town last weekend and if Nathan Collier starts this weekend he’ll join the defender.

70 – Elliot Bradbrook has now scored 70 times for Dartford and is ten behind current top scorer Ryan Hayes

77 – Prior last weekend Grimsby Town had the most shots on target

83 – Minutes Dartford have been in front this season out of 1170 minutes played