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Braintree Town v Dartford

Dartford begin the New Year knowing a win at Braintree Town tomorrow will be crucial in their bid for Conference Premier survival.

In which turns out to be a back to back fixture against the Iron, the two sides meet for the second time in a week. On Boxing Day an uninspiring first half left the Darts one down early on when Tom Bender handled in his own box. Charlie Strutton scored the penalty to put Braintree Town in front. The match was settled with fifteen minutes to go, Simeon Akinola found the back of the net by diverting Chez Isaac’s corner beyond Jason Brown. Dartford have now failed to score against Braintree Town in their last four attempts.

In an important period which may shape Dartford’s season, Tony Burman was left disappointed with his side failing to breach the Braintree Town defence and felt the Iron had come out on top psychologically. The Darts boss told kentonline.co.uk:  “They’re a difficult team to play against, Braintree, and when they got their noses in front with the penalty, it’s a good start for them. They’re difficult to break down at 0-0 and they’re more difficult to break down at 1-0”, he added: “Braintree are difficult to play against and I think they’ve got into our minds a little bit, which I did warn all the players about before the game – in respect of trying to slow the game down and disrupt your pattern a little bit”.

The Darts fell seven points adrift from safety on Sunday putting pressure on Tony Burman’s side. Due to play fellow struggler’s Alfreton Town on the weekend the match was postponed allowing Southport to catch up on games. The Merseyside outfit beat Dartford’s next opponents Kidderminster Harriers 1-0 to move themselves seven points clear of the Darts.

Despite the deficit faced by Dartford, Burman remains determined and knows the club need to pick up three points, he commented: “I still feel we’ve got a better squad this year but we’ve got to start winning games. It’s as simple as that”, he continued: “It hasn’t worked out the way we were expecting and the last thing I wanted was for us to be in the position we’re in. But we will fight to get out of it”.

After beating the Darts at Princes Park, Braintree Town suffered a blow in their last home match. On the back of three succesive competitive wins the run ended in a 5-1 defeat to Eastleigh. At half time the match was all square, the visitors taking the lead through Craig Stanley and Mitch Brundle netting a penalty to equalise. A second half James Constable hat trick plus a Jack Midson header made sure of a disappointing day for Alan Devonshire’s men. Although the Iron conceded five Devonshire felt the score line was harsh on his side, he spoke to www.braintreetownfc.org.uk and said: “I feel for them because 5-1 is like a hammering and it wasn’t like that. We just dust ourselves off and look forward to Dartford here on Thursday”.

Dartford last visited Cressing Road in April at the tail end of last season. With the Darts fighting the drop the hosts were eyeing up a playoff place. Kenny Davis scored the winner for Braintree Town mid way through the first half, the midfielder’s 18 yard strike was enough to beat Alan Julian who had an outstanding performance. Lee Noble came close twice but the 1-0 defeat left Burman claiming his side were unlucky not to take some decent opportunities.

The Darts did however beat the Iron in the previous campaign at Cressing Road. This time it was Dartford eyeing up the playoff spots. Ryan Hayes’ free kick was finished by Tom Bonner and Jacob Erskine made it 2-0 before half time, which is how the game ended. In Briantree Town’s Conference South winning season, the Darts earned a 1-1 away draw after conceding an early own goal. Jon Main equalised before half time but the sides couldn’t be separated.

Team News

Calum Driver missed the Boxing Day defeat at home to Braintree Town after picking up an injury against Wrexham. Goalkeeper Jason Brown was a doubt after suffering an injury against Braintree Town on Boxing Dayt. Lee Burns and Andy Pugh are still waiting to return to action after longer term injuries.

Head to Head

Braintree Town wins: 5 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Braintree Town (LWWLLW) Dartford (LWLLLL)
Eastleigh  H  1-5 Braintree Town  H  0-2
Dartford  A  2-0 Wrexham  A  3-1
Torquay United  H  2-0 Eastleigh  A  0-2
Woking  A  0-1 Forest Green Rovers  A  1-2
Welling United  H  0-1 Chester  H  2-4
AFC Telford United  A  3-1 Lincoln City  A  0-1

Last Meeting at Cressing Road

18 April 2014 – Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0 – Att: 1200

Goalscorers: Davis (24)

Braintree Town Lineup: Hamman, Peters, Habergham, Paine, Wells, Massey, Mulley, Isaac, Marks, Davis, Sparkes (subs used: Cox, Daley)

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

Match Stats

btfc v dfc stats

 

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

26.12.2014 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
18.04.2014 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0
24.08.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
11.04.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 0
25.09.2012 Braintree Town 0 Dartford 2
12.02.2011 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 1
01.02.2011 Dartford 1 Braintree Town 0
20.07.2002* Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
04.11.2001** Dartford 0 Braintree Town 3

 

Dartford v Braintree Town

A Boxing Day battle with Braintree Town is the first of four matches in nine days for Dartford over the festive football season.

Keen to avenge the double defeat in their last Conference Premier campaign, the Darts are searching for their first win against the Essex club in four attempts.

Last term, the Iron won at Princes Park when Alan Massey gave the visitors a second half lead and former Ebbsfleet United striker Liam Enveer-Marum finished the Darts off in the final minute. The home loss was the first suffered by Dartford on their own patch against Braintree Town for twelve years.

Between those dozen years there has been very little to choose between the two clubs with very few goals scored. Almost three years ago, Dartford came out on top at Princes Park with a 1-0 triumph against the Conference South champions of that campaign. Elliot Bradbrook separated the two sides with a deserved winner eleven minutes from time.

When the Darts joined the Iron in the Conference Premier, gaining promotion the following season, matches with one another helped decide who would finish England’s number one part time team. In Kent, the fixture between the two sides may have ended in a dour 0-0 draw, but the point ended up being crucial for Tony Burman’s men. At the end of the season Dartford finished eighth ahead of their part time rivals on goal difference. Since 2006 both clubs have enjoyed a steady rise up the non league pyramid from the Isthmian League to the Conference Premier.

The Darts recorded their second away victory in the league this season on the weekend against Wrexham. The 3-1 win, which saw the return of striker Harry Crawford after a month out, was much needed as teams around the Darts in the Conference Premier picked up good results too. Luke Daley was the only other change and he will hope his performance was enough to keep a first team place, so he can face his former club. The midfielder played for Braintree Town for two seasons making 60 league appearances and scoring eight times for the Essex club.

With the Dartford squad arriving in Wales the day before their freshness showed in the early stages. Elliot Bradbrook finished tidily to net his sixth goal in the league putting the Darts in front. The hosts applied some pressure and the  alertness of Peter Sweeney kept the ball from crossing the goal line when Andy Bishop  came close to the equaliser. The Wrexham striker then tested goalkeeper Jason Brown who made a quality save to keep the score at 1-0.

Crawford lasted just over an hour as he starts to regain full fitness. Almost immediately after the striker was substituted, Rory McAuley headed his second of the campaign from a corner. The two goal cushion was halved just four minutes later when Wrexham substitute Louis Moult scored his sixth in four matches against Dartford. Jason Brown kept the hosts at bay with some decent saves and in time added on Tom Bradbrook sealed the three points with a well taken curler. Victory ended a run of four consecutive league losses and is Dartford’s second win in a row, following the F.A Trophy tie against Solihull Moors last weekend.

Braintree Town also picked up a fine result beating former League Two side Torquay United at Cressing Road. After twenty minutes the hosts were in front when Sean Marks finished a cross from Ryan Peters. On the stroke of half time Simeon Akinola’s header put the match beyond the Gulls. The Iron keep their seven point advantage over Dartford in the league standings.

Alan Devonshire’s side have yet to draw on the road winning three and losing nine. In their last seven away days Braintree Town have only defeated bottom club AFC Telford United. This season the Essex club started in promising fashion by reaching seventh by mid September, a run of five wins in six helped. Since then Devonshire has seen his side struggle with two wins in fourteen attempts before Saturday’s win versus Torquay United.

Team News

Harry Crawford’s return gives Dartford’s forward line a much needed boost, the Darts have also been missing Andy Pugh who is still sidelined but hopes to return to training soon. Lee Burns last featured on 11 November and has missed the last six league games with injury. Callum Driver was substituted on the weekend with a hamstring problem.

Head to Head

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

Current League Form

Dartford (WLLLLD) Braintree Town (WLLWWL)
Wrexham  A  3-1 Torquay United  H  2-0
Eastleigh  A  0-2 Woking  A  0-1
Forest Green Rovers  A  1-2 Welling United  H  0-1
Chester  H  2-4 AFC Telford United  A  3-1
Lincoln City  A  1-0 Wrexham  H  1-0
Southport  H  1-1 Dover Athletic  A  0-1

Last Meeting at Princes Park

24 August 2013 – Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2 – Att: 1015

Goalscorer: Massey (69), Enveer-Marum (90)

Dartford Lineup: Julian, Clark, Mitchel-King, Sterling, Burns, Cornhill, Noble, Bradbrook, Hayes, Prior, Birchall (subs used: Harris, Collier, Woodyard)

Braintree Town Lineup: McDonald, Habergham, Paine, Massey, Wells, Isaac, Davis, Daley, Peters, Marks, Holman (subs used: Sparkes, Enveer-Marum, Carney)

Match Stats

dfc v btfc stats

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

18.04.2014 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0
24.08.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
11.04.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 0
25.09.2012 Braintree Town 0 Dartford 2
12.02.2011 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 1
01.02.2011 Dartford 1 Braintree Town 0
20.07.2002* Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
04.11.2001** Dartford 0 Braintree Town 3

Stats

6 – On the six occasions where there has been a winner, the losing team have failed to score.

25 – Prior last weekend’s match, Simeon Akinola attempted 25 shots at goal without scoring, the highest in the division.

32 – The 3-1 win at Wrexham ended a 32 game run in which Dartford failed to win by more than a goal.

54 – Before last Saturday’s game, Braintree Town’s James Mulley had won the most free kicks in the Conference Premier.

101 – Excluding the win at Wrexham, Jason Brown had made the most saves in the Conference Premier this season.

326 – minutes since Dartford’s last goal scored against the Iron. Jacob Erskine added to Tom Bonner’s opener to earn the Darts a 2-0 victory.

 

 

 

Wrexham v Dartford

Conference Premier action returns for the Darts as they bid to end a run of four successive league defeats when they visit Wrexham.

After three cup games in a week Dartford face the difficult task of trying to upset the Welsh club unbeaten in four competitive matches. Dartford’s involvement in three cup competitions has left them without a league fixture for just over two weeks. During that time the club have dropped one place in the league leaving them third from bottom and four points from safety.

Over the past two campaigns Tony Burman has managed to conjure up some sort of result at the Racecourse Ground. In the first ever meeting between the two clubs the match ended all square thanks to a last minute Lee Noble free kick. Wrexham came from behind to cancel out Danny Harris’ early effort, Danny Wright and Andy Bishop the scorers for the hosts. With time running out, substitute Noble exquisitely finished from a direct free kick to secure a 2-2 draw.

Last term when a result was needed, the Darts travelled across the border and came back with all three points. After a hammering at Princes Park earlier in the season, Andy Pugh scored after ten minutes following up a free kick goalkeeper Andy Coughlin fumbled. Wrexham were level when Joe Clarke equalised but on the stroke of half time Elliot Bradbrook won the match.

A run of five consecutive away losses in the league has not helped Dartford’s effort to keep above the relegation zone. With the Conference Premier taking a temporary back seat, Burman has watched his side get knocked out of the F.A Cup and Kent Senior Cup recently. Facing two ties against League One opposition, Bradford City won 4-1 before the Darts were eliminated from the County Cup in a 7-3 defeat at Gillingham.

Some confidence may have been restored last weekend as the Darts grabbed a F.A Trophy victory, beating Conference North side Solihull Moors 2-0. In a slow first half goalkeeper Jason Brown kept Dartford in the competition with some decent saves. An improved second half was enough to see the Darts progress, firstly captain Elliot Bradbrook netted from the spot and brother Tom sealed the win with just under twenty minutes to go.

Wrexham beat Dartford on the opening day of the season and under former Nuneaton Town boss Kevin Wilkin they sit in mid table. The Welsh side have managed just one league victory in the last eleven outings, drawing six in the process. Inconsistencies home and away leave Wrexham seven points behind the final playoff spot. Prior their dip in form the Red Dragons reached third spot to finish September just four points behind leaders Barnet.

Since finishing runners up in 2012, Wrexham have won the F.A Trophy and reached a playoff final. A poor campaign last season saw a change in management allowing Wilkin a first full season in charge. Louis Moult, one of Wilkin’s signings from his former club has excelled with ten goals and the Dartford defence should know all about the 22 year old. Whilst at the Boro he scored five against the Darts in two games, including a final day hat trick.

Team News

If selected, Lee Noble will make his 200th start, the midfielder has featured in 279 games for the Darts scoring 37 times. Max Cornhill could make his 50th start for the club. Lee Burns, Harry Crawford and Andy Pugh have all been out of action due to injury and there are no suspension concerns.

Goalkeeper, Andy Coughlin has been suffering with a hand injury for Wrexham. The Red Dragons have also missed Theo Bailey-Jones, Joe Thompson and Dean Keates recently.

Head to Head

Wrexham wins: 2 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Wrexham (DWDLLD) Dartford (LLLLDW)
Bristol Rovers  H  0-0 Eastleigh  A  0-2
Aldershot Town  H  3-1 Forest Green Rovers  A  1-2
Kidderminster Harriers  A  1-1 Chester  H  2-4
Altrincham  H  2-3 Lincoln City  A  0-1
Braintree Town  A  0-1 Southport  H  1-1
Woking  A  1-1 Welling United  H  2-1

Last Meeting at the Racecourse Ground

8 February 2014 – Wrexham 1 Dartford 2 – Att: 2645

Goalscorers: Pugh (10), Clarke (21), Bradbrook (45)

Wrexham Lineup: Coughlin, Livesey, Tomassen, Ashton, Clarke, Carrington, Keates, Hunt, Harris, Bishop, Ogleby (subs used: Thornton, Durrell, Anyinsah)

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

Match Stats

wfc v dfc stats

Previous Meetings

09.08.2014 Dartford 1 Wrexham 2
08.02.2014 Wrexham 1 Dartford 2
19.11.2013 Dartford 1 Wrexham 5
09.03.2013 Dartford 2 Wrexham 1
22.09.2012 Wrexham 2 Dartford 2

Dartford v Solihull Moors

One cup dream ended last weekend and a new one begins when Dartford host Conference North club Solihull Moors in the F.A Trophy first round.

The Darts have never played this weekend’s opponents, formed by the merger of Moor Green and Solihull Borough, but regularly came up against Moor Green in the Southern League Premier between 1988 and 1992. Under Peter Taylor, the Darts won three including a 5-1 victory and drew the other meeting. Bob Makin took over for the 1990/91 season and over the next two campaigns both sides won two each. Further fixtures with Moor Green were denied when Dartford went to the wall in 1992, the Darts were also due to play Solihull Borough that season, who had just won the Southern League Midlands division.

Last Sunday, Dartford’s day at Valley Parade proved too difficult as League One side Bradford City showed their superiority. On ten minutes Billy Clarke scrambled in the first from Jon Stead’s cross. Clarke had numerous chances before Stead himself made it 2-0 with his outstretched leg getting on the end of another low cross. The Darts rallied before the break but went in at half time two down in front of a large away following.

By the hour mark Bradford City were way out of sight, Filipe Morais lingered on the edge of the box from a corner and hit a long range effort past Jason Brown with the aid of a deflection, a minute later Mark Yeates curled in the Bantams fourth. Dartford fans had something to cheer on 64 minutes, Lee Noble’s cheeky back heel made it 4-1 with one of the goals of the second round.

Dartford can be excused for a fifth successive defeat against a side 59 places above them in the football pyramid, however four consecutive league losses has put the club under pressure. The third cup tie in a week is a welcome distraction and a run in the F.A Trophy could restore some confidence. Currently eight places above Solihull Moors in a league above, the Darts will desperately want to avoid an upset, a feat they managed to achieve in the F.A Cup first round against Bromley.

Tony Burman has lacked options up front with Tom Bradbrook the only out and out striker on a permanent contract. The Dartford boss has brought in Bradley Tarbuck on loan who has only made substitute appearances so far. In the build up to the F.A Cup tie, Burman hinted that Harry Crawford may return from injury which will be a boost to the Darts strike-force.

Last term Dartford were eliminated at this stage against Forest Green Rovers, so would rather look for inspiration from the squad of two years ago. The Darts reached the semi-final and were one step away from a trip to Wembley for only the second time in the club’s history. Instead the F.A Trophy final of 1974 remains the only Wembley appearance for Dartford as they finished runners up to Morecambe.

Solihull Moors were only formed seven years ago when Moor Green opted to merge with Solihull Borough. The fledgling club emerged from disaster and the charity between two local rivals. Moor Green’s home at Moorlands suffered a fire in 2005 and so they spent two years sharing at Solihull Borough’s Damson Park. The cost to rebuild Moorlands was too much and in order for Moor Green to survive the directors deemed a merger with a local club was imperative, which happened in 2007. Solihull Moors were created and took Moor Green’s place in the Conference North where they have remained to the present day.

The Moors have steadily improved since their introduction at step six from bottom half finishes to top half finishes. The West Midlands outfit are pushing for their best ever league campaign and currently occupy the final playoff place. Under Marcus Bignot, Solihull Moors are enjoying a great run of form losing just once in their last 13 league games, this after picking up just four points in the opening six matches. October was particularly a productive match with four wins from five as Bignot picked up Manager of the Month.

Top scorers in the Conference North and the second best away record Solihull Moors are full of confidence. However, on Saturday the Moors threw away a three goal lead at home to ten men Lowestoft Town. Ryan Beswick headed the West Midlanders ahead with his seventh league goal of the season and Reece Fleet made it 2-0. Goalkeeper, Ashlee Jones was dismissed when he conceded a penalty, prolific striker Omar Bogle picked himself up and scored a third for Solihull Moors. The visitors started their recovery just before half time when Rossi Jarvis scored a free kick and early in the second half the deficit was reduced to one, thanks to Jack Ainsley. On the hour the equaliser arrived  courtesy of Jake Reed and despite having a man advantage the Moors struggled to create chances to win.

The player who has grabbed Conference North headlines is Solihull Moors striker Bogle. The club’s top scorer with 19 goals last term was called up for England C international duty and netted in their 4-2 win over Estonia. The former Birmingham City and Glasgow Celtic academy player has already found the net 15 times this term in the Conference North and heads the goalscoring chart.

Darren Byfield will be a familiar name in the Moors squad, the 38 year old started out at Aston Villa and enjoyed a Football League career with Walsall, Rotherham United, Gillingham and Millwall to name but a few. The striker was part of the relegated Tamworth team last season and has six international caps for Jamaica.

Dartford’s opponents entered the F.A Trophy just a fortnight ago in the third qualifying round. A home tie against Southern League Premier side Redditch United had the hosts soaking up pressure to earn a 2-1 win. Solihull Moors took a two goal lead when an own goal put them ahead in the first half. Beswick scored on the hour from close range following up Liam Daly’s rebound and when Redditch United pulled one back, the Moors held on for a narrow 2-1 victory.

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

Dartford (LLLLLD) Solihull Moors (DWWLWW)
Bradford City*  A  1-4 Lowestoft Town  H  3-3
Eastleigh  A  0-2 Redditch United**  H  2-1
Forest Green Rovers  A  1-2 Gainsborough Trinity  H  2-0
Chester  H  2-4 Guiseley  A  0-3
Lincoln City  A  0-1 Bradford Park Avenue  A  3-2
Southport  H  1-1 Hyde  H  3-0

(*excludes County Cup)

F.A Trophy Performances Last Ten Years

FAT Solihull

 

 

Gillingham v Dartford

Dartford will conclude the Kent Senior Cup second round on Wednesday when they visit League One opposition for the second time in four days.

Tony Burman will pit his wits against former Dartford player manager Peter Taylor, who is in charge at Gillingham. Both clubs are sitting in the same position in their respective leagues and the winners will make it into the draw for round three, which will take place after the match.

In past season’s Burman has used the competition to mix first team players with those at the fringes of the squad. With a tough game on Sunday and the F.A Trophy fixture with Solihull Moors to come, changes to the starting line up are likely.

The F.A Cup second round defeat at Bradford City became Dartford’s fifth in a row in all competitions. Meanwhile, the Gills have tasted victory just once in their last 11 league games. However, Gillingham edged closer to a trip to Wembley with a 1-0 Football League Trophy win over Leyton Orient on the weekend.

Dartford won the Kent Senior Cup in 2011 and were close to retaining the title in the following campaign by finishing runners up. Triumph three years ago was the tenth time the Darts won the honour and the first since 1988, under Peter Taylor. Gillingham have to go back to 1948 for their last Kent Senior Cup title having won the competition just twice.

Only three times have these two sides met in the Kent Senior Cup, each occasion in a semi-final. In 1894, the Darts won 4-0 against New Brompton, Gillingham’s former name to reach the final where they lost to Royal Ordnance. The season before Gillingham last won the cup, Dartford knocked them out in the last four with a 2-1 triumph on the way to winning the competition. The last Kent Senior Cup meeting between the two clubs was 24 years ago, the Gills progressed to the final with a 3-2 victory only to finish runners up.

Bradford City v Dartford

In a first F.A Cup second round tie in thirty years Dartford will need to cause a major upset against League One side Bradford City, if they want to make the potentially lucrative third round draw.

Having been drawn away to the former Premier League club and the 2013 League Cup runners up, the Darts will have no pressure at Valley Parade as they hope to create some club history. Manager, Tony Burman was a member of the squad that reached the second round in 1984 when a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth earned a replay. The third round was drawn after the stalemate at Watling Street and Manchester United awaited the winners, unfortunately the Cherries won 4-1 in the replay.

Dartford will not have the luxury of a home tie this time, however if they are able to take Bradford City back to Princes Park then it will be an outstanding result. The last time the Darts faced Football League opposition was only four years ago and a 1-1 home draw with Port Vale, then in League Two, earned a replay. At Vale Park, Dartford went out of the F.A Cup in a 4-0 defeat, over the two fixtures five of the current squad had a part to play.

Elliot Bradbrook, Ryan Hayes, Lee Burns, Danny Harris and Lee Noble all experienced the first round fixture four years ago. Together with Jason Brown, Mat Mitchel-King and Harry Crawford the majority of the squad have experience of Football League grounds. However, no one other than Peter Sweeney has graced the Wembley turf in a F.A Cup final. Back in 2004, the then 19 year old featured for Championship club Millwall in their 3-0 loss against a Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Manchester United.

A poor run of form has left Dartford fourth from bottom in the Conference Premier. On Tuesday night a 2-0 loss at Eastleigh recorded the clubs fourth straight defeat in just over two weeks. Burman knows he needs to lift his side’s morale as well as league standing, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk: “People are just upset with the situation, like we all are. We’ve all got to try to get things together, back on track. It’s difficult but I’ve got to try to lift the players”.

Away from home the Darts continue to struggle following five league defeats in a row at Bristol Rovers, Grimsby Town, Lincoln City, Forest Green Rovers and Eastleigh. The only respite was seven goal nail biter in the F.A Cup first round at Bromley. Tom Bradbrook scored what turned out to be the winner as the Darts won 4-3, Ryan Hayes and Danny Harris were also amongst the scorers. To get to the proper rounds Dartford comfortably beat Isthmian Division One South side Burgess Hill Town, two goals from Harry Crawford and a penalty by Elliot Bradbrook gave the Darts a 3-1 victory.

Bradford City know all about shocks and visited Wembley twice in the same season in 2013. On the way to the League Cup final the Yorkshire club giant killed their way to the final. Notts County, Watford and Burton Albion were knocked out which featured two games going to extra time. Then came a string of Premier League sides, Wigan Athletic were taking care of in a penalty shoot out and in round five the Bantams created their biggest upset of all. Arsenal were taken the distance with a 1-1 draw after extra time in which The Bantams led for most of the tie, Bradford City won 3-2 on penalties to reach the semi-final. Aston Villa were the next victims, after a 3-1 win at Valley Parade, Bradford City lost 2-1 at Villa Park but proceeded 4-3 on aggregate. The final was a step too far as the attractive passing style of Swansea City took the League Cup to Wales as the Jacks won 5-0.

At least Bantams could smile come May, a seventh place finish in League Two entered the club into the playoffs. A comfortable 3-0 Wembley win against Northampton Town ensured League One football where the club remains. Bradford City were close to making it a hat-trick of Wembley visits but lost the Football League Trophy semi-final to Crewe Alexandra.

Phil Parkinson masterminded the cup run and promotion, last season he consolidated the Bantams position in League One finishing eleventh. This term they occupy tenth, four points off the playoff spots and unbeaten in the last four competitive matches. In the F.A Cup first round they faced a tough challenge away to FC Halifax Town and despite being favourites they were pushed all the way. Lois Maynard put the hosts ahead at the Shay after only three minutes in the West Yorkshire derby. In the space of three second half minutes Bradford City turned the game around. Former Premier League striker Jon Stead equalised five minutes after the break and Filipe Morais scored the winner.

The Bantams boss has told www.bradfordcityfc.co.uk that he expects his players standards to remain high. Parkinson does not intend to take Dartford lightly and will use the experience of the last round against FC Halifax Town. The Bradford City manager has had staff attend Dartford matches over the last four matches and has even watched a game himself in preparation.

F.A Cup Finest Moments

77 – Years since Dartford last made it to the F.A Cup third round. The Darts had reached the third round the season before losing 3-2 to a Derby County side second in the top flight. At the Baseball Ground, Dartford led 2-0 after 35 minutes but the superiority of the Rams shone through with three unanswered goals. A year later, Dartford reached the third round once more and lost out to Darlington in a 1-0 defeat.

103 – Years since Bradford City won the F.A Cup when they beat Newcastle United in a replay. The first match at Crystal Palace ended 0-0 with the replay played at Old Trafford. Captain, Jimmy Speirs scored the only goal after fifteen minutes to give the Bantams their only major honour.

Team News

Harry Crawford and Andy Pugh has left Dartford short of options up front due to injuries the pair have picked up. Bradley Tarbuck has joined the squad on loan from League Two Portsmouth and so far has made two substitute appearances. Lee Burns continues to be sidelined and Rory McAuley will return from his one match suspension for five cautions. Danny Harris and Elliot Bradbrook are on four bookings but the cut off date on 30 November means they avoid suspension if they reach five.

Portuguese midfielder Morais missed the Leyton Orient win and may return this Sunday. Matthew Dolan has been let out on loan to Hartlepool United.

Current Form

Bradford City (WDWWLL) Dartford (LLLLDW)
Leyton Orient  H  3-1 Eastleigh  A  0-2
Gillingham  H  1-1 Forest Green Rovers  A  1-2
Preston North End  A  2-1 Chester  H  2-4
FC Halifax Town  A  2-1 Lincoln City  A  0-1
Doncaster Rovers  H  1-2 Southport  H  1-1
Oldham Athletic  A  1-2 Welling United  H

F.A Cup Performances Last Ten Years

FAC BCFC