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.
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)|
|Woking||A||0-1||Forest Green Rovers||A||1-2|
|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)
Previous Meetings (* – Friendly / ** – F.A Trophy)