Dartford face a tough F.A Cup qualifying tie this weekend when they visit Southern Premier League table toppers Slough Town.
Over recent weeks the Darts have found form going unbeaten in their last six matches. Dartford’s positive run is nothing compared to Saturday’s opponents who have won their last nine fixtures and are unbeaten in 11 games.
It’s been 28 years since the Darts played Slough Town and they will be hoping to repeat the 2-1 F.A Cup fourth qualifying round victory, with the help of player manager Peter Taylor’s finishing. The clubs also met seven years earlier with Dartford running out 4-1 winners in the F.A Trophy first round against the then Isthmian League leaders.
Last weekend, Tony Burman led his side to a 2-1 victory over the National South’s bottom side Concord Rangers. The home win lifted the Darts to seventh in the table to keep up momentum.
Duane Ofori-Acheampong was relieved to have opened his goal scoring account for the Darts with the opening goal against the Beachboys. Danny Harris added a second, his third of the campaign before Concord Rangers grabbed a consolation.
Burman told www.dartfordfc.com: “It was a good time to take the lead with Duane getting off the mark. We knew the game would open up in the second half and took advantage of that with an excellent goal from Danny. It was disappointing not to increase the lead and to concede a late goal, but the main thing is we added another 3 points to the total”.
Tom Wynter is the only injury concern when the full back was substituted before half-time last weekend, Burman commented: “We had him looked at on Monday and there was good movement in the knee and there is a slim chance he could be involved Saturday, although we know we have to be careful and we may wait for the following week”.
Ronnie Vint has returned to action but still building up fitness levels, he is likely to get a longer run out in the Kent Senior Cup next week. That leaves the possibility of Keaton Wood replacing Wynter if required.
The third qualifying round tie could see more academy players gaining first team experience, Burman stated to www.kentonline.co.uk: “With seven substitutes in the FA Cup it means I could bring a couple of players in. With Ben Francis and Richard Seixas having a chance to get games in elsewhere, a couple of second-year guys here could be called upon”, he added: “Some of them have done well and deserve the recognition and we are confident enough in them to get them involved. We’ve got some good prospects coming through”.
Slough Town were in action on Tuesday and extended there winning streak to an impressive nine in all competitions. The Rebels are five points clear in the Southern Premier League and with a new stadium at Arbour Park the feel good factor could play a part in causing an upset.
Joint managers Neil Baker and Jon Underwood helped the Berkshire side see off Chipstead and Cambridge City in the previous rounds. Chipstead were swept aside 6-1, the only goal conceded by Slough Town at home this season and Cambridge City were beaten 3-1.
Attacking threat comes from the all over the pitch with four players sharing the top scorer tag for Slough Town this term. Lee Barney, James Dobson, Gavin James and Warren Harris have all netted six times, former Hampton and Richmond striker Charlie Moone is just one behind. Defensively, the Rebels have kept four clean sheets in their last five outings.
Slough Town finished their previous two campaigns in the Southern Premier League in 16th and 17th respectively, there is no doubt the move to Arbour Park has been a catalyst to their success this time. The Rebels will be hoping to recreate the F.A Cup run they had in 2013 when they negotiated six games, including one replay to reach the first round where they lost to Mansfield Town on penalties. The Berkshire club has reached the proper stages 16 times in their history.
Head to Head
Slough Town wins: 0 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 0
Current Form (all competitions)
Slough Town (WWWWWW)
Won 2-0 v Leamington (H)
Won 3-0 v Biggleswade Town (H)
Won 3-1 v Cambridge City (A) – F.A Cup
Won 1-0 v Weymouth (A)
Won 4-0 v Redditch United (A)
Won 6-1 v Chipstead (H) – F.A Cup
Won 2-1 v Concord Rangers (A)
Won 3-2 v Chelmsford City (A) – F.A Cup
Won 2-0 v Margate (A)
Drew 1-1 v East Thurrock United (A)
Won 2-1 v Welling United (H)
Drew 0-0 v Maidenhead United (H)
Slough Town 1 Dartford 2 (29/10/1988 – F.A Cup)
Dartford 4 Slough Town 1 (10/01/1981 – F.A Trophy)
Elliot Bradbrook remains one goal away from his one hundredth for Dartford
Slough Town have recorded the longest winning streak in the Southern Premier League for two years
On This Day
Cup matches on the 1 October have been a good omen for the Darts going seven unbeaten in a run including five wins. The last cup defeat on this day in 1947 came against Gillingham in the Southern League Cup. Since then the Darts drew 1-1 with Gravesend and Northfleet in the same competition five years later. In the F.A Cup, Epsom and Ewell were beaten 2-1 in 1983, St Albans City held the Darts 1-1 in 1988 and Witham Town were defeated 3-1 in 1989. The only F.A Vase fixture Dartford played on 1 October took place in 1994, when the Darts overcome Steyning Town 3-1. Back to the F.A Cup and in 2000 Abingdon Town were narrowly beaten 3-2 and just five years ago Harrow Borough lost 5-0 to the Darts, James Rogers, Elliot Bradbrook, Charlie Sheringham, Tom Bonner and Lee Burns scoring the goals.