Rss

Archives for : July2017

Pre-Season Preview

Dartford begin their preparations this month for the up and coming National South campaign, with a series of pre-season friendlies. Pure DFC takes a look at July’s opponents in the build up to the 2017/18 season.

Millwall – Saturday 8th July at Princes Park
Links with the Lions continue with another friendly at home against the League One playoff winners. Neil Harris guided Millwall back to the Championship after a two year absence, finishing last season in sixth. The Londoners bounced back from playoff final disappointment in 2016 by winning at Wembley in May, defeating Bradford City. Steve Morison’s winner five minutes from time secured promotion. The Lions also enjoyed a decent F.A Cup reaching the last eight and beating three Premier League teams on the way. AFC Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester City were dispatched, but quality showed in the quarter final derby when Tottenham Hotspur won 6-0. Since moving to Princes Park, the Darts have hosted five friendlies against the Lions all ending in defeats. Tony Burman has used links with the Bermondsey based club in the past, most notably the signing of current squad member Keaton Wood.

Gillingham – Tuesday 11th July at Princes Park
The Gills will be the second side to visit Princes Park this summer, the League One club just kept above the relegation zone last term. The highest ranked Kent club in English football return to the home of the Darts after a friendly almost a year ago, Ryan Hayes scored for Dartford in a 2-1 defeat. Twice the Darts have played the Gills in the Kent Senior Cup since moving to Princes Park and in 2015, Tom Wynter and Jack Simmons scored as Tony Burman’s side won 2-1, atoning for the 7-3 loss in the competition the season before. The Dartford versus Gillingham friendly has been a regular pre-season fixtures in recent times with the Gills winning all six since 2009.

Phoenix Sports – Saturday 15th July at Phoenix Sports Ground
Based in Barnehurst, Phoenix Sports became champions of the Southern Counties East League in 2015 tasting defeat just once. In the same season they reached the fifth round of the F.A Vase. Two seasons have past and in each of those campaigns they have recorded their highest ever league position, in the Isthmian Division One North. Switching to the Division One South this summer will mean a whole set of new opponents for Steve O’Boyle’s team, who have a number of former Darts in their ranks such as Dajon Golding, Richard Seixas and Ashley Probets. Dartford won a friendly 2-1 last summer with goals from Ellis Brown and Ben Francis, the year before Tom Bradbrook netted both in a 2-0 victory.

Sutton United – Tuesday 18th July at Princes Park
Dartford host one of the heroes of last season’s F.A Cup in their third pre-season warm up. Rewind back to November and the Darts lost an entertaining F.A cup first round fixture 6-3 against the U’s. Dartford pegged the visitors back three times until Paul Doswell’s side ran away with the tie. The National League club went on to knock out Cheltenham Town, AFC Wimbledon before famously beating Leeds United 1-0. A home fifth round tie versus eventual winners Arsenal ended in a respectable 2-0 loss. Sutton United enjoyed a decent return to the National League last term having won the National South the season before, the Surrey club finished twelfth thanks to their home form which has been excellent over the last few years.

Cambridge United – Saturday 22nd July at Princes Park
Whilst Dartford were reprieved in the National League, Cambridge United secured a place in the Football League via the playoffs beating Gateshead in the final, that was three years ago. The U’s are now led by former Crystal Palace and Leeds United midfielder Shaun Derry, who guided Cambridge United to an eleventh place finish in League Two last time out. Tom Bonner will face his former club who he joined from the Darts back in 2013, the defender made 13 appearances but injuries prevented the 29 year old from making a bigger impact. During Dartford’s stay in the National League they recorded a famous 2-1 victory at the Abbey Stadium in 2012. Tony Burman’s side remained unbeaten against the U’s during that two year period with three consecutive draws.

Bromley – Tuesday 25th July at Princes Park
Dartford’s penultimate friendly this summer will be against National League side Bromley. The Darts have enjoyed a decent record against their opponents winning five of the last six, including the Kent Senior Cup final six years ago. This time the Darts will be up against former winger Luke Wanadio, who had an excellent time in his only season at Princes Park scoring 13 goals last season. Tyrone Sterling is another former player now with Bromley, the full back signed in May from Dover Athletic. Neil Smith helped the club avoid second season syndrome in the National League by leading them to tenth last term, the club’s highest ever finish. The last meeting between the two sides came in an entertaining F.A Cup tie with Dartford winning 4-3 thanks to goals from Danny Harris, Ryan Hayes, Elliot Bradbrook and his brother Tom.

Thamesmead Town – Saturday 29th July at Princes Park
The Mead head South for their new campaign switching from the Isthmian Division One North to South. Over recent years Dartford have shared close ties with the club and will be landlord’s to Thamesmead Town this season in a groundshare agreement. During a three year period in the nineties the Darts met their tenants six times in the Kent League winning three, drawing two and losing once. Last summer Ben Francis scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 friendly victory versus the Mead, whilst in 2014 Andy Pugh netted the winner. Dartford also won 2-0 in 2011 and 2012 and 5-0 in a behind closed doors friendly in October 2010. Thamesmead Town did beat the Darts 3-2 nine years ago and 2-1 the year before that.