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Archives for : July2018

Pre-season Preview

The FIFA World Cup will be half way through the quarter-finals on Saturday, Dartford will be preparing for the brand new National South campaign.

Managers Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle take over at Princes Park and have already got a glimpse of their new look squad, when the players returned to training. Now it’s time for the pair to assess their summer signings and those retained from last term during pre-season friendlies.

PURE DFC takes a look at what is coming up for the Darts before they kick off against Bath City on Saturday 4 August.

MILLWALL (Saturday 7 July – Princes Park – 12pm kick off)

The Lions are back at Princes Park and surprised many in their return to the Championship. After a two year absence, Millwall finished last season in eighth missing out on a playoff spot, their highest finish since 2001/2002. The Lions recorded a club record 17 game unbeaten run and equalled another accolade of six away wins in a row. Millwall drew with Dartford in a friendly last summer, Romaric Logan put the Darts ahead and Ben Thompson equalised. The Bermondsey based club have visited Princes Park six times winning five and drawing one.

AVELEY (Monday 9 July – Parkside – 7.45pm kick off)

Eight years ago, Deren Ibrahim, Lee Noble, Elliot Bradbrook and Tom Bonner faced Aveley in a friendly. Dartford, the reigning Isthmian Premier League champions at the time drew 0-0. In the 2009/2010 title winning season, Dartford beat Aveley 4-1 and drew 2-2, although it was the entertaining 5-4 defeat in the Isthmian League Cup which stood out. The Darts also won 4-0 thanks to Jay May’s hat-trick and drew 2-2 two years earlier, when Dartford became Isthmian Division One North champions; Aveley won that league a year later but returned to that division in 2012.

SEVENOAKS TOWN (Saturday 14 July – Greatness Park – 3pm kick off)

Micky Collins banged in the goals for Dartford during the Kent League days and now he’s a title winning manager at Sevenoaks Town. The former Darts striker scored 35 times in 60 appearances between 1992 and 1995, now he is preparing the Oaks for life in the Isthmian League South East. The Kent side will be playing at their highest ever level this season and have made positive strides since joining the Kent League in 2003.

GILLINGHAM (Tuesday 17 July – Princes Park – 7.30pm kick off)

Another Football League club to return to the home of the Darts, Gillingham finished seventeenth in League One last season, six points above the drop. Regular visitors to Princes Park, the Gills have won all seven friendlies against Dartford. In the build up to last year’s National South campaign the Darts lost 2-1. Gabriel Zakuani and Josh Parker scored first half goals for Gillingham. Former Gills youngster Tom Murphy, who will be hoping to earn a new contract with the Darts, scored a consolation.

COLCHESTER UNITED (Saturday 21 July – Princes Park – 3pm kick off)

Welcoming to Princes Park for the first time, the Darts will host League Two side Colchester United. The U’s finished in thirteenth place last season, their worst league performance since 1993/1994. The Essex club also went out of the F.A Cup in the first round for a seventh consecutive campaign. Colchester United started 2017/2018 slowly but one defeat in thirteen games, from mid-October to New Year’s Day, moved them into fifth. However, the U’s couldn’t keep the momentum going and they finished last term taking one point from the final five games.

THAMESMEAD TOWN (Tuesday 24 July – Princes Park – 7.45pm kick off)

An away game at home for the Darts as they face their tenants in a friendly for a third season in a row. Last season Elliot Bradbrook scored a hat-trick in a 4-0 win and the year before Ben Francis netted three in a 5-0 victory. Also on the list of friendly hat-tricks against the Mead is Charlie Sheringham, who scored three in a mid-season behind closed doors friendly in 2010. The Darts have won their last six pre-season matches against Thamesmead Town scoring 19 without reply; however the Mead did win 3-2 in 2008. Dartford’s tenants are now playing in the Isthmian South East Division.

FOLKESTONE INVICTA (Saturday 28 July – Cheriton Road – 3pm kick off)

Neil Cugley has been charge of Folkestone Invicta for 21 years, even outdoing former Darts boss Tony Burman. Cugley played for the Darts in the late seventies and mid-eighties and has a road named after him, where Dartford’s former Watling Street ground once was. His Isthmian Premier League side finished fourth last term scoring 104 goals, the fourth time in five campaigns they have hit over a century of goals. When they won the Isthmian Division One South two years ago they managed 114 points to finish 24 clear at the top. The Darts had regular meetings with Invicta from the Kent League days through to the Southern League and at one point lost eight in a row against them.

Joining the Darts for the new season will be Ben Greenhalgh, Kudus Oyenuga and Delano Sam-Yorke whilst Callum Driver and Alex Wall return to the club. Last season’s captain Elliot Bradbrook stays along with Lee Noble and Gibraltar international goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim. Defenders Tom Bonner, Ronnie Vint and Mark Onyemah remain at Princes Park and so does striker Andy Pugh. Flanagan and Coyle, who took over from Burman will also be searching for players to bolster the squad, so expect some trialists.