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AFC Uckfield Town v Dartford

Dartford return to the F.A Cup with a second qualifying round tie against Southern Combination Premier League side AFC Uckfield Town this weekend.

The Darts travel to the Oaks keen to avoid an upset against a team three divisions below them in the non-league structure. In Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle’s first cup game managing Dartford, they will need to prepare for the Sussex club who are currently on a twelve match unbeaten run in all competitions.

Performances have improved since Flanagan and Coyle’s additions to the squad which include Charlie Sheringham, who will return from suspension, winger Tom Knowles and forward Amadou Ba. In their last two outings, the Darts have showed tremendous character and spirit to rescue points against in form teams. A fortnight ago, they came from behind twice to draw with third place Eastbourne Borough, Elliot Bradbrook scoring in the final minute. Last weekend, Dartford drew 1-1 at second place Billericay Town with an injury time equaliser from substitute Jamie Philpot, who returned from injury.

The right back position has been filled by midfielder Chez Isaac lately due to Callum Driver’s hip injury. Tom Murphy has also been sidelined  resulting in the loan signing of Charlton Athletic defender Kenneth Yao this week. The 20-year-old will be available this weekend and has made two appearances for the Addicks this term, one in the League Cup and the other in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Dartford will hope to repeat the F.A Cup run of last year when they reached the first round proper bowing out to League Two side Swindon Town. During that run the Darts had to overcome three teams from lower divisions beating Barking, Needham Market and Burgess Hill Town along the way. The last time Dartford went out at this stage was three years ago when Uxbridge caused an upset at Princes Park, the only time in the previous nine years that the Darts have fell at the second qualifying round.

Led by first team manager Anthony Storey, AFC Uckfield Town have already made history in the competition by winning their first ever F.A Cup tie. The Sussex club were only formed four years ago when Uckfield Town and AFC Uckfield merged. The Uckers lost their first ever F.A Cup fixture in 2016 and went out in a replay last term at the first hurdle.

Storey is relishing the chance to cause an upset and is not phased at playing a team three divisions above, on the club’s Twitter page he said: “This is a massive home draw for the club, and for the town of Uckfield. We prepare for the game the ame as any other, and I will be working closely with the management team here, and we will be doing our homework on them”.

This season their journey started on 11 August in the extra preliminary round, when Dartford were playing their third league game of the campaign. Bailo Camara was AFC Uckfield Town’s history maker scoring the winning goal against Glebe of the Southern Counties East League Premier Division.

The Uckers were drawn out against Broadfields United in the preliminary round and had a much more comfortable second half versus the Spartan South Midlands League Division One side. Dee Okojie opened the scoring for AFC Uckfield Town midway through the first period, but Broadfields United levelled through Dave Lawrence. The second half saw Broadfields United miss a penalty early on, the let off inspired a faultless display from then on, as the Uckers scored three unanswered goals by Sam Cooper, Callum Smith and Okojie from the spot.

In the last round AFC Uckfield Town hosted AFC Croydon Athletic, now plying their trade in the Southern Counties East League Premier Division. Once again, the Sussex club were triumphant with a 1-0 victory, this time courtesy of a late winner and all without top scorer Callum Smith. This time it was his brother Regan who grabbed the local headlines earning the Uckers a second qualifying round tie with the Darts.

Since a 4-3 defeat on the opening day against Horsham YMCA, the Uckers have won three and drew two in the league and remain in all cup competitions. Most recently they beat Littlehampton Town 3-0 in a Charity Cup match and brushed aside Southwick 5-0 in the F.A Vase. Callum Smith is the main source for AFC Uckfield Town’s goals, the striker has netted 14 in all competitions including two hat-tricks, one of which was a four goal haul in a 4-3 win.

Current Form (all competitions) CC-Charity Cup / FAV-F.A Vase / FAC-F.A Cup / ChC-Challenge Cup

AFC Uckfield Town (WLWLWW) Dartford (DDLWLL)
Littlehampton (CC) H 3-0 Billericay Town A 1-1
Southwick (FAV) H 5-0 Eastbourne Borough H 2-2
Eastbourne Town H 2-1 St Albans City A 0-2
AFC Croydon Athletic (FAC) H 1-0 East Thurrock United H 2-0
Eastbourne United AFC (ChC) A 6-0 Hungerford Town A 0-1
Hollands & Blair (FAV) H 2-0 Wealdstone H 0-3

Stats

Dartford have win their last five F.A Cup games away from home beating Burgess Hill Town, Needham Market, Tonbridge Angels, Slough Town and Chelmsford City. The last away defeat in the competition was on 7 December 2014 against Bradford City in the second round proper.

The Darts have made at least the first round proper in five of the last eight F.A Cup campaigns.

Since the cup upset against Uxbridge, Dartford have scored three or more goals in six of their last eight F.A Cup games.

On This Day

Dartford famously drew 2-2 with Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground six years ago with Lee Noble’s last minute equaliser. Danny Harris gave the Darts the lead after just four minutes, but the Welsh side went 2-1 up with goals from Danny Wright and Andy Bishop. Noble claimed a memorable draw for the Darts equalising with a 25 yard free-kick. In the Isthmian Premier League winning season, Dartford beat Sutton United 3-0 on 22 September 2009 with a brace from Rob Haworth and an own goal. In the Isthmian Division One North league winning campaign eleven years ago, Adam Flanagan scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win over AFC Sudbury, who ended up runners up come the end of the season.

Billericay Town v Dartford

Dartford face a tough away match this weekend when they travel to Isthmian Premier League champions Billericay Town.

For the all the headlines created by the Essex club they have started life in the National South comfortably. The Blues are currently in second place, three points behind the leaders with an unbeaten home record.

Meanwhile the Darts are down in sixteenth with three away defeats in four, however they can take some confidence in the spirit they showed last weekend when drawing 2-2 with Eastbourne Borough, who started the day in third place.

Charlie Sheringham’s homecoming was described by the striker as ‘eventful’, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “I played quite well, scored a goal to equalise and was a little bit unfortunate to get sent off”, the 30-year-old will miss the trip to Essex. Debuting in last weekend’s draw was Amadou Ba, who made a positive impression in his first loan appearance from Southend United.

After failing to score in five of the last six matches before last weekend, Dartford were relieved to score twice last Saturday. Eastbourne Borough twice took the lead only for Sheringham’s penalty and Elliot Bradbrook’s close range volley in stoppage time to leave the scores level.

It’s been eight and half years since Dartford faced Billericay Town in the Isthmian Premier League. The Blues won both encounters winning 1-0 in February 2010 and a month later beating the Darts 4-1 at Princes Park. In the season before, Dartford did the double winning 1-0 courtesy of a Lee Noble free kick in October 2008 and 2-0 at home in February 2009, with goals from Brendon Cass and John Guest. Current managers Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle were part of the playing squad in each of those campaigns.

It’s not often a newly promoted team is one of the favourites to win the title and on field results so far prove Billericay Town deserve that tag. However, performances on the pitch have been overshadowed by off field drama which is nothing new to the club over the last few years.

For a team enjoying only their second ever campaign at National South level, the last one was in 2012/13 when the Blues finished second from bottom, the opening five games saw the Essex club drop just two points. Jake Robinson, who comfortably leads the National South goalscoring charts on ten goals, scored all four in the opening day victory at Truro City. A draw in their first home game with Concord Rangers was followed by three straight victories and then the drama began.

Losing for the first time in 18 league matches stretching back to March, Harry Wheeler was harshly sacked after defeat to Chippenham Town. A decision owner Glenn Tamplin admits was a mistake, he told www.essexlive.news: “I made a mistake in letting him go – it was my fault. I’m learning as I go and Harry is a great loss. I’ve tried getting Harry to come back but he doesn’t want to come back and I understand that because I sacked him and I shouldn’t have done”. Wheeler now at Maidstone United has taken head coach Tristan Lewis and sports scientist Craig Lewis with him.

The Blues went on to beat St Albans City on Bank Holiday Monday, then more off field controversy ensued after their second loss of the season at Woking.

Tamplin, who once appointed himself as manager, sacked himself then rehired himself two days later, is now trying to sell the club because of accusations affecting his family and health. However, if an investor cannot be found then Tamplin will continue, he told www.essexlive.news: “It is looking like I am going to stay because I can’t find investors that are willing to put their hand in their pocket every week like I do and I’m not going to hand it over to someone that is going to let the club sit in this league or go down a league and not continue with the dream that I sold to the fans and the community”.

With all the focus in the national media, Billericay Town were glad to be back in action again last weekend when they visited Hemel Hempstead Town. The Blues ran out 2-0 winners and for once Robinson was kept of the scoresheet. Adam Cunnington scored his first of the campaign and Moses Emmanuel netted his third for the season. Conor Hunte made his debut in a line up which included former Dartford goalkeeper Alan Julian, who made 45 appearances for the Darts during the 2013/2014 National League campaign.

Head to Head

Billericay Town wins: 2 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 0

Current Form

Billericay Town (WLWLWW) Dartford (DLWLLL)
Hemel Hempstead Town A 2-0 Eastbourne Borough H 2-2
Woking A 1-2 St Albans City A 0-2
St Albans City H 3-2 East Thurrock United H 2-0
Chippenham Town A 0-2 Hungerford Town A 0-1
Weston-super-Mare H 4-2 Wealdstone H 0-3
Welling United A 3-0 Concord Rangers A 0-2

Previous Meetings

06.03.2010 Dartford 1 Billericay Town 4
02.02.2010 Billericay Town 1 Dartford 0
14.02.2009 Dartford 2 Billericay Town 0
04.10.2008 Billericay Town 0 Dartford 1

Stats

Charlie Sheringham’s goal on Saturday was his first for the club since rejoining, his previous goal for the Darts was on 13 April 2013.

The Darts trailed twice last weekend and equalised on both occasions, the Darts have now picked up four points from losing positions (W1, D1).

Dartford are yet to score in the opening 15 minutes of either half.

On This Day

Dartford produced an excellent performance six years ago in the National League sweeping Hereford United aside at Princes Park. The 4-0 rout started with Ryan Hayes’ left foot drive into the top corner and followed by James Rodgers’ header from a Hayes cross. Danny Harris scored the Darts third and a Jon Wallis free kick completed the comprehensive victory. That win was the first on this day since 1991 when Dartford beat Ware 5-1 in the F.A Cup first qualifying round. The last fixture played by Dartford on 15 September was three years ago when they lost 2-1 to Oxford City, Andy Pugh scoring for the Darts.

Dartford v Eastbourne Borough

Four defeats in five games have left Dartford needing goals and much needed points, when they host Eastbourne Borough at Princes Park this weekend.

The Darts have struggled in front of goal this season and have failed to find the net in five of their last six National South outings. After the 2-0 reverse last weekend away to St Albans City, Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle will want their side to make the most of home advantage against this weekend’s opponents Eastbourne Borough, the Sports have started their campaign well and are third in the league.

Improving the attacking options has been a priority and the management duo took some steps in addressing the lack of firepower. Charlie Sheringham started his third spell with the Darts making his debut on Saturday, the striker who was with Hemel Hempstead Town last term spent some time in Bangladesh. The 30 year-old made 61 starting appearances and scored 41 times during his previous two spells with the Darts.

Also making his debut was Cambridge United winger Tom Knowles who signed a one month loan deal with Dartford. Jamie Philpot, who came off injured in the East Thurrock United win didn’t take part in the defeat at St Albans City and Callum Driver was also missing from the squad.

The latest addition to the squad is Amadou Ba, the on loan French striker from Southend United will be available for selection. The 20 year-old has made five appearances for the Essex club and was part of Le Havre’s reserve team before moving across the Channel.

Dartford are not in the best of form and so Coyle has called on his players to match opponents on their work ethic, something that was done against East Thurrock United, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk after their previous home triumph and commented: “We have been disappointed because not only have we not got the results but the performances have been poor and that’s been a concern”, he added: “If we lose games, we can’t lose them when we’ve been outworked by the opposition and that’s happened recently”.

Statistics point towards a low scoring afternoon and much of Eastbourne Borough’s success has been built on a solid back line. However, if previous meetings between the two sides are anything to go by then the low scoring trend could well be broken.

Former Dartford favourite Dave Martin may have scored the match winner in their last game against Weston-super-Mare, but a fourth clean sheet in eight shows how tough it’s been to breach the Sports defence, which includes former Darts, Marvin Hamilton and Tom Gardiner.

Martin earned a move to Crystal Palace after impressing at Princes Park, where he scored 16 goals, some of them memorable in 71 starting appearances. The winger enjoyed spells at Millwall and Southend United before returning to non-league, which included a loan spell back at the Darts in 2013 where he made a further 11 appearances.

Gardiner joined the Sports from St Albans City and whilst the defender was at Dartford he played 75 times. Marvin Hamilton spell at the Darts was very brief, the 29 year-old made just one substitute appearance.

Unbeaten away from home, Jamie Howell’s side have won two and drawn two on their travels. Their only defeat so far came against the league leaders Woking on Bank Holiday Monday, ending a six game unbeaten run which included wins over Welling United, East Thurrock United and Chippenham Town.

The Sports’ squad includes former Ebbsfleet United and Dover Athletic defender Ian Simpemba, ex Ebbsfleet United midfielder Michael West as well as the experienced Sergio Torres and Dean Cox.

A year ago, the two sides met at Princes Park in a contest that had a major talking point. It was one way traffic in the first half as Alex Brown had Dartford ahead going into the break. Ryan Hayes, on his 400th appearance for the club set up Alfie Pavey on the hour with his corner and Elliot Bradbrook’s header four minutes later made it 3-0. Jamie Taylor pulled a goal back with six minutes remaining, but shortly afterwards it was 4-1. A quick free-kick was taken by the Sports which rebounded off the grounded Hayes, who was a few yards away. The referee controversially played on as the ball broke to Tom Murphy who scored. Eastbourne Borough managed a late consolation when Lee Noble scored an own goal. Victory secured a double over the Sussex club, Danny Mills scored the only goal at Priory Lane in April.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 10 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 2

Current Form

Dartford (LWLLLD) Eastbourne Borough (WLDWWD)
St Albans City A 0-2 Weston-super-Mare A 1-0
East Thurrock United H 2-0 Woking H 1-2
Hungerford Town A 0-1 St Albans City A 1-1
Wealdstone H 0-3 Chippenham Town H 2-1
Concord Rangers A 0-2 East Thurrock United A 1-0
Hemel Hempstead Town H 0-0 Truro City H 2-2

Previous Meetings

14.04.2018 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1
12.09.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 2
08.04.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 3
16.08.2011 Eastbourne Borough 2 Dartford 3
20.02.2016 Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1
11.08.2015 Dartford 1 Eastbourne Borough 0

Stats

Dartford are unbeaten in their last ten matches against Eastbourne Borough stretching back to 2011 (W8, D2). The Darts have won the last four against the Sussex club.

Under the guise of Eastbourne Borough, the Sports won their first four meetings against the Darts between 2001 and 2003.

The Darts have won their last five home matches against the Sussex club, scoring eight and conceding five in the last two meetings at Princes Park.

Games involving Dartford and Eastbourne Borough this season have been low scoring. The Darts have totalled 14 goals in their fixtures (scored 5 conceded 9) whilst the Sports have seen just 15 (scored 9 conceded 6).

Only East Thurrock United (3) have scored fewer then Dartford this term.

On This Day

Dartford last won on 8 September way back in 2001 when they beat Grantham Town 1-0 in the Southern League Division One East. The last home win was even further back in 1979, the Darts beat Hastings United 3-0 in the Southern League Southern Division. The last match Dartford played on this day ended in a 2-0 defeat away to Gateshead in the National League six years ago.