Dartford return to the venue where they clinched the Isthmian Premier League title two and half years ago in an F.A Trophy tie against Kingstonian.
On 10 April 2010, Dartford fans travelled to Kingsmeadow hoping to be part of a memorable celebration. The Darts put in a championship winning display when they thrashed their hosts in second place 6-2 sewing up the league title with six games to spare.
The Darts went into half time with a 3-1 lead when Elliot Bradbrook finished from close range and Ryan Hayes smashed in number two from twenty yards. The lead was halved when Simon Huckle headed the K’s back in the game but It wasn’t long before Dartford restored the two goal advantage courtesy of Danny Harris’ header.
The second half started as it finished, Bradbrook capitalised on some slack goalkeeping before Bobby Traynor pulled a goal back. Hayes netted a rebound for number five and Lee Burns wrapped up proceedings with a volley ten minutes from time.
Dartford put 11 goals passed Kingstonian that season beating the Surrey club 5-0 at Princes Park. With the side free scoring at the start of the season, Burns stole the show with a hat trick. Like the return fixture it was Bradbrook who opened the scoring, Burns added two more before Hayes made it 4-0. The hat trick was completed by Burns six minutes from time. The striker went on to score 22 league goals for the Darts in 2009/2010 before being converted into a right back.
The Darts enter Saturday’s cup tie on the back of a 2-2 home draw against Southport. Bradbrook scored a brace with a well taken long range effort and a penalty. On both occasions Southport pegged back Dartford with a headed goal from Steve Akrigg and a last minute equaliser from Karl Ledsham.
The draw keeps Dartford in the final playoff spot having experience mixed form of late. Tony Burman spoke to BBC Sport, he said: “I didn’t think we performed as well as we should do but to be fair to Southport they kept going. We had too many players below par today and that cost us in the end”, he added: “That’s the first time we looked jaded”.
For the first time in nine seasons Dartford have not had to qualify for the first round but the Darts will hope to avoid a shock similar to last season when they were knocked out at the third round stage to Wealdstone. The K’s currently play in the same division as last season’s conquerors and sit in ninth place.
The back to back F.A Trophy winners of 1999-2000 were overturned on the weekend falling victims to bottom of the table side Thurrock who won 4-0. The K’s did however return to action on Tuesday night in front of 80 hardy souls in a League Cup away win versus Harrow Borough. Kingstonian won 1-0 in their eighth cup match of the season.
To reach the first round Alan Dowson’s side have beaten Eastbourne Town, Burnham and after a replay Brentwood Town. Starting in the first qualifying round two late Wade Small goals gave Kingstonian a 2-1 win after falling behind. Burnham were seen off a month later but it was Andre McCollin getting a double in a much more comfortable victory. The K’s needed two attempts to defeat Brentwood Town following a 2-2 draw at Kingsmeadow the job was finished in style. Within 23 minutes the Surrey club were 4-0 up thanks to goals from Matt Pattison who opened and closed the scoring for the K’s, Kieran Murphy and Craig Mullen.
Dowson has been at the helm since 2007 and when the Darts last played Kingstonian he had goalkeeper Rob Tolfrey and midfielder Huckle in the side that lost. The K’s strike force consists of McCollin who has netted nine goals in 15 appearances and attacking midfielder Pattison has scored eight in 18 games.
Mark Arber will be out for approximately five weeks after fracturing his jaw in Saturday’s draw with Southport. The experienced Dartford defender played the remaining 70 minutes after clashing with Southport’s goalscorer Steve Akrigg for the first equaliser. Incoming on loan is 19 year old defender Semi Ajayi from Charlton Athletic, Ajayi will be with the Darts for a month. Harry Crawford serves his final match suspension and Elliot Bradbrook remains one caution away from picking up five this season.
Lewis Taylor and Jon McDonald are the latest players to join Kingstonian. Midfielder, Taylor has been signed from Carshalton Athletic and 27 year old defender McDonald joins from Havant and Waterlooville.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 3 / Kingstonian wins: 1 / Draws 1
(League games unless stated – ILC – Isthmian League Cup / FAT – F.A Trophy / FAC – F.A Cup)
|Kingstonian (WLWDLW)||Dartford (WDLWW)|
|Harrow Borough (ILC)||A||1-0||Southport||H||2-2|
|Brentwood Town (FAT)||A||4-1||Forest Green Rovers||H||0-1|
|Brentwood Town (FAT)||H||2-2||Mansfield Town||H||2-0|
|Wingate and Finchley||H||0-1||Forest Green Rovers (FAC)||H||1-4|
|Burnham (FAT)||H||2-1||Forest Green Rovers (FAC)||A||1-1|
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