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Dartford v Tonbridge Angels

 

Dartford welcome Conference South side Tonbridge Angels to Princes Park on Saturday in the second round of the F.A Trophy.

It will be the ninth meeting between the two sides over the last four years with the Darts unbeaten in six against the Angels. Last season Dartford completed a treble, winning twice in the Conference South and once in the Kent Senior Cup.

At Princes Park, a 3-1 victory was the last of a four game winning streak in September 2011. Elliot Bradbrook opened proceedings ten minutes in with clinical finish. Danny Harris scored his fourth in five games against the Angels just past the hour and Charlie Sheringham added a third.  Last season’s Conference South top scorer, Frannie Collin grabbed a consolation from the penalty spot four minutes from time.

Elliot Bradbrook opens the scoring in Dartford's 3-1 victory last season

The other two fixtures at Longmead Stadium were much tougher as Dartford battled out a 1-0 win in March. Tom Champion scored the winner in the 18th minute to keep the Darts in their promotion push. In the Kent Senior Cup Dartford triumphed 4-2 albeit from two goals down and after extra time. Goals from Richard Graham (2), Jack Pallen and Lee Burns secured a semi final place for the 2011 winners.

After two straight away defeats to Tamworth and Nuneaton Town the Darts took on Lincoln City at Princes Park on Saturday. The Darts suffered a dreadful start conceding four goals in the first half. Set pieces were a thorn in Dartford’s side when on seven minutes Daniel Gray nodded the Imps in front and Colin Larkin benefited from a free kick heading in a second from close range. The away side went three up when a cut back was finished by Larkin and the 30 year old striker completed his hat trick following up another set piece.

Jacob Erskine replaced Danny Harris at half time and within four minutes of the restart he set up Harry Crawford. The Darts put in a spirited display in the second half and the introduction of Ryan Hayes added an extra dimension. Crawford scored a second with 19 minutes to go after another assist from Erskine. Despite going for broke Dartford were unable to stage a dramatic comeback losing 4-2.

Whilst Dartford were in home action Tonbridge Angels travelled down to Basingstoke Town in the Conference South. Managed by former Dart Tommy Warrilow the Angels lost to a solitary goal scored by Simon Dunn six minutes from time. It’s the second successive defeat for Tonbridge Angels without a goal. The result leaves the Kent club in sixteenth position with only four wins from eighteen league fixtures.

After losing their opening two fixtures in their second Conference South season Tonbridge Angels went nine league games unbeaten. In that spell they managed five consecutive draws and since their unbeaten run they have hit a run of inconsistency.

Warrilow’s second hand man is well remembered on the terraces of Princes Park, Alex O’Brien captained the Dartford side that triumphed in the 2009/10 season winning the Isthmian Division One North League and promotion. The defensive midfielder made 52 appearances for the Darts and scored just once, an important goal at Potters Bar Town during the title run in.

The Angels also have George Purcell in their ranks who spent a short spell with the Darts on loan two years ago. The 24 year old made seven appearances scoring twice. Henry Muggeridge played a few pre season matches with Dartford in the summer and has quickly become a crowd favourite at Longmead.

Victory for the Darts will put them into the F.A Trophy third round for the third time in a row.

Danny Harris scores on his début in 2009 against Tonbridge Angels

Team News

Mark Arber remains sidelined with a fractured jaw and goalkeeper Louis Wells is out on loan at Leatherhead. Elliot Bradbrook could be set to makes his 150th start for the Darts since joining in 2009. The midfielder has made a further nine substitute appearances and his last goal against Southport was his 50th.

Tonbridge Angels will be without Mikel Suarez who suffered a severe head injury in October leaving the striker in intensive care. Suarez is on the road to recovery and PureDFC wish him a speedy recovery.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 67 / Tonbridge Angels wins: 37 / Draws 24 / Dartford goals: 250 / Tonbridge Angels goals: 187

Current Form

(League games unless stated – FAT – F.A Trophy / FAC – F.A Cup / KSC – Kent Senior Cup)

Dartford (LLLWDW) Tonbridge Angels (LLWDWW)
Lincoln City H 2-4 Basingstoke A 0-1
Nuneaton Town A 0-1 Truro City A 0-2
Tamworth A 2-3 Merthyr Town (FAT) A 2-1
Kingstonian (FAT) A 4-0 Hayes and Yeading H 1-1
Southport H 2-2 Maidstone United (KSC) A 3-2
Luton Town A 2-0 Hitchin Town (FAT) H 2-1

Road To Wembley

First Round

Kingstonian 0 Dartford 4

The happy memories of promotion two years ago came back to the Darts in round one. The trip to Kingsmeadow started badly when début defender Semi Ajayi conceded a penalty with four minutes on the clock. Fortunatley Andre McCollin’s spot kick was saved by the other loan signing Marcus Bettinelli. From then on Dartford didn’t look back, Jacob Erskine flicked in number one before Simon Huckle was dismissed for the hosts. The lead was doubled when Elliot Bradbrook flicked the ball goalwards with his head and Danny Harris expertly curled home a third. Nathan Collier wrapped up the match by coolly slotting the ball underneath the oncoming goalkeeper.

Merthyr Town 1 Tonbridge Angels 2

Tonbridge Angels booked a place in the next round and sealed their visit to Princes Park by overcoming Southern Division One side Merthyr Town. Sony Miles scored a rebound on twenty one minutes to put the Angels in front and just before the hour Steve Williams scored a penalty to level the tie. Merthyr Town were reduced to ten men when Garyn Preen was red carded and with the match heading to a replay up popped Lee Browning in the fourth minute of injury time to win it for the Angels.

Third Qualifying Round

Tonbridge Angels 2 Hitchin Town 1

The Angels played host to Southern Premier League side Hitchin Town and despite playing a part of the match with ten men they held on to win. Former Dart, George Purcell opened the scoring on four minutes after good link up play with Ross Treleaven. With half an hour played the visitors earned a penalty which was finished by John Fendo but the one goal margin was restored shortly afterwards. Chris Piper scored Tonbridge Angel’s second of the afternoon to send the Kent side through.

 

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