Dartford v Grimsby Town


Odds are stacked against Dartford in the second leg of their F.A Trophy semi-final against Grimsby Town.

Tony Burman will have to mastermind an amazing comeback for his side to reach Wembley for the first time in 39 years. In the history of the F.A Trophy no side has ever overturned a three goal deficit in a semi final.

At Blundell Park the Darts contained the Mariners to a goal margin following Craig Disley’s superb first half volley. Dartford worked hard keeping themselves in the cup tie providing enough hope for the second leg to overturn the Grimsby Town’s lead.

In the final five minutes Dartford’s hopes were crushed when a rare Marcus Bettinelli mistake allowed Disley to score again. To compound the disappointing afternoon Anthony Cook made it 3-0 putting Grimsby Town in full control of reaching Wembley. Lee Noble was sent off in the final stages, his second dismissal this season will earn him another suspension.

Burman spoke to and said: “I was disappointed with the result”, he added: “I know we were 1-0 down but I felt we had control of the game in the second-half. We’d have taken a 1-0 to bring back home. It’s the first leg of a semi-final and 1-0 would have been okay, but at 3-0 we’ve got a mountain to climb. It was just a mad 10 minutes”.

At least the Darts can take a positive out of the fact they have won their last three home matches. However, Grimsby Town have yet to lose this season by a margin larger than two, the Darts achieved a 2-0 win against the Mariners back in October. Keeping games tight is a key theme away from Blundell Park because the Lincolnshire club also have the best defensive record on the road conceding a meagre 11 goals in 13 league matches. Up front only two sides in this season’s Conference Premier campaign have scored fewer goals away from home.

Paul Hurst and Rob Scott had led their team to an impressive 18 game unbeaten run until Tuesday nights defeat to Braintree Town. The Mariners first league loss since November was sealed when Luke Daley bagged a brace. Scott told BBC Radio Humberside after the match: “If you perform like that then you’re not going to win games. Tonight we weren’t anywhere near good enough to get anything out of the game”.

In the history of the F.A Trophy only four sides have lost a semi-final first leg and reached the final. The most recent of comebacks came in 2006 when Grays Athletic beat Exeter City 3-2 on aggregate having lost the first match 2-1.

One of the greatest F.A Trophy semi-final turnarounds happened thirty years ago. Harrow Borough visited Bucks Head and brought home a 2-0 lead for the return fixture. Telford United bounced back in style winning 5-1 at Harrow Borough’s Earlsmead Stadium.

Woking came from a goal down in 1995 against Rushden and Diamonds to win 2-1 on aggregate. The same scoreline occurred twenty years earlier when Matlock Town beat Burton Albion. On all four occasions the team coming from behind as gone on to lift the trophy.

Whatever the outcome of the two semi-finals this year a new name will be engraved on the F.A Trophy on 24 March 2013.

Team News

Lee Noble will be suspended for the return game for picking up his second red card this season. The midfielder was sent off earlier in the Conference Premier campaign at Woking. Noble was dismissed on Saturday after retaliating. Lee Burns and Harry Crawford returned to the side, striker Jacob Erskine sat out the first leg.

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