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Dartford v Braintree Town

Last season’s two best part time teams go head to head on Saturday when Dartford welcome Braintree Town to Princes Park.

Just over four months ago the two sides couldn’t be separated in a dour 0-0 draw. The Irons came close when Ben Wright fired over the bar and Matthew Paine’s header was cleared off the line. Dartford’s closest attempt from Charlie Sheringham hit the post as the Darts were denied a double over the Essex side. The stalemate featured summer signing Alex Woodyard who came on as a substitute for the Iron in April. At Cressing Road, Tony Burman’s men recorded a 2-0 win with first half goals from Tom Bonner and Jacob Erskine.

Both clubs also met during their Conference South days with Dartford taking four points off the 2011 champions. Braintree Town may well have gained promotion at the end of that season, however a February double header ended with Elliot Bradbrook scoring the winner at home and Jon Main equalising in the away match, the Iron took the lead with a Billy Burgess own goal.

The Darts enter this weekends match on the back of two consecutive defeats without scoring. After an opening day win at Alfreton Town, Dartford were beaten on the road twice against Aldershot Town and FC Halifax Town. Although the defence kept a clean sheet in the home fixture versus Alfreton Town, the back line have conceded five in the last two.

At the Shay last weekend Lee Gregory scored against the Darts once more having netted in last season’s F.A Trophy tie. Kevin Holsgrove managed to extend FC Halifax Town’s advantage and seal a 2-0 win for then hosts. Tony Burman was pleased with the first half display but frustrated in the manner of the goals conceded, speaking to BBC Radio Kent he said: “This is a difficult place to come. I felt we handled their threat very well in the first half and probably had the best chance of the game”, he added: “I’m really disappointed because on Tuesday we gave Aldershot a couple of goals and today we committed hari-kari”.

With the experience of last season’s first three games, Burman there is no need to panic, the Dartford boss commented: “You hope it changes and things go in for you. The season’s only a week old and we’ve got three points more than we had last season”.

Braintree Town have a mark in each of the win, lose and draw columns picking up a point on their travels for the first game of the season. In their only away match, the Iron drew 1-1 with Hereford United having taken the lead. At home the Essex side defeated Woking 2-0 with goals from strike duo Daniel Holman and Sean Marks and lost 1-0 to last season’s runners up Kidderminster Harriers in the final minute. In the Irons recent league outing manager Alan Devonshire was disappointed with the first half display, he spoke to BBC Essex and said: “We’ve got to set our own standards and I didn’t think we turned up first half, didn’t play the way we know we want to play”.

Devonshire opted for stability in the summer by not only agreeing a new contract but by keeping the majority of last terms squad. Chez Isaac, who scored against the Darts for Boreham Wood two years ago is one new signing and has started all three fixtures. Former Ebbsfleet United striker Liam Enveer-Marum has made three substitute appearances, the 25 year old scored in Fleets 3-1 defeat on Boxing Day at Princes Park.

Team News

Tyrone Sterling is yet to make a start for his new club, the Dartford defender struggled through pre season with an ankle injury. Fellow full back, Matt Fry missed a second match with a hamstring strain picked up against Alfreton Town on the opening day of the season. Ryan Hayes missed the 2-0 defeat at FC Halifax Town, the winger also suffered an ankle injury. However, Tony Burman confirmed he has a fully fit squad with the addition of new signing Josh Hill, the 21 year old defender impressed in pre season.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Braintree Town wins: 2 / Draws 2

Last Meeting at Princes Park

11 April 2013 –  Dartford 0 Braintree Town 0 – Att: 1051

The Darts Lineup: Somogyi, Green, Champion, Bonner, Burns, Rose, Bradbrook, Hayes, Noble, Harris, Prior (subs used: Rogers, Sheringham, Collier)

The Iron Lineup: McDonald, Habergham, Paine, Wells, Smith, Symons, Davis, Daley, Mulley, Marks, Wright (subs used: Peters, Sheppard, Woodyard)

Match Stats

dfc v btfc stats

Previous Meetings (FAT = F.A Trophy First Round / Fr = Friendly)

11.04.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 0
25.09.2012 Braintree Town 0 Dartford 2
12.02.2011 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 1
01.02.2011 Dartford 1 Braintree Town 0
20.07.2002 (Fr) Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
03.11.2001 (FAT1R) Dartford 0 Braintree Town 3

Stats

8 – After eight minutes Braintree Town opened the 2013/14 Conference Premier goalscoring when Hereford United’s Adam Smith scored an own goal

13 – The amount of goals it took for Dartford to finish above Braintree Town last season. Despite being level on points the Darts scored four goals more and conceded nine fewer than the Iron.

53 – The number of fouls won by Braintree Town this season, more than any other club in the Conference Premier

265 – Dartford have gone 265 minutes without conceding against Braintree Town stretching back to the February 2011 meeting in the Conference South. The last goal scored by a Braintree Town player against the Darts was in a friendly eleven years ago

Early goals seem to be the key for Braintree Town having scored all three this season before the 20 minute mark. The two goals the Iron have conceded so far have occurred late on in the 79th and 89th minutes.

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