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Braintree Town v Dartford

In a week the champions were crowned there is still everything to play for at Cressing Road when Dartford visit Braintree Town on Good Friday.

Last season’s best part time teams go head to head with both sides desperate for three points for completely different reasons. The Darts trail Aldershot Town by a point and know a victory could lead them out of the relegation zone going into the final two games.

Braintree Town have surprised  the Conference Premier yet again and remain in contention for an unexpected playoff spot. Three points behind fifth placed Gateshead, who they drew 0-0 with on Tuesday night, the Irons look set to finish in their highest ever league position for a third year running.

Tony Burman felt his side was unlucky last weekend when a  late Forest Green Rovers goal condemned the Darts to defeat. Max Cornhill had a goal disallowed when  he was flagged offside and goalkeeper Alan Julian was in fine form to keep Rovers at bay. Former Wrexham striker, Danny Wright scored the winner with seven minutes remaining leaving it too late for Dartford to salvage a point.

Burman told BBC Sport: “It’s disappointing, but in fairness today we really needed to take the lead. If we’d taken the lead today, then there would have been a bit more adrenaline in the players. A lot of them were dead on their feet”, he added: “It wasn’t to be and I’ve got no complaints at their efforts, but it got scrappy in the second half and that happens”.

After the shock win against playoff chasers Grimsby Town, Burman accepted his small squad could struggle in the latter parts of Saturday’s fixture, he commented: “Tired legs was going to happen – there’s nothing I can do about that. It is a small squad we’ve got and we have a couple of injuries too – it’s been our bug bear all season, but I can’t fault the way the players have played”.

If there is one thing Braintree Town have in common it’s the depth of their squad. Alan Devonshire has engineered a challenging part time side in front of an average attendance of 960. The Iron have used just 24 players and incredibly have been playing catch up with 16 league games in just a month and a half. Against the odds, Devonshire has his Essex side competing for a playoff spot with three matches remaining.

March’s form has set the Iron up but the tiredness could be creeping in with four of their last six games drawing blanks in front of goal, at home they have failed to score in their last three. However, Braintree Town are more than capable with results like the 3-2 away win against champions Luton Town in front of over 10000 fans. The Iron also had to play out the five goal thriller with ten men when goalkeeper Nick Hamann was sent off.

The Iron beat Dartford back in August with second half goals from Alan Massey and former Ebbsfleet United striker Liam Enveer-Marum. The last meeting at Cressing Road, saw the scoreline reversed with Dartford taking home three points in a 2-0 triumph. Tom Bonner and Jacob Erskine had the Darts in front by half time which was enough to see the game out.

Team News

Dartford’s back line is unlikely to change but Tony Burman will have Kenny Clark available for selection. The defender was sent off against Luton Town and has now served his three match ban. Elliot Bradbrook has missed the last two games through injury and Ryan Hayes is out for the rest of the season.

Head to Head

Braintree Town wins: 2 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Braintree Town (DWLLDW) Dartford (LWDLWW)
Gateshead H 0-0 Forest Green Rovers H 0-1
Luton Town A 3-2 Grimsby Town H 1-0
Macclesfield Town H 0-1 Lincoln City A 0-0
Salisbury City H 0-1 Luton Town H 1-2
FC Halifax Town H 0-0 Macclesfield Town H 2-1
Southport A 4-0 Hyde A 2-0

Last Meeting at Cressing Road

25 September 2013 – Braintree Town 0 Dartford 2 – Att: 721

Goalscorers: Bonner (17), Erskine (34)

The Iron Lineup: Naisbitt, Peters, Bailey-Dennis, Wells, O’Connor, Mulley, Quinton, Symons, Sparkes, Marks, Holman (subs used: Dawkin, Sheppard)

The Darts Lineup: Bettinelli, Burns, Arber, Bonner, Rose, Champion, Bradbrook, Hayes, Wallis, Harris, Erskine (subs used: Rogers, Birchall, Crawford)

Match Stats

btfcvdfc stats

Previous Meetings (* – Friendly / ** – F.A Trophy First Round)

24.08.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
11.04.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 0
25.09.2013 Braintree Town 0 Dartford 2
12.02.2011 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 1
01.02.2011 Dartford 1 Braintree Town 0
20.07.2002* Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
03.11.2001** Dartford 0 Braintree Town 3

Stats

Dartford are fifth in the current away form table whilst Braintree Town are fifth from bottom in the current home form table.

Braintree Town have yet to lose to any of the clubs in the bottom four. At home they have not been beaten by any of the bottom seven.

1 – Dartford have claimed one point from teams in the top six on their travels.

4 – number of own goals the Iron have benefited from this season, more than another club

343 – minutes since Braintree Town scored at Cressing Road. Dan Holman was the last Iron player to hit the back in of the net in the 2-1 win against Nuneaton Town.

 

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