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Braintree Town v Dartford

Dartford’s first away game of the National South campaign takes place on Tuesday night when they travel to Braintree Town.

The Darts haven’t had the best of times against the Irons, but a first victory in five years against their opponents will earn Dartford their first win of the season.

Just over two and half years ago was the last time the Darts visited Cressing Road, and the end result was disappointing as the hosts ran out 3-0 winners. The New Years Day fixture was all square with twelve minutes remaining until Chez Isaac’s close range effort broke the deadlock. Dartford collapsed and the National League fixture ended with more goals scored by Simeon Akinola and a stoppage time third by Dan Sparkes. Braintree Town also beat the Darts on Boxing Day to complete a festive double. Tony Burman’s side have lost their last four clashes with the Essex side failing to score on each occasion.

On the opening day of this campaign, Dartford secured their first point with a 0-0 draw at home to last season’s surprise package Hungerford Town. However, manager Tony Burman will know that his side will have to vastly improve if they want to live up to the favourites tag given to them by the bookies. The lack of attacking options showed as the Darts couldn’t find the quality in the final third.

Before a ball had been kicked the injury list included strikers Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Andy Pugh, so Danny Harris started up front with Tom Murphy instead of summer signing Warren Mfula. Lyle Della-Verde made his debut for the club and the returning Mark Onyemah was also selected. Mfula had to wait until early on in the second half to make his first appearance replacing Ronnie Vint, who unfortunately joins the injury list. Alfie Cue made an impression with his long throw when he entered the action with 12 minutes to go, the academy graduate made his maiden first team appearance.

Richard Sho-Silva, who has been training with the Darts over the summer has signed for the club. the 25 year old defender impressed in pre-season and has experience with Kidderminster Harriers and Stourbridge. Sho-Silva could well come into the squad as a replacement for Vint, who is out for two to three weeks with ligament damage on his ankle.

In contrast Braintree Town manager Brad Quinton won his first game in charge of the club as the Iron returned to life in the National South. Saturday’s win will provide relief to Braintree Town after winning just once in their final eight National League fixtures, that saw them relegated on the final day to end a five year spell at the top of non-league.

The Essex club, opened their new campaign with a trip to Eastbourne Borough at Priory Lane. The hosts raced into a two goal lead after just twenty minutes through goals by Yemi Odubade and Nathaniel Pinney. Importantly, Scott Shulton started the fightback and when Phil Roberts then Bill Crook scored, Braintree Town completed the come back to win 3-2.

Over the summer there has been plenty of change for the Iron with Quinton raiding his former club Enfield Town. Nathan McDonald, Jonathan Muleba, Scott Schulton, Samir Bihmoutine, Ricky Gabriel, Nigel Neita and Connor Bolton all joined from the Middlesex club. Other signings included Roman Michael-Percil from Metropolitan Police, George Craddock from East Thurrock United and Marc Okoye from Dulwich Hamlet.

Head to Head

Braintree Town wins: 6 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Last Meeting at Cressing Road

1st January 2015 – Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0 – attendance 934

Goalscorers: Isaac (78), Akinola (80), Sparkes (90+5)

Dartford line-up: Ibrahim, Burns, Mitchel-King, McAuley, Bender, Noble, Sweeney, E Bradbrook, Daley, T Bradbrook, Crawford (subs used: Hayes, Harris)

Previous Meetings

01.01.2015 Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
26.12.2014 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
18.04.2014 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0
24.08.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
11.04.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 0
25.09.2012 Braintree Town 0 Dartford 2

Stats

Braintree Town have kept five consecutive clean sheets against the Darts, the last time the Irons defence was breached by a Dartford player was in 2012 by Jacob Erskine.

Tom Bonner also scored in that 2-0 win, since then the defender has moved to Cambridge United to Dover Athletic and on to Ebbsfleet United before coming back to the Darts.

Dartford failed to score on the opening day for only the second time in the last nine years. Hemel Hempstead Town shut out the Darts in 2015 and Hendon in 2008.

Unable to contribute to the National South goals scored tally of 33 on matchday one, Dartford were one of six teams that drew a blank on the weekend.

On This Day

Two years ago, Dartford were unexpectedly beaten by newly promoted Hemel Hempstead Town at Vauxhall Road. The Tudors, just promoted to the National South hosted the Darts, who had been relegated from the National League. The opening day ended in disappointment for Dartford as Oliver Hawkins powered a header beyond Deren Ibrahim for the decisive goal.

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