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Burgess Hill Town v Dartford

Dartford can make it to the F.A Cup first round with victory over Isthmian Premier League side Burgess Hill Town on the weekend.

At the same stage three years ago, the Darts beat the Hillians 3-1 at Princes Park but this time it’s the Sussex club playing host. When Tony Burman’s side faced Burgess Hill Town in the fourth qualifying round last time their opponents were flying at the top of the Isthmian Division One South unbeaten. In contrast Dartford were struggling in the National League, three divisions above.

Harry Crawford settled any early nerves by hitting a shot across goal to give Dartford the lead. Five minutes later the striker netted his second instinctively tapping in after goalkeeper Josh James spilt a cross. Darren Budd halved the deficit for the visitors scoring within seconds of coming on as a substitute. A penalty gave Elliot Bradbrook the opportunity to extend Dartford’s lead which he duly obliged.

The gap has closed since then with the Darts dropping into the National South and the Hillians winning promotion at the end of that campaign in 2014/15.

Dartford bounced back in the league on Saturday after the 3-0 defeat at Weston-super-Mare. Goals from Alfie Pavey, a Bradbrook penalty and Andy Pugh’s fourth of the season gave the Darts a 3-1 win over Bognor Regis Town to move up to fourth in the National South table. Pavey has now scored nine in his last ten appearances and starting to show why Burman signed the striker.

Burman praised his side for their patience especially after going in 1-1 at half time, he told www.kentonline, “the guys showed a lot of patience, waited until they got opportunities and they’ve won the game”.

For the first time this season, Burman had all his outfield players available which has led to a new challenge of keeping the squad together, he commented: “I’m delighted we have a full squad, it’s competition for places”, he added: “I’ve got to keep as many people as I can happy and if they want to be successful and they’ve got ambition, they stay here in respect of the level they’re being offered”.

The Darts have negotiated two qualifying rounds so far, beating Barking of the Isthmian Division One North 3-1 at Princes Park. Dartford needed to come from behind to claim victory and progress in the competition.

Burgess Hill Town’s profile is similar to the side Dartford breezed past in the last round. Burman’s side beat Isthmian Premier League club Needham Market 6-1 away from home. The Marketmen won the Isthmian Division One North title the same year Burgess Hill Town won the south division, both sides accumulated over 100 points.

In their first season in the Isthmian Premier, Burgess Hill Town were reprieved whilst the Marketmen survived relegation by a point finishing a place above the Sussex club. Last season, the Hillians finished nineteenth and this term they sit in the same position with Needham Market one place lower.

Manager, Ian Chapman was in charge of the Hillians when they lost to the Darts three years ago and believes his side can cause an upset, he spoke to Mark Dunford of the Mid-Sussex Times and said: “We can win it, it’s not a game I am going ‘well that’s the end of that then’. It will be really difficult, we will have to be at our best and they will have to be poor but it’s a game we can win”.

The Darts will have to be on their toes as Chapman also points out that Burgess Hill Town have staged cup shocks before under his reign, he commented: “Since I have been at the club we have beat Chesham, Aldershot, Leatherhead, Sutton, Wealdstone when they were all in leagues above us – and in one case three leagues above”.

Burgess Hill Town will face Dartford as they try to reach the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in their history. Manager Ian Chapman believes it is not impossible for his side to pull off a shock against the National League South side. The Hillians have faced Dartford twice since Chapman has been at the club, losing 2-1 and 3-1 – the latter was at this stage in 2014. Chapman said: “They are decent outfit. Anytime you are playing sides from the league above they are going to be decent.

The Hillians have so far made it through three qualifying rounds starting with a 3-0 away win against Erith Town. Former Dartford striker Tony Garrod scored a brace and Pat Harding netted the other in the victory. Garrod played for the Darts 2011/12 National South playoff winning squad, making 5 starts, 27 substitute appearances and scoring five times, he’s been regular in the Burgess Hill Town starting eleven this term.

In the second qualifier, the Hillians threw away a three goal lead over Colney Heath. Pat Harding scored the opener and two from Brandon Diau put the visitors in command. However, the South Midlands League side staged a comeback to force a replay. Three days later, Burgess Hill Town repeated the score from the previous round with Pat Harding and another Garrod brace securing a tie with Wealdstone. The Hillians caused a dramatic upset winning 1-0 with Chiek Toure netting the winner in the last minute of the F.A Cup third round qualifier.

After a 5-0 league defeat against Lowestoft Town on the weekend, the Hillians will have no better opportunity to restore confidence than another cup upset. Yet in their league match before the heavy loss they had beaten Kingstonian 5-0, so at the moment goals are very much on the agenda.

Head to Head 
Burgess Hill Town wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 6 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

10.01.2015 Burgess Hill Town 1 Dartford 2
25.10.2014 Dartford 3 Burgess Hill Town 1
13.01.2007 Dartford 7 Burgess Hill Town 2
19.08.2006 Burgess Hill Town 1 Dartford 6
28.10.2003 Dartford 0 Burgess Hill Town 3
21.10.2003 Dartford 2 Burgess Hill Town 1
20.08.2003 Burgess Hill Town 0 Dartford 1

Current Form (all competitions)

Burgess Hill Town (LWWLLW) Dartford (WWLLWW)
Lowestoft Town H 0-5 Bognor Regis Town H 3-1
Kingstonian H 5-1 Needham Market A 6-1
Wealdstone H 1-0 Weston-super-Mare A 0-3
Horsham A 2-4 Cray Wanderers A 2-4
Tonbridge Angels H 0-1 Barking H 3-1
Colney Heath H 3-0 Eastbourne Borough H 4-2

Stats
Elliot Bradbrook, Ryan Hayes, Lee Noble, Andy Pugh and Danny Harris all featured in the last meeting against Burgess Hill Town.

Bradbrook failed to score in the F.A Cup in the last round for the first time since 26 September 2015, when the Darts lost to Uxbridge.

In all competitions, Dartford’s last clean sheet was over a month ago against Chippenham Town. Since then they have played six conceding 12. In first ten games the Darts only conceded just 5 goals.

Burgess Hill Town are looking to reach the F.A Cup first round for the first time in their history.

The Darts last went out to lower league opposition in an away F.A Cup tie 15 years ago. Dartford in the Southern League Eastern Division lost 1-0 in a replay to Carterton Town in the Hellenic League.

On This Day
Dartford have won their last three games on 14 October going back to 1989 when they won an F.A Cup third qualifying tie against Heybridge Swifts 1-0. Since then, the Darts beat Sittingbourne 3-1 in the Southern League Division One South and Godalming Town by the same score in 2006, Richard Avery, Anthony Hogg and Jay May scored in the Isthmian Division One South encounter.

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