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AFC Uckfield Town v Dartford

Dartford return to the F.A Cup with a second qualifying round tie against Southern Combination Premier League side AFC Uckfield Town this weekend.

The Darts travel to the Oaks keen to avoid an upset against a team three divisions below them in the non-league structure. In Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle’s first cup game managing Dartford, they will need to prepare for the Sussex club who are currently on a twelve match unbeaten run in all competitions.

Performances have improved since Flanagan and Coyle’s additions to the squad which include Charlie Sheringham, who will return from suspension, winger Tom Knowles and forward Amadou Ba. In their last two outings, the Darts have showed tremendous character and spirit to rescue points against in form teams. A fortnight ago, they came from behind twice to draw with third place Eastbourne Borough, Elliot Bradbrook scoring in the final minute. Last weekend, Dartford drew 1-1 at second place Billericay Town with an injury time equaliser from substitute Jamie Philpot, who returned from injury.

The right back position has been filled by midfielder Chez Isaac lately due to Callum Driver’s hip injury. Tom Murphy has also been sidelined  resulting in the loan signing of Charlton Athletic defender Kenneth Yao this week. The 20-year-old will be available this weekend and has made two appearances for the Addicks this term, one in the League Cup and the other in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Dartford will hope to repeat the F.A Cup run of last year when they reached the first round proper bowing out to League Two side Swindon Town. During that run the Darts had to overcome three teams from lower divisions beating Barking, Needham Market and Burgess Hill Town along the way. The last time Dartford went out at this stage was three years ago when Uxbridge caused an upset at Princes Park, the only time in the previous nine years that the Darts have fell at the second qualifying round.

Led by first team manager Anthony Storey, AFC Uckfield Town have already made history in the competition by winning their first ever F.A Cup tie. The Sussex club were only formed four years ago when Uckfield Town and AFC Uckfield merged. The Uckers lost their first ever F.A Cup fixture in 2016 and went out in a replay last term at the first hurdle.

Storey is relishing the chance to cause an upset and is not phased at playing a team three divisions above, on the club’s Twitter page he said: “This is a massive home draw for the club, and for the town of Uckfield. We prepare for the game the ame as any other, and I will be working closely with the management team here, and we will be doing our homework on them”.

This season their journey started on 11 August in the extra preliminary round, when Dartford were playing their third league game of the campaign. Bailo Camara was AFC Uckfield Town’s history maker scoring the winning goal against Glebe of the Southern Counties East League Premier Division.

The Uckers were drawn out against Broadfields United in the preliminary round and had a much more comfortable second half versus the Spartan South Midlands League Division One side. Dee Okojie opened the scoring for AFC Uckfield Town midway through the first period, but Broadfields United levelled through Dave Lawrence. The second half saw Broadfields United miss a penalty early on, the let off inspired a faultless display from then on, as the Uckers scored three unanswered goals by Sam Cooper, Callum Smith and Okojie from the spot.

In the last round AFC Uckfield Town hosted AFC Croydon Athletic, now plying their trade in the Southern Counties East League Premier Division. Once again, the Sussex club were triumphant with a 1-0 victory, this time courtesy of a late winner and all without top scorer Callum Smith. This time it was his brother Regan who grabbed the local headlines earning the Uckers a second qualifying round tie with the Darts.

Since a 4-3 defeat on the opening day against Horsham YMCA, the Uckers have won three and drew two in the league and remain in all cup competitions. Most recently they beat Littlehampton Town 3-0 in a Charity Cup match and brushed aside Southwick 5-0 in the F.A Vase. Callum Smith is the main source for AFC Uckfield Town’s goals, the striker has netted 14 in all competitions including two hat-tricks, one of which was a four goal haul in a 4-3 win.

Current Form (all competitions) CC-Charity Cup / FAV-F.A Vase / FAC-F.A Cup / ChC-Challenge Cup

AFC Uckfield Town (WLWLWW) Dartford (DDLWLL)
Littlehampton (CC) H 3-0 Billericay Town A 1-1
Southwick (FAV) H 5-0 Eastbourne Borough H 2-2
Eastbourne Town H 2-1 St Albans City A 0-2
AFC Croydon Athletic (FAC) H 1-0 East Thurrock United H 2-0
Eastbourne United AFC (ChC) A 6-0 Hungerford Town A 0-1
Hollands & Blair (FAV) H 2-0 Wealdstone H 0-3

Stats

Dartford have win their last five F.A Cup games away from home beating Burgess Hill Town, Needham Market, Tonbridge Angels, Slough Town and Chelmsford City. The last away defeat in the competition was on 7 December 2014 against Bradford City in the second round proper.

The Darts have made at least the first round proper in five of the last eight F.A Cup campaigns.

Since the cup upset against Uxbridge, Dartford have scored three or more goals in six of their last eight F.A Cup games.

On This Day

Dartford famously drew 2-2 with Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground six years ago with Lee Noble’s last minute equaliser. Danny Harris gave the Darts the lead after just four minutes, but the Welsh side went 2-1 up with goals from Danny Wright and Andy Bishop. Noble claimed a memorable draw for the Darts equalising with a 25 yard free-kick. In the Isthmian Premier League winning season, Dartford beat Sutton United 3-0 on 22 September 2009 with a brace from Rob Haworth and an own goal. In the Isthmian Division One North league winning campaign eleven years ago, Adam Flanagan scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win over AFC Sudbury, who ended up runners up come the end of the season.

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