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Oxford City v Dartford

Dartford are two games away from the F.A Cup first round, but they must overcome Oxford City at Marsh Lane this weekend to progress in the competition. 

The Darts made it through the second qualifying round a fortnight ago leaving victory late against AFC Uckfield Town. The away tie almost ended in an upset when Callum Smith opened the scoring for the Uckers. With ten minutes to go Tom Murphy equalised and shortly afterwards Charlie Sheringham put Dartford in front. In the last-minute Elliot Bradbrook scored his 18th F.A Cup goal for the club to record a 3-1 win.

Oxford City also took on opponents from step five cruising to a 5-0 victory against Southern Counties East side Cray Valley Paper Mills. The headlines belonged to Zac McEachran who took home the match ball with a hat-trick, Kabongo Tshimanga and Oxford City’s top scorer Matthew Paterson netted the others.

It won’t be the first time Dartford have drawn out Oxford City in the F.A Cup, the only other meeting in the competition was back in 1935. That season, the Darts won 5-1 with goals from Robert Patrick, two from Arthur Mercer and one each for George Nicholas and Fred Dell. Victory set up a run to the third round and a famous 3-2 defeat against top flight Derby County, in which the Darts led 2-0.

Last weekend, Dartford recorded back to back victories for the first time since the start of the season. A 2-1 triumph over bottom side Weston-super-Mare gave the Darts their first three-point haul since the end of August.
Joint-Manager, Jamie Coyle praised Lee Noble, who scored the opening goal on 14 minutes, for his role in keeping Weston-super-Mare’s left back quiet, the Dartford boss told www.kentonline.co.uk: “Wherever you ask him to do a job, he does it. Their left-back is one of the main threats they offer and it was a case of stopping him going forward and tracking his movements, and we kept him really quiet”.

The visitors equalised just before the break when Gethyn Hill scored his first of the season from long distance, however Jamie Philpot won the match for Dartford when he got on the end of Bradbrook’s assist, to score his second goal in a Darts shirt.

Content with how his side started the game on the weekend, Coyle said: “It’s one of our best starts to a game this season”, he added: “Amadou Ba was through on goal, if the keeper didn’t handle it outside the area so it was a potential red card (referee showed a yellow card). Then Ben Greenhalgh hit the bar from the free-kick, and then we’ve scored. The positives are we created some really good chances and should have scored more goals”. The Dartford boss also highlighted improvements, he continued: “Defensively we looked a little bit shaky from set pieces and gave away too many free-kicks in the final third”. Unbeaten in four games, Coyle is now hoping that the two draws and two wins will give his players more confidence going forward.

The Darts have been without Callum Driver through and have drafted in loanee Jordan Wynter from Maidstone United, who made his debut last weekend. Tom Knowles’ recall to Cambridge City has also opened up an opportunity for the three month loan of Andre Coker, also from Maidstone United, Coyle explained to www.kentonline.co.uk: “We needed some pace and directness in wide areas and it also means we can use Ben Greenhalgh on the right. I’ve seen Andre a number of times. He offers something different, he’s really quick and tricky. He always seems to come up with an end product, whether it’s a cross or a shot. It gives us another avenue, we’ve only really got Ben and Tom Murphy that’s pushing for those wide areas so it gives us some competition”.

There’s been plenty of change to the playing personnel at Princes Park and Coker will be the fifth loanee in just two months. Coyle exclaimed: “We’ve still got so much work to do. We’re having to bring new players in to improve what’s gone on so far. It’s always going to take time but we’re 12 games into the season now and we need to start putting a run of decent performances together”.

Oxford City’s victory in the last round of the F.A Cup was there only triumph in September. Mark Jones’ side have lost four consecutive league games with the latest defeat coming at Hemel Hempstead Town. Zac McEachran scored his fourth goal in his last two appearances, but his consolation wasn’t enough for the Nomads.

Prior to the losing streak, Oxford City did go four unbeaten including decent victories against St Albans City and a surprise win over Torquay United at home. Jones’ side is capable of springing a cup shock as they proved last term when they beat Colchester United away in round one, although the Nomads went out to Notts County in the following round it was there best F.A Cup run since 1969/1970.

Recently returning from injury, Rob Sinclair came back after a six weeks out of action. His boss described his return as a ‘big advantage’. The goalscoring threat will come from Matthew Patterson, prolific at Gosport Borough, he joined Oxford City last summer then scored 27 times in his debut season.

Last season goals from Elliot Bradbrook and Tom Murphy at Marsh Lane secured a double over Oxford City. Earlier that season the Darts thrashed their opponents 7-1 which included a Warren Mfula hat-trick.

Head to Head

Oxford City wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 5 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings

24.03.2018 Oxford City 0 Dartford 2
19.08.2017 Dartford 7 Oxford City 1
25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1
29.10.2016 Dartford 1 Oxford City 0
23.04.2016 Dartford 2 Oxford City 2
15.09.2015 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1

Current Form (all competitions) FAC-F.A Cup

Oxford City (LWLLLW) Dartford (WWDDLW)
Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-2 Weston-super-Mare H 2-1
Cray Valley Paper Mills (FAC) H 5-0 AFC Uckfield Town (FAC) A 3-1
Bath City H 1-2 Billericay Town A 1-1
Slough Town A 0-2 Eastbourne Borough H 2-2
Welling United A 2-3 St Albans City A 0-2
Wealdstone H 3-0 East Thurrock United H 2-0

Stats

Dartford have reached the 4th Qualifying Round or further four times in the last five seasons.

Last season Oxford City progressed beyond the 3rd Qualifying Round for the first time in four years going on to equal their best ever FA Cup run.

The Darts have always managed to score against Oxford City in all of the previous nine meetings.

This will be the fourth cup match between the two sides with Dartford winning three and drawing one. The pair met in the F.A Cup in 1935 and the F.A Trophy in 2008. Ten years ago, the Darts drew 3-3 before winning the replay 4-2.

On This Day

The Darts have won their last four games on 6 October most recently in 2012. Dartford famously went to Blundell Park and beat Grimsby Town 2-0 in the National League. Tom Champion opened the scoring before Adam Birchall completed the upset. In 2001, Dartford beat Ashford Town 3-1 in the Southern League Division One East and in 1990 they overcame Moor Green 2-1 at Watling Street in the Southern Premier. In another National League fixture back in 1984, Dartford beat Northwich Victoria 1-0. Taken from the Princes Among Men book, the first recorded match was on 6 October 1988 when Dartford lost 3-1 to local rivals Erith in a friendly, Alf Mace scored Dartford’s first goal.

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