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Dartford v Maidstone United

Dartford host current Kent Senior Cup holders and National League side Maidstone United in the last eight of the competition this week.

The two most successful clubs in the Kent Senior Cup go head to head for the first time in almost three years. The Darts have won the county cup eleven times compared to the Stones who have triumphed on seventeen occasions. In April 2016, the Darts won the previous meeting 2-1 in the National South despite defender Lee Burns ending up in goal. Elliot Bradbrook scored a penalty against his former team, but the midfielder’s opener was cancelled out by Keaton Wood’s own goal. Loanee, Nathan Ferguson scored a second-half winner at the Gallagher Stadium before injury to goalkeeper Derren Ibrahim led to Burns playing between the sticks.

It’s been 28 years since Dartford faced their former tenants in the Kent Senior Cup. The Darts won the first round tie 2-1 to get revenge for defeat the previous season at the second round stage when they lost 3-2. Whilst Dartford play their first game in the competition, the Stones got through the last round by knocking out Dover Athletic. The Darts were scheduled to take on Thamesmead Town in round two, but their opponents withdrew from the cup after chairman Paul Bowden-Brown, once chairman at Maidstone United was forced to close down the club.

The Stones cruised past Dover Athletic with goals from Ollie Muldoon, Olu Durojaiye, George McLennan and Blair Turgott. Goalkeeper, Josh Strizovic was given his debut and conceded to late goals, one from Harrison Kempston’s penalty and the other by Jordan Spencer. Maidstone United fielded a strong first team against a Dover Athletic side who put out their academy players.

Maidstone United won the final in a penalty shoot-out last season against Folkestone Invicta. Having been held to a goalless draw, the Stones won 4-2 on penalties. On the way to the final they beat Tonbridge Angels, Gillingham and Bromley.

Dartford last won the Kent Senior Cup three years ago when they defeated Charlton Athletic. This season under new management, the Darts have been inconsistent in the National South despite sitting in eigth place. On Saturday they lost to Chelmsford City ending an unbeaten run of four games. Phil Roberts continued his scoring streak with a goal inside four minutes. Dartford were left hanging on towards the end and the Clarets pressure finally rewarded the home side when Johnathan Giles then Rhys Murphy scored in the final five minutes. This season Dartford’s cup runs were short-lived going out in the F.A Cup third qualifying round and at the first hurdle in the F.A Trophy.

A host of former Stones players have played a part in Dartford’s season this term including manager Jamie Coyle. The defender has used his contacts to shape the Darts squad by bringing in Jordan Wynter and Andre Coker on loan. In the summer Callum Driver returned to Princes Park from the Gallagher Stadium, the full back played for the Stones in the last meeting. Last week, Joe Healy was signed by the club and the midfielder made his debut at Chelmsford City, the 32-year-old played for Maidstone United during the 2015-16 season. Delano-Sam-Yorke who is now on loan at Kingstonian also came in from Maidstone United during the summer. Going the other way, Jamie Philpot is on trial after playing 25 times for the Darts this season and scoring five goals.

Maidstone United also changed their manager after a struggling start in the National League. Long serving former boss Jay Saunders left after seven games with the Stones down in nineteenth place. The highly rated Harry Wheeler was appointed after his fall out with Billericay Town and sacked just before the New Year having won five of his nineteen games at the helm. Wheeler did however lead the team to a shock F.A Cup victory over Macclesfield Town before going out to Oldham Athletic in round two. In the F.A Trophy, the Stones are in the last sixteen having beaten Woking under Wheeler then Oxford City under Caretaker Managers Simon Walton and Tristan Lewis, now they face Salford City in the third round.

The Stones are now second from bottom in the National League and six points from safety after their 3-0 home loss against Dagenham and Redbridge on Saturday. The winners of this quarter-final tie will join Bromley and Gillingham in the semi-final.

Head to Head in the Kent Senior Cup

Dartford wins: 7 / Maidstone United wins: 6 / Draws: 2

Stats

Dartford are unbeaten in six games against Maidstone United in all competitions winning five and drawing one.

The Stones last beat the Darts 12 years ago in the Isthmian Division One South winning 4-1.

At home Dartford are unbeaten in eight against their local rivals, last tasting home defeat versus Maidstone United in 1981, a Kent Senior Cup tie.

On This Day

Dartford showed some incredible spirit to beat promotion chasing Farnborough Town with ten men. Charlie Sheringham netted his spot kick which was cancelled out by Bradley Bubb. Then came the moment that turned the game, Lee Noble was red carded before half-time for a high foot on the goalkeeper. The decision riled the Princes Park crowd which in turn lifted the players in the second half. Against the odds Dartford took the lead through Sheringham then added two more. A bandaged up Tom Champion summed up the fighting spirit by netting the third after he suffered a head injury and Danny Harris made it 4-1. The last Kent Senior Cup fixture for Dartford on this day was back in 1979 when the Darts won a Quarter-Final replay 4-2 against Margate.

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