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Dartford v Phoenix Sports

Dartford are one game away from reaching the Kent Senior Cup final when they host Phoenix Sports in the last four on Tuesday night.

The Darts last reached the final four years ago when they beat Charlton Athletic and are bidding to win the competition for the twelfth time in their history. Standing in the way, Isthmian South East side Phoenix Sports are aiming to cause an upset to have a shot at claiming their first ever county cup.

In the first competitive meeting between the two sides, the pair have often played against each other in pre-season friendlies because of the proximity of both clubs, Dartford’s opponents are based in Barnehurst just three and a half miles away.

After the quarter-final victory in the last round, Dartford boss Steve King stated he was taking the competition seriously and despite fielding many players trying to force their way into the first team, the Darts beat Folkestone Invicta 4-0. After a flowing move down the right between Amrit Bansal-McNulty and Tyrique Hyde, striker Liam Nash headed in the opener. Hyde added a second from the spot in the first half and after the break Billy Crook scored his first for the club. Elliott Romain came off the subs bench and added a fourth.

In the previous round Dartford beat Maidstone United 1-0 with King handing first starts to Craig Braham-Barrett and Nash. The only goal of the game was scored by Kyjoun Marsh-Brown to put the Darts into the last eight of the competition.

Since Dartford’s win in the last eight they were back in National South action against league leaders Wealdstone. King made five changes with Craig Braham-Barrett, Tom Bonner, Noor Husin, Elliott Romain and Darren McQueen returning to the starting eleven, whilst Mark Smith kept his place in goal. The game ended 0-0 with the Stones spurning the best chance when Dennon Lewis missed a penalty.

Phoenix Sports have played three games in the Kent Senior Cup to reach the last four and they started of their campaign back in November. The Sports beat a youthful looking Margate side in round one racking up four goals. Ben Allen opened the scoring and added another before Margate’s William Risdon was sent off. On the hour Allen completed his hat-trick and a fourth was netted by Jeff Duah-Kessie, there was time for a consolation game when Elliott Reeves made it 4-1.

In round two, Paul Byron’s side beat a Charlton Athletic under 23’s team 2-1 by coming from behind. The Addicks took advantage of winning a penalty when Junior Quitirna gave the London club the lead. However, two goals in a minute after the interval from Lauris Chin and Duah-Kessie put Phoenix Sports into the last eight.

In the semi-final Phoenix Sports were drawn against Isthmian South East title contenders Ashford United. Lee Bird put Phoenix Sports ahead with a delightful lob over home goalkeeper Sam Mott. David Smith levelled the tie for the hosts, but with three minutes remaining Phoenix Sports were awarded a penalty, Kenny Alireu sent Mott the wrong way to claim the winner.

Phoenix Sports are currently ninth in the Isthmian South East division, two steps below the Darts. They are currently ten points off the playoff places and have Ashley Probets in their squad, the defender played for Dartford during pre-season in 2010 but couldn’t quite earn a place in the squad after Tony Burman signed Tom Bonner instead.

The other semi-final will be between Whitsable Town and Dover Athletic or Gillingham.

Stats

Steve King has used 20 players in the two rounds that Dartford have played in this season’s Kent Senior Cup

If Dartford win the semi-final they will reach their 25th Kent Senior Cup final.

On This Day

Dartford reached the Kent Senior Cup final back in 1987 when they beat Ashford Town 1-0, the Darts went on to beat Maidstone United to lift the cup without conceding a goal in the competition. The Darts retained the cup the season after and didn’t concede a single goal in that campaign either.

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