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AFC Telford United v Dartford

There will be no love lost on Valentine’s Day when Dartford face fellow relegation battlers AFC Telford United this weekend.

Victory for the Darts will not only complete a rare double it could help close a seven point deficit on Southport, who are placed above the dreaded drop zone. AFC Telford United are one place and point below Tony Burman’s side and have recently shown signs of life, the Conference North champions are keen to avoid a return to the second tier of non league football.

Throughout this month starting this weekend, Dartford will be up against three sides in the bottom section of the league standings. A home match versus mid-table Gateshead follows this weekend’s clash with AFC Telford United. Then two away days at Alfreton Town, currently level with Southport and Aldershot Town, who are just two points above safety, awaits the Darts.

Burman may not feel the fixture against the Bucks is the be all and end all this campaign, but the Darts boss knows closing the deficit over Southport is important for the club, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “We’ve got to close the gap, if we can win our next two or three games, it could be a different picture. But if we lose those games, it becomes more drastic and it will be difficult”.

Earlier this season Dartford finished August with a home win against the Bucks but had to come from behind. With ten minutes remaining of the first half Tony Gray put the visitors in front. Fortunes turn around with Luke Daley scoring his first goal for the Darts, and his only so far, the midfielder struck a precise equaliser from twenty yards out. Andy Pugh netted what turned out to be the winner leading to plenty of praise from his boss after the match.

Pugh has struggled this term scoring just two league goals in only 16 appearances. The former Cambridge United striker first suffered an achilles injury followed by a torn testicle. Returning at the end of January, the 26 year old has made two consecutive substitute appearances and added his third of the season in the F.A Trophy against FC Halifax Town. The Darts may have been knocked out in a 3-1 defeat but at least they can concentrate on the league. Burman knows the value of having Pugh back, especially when it’s proven difficult to bring more fire-power to Princes Park, he likened Pugh to a new signing and feels the striker is looking sharp, aided by the fact he is training with the academy during the day.

After a demoralising 6-1 loss at Kent rivals Dover Athletic, Dartford recorded back to back 2-2 draws with FC Halifax Town in the trophy then respectably with Bristol Rovers. Ryan Hayes has taken most of the plaudits of late with three goals in as many games, the creative winger added to his goal scored from a corner against Kidderminster Harriers by repeating the feat versus FC Halifax Town and Bristol Rovers.

For a side who had to wait a dozen games to record their first win back in the Conference Premier signs of recovery are appearing. AFC Telford United will move above Dartford if they can record a win and are now under the guidance of Steve Kittrick. The former Guiseley boss replaced Liam Watson who led the Bucks back to the Conference Premier last term. Kittrick has moved the Shropshire club up one place and has only tasted defeat once in the league. Two wins, three draws and a loss is mid-table form since the 57 year old took over in December.

During the January transfer window, Kittrick has been trying to make his mark signing Ben McLaughlin on loan from Everton, John Disney from Chester, midfielder Danny Ventre and defender Glenn Matthews. Tony Gray remains the biggest threat up front with 11 goals this season, a quarter of the amount scored by the Bucks.

Last time at the New Bucks Head, the Darts avenged a 4-1 home defeat with a 2-0 triumph. Charlie Sheringham made the difference against an already relegated Bucks, who at the time stretched their winless streak to 30 games. The on loan striker scored one and made an assist setting up Jason Prior. The Darts went ahead when Prior netted his first goal for the Darts, Sheringham doubled the lead early in the second half.

Team News

Nathan Green is likely to return after being cup tied against FC Halifax Town. Latest signing Jamie Richards will also be availble after missing the F.A Trophy loss. Mat Mitchel-King left the club and has signed for St Neots Town. Andy Pugh continues to get match fit and will hopefully add more minutes to his recovery.

AFC Telford United’s new defensive signing Ian Sharps will be pressing for a competitive start having come through ninety minutes in the 2-0 win over a Birmingham City Under 21s’ side on Wednesday evening.

Head to Head

AFC Telford United wins: 14 / Dartford wins: 16 / Draws: 8

Current League Form

AFC Telford United (DLWWDD) Dartford (DLLLLL)
Eastleigh A 3-3 Bristol Rovers H 2-2
FC Halifax Town H 0-1 Dover Athletic A 1-6
Wrexham A 4-0 FC Halifax Town H 1-2
Aldershot Town A 2-1 Kidderminster Harriers H 1-2
Nuneaton Town A 0-0 Braintree Town A 0-3
Nuneaton Town H 4-4 Braintree Town H 0-2

Last Meeting at the New Bucks Head

13 April 2013 – AFC Telford United 0 Dartford 2 – Att: 1375

Goalscorers: Prior (11), Sheringham (49)

AFC Telford United Lineup: Young, Salmon, Briscoe, Rooney, Trainer, Leslie, Smith, Spray, Williams, O’Neil, Adaggio (subs used: Bradley, Meechan, Ford)

Dartford Lineup: Somogyi, Rose, Arber, Bonner, Burns, Wallis, Bradbrook, Noble, Hayes, Prior, Sheringham (subs used: Rogers, Evans, Collier)

Match Stats

afctu v dfc stats

Previous Six Meetings

30.08.2014 Dartford 2 AFC Telford United 1
06.04.2013 AFC Telford United 0 Dartford 2
07.10.2012 Dartford 1 AFC Telford United 4
02.11.1985 Telford United 2 Dartford 1
07.09.1985 Dartford 2 Telford United 1
30.04.1985 Telford United 1 Dartford 2

Stats

0:25 – the quickest goal scored in the league this season by Dartford’s Ryan Hayes against Kidderminster Harriers

6 – games since the Bucks recorded a home win in the Conference Premier

10 – points obtained by AFC Telford United at home, the lowest total in this season’s Conference Premier

27 – league matches since Dartford’s last clean sheet on 23 August 2014 versus Torquay United, the longest streak in the Conference Premier this term

96:17 – the latest goal scored in the league this season by AFC Telford United’s Kyle Perry against Altrincham

Dartford v AFC Telford United

The Darts host Conference North champions AFC Telford United after spending a year apart from each other.

Paths could have easily crossed in the summer but Dartford’s survival means they will face the Bucks for the first time since April 2013. Both meetings in 2012/2013 were significant in some way for AFC Telford United.

In October 2012, Dartford was brushed aside at home in a 4-1 defeat. The win for the Bucks was their last victory before an awful sequence of results. If Dartford fans were put through the mill last term then spare a thought for their opponents who went 30 games without a win, setting a Conference Premier record.

The return fixture signalled AFC Telford United’s final defeat before they broke their unwanted sequence. Charlie Sheringham scored and set up Jason Prior to record a 2-0 triumph for the Darts. AFC Telford United were relegated after that tumultuous campaign but credit is due as they bounced back at the first attempt, taking the Conference North title. The Bucks held off North Ferriby United by three points to return to the Conference Premier.

A tough start for Tony Burman’s men has left the side in the bottom four with two points on the board looking for their first win. Over the Bank Holiday, the Darts grabbed a well deerved point when hosting Torquay United but felt two points had been squandered after Elliot Bradbrook missed a penalty.

On Monday, Dartford made the trip to the Hive to take on a Barnet side who has started their campaign brightly. For the third game running the Darts failed to find the back of the net. Meanwhile, Barnet’s Lee Cook took forty minutes to complete a hat trick to give the hosts a resounding 4-0 victory. Former Ebbsfleet United striker John Akinde opened the scoring for the Bees giving Barnet their third succesive win against Dartford without conceding.

AFC Telford United have yet to get to grips with the Conference Premier since their return. The Shropshire club picked up their first point on the opening day of the campaign against Welling United. Defeats at home to Macclesfield Town and Aldershot Town was followed by another at Bristol Rovers.

The Bucks Bank Holiday Monday fixture against Liam Watson’s former club Southport ended in a six goal thriller with both sides sharing the points. AFC Telford United join Dartford on two points but moved out of the relegation zone.

The Bucks had to come from three times and with ten men to earn a draw at home to the Soundgrounders. Johnny Gorman scored a free kick which was cancelled out by Phenix but just before the interval Richard Brodie made it 2-1 to Southport. Godfrey Poku was dismissed on with hardly any of the second half played. Tony Gray levelled the game but Brodie put the visitors back ahead. In the final minute, Phenix ensured the match would end up 3-3.

Managed by Liam Watson, the former Southport boss has continued to enhance his reputation. Watson led the Sandgrounders to the Conference Premier and kept the Merseyside club there. Now he has turned fortunes around in Shropshire making up for AFC Telford United’s managerial instability of two seasons ago, when they went through four bosses in under two months.

Team News

Lee Burns is likely to miss a third match in a row after suffering from cracked ribs. Peter Sweeney is working on getting match fit but has featured regularly so far this season.

AFC Telford United’s Godfrey Poku will begin his suspension for his red card. Chris Lever is continuing his come back from injury whilst Rod McDonald and Mike Grogan returned over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Head to Head (includes playing Telford United)

Dartford wins: 15 / AFC Telford United wins: 14 / Draws: 8

Current Form

Dartford (?DLDL) AFC Telford United (?LLLD)
Barnet A 0-4 Southport H 3-3
Torquay United H 0-0 Bristol Rovers A 0-1
Kidderminster Harriers A 0-1 Aldershot Town H 0-2
Woking A 1-1 Macclesfield Town H 2-3
Wrexham H 1-2 Welling United A 1-1

Last Meeting at Princes Park

9 October 2012 – Dartford 1 AFC Telford United 4 – Att: 1359

Goalscorer: Jones (35), Jones (37), Hubbins (55), Trainer (69), Bradbrook (75)

Dartford Lineup: Bettinelli, Burns, Bonner, Arber, Rose, Noble, Bradbrook, Champion, Hayes, Crawford, Birchall (subs used: Wallis, Harris, Erskine)

AFC Telford United Lineup: Young, Salmon, Hubbins, Rose, Chilvers, Davies, Trainer, Leslie, Taylor, Jones, Spray (subs used: Brown, Roberts, Sharp)

Match Stats

dfc v afctu match stats

Previous Six Meetings

06.04.2013 Telford United 0 Dartford 2
07.10.2012 Dartford 1 Telford United 4
02.11.1985 Telford United 2 Dartford 1
07.09.1985 Dartford 2 Telford United 1
30.04.1985 Telford United 1 Dartford 2
01.09.1984 Dartford 0 Telford United 0

League Stats

3 – Number of players AFC Telford United have had sent off, more than any other club this season

6 – AFC Telford United have gone six Conference Premier matches without a victory, their last coming on 13 April 2013

9 – Dartford have now gone nine league games without a win

37 – The Bucks have gone 37 games without consecutive wins in the Conference Premier, the longest sequence in the division

 

 

AFC Telford United

New Bucks Head Founded 2004 The Bucks

Ten years ago Telford United went into liquidation and supporters decided to take action. By forming Telford United Supporters Limited fans ensured a club would still exist in the Shropshire town. Over the last decade of existence AFC Telford United have three playoff wins to their name, suffered relegation and now return to the Conference Premier at the first time of asking. The Conference North champions fully put behind the disastrous 2012/13 season, in which they set a record of 30 games without a win in the top flight of non league football. The Bucks also went through four managers in that campaign as they suffered the dreaded second season syndrome. It’s proven to be just a blip as AFC Telford United have bounced back.

Last SeasonAFCTUFC

Conference North: Winners

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

FA Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Winners

Top Scorer: Adam Farrell

Average Attendance: 1641

There is no better way to put relegation behind you than winning the league title. An exciting Conference North season involved four pretenders to the throne. Early pace setters Hednesford Town fell away and from February the title chase heated up. North Ferriby United and AFC Telford United consistently jockeyed for position with Altrincham trying to keep up. Eventually the Bucks, with the help of a seven game winning run edged ahead but a draw at Leamington and a crushing 6-1 loss at Guiseley put the championship under threat. North Ferriby United failed to capitalise and so on the final day the two clubs were separated by a point. A 3-0 win in front of  jubilant fans at the New Bucks Head saw the Shropshire club beat Gainsborough Trinity to clinch the Conference North title. The bosses links with former club Southport was a major influence in AFC Telford United’s success with Simon Grand, Andy Owens and Shaun Whalley all playing a key role alongside top scorer Adam Farrell who signed from AFC Flyde.

The Manager – Liam Watson

Early retirement through injury ended Liam Watson’s playing career. At the age of 29 he turned to management and knows a thing or two about winning. Starting at Runcorn Halton, Watson began to collect silverware at his next club Southport leading the Lancashire side to the  inaugural Conference North title. The former striker left the Sandgrounders when they went full time and moved to 2003 F.A Trophy winners Burscough. Players that didn’t want to convert to full time at Southport followed their leader and clinched the Northern Premier League in the final game of the 2006/07 campaign, beating AFC Telford United that day. In 2008, Southport came calling and Watson returned to Merseyside to win his second Conference North title. Saved from relegation in 2010/11 due to Rushden and Diamonds’ demise, Watson spent five good years at Southport. Last summer he felt it was time to leave Haig Avenue and took over at AFC Telford United, who were is disarray until he won his third Conference North title.

The Summer

Liam Watson is used to players following where he goes and has captured former Southport defender Steven Akrigg. Attacking midfielder Josh Hancock signs from Witton Albion after he had been scouted a number of times towards the end of last season. Jonathan Hedge will be the Bucks new goalkeeper having signed from Grimsby Town, the former Cambridge United stopper made one appearance for the Mariners last term. Rod McDonald comes in from financial stricken Hereford United and will be joined by Sam Smith, the striker managed four goals in 34 appearances for the Bulls last term. Attacking midfielder Jordan Deacey leaves Bradford Park Avenue, the 20 year old signed for the Bucks after impressing Watson with performances last season. An ever present defensive midfielder for Stalybridge Celtic last campaign, Kristian Platt will now be wearing the AFC Telford United colours.

Conference North winning skipper Simon Grand moves further north to Cumbrian side Barrow. Grand was one of the players who stayed with Watson last summer moving from Southport. Well respected goalkeeper at the New Bucks Head, Ryan Young leaves the club following relocation of work on the Isle of Wight. Young was given life membership of the club, only the fifth time that the club has awarded the honour and the first since 2005 and will start next season with Havant and Waterlooville. Matty McGinn can’t commit to life in the national league due to work whilst Dan Preston, Russell Benjamin joins Stockport County whilst Robbie Booth and Martyn Jackson also leave.

Last Meetings vs The Darts

AFC Telford United 0 Dartford 2 – Conference Premier – 6 April 2013

Charlie Sheringham made the difference against an already relegated Bucks, who stretched their winless streak to 30 games. The on loan striker scored one and made an assist setting up Jason Prior. The Darts went ahead when Prior netted his first goal for the Darts, Sheringham doubled the lead early in the second half.

Dartford 1 AFC Telford United 4 – Conference Premier – 9 October 2012

The Darts were outplayed against AFC Telford United who tasted their penultimate win of the 2012/2013 campaign. Former Northern Ireland striker Steve Jones scored two including a wonderful 25 yard curler. Luke Hubbins increased the visitirs lead before Phil Trainer struck a 30 yard stunner. Elliot Bradbrook’s effort fifteen minutes from time was merely a consolation goal.

Next Meetings

Saturday 30 August 2014 at Princes Park

Saturday 14 February 2015 at the New Bucks Head

League Performance Last Ten Years

AFC Telford Utd 10 yrs

Best Performances (* as Telford United)

3rd Conference Premier (1981/82)* F.A Cup 5th Round (1984/85)* F.A Trophy Winners (1970/71, 1982/83 & 1988/89)*

AFC Telford United v Dartford

Dartford will search for their first away league win in almost five months when they face relegated AFC Telford United on the weekend.

Winless on the road since November, the Darts travel to the New Bucks Head and attempt to reverse the previous meeting between the two sides. Dartford’s opponents are on an unwanted run of their own setting a Conference record of 29 games without a win, their last victory came in October at Princes Park.

The Bucks ran out 4-1 winners with former Northern Ireland international Steve Jones opening the scoring when he made the most of some questionable defending. Two minutes later the 35 year old striker scored another to double the lead before the break. A deflected shot in the second half from Luke Hubbins made it 3-0 and a fourth was added in style when a 30 yard effort was sent flying into Marcus Bettenelli’s net by Phil Trainer. Elliot Bradbrook nodded home a consolation but the hosts were unable to make the most of their chances throughout the ninety minutes.

Whilst Dartford have picked up three points from the last 33 available on the road they warmed up with an excellent 4-1 win versus Woking on Easter Monday. Nathan Collier made a rare start and celebrated with a well taken goal just seven minutes into the match. The Cards equalised when Jayden Stockley flicked in a corner. On the stroke of half time Collier turned provider with a delicate through ball which Lee Noble superbly dispatched. The Darts third goal saw intelligent build up play from Ryan Hayes and Lee Burns who crossed to Noble, the midfielder’s shot spun towards Charlie Sheringham who nodded in the third. Noble put the icing on the cake in the final minute when his free kick flew passed Woking’s Seb Brown.

Over the Easter period Dartford have risen to tenth place and with six games remaining are well placed to finish as the highest part time team in the country. Three points for the Darts will officially guarantee Conference Premier football next season.

AFC Telford United have had a torrid season getting through four managers. Interim manager John Psaras is currently steering the side through the rest of the campaign and was happy with his teams ‘resilient performance’ against Forest Green Rovers on Saturday. After relegation was confirmed in their 3-0 defeat at home to Nuneaton Town, the Bucks held Forest Green Rovers to a 0-0 draw.

Andy Sinton started the campaign in charge and he was replaced by Mark Cooper at the start of 2013. Cooper took a role at Swindon Town leaving Graham Hyde in the hotseat and then, after 39 days of Sinton’s departure, Hyde resigned. The club do remain defiant and will need to in order to negotiate their way back from the Conference North.

Psara’s will know he will be able to count on ever present players Ryan Young  and Phil Trainer. Young has kept ten clean sheets in 2012/13 and Trainer has netted five times from midfield. The only player reaching double figures in front of goal is Steve Jones who has missed the last two league matches. Capped 29 times for his country the former Burnley striker has scored in each of his last three appearances for the club.

Dartford last visited Wellington in November 1985, when Telford United won 2-1. The Darts were relegated from the top flight in that season and 26 years on the roles have been reversed.

Team News

Tom Champion picked up his tenth caution of the season against Woking and as a result will sit out the next two league fixtures. Danny Harris has been absent from the last two games with a hamstring strain and goalkeeper Louis Wells has also been out with injury.

Head to Head

AFC Telford United wins: 14 / Dartford wins: 14 / Draws: 8 / AFC Telford United Goals: 54 / Dartford Goals: 51

Current League Form

AFC Telford United (DLLLLD) Dartford (WDLWLL)
Forest Green Rovers A 0-0 Woking H 4-1
Nuneaton Town H 0-3 Newport County A 0-0
Lincoln City A 2-3 Hereford United A 0-1
Macclesfield Town A 1-2 Gateshead H 3-0
Woking A 2-5 Barrow A 0-1
Gateshead H 0-0 Hyde A 0-3

Last Meeting

9 October 2012 – Dartford 1 AFC Telford United 4 – Att: 1359

Goalscorers: Jones (35), Jones (37), Hubbins (55), Trainer (69), Bradbrook (75)

The Darts Lineup: Bettinelli, Burns, Bonner, Arber, R. Rose, Hayes, Champion, Bradbrook, Noble, Birchall, Crawford (subs used: Harris, Erskine, Wallis)

The Bucks Lineup: Young, Salmon, Hubbins, J Rose, Chilvers, Davies, Trainer, Leslie, Taylor, Jones, Spray (subs used: Brown, Roberts, Sharp)

Match Stats

dfc v afctu stats

Previous Meetings

02.11.1985 Telford United 2 Dartford 1
07.09.1985 Dartford 2 Telford United 1
30.04.1985 Telford United 1 Dartford 2
01.09.1984 Dartford 0 Telford United 0

 Stats

9 – red cards AFC Telford United have accumulated in league and cup, more than any other Conference Premier team

11 – points picked up since AFC Telford United played Dartford in October

21 – points picked up by Dartford against teams in the bottom half of the Conference Premier

Dartford v AFC Telford United

 

Dartford aim to make it six home wins on the bounce on Tuesday night when they host AFC Telford United.

The last meetings between the two sides came in Dartford’s last stint at the top of non league football. Both matches ended 2-1 with home advantage being key to the outcome. The Darts won at Watling Street in September 1985 but the Bucks reversed the score two months later.

In an incredible start to their campaign the Darts are in fifth position following Saturday’s excellent 2-0 away win at Grimsby Town. Tony Burman celebrated his manager of the month award for September with another three points to increase his sides unbeaten run to five league matches.

With the scores level at the break Dartford took the lead on 52 minutes when Tom Champion opened his account for the season. With the home side pressing to salvage a point loan signing Adam Birchall scored his first for the Darts with a fine goal to wrap up the match and end Grimsby Town’s ten game unbeaten run.

Burman was pleased by his sides excellent performance, he spoke to BBC Radio Kent and said: “We took the game to Grimsby. When we scored it gave us the belief to win the game. Our play and our support was excellent”, he added: “We know what we’re supposed to be doing. We feel people are not giving us any chance. It’s a bit disrespectful, we deserve to be where we are”.

AFC Telford United managed to stop a winless streak on the weekend after overcoming Conference South champions Woking. A penalty was dispatched by former Premier League striker Darren Byfield after just seven minutes. The much needed win for the Bucks arrived after a barren spell of six games in which they drew four times.

Andy Sinton’s team are seven points behind the Darts in ninth place but are very much the draw specialists in the Conference Premier. Only beaten three times, AFC Telford United have drawn six and won four which included beating Luton Town 1-0 with nine men.

Whilst the Darts have only been defeated once at Princes Park, AFC Telford United have only been beaten once on their travels. If previous history is anything to go by then it could be a close encounter.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 14 / AFC Telford United wins: 13 / Draws: 8

Current Form

Dartford (WWWDWL) AFC Telford United (WDLDDD)
Grimsby Town A 2-0 Woking H 1-0
Hyde H 2-1 Gateshead A 1-1
Braintree Town A 2-0 Newport County H 2-4
Wrexham A 2-2 Mansfield Town H 2-2
Hereford United H 4-0 Cambridge United A 3-3
Gateshead A 0-2 Lincoln City H 1-1

Dartford have won five in a row at home, the longest streak in the division.

AFC Telford United are without an away win in their last three attempts.

Team News

James Rogers sat out Saturday’s win through illness, Louis Wells is still regaining fitness and Adam Green has not featured since his injury picked up almost two months ago.

Kieron St Aimie and Daniel Preston are suspended for the red cards they picked up in the Bucks 4-2 defeat against Newport County. Last season’s top scorer for the Bucks, Chris Sharp returned to the side on Saturday as he racked up 14 minutes, the striker has been out with a groin injury. Luke Hubbins managed a half in AFC Telford United’s 1-0 win as he had to withdraw from the action due to illness.

Stats

5 – AFC Telford United have had five players sent off this season, more than any other club in the league.

14 – Dartford have had 14 different goalscorers in their Conference Premier campaign so far, the most by any team.

16 – The amount of league goals Dartford have scored at Princes Park this season, the most goals scored at home in the division

The Darts have scored the most number of goals in the final fifteen minutes, below is a table of the top five teams who leave scoring late.

Team Goals
Dartford 10
Macclesfield Town 9
Forest Green Rovers 8
Nuneaton 7
Newport County 7