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Dartford v Altrincham

Dartford welcome opponents Altrincham to Princes Park for the first time ever this weekend having last played hosts twenty six years ago.

Watling Street was the venue last time these two sides met with the clubs a division apart. The F.A Trophy Quarter Final tie ended with the Darts upsetting their visitors in a 1-0 victory, thanks to Dartford’s record appearance maker Steve Robinson’s goal.

This season it was Altrincham who ran out winners on Non League Day with top goalscorer Damian Reeves netting a brace either side of half time. Reeves followed up a rebound just before the interval and added a second three minutes into the second half. Elliot Bradbrook gave Dartford some hope with seven minutes remaining but Alty deservedly took the three points.

With Dartford edging closer to Conference South football next season, manager Tony Burman has witnessed his side’s mixed fortunes over the last fortnight. The busy and crucial period of the campaign has seen plenty of six pointers which started at home to Alfreton Town. The last minute defeat was disheartening for the team. Hope was restored a few days later with a 2-1 away win at Chester only for a disappointing 2-0 loss at Southport.

On Tuesday night Alfreton Town were on the schedule again with the Darts desperate for victory they could only manage a 0-0 draw. Andy Pugh and Harry Crawford went close early on and Elliot Bradbrook had his shot tipped away. Peter Sweeney’s long range free kick went wide in an improved Dartford performance. Crawford failed to take advantage of a one on one early in the second half and Danny Harris tested Jason Mooney in the Alfreton Town goal. Late on Harris almost grabbed a vital three points for the Darts only for his shot to be cleared off the line.  he result leaves Dartford ten points behind with seven games to play.

Altrincham may have taken to adapt to their new surroundings but Lee Sinnott’s side have settled well back in the Conference Premier. Alty spent three season’s away in the Conference North and won the playoffs last term. Up until the start of November it looked as though Altrincham would be battling at the bottom with Dartford. However, the Greater Manchester club began to pick up wins ending 2014 strongly and starting this year equally so.

Currently Altrincham are going through a blip with just one win from their last eight games. Without a match in midweek, Alty ended a two match losing streak with a 0-0 draw at home to FC Halifax Town. Donning a pink kit for Cancer Awareness, Altrincham picked up their 50th point of the campaign and will certainly be playing Conference Premier football next term.

Team News

Deren Ibrahim continued his run in goal over the last week with Jason Brown out injured (hamstring). Tom Bradbrook has been out injured but is still hopeful of a return before the end of the season. Midfield duo Lee Noble and Elliot Bradbrook have both received nine cautions this term and are one more away from suspension.

Last weekend Altrincham welcomed back goalkeeper Stuart Coburn, full back Adam Griffin and midfielder Simon Richman to the starting eleven whilst skipper, Shaun Densmore was out injured. Peter Cavanagh is one caution away from a match suspension.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Altrincham wins: 4 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford (DLWLDL) Altrincham (DLLWLL)
Alfreton Town  A  0-0 FC Halifax Town  H  0-0
Southport  A  0-2 Dover Athletic  A  1-2
Chester  A  2-1 Wrexham  H  1-4
Alfreton Town  H  0-1 Welling United  A  1-0
FC Halifax Town  A  0-0 Barnet  H  1-3
Woking  H  1-3 Bristol Rovers  A  0-1

Last Meeting at Watling Street

11 March 1989 – Dartford 1 Altrincham 0 – F.A Trophy Quarter Final

Goalscorers: Robinson (55)

Club favourite Steve Robinson scored the winner to put the Darts into the F.A Trophy semi final. Dartford were unable to reach Wembley in a two legged defeat against eventual runners up Macclesfield Town. The Darts playing a league below Altrincham ended the season as runners up in the Southern League whilst Alty finished 14th in the Conference Premier.

Previous Meetings (* – F.A Trophy)

06.09.2014 Altrincham 2 Dartford 1
11.03.1989* Dartford 1 Altrincham 0
01.02.1986 Dartford 3 Altrincham 2
21.09.1985 Altrincham 0 Dartford 0
27.04.1985 Altrincham 2 Dartford 1
29.09.1984 Dartford 1 Altrincham 0
13.03.1982 Dartford 0 Altrincham 1
24.10.1981 Altrincham 2 Dartford 0
14.03.1981* Dartford 3 Altrincham 1

Stats (up to 21 March 2015)

0:25 – Ryan Hayes still holds the record for the quickest Conference Premier goal this term, his strike after 25 seconds against Kidderminster Harriers.

37 – number of shots Altrincham’s Jake Moult has gone without scoring, the current longest sequence of any Conference Premier player

45 – Dartford’s 2-0 defeat at Southport means they have gone 45 games without back to back wins.

96:17 – Alty’s Kyle Perry left it late against AFC Telford United recording the latest goal of this season’s Conference Premier campaign

223 – Alty are top of the mis-hitters with 223 shots off target this campaign

On This Day

Since Dartford reformed the club are unbeaten in four games on 28 March. The Darts beat Bashley 1-0 back in 1992 and six years later drew 0-0 with Havant Town, now Havant and Waterlooville. In 2005 and 2009 a pair of 2-2 draws against Wingate and Finchley and Tonbridge Angles has kept the run going.

Altrincham v Dartford

Dartford face Conference North playoff winners Altrincham on Non League day travelling to Moss Lane for the first time in nearly thirty years.

Coming off the back of their first win of the season the Darts climbed out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 home win against AFC Telford United. The Conference North champions took the lead ten minutes before half time through Tony Gray but the second half saw a change in fortune. Luke Daley scored his first for the club with a well taken shot from 20 yards and Andy Pugh completed the turnaround.
Tony Burman along with the home support was relieved that his side recorded a win and spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk, he said: “We’ve won the game and everyone’s gone home happy. It’s a little bit of a relief. In all fairness to the supporters, they want to get behind the players, they’re here to support their club. It’s not been great over the last year or so, with what’s happened, but we’re building again. The longer you go without that win, it becomes a monkey on your back”.

The Darts boss also praised striker Andy Pugh, adding: “He’s been full-time at Cambridge and it’s done him the world of good. He doesn’t mind dropping off in the hole. When you’re playing 4-4-2 and you’re playing against teams who play three in the middle of the park, sometimes you can get a little bit overrun. What we do is that the forward has to come in deeper in the hole and try to pick that third man up. Pughy’s decent at it and when he gets the ball, he’s intelligent”.

Peter Sweeney was allowed to play a more central role in midfield and with Danny Harris coming on Dartford gained impetus. Harris spent last week in talks with Burman about his future with the club and opted to stay at Princes Park to fight for his place.

Away from Princes Park, Dartford have gained just one point at Woking and have found their travels difficult, last picking up an away win at Hyde in March.

Altrincham are still getting to grips with their return to the Conference Premier picking up one win in their opening six matches. A home win against relegated League two side Bristol Rovers was sandwiched between defeats against Aldershot Town, Lincoln City and more recently Southport, Gateshead and Nuneaton Town.

Lee Sinnott has asked his strikers to be more clinical in front of goal, he told the Non League Paper: “We had a lot of possession but things petered out a bit in the final third today. If you’re not going to ask enough questions, you’re not going to get the answers that you want. We didn’t show that spark”.

The Altrincham boss is confident his side will move in the right direction, he commented: “This team is capable of scoring goals and we will get better as the season goes on. If we do that, we’ll get more points”. One player who has known where the goal is Damian Reeves, the striker has scored 115 goals in 170 appearances for Alty and has grabbed the attention of a number of league clubs in the past.

Dartford’s history against their hosts is all set in the eighties with two memorable F.A Trophy wins at the Quarter Final stages. Tony Burman will recall being part of the 1981/82 and the 1984 to 1986 squads. Darts leading appearance maker Steve Robinson will be remembered for the same era with players such as Peter Taylor and Andy Hessenthaler involved in the last meeting between the two sides in 1989.

The last trip to Moss Lane ended without a goal in the Gola League against a strong Altrincham side who finished fourth and won the F.A Trophy. On that day in September 1985, John Still was in charge of the Darts but by the time Alty visited Watling Street in February 1986 he had resigned.

Head to Head

Altrincham wins: 3 / Dartford wins: 4 / Draws: 1

Last Meetings
Dartford 1 Altrincham 0 – F.A Trophy Quarter Final – 11 March 1989

Club favourite Steve Robinson scored a 55th minute winner to put the Darts into the F.A Trophy semi final. Dartford playing a league below Altrincham ended the season as runners up in the Southern League. The clubs met at the same stage eight years earlier when Dartford ran out 3-1 winners at Watling Street.

Dartford 3 Altrincham 2 – Conference Premier – 1 February 1986

This may sound familiar, Dartford had little joy in the second successive Conference Premier campaign. Known as the Gola League the Darts were relegated but victory over Altrincham was one of the few highlights. At the time Dartford were managerless following John Still’s resignation eleven days earlier.

Altrincham 0 Dartford 0 – Conference Premier – 21 September 1985

In an experimental season where teams were awarded two points for a home win and three for an away win, Dartford drew 0-0 in the north west. The Robins went on to finish fourth, win the F.A Trophy for a second time in their history beating Runcorn  and reached the fourth round of the F.A Cup triumphing over Chorley, Blackpool, Birmingham City on the way to defeat against York City.

Previous Meetings (* F.A Trophy Quarter Final)

11.03.1989* Dartford 1 Altrincham 0
01.02.1986 Dartford 3 Altrincham 2
21.09.1985 Altrincham 0 Dartford 0
27.04.1985 Altrincham 2 Dartford 1
29.09.1984 Dartford 1 Altrincham 0
13.03.1982 Dartford 0 Altrincham 1
24.10.1981 Altrincham 2 Dartford 0
14.03.1981* Dartford 3 Altrincham 1

Stats

5 – Steven Gillespie received the quickest yellow card this season from coming on as a substitute. Gillespie had only been on the pich for 5 minutes and 43 seconds before being cautioned against Gateshead

13 – number of games since Dartford recordd back to back league wins

14 – Dartford and Altrincham have not won by more than a goal in their last 14 league matches

16 – Altrincham’s Steven Gillespie has had the most shots per goal this season

364 -Luke Daley’s goal agaisnt AFC Telford United ended Dartford’s goal drought of 364 minutes

Altrincham

Moss Lane Founded 1891 The Robins

Founder members of the Alliance Premier League, now the Conference Premier, Altrincham recorded back to back titles in the 1979/80 and 1980/81 campaigns. In the mid eighties Alty reached the fourth round of the F.A Cup  and in the same season triumphed for the second time in the F.A Trophy, adding to their 1977/78 success. The Greater Manchester club missed out on promotion to the Football League due to the voting system in place at the time. Spending 18 season’s in the top flight of non league, Altrincham spent one season in the Conference Premier between 1997 and 2005. They did return for six more campaigns, reprieved for two of them before finally falling back to the Conference North. Alty return via the playoffs after a three year absence.

altrinchamLast Season

Conference North: 3rd

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

FA Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Semi Final

Top Scorer: James Walshaw

Average Attendance: 833

A very consistent campaign earned Altrincham third spot and a shot of the playoffs. Winning their first four fixtures and started the season seven unbeaten put the Robins in the mood. Deservedly promoted, the Greater Manchester finished just four points behind champions AFC Telford United and a point shy of runners up North Ferriby United. A prolific strike force in James Walshaw and Damian Reeves who scored fifty times between them, Alty racked up 95 goals more than any other Conference North side. The Greater Manchester side would have won the title had they beaten any of the teams above them. In the playoffs their first obstacle was Hednesford Town, three points below them. A 2-2 draw away was followed by a 2-1 home win leading to a showdown with Guiseley. With the final all level after 90 minutes, substitute Greg Wilkinson became the hero scoring a last minute extra time winner.

The Manager – Lee Sinnott

Appointed in May 2011, Sinnott arrived at Moss Lane with managerial experience with Farsley Celtic, Bradford Park Avenue and Port Vale. An F.A Cup runner up as a player with Watford he also played for Bradford City, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield Town, Oldham Athletic and Scarborough. The former defender took Farsley Celtic out of the Northern Premier League Division One into the Conference Premier after achieving three promotions in four campaigns.  His first season at Moss Lane saw Altrincham finish eighth, whilst 2012-13 saw an improvement but Altrincham lost a semi-final play-off with Brackley Town. However, promotion was earned last term when the Robins lifted the Conference North Playoff trophy. Sinnott is yet to win a league title but has plenty of experience of playoff football with Watford as a player and now with Farsley Celtic and Altrincham as a manager.

The Summer

Normally when a top scorer is bagging goals teams above pay attention. On this occasion Sinnott loses the services of James Walshaw to a club lower, the striker joins Harrogate Town in the Conference North leaving Moss Lane due to personal reasons. How Altrincham cope remains to be seen but in comes winger Ryan Crowther from FC Halifax Town, the 25 year old made 13 league appearances last term for the Shaymen. Midfielder, Sean Williams moves from North Wales across the border to Greater Manchester having signed from Colwyn Bay. From the north east Dave Parton will protect the Robins goal signing from Newcastle Town.

Experienced defender Matt Doughty made 34 appearances for Altrincham last season and moves to Northern Premier Division One club Warrington Town.

Last Meetings vs The Darts

Dartford 1 Altrincham 0 – F.A Trophy Quarter Final – 11 March 1989

Club favourite Steve Robinson scored a 55th minute winner to put the Darts into the F.A Trophy semi final. Dartford playing a league below Altrincham ended the season as runners up in the Southern League. The clubs met at the same stage eight years earlier when Dartford ran out 3-1 winners at Watling Street.

Dartford 3 Altrincham 2 – Conference Premier – 1 February 1986

This may sound familiar, Dartford had little joy in the second successive Conference Premier campaign. Known as the Gola League the Darts were relegated but victory over Altrincham was one of the few highlights. At the time Dartford were managerless following John Still’s resignation eleven days earlier.

Altrincham 0 Dartford 0 – Conference Premier – 21 September 1985

In an experimental season where teams were awarded two points for a home win and three for an away win, Dartford drew 0-0 in the north west. The Robins went on to finish fourth, win the F.A Trophy for a second time in their history beating Runcorn  and reached the fourth round of the F.A Cup triumphing over Chorley, Blackpool, Birmingham City on the way to defeat against York City.

Next Meetings

Saturday 6 September 2014 at Moss Lane

Saturday 28 March 2015 at Princes Park

League Performance Last Ten Years

altrincham 10 yrsBest Performances

1st Conference Premier (1979/80 & 1980/81) F.A Cup 4th Round (1985/86) F.A Trophy Winners (1977/78 & 1985/86 )