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Dartford v Braintree Town

Dartford are determined to record their first win of the season this weekend when they host Braintree Town in the National South.

The Darts have got off to a disappointing start picking up two points in their opening five games and are currently second from bottom, their worst start to a league campaign in 41 years. After three matches Braintree Town were in a worse position with three straight defeats, however they visit Princes Park on the back of consecutive victories.

Last weekend, Dartford fell to a third consecutive away loss, their seventh in a row including the tail end of last term. Travelling to the Dorset coast to take on Southern Premier League South champions Weymouth, the Darts found themselves three goals down when Abdulai Baggie and Brett Williams’ brace put the hosts in command. Norman Wabo scored a consolation for the Darts and his first for the club since joining in the summer.

Lee Noble made his first appearance returning from injury and replaced the young Cameron Brodie. Luke Wanadio and Wabo were  replaced in the starting line up with Ryan Hayes and Andy Pugh. After suffering a dislocated shoulder in pre-season, Alex Flisher made his first appearance by coming off the bench, Luke Allen, Wanadio and Darren McQueen were out through injury. With Jordan Wynter suspended for the next three games, Ronnie Vint could make his first start this season against Braintree Town.

The central defender has had to show patience with Josh Hill partnering Tom Bonner the preferred pairing in the middle of defence. Joint manager, Adam Flanagan has praised the Vint and told www.kentonline.co.uk: “His attitude’s been great and he deserves an opportunity in the team now. He’ll be back in the team and hopefully his time on the sideline has made him hungry and motivated to want to come in and do really well”.

Flanagan also hinted that the Darts are likely to stick to formations they are familiar with, he added: “Playing a three at the back might be difficult because you’re looking at wing-backs and we’ve not got Jordan Wynter for three games so that might impact on that”, but he’s not ruled out a back three in the future, he continued: “It is something we might consider looking at but going into the games we’ve got coming up, you wouldn’t want to make huge formation changes. We’d rather stick to the formations we’ve played this year, which would be 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. We want Ron to come in and do well so to come into the team having waited patiently and then try to move formation, it might not play to his strengths”.

At least at home Dartford are unbeaten, however they are also searching for a first win repeating the home start of three years ago when they drew with Wealdstone then Gosport Borough. This time, the Darts drew 1-1 with St Albans City followed by the same score against Havant and Waterlooville.

Previous meetings give the Iron the upper-hand with Dartford last beating the Essex side seven years ago, the last victory at Princes Park came a year earlier. Just over a year ago, after the Darts narrowly missed out on the National South title on the final day of the season, the two sides met in a playoff semi-final.  Billy Crook, who signed for the Darts in January scored the winner to consign Dartford to another campaign in the National South, Braintree Town went on to win promotion. Crook was invited back to pre-season this summer and is currently playing for East Thurrock United.

In Tony Burman’s last season in charge both fixtures ended in a stalemate with the clash at Princes Park finishing 1-1. Andy Pugh opened the scoring after Tom Murphy’s good work on the wing, but Marcel Barrington equalised for the Iron in a game that saw Nathan Collier make his second debut for the Darts. The meeting at Cressing Road finished 2-2 after Dartford found themselves two down with goals from Karl Oliyide and Crook, but Murphy and Elliot Bradbrook struck in the second half.

During Dartford’s spell in the National League, the Iron became their nemesis as the Essex side recorded back to back doubles over the Darts. However, in Dartford’s first back in the top flight of non-league football they did pick up four points against their opponents including their last win against Braintree Town in 2012, goals scored by Tom Bonner and Jacob Erskine.

Braintree Town appointed Glen Driver as boss in the summer following relegation to the National South. The new manager has recruited young players including former Dart, Femi Akinwande. The striker had the opportunity in professional football with Colchester United making three appearances for the U’s. Akinwande has scored in his last two games, first in the 3-0 win at St Albans City and then in the 5-0 thrashing of Eastbourne Borough.

The Iron have scored eight times without reply in their previous two outings putting their three game losing streak well and truly behind them. In a slow start to their campaign, Driver’s side lost to Bath City, Billericay Town and Wealdstone before notching their maiden win at St Albans City and securing a comprehensive victory over Eastbourne Borough. Midfielder Adam Mills has netted three times so far and so has Tom Richardson, who signed in the summer from Isthmian Division One North side Aveley having scored 23 times last season.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Braintree Town wins: 6 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (LLDDL) Braintree Town (WWLLL)
Weymouth A 1-3 Eastbourne Borough H 5-0
Chelmsford City A 1-4 St Albans City A 3-0
Havant and Waterlooville H 1-1 Wealdstone H 0-4
St Albans City H 1-1 Billericay Town H 2-3
Wealdstone A 0-4 Bath  City A 0-2

Last Six Meetings

06.05.2018 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 1
23.12.2017 Dartford 1 Braintree Town 1
08.08.2017 Braintree Town 2 Dartford 2
01.01.2015 Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
26.12.2014 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
18.04.2014 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0

Stats

Dartford have failed to score in six of their last eight meetings against Braintree Town.

Braintree Town are unbeaten in their last eight games versus the Darts.

The last time Dartford picked up two points from the opening five games was in 1978. They drew with Worcester City, lost to Weymouth, drew with Bath City then were beaten by AP Leamington and Yeovil Town in the Southern Premier League.

On This Day

Dartford’s last game on 24 August was against Braintree Town six years ago. The Iron won 2-0 with goals from Alan Massey and Liam Enver-Marum in the National League. Charlie Sheringham was on the scoresheet nine years ago against his former side Bishops Stortford, the striker netted in a 3-0 victory, Danny Harris and Carl Rook also scored that day.

Braintree Town – Season Preview 2019/2020

Braintree Town

2018/19 Season

National League: 22nd

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: 4th Round

League Top Scorer: Mohamed Bettamer (6 goals) / Average Attendance: 678

Relegated from the National League after one season, Braintree Town return to the National South. The last time they were here they hit form at just the right moment to win the playoffs, beating Dartford along the way. This summer has seen some change in the dugout, Danny Searle resigned from the Iron after four months in charge to manage Aldershot Town, if it wasn’t for the Shots getting a reprieve he’d be up against his former side. Searle had stepped up to the Manager’s role following the departure of former Braintree Town boss Hakan Hayrettin in January and guided the club away from the foot of the table with six wins and a draw from 16 games, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Essex club in the National League. The Essex club appointed new boss Glenn Driver, who spent the summer rebuilding the squad.

Replacing England C international goalkeeper Ben Killip, who moved to Hartlepool United will be Michael Johnson who was signed from Southern Premier League side Hitchin Town. The new Iron boss quickly added centre forward Tom Richardson to his squad, who scored 23 goals for Aveley in the Isthmian Division One North last season. He also strengthened the defence with the signing of Jake Hutching from Isthmian Premier play-off runners up Merstham, the 23-year-old gained experience with Leyton Orient and Hearts of Midlothian before playing non-league football. Winger, Trey Charles can play on the left or right and has joined from Isthmian Division One South side Northwood, but he first impressed Driver whilst at Hitchin Town. In midfield Aaron Lamont is familiar with the National South having been in the Truro City squad that reached the play-offs a couple of years ago. The 23-year-old had a spell with Hampton and Richmond Borough last season before joining the Iron from Isthmian Premier side Kingstonian. Adeyinka Cole started out as a Blackpool youth team player before spells at Enfield Town, Romford and Grays Athletic, he will be part of the Irons midfield. Up front, Alfie Cerulli has graduated from the academy but has played first team football with Witham Town. Two years ago, Roman Michael-Percil was part of Brad Quinton’s side that won promotion, he returns to the Essex side after spells with St Albans City, East Thurrock United and Merstham. Last season Jermaine Osei was on dual registration with Wealdstone and Bedford and was signed by Braintree Town this summer. Also switching to Cressing Road is midfielder Sean Bonnett-Johnson from Potters Bar Town, Kyran Clements from Isthmian Division One North side Bury Town and Rob Harvey. Sergio Manesio has been brought in as a holding midfielder and spent some of his career in North America with Cleveland State University and Ottawa Fury FC and Harry Osbourne will add to the options a centre back.

The Manager – Glen Driver

Glen Driver was appointed Searle’s successor having spent the last three campaigns with Leiston. He guided the Suffolk club to a play-off place in the Isthmian Premier League before a switch to the Southern Premier League, where he resigned last term because Driver felt he had taken the club as far as he can. The new Iron boss also won Leiston their first ever Suffolk Premier Cup title when they beat Bury Town and is the Braintree Town’s fourth manager appointed in the last five summer breaks.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Braintree Town wins: 6 / Draws: 2

Last Six Meetings

06.05.2018 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 1
23.12.2017 Dartford 1 Braintree Town 1
08.08.2017 Braintree Town 2 Dartford 2
01.01.2015 Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
26.12.2014 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
18.04.2014 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0

Facts

Dartford have failed to score in six of their last eight meetings against Braintree Town

Braintree Town are unbeaten in their last eight games versus the Darts.

Last Ten Years

 

Next Meetings

Saturday 24 August 2019 at Princes Park

Friday 10 April 2020 at Cressing Road

Dartford v Braintree Town

Dartford will have to get over their final day heartbreak when they host Braintree Town, if they want to repeat their National South playoff triumph six years ago.

A last minute winning goal by champions Havant and Waterlooville snatched the title away from the Darts in the cruellest way. Dartford led Bognor Regis Town when Havant and Waterlooville let in an equaliser in their match against Concord Rangers, putting the Darts in pole position. However a last minute goal from former Dart, Jason Prior meant the Hawks claimed the title on the final day.

Despite the set back manager Tony Burman is proud of his players, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “We’re disappointed we haven’t won the league but I’m delighted with the effort everyone’s put in. We couldn’t have asked for more”.

Burman highlights the positives from the campaign which ended on an extraordinary winning streak, he commented: “That’s nine wins on the spin and I know it’s over 42 games but we’re equal on points, we’re the highest goalscorers in the league and our defensive record is third-best so what more can you ask?”, he added: “I’m absolutely delighted with what we’ve achieved so far this year and it’s not finished yet. We have to move on”.

Should Dartford move on and earn promotion through the National South playoffs, they will also break the current club record of ten consecutive wins in all competitions. The Darts last attempt at the playoffs ended in victory when they beat Welling United, this time the new format has given them a bye into the semi-final and home advantage if they make the final.

The Darts are on an incredible run of form which continued in their 2-1 away win at Bognor Regis Town. Danny Mills scored his fourth in as many games, all headers and Ronnie Vint hit a controlled volley for the second. Defensively Dartford have also improved with six clean sheets in the last eight games and have won their last four home matches.

Braintree Town made the playoff on the final day hitting Gloucester City with three second half goals. The win stretched their unbeaten run to six in the league with five victories and a draw.

On reaching the end of season finale manager, Brad Quinton said: “It’s a fantastic season for us bearing in mind when I arrived last summer we had no players and no team,” he explained. “But, despite one or two setbacks en route, all the players have worked hard and we’ve achieved our goal of getting into the playoffs – which we are all eagerly looking forward to”.

In the first set of playoff matches played on Wednesday night both fixtures ended up in extra time. Braintree Town couldn’t break the deadlock against Hemel Hempstead Town after 90 minutes, whilst Hampton and Richmond Borough and Truro City were level at 1-1. The Iron did manage to put the ball in the back of the Hemel Hempstead Town net in the final minute of extra time, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside. With the match still goalless after 120 minutes, Braintree Town went the distance and won 3-2 on penalties. Meanwhile, Hampton and Richmond Borough didn’t need spot kicks sealing a 3-1 extra time win to earn a semi-final clash away to Chelmsford City.

When Dartford last played Braintree Town in December the two sides were joint top of the National South with the Darts leading on goal difference. The Darts were held at Princes Park in the final home game of 2017, Andy Pugh scored against the run of play after 17 minutes thanks to Tom Murphy’s surging run and assist. The Iron equalised in the second half when Ricky Gabriel crossed for Marcel Barrington to score from close range. Nathan Collier made his first start since returning to Dartford.

The previous clash between the two was in August and Dartford had to come from two goals down. The Darts had to show their fighting spirit to earn a 2-2 draw. Braintree Town went in at half-time in the driving seat with goals from Karl Oliyide and Billy Crook. In the second half, Lee Noble’s header back to Tom Murphy pulled a goal back, but the goalscorer was forced off through injury. The equaliser came from captain Elliot Bradbrook who headed home after Tom Bonner nodded the ball back across goal from a corner. On that evening, Warren Mfula made his first start and Richard Sho-Silva his debut.

It’s been almost six years since Dartford beat Braintree Town when Tom Bonner and Jacob Erskine scored the only two goals of the game. Since then, the Darts went five games without scoring against the Iron, drawing one then losing four in a row. The pair of draws this season has stopped the poor run against the Essex club and now the Darts have to go one better.

Head to Head
Braintree Town wins: 6 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 4

Last six league games

Dartford (WWWWWW) Braintree Town (WDWWWW)
Bognor Regis Town A 1-2 Gloucester City H 3-0
Bath City H 2-0 Oxford City H 0-0
East Thurrock United A 1-0 Truro City A 2-1
Eastbourne Borough A 1-0 Whitehawk H 4-3
Gloucester City A 1-0 Concord Rangers H 2-1
Weston-super-Mare H 3-1 Hungerford Town A 1-0

Previous Six Meetings

23.12.2017 Dartford 1 Braintree Town 1
08.08.2017 Braintree Town 2 Dartford 2
01.01.2015 Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
26.12.2014 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
18.04.2014 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0
24.08.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2

Stats
Elliot Bradbrook will make his 400th start for the Darts if selected for the semi-final. The Dartford captain has scored 133 goals and made an additional 11 substitute appearances.

Another player to hit the 400 mark will be Danny Harris, but that will be total appearances (302 starts and 97 substitute appearances), the midfielder turned full back has scored 75 goals for the club.

In his second spell with the Darts, Nathan Collier has now made 49 substitute appearances and is one away from a half century.

The Darts have won nine league games in a row and are one win short of equalling their club record of consecutive victories in all competitions.

Dartford have won their last five home games, one more victory will see the Darts set their best winning streak at home this season.

Braintree Town are unbeaten in seven matches against Dartford stretching back to 2013.

On This Day
Dartford took a one goal lead going into the National South semi-final playoff second leg against Basingstoke Town. Lee Noble’s long range effort gave the Darts an advantage four days before the return match at Princes Park on 6 May 2012. Dartford went in front but it took until 56 minutes, Adam Green’s free-kick was put in the mixer for Elliot Bradbrook to rise the highest, putting the Darts 2-0 up on aggregate. Basingstoke Town equalised on the day with Shaun McAuley sweeping a shot beyond Louis Wells. The Darts restored the two goal aggregate lead when Danny Harris bundled the ball over the line from close range, sending the hosts through to the final where they beat Welling United to clinch promotion.

National South Playoff Preview

Six clubs will compete in the new National South playoff format aiming to earn a place in the top flight of non league. Pure DFC takes a look at the contenders in this season’s showdown and the build up to the final on Sunday 13th May.

Dartford

The Darts will need to get over their last minute heartbreak quickly, which denied them the championship on goal difference. For a few minutes Dartford were up until champions Havant and Waterlooville cruelly snatched the trophy away with a last minute winner against Concord Rangers. On a positive note, Dartford’s last foray in the National South playoffs ended in promotion six years ago, they have home advantage and they are on the verge of a record breaking run. The Darts ended the campaign with a nine game winning streak and if they win the playoffs will break their club record on ten victories in a row. Finishing the league’s top scorers thanks to the attacking prowess in the early parts of the campaign, the Darts have been solid at the back recently too with six clean sheets in the last eight games.

Player to watch – Alfie Pavey

The National South’s Player of the Year didn’t know where his career was going in the summer. Pavey joined Welling United, but that failed to work out. The 22 year old was picked up by Tony Burman a couple of weeks into the campaign and 23 goals later he finished the second highest goalscorer in the league.

Record vs playoff contenders (W4, D3, L3, F18 A14)

Dartford will be pleased to have avoided Chelmsford City in the semi-final considering the Clarets did the double over the Darts. The Essex club also beat Dartford in last season’s playoff semi-final. At home Dartford took ten points off their playoff rivals out of 15 (W3, D1, L1).

Next fixture

The Darts will be at home in the semi-final on 6th May 2018 against the winners of the Hemel Hempstead Town versus Braintree Town match.

Chelmsford City

Starting the campaign as joint favourites with Dartford, last season’s playoff runners up have been eyeing up the National League for some time now. Since their return to the National South ten years ago, the Clarets have reached the playoffs five times losing two finals, one of those against Hampton and Richmond Borough in 2009 and three semi-finals. Along with St Albans City, the Essex club set the early season pace, but a cluster of draws in September and lack of form in the New Year left Chelmsford City playing catch up. Rod Stringer’s side are the form team heading into the end of season lottery having won seven out of the last eight league matches. With an identical home and away record the Clarets will always be tough opponents whoever they come up against.

Player to watch – Chris Dickson

A former Charlton Athletic striker who made his way through non league with Erith and Belvedere then Dulwich Hamlet. Dickson’s experience could be vital in the playoffs, the 33 year old managed to score 14 times this term for the Clarets.

Record vs playoff contenders (W3, D4, L3, F15, A16)

Chelmsford City will be relishing a chance to make up for their final defeat a year ago. They will have home advantage in the semi-final, only Hampton and Richmond Borough beat then on their own patch. The only team they will face away will be Dartford, if these two make the final and they did the double over the Darts.

Next fixture

The Clarets will be at home in the semi-final on 6th May 2018 against the winners of the Hampton and Richmond Borough versus Truro City match.

Hampton and Richmond Borough

The Beavers were title contenders up until Dartford practically ruled them out on a muddy Good Friday. A last-minute Alfie Pavey goal opened up a gap between the Darts and two draws and a defeat later it was game over. However, they have recovered lately winning two in a row before drawing their final game with Truro City. The Beavers have playoff experience from last season despite finishing seventh, losing to eventual winners Ebbsfleet United in the semi-final. The Middlesex club were only promoted to the National South two years ago as Isthmian Premier League champions and have performed consistently since then. Between the final game of August through to the end of January the Beavers went 21 games unbeaten, including an eight-match winning streak. Alan Dowson’s men will be a force at home where they have lost just once this term.

Player to watch – Max Kretzschmar

A goalscoring midfielder and dead ball specialist, Max Kretzschmar started his career at Wycombe Wanderers where he spent three years before joining Woking. The 24 year old joined Hampton and Richmond Borough in the summer and a sound return of 14 goals from midfield has helped the Beavers finish fourth in the National South.

Record vs playoff contenders (W1, D6, L3, F9, A11)

The Beavers seem to keep games tight against those in the playoff places, but they have managed just one win against Chelmsford City away. Hampton and Richmond Borough drew all five home matches versus teams in the playoffs and whether they win or lose the margin has just been by one.

Next fixture

The Beavers play their first match on Wednesday 2nd May at home to Truro City. If Hampton and Richmond win then they will face Chelmsford City away in the semi-final on Sunday 6th May.

Hemel Hempstead Town

It took until October for Hemel Hempstead Town to get going, the Tudors couldn’t string a sequence together for the first two months and then they went 12 games unbeaten. At one point they topped the table, but that was a very brief moment. The Tudors have been on a solid run during the final stretch of the campaign, the loss against Dartford their only loss in 12 attempts before a final day defeat at Weston-super-Mare. Hemel Hempstead Town have collected the second most points at home this term, seven less than the Darts. Dean Brennan took the Hertfordshire club up four years ago winning the Southern Premier League in style. This season the Tudors have reached a new milestone in setting their highest ever league finish and will take part in the National South playoffs for the first time.

Player to watch – Jordan Parkes

The Tudors seem to be a good fit for Jordan Parkes, now in his second spell for the club. The attacking midfielder scored 42 times in 112 appearances between 2012-2015 before joining Ebbsfleet United. It didn’t quite work out for the 28 year old at Stonebridge Road so he returned to Hemel Hempstead Town where his scoring a goal every other game.

Record vs playoff contenders (W4, D3, L3, F19, A19) 

Hemel Hempstead Town will be pleased to play Braintree Town who they beat twice, they will be keen to avoid Dartford who inflicted two defeats on them. The Tudors won three at home and were involved in some high scoring matches including a 4-3 victory over Braintree Town and a pair of 3-3 draws against Chelmsford City and Truro City respectively.

Next fixture

The Tudors play their first match on Wednesday 2nd May at home to Braintree Town. If Hemel Hempstead Town win then they will face Dartford away in the semi-final on Sunday 6th May.

Braintree Town

Set the task of rebuilding in the summer, Braintree Town boss Brad Quinton hasn’t done a bad job by getting the Iron into the top seven with a final day 3-0 victory versus Gloucester City. The Essex club were relegated last term from the National League, a stark contrast to the campaign before when they lost to Grimsby Town in the playoff semi-final. Braintree Town spent six seasons in the National League often punching above their weight and now they have a shot of returning to the top non-league division after one season. The Iron have been within a shout of promotion all campaign by being amongst the early pace setters before the New Year slump in January and February. Quinton’s side are now another one of the playoff contenders hitting form at the right time winning five of their last six games.

Player to watch – Billy Crook

The Supporters Player of the Year adds to his accolades he won at Enfield Town the season before, whilst under manager Brad Quinton. Another goalscoring midfielder to feature in this season’s playoffs, Billy Crook started as youngster at Crystal Palace and was part of the Glenn Hoddle Academy in Spain.

Record vs playoff contenders (W2, D6, L2, F17, A17)

The Iron drew all four games against the highest ranked teams Dartford and Chelmsford City, they lost twice to their next opponents Hemel Hempstead Town and beat Hampton and Richmond Borough at home and Truro City away. Each game has had no more than a one goal winning margin so expect a tough ride against the Iron.

Next fixture

The Iron play their first match on Wednesday 2nd May at away to Hemel Hempstead Town. If Braintree Town win then they will face Dartford away in the semi-final on Sunday 6th May.

Truro City

The White Tigers had to wait to the final day of the season to book their place in the top seven. A draw with Hampton and Richmond Borough coupled with St Albans City’s defeat got them over the line. It will be the third time in four years the Cornwall club has reached the playoffs, their last attempt to win promotion to the National League ended in a semi-final loss to eventual winners Maidstone United. The campaign before their return to the National South, the White Tigers went up through the playoffs in 2015 from the Southern League they beat St Neots Town 1-0 in the final. Since Lee Hodges returned has manager, Truro City have got back to the level of expectancy. This term has been a vast improvement to the relegation threatened side of last season, however their form in April tailed off but the White Tigers managed to hang on.

Player to watch – Cody Cooke

Popular amongst the fans and players, last season’s Player of the Year top scored for the White Tigers this term. Cody Cooke joined the Cornwall club in 2010 so has been through the ups and downs with Truro City. The 34 year old knows where the goal is and gives his side experience.

Record vs playoff contenders (W3, D4, L3, F15, A16)

Truro City have a better home record than away which is hardly surprising considering the amount of travelling needed. The problem then is that Truro City, the lowest ranked team will have to play their matches away from Treyew Road. So with that in mind they did manage to beat Hemel Hempstead Town on their travels, picked up two draws and lost to the two highest ranked clubs.

Next fixture

The White Tigers play their first match on Wednesday 2nd May at away to Hampton and Richmond Borough. If Truro City win then they will face Chelmsford City away in the semi-final on Sunday 6th May.

 

Dartford v Braintree Town

The top two go head to head at Princes Park this weekend as the Darts host second place Braintree Town.

Joint leaders on points Dartford have a superior goal difference and only victory will guarantee another weekend at the top of the National South. Braintree Town are level on points but so too are Hampton and Richmond Borough, in fact the top seven are separated by just one win.

Dartford met the Iron earlier in the season back in August. After an uninspiring opening day, the Darts played their first away match of the campaign against the Essex club, who are now looking to bounce back to the National League after relegation last term.

The Darts had to show their fighting spirit over four months ago, to earn a draw from 2-0 down. Braintree Town went in at half-time in the driving seat with goals from Karl Oliyide and Billy Crook. In the second half, Lee Noble’s header back to Tom Murphy pulled a goal back, but the goalscorer was forced off through injury. The equaliser came from captain Elliot Bradbrook who headed home after Tom Bonner nodded the ball back across goal from a corner. On that evening, Warren Mfula made his first start and Richard Sho-Silva his debut.

It’s been over five years since Dartford beat Braintree Town when Tom Bonner and Jacob Erskine scored the only two goals of the game. Since then, the Darts failed to score in the last five meetings against the Iron before the 2-2 draw this season. Dartford’s last two campaigns in the National League saw Braintree Town complete the double against the Darts on both occasions.

Tony Burman will be hoping his side can show the mentality needed by his players to beat a title challenger. In the last league fixture, Dartford lost 1-0 away to lowly Hungerford Town but an improved performance in the F.A Trophy earned them a replay against National League side Boreham Wood.

The replay on Tuesday night turned out to be a long evening for the Darts as they went out of the F.A Trophy on penalties.  A dramatic injury time equaliser from Shaun Jeffers sent the replay into extra time with Dartford agonisingly on the verge of progressing to the second round. The Darts had earlier gone in front when Ryan Hayes curled in the opening goal six minutes into the second half. With just under twenty minutes remaining, Woods top scorer Bruno Andrade levelled the tie. However, minutes later Mills scored his first for the Darts to regain the lead. Shaun Jeffers popped up in stoppage time to keep Boreham Wood in the F.A Trophy and send the match into extra time.

No goals in the extra thirty minutes meant Dartford had to deal with the pressure of spot kicks. Unfortunately it was all too much despite Elliot Bradbrook scoring the first. Tom Murphy, Lyle Della-Verde and Alfie Pavey all missed from 12 yards whilst the hosts scored all their attempts to win 3-1 on penalties.

Nathan Collier could make his first start since returning to the Darts, he has missed the last two matches because he was cup tied. Alex Brown will serve his one match suspension for the red card he received in the F.A Trophy draw with Boreham Wood.

Braintree Town also played their replay on Tuesday night against Brackley Town of the National North, who they drew with 0-0 on the weekend. Like Dartford’s match, the sides still couldn’t break the deadlock going in at half time goalless. Then six minutes into the second half Brackley Town’s Matt Lowe gave the hosts the lead and with just over ten minutes left, Shane Byrne made it 2-0 to knock out the Iron in the first round.

The Irons have been steady all season and expiring defeat just once in their first nine games gave Brad Quinton’s side some foundations to build on. In that time, they won five, drew three and lost once. Whilst the last month has been patchy in form for Braintree Town, like the Darts they have failed to break away from the chasing pack but have put themselves well in contention of promotion.

In their last league outing the Iron beat Eastbourne Borough at home 3-2. Twice the Essex club had to come from behind, Phil Roberts netted his thirteenth and fourteenth of the season to equalise on both occasions, the striker is currently the top scorer in the National South. The winner came from the penalty spot which Bill Crook converted from 12 yards.

Head to Head
Braintree Town wins: 6 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Dartford (LWDWLW) Braintree Town (WLDLWW)
Hungerford Town A 0-1 Eastbourne Borough H 3-2
Poole Town A 1-0 Wealdstone A 1-3
Wealdstone H 3-3 Truro City H 1-1
Gloucester City H 4-1 Weston-super-Mare H 0-1
Truro City A 1-3 Poole Town A 3-0
St Albans City H 2-1 Bognor Regis Town H 3-0

Previous Meetings

08.08.2017 Braintree Town 2 Dartford 2
01.01.2015 Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
26.12.2014 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
18.04.2014 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0
24.08.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
11.04.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 0

Stats
Dartford have yet to play any of the current top seven at home this season, on the road against those same teams the Darts have picked up six points from 18.

In contrast Braintree Town have yet to beat a top half team on the road and have conceded 12 goals in three matches against those they have played.

The Darts are the top scorers in the division with 43 goals, Braintree Town are second with 42 goals.

At the half way stage of the season Dartford games have averaged 3.14 goals a game against a league average of 3.01.

On Tuesday night, Ronnie Vint made his 100th appearance in a Darts shirt, his 94th start for the club.

On This Day
Dartford have drawn four of their last five games on 23 December with the most recent coming eleven years ago in the Isthmian Division One South. A 2-2 away draw with Walton casuals was secured with goals by Ryan Hayes and Jay May. Three of those matches, all away from home have ended in 1-1, Histon in 2000 (Southern League Division One East), Hastings United in 1978 and Telford United in 1972 (both Southern Premier League). In the middle of those fixtures the Darts beat Merthyr Tydfil 4-2 at home in a F.A Trophy first round replay back in 1986.

Braintree Town v Dartford

Dartford’s first away game of the National South campaign takes place on Tuesday night when they travel to Braintree Town.

The Darts haven’t had the best of times against the Irons, but a first victory in five years against their opponents will earn Dartford their first win of the season.

Just over two and half years ago was the last time the Darts visited Cressing Road, and the end result was disappointing as the hosts ran out 3-0 winners. The New Years Day fixture was all square with twelve minutes remaining until Chez Isaac’s close range effort broke the deadlock. Dartford collapsed and the National League fixture ended with more goals scored by Simeon Akinola and a stoppage time third by Dan Sparkes. Braintree Town also beat the Darts on Boxing Day to complete a festive double. Tony Burman’s side have lost their last four clashes with the Essex side failing to score on each occasion.

On the opening day of this campaign, Dartford secured their first point with a 0-0 draw at home to last season’s surprise package Hungerford Town. However, manager Tony Burman will know that his side will have to vastly improve if they want to live up to the favourites tag given to them by the bookies. The lack of attacking options showed as the Darts couldn’t find the quality in the final third.

Before a ball had been kicked the injury list included strikers Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Andy Pugh, so Danny Harris started up front with Tom Murphy instead of summer signing Warren Mfula. Lyle Della-Verde made his debut for the club and the returning Mark Onyemah was also selected. Mfula had to wait until early on in the second half to make his first appearance replacing Ronnie Vint, who unfortunately joins the injury list. Alfie Cue made an impression with his long throw when he entered the action with 12 minutes to go, the academy graduate made his maiden first team appearance.

Richard Sho-Silva, who has been training with the Darts over the summer has signed for the club. the 25 year old defender impressed in pre-season and has experience with Kidderminster Harriers and Stourbridge. Sho-Silva could well come into the squad as a replacement for Vint, who is out for two to three weeks with ligament damage on his ankle.

In contrast Braintree Town manager Brad Quinton won his first game in charge of the club as the Iron returned to life in the National South. Saturday’s win will provide relief to Braintree Town after winning just once in their final eight National League fixtures, that saw them relegated on the final day to end a five year spell at the top of non-league.

The Essex club, opened their new campaign with a trip to Eastbourne Borough at Priory Lane. The hosts raced into a two goal lead after just twenty minutes through goals by Yemi Odubade and Nathaniel Pinney. Importantly, Scott Shulton started the fightback and when Phil Roberts then Bill Crook scored, Braintree Town completed the come back to win 3-2.

Over the summer there has been plenty of change for the Iron with Quinton raiding his former club Enfield Town. Nathan McDonald, Jonathan Muleba, Scott Schulton, Samir Bihmoutine, Ricky Gabriel, Nigel Neita and Connor Bolton all joined from the Middlesex club. Other signings included Roman Michael-Percil from Metropolitan Police, George Craddock from East Thurrock United and Marc Okoye from Dulwich Hamlet.

Head to Head

Braintree Town wins: 6 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Last Meeting at Cressing Road

1st January 2015 – Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0 – attendance 934

Goalscorers: Isaac (78), Akinola (80), Sparkes (90+5)

Dartford line-up: Ibrahim, Burns, Mitchel-King, McAuley, Bender, Noble, Sweeney, E Bradbrook, Daley, T Bradbrook, Crawford (subs used: Hayes, Harris)

Previous Meetings

01.01.2015 Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
26.12.2014 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
18.04.2014 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0
24.08.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
11.04.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 0
25.09.2012 Braintree Town 0 Dartford 2

Stats

Braintree Town have kept five consecutive clean sheets against the Darts, the last time the Irons defence was breached by a Dartford player was in 2012 by Jacob Erskine.

Tom Bonner also scored in that 2-0 win, since then the defender has moved to Cambridge United to Dover Athletic and on to Ebbsfleet United before coming back to the Darts.

Dartford failed to score on the opening day for only the second time in the last nine years. Hemel Hempstead Town shut out the Darts in 2015 and Hendon in 2008.

Unable to contribute to the National South goals scored tally of 33 on matchday one, Dartford were one of six teams that drew a blank on the weekend.

On This Day

Two years ago, Dartford were unexpectedly beaten by newly promoted Hemel Hempstead Town at Vauxhall Road. The Tudors, just promoted to the National South hosted the Darts, who had been relegated from the National League. The opening day ended in disappointment for Dartford as Oliver Hawkins powered a header beyond Deren Ibrahim for the decisive goal.

National League South Season Preview 2017/18 – Part I

 Bath City | Bognor Regis Town | Braintree Town | Chelmsford City

Bath City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Twerton Park

The Romans achieved their highest finish in three years last term to finish in the top ten. Decent form from mid-November to mid-February helped the cause as Bath City tasted league defeat just once in that period. This season will mark the Romans sixth consecutive campaign in the National South as they push for a playoff place and a hopeful return to the National League, which they exited five years ago.

Last Season

National South: 9th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Andy Watkins (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 612 (8th in league / 59th in non-league)

The Manager – Gary Owers

Former Sunderland, Bristol City and Notts County midfielder last managed Bath City over ten years ago in the Southern Premier League. The 47 year old, went on to manage Forest Green Rovers and Weston-Super-Mare prior assistant manager roles at Aldershot Town, Plymouth Argyle and his hometown club Gateshead. Owers enjoyed his first full campaign last season and this time is aiming for the top five. The Romans boss committed to the club this summer for the next two years and hopes the community buy out off the field will reap its rewards.

The Summer

Shaun McClousky returns to his parent club Bristol City, which allows Jamie Lucas from Bristol Rovers and Nat Jarvis from Hungerford Town to try and replace his goals. Owers has opted for experience at the back signing Grenadian international Anthony Straker from Aldershot Town and Darren Jones from Newport County, adding a little youthfulness in the defence will be Miles Welch-Hayes from Oxford United. Top scorer Andy Watkins was retained after picking up last season’s Player of the Year for the Romans. Turning his loan spell last season to a permanent deal, Marvin Morgan signs from Havant and Waterlooville. Triallists, Matt Cafer and Ryan Case impressed enough in pre-season to earn deals.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 29 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Previous Meetings

04.03.2017 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
22.10.2016 Bath City 0 Dartford 1
16.01.2016 Dartford 4 Bath City 1
05.09.2015 Bath City 0 Dartford 0
07.04.1990 Dartford 1 Bath City 0
09.09.1989 Bath City 0 Dartford 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 14 October 2017 at Twerton Park

Saturday 21 April 2018 at Princes Park

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Bognor Regis Town

Founded: 1883 / Ground: Nyewood Lane

Isthmian Premier League runners up two years in a row, the Rocks return to the National South after an eight year absence. In that time the sank to the Isthmian Division One South where again they finished second in consecutive seasons, going up in the playoffs. The Sussex club managed to overcome a strong Dulwich Hamlet side in April’s playoff final and deservedly earned promotion.

Last Season

Isthmian Premier: 2nd

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi Final

League Top Scorer: James Fraser (22 goals)

Average Attendance: 550 (5th in league / 64th in non-league)

The Manager – Vacant

The search for a new boss took some time only for the hard work to be undone. Sami El-Abd agreed to combine the manager’s post with a full time coaching role at Brighton and Hove Albion, only for the defender to step down. General Manager, Jack Pearce praised El-Abd’s honesty and believes any disruptions won’t be a problem for the Rocks.

The Summer

Bognor Regis Town suffered a double blow, after losing manager Jamie Howell, top scorer James Fraser departed Nyewood Lane for Worthing. Corey Heath, once a youth team player with the Rocks will now be part of the senior squad. Goalkeeper, Dan Lincoln and midfield trio Joe Lea, Pat Suraci and Tommy Scutt have all signed on but attracting new players has proved challenging without a manager for most of the summer.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Bognor Regis Town wins: 1 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings

24.04.2010 Bognor Regis Town 0 Dartford 2
07.11.2009 Dartford 3 Bognor Regis Town 3
02.05.1981 Dartford 1 Bognor Regis Town 1
13.12.1980 Bognor Regis Town 2 Dartford 2
01.05.1980 Bognor Regis Town 2 Dartford 0
10.11.1979 Dartford 2 Bognor Regis Town 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 7 October 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 28 April 2018 at Nyewood Lane

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Braintree Town

Founded: 1898 / Ground: Cressing Road

The Irons six year stay amongst the elite of non league ended in relegation last season. In that time the Essex club kept defying the odds starting with mid-table finishes and in 2014 were three points from a playoff spot. A couple of years later, Braintree Town achieved their best ever campaign finishing third, losing the playoff semi final against Grimsby Town. Perhaps victims of their own success, the Iron never recovered and were relegated last term on the final day. At least they reached the F.A cup second round for the first time.

Last Season

National League: 22nd

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Michael Cheek (17 goals)

Average Attendance: 725 (22nd in league / 44th in non-league)

The Manager – Brad Quinton

The club’s record appearance maker after twelve successful seasons with the Iron, Brad Quinton re-joins the Essex club to take charge. Winner of the Isthmian Premier and National South as a player with Braintree Town, he has had a lot of rebuilding to do and his new look squad will be hoping to consolidate in the National South. Quinton has set his sights on the top half of the table by the festive period and then see where he can take them from there. Being a crowd favourite on the pitch may well help him in the dug out.

The Summer

The Irons have signed a teams worth of new players alone including former Dartford striker George Sykes from Canvey Island. Quinton also raided resources at Enfield Town, his former club to work with players he knows and trusts. Nathan McDonald, Jonathan Muleba, Scott Schulton, Samir Bihmoutine, Ricky Gabriel, Nigel Neita and Connor Bolton all join from the Middlesex club. Xavier Vidal has been brought in from Mertsham, Roman Michael-Percil from Metropolitan Police, George Craddock from East Thurrock United and Marc Okoye from Dulwich Hamlet.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Braintree Town wins: 6 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

01.01.2015 Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
26.12.2014 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
18.04.2014 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0
24.08.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
11.04.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 0
25.09.2012 Braintree Town 0 Dartford 2

Next Meetings

Tuesday 8 August 2017 at Cressing Road

Saturday 23 December 2018 at Princes Park

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Chelmsford City

Founded: 1878 / Ground: Melbourne Stadium

A solid reliable outfit last season, the Clarets failed at the final hurdle in the playoffs, this time against ten men Ebbsfleet United. Chelmsford City will be aiming for promotion after their fourth place finish last term was a vast improvement on the three campaigns before. Like local rivals Braintree Town, the Clarets have been busy in the summer transfer window and have overhauled their squad in an attempt to mount a challenge.

Last Season

National South: 4th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Shaun Jeffers (21 goals)

Average Attendance: 912 (4th in league / 38th in non-league)

The Manager – Rod Stringer

The Chelmsford City boss ensured the club finished in their best league position since 2011. Stringer’s reputation has been built on two league titles, first with Aveley’s triumph in the Isthmian League Division One North then with Braintree Town in the National South. He will come up against his former club Braintree Town this season after controversially walking away. Last summer he made the move back to Essex from Bishop’s Stortford and has the Clarets believing again.

The Summer

Capitalising on players leaving rivals Braintree Town, the former Irons boss Rod Stringer grabbed the opportunity by signing former Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur forward Lee Barnard. Ex AFC Wimbledon goalkeeper Sam Beasant joins from the Clarets rivals as does Harry Lee. Chelmsford City are amongst the busiest teams in the transfer window capturing the likes of Michael West and Elliott Omozusi from Whitehawk, Craig Braham-Barrett from Welling United and former Dartford loanee Jim Stevenson from Dover Athletic. Former Peterborough United, Millwall and Leyton Orient striker, Shaun Batt was signed from Barnet with the help of the Clarets ’12th man’ fund. Scott Davies (Oxford City), Paul Rodgers (Bishop’s Stortford), Kudus Oyenuga (Greenock Morton), Matt Johnson (Billericay Town) and Aaron Greene (Bishop’s Stortford) have also signed for the Clarets. Former Darts, Max Cornhill and Josh Hill have left the club.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 36 / Chelmsford City wins: 53 / Draws: 91

Previous Meetings

07.05.2017 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 2
03.05.2017 Chelmsford City 0 Dartford 0
18.02.2017 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1
14.01.2017 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1
17.09.2016 Chelmsford City 2 Dartford 3
13.08.2016 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 21 October 2017 at Melbourne Stadium

Saturday 10 February 2018 at Princes Park

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Braintree Town v Dartford

Dartford begin the New Year knowing a win at Braintree Town tomorrow will be crucial in their bid for Conference Premier survival.

In which turns out to be a back to back fixture against the Iron, the two sides meet for the second time in a week. On Boxing Day an uninspiring first half left the Darts one down early on when Tom Bender handled in his own box. Charlie Strutton scored the penalty to put Braintree Town in front. The match was settled with fifteen minutes to go, Simeon Akinola found the back of the net by diverting Chez Isaac’s corner beyond Jason Brown. Dartford have now failed to score against Braintree Town in their last four attempts.

In an important period which may shape Dartford’s season, Tony Burman was left disappointed with his side failing to breach the Braintree Town defence and felt the Iron had come out on top psychologically. The Darts boss told kentonline.co.uk:  “They’re a difficult team to play against, Braintree, and when they got their noses in front with the penalty, it’s a good start for them. They’re difficult to break down at 0-0 and they’re more difficult to break down at 1-0”, he added: “Braintree are difficult to play against and I think they’ve got into our minds a little bit, which I did warn all the players about before the game – in respect of trying to slow the game down and disrupt your pattern a little bit”.

The Darts fell seven points adrift from safety on Sunday putting pressure on Tony Burman’s side. Due to play fellow struggler’s Alfreton Town on the weekend the match was postponed allowing Southport to catch up on games. The Merseyside outfit beat Dartford’s next opponents Kidderminster Harriers 1-0 to move themselves seven points clear of the Darts.

Despite the deficit faced by Dartford, Burman remains determined and knows the club need to pick up three points, he commented: “I still feel we’ve got a better squad this year but we’ve got to start winning games. It’s as simple as that”, he continued: “It hasn’t worked out the way we were expecting and the last thing I wanted was for us to be in the position we’re in. But we will fight to get out of it”.

After beating the Darts at Princes Park, Braintree Town suffered a blow in their last home match. On the back of three succesive competitive wins the run ended in a 5-1 defeat to Eastleigh. At half time the match was all square, the visitors taking the lead through Craig Stanley and Mitch Brundle netting a penalty to equalise. A second half James Constable hat trick plus a Jack Midson header made sure of a disappointing day for Alan Devonshire’s men. Although the Iron conceded five Devonshire felt the score line was harsh on his side, he spoke to www.braintreetownfc.org.uk and said: “I feel for them because 5-1 is like a hammering and it wasn’t like that. We just dust ourselves off and look forward to Dartford here on Thursday”.

Dartford last visited Cressing Road in April at the tail end of last season. With the Darts fighting the drop the hosts were eyeing up a playoff place. Kenny Davis scored the winner for Braintree Town mid way through the first half, the midfielder’s 18 yard strike was enough to beat Alan Julian who had an outstanding performance. Lee Noble came close twice but the 1-0 defeat left Burman claiming his side were unlucky not to take some decent opportunities.

The Darts did however beat the Iron in the previous campaign at Cressing Road. This time it was Dartford eyeing up the playoff spots. Ryan Hayes’ free kick was finished by Tom Bonner and Jacob Erskine made it 2-0 before half time, which is how the game ended. In Briantree Town’s Conference South winning season, the Darts earned a 1-1 away draw after conceding an early own goal. Jon Main equalised before half time but the sides couldn’t be separated.

Team News

Calum Driver missed the Boxing Day defeat at home to Braintree Town after picking up an injury against Wrexham. Goalkeeper Jason Brown was a doubt after suffering an injury against Braintree Town on Boxing Dayt. Lee Burns and Andy Pugh are still waiting to return to action after longer term injuries.

Head to Head

Braintree Town wins: 5 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Braintree Town (LWWLLW) Dartford (LWLLLL)
Eastleigh  H  1-5 Braintree Town  H  0-2
Dartford  A  2-0 Wrexham  A  3-1
Torquay United  H  2-0 Eastleigh  A  0-2
Woking  A  0-1 Forest Green Rovers  A  1-2
Welling United  H  0-1 Chester  H  2-4
AFC Telford United  A  3-1 Lincoln City  A  0-1

Last Meeting at Cressing Road

18 April 2014 – Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0 – Att: 1200

Goalscorers: Davis (24)

Braintree Town Lineup: Hamman, Peters, Habergham, Paine, Wells, Massey, Mulley, Isaac, Marks, Davis, Sparkes (subs used: Cox, Daley)

Dartford Lineup: Julian, Sterling, Mitchel-King, McAuley, Burns, Stevenson, Cornhill, Harris, Collier, Noble, Suarez (subs used: Bradbrook, Swallow)

Match Stats

btfc v dfc stats

 

Previous Meetings (* – Friendly / ** – F.A Trophy)

26.12.2014 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
18.04.2014 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0
24.08.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
11.04.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 0
25.09.2012 Braintree Town 0 Dartford 2
12.02.2011 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 1
01.02.2011 Dartford 1 Braintree Town 0
20.07.2002* Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
04.11.2001** Dartford 0 Braintree Town 3

 

Dartford v Braintree Town

A Boxing Day battle with Braintree Town is the first of four matches in nine days for Dartford over the festive football season.

Keen to avenge the double defeat in their last Conference Premier campaign, the Darts are searching for their first win against the Essex club in four attempts.

Last term, the Iron won at Princes Park when Alan Massey gave the visitors a second half lead and former Ebbsfleet United striker Liam Enveer-Marum finished the Darts off in the final minute. The home loss was the first suffered by Dartford on their own patch against Braintree Town for twelve years.

Between those dozen years there has been very little to choose between the two clubs with very few goals scored. Almost three years ago, Dartford came out on top at Princes Park with a 1-0 triumph against the Conference South champions of that campaign. Elliot Bradbrook separated the two sides with a deserved winner eleven minutes from time.

When the Darts joined the Iron in the Conference Premier, gaining promotion the following season, matches with one another helped decide who would finish England’s number one part time team. In Kent, the fixture between the two sides may have ended in a dour 0-0 draw, but the point ended up being crucial for Tony Burman’s men. At the end of the season Dartford finished eighth ahead of their part time rivals on goal difference. Since 2006 both clubs have enjoyed a steady rise up the non league pyramid from the Isthmian League to the Conference Premier.

The Darts recorded their second away victory in the league this season on the weekend against Wrexham. The 3-1 win, which saw the return of striker Harry Crawford after a month out, was much needed as teams around the Darts in the Conference Premier picked up good results too. Luke Daley was the only other change and he will hope his performance was enough to keep a first team place, so he can face his former club. The midfielder played for Braintree Town for two seasons making 60 league appearances and scoring eight times for the Essex club.

With the Dartford squad arriving in Wales the day before their freshness showed in the early stages. Elliot Bradbrook finished tidily to net his sixth goal in the league putting the Darts in front. The hosts applied some pressure and the  alertness of Peter Sweeney kept the ball from crossing the goal line when Andy Bishop  came close to the equaliser. The Wrexham striker then tested goalkeeper Jason Brown who made a quality save to keep the score at 1-0.

Crawford lasted just over an hour as he starts to regain full fitness. Almost immediately after the striker was substituted, Rory McAuley headed his second of the campaign from a corner. The two goal cushion was halved just four minutes later when Wrexham substitute Louis Moult scored his sixth in four matches against Dartford. Jason Brown kept the hosts at bay with some decent saves and in time added on Tom Bradbrook sealed the three points with a well taken curler. Victory ended a run of four consecutive league losses and is Dartford’s second win in a row, following the F.A Trophy tie against Solihull Moors last weekend.

Braintree Town also picked up a fine result beating former League Two side Torquay United at Cressing Road. After twenty minutes the hosts were in front when Sean Marks finished a cross from Ryan Peters. On the stroke of half time Simeon Akinola’s header put the match beyond the Gulls. The Iron keep their seven point advantage over Dartford in the league standings.

Alan Devonshire’s side have yet to draw on the road winning three and losing nine. In their last seven away days Braintree Town have only defeated bottom club AFC Telford United. This season the Essex club started in promising fashion by reaching seventh by mid September, a run of five wins in six helped. Since then Devonshire has seen his side struggle with two wins in fourteen attempts before Saturday’s win versus Torquay United.

Team News

Harry Crawford’s return gives Dartford’s forward line a much needed boost, the Darts have also been missing Andy Pugh who is still sidelined but hopes to return to training soon. Lee Burns last featured on 11 November and has missed the last six league games with injury. Callum Driver was substituted on the weekend with a hamstring problem.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Braintree Town wins: 4 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (WLLLLD) Braintree Town (WLLWWL)
Wrexham  A  3-1 Torquay United  H  2-0
Eastleigh  A  0-2 Woking  A  0-1
Forest Green Rovers  A  1-2 Welling United  H  0-1
Chester  H  2-4 AFC Telford United  A  3-1
Lincoln City  A  1-0 Wrexham  H  1-0
Southport  H  1-1 Dover Athletic  A  0-1

Last Meeting at Princes Park

24 August 2013 – Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2 – Att: 1015

Goalscorer: Massey (69), Enveer-Marum (90)

Dartford Lineup: Julian, Clark, Mitchel-King, Sterling, Burns, Cornhill, Noble, Bradbrook, Hayes, Prior, Birchall (subs used: Harris, Collier, Woodyard)

Braintree Town Lineup: McDonald, Habergham, Paine, Massey, Wells, Isaac, Davis, Daley, Peters, Marks, Holman (subs used: Sparkes, Enveer-Marum, Carney)

Match Stats

dfc v btfc stats

Previous Meetings (* – Friendly / ** – F.A Trophy)

18.04.2014 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0
24.08.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
11.04.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 0
25.09.2012 Braintree Town 0 Dartford 2
12.02.2011 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 1
01.02.2011 Dartford 1 Braintree Town 0
20.07.2002* Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
04.11.2001** Dartford 0 Braintree Town 3

Stats

6 – On the six occasions where there has been a winner, the losing team have failed to score.

25 – Prior last weekend’s match, Simeon Akinola attempted 25 shots at goal without scoring, the highest in the division.

32 – The 3-1 win at Wrexham ended a 32 game run in which Dartford failed to win by more than a goal.

54 – Before last Saturday’s game, Braintree Town’s James Mulley had won the most free kicks in the Conference Premier.

101 – Excluding the win at Wrexham, Jason Brown had made the most saves in the Conference Premier this season.

326 – minutes since Dartford’s last goal scored against the Iron. Jacob Erskine added to Tom Bonner’s opener to earn the Darts a 2-0 victory.

 

 

 

Braintree Town

Cressing Road Founded 1898 The Iron

Twenty three years ago Braintree Town moved up the Southern League and to cut travelling costs they moved to the Isthmian leagues five years later. What happened next was steady progress, even though they effectively choose to move down two steps. By 2001 the Iron climbed through three divisions to the Isthmian Premier which they won in 2006. In the next two campaigns the Essex club reached the playoffs missing out on both occasions. The wait was well worth it when Braintree Town took the Conference South title three years ago. Ever since becoming champion the Iron have more than held their own in Conference Premier. As underdogs in the first season they stayed up with ease and each term since has seen improvement.

BTFCLast Season

Conference Premier: 6th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

FA Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Runners Up

Top Scorer: Dan Holman

Average Attendance: 994

Officially the best part time in the country, dicing with the playoffs and a personal best finish, Braintree Town had a terrific third campaign in the Conference Premier. A horrendous fixture backlog added to the challenge of one of the lowest budgets, The Iron almost reached the playoffs. Denied on the final day, they couldn’t overturn a three point deficit over FC Halifax Town. Strangely for what the club have to work with, coming so close brought about mixed emotions of pride and disappointment. The thing is, it wasn’t as if the Essex club sneaked into sixth, they kept up with the top five all campaign. At one stage the club dropped to seventeenth only because they played only three games in January and February.  A fixture backlog is often used as an excuse but not this time. The challenge of nineteen games in the final two months spurred the players on in an attempt of a top five finish. Maybe not this time but a fantastic effort nonetheless.

The Manager – Alan Devonshire

A former England international as a player, Devonshire won eight caps for his country making his name at West Ham United. The midfielder played over 350 games for the Hammers reaching Wembley in 1980. Up against Arsenal in the top flight, West Ham United caused an upset winning the cup from outside the top flight. Devonshire’s cross set up Trevor Brooking’s famous header to earn a memorable climb up the Wembley steps. The 58 year old knows a thing or two about being an underdog and he has proved this at Cressing Road. When he took over in May 2011, Braintree Town had just clinched the Conference South league title gaining promotion to the Conference Premier for the first time in their history. Devonshire was appointed after impressing at Hampton and Richmond who he took from the Isthmian Division One to the Conference Premier. Whilst operating as a part time club, Braintree Town have improved on each of their last five campaigns, three of which in the top flight of non league under Devonshire.

The Summer

Dan Walker returns to Cressing Road from Hereford United. The 24 year old made four loan appearances for the Iron in February 2013. Another former loanee comes back to the club, Charlie Strutton scored six in seven appearances for Braintree Town last term.

Dean Wells moves to League Two side Stevenage for £25000 with the fee rising dependent on appearances and other add ons. Devonshire has been working with the defender for nine years with the Iron as well as Hampton and Richmond. Top scorer Dan Holman is now a free agent after turning down a new contract. Holman has found the net on a regular basis since moving to Cressing Road.

Last Meetings vs The Darts

Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0 – Conference Premier – 18 April 2014

Mid way through the first half Kenny Davis effort from just outside the box won the game for Braintree Town. Alan Julian made a string of fine saves in the Dartford goal. Lee Noble missed two chances at 0-0 but the Iron managed to complete a double over Dartford.

Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2 – Conference Premier – 24 August 2013

It took an improved Braintree Town performance after the break to overcome the Darts. The home side edged the first forty five minutes without breaking through. Alan Massey headed a Kenny Davis free kick into the net to give Braintree Town the lead. Former Ebbsfleet United striker Liam Enveer-Marum wrapped it all up with a last minute strike.

Next Meetings

Friday 26 December 2014 at Princes Park

Thursday 1 January 2015 at Cressing Road

League Performance Last Ten Years

braintree ten yrsBest Performances

6th Conference Premier (2013/14) F.A Cup 1st Round (2005/06, 2012/13 & 2013/14) F.A Trophy 5th Round (2001/02)