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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


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)

Braintree Town v Dartford

In a week the champions were crowned there is still everything to play for at Cressing Road when Dartford visit Braintree Town on Good Friday.

Last season’s best part time teams go head to head with both sides desperate for three points for completely different reasons. The Darts trail Aldershot Town by a point and know a victory could lead them out of the relegation zone going into the final two games.

Braintree Town have surprised  the Conference Premier yet again and remain in contention for an unexpected playoff spot. Three points behind fifth placed Gateshead, who they drew 0-0 with on Tuesday night, the Irons look set to finish in their highest ever league position for a third year running.

Tony Burman felt his side was unlucky last weekend when a  late Forest Green Rovers goal condemned the Darts to defeat. Max Cornhill had a goal disallowed when  he was flagged offside and goalkeeper Alan Julian was in fine form to keep Rovers at bay. Former Wrexham striker, Danny Wright scored the winner with seven minutes remaining leaving it too late for Dartford to salvage a point.

Burman told BBC Sport: “It’s disappointing, but in fairness today we really needed to take the lead. If we’d taken the lead today, then there would have been a bit more adrenaline in the players. A lot of them were dead on their feet”, he added: “It wasn’t to be and I’ve got no complaints at their efforts, but it got scrappy in the second half and that happens”.

After the shock win against playoff chasers Grimsby Town, Burman accepted his small squad could struggle in the latter parts of Saturday’s fixture, he commented: “Tired legs was going to happen – there’s nothing I can do about that. It is a small squad we’ve got and we have a couple of injuries too – it’s been our bug bear all season, but I can’t fault the way the players have played”.

If there is one thing Braintree Town have in common it’s the depth of their squad. Alan Devonshire has engineered a challenging part time side in front of an average attendance of 960. The Iron have used just 24 players and incredibly have been playing catch up with 16 league games in just a month and a half. Against the odds, Devonshire has his Essex side competing for a playoff spot with three matches remaining.

March’s form has set the Iron up but the tiredness could be creeping in with four of their last six games drawing blanks in front of goal, at home they have failed to score in their last three. However, Braintree Town are more than capable with results like the 3-2 away win against champions Luton Town in front of over 10000 fans. The Iron also had to play out the five goal thriller with ten men when goalkeeper Nick Hamann was sent off.

The Iron beat Dartford back in August with second half goals from Alan Massey and former Ebbsfleet United striker Liam Enveer-Marum. The last meeting at Cressing Road, saw the scoreline reversed with Dartford taking home three points in a 2-0 triumph. Tom Bonner and Jacob Erskine had the Darts in front by half time which was enough to see the game out.

Team News

Dartford’s back line is unlikely to change but Tony Burman will have Kenny Clark available for selection. The defender was sent off against Luton Town and has now served his three match ban. Elliot Bradbrook has missed the last two games through injury and Ryan Hayes is out for the rest of the season.

Head to Head

Braintree Town wins: 2 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Braintree Town (DWLLDW) Dartford (LWDLWW)
Gateshead H 0-0 Forest Green Rovers H 0-1
Luton Town A 3-2 Grimsby Town H 1-0
Macclesfield Town H 0-1 Lincoln City A 0-0
Salisbury City H 0-1 Luton Town H 1-2
FC Halifax Town H 0-0 Macclesfield Town H 2-1
Southport A 4-0 Hyde A 2-0

Last Meeting at Cressing Road

25 September 2013 – Braintree Town 0 Dartford 2 – Att: 721

Goalscorers: Bonner (17), Erskine (34)

The Iron Lineup: Naisbitt, Peters, Bailey-Dennis, Wells, O’Connor, Mulley, Quinton, Symons, Sparkes, Marks, Holman (subs used: Dawkin, Sheppard)

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

Match Stats

btfcvdfc stats

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

24.08.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
11.04.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 0
25.09.2013 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
03.11.2001** Dartford 0 Braintree Town 3


Dartford are fifth in the current away form table whilst Braintree Town are fifth from bottom in the current home form table.

Braintree Town have yet to lose to any of the clubs in the bottom four. At home they have not been beaten by any of the bottom seven.

1 – Dartford have claimed one point from teams in the top six on their travels.

4 – number of own goals the Iron have benefited from this season, more than another club

343 – minutes since Braintree Town scored at Cressing Road. Dan Holman was the last Iron player to hit the back in of the net in the 2-1 win against Nuneaton Town.


Dartford v Braintree Town

Last season’s two best part time teams go head to head on Saturday when Dartford welcome Braintree Town to Princes Park.

Just over four months ago the two sides couldn’t be separated in a dour 0-0 draw. The Irons came close when Ben Wright fired over the bar and Matthew Paine’s header was cleared off the line. Dartford’s closest attempt from Charlie Sheringham hit the post as the Darts were denied a double over the Essex side. The stalemate featured summer signing Alex Woodyard who came on as a substitute for the Iron in April. At Cressing Road, Tony Burman’s men recorded a 2-0 win with first half goals from Tom Bonner and Jacob Erskine.

Both clubs also met during their Conference South days with Dartford taking four points off the 2011 champions. Braintree Town may well have gained promotion at the end of that season, however a February double header ended with Elliot Bradbrook scoring the winner at home and Jon Main equalising in the away match, the Iron took the lead with a Billy Burgess own goal.

The Darts enter this weekends match on the back of two consecutive defeats without scoring. After an opening day win at Alfreton Town, Dartford were beaten on the road twice against Aldershot Town and FC Halifax Town. Although the defence kept a clean sheet in the home fixture versus Alfreton Town, the back line have conceded five in the last two.

At the Shay last weekend Lee Gregory scored against the Darts once more having netted in last season’s F.A Trophy tie. Kevin Holsgrove managed to extend FC Halifax Town’s advantage and seal a 2-0 win for then hosts. Tony Burman was pleased with the first half display but frustrated in the manner of the goals conceded, speaking to BBC Radio Kent he said: “This is a difficult place to come. I felt we handled their threat very well in the first half and probably had the best chance of the game”, he added: “I’m really disappointed because on Tuesday we gave Aldershot a couple of goals and today we committed hari-kari”.

With the experience of last season’s first three games, Burman there is no need to panic, the Dartford boss commented: “You hope it changes and things go in for you. The season’s only a week old and we’ve got three points more than we had last season”.

Braintree Town have a mark in each of the win, lose and draw columns picking up a point on their travels for the first game of the season. In their only away match, the Iron drew 1-1 with Hereford United having taken the lead. At home the Essex side defeated Woking 2-0 with goals from strike duo Daniel Holman and Sean Marks and lost 1-0 to last season’s runners up Kidderminster Harriers in the final minute. In the Irons recent league outing manager Alan Devonshire was disappointed with the first half display, he spoke to BBC Essex and said: “We’ve got to set our own standards and I didn’t think we turned up first half, didn’t play the way we know we want to play”.

Devonshire opted for stability in the summer by not only agreeing a new contract but by keeping the majority of last terms squad. Chez Isaac, who scored against the Darts for Boreham Wood two years ago is one new signing and has started all three fixtures. Former Ebbsfleet United striker Liam Enveer-Marum has made three substitute appearances, the 25 year old scored in Fleets 3-1 defeat on Boxing Day at Princes Park.

Team News

Tyrone Sterling is yet to make a start for his new club, the Dartford defender struggled through pre season with an ankle injury. Fellow full back, Matt Fry missed a second match with a hamstring strain picked up against Alfreton Town on the opening day of the season. Ryan Hayes missed the 2-0 defeat at FC Halifax Town, the winger also suffered an ankle injury. However, Tony Burman confirmed he has a fully fit squad with the addition of new signing Josh Hill, the 21 year old defender impressed in pre season.

Head to Head

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

Last Meeting at Princes Park

11 April 2013 –  Dartford 0 Braintree Town 0 – Att: 1051

The Darts Lineup: Somogyi, Green, Champion, Bonner, Burns, Rose, Bradbrook, Hayes, Noble, Harris, Prior (subs used: Rogers, Sheringham, Collier)

The Iron Lineup: McDonald, Habergham, Paine, Wells, Smith, Symons, Davis, Daley, Mulley, Marks, Wright (subs used: Peters, Sheppard, Woodyard)

Match Stats

dfc v btfc stats

Previous Meetings (FAT = F.A Trophy First Round / Fr = Friendly)

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 (Fr) Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
03.11.2001 (FAT1R) Dartford 0 Braintree Town 3


8 – After eight minutes Braintree Town opened the 2013/14 Conference Premier goalscoring when Hereford United’s Adam Smith scored an own goal

13 – The amount of goals it took for Dartford to finish above Braintree Town last season. Despite being level on points the Darts scored four goals more and conceded nine fewer than the Iron.

53 – The number of fouls won by Braintree Town this season, more than any other club in the Conference Premier

265 – Dartford have gone 265 minutes without conceding against Braintree Town stretching back to the February 2011 meeting in the Conference South. The last goal scored by a Braintree Town player against the Darts was in a friendly eleven years ago

Early goals seem to be the key for Braintree Town having scored all three this season before the 20 minute mark. The two goals the Iron have conceded so far have occurred late on in the 79th and 89th minutes.

Dartford v Braintree Town

Dartford face fellow part timers Braintree Town with both clubs looking to finish as the highest semi professional team in the country.

The Darts can complete a rare league double over a Conference Premier club after defeating the Irons back in September. Dartford dominated possession at Cressing Road and were rewarded with two goals and a clean sheet. In the midst of the teams best run of the season, Tom Bonner opened the scoring by taking advantage of Ryan Hayes’s free kick. Jacob Erskine doubled the lead with an well taken header, again Hayes was the provider. The Darts kept their two goal half time cushion to see out the second half.

Tony Burman’s side are in tenth spot leading the way in the standings over Braintree Town and Woking, the other part time clubs challenging for the highest finish by a semi professional team. The accolade will be closely contested as a single point separates the three clubs.

Dartford failed to increase the gap between them and the Irons on Tuesday night despite taking the lead against Grimsby Town. Jack Evans scored his second goal of the season following up Nathan Collier’s double attempt in the 26th minute. The Darts worked extremely hard on and off the ball edging the first half. Grimsby Town secured a playoff spot in the final fifteen minutes when first Andy Cook equalised then former Braintree Town full back Aswad Thomas scored with two minutes remaining.

Burman spoke to BBC Radio Kent after the defeat  claiming the sides were only separated by experience, he said: “It’s the experience of a full-time side. They see games out, they keep plodding away and we had the opportunities to go 2-0 and where we didn’t take them, we paid the price”.

Mariners goalkeeper James McKeown helped the visitors to victory with a couple of outstanding saves, Burman added: “Their keeper has had some great games against us. He pulled off a fantastic save in the first half and an equally fantastic save from Danny Harris at 1-1”.

Last season Braintree Town were the Conference Premier’s surprise package much like Dartford are this term. In the clubs second season at the summit of non league football it has been much tougher. Alan Devonshire’s side occupy twelfth place after a recent spurt of form moved the Irons away from danger in February and March, since then the Irons have been inconsistent.

This week Braintree Town lost 1-0 away to Newport County who also secured their playoff spot with Grimsby Town. Conor Washington scored for the Welsh side just after half time firing past Nathan McDonald in the Irons goal. On the weekend the Essex club won 2-1 against an in form Hyde side. James Mulley scored and set up Ben Wright for the second just before the break and Hyde’s Jamie Milligan pulled a goal back late on.

Up front the Essex club rely on Sean Marks and Dan Holman who have netted the majority of league goals. Former favourite Wright is now back at Cressing Road on loan from Forest Green Rovers, the 24 year old top scored for Braintree Town last season. At the back the they have the experience of Dean Wells and former Norwich City youngster Sam Habergham. Whilst Mulley and Kenny Davis often feature in midfield.

Two seasons ago Dartford put in two exceptional performances against the eventual Conference South champions. In the space of twelve days the Darts won 1-0 at Princes Park with a 79th minute goal from captain Elliot Bradbrook then followed up the victory with 1-1 draw in Essex. On loan striker John Main levelled the scoring on 38 minutes after the Iron took the lead just five minutes in through a Billy Burgess own goal.

Team News

Tom Champion returns from his two match ban after picking up ten cautions this season. Winger Ryan Hayes missed Tuesday nights defeat with a shoulder injury. Louis Wells is still suffering from ankle ligament damage.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Braintree Town wins: 2 / Draws: 1 / Dartford Goals: 4/ Braintree Town Goals: 7

Current League Form

Dartford (LWWDLW) Braintree Town (LWLWLW)
Grimsby Town H 1-2 Newport County A 0-1
AFC Telford United A 2-0 Hyde FC A 2-1
Woking H 4-1 Southport H 1-3
Newport County A 0-0 Ebbsfleet United H 3-1
Hereford United A 0-1 Kidderminster Harriers A 1-2
Gateshead H 3-0 Alfreton Town H 2-1

Last Meeting

25 September 2012 – Braintree Town 0 Dartford 2 – Att: 721

Goalscorers: Bonner (17), Erskine (34)

The Iron Lineup: Naisbitt, Peters, Bailey-Dennis, Wells, O’Connor, Mulley, Quinton, Symons, Sparkes, Marks, Holman (subs used: Dawkin, Sheppard)

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

Match Stats

Previous Meetings (FAT = F.A Trophy / Fr = Friendly)

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 (Fr) Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
03.11.2001 (FAT) Dartford 0 Braintree Town 3

Did you know..

Alan Devonshire is one of two Conference Premier managers to have won the F.A Cup as a player. Devonshire lifted the F.A Cup for West Ham United in 1980. The Hammers, then a second division side shocked Arsenal in a 1-0 win. Justin Edinburgh also picked up the cup for Tottenham Hotspur in 1991, the Newport County boss was part of the Spurs team that beat Nottingham Forest 2-1.

Dartford v Braintree Town – Postponed


Snowy conditions in the south east has caused Dartford’s match against Braintree Town to be postponed.

With more than 24 hours until kick off the Princes Park pitch was deemed unplayable making it the second successive postponed fixture for the Darts.

It’s the first match called off at Princes Park this season and the fixture will be re-arranged shortly. With only five Conference Premier games taking place on the weekend it is unlikely many will survive Tuesday night.

Next up, The Darts are scheduled to take on Conference North side FC Halifax Town for a place in the last four of the F.A Trophy.

Braintree Town v Dartford



The Darts will be reacquainted with Braintree Town on Tuesday night when the two sides meet at Cressing Road.

Two seasons ago Dartford put in two exceptional performances against the eventual Conference South champions. In the space of twelve days the Darts won 1-0 at Princes Park with a 79th minute goal from captain Elliot Bradbrook then followed up the victory with 1-1 draw in Essex. On loan striker John Main levelled the scoring on 38 minutes after the Iron took the lead just five minutes in through a Billy Burgess own goal.


Elliot Bradbrook pounces to secure Dartford's only win against the Iron in February 2011

Dartford’s tremendous draw with Welsh side Wrexham means the Darts have lost just once in the last seven. On Saturday Tony Burman’s squad visited the Racecourse Ground and Danny Harris’s goal gave his side a shock early lead. Wrexham fought back with goals from Danny Wright and loan signing Andy Bishop. Yet again the Darts continued to keep battling to the end and were rewarded when substitute Lee Noble fired in a last minute free kick.

Burman was delighted with the result, he told BBC Sport: “I thought we thoroughly deserved what we got out of the game. When it was 1-1 we had chances and we got punished”, he added: “We’ve come to a fantastic place, lots of history, good side, experienced side, and I think we’ve come here and given a good account of ourselves”.

Ahead of Tuesday nights fixture Burman has swooped to sign Adam Birchall on a months loan from Gillingham. The striker was prolific at Conference South rivals Dover Athletic breaking the goalscoring record for the league in the 2010/11 season netting 34 times. The 27 year old has been out with a cruciate ligament injury and has made three substitute appearances for the Gills this season.

Braintree Town have more than settled into the Conference Premier. In their promotion season the side kept the most clean sheets and in their début season in the top flight of non league football the Irons reached second place after a dozen games. Inevitably the Essex side couldn’t maintain the challenge but equipped themselves very well to finish in a respectable twelfth.

This season manager Alan Devonshire has expereinced a mixed start to his second season in the Premier. His side are currently occupying fourteenth spot with three wins, three draws and four defeats. With the loss of Jai Reason in the summer the goals have been shared around the squad with Bradley Quinton and Dan Holman scoring three.

Dartford will be familiar with Dean Wells who scored against the Darts for Hampton and Richmond two seasons ago. So far the defender has started every game this campaign helping Braintree Town to a clean sheet on Saturday against Stockport County in a 0-0 stalemate.

Team News

Loan signing Adam Birchall has been added to the squad in a one month deal. Marcus Bettenelli started his eighth league game in succession on the weekend following the injury to goalkeeper Louis Wells. Tom Champion is on four yellow cards and faces a one match suspension if he picks up another caution. Adam Green has yet to feature in the league since 25 August 2012 but was named as a substitute in the Kent Senior Cup last week.

Head to Head

Braintree Town wins: 2 / Dartford wins 1 / Draws: 1


Braintree Town (DLLDWW) Dartford (DWLWWW)
Stockport County H 0-0 Wrexham A 2-2
Mansfield Town A 0-2 Hereford United H 4-0
Macclesfield Town A 1-2 Gateshead A 0-2
Kidderminster Harriers H 1-1 Newport County H 2-1
Tamworth H 2-1 Alfreton Town H 5-1
Woking H 4-1 Cambridge United A 2-1

Dartford have lost just once in seven league matches, picking up 16 out of the last 21 points available.

Braintree Town have gone four matches without a win. At home they have been beaten just once with three draws and a win.



Dartford played in front of 3772 at Wrexham on Saturday, the clubs biggest attendance of the season.

Braintree Town’s average home attendance of 588 is the lowest in the Conference Premier.

Eleven different players have scored for the Darts this term, the most by a club joint with Forest Green Rovers, Grimsby Town and Wrexham.

Both Dartford and Braintree Town have picked up 14 cautions and one red card this season.

The Darts have scored seven of their 16 goals in the final fifteen minutes of games.

Both sides have conceded four goals in the final fifteen minutes of the first half and five goals in the final fifteen minutes of the full 90 minutes.

Shooting Accuracy

* stats taken from &

** picture courtesy of Dave Adkins


Season Review Part Eight– A look back on 2010/2011

8 – Mid-January to February – Dartford on Tour


Whilst Dartford was falling Farnborough was rising. The Boro had won three consecutive matches and striker Bradley Bubb was scoring for fun with eight goals in his last five league matches. The Darts had no chance especially if the last match between the two sides in August was anything to go by. Before the game Tony Burman signed full back Matt Jones from Bishop’s Stortford, George Purcell and Lee Burns were ruled out through injury.

Lee Noble who was recalled from his loan spell was on form and Dartford’s main hope, in the twelfth minute he was taken out in the penalty box. Dartford fans behind the goal were jubilant, great start. Charlie Sheringham stepped up to the spot to place his shot right footed and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way.

The lead lasted just eight minutes when on form striker Bradley Bubb was released on the left, his shot was struck well enough. Andrew Young pushed the ball upwards but it looped into the far corner. Dartford defenders all looked at one another, shoulders shrugged, here we go again.

Noble continued to weave inside out causing Farnborough some problems, he harassed, scurried at their defenders to put them under pressure. His enthusiasm rubbed off on the Dartford team until it went a step too far. Noble knocked the ball out to Elliot Bradbrook on the right who put in a deep cross to the far post. A misplaced header across the six yard box enticed Farnborough goalkeeper Michael Jordan to go for the ball. Noble steamed forward in an over enthusiastic attempt to win possession. The ball hit the goalkeeper; Noble’s outstretched leg went into Jordan’s chest. The referee charged to the scene, Farnborough players were furious and surrounded the referee, the red card was pulled out, Noble was sent off. The Dartford players were furious with the Boro reaction. Everything calmed down. The Darts had to play 55 minutes a man down. No chance for a win, let’s hope for a draw.

Tom Champion takes the plaudits

Adversity galvanised Dartford and three minutes after the restart Jon Main was sent through but the ball got caught between his feet. Main turned with his back to goal and layed the ball off to the onrushing Sheringham. Charlie drove the shot low and hard into the bottom corner from 19 yards, a quality finish, and an unexpected lead.

Fifteen minutes later, The Darts grew in confidence and boxed Farnborough into their own corner. The Boro tried to clear their lines three times and Dartford kept pressing. Main won possession and passed to Sheringham who looked up to notice Tom Champion on the edge of the ‘d’ and crossed the ball. One bounce, Champion adjusted his body, wrapped his right foot around the ball and his stunning volley landed in the top far corner of the net. The head strapped Champion milked the plaudits from the crowd, he deserved it. What was going on? Farnborough was shell shocked.

The Darts was denied a penalty, Main was denied by Jordan, it looked like Farnborough was a man down.  Then on 73 minutes The Boro failed to clear again from a corner. Sheringham flicked the ball on and Danny Harris nodded the ball past the goalkeeper at the near post, 4-1. Incredible afternoon.

Dartford 4 Farnborough 1 – Highlights

A New Cup Adventure

A new cup adventure began. Okay so it was ‘only the Kent Senior Cup’ but for some fans it was a realistic opportunity to land some silverware. The Kent Senior Cup is like the Football League Cup in some ways. Do we go for it? Do we try out some youngsters? Is it a chance to win something or a waste of time? However you feel about the cup it was here and Dartford faced Isthmian Premier League outfit Tonbridge Angels. Tony Burman opted for the young and promising Deren Ibrahim in goal and gave Adam Burchell a run out, other than that the first eleven could have started a league match.

Danny Harris opened the scoring on the hour when Ryan Hayes’ deep free kick to the far post was knocked down to Harris who swept the ball home. Charlie Sheringham replaced Hayes in the 85th minute then wrapped up the win. Sheringham took the ball down on his chest before cutting inside the defender and curling the ball beyond the Tonbridge keeper into the net. The Darts negotiated their way through the first round.

Dartford 2 Tonbridge Angels 0 – Kent Senior Cup First Round Highlights

Out of Harms Way

Despite the incredible win against the odds versus Farnborough, Dartford was still in the bottom three. The atmosphere surrounding the club lifted after a second win in succession against Tonbridge Angels. Next up was mid-table side Bishop’s Stortford who The Darts demolished earlier in the season.

Lee Noble was lively and was blocked off the ball early on, blood was spilt, and the challenge was nasty enough for Noble to change his shirt and to be bandaged up. The knock back failed to stop the midfielder as he controlled the game with his intricacy and skill; the sides were level at the break.

In the second half, Danny Harris was sent clear and rounded the goalkeeper. Harris went to ground, the referee deemed it a dive, yellow card, contentious decision. Jon Main was shut out, Bonner shot straight at the keeper, and Dartford was defending and playing on the break. With sixteen minutes remaining Noble delivered a low in swinger from the left, Billy Burgess jumped over the ball and Charlie Sheringham with his back towards goal turned on a sixpence and fired into the roof of the net, brilliant finish. The afternoon in Hertfordshire was a success, a third consecutive win and second consecutive clean sheet, 1-0 it finished. Out of the bottom three.

Bishops Stortford 0 Dartford 1 – Highlights

Thou Shall Not Pass

Princes Park hosted league leaders Braintree Town in a fiery encounter against The Darts. Dartford was growing in confidence but knew this would be a difficult fixture. The supporters started to believe, the team gained momentum, and everyone was starting to pull together. The Irons had won six in a row with strikers Sean Marks and Jamie Guy scoring eleven between them in the last seven matches.

Braintee Town showed why they were comfortable league leaders early on when Kenny Davis tested Andrew Young. Dartford’s Danny Harris failed to get on the end of Jon Main’s cross then on seventeen minutes, controversy. Charlie Sheringham went up for a header just inside the Braintree half; Matt Paine fell to the ground clutching his face. It was hard to tell what had happened but referee was convinced Sheringham threw an elbow to Paine’s face, red card, and uphill struggle.

Later on in the first half Irons player Kenny Davis was more than fortunate. When on the halfway line he lunged two footed at Danny Harris, the tackle was a shocker, the Dartford fans gasped in horror it was that bad. The referee unbelievably played on as Braintree won possession back and attacked, at which point the referee put a stop to the game. Braintree players raced towards the referee furious he stopped their attack, the man in black lost control of the match. Complete injustice for Dartford.


Captain Bradbrook nets the only goal of the game in a fiery contest

Like the Farnborough game the poor refereeing decisions galvanised Dartford supporters who remained incensed. The second half was tough; Dartford players worked their socks off against 11 men and the officials, as if it wasn’t hard enough playing the league leaders. Dartford held out until 81 minutes when the crucial moment arrived.  Lee Noble persisted to keep control off the ball on the half way line but was bundled over. The ball trickled to Elliot Bradbrook, The Captain dinked the ball forward which rolled underneath the foot of the Braintree centre half. Suddenly Jon Main was in, his first touch was heavy, his second was almost smothered by the goalkeeper, the ball bobbled up, Bradbrook reacted and side footed goal wards, goal! The Darts had beaten the odds again. Four consecutive wins, three consecutive clean sheets. Onwards and upwards.

Dartford 1 Braintree Town 0 – Highlights

The Darts Head North East

It was onwards and upwards indeed as The Darts and their faithful travelled to the north east. Dartford faced Conference National side Gateshead in the last sixteen of the F.A Trophy. Quite literally the journey was just too far for the Dartford players.

Phil Turnball’s deflected shot gave Gateshead the lead just before the break, if only The Darts could have held on. In the second half Gateshead were in control as they used their wingers to good effect. Substitute Brain Wake doubled the lead four minutes from time and with Dartford pressing forward were caught out again in the last minute by Kris Gale. Gateshead was barely troubled but like the Port Vale game in the F.A Cup the adventure was fun, Dartfordians could be proud.


This is Hardcore: Dartford fans travelled all the way to the North East

Gateshead 3 Dartford 0 – F.A Trophy Third Round Highlights

Gateshead to Weston

After the long trip north east The Darts and their travelling contingent travelled west as they clocked up the miles. A Tuesday night at Weston Super-Mare was to follow; a side Dartford soundly beat 4-1 back in September. The Seagulls was winless in six losing their last three, Dartford had won three league matches on the bounce.

Weston started brightly and Justin Porter tested the reflexes of Andrew Young. There were very few chances in the first half. The best efforts from The Darts came from Carl Rook and Charlie Sheringham. A tight game ensued and the second half was much the same until Weston’s Jamie Laird lost his footing, Sheringham turned quickly and beat goalkeeper Lloyd Irish in the 73rd minute. The season was turning around, another win, and another clean sheet.

Jon Main's first for Dartford

Loanee Strikes

The battle between Dartford and Braintree Town just eleven days ago was still fresh in the memory.  Charlie Sheringham was controversially sent off whilst Braintree’s Kenny Davis was lucky to stay on the pitch. Dartford supporters were still aggrieved by the events and really wanted to put one over the league leaders, furthermore our very own Ray Cherry was not allowed to film the match.

Dartford players were looking tired after long journeys and a crammed fixture list. Lee Noble was suspended and young Deren Ibrahim replaced Andrew Young in goal. On five minutes the league leaders attacked, a cross was unfortunately turned in by Billy Burgess, Dartford got off to a bad start. However parity was restored when Ibrahim’s punt up field was met by loanee Jon Main who lobbed the keeper with aplomb. The rest of the match was played out with both sets of players looking weary. The spoils were shared.

Unbeaten Run Continues

One of Dartford’s poorest performances was against Welling United in January. The Wings were coping well with off field problems and still challenging in the playoff places. Lee Noble was back and early on he set up Jon Main, his shot was tipped round the post. Another Dartford effort was hacked off the line. At the other end Joe Bruce was turned by Andrew Pugh and his curling effort was bravely blocked by Billy Burgess. A desperate lunge by Paul Goodacre gave Welling a free kick on the edge of the box, Jamie Day’s effort dipped just over the cross bar.

In the second forty five, Loui Fazackerley crossed for Liam Bellamy who nodded wide, Ibrahim was beaten. Elliot Bradbrook dug out an opportunity on the edge of the Welling box but his sliced volley ended inches wide scrapping the side netting. Then just past the hour The Wings took the advantage. After a number of testing corners they finally made one count when Jack Parkinson headed in from six yards.

Ryan Hayes scores an audacious free kick

Tony Burman made a double substitution on 73 minutes which proved to be a great decision. Ryan Hayes who had been out of the first eleven for a little while was introduced for his craft, Lee Burns came on for his endeavour. With eight minutes remaining Dartford won a free kick way out against the right touchline a good 30 to 35 yards out. Hayes looked up and struck the ball with power and swerve, Welling goalkeeper Tom Lovelock moved across to his near post, the ball swerved into the top corner, what a goal. Super sub Ryno saved the day.

Dartford 1 Welling United 1 – Highlights

Slip Up

It had been seven matches since Dartford lost, it had been 15 games since Hampton and Richmond last won. Normally in this position Dartford supporters will be expecting nothing but victory but with our record against the bottom sides we were still wary. After all, we lost to Thurrock when they were on a dreadful run; we were turned over by Dorchester Town which left us shocked. Dartford did not disappoint, well they did but some of us expected.

The Beavers came away from Princes Park with a resounding 4-0 win. Dean Wells scored against the Darts for a second time in the season when a corner was not cleared on 24 minutes. Six minutes before the break Ian Hodges doubled the lead. In the second half it took Hampton and Richmond a minute to make it three through Lawrence Yaku. Just two minutes later Yaku headed in his second. Let’s just call it a slip up.

Dartford 0 Hampton and Richmond 4 – Highlights

Back On Track

Dartford travelled to Dorset on a Tuesday night to put right their latest defeat, to revenge the 4-0 drubbing The Magpies gave us in November. The pitch was boggy as the winter weather had taken its toll across the non-league scene across the country. In all fairness this was not a game for the football purists but the exhausted Dartford players battled hard and were rewarded.

A goalless draw looked on the cards and how fitting it was when the Patron Saint of Lost Causes battled a lost cause in the Dorchester box. Danny Harris broke one tackle, rode another challenge and reached out a leg to slide the ball into the goal, 1-0 with just under seventeen minutes remaining. As the game reached a conclusion Jon Main spotted Lee Noble who looked like he went too wide, his shot was hit low and into the net for number two. Dartford avenged the defeat early in the season and had put the previous match to bed.

Dorchester Town 0 Dartford 2 – Highlights

February Finishes

It had been an incredible turnaround for Dartford, who was in the bottom three just a month and a half ago.  Six league wins, three draws and a defeat lifted them up to fourteenth position and seven points clear of relegation. Although they were fourteen matches to play over two more months it was the first time Dartford supporters could relax a little but there was still work to be done.

Braintree Town still led the table seven points ahead of in form Ebbsfleet United. The Fleet won four of their five February fixtures. Welling United, Farnborough and Chelmsford City maintained their playoff spots. Lewes moved off the foot of the table with three consecutive wins and Maidenhead United slipped towards danger after just two victories in twenty one matches. It was Woking who were the in form team with six consecutive wins without conceding, this was to stretch to seven on 1 March 2011.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Braintree Town 29 20 5 4 57 22 +35 65
2 Ebbsfleet United 29 17 7 5 55 36 +19 58
3 Farnborough 29 17 5 7 55 33 +22 56
4 Chelmsford City 29 16 6 7 58 33 +25 54
5 Welling United* 29 17 5 7 55 35 +20 51
6 Eastleigh 27 14 5 8 49 33 +16 47
7 Dover Athletic 28 14 5 9 60 40 +20 47
8 Woking 28 13 7 8 39 27 +12 46
9 Bromley 29 12 10 7 37 41 -4 46
10 Havant and W 24 9 6 9 34 33 +1 33
11 Staines Town 29 9 11 9 37 39 -2 38
12 Basingstoke Town 29 9 8 12 33 43 -10 35
13 Weston-super-Mare 31 10 7 14 41 47 -6 37
14 Dartford 28 8 9 11 35 40 -5 33
15 Bishop’s Stortford 30 9 4 17 34 60 -26 31
16 Hampton and Richmond 26 5 11 10 31 38 -7 26
17 Dorchester Town 28 6 9 13 28 38 -10 27
18 Thurrock 28 6 9 13 37 56 -19 27
19 Maidenhead United 27 6 7 14 28 46 -18 25
20 Boreham Wood 29 6 8 15 37 53 -16 26
21 Lewes 31 6 6 19 25 49 -24 24
22 St Albans City 29 4 10 15 25 48 -23 22

*Welling United deducted five points

Stuart Maidment

Photos courtesy of Dave Adkins, videos courtesy of Ray Cherry.