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Pre-Season Preview

Dartford begin their preparations this month for the up and coming National South campaign, with a series of pre-season friendlies. Pure DFC takes a look at July’s opponents in the build up to the 2017/18 season.

Millwall – Saturday 8th July at Princes Park
Links with the Lions continue with another friendly at home against the League One playoff winners. Neil Harris guided Millwall back to the Championship after a two year absence, finishing last season in sixth. The Londoners bounced back from playoff final disappointment in 2016 by winning at Wembley in May, defeating Bradford City. Steve Morison’s winner five minutes from time secured promotion. The Lions also enjoyed a decent F.A Cup reaching the last eight and beating three Premier League teams on the way. AFC Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester City were dispatched, but quality showed in the quarter final derby when Tottenham Hotspur won 6-0. Since moving to Princes Park, the Darts have hosted five friendlies against the Lions all ending in defeats. Tony Burman has used links with the Bermondsey based club in the past, most notably the signing of current squad member Keaton Wood.

Gillingham – Tuesday 11th July at Princes Park
The Gills will be the second side to visit Princes Park this summer, the League One club just kept above the relegation zone last term. The highest ranked Kent club in English football return to the home of the Darts after a friendly almost a year ago, Ryan Hayes scored for Dartford in a 2-1 defeat. Twice the Darts have played the Gills in the Kent Senior Cup since moving to Princes Park and in 2015, Tom Wynter and Jack Simmons scored as Tony Burman’s side won 2-1, atoning for the 7-3 loss in the competition the season before. The Dartford versus Gillingham friendly has been a regular pre-season fixtures in recent times with the Gills winning all six since 2009.

Phoenix Sports – Saturday 15th July at Phoenix Sports Ground
Based in Barnehurst, Phoenix Sports became champions of the Southern Counties East League in 2015 tasting defeat just once. In the same season they reached the fifth round of the F.A Vase. Two seasons have past and in each of those campaigns they have recorded their highest ever league position, in the Isthmian Division One North. Switching to the Division One South this summer will mean a whole set of new opponents for Steve O’Boyle’s team, who have a number of former Darts in their ranks such as Dajon Golding, Richard Seixas and Ashley Probets. Dartford won a friendly 2-1 last summer with goals from Ellis Brown and Ben Francis, the year before Tom Bradbrook netted both in a 2-0 victory.

Sutton United – Tuesday 18th July at Princes Park
Dartford host one of the heroes of last season’s F.A Cup in their third pre-season warm up. Rewind back to November and the Darts lost an entertaining F.A cup first round fixture 6-3 against the U’s. Dartford pegged the visitors back three times until Paul Doswell’s side ran away with the tie. The National League club went on to knock out Cheltenham Town, AFC Wimbledon before famously beating Leeds United 1-0. A home fifth round tie versus eventual winners Arsenal ended in a respectable 2-0 loss. Sutton United enjoyed a decent return to the National League last term having won the National South the season before, the Surrey club finished twelfth thanks to their home form which has been excellent over the last few years.

Cambridge United – Saturday 22nd July at Princes Park
Whilst Dartford were reprieved in the National League, Cambridge United secured a place in the Football League via the playoffs beating Gateshead in the final, that was three years ago. The U’s are now led by former Crystal Palace and Leeds United midfielder Shaun Derry, who guided Cambridge United to an eleventh place finish in League Two last time out. Tom Bonner will face his former club who he joined from the Darts back in 2013, the defender made 13 appearances but injuries prevented the 29 year old from making a bigger impact. During Dartford’s stay in the National League they recorded a famous 2-1 victory at the Abbey Stadium in 2012. Tony Burman’s side remained unbeaten against the U’s during that two year period with three consecutive draws.

Bromley – Tuesday 25th July at Princes Park
Dartford’s penultimate friendly this summer will be against National League side Bromley. The Darts have enjoyed a decent record against their opponents winning five of the last six, including the Kent Senior Cup final six years ago. This time the Darts will be up against former winger Luke Wanadio, who had an excellent time in his only season at Princes Park scoring 13 goals last season. Tyrone Sterling is another former player now with Bromley, the full back signed in May from Dover Athletic. Neil Smith helped the club avoid second season syndrome in the National League by leading them to tenth last term, the club’s highest ever finish. The last meeting between the two sides came in an entertaining F.A Cup tie with Dartford winning 4-3 thanks to goals from Danny Harris, Ryan Hayes, Elliot Bradbrook and his brother Tom.

Thamesmead Town – Saturday 29th July at Princes Park
The Mead head South for their new campaign switching from the Isthmian Division One North to South. Over recent years Dartford have shared close ties with the club and will be landlord’s to Thamesmead Town this season in a groundshare agreement. During a three year period in the nineties the Darts met their tenants six times in the Kent League winning three, drawing two and losing once. Last summer Ben Francis scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 friendly victory versus the Mead, whilst in 2014 Andy Pugh netted the winner. Dartford also won 2-0 in 2011 and 2012 and 5-0 in a behind closed doors friendly in October 2010. Thamesmead Town did beat the Darts 3-2 nine years ago and 2-1 the year before that.

Bromley v Dartford

Dartford could make it to the F.A Cup second round for the first time in thirty years if they can overcome Bromley in this weekend’s Kent derby.

Tony Burman is keen for the club to progress despite occupying a bottom four place in the Conference Premier, he told www.newsshopper.co.uk: “I do not see it as a distraction at all, everyone wants to stay in the FA Cup. The financial rewards are that great for a part-time side and we will endeavour to move on into the next round. It is taken seriously, like it should be, and as I said, everybody wants to stay in the FA Cup for as long as they can”.

Burman may well be wary of Saturday’s hosts who knocked his side out at the fourth qualifying round just three seasons ago. A late winner by Gareth Williams sent the Conference South side through. Bromley had taken the lead from the spot when Haakim Ibrahima scored but four minutes later Jack Pallen levelled. Williams turned hero with 15 minutes remaining leading his side into round one where they lost 3-0 at Leyton Orient.

Bromley have been a bogey side in the F.A Cup, having knocked the Darts out of the competition three times in the last  eleven years. Prior the aforementioned victory, the Ravens triumphed 2-0 in 2003’s second qualifying round and 1-0 at the third qualifying round stage in 2007. The Darts have never beaten this weekend’s opponents in the F.A Cup.

Since their last appearance in round two the Darts have made it to the first round on seven occasions including three times in then last five campaigns.

Burman will hope for improvement fron his players after the 3-0 disappointment at Grimsby Town on Saturday, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and commented: “It was a poor performance from us, against a very good side. I was really disappointed with the way we played in the first half. The second half was a little bit better but we were beaten by the better side”, he added: “We set out to do certain things in the first half but unfortunately it didn’t go to plan. We’re better than how we performed on Saturday. On the day, too many players put in poor performances. We let our standards drop”, before concluding: “It was probably our poorest performance of the season”.

The Darts comfortable made it past Burgess Hill Town in the last round. Harry Crawford’s brace and Elliot Bradbrook’s penalty gave Dartford a 3-1 half time lead which remained the scoreline after 90 minutes. In the league Dartford have struggled to find a win since a 2-1 away win at Nuneaton Town. However, the club have become draw specialists picking up four draws in their last six league outings but have lost the other tow without scoring.

Bromley are in a healthy fourth position in the Conference South so will be a stern challenge in round one. The Ravens reached the playoffs last term finishing third just six points off champions Eastleigh. The Ravens have negotiated three rounds already starting with a resounding 5-1 home win against Southern League Division One side Uxbridge. Duncan Culley and a Danny Waldren free kick put Bromley 2-1 up before Uxbridge’s Dave Thomas was red carded. After the dismissal goals from Damian Scannell, Jordan Robertson and former Dart, Adam Birchall completed the rout.

A goalless draw at Grays Athletic was followed by another five goal haul in the replay, this time without reply. Reece Prestedge and a Robertson penalty together with goals from Adam Bailey-Dennis and Culley, who netted a brace sent Bromley in the a final qualifying tie at Evesham United. This time Bromley had to work harder and Waldren’s double was enough to send the Ravens into the first round with a 2-1 victory. For Mark Goldberg’s side the wait to reach round two has been longer going back to 1946.

After taking on three sides in divisions lower, Bromley face their first test against a team in a superior league. However, thre are only seven places between the two sides. Home form for the Ravens has not been as impressive as results on the road. Three wins and three defeats at what is now known as The Fortress Stadium compares to an unbeaten away record of four wins and two draws.

Dartford will be keen to repeat the 4-2 F.A Trophy triumph two years ago and the 4-1 Kent Senior Cup final victory in 2011, rather than the three F.A Cup defeats against Bromley.

Head to Head

Bromley wins: 24 / Dartford wins: 22 / Draws: 11

Current League Form (* – F.A Cup / ** – Kent Senior Cup)

 Bromley (WDWWWD)  Dartford (LWDDLD)
 Eastbourne Borough  A  4-1  Grimsby Town  A  0-3
 Maidstone United**  H  1-1  Burgess Hill Town*  H  3-1
 Evesham United*  A  2-1  Aldershot Town  H  1-1
 Bath City  H  1-0  Macclesfield Town  H  1-1
 Grays Athletic*  H  5-0  Bristol Rovers  A  0-1
 Grays Athletic*  A  0-0  Grimsby Town  H  1-1

Maidstone United won 4-2 on penalties

Last Competitive Meeting at Hayes Lane

9 April 2012 – Bromley 1 Dartford 2 – Att: 767

Goalscorer: Harris (22), Wilkinson (26), Malcolm (77)

Bromley Lineup: Welch, Henriques, Patterson, Fuseini, Swaibu, Harwood, Joseph-Dubois, Waldren, Araba, Williams, Rhule (subs used: Thomas, Malcolm, Jarrett)

Dartford Lineup: Wells, Burns, Green, Bonner, Wilkinson, Champion, Noble, Rogers, Erskine, Bradbrook, Harris (subs used: Garrod)

Previous Ten Competitive Meetings (* – F.A Cup / ** – F.A Trophy / ^ – Kent Senior Cup)

12.01.2013** Dartford 4 Bromley 2
09.04.2012 Bromley 1 Dartford 2
29.10.2011* Dartford 1 Bromley 2
29.08.2011 Dartford 3 Bromley 1
02.05.2011^ Dartford 4 Bromley 1
22.04.2011 Bromley 4 Dartford 1
18.09.2010 Dartford 2 Bromley 2
09.12.2008^ Bromley 4 Dartford 2
13.10.2007* Bromley 1 Dartford 0
07.10.2003^ Bromley 3 Dartford 2

Last Ten F.A Cup Performances

Season Bromley Dartford
2013/14 3Q v Heybridge Swifts 1st Rd v Salisbury City
2012/13 1st Rd v Fleetwood Town 4Q v Forest Green Rovers
2011/12 1st Rd v Leyton Orient 4Q v Bromley
2010/11 3Q v Chelmsford City 1st Rd v Port Vale
2009/10 1st Rd v Colchester United 3Q v Chelmsford City
2008/09 2Q v AFC Hornchurch 2Q v Hampton and Richmond
2007/08 4Q v Eastbourne Borough 3Q v Bromley
2006/07 1st Rd v Gillingham 1Q v Hastings United
2005/06 4Q v Aldershot Town Pre v Dorking
2004/05 4Q v Cambridge City 1Q v Dorking

Bromley v Dartford

Still looking for their first pre season win Dartford travel to Bromley on the weekend to continue preparations for the upcoming campaign.

Two draws against League Two opposition and a 4-0 defeat against a Reading XI is how the Darts have fared so far. However, the results are less important than the fitness levels the senior and academy players are building up before August 10.

With Reading’s first team out in Portugal it was left to their youngsters to visit Princes Park on Tuesday night. Gozie Ugwu, Craig Tanner and Aaron Tshibola all got on the score sheet before Tanner completed his brace in the first half. Dartford would have been delighted that the Royals failed to add to their tally in the second half.

Preceding the mid week fixture there was more squad news to come with the announcement of Jason Prior putting pen to paper. The striker will start the 2013/14 campaign with the Darts having previously played for the club on loan last term. Midfielder Jon Wallis was released due to other commitments, the 27 year old joined Dartford in 2011 helping the side to promotion via the Conference South playoffs.

Jay

Jay May during his spell with the Darts

The Darts were triumphant against this Saturday’s opponents in January’s F.A Trophy third round meeting. A 4-2 victory at Princes Park helped Dartford reach the semi finals for the first time in 24 years.

New loan signing Dominic Green took no time at all to score on his début taking advantage of a poor back pass. Bromley’s Pierre Joseph-Dubois hit a decent strike past Marcus Bettinelli to level up. A clever counter attack finished by Green ensured the Darts restored their lead before half time. In the second half, Lee Burns netted from Ryan Hayes’ delightful back heel and Harry Crawford continued his excellent form in front of goal. There was time for consolation when Joseph-Dubois scored again for Bromley.

The two Kent clubs have crossed paths many times in recent seasons playing seven times since Dartford’s promotion to the Conference South in 2010.

One summer signing the Darts will be familiar with is Jay May. The striker played for the club over three spells having come through the youth team ranks. Enjoying Dartford’s rise through the Isthmian leagues he struck up a formidable partnership with Brendon Cass between 2006 and 2008 where he netted 35 league goals in two seasons. The 30 year old returned in 2007 moved to Bromley and came back to the Darts again in March 2009.  May joined Bromley from Billericay Town having scored 11 times last campaign.

Bromley have also played three friendlies starting with League One club Gillingham going down to three first half goals. A first win followed at Beckenham Town when the Lillywhites came from behind twice in a 3-2 triumph. A young Charlton Athletic side turned up at Hayes Lane on Tuesday night and were held to a 1-1 draw.

 

Dartford v Bromley

 

A Quarter Final place is up for grabs in the F.A Trophy on Saturday as Dartford bid to reach the last eight for the first time in twenty four years.

Standing in the way are Kent rivals Bromley who knocked the Darts out of last season’s F.A Cup avenging the Kent Senior Cup Final defeat the year before. Dartford have fell at this hurdle in the last two campaigns losing to Gateshead two years ago and Isthmian Premier League side Wealdstone in last season’s F.A Trophy.

Dartford enjoy cup success against Bromley

Saturday’s fixture will be the seventh time the two sides have met, since Dartford were promoted to the Conference leagues in 2010. The Darts enjoyed a Bank Holiday August win last year thanks to Elliot Bradbrook’s excellent goal from the edge of the box after seven minutes. Bromley’s Danny Waldren levelled proceedings just after the hour but Dartford left it late with two goals. With eight minutes remaining Charlie Sheringham put the home side in front and two minutes later Danny Harris tapped in from a well worked free kick. The Darts recorded their first win in the league against Bromley since 1968.

Two months later, Bromley won the F.A Cup tie when Hakeem Araba converted from the penalty spot. Jack Pallen equalised three minutes later by getting on the end of a Danny Harris cross. The winner came from a free kick which Gareth Williams expertly curled round the wall with fifteen minutes left.

Dartford will hope to put Saturday’s defeat to Alfreton Town behind them. After leading twice in the match the Darts eventually succumbed to a last minute goal. Ryan Hayes put Dartford in front with just three minutes on the clock, the winger finished with aplomb curling the ball into the net. The Darts hit the post and had a goal ruled out for offside before the hosts levelled in first half injury time when Daniel Meadows was on the end of Matthew Harriott’s cross.

Just before the hour substitute Nathan Collier headed in his second league goal for the Darts but yet again Alfreton Town pegged back the visitors via Anton Brown fifteen minutes later. Crucially Meadows was at hand for a second time in the final minute leaving the Darts with nothing to show.

In Goldberg’s third spell in charge of the club, Bromley have needed five games to reach the third round with the highlight coming in the last stage of the competition. Goalkeeper, Joe Welch became an instant hero with a last minute penalty save to help Mark Goldberg’s side reach the last sixteen for the first time in the clubs history. Waldren netted the winner from the spot just before half time in a 1-0 victory.

Bromley get revenge by knocking the Darts out of the F.A Cup

The Lillywhites were just point above the relegation zone going into Tuesday’s clash with Dorchester Town but only eight points off the playoffs. The win on Tuesday night against the Magpies pushed Bromley into eleventh spot. Louie Theophanous opened the scoring with a low strike in the first half. On the hour, Moses Swaibu pounced onto a rebound to double the advantage. Two minutes later Theophanous missed from the spot but Elliot Buchanan followed up to make it three. With five minutes left Theophanous was involved again scoring his second and Bromley’s fourth.

Bromley have managed to string a few league results together recently including wins against struggling Eastleigh and Kent side Tonbridge Angels. Although their Conference South campaign started off slowly with two points racked up out of the first five matches, the club put together a five match unbeaten run including three successive wins without conceding. Since October the Lillywhites have been inconsistent in the league and sit in mid table.

Team News

With an overstretched squad Tony Burman had to call on four academy players against Alfreton Town to fill up the bench. Mohammed Eisa made his début as a substitute and George Monger made his first league appearance replacing Elliot Bradbrook in the final minute.

Bradbrook limped off following Jacob Erskine’s earlier injury after just fifteen minutes and Tom Bonner was left out of the squad through illness. Danny Harris suffered a set back on New Years Day and along with Lee Noble were not involved on Saturday.

Burman has also brought in Dominic Green on a months loan from Dagenham and Redbridge. The 23 year old left sided midfielder could well feature on Saturday.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 21 / Bromley wins: 23 / Draws 11 / Dartford goals: 93 / Bromley goals: 98

Previous Six Competitive Meetings

09.04.2012 Bromley 1 Dartford 2
29.10.2011 Dartford 1 Bromley 2
29.08.2011 Dartford 3 Bromley 1
02.05.2011 Dartford 4 Bromley 1
22.04.2011 Bromley 4 Dartford 1
18.09.2010 Dartford 2 Bromley 2

Current Form

(League games unless stated – FAT – F.A Trophy)

Dartford (LLLWDW) Bromley (WWLWWL)
Alfreton Town A 2-3 Dorchester Town A 4-0
Ebbsfleet United A 2-2 Eastleigh H 3-1
Cambridge United H 1-1 Sutton United H 0-2
Ebbsfleet United H 3-1 Tonbridge Angels A 3-0
Kidderminster Harriers A 1-5 Kidderminster Harriers (FAT) H 1-0
Tonbridge Angels (FAT) H 3-0 Farnborough H 0-1

Road To Wembley

Second Round

Dartford 3 Tonbridge Angels 0

In a cup derby at Princes Park the Darts knocked out the Conference South side. Harry Crawford got the Darts on their way when at the second attempt the striker scored to give the Darts an early lead. In the second half top goalscorer Crawford was upended in the penalty box and captain Elliot Bradbrook scored from the spot. The third goal was the pick of the bunch, created by Jacob Erskine’s back heel, Jon Wallis took a touch before emphatically hitting a fine long range strike into the top corner.

Bromley 1 Kidderminster Harriers 0

In one of the second round upsets Bromley headed into round three. Harriers defender Josh Gowling conceded the vital penalty which Danny Waldren dispatched just before the break. Anthony Malbon had the chance to force a replay in the last minute but his spot kick was saved by Joe Welch as Bromley held on to win 1-0. Kidderminster Harriers had suffered only their second defeat in 17 competitive matches.

First Round

Kingstonian 0 Dartford 4

The happy memories of promotion two years ago came back to the Darts in round one. The trip to Kingsmeadow started badly when début defender Semi Ajayi conceded a penalty with four minutes on the clock. Fortunatley Andre McCollin’s spot kick was saved by the other loan signing Marcus Bettinelli. From then on Dartford didn’t look back, Jacob Erskine flicked in number one before Simon Huckle was dismissed for the hosts. The lead was doubled when Elliot Bradbrook flicked the ball goalwards with his head and Danny Harris expertly curled home a third. Nathan Collier wrapped up the match by coolly slotting the ball underneath the oncoming goalkeeper.

Bromley 1 Boreham Wood 1

At Hayes Lane Bromley were heading out of the F.A Trophy after falling behind to a penalty. Moses Swaibu brought down Omer Riza who dusted himself off to net the spot kick. The Lillywhites were behind for nearly three quarters of the match until Pierre Joseph-Dubois headed the equaliser two minutes from time.

Boreham Wood 0 Bromley 2

Yet again at the second attempt the Lillywhites beat Conference South opposition. Charlton Athletic loanee Joe Pigott won apenalty which midfielder Danny Waldren dispatched just before half time. Joe Welch had kept Bromley in the match with some useful saves and Boreham Wood striker Inih Effiong was dismissed. The visitors took full advantage when Michael Malcolm rounded the Wood goalkeeper to put the game out of the reach.

Third Qualifying Round

Bromley 1 Staines Town 1

Two stunning strikes lit up this third qualifying round match as the game ended all square. Elliot Buchanan put Bromley in front ten minutes into the first half. The striker created enough room to hit a 25 yard shot into the top corner giving the hosts a 1-0 lead. In the second half Louis-Rae Beadle levelled up the score with his own 20 yard rasper.

Staines Town 0 Bromley 2

The Lillywhites leaped over their first hurdle with an away win at Wheatsheaf Park. The replay went the way of the visitors thanks to two well taken goals. Just after half time Bromley went ahead when midfielder Tony Finn took the ball round the oncoming goalkeeper Jack Turner to slot home. The qualifier was settled two minutes from time when former Staines Town striker Ali Chaaban lobbed Turner.

Bromley v Dartford

Dartford face Bromley for the sixth time in just under two years on Easter Monday and aim to break their Hayes Lane hoodoo.

It has been an age since Dartford fans tasted victory against Bromley at Hayes Lane which included a 4-1 hammering last season. The Lillywhites took the lead through Jerry Nnamani and three minutes later Jerrome Sobers doubled their advantage. Charlie Sheringham gave Dartford a lifeline from the spot before half time. Two second half goals from Warren McBean and Leon McKenzie completed Bromley’s victory.

Hayes Lane: Home of Bromley FC

The last three matches between the two sides have all been at Princes Park. Bromley avenged their 3-1 defeat in August by knocking The Darts out of the F.A Cup two months later. First, Dartford enjoyed Bank Holiday August thanks to Elliot Bradbrook’s excellent goal from the edge of the box after seven minutes. Bromley’s Danny Waldren levelled proceedings just after the hour but Dartford left it late with two goals. With eight minutes remaining Charlie Sheringham put the home side in front and two minutes later Danny Harris tapped in from a well worked free kick. The Darts recorded their first win in the league against Bromley since 1968.

In October, Bromley progressed to the F.A Cup first round when Hakeem Araba converted from the penalty spot. Jack Pallen equalised just three minutes later by getting on the end of a Danny Harris cross. The winner came from a free kick which Gareth Williams expertly curled round the wall with 15 minutes left.

In two weeks time Dartford will be trying to defend their Kent Senior Cup crown after beating Bromley in last year’s final. Elliot Bradbrook, Ryan Hayes, a Craig Holloway own goal and Danny Harris had The Darts four up after an hour. Warren McBean netted a consolation as the final ended 4-1.

The Darts suffered a setback on Saturday with a goalless draw at home to Chelmsford City despite a positive performance. The Darts will also be without Luke Wilkinson towards the end of the season after he picked up two yellow cards. With four games remaining the title is looking unlikely as Dartford need to overturn a seven point gap. Tony Burman spoke to PURE DFC and said: “It is a big ask, it’s an uphill struggle but at the same time we’ve guaranteed our playoff place and I’m absolutelty delighted regarding that. We want to finish as high as we can in that area now”, he added: “I’m not going to get down hearted with drawing against a decent side like Chelmsford”.

At the other end of the Conference South are Bromley who hoover just two points above the bottom three in seventeenth position. The Lillywhites earned a useful point away to Sutton United when Hakeem Araba equalised fifteen minutes from time. Every point is crucial for Bromley due to the position they have left themselves in after a dreadful run from the first week of October to the last week of January. The Lillywhites went 14 league games without a win picking up a meagre five points, only Thurrock have managed a longer streak without winning this season.

Since the end of January, Bromley have tasted just two more defeats in their last dozen matches, their current form could see them avoid the drop.

Team News

Jon Wallis has a fractured bone on his ankle, Richard Graham is close to a return and expected to be available next weekend. Deren Ibrahim is out with a dislocated shoulder for the rest of the season.

Statistics (league only)

Bromley (17th) v Dartford (2nd)

Current Form

Last five Bromley matches at home Last five Dartford matches away
Won 1-0 v Weston Super-Mare Won 1-0 v Eastbourne Borough
Drew 1-1 v Farnborough Lost 0-1 v Dorchester Town
Drew 0-0  v Havant and Waterlooville Drew 1-1 v Maidenhead United
Drew 0-0 v Eastleigh Won 1-0 v Tonbridge Angels
Drew 1-1 v Staines Town Lost 0-1 v Woking

Attendances

Bromley average home attendance: 463

Highest home attendance: 771 v Tonbridge Angels/ Lowest: 223 v Dorchester Town

Dartford average away attendance: 867

Highest away attendance: 2528 v Woking / Lowest: 355 v Maidenhead United

Did you know…

Last time Dartford played Bromley in the league it came after a 0-0 draw with Chelmsford City

The Darts have failed to score more than once away from home in their last five league matches on the road

Only Thurrock (9) have scored fewer first half goals in the conference South than Bromley (16)

Bromley have lost just once in their last ten league matches at home. They have won only twice, both 1-0 and drawn seven

The Lillywhites have failed to win back to back home games in the Conference South this season

In the last seven league fixtures at Hayes Lane only eight goals have been scored

 

Dartford v Bromley

The Darts prepared for Saturday’s F.A Cup clash with Bromley by retunring to winning ways on Tuesday night.

For the second time in six months Dartford host Bromley in cup competition and will hope to repeat their Kent Senior Cup Final triumph in May.

Dartford's new scoreboard makes it's début in style

The two sides have met three times at Princes Park in just over a year and the outcome of the last two meetings have favoured Dartford. Early this season The Darts christened their new scoreboard on Bank Holiday August with a 3-1 victory. Elliot Bradbrook’s stunning volley on seven minutes was cancelled out by Danny Waldren just past the hour. With eight minutes on the clock Charlie Sheringham put Dartford in front. A well worked free kick from the training ground ended with Danny Harris sliding the ball over the line two minutes later to ensure the points went to Dartford.

In May, The Darts clinched the Kent Senior Cup in style in the last cup tie between the two sides and back in September a dramatic match ended in a 2-2 draw.

Bromley have had their fair share of wins most notably their 4-1 victory at Hayes Lane ten days prior the Kent Senior Cup Final. As The Darts take on Mark Goldberg’s team they will want to avenge the two other F.A Cup ties against Bromley in the last eight years. In 2003 Bromley beat The Darts in the second qualifying round at Hayes Lane and four years later they won again in the third qualifying round.

Tony Burman’s side will be lifted by their performance against Thurrock on Tuesday night, the Dartford boss spoke to PURE DFC after the game: “I’m really pleased with the result and the way the players have kept going. We were excellent first half but the finishing product was not there, we created some chances but it didn’t go for us. We asked them at half time to be patient and things will come and it did. I thought it was an all round excellent performance.”

Jacob Erskine celebrates scoring his first for the club

On Saturday Princes Park will host a partisan crowd as The Darts try and make it to the F.A Cup first round for a successive year. Burman appreciates the part the crowd plays and said: “Our support over here was excellent from start to finish and the encouragement that we heard from the sidelines was something else. I’d like to thank all the supporters who made the short trip. They were in good voice and that is what you need, we stick together on and off the field and we’ll be okay”.

Bromley were defeated by a single goal in mid week by Dover Athletic. An inconsistent first quarter of the season has left The Ravens mid table. For the third round in a row The Ravens play Kent opposition having defeated Welling United and Margate. Mark Goldberg knows his side has had to show resolve over recent weeks and that determination has helped Bromley lose just once in their last six competitive matches.

For The Darts, Jacob Erskine will be cup tied after he played in Hampton and Richmond’s shock 6-2 defeat against Arlesley Town. Deren Ibrahim will hope to maintain his place in the first team. Lee Noble has a slight problem with his hamstring and Matt Jones will hopefully be back in a couple of weeks.

Road To Wembley

Dartford

3rd Qualifying Round: Won 2-1 v Cray Wanderers (Hayes, Harris)

In a lacklustre first half with not much to report Dartford battled it out with former landlords Cray Wanderers. In the second half the hosts took a shock when Tommy Whitnell half volleyed the ball beyond Andrew Young. Ryan Hayes equalised when his a curling free kick to the far post sailed over everyone into the net. The substitute Danny Harris deflected shot wrong footed Cray goalkeeper Andrew Walker to send The Darts through.

2nd Qualifying Round: Won 5-0 v Harrow Borough (Rogers, Bradbrook, Sheringham, Bonner, Burns)

Harrow Borough were reduced to ten men after just three minutes and from then on Dartford were in complete control. Jamie Roger’s opened his account for the club, Elliot Bradbrook and Charlie Sheringham had The Darts three up at half time. Tom Bonner made it four in the second half and Lee Burns became the fifth different goal scorer as Dartford cruised into the next round.

Bromley

3rd Qualifying Round: Won 3-2 v Margate (McBean (2), Waldren)

Margate gave Bromley a scare at Hartsdown Park when they took just twenty seconds to go in front courtesy of Kwesi Appiah. The Margate striker was at it again twenty minutes later when The Gate went two up. Margate were in complete control missing several chances to extend their lead. The missed opportunity’s proved costly when in the second half Bromley completed a stunning comeback. Warren McBean scored twice and Danny Waldren kept his cool in the final minute scoring his third penalty in this seasons F.A Cup all in the final twenty minutes.

2nd Qualifying Round: Won 2-1 v Welling United (Waldren (2))

Loick Pires scored a header for Welling United in the first half as The Wings looked like progressing to the next round. Then just before the hour Welling United’s Anthony Acheampong was sent off and Bromley took the initiative with a man advantage. Danny Waldren scored twice from the penalty spot as Bromley marched on.

Current Form (league and cup)

Last five Dartford matches at home Last five Bromley matches away
Lost 1-2 v Truro City Drew 3-3 v Maidenhead United
Won 5-0 v Harrow Borough (F.A Cup) Won 3-2 v Margate (F.A Cup)
Won 3-1 v Tonbridge Angels Won 2-1 v Havant and Waterlooville
Won 2-1 v Staines Town Lost 1-4 v Staines Town
Won 3-0 v Eastleigh Won 2-0 v Eastleigh

F.A Cup Performances

Season Dartford Bromley
2010/2011 1st Round Proper: v Port Vale 3rd Qualifying Rd: v Chelmsford City
2009/2010 3rd Qualifying Rd: v Chelmsford City 1st Round Proper: v Colchester United
2008/2009 2nd Qualifying Rd: v Hampton and Richmond 2nd Qualifying Rd: v AFC Hornchurch
2007/2008 3rd Qualifying Rd: v Bromley 4th Qualifying Rd: v Eastbourne Borough
2006/2007 1st Qualifying Rd: v Hastings United 1st Round Proper: v Gillingham
2005/2006 4th Qualifying Rd: v Grays Athletic 4th Qualifying Rd: v Aldershot Town
2004/2005 Preliminary Rd: v Dorking 4th Qualifying Rd: v Cambridge City
2003/2004 2nd Qualifying Rd: v Bromley 3rd Qualifying Rd: v Thurrock
2002/2003 Preliminary Rd: v Carterton Town 2nd Qualifying Rd: v Leatherhead
2001/2002 3rd Qualifying Rd: v Gravesend and Northfleet 2nd Qualifying Rd: v Hassocks

Did you know…

Dartford’s run of six consecutive league wins at Princes Park remains the best winning streak at home this season

Bromley have had the most amount of different goalscorers in the Conference South. Excluding own goals 11 different players have scored for Bromley in the league so far.

84 years ago Dartford and Bromley met each other in the F.A Cup on 29 October 1927, the match ended 1-1.

 

Dartford v Bromley

Last time The Darts played a competitive Bank Holiday fixture turned out to be memorable for Dartford. Princes Park was the venue, the opponents were Bromley.

Again the two sides meet on a Bank Holiday Monday and Dartford will be looking to repeat the 4-1 Kent Senior Cup triumph in May. However it has been a staggering 43 years since The Darts beat Bromley in a league match but Tony Burman’s side will be hoping to extend their unbeaten run to six.

Dartford lift the Kent Senior Cup

Last season both sides were almost inseparable in the games against each other and in the league positions they finished. The corresponding match in September was an entertaining 2-2 draw. Bromley were topping the table at the time and took the lead through Nic McDonnell. Ryan Hayes equalised only for Harrison Dunk (now at Cambridge United) to restore the lead for the The Ravens. The goal two minutes from time looked like the three points were Bromley’s but in the final minute Elliot Bradbrook rescued a point for The Darts. On Good Friday Bromley eased to a 4-1 victory at Hayes Lane before Dartford repeated the 4-1 scoreline in the Kent Senior Cup Final with goals from Bradbrook, Hayes, Danny Harris and an own goal.

Dartford and Bromley ended with identical records in the league last season with 15 wins, 12 draws and 15 defeats, The Darts edged past The Ravens into tenth place on the final day by goal difference. Between the two clubs their overall records are just as close with 20 wins to Dartford, 22 wins for Bromley and 13 draws.

Tony Burman was pleased with taking maximum points in the opening three games and the consecutive away draws against tough opponents keeps his side unbeaten. The 2-2 draw at The Crabble against Dover Athletic was followed up with a goalless draw away to Chelmsford City. The Essex club have become a thorn in Dartford’s side after winning six in a row against them before Tuesday nights match.

Bromley are just two points and a place behind The Darts in fourth place. After the Kent Senior Cup Hayden Bird resigned in the Summer for the return of Mark Goldberg. A new Chairman in Ashley Reading was also installed at Hayes Lane and the arrival of Harry Harding from Reading and Hakeen Araba from Bishop’s Stortford. Dunk left for Conference Premier side Cambridge United, Wes Daly moved to Basingstoke Town and Warren McBean signed for Havant and Waterlooville.

Goldberg’s side opened this campaign with back to back victories against Hampton and Richmond and Boreham Wood. The Ravens were then defeated by Maidenhead United and thrashed 5-0 against Eastbourne Borough. On Tuesday they bounced back with 3-0 win versus new boys Sutton United.

Did you know?

A total of fourteen goals were scored in the fixtures between Dartford and Bromley last season.

Nine goals were scored in the two league meetings between the two sides. The highest aggregate against the same opponent last season. There was also a total of nine goals in Dartford’s defeats against Boreham Wood (1-3 and 1-4) and the results against Woking (2-2 and 3-2).

Bromley went on the longest winning streak in the league last season with seven consecutive victories from the opening day of the season. Woking equalled this record later on in the campaign.

Bromley failed to score in a third of their away games in the Conference South last season.

 

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

10 – April and May – Mission Complete

Oh Jackie Pallen!

Dartford entered the final month of the season in twelfth position and five points behind a top ten finish. Over April The Darts would play another seven league fixtures and a Kent Senior Cup Semi Final.

Lee Burns scores his first

It was a windy day in Hertfordshire which played a huge part in the result against St Albans City. Dartford started off well and forced Conor Gough into a save which he spilt then gathered up and Charlie Sheringham headed wide. Half way through the first forty five Dartford cleared their lines, Lee Burns flicked on a routine header thirty five yards from goal, and the wind carried the ball which bounced by the penalty spot. Dartford fans watched on in disbelief as Gough watched the bouncing ball sail over his head and into the net. What a way to score your first goal of the season, bizarre indeed. Burns celebrated in style, having recently become a father he cradled the tiny Lee Noble, typical Burnsy, no one could be happier. The crowd started to sing, “Where were you when Burnsy scored?” about time we all thought.

Early into the second half The Darts threatened with a couple of headers but it was the home side that made their chance count.  A long ball fell into Tony Battersby’s path and he neatly finished equalising for The Saints. The side at the bottom of the table came back into the game and when Paul Goodacre committed a foul a penalty was awarded. Battersby stepped up to make it two, struck his shot and smashed the cross bar.

Young Jack Pallen was given a start up front and when there was five minutes to go he chased down the ball forcing the St Albans defender into a mistake. Pallen was through one on one with Gough then slotted the ball beyond the keeper, Jack won the match.

St Albans City 1 Dartford 2 – Highlights

A Trip to the Coast

The emergence of Jack Pallen saw a change to the playing staff. Carl Rook went out on loan and Tony Burman signed winger James Rogers.  The Darts made the journey to the coast to take on Ramsgate in the Kent Senior Cup Semi Final. Now the side had got this far and silverware was in our grasp this competition mattered because it had been fifteen years since Dartford reached a cup final.

Sheringham's spot kick

The Rams held Dartford in the first half as both sides failed to score in the opening forty five minutes. In the second half,  Ramsgate failed to clear a corner and Tom Champion scuffed a half volley towards goal, Charlie Sheringham instinctively blasted the ball into the roof of the net from a couple of yards out, 1-0.

The lead was doubled when Jack Pallen was felled in the box and Sheringham converted the spot-kick for his fourth goal in this year’s competition. And just to make sure the tie was finished off ten minutes from time when Ryan Hayes stylishly cut inside to polish off Ramsgate with goal number three. The Darts had made it through to the Bank Holiday May finale.

Ramsgate 0 Dartford 3 – Kent Senior Cup Semi Final Highlights

Playing Without Fear

The win at St Albans City meant Dartford booked their place in next seasons Conference South. However, Tony Burman was determined for his side to finish in the top ten and play to the end. This type of attitude showed against the in form Woking who had taken an impressive 38 points from their last 45.

The first half was more than dramatic at Princes Park. Elliot Bradbrook was deemed to have handled in his penalty box. The decision was harsh considering Bradbrook was facing the opposite direction and the ball hit is hand. The experienced former football league player Elvis Hammond stepped up, the Dartford fans waited for the spot kick. Hammond struck the ball; Andrew Young guessed right, the ball rolled past the post and the scores stayed level.  The penalty count levelled up when Lee Noble was bundled to the floor giving Charlie Sheringham the opportunity to put Dartford in front. Sheringham stepped up, the Dartford fans waited for the spot kick. Sheringham struck the ball; Andy Little guessed right, the ball rolled past the post and the scores stayed level, déjà vu.

With fifteen minutes left to play in the first half no one could afford to blink, it was all action. Andrew Burgess took a free kick from way out on the right and his effort flew over Young into the far top corner. It was a goal Dartford fans had seen Ryan Hayes score on many occasions, this time the goal went against The Darts. Woking deserved the lead but were left completely stunned.

In the space of four minutes the following took place. Dartford won a corner on the left which was sent into the box by Lee Noble. Elliot Bradbrook rose the highest and headed in the equaliser. A couple of minutes later Lee Burns played a short pass into Jack Pallen who spotted a diagonal run by Sheringham. Pallen picked out his fellow striker, Sheringham slid in to win the ball. Sheringham got to his feet the quickest and lifted the ball over the Little into the goal. Unbelievably it did not stop there when Sheringham flicked the ball into Pallen’s path he expertly blasted in the third, what a turnaround.

Charlie Sheringham lifts the ball goalwards

The Darts played with confidence in the second half but failed to increase the lead and when Woking’s Adam Doyle was dismissed the game looked over.  With seven minutes remaining the visitors won another penalty, the third of the game. Craig Dobson was on duty after Hammond’s earlier miss, he scored to give The Cards a life line but it was all too late.

Dartford 3 Woking 2 – Highlights

Super Mario Defeats The Darts

With a cup final place in the bag and a placed in next year’s Conference South, Dartford’s top ten quest was dealt three fatal blows in the space of a week. Boreham Wood destroyed The Darts back in October with the help of Mario Noto and he was at it again.

Charlie Sheringham gave The Darts the lead to make amends for his second penalty miss in consecutive games.  The striker failed to score after Lee Noble won a penalty and his spot kick was saved.  Dartford won penalty number two when Tom Bonner was hauled down, this time Sheringham went down the middle to give The Darts the lead.

Noto again: Mario takes The Darts apart

A minute before the break Mario Noto curled a superb free kick beyond Andrew Young to level. After the restart Noto beat Young for a second time when another curled effort was unstoppable. For the second game in a row a third penalty was awarded which gave Noto the chance to complete a hat trick, he did. To make things worse The Wood netted a fourth through David Bryant and Lee Burns was sent off.  Noto had now scored five of Boreham Wood’s seven goals against Dartford.

Dartford 1 Boreham Wood 4 – Highlights

Fogden Strikes Again

In a jam packed week Dartford travelled to Hampshire on a Monday night to face Havant and Waterlooville. The pitch at Westleigh Park wasn’t pretty and neither was the result. After a few chances for Tony Burman’s side the home team opened the scoring on thirty three minutes. Dartford’s defence were caught napping and Sammy Igoe’s cross was turned into the net by Wes Fogden. Dartford pushed for an equaliser knowing victory against The Hawks will aid their top ten finish and potentially damage Havant and Waterlooville’s chances. It wasn’t to be and the Hampshire side took the three points.

Havant and Waterlooville 1 Dartford 0 – Highlights

Dress Rehearsal

Defeat against Havant and Waterlooville meant the Good Friday match against Bromley was crucial. It was Havant and Bromley in Dartford’s way to gate crashing the top ten. The fixture at Hayes Lane was also a dress rehearsal for the Kent Senior Cup Final. The dress rehearsal was a disaster.

The Ravens took the lead through Jerry Nnamani and three minutes later Jerrome Sobers doubled their advantage. Charlie Sheringham gave Dartford a lifeline from the spot before half time but two second half goals from Warren McBean and Leon McKenzie completed Bromley’s victory.

Bromley 4 Dartford 1 – Highlights

A Glorious Day

Three defeats in a row and the return of Jon Main in a Dover Athletic shirt had the Dartford fans up for this fixture. The rivalry between Dartford and Dover in the last five years had increased as their paths have crossed more recently. Like Good Friday the sun was beaming down and inside Princes Park the atmosphere was cooking. It is fair to say that Dover has had the upper hand over Dartford for some time but after the 2-0 win by The Darts in November the double was on.

The game started at pace and continued throughout the first half. The Dartford midfield worked tirelessly and combined some good moves but neither side could fashion a goal scoring chance until mid-way into the first forty five. Lee Noble lined up a corner on the left and sent the cross into the crowded box. Charlie Sheringham lost his marker with a run to the near post and flicked the ball into the opposite corner, Princes Park erupted.

Lee Noble and Lee Burns linked up well on the edge of the box and Burns’ volley was parried wide by Ross Flitney. Noble then led a counter attack which failed to materialise and his curling effort later on just missed the target. Noble was everywhere dictating the middle of the park and setting up attacks. Dover survived the first half only a goal down.

Dartford end their home campaign on a high

Ten minutes into the second half Burns played the ball inside to Elliot Bradbrook. The captain laid the ball off to Tom Champion and side footed the ball tamely towards goal, a slight deflection later and the lead was doubled, The Darts were ecstatic. Three minutes on and Andrew Young punted a goal kick to the half way line. Charlie Sheringham headed the ball onwards, Burns flicked on with his head and Danny Harris pounced onto the ball and expertly lobbed Flitney, 3-0 the crowd went crazy. The Dartford players celebrated with the fans, Dover players looked on head in hands and stunned.

To the credit of a handful of Dover fans who kept supporting their club and making noise The Whites tried to get back into the game but found Dartford difficult to break down. Adam Birchall was kept quiet and his only major chance one on one with Andrew Young saw The Darts goalkeeper come out on top. Ross Flitney had to twice tip shots over the bar in the Dover goal as Dartford attempted to increase their lead. After a corner was kept alive Noble took a pop at goal inside the eighteen yard box, Sheringham reached out a leg controlled the ball and poked the ball with the outside of his foot passed Flitney, 4-0 to The Darts, what a way to finish Princes Park’s league campaign for 2010/2011.

Dartford 4 Dover Athletic 0 – Highlights

In at Number Ten

30 April 2011 and Dartford’s long season was to end at Maidenhead United. Whilst The Darts were playing for top ten finish their opponents needed just a point to stay up. Dartford needed to win and hope Bromley were defeated by Eastleigh.

The first half passed by with the home side happy to see out the game and use up time. At the break all looked well for both sides because Bromley and Thurrock were two goals down at the interval. In the second half The Darts threw a spanner in the works when Charlie Sheringham latched onto Ryan Hayes through ball to lob Steve Williams in the Maidenhead goal. A second goal followed fifteen minutes later when Jack Pallen and Sheringham combined on the edge of the box. Pallen finished netting his second league goal of the season, the academy player was settling in just nicely. Two turned to three in the seventy second minute when Ryan Hayes hit a right footed volley sweetly into the corner.  The season was ending on a high, Bromley were still two goals down and Thurrock had managed to pull their game back to 3-2. The Darts partied, The Magpies were on edge.

Maidenhead were not finished yet and substitute Craig Faulconbridge’s glancing header with eleven minutes on the clock gave The Magpies some impetus. Jefferson Louis pulled another goal back with five minutes remaining; surely The Darts wouldn’t throw it away? Then in the dying moments of the season Louis turned his man, fired in a shot, over the cross bar. A close call in the end as the game finished 3-2.

Knowledge of results from elsewhere arrived at York Road. Farnborough 3 Thurrock 2, Maidenhead was safe. Bromley 0 Eastleigh 2, Dartford had gate crashed the top ten.

Braintree Town departed the Conference South as champions. Farnborough Town and Ebbsfleet United overcome Woking and Chelmsford City in the playoffs respectively. Ebbsfleet United won the playoff 4-2 to join Braintree in the Conference National. St Albans City and Lewes were relegated and Thurrock was given a reprieve due to the demise of Rushden and Diamonds in the league above, Bishop’s Stortford moved to the Conference North. Joining the Conference South for 2011/2012 is Sutton United and Tonbridge Angels from the Isthmian Premier League as well as Salisbury City and Truro City from the Southern Premier League. The new adventure awaits.

Maidenhead United 2 Dartford 3 – Highlights

For The Win?

Last time Dartford made it to a cup final was in 1996 so it had been a long time coming. Bromley had won the Kent Senior Cup in 2007 when they retained the prize. The two sides drew 2-2 at Princes Park back in September but the 4-1 defeat to Bromley on Good Friday was still fresh in the memory of players, staff and supporters. The final was to be held at Princes Park and crowd of 2025 made the effort to see who would be crowned champions of Kent.

Tony Burman stuck with Deren Ibrahim in goal who had played in every round, the rest of the team was as you would expect as The Darts aimed to win their third piece of silverware in four years. An expectant crowd wanted to taste glory again and typically a mix of excitement and nerves filled Princes Park.

Dartford started steadily passing the ball around in midfield using their full backs to good effect. Tom Champion won possession and played the ball back to Paul Goodacre. Tom Bonner received the pass and touched the ball inside to Elliot Bradbrook. Bradbrook exchanged a one two with Lee Noble then played the ball wide to Matt Jones. Jones knocked the ball wide to Ryan Hayes who was making his two hundredth start, he cut inside and whipped in an in swinger. Noble was on the end of it unmarked, the header went wide. A promising opening, Noble kicked the post knowing he should have scored.

The Darts celebrate the opener

Bromley hit back when Ibrahim was forced into a reaction save at the near post and the resulting corner was scrambled clear. The next chance came from Dartford when Danny Harris was given space and his curler was deflected out for a corner. Twenty minutes had passed and Hayes swung the corner towards goal, Charlie Sheringham nodded the ball across the crowded six yard box and Bradbrook poked the ball in, just what the Captain ordered.

Straight from kick off Bromley directly carved their way through the Dartford team, Harry Harding was one on one with Young, what a waste from the Bromley player as he blasted the ball over, Dartford went to sleep and were let off. The first half was suddenly over it had all gone so quickly and The Darts had the narrow advantage.

Five minutes into the second half and Bonner took a throw in the corner of the Bromley half, his throw was laid back to him and a first time cross bounced through three Bromley defenders. Hayes was waiting, looked up and calmly picked out the far corner with a side footed shot, Dartford doubled their lead. Hayes ran to the corner flag slid on his knees got up and ‘sang’ using the flag as a microphone. Dartford fans sang knowing silverware was in their grasp.

The Darts started to play with more confidence, Sheringham’s spin and shot went harmlessly over, Hayes tricked his way down the left side, Bromley were on the edge as Dartford won another corner. Hayes swung the ball underneath the goal posts, Craig Holloway fumbled and after fifty five minutes Dartford were three to the good. Hayes was congratulated and out came his imaginary guitar.

Dartford fans were starting to have fun knowing the cup was as good as theirs and if anyone had doubts they didn’t on the hour. Sheringham’s vision picked out Hayes and his first time low cross to the far post reached Harris who was lurking to tap the ball in, 4-0. The players knew the job was done. Although Bromley pulled one back through Warren McBean fifteen minutes from time, Dartford won the Kent Senior Cup for the tenth time in their history.

Dartford F.C - Kent Senior Cup Winners

The celebrations went on into the evening, a third trophy in four years. Back in January, who would have thought Dartford would finish in the top ten and win a cup? Tony Burman, his staff, his players, and supporters had achieved the best set of results since 1989. Dartford Football Club finished tenth in the Conference South, reached the last sixteen of the F.A Trophy, the first round of the F.A Cup and is now the Champions of Kent.

Dartford 4 Bromley 1 – Kent Senior Cup Final Highlights

Kent Senior Cup Final Presentation

Dartford for the win!

Pos Team Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1 Braintree Town 42 27 8 7 78 33 +45 89
2 Farnborough 42 25 7 10 83 47 +36 82
3 Ebbsfleet United 42 22 12 8 75 51 +24 78
4 Chelmsford City 42 23 8 11 82 50 +32 77
5 Woking 42 22 10 10 62 42 +20 76
6 Welling United* 42 24 8 10 81 47 +34 75
7 Dover Athletic 42 22 8 12 80 51 +29 74
8 Eastleigh 42 22 6 14 74 53 +21 72
9 Havant & W 42 16 10 16 56 51 +5 58
10 Dartford 42 15 12 15 60 60 0 57
11 Bromley 42 15 12 15 49 61 -12 57
12 Weston-super-Mare 42 15 8 19 56 67 -11 53
13 Basingstoke Town 42 13 10 19 50 63 -13 49
14 Boreham Wood 42 12 11 19 56 67 -11 47
15 Staines Town 42 11 14 17 48 63 -15 47
16 Bishop’s Stortford 42 13 6 23 48 79 -31 45
17 Dorchester Town 42 10 14 18 49 59 -10 44
18 Hampton & Richmond 42 9 15 18 43 60 -17 42
19 Maidenhead United 42 10 10 22 43 70 -27 40
20 Thurrock 42 8 13 21 50 77 -27 37
21 Lewes 42 9 9 24 34 70 -36 36
22 St Albans City** 42 7 13 22 39 75 -36 24

*Welling United deducted five points

**St Albans City deducted ten points

Stuart Maidment

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

 

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

4 – Finding Our Feet?

White-wash

Dartford started the second month of the season in sixteenth place and faced mid table Weston Super Mare at home.  The Seagulls had only managed to score and concede just once away from home, the crowd expected a tough match with few goals, how wrong they were. Dartford shaded the first half with nothing much to report until the stroke of half time. James White was being pushed and pulled in the box and the referee gave a penalty. Weston players were bemused, nine times out of ten a foul wouldn’t have been given unless it was outside the box. Charlie Sheringham tucked away the penalty to give Dartford the lead before the break.

James White's superb curling shot finds the back of the net

Weston came out quickly in the second half and a defensive lapse down the right provided The Seagulls with a chance to level. Marcus Duharty side footed the ball after it was cut back, all square. A sloppy goal to give away but that didn’t deter The Darts creating a couple of chances. James White was everywhere in the middle of the park and twenty minutes later his persistence paid off. Sheringham’s pass was just out of reach for White but he managed to bundle his way through to earn possession, Weston players claimed hand ball but this was unable to put White off his tracks. Cutting onto his left foot he curled a shot from 20 yards into the far corner, a terrific strike, 2-1. Four frantic minutes later left the Dartford faithful in dreamland. Ryan Hayes caused trouble all afternoon and his free kick on the right was turned in by Weston’s Martin Slocombe. Hayes then provided a delightful pin point cross for Sheringham to nod home at the back stick, 4-1 Dartford. With Ryno’s deliveries and White’s midfield domination that afternoon it certainly was a great day at the office.

Dartford 4 Weston Super-Mare 1 – Highlights

Elliot Bradbrook fires in the equaliser in Dartford's return to Ship Lane

Back to an Old Stomping Ground

A short trip across the River Thames to Ship Lane provided many fans with fond memories of The Darts playing outside of Kent. Years without a home after the demise in 1992, years of sharing grounds but the club survived no matter what. Between 1998 and 2001 The Darts shared home with Thurrock (then known as Purfleet). The Essex club had yet to record a victory in their opening seven fixtures, in fact it took a further eight games to earn their first win. On this occasion the two sides shared the spoils. Max Lette Jallow was allowed to waltz into the Dartford area and put The Fleet ahead on 65 minutes. Although the performance was gritty, dogged and sometimes desperate Dartford battled on.  A free kick was whipped in low and Eliot Bradbrook managed to take the ball under his control, a swivel, a shot, a goal from six yards. The skipper rescued a point for Dartford twelve minutes from time.

Thurrock 1 Dartford 1 – Highlights

Captain Bradbrook Saves the Day, Again

Captain Bradbrook scores a dramatic leveller

Bromley visited Princes Park top of the Conference South, an incredible run of seven straight victories (only matched by Woking later in the season) had ended the week before at St Albans City in a draw. Still unbeaten and with Dartford undefeated in three an impressive crowd of 1834 turned up for an entertaining afternoon.

Nic McDonnell put Bromley ahead in the first half when a Tony Finn shot looped over Andrew Young for McDonnell to bundle the ball over the line. However, the drama was about to unfold.  Jerome Sobers brought down Elliot Bradbrook in the box, the referee pulled out a card, the colour red. Ryan Hayes took the penalty, Wes Foderingham’s hand made contact with the ball but not enough to keep out the shot, the scores were level on 74 minutes.

With just two minutes on the clock Harrison Dunk dribbled the ball towards the Dartford goal, his unchallenged run ended in a low 18 yard strike into the Dartford net, disaster. With time running out The Darts pushed for an equaliser, Hayes put in a deep cross to the far post, Foderingham misjudged and Bradbrook nodded home from two yards out to rescue a point, again.

Dartford 2 Bromley 2 – Highlights

The Road To Wembley Begins

For some teams the journey to the hallowed Wembley turf began on 14 August 2011. On that day Dartford were making their debut in the Conference South. Every season for non leaguers, a trip to Wembley in the F.A Cup will never happen, so it’s the dream of a third round tie against the big guns which non leaguers realistically dream about. Dartford set out on their journey on 25 September 2010 in the Second Qualifying Round.

Lowestoft Town stood in Dartford’s way of progression as they visited Princes Park. The Isthmian Premier side were a tough prospect and definitely on the up. The previous season they cruised to the Isthmian North title with a 15 point margin, scoring a whopping 115. They had won three trophies in five years and reached the F.A Vase Final in 2008. In their first season at Isthmian Premier level they had won 5 of their first 7 matches.

The F.A Cup always has something special in store for a number of clubs; Dartford fans hoped it would be their turn. The match kicked off at the traditional time with supporters in good voice. The Trawlerboys brought a respectable following to add to the atmosphere inside Princes Park.

 

The Trawlerboys arrived at Princes Park in good spirits

Ryan Hayes had the first chance of the afternoon but his wild effort was blasted over. Andrew Young was called into action making an excellent save to keep Dartford fans on edge. The two sides traded opportunities but neither could convert their chances, half time arrived without a goal. The second half came alive when The Darts won a corner on 51 minutes. Michael Shinn’s delivery was scrambled towards Carl Rook who instinctively reacted to nod the ball home, a true poacher’s goal. Dartford stamped their authority on the game. Six minutes later a long throw found Danny Harris on the six yard box. Harris delicately took the ball down on his right foot, one touch out of his feet, a turn and low snap shot and the lead was doubled.

Rookamania: Rook celebrates

Lowestoft continued to play decent football and Joe Francis forced Young into tipping his shot onto the outside of post. The Trawlerboys were galvanised and continued to fight back, Dartford fans were not too comfortable. Dale Cockerill hit a terrific strike from 30 yards but Young equalled his effort with a superb save. On the rocks the game turned into a battle despite a two goal cushion, just ten minutes remained. Lee McGlone took the ball round Young, the post saved Dartford for a moment until Cockerill stuck in the rebound. Hearts were really in mouths now. Lowestoft pushed forward in search of a comeback their fans felt they deserved. Dartford was saved by the full time whistle, who would be waiting in the next round?

Dartford 2 Lowestoft Town 1 – Highlights

When September Ends

Bromley’s unbeaten run stretched to nine which included winning their opening seven matches. Welling United suffered a five point deduction and a £5000 suspended fine due to financial irregularities, leaving them eight points adrift of the leaders. Thurrock and Boreham Wood remained winless. Braintree’s Sean Marks managed to score in every fixture throughout September and topped the goalscoring chart with seven. The match of the month was at The Crabble, where a nine goal thriller ended Dover Athletic 6 Farnborough 3.

Dartford was unbeaten in September and moved up two positions in the league standings. Progression to the F.A Cup Third Qualifying Round was also a plus, it seemed as though The Darts were beginning to adjust to Conference South football.

 

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Bromley 9 7 2 0 17 8 +9 23
2 Braintree Town 9 6 2 1 16 4 +12 20
3 Dover Athletic 9 6 2 1 18 8 +10 20
4 Chelmsford City 9 6 1 2 18 10 +8 19
5 Welling United* 9 6 2 1 18 10 +8 15
6 Ebbsfleet United 9 4 3 2 13 9 +4 15
7 Eastleigh 9 4 2 3 14 10 +4 14
8 Hampton and Richmond 9 3 4 2 11 9 +2 13
9 Woking 9 4 1 4 7 10 -3 13
10 Maidenhead United 9 4 1 4 11 15 -4 13
11 Bishop’s Stortford 9 4 0 5 10 17 -7 12
12 Staines Town 9 2 5 2 10 10 0 11
13 Farnborough 9 3 2 4 14 16 -2 11
14 Dartford 9 2 4 3 14 12 +2 10
15 Havant and W 9 2 4 3 10 10 0 10
16 St Albans City 9 1 6 2 8 9 -1 9
17 Basingstoke Town 9 2 3 4 6 10 -4 9
18 Weston-super-Mare 9 2 3 4 8 13 -5 9
19 Thurrock 9 0 5 4 12 19 -7 5
20 Dorchester Town 9 1 2 6 8 16 -8 5
21 Lewes 9 1 1 7 6 14 -8 4
22 Boreham Wood 9 0 3 6 9 19 -10 3

*Welling United deducted five points