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Burgess Hill Town v Dartford

Dartford can make it to the F.A Cup first round with victory over Isthmian Premier League side Burgess Hill Town on the weekend.

At the same stage three years ago, the Darts beat the Hillians 3-1 at Princes Park but this time it’s the Sussex club playing host. When Tony Burman’s side faced Burgess Hill Town in the fourth qualifying round last time their opponents were flying at the top of the Isthmian Division One South unbeaten. In contrast Dartford were struggling in the National League, three divisions above.

Harry Crawford settled any early nerves by hitting a shot across goal to give Dartford the lead. Five minutes later the striker netted his second instinctively tapping in after goalkeeper Josh James spilt a cross. Darren Budd halved the deficit for the visitors scoring within seconds of coming on as a substitute. A penalty gave Elliot Bradbrook the opportunity to extend Dartford’s lead which he duly obliged.

The gap has closed since then with the Darts dropping into the National South and the Hillians winning promotion at the end of that campaign in 2014/15.

Dartford bounced back in the league on Saturday after the 3-0 defeat at Weston-super-Mare. Goals from Alfie Pavey, a Bradbrook penalty and Andy Pugh’s fourth of the season gave the Darts a 3-1 win over Bognor Regis Town to move up to fourth in the National South table. Pavey has now scored nine in his last ten appearances and starting to show why Burman signed the striker.

Burman praised his side for their patience especially after going in 1-1 at half time, he told www.kentonline, “the guys showed a lot of patience, waited until they got opportunities and they’ve won the game”.

For the first time this season, Burman had all his outfield players available which has led to a new challenge of keeping the squad together, he commented: “I’m delighted we have a full squad, it’s competition for places”, he added: “I’ve got to keep as many people as I can happy and if they want to be successful and they’ve got ambition, they stay here in respect of the level they’re being offered”.

The Darts have negotiated two qualifying rounds so far, beating Barking of the Isthmian Division One North 3-1 at Princes Park. Dartford needed to come from behind to claim victory and progress in the competition.

Burgess Hill Town’s profile is similar to the side Dartford breezed past in the last round. Burman’s side beat Isthmian Premier League club Needham Market 6-1 away from home. The Marketmen won the Isthmian Division One North title the same year Burgess Hill Town won the south division, both sides accumulated over 100 points.

In their first season in the Isthmian Premier, Burgess Hill Town were reprieved whilst the Marketmen survived relegation by a point finishing a place above the Sussex club. Last season, the Hillians finished nineteenth and this term they sit in the same position with Needham Market one place lower.

Manager, Ian Chapman was in charge of the Hillians when they lost to the Darts three years ago and believes his side can cause an upset, he spoke to Mark Dunford of the Mid-Sussex Times and said: “We can win it, it’s not a game I am going ‘well that’s the end of that then’. It will be really difficult, we will have to be at our best and they will have to be poor but it’s a game we can win”.

The Darts will have to be on their toes as Chapman also points out that Burgess Hill Town have staged cup shocks before under his reign, he commented: “Since I have been at the club we have beat Chesham, Aldershot, Leatherhead, Sutton, Wealdstone when they were all in leagues above us – and in one case three leagues above”.

Burgess Hill Town will face Dartford as they try to reach the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in their history. Manager Ian Chapman believes it is not impossible for his side to pull off a shock against the National League South side. The Hillians have faced Dartford twice since Chapman has been at the club, losing 2-1 and 3-1 – the latter was at this stage in 2014. Chapman said: “They are decent outfit. Anytime you are playing sides from the league above they are going to be decent.

The Hillians have so far made it through three qualifying rounds starting with a 3-0 away win against Erith Town. Former Dartford striker Tony Garrod scored a brace and Pat Harding netted the other in the victory. Garrod played for the Darts 2011/12 National South playoff winning squad, making 5 starts, 27 substitute appearances and scoring five times, he’s been regular in the Burgess Hill Town starting eleven this term.

In the second qualifier, the Hillians threw away a three goal lead over Colney Heath. Pat Harding scored the opener and two from Brandon Diau put the visitors in command. However, the South Midlands League side staged a comeback to force a replay. Three days later, Burgess Hill Town repeated the score from the previous round with Pat Harding and another Garrod brace securing a tie with Wealdstone. The Hillians caused a dramatic upset winning 1-0 with Chiek Toure netting the winner in the last minute of the F.A Cup third round qualifier.

After a 5-0 league defeat against Lowestoft Town on the weekend, the Hillians will have no better opportunity to restore confidence than another cup upset. Yet in their league match before the heavy loss they had beaten Kingstonian 5-0, so at the moment goals are very much on the agenda.

Head to Head 
Burgess Hill Town wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 6 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

10.01.2015 Burgess Hill Town 1 Dartford 2
25.10.2014 Dartford 3 Burgess Hill Town 1
13.01.2007 Dartford 7 Burgess Hill Town 2
19.08.2006 Burgess Hill Town 1 Dartford 6
28.10.2003 Dartford 0 Burgess Hill Town 3
21.10.2003 Dartford 2 Burgess Hill Town 1
20.08.2003 Burgess Hill Town 0 Dartford 1

Current Form (all competitions)

Burgess Hill Town (LWWLLW) Dartford (WWLLWW)
Lowestoft Town H 0-5 Bognor Regis Town H 3-1
Kingstonian H 5-1 Needham Market A 6-1
Wealdstone H 1-0 Weston-super-Mare A 0-3
Horsham A 2-4 Cray Wanderers A 2-4
Tonbridge Angels H 0-1 Barking H 3-1
Colney Heath H 3-0 Eastbourne Borough H 4-2

Stats
Elliot Bradbrook, Ryan Hayes, Lee Noble, Andy Pugh and Danny Harris all featured in the last meeting against Burgess Hill Town.

Bradbrook failed to score in the F.A Cup in the last round for the first time since 26 September 2015, when the Darts lost to Uxbridge.

In all competitions, Dartford’s last clean sheet was over a month ago against Chippenham Town. Since then they have played six conceding 12. In first ten games the Darts only conceded just 5 goals.

Burgess Hill Town are looking to reach the F.A Cup first round for the first time in their history.

The Darts last went out to lower league opposition in an away F.A Cup tie 15 years ago. Dartford in the Southern League Eastern Division lost 1-0 in a replay to Carterton Town in the Hellenic League.

On This Day
Dartford have won their last three games on 14 October going back to 1989 when they won an F.A Cup third qualifying tie against Heybridge Swifts 1-0. Since then, the Darts beat Sittingbourne 3-1 in the Southern League Division One South and Godalming Town by the same score in 2006, Richard Avery, Anthony Hogg and Jay May scored in the Isthmian Division One South encounter.

Burgess Hill Town v Dartford

Dartford have already met Burgess Hill Town in this season’s F.A Cup, this time they travel to Leylands Park for this weekend’s F.A Trophy second round tie.

Drawn against each other once more the two sides met two and half months ago at Princes Park. Harry Crawford’s brace and Elliot Bradbrook’s penalty earned Dartford a F.A Cup first round spot in a 3-1 triumph.

The Darts have won all of their previous visits to the Sussex club, the last coming over eight years ago in the Isthmian Division One South. On the opening day of Dartford’s homecoming season, three months before the Darts moved into their new home, a memorable away day gave Dartford the best possible start. In a 6-1 victory, fans favourite Brendon Cass opened his season with a hat trick, John Farley recorded his only goal of 2006/07 and Jay May notched a brace. In 2003, the Darts won 1-0 in the Southern League Eastern Division during their homeless years.

With the January window open Tony Burman is hoping some transfer dealings along with a cup run will boost the confidence of his squad. The visit of Kiderminster Harriers on Sunday became a familiar tale as Dartford couldn’t hold on to earn important league points. Ryan Hayes gave Dartford a superb start after just 45 seconds, the winger scored his 84th career goal for the club by scoring directly from a corner. Chances were missed to increase the lead when Tom Bradbrook headed a golden opportunity wide of the post. Kidderminster Harriers grew into the game and built up pressure throughout the second half, eventually the Darts defence was breached twice by Marvin Johnson in the final eleven minutes to condemn Dartford to another defeat.

On a positive note new signing Nathan Green made his debut and impressed with his performance. The former Dagenham and Redbridge midfielder can also play at left back so could feature in that position following the release on Tom Bender. Bender made 21 appearances for the Darts and was signed in September. Burman has already made it know he is attempting to sign more players to bolster his squad so there could be some new faces come the weekend.

Dartford’s visitors may be three divisions below them but the form of each club suggests the gap is narrower. Incredibly, Burgess Hill Town are unbeaten in 25 Isthmian Division One South games sitting top by three points with three games in hand.

The Hillians have lost just one match this term at the hands of Dartford in the F.A Cup. The only unbeaten side in the top eight tiers of English football have already played 15 cup games as well. In the F.A Cup, Burgess Hill Town played five times adding to the six F.A Trophy ties so far, two county cup fixtures and two league cup matches. All together the Hillians record stands at played 40, won 33, drawn 6 and lost 1.

The F.A Trophy second round is the furthest the Sussex side has ever reached, which they have managed twice before. Progression will take the club the furthest they have been and captain Darren Budd is hoping history is created, he told www.midsussextimes.co.uk, “The lads will be brimming with confidence after the victory against Aldershot in the last round and hopefully we can write another bit of history in record books for Burgess Hill Town FC”.

Victory at Aldershot Town came as a surprise but with the confidence building Burgess Hill Town are currently on a winning streak of twelve matches, the Hillians are looking to beat the 15 consecutive wins set earlier in the season. The run continued during the week when they beat Folkestone Invicta 3-1 despite being reduced to ten men, the strike force of Rob O’Toole and Pat Harding combined again who have netted 29 goals in all competitions between them. Top scorer Greg Luer with 16 goals has earned much praise this term, so much so that the 19 year old has joined Premier League side Hull City.

Team News

Striker Andy Pugh has returned to light training but remains out of match action whilst Nathan Green will be cup tied. Captain Elliot Bradbrook could start his 250th game for Dartford, the captain has made the second most appearances from the current squad of players. If selected, central defender Rory McAuley and midfielder Max Cornhill will make their 50th start for the Darts. Nathan Collier will also reach the 50 mark of substitute appearances should he come off the bench to participate.

F.A Trophy Story So Far

First Round

Dartford 2 Solihull Moors 0

In a slow first half goalkeeper Jason Brown kept Dartford in the competition with some decent saves. An improved second half was enough to see the Darts progress at the expense of their Conference North opponents. Firstly captain Elliot Bradbrook netted from the spot and brother Tom sealed the win with just under twenty minutes to go.

Aldershot Town 0 Burgess Hill Town 1

The F.A Cup giantkillers were giantkilled, the Shots who beat Portsmouth in the F.A Cup a month before and drew with Rochdale days prior hosted the Hillians. However, Burgess Hill Town caused an upset and Dan Perry’s strike earned arguably the biggest victory in the club’s history.

Third Qualifying Round

Burgess Hill Town 3 Leatherhead 2

The hosts left it late to secure a first round place by coming from 2-0 down. Leatherhead of the Isthmian Premier League went in front through Vasileious Karagiannis and former Dart Carl Rook made it two. Joe Keehan started the come back from the spot and had to score from another penalty with ten minutes to go. With the match heading for a replay Darren Budd scored with three minutes to go to put the Hillians through.

Second Qualifying Round Replay

Folkestone Invicta 0 Burgess Hill Town 1

A goalless draw at Leylands Park meant the two sides had to face each other again just three days later. Despite heavy rain the fixture went ahead at Fullicks Stadium. Up until 69 minutes the sides were inseparable but with Dan Perry one on one with the Folkestone Invicta goalkeeper, the striker netted the winner.

First Qualifying Round

Burgess Hill Town 2 Chesham United 0

The Hillians bounced back from their F.A Cup defeat at Dartford with a cup win of their own. A brace from striker Pat Harding either side of half time gave the Sussex club a 2-0 win. Harding scored a minute before the interval and doubled his tally with fifteen minutes remaining.

Preliminary Round

Burgess Hill Town 1 Aveley 0

The F.A Trophy journey started back in October against Isthmian Division One North side Aveley. Manager Ian Chapman rested a few players but still relied on the impressive Greg Luer. The striker scored a penalty three minutes into the second half which turned out to be the deciding goal.

Head to Head

Burgess Hill Town wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 5 / Draws: 0

Current Form (*F.A Trophy / ** County Cup)

Burgess Hill Town (WWWWWW) Dartford (LLLWWL)
Folkestone Invicta  H  3-1 Kidderminster Harriers  H  1-2
Hastings United  A  2-1 Braintree Town  A  0-3
Three Bridges  H  3-0 Braintree Town  H  0-2
Worthing  A  5-1 Wrexham  A  3-1
Hastings United**  A  1-0 Solihull Moors*  H  2-0
Carshalton Athletic  H  2-1 Gillingham**  A  3-7

Previous Meetings

25.10.2014+ Dartford 3 Burgess Hill Town 1
13.01.2007** Dartford 7 Burgess Hill Town 2
19.08.2006** Burgess Hill Town 1 Dartford 6
28.10.2003^ Dartford 0 Burgess Hill Town 3
21.10.2003* Dartford 2 Burgess Hill Town 1
20.08.2003* Burgess Hill Town 0 Dartford 1

*Southern League Division One Eastern / **Isthmian Division One South / ^ Southern League Cup / + F.A Cup

F.A Trophy Performances (Last Ten Years)

bhtfc 10 years

Dartford v Burgess Hill Town

The F.A Cup returns and has paired Dartford with Burgess Hill Town, two sides who last met almost eight years ago in the Isthmian Division One South.

Thirteen goals in the last two meetings against the Hillians, including arguably the best goal seen at Princes Park provide fond memories for Darts fans.

On the opening day of Dartford’s homecoming season, three months before the Darts moved into their new home, a memorable away day gave Dartford the best possible start. In a 6-1 victory, fans favourite Brendon Cass opened his season with a hat trick, John Farley recorded his only goal of 2006/07 and Jay May notched a brace.

At Princes Park, the Darts opened 2007 in even more style putting a further seven past the Hillians. Cass grabbed another hat trick against the Sussex club but it was David Martin’s wonder strike which got the terraces talking, the winger later earned a deal with Championship side Crystal Palace. Defender, John Guest and no other than Ryan Hayes were the other two scorers on the day in an astounding 7-2 win.

This season Dartford have become draw specialists in recent weeks sharing the spoils in four of their last five fixtures. The most recent was the 1-1 draw with Aldershot Town. Mid way through the first half the Shots took the lead when Josh Scott beat Jason Brown after good work from striker Brett Williams. A couple of second half substitutions helped the Darts get back in the game, Peter Sweeney and Lee Noble brightened things up with Sweeney getting more involved.  The midfielder found Harry Crawford advancing who crossed to Andy Pugh for the equaliser. Brown made some important saves to ensure Dartford ended the afternoon with a point, however Tony Burman’s side did slip into the bottom four.

The Darts boss was disappointed with the first half last weekend, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “When our goalkeeper’s had the most possession out of our 11 players on the field.I’m thinking ‘what the hell’s going on?’ Why on earth we kept passing it back to him from the halfway line is beyond me”. However, the second half display was improved and Burman felt his side could have done more to take all three points, he added: “We went more positive and got the ball forward and started to cause them problems”, he continued: “When you get a goal back like that, you’re looking for your team to kick on and raise the tempo because they’ve got the enthusiasm because you’ve scored – but it wasn’t to be”.

Burman is unlikely to dwell on the fact Dartford have a fine record against their F.A Cup opponents, and knows a tricky tie is expected against the Isthmian Division One South leaders. Whilst Dartford have since climbed up to the Conference Premier, this weekend’s opponents Burgess Hill Town remain in the same division and are hoping to create their own piece of history.

Unbeaten in all competitions, the Hillians approach the F.A Cup on the back of a stunning 15 consecutive wins. The Sussex side have opened up a nine point lead as they set the early pace. Never before have Burgess Hill Town made it to the F.A Cup first round proper, however they have made it to the fourth qualifying stage on two occasions. In 1999, a 4-1 defeat away to Hereford United ended a run that included eight games and three replays. In 2008, the Hillians missed out after losing 3-0 to Harlow Town.

Burgess Hill Town began their cup run back in August when they hosted Sussex League side Eastbourne Town in the Preliminary Round. A home tie at their Green Elephants Stadium may not have been a vintage performance but substitute Lee Harding netted the only goal with 11 minutes to go.

Rob O’Toole was the hero in the First Qualifying Round scoring a hat-trick at Croydon. The Hillians got off to a great start when O’Toole tapped in after two minutes. Croydon levelled before half time when Tristan Toney curled the ball beyond goalkeeper Josh James. O’Toole and Toney traded goalscoring blows once more to leave the scores at 2-2, and with seven minutes remaining O’Toole scored the winner to conclude the five goal thriller.

Hampshire club Fleet Town were swept aside in the next round on their own patch. By half time Burgess Hill Town had built up an unassailable 3-0 lead. Greg Luer’s brace either side of O’Toole’s fourth F.A Cup goal of the campaign was added to by Scott Kirkwood in the second half.

A fortnight ago, the Hillians caused their biggest upset in their excellent run. Drawn away to Conference South club Sutton United, Ian Chapman’s side entered Gander Green Lane as underdogs. Kirkwood was the first to put the ball passed former Dartford goalkeeper Alan Julian after only four minutes. The hosts came out of the blocks quickly in the second half and equalised through Michael Spillane. Burgess Hill Town left it to the final fifteen minutes to march into the next round. Luer put the Sussex club ahead and with three minutes to go, Dann Perry took his chance to seal a shock victory.

Last weekend Burgess Hill Town commenced their F.A Trophy campaign and got off to a winning start. Hosting Aveley of the Isthmian Division One North, the Hillians won the tie with a Luer penalty just after half time. Manager, Ian Chapman used his squad handing starts to Perry and Lee Harding who have mainly featured from the substitutes bench.

The Sussex club were promoted from their County League in 2003 winning promotion to the Southern League Eastern Division. In their only campaign in that particular division, Burgess Hill Town met Dartford and lost both matches. Since then, the Hillians have completed 10 years in the Isthmian League in Division One.

Team News

Lee Burns has been missing with injury sustained against Grimsby Town at the beginning of the month. Peter Sweeney’s return last weekend and Lee Noble’s second half appearance continues the duo’s recovery.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Burgess Hill Town wins 1 / Draws: 0

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

Dartford (DDLDDW) Burgess Hill Town (WWWWWW)
Aldershot Town H 1-1 Aveley** H 1-0
Macclesfield Town H 1-1 Sittingbourne A 4-0
Bristol Rovers A 0-1 Sutton United* A 3-1
Grimsby Town H 1-1 Redhill*** A 3-1
Welling United A 2-2 Guernsey A 2-0
Nuneaton Town A 2-1 Mertsham H 2-0

Previous Meetings

13.01.2007** Dartford 7 Burgess Hill Town 2
19.08.2006** Burgess Hill Town 1 Dartford 6
28.10.2003^ Dartford 0 Burgess Hill Town 3
21.10.2003* Dartford 2 Burgess Hill Town 1
20.08.2003* Burgess Hill Town 0 Dartford 1

*Southern League Division One Eastern / **Isthmian Division One South / ^ Southern League Cup

F.A Cup Performances (Last Ten Years)

Season Dartford Burgess Hill Town
2013/14 1st Rd v Salisbury City 2Q v Bromley
2012/13 4Q v Forest Green Rovers Pre v Littlehampton Town
2011/12 4Q v Bromley Pre v Thamesmead Town
2010/11 1st Rd v Port Vale 2Q v Metropolitan Police
2009/10 3Q v Chelmsford City Pre v Chipstead
2008/09 2Q v Hampton and Richmond 4Q v Harlow Town
2007/08 3Q v Bromley 1Q v Dover Athletic
2006/07 1Q v Hastings United Pre v Maidstone United
2005/06 Pre v Dorking 1Q v Walton and Hersham
2004/05 1Q v Dorking Pre v Brockenhurst