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Dartford v Kingstonian

Steve King’s reign as Dartford manager begins with this weekend’s F.A Cup fourth qualifying round tie against Isthmian Premier League side Kingstonian.

The new Dartford boss can guide the Darts to their fifth first round appearance in seven years with victory and a chance to play a Football League club. King arrives at Princes Park knowing how to embark on a F.A Cup run, he led Macclesfield Town to the fourth round six years ago losing to eventual winners Wigan Athletic.

Last season, King managed local rivals Welling United to third in the National South and a playoff final. Starting his managerial career at Lewes, he guided the Sussex club to three titles taking them from the Isthmian Division One South to the National League in five years. Whilst at Farnborough, King won the Southern Premier League and lost the National South playoff the next season. Another spell at Lewes before his stint with Macclesfield Town was followed by keeping Whitehawk in the National South and another playoff final defeat. King moved to Dagenham and Redbridge, but soon returned to Whitehawk in an attempt to keep them safe from relegation. King arrives at Princes Park with plenty of experience at this level.

Dartford’s new boss was appointed last week, however Tony Burman remained in charge for Saturday’s 1-0 win at Oxford City. The Darts have now won four consecutive away games in all competitions for the first time in over a year. Burman made three changes to the side that beat Blackfield and Langley in the previous round of the F.A Cup. Cameron Brodie was named on the bench and Rob Howard returned to full back, Darren McQueen replaced the injured Charlie Sheringham and Andy Pugh was recalled from East Thurrock United to take the place of departed striker Adam Cunnington.

Winner of Dartford’s September Player of the Month, Ben Greenhalgh followed up that accolade with the winning goal. Darren McQueen had already tested Oxford City’s goalkeeper Craig King, but just past the half hour mark Greenhalgh curled the ball beyond the shot stopper into the net. The hosts came closest in the second-half when Reece Beckles-Richards hit the post. The Darts defended well and relied on the counter attack eventually holding out for the win.

King will select his first matchday squad this weekend but will be without Sheringham, the striker dislocated his shoulder and Sam Blackman, who is on the mend from a long-term injury. Mark Onyemah will be available, the full back made his first appearance since March coming on as a late substitute against Oxford City.

Dartford will have fond memories of playing Kingstonian in the Isthmian Premier League, but the last meeting between the two sides was in the F.A Trophy almost seven years ago. Marcus Bettinelli saved an early Andre McCollin penalty before the Darts went on to win the first-round tie 4-0. Jacob Erskine opened the scoring at Kingsmeadow and when Simon Huckle was dismissed for the hosts, the Darts took full advantage. Second-half goals from Elliot Bradbrook, Danny Harris and Nathan Collier secured a passage into round two.

However, the two Isthmian Premier League clashes during the 2009/2010 season were even more memorable. The Darts clinched the title at Kingsmeadow in style thrashing a Kingstonian side second in the league at the time. Elliot Bradbrook finished of a fine team goal and Ryan Hayes smashed home from long range. Huckle halved the deficit for the hosts, but Danny Harris headed in Dartford’s third. Bradbrook added his second of the afternoon capitalising on Rob Tolfrey’s mistake, then Bobby Traynor made it 4-2. Dartford stretched their lead further with another strike from Hayes and Lee Burns made it six.

Previously that season, Lee Burns netted a hat-trick in the last meeting between the two sides at Princes Park. Bradbrook started the rout, Burns netted two and Hayes scored one before Burns eventually completed his hat-trick after missing from the spot earlier.

Kingstonian started their F.A Cup campaign last month in the first qualifying round hosting Southern League Premier South side Walton Casuals. Second-half goals from Ollie Cook and Louie Theophanous was enough to see the K’s set up a tie with March Town United. The Surrey side comfortably negotiated their way past the Eastern Counties League club winning 3-0, Dan Bennett notched a brace before his replacement Yousef Bamba added a third in the last minute.

This month, Hayden Bird’s side required a replay to overcome Weston-super-Mare in the third qualifying round. Reece Hall put the K’s ahead and when Jerry Puemo was sent off the K’s had to try and hold on with ten men and Kingstonian almost did it, only to concede a last-minute penalty which Scott Laird scored. The replay was more straightforward, Fabio Saraiva’s goal was cancelled out by Weston-super-Mare’s George Dowling. Puemo made amends for his red card in the first game by putting Kingstonian ahead then Hall and Theophanous wrapped up the 4-1 victory.

Manager Hayden Bird spoke to www.kingstonian.com after the replay victory at Weston and can’t wait for this weekend’s fixture, he said: “I’m quite excited about the draw, it’s what the fourth qualifying round is about. You don’t really get free passes when you get to that level of the competition”, he added: “With respect to Dartford I would say it is very winnable and if we play like we did (at Weston) then we will have a great chance. I want to be playing Dartford in the league, hopefully when we play them we will be looking into our future a little bit”.

In league and F.A Cup, Kingstonian are now unbeaten in four matches. Either side of their F.A Cup exploits against Weston-super-mare, the K’s beat Haringey Borough 1-0 with Puemo netting the decisive goal and drew 2-2 on the weekend at Carshalton Athletic. Kingstonian let a two goal lead slip after Theophanous and Hall put the K’s in command, however the hosts scored twice in seven second-half minutes to secure a draw.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Kingstonian wins: 1 / Draws: 1

Current Form (* – F.A Cup)

Dartford (WWLWWL) Kingstonian (DWDWLW)
Oxford City A 1-0 Carshalton Athletic A 2-2
Blackfield & Langley* A 4-1 Weston-super-Mare* A 4-1
Slough Town H 2-3 Weston-super-Mare* H 1-1
Horsham* A 2-0 Haringey Borough A 1-0
Concord Rangers A 2-0 Worthing A 1-2
Dorking Wanderers H 3-4 March Town United* H 3-0

Previous Meetings (* – F.A Cup / ^ – F.A Trophy)

24.11.2012^ Kingstonian 0 Dartford 4
10.04.2010 Kingstonian 2 Dartford 6
25.08.2009 Dartford 5 Kingstonian 0
07.04.2007 Kingstonian 1 Dartford 1
26.08.2006 Dartford 1 Kingstonian 0
06.10.1973* Dartford 1 Kingstonian 3

Stats

Dartford have played Kingstonian in the F.A Cup once back in 1973. The Darts lost 3-1 in the second qualifying round, the K’s were knocked out of the competition in the next round.

Dartford have scored six and conceded one from their two F.A Cup games this season. The K’s have scored ten in four F.A Cup games conceding just twice.

Kingstonian last reached the fourth qualifying round in 2001 and in that season,  they went on to reach the fourth round of the F.A Cup. The K’s beat Devizes Town 5-2 in the fourth qualifying round, then knocked out Brentford (3-1), Southport (2-1), Southend United (1-0) before losing to Bristol City in a replay (1-1, replay 0-1).

On This Day

Matthew Godden netted a Princes Park hat-trick six years ago in an entertaining 4-3 victory over Hyde. The loanee put the Darts two goals up within 15 minutes with a tidy finish and a header from Ryan Hayes’ cross. A penalty and a close range effort from Scott Spencer brought Hyde level before the break and a long-range shot from Louis Almond put them ahead. Substitute George Monger’s 25-yarder levelled things up, but Godden struck late on to seal the points. Dartford are unbeaten in seven on this day stretching back to 1991 recording three wins and four draws. The Darts last played on 19 October in 2015 when they beat Welling United in the first round of the Kent Senior Cup. George Sykes and Callum McNaughton gave the Darts a two goal cushion before Kurtis Cumberbatch netted for the Wings. Dajon Golding secured the cup victory in the final minute to put Dartford in the hat for round two.

Blackfield and Langley v Dartford

Dartford can go one step further than last season in the F.A Cup with victory at Blackfield and Langley this weekend.

The Darts travel to the New Forest to take on the Southern Premier South side, who have won back to back league titles. Under Tony Burman’s leadership, the Darts reached the first round in his last two campaigns before defeat at this stage last term under Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle.

In the previous round an away victory at Horsham saw the Darts progress to the third qualifying stage for the tenth time in the last eleven seasons. In both halves the Darts had to leave it late to find the back of the Horsham net and with the excellent goalkeeping performance of Mark Smith avoided a cup upset. Darren McQueen acrobatically opened the scoring three minutes before the interval, whilst Luke Allen secured victory towards the end of the cup tie in a 2-0 win.

Burman, who guided Dartford to five first round appearances can draw experience on playing lower league opposition. Four years ago, his side were knocked out by Uxbridge despite sitting two divisions below the Darts. Since then Dartford have won their last seven against lower league teams, but none of them carried the momentum gained by Blackfield and Langley in recent years.

Since the second qualifying round win a fortnight ago, Dartford were back in National South action at home to Slough Town. Jordan Wynter was ruled out with an injury, so Rob Howard returned to the starting eleven, the only other change was Luke Wanadio coming in for Luke Allen. A first half spell saw three goals in four minutes, but the Darts will be disappointed in the fact they threw away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2. Darren McQueen guided Charlie Sheringham’s header into the net to score his third goal of the season and a minute later Josh Hill headed home a free-kick. Slough Town hit back through Dan Roberts and in the second half they completed a comeback with goals from Matthew Lench and Ben Harris.

Howard was not permitted to play in the last round being on loan from Southend United, Lee Noble returns from suspension, Mark Onyemah and Sam Blackman are still recovering from long term injuries, a return is getting closer. Stand in full back, Alex Flisher has left the club to join Steve Watt’s Hythe Town, the striker was forced to play at full back this term after recovering from a dislocated shoulder in pre-season. Flisher made nine appearances for the Darts scoring his only goal in the 2-0 win at Concord Rangers three weeks ago.

Blackfield and Langley will equal their best performance in the competition if they cause a cup upset and will be one game away from a debut appearance in the first round. The Watersiders have already negotiated three rounds starting in August.

In the preliminary round Blackfield and Langley were drawn against the 2007 F.A Vase runners up AFC Totton. A second half brace from top scorer Lerone Plummer made sure the Watersiders advanced. The striker opened the scoring before Fatah Makhloufi missed a penalty to double the lead. AFC Totton levelled the tie through Craig Feeney, but Plummer scored the winner with four minutes to play.

The New Forest side made light work in the first qualifying round breezing past Mangotsfield United securing a 5-0 victory. Shaquille Gwengwe scored either side of Charlie Gunson’s effort and Hisham Kasimu netted from the spot to give Blackfield and Langley a 4-0 half-time lead. Devane Bongou added a fifth late in the second half to earn the Watersiders a second qualifying round tie against Dorchester Town.

It took Gunson’s spectacular long-range shot was enough to see Blackfield and Langley see off the Magpies. With the game heading to a replay, Gunson unleashed a shot eleven minutes from time which ended in the top corner. The Hampshire club had the chance to make victory certain from a spot kick, but Plummer’s shot was saved then he blasted his rebound over.

Since their last F.A Cup game, the Watersiders have lost consecutive Southern Premier South fixtures including a 3-1 loss at Harrow Borough in which former Dart, Luke Warner-Eley grabbed a goal for Borough. A 2-0 reverse at Beaconsfield Town was followed by a League Cup triumph over AFC Totton once again.

Current Form (all competitions * – F.A Cup / ^ – League Cup)

Dartford (LWWLLD) Blackfield & Langley (WWWDLW)
Slough Town H 2-3 AFC Totton^ H 2-1
Horsham* A 2-0 Beaconsfield Town A 0-2
Concord Rangers A 2-0 Harrow Borough A 1-3
Dorking Wanderers H 3-4 Dorchester Town* H 1-0
Tonbridge Angels A 2-3 Farnborough H 2-0
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Mangotsfield United* A 5-0

On This Day

Andy Pugh and Duane Ofori-Acheampong helped Dartford come from behind in their last cup tie on 5 October. The Kent Senior Cup first round fixture with Cray Wanderers ended 2-1 three years ago. In 2002, the Darts went out of the F.A Trophy at the preliminary stage losing at Salisbury city 2-0. The defeat in Wiltshire was sandwiched between two league losses on this day, in 1996 Dartford were beaten 5-3 versus Weymouth in the Southern League South and six years ago 2-0 at Gateshead in the National League. One notable victory was Dartford’s 5-0 triumph in National League over Kidderminster Harriers back in 1985, whilst the last F.A Cup tie the Darts played on the 5 October was the 2-1 second qualifying round win at Dagenham in 1968.

Horsham v Dartford

Dartford’s F.A Cup adventure begins this weekend with an away trip to a new ground against Isthmian Premier League side Horsham.

Twenty seven years on from the game that never was, the Darts travel to the runners up of last season’s Isthmian Division One South East . Starting from the second qualifying stage Dartford will be hoping progression in the competition will set them on their way in the F.A Cup. Horsham won promotion last term via the playoffs, moved back home and are now sitting fourth place in their league and are hoping to cause an upset.

It’s the second time the two clubs have met in the F.A Cup and the last time it happened a replay was required to settle the tie. A preliminary round tie in 1996 pitted the newly promoted Darts of the Southern League South up against the Hornets, who had secured the Isthmian Division Three title in their previous campaign. A 1-1 draw at Park View Road, Belverdere was followed up with a 1-0 defeat two days later as Horsham went on to reach the second qualifying round.

Rewind four years earlier and the pair were drawn against each other and due to meet in a first qualifying round tie. Even with the financial problems Dartford were suffering they started the 1992-1993 season, but after just four league games Dartford ceased footballing activities meaning Horsham progressed to the next game without kicking a ball.

Nowadays, the Darts are one tier above the Sussex club and since reformation and the F.A Cup exit in 1996 they have won four of the last five fixtures. The last meeting completed a league double against Horsham during the Isthmian Premier League title campaign. The Hornets will be pleased Elliot Bradbrook retired in the summer, the former Dartford captain scored four times against them. In March 2010, Bradbrook recorded a brace and Allan Tait scored the other in a 3-1 away victory. Seven months earlier Dartford won at Princes Park 3-2, Bradbrook scoring either side of former boss Adam Flanagan’s goal. In the campaign before the Darts hit seven without reply winning 4-0 at home, both Brendon Cass and Lee Noble scoring twice and 3-0 at Horsham, a goal from Ryan Hayes and a Cody McDonald double. The hornets did have something to cheer winning an Isthmian League Cup fixture 3-2 in the fourth round.

Adam Cunnington will be available for selection after serving his one match ban for five cautions, the striker missed the 2-0 away triumph at Concord Rangers last weekend in the National South. Victory moved the Darts up to eighteenth as they ended a run of nine away games without a win. Charlie Sheringham opened the scoring after four minutes and Alex Flisher scored his first Dartford goal. Lee Noble’s red card against Dorking Wanderers means he will miss the second game of his three match ban, whilst Sam Blackman and Mark Onyemah are still recovering from long term injuries.

Horsham have already navigated through two rounds starting from the preliminary stage. The Sussex club trounced Tower Hamlets 6-1 to get their F.A Cup journey on the move. Goals from Will Miles, Zack Newton, Jared Rance, a brace from Chris Smith and an own goal from Hamlets defender Alan Zukolli made sure Dom Di Paolo’s side progressed with ease. The first qualifying round tie against Metropolitan Police was quite the opposite and the Hornets needed a second attempt to beat their opponents. Drawn away from home Smith opened the scoring, but Oliver Knight forced a replay. The sides met again for the first F.A Cup fixture at the new Community Stadium and a dramatic last minute winner from Smith earned Horsham their first competitive win at their new home. Although the Police took the lead, Harvey Sparks equalised before half-time and just after the break Smith put Horsham in front. Metropolitan Police looked to have forced the tie into extra time with nine minutes to play until once again, Smith found the net to take his F.A Cup tally to five goals in three games.

In league competition, the Hornets have settled into their new division well despite a drawing their opening two games. They beat Enfield Town and Lewes before suffering their only defeat against league leaders Folkestone Invicta. Since then they have won their last two Isthmian Premier League fixtures against Brightlingsea Regent on the weekend and versus Wingate and Finchley on Tuesday night. Smith is the man to watch, the striker has scored seven times this month in four appearances, including a hat-trick against Brightlingsea Regent.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Horsham wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Current Form (all competitions * – F.A Cup)

Dartford (WLLDDW) Horsham (WWWDLW)
Concord Rangers A 2-0 Wingate & Finchley H 2-1
Dorking Wanderers H 3-4 Brightlingsea Regent A 4-0
Tonbridge Angels A 2-3 Metropolitan Police* H 3-2
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Metropolitan Police* A 1-1
Hungerford Town A 2-2 Folkestone Invicta H 0-1
Braintree Town H 2-1 Lewes A 2-0

Previous Meetings (* – F.A Cup / ^ – F.A Trophy / ~ – Isthmian League Cup)

18.03.2010 Horsham 1 Dartford 3
15.08.2009 Dartford 3 Horsham 2
18.02.2009~ Horsham 3 Dartford 2
24.01.2009 Horsham 0 Dartford 3
20.09.2008 Dartford 4 Horsham 0
03.09.1996* Horsham 1 Dartford 0
01.09.1996* Dartford 1 Horsham 1
18.01.1977^ Dartford 3 Horsham 1
15.01.1977^ Horsham 2 Dartford 2

Stats

The winning side in this fixture has scored three or more goals in the last five meetings. In four of those five games a player has scored a brace (Elliot Bradbrook on two occasions, Lee Noble and Brendon Cass in the same game and Cody McDonald).

Dartford had gone 12 games without a clean sheet away from home before the 2-0 win on the weekend. The run dated back to 5 February when the Darts beat Woking 1-0.

The Darts have made the F.A Cup first round in five of the last nine seasons, including a run to the second round in 2014.

Dartford’s exit at the third qualifying round last time was their earliest since 2009, the Darts last went out at the second qualifying stage in 2008.

Horsham’s best run in the F.A Cup was in 2007-2008 when they took Swansea City to a second round replay, the 6-2 loss was their eighth F.A Cup game that season.

On This Day

Dartford defeated Kidderminster Harriers on this day in 2013 to end a four game winless run in the National League. Jason Prior scored from close range, Elliot Bradbrook doubled the lead and Danny Harris sealed an emphatic 3-0 win. The Darts last won an away game on 21 September whilst competing in the Kent League back in 1993, when they beat Corinthian 2-0. Between the two victories spanning twenty years Dartford drew 1-1 away against Newport Isle of Wight in 1996 and lost 3-0 at Salisbury City in 2002. The Darts last F.A Cup game on this day was in 1971 when they went out in a first qualifying round replay versus Waltham and Hersham.

Oxford City v Dartford

Dartford are two games away from the F.A Cup first round, but they must overcome Oxford City at Marsh Lane this weekend to progress in the competition. 

The Darts made it through the second qualifying round a fortnight ago leaving victory late against AFC Uckfield Town. The away tie almost ended in an upset when Callum Smith opened the scoring for the Uckers. With ten minutes to go Tom Murphy equalised and shortly afterwards Charlie Sheringham put Dartford in front. In the last-minute Elliot Bradbrook scored his 18th F.A Cup goal for the club to record a 3-1 win.

Oxford City also took on opponents from step five cruising to a 5-0 victory against Southern Counties East side Cray Valley Paper Mills. The headlines belonged to Zac McEachran who took home the match ball with a hat-trick, Kabongo Tshimanga and Oxford City’s top scorer Matthew Paterson netted the others.

It won’t be the first time Dartford have drawn out Oxford City in the F.A Cup, the only other meeting in the competition was back in 1935. That season, the Darts won 5-1 with goals from Robert Patrick, two from Arthur Mercer and one each for George Nicholas and Fred Dell. Victory set up a run to the third round and a famous 3-2 defeat against top flight Derby County, in which the Darts led 2-0.

Last weekend, Dartford recorded back to back victories for the first time since the start of the season. A 2-1 triumph over bottom side Weston-super-Mare gave the Darts their first three-point haul since the end of August.
Joint-Manager, Jamie Coyle praised Lee Noble, who scored the opening goal on 14 minutes, for his role in keeping Weston-super-Mare’s left back quiet, the Dartford boss told www.kentonline.co.uk: “Wherever you ask him to do a job, he does it. Their left-back is one of the main threats they offer and it was a case of stopping him going forward and tracking his movements, and we kept him really quiet”.

The visitors equalised just before the break when Gethyn Hill scored his first of the season from long distance, however Jamie Philpot won the match for Dartford when he got on the end of Bradbrook’s assist, to score his second goal in a Darts shirt.

Content with how his side started the game on the weekend, Coyle said: “It’s one of our best starts to a game this season”, he added: “Amadou Ba was through on goal, if the keeper didn’t handle it outside the area so it was a potential red card (referee showed a yellow card). Then Ben Greenhalgh hit the bar from the free-kick, and then we’ve scored. The positives are we created some really good chances and should have scored more goals”. The Dartford boss also highlighted improvements, he continued: “Defensively we looked a little bit shaky from set pieces and gave away too many free-kicks in the final third”. Unbeaten in four games, Coyle is now hoping that the two draws and two wins will give his players more confidence going forward.

The Darts have been without Callum Driver through and have drafted in loanee Jordan Wynter from Maidstone United, who made his debut last weekend. Tom Knowles’ recall to Cambridge City has also opened up an opportunity for the three month loan of Andre Coker, also from Maidstone United, Coyle explained to www.kentonline.co.uk: “We needed some pace and directness in wide areas and it also means we can use Ben Greenhalgh on the right. I’ve seen Andre a number of times. He offers something different, he’s really quick and tricky. He always seems to come up with an end product, whether it’s a cross or a shot. It gives us another avenue, we’ve only really got Ben and Tom Murphy that’s pushing for those wide areas so it gives us some competition”.

There’s been plenty of change to the playing personnel at Princes Park and Coker will be the fifth loanee in just two months. Coyle exclaimed: “We’ve still got so much work to do. We’re having to bring new players in to improve what’s gone on so far. It’s always going to take time but we’re 12 games into the season now and we need to start putting a run of decent performances together”.

Oxford City’s victory in the last round of the F.A Cup was there only triumph in September. Mark Jones’ side have lost four consecutive league games with the latest defeat coming at Hemel Hempstead Town. Zac McEachran scored his fourth goal in his last two appearances, but his consolation wasn’t enough for the Nomads.

Prior to the losing streak, Oxford City did go four unbeaten including decent victories against St Albans City and a surprise win over Torquay United at home. Jones’ side is capable of springing a cup shock as they proved last term when they beat Colchester United away in round one, although the Nomads went out to Notts County in the following round it was there best F.A Cup run since 1969/1970.

Recently returning from injury, Rob Sinclair came back after a six weeks out of action. His boss described his return as a ‘big advantage’. The goalscoring threat will come from Matthew Patterson, prolific at Gosport Borough, he joined Oxford City last summer then scored 27 times in his debut season.

Last season goals from Elliot Bradbrook and Tom Murphy at Marsh Lane secured a double over Oxford City. Earlier that season the Darts thrashed their opponents 7-1 which included a Warren Mfula hat-trick.

Head to Head

Oxford City wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 5 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings

24.03.2018 Oxford City 0 Dartford 2
19.08.2017 Dartford 7 Oxford City 1
25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1
29.10.2016 Dartford 1 Oxford City 0
23.04.2016 Dartford 2 Oxford City 2
15.09.2015 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1

Current Form (all competitions) FAC-F.A Cup

Oxford City (LWLLLW) Dartford (WWDDLW)
Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-2 Weston-super-Mare H 2-1
Cray Valley Paper Mills (FAC) H 5-0 AFC Uckfield Town (FAC) A 3-1
Bath City H 1-2 Billericay Town A 1-1
Slough Town A 0-2 Eastbourne Borough H 2-2
Welling United A 2-3 St Albans City A 0-2
Wealdstone H 3-0 East Thurrock United H 2-0

Stats

Dartford have reached the 4th Qualifying Round or further four times in the last five seasons.

Last season Oxford City progressed beyond the 3rd Qualifying Round for the first time in four years going on to equal their best ever FA Cup run.

The Darts have always managed to score against Oxford City in all of the previous nine meetings.

This will be the fourth cup match between the two sides with Dartford winning three and drawing one. The pair met in the F.A Cup in 1935 and the F.A Trophy in 2008. Ten years ago, the Darts drew 3-3 before winning the replay 4-2.

On This Day

The Darts have won their last four games on 6 October most recently in 2012. Dartford famously went to Blundell Park and beat Grimsby Town 2-0 in the National League. Tom Champion opened the scoring before Adam Birchall completed the upset. In 2001, Dartford beat Ashford Town 3-1 in the Southern League Division One East and in 1990 they overcame Moor Green 2-1 at Watling Street in the Southern Premier. In another National League fixture back in 1984, Dartford beat Northwich Victoria 1-0. Taken from the Princes Among Men book, the first recorded match was on 6 October 1988 when Dartford lost 3-1 to local rivals Erith in a friendly, Alf Mace scored Dartford’s first goal.

AFC Uckfield Town v Dartford

Dartford return to the F.A Cup with a second qualifying round tie against Southern Combination Premier League side AFC Uckfield Town this weekend.

The Darts travel to the Oaks keen to avoid an upset against a team three divisions below them in the non-league structure. In Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle’s first cup game managing Dartford, they will need to prepare for the Sussex club who are currently on a twelve match unbeaten run in all competitions.

Performances have improved since Flanagan and Coyle’s additions to the squad which include Charlie Sheringham, who will return from suspension, winger Tom Knowles and forward Amadou Ba. In their last two outings, the Darts have showed tremendous character and spirit to rescue points against in form teams. A fortnight ago, they came from behind twice to draw with third place Eastbourne Borough, Elliot Bradbrook scoring in the final minute. Last weekend, Dartford drew 1-1 at second place Billericay Town with an injury time equaliser from substitute Jamie Philpot, who returned from injury.

The right back position has been filled by midfielder Chez Isaac lately due to Callum Driver’s hip injury. Tom Murphy has also been sidelined  resulting in the loan signing of Charlton Athletic defender Kenneth Yao this week. The 20-year-old will be available this weekend and has made two appearances for the Addicks this term, one in the League Cup and the other in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Dartford will hope to repeat the F.A Cup run of last year when they reached the first round proper bowing out to League Two side Swindon Town. During that run the Darts had to overcome three teams from lower divisions beating Barking, Needham Market and Burgess Hill Town along the way. The last time Dartford went out at this stage was three years ago when Uxbridge caused an upset at Princes Park, the only time in the previous nine years that the Darts have fell at the second qualifying round.

Led by first team manager Anthony Storey, AFC Uckfield Town have already made history in the competition by winning their first ever F.A Cup tie. The Sussex club were only formed four years ago when Uckfield Town and AFC Uckfield merged. The Uckers lost their first ever F.A Cup fixture in 2016 and went out in a replay last term at the first hurdle.

Storey is relishing the chance to cause an upset and is not phased at playing a team three divisions above, on the club’s Twitter page he said: “This is a massive home draw for the club, and for the town of Uckfield. We prepare for the game the ame as any other, and I will be working closely with the management team here, and we will be doing our homework on them”.

This season their journey started on 11 August in the extra preliminary round, when Dartford were playing their third league game of the campaign. Bailo Camara was AFC Uckfield Town’s history maker scoring the winning goal against Glebe of the Southern Counties East League Premier Division.

The Uckers were drawn out against Broadfields United in the preliminary round and had a much more comfortable second half versus the Spartan South Midlands League Division One side. Dee Okojie opened the scoring for AFC Uckfield Town midway through the first period, but Broadfields United levelled through Dave Lawrence. The second half saw Broadfields United miss a penalty early on, the let off inspired a faultless display from then on, as the Uckers scored three unanswered goals by Sam Cooper, Callum Smith and Okojie from the spot.

In the last round AFC Uckfield Town hosted AFC Croydon Athletic, now plying their trade in the Southern Counties East League Premier Division. Once again, the Sussex club were triumphant with a 1-0 victory, this time courtesy of a late winner and all without top scorer Callum Smith. This time it was his brother Regan who grabbed the local headlines earning the Uckers a second qualifying round tie with the Darts.

Since a 4-3 defeat on the opening day against Horsham YMCA, the Uckers have won three and drew two in the league and remain in all cup competitions. Most recently they beat Littlehampton Town 3-0 in a Charity Cup match and brushed aside Southwick 5-0 in the F.A Vase. Callum Smith is the main source for AFC Uckfield Town’s goals, the striker has netted 14 in all competitions including two hat-tricks, one of which was a four goal haul in a 4-3 win.

Current Form (all competitions) CC-Charity Cup / FAV-F.A Vase / FAC-F.A Cup / ChC-Challenge Cup

AFC Uckfield Town (WLWLWW) Dartford (DDLWLL)
Littlehampton (CC) H 3-0 Billericay Town A 1-1
Southwick (FAV) H 5-0 Eastbourne Borough H 2-2
Eastbourne Town H 2-1 St Albans City A 0-2
AFC Croydon Athletic (FAC) H 1-0 East Thurrock United H 2-0
Eastbourne United AFC (ChC) A 6-0 Hungerford Town A 0-1
Hollands & Blair (FAV) H 2-0 Wealdstone H 0-3

Stats

Dartford have win their last five F.A Cup games away from home beating Burgess Hill Town, Needham Market, Tonbridge Angels, Slough Town and Chelmsford City. The last away defeat in the competition was on 7 December 2014 against Bradford City in the second round proper.

The Darts have made at least the first round proper in five of the last eight F.A Cup campaigns.

Since the cup upset against Uxbridge, Dartford have scored three or more goals in six of their last eight F.A Cup games.

On This Day

Dartford famously drew 2-2 with Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground six years ago with Lee Noble’s last minute equaliser. Danny Harris gave the Darts the lead after just four minutes, but the Welsh side went 2-1 up with goals from Danny Wright and Andy Bishop. Noble claimed a memorable draw for the Darts equalising with a 25 yard free-kick. In the Isthmian Premier League winning season, Dartford beat Sutton United 3-0 on 22 September 2009 with a brace from Rob Haworth and an own goal. In the Isthmian Division One North league winning campaign eleven years ago, Adam Flanagan scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win over AFC Sudbury, who ended up runners up come the end of the season.

Dartford v Swindon Town

Dartford can look forward to their biggest cup game at Princes Park in seven years when they take on League Two promotion chasers Swindon Town.

It’s only the second time in the history of Princes Park that Dartford have hosted a Football League side in a competitive match, a rare opportunity to become giantkillers. Whilst the Darts go into their F.A Cup first round tie having maintained and stretched their lead at the top of the National South last weekend, their former Premier League opponents are two divisions above in fifth place.

As well as prize money and coverage on a national level, Tony Burman is hoping the feel good factor returns to Dartford, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk after the draw was made and said: “It’s a good draw for us. It will be a big day for the club and the town and I hope it’ll bring in a big crowd. It’s something we can all look forward to”, he added: “It would be nice to get the enthusiasm going again and bring back some good times. Everyone deserves it”, he continued: “These days are something we all want to look forward to and be proud of what we’ve achieved as a football club and get the interest back”.

Last weekend, a consecutive 2-1 victory this time at home to St Albans City moved Tony Burman’s side two points clear at the summit of the National South. Richard Sho-Silva returned to the defence to partner Ronnie Vint, Mark Onyemah started after recovering from a minor injury and Tom Bonner was on the bench after being sidelined by a head injury against Bath City. Keaton Wood was suspended for the league win but will be available against Swindon Town. Andy Pugh will miss out after his red card appeal was rejected, the striker was sent off in the 2-1 win over Bath City.

The Darts welcomed the win over St Albans City, a side they have struggled against in recent meetings, thanks to a former Dartford player. Tom Bender scored an own goal in the second half which turned out to be decisive. Earlier in the match Sho-Silva caused some trouble with his long throws into the Saints box and on six minutes Elliot Bradbrook nodded one in for the opener. The Saints came back with an equaliser five minutes before the interval when Charlie Walker fired beyond Deren Ibrahim. In the second half Bender’s own goal gave Dartford an important three points on a day other promotion challengers slipped up.

Burman was delighted with the outcome and in his post match interview he said: “We had to dig in, we had a bit of luck which we haven’t had in other games”, he added: “What’s pleasing is from last Saturday, seven days in football, we’ve gone and won two games as a reaction from losing at Chelmsford City”.

Swindon Town will know preparation will be key to avoiding an upset at the first round stage. Ben Futcher, Assistant Manager told www.swindontownfc.co.uk: “We’ve seen the draw and it is somewhere we’ve not been before. Dartford are doing quite well in the league so it will be a tough game away from home, but one we’re looking forward to,” he added: “The early rounds are tough because the non-league sides can be banana skins and it will be a tough match, but we’ll prepare as we would for a league game and we’ll go there looking to win”.

The Robins will want to avoid slipping on a ‘banana skin’ after doing exactly that a year ago. After a 1-1 draw with National League side Eastliegh they lost 3-1 at home in the replay. Swindon Town also lost to non league opposition two years in a row in 2012 and 2013, both times against Macclesfield Town, Crawley Town in 2010 and Histon in 2008.

Last weekend, the Robins defeated Port Vale, the side Dartford lost to in a F.A Cup replay seven years ago after the 1-1 draw at Princes Park. The 3-0 victory earned David Flitcroft’s side back to back wins in which they took the lead early in the second half, through Matty Taylor’s free-kick. With twenty minutes remaining Paul Mullin made an impact grabbing the second goal of the afternoon and Kellan Gordon netted his first professional goal, seconds after entering the action as a substitute.

Away from home, the Robins have a strong defence conceding just five times on their travels in eight fixtures. They have won six of those matches on the road only losing twice. Luke Norris leads the way in the goal scoring charts with seven to his name and Mullin is behind with four league this term.

After relegation last season, Flitcroft was named boss in June and has made a solid start to life at the County Ground. The former Chester City, Rochdale and Bury midfielder started his managerial career at Barnsley just five years ago. He guided the Tykes to safety, moved to Bury to repeat the feat and took the Shakers up to League One, now the 43 year old hopes to get Swindon Town back up.

The Wiltshire club have been members of the Football League since 1920, they won the League Cup in 1969 beating Arsenal 3-1 at Wembley and reached the Premier League in 1993, finishing bottom in their only season in the top flight conceding a record 100 goals.

Only once before have the Darts faced the Robins and that was way back in 1933. The F.A Cup second round tie ended 1-0 to the hosts Swindon Town. In the thirties Dartford faced Swindon Town Reserves on six occasions, twice in the London Combination Second Division and four times in the Southern League. In each of the three campaigns Dartford won one and lost the other.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 0 / Swindon Town wins: 1 / Draws: 0

Previous Meeting

09.12.1933 Swindon Town 1 Dartford 0

Current Form

Dartford (WWLWWW) Swindon Town (WWLWLW)
St Albans City H 2-1 Port Vale A 3-0
Bath City A 2-1 Wycombe Wanderers H 1-0
Chelmsford City A 0-1 Lincoln City H 0-1
Burgess Hill Town (FAC) A 1-0 Mansfield Town A 3-1
Bognor Regis Town H 3-1 Cheltenham Town A 1-2
Needham Market (FAC) A 6-1 Cambridge United H 2-0

F.A Cup Stats
Dartford have won 3, drawn 8 and lost 19 against Football League opposition in the F.A Cup.

The Darts last beat Football League opposition in the 1968/69 season when the knocked out Aldershot 3-1 in the first round at home. The other two victories were against Exeter City in 1961/62, the first game ended 3-3 and the replay was won by the Darts 2-1. In the historic 1935/36 cup run Dartford beat Cardiff City 3-0 in the first round, the season the Darts lost 3-2 to top flight Derby County in the third round.

Four of the last five F.A Cup ties against Football League teams have ended in a replay. In 2010, the Darts lost 4-0 at Port Vale after a 1-1 draw. In 1989, Exeter City were held 1-1 at Watling Street before overcoming the Darts 4-1 in the second match. In consecutive seasons Dartford drew with AFC Bournemouth 1-1 in 1984 before losing 4-1 and a year later drew 0-0 prior the 2-0 replay defeat. Bradford City ended that sequence with a 4-1 win at Valley Parade in 2014.

On This Day
Exactly a year ago, the Darts lost an entertaining F.A Cup first round tie at home to Sutton United. The frenetic fixture started at blistering pace with Maxime Biamou scoring for the visitors inside the first minute. Elliot Bradbrook equalised before Roary Deacon put the U’s back in front. Bradbrook levelled again six minutes before Biamou grabbed his second. Early in the second half Duane Ofori-Acheampong had the Darts level for a third time but two goals from Ross Stern and another from Deacon set Sutton United on their way. The Surrey side ended up reaching the fifth round losing to Arsenal.

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.

Needham Market v Dartford

Dartford could move a step closer to the F.A Cup first round this weekend if they manage to avoid an upset against Needham Market.

The Darts travel to Suffolk for their third qualifying round tie knowing victory will put them within one more fixture of reaching the first round proper, which will be the fifth time in eight years. Needham Market, currently playing in the Isthmian Premier League have only progressed beyond this stage once, four years ago.

Tony Burman’s side suffered their second defeat of the season on Saturday, losing 3-0 at Weston-super-Mare. Only central defender Richard Sho-Silva was unavailable for selection, Mark Onyemah returned to the line-up whilst Duane Ofori-Acheampong was named amongst the bench four months after last playing for the Darts.

Critical of conceding two goals against Eastbourne Borough in the previous league game, Burman will be disappointed with conceding three more. Gethyn Hill scored a first half brace and Archie Collins added another as Weston-super-Mare brought the Darts down to earth. Having topped the National South table at the start of the day, the Darts dropped to fourth.

A fortnight ago, Dartford began their F.A Cup journey and although not at their best ran out 3-1 winners to Isthmian Division One North side Barking. Elliot Bradbrook put in a captain’s performance crowning his man of the match display with a hat-trick. Bradbrook twice scored from the penalty spot to help his team come from a goal down in an uncomfortable afternoon. The Essex League champions took the lead after Alfie Pavey scored at the wrong end giving Barking a shock lead.

Dartford last travelled to Suffolk in a F.A Cup fourth qualifying round match back in 2010 and were taken to a reply after a 0-0 draw with Leiston, three divisions below the Darts at the time. That run, seven years ago, ended in the first round at Port Vale, the first time in 21 years Dartford had reached that stage. Since then, Burman has guided the Darts to the first round on two more occasions and the second round almost three years ago, losing away to Bradford City.

Needham Market have yet to concede in this season’s F.A Cup having defeated Clapton and Chesham United on the way. Entering at the first qualifying round stage the Marketmen drew Clapton, two divisions below in the Essex League. The Suffolk side had to wait until just over an hour to break their opponents down through Gareth Heath, then two more followed from Luke Ingram and Callum Harrison in a 3-0 win.

Two weeks ago, Needham Market won at home against Southern Premier League side Chesham United. Harrison scored his second F.A Cup goal of the campaign after half an hour and four minutes into the second half Dan Morphew secured progression into the third qualifying round.

Former Dartford winger Jack Simmons is amongst the Marketmen’s ranks and is currently leading their assists chart. Simmons played for the Darts in 2015/16 making 29 appearances, 11 from the substitutes bench and scored the one goal.

Needham Market managed promotion from the Eastern Counties seven years ago, winning the title by a point. After four years in the Isthmian Division One North where they experienced three playoff defeats including a final, the Marketmen won the title by a single point again amassing 104 points and 101 goals. The Suffolk side finished 20th in the Isthmian Premier two seasons ago and ninth last term.

This season the Marketmen are in 14th in the Isthmian Premier after beating Harlow Town 3-1 on Tuesday night. Morphew, Heath and Sam Nunn all netted in the first half to earn the Suffolk side three points. Victory followed a 2-2 draw with Enfield Town and the F.A Cup win against Chesham United to extend their unbeaten run to three.

Current Form (all competitions)

Needham Market (WDWLDW) Dartford (LLWWWW)
Harlow Town A 3-1 Weston-super-Mare A 0-3
Enfield Town H 2-2 Cray Wanderers A 2-4
Chesham United H 2-0 Barking H 3-1
Lowestoft Town H 0-2 Eastbourne Borough H 4-2
Tooting & Mitcham United A 1-1 Chippenham Town H 3-0
Clapton A 3-0 Whitehawk A 4-0

Stats
Elliot Bradbrook has scored ten goals in his last five F.A Cup appearances.

There has been three or more goals in the last seven Dartford games.

Dartford have won their last three F.A Cup ties away from Princes Park all coming last season. The last time the Darts failed to score on their travels in the F.A Cup was in the 4-0 replay defeat at Port Vale in the first round in 2010.

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. Since then Dartford have

On This Day
Dartford staged a late comeback to come from behind and beat Hyde in 2-1 at Princes Park. The visitors took the lead when Alex Brown hit a shot in the top corner. The Darts struggled to get going and when Harry Crawford missed a penalty it didn’t look like it would be Dartford’s day. Hyde had Adam Griffin red carded after picking up his second caution of the afternoon and from then on the Darts found some belief. Crawford levelled with a header and in stoppage time Richard Rose calmly chipped the ball into the Hyde net for the winner.

Dartford v Barking

Dartford begin their F.A Cup campaign at home to Essex League champions Barking, in the second qualifying round this weekend.

The Darts prepared by moving top of the National South on goal difference following two victories in the space of three days. Eastbourne Borough were the latest victims at Princes Park even though the arrived in Kent unbeaten in their last eight games. Warren Mfula and Duane Ofori-Acheampong were both unavailable but recovering from injuries, whilst Mark Onyemah missed Tuesday’s game for family reasons, Danny Harris returned to action.

Alex Brown gave the Darts the lead with a shot from just outside the box and in the second half Alfie Pavey headed home for 2-0. A third arrived when Elliot Bradbrook notched his seventh of the season. The visitors managed to pull a goal back before Andy Pugh restored the three goal cushion. Tom Murphy made it 4-1, but there was still time for the Sports to earn a consolation as the game finished 4-2.

Dartford’s confidence is growing and with a competitive squad it will give Tony Burman a chance to look at others, who have been on the fringes of the starting eleven. Although the upset two years ago when the Darts went out to Uxbridge will serve as warning. Last term, Dartford made it to the F.A Cup first round going out in an entertaining 6-3 defeat to one of last season’s giant killers Sutton United.

Eleven and a half years have gone by since Dartford played Barking, although back then had merged with East Ham United. A pair of 2-2 draws in the Southern Division One East took place in 2005 and 2006. The previous season Barking and East Ham United won both league matches including a 6-1 away win in March 2005.

Fortunes have changed since then, Dartford’s homecoming led to promotions up the non league pyramid. Barking and East Ham United folded in 2006. Barking became the new club of the town and for the last eleven campaigns played in the Essex League which they won with 100 points and 125 goals last season.

The Blues still overhauled their squad in preparation for the Isthmian Division One North, only captain Ben O’Brien, Max Watters, Steve Willis and Timi Abiola have featured this term and were part of the championship winning side. Glen Colby was another member and the joint manager resigned recently leaving Justin Gardner in charge.

Barking’s F.A Cup journey started a month ago in the preliminary round against Saffron Walden Town of the Eastern Counties League. The home tie ended 0-0 with the Blues dominating possession but failing to breakdown their opponents. The replay three days later made up for a lack of goals as the two teams entertained in a seven goal thriller.

After falling behind, Barking’s Dan Gilchrist levelled and took the lead courtesy of Abs Seymour’s free kick. The lead was surrendered but Seymour had the Blues ahead again from a free kick, only for Saffron Walden Town to equalise once more. The winner came from Billy Jones and when captain Ben O’Brien was dismissed eight minutes from time the visitors piled on the pressure, but the Blues held out 4-3. In the following round the  cup tie was more straight forward against Gorleston, also of the Eastern Counties League. Goals from Theo Ola, a brace from Gilchrist and one for Alan Smalls meant a comfortable 4-0 triumph for Barking. The Blues have won their last three, the last two in the league against Grays Athletic o Saturday and Ware on Tuesday.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 2 / Barking wins 3 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings (^ – Eastern Floodlit Cup)

25.02.2006 Barking & East Ham Utd 2 Dartford 2
25.10.2005 Dartford 2 Barking & East Ham Utd 2
05.04.2005 Barking & East Ham Utd 1 Dartford 0
13.03.2005 Dartford 1 Barking & East Ham Utd 6
10.02.1981^ Barking 3 Dartford 1
24.11.1980^ Dartford 8 Barking 2
05.08.1980^ Dartford 2 Barking 0

Current League Form

Dartford (WWDLWW) Barking (WWWLLW)
Eastbourne Borough H 4-2 Ware A 1-0
Chippenham Town H 3-0 Grays Athletic H 3-1
Whitehawk A 4-0 Gorleston A 4-0
Hampton & Richmond A 2-2 Witham Town A 0-1
East Thurrock United H 0-1 Heybridge Swifts H 0-1
Hemel Hempstead Town A 3-0 Saffron Walden Town A 4-3

F.A Cup Stats
Since 2010, the Darts have reached the first round proper four times, including the run to the second round seasons ago.

In those seven years, Dartford have won nine out of ten against lower league opposition in the F.A Cup.

Barking last reached the second qualifying round in 1999 as Barking and East Ham United, they went a step further but were knocked out in the next round.

Since reforming as Barking in 2006, the Blues have only got past the preliminary stages once. Eleven years ago, they went out to Chelmsford City.

On This Day
Dartford thrashed Hemel Hempstead 9-2 away from home in 1972. The Darts won the first qualifying round in style eventually reaching the fourth qualifying round stage. Five years earlier, Dartford beat local rivals Gravesend and Northfleet 4-0 at Watling Street. In 1989, a win over Redbridge Forest set the Darts on their way to the first round. The first game of their run ended 4-2 with the story ending in a replay down in Exeter against the Grecians. Since then, Dartford drew 0-0 with Chertsey Town in 2000 and lost 2-0 to Hastings United in 2006.

Dartford v Sutton United

Dartford have the chance to equal a club record, when they take on Sutton United in the F.A Cup first round this weekend.

Entering the cup tie on the back of nine consecutive wins, another victory will not only see the Darts in the hat for round two, it will also see the club match the ten game winning run last set in 1996. Despite their excellent form, Dartford will be slight underdogs against a Sutton United team who went up as National South champions last term.

The U’s in the division above have a proud history in the F.A Cup causing a famous upset 27 years ago by beating top flight former F.A Cup winners Coventry City. Both sides will believe this season’s first round tie is winnable but if history is anything to go by then it could well be a closely run contest.

Last season, during a period where both Dartford and Sutton United were still finding their feet, the two sides drew for the first time ever. Tom Bradbrook opened the scoring with a diving header, Micky Spillane levelled for the visitors before Tom Bradbrook put the Darts back in front, when Ross Worner’s clearance hit Bradbrook’s face. Jamie Collins scored a late equaliser in an entertaining 2-2 draw at Princes Park. The reverse fixture saw Sutton United outclass Dartford 2-0 as they marched on towards the National South title.

Dartford, unbeaten for two months in all competitions spanning 12 games last reached the F.A Cup second round just two years ago, the first time they achieved that feat since 1984. However reaching the top two flights has improved the Darts cup runs having made it to the first round four times in the last seven campaigns.

This term, Tony Burman’s side have been drawn away in all three of the previous qualifying rounds. Overcoming Chelmsford City and Slough Town 3-2, they then went on to defeat Tonbridge Angels 3-0 in what has been a tricky run to round one.

Sutton United have only needed to negotiate the fourth qualifying round, however they did beat National League leaders Forest Green Rovers 2-1 with a last minute winner from Roarie Deacon. The U’s came from behind at home, Ross Stearn scoring the equaliser.

The Surrey club, unbeaten in five have been far beater on their own 3G pitch then on their travels. In the National League they sit in a respectable thirteenth winning six out of nine at Gander Green Lane. Away from the Borough Sports Ground, the U’s have won just once and that was on the second weekend of the season.

Paul Doswell’s squad has tones of Eastleigh influences, his former club. Defender, Jamie Collins is amongst Sutton United’s top scorer this term, Dean Beckwith is a regular at the back whilst Dan Spence and Craig McAllister also played for the Spitfires.

Nicky Bailey is one of two former Football League players to watch, the former Charlton Athletic and Middlesbrough midfielder has scored five times this season and is the U’s playmaker. Signing a new contract extension last month along with Bailey, Kevin Amankwaah continues to impress for the Surrey club in defence.

Dartford and Sutton United have met in the F.A Cup once before back in 1978. The Darts ran out 2-0 winners and reached the first round.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 5 / Sutton United wins: 5 / Draws: 1

Current Form (all competitions)
Dartford (WWWWWW)
Won 1-0 v Oxford City (H) – National South
Won 1-0 v Bath City (A) – National South
Won 3-0 v Tonbridge Angels (A) – F.A Cup
Won 5-0 v Truro City (A) – National South
Won 2-1 v Cray Wanderers (A) – Kent Senior Cup
Won 3-2 v Slough Town (A) – F.A Cup

Sutton United (DDDWWL)
Drew 2-2 v York City (A) – National League
Drew 2-2 v Maidstone United (H) – National League
Drew 1-1 v Southport (A) – National League
Won 2-1 v Forest Green Rovers (H) – F.A Cup
Won 4-1 v Woking (H) – National League
Lost 1-3 v Dover Athletic (H) – National League

Last Six Meetings
Sutton United 2 Dartford 0 (23/01/2016 – National South)
Dartford 2 Sutton United 2 (15/08/2016 – National South)
Sutton United 0 Dartford 1 (14/04/2012 – National South)
Dartford 6 Sutton United 1 (20/03/2012 – National South)
Dartford 0 Sutton United 2 (06/02/2010 – Isthmian Premier)
Sutton United 0 Dartford 3 (22/09/2009 – Isthmian Premier)

Stats
4 – Dartford have gone four games without conceding a goal. The last time Dartford managed this feat was from 16 February 2008 to 1 March 2008 on the way to the Isthmian Premier League title.

5 – Elliot Bradbrook has scored in every round this season, netting two against Chelmsford City and Slough Town and once versus Tonbridge Angels.

11 – The Darts have scored in their last eleven consecutive games in all competitions.

On This Day
It’s been five years since the Darts played on Guy Fawkes Day when they beat Salisbury City in the National South. Dartford were behind after just 80 seconds but fought back to win 2-1. Jon Wallis scored from a free kick and Jacob Erskine won a header colliding with the on rushing goalkeeper Conor Gough who was stretchered off.  A decade ago, Dartford thrashed Aveley 5-1 in the Southern League Division One East. In 1994, the Darts had a mini striker crisis as Micky Collins left and replacements Ricky Bennett and Dean Bowey were cup tied. However, that didn’t put youngsters Nicky Knight and Darren Skey off, helping Dartford romp to a 6-2 Kent League Cup triumph over Greenwich  Borough.