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Dartford v Dover Athletic

A place in the Kent Senior Cup semi-final is up for grabs when Dartford host Dover Athletic in the last eight of the competition.

The Darts are the highest ranked club left in the cup and victory will secure a tie with Conference South league leaders Bromley. First Tony Burman’s side have to get past a Dover Athletic side who are five places below Bromley and pushing for a playoff spot.

During Dartford’s rise from the Isthmian Division One to the Conference Premier a rivalry has blossomed with The Whites since the 2006/07 season. The last meeting between to the two clubs was back in December 2011 when Dartford triumphed 3-1. Adam Green settled any early nerves scoring from the spot, the penalty was won by Elliot Bradbrook in the sixth minute. The visitors hit back when Agustin Battipiedi rose the highest to head in the equaliser from Barry Cogan’s free kick. It took until just past the hour for the Darts to edge back in front, Ryan Hayes whipped in a dangerous free kick which eluded everyone and ended up in the back of the net. As Dover Athletic pushed for a leveller they were caught out with three minutes remaining, Bradbrook’s neat control was expertly finished with a 25 yard curling effort leaving Mikhael Jamiez-Ruiz stranded.

Four goals were also recorded in the previous two meetings. A 2-2 draw in the same season saw Dover Athletic come from behind twice.  Charlie Sheringham’s quick fire opener was cancelled out by former Dart loanee, George Purcell’s equaliser. Bradbrook’s header put Dartford ahead until Billy Bricknell levelled the match. In the campaign before, the Darts claimed a convincing 4-0 victory at Princes Park with two goals from Sheringham and a goal each for Tom Champion and Danny Harris.

Dartford’s six match unbeaten run came to an end on the weekend when they travelled up to fellow relegation threatened side Southport. Osayamen Osawe caused the Darts defence all sorts of problems in the first half and he turned provider in the twelfth minute. Osawe’s cross gave the Sandgrounders top scorer Danny Hattersley a chance which he took from close range. The Darts showed promise and began to get on top in the match during the second half, but were left with too much to do when Jason Walker added a second for Southport. The game was killed off by the hosts who regained control in the 78th minute as Osawe’s turn and shot made it 3-0 to Southport.

The starting eleven is likely to change as manager Tony Burman has used the Kent Senior Cup to look at some academy and first team squad players. Eight players have started both rounds so far although Ryan Hayes is out injured and will miss the Quarter Final.

Dover Athletic are targeting a return to the Conference Premier after twelve years away. Last season they came close by losing 3-2 in the playoff final, after extra time against Salisbury City. Now managed by Chris Kinnear for the second time, his last spell was between 1985-1995, the Whites are currently ninth in the table two points from the top five. Kinnear is Dover Athletic’s most successful manager leading the club to three titles before reaching the top flight of non league football in 1993, where the club stayed until 2002.

The Darts could welcome back James Rogers, the midfielder joined Dartford from Margate in 2011 and made 103 appearances for under Burman. Rogers left the Darts this season after making seven appearances to rejoin Dover Athletic, where he has spent the majority of his career.

Dover Athletic arrive at Princes Park after hosting this season’s surprise F.A Trophy finalists Gosport Borough. Their visitors, fresh from their semi final win against rivals Havant and Waterlooville, were no match for Dover Athletic who claimed a convincing 3-0 win. Tom Murphy, Barry Cogan and Liam Bellamy scored the goals to move the Whites into sixth position and two points behind the playoffs with games in hand. Victory against the leagues bottom club ended a run of two successive defeats.

Like Dartford, the Whites have often made changes to their starting eleven for the Kent Senior Cup, with nine players involved in both rounds. A trio of  former Ebbsfleet United players have featured in both rounds, Nathan Elder, who netted against the Darts last season, Liam Bellamy and Ashley Carew.

Team News

If featured Lee Noble will make his 250th appearance since joining the club from Brentwood in May 2008, the midfielder has started 176 games, made 73 substitute appearances and scored 35 goals for the Darts. Mat Mitchel-King departed mid way through the first half on Saturday with an ankle injury and Elliot Bradbrook early in the second half with a dislocated finger.

Previous Rounds

Round One

Welling United 2 Dartford 3

Two late goals from the Darts was enough to seal a second round place in a five goal entertainer. Mohamed Eisa’s first half goal was cancelled out by Loick Pires, but late strikes from Alex Woodyard and Brima Daramy was too much for the Wings despite Loui Fazakerley’s consolation.

Dover Athletic 8 Margate 0

The Whites cruised into round two equalling the clubs biggest competitive victory. Michael Bakare recorded a hat-trick whilst Ashley Carew added two free-kicks. Nathan Elder and Barry Cogan found themselves on the score sheet and former Dart, John Beales scored an own goal. At least goalkeeper Mitch Walker had something to do when he saved a Margate penalty.

Round Two

Dartford 1 Charlton Athletic 0

The Darts knocked the Addicks out of the Kent Senior Cup for the second time in three seasons. Once again Dartford left it late to scrape into the next round. Despite Charlton Athletic’s dominance for long periods, Dartford’s youth held their nerve and in the final minute Mohamed Eisa’s free kick grabbed victory for the hosts.

Dover Athletic 3 Erith and Belverdere 1

Chris Kinnear’s side edged past Erith and Belverdere, a team two divisions lower. Nathan Elder gave the hosts a lead just before the break. That advantage was extended in the second half with goals from Elliott Charles and Ricky Modeste. The Kent League champions managed to pull a goal back through Mo Conteh, but it was Dover Athletic who progressed to the Quarter Finals.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 31 / Dover Athletic wins: 33 / Draws: 23

Current Form

Dartford (LDWWWD) Dover Athletic (WLLWWW)
Southport A 0-3 Gosport Borough H 3-0
Aldershot Town H 1-1 Weston Super-Mare A 1-2
Hereford United H 2-0 Sutton United H 0-1
Woking H 5-1 Bath City H 2-0
Wrexham A 2-1 Maidenhead United H 2-0
Cambridge United H 3-3 Chelmsford City H 2-2

Last Meeting At Princes Park

3 December 2013 – Dartford 3 Dover Athletic 1 – Att: 1558

Goalscorers: Green (6 pen), Battipiedi (13), Hayes (62), Bradbrook (87)

The Darts Lineup: Wells, Jones, Green, Bonner, Goodacre, Champion, Hayes, Wallis, Burns, Bradbrook, Rogers (subs used: Noble, Graham, Harris)

The Whites Lineup: Jamiez-Ruiz, Starkey, Wynter, Battipiedi, Schulz,  Huke, Cogan, Southam, Walker, Purcell, Redwood (subs used: Bricknell, Baker)

Previous Meetings (* – F.A Trophy)

03.12.2011 Dartford 3 Dover Athletic 1
23.08.2011 Dover Athletic 2 Dartford 2
25.04.2011 Dartford 4 Dover Athletic 0
09.11.2010 Dover Athletic 0 Dartford 2
21.11.2009* Dover Athletic 3 Dartford 2

Stats

Dartford are unbeaten in four matches against Dover Athletic, last losing in the 2009/10 F.A Trophy tie 3-2 at The Crabble.

The last Kent Senior Cup meeting between the Darts and the Whites was in 2007/08. The first round tie ended with the Darts claiming a 2-0 win on 11 December 2007. Elliot Bradbrook’s brother Tom and Junior Kadi scored the goals to send Dartford through.

In the seventies the two sides met in successive Kent Senior Cup finals. The 1970/71 and 1971/72 finals both ended with 3-2 aggregate wins for Dover Athletic. During this period Dartford reached four finals in a row between 1970 & 1973, the Darts won the other two.

Dartford and Dover Athletic have crossed paths on a number of occasions in the last eight years, the graph below charts the progress of both clubs. In 2007/2008, both clubs took the Isthmian Division One title with Dartford winning the Northern section and Dover Athletic the Southern section.

dfc & dafc league progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dartford v Charlton Athletic

Dartford are back in Kent Senior Cup action on Wednesday night against holders Charlton Athletic in the quarter final.

The Darts will be hoping to recreate their semi final win over the Addicks from two seasons ago rather than the friendly defeat in July. Dartford triumphed over the Addicks in a 3-1 victory with goals from Jack Pallen, Lee Noble and Elliot Bradbrook. The win put the Darts through to their second successive Kent Senior Cup final where they lost to Hythe Town.

In this years pre season fixture, Dartford impressed in the first half and went into the break level with the visitors but without a goal. Charlton Athletic missed a second half penalty before the spot kick taker, Joe Pigott opened the scoring moments later. A breakaway goal sealed victory for the Addicks courtesy of Adebayo Azeez.

Both sides entered this season’s competition in the second round. Dartford negotiated their way past Welling United at Park View Road with Nathan Collier, Tyrone Sterling, Alex Woodyard and Ryan Hayes featuring. Tony Burman also gave starts to Jay Porter, George Monger, Uche Ibemere and Mohamed Eisa.

Eisa struck first with a deflected effort giving the Darts a lead going into half time. Welling United hit back in the second half with a Loick Pires goal but Dartford stretched their lead to 3-1 with strikes from Woodyard and substitute Brima Daramy. The Wings managed a consolation through Loui Fazakerley, the defender scored the final goal of the evening but it was Dartford who progressed to the next round with a 3-2 victory.

Charlton Athletic took on Folkestone Invicta of the Isthmian Division One South making it through with a 1-0 triumph. The development side were made to work hard and were rewarded when captain Bradley Jordan netted what turned out to be the winner. The Addicks won the cup in May thrashing Tonbridge Angels 7-1 in the final lifting the trophy for the first time since 1995.

Dartford will be without suspended captain Elliot Bradbrook who picked up his fifth caution in Saturday’s match at Hereford United. Jason Prior, Adam Birchall, Matt Fry and Tyrone Sterling were all unavailable with injuries.

Welling United v Dartford

Kent Senior Cup action returns for the Darts against newly promoted rivals Welling United on Tuesday night.

Dartford are back in the county cup after exiting last term in controversial circumstances. Unable to fulfil there second round fixture with Margate the Kent F.A awarded the tie to the seaside club. Prior the competition last season, the Darts had reached successive finals defeating Bromley 4-1 in 2011 with goals from Elliot Bradbrook, Ryan Hayes, Danny Harris and an own goal. The following year ended in a shock final defeat when Hythe Town clinched the cup for the first time.

Dartford defeated Welling United in the Conference South playoff final almost 16 months ago but their opponents, who joined them in the Conference Premier for this campaign, have made a better start in the league.

Lee Noble was the hero back in May last year when his fourth minute long range strike settled the final, earning Dartford promotion to the Conference Premier for the first time in 26 years. Whilst Dartford finished runners up in the South division, Welling United finished in third. It didn’t take long for the Wings to recover as they took the Conference South title last season going unbeaten at Park View Road.

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Tuesday’s opponents last reached the final in 2009 thrashing Whitstable Town 6-1. The deadlock was broken from the penalty spot by former Dartford favourite Charlie Sheringham. Parity was restored when Ian Pulman equalised but Jack Parkinson’s two goals, Lee Proterhoe, Sam Hurrell and Ryan Johnson put the score way beyond the Oystermen.

The last meeting between the two sides was in the Conference South which ended in a 1-1 Boxing Day draw at Park View Road in front of 1815 fans. Lee Clarke gave the hosts a first half lead from a penalty and with time running out the hosts were awarded another spot kick. Saved by Louis Wells, the Dartford goalkeeper set up a counter attack which Noble got on the end of to rescue a point. A week later both clubs went head to head for the New Year derby which was delayed by 15 minutes, the crowd struggling to make kick off in time at Princes Park. A bumper attendance of 2559 witnessed Harris head home the winner just before the hour mark.

Both sides lost on Saturday in the league with the Darts yet again starting slow at home to Lincoln City. Ben Tomlinson gave the Imps the lead on 21 minutes and the visitors went two up after half an hour when Andrew Boyce scored. Dartford halved the deficit on the hour through captain Elliot Bradbrook’s header, his first of the campaign. Late on a stonewall penalty was waved away by the referee who claimed to have seen the incident.

Not convinced with the first half performance, Tony Burman ‘couldn’t fault the guys’ in the second half but he was left bemused by Mr Swabey’s decision which potentially costed the Darts a point, he told BBC Sport: “It was 100% handball – no question. Anywhere else on the pitch it’s handball and that’s the second Saturday in a row. It was on target and it was handball”, he added: “The referee says it was handball but it wasn’t intentional. It’s absolute rubbish”.

The Wings lost 2-1 away to Hereford United on Saturday but the Kent side went into the break level. Early in the second half Chris Sharp gave the Bulls an advantage which was doubled with six minutes remaining through Michael Rankine. Welling United’s top scorer Ross Lafayette netted a last minute consolation.

Dartford are scheduled to face Welling United in the Conference Premier at home on Boxing Day and away on New Years Day.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 14 / Welling United wins: 8 / Draws: 5

Previous Meetings (PO = Playoff Final)

13.05.2013 (PO) Dartford 1 Welling United 0
02.01.2012 Dartford 1 Welling United 0
26.12.2011 Welling United 1 Dartford 1
15.02.2011 Dartford 1 Welling United 1
01.01.2011 Welling United 2 Dartford 1

Recent Kent Senior Cup Performances

ksc welling

Stats

3 – Number of times Welling United have won the Kent Senior Cup

10 – Number of times Dartford have won the Kent Senior Cup

15 – Players Jamie Day has used for Welling United this season, the fewest in the Conference Premier

25 – Amount of games Welling United are unbeaten at home in the league since 28 April 2012

8462 – Combined attendance for the three meetings between Dartford and Welling United during the 2011/12 season, an average of 2820.

Dartford v Faversham Town

 

Kent Senior Cup action returns on Tuesday night with the visit of Isthmian Division One side Faversham Town.

The Darts will enter this years competition in great shape and with a good record in the County Cup. Although last season’s runners up didn’t manage to retain the cup they won the year before, the squad will want the prize back at Princes Park.

Manager, Tony Burman spoke to PURE DFC and commented: “It’s still a competition we want to stay in and the guys who have been patiently waiting on the sidelines have got to get their ninety minutes. If I feel we want to put a couple of academy players in I will, but it will probably be the majority of the first team squad”.

After another former football league scalp on the weekend Tony Burman will look to utilise his squad in this season’s first round cup tie. It wouldn’t be surprising if the fans get to see players like Nathan Collier, Jon Wallis and Lee Noble who have managed just three starts between them this season.

The Darts enter the competition in excellent form after taking 15 points from the last 18 available in the Conference Premier. The latest three point haul came on the weekend in a 4-0 win against Hereford United. Ryan Hayes opened the scoring early on with a tidy finish and James Rogers headed in just after the break. Substitutes Danny Harris and Jon Wallis emphatically increased the scoreline with Harris’s goal the pick of the match.

Burman was delighted with the result and the performances of his strikers, he said: “I am well pleased especially after last week’s result. We knew we had to improve on the performance from last week. We were fit in what we done and the bits that were missing last week were back in this week”, he continued: “The two forwards started off fantastically well, they looked sharp and caused Hereford some problems”.

Faversham Town will be playing in their fourth cup tie in just over a week on Tuesday night after they competed in the F.A Trophy on Saturday. In the preliminary round the Lilywhites defeated AFC Sudbury, Dartford’s Isthmian Division One title rivals of 2008 by a solitary goal.

Last weekend Ray Turner’s side held Isthmian Premier league leaders Margate in the F.A Cup First Qualifying round. The Lilywhites twice took the lead in a 2-2 draw before bowing out in a replay, losing 3-0 at Hartsdown Park.

In their second season playing in the Isthmian Division One South, Faversham Town have four points to show in their first four matches. Their league season opened with an entertaining 3-3 draw at Salters Lane versus Eastbourne Town. The Lilywhites beat Tooting and Mitcham 2-1 before back to back defeats to Ramsgate and Walton and Hersham.

The Darts will be familiar with Antonio Gonnella who scored a last minute equaliser in the opening game of the season. Gonnella played against Dartford four years ago scoring for Hastings United in a 2-0 win.

Faversham Town are starting to recover from a tough decade. In 2003, non payment of fines coupled with Salters Lane being vandalised threatened to cripple the club. The Faversham Town Independent Supporters Club formed and pulled together to save the club.

Back in the Kent County League in 2005, after keeping hold of their senior status Faversham Town finished runners up and were promoted to the Kent League. The club returned home to Salters Lane and five years later won the Kent Senior Trophy beating Greenwich 2-1 and took the league title. Ray Turner secured the Lilywhites an eighth place finish in their début Isthmian Division One South season last year.

Did you know…

Dartford have won seven of their last eight Kent Senior Cup ties including last season’s win over Charlton Athletic. Hythe Town who also play in the Isthmian Division One South broke the Darts unbeaten two year record in last season’s final.

The Darts last and only loss to Faversham Town came 112 years ago when they were defeated 2-0 away from home.

Are you England in disguise? Faversham Town also wear the Three Lions on their shirt. The club’s badge evolved from the town crest design.

The Lilywhites have won the Kent League on four occasions in 1969/70, 1970/71, 1989/90 and 2010/11 but have never won the Kent Senior Cup.

Tuesday night’s fixture will be only the third time the two clubs have met in the Kent Senior Cup. In 1966, the Darts demolished Faversham Town 11-1 and in 1898 the match ended 5-3 to Dartford.

 

Dartford v Hythe Town – Kent Senior Cup Final

Princes Park will host the Kent Senior Cup Final for a second year in a row on Tuesday night and Dartford will be hoping they can retain their crown.

The Darts hope to repeat last season's county cup success

The Darts have won the county cup ten times with the last back to back triumph coming in the 1988 season. After defeating Bromley 4-1 in last years final Dartford have overcome Fokestone Invicta, Tonbridge Angels and Charlton Athletic to reach this years county show piece.

Tony Burman fielded Ryan Hayes and Tony Garrod on the weekend in the 2-2 draw against Boreham Wood. The final league match at Princes Park saw The Darts pick up their 49th point out of 63 at home. Garrod opened the scoring for the second week in a row netting his fifth Dartford Conference South goal with a header mid way through the first half. Graeme Montgomery equalised for The Wood after half hour. The Darts regained the lead in the second half when Jacob Erskine’s finish went in off the post. With two minutes to go Dartford were pegged back again when Charlie O’Loughlin levelled the match.

Hythe Town defeated Erith Town, Ebbsfleet United and Dover Athletic on the way to Princes Park and hope to add to last season’s dramatic Kent League Championship title. The Reds clinched the title by 15 goals as they pipped Herne Bay on goal difference but it took a last minute own goal against Tunbridge Wells to earn the point they required.

Brendon Cass returns to Princes Park

Dartford will welcome back striker Brendon Cass and midfielder Nick Barnes who now ply their trade at Hythe Town. Both players created history at Princes Park on 11 November 2006, Cass scored the first ever goal at the stadium after ten minutes. Barnes also scored in the homecoming fixture when The Darts won 4-2 against Horsham YMCA. Cass has scored 16 times in 2011/12 for Hythe Town including one in their last fixture, whilst Barnes has racked up the second most amount of games this season.

In their first season in the Isthmian Division One South The Reds are in a creditable eighth place. Although Scott Porter’s side cannot finish any higher his side will be hoping to maintain their position on the final day of the season next week.

The Reds gained senior status in 1977 and eleven years later achieved promotion to the Southern League. In 1992 the club suffered mixed emotions by reaching the Kent Senior Cup Final for the first time. The cup final at the Priestfield Stadium ended in defeat after extra time against Bromley, misery was compounded when the club went into liquidation. In 1995, Hythe United became Hythe Town and they were elected back into the Kent League before winning promotion last season.

Road to the Final

Semi Final

Dartford 3 Charlton Athletic 1 – Highlights

A healthy crowd of 1062 watched Jack Pallen slide in the opening goal just after half hour. The lead did not last long though when Evina centred for young striker Adebayo Azeez to equalise. Lee Noble scored his third goal of the month and put The Darts ahead for the second time with a long range shot, six minutes into the second half. With four minutes remaining progression to a second final in a row was clinched by Elliot Bradbrook’s close range effort.

Hythe Town 3 Dover Athletic 0

An ex Dover Athletic striker turned over his former team with a brace in the semi final. Jimmy Dryden helped Hythe Town cause another upset but not before Taser Hassan drilled in the opening goal. The threat of Aaron Lacey’s long throws come to fruition when a flick on to Dryden was nodded over the Dover goalkeeper to make it two before the break. The third and final goal occurred on the hour when Dryden netted his second.

Quarter Final

Tonbridge Angels 2 Dartford 4 (After Extra Time)

The Darts had to come from behind again in this cup tie when the home side scored on 13 minutes courtesy of Chris Piper. In the second half Nathan Korenteng gave The Angels a 2-0 lead three minutes after the restart. Dartford started their comeback on 53 minutes when young Jackie Pallen halved the deficit from close range. Lee Burns then set up Graham to loop in a shot and tie the match in normal time. In extra time Graham netted his fourth goal in the Kent Senior Cup when he was waiting at the far post to smash in a tidy finish. With seven minutes to play Burns settled the score after he got on the end of Jon Wallis’ thorugh ball.

Ebbsfleet United 1 Hythe Town 4 (After Extra Time)

Like Dartford, The Reds needed extra time in the quarter final. With the scores level at 1-1 after 90 minutes Hythe Town scored three unanswered goals to upset the Conference Premier side. Nick Reeves put the away side in front but a disputed last minute penalty was converted by Nathan Pinney to temporarily save The Fleet. Kieran Byrne restored Hythe’s lead when he slid in to score two minutes into extra time, Ronnie Dolan volleyed number three and Craig Thompson made it 4-1 before the second half of extra time.

Second Round

Folkestone Invicta 1 Dartford 4

Both sides started this seasons Kent Senior Cup campaign in round two and progressed in different styles. The Darts took on Isthmian Division One South side and passed with flying colours. The holders did go a goal down when Invicta’s Josh Burchell celebrated his 150th appearance with a swerving effort with nine minutes played. Jacob Erskine opened his cup account from close range in the 36th minute and Tom Bonner put The Darts ahead five minutes later. Richard Graham netted a brace in the second half when he chipped Roddy Hayward then later on headed in a Ryan Hayes cross.

Hythe Town 2 Erith Town 1

Richard Sinden made sure that Hythe Town’s county cup exploits started smoothly with a brace. However it was Adam Williams who opened the scoring for Erith Town early on. Kane Rice sent in a cross on 27 minutes and waiting for the equaliser was Sinden from close range. Sinden pounced again when he struck a winner on 54 minutes to earn a tie against Ebbsfleet United.

 

Dartford v Charlton Athletic

Dartford are back in Kent Senior Cup action on Tuesday night as they battle for a place in a second successive final.

The reigning champions will have to get passed League One club Charlton Athletic who are currently in pole position for a promotion back to the Football League Championship.

The Darts are also chasing a promotion spot of their own to the Conference National and on the weekend dropped three points at Dorchester Town. The defeat was Dartford’s first in eight league fixtures after a run of six wins out of seven. The Addicks have won just once in their last five league matches but still remain eight points clear of second place.

Tony Stokes celebrates scoring for Concord Rangers

Both sides will be concentrating on the league as the season approaches an end so there is a strong possibility squad and youth team players will be involved. Dartford welcome the dual registration signings of Tony Stokes from Concord Rangers and Sam Higgins from East Thurrock United.

Dartford manager, Tony Burman told PURE DFC he has signed new players for cover in anticipation there might be injuries and suspensions, he said: “We’ve asked a favour of a couple of clubs asking if we can dual sign a couple of players”, he added: “I’d like to thank East Thurrock United and Concord Rangers. Concord have also helped us out with Paul Goodacre otherwise he wouldn’t be playing and he needed some games”.

Tony Stokes is currently joint top scorer in the Isthmian Premier league with Wealdstone’s Richard Jolly. The striker has scored 23 times in the league for Concord Rangers this season and started his career at West Ham United’s academy. After various loan spells he travelled to Hungary to play for Ujpest in the top flight before joining Concord Rangers.

Sam Higgins has experienced Conference South football with Chelmsford City and in February last year he mutually cancelled his contract to play at a lower level. East Thurrock United snapped up the striker after he had netted eight league goals in the 2010/11 campaign for The Clarets before his departure. With Isthmian Premier league side East Thurrock United he has an impressive goalscoring record scoring 20 times this season.

Whilst retaining the cup and another piece of silverware is welcome within the club Burman knows the Conference South is a priority, he commented: “It’s a big game against Charlton, yes it’s nice that they have come into the competition but could we do with a weeks rest? yes we can”.

The other semi-final has already been played and so Hythe Town will be awaiting the winners. The Isthmian Division One South side beat the odds to knock out Dover Athletic in a 3-0 win.

Team News

A week’s rest would certainly benefit some of the players in the squad. Matt Jones and Jacob Erskine were substituted on Saturday against Dorchester Town. Full back Jones suffered swelling of his knee whilst Erskine was replaced as a precaution due to an ankle injury. Midfielder Jon Wallis will have a scan on his knee this week.

The Story So Far…

Quarter Final

Tonbridge Angels 2 Dartford 4 (After Extra Time)

The Darts had to come from behind again in this cup tie when the home side scored on 13 minutes courtesy of Chris Piper. In the second half Nathan Korenteng gave The Angels a 2-0 lead three minutes after the restart. Dartford started their comeback on 53 minutes when young Jackie Pallen halved the deficit from close range. Lee Burns then set up Graham to loop in a shot and tie the match in normal time. In extra time Graham netted his fourth goal in the Kent Senior Cup when he was waiting at the far post to smash in a tidy finish. With seven minutes to play Burns settled the score after he got on the end of Jon Wallis’ thorugh ball.

Margate 3 Charlton Athletic 4

After five goals in the previous round The Addicks were then involved in a seven goal thriller. This time Chris Powell selected senior players Doherty, Scott Wagstaff, Leon Clarke, Paul Hayes and first team regular Dale Stephens. Highly rated Kwesi Appiah gave Margate an eleventh minute lead which was cancelled out eight minutes later by Clarke. The coastal side then went in front again in the second half thanks to Curtis Robinson. Two goals in the space of five minutes put The Addicks 3-2 up when Paul Hayes netted and Clarke scored his second. Former Dart Richard Avery tied the match yet again with fifteen minutes to play but Margate’s bravery was crushed with a goal two minutes from time by Morgan Fox.

Second Round

Folkestone Invicta 1 Dartford 4 (After Extra Time)

Both sides started this seasons Kent Senior Cup campaign in round two and progressed in different styles. The Darts took on Isthmian Division One South side and passed with flying colours. The holders did go a goal down when Invicta’s Josh Burchell celebrated his 150th appearance with a swerving effort with nine minutes played. Jacob Erskine opened his cup account from close range in the 36th minute and Tom Bonner put The Darts ahead five minutes later. Richard Graham netted a brace in the second half when he chipped Roddy Hayward then later on headed in a Ryan Hayes cross.

Bromley 2 Charlton Athletic 3

The Addicks returned to the Kent Senior Cup in dramatic fashion. The five goal thriller included former Premier League defender Gary Doherty and experienced Paul Benson in the line up. Ruben Bover gave Charlton Athletic a lead within four minutes. Bromley striker Hakeem Araba equalised early in the second half before Michael Smith restored a one goal margin for the visitors. Araba tied the match from the penalty spot with twelve minutes left. However the League One club secured victory when Toby Silva headed in a late goal.

Did you know…

Kent Senior Cup action returns to Princes Park for the first time since last season’s cup final win in May. The Darts beat Bromley 4-1 to lift the cup for the tenth time.

Charlton Athletic have only won the Kent Senior Cup once back in 1995.

Matt Jones made his 50th start for Dartford at the weekend in all competitions, he has also made 8 substitute appearances.

Only Deren Ibrahim and Tom Bonner have started the last six Kent Senior Cup ties for Dartford, a run that includes last season’s success.

 

Tonbridge Angels v Dartford

The Darts will hope to continue January’s perfect record with a Kent Senior Cup victory away to Tonbridge Angels on Tuesday night.

Elliot Bradbrook opens the scoring in the last meeting against The Angels

Dartford are trying to retain the cup this season and Tonbridge bring back good memories of last seasons road to glory. The Darts faced Tomy Warrilow’s men in round one last season running out 2-0 winners. Danny Harris opened the scoring on the hour when Ryan Hayes’ deep free kick to the far post was knocked down to Harris who swept the ball home. Charlie Sheringham replaced Hayes in the 85th minute then wrapped up the win by taking the ball down on his chest before cutting inside the defender and curling the ball beyond the Tonbridge keeper into the net.

The two sides have already met this season back in September and Tony Burman’s men triumphed 3-1. Elliot Bradbrook opened the scoring ten minutes into the league meeting capitalising on a Scott Kinch slip. Harris doubled the lead blasting a shot from the dge of the box. Charlie Sheringham scored another on 77 minutes to wrap up the game but The Angels managed to pull one goal back from the spot when Frannie Collin, Conference South’s top scorer netted from the spot four minutes from time.

In Dartford’s 2009/10 promotion season Harris made an impact on his debut when The Darts won 2-0 more to follow. In the return fixture at Longmead the double was completed in a 4-1 win. Harris was on the score sheet again and has scored in each of his four competitive matches against The Angels since joining The Darts.

Dartford capped off an excellent week by defeating bottom side Thurrock emphatically. Birthday boy and captain Elliot Bradbrook opened the scoring in a 6-0 victory and netted another later on. Goals came from all over the pitch with Harris, Rogers and Burns also scoring. Tony Garrod became the fifth different scorer of the day when he netted his first goal for the club.

Danny Harris unleashes a super strike versus Thurrock

Speaking to PURE DFC on Saturday Tony Burman said this month had been ‘outstanding’, he added after Dartford’s 6-0 thrashing of Thurrock: “I’m absolutely delighted for the players because it is an important week, it was against three teams who are fighting for their lives and they’re the teams that you can drop points against.

“Everyone expects you to win and it sometimes rolls over onto the pitch and you become a little bit complacent. I have to say the players have been absolutely superb. Their attitude has been spot on and they have been very professional in the way that they have approached the games. You sensed it last week at Hampton and we followed it up at Staines and we’ve done another job today and I’m absolutely delighted for them”.

A respite from the Conference South will ease the pressure on The Darts who will want to maintain their excellent form, Burman commented on the week ahead: “It’s a different type of week, it’s an enjoyable week, we do not have to worry about points. We want to stay in the competitions and continue with what we are doing but it’s not the league, it’s not three points, it’s whether we get through to the next rounds”.

The Darts boss welcomes the county cup tie, he added: “Tuesday nights given me the opportunity to give people ninety minutes, to get their fitness up. Lads who have been on the bench will play and we’ll go and enjoy it”.

Frannie Collin the Conference South's top goal scorer

Tonbridge will be approaching Tuesday’s game having had a rest on the weekend but they did trounce Eastbourne Borough 5-1 just over a week ago. That, however has been their only win in the league in eight matches. For their first season in the second tier of non league football The Angels are holding their own and occupy 12th spot.

Managed by former Dart, Tommy Warrilow will be looking to break the Dartford hoodoo in recent years. Up front The Angels can rely on the goalscoring prowess of Frannie Collin who has 19 Conference South goals to his name this season. Warrilow has also recenty signed Nathan Koranteng who scored Boreham Wood’s third against Dartford back in October.

The winners will be rewarded with a semi-final home tie against Championship outfit Charlton Athletic. Dover Athletic await Ebbsfleet United or Hythe Town in the other half of the draw.

Team News

Lee Noble is suffering with a bruised back and missed Saturday’s fixture, but was due to play originally and could feature. Jack Pallen has returned from Leatherhead after his loan spell and will also be available for selection.

The Journey So Far

Round One

Thamesmead Town 0 Tonbridge Angels 3

The Angels hurdled past their first obstacle with a 3-0 away win against Isthmian League North’s Thamesmead Town. Tonbridge went ahead in the 25th minute via a fine strike from Lee Browning, they remained 1-0 ahead at half time but increased thier lead shortly after half time and in the 51st minute got the killer third goal from a tight angle.

Round Two

Folkestone Invicta 1 Dartford 4

The Darts started their defence of the Kent Senior Cup with a comfortable victory against Isthmian Premier League side Folkestone Invicta. The hosts took the lead early on against a Dartford line up containing seven changes from the previous match. Jacob Erskine had the sides level after bundling the ball over the line, Tom Bonner made it 2-1 just before the interval. Richard Graham scored twice in the second half with a delightful chip over the goalkeeper and a header from a Ryan Hayes cross.

Tonbridge Angels 3 Sittingbourne 1

A quick free kick after just two minutes was scored by Ade Olurunda to give The Angels an early lead. Ten minutes before half time Mikel Suarez powerfully headed home to double the advantage. Josh West’s calm lob over Lee Worgan halved the deficit but The Angels hit back with fifteen minutes to play when Frannie Collin finished off the visitors.

Current Form

Last five Tonbridge Angels matches at home Last five Dartford matches away
Won 5-1 v Eastbourne Borough Won 4-1 v Staines Town
Drew 1-1 v Bromley Won 3-1 v Hampton and Richmond
Lost 1-2 v Havant and Waterlooville Won 4-1 v Havant and Waterlooville
Drew 1-1 v Welling United Drew 1-1 v Welling United
Won 3-2 v Staines Town Drew 2-2 v Eastleigh

Attendances (league only)

Tonbridge Angels average home attendance: 628

Highest home attendance: 922 v Woking / Lowest: 464 v Eastleigh

Dartford average away attendance: 787

Highest away attendance: 1815 v Welling United/ Lowest: 378 v Staines Town

Did you know…

Adam Green is the only Dartford player to have played all league matches this season but he is yet to make a Kent Senior Cup appearance.

Tonbridge Angels have scored the most penalties (7) in the Conference South this season, Frannie Collin has scored six of them.

Dartford and Tonbridge have met twice on 31 January. In 1951, The Darts won 4-2 in a Kent Senior Cup Second Round Replay. In 1977, Dartford triumphed 4-1 in a league meeting.

Tonbridge last won the Kent Senior Cup in 1975 to add to their only other victory ten years earlier.

Folkestone Invicta v Dartford

The Darts start their quest to retain the Kent Senior Cup with a trip to Folkestone’s Buzzline Stadium.

Dartford’s triumph in May this year was Tony Burman’s third piece of silverware in four seasons. With an F.A Trophy fixture on the weekend the county cup is likely to see some players rested. Burman spoke to PURE DFC, he said: “We’re going to take everyone down to Folkestone, but we have to give ninety minutes to the guys who haven’t played”.

Dartford are delighted with Bradbrook's stunning strike

Strikers Jacob Erskine and Tony Garrod did not feature in Saturday’s superb 3-1 victory over Kent rivals Dover Athletic so it maybe a good chance to see the pair in action. The squad of seventeen also includes last seasons player of the year Lee Noble and pacey forward Danny Harris who are keen to get more minutes under their belts after substitute appearances on the weekend.

Preparation for the cup tie couldn’t have gone any better. Dartford’s biggest home crowd of the season witnessed another win against Dover Athletic. Elliot Bradbrook was upended when he stormed into the penalty box and Adam Green converted the spot kick on seven minutes.

The Whites fought back and won a free kick on thirteen minutes. Dover’s Argentinian, Agustin Battipeidi brilliantly placed a free header beyond Louis Wells to level the scores. At half time the sides were level and after the game Burman commented: “We pressurised them, played a bit higher up the pitch and we managed to get the penalty, it was a good start”, he added: “I thought Dover controlled the game in the first half with their football and fair play to them”.

In the second half Dartford moved up a gear. With the game level Ryan Hayes won a free kick from what looked an impossible angle but nonetheless the winger went for goal. With help of a deflection Hayes gave Dartford the lead and with two minutes remaining captain Elliot Bradbrook scored a brilliantly placed curler into the top corner and made sure of the win.

The Darts boss recognised the excellent effort his side put in, he said: “We worked a good team very hard. As much as they had control of the game they had to put a lot of work in to do that. In the second half we were the fitter side, they probably couldn’t keep with us”.

Also on Saturday, Folkestone Invicta took part in an Isthmian Division One South fixture and they came away with a 2-1 triumph. Stuart King put Invicta in front after 51 minutes against struggling Croydon Athletic. With eight minutes remaining the game turned dramatic. Croydon’s George Landais equalised but with two minutes on the clock substitute Simon Austin won the game for Folkestone. The win for Invicta leaves them occupying sixth place in the Isthmian Division One South division and a point behind the playoffs.

In the first round of the Kent Senior Cup they needed extra time to defeat Faversham Town 3-2. In front of 107, Josh Vincent scored twice putting Folkestone ahead both times. James Everitt’s winner made sure of progression to round two.

Like Dartford, Folkestone spent a long period in the Southern League before their demise in the early nineties. Invicta joined the Kent League in 1991/92 and became Division Two champions. Another similarity between the two clubs is that a prolific goalscorer became manager and is still in charge today.

Neil Cugley manager of Folkestone Invicta

In 1997, former Dartford player Neil Cugley left Ashford Town to manage Folkestone Invicta. During Cugley’s reign he has experienced plenty of ups and downs. In 1999 the club returned to the Southern League and in 2000 Cugley achieved a second promotion to the Premier League, however after three seasons the club were relegated.

After switching to the Isthmian League in 2005, Invicta have yo-yo’d between the Premier League and Division One. In 2008, they went down on the final day and two years later were back in the Premier League despite a ten point deduction. Last season they finished bottom of the pile and returned to Division One again.

As Dartford progressed up the leagues and Folkestone flitted between divisions the last league meeting between the two clubs was in the 2003/04 Southern League East season. That year Invicta completed the double over the Darts with 6-1 and 1-0 victories.

The last competitive fixture between Dartford and Folkestone was the Isthmian League Cup clash in 2006. The tie ended 2-2, Anthony Henry scoring both goals for The Darts. After extra time the two clubs could not be separated and Dartford progressed 5-3 on penalties. It’s been almost six years since Dartford last drew Folkestone in the Kent Senior Cup. On that occasion Invicta won the tie 2-1.

The winners will play Tonbridge Angels or Sittingbourne away in the Quarter Final.

Did you know

In total, managers Tony Burman and Neil Cugley have been at the helm at their respective clubs for a combined 24 seasons

Neil Cugley is Invicta’s record goalscorer in one season when he scored 46 goals during the 1982/83 season

Since 1992, when Folkestone Invicta gained senior status, they have never won the Kent Senior Cup but have been runners up on four occasions in 1998/99, 1999/2000, 2003/04, 2009/10

The Darts have won the Kent Senior Cup ten times. Between 1930 and 1935 Dartford won the competition four times in five seasons.

 

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 Nine– A look back on 2010/2011

9 – March – Heading To Safety

Lucky Winner

After a fantastic February Dartford players and supporters were keen to begin March after a rare Saturday off. The Darts hosted Basingstoke Town on a Tuesday night with just two points separating the sides. For once this season Dartford were looking at the teams to catch rather than the teams hot on their heels, confidence in the team had turned for the better.

Although the first half was lacklustre with only half chances for either side the match was still in the balance. Basingstoke created their best chance mid-way through the first half when Frankie Raymond’s tremendous volley from the edge of the box looked goal bound, Andrew Young was equal to the Raymond’s skill and expertly tipped the ball over the crossbar. At half time the scores with level with neither team scoring. Dartford’s best opportunity came from Elliot Bradbrook’s volley which tested the alert Chay Morris who palmed the ball out for a corner. Billy Burgess was cautioned for a desperate challenge on the edge of his own box and just before half time Greg Draper went down running slightly away from goal, Burgess was the culprit again. The referee called Burgess over, oh no this looks ominous we thought, phew no card.

The second half favoured The Darts has the breeze picked up behind them. Jon Main shot wide from ten yards and Charlie Sheringham’s effort was well blocked. Basingstoke should have gone in front when Greg Draper headed wide from just five yards.

Callum Reynolds

Then on sixty five minutes a comedy yet unfortunate piece of misjudgement changed the game.  Dartford would not allow Basingstoke out of their half by pressing hard. Possession was won and Lee Noble picked up the loose ball which stayed glued to his feet. Unchallenged Noble continued to drive forward and unleashed a shot from 25 yards. Morris opted to catch the powerful strike but it slipped through his grasp, slowly the ball looped up onto the top of the cross bar and as it fell the unfortunate Callum Reynolds ran straight at the ball which hit his chest and over the line, comedy, fortunate but a Dartford goal nonetheless. From then on Dartford played better and hung on to victory.

Dartford 1 Basingstoke Town 0 – Highlights

The Late Show

Maidenhead United was on the slide and fast and they were next up at Princes Park. The Magpies had one victory to their name in the last 16 matches, scoring goals was not Maidenhead forte. Dartford only experienced one defeat in their last ten, a foregone conclusion?

Maidenhead started brightly and on just five minutes a quick turn from Kieran Knight and a delicious shot struck the corner of the cross bar. Andrew Young’s reflexes were required when a counter attack caught out The Darts; Young palmed the ball single headedly over the bar.

Charlie Sheringham blew a one on one chance on the half hour and the follow up by Lee Burns was headed over by the retreating defender. Burns, last season top scorer had still to break his duck; the crowd was urging Burnsy to score. Dartford looked like they could break the deadlock but a scuff here and a poor final touch in the box kept the game goalless.

Maidenhead United struck the cross bar for the second time in the match in the second half. The Magpies should have edged in front before the sixty minute mark when Young saved one on one but was rounded on the rebound only for the shot to hit the side netting.

Tony Burman, often questioned about his late substitution took action early. On the hour he replaced Lee Burns and Jon Main with Ryan Hayes and Danny Harris. The game turned and The Darts started to find some rhythm. Matt Jones launched a throw in to the near post and Bradbrook flicked the ball on, Sheringham pounced from close range heading into the net, the crowd erupted with relief.

Captain Bradbrook makes it two for The Darts

Victory was finally sealed two minutes from time. Ryan Hayes was sent down the right wing and looked up to spot Bradbrook at the far post. A low curling cross found the captain who took his chance well, 2-0. In the last minute the score was increased when Bradbrook scored again from another Hayes cross. The header from Bradbrook was too much for the Maidenhead goalkeeper who could only palm the ball in the side of the goal, 3-0, and third consecutive clean sheet and win, almost safe.

Dartford 3 Maidenhead United 0 – Highlights

Darts Demolish Whitstable

A mid-week Kent Senior Cup tie against Whitstable Town gave Deren Ibrahim and Adam Burchell their run out. Tony Burman’s men swept aside Isthmian Division One South side Whitstable Town in the last eight to record their biggest win of the season. Danny Harris opened the scoring on eight minutes when he pounced on a defensive error to curl the ball into the bottom corner from just outside the box. Whitstable levelled the tie five minutes later when a well worked move was finished by Lloyd Blackman. Just before the break, loanee Jon Main placed a sublime right footed curler into the top corner to make it 2-1.

Adam Burchell made it three by tapping into the empty net from inside the six yard box. The Darts hit the post and had a goal chalked off for offside before Tom Bonner added a fourth from two yards out as he reacted quickly to a rebound. Minutes later a deep cross from Ryan Hayes was kept in play by Burchell’s flick and finished off coolly by Charlie Sheringham. Another Dartford goal was ruled out for offside before Hayes’ free kick was nodded in for Burchell’s second and Dartford’s sixth. Dartford easily negotiated their way to the semi-finals.

Dartford 6 Whitstable Town 1 – Kent Senior Cup Quarter Final Highlights

Draw at The Camrose

Yes it’s a cliché in football but the trip to The Camrose really was a game of two halves. A very entertaining first forty five was followed up by a goalless stalemate in the second half. With Dartford fans still settling in the ground after a tipple at the bar, Delano Sam-Yorke got Basingstoke off to an explosive start by netting inside the first minute, an absolute shocker to concede. It was just a punt out of defence which led to a chase between Sam-Yorke and Joe Bruce, the Basingstoke striker made up the ground and poked the ball past the onrushing Andrew Young.

It took three more minutes for a bit of Ryan Hayes magic when his double step over was followed by skipping past an oncoming defender, this gave Hayes the necessary room to curl a low shot into the far corner, a brilliantly taken goal from the edge of the box. Twenty minutes later Hayes took free kick just of centre about 25 yards out, he curled the ball but Chay Morris touched the ball on the post.  The ball was kept alive and crossed towards Charlie Sheringham whose header was cleared off the line, however Danny Harris arrived late at the far post and bundled the ball into the net, Dartford had the lead. The lead was to last a quarter of an hour even though Dartford was in control, the tormentor was Sam-Yorke again. The striker cut inside waltzed through the defence and hit a hard low shot beyond Young.

Ryan Hayes scores with a fantastic solo effort

An exhilarating first half outshone the second which did still have its moments and continued to be played at a high tempo. Matthew Pattinson exquisite chip over Young looked like Basingstoke was going to take the lead, only for Young to magnificently tip the ball over. Elliot Bradbrook came close for The Darts and Pattison again caused trouble when his long range effort had Young rooted to the spot. The inside of the post saved Dartford, the scores stayed level. The woodwork took a battering, Matt Jones, Lee Burns, Tom Champion and Sheringham linked up. Charlie skilfully chested the ball down and on the volley hit a beauty, surely goal of the season, thud, the cross bar rocked again. Finally in the last five minutes Stuart Lake was left in space to win the game for Basingstoke, Dartford defenders watched on and was relieved when the ball again hit the woodwork. What an entertaining draw.

Basingstoke Town 2 Dartford 2 – Highlights

Goalless

Not every game can be as entertaining as the last but Dartford fans were happy with the result considering a) the poor record against Eastleigh b) it was another point towards our total and safety and c) Eastleigh looked the better side. Tony Burman’s side looked tired but put in enough effort to earn the draw. Andrew Young was kept busy, Eastleigh struck the cross bar twice and The Darts worked hard to keep The Spitfires at bay. Not a pleasant evening for entertainment but no one in a Dartford shirt cared, a point is a point.

Dartford 0 Eastleigh 0 – Highlights

The Darts are defeated at Wheatsheaf Park

Staines Massive

An away trip to Staines Town had Dartford eyeing up a top ten finish. The Swans was close enough in the league for this match to have some significance. Wheatsheaf Park was brought to life on four minutes when the home side went in front from a quick break finished by Andre Scarlett. Lee Burns squandered a chance to equalise as his search for his first goal of the season continued. Unfortunately the lead was doubled when Elliot Onochie cut into the box and set up Scott Taylor who made it two. Staines Town continued to control the game, Andrew Young made some vital saves but the Middlesex side were comfortable winners. Not all bad though it was only a second defeat in 13 matches for The Darts.

Staines Town 2 Dartford 0 – Highlights

Charlie Finds His Goal Scoring Boots

At this stage of the season there was only one side Dartford had not yet played and this was St Albans City. The Saints were in turmoil after a ten point deduction back and a run of six defeats out of seven in February. The Hertfordshire club did pick up form before the meeting at Princes Park by winning two in a row and holding league leaders Braintree Town. St Albans were as good as relegated due to their deduction of points and so some of the pressure was off their players. Dartford was as good as safe but with their eyes on a top ten finish.

Early on Lee Noble’s energetic run down the flank resulted in a cross to the far post which Charlie Sheringham headed downwards onto the foot of the post. Then when Lee Burns was sent through the moment everyone was waiting for arrived, surely his first goal of the season? Burns delicately cushioned a volley over the onrushing goalkeeper but the ball could not come down soon enough, the crowd groaned in desperation for Burnsy to score the elusive goal.

The Darts was looking bright and St Albans plugged away creating a few half chances. On 33 minutes The Saints attacked and Inih Effiong’s run was not picked out. He strolled through the gaping hole in the defence and as the ball fell to his feet he side footed the ball in off the post and so The Saints took the lead, a lead which lasted all of two minutes. A clever free kick from Dartford levelled the scores. Noble ran over the dead ball and past the right of the wall, James White shaped to shoot but passed to Noble. The effective midfielder cut inside one man took a shot which was parried into the path of Sheringham, 1-1. The first half included a 20 man brawl when Matt Jones went over the top with a lunging tackle; the referee booked a handful of players. Dartford also hit the crossbar and from two rebounds goalkeeper Paul Bastock somehow kept The Darts at bay.

Charlie Sheringham celebrates another goal

The second half followed suit and was packed with incidents too.  Danny Harris waltzed into the box for his scuffed effort was smothered by Bastock. On 51 minutes a long clearance was chased down by Burns he managed a shot/pass across goal and Sheringham outpaced the defender to tap in at the far post. Yet again the lead lasted a few minutes; Effiong’s persistent running and hold up play earned St Albans a reward when his measured cross was met by the head of Ollie Kelly to level the match. James White was then dismissed for the second time of the season when he was cautioned for a second time.

With a numerical advantage The Saints missed a sitter, hit the cross bar and was denied by Andrew Young in the Dartford goal. Tony Burman replaced Sheringham with Jon Main and Noble with Ryan Hayes, two changes which could have proved crucial. In the last minute Main chased Young’s drop kick, Bastock spilled the ball and Main applied pressure to Bastock. Bastock hauled Main down in the box, a penalty was awarded. Hayes grabbed the ball as quickly as he could sense a winner. He placed the ball on the spot, ran up and struck the ball left footed. Bastock had guessed the wrong way, thwack. The ball hit the post the game ended 2-2.

Dartford 2 St Albans City 2 – The Highlights

Super Shezza

Tony Burman signed James Rogers before the match against Lewes and handed him his first start in a Dartford shirt. The Darts were solid and the struggling Lewes side failed to get going in a fixture they needed to win to help boost their survival hopes.

Rogers made an impressive debut and coupled with Lee Burns’ endless running The Darts was in control. Burns volleyed narrowly wide in the first minute, he was getting closer. Lee Noble’s rasping volley on the edge of the box was parried, Lewes experienced an early onslaught. Three minutes later Princes Park witnessed a moment of pure magic. The ball bounced between two Lewes defenders and Danny Harris who anticipated the bounce pounced, the ball sat up nicely and he unleashed a corker of a volley across the goalkeeper and into the top corner.

Burns tried and tried to score again but could not apply the finishing touches missing a one on one. The crowd felt his frustration but continued urge him on. Then on 25 minutes super Charlie Sheringham doubled the lead at the far post with a header in off the bar, a scrappy but deserved second. In the second half Ryan Hayes was introduced again by Burman and caused Lewes problems. His chip forward found fellow substitute Jon Main who looped a cross towards Sheringham. Charlie expertly chested the ball, turned and hooked his shot low into the near post, a splendid move and a second brace in two games for Sheringham.

Dartford 3 Lewes 0 – Highlights

Marching On

The Darts had climbed up to twelfth place with a solid run of games. Tony Burman lost the services of striker Jon Main who returned to his parent club. Main was then loaned back out to rivals Dover Athletic causing a minor stir. Farnborough closed the gap at the top to just one with a tremendous March, they stretched their superb run to eight wins and a draw without defeat. Braintree Town were difficult to beat but tended to be drawing more games. Woking’s exceptional form propelled them into the playoffs at the expense of Chelmsford City. Throughout February and March Woking had won eleven, lost one and drew one, keeping ten clean sheets. St Albans City was twelve points adrift of safety with Maidenhead United and Lewes making up the bottom three, Thurrock had a four point cushion. With a month to go the title was open and the relegation battle continued.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Braintree Town 35 22 7 6 65 29 +36 73
2 Farnborough 35 22 6 7 72 38 +34 72
3 Welling United* 36 22 6 8 74 42 +32 67
4 Ebbsfleet United 35 18 10 7 62 46 +16 64
5 Woking 35 18 8 9 49 33 +16 62
6 Eastleigh 34 18 6 10 60 43 +17 60
7 Chelmsford City 36 18 8 10 69 45 +24 62
8 Dover Athletic 35 18 6 11 67 45 +22 60
9 Havant and W 33 15 7 11 50 40 +10 52
10 Bromley 36 13 11 12 41 51 -10 50
11 Staines Town 35 11 13 11 44 46 -2 46
12 Dartford 35 11 12 12 46 46 0 45
13 Weston-super-Mare 36 13 7 16 47 53 -6 46
14 Basingstoke Town 35 10 10 15 39 50 -11 40
15 Hampton and Richmond 34 8 13 13 40 45 -5 37
16 Dorchester Town 35 9 10 16 43 52 -9 37
17 Boreham Wood 35 8 10 17 46 62 -16 34
18 Bishop’s Stortford 35 9 6 20 37 71 -34 33
19 Thurrock 36 7 11 18 42 68 -26 32
21 Lewes 36 7 7 22 29 63 -34 28
22 Maidenhead United 34 6 8 20 31 60 -29 26
20 St Albans City** 36 6 12 18 35 60 -25 20

*Welling United deducted five points

**St Albans City deducted ten points

Stuart Maidment

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