Archives for : Tonbridge Angels

Dartford v Tonbridge Angels

This weekend Dartford close out the year with the second of three consecutive Kent derbies, this time at home against Tonbridge Angels in the National South.

Only three months has passed since the Darts last met the Angels, management duo Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle took charge of the Darts for the last time. Dartford were struggling at the wrong end of the table sitting third from bottom, Tonbridge Angels a place and two points behind. Talk of a six pointer may have come too early, but the result proved to be crucial in another way.

Joe Turner scored twice to help Tonbridge Angels to a 3-2 victory the first coming from a penalty. Against the run of play Dartford levelled before the break when Josh Hill scored from close range. Parity didn’t last long as Turner put the Angels back in front before the break with a driving shot from fifteen yards. The Darts thought they could grab a point with fifteen minutes remaining, Ryan Hayes sent in a free-kick for Charlie Sheringham to equalise. Tonbridge Angels managed to win it with five minutes left, Tom Derry sliding in the winner and ending Flanagan and Coyle’s spell in charge.

Tonbridge’s triumph ended a dismal run against the Darts, who had won the last eight meetings. Four of those were at Princes Park with the most recent Dartford home victory versus their Kent rivals coming in the F.A Trophy second round seven years ago. Harry Crawford, Elliot Bradbrook and Jon Wallis scored that day and the same score was repeated in the F.A Cup four years later at Longmead, Alex Brown, Andy Pugh and Bradbrook netting this time.

Dartford have won the last two league games at Princes Park against the Angels, in 2011 Bradbrook, Danny Harris and Charlie Sheringham found the net in a 3-1 victory and in 2009, Allan Tait and Harris helped the Darts to a 2-0 triumph.

The Darts haven’t hit the heights they expected in 2019, but with recent performances under Steve King with a patched-up squad, there is plenty to look forward to in the next calendar year and on to next season. King has given Dartford a glimpse of the type of players he would like to bring to the club and if the injury list reduces then the Darts should find themselves in a better position.

The Darts will approach this weekend’s match fresh from an excellent 3-0 Boxing Day win against Welling United. Darren McQueen scored a brace at Park View Road with his first coming from the penalty spot, Elliot Romain also found the net to take his tally to eight for the season in just 11 appearances. Tom Bonner replaced Josh hill at the back and Charlie Sheringham came on as a substitute to get his first minutes since October.

Now two points off a top seven place, King still insists that the Darts are not ready for the playoff due to results being inconsistent, he told “The minute we win two, three, four games (in a row) then I’ll think we’ve got a bit of consistency but at the moment we haven’t got that”. Opponents, Tonbridge Angels had their derby against Maidstone United called off, King commented: “What does that mean? Are they going to be fitter, stronger faster? Maybe. We want to back up this win and we’ve not been able to do that since I’ve been here”.

Tonbridge Angels came through two playoff finals last season to earn promotion. Steve McKimm’s side, playing in the National South for the first time in five years, have been battling at the bottom and will be delighted to stay in the division come April. At the time of writing, prior their away trip to Hemel Hempstead Town, the Angels had taken just three points on the road and were still looking for their first away victory of the season.

Derry, who netted in September’s clash against the Darts is amongst the top scorers for the club this campaign along with D’Sean Theobalds and Joe Turner. One player who has had a positive impact is Dartford loanee Ben Greenhalgh. The midfielder scored a free-kick on his debut and has also chipped in with a few assists in his appearances so far for the club.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 67 / Tonbridge Angels wins: 38 / Draws: 24

Current League Form

Dartford (DDWLLD) Tonbridge Angels (DLLDWL)
Welling United A 3-0 Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-1
Concord Rangers H 0-1 Billericay Town H 3-2
Billericay Town H 3-2 Hungerford Town A 0-1
Dulwich Hamlet A 1-1 Slough Town A 0-0
Bath City A 0-3 St Albans City H 2-1
Maidstone United H 2-2 Oxford City H 4-4

Last Six Meetings

03.09.2019 Tonbridge Angels 3 Dartford 2
15.10.2016 Tonbridge Angels 0 Dartford 3
15.12.2012 Dartford 3 Tonbridge Angels 0
03.03.2012 Tonbridge Angels 0 Dartford 1
31.01.2012 Tonbridge Angels 2 Dartford 4
24.09.2011 Dartford 3 Tonbridge Angels 1


Dartford are five games unbeaten at Princes Park against Tonbridge Angels (W4, D1)

The Darts last lost to the Angels at home in 2004 when they lost 3-2 in the Southern League Division One East

Dartford have conceded just once in their last four home games against Tonbridge Angels keeping three clean sheets

On This Day

Dartford have won once in their last seven games played on 28 December and that was a 2-0 home derby with Erith and Belvedere back in 1998. The Darts last played on this day four years ago when they hosted Margate in the National South. Ronnie Vint, Ryan Hayes and Lee Noble are the only survivors from that game that also featured academy graduate Ebou Adams, now plying his trade at Forest Green Rovers. Elliot Bradbrook equalised six minutes into the second-half to earn a 1-1 draw, cancelling out the opener from Freddie Ladapo, who is now at Rotherham United. Nine years ago, Dartford were beaten by their local rivals Ebbsfleet United at Stonebridge Road, Bradbrook scored for the Darts whilst Derek Duncan and Callum Willock netted for Fleet. The Darts finished the match with nine men after Joe Bruce and James White were both sent off.

Tonbridge Angels v Dartford

In search for a their first away victory of the campaign, Dartford travel to Longmead Stadium on Tuesday night to take on Tonbridge Angels.

It will be the first Kent derby in a league fixture between the two sides in seven years, although in that time they have met in the F.A Trophy and F.A Cup. The Darts will be hoping that their current form against the Angels will count for something as both sides are struggling to pick up victories this term. Dartford have won eight in a row in all competitions against the Isthmian Premier League playoff winners of last season.

Most recently, Dartford recorded a pair of 3-0 cup victories over the Angels. Three years ago, Alex Brown, Andy Pugh and Elliot Bradbrook put the Darts into the F.A Cup first round and in 2012, Harry Crawford, Bradbrook and Jon Wallis helped Dartford into the F.A Trophy third round.

Dartford last visited Longmead Stadium in the league in March 2012, Tom Champion scored the winner. The Darts beat Tonbridge Angels three times in that season, winning 4-2 after extra-time in the Kent Senior Cup last eight, goals from Jack Pallen, a brace from Richard Graham and one from Lee Burns. Whilst at Princes Park in September 2011, Dartford ran out 3-1 winners goals courtesy of Bradbrook, Danny Harris and Charlie Sheringham with the visitors grabbing a consolation goal when striker Frannie Collin scored from the penalty spot.

The Darts picked up a second successive draw on the weekend against Hemel Hempstead Town, once again Norman Wabo came of the bench to score. With the departure of promising young full-back Luke Warner-Eley, Dartford started captain Tom Bonner at left back and Ronnie Vint returned to the starting eleven after he had recovered from being ill over the Bank Holiday.

Despite the change at the back, Dartford still conceded early on when Sam Ashford lofted an effort over Mark Smith on just nine minutes. The Darts won a penalty just past the half hour mark when Adam Cunnington was fouled in the box, the striker dusted himself off to take the spot kick but was denied by Tudors goalkeeper Sam Beasant. Shortly afterwards Bonner was forced off through injury and replaced by Ben Greenhalgh. Dartford improved in the second half, even more so in the final twenty minutes and with six minutes remaining Wabo equalised, his third of the campaign to maintain Dartford’s unbeaten home run.

Bonner will have to see if his fit for Tuesday night’s fixture at Tonbridge Angels, but at least defender Jordan Wynter will return from his three match suspension. Sam Blackman is still out with a long term injury, whilst Luke Warner-Eley and Amos Nasha have left the club.

Tonbridge Angels moved off the foot of the table in their last home match with a 1-1 draw against Weymouth. Prior the match manager, Steve McKimm spoke to about the position his side are in since winning promotion almost four months ago, the Angels boss is not prepared to press the panic button at such an early stage, he commented: “After 20 games we’ll assess where we are and what we need to do”, he added: “Make no bones about it, if we are in desperate trouble I know this club will be able to find some resources for me to be able to go and keep us afloat. We haven’t worked hard for five years to get to this level to go straight back down and the club haven’t either”.

In a gritty performance, the Angels added a point to their league total, however the second half was just three minutes old when Weymouth’s Brett Williams put the Terras in front. Steve McKimm’s side won a disputed penalty and after they eventually decided Joe Turner should take the spot kick, he had his effort saved. A second penalty was awarded with five minutes to go and this time Ade Yussuf had a go, after his first spot-kick was ruled out for encroachment he put his second attempt away. Afterwards, McKimm told “I’m very pleased with the performance, we passed the ball much better today, and cut out the errors. Perhaps I’m a little disappointed we didn’t take all the points but all the players did really well and once again have shown we can compete at this level”.

Life back in the National South started with three straight defeats for the Angels until they recorded their maiden win against Concord Rangers at Longmead. A creditable draw away to Bath City was followed up by no points over the Bank Holiday period, McKimm’s side lost to Havant and Waterlooville then the Kent derby at Welling United. However, the draw with Weymouth was their fifth point, two behind the Darts.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 67 / Tonbridge Angels wins: 37 / Draws: 24

Current League Form

Dartford (DDWLLD) Tonbridge Angels (DLLDWL)
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Weymouth H 1-1
Hungerford Town A 2-2 Welling United A 2-4
Braintree Town H 2-1 Havant & Waterlooville H 1-3
Weymouth A 1-3 Bath City A 0-0
Chelmsford City A 1-4 Concord Rangers H 1-0
Havant and Waterlooville H 1-1 Dorking Wanderers A 1-3

Last Six Meetings

15.10.2016 Tonbridge Angels 0 Dartford 3
15.12.2012 Dartford 3 Tonbridge Angels 0
03.03.2012 Tonbridge Angels 0 Dartford 1
31.01.2012 Tonbridge Angels 2 Dartford 4
24.09.2011 Dartford 3 Tonbridge Angels 1
25.01.2011 Dartford 2 Tonbridge Angels 0


The Darts have not conceded in this fixture in the last three meetings and have won the last eight versus the Angels.

Dartford top scorer, Norman Wabo has scored all three of his goals after starting as a substitute.

Tonbridge Angels last beat the Darts in November 2008 and have never won at Princes Park since it opened.

Only bottom side Hungerford Town (-10) has a worse goal difference than Dartford and Tonbridge Angels (-8).

Only Chippenham Town (6) have scored fewer goals than the Angels (7) in the National South.

On This Day

Dartford last won a league game on the 3 September back in 1997 when they beat Baldock Town 2-1 in the Southern League Southern Division. The Darts have managed to win a couple of cup ties, in 2000 they beat Deal Town in the F.A Cup Preliminary Round (MORE?) and six years ago they defeated Welling United in the Kent Senior Cup 3-2. Mohamed Eisa scored for the Darts and since then he has made his name in the Football League at Cheltenham Town and now at Peterborough United, Adam Woodyard who also moved up the football pyramid netted as did Brima Daramy. Between those two victories Dartford had lost three in a row at Carterton in a F.A Cup replay seventeen years ago, away to Boreham Wood in the Southern League Division One East in 2005 and six years later at Basingstoke Town in the National South. The last game on this day was a 0-0 draw at home to eventual National South champions Maidenhead United in 2016.

Tonbridge Angels – Season Preview 2019/2020

Tonbridge Angels

2018/19 Season

Isthmian Premier: 4th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: Joe Turner (15 goals) / Average Attendance: 542

There was plenty of controversy about the route to the National South via the play-offs last season. Manager Steve McKimm was not pleased about having to play two finals, however Tonbridge Angels won both and so they will prepare for life in the National South. Vice-captain Sonny Miles, has made almost 400 appearances for the Angels since coming through their youth ranks, the winner of Player of the Year awards last term remains at the Longmead Stadium. The winning goalscorer in the Super Play-off final, Tom Derry has signed on for another season and so has Chinedu McKenzie, who netted an average of a goal every other game last term since joining the Angels in January and Jack Parter, who has racked up over 250 appearances for the Kent club since 2014. James Folkes, Liam Smith, Tom Beere and captain Tom Parkinson have all agreed new contracts. Arthur Lee was integral to the defence in the division below, but he is seeking pastures new. McKimm has also strengthened the squad with the additions of Tommy Brewer from Kingstonian and Alex Bentley from AFC Hornchurch. D’Sean Theobalds scored in the super play-off final against Metropolitan Police, he remains with the Angels. Winger, Khale Da Costa netted five times for St Albans City last term and he has switched to newly promoted Tonbridge Angels. Tommie Hession-Harris and Rhyle Ovenden join the squad after pre-season injuries midfield left the Angels short in the middle of the park. Hession-Harris has had three years of playing in the USA including a spell at Toros and last season was at Isthmian League North side Maldon and Tiptree. Ovenden was a young professional at Watford before joining Hemel Hempstead Town and Whitehawk.

The Manager – Steve McKimm

The winner of two play-off finals in one season will never be taken away from Tonbridge Angels boss Steve McKimm. The former Sutton United player-coach guided the Angels back to the National South, first he masterminded the Isthmian Premier League Playoff victory over Merstham, then he had to repeat the triumph against Metropolitan Police in a super playoff. McKimm had already led Tonbridge Angels to the playoffs in 2015/2016, only to fall short in the semi-final against East Thurrock United. Before he’s time at Sutton United, McKimm had spells at Margate, Gravesend and Northfleet where he won the Isthmian Premier League title, Kingstonian, Farnborough, Hayes and Yeading United and Dulwich Hamlet.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 67 / Tonbridge Angels wins: 37 / Draws: 24

Last Six Meetings

15.10.2016 Tonbridge Angels 0 Dartford 3
15.12.2012 Dartford 3 Tonbridge Angels 0
03.03.2012 Tonbridge Angels 0 Dartford 1
31.01.2012 Tonbridge Angels 2 Dartford 4
24.09.2011 Dartford 3 Tonbridge Angels 1
25.01.2011 Dartford 2 Tonbridge Angels 0


Dartford are currently on an eight game winning streak in all competitions against Tonbridge Angels going back to ten years.

Tonbridge Angels last beat the Darts in November 2008 and have never won at Princes Park since it opened.

Last Ten Years








Next Meetings

Tuesday 3 September 2019 at Longmead Stadium

Saturday 28 December 2019 at Princes Park

Tonbridge Angels v Dartford

Dartford will need to stretch their unbeaten run to ten when they visit Tonbridge Angels in the F.A Cup, if they want to be in the hat for the first round draw.

The Darts are looking to enter the first round proper for the fourth time in seven years and join the likes of Gillingham and Charlton Athletic. Their opponents, Tonbridge Angels last made the first round 44 years ago when they lost to the Addicks and last reached the fourth qualifying stage nine years ago.

For the third time in this year’s competition Dartford have faced a tough away tie. In the previous two rounds the Darts won both fixtures 3-2, first against Chelmsford City after taking a three goal lead and then versus Slough Town, coming from behind twice.

Tony Burman has led his team to six straight wins in all competitions including a stunning 5-0 away win at Truro City last weekend. Unbeaten throughout September and so far this month, Burman feels his squad has grown in confidence, he told “We know Tonbridge will be tough but with the way we are playing we are going to take some stopping”, he continued: “There is a feel-good factor around the club at the moment and we hope that continues. We have been down in the dumps over the last couple of seasons and maybe this is our time again”.

The Darts will welcome back Gibraltar international goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim. The shot-stopper already made history this week conceding the fastest World Cup qualifying goal ever; he will be hoping to create more history of his own.

Ibrahim has never played beyond the F.A Cup fourth qualifying round, he told “I have never played past the fourth qualifying round and so that would make it a great few days for me if we can do that”, he is also hoping to continue his excellent form for Dartford so he can earn more caps with Gibraltar, he added: “Hopefully I can become a regular now. I don’t want to just be a one-cap wonder. I want to be the Gibraltar number one; I know I need to keep my form up for Dartford to get another call-up. If I can get another chance to play then that would be fantastic”.

The Angels, unbeaten at home this term they had to overcome Ascot United in a replay, Wingate and Finchley then Hereford. Whilst the 2-2 draw with Ascot United provided a surprise, the replay at Longmead was one sided with Tonbridge Angels storming to a 7-0 win. A Craig Dundas brace and Nathan Elder strike helped the Kent side see off Wingate and Finchley. Elder is currently the Angels top marksman and has previously netted against the Darts for rivals Ebbbsfleet United. In the last round and in front of an impressive crowd, the Angels ran out 4-2 winners against revitalised Hereford, to progress to the fourth qualifying round.

Although the Kent club are fifth in the Isthmian Premier League, the Angels have a game in hand and with it could close the gap to four points. Tonbridge Angels have already recorded a 14 game unbeaten run in all competitions until a double defeat at the end of September. However, McKimm’s side have responded well with back to back victories.

It’s been almost four years since Dartford met the Angels in a F.A Trophy second round tie. The Darts won 3-0 with goals from Harry Crawford, Elliot Bradbrook and Jon Wallis. In other cup competitions, Dartford also won the previous two Kent Senior Cup ties. Tonbridge Angels last beat the Darts in 2008 winning 4-1 in the Isthmian Premier League but it’s the Darts who have dominated this fixture with seven wins and a draw since then.

Current Form (all competitions)
Tonbridge Angels (WWLLDW)
Won 2-0 v Grays Athletic (H)
Won 4-2 v Hereford (H) – F.A Cup
Lost 3-5 v Merstham (A)
Lost 0-2 v Bognor Regis Town (A)
Drew 2-2 v Leiston (H)
Won 3-0 v Wingate and Finchley (A) – F.A Cup

Dartford (WWWWWW)
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
Won 2-1 v Concord Rangers (A) – National South
Won 3-2 v Chelmsford City (A) – F.A Cup
Won 2-0 v Margate (A) – National South

Last Meetings

Dartford 3 Tonbridge Angels 0 (15/12/2012 – F.A Trophy 2nd rd)
Tonbridge Angels 0 Dartford 1 (03/03/2012 – National South)
Tonbridge Angels 2 Dartford 4 (31/01/2012 – Kent Senior Cup Quarter Final)
Dartford 3 Tonbridge Angels 1 (24/09/2011 – National South)
Dartford 2 Tonbridge Angels 0 (25/01/2011 – Kent Senior Cup First Round)
Tonbridge Angels 1 Dartford 4 (13/02/2010 – Isthmian Premier League)


Dartford have beaten Tonbridge Angels in all competitions in each of the last seven meetings

The Darts have not conceded a goal in their last two matches against the Angels

The sides last met at this stage of the F.A Cup in 1965. After a 0-0 draw the goals flooded in the replay at Watling Street. Dartford won 6-2 to make it into the first round.

Dartford’s 5-0 away win against Truro City was their biggest victory on the road since clinching the Isthmian Premier League title on 10 April 2010, the Darts defeated Kingstonian 6-2. The last time Dartford had won by five goals away from home was at Chipstead in the F.A Cup first qualifying round on 12 September 2012 in a 6-1 win.

The Darts six game winning streak is the best run since January 2012. Dartford won all seven games that month ending with the 4-2 Kent Senior Cup victory over Tonbridge Angels.

On This Day

Dartford have played to F.A Cup qualifiers on 15 October since reforming with mixed fortunes. Cray Wanderers were beaten 2-1 despite going ahead, goals from Ryan Hayes and Danny Harris late on put the Darts through. In 2000, Dartford were comfortably defeated 4-0 at home to Havant and Waterlooville.

Tonbridge Angels v Dartford

The Darts are still in search of their first pre season win when they visit Tonbridge Angels on Saturday.

A trip to Longmead will be familiar to most players and the travelling support as the two sides have crossed paths in all but the F.A Cup over the last four years.

Last season Dartford knocked Angels out of the F.A Trophy on their way to a semi final place.  Harry Crawford scored the opener at Princes Park in the first half and won a penalty in the second. Elliot Bradbrook scored from the spot doubling Dartford’s advantage before Jon Wallis hit a fine long range strike into the top corner.

Tony Burman’s senior side faced rivals Ebbsfleet United on Tuesday night and came away with a 1-1 draw. The Fleet, who have made wholesale changes following their relegation to the Conference South took the lead. Billy Bricknell so often a thorn in Dartford’s side scored against the club again, the former Chelmsford City and Dover Athletic midfielder was set up by Ben May. Ryan Hayes hit the woodwork twice as did summer signing Jason Prior. Late into the game Elliot Bradbrook’s equaliser sealed a third pre season draw for the Darts.

Dartford boss, Burman revealed this week that he has been speaking to Gillingham manager Martin Allen over a potential loan deal for striker Adam Burchall. The 28 year old spent time with the Darts last season scoring against Grimsby Town and eventually making six appearances.

Tonbridge Angels finished 16th in the Conference South last season and started their warm up against F.A Vase finalists Tunbridge Wells. The Angels won the Courier Cup by beating their opponents 5-1, Luke Blewden netted twice along with Henry Muggeridge, new signing Ryan Watts and trialist Emmanuel Akokhia. Tommy Warrilow’s men followed victory up with a 1-1 draw with Conference South champions Welling United and a 1-0 triumph away to Belgian club KVV Vosselaar. On Thursday night the Angels lost 1-0 to a last minute Maidstone United goal.

Sutton Athletic v Dartford XI

On Sunday, a young Dartford side will play Kent Invicta League club Sutton Athletic who finished eighth in the division last season. Based in Hextable, Sutton Athletic play at level 10 in the football pyramid and finished the previous year in sixth spot.

Dartford XI enter this weekends fixture on the back of a 3-1 defeat to Isthmian Premier League side East Thurrock United. Three goals down at half time, Uche Ibemere pulled a second half strike back from the spot. The former VCD Athletic and Chatham Town striker has also featured in some of the earlier friendlies with many of the academy players.


Dartford v Tonbridge Angels


Dartford welcome Conference South side Tonbridge Angels to Princes Park on Saturday in the second round of the F.A Trophy.

It will be the ninth meeting between the two sides over the last four years with the Darts unbeaten in six against the Angels. Last season Dartford completed a treble, winning twice in the Conference South and once in the Kent Senior Cup.

At Princes Park, a 3-1 victory was the last of a four game winning streak in September 2011. Elliot Bradbrook opened proceedings ten minutes in with clinical finish. Danny Harris scored his fourth in five games against the Angels just past the hour and Charlie Sheringham added a third.  Last season’s Conference South top scorer, Frannie Collin grabbed a consolation from the penalty spot four minutes from time.

Elliot Bradbrook opens the scoring in Dartford's 3-1 victory last season

The other two fixtures at Longmead Stadium were much tougher as Dartford battled out a 1-0 win in March. Tom Champion scored the winner in the 18th minute to keep the Darts in their promotion push. In the Kent Senior Cup Dartford triumphed 4-2 albeit from two goals down and after extra time. Goals from Richard Graham (2), Jack Pallen and Lee Burns secured a semi final place for the 2011 winners.

After two straight away defeats to Tamworth and Nuneaton Town the Darts took on Lincoln City at Princes Park on Saturday. The Darts suffered a dreadful start conceding four goals in the first half. Set pieces were a thorn in Dartford’s side when on seven minutes Daniel Gray nodded the Imps in front and Colin Larkin benefited from a free kick heading in a second from close range. The away side went three up when a cut back was finished by Larkin and the 30 year old striker completed his hat trick following up another set piece.

Jacob Erskine replaced Danny Harris at half time and within four minutes of the restart he set up Harry Crawford. The Darts put in a spirited display in the second half and the introduction of Ryan Hayes added an extra dimension. Crawford scored a second with 19 minutes to go after another assist from Erskine. Despite going for broke Dartford were unable to stage a dramatic comeback losing 4-2.

Whilst Dartford were in home action Tonbridge Angels travelled down to Basingstoke Town in the Conference South. Managed by former Dart Tommy Warrilow the Angels lost to a solitary goal scored by Simon Dunn six minutes from time. It’s the second successive defeat for Tonbridge Angels without a goal. The result leaves the Kent club in sixteenth position with only four wins from eighteen league fixtures.

After losing their opening two fixtures in their second Conference South season Tonbridge Angels went nine league games unbeaten. In that spell they managed five consecutive draws and since their unbeaten run they have hit a run of inconsistency.

Warrilow’s second hand man is well remembered on the terraces of Princes Park, Alex O’Brien captained the Dartford side that triumphed in the 2009/10 season winning the Isthmian Division One North League and promotion. The defensive midfielder made 52 appearances for the Darts and scored just once, an important goal at Potters Bar Town during the title run in.

The Angels also have George Purcell in their ranks who spent a short spell with the Darts on loan two years ago. The 24 year old made seven appearances scoring twice. Henry Muggeridge played a few pre season matches with Dartford in the summer and has quickly become a crowd favourite at Longmead.

Victory for the Darts will put them into the F.A Trophy third round for the third time in a row.

Danny Harris scores on his début in 2009 against Tonbridge Angels

Team News

Mark Arber remains sidelined with a fractured jaw and goalkeeper Louis Wells is out on loan at Leatherhead. Elliot Bradbrook could be set to makes his 150th start for the Darts since joining in 2009. The midfielder has made a further nine substitute appearances and his last goal against Southport was his 50th.

Tonbridge Angels will be without Mikel Suarez who suffered a severe head injury in October leaving the striker in intensive care. Suarez is on the road to recovery and PureDFC wish him a speedy recovery.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 67 / Tonbridge Angels wins: 37 / Draws 24 / Dartford goals: 250 / Tonbridge Angels goals: 187

Current Form

(League games unless stated – FAT – F.A Trophy / FAC – F.A Cup / KSC – Kent Senior Cup)

Dartford (LLLWDW) Tonbridge Angels (LLWDWW)
Lincoln City H 2-4 Basingstoke A 0-1
Nuneaton Town A 0-1 Truro City A 0-2
Tamworth A 2-3 Merthyr Town (FAT) A 2-1
Kingstonian (FAT) A 4-0 Hayes and Yeading H 1-1
Southport H 2-2 Maidstone United (KSC) A 3-2
Luton Town A 2-0 Hitchin Town (FAT) H 2-1

Road To Wembley

First Round

Kingstonian 0 Dartford 4

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

Merthyr Town 1 Tonbridge Angels 2

Tonbridge Angels booked a place in the next round and sealed their visit to Princes Park by overcoming Southern Division One side Merthyr Town. Sony Miles scored a rebound on twenty one minutes to put the Angels in front and just before the hour Steve Williams scored a penalty to level the tie. Merthyr Town were reduced to ten men when Garyn Preen was red carded and with the match heading to a replay up popped Lee Browning in the fourth minute of injury time to win it for the Angels.

Third Qualifying Round

Tonbridge Angels 2 Hitchin Town 1

The Angels played host to Southern Premier League side Hitchin Town and despite playing a part of the match with ten men they held on to win. Former Dart, George Purcell opened the scoring on four minutes after good link up play with Ross Treleaven. With half an hour played the visitors earned a penalty which was finished by John Fendo but the one goal margin was restored shortly afterwards. Chris Piper scored Tonbridge Angel’s second of the afternoon to send the Kent side through.


Tonbridge Angels v Dartford

For the second time this season Dartford travel to Longmead on Saturday to take on mid table Tonbridge Angels in a Kent Derby.

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

The Darts have enjoyed much success against rival Kent teams in 2011/2012 and have already beaten the Angels twice this season. At Princes Park Dartford won a fourth consecutive Conference South match in September by defeating Tonbridge 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 scored four minutes from time.

In the Kent Senior Cup Quarter Final at the end of January The Darts staged a superb come back at Longmead to win 4-2 after extra time. Chris Piper and Nathan Korenteng put The Angels two in front but Jack Pallen and Richard Graham sent the game into extra time. Lee Burns scored a third and Graham completed his brace and Dartford’s fourth to earn a semi-final tie with Charlton Athletic.

The Angels were promoted via the playoffs last season and on route to winning the County Cup Dartford were triumphant again in 2010. The two sides also met in the Isthmian Premier League four times between 2008 and 2010 with The Darts winning two, a draw and The Angels last victorious in 2008.

To add to Dartford’s unbeaten record of six matches against The Angels, The Darts have not lost in the Conference South to a Kent club this season winning four and drawing two. Tonbridge have yet to win against a Kent club drawing four times and losing twice.

Since the defeats to Woking and Wealdstone, The Darts managed back to back wins beating Salisbury City 2-0 and Basingstoke Town 4-1. The win closes the gap on Woking to nine points with a game in hand but Tony Burman is delighted the two recent wins have helped his side pull away from sixth place.

Burman spoke to PURE DFC after Monday night’s game and was pleased with the second half performance in particular, he said: “Teams have come here and played very well in the first half against us. Basingstoke made it very difficult for us. We knew it was going to be really tight. I think we won the battle in the first half, although it’s not very great on the eye we won the battle”, he added: “We said at half time we feel we’re a fit side and in the second half they have put a lot of effort into it. We felt the game would open up in the second half, and it did”.

Danny Harris celebrates one of his 44 goals for The Darts

Danny Harris has a superb goalscoring record against The Angels and he will on a high after claiming a hat trick on Monday. In a Man of the Match performance he has now reached 44 goals for the club, which includes scoring four times in his last five appearances against Tonbridge. Three of those appearances were when Harris came on as a substitute.

Burman is faced with a dilemma because whilst he wants Paul Goodacre to get match fit if he goes out on loan he cannot be recalled for 28 days. Coupled with Lee Burns struggling for fitness the Dartford boss was keen to get his squad ‘in house’. The loan signing of Luke Wilkinson helped, he said: “We watched him at Boreham Wood a couple of times and thought he was a decent player and I thank Dagenham and John Still for letting us take him on loan. The lad wants to play and he is decent, that is why he is a professional with Dagenham and Redbridge”.

The Darts manager eagerly awaits Saturday’s fixture against Tonbridge, he commented: “It will be a league game so it’s different. We look forward to going there on the back of two wins. We were well down in the dumps last Tuesday night because of what happened over at Wealdstone so to come back from that shows great character”.

Tonbridge Angels enter Saturday’s Conference South clash having had a steady début season so far. In twelfth position and one defeat in seven at home they look in good shape. Tommy Warrilow’s side have earned back to back home wins against Eastbourne Borough (5-1) and Weston Super-Mare (3-0), however their form overall has seen four draws in the last seven fixtures.

One player to watch is striker Frannie Collin who leads the goalscoring chart for the league with 22, six more than any other player. His impressive league tally includes a four goal haul just over a month ago against Eastbourne Borough.

Team News

James Rogers will be available before serving a three match suspension from 6 March 2012. Elliot Bradbrook has missed the last four matches through injury. Paul Goodacre who has been returning from injury has been rested recently with loan signing Luke Wilkinson stepping in at centre back. Matt Jones returned to action on Monday night.

Statistics (league only)

Dartford (2nd) v Tonbridge Angels (11th)

Current Form

Last five Tonbridge Angels matches at home Last five Dartford matches away
Drew 1-1 v Boreham Wood Lost 0-1 v Woking
Lost 2-3 v Farnborough Won 4-1 v Staines Town
Drew 1-1  v Hampton and Richmond Won 3-1 v Hampton and Richmond
Drew 2-2 v Bromley Won 4-1 v Havant and Waterlooville
Lost 0-2 v Salisbury City Drew 1-1 v Welling United

Previous Meetings (KSC – Kent Senior Cup / CS – Conference South / IPL – Isthmian Premier)

31 January 2012 KSC Tonbridge Angels 2 Dartford 4
24 September 2011 CS Dartford 3 Tonbridge Angels 1
21 December 2010 KSC Dartford 2 Tonbridge Angels 0
13 February 2010 IPL Tonbridge Angels 1 Dartford 4
13 October 2009 IPL Dartford 2 Tonbridge Angels 0
28 March 2009 IPL Dartford 2 Tonbridge Angels 2
18 November 2009 IPL Tonbridge Angels 4 Dartford 1


Tonbridge Angels average home attendance: 629 (9th)

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

Dartford average away attendance: 911 (2nd)

Highest away attendance: 2528 v Woking/ Lowest: 378 v Staines Town

Did you know…

The Darts have scored the most second half goals in the league this campaign with 38

Tonbridge Angels have conceded the most league goals (18) in the opening 15 minutes, more than any other team

Apart from Truro City, The Angels have scored the most league penalties with eight

Tonbridge Angels have been amongst the goals at Longmead with 60 goals being scored for and against, the highest for one venue in the league. They have not failed to score at home in the Conference South this season.

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.

Dartford v Tonbridge Angels

At Princes Park no team have taken points off Dartford this season and next up is Tonbridge Angels on Saturday.

On route to Kent Senior Cup glory the two sides met last season in the first round. The Darts progressed with a 2-0 victory with second half goals coming from Danny Harris and Charlie Sheringham. In Dartford’s title winning season Tony Burman’s side completed a double against The Angels winning 2-0 at Princes Park and 4-1 at Longmead.

Tom Champion scores the winner on Tuesday night

For a few short moments Dartford tasted life at the top of the Conference South on Tuesday night and despite victory finished the evening in second place on goal difference. Tony Burman was happy his team came back from a goal down with ‘a little bit of style’, he told PURE DFC: “We created enough chances and we got the ball in the net a couple of times but they were deemed offside. First half, I felt we were not tight enough to the Staines players so we asked the players to do that. In the second half it was an intelligent performance and we started to play well”.

Tuesday’s 2-1 triumph over Staines Town saw a variety of tactics and formations being used in an attempt to turn the match around. This was helped by the players Burman has available, he added: “The squad is full of quality players and we’ve also got some good players on the bench at the moment. We’ve also got two good players injured so it was asking the question for the first time with (Jon) Wallis and (Paul) Goodacre injured. We were down to fifteen and we brought one of the younger lads in to go on the bench. Having said that we changed it because I have got that in the locker now, I can do that”.

Tonbridge Angels occupy fifteenth spot and whilst they have won once away from home, an impressive 4-0 opening day win against Maidenhead United, they have also lost once. The Angels picked up a credible point on their travels to Dover Athletic and on Monday night they come back from two goals down to share the spoils with Chelmsford City.

Managed by Tommy Warrilow, a former Dart, the summer was fairly quiet for the Conference South new boys. One signing that captured the imagination at Longmead was the return of crowd favourite Jon Main. It will be the second time Main has returned to Princes Park after his loan spell with The Darts, his last visit ended in a 4-0 defeat with his Dover team mates. Dartford will also welcome back The Angels Assistant Manager Alex O’Brien, captain of Dartford’s Isthmian Division One North title winning team.

However the man making all the headlines for Tonbridge is former Dover Athletic striker Frannie Collin. Top scorer last season for The Angels he has managed ten goals in the opening ten fixtures, including four braces.

Burman is determined to make it six consecutive wins at Princes Park but knows Tonbridge will be a tough side to play, the Dartford boss commented: “They’ve come up last year and they have had a decent start to life in the Conference South. They had a win on Saturday and great result at Chelmsford on Monday night, we’re looking forward to it”.

Jon Wallis and Paul Goodacre missed the action on Tuesday evening and will not be risked if they are not fit. The Dartford boss added: “There is a chance they will be in the reckoning but if I think there is any doubt we won’t take a chance. We’ve not got a game mid week next week and for the sake of the game on Saturday if I don’t think they’re right they won’t be involved”.

Regardless of the result Dartford should end next weekend in the top three, when asked if The Darts can sustain a promotion push Burman said: We’re showing that we are capable of doing that. The squad are looking good and they are together which is always a good thing because that earns you a lot of points”.

Danny Harris scores on his début in 2009 against Tonbridge Angels

Last five meetings versus Tonbridge Angels

25.01.2011 – Dartford 2 (Harris 62, Sheringham 88) Tonbridge Angels 0

13.02.2011 – Tonbridge Angels 1 (Booth 39) Dartford 4 (Johnson 51, Harris 72, Bradbrook 81, Haworth 85)

13.10.2009 – Dartford 2 (Tait 57, Harris 85) Tonbridge Angels 0

28.03.2009 – Dartford 2 (Woods-Garness 11, Flanagan 47) Tonbridge Angels 2 (Gooding 3, Booth 19)

18.11.2008 – Tonbridge Angels 4 (Rook 3, 45, 81, Tyne 70) Dartford 1 (McDonald 10)

Did you know…

Dartford have won the most successive home matches in the league this season with five victories in a row.

The Darts have failed to score in the first half in their last three meetings against Tonbridge Angels.

Danny Harris scored on his début against Tonbridge Angels and has scored in all three of his matches against The Angels.

Jon Main scored 44 goals in the 2006/07 season a club record for Tonbridge Angels, his impressive total included seven hat tricks also a seasons best for the club. Main also held the record for the most Conference South goals in a season until Adam Burchell surpassed his total last season.

In the league this season no team has conceded more goals in the opening fifteen minutes than Tonbridge Angels.

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

8 – Mid-January to February – Dartford on Tour


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

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

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

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

Tom Champion takes the plaudits

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

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

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

Dartford 4 Farnborough 1 – Highlights

A New Cup Adventure

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

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

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

Out of Harms Way

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

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

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

Bishops Stortford 0 Dartford 1 – Highlights

Thou Shall Not Pass

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

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

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


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

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

Dartford 1 Braintree Town 0 – Highlights

The Darts Head North East

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

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


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

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

Gateshead to Weston

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

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

Jon Main's first for Dartford

Loanee Strikes

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

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

Unbeaten Run Continues

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

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

Ryan Hayes scores an audacious free kick

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

Dartford 1 Welling United 1 – Highlights

Slip Up

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

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

Dartford 0 Hampton and Richmond 4 – Highlights

Back On Track

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

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

Dorchester Town 0 Dartford 2 – Highlights

February Finishes

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

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

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

*Welling United deducted five points

Stuart Maidment

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