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Weston-Super-Mare v Dartford

Dartford will want to keep their decent record against Weston-Super-Mare intact this weekend to stay in the playoffs.

The Darts have won four of the last five meetings against the Seagulls including a 2-1 home win in September.  Pulling off a dramatic late comeback, Dartford trailed by a goal with two minutes remaining.

Dayle Grubb scored with ten minutes left, taking advantage of a Ronnie Vint error to bend the ball past Derren Ibrahim. The scores were level with two minutes on the clock when Danny Harris scored from close range. Four minutes into stoppage time Lee Noble’s corner was deflected into his own net by Clayton Fortune.

This season has seen a few spirited comebacks from Dartford’s squad, and it was the same never say die attitude that earned them a point on Tuesday. The Darts looked down and out against Hayes and Yeading United having conceded twice in the opening half an hour. Just like the last match against United, the Bradbrook brothers came to the rescue. Tom pulled a goal back ten minutes before Elliot headed home a Ryan Hayes cross. No further goals were scored in the second half as the match ended 2-2. The draw saw the return of Lee Noble and came off the back of a disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to Concord Rangers.

Manager, Tony Burman told www.dartfordfc.com: “In all fairness to the players they did not do a lot wrong in the first half but found ourselves 2-0 down when we had the majority of the game, Once again the players deserve a lot of credit for clawing themselves back on level terms just before half time. I felt we would go on and win the game in the second half but it was not to be, but we came away with a well earned point against a team who had some great results recently”.

Picking up a point pushed Dartford into the last playoff place as Weston-Super-Mare’s fixture at Truro City was called off.

Ronnie Vint was substituted with an injury on Tuesday night, Elliot Bradbrook has a minor hamstring issue and Barry Cogan returns to the squad.

If you’re looking for goals then Weston-Super-Mare are the team to watch. In matches involving the Seagulls there has been over 100 goals scored, including an incredible 5-5 draw with Hemel Hempstead Town at the end of January.

The struggling West Country side lost their opening five matches and played catch up for the rest of 2015. A nine match unbeaten run from the end of November to mid-February has got Ryan Northmore’s side out of trouble for the time being.

During that unbeaten run the average goals per game was just over five. Havant and Waterlooville, Wealdstone and Chelmsford City were all beaten 3-2, St Albans City were defeated 4-1 and Oxford City 5-2. Even the draws have been high scoring with the 5-5 stalemate at Hemel Hempstead Town and 3-3 draw at Eastbourne Borough.

The unbeaten run did come to crushing end with three home defeats in a row against Hayes and Yeading United, Wealdstone and last weekend Chelmsford City. Northmore’s side were resoundingly beaten 3-0 by the Clarets missing two key players in Dayle Grubb (thigh injury) and Jacob Crane, who started his two match suspension. Northmore has welcomed back Jake Llewellyn who returned from his loan spell at Taunton Town and Scott Wilson who has served his suspension.

Head to Head

Weston-Super-Mare wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 4 / Draws 4

Current League Form

Weston-Super-Mare (LLLDWW) Dartford (DLWDWL)
Chelmsford City  H  0-3 Hayes & Yeading United  A  2-2
Wealdstone  H  1-2 Concord Rangers  H  1-2
Hayes & Yeading United  H  0-2 Gosport Borough  A  3-1
Eastbourne Borough  A  3-3 Eastbourne Borough  A  1-1
Oxford City  H  5-2 St Albans City  H  2-0
Hemel Hempstead Town  A  5-5 Wealdstone  H  1-2

Last Meeting at The Woodspring Stadium

13 August 2011 – Weston-Super-Mare 0 Dartford 4  – Att: 480

Goalscorers Elliot Bradbrook (15), Tom Bonner (38), Charlie Sheringham (65, 70)

Dartford Lineup: Andrew Young, Matthew Jones, Adam Green, Tom Bonner, Paul Goodacre, Tom Champion, Ryan Hayes, Jon Wallis, Charlie Sheringham, Elliot Bradbrook, Richard Graham (Subs used: Danny Harris, Lee Noble, Ryan Cooper)

Previous Meetings

12.09.2015 Dartford 2 Weston-Super-Mare 1
12.11.2011 Dartford 1 Weston-Super-Mare 1
13.08.2011 Weston-Super-Mare 0 Dartford 4
08.02.2011 Weston-Super-Mare 0 Dartford 1
04.09.2010 Dartford 4 Weston-Super-Mare 1
13.12.1997 Dartford 3 Weston-Super-Mare 3
16.08.1997 Weston-Super-Mare 0 Dartford 0
12.04.1997 Dartford 1 Weston-Super-Mare 1
23.11.1996 Weston-Super-Mare 2 Dartford 0

Stats

2 – Weston-Super-Mare have only managed two goals at home versus Dartford and that was in the first meeting between the two sides, which ended 2-0 to the Seagulls.

3 – The Darts have kept three clean sheets in their last three visits to The Woodspring Stadium.

8 – Dartford have gone eight games unbeaten against Weston-Super-Mare stretching back to 1997.

101 – Number of goals scored in National South games featuring Weston-Super-Mare this season, the highest total in the league

On This Day

Since reforming the Darts have won two and drew one competitive match on 5 March. The only defeat came in a friendly against Sittingbourne in 1994. Eleven years ago, Waltham Forest were beaten 1-0 in the Southern League Division One East. Five years ago, the Darts took a while to break Maidenhead United down but eventually went on to win 3-0. Charlie Sheringham broke the deadlock before Elliot Bradbrook scored two late goals in the Conference South. In the league above two years later, Dartford drew 1-1 with Stockport County thanks to a Danny Harris equaliser, Mark Cullen had given the Hatters the lead.

Dartford v Weston Super Mare

Dartford host bottom of the table side Weston Super Mare this weekend, hoping to stretch their unbeaten run against their opponents to eight.

The Darts are still looking for consistency, having not achieved consecutive results all season with three wins, two draws and three defeats. Despite failing to find the back of the net in their last two outings, Tony Burman can be optimistic his team are heading in the right direction.

After winning 2-0 away at Margate, Dartford have taken on the top two in the National League South including favourites and local rivals Ebbsfleet United. Although the Fleet earned bragging rights with a 1-0 win, Burman gave midfielder Ebou Adams his first start and didn’t see a lot between the two teams.

Last weekend, Dartford visited Twerton Park and came home with a point against league leaders Bath City. A second clean sheet in three games has answered some questions about the defence who were told to cut out costly mistakes. Adams featured again in midfield and the absence of Jack Simmons, Lee Burns, Barry Cogan and Lee Noble gave the academy production line some positive signs.

Deren Ibrahim already secured the number one jersey and with Adams making a start alongside Kaka Dembele and Ronnie Vint, the Darts are looking towards a bright future. On the substitute’s bench two more academy players Ben Francis and Richard Seixas made the matchday squad for the first time.

The goalless draw with the league leaders was one of eight stalemates in the National South last weekend, five of which ended without a goal.

Burman will also be able to select left back Mark Onyemah who has had his loan spell extended. Luton Town have agreed for the ever present 19 year old to continue at Princes Park. Noble returns after suffering a chest infection whilst Burns and Cogan may be available. Simmons is still on the mend after an ankle injury kept him out of action last weekend.

Weston Super Mare may be at the foot of the table but Burman is cautious, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “It’s a test in a different sort of way. People will look at the league and see that (they are bottom) but they’ve had a couple of results”, he added: “We know they’re a good footballing side and want to pass the ball around”.

On Bank Holiday Monday it was Weston Super Mare’s turn to face Bath City and at the time the Seagulls had lost their opening five fixtures. The local derby ended 1-1 despite Ryan Northmore’s side going a goal down six minutes before the half time interval. Ollie Barnes scored a late leveller to ensure the Seagulls get of the mark and become the first team to take points off Bath City this term.

Weston Super Mare built on that decent performance following up their draw with victory away to Bishop’s Stortford. Scott Wilson’s winning goal on the stroke of half time was enough to see the Seagulls go joint on points with Margate and Basingstoke Town.

The Darts last hosted Weston Super Mare almost four years ago and dropped two points in a 1-1 draw. The visitors led when Matt Villis got on the end of a goal mouth scramble.  Adam Green made the game all square with a well driven shot. With just under twenty minutes remaining, Weston Super Mare’s James Price was red carded but Dartford could not break their opponents down.

The Darts are unbeaten at home against Weston Super Mare and last tasted defeat against the Seagulls in 1996.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Weston Super Mare wins: 1 / Draws 4

Last Meeting at Princes Park

12 November 2011 – Dartford 1 Weston Super Mare 1 – Att 1149

Darts Lineup: Louis Wells, Lee Burns, Adam Green, Tom Bonner, Paul Goodacre, Jon Wallis, Lee Noble, James Rogers, Jacob Erskine, Elliot Bradbrook, Danny Harris (subs used: Ryan Hayes, Jack Pallen, Richard Graham)

Current League Form

Dartford (DLWLWD) Weston Super Mare (WDLLLL)
Bath City  A  0-0 Bishop’s Stortford  A  1-0
Ebbsfleet United  H  0-1 Bath City  H  1-1
Margate  A  2-0 Oxford City  A  0-3
Gosport Borough  H  2-3 Eastbourne Borough  H  1-2
Concord Rangers  A  3-2 Hemel Hempstead Town  H  2-4
Sutton United  H  2-2 Gosport Borough  H  0-4

Previous Meetings

12.11.2011 Dartford 1 Weston Super Mare 1
13.08.2011 Weston Super Mare 0 Dartford 4
08.02.2011 Weston Super Mare 0 Dartford 1
04.09.2010 Dartford 4 Weston Super Mare 1
13.12.1997 Dartford 3 Weston Super Mare 3
16.08.1997 Weston Super Mare 0 Dartford 0
12.04.1997 Dartford 1 Weston Super Mare 1
23.11.1996 Weston Super Mare 2 Dartford 0

On This Day
Lost one in the last seven on 12 September stretching back to 1981 with a 2-1 home loss to Runcorn in the Alliance Premier. Since then Dartford tasted four wins in a row without conceding firstly, against Yeovil Town in the 1984 Bob Lord Trophy tie then Burton Albion by the same 1-0 scoreline in 1987 and Dorchester Town 2-0 both in the Southern Premier League. The Darts beat Corinthian 2-0 in the Kent League twenty years ago and three years later were beaten 1-0 at home to Raunds Town in the Southern League South. Nine years ago, the Darts drew 2-2 with Folkestone Invicta in the Isthmian League Cup first round and in another cup fixture thrashed Chipstead 6-1 in the F.A Cup first qualifying round. Thanks to six different goalscorers, Ryan Hayes, Lee Burns, Billy Burgess, Adam Gross, James White and Rob Haworth all ensured the Darts progressed to the next round.

National League South Season Preview 2015/2016 – Part Five

Sutton United | Truro City | Wealdstone | Weston-Super-Mare | Whitehawk

Sutton United

Founded: 1898 / Ground: Borough Sports Ground

A famous name in non league football thanks to a F.A Cup third round win, against holders Coventry City in 1989. Sutton United were a Conference Premier side back then but have spent most of their time in the Isthmian League. Joining the Conference South when non league was restructured, the club were relegated in 2007/08. The U’s spent just three season’s away winning the Isthmian Premier League after two playoff attempts, including a runner up spot behind Dartford. The Surrey club reached the playoffs twice in the Conference South in four seasons, but last term finished mid table.

SuttonunitedLast Season

Conference South: 15th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: 3rd Round

League Top Scorer: Jessy Reindorf & Dan Fitchett (6 goals)

Average Attendance: 548

The Manager – Paul Doswell

Making his name at Eastleigh, Paul Doswell led the Hampshire club through three consecutive promotions to take the Spitfires from the Wessex League to the Conference South. Doswell had an immediate impact at Eastleigh, appointed in 2002 he won the Wessex League title in the same year. Two playoff triumphs followed and the first season in the Conference South his side finished a creditable eighth. Leaving Eastliegh in 2006 it wasn’t until two years later he joined Sutton United. Success has continued with two playoff appearances in the Isthmian Premier League before winning the league title. In the Conference South Doswell has made a further two playoff appearances and came runners up against his old side Eastleigh in 2013/14.

The Summer

Connections with Eastleigh remain sound for Paul Doswell by signing a trio of players. Dean Beckwith, Dan Spence and the experienced Craig McAllister move from the Silverlake Stadium to the Borough Sports Ground. Striker Stuart Fleetwood, another former Eastleigh player will provide goals and has had spells with Forest Green Rovers, Luton Town and Hereford United. Last season’s goalkeeper for the Darts, Jason Brown had joined but left without playing a match to concentrate on coaching. That meant Doswell had to search for a goalkeeper again finding AFC Wimbledon’s Ross Worner. Tom Bolarinwa comes in from Cray Wanderers and Ross Stearn from Bath City.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

14 April 2012 – Sutton United 0 Dartford 1 – view highlights

Dartford may have taken all three points but results elsewhere meant they couldn’t catch Woking at the top of the table. A counter attacking move starting from the Darts own half ended with Tony Garrod scoring the winner.

20 March 2012 – Dartford 6 Sutton United 1 – view highlights

One of Dartford’s finest performances since Princes Park opened. The Darts thrashed eventual runners up Sutton United in some style. Lee Noble and an Adam Green penalty three minutes apart had the hosts two up. Harry Beautyman pulled a goal back then Dartford raced away. Danny Harris before the break, Luke Wilkinson, Elliot Bradbrook and Jacob Erskine turned the match into a rout.

Next Meetings

Saturday 15 August 2015 at Princes Park

Saturday 23 January 2016 at Borough Sports Ground

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Truro City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Treyew Road

If ever there is example of how a chairman can influence a club then Truro City fall in to that category. An F.A Vase triumph nine years ago and promotion the same season was only the start. Three consecutive league titles moved the Cornwall club through the regional divisions into the Southern Premier. After only two attempts the Southern Premier League was won and then wheels began to fall off. A winding up petition in August 2011 caused uncertainty and chairman Kevin Heaney stepped down. The club were relegated back to the Southern League in 2012/13, however they have enjoyed a swift return winning the playoffs in May.

Truro-city-football-clubLast Season

Southern Premier: 3rd

F.A Cup: 1st Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Did not enter

League Top Scorer: Craig Duff (18 goals)

Average Attendance: 417

The Manager – Steve Tully

At just 35 years old Steve Tully is one of the youngest managers in this season’s National South. The former full back spent his playing days in the West Country representing Torquay United, Weymouth and Exeter City making over 100 appearances for each club. He joined Truro City as a player in 2013 and in March 2014 became player manager. In his first role as boss Steve Tully guided Truro City back to the National League South with a playoff triumph over St Neots Town.

The Summer

It’s been quiet at Treyew Road with only three signings being made. Martin Rice makes the short journey across the Devon/Cornwall border moving from Torquay United, the goalkeeper returns to the club after spending three years at Truro City. Midfielder, Aaron Dawson has limited experience at Exeter City and Torquay United, the 23 year old can also play in defence. On loan left back Conor Riley-Lowe will be at Treyew Road for at least the next six months.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

28 April 2012 – Truro City 1 Dartford 1
With a playoff spot secured the final match of the season played out evens. Dartford fans made their way across the country to enjoy a celebratory weekend. Former Premier League striker Barry Hayles scored for Truro City with three minutes left. Dartford’s Jacob Erskine equalised with virtually the last kick of the game.

22 October 2011 – Dartford 1 Truro City 2 – view highlights
Truro City took full advantage of slack defending, Adam Green and Andrew Young got things mixed up leaving Andrew Watkins to tap in for the visitors. A couple of minutes later Paul Goodacre scored an own goal giving the Cornishmen a two goal lead. Tom Bonner halved the deficit after Truro City were reduced to ten men.

Next Meetings

Saturday 19 September 2015 at Princes Park

Saturday 13 February 2016 at Treyew Road

Last Ten Yearstcfc last 10 years

 

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Wealdstone

Founded: 1899 / Ground: The Vale Stadium

It may have taken a while but Wealdstone have returned to the level they were at in the late eighties. Whether they can return to the heights of the early eighties is another matter, the Middlesex club won the Alliance Premier League and F.A Trophy double but were relegated from the Conference in 1988. The Stones sunk as far down as Isthmian Division Three before their current manager was appointed. Since then four promotions in twenty years, including the most recent Isthmian Premier League title in 2013/14, has seen Wealdstone get back to the second tier of non league. Three years ago they embarked on a F.A Trophy run to reach the last four and last season finished a creditable twelfth in the Conference South.

wealdstoneLast Season

Conference South: 12th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Jefferson Louis, Scott McGleish and Matt Ball (8 goals)

Average Attendance: 720

The Manager – Gordon Bartlett

By far the longest serving manager in this season’s National South, Gordon Bartlett has been in charge of Wealdstone since 1995 and involved in non league coaching for 25 years. At Southall and Yeading before he joined the Stones he guided both clubs to Wembley reaching F.A Vase finals. Since taking over at the Middlesex club he has won four promotions, including the Isthmian Division Three and Premier titles, seventeen years apart. The school teacher also had a playing career with Portsmouth, Denver Dynamos in the United States of America, Brentford, Slough Town and Hayes.

The Summer

Budget plays a part any any level and Wealdstone have had to look at divisions below the National South over the summer. With the exception Ryan Hope who won promotion with Boreham Wood, each signing has come from the National South or lower. Dale Binns has plenty of experience at this level having played for **********, he joins from Sutton United. Tom Cadmore missed out on promotion at Whitehawk last term and he also moves to the Stones. From the Isthmian and Southern Leagues comes in Bradley Hudson-Odoi from Metropolitan Police, Josh Urquhart from Harlow Town and Josh Hutchinson from Potters Bar Town, Oliver Duffy has arrived from Hanwell Town.

Last Meeting Versus The Darts

21 February 2012 – Wealdstone 1 Dartford 0

An upset was caused a week later as Wealdstone’s Lee Chappell scored the decisive goal to take the Stones to the next round. The Isthmian Premier leaguers held on to defeat the Darts, a division higher, and went on to reach the last four in an excellent trophy run.

14 February 2012 – Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2 – view highlights

An entertaining F.A Trophy third round tie ended with the Wealdstone levelling twice. Danny Harris scored first before Richard Jolly equalised. Lee Noble had the Darts ahead once more until Chris O’Leary forced a replay ten minutes from time.

Next Meetings

Saturday 3 October 2015 at the Vale Stadium

Tuesday 26 January 2016 at Princes Park

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Weston-Super-Mare

Founded: 1887 / Ground: Woodspring Stadium

The Somerset club boast a proud record in that they have never been relegated in their 128 year history. Weston-Super-Mare did however come close on three occasions when reprieves saved the club in 2007, 2008 and 2010. Over the last five years the Seagulls have improved into a mid-table side and three season’s ago they recorded their highest ever league finish, two places outside of the Conference South playoffs. The forthcoming season will be Weston -Super-Mare’s twelfth consecutive in the National League South and that comes after twelve campaigns in the Southern League.

Weston-super-Mare_AFC_logoLast Season

Conference South: 17th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Dayle Grubb (11 goals)

Average Attendance: 287

The Manager – Ryan Northmore

A career change was forced upon Ryan Northmore when a number of knee operations led to coaching. The former goalkeeper made over 200 appearances for the Seagulls and won Player of the Year three seasons in a row. As a player he turned out for Torquay United before making his way in non league football. Spells at Team Bath, Woking and Dorchester Town before returning to Weston-Super-Mare as boss, he officially retired from playing just three years ago. Northmore has been heavily involved in  working with Weston-Super-Mare’s academy side and in November 2014 was named caretaker manager. The 34 year old impressed enough last term to make the vacant managers job his own.

The Summer

Returning to Weston-Super-Mare for a third spell is 25 year old Tristan Plummer. The winger was unable to hold a first team place whilst at Bristol City, Hereford United and Aldershot Town. Two other signings come from Southern Premier League side Paulton Rovers, Danny Wring is added to the midfield and Scott Wilson could provide goals up front. Joe McClennan returns to Weston-Super-Mare after leaving the club previously for Bath City.

Last Meeting Versus The Darts

12 November 2011 – Dartford 1 Weston-Super-Mare 1 – view highlights
Even with a man advanatge Dartford failed to capitalise. The visitors left when Matt Villis got on the end of a goal mouth scramble.  Adam Green made the game all square with a well driven shot. James Price was red carded with just under twenty minutes remaining.

13 August 2011 – Weston-Super-Mare 0  Dartford 4 – view highlights

The campaign couldn’t get off to a better start for the Darts. An away trip West and Charlie Sheringham’s brace put three points on the board. Elliot Bradbrook and Tom Bonner had earlier put Dartford two goals to the good.

Next Meetings

Saturday 12 September 2015 at Princes Park

Saturday 5 March 2016 at Woodspring Stadium

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Whitehawk

Founded: 1945 / Ground:Enclosed Ground

Only five years ago Whithawk were playing in the Sussex League where they had been throughout their history. Finally winning the title in 2009/10, the club excelled at a rapid rate. A playoff defeat in their début Isthmian Division One South was soon forgotten when they won the championship the following campaign. A consecutive title followed moving Whitehawk out of the Isthmian Premier League to the Conference South. The Sussex club survived their first term finishing nineteenth, six points from safety. Last season the Hawks reached the playoff final with a fourth place finish losing out to Boreham Wood, the clubs best ever league performance.

Whitehawk_F.C._logoLast Season

Conference South: 4th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Danny Mills (18 goals)

Average Attendance: 258

The Manager – Steve King

In the space of just five years, Steve King took Lewes from Isthmian League Division One South to the Football Conference with three titles and that was just the beginning of his managerial career. At this level he has finished in each of the top four positions and in the league below added a further title with Farnborough. Another spell at Lewes was followed by leading Macclesfield Town in the Confereence Premier, who he took to the F.A Cup fourth round bowing out to eventual winners Wigan Athletic. In February 2014, he retunred to management and was denied another promotion this time with Whitehawk losing the playoff final to Boreham Wood.

The Summer

Steve King possesses enough confidence in his squad which very nearly gained promotion to the National League. Rather than bringing in new blood, King has concentrated on securing players in last years squad. Paul Lorraine, who joined Dartford briefly before the Darts were reprieved will be part of the Whitehawk defence. In midfield Sergio Torres brings his experiences with Wycombe Wanderers, Peterborough United and Crawley Town. Last season’s top goalscorer Danny Mills remains at the Enclosed Ground and will be looking to add to the 18 he scored last term.

Last Meeting Versus The Darts

4 September 1982 – Dartford 5 Whitehawk 2

Carl Laraman scored a hat trick and was the star of this F.A Cup preliminary round fixture. The Darts went on to win comfortably against the Sussex club representing their regional division. Dartford were spending their first campaign back in the Southern Premier following relegation from the Alliance Premier League the season before.

Next Meetings

Saturday 19 December 2015 at Enclosed Ground

Saturday 12 March 2016 at Princes Park

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Dartford v Weston Super-Mare

Princes Park plays host to Weston Super-Mare on Saturday on its fifth birthday weekend.

The Darts will hope to give its home the perfect gift with a win, three points and a successive league double against the Seagulls. The two clubs met on the opening day this campaign and Dartford ran out 4-0 winners. It was a great start to 2011/2012 for Dartford’s second season in the Conference South when Elliot Bradbrook scored after fifteen minutes. Tom Bonner sneaked round the back to the far post to nod home from a corner to give the Darts a two goal lead.

Mid way through the second half Rayn Hayes delivered a beautifully weighted cross field ball which was expertly controlled by Charlie Sheringham’s chest, the striker dinked the ball over the on rushing Lloyd Irish to increase Dartford’s lead. Five minutes later Sheringham netted his second when he was left unmarked at the far post to head in Dartford’s fourth.

Weston Super-Mare 0 Dartford 4 – Highlights

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

In last seasons corresponding fixture The Darts had to wait until the stroke of half time for Sheringham to score a penalty. Two minutes after the break Weston’s Marcus Duharty had the sides level then in the space of four minutes the game changed dramatically. James White’s persistence and wonderful finish gave Dartford the lead and an own goal by Martin Slocombe followed a minute later. Sheringham scored again in the 71st minute to give The Darts a 4-1 win. The return fixture in February this year was settled by Sheringham’s 73rd minute winner.

Dartford 4 Weston Super-Mare 1 – Highlights

After a difficult week Tony Burman was pleased with the 2-1 away win at Salisbury City last weekend, he told PURE DFC: “I was delighted with the performance, I knew it would be a better one and knew it would be a tough game. The players not just on the pitch but on the bench were excellent”, he added: “It is a really tough place to come. The goal against us is a deflection after a couple of minutes which was hard to take but fair play to the boys they’ve come back and I’m delighted for them”.

Burman felt his side put in another intelligent display especially after the disappointed of getting knocked out of the F.A Cup, hecommented: “We trained really well on Monday and Thursday night and we were focused on getting the three points. I’m delighted with them that they have come to a place like this, which is tough, and got three points. We played well and controlled the game and we played with a lot of intelligence”, he continued: “We’ve done what teams do to us at Princes Park when we’re at home. Playing one up like we have done, it does actually work. It’s difficult to defend and we done that to Salisbury today and thoroughly deserved our win”.

Jacob Erskine nods Dartford's winner

The two new signings made a positive impact on Saturday with Jacob Erskine acting as a fulcrum for Dartford’s attacks. Erskine was rewarded with the winning goal which was just as important as the save made by Lou Wells in the dying minutes. Wells had a solid game on his début despite the unfortunate deflection which opened the scoring for Salisbury in just the second minute. Jon Wallis also had cause to celebrate when his free kick levelled the scores and opened his goalscoring account for The Darts.

With Wells replacing Andy Young, who was released by the club last week, and Deren Ibrahim being left on the bench Burman admitted that this was the side of his job he does not enjoy, he said: “I had to be fair to Youngy and I spoke to him on the Wednesday night and I had to be fair to Del as well. People don’t realise all those things go on and they just think you just drop people and leave them up the swanny and we don’t, it’s not the way we deal with things here”, he added: “It’s one of the parts of the job you don’t like, it gives me no pleasure whatsoever what happened with Youngy. He’ll bounce back and he’ll get himself another club”.

The excellent 2-1 victory away to Salisbury City has left The Darts in fourth place, a win which was important considering the top sides also won on the weekend.

Weston Super-Mare will visit Princes Park hoping to put an end to their Dartford voodoo. In the last three meetings they have scored once and conceded nine times. Five of those goals came from Charlie Sheringham so they will pleased he has moved on to AFC Bournemouth.

Last weekend The Seagulls were defeated by a Barry Cogan goal in injury time when they travelled to The Crabble to face Dover Athletic in a feisty match. Speaking to www.weston-s-mareafc.co.uk assistant manager Jon Haile felt his side was unlucky not to avoid defeat, he said: “As for the performance our game plan of trying to draw them in and catch them on the counter almost worked”, he added: “Overall I was proud of how the players applied themselves with every decision going against them throughout the game and it was disappointing to lose the game four minutes into injury time but that is something we will learn from”.

Weston Super-Mare currently occupy thirteenth position. On the road Weston have claimed victories against Thurrock (3-0), Maidenhead United (3-1) and Dorchester Town (3-1). However they have lost their last three away fixtures against Hampton and Richmond, Woking and Dover Athletic. The Seagulls are winless in five league matches picking up just two points out of the last fifteen.

Tom Champion will be available to select after serving his one match suspension. Jon Wallis returned on the weekend and Matt Jones was on the bench. Marcus Duharty, the last Weston player to score against The Darts is regaining fitness on loan at Mangotsfield United. Former Dover Athletic striker Ben Hunt and fellow forward Mike Mackay have been released by The Seagulls.

Current Form (league only)

Last five Dartford matches at home Last five Weston Super-Mare matches away
Lost 1-2 v Truro City Lost 0-1 v Dover Athletic
Won 3-1 v Tonbridge Angels Lost 1-4 v Woking
Won 2-1 v Staines Town Lost 1-3 v Hampton and Richmond
Won 3-0 v Eastleigh Won 3-1 v Dorchester Town
Won 3-1  v Bromley Won 3-1 v Maidenhead United

League Stats – Dartford (4th) v Weston Super-Mare (13th)

Dartford average home attendance: 1190

Highest home attendance: 1550 v Bromley/ Lowest: 937 v Hampton and Richmond

Weston Super-Mare average away attendance: 534

Highest away attendance: 1462 v Woking / Lowest: 156 v Thurrock

*attendances from www.bluesqsouth.com

Did you know…

Dartford have scored in their last ten league fixtures and in every home match in the league this season

In the 2-1 victory at Salisbury City on Saturday it was the first time in 35 games a substitute was not used by Tony Burman. The last occasion was on 22 February 2011 away to Dorchester Town

Weston Super-Mare are one of four teams not to have drawn an away match in the Conference South this season

The Seagulls failed to score on their trip to The Crabble which was the first time they fired a blank on the road in the league this season

In the Conference South 2011/2012 season, Weston Super-Mare are yet to net a goal in the fifteen minutes leading up to half time

 

Weston Super-Mare v Dartford

The Darts start their second campaign in the Conference South on Saturday with a jaunt across the country to Weston Super-Mare’s Woodspring Stadium.

New signings Adam Green, Jon Wallis and Richard Graham will be hoping for competitive débuts as Dartford look to get off to a flier. Last seasons opener saw Tony Burman’s men draw 2-2 with Havant and Waterlooville, this time they will want to go one step further and bag three points.

The corresponding fixture last season saw The Darts complete a double over Weston Super-Mare when Charlie Sheringham netted in the seventy third minute. Earlier in the season Dartford won convincingly 4-1 at Princes Park.

Over pre season Dartford used their first three fixtures as a fitness exercise losing each game to Football League clubs. A draw against Crawley Town and wins against Thamesmead Town, East Thurrock United, VCD Athletic and Canvey Island have left Tony Burman’s squad in good shape.

Weston Super-Mare will be keen to avenge their double disappointment last season. Craig Laird has kept most of his squad this season as he puts his trust in the squad that finished twelfth (two places and four points below Dartford). Laird believes consistency is key and the fact that the majority of the squad signed new terms shows how good their team spirit is.

The Seagulls have lost captain Craig Rand who left the club due to personal reasons returning to the North East, Ben Kirk was appointed the new captain. Moving to the Woodspring Stadium are strikers Matt Huxley from Oldland Abbotonians and Chris Young from Bridgwater Town, Ben Hunt has came in from Dover Athletic. Laird has also raided West Country league sides and added James Richards (Swindon Town), Robbie Maggs, Jack Camm and George Booth (Bristol Rovers) to his squad.

Woodspring Stadium

The Seagulls finished their home campaign with a flourish defeating Staines Town and champions Braintree Town. The Somerset side won five of their last seven matches at the Woodspring Stadium.

Credit is due to Craig Laird who had to rebuild a squad last summer and still managed The Seagulls highest finish since 2004/05. Since that season Weston Super-Mare finished in the relegation zone three times. With low crowds averaging 264 in the league (the second lowest) Laird has done well to build a squad, achieve a twelfth place finish and win the Somerset Premier Cup.

The Darts ended last season away from home with a victory over Maidenhead United, only once last season they managed back to back away league victories. Overall, not much separated the sides last term. Both clubs finished mid-table and picked up silverware.

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

8 – Mid-January to February – Dartford on Tour

Bouncebackability

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.

 

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

4 – Finding Our Feet?

White-wash

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

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

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

Dartford 4 Weston Super-Mare 1 – Highlights

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

Back to an Old Stomping Ground

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

Thurrock 1 Dartford 1 – Highlights

Captain Bradbrook Saves the Day, Again

Captain Bradbrook scores a dramatic leveller

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

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

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

Dartford 2 Bromley 2 – Highlights

The Road To Wembley Begins

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

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

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

 

The Trawlerboys arrived at Princes Park in good spirits

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

Rookamania: Rook celebrates

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

Dartford 2 Lowestoft Town 1 – Highlights

When September Ends

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

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

 

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

*Welling United deducted five points