Dartford v Charlton Athletic

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

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

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

Tony Stokes celebrates scoring for Concord Rangers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team News

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

The Story So Far…

Quarter Final

Tonbridge Angels 2 Dartford 4 (After Extra Time)

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

Margate 3 Charlton Athletic 4

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

Second Round

Folkestone Invicta 1 Dartford 4 (After Extra Time)

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

Bromley 2 Charlton Athletic 3

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

Did you know…

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

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

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

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


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