Ebbsfleet United v Dartford

Dartford eye up a place in the F.A Cup first round on Saturday when they face local rivals Ebbsfleet United.

The short trip across to Stonebridge Road ended all square last season after the previous fixture at Princes Park, six days earlier finished 3-1 to the Darts.

Dartford let a two goal lead slip on New Years Day with Jon Wallis scoring from a low drive and Harry Crawford netting the second. Nathan Elder smashed a shot beyond Marcus Bettinelli as the Fleet hit back immediately and with seconds to go the striker denied Dartford victory in injury time.

At Princes Park, Liam Enveer-Marum now playing for Braintree Town put Ebbsfleet United ahead but Crawford restored parity four minutes later. The striker added another on 68 minutes and Elliot Bradbrook put the game beyond doubt ten minutes from time. Whilst Dartford finished a credible eighth in the Conference Premier in 2012/13, the Fleet were relegated and now compete a division lower.

In less than a year a lot has changed on and off the field for this weekends opponents. A takeover spelt the end of the controversial MyFootballClub ownership days and a Kuwaiti company KEH Sports Limited has saved the club. The popular Liam Daish left his post as Fleet boss and in has come former Charlton Athletic defender Steve Brown.

Dartford go into this weekends cup tie on the back of victory over Hyde. Both sides let leads slip as a Matthew Godden hat trick sealed a topsy turvy 4-3 win for the Darts, stretching their home run to four unbeaten. Loan signing Godden ensured the Darts settled early on with a brace inside a three minute spell. The Scunthorpe striker finished a well worked move on 12 minutes after Ryan Hayes’ pass was dummied by Danny Harris. The visitors had goalkeeper David Carnell subbed due to injury and a minute later his replacement Ashley Frith was picking the ball out the net. Poor Hyde defending led to Godden’s third goal in as many games when he nodded home a Hayes corner. Lee Noble conceded a penalty which Scott Spencer converted and the striker equalised just before the break, leaving the score 2-2 at half time.

In the second half, Hyde turned the match around and looked set for their first win of the campaign when Louis Almond, on loan from Blackpool struck a deflected free kick past Alan Julian to give the Tigers an advantage. Trailing with ten minutes on the clock, Tony Burman swapped youngster George Monger with Ryan Hayes and was rewarded when the midfielder scored a superb 30 yard lob just three minutes after coming on. Godden, who spent a successful spell on loan at the Fleet completed hat trick in the 87th minute with a neatly taken volley.

Both bosses spoke to after the F.A Cup draw, Tony Burman is cautious about managing his side against local rivals who play in a division lower, he said: “We’re in a higher league, which suggests we should win, but cup football is a funny old game and that’s why it’s so exciting”. His opposite number is also looking forward to the tie of the round, Steve Brown commented: “”I had a wry smile when Dartford came out. It’s a juicy one for the media and the supporters”, he added: “It’s a much more favourable draw for us than it is for Tony. Tony will think that’s about as bad as it could get”.


Ebbsfleet United have already had to negotiate two rounds having started in the second qualifying round. Folkestone Invicta came to Stonebridge Road and were Fleets first victims. The Isthmian Division One South side were narrowly beaten by Daryl McMahon’s early winner. In the following round Brown’s side faced fellow Conference South team Eastbourne Borough and kept another clean sheet. A Ben May brace was enough to earn victory and put Fleet a game away from the first round for a second year running.

The Fleet have tasted defeat just three times in the Conference South this campaign but a number of early season draws has seen the Fleet start steadily. After nine matches the Kent club had won one and drawn six leaving them in fifteenth but a solid run has lifted Steve Brown’s side up to seventh.

A comprehensive 6-0 triumph at Weston Super-Mare kick started Brown’s men into action. Not only did they hit six in the league, they hit six in the Kent Senior Cup tie a few days earlier beating Sittingbourne 6-1. The Fleet defeated table toppers Eastleigh 3-1 at Stonebridge Road and on Saturday an early goal from Stacy Long was cancelled out by Gosport Borough’s Sam Pearce, before Ben May netted a second half winner.

The Fleet’s run of half a dozen consecutive wins was ended on Tuesday night in an away trip to Bishop’s Stortford. Cliff Akurang opened the scoring for the home side and added another before he was substituted on half an hour with an injury. Kyle Vassell extended the lead for the Bishops but the Fleet pulled two goals back courtesy of Shane Huke and Anthony Cook.

Dartford have already played Ebbsfleet United in a pre season friendly to warm up for this current campaign. Billy Bricknell, who has scored for both Chelmsford City and Dover Athletic against the Darts, managed another for the Fleet against the run of play. With time running out Bradbrook made sure the friendly finished level at 1-1.

Team News

Lee Burns captained Dartford to the 4-3 win on the weekend but the armband is likely to return to Elliot Bradbrook who missed the game through suspension. The midfielder returns from his one match ban for picking up five cautions. Matt Fry was back in league action after a two match absence through injury whilst Tyrone Sterling and Adam Birchall have been ruled out. Kenny Clark has struggled with a hamstring injury and Jason Prior has been nursing an ankle problem, both players may not be ready to take part but are waiting on the Physio’s report. Matthew Godden could sit out of the F.A Cup tie to prevent him being cup tied for parent club Scunthorpe United. However, Tony Burman is currently in talks with the Iron to see if Godden can feature on Saturday.

For Ebbsfleet United, Jon Howe has picked up an injury whilst Andy Pugh and Grant Basey are back in training. On loan Cambridge United striker, Pugh has had his period with the Fleet extended, however he has not been given permission to play on Saturday.

Head to Head

Ebbsfleet United wins: 107 / Dartford wins: 115 / Draws 90

Current Form (all competitions / FAC – F.A Cup / KSC – Kent Senior Cup)

Ebbsfleet United (LWWWWW) Dartford (WWDDLW)
Bishop’s Stortford A 2-3 Hyde H 4-3
Gosport Borough H 2-1 Charlton Athletic (KSC) H 1-0
Eastbourne Borough (FAC) H 2-0 Hereford United A 2-2
Eastleigh H 3-1 Salisbury City H 1-1
Weston Super-Mare A 6-0 Gateshead A 0-2
Sittingbourne (KSC) A 6-1 Southport H 1-0

Last Competitive Meeting at Stonebridge Road

26 March 2013 – Ebbsfleet United 2 Dartford 2 – Att: 2242

Goalscorers: Wallis (12), Crawford (48), Elder (50, 90)

The Fleet Lineup: Edwards, Stone, Walsh, Lorraine, Howe, Phipp, Barrett, Folkes, Carew, Enveer-Marum, Elder (subs used: Blake, Williams, Azeez)

The Darts Lineup: Bettinelli, Burns, Bonner, Arber, Rose, Champion, Wallis, Hayes, Bradbrook, Harris, Crawford (subs used: Collier, Erskine, Rogers)

Match Stats

eufc v dfc stats

Previous Five Competitive Meetings

01.01.2013 Ebbsfleet United 2 Dartford 2
26.12.2012 Dartford 3 Ebbsfleet United 1
28.12.2010 Ebbsfleet United 2 Dartford 1
28.08.2010 Dartford 1 Ebbsfleet United 1
29.01.2008 (KSC) Ebbsfleet United 4 Dartford 1

F.A Cup Ten Year Performance





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