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Dartford v Braintree Town

A Boxing Day battle with Braintree Town is the first of four matches in nine days for Dartford over the festive football season.

Keen to avenge the double defeat in their last Conference Premier campaign, the Darts are searching for their first win against the Essex club in four attempts.

Last term, the Iron won at Princes Park when Alan Massey gave the visitors a second half lead and former Ebbsfleet United striker Liam Enveer-Marum finished the Darts off in the final minute. The home loss was the first suffered by Dartford on their own patch against Braintree Town for twelve years.

Between those dozen years there has been very little to choose between the two clubs with very few goals scored. Almost three years ago, Dartford came out on top at Princes Park with a 1-0 triumph against the Conference South champions of that campaign. Elliot Bradbrook separated the two sides with a deserved winner eleven minutes from time.

When the Darts joined the Iron in the Conference Premier, gaining promotion the following season, matches with one another helped decide who would finish England’s number one part time team. In Kent, the fixture between the two sides may have ended in a dour 0-0 draw, but the point ended up being crucial for Tony Burman’s men. At the end of the season Dartford finished eighth ahead of their part time rivals on goal difference. Since 2006 both clubs have enjoyed a steady rise up the non league pyramid from the Isthmian League to the Conference Premier.

The Darts recorded their second away victory in the league this season on the weekend against Wrexham. The 3-1 win, which saw the return of striker Harry Crawford after a month out, was much needed as teams around the Darts in the Conference Premier picked up good results too. Luke Daley was the only other change and he will hope his performance was enough to keep a first team place, so he can face his former club. The midfielder played for Braintree Town for two seasons making 60 league appearances and scoring eight times for the Essex club.

With the Dartford squad arriving in Wales the day before their freshness showed in the early stages. Elliot Bradbrook finished tidily to net his sixth goal in the league putting the Darts in front. The hosts applied some pressure and the  alertness of Peter Sweeney kept the ball from crossing the goal line when Andy Bishop  came close to the equaliser. The Wrexham striker then tested goalkeeper Jason Brown who made a quality save to keep the score at 1-0.

Crawford lasted just over an hour as he starts to regain full fitness. Almost immediately after the striker was substituted, Rory McAuley headed his second of the campaign from a corner. The two goal cushion was halved just four minutes later when Wrexham substitute Louis Moult scored his sixth in four matches against Dartford. Jason Brown kept the hosts at bay with some decent saves and in time added on Tom Bradbrook sealed the three points with a well taken curler. Victory ended a run of four consecutive league losses and is Dartford’s second win in a row, following the F.A Trophy tie against Solihull Moors last weekend.

Braintree Town also picked up a fine result beating former League Two side Torquay United at Cressing Road. After twenty minutes the hosts were in front when Sean Marks finished a cross from Ryan Peters. On the stroke of half time Simeon Akinola’s header put the match beyond the Gulls. The Iron keep their seven point advantage over Dartford in the league standings.

Alan Devonshire’s side have yet to draw on the road winning three and losing nine. In their last seven away days Braintree Town have only defeated bottom club AFC Telford United. This season the Essex club started in promising fashion by reaching seventh by mid September, a run of five wins in six helped. Since then Devonshire has seen his side struggle with two wins in fourteen attempts before Saturday’s win versus Torquay United.

Team News

Harry Crawford’s return gives Dartford’s forward line a much needed boost, the Darts have also been missing Andy Pugh who is still sidelined but hopes to return to training soon. Lee Burns last featured on 11 November and has missed the last six league games with injury. Callum Driver was substituted on the weekend with a hamstring problem.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Braintree Town wins: 4 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (WLLLLD) Braintree Town (WLLWWL)
Wrexham  A  3-1 Torquay United  H  2-0
Eastleigh  A  0-2 Woking  A  0-1
Forest Green Rovers  A  1-2 Welling United  H  0-1
Chester  H  2-4 AFC Telford United  A  3-1
Lincoln City  A  1-0 Wrexham  H  1-0
Southport  H  1-1 Dover Athletic  A  0-1

Last Meeting at Princes Park

24 August 2013 – Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2 – Att: 1015

Goalscorer: Massey (69), Enveer-Marum (90)

Dartford Lineup: Julian, Clark, Mitchel-King, Sterling, Burns, Cornhill, Noble, Bradbrook, Hayes, Prior, Birchall (subs used: Harris, Collier, Woodyard)

Braintree Town Lineup: McDonald, Habergham, Paine, Massey, Wells, Isaac, Davis, Daley, Peters, Marks, Holman (subs used: Sparkes, Enveer-Marum, Carney)

Match Stats

dfc v btfc stats

Previous Meetings (* – Friendly / ** – F.A Trophy)

18.04.2014 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0
24.08.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
11.04.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 0
25.09.2012 Braintree Town 0 Dartford 2
12.02.2011 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 1
01.02.2011 Dartford 1 Braintree Town 0
20.07.2002* Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
04.11.2001** Dartford 0 Braintree Town 3

Stats

6 – On the six occasions where there has been a winner, the losing team have failed to score.

25 – Prior last weekend’s match, Simeon Akinola attempted 25 shots at goal without scoring, the highest in the division.

32 – The 3-1 win at Wrexham ended a 32 game run in which Dartford failed to win by more than a goal.

54 – Before last Saturday’s game, Braintree Town’s James Mulley had won the most free kicks in the Conference Premier.

101 – Excluding the win at Wrexham, Jason Brown had made the most saves in the Conference Premier this season.

326 – minutes since Dartford’s last goal scored against the Iron. Jacob Erskine added to Tom Bonner’s opener to earn the Darts a 2-0 victory.

 

 

 

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