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Dover Athletic v Dartford

Dartford take their F.A Trophy first round tie back to the Crabble on Tuesday night, when they play Kent rivals Dover Athletic in a replay.

Ronnie Vint’s goal secured a draw for the Darts after Ricky Miller had given Dover Athletic the advantage in the first half. Miller took advantage of Moses Emmanuel’s good work by slotting the ball beyond Ibrahim from six yards for his 27th goal of the season. Tony Burman’s side improved in the second half getting more of a grip on the game and were rewarded when Vint levelled sticking in a rebound created from Danny Harris’ corner.

Manager, Tony Burman spoke to after the draw and felt his side missed a great chance to progress in the F.A Trophy, he said: “After half-time I think we were the only team that looked like we were going to win it and we haven’t punished them”, he continued: “We didn’t have loads of chances, you don’t when you play against Dover, but the chances we did have were scoreable. We should have done better with those opportunities, but it wasn’t to be”, he concluded: “It’s disappointing we haven’t come away with a win”.

With the two teams doing it all over again, the Darts will still be missing central defender Tom Bonner through suspension. Tom Gardiner and Andy Pugh started against Dover Athletic on the weekend and were both substituted after picking up knocks, Burman explained: “It’s a little bit bare bones at the minute, we’ll have to assess them to see how they are for Tuesday”.

Burman is hoping his team will show determination, the right attitude and stay organised to help them produce a positive result. With exception to the goal conceded, the Dartford boss was pleased with the defensive display on the weekend against a Dover Athletic side full of attacking promise.

Chris Kinnear’s team are just outside the playoff spots and in their first campaign back in the top non league division they reached the playoffs, losing to Forest Green Rovers in the semi-final. On top of that, Kinnear led Dover Athletic to consecutive F.A Trophy quarter-finals, he told in the build up to the original tie: “What is done is done, no matter how much those two defeats hurt and I can tell you they did because we should have made it all the way to Wembley”, he added: “We didn’t give a great account of ourselves in those two games, but that’s all in the past now”.

Twenty places below the Whites, Dartford will be looking to cause an upset at a ground they have struggled to win at over the years. The last visit to the Crabble saw the Darts heaviest defeat against Dover Athletic for thirteen years when they lost 6-1. Nicky Deverdics headed Dover Athletic ahead early on but Harry Crawford sent the sides into the break level. In the second half, the Whites strolled to victory with goals from Richard Orlu, a Tom Murphy double, Liam Bellamy and future Dart, Barry Cogan.

Prior the 1-1 draw on the weekend, the last two F.A Trophy ties between the Darts and Dover Athletic ended in the same scoreline. Although Dartford won 3-2 just over 11 years ago, the Whites got revenge four years later.

Head to Head
Dover Athletic wins: 35 / Dartford wins: 32 / Draws: 24

Previous Meetings
Dartford 1 Dover Athletic 1 (10/12/2016 – F.A Trophy)
Dover Athletic 6 Dartford 1 (17/01/2015 – National League)
Dartford 2 Dover Athletic 1 (16/09/2014 – National League)
Dartford 0 Dover Athletic 1 (04/03/2013 – Kent Senior Cup)
Dartford 3 Dover Athletic 1 (03/12/2011 – National South)
Dover Athletic 2 Dartford 2 (23/08/2011 – National South)

Current Form (all competitions)
Dartford (DWWLWW)
Drew 1-1 v Dover Athletic (H)
Won 2-1 v Poole Town (H)
Won 4-2 v Weston-super-Mare (A) – F.A Trophy
Lost 2-2 (1-4 on penalties) v Welling United (A) – Kent Senior Cup
Won 3-0 v Bishop’s Stortford (A)
Won 2-0 v Hemel Hempstead Town (H)

Dover Athletic (DLWWWL)
Drew 1-1 v Dartford (A)
Lost 1-2 v Dagenham and Redbridge (H)
Won 6-0 v Sutton United (A)
Won 3-1 v Woking (H)
Won 2-0 v Guiseley (H)
Lost 2-4 v Cambridge United (H) – F.A Cup Replay

In the F.A Trophy Dartford and Dover Athletic have both beaten each other twice and the other three matches ended in a draw.

Dartford 1 Dover Athletic 1 (10/12/2016 – F.A Trophy 1st Round)
Dover Athletic 3 Dartford 2 (21/11/2009 – F.A Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round)
Dartford 3 Dover Athletic 2 (18/10/2005 – F.A Trophy 1st Qualifying Round Replay)
Dover Athletic 1 Dartford 1 (15/10/2005 – F.A Trophy 1st Qualifying Round)
Dartford 2 Dover Athletic 0 (07/02/1989 – F.A Trophy 2nd Round Replay)
Dover Athletic 0 Dartford 0 (04/02/1989 – F.A Trophy 2nd Round)
Dover 2 Dartford 1 (11/01/1975 – F.A Trophy 1st Round)

On Saturday, Elliot Bradbrook failed to score for the first time in cup matches he’s started this season. The Darts captain has scored ten cup goals this campaign.

The Darts have won just once in their last nine outings at the Crabble. In 2010, Dartford beat Dover Athletic 2-0 which is their only victory since 1991. The Darts have recorded five draws and three defeats in that time against the Whites.

On This Day
Eight years ago to the day the Darts visited The Crabble in the Isthmian Premier League. Dover Athletic ran out 4-2 winners in the season they went up as champions. Rob Haworth scored a brace for Dartford and future Darts, Jon Wallis and James Rogers found the scoresheet for the Whites. Former Dartford midfielder Andy Hessenthaler was also part of the Dover Athletic side that day. Two years ago, Dartford won a F.A Trophy first round tie beating Solihull Moors 2-0, brothers Elliot and Tom Bradbrook ensured the Darts progressed to round two.

Dartford v Dover Athletic

Dartford will have to erase memories of their last meeting against Kent rivals Dover Athletic, if they want to progress in the F.A Trophy this weekend.

The Darts are hoping to make it into round two and make up for the 6-1 thrashing that was dished out to them almost two years ago. Dartford can take some comfort in the fact that they did beat Dover Athletic at home that season in a match that had a tense finale.

Ricky Miller, who is in form for Dover Athletic this term toping the National League scoring charts with 22 goals already, opened the scoring in the last meeting at Princes Park with a 25 yard free kick. Dartford were forced to come from behind after Miller’s eighth minute strike. Harry Crawford equalised from close range and with five minutes remaining Tom Bradbrook scored Dartford’s second. Elliot Bradbrook gave away a penalty during injury time, but the hero was goalkeeper Jason Brown who saved Miller’s effort.

Dartford’s first and only fixture in this season’s F.A Trophy was only a fortnight ago. The Darts travelled across the country to to take on struggling National South side Weston-super-Mare. Despite having Tom Bonner sent off, who has started his four match ban and will miss the clash with former club Dover Atletic, Dartford recorded a 4-2 victory. Elliot Bradbrook kept up his extraordinary cup form with an impressive hat-trick, taking his cup tally to ten goals in just six games, whilst Andy Pugh opened the scoring for the Darts in the 4-2 triumph.

A former Dover Athletic striker was to thank for Dartford’s win on the weekend at home to Poole Town. Duane Ofori-Acheampong headed Lee Noble’s free kick to make it 1-0 and within a couple of minutes Luke Wanadio made it two. Poole Town halved the deficit causing trouble for the Darts in the second half. Tony Burman spoke to and praised the effort of his players, he said: “Second half I don’t think we played the best football ever, but we dug in and we have won the game ugly and got the three points and I will take that all day long”.

Victory over fellow playoff contenders leave the Darts fourth in the National South and without Tom Bonner, central defender Ronnie Vint stepped up with an assured performance, together with Ofori-Acheampong and Noble he made it into the kentonline Team of the Week.

Twenty places above Dartford in the football pyramid, Dover Athletic will provide a tough test. The Whites beat Sutton United 6-0 away from the Crabble recently, a team that knocked the Darts out of the F.A Cup with a 6-3 victory. Chris Kinnear’s team are just outside the playoff spots and in their first campaign back in the top non league division they reached the playoffs, losing to Forest Green Rovers in the semi-final.

Away from the National League for thirteen years, it looks like Dover Athletic have established themselves once more. Helping them to achieve stability is two former Dartford players Jim Stevenson and Tyrone Sterling. Partnering the prolific Miller up front is former Welling United hitman Ross Lafayette who has found the net nine times this season.

The last two F.A Trophy ties between the Darts and Dover Athletic have ended in the same scoreline. Although Dartford won 3-2 just over 11 years ago, the Whites got revenge four years later.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 32 / Dover Athletic wins: 35 / Draws: 23

Previous Meetings
Dover Athletic 6 Dartford 1 (17/01/2015 – National League)
Dartford 2 Dover Athletic 1 (16/09/2014 – National League)
Dartford 0 Dover Athletic 1 (04/03/2013 – Kent Senior Cup)
Dartford 3 Dover Athletic 1 (03/12/2011 – National South)
Dover Athletic 2 Dartford 2 (23/08/2011 – National South)
Dartford 4 Dover Athletic 0 (25/04/2011 – National South)

Current Form (all competitions)
Dartford (WWLWWL)
Won 2-1 v Poole Town (H)
Won 4-2 v Weston-super-Mare (A) – F.A Trophy
Lost 2-2 (1-4 on penalties) v Welling United (A) – Kent Senior Cup
Won 3-0 v Bishop’s Stortford (A)
Won 2-0 v Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Lost 0-2 v St Albans City (H)

Dover Athletic (LWWWLW)
Lost 1-2 v Dagenham and Redbridge (H)
Won 6-0 v Sutton United (A)
Won 3-1 v Woking (H)
Won 2-0 v Guiseley (H)
Lost 2-4 v Cambridge United (H) – F.A Cup Replay
Won 3-2 v Solihull Moors (A)

2 – In the F.A Trophy Dartford and Dover Athletic have both beaten each other twice and the other two matches ended in a draw.

Dover Athletic 3 Dartford 2 (21/11/2009 – F.A Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round)
Dartford 3 Dover Athletic 2 (18/10/2005 – F.A Trophy 1st Qualifying Round Replay)
Dover Athletic 1 Dartford 1 (15/10/2005 – F.A Trophy 1st Qualifying Round)
Dartford 2 Dover Athletic 0 (07/02/1989 – F.A Trophy 2nd Round Replay)
Dover Athletic 0 Dartford 0 (04/02/1989 – F.A Trophy 2nd Round)
Dover 2 Dartford 1 (11/01/1975 – F.A Trophy 1st Round)

10 – Elliot Bradbrook has scored in every cup game he has started this season. He failed to score against Cray Wanderers in the Kent Senior Cup but came on as a substitute in that match.

35 – the number of goals featuring in Dartford cup matches this term, over seven games that’s 5 goals a game.

44 – the number of goals featuring the Darts in the National South, the lowest average in the league of 2.32 per game.

On This Day
Elliot Bradbrook and a Jacob Erskine double sealed a 3-0 F.A Trophy victory for the Darts five years ago. Dartford went on to reach the third round going out to Wealdstone in a replay. Two years ago, the Darts were knocked out of the Kent Senior Cup in a 7-3 defeat to Gillingham at the second round stage.

Dover Athletic v Dartford

Dartford’s current form is dividing opinion on the terraces but the club will need to stick together in a crucial Kent derby against Dover Athletic this weekend.

Tony Burman will hope he can lead his side to a league double over Dover Athletic after beating them 2-1 at home earlier in the season. The Darts visit the Crabble seven points from safety and on the back of four straight league defeats. One win and eight defeats has seen the club pick up just three points from the last 27 available. Meanwhile, Dover Athletic have settled in their first season back and are currently unbeaten in eleven Conference Premier matches.

Burman watched his side slump to a 2-1 home defeat in midweek despite having a two man advantage. Harry Crawford scored his second in as many games as early as the ninth minute. FC Halifax Town’s Matt Pearson tapped in the equaliser just passed the half hour mark. Just before the break the Shaymen were reduced to ten men when Lois Maynard was dismissed for violent conduct on Lee Noble. The visitors went ahead from the penalty spot when Rory McAuley was penalised for handball. Scott Boden stepped up and put FC Halifax Town in the lead with twenty minutes remaining. Moments after the penalty, James Bolton was then red carded for an awful foul on Max Cornhill but the Shaymen held on with nine left on the pitch.

Pressure is mounting on Burman and urges everyone to get behind the team, he told “We need everybody’s cause, on and off the field, to (get out of trouble). Unfortunately, the place isn’t like that at the moment”, he added:”I’ve got to take full responsibility because it’s my team that’s out there. We’ve got ourselves into a rut and there’s not much else that can go wrong”.

At least Dartford enter Saturday’s fixture unbeaten in four league matches against Dover Athletic. During the two year spell the clubs met in the Conference South, the Darts won three and drew the other game. Last time at the Crabble a crowd of 1455 witnessed an entertaining 2-2 draw which ended Dartford’s 100% record. A quick start by the visitors had Dartford ahead after 30 seconds when Charlie Sheringham followed up a rebound. Former Darts striker George Purcell levelled the score and in first half injury time Elliot Bradbrook put Dartford in the lead once more. Dover Athletic ended their opponents perfect start to the campaign when Billy Bricknell made it 2-2 on the hour.

In the season before Dover Athletic were brought down to earth on their own patch following their F.A Cup exploits at Gillingham. The Darts won 2-0 thanks to goals from Ryan Hayes and Ollie Berquez. At Princes Park, Dartford won both fixtures 4-0 and 3-1 respectively. Last term the two sides did met in the Kent Senior Cup quarter final in which Dover Athletic won 3-0 on their way to the final, which they lost to Ebbsfleet United.

Dover Athletic’s season has turned around having been second from bottom after eleven games, the Whites had only two wins and a draw to show for their efforts. Since then they have only lost twice in the league and went 16 games unbeaten in all competitions until Premier League side Crystal Palace knocked them out of the F.A Cup third round. Chris Kinnear’s side have only played once in the league this year beating Kent rivals Welling United 2-0 on New Years Day. Victory gave them a festive double over the Wings and sandwiched in between was a creditable 2-2 draw at league leaders Barnet. Two cup competitions have been on the agenda in 2015 keeping confidence at the Crabble high, Dover Athletic also remain in the F.A Trophy and are unbeaten in eight home matches in the Conference Premier.

The Darts could face some former players, full back Tyrone Sterling was at Princes Park last season making 38 league appearances and Connor Essam spent two loan spells with the club. Stefan Payne can be a threat up front, the former Gillingham striker has so far netted 11 league goals for the Whites. During the January transfer window Soloman Taiwo and Adam Mekki have been signed on a permanent basis but former Dartford defender Tom Bonner has chosen to move on to rivals Ebbsfleet United.

Team News

Elliot Bradbrook has been struggling with a knee injury which kept the captain out of the F.A Trophy win at Burgess Hill Town and defeat to FC Halifax Town. Should Bradbrook return he will make his 250th start for the club. Goalkeeper Jason Brown should return after missing recent fixtures due to a back injury and personal reasons. Lee Burns, if selected will make his 250th appearance, 15 of which have come from the substitutes bench.

Head to Head

Dover Athletic wins: 34 / Dartford wins: 32 / Draws: 23

Current League Form

Dover Athletic (WDWDDW) Dartford (LWLLLL)
Welling United A 2-0 FC Halifax Town H 1-2
Barnet A 2-2 Kidderminster Harriers H 1-2
Welling United H 4-0 Braintree Town A 0-3
Altrincham A 2-2 Braintree Town H 0-2
Torquay United H 2-2 Wrexham A 3-1
Gateshead A 2-1 Eastleigh A 0-2

Last Meeting at the Crabble

23 August 2011 – Dover Athletic 1 Dartford 0 – Att: 1455

Goalscorers: Sheringham (1), Purcell (20), Bradbrook (46), Bricknell (61)

Dartford Lineup: Young, Jones, Green, Bonner, Goodacre, Champion, Hayes, Wallis, Sheringham, Bradbrook, Graham (subs used: Harris, Noble, Burns)

Previous Six Meetings (* Kent Senior Cup )

26.12.2014 Dartford 2 Dover Athletic 1
04.03.2013* Dartford 0 Dover Athletic 3
03.12.2011 Dartford 3 Dover Athletic 1
23.08.2011 Dover Athletic 2 Dartford 2
25.04.2011 Dartford 4 Dover Athletic 0
09.11.2010 Dover Athletic 0 Dartford 2


6 – Dover Athletic have won all six matches against teams below them in the league and have yet to concede a goal

8 – the penalty conceded against FC Halifax Town on Tuesday night means Dartford have given away the most penalties in the league, joint with Lincoln City

9 – Dover Athletic have hit the woodwork the most times in the league matching Bristol Rovers total

25 – seconds were on the clock when Ryan Hayes scored against Kidderminster Harriers over a week ago, the quickest goal in this season’s Conference Premier

34 – number of fouls Lee Noble has conceded without picking up a yellow card


Dartford v Dover Athletic

After a three year absence the Kent derby between Dartford and Dover Athletic returns to Princes Park with both sides needing points.

In what has been dubbed a crucial period in this season’s calendar, Dartford face the fourth newly promoted side in 18 days. This time it will be the first time these two Kent rivals have faced each other in the top flight of non league football.

On the weekend with Dartford searching for their first ever goal up at Gateshead they failed to find the net once more. Although this time the performance was far more encouraging than previous years. Tony Burman opted to play a different system going with three at the back and wing backs. Peter Sweeney’s early injury saw Max Cornhill return to action after missing last Tuesday’s mid week draw against Eastleigh. The Darts dominated the first half and Gateshead relied on goalkeeper Adam Bartlett to keep them in the game. The Heed took an early second half lead through Danny Wright which turned out to be the winner, Dartford still managed to create chances but couldn’t find that elusive goal.

The last one and and half matches have shown Dartford in a better light on the pitch. At 2-0 down versus Eastleigh a week ago Burman admitted his side ‘hit rock bottom’. After clawing that match back to 2-2 and a decent showing on the weekend has left the Darts hoping they can go one further against rivals Dover Athletic.

To add extra spice to the occasion Dover Athletic are likely to line up with three former Dartford defenders. Tyrone Sterling is in his second spell with the Whites after rejoining the club in the summer from the Darts. Sterling made 34 Conference Premier appearances last term including four alongside Connor Essam, who spent time on loan at Princes Park. Essam has spent two loan spells for Dartford and in total has played 14 league matches for the club. Tom Bonner makes up the trio of former Darts, the Cambridge United defender is at the Crabble on loan and made 167 starting appearances between 2010 and 2013 scoring 11 goals.

The Whites were also unfortunate on the weekend losing 1-0 at The Crabble against Macclesfield Town. The result leaves Dover Athletic ahead of Dartford by a point with the relegation line separating the two. For Chris Kinnear it was a third successive home defeat without scoring and were it not for a 4-1 away win at struggling AFC Telford United, Dover Athletic’s only other win came two weeks into the campaign against Eastleigh.

Kinnear previously enjoyed success at The Crabble in the late eighties and early nineties taking the club from the Southern League to the Conference Premier. Whilst times have changed with the increase of professional teams in the league, the 60 year old will be hoping to keep Dover Athletic in the top non league division.

During Dartford’s rise from the Isthmian Division One to the Conference Premier, a rivalry has blossomed with The Whites since the 2006/07 season. The last league meeting between to the two clubs was back in December 2011 when Dartford triumphed 3-1.

Adam Green scored from the spot before Agustin Battipiedi equalised for the visitors. It took until just past the hour for the Darts to edge back in front, Ryan Hayes whipped in a dangerous free kick which eluded everyone and ended up in the back of the net. As Dover Athletic pushed for a leveller they were caught out with three minutes remaining, Bradbrook’s neat control was expertly finished with a 25 yard curling effort leaving Mikhael Jamiez-Ruiz stranded.

Four goals were also recorded in the previous two meetings. A 2-2 draw in the same season saw Dover Athletic come from behind twice. Charlie Sheringham’s quick fire opener was cancelled out by former Dart loanee, George Purcell’s equaliser. Bradbrook’s header put Dartford ahead until Billy Bricknell levelled the match. In the campaign before, the Darts claimed a convincing 4-0 victory at Princes Park with two goals from Sheringham and a goal each for Tom Champion and Danny Harris. Last season, Dover Athletic knocked Dartford out of the Kent Senior Cup at the Quarter Final stage.

Head to Head 

Dartford wins: 31 / Dover Athletic wins: 34 / Draws: 23

Current Form

Dartford (LDLWLD) Dover Athletic (LLWLLW)
Gateshead A 0-1 Macclesfield Town H 0-1
Eastleigh H 2-2 Barnet H 0-3
Altrincham A 1-2 AFC Telford United A 4-1
AFC Telford United H 2-1 Kidderminster Harriers H 0-1
Barnet A 0-3 Woking A 1-6
Torquay United H 0-0 Eastleigh H 2-1

Last League Meeting at Princes Park

3 December 2011 – Dartford 3 Dover Athletic 1 – Att: 1558

Goalscorer: Green (6 pen), Battipiedi (13), Hayes (62), Bradbrook (87)

Dartford Lineup: Wells, Jones, Green, Bonner, Goodacre, Champion, Hayes, Wallis, Burns, Bradbrook, Rogers (subs used: Harris, Noble, Graham)

Dover Athletic Lineup: Jamiez-Ruiz, Starkey, Wynter, Battipiedi, Schulz, Huke, Cogan, Southam, Walker, Purcell, Redwood (subs used: Baker, Bricknell)

Previous Five Meetings (* Kent Senior Cup)

04.03.2014* Dartford 0 Dover Athletic 3
03.12.2011 Dartford 3 Dover Athletic 1
23.08.2011 Dover Athletic 2 Dartford 2
25.04.2011 Dartford 4 Dover Athletic 0
09.11.2010 Dover Athletic 0 Dartford 2

Stats & Facts

1 – number of times Dartford have been in front this season, a total of 42 minutes

11 – goals conceded by Dover Athletic away from home at an average of 2.75 a game, the second highest average in the division this term

12 – number of goals scored in Dover Athletic’s last two away games. The Whites beat AFC Telford United 4-1. A fortnight before their second win of the season they lost 6-1 to Woking

89 – percentage of games in which games involving Dartford have finished with a one goal margin or less

Dover Athletic

The Crabble Founded 1983 The Whites

Dover Athletic return to the Conference Premier after a dozen years away. Their previous spell ran between 1993 and 2002 and the man that got them there then is back with the club. The Whites had been pushing for a place in the top flight of non league for sometime going close on two previous occasions. Playoff defeats in 2010 and again in 2013 were put behind them last term when they finally triumphed. When the dropped out of the Conference Premier in 2002, the club dropped to the Isthmian League Division One before winning back to back titles in 2008 and 2009. A five year stay in the Conference South never saw Dover Athletic finish lower than seventh.

Last Seasondover

Conference South: 5th

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Runners Up

Top Scorer: Tom Murphy

Average Attendance: 666

Dover Athletic had been aiming for the Conference Premier for sometime, falling short of their expectations on four occasions before finally winning promotion. A strong end to the season, suffering just two defeats in the final 15 matches squeezed the Whites into the playoffs on goal difference. Dover Athletic boasted the best away record and tightest defence in last terms Conference South, saving the biggest result to last. Goals were evenly spread out amongst Tom Murphy, Barry Cogan and Jeff Goulding and depth up top came from Nathan Elder and Moses Ademola. With many former Ebbsfleet United players on their books the all Kent playoff final was a tasty looking affair. The Fleet beat the Whites in the Kent Senior Cup final five days earlier, then at Stonebridge Road Elder returned to his former club to score the winner taking Dover Athletic up. The Kent can now look forward to renewing rivalries with Dartford and Welling United.

The Manager – Chris Kinnear

In January 2013, Chris Kinnear returned to the Crabble and is Dover Athletic’s most successful manager. In is first spell in charge Kinnear took the Kent club from the depths of the Southern League to Conference Premier. The Southern division was won in 1987/88 and the Premier division both in 1989/90 and 1992/93. Denied promotion to the Conference Premier after the first title due to ground regulations, the club were accepted at the second attempt. Due to personal reasons he left Dover Athletic in 1994 and returned to football two years later with Margate. History repeated itself, The Gate won both Southern League titles to earn a place in the Conference Premier then finished eighth like Kinnear managed at Dover Athletic. Connections with the Crabble continued when Margate ground shared and were finally demoted due to issues at Hartsdown Park. When an opportunity came up to manage the Whites again, Kinnear took the job and won promotion back to the Conference Premier.

The Summer

Former Dart, Tyrone Sterling returns to the club having left Dover Athletic in the summer of 2013. The defender made 34 league appearances for Dartford last term. Kinnear’s first signing though was Stefan Payne, the frontman hit 31 goals in 46 games for AFC Hornchurch last season, finishing as joint top-scorer in the Isthmian Premier League. Christian Nanetti signs from Havant and Waterlooville, the attacking midfielder scored 12 goals in 43 appearances for The Hawks last season.

Michael Kamara has signed for Dulwich Hamlet, leaving Crabble after two seasons at the club. The London based club also take Terrell Forbes and Ashley Crew away from the Crabble.

Last Meetings vs The Darts

Dartford 0 Dover Athletic 3 – Kent Senior Cup Quarter Final – 4 March 2014

With relegation on Dartford’s mind Tony Burman sacrificed a chance to reach the last four putting out an inexperienced team. The visitors used fringe players and goals from Andre Blackman, Moses Ademola and a Tom Welham own goal put the Whites into the semi-final. Dover Athletic went on to reach the final losing 4-0 to Ebbsfleet United.

Dartford 3 Dover Athletic 1 – Conference South– 3 December 2011

The last competitive meeting between the Kent rivals was in the second tier of non league. In Dartford’s promotion season, Adam Green put the Darts ahead from the spot before Augustin Battipiedi equalised. Ryan Hayes restored Dartford’s lead and Elliot Bradbrook made certain of three points.

Dover Athletic 2 Dartford 2 – Conference South– 23 August 2011

An entertaining draw ended Dartford’s perfect start to the campaign as Dover Athletic came from behind twice. Charlie Sheringham netted after just 30 seconds but the goal was cancelled out by George Purcell. Ellliot Bradbrook headed the Darts back in front but yet again the Whites equalised this time through Billy Bricknell.

Next Meetings

Tuesday 16 September 2014 at Princes Park

Saturday 17 January 2015 at the Crabble

League Performance Last Ten Years

dover last 10 yrs

Best Performances

6th Conference Premier (1999/2000) F.A Cup 3rd Round (2010/11) F.A Trophy Semi Final (1997/98)

Dartford v Dover Athletic

A place in the Kent Senior Cup semi-final is up for grabs when Dartford host Dover Athletic in the last eight of the competition.

The Darts are the highest ranked club left in the cup and victory will secure a tie with Conference South league leaders Bromley. First Tony Burman’s side have to get past a Dover Athletic side who are five places below Bromley and pushing for a playoff spot.

During Dartford’s rise from the Isthmian Division One to the Conference Premier a rivalry has blossomed with The Whites since the 2006/07 season. The last meeting between to the two clubs was back in December 2011 when Dartford triumphed 3-1. Adam Green settled any early nerves scoring from the spot, the penalty was won by Elliot Bradbrook in the sixth minute. The visitors hit back when Agustin Battipiedi rose the highest to head in the equaliser from Barry Cogan’s free kick. It took until just past the hour for the Darts to edge back in front, Ryan Hayes whipped in a dangerous free kick which eluded everyone and ended up in the back of the net. As Dover Athletic pushed for a leveller they were caught out with three minutes remaining, Bradbrook’s neat control was expertly finished with a 25 yard curling effort leaving Mikhael Jamiez-Ruiz stranded.

Four goals were also recorded in the previous two meetings. A 2-2 draw in the same season saw Dover Athletic come from behind twice.  Charlie Sheringham’s quick fire opener was cancelled out by former Dart loanee, George Purcell’s equaliser. Bradbrook’s header put Dartford ahead until Billy Bricknell levelled the match. In the campaign before, the Darts claimed a convincing 4-0 victory at Princes Park with two goals from Sheringham and a goal each for Tom Champion and Danny Harris.

Dartford’s six match unbeaten run came to an end on the weekend when they travelled up to fellow relegation threatened side Southport. Osayamen Osawe caused the Darts defence all sorts of problems in the first half and he turned provider in the twelfth minute. Osawe’s cross gave the Sandgrounders top scorer Danny Hattersley a chance which he took from close range. The Darts showed promise and began to get on top in the match during the second half, but were left with too much to do when Jason Walker added a second for Southport. The game was killed off by the hosts who regained control in the 78th minute as Osawe’s turn and shot made it 3-0 to Southport.

The starting eleven is likely to change as manager Tony Burman has used the Kent Senior Cup to look at some academy and first team squad players. Eight players have started both rounds so far although Ryan Hayes is out injured and will miss the Quarter Final.

Dover Athletic are targeting a return to the Conference Premier after twelve years away. Last season they came close by losing 3-2 in the playoff final, after extra time against Salisbury City. Now managed by Chris Kinnear for the second time, his last spell was between 1985-1995, the Whites are currently ninth in the table two points from the top five. Kinnear is Dover Athletic’s most successful manager leading the club to three titles before reaching the top flight of non league football in 1993, where the club stayed until 2002.

The Darts could welcome back James Rogers, the midfielder joined Dartford from Margate in 2011 and made 103 appearances for under Burman. Rogers left the Darts this season after making seven appearances to rejoin Dover Athletic, where he has spent the majority of his career.

Dover Athletic arrive at Princes Park after hosting this season’s surprise F.A Trophy finalists Gosport Borough. Their visitors, fresh from their semi final win against rivals Havant and Waterlooville, were no match for Dover Athletic who claimed a convincing 3-0 win. Tom Murphy, Barry Cogan and Liam Bellamy scored the goals to move the Whites into sixth position and two points behind the playoffs with games in hand. Victory against the leagues bottom club ended a run of two successive defeats.

Like Dartford, the Whites have often made changes to their starting eleven for the Kent Senior Cup, with nine players involved in both rounds. A trio of  former Ebbsfleet United players have featured in both rounds, Nathan Elder, who netted against the Darts last season, Liam Bellamy and Ashley Carew.

Team News

If featured Lee Noble will make his 250th appearance since joining the club from Brentwood in May 2008, the midfielder has started 176 games, made 73 substitute appearances and scored 35 goals for the Darts. Mat Mitchel-King departed mid way through the first half on Saturday with an ankle injury and Elliot Bradbrook early in the second half with a dislocated finger.

Previous Rounds

Round One

Welling United 2 Dartford 3

Two late goals from the Darts was enough to seal a second round place in a five goal entertainer. Mohamed Eisa’s first half goal was cancelled out by Loick Pires, but late strikes from Alex Woodyard and Brima Daramy was too much for the Wings despite Loui Fazakerley’s consolation.

Dover Athletic 8 Margate 0

The Whites cruised into round two equalling the clubs biggest competitive victory. Michael Bakare recorded a hat-trick whilst Ashley Carew added two free-kicks. Nathan Elder and Barry Cogan found themselves on the score sheet and former Dart, John Beales scored an own goal. At least goalkeeper Mitch Walker had something to do when he saved a Margate penalty.

Round Two

Dartford 1 Charlton Athletic 0

The Darts knocked the Addicks out of the Kent Senior Cup for the second time in three seasons. Once again Dartford left it late to scrape into the next round. Despite Charlton Athletic’s dominance for long periods, Dartford’s youth held their nerve and in the final minute Mohamed Eisa’s free kick grabbed victory for the hosts.

Dover Athletic 3 Erith and Belverdere 1

Chris Kinnear’s side edged past Erith and Belverdere, a team two divisions lower. Nathan Elder gave the hosts a lead just before the break. That advantage was extended in the second half with goals from Elliott Charles and Ricky Modeste. The Kent League champions managed to pull a goal back through Mo Conteh, but it was Dover Athletic who progressed to the Quarter Finals.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 31 / Dover Athletic wins: 33 / Draws: 23

Current Form

Dartford (LDWWWD) Dover Athletic (WLLWWW)
Southport A 0-3 Gosport Borough H 3-0
Aldershot Town H 1-1 Weston Super-Mare A 1-2
Hereford United H 2-0 Sutton United H 0-1
Woking H 5-1 Bath City H 2-0
Wrexham A 2-1 Maidenhead United H 2-0
Cambridge United H 3-3 Chelmsford City H 2-2

Last Meeting At Princes Park

3 December 2013 – Dartford 3 Dover Athletic 1 – Att: 1558

Goalscorers: Green (6 pen), Battipiedi (13), Hayes (62), Bradbrook (87)

The Darts Lineup: Wells, Jones, Green, Bonner, Goodacre, Champion, Hayes, Wallis, Burns, Bradbrook, Rogers (subs used: Noble, Graham, Harris)

The Whites Lineup: Jamiez-Ruiz, Starkey, Wynter, Battipiedi, Schulz,  Huke, Cogan, Southam, Walker, Purcell, Redwood (subs used: Bricknell, Baker)

Previous Meetings (* – F.A Trophy)

03.12.2011 Dartford 3 Dover Athletic 1
23.08.2011 Dover Athletic 2 Dartford 2
25.04.2011 Dartford 4 Dover Athletic 0
09.11.2010 Dover Athletic 0 Dartford 2
21.11.2009* Dover Athletic 3 Dartford 2


Dartford are unbeaten in four matches against Dover Athletic, last losing in the 2009/10 F.A Trophy tie 3-2 at The Crabble.

The last Kent Senior Cup meeting between the Darts and the Whites was in 2007/08. The first round tie ended with the Darts claiming a 2-0 win on 11 December 2007. Elliot Bradbrook’s brother Tom and Junior Kadi scored the goals to send Dartford through.

In the seventies the two sides met in successive Kent Senior Cup finals. The 1970/71 and 1971/72 finals both ended with 3-2 aggregate wins for Dover Athletic. During this period Dartford reached four finals in a row between 1970 & 1973, the Darts won the other two.

Dartford and Dover Athletic have crossed paths on a number of occasions in the last eight years, the graph below charts the progress of both clubs. In 2007/2008, both clubs took the Isthmian Division One title with Dartford winning the Northern section and Dover Athletic the Southern section.

dfc & dafc league progress



















Dartford v Dover Athletic

The Darts return to Conference South action against Kent rivals Dover Athletic on Saturday hoping to repeat last season’s corresponding fixture.

The Darts celebrate one of four goals in last season's meeting

Over the Easter period Dartford put in one of their performances of the season by brushing Dover aside in an excellent 4-0 victory. Charlie Sheringham gave The Darts the lead heading home a Lee Noble corner mid way through the first half. Tom Champion made it two nil in the second half and moments later Danny Harris acute lob made it three. The lead was extended to four when Sheringham scored his second to complete the triumph.

James Rogers was involved in Dartford’s victory last season and he may face his former club again after missing the fixture in August. Jon Wallis will also hope to play a part this time at Princes Park after being on the receiving end for Dover in April.

At The Crabble in August the two sides played out a 2-2 draw with Dover twice coming from behind to share the spoils. Sheringham opened the scoring in seconds but ex Dartford loanee George Purcell equalised for The Whites. Elliot Bradbrook made it 2-1 in first half injury time from a Richard Graham cross and on the hour Billy Bricknell earned Dover a point.

Dartford enter the Kent derby unbeaten in six league and cup matches after Tuesday’s replay win against Eastbourne Borough. Tony Burman spoke to PURE DFC about the replay, he said: “It was difficult for the guys first half because Eastbourne played at lot of people behind the ball. We’ve got to keep our concentration for a long time but having said that we got to make something happen”.

The Dartford boss was keen to address the first half difficulties at the break, he added: “We said at half time we had to keep our cool and we have got to make something happen. Whether that is a deflected shot or whether it comes off someone’s backside, or anything we need to make something happen ourselves.”

Tom Champion after his goal on Tuesday night

In the second half The Darts took the lead through Champion’s long range effort and from then on Burman was happier with his side, he commented: “It was a great strike, as soon as that happened and we went a goal up they started to move around a lot better, the passing got a little bit better and we had a little bit of belief, a little bit of confidence”.

After a second goal from Danny Harris, Eastbourne Borough were awarded a dubious penalty. Former Dart Carl Rook scored and The Dartford boss was far from impressed with the officials, he said: “The referee in my opinion had a howler, it was a bad decision for the penalty. To me the fellow has fallen over his own man and I can’t believe that the linesman can’t help the referee out in that situation he must have seen it”.

With full attention now on the home league match against Dover Athletic, Burman is asking for the fans to play their part, he added: “I really hope that the supporters get behind the team on Saturday. It is a big game to look forward to and with that support I’m sure the players will react and put in a good performance”.

Dover Athletic have changed manager since our visit to The Crabble. Martin Hayes was replaced with former football league striker Nicky Forster at the end of September. The Whites travel to Princes Park on the back of three straight defeats, two against Boreham Wood. The recent run of results have been Forster’s toughest test so far having drawn one and won four in the league matches prior their current poor form. The Whites enter Saturday’s derby six points behind Dartford and four points shy of the playoffs.

Forster has added Argentinian midfielder Agustin Battipiedi and winger Leon Redwood both from Brighton and Hove Albion since Dartford last played them in August. Kyle Vassell signed with The Whites from Brentford to bolster Dover’s attack.


Dartford (4th) versus Dover Athletic (7th)

Current Form (league only)

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


Dartford average home attendance: 1185

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

Dover Athletic average away attendance: 726

Highest away attendance: 1306 v Woking / Lowest: 261 v Boreham Wood

Did you know…

Dartford are unbeaten against Dover Athletic in three matches, scoring eight and conceding just two goals.

Only Woking have conceded less second half goals than Dartford and Dover Athletic in the Conference South this season.

The Darts have netted in every competitive home fixture this season.

The Whites have yet to concede a league goal between 16 and 30 minutes.

*Attendances taken from and minutes of goals scored taken from

Pictures courtesy of Dave Adkins

Dover Athletic v Dartford

The Darts travel to Dover on Tuesday night keen to maintain their stay at the top of the Conference South.

A victory against Hampton and Richmond on Saturday courtesy of Elliot Bradbrook’s second of the season and Charlie Sheringham’s penalty saw Dartford climb to the top of the table. Coincidentally The Darts replaced their next opponents who were defeated 1-0 by newcomers Truro City.

The Darts celebrate a 4-0 win against Dover

Tony Burman’s side picked up their first Conference South away win in the corresponding fixture last season when Ryan Hayes opened the scoring in the first half and Ollie Berquez netted the second eight minutes from time. To compound Dover’s misery Dartford completed the double in April romping away with a 4-0 win at Princes Park. The match on Tuesday night has a sub plot with the return of Dartford midfielder Jon Wallis to The Crabble.

The start of the season could not have got any better for The Darts, Burman spoke to PURE DFC and said: “We started last Saturday and before the kick off we said it is about winning games, it doesn’t matter how you do it but it’s about winning and we’ve won the first three seven days later. We’ve got nine points and obviously I’m delighted”.

Similar to the Eastbourne Borough game in mid week Dartford had the opportunities to score more goals against Hampton and Richmond. Although Burman noted Hampton and Richmond posed more of a threat, he commented: “We felt the goals let us down a bit today, it knocked us and it killed the tempo what we wanted to play at. The two lads upfront for Hampton were causing problems with their height and play. Having said that we feel we had enough chances in the first half or we were unlucky not to go in more than 2-1 up…it wasn’t the prettiest in the second half but we felt we had enough chances”.

Charlie Sheringham doubles the lead

Charlie Sheringham scored his fourth in three games as well as missing a penalty on Saturday but Burman is happy with the strikers progress, he added: “He’s done two games in preseason, he’s been injured for most of pre season He had come back and has done ever so well because he had a sticky patch when he first come here. The supporters had their opinion and probably felt he wasn’t working hard enough and me myself probably did as well. You’ve got to give the lad credit, from mid January onwards he was excellent and this year he is going to benefit from the players we’ve brought in. They are players who will play and have a little bit more quality on the ball. He has done well and I’m pleased for him”.

After a tough but successful opening week games could get harder in the following seven days, Burman said: “We’ve won our first three games and now we go to Dover, Chelmsford, Bromley that is another tough week and lot of things can happen in football”.

However the Dartford boss is looking forward to Tuesday nights match at The Crabble and wants the two sides to give the fans a good show, he said: “It’s always a tough game against Dover but they are the games you want to be involved with. Supporters want to be involved with it, players want to be involved with it and it’s who stays calm on the night. We should hopefully put on a real good game which is what the supporters want. They want to be cheering their side on, both sets of supporters that is, they’ve been good games in recent years I don’t see that Tuesday should be any different”.

Dartford’s opponents on Tuesday night opened the season with two resounding 4-0 victories against Dorchester Town and Thurrock. The Whites led the Conference South on goal difference until Saturday when they went down by a single goal against Truro City having had Tom Wynter dismissed in the first half. The Whites have now dropped to fifth spot where Dartford started on Saturday.

Dover Athletic have been busy over the summer after disappointingly missing the playoffs last season. The leagues top scorer Adam Birchall was signed by Gillingham after his F.A Cup exploits attracted attention from various Football League clubs. The F.A Cup run to the third round will give Martin Hayes plenty of confidence his side can make at least the playoffs this time round.

Hayes is still trying to win over some Dover fans after he allegedly fell out with crowd favourite Wallis. In the last week another player Ollie Schulz has been transfer listed as expectations at The Crabble remain high. However, Hayes has secured the services of many experienced players from higher divisions and recently captured Barnet’s captain from last season Glen Southam.

Along with Southam, Dover have signed six players with Conference Premier experience.  Shane Huke, Michael Corcoran and Matt Johnson all came in from Rushden & Diamonds, Ed Harris (AFC Wimbledon), George Purcell (York City) and Steve Watt from Grimsby Town. Hayes also added championship winner Phil Starkey from Braintree Town, Ross Kitteridge (Bishop’s Stortford), Billy Bricknall (Chelmsford City) and James Walker (Woking). The release of five players plus the departures of Birchall, Wallis and Ben Hunt (now Weston Super-Mare) means it has been a busy summer for The Whites.

George Purcell in action for The Darts

The Darts will be keeping an eye on George Purcell who has managed three goals so far and will be determined to score against his former side. Purcell was only on loan with Dartford last season and scored just twice. Purcell’s pearler against Woking and winner against Ashford Town (Middlesex) showed Dartford fans a glimpse of what he is capable of. Billy Bricknall has also scored three times this season and netted in both victories against The Darts last season when he played for Chelmsford City.

In recent years the rivalry between Dartford and Dover has had a revival due to the success of both clubs reaching the Conference South. Both players and fans will be desperate to earn bragging rights as both sides look to improve their positive starts to the season.

Did you know…

A win for Dartford will match their four game winning streak at the start of the 2009/10 when promotion to the Conference South was achieved

The Darts have won their last five Conference South fixtures, a run which started against Dover Athletic on 25 April 2011. Last season Dartford’s longest winning sequence was four from 22 January 2011 to 8 February 2011

Dover Athletic scored the most league goals in the last fifteen minutes then any other Conference South club last season

Pictures courtesy of Dave Adkins and Carol White-Griffiths


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

10 – April and May – Mission Complete

Oh Jackie Pallen!

Dartford entered the final month of the season in twelfth position and five points behind a top ten finish. Over April The Darts would play another seven league fixtures and a Kent Senior Cup Semi Final.

Lee Burns scores his first

It was a windy day in Hertfordshire which played a huge part in the result against St Albans City. Dartford started off well and forced Conor Gough into a save which he spilt then gathered up and Charlie Sheringham headed wide. Half way through the first forty five Dartford cleared their lines, Lee Burns flicked on a routine header thirty five yards from goal, and the wind carried the ball which bounced by the penalty spot. Dartford fans watched on in disbelief as Gough watched the bouncing ball sail over his head and into the net. What a way to score your first goal of the season, bizarre indeed. Burns celebrated in style, having recently become a father he cradled the tiny Lee Noble, typical Burnsy, no one could be happier. The crowd started to sing, “Where were you when Burnsy scored?” about time we all thought.

Early into the second half The Darts threatened with a couple of headers but it was the home side that made their chance count.  A long ball fell into Tony Battersby’s path and he neatly finished equalising for The Saints. The side at the bottom of the table came back into the game and when Paul Goodacre committed a foul a penalty was awarded. Battersby stepped up to make it two, struck his shot and smashed the cross bar.

Young Jack Pallen was given a start up front and when there was five minutes to go he chased down the ball forcing the St Albans defender into a mistake. Pallen was through one on one with Gough then slotted the ball beyond the keeper, Jack won the match.

St Albans City 1 Dartford 2 – Highlights

A Trip to the Coast

The emergence of Jack Pallen saw a change to the playing staff. Carl Rook went out on loan and Tony Burman signed winger James Rogers.  The Darts made the journey to the coast to take on Ramsgate in the Kent Senior Cup Semi Final. Now the side had got this far and silverware was in our grasp this competition mattered because it had been fifteen years since Dartford reached a cup final.

Sheringham's spot kick

The Rams held Dartford in the first half as both sides failed to score in the opening forty five minutes. In the second half,  Ramsgate failed to clear a corner and Tom Champion scuffed a half volley towards goal, Charlie Sheringham instinctively blasted the ball into the roof of the net from a couple of yards out, 1-0.

The lead was doubled when Jack Pallen was felled in the box and Sheringham converted the spot-kick for his fourth goal in this year’s competition. And just to make sure the tie was finished off ten minutes from time when Ryan Hayes stylishly cut inside to polish off Ramsgate with goal number three. The Darts had made it through to the Bank Holiday May finale.

Ramsgate 0 Dartford 3 – Kent Senior Cup Semi Final Highlights

Playing Without Fear

The win at St Albans City meant Dartford booked their place in next seasons Conference South. However, Tony Burman was determined for his side to finish in the top ten and play to the end. This type of attitude showed against the in form Woking who had taken an impressive 38 points from their last 45.

The first half was more than dramatic at Princes Park. Elliot Bradbrook was deemed to have handled in his penalty box. The decision was harsh considering Bradbrook was facing the opposite direction and the ball hit is hand. The experienced former football league player Elvis Hammond stepped up, the Dartford fans waited for the spot kick. Hammond struck the ball; Andrew Young guessed right, the ball rolled past the post and the scores stayed level.  The penalty count levelled up when Lee Noble was bundled to the floor giving Charlie Sheringham the opportunity to put Dartford in front. Sheringham stepped up, the Dartford fans waited for the spot kick. Sheringham struck the ball; Andy Little guessed right, the ball rolled past the post and the scores stayed level, déjà vu.

With fifteen minutes left to play in the first half no one could afford to blink, it was all action. Andrew Burgess took a free kick from way out on the right and his effort flew over Young into the far top corner. It was a goal Dartford fans had seen Ryan Hayes score on many occasions, this time the goal went against The Darts. Woking deserved the lead but were left completely stunned.

In the space of four minutes the following took place. Dartford won a corner on the left which was sent into the box by Lee Noble. Elliot Bradbrook rose the highest and headed in the equaliser. A couple of minutes later Lee Burns played a short pass into Jack Pallen who spotted a diagonal run by Sheringham. Pallen picked out his fellow striker, Sheringham slid in to win the ball. Sheringham got to his feet the quickest and lifted the ball over the Little into the goal. Unbelievably it did not stop there when Sheringham flicked the ball into Pallen’s path he expertly blasted in the third, what a turnaround.

Charlie Sheringham lifts the ball goalwards

The Darts played with confidence in the second half but failed to increase the lead and when Woking’s Adam Doyle was dismissed the game looked over.  With seven minutes remaining the visitors won another penalty, the third of the game. Craig Dobson was on duty after Hammond’s earlier miss, he scored to give The Cards a life line but it was all too late.

Dartford 3 Woking 2 – Highlights

Super Mario Defeats The Darts

With a cup final place in the bag and a placed in next year’s Conference South, Dartford’s top ten quest was dealt three fatal blows in the space of a week. Boreham Wood destroyed The Darts back in October with the help of Mario Noto and he was at it again.

Charlie Sheringham gave The Darts the lead to make amends for his second penalty miss in consecutive games.  The striker failed to score after Lee Noble won a penalty and his spot kick was saved.  Dartford won penalty number two when Tom Bonner was hauled down, this time Sheringham went down the middle to give The Darts the lead.

Noto again: Mario takes The Darts apart

A minute before the break Mario Noto curled a superb free kick beyond Andrew Young to level. After the restart Noto beat Young for a second time when another curled effort was unstoppable. For the second game in a row a third penalty was awarded which gave Noto the chance to complete a hat trick, he did. To make things worse The Wood netted a fourth through David Bryant and Lee Burns was sent off.  Noto had now scored five of Boreham Wood’s seven goals against Dartford.

Dartford 1 Boreham Wood 4 – Highlights

Fogden Strikes Again

In a jam packed week Dartford travelled to Hampshire on a Monday night to face Havant and Waterlooville. The pitch at Westleigh Park wasn’t pretty and neither was the result. After a few chances for Tony Burman’s side the home team opened the scoring on thirty three minutes. Dartford’s defence were caught napping and Sammy Igoe’s cross was turned into the net by Wes Fogden. Dartford pushed for an equaliser knowing victory against The Hawks will aid their top ten finish and potentially damage Havant and Waterlooville’s chances. It wasn’t to be and the Hampshire side took the three points.

Havant and Waterlooville 1 Dartford 0 – Highlights

Dress Rehearsal

Defeat against Havant and Waterlooville meant the Good Friday match against Bromley was crucial. It was Havant and Bromley in Dartford’s way to gate crashing the top ten. The fixture at Hayes Lane was also a dress rehearsal for the Kent Senior Cup Final. The dress rehearsal was a disaster.

The Ravens took the lead through Jerry Nnamani and three minutes later Jerrome Sobers doubled their advantage. Charlie Sheringham gave Dartford a lifeline from the spot before half time but two second half goals from Warren McBean and Leon McKenzie completed Bromley’s victory.

Bromley 4 Dartford 1 – Highlights

A Glorious Day

Three defeats in a row and the return of Jon Main in a Dover Athletic shirt had the Dartford fans up for this fixture. The rivalry between Dartford and Dover in the last five years had increased as their paths have crossed more recently. Like Good Friday the sun was beaming down and inside Princes Park the atmosphere was cooking. It is fair to say that Dover has had the upper hand over Dartford for some time but after the 2-0 win by The Darts in November the double was on.

The game started at pace and continued throughout the first half. The Dartford midfield worked tirelessly and combined some good moves but neither side could fashion a goal scoring chance until mid-way into the first forty five. Lee Noble lined up a corner on the left and sent the cross into the crowded box. Charlie Sheringham lost his marker with a run to the near post and flicked the ball into the opposite corner, Princes Park erupted.

Lee Noble and Lee Burns linked up well on the edge of the box and Burns’ volley was parried wide by Ross Flitney. Noble then led a counter attack which failed to materialise and his curling effort later on just missed the target. Noble was everywhere dictating the middle of the park and setting up attacks. Dover survived the first half only a goal down.

Dartford end their home campaign on a high

Ten minutes into the second half Burns played the ball inside to Elliot Bradbrook. The captain laid the ball off to Tom Champion and side footed the ball tamely towards goal, a slight deflection later and the lead was doubled, The Darts were ecstatic. Three minutes on and Andrew Young punted a goal kick to the half way line. Charlie Sheringham headed the ball onwards, Burns flicked on with his head and Danny Harris pounced onto the ball and expertly lobbed Flitney, 3-0 the crowd went crazy. The Dartford players celebrated with the fans, Dover players looked on head in hands and stunned.

To the credit of a handful of Dover fans who kept supporting their club and making noise The Whites tried to get back into the game but found Dartford difficult to break down. Adam Birchall was kept quiet and his only major chance one on one with Andrew Young saw The Darts goalkeeper come out on top. Ross Flitney had to twice tip shots over the bar in the Dover goal as Dartford attempted to increase their lead. After a corner was kept alive Noble took a pop at goal inside the eighteen yard box, Sheringham reached out a leg controlled the ball and poked the ball with the outside of his foot passed Flitney, 4-0 to The Darts, what a way to finish Princes Park’s league campaign for 2010/2011.

Dartford 4 Dover Athletic 0 – Highlights

In at Number Ten

30 April 2011 and Dartford’s long season was to end at Maidenhead United. Whilst The Darts were playing for top ten finish their opponents needed just a point to stay up. Dartford needed to win and hope Bromley were defeated by Eastleigh.

The first half passed by with the home side happy to see out the game and use up time. At the break all looked well for both sides because Bromley and Thurrock were two goals down at the interval. In the second half The Darts threw a spanner in the works when Charlie Sheringham latched onto Ryan Hayes through ball to lob Steve Williams in the Maidenhead goal. A second goal followed fifteen minutes later when Jack Pallen and Sheringham combined on the edge of the box. Pallen finished netting his second league goal of the season, the academy player was settling in just nicely. Two turned to three in the seventy second minute when Ryan Hayes hit a right footed volley sweetly into the corner.  The season was ending on a high, Bromley were still two goals down and Thurrock had managed to pull their game back to 3-2. The Darts partied, The Magpies were on edge.

Maidenhead were not finished yet and substitute Craig Faulconbridge’s glancing header with eleven minutes on the clock gave The Magpies some impetus. Jefferson Louis pulled another goal back with five minutes remaining; surely The Darts wouldn’t throw it away? Then in the dying moments of the season Louis turned his man, fired in a shot, over the cross bar. A close call in the end as the game finished 3-2.

Knowledge of results from elsewhere arrived at York Road. Farnborough 3 Thurrock 2, Maidenhead was safe. Bromley 0 Eastleigh 2, Dartford had gate crashed the top ten.

Braintree Town departed the Conference South as champions. Farnborough Town and Ebbsfleet United overcome Woking and Chelmsford City in the playoffs respectively. Ebbsfleet United won the playoff 4-2 to join Braintree in the Conference National. St Albans City and Lewes were relegated and Thurrock was given a reprieve due to the demise of Rushden and Diamonds in the league above, Bishop’s Stortford moved to the Conference North. Joining the Conference South for 2011/2012 is Sutton United and Tonbridge Angels from the Isthmian Premier League as well as Salisbury City and Truro City from the Southern Premier League. The new adventure awaits.

Maidenhead United 2 Dartford 3 – Highlights

For The Win?

Last time Dartford made it to a cup final was in 1996 so it had been a long time coming. Bromley had won the Kent Senior Cup in 2007 when they retained the prize. The two sides drew 2-2 at Princes Park back in September but the 4-1 defeat to Bromley on Good Friday was still fresh in the memory of players, staff and supporters. The final was to be held at Princes Park and crowd of 2025 made the effort to see who would be crowned champions of Kent.

Tony Burman stuck with Deren Ibrahim in goal who had played in every round, the rest of the team was as you would expect as The Darts aimed to win their third piece of silverware in four years. An expectant crowd wanted to taste glory again and typically a mix of excitement and nerves filled Princes Park.

Dartford started steadily passing the ball around in midfield using their full backs to good effect. Tom Champion won possession and played the ball back to Paul Goodacre. Tom Bonner received the pass and touched the ball inside to Elliot Bradbrook. Bradbrook exchanged a one two with Lee Noble then played the ball wide to Matt Jones. Jones knocked the ball wide to Ryan Hayes who was making his two hundredth start, he cut inside and whipped in an in swinger. Noble was on the end of it unmarked, the header went wide. A promising opening, Noble kicked the post knowing he should have scored.

The Darts celebrate the opener

Bromley hit back when Ibrahim was forced into a reaction save at the near post and the resulting corner was scrambled clear. The next chance came from Dartford when Danny Harris was given space and his curler was deflected out for a corner. Twenty minutes had passed and Hayes swung the corner towards goal, Charlie Sheringham nodded the ball across the crowded six yard box and Bradbrook poked the ball in, just what the Captain ordered.

Straight from kick off Bromley directly carved their way through the Dartford team, Harry Harding was one on one with Young, what a waste from the Bromley player as he blasted the ball over, Dartford went to sleep and were let off. The first half was suddenly over it had all gone so quickly and The Darts had the narrow advantage.

Five minutes into the second half and Bonner took a throw in the corner of the Bromley half, his throw was laid back to him and a first time cross bounced through three Bromley defenders. Hayes was waiting, looked up and calmly picked out the far corner with a side footed shot, Dartford doubled their lead. Hayes ran to the corner flag slid on his knees got up and ‘sang’ using the flag as a microphone. Dartford fans sang knowing silverware was in their grasp.

The Darts started to play with more confidence, Sheringham’s spin and shot went harmlessly over, Hayes tricked his way down the left side, Bromley were on the edge as Dartford won another corner. Hayes swung the ball underneath the goal posts, Craig Holloway fumbled and after fifty five minutes Dartford were three to the good. Hayes was congratulated and out came his imaginary guitar.

Dartford fans were starting to have fun knowing the cup was as good as theirs and if anyone had doubts they didn’t on the hour. Sheringham’s vision picked out Hayes and his first time low cross to the far post reached Harris who was lurking to tap the ball in, 4-0. The players knew the job was done. Although Bromley pulled one back through Warren McBean fifteen minutes from time, Dartford won the Kent Senior Cup for the tenth time in their history.

Dartford F.C - Kent Senior Cup Winners

The celebrations went on into the evening, a third trophy in four years. Back in January, who would have thought Dartford would finish in the top ten and win a cup? Tony Burman, his staff, his players, and supporters had achieved the best set of results since 1989. Dartford Football Club finished tenth in the Conference South, reached the last sixteen of the F.A Trophy, the first round of the F.A Cup and is now the Champions of Kent.

Dartford 4 Bromley 1 – Kent Senior Cup Final Highlights

Kent Senior Cup Final Presentation

Dartford for the win!

Pos Team Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1 Braintree Town 42 27 8 7 78 33 +45 89
2 Farnborough 42 25 7 10 83 47 +36 82
3 Ebbsfleet United 42 22 12 8 75 51 +24 78
4 Chelmsford City 42 23 8 11 82 50 +32 77
5 Woking 42 22 10 10 62 42 +20 76
6 Welling United* 42 24 8 10 81 47 +34 75
7 Dover Athletic 42 22 8 12 80 51 +29 74
8 Eastleigh 42 22 6 14 74 53 +21 72
9 Havant & W 42 16 10 16 56 51 +5 58
10 Dartford 42 15 12 15 60 60 0 57
11 Bromley 42 15 12 15 49 61 -12 57
12 Weston-super-Mare 42 15 8 19 56 67 -11 53
13 Basingstoke Town 42 13 10 19 50 63 -13 49
14 Boreham Wood 42 12 11 19 56 67 -11 47
15 Staines Town 42 11 14 17 48 63 -15 47
16 Bishop’s Stortford 42 13 6 23 48 79 -31 45
17 Dorchester Town 42 10 14 18 49 59 -10 44
18 Hampton & Richmond 42 9 15 18 43 60 -17 42
19 Maidenhead United 42 10 10 22 43 70 -27 40
20 Thurrock 42 8 13 21 50 77 -27 37
21 Lewes 42 9 9 24 34 70 -36 36
22 St Albans City** 42 7 13 22 39 75 -36 24

*Welling United deducted five points

**St Albans City deducted ten points

Stuart Maidment

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


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

6 – The Wonder of You

The Birth of Flagzilla

It had been just over two decades since Dartford’s last appearance in the F.A Cup First Round. For the first time ever Princes Park would host a Football League side in a competitive match. A sell-out crowd was expected and four days before the big day a sell-out was announced. The unlucky Dartford supporters who were unable to buy tickets did get a second chance when Port Vale returned some of their allocation.

Walking towards Princes Park, Vale fans displayed their away shirts looking for decent public houses. Dartford supporters were already there lubricating their vocal chords, the build-up was friendly; the charm of the F.A Cup had entered the town. The Darts were under no pressure, had nothing to lose but dreamed of what might happen. The Port Vale following, aware of a possible cup upset, was still confident enough to pull through. After all Micky Adam’s side were flying high in League Two in second position.

As three o’clock approached the atmosphere was cranked up a notch. F.A Cup fever had reached its peak and what better way to celebrate than unleashing Dartford’s new signing. Paid by the fans, its black, its white and its pure dynamite…Flagzilla made its debut.

Flagzilla warms up the action at against Port Vale

Dartford started with intent and in the opening minutes left Port Vale shell shocked. In the commentary box Gary Clark and Paul Philpot described the action: “Burns across field to Hayes, Hayes left footed looking for Danny Harris, Harris, Danny Harris is through, Danny Harris, ohhhhhhhhhh off the line”. The crowd gasped, The Darts were incredibly denied, what a start, the crowd were lifted, as if the match wasn’t enough in the first place!

After a Hayes free kick flashed wide, The Darts grew in confidence, the performance was steady and with the Princes Park crowd behind Tony Burman’s men the nerves had disappeared. Half way through the first half a controversial moment arrived, Carl Rook laid the ball off but Vale midfielder Gary Roberts miss controlled the ball. Michael Shinn stood his ground to win the ball, Roberts lunged two footed and Shinn was fouled. Tony Burman and Paul Sawyer were incensed at the side of the pitch; nearly every player got involved as a brawl broke out, Shinn made no fuss, surely a red card and advantage Dartford. The referee called the Captains over and spoke to Roberts and Shinn. Yellow card, Roberts was lucky to stay on the pitch.

The Darts looked more like the Football League side and almost went in front when Lee Burns fired wide. Then Carl Rook worked tirelessly to hold up the ball, Hayes’ trickery created a crossing opportunity and when it found the feet of Rook he scuffed the shot into Stuart Tomlinson’s hands.

Bradbrook nets a shock opener

Rook and Hayes battled on down the left and when Hayes persistence paid off he was brought down on the edge of the box near the goal line.  “So it’s a free kick about a yard outside the penalty area and three yards from the touchline. Shinn and Hayes now stand over the ball, I think it’s going to be Hayes, it is. Delivers it in, a cross, YEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH. CAPTAIN ELLIOT BRADBROOK, GOAL TO DARTFORD, GOAL!” Princes Park erupted, The Darts were in front.

At half time Dartford fans could not quite believe what was happening, forty five minutes away from glory. If you thought about it too hard then nerves would kick in, the only cure was to sing a long, get behind the boys and hope time would tick along quickly to four forty five. Port Vale feared the worst, Micky Adams made a triple substitution. The second half kicked off…

The Vale played with more urgency but Dartford stayed strong and continued to create chances. Paul Goodacre headed straight at Tomlinson, Hayes sent a free kick over, the clock ticked away. The Darts defence were resolute, Harris was the Patron Saint of Lost Causes troubling Port Vale with his pace, Hayes troubled The Vale with his trickery and Rook worked hard to keep possession up top on his own. Charlie Sheringham then entered the equation as Tony Burman swapped him with the tired Rook. Six minutes remained.

McCombe saves Vale

A hopeful through ball was played forward from The Vale midfield, Hayes swiped at the ball to cut it out about 30 yards from goal, and the slice on the ball spun it towards Andrew Young’s touchline. Out came Young who caught the ball, unfortunately he was unable to save the corner. Tommy Fraser went over to take the corner kick; right footed he swung the ball out towards the middle of the six yard box. Players were tugging at each other, jostling for position when the ball broke loose to John McCombe who bundled the ball towards goal, heartbroken, silence. Port Vale escaped Princes Park with a draw.

The full time whistle blew and the Dartford faithful proudly clapped every player off the park. Time passed and everyone had time to reflect on an exhausting day, no one knew whether to be proud or gutted, in the end we settled for both…six minutes, just six more minutes.

Dartford 1 Port Vale 1 – F.A Cup First Round Highlights

Away Day Blues are Dover

Searching for the first away victory in the league Dartford were on a high after their F.A Cup heroics. Over recent years Dover Athletic had got the better of The Darts and had just come off the back of an F.A Cup giant killing themselves. The Whites had famously defeated Gillingham to make national headlines. A Tuesday night at The Crabble turned out to be satisfactory night for Tony Burman and his men. Both sides were tired and Dover looked the better side creating better chances. Dartford dug deep and was certainly up for it.

Ryan Hayes opened the scoring  after just eleven minutes, Hayes sent in one of his corners which goalkeeper Ross Flitney let slip, fortunate or poor goalkeeping it did not matter, 1-0. Andrew Young was kept very busy and again put in another outstanding performance. Eight minutes into the second half Michael Shinn brought down the ‘unstoppable’ Adam Birchall. Birchall scorer of eleven goals in Dover’s opening twelve league matches picked himself up to take the penalty, Young saved. Dover pushed on, continued to create chances and spurn them. Then on 82 minutes The Darts launched a counter attack, Elliot Bradbrook crossed towards Ollie Berquez who nodded in to win the game for sure. Only the travelling faithful witnessed a terrific win for The Darts, the away press were allowed no cameras.

First Defeat at Home

Dorchester Town were next up at Princes Park, confidence was high in the Dartford dressing room after the past week. The problem was that the players had one eye on the F.A Cup replay in three days’ time. With the match level at half time, The Magpies exploded into action in the second half. Ryan Moss scored in the sixty fourth minute when he followed up from Andrew Young’s fine save.  A break away from Dorchester two minutes later resulted in a second goal, this time taken by Mark Jermyn from six yards. Dartford tried to find a way back but was caught out for a third time when experienced midfielder Nick Crittenden finished off a counter attack in the eighty seventh minute. To rub salt into the wound Moss completed a brace in the final minute, Dartford were well and truly beaten.

Dartford 0 Dorchester Town 4 – Highlights

An Evening in Burslem

Two coach loads travelled up to Burslem on a Tuesday night not expecting victory but still hoping for a giant killing. Even with the dodgy air conditioning this did not deter the Dartford faithful from a memorable occasion. Micky Adams learnt from the first match and played a stronger side. The winners would take on Accrington Stanley or Morecambe at home in round two. The coaches arrived and fans from both sides mingled in the bar, bottles of Titanic Ale went down well until seven forty five arrived. The Darts travelling contingent of just over three hundred entered Vale Park which looked huge compared to the non-league surroundings we had got used to in recent years. Dartford flags were draped over the spare seats and nonstop singing throughout the ninety minutes made sure this was an evening to be proud.

A tribute to the travelling support

Dartford supporters gather at Vale Park in the F.A Cup First Round Replay

The wide pitch was used to full affect by Port Vale, playing with width, using their wingers and overlapping full backs, Dartford were stretched. Football League experience paid off and from the outset The Vale controlled the game.

The boys gave it their all but it was a step too far. The support was fantastic, 314 fans travelled but it sounded like we took 500. Andrew Young was kept busy and had a super game but he was unable to keep out Marc Richards’ penalty on seven minutes.  Eight minutes later the lead was doubled when Richards netted his second. Sean Rigg scored number three on 56 minutes and Justin Richards scored the goal of the night with fifteen minutes left.

Dartford fans could be excused for thinking they had lost 4-0, after all we did score five imaginary goals. Altogether now, “let’s pretend, let’s pretend, let’s pretend we’ve scored a goal” cue cheering and goal celebrations. After the third imaginary goal the Dartford supporters really didn’t let the defeat spoil their party. “Let’s pretend, let’s pretend, let’s pretend we’ve scored a goal” cue cheering and goal celebrations, “four nil and you ****** it up, four nil and you ****** it up”. What a comeback, oh no wait a minute why not make it five, we never did have our match with Accrington Stanley.

Dartford players applaud the support, the fans applaud back

Dartford players and staff applauded the crowd, appreciating the tremendous support. The support applauded back appreciating the tremendous effort put in by the players and staff. It was a night to be a proud Dartford fan, the fans belted out Elvis Pressley’s Wonder of You, scarfs displayed above heads, the evening closed.

Port Vale 4 Dartford 0 – F.A Cup First Round Replay Highlights (1st Half)

Port Vale 4 Dartford 0 – F.A Cup First Round Replay Highlights (2nd Half)

Now for the Trophy

One cup run ended, another one began. The F.A Trophy represented Dartford’s only realistic, albeit slim chance to reach Wembley. Not since Peter Taylor was in charge at Watling Street had The Darts came close to a repeating their run to the final in 1974. Of course, this was a long way off but you never know.

Dartford returned to Ship Lane to take on Thurrock who held The Darts in their league match back in September. Thurrock had not won any of their opening fourteen league matches and was propping up the Conference South table, in their match before meeting Dartford they recorded their first win against Staines Town.

Rook scores twice

Carl Rook headed in an eighteenth minute goal to give The Darts some breathing space. Before the opener, there was little to choose between the two sides.  Thurrock looked for a way into the tie but could not break down the Dartford defence. With eight minutes left Rook doubled his tally from six yards out to secure a place in the First Round. Next up…Crawley Town.

After the F.A Trophy tie Tony Burman confirmed Lee Noble had been given a chance to prove his worth at Concord Rangers and Ollie Berquez also went out on loan to Billericay Town.

Thurrock 0 Dartford 2 – F.A Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round Highlights

Debutant arrives

Tony Burman was in the loan market again and on 23 November 2010 announced the arrival of George Purcell from York City. Purcell was to make his first start against Woking, three times F.A trophy winners.

The Darts were off to a tremendous start when Ryan Hayes opened the scoring with a deft lob on seven minutes for Dartford. Hayes ran to the away end, back facing the audience and celebrated with a jig, a great finish from the winger. Woking looked strong up front and had the experience of former football league stirker Elvis Hammond who equalised mid-way through the first half. Woking passed the ball well and when Hammond went through his scuffed effort wrong footed Andrew Young and trickled into the Dartford net. The Cards then went into the break with a lead courtesy of Craig Faulconbridge’s header in first half stoppage time, the cross was pin point and the header was well placed beyond Young.

In the second half it did not take long for parity to be restored. Only five minutes had been played when loanee and debutant George Purcell finished in style. With a looped ball forward Purcell chased onto the ball waited for the bounce then almost karate kick like lobbed the ball over the goalkeeper, an exquisite finish, top goal indeed. Purcell was lively all afternoon and was foiled twice by Andrew Little in goal and blasted two opportunities over the crossbar. The game ended 2-2 to leave Dartford in eighteenth place, three points above the bottom three.

Woking 2 Dartford 2 – Highlights

November Completed

Cup games and wintery conditions made the league campaign slightly unsettled during November. Bromley and Braintree Town shared top spot. Ebbsfleet United continued where they left off in October and were now unbeaten in ten matches. Havant and Waterlooville finished the month on four consecutive wins. Braintree Town and Staines Town played out an astonishing 4-4 draw, Welling thrashed St Albans City 6-0 and Thurrock lifted themselves out of the bottom three by winning two in a row.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Braintree Town 16 10 3 3 29 11 +18 33
2 Bromley 16 9 6 1 26 17 +9 33
3 Welling United* 17 10 3 4 35 22 +13 27
4 Chelmsford City 14 8 3 3 27 18 +9 27
5 Dover Athletic 14 8 2 4 29 19 +10 26
6 Ebbsfleet United 14 7 5 2 22 12 +10 26
7 Farnborough 16 8 4 4 28 19 +9 28
8 Havant and W 13 6 4 3 20 11 +9 22
9 Eastleigh 15 6 4 5 24 18 +6 22
10 Bishop’s Stortford 17 7 2 8 19 30 -11 23
11 Staines Town 16 5 6 5 23 21 +2 21
12 Weston-super-Mare 17 6 4 7 20 27 -7 22
13 Woking 16 5 5 6 16 20 -4 20
14 Maidenhead United 15 5 3 7 15 25 -10 18
15 Dorchester Town 16 5 4 7 19 20 -1 19
16 Hampton and Richmond 16 4 7 5 19 23 -4 19
17 Basingstoke Town 14 4 3 7 12 17 -5 15
18 Dartford 15 3 6 6 20 25 -5 15
19 Thurrock 16 2 6 8 20 30 -10 12
20 Lewes 17 3 3 11 15 24 -9 12
21 St Albans City 16 1 7 8 15 31 -16 10
22 Boreham Wood 14 1 4 9 16 29 -13 7

*Welling United deducted five points


Stuart Maidment

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