Bath City v Dartford

Dartford were handed a tough F.A Trophy second round draw against Bath City which takes place on the weekend at Twerton Park.

For a fourth season in a row the Darts open their F.A Trophy campaign away to a National South side. This time they are hoping to start a run they haven’t enjoyed in the trophy for a few years. Dartford last went deep into the competition back in 2013 when they reached the semi-final, whilst Bath City got to the same stage back in 2015. Last term both sides were beaten by lower league opposition with the Darts crashing out to Haringey Borough and the Romans losing to Peterborough Sports.

The two sides last played each other in September with the Darts claiming three National South points at Saturday’s venue. The first half belonged to the visitors and with striker Ade Azeez returning to the starting eleven he opened the scoring with a header. On the stroke of half time Jake Robinson doubled the lead, but Bath City’s Alex Fletcher cut the deficit in the second half. George Porter came on as a substitute and made an impact by putting the game out of Bath City’s reach.

The Darts have form over their opponents winning seven straight matches before Steve King suffered his first league defeat as Dartford boss two years ago. The Romans won 3-0 that day, but have since lost their last two, a 1-0 defeat at Princes Park and this season’s reverse.

You can catch highlights of Dartford’s games on Dartford FC TV

Steve King’s side warmed up with a convincing Kent Senior Cup final victory on Wednesday beating Whitstable Town 6-1, Dartford’s twelfth triumph in the competition. King put out a strong line up which featured a Robinson hat-trick and another impressive performance from midfielder Tyrique Hyde.

Dartford got off to a super start after just three minutes, Kieran Murtagh hit the crossbar and moments later Danny Leonard’s excellent strike opened the scoring. The Darts were controlling the game and when Hyde won a penalty, Robinson stepped up to make it two. The pair were involved again just past the half hour mark when Hyde’s effort was turned in by Robinson. The Darts continued relentlessly; Michael Kedman ran down the left wing delivered the ball to George Porter for his fourth of the season. Then just before the interval Hyde made it 5-0. In the second half, Robinson completed his hat-trick bending the ball beyond the goalkeeper after he was played in on goal by Hyde. Whitstable Town did find the back of the Dartford net, a Danny Walder free kick was a worthy consolation. Victory now means both Dartford men’s and women’s teams hold the county cup.

After the 9-0 trouncing of Cockfosters in the London Senior Cup in which Emmanuel Sonupe netted a hat-trick, the Darts were back to winning ways in the National South too. Recalled from his loan spell at Hemel Hempstead Town, Hyde’s first task back in league action for the Darts was to take on his old teammates. The midfielder scored twice in a 3-2 victory, which also saw Ade Azeez score his fourteenth of the season. Since returning from his loan spell, Hyde has scored twice on his first league game back against the Tudors, netted in the London Senior Cup versus Cockfosters and added another to his tally in the Kent Senior Cup final.

Bath City reached the National South playoffs in consecutive campaigns before last term was abandoned. This season the Romans have yet to draw in the league and their inconsistency leaves them occupying sixteenth place. But they do approach Saturday’s trophy tie off the back of a 2-1 victory against Concord Rangers, a late goal from their top scorer Cody Cooke sealed the triumph. Jerry Gill highlighted his side’s first half dominance in an interview with Bath City Radio, he commented: “I thought we should have come in four up in the first half…once we got into our flow, we were the dominant side”.

After a victory Gill is excited about the trophy tie coming up this weekend, he added: “Obviously now we really look forward to it, when you get a win everyone’s up for it”. The Bath City boss is optimistic, he added: “Dartford have had a little bit of a wobble, but they are still in a very strong position in the league. For us it’s a home game and on the weekend, it felt like fortress Twerton again. Second half against Dartford here, I remember us going down the hill and we absolutely dominated the game and bombarded them, but they caught us on the counter attack”. 

The only meetings between the two sides in the F.A Trophy came in 1980. Dartford drew 1-1 in the first round at Watling Street. The replay was a night to forget for the Darts as they were beaten 6-1 in the replay.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 35 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Current Form (all competitions)

Dartford
(WWWDDL)
    Bath City
(WDWDLW)
   
Whitstable Town (KSC) H 6-1 Concord Rangers H 2-1
Hemel Hempstead Town A 3-2 Hampton & Richmond Borough H 1-3
Cockfosters (LSC) H 9-0 Dulwich Hamlet A 0-3
Oxford City H 0-0 Portishead Town (SPC) H 3-0
Chippenham Town H 3-3 Welling United H 2-1
Concord Rangers A 0-1 Slough Town A 0-2

(KSC – Kent Senior Cup / LSC – London Senior Cup / SPC – Somerset Premier Cup)

Previous Meetings

Bath City 1 – 3 Dartford (04/09/2021 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Bath City (17/10/2020 – National South)
Bath City 3 – 0 Dartford (30/11/2019 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Bath City (09/02/2019 – National South)
Bath City 1 – 2 Dartford (04/08/2018 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 0 Bath City (21/04/2018 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford have won four of their last five trips to Twerton Park
  • The Darts have kept five clean sheets in their last ten meetings with Bath City
  • In that same period Dartford have only failed to score once versus the Romans
  • The Darts have scored 18 goals in their last three games and conceded just twice. Beating a run of 16 goals in three games from this season between 18 September and 28 September (5-1 v Hythe Town, 6-0 v Welling United, 5-2 v Athletic Newham)
  • Dartford have never scored five or more goals in four consecutive matches

On This Day

Dartford put on a masterclass on their way to becoming Isthmian Division One North champions in 2007. The Darts hit Witham Town for seven at Princes Park in a 7-2 victory. Brendon Cass and Eddie McClements both scored a brace, Jay May, Ryan Hayes, Jamie Coyle were the other scorers. The Darts last played on this day three years ago in the F.A Trophy going out in a replay against Eastbourne Borough. A former Dart came back to haunt his old club after Dartford almost staged a dramatic comeback from two down. Andre Coker then Taylor Fisher scored two goals in the final minute to level the tie. However, there was one last twist when Tom Gardiner won it for the Sports in injury time.

Dartford v Whitstable Town – Kent Senior Cup Final

Dartford finally have the chance to win their first piece of silverware in five years when they host the delayed Kent Senior Cup final against Whitstable Town.

The Darts have won the competition eleven times and are second in the all-time winners list. Whitstable Town, who kick started the competition just over two years ago are aiming for an upset and their first ever Kent Senior Cup title.

Separated by two divisions, the Darts will be wary of playing opponents from a lower division. It was only last month they went out of the F.A Cup to AFC Sudbury, a team at the same level of Whitstable Town. However, Dartford have played two county cup games against lower league opposition since making this final, beating Athletic Newham 5-2 and Cockfosters 9-0 in the London Senior Cup, both teams three divisions below the Darts.

Six of the current squad played in the semi-final twenty months ago, Jordan Wynter, Tom Bonner, Noor Husin, Jack Jebb and Luke Wanadio as well as Ronnie Vint, who returned from his loan spell at Dulwich Hamlet to start Saturday’s game against Hemel Hempstead Town.

Tyrique Hyde made a substitute appearance in the 5-1 win over Phoenix Sports that got Dartford to the final, since then the midfielder left the Darts, returned to Princes Park, then was sent out on loan this season. Hyde was recalled from Hemel Hempstead Town and made an immediate impact on his return to Vauxhall Road on the weekend. Dartford claimed their first league win since early October beating the Tudors 3-2. It was Hyde who scored twice, opening the scoring before the hosts equalised. Ade Azeez netted a penalty, his 14th goal of the season in 17 appearances, then Hyde gave the Darts a two goal cushion before Hemel Hempstead Town’s late consolation.

Dartford’s last game with Whitstable Town in 2011 – for more archived highlights visit Dartford FC TV

Whitstable Town have had a tough start to their campaign and poor form saw Lloyd Blackman step down as manager. Just one cup win and a single league point in their opening ten competitive matches led to a change in the dugout. In stepped Keith McMahon and his first task was to win the Kent Senior Cup semi-final, which was dramatically achieved in the last minute against Gillingham. McMahon went on to win his first league game, but since then he has picked up just four points in the last seven outings, three of those points on Saturday.

McMahon will want his side to make the cup final more competitive than the club’s only other appearance. The Oystermen reached the 2009 Kent Senior Cup final and lost 6-1 to Welling United, former Dartford striker Charlie Sheringham scored for the Wings that day. The new boss approaches Wednesday’s finale after a ending their six game winless run by beating Hythe Town. Recently McMahon has bolstered his attack with new signings Kemo Darboe and Stephen Okoh. Earlier in the month he signed former Hungerford Town and Wealdstone striker Harry Goodger as well as Luke Griffiths, Alex Gaggin, Luke Illsley and Luca Woodhouse. Illsley and Gaggin both scored in the 3-0 win on Saturday, Danny Walder added the third late on.

Dartford have played just as many cup games against Whitstable Town as they have league fixtures in the past. During the Darts three year spell in the Kent League First Division they won three, drew two and lost once to the Oystermen. The last three meetings have all been cup ties with the most recent ten years ago. Dartford thrashed Whitstable Town 6-1 in the Kent Senior Cup quarter-final on the way to lifting the cup. The only other Kent Senior Cup fixture also ended in a Dartford win in 2001 when the score was 2-1.

Twice the Darts have beaten Wednesday’s finalists on the way to picking up silverware, in 1996 another 2-1 victory in round three helped Dartford on their way on route to a Kent Senior Trophy triumph. Whitstable Town’s only cup win in six was back in 1993 when they knocked out the Darts of the Kent League Cup with a 2-1 victory.

It’s been a long road to get the 2019/2020 final played, in fact Dartford secured their spot in the final way back in March last year. The Oystermen had to wait until last month to play their semi-final and book their place.

Route to the Final

Round 1
Cray Valley Paper Mills 1-2 Whitstable Town
Harry Stannard took advantage of a defensive mistake early on to give the Oystermen the lead. Aaron Millbank was fouled in the penalty box and took the spot kick to put Whitstable two up. Cray Valley Paper Mills pulled a goal back through Josh James.

Round 2
Maidstone United 0-1 Dartford – highlights
Having played each other three times in November 2019, two months later the two sides met again. Only Josh Hill from the current Dartford squad started this game, but the decisive goal came from winger Ky Marsh-Brown.

Welling United 1-2 Whitstable Town
The Isthmian Division One South East side had to come from a goal down to win this one. Welling United went ahead when Dipo Akinyemi’s shot hit the post and went in off goalkeeper Dan Eason. A brace from Marshall Wratten secured revenge for the 6-1 final defeat in 2009.

Quarter Final
Dartford 4-0 Folkestone Invicta – highlights
The last eight tie was a bit easier for the Darts as they cruised into the semi-final. Liam Nash opened the scoring just past the half hour mark. Six minutes later Tyrique Hyde, in his first spell at the club netted a spot kick. Billy Crook and Elliott Romain added to the score in the second half.

Whitstable Town 1-0 Ramsgate
Into the last eight and Whitstable Town edged past Ramsgate to make the last four. A solitary goal by substitute Charles Etumnu was enough to see the Oystermen through to the semi-final. Whitstable Town played the last half hour with ten men after Liam King was shown a straight red.

Semi Final
Dartford 5-1 Phoenix Sports – highlights
Goals continued to flow, and this time Dartford hit five starting with Jordan Wynter’s first half strike. Nash doubled the lead before Kehinde Aileru scored a penalty for Phoenix Sports. The Darts raced away in the final half hour with goals from Romain, Amrit Bansal-McNulty and Nash’s second.

Whitstable Town 1-0 Gillingham
A perfect and dramatic start for new manager Keith McMahon as his side claimed another single goal victory against a young Gillingham side. As the tie headed to a climax, up popped Tom Carlton in the last minute to send the Oystermen into their second ever Kent Senior Cup final.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 8 / Whitstable Town wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Current Form

Dartford
(WWDDLL)
    Whitstable Town
(WLLLDL)
   
Hemel Hempstead Town A 3-2 Hythe Town A 3-0
Cockfosters (LSC) H 9-0 Burgess Hill Town H 0-1
Oxford City H 0-0 Chichester City A 1-2
Chippenham Town H 3-3 Hastings United A 1-4
Concord Rangers A 0-1 Three Bridges H 1-1
Dorking Wanderers A 0-1 Ashford United A 0-2

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 6 – 1 Whitstable Town (08/03/2011 – Kent Senior Cup)
Dartford 3 – 0 Whitstable Town (04/12/2007 – Isthmian League Cup)
Dartford 2– 1 Whitstable Town (27/11/2001 – Kent Senior Cup )
Dartford 2 – 0 Whitstable Town (24/02/1996 – Kent League First Division)
Whitstable Town 1 – 2 Dartford (24/01/1996 – Kent Senior Trophy)
Whitstable Town 2 – 2 Dartford (16/09/1995 – Kent League First Division)

Stats

  • Dartford have scored five or more in each of their last three county cup games (5-1 versus Phoenix Sports in the Kent Senior Cup, 5-2 against Athletic Newham and 9-0 versus Cockfosters both in the London Senior Cup)
  • The Darts have scored 23 and conceded three in their last four county cup games
  • Dartford have won 11 of their last 14 county cup ties
  • Emmanuel Sonupe has scored five goals in his first two county cup games for the Darts (both London Senior Cup)
  • Whitstable Town have won three Kent Senior Trophy titles, but never the Kent Senior Cup

On This Day

Top of the Isthmian Premier League and home to Tooting and Mitcham United, the Darts found themselves 2-0 down on this day in 2009. Dartford showed their championship winning credentials fighting back to win 3-2 with two goals from Ryan Hayes and the other from Rob Howard.

Dartford’s run to the F.A Trophy semi-final started on this day in 2012. In a memorable season when the Darts finished eighth in the National League, Tony Burman’s side beat Kingstonian in round one with goals from Jacob Erskine, Elliot Bradbrook, Danny Harris and Nathan Collier. Six years later in the same competition Kudus Oyenuga forced a replay with a goal four minutes from time in a 1-1 draw with Eastbourne Borough, the Darts went out in the third qualifying round replay.

The only other time the Darts played a Kent Senior Cup tie on this day was in 1923 when they beat Charlton Athletic Reserves 1-0 in the first round.

Hemel Hempstead Town v Dartford

Dartford return to National South action this weekend at Hemel Hempstead Town and aim to record a first league win for over a month.

The Darts may have suffered single goal defeats in their last two matches on the road, but they can approach this weekend’s fixture with confidence after an emphatic London Senior Cup victory on Tuesday night. Progressing to the next round ended a run of six games without a win in all competitions.

Steve King made seven changes and named a strong side against Essex Senior League side Cockfosters and was rewarded with a 9-0 victory, Dartford’s biggest win since 1975 when they beat Crawley Town by ten without reply. Recalled from his loan spell at Hemel Hempstead Town, Tyrique Hyde made an immediate impact by opening the rout. The midfielder made seven appearances for the Tudors and during his loan spell Hemel Hempstead Town’s form improved. The Darts benefited from an own goal before new D’Sean Theobalds made it three and Emmanuel Sonupe netted on the stroke of half time. The goals kept coming in the second half when former Tudor, Connor Essam got in on the act, Sonupe completed a hat-trick, the returning Jake Robinson got the eighth and Dan Roberts finished the job. The last time Dartford ended a match with nine goals on the scoreboard was the 1972 F.A Cup first qualifying round tie against Hemel Hempstead Town, the final score was 9-2.

Catch Dartford highlights on Dartford FC TV

As well as Theobalds, Robinson and Sonupe amongst the changes from the entertaining 0-0 draw with Oxford City, Tom Bonner returned to the starting eleven after serving a suspension, Michael Kedman made only his fourth start, Danny Leonard was in after the winger missed the Oxford City match through illness and there was a first appearance for former Brentford full back Josh Clarke. The 27-year-old spent seven years with the Bees and made 72 appearances and has had plenty of loan spells during that time.

Dartford’s last National South outing saw an improved performance against promotion challengers Oxford City. Although the game finished 0-0 the Darts created plenty of chances to win, instead the stalemate took King’s side to five without victory in the league. Despite the barren spell, King thought his side were ‘fantastic’ on the weekend and deserved the win. King confirmed after the game that Luke Allen needed to be assessed, the midfielder was stretchered off and taken to hospital, whilst Jordan Wynter will continue to be out for the foreseeable future. Noor Husin is expected to return after being away on international duty.

Away from home the winless run is four games in all competitions stretching back to the impressive 3-0 F.A Cup triumph over rivals Maidstone United. The Darts have failed to score in their last three on the road, but after the London Senior Cup goal fest, the three scored at home against Chippenham Town a fortnight ago, the encouraging chances created last weekend and their early season form shows Dartford have enough potential in front of goal.

For all the post match interviews visit Dartford FC TV

The last visit to Vauxhall Road was just over a year ago when Dartford extended their unbeaten run over the Tudors to nine by winning 3-1. Essam caused problems for his former club and opened the scoring. Jack Jebb got his second assist of the afternoon when Nathan Carlyle put in his own net. The Darts went three up before half-time through Elliott Romain before Bernard Christie pulled one back for the hosts in the second half.

Hemel Hempstead Town are searching for their first win against Dartford since August 2015 when they opened their campaign as a newly promoted club with a 1-0 victory. This season started precariously for the Hertfordshire club, but former Dartford winger, Ky Marsh-Brown scored on his debut in a 4-2 defeat against Maidstone United. The Tudors went on to lose their first six in the league including a 6-0 reverse at home to Dulwich Hamlet. A first point was earned at home to Eastbourne Borough and a second consecutive draw this time in the F.A Cup against Ware of the Isthmian South Central division ended Lee Bircham’s time as manager. The Tudors were knocked out in the replay and now they have former Oxford City boss, Mark Jones in charge.

Since Jones’ arrival form has improved and he immediately guided his new side off the bottom of the table. In his first league game in charge, the Tudors recorded their first win against Billericay Town and traded places with their opponents. Despite a heavy 4-0 defeat against his old club Oxford City, Jones has overseen two victories and two draws in the last four outings. In the previous two matches Alfie Cerulli and Craig Fasanmade were the two goalscorers, Fasanmade played under Jones at Oxford City and scored against the Darts back in January for Hungerford Town.

As well as Essam and Hyde having links with Hemel Hempstead Town, Deshane Dalling who has made just one start and three substitute appearances for the Darts turned out for the Tudors earlier in the season. Dartford goalkeeper, Craig King is currently on loan at Vauxhall Road where he has so far made one appearance.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 6 / Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 1 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford
(DDLLDW)
    Hemel Hempstead Town
(WDWDLW)
   
Oxford City H 0-0 Chelmsford City A 2-1
Chippenham Town H 3-3 Dorking Wanderers H 2-2
Concord Rangers A 0-1 Chippenham Town A 2-1
Dorking Wanderers A 0-1 Welling United H 1-1
Chelmsford City A 0-0 Oxford City H 0-4
Hungerford Town H 1-0 Billericay Town A 3-2

Previous Meetings

Hemel Hempstead Town 1 – 3 Dartford (10/11/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Hemel Hempstead Town (31/08/2019 – National South)
Hemel Hempstead Town 1 – 2 Dartford (05/03/2019 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 0 Hemel Hempstead Town (11/08/2018 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 2 Hemel Hempstead Town (17/03/2018 – National South)
Hemel Hempstead Town 0 – 3 Dartford (26/08/2017 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford are unbeaten in their last nine games against Hemel Hempstead Town, winning five and drawing four
  • The Darts have won on their last three visits to Vauxhall Road scoring eight and conceding two
  • The last time Dartford went six league games without a win in a season was towards the end of the 2018-2019 campaign 

On This Day

Carl Rook’s brace eleven years ago was enough for Dartford to beat Thurrock in the third qualifying round of the F.A Trophy. Victory was the Darts third away win in a row on 20 November after triumphs against Waltham Forest in 2007 and Stamford in 1999. Jamie Coyle scored twice against Waltham Forest, Ryan Hayes and Brendon Cass added to the score in a 4-2 win, the Darts went on to claim the Isthmian Division North title that season. Dartford’s last away league defeat on this day was back in 1965 against Wellington Town in the Southern Premier League.

Dartford v Cockfosters

Dartford’s debut in the London Senior Cup continues with a round two tie against Essex Senior League side Cockfosters.

The Darts have never met Tuesday night’s opposition, but have experience of what a step five side has to offer from the previous round. Cockfosters progressed by beating a team bottom of their division.

With the fixture schedule becoming more demanding over the next week, Steve King is likely to use the opportunity to rotate his squad. In the previous round he made eleven changes and had a look at some academy prospects. The Darts beat Athletic Newham 5-2 with a goal from George Porter and braces for Emmanuel Sonupe and substitute Dan Roberts. Although Dartford hit five they were made to work for victory having gone behind twice in the tie.

On the weekend the Darts earned a point against Oxford City at Princes Park to extend their lead at the top of the National South to three points. However, in close pursuit with three games in hand and a victory behind are St Albans City and Ebbsfleet United. King was without the injured Jordan Wynter, suspended captain Tom Bonner and midfielder Noor Husin who was on international duty. Luke Allen who came in to start the match was stretchered off meaning a debut for former Tonbridge Angels midfielder D’Sean Theobalds, who has returned to the National South after a spell in Poland. Another blank in front of goal despite a strong second half means the Darts have failed to score in four of their last five games, defensively it was Dartford’s seventh clean sheet of the season.

After this second round London Senior Cup tie, Dartford are back in league action on the weekend at Hemel Hempstead Town, then in mid-week they play Whitstable Town in last season’s Kent Senior Cup final. A chance for King to win his first piece of silverware with the Darts.

Cockfosters overcame Sporting Bengal United in their London Senior Cup opener. Fosters scored one fewer than the Darts in a 4-2 win, a goal for Daniel Ungundi, two from Jack Hockney and another by Reece Barrett secured their passage to round two.

Fosters have found some form since their last defeat, to the side Dartford knocked out in the last round. Since the 4-1 reverse against Athletic Newham, Cockfosters have gone six unbeaten winning their last four games. Helping them to hit top form is their attacking duo George Beattie and Reece Mosanya. Both netted a brace on the weekend in their 5-1 victory over St Margaretsbury, taking Fosters to ninth in the Essex Senior League. Beattie is their top scorer with 14, including an opening day hat-trick and has netted six in his last five games. Mosanya has also managed six goals lately, but over his last four matches.

The London based club has had plenty of cup action this term starting in the extra preliminary round of the F.A Cup. Beattie and Mosanya were on hand to score, as well as Ryan Wade in a 3-0 win over Sawbridgeworth Town. In the next round they went out to Dartford’s conquerers AFC Sudbury. In addition to the London Senior Cup triumph in the previous round, Fosters have also began their F.A Vase campaign. beating Sawbridgeworth Town again, this time it was 3-1. In the next round Fosters saw off Whitton Town 4-2 and face Tring Athletic on the weekend.

Formerly a Hertfordshire Premier League side, Cockfosters moved to the Spartan South Midlands League in the late nineties. The club made the switch to the Essex Senior League, but their only two season’s in the division have been cut short. Whilst in the Hertfordshire Premier the club won three titles in the late seventies and early eighties.

The winners will wait to see who they will face in round three. Harrow Borough and Corinthian Casuals need to complete their first round tie, the winners will be rewarded with a tie against Brentford. If the Darts progress they will play one of those three teams in the next round.

Current Form (all competitions)

Dartford
(DDLLDL)
    Cockfosters
(WWWWDW)
   
Oxford City H 0-0 St Margaretsbury H 5-1
Chippenham Town H 3-3 West Essex A 2-0
Concord Rangers A 0-1 Sporting Bengal United H 5-0
Dorking Wanderers A 0-1 Whitton United (FAV) A 4-2
Chelmsford City A 0-0 Enfield H 1-1
AFC  Sudbury (FAC) A 1-3 Sporting Bengal United (LSC) A 4-2

Stats

  • Dartford have won their last four county cup matches, three in the Kent Senior Cup and one in the London Senior Cup.
  • The aggregate score for those four matches is 15-3 (1-0 v Maidstone United, 4-0 v Folkestone Invicta, 5-1 v Phoenix Sports and 5-2 v Athletic Newham)
  • The Darts have won nine, lost one county cup game in normal time (Cray Wanderers in 2017) and two on penalties (Welling United in 2016 and Maidstone United in 2019) in their last 13 county cup outings.

On This Day

Captain, Tom Bonner sparked a late comeback against rivals Maidstone United two years ago. Princes Park was silenced when Dan Wishart then Ibby Akanbi scored within three second half minutes of each other. The Stones leading with three minutes remaining looked destined for all three points until Tom Bonner then Darren McQueen scored late on to rescue a point.

Also on this day, the Darts beat Gillingham on their way to winning their last county cup in 2015. Tom Wynter cancelled out Brennan Dickinson’s goal and Jack Simmons netted the winner. Dartford went on to beat Herne Bay, Greenwich Borough and Charlton Athletic to lift the Kent Senior Cup.

For a second year in a row the Darts drew AFC Bournemouth in the F.A Cup. In the 1984-85 campaign the Poppies won the replay to set up a famous third round tie with Manchester United. On this day in the following campaign the teams were drawn together again in the first round. Once more Dartford drew, but history repeated itself in the replay with AFC Bournemouth winning and this time set up a match with Dagenham.

Eleven years ago, Dartford travelled to Burslem for their F.A Cup first round replay against Port Vale. The Darts had come so close in the 1-1 draw, but this time they were no match for the then League Two side losing 4-0.

Dartford v Oxford City

Clinging on to top spot after a dip in form, the Darts have another tough fixture this weekend when they host fourth place Oxford City.

Dartford led the National South table by five points a month ago and were unbeaten, but four winless games later they have seen their advantage cut to just two points having played two games more than their closest challengers. Oxford City visit Princes Park having never won there, however the Hoops are unbeaten in their last six league outings and victory will move them to within a point of the Darts.

Steve King’s side could have had a greater cushion at the summit were they able to hold on to victory on the weekend against Chippenham Town. Dartford came from behind to lead at the break, then twice gave up their advantage in a 3-3 draw. In the build-up the Darts followed up a goalless draw with Chelmsford City with a pair of 1-0 defeats at Dorking Wanderers and Concord Rangers. So, it was a relief to end the goal drought just before half-time when Ade Azeez equalised netting his first in five games to level the match, the striker’s thirteenth of the campaign in fifteen appearances. Chippenham Town’s Dan Griffiths had earlier put the Bluebirds ahead.  Then two minutes after Azeez’s header, later Noor Husin put Dartford in front before the interval. In the second-half, Ricky Aguiar equalised again for the visitors, Azeez looked like he’d won the match for the Darts with thirteen to go, but in the final minute Luke Russe rescued a point for the Wiltshire club.

Visit Dartford FC TV to watch more Dartford highlights

After the loss at Concord Rangers, King made four changes to the starting eleven with winger Luke Wanadio playing at full back, instead of Jordan Wynter who picked up an injury in training. The Dartford boss praised Wanadio for his ‘sterling’ job considering he was playing out of position. The winger himself picked up a slight injury in the draw against Chippenham Town resulting in him being replaced late on in the game. Connor Essam returned at centre half in place of Josh Hill, George Porter and Jack Jebb came in for Luke Allen and Danny Leonard. The Darts are still waiting for the return of striker Jake Robinson who has been out with injury.

King may have been disappointed at dropping two points after back to back losses, but he praised his side’s character, he told Dartford FC TV: “Where we felt a little bit of confidence had gone from a number of players, to show character after 1-0 down to go back 2-1 up I felt was brilliant”.

For more of Steve King’s post match interview visit Dartford FC TV

Dartford have won the last two meetings without conceding, but didn’t play Oxford City last season. In January 2020, the Darts strolled to a 3-0 win with Luke Wanadio closing the scoring just before the hour mark. Darren McQueen and Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong both scored in first-half stoppage time. The victory completed a double over the Hoops as three months earlier Dartford won at Marsh Lane, Ben Greenhalgh scoring the decisive goal.

At home the Darts have beaten Oxford City five times out of seven, drawing the other two. One of those victories came three years to the day when the Darts won 3-2 in the National South. Craig King was in the opposition goal then and was helpless to stop Andre Coker, Jordan Wynter then Charlie Sheringham all scoring inside the opening half an hour. Joe Oastler scored for the Hoops at two down and in the second half, Zac McEachran netted to set up a nervy finish.

Highlights of Dartford’s last meeting against Oxford City courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Manager, David Oldfield has so far led Oxford City into a strong league position and have the second best form over the last eight fixtures. Helping the side to rack up the points, striker Joe Iaciofano has scored six goals in the last six league games. The 23-year-old scored against Dartford in August 2019, when he joint top scored in the division with Darren McQueen that season whilst playing for St Albans City. The Hoops have won their last three National South fixtures on the road keeping clean sheets in their last two.

Second in the goalscoring charts this term, level with Dartford, only Eastbourne Borough have netted more. In this fixture, statistics point towards plenty of goal action with an average of just under four goals a game in the fourteen meetings between the two clubs.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 8 / Oxford City wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Dartford
(DLLDWW)
    Oxford City
(WDWWDW)
   
Chippenham Town H 3-3 Tonbridge Angels A 2-0
Concord Rangers A 0-1 Chelmsford City H 1-1
Dorking Wanderers A 0-1 Hemel Hempstead Town A 4-0
Chelmsford City A 0-0 Welling United H 3-0
Hungerford Town H 1-0 Hampton & Richmond Borough H 1-1
Welling United A 6-0 Havant & Waterlooville A 2-1

Previous Meetings

Dartford 3 – 0 Oxford City (11/01/2020 – National South)
Oxford City 0 – 1 Dartford (12/10/2019 – National South)
Oxford City 2 – 1 Dartford (27/04/2019 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 2 Oxford City (13/11/2018 – National South)
Oxford City 4 – 1 Dartford (06/10/2018 – F.A Cup)
Oxford City 0 – 2 Dartford (24/03/2018 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford have won the last four league games at home against Oxford City including a 7-1 victory in 2017
  • The Darts are unbeaten in all seven home games versus the Hoops winning five and drawing two
  • There have been three or more goals in 6 of the 7 games in which Dartford have been at home against Oxford City

On This Day

Premier League striker Danny Ings was part of the Dorchester Town side that brushed Dartford aside in 2010. On loan from AFC Bournemouth, Ings scored one of the goals that handed the Magpies a 4-0 victory at Princes Park. A Tom Bradbrook double and John Guest goal against Aveley put Dartford into the next round of the Isthmian League Cup in 2007. A nine goal thriller was played out in 1993 when the Darts beat Ramsgate 5-4 in the Kent League. Dartford managed to let a 3-1 lead slip to go 4-3 down, then two late goals swung the game Dartford’s way. That wasn’t even the highest aggregate score on this day, back in 1897 the Darts beat former F.A Cup winners and three times runners up, Royal Engineers 8-3 in the Southern League Second Division. In that same competition, twice Dartford progressed to the first round on this day with triumphs over Leyton in 1937 (3-0) and Wimbledon in 1948 (2-1).

Dartford v Chippenham Town

Dartford are back at home for the first time in almost a month when they host Chippenham Town on the weekend in the National South.

After starting the campaign on an eleven-game unbeaten run, which included ten wins, the Darts are four games without victory and have failed to score in their last three outings. It’s certainly Steve King’s biggest challenge this season as he aims to begin another positive sequence, starting against a team he faced in his first league game as a Dartford manager. 

King started league life with the Darts against Chippenham Town earning his first point as Dartford boss just over two years ago. A superb late Josh Hill goal rescued a point for the Darts against ten men. The defender was moved up front to try and impact the game and with three minutes remaining he cut inside and unleashed a curling shot into the top corner. The strike came a couple of minutes after Kieran Parselle was red carded for the visitors, the defender had given Chippenham Town a first-half lead.

Highlights of Steve King’s first league match in charge courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Dartford also won the subsequent two meetings, both on their travels so are unbeaten against the Bluebirds under King. In the last meeting Moussa Bakayoko scored nine minutes into his Dartford debut with one of the best team goals scored by the Darts under Steve King, but Chippenham Town equalised through Joe Hanks. Another late goal settled the game, this time Tom Bonner sent the ball into the back of the net to earn a 2-1 victory. The previous trip to Hardenhuish Park was more comfortable for the Darts as they ran out 5-1 winners with all the goals coming in the first half. Darren McQueen opened and closed the rout with goals in between scored by Liam Nash, Amrit Bansal-McNulty before the midfielder was sent off in the second half and an own goal.

The Darts have good form over the Wiltshire club losing just once out of seven back in April 2019, when Chippenham Town came to Princes Park and won 1-0 thanks to an Adriel George tap in. It turned out to be Elliot Bradbrook’s final game for the Darts after a superb career with the club.

Highlights of Dartford’s last match against Chippenham Town courtesy of Blue Army TV

Over a month ago, the Darts would be quietly confident facing a mid-table side, but current form has resulted in their unbeaten league start ending with consecutive 1-0 losses to Dorking Wanderers on the weekend then Concord Rangers on Tuesday night. Prior the pair of defeats, the Darts were held 0-0 by ten men Chelmsford and went out to lower league side AFC Sudbury in the F.A Cup. Dartford’s last win was in fact in their last home fixture, a 1-0 triumph over Hungerford Town. But the goals have dried up, after 34 goals in their opening ten outings they have yielded just two in the last five.

Chippenham Town have been consistent in their results since promotion to the National South four years ago. Consecutive thirteenth place finishes followed by fourteenth, the Bluebirds were sixteenth when last season was halted and were matching their points per game from those previous three campaigns. Unsurprisingly the Wiltshire club are at it again in mid-table, clear from a battle at the bottom but not quite close enough to the playoffs.

However, Mike Cook’s side are winless in their last seven outings in all competitions after a bright start to their season. Chippenham Town won three, drew two and lost one of their opening six National South matches, since then they have picked up just three points from draws in their last six and lost to Isthmian South East side Hastings United in the third qualifying round of the F.A Cup.

Last weekend, Chippenham Town picked up a point at home to bottom of the table Braintree Town. Parselle put the Bluebirds ahead, but they were on the back foot in the second half and almost held out for a win until stoppage time when the Iron equalised. It was a second time in a week that Chippenham Town failed to beat a team at the bottom of the league on their own patch. The Bluebirds were beaten 2-1 by Hemel Hempstead Town, who had Dartford’s Tyrique Hyde in their starting eleven.

On their travels they have picked up points against Dulwich Hamlet, St Albans City, Eastbourne Borough and Hampton and Richmond Borough as well as victories over Concord Rangers and Slough Town. Out of the sixteen league goals scored this season they have been shared out with the experienced Marlon Jackson leading the way with three.

Both sides will be hoping to keep unbeaten runs alive with Dartford yet to taste defeat at Princes Park this season and Chippenham Town yet to lose on the road.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Chippenham Town wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford
(LLDWWD)
    Chippenham Town
(DLDDLL)
   
Concord Rangers A 0-1 BraintreeTown H 1-1
Dorking Wanderers A 0-1 Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-2
Chelmsford City A 0-0 Hampton and Richmond A 0-0
Hungerford Town H 1-0 Eastbourne Borough A 2-2
Welling United A 6-0 Welling United H 1-3
Tonbridge Angels H 1-1 Ebbsfleet United H 2-5

Previous Meetings

Chippenham Town 1 – 2 Dartford (27/10/2020 – National South)
Chippenham Town 1 – 5 Dartford (01/02/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Chippenham Town (26/10/2019 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Chippenham Town (13/04/2019 – National South)
Chippenham Town 1 – 2 Dartford (13/10/2018 – National South)
Chippenham Town 2 – 2 Dartford (20/01/2018 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford’s only defeat against the Bluebirds was also the only time the Darts have failed to score in this fixture
  • Both teams have kept just one clean sheet against each other in seven meetings
  • Under Steve King, Dartford are on their longest streak without a goal. The Darts last failed to score in four consecutive matches in August 2018
  • The Darts have never lost three consecutive games under King.

On This Day

Dartford were six minutes away from causing a memorable F.A Cup upset eleven years ago. Elliot Bradbrook headed the Darts ahead against League Two opposition Port Vale in the 39th minute. Tony Burman’s side were hanging on towards the end and when John McCombe equalised the tie needed a replay back at Vale Park, which the Darts lost 4-0. Three years earlier Dartford drew 0-0 with Edgware Town in the Isthmian Division One North, the only other time the Darts have not lost in their last six matches on 6 November. The last victory on this day was way back in 1984 when Dartford beat AP Leamington 2-0 in the Southern League Challenge Match.

Concord Rangers v Dartford

A lot has changed since Dartford last played Concord Rangers at Thames Road just over two years ago. On Tuesday night Steve King’s side are back across the bridge to take on the Beachboys. 

With last season unfinished and declared null and void, the two sides were unable to fulfill this fixture which was due to take place in March and May respectively. Since their previous meeting Steve King has turned Dartford’s fortunes around, whilst Danny Scopes led Concord Rangers to a F.A Trophy final before leaving the club. Now the Beachboys have Chris Search in charge of chasing a playoff place.

The Darts will be looking to recover after seeing their unbeaten league record come to an end on the weekend. Dartford were beaten by Dorking Wanderers which saw the advantage at the top reduced to just one point. After scoring 21 goals in the opening seven league games, Dartford have mustered just one in their last three, failing to score in their last two. It’s the first time in King’s era that the Darts have failed to score in consecutive league games.

A major talking point in the loss was whether Stuart Nelson should have stayed on the pitch, the Wanderers goalkeeper went wandering, handling the ball outside of his penalty area. Denying a goal scoring opportunity Nelson was fortunate to continue, which left King bemused, he spoke to Dartford FC TV after the game and said: “When there is not a lot in it you need the big decisions to go your way. Their keeper should have been sent off midway through the first half. He comes out, handballs it, Michael (Kedman) is going to put it into an empty net”. As well as that decision, Ade Azeez had the best chance of the game, the Dartford striker hitting the post. Instead, as the game looked to be heading for a goalless draw, Keiran Murtagh’s attempted clearance hit the unlucky Jordan Wynter to hand the home team victory.

Over the last three games a number of calls have gone against the Darts, Tom Bonner’s red card at AFC Sudbury and their free-kick that didn’t cross the line, Azeez’s disallowed goal at Chelmsford City and the incident at Dorking Wanderers. Despite the decisions, the Darts have found it difficult to breakdown these teams in recent weeks, but they are still top of the table with the fourth best average goals per game and have the tightest defence in the division. King commented: “It’s still a great start, but we have to pick ourselves back up”.

Steve King’s post match interview after the Dorking Wanderers defeat is available on Dartford FC TV

Concord Rangers started their campaign brightly with three victories in their first five games and King expects Tuesday night’s match to be challenging, he explained: “It’s a good opportunity, but we have to mindful as they are a good side. They beat Dorking already, they’ve beaten some good sides. They are top half of the table this year, so we’re in for another tough game”.

Since then the Beachboys form has dipped with just one league win in six. The goals against column has also been racking up with heavy defeats against Hungerford Town and Havant and Waterlooville, but on the weekend the Beachboys managed to stop the rot with a 1-1 draw versus Slough Town. A last minute equaliser from Danny Green rescued a point for the Essex club after they fell behind to a first-half goal. Manager, Chris Search was pleased with the character shown by his players and felt his side dominated the second-half to deserve at least a point.

Less than half of the current squad made an appearance in Dartford’s last trip to Concord Rangers. Jordan Wynter, Josh Hill, Luke Allen all started as well as Ronnie Vint, who is currently out on loan at Dulwich Hamlet and Luke Wanadio came off the bench in the 2-0 victory. Last week, Charlie Sheringham was lining up against the Darts for Chelmsford City, the striker opened the scoring against Concord Rangers in that win and Alex Flisher added a second. The away triumph in November 2019 was the first at Thames Road since 2015, when the Darts came from two goals down to win 3-2. Andy Pugh pulled a goal back in the second half and went on to equalise with five minutes to go, then Tom Bradbrook scored a last-minute winner on a dramatic night. In the three trips to Concord Rangers between the pair of wins, the Darts drew 1-1 twice and lost 2-0.

The Essex club did claim victory the last time the two met back in December 2019, coming away from Princes Park with a 1-0 win. The National South fixture was defined by two penalties, first Elliott Romain missed for the Darts and in second half, Joel Nouble scored from the spot for Concord Rangers. The Beachboys claiming only their third triumph over the Darts in eleven attempts. 

Over recent years various personnel have represented both the Darts and Concord Rangers and at the start of the 2018/2019 campaign two current players were donning the oppositions shirt. Dartford defender, Connor Essam spent a loan spell with the Beachboys whilst at Dover Athletic and made 24 appearances for the Essex club. In that same campaign Billy Roast started with Dartford and made just four starts and three substitute appearances before leaving in September 2019, the defender re-joined Concord Rangers in June 2019.

A win for Dartford will extend their lead to four points ahead of the home fixture against Chippenham Town on Saturday.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Concord Rangers wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Dartford
(LDWWDW)
    Concord Rangers
(DLLWLD)
   
Dorking Wanderers A 0-1 Slough Town A 1-1
Chelmsford City A 0-0 Hungerford Town H 1-4
Hungerford Town H 1-0 Havant and Waterlooville A 2-5
Welling United A 6-0 Tonbridge Angels A 3-2
Tonbridge Angels H 1-1 Chippenham Town H 0-3
Bath City A 3-1 Maidstone United A 2-2

Previous Meetings

Dartford 0 – 1 Concord Rangers (21/12/2019 – National South)
Concord Rangers 0 – 2 Dartford (14/09/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Concord Rangers (26/01/2019 – National South)
Concord Rangers 2 – 0 Dartford (14/08/2018 – National South)
Concord Rangers 1 – 1 Dartford (06/01/2018 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 0 Concord Rangers (15/08/2017 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford have won just one of the last five against Concord Rangers, drawing two and losing the other two
  • In the last four matches that resulted in a win, the victorious team has kept a clean sheet
  • The Darts won the first two meetings versus the Beachboys, since then the honours have been shared with three wins each and three draws
  • Dartford last failed to score in three consecutive league games in August 2018 when they didn’t score for four matches.

On This Day

Steve King recorded his first victory as Dartford boss two years ago. After a F.A Cup loss to Kingstonian and a draw with Chippenham Town, King got off the mark with a 2-0 away win at Eastbourne Borough. Goals from Norman Wabo and Elliott Romain made sure of King’s maiden victory in the National South fixture. Eight of Dartford’s last ten games on this day have been away from home with the most recent a 1-0 defeat against Forest Green Rovers in the National League back in 2013. On two occasions, the Darts progressed to the first round of the F.A Cup by beating Boreham Wood at home 2-1 in a replay in 1982 and defeating Guildford 1-0 in 1968. In 1996, the Darts recorded their second biggest win on this day when they won 4-0 against Fleet Town in a Southern League Southern Division fixture. The Darts’ biggest victory on 2 November was a 6-1 triumph over Northampton Town Reserves during the 1929 Southern League East campaign.

Dorking Wanderers v Dartford

Last season’s top two battle it out this weekend as Dartford go back on the road and visit Dorking Wanderers in the National South.

When last season was declared null and void in February, Dorking Wanderers led the National South after eighteen games and were five points clear of the Darts who had played a game more. This time, it’s the Darts in pole position and guaranteed to remain the league leaders regardless of other results on Saturday. The Wanderers are down in sixth place, six points behind having played an extra match.

Leading up to this weekend’s fixture, Dartford dropped points for only the second time on Monday night as they were held to a 0-0 draw at Chelmsford City. The Darts had a man advantage for the majority of the match and dominated possession, creating enough chances to win, but an outstanding defensive display by their hosts denied King’s men victory. It’s been a theme over the last three games with Hungerford Town frustrating Dartford, AFC Sudbury defending in numbers and Chelmsford City being forced into defensive tactics. A new challenge the Darts need to face partly because of their superb early season form.

Check out highlights of Dartford’s last game – courtesy of Dartford FC TV

However, it’s yet to be dull when the Darts play Dorking Wanderers and on past meetings we could see some attacking football from both sides. Goals, sending offs and late winners have all added to the exciting encounters with Wanderers, who marginally lead the head-to-head record.

In the first ever meeting between the two sides, just over two years ago, Tony Burman returned to the dugout as interim boss before Steve King joined the Darts. Dorking’s Niall McManus hit a brilliant long-range effort beyond Mark Smith to start the scoring spree, but a quick-fire Ben Greenhalgh brace had the Darts in front. Former Dartford man Jason Prior scored from the spot, this season his long-term injury rules him out of this weekend’s clash. Charlie Sheringham gave Dartford their one goal lead back, but the final six minutes saw Giuseppe Sole equalise for the Surrey club, Lee Noble sent off for Dartford and James McShane score Dorking’s winner with two minutes remaining.

The return fixture was equally as enthralling with a further five goals netted in a 3-2 Dartford victory. By now King was in charge and his side’s domination had them two up through Darren McQueen and Elliott Romain. However, Dorking Wanderers hit back when Jimmy Muitt and then Luke Moore restored parity. After eight minutes of injury time, McQueen won a penalty, dusted himself off and scored again to win it at the end for the Darts.

Last season the 3-2 score line was reversed with Wes Fogden opening the scoring for the Wanderers. Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong equalised only for Prior to add another goal to his career tally against Dartford. Jack Jebb levelled with one of his free-kick’s and with fifteen minutes to go Matthew Briggs won it for Dorking. For a third consecutive match between the two sides the away side went home with three points.

Steve King’s thoughts after the Chelmsford City draw – courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Dorking Wanderers have more than settled in since promotion finishing in the playoffs in their maiden National South season losing out to Weymouth, who beat the Darts in the final. Last term, Wanderers lost just twice at home and this season they have won four out five at Meadowbank.

On Tuesday night, Dorking Wanderers were close to dropping home points in a thrilling game with Eastbourne Borough. Coming from two goals down, Marc White’s side won 4-3 after their opponents scored twice in the opening half an hour. Returning from suspension Ed Harris halved the deficit just before the interval, but Eastbourne Borough restored the two-goal advantage in the second half. Three unanswered goals by Alfie Rutherford, James McShane and Dan Gallagher turned the game around to earn another Dorking Wanderers victory.

After a slow start for last season’s form team, in which they won just two of their opening seven National South fixtures, the Wanderers are building momentum with three straight league victories over Bath City, Maidstone United then Eastbourne Borough. The Surrey club have had plenty of cup action too, reaching the fourth qualifying round of the F.A Cup before losing on penalties to Hayes and Yeading United. 

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Dorking Wanderers wins: 2 / Draws: 0

Current League Form

Dartford
(DWWDWW)
    Dorking Wanderers
(WWWLWD)
   
Chelmsford City A 0-0 Eastbourne Borough H 4-3
Hungerford Town H 1-0 Maidstone United A 2-0
Welling United A 6-0 Bath City H 4-1
Tonbridge Angels H 1-1 Tonbridge Angels A 1-3
Bath City A 3-1 Billericay Town H 2-1
Eastbourne Borough H 3-1 Chelmsford City A 2-2

Previous Meetings

Dartford 2 – 3 Dorking Wanderers (07/11/2020 – National South)
Dorking Wanderers 2 – 3 Dartford (04/01/2020 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 4 Dorking Wanderers (07/09/2019 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford have kept three consecutive clean sheets in the league for the first time since October last year
  • The home side has never won this fixture since the first meeting in September 2019
  • This fixture has averaged over 5.66 goals a game in the three meetings so far
  • The away side has scored three or more goals in each meeting

On This Day

Steve King lost his first league match as Dartford boss on this day two years ago. After four unbeaten National South matches which yielded two wins and two draws, the Darts were beaten 3-0 at Twerton Park by a playoff chasing Bath City side. Dartford’s last away win on 30 November came in 1957 when they defeated Yeovil Town 1-0 in the Southern League. Since then the Darts drew 1-1 in the Southern League First Division with Gloucester City in 1968 and 0-0 with King’s Lynn in the Southern League Premier Division back in 1983 before the loss at Bath City in 2019. Notable victories on this day both came at home, a 4-0 Southern League Division One East win over Corby Town in 2002 and a 6-0 victory over Crawley Town in 1974. Eight years ago, Danny Harris scored in a 1-1 F.A Trophy draw against Forest Green Rovers, the Darts lost the replay 1-0.

Chelmsford City v Dartford

Dartford return to a venue they haven’t visited in just over two years in a rare Monday night fixture at Chelmsford City.

Unbeaten in the National South so far with only two points dropped, the Darts will be determined to bounce back after their shock F.A Cup exit. On that same day, the Clarets were also knocked out of the competition to lower league opposition and have since been in league action against Oxford City just two days ago.

Steve King’s side have had longer to recover from the 3-1 loss at AFC Sudbury, but they arranged a friendly mid-week against Brentwood Town which ended 1-1. As well as a couple of triallists, academy player Gabriel Duo started, and latest signing Emmanuel Sonupe found the back of the net to add to his two London Senior Cup goals.

After a bit of time to reflect and being ‘hit hard’ by the cup defeat, King spoke to Dartford FC TV before the friendly and was pleased with the way his side dominated until key decisions went against the Darts. Captain Tom Bonner was sent off for a second caution despite appearing to win a clean header and AFC Sudbury’s equaliser didn’t appear to cross the line, he said: “It’s hit me hard, it’s hit me as hard as the playoff final to be honest because I hate unjust in life, some of the decisions contributed to us losing a football match. We were dominant in the first half; they didn’t really come out of their own half”. The Darts were unable to make their domination count and King recognised this, he commented: “A little bit of our play, the final bit wasn’t quite there, but we were dominant”.

Craig King was selected in goal for the cup tie and so far, he has been restricted to cup matches this season. To get more game time he has joined up with Tyrique Hyde on loan at Hemel Hempstead Town until January, although Dartford do have a 24-hour call back option should they need to call upon the goalkeeper.

As Dartford boss, Steve King has yet to visit Chelmsford City so the last time the side travelled over the Thames to take on the Clarets, Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle were at the helm. It was not a day to remember for the Darts in August 2019 as they crashed to a 4-0 defeat. All the goals came in the second half with Chris Whelpdale scoring the opener before Jordan Wynter was sent off. Chelmsford City took full advantage of the extra man and goals from Sam Higgins, Jonny Giles and an own goal by former Claret, Josh Hill finished off the rout.

Since King has been in charge, Dartford have won both meetings at Princes Park without conceding a goal. On the opening day of last season Ky Marsh-Brown scored the only goal of the game to clinch victory, whilst in the previous campaign the Darts were a little more convincing. After a 3-0 win secured by goals from Hill, Elliott Romain and Noor Husin the regular season was halted due to the pandemic. The three-goal triumph highlighted how far Dartford had progressed under King in such a short space of time. As previously mentioned, the Darts lost the reverse fixture that season under King’s predecessors.

Chelmsford City enter Monday night’s game having played on the weekend against Oxford City. Former Dartford striker, Charlie Sheringham was involved for the Clarets in their 1-1 draw. A last gasp equaliser from Adam Morgan rescued a point for the Essex club after falling behind mid-way through the first-half. This term Sheringham has been forming a partnership with the experienced Simeon Jackson, the former Gillingham and Norwich City forward made around 300 football league appearances. Sheringham enjoyed a loan spell with the Clarets whilst with the Darts and impressed enough for the Essex club to come calling again, this term he has netted seven times for his new club. As a former Dart, the striker scored a total of 54 goals in 119 appearances over a few spells with the club. Another former Dartford player in the Chelmsford City squad is midfielder Chez Isaac, he made 12 appearances for the Darts and has had limited game time this season with the Clarets.

Like Dartford, a managerial change has taken place at Chelmsford City since they last hosted the Darts. Rod Stringer was replaced by Robbie Simpson, who has the Clarets in sixteenth position, but without a home win in the National South this term. Defeats to Maidstone United and Dulwich Hamlet sandwiched draws with Ebbsfleet United and Dorking Wanderers leaving them waiting for their maiden home league victory. On the road, the Essex club have earned two wins and a draw as well as two defeats to leave them with nine from their opening nine games.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 40 / Chelmsford City wins: 55 / Draws: 22

Current League Form

Dartford
(WWDWWW)
    Chelmsford City
(DLLWDD)
   
Hungerford Town H 1-0 Oxford City A 1-1
Welling United A 6-0 Hampton & Richmond A 2-4
Tonbridge Angels H 1-1 Dulwich Hamlet H 0-2
Bath City A 3-1 Chippenham Town A 3-2
Eastbourne Borough H 3-1 Dorking Wanderers H 2-2
Dulwich Hamlet A 2-0 Ebbsfleet United H 0-0

Previous Meetings

Dartford 1 – 0 Chelmsford City (06/10/2020 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Chelmsford City (14/03/2020 – National South)
Chelmsford City 4 – 0 Dartford (12/08/2019 – National South)
Chelmsford City 2 – 1 Dartford (09/01/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Chelmsford City (07/08/2018 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 2 Chelmsford City (10/02/2018 – National South)

Stats

  • The Darts have won the last two meetings without conceding, both at home. The last time Dartford won three in a row against Chelmsford City was between 1992 and 1998.
  • Dartford are winless in their last four visits to Chelmsford City and have won just two of their last 12 away from home against the Clarets in all competitions
  • Chelmsford City have won seven of the last eleven meetings home and away

On This Day

It’s been 39 years since Dartford’s last victory on this day, a convincing 4-0 home win against Gosport Borough in the Southern Premier League. Three draws and three losses later and the Darts are still waiting to notch another triumph on 23 October. The last three outings have all been cup ties, a 4-1 defeat versus Forest Green Rovers in a F.A Cup fourth qualifying replay in 2012, a goaless draw in the 2010 F.A Cup run against Leiston and a 3-0 F.A Trophy loss to AFC Hornchurch in a first qualifying round replay back in 2007.

In the league, the last fixture on this day in 2004 ended with the Darts being held to a 1-1 draw with local rivals Erith and Belvedere in the Southern League Division One East. Five years earlier Bashley won 3-1 in the Southern League South and in 1993, Dartford recorded another 0-0 draw in the Kent League against Folkestone Invicta. Perhaps the most entertaining game came in 1926, Dartford drew 5-5 with Reading Reserves in the Southern League Eastern Section.

AFC Sudbury v Dartford

Dartford have the opportunity to reach the F.A Cup first round this weekend when they visit Isthmian North side AFC Sudbury.

Dartford play two steps above their opponents, but have history with their hosts. Dartford had a tremendous tussle with AFC Sudbury for the Isthmian Division One North title back in 2007/2008 and a memorable controversial moment in their last visit to Brundon Lane. John Guest headed the Darts in front when the defender got on the end of Steve Norman’s free-kick. The Suds had prolific striker Jamie Rowe in their ranks and his brace gave the Suffolk side the advantage. Then came the goal that should never have counted, Brendon Cass tried forcing the ball over the line to no avail but the officials thought otherwise. A 2-2 draw thanks to the ‘ghost goal’ ensured there was enough distance between the two sides for the Darts to enter the final stretch of the title race.

The Darts took four points from AFC Sudbury that season after winning 1-0 at Princes Park earlier in the campaign, Adam Flanagan scoring the winner. In the end the title race went to Dartford’s penultimate match of the season and eventually Tony Burman’s side finished nine points clear to take the Isthmian Division One North title, the Suds lost their playoff semi-final against Canvey Island.

Dartford last reached the first round of the F.A Cup four years ago, but manager Steve King knows his team will need to be on their game against lower league opposition, he spoke to Dartford FC TV and explained: “It’s going to be tough for a different reason, obviously we’re favourites being two levels above, but they have got this far for a reason, so they have ability in their team. We will do no less preparation as we would if it was anybody else”, he added: “If we don’t hit good standards we will get turned over. It is my job to make us as professional as we can and to realise we have to give everything to get through to the next round, but what an opportunity”.

King has led the Darts through two rounds so far beating Hythe Town 5-1 to claim his first F.A Cup victory as Dartford boss. Ade Azeez netted a perfect hat-trick, Danny Leonard scored his first for the club and there was also an own goal. In the third qualifying round, the Darts faced a tough draw against rivals Maidstone United at the Gallagher Stadium, as the two highest ranked teams in the competition went head to head. Noor Husin’s free-kick, Leonard’s second F.A Cup goal and another by Azeez claimed a satisfying 3-0 victory.

Building up to the final qualifier Dartford were in National South action last weekend and found things frustrating against Hungerford Town in the first half. After the interval, Azeez broke the deadlock for his eleventh goal in just ten games in all competitions. Another win and clean sheet was deserved according to King, but he felt the score should have been better if his side took their chances in front of goal. The performances of the team have helped King to the National South’s Manager of the Month award whilst Azeez claimed Player of the Month.

AFC Sudbury began their F.A Cup journey in the preliminary round almost two months ago with an away tie against Cockfosters, an Essex Senior League side who Dartford will face in the next round of the London Senior Cup. Daniel Gilchrist opened the scoring on just five minutes, but AFC Sudbury’s lead was cancelled out when Charncey Dash equalised, the advantage was restored two minutes later as George Keys netted what turned out to be the winner.

AFC Sudbury were made to work hard in the next round and needed a last-minute winner to scrape through against Potton United. The United Counties Premier Division South side almost held out for a replay until Tyrese Osbourne scored the crucial goal from a rebound. In the second qualifying round the Suds did need a replay in an all Isthmian League North tie. After a 0-0 draw at home to Stowmarket Town they finished the job with another 1-0 victory, this time Romario Dunne scored the goal to keep the cup run going.

In the previous round the Suds played higher league opposition and yet again came out triumphant in another 1-0 victory. Up against Isthmian Premier League side, Cheshunt, Luke Hipkin scored the first-half goal to take them within one game of the F.A Cup first round.

Last weekend AFC Sudbury won another cup tie beating 2019 F.A Vase finalists, Cray Valley Paper Mills. Both teams play at the same level with the Millers in the Isthmian South East division. With no replay, the F.A Trophy second qualifier ended 0-0 and went to penalties, Alfie Stronge’s save was the last act to send the Suffolk side onwards.

In the Isthmian North, AFC Sudbury have made an excellent start and if they win their game in hand, they could go joint top on points. The Suffolk side have won six of their opening eight, drawing one and losing the other. At home, the Suds have recorded four points from nine and on the road, they have a perfect record with three straight victories without conceding.

Since that title race with the Darts thirteen years ago, AFC Sudbury managed promotion by winning the Isthmian Division One North in 2016, but they came straight back down finishing second from bottom. This season is their fifth campaign back in the Isthmian North having finished twelfth and eighth before the two curtailed seasons.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / AFC Sudbury wins: 0 / Draws: 1

Current Form

Dartford
(DWWWWW)
    AFC Sudbury (LDWWWD)    
Hungerford Town H 1-0 Cray Valley Paper Mills (FAT) H 0-0
Maidstone United (FAC) A 3-0 Cheshunt (FAC) H 1-0
Athletic Newham (LSC) H 5-2 Romford A 2-0
Welling United A 6-0 Stowmarket Town (FAC) A 1-0
Hythe Town H 5-1 Stowmarket Town (FAC) H 0-0
Tonmbridge Angels H 1-1 Dereham Town H 1-3

Previous Meetings

AFC Sudbury 2 – 2 Dartford (09/02/2008 – Isthmian Division One North)
Dartford 1 – 0 AFC Sudbury (22/09/2007 – Isthmian Division One North )

Stats

  • Dartford have made it to the first round five times in the last twelve attempts
  • The Darts are unbeaten in their last three F.A Cup away ties beating Maidstone United this term and Blackfield and Langley and Horsham in 2019
  • Dartford last lost an away F.A Cup tie against lower league opposition in 2002 when they went out in a replay 1-0 at Carterton Town.
  • AFC Sudbury have kept five consecutive clean sheets in all competitions and nine in their last ten.
  • The Suds last made it to the first round of the F.A Cup in the 2000/2001 season, they defeated Southend Manor, Brook House, Heybridge Swifts, Leek Town, Belper Town before losing to Darlington
  • The last time AFC Sudbury made it to this stage of the competition was back in 2007

On This Day

This will be Dartford’s seventh F.A Cup tie on 16 October and after losing 3-2 to Northfleet in 1895, the Darts are unbeaten in the previous five. On four occasions Dartford progressed to the next round beating Bromley 3-1 in 1912, Folkestone in 1926 and Ramsgate Athletic in 1948 (both games ending 2-0) and in 1982 the Darts knocked out Corinthian Casuals winning 2-1. Tonbridge were the only other side to halt Dartford’s progression in 1965 when the tie finished 0-0, but that was only temporary as the Darts won the replay 6-2.

Dartford’s last away victory on this day was a seven goal thriller against Margate, the Darts returned with all three Southern Premier League points in a 4-3 triumph. Eight years ago, Mohamed Eisa scored the only goal of the game as Dartford beat Charlton Athletic 1-0 in the Kent Senior Cup. Eisa has scored almost a century of Football League goals since after spells with Cheltenham Town, Bristol City, Peterborough United and currently at Milton Keynes Dons.

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