Dartford can make the last sixteen of the F.A Trophy for the first time in seven years when they host Weymouth this weekend.
The fourth round tie will be decided on the day against the National League side who won promotion by beating the Darts in the 2020 playoff final. In what was the last meeting between the two sides, the final score was 0-0 and in the penalty shootout Dartford drew another blank missing all three spot kicks to hand the Terras victory.
For a generation of supporters, a certain quarter-final tie against Weymouth may stir up memories of Dartford’s run to the F.A Trophy final in 1974. The only time these two sides have met in the competition ended in a 2-1 victory for the Darts, an own goal settling the tie. Dartford went on to reach Wembley losing by the same score against Morecambe.
However, Dartford’s record when up against the Dorset club doesn’t make for good reading over the years, their last win over Weymouth coming 32 years ago. After a draw and five consecutive league defeats to the Terras, before the playoff heartbreak, the Darts will enter this fixture as underdogs and hope to cause an upset.
This will be Weymouth’s first ever visit to Princes Park because the return National South fixture in the 2019/2020 campaign wasn’t able to take place, the pandemic cutting short the season. At the Bob Lucas stadium in August 2019, the Darts suffered a 3-1 defeat, Norman Wabo scoring a consolation goal after Abdulai Baggie and a Brett Williams brace putting Weymouth in control.
After consecutive league defeats against Kent rivals, the Darts faced another tough fixture last weekend. Hosting Dulwich Hamlet, the game was put in doubt after heavy rain. Hamlet were a place below Dartford in the table before kick off and on the day couldn’t be separated at full time in a 1-1 draw. King described the conditions as horrendous and praised both sets of players for providing an end to end game. Hamlet took the lead from a through former Dart, Tyrone Sterling. Disappointed by conceding a set piece, King was happier with his side’s approach play and in the second half they were rewarded with another Jake Robinson goal. The striker now has 12 goals in all competitions from just 11 starts and two substitute appearances.
Speaking to Dartford FC TV after the game King praised Robinson, he commented: “there’s moments where games are tight, he will nick you that little winner. He’s not got the legs that he used to have but his in the right place at the right time. He’s a goalscorer and he’s a natural”. Expressing sympathy for the strikers, King identified that his players are getting in good positions on the wing, but the quality of the crossing needs improving, to help the strikers out. The Darts have now won just once in their last five outings in all competitions and that was in the last round of the F.A Trophy against Cray Wanderers.
The Darts will be without full-back Jernade Meade who picked up a hairline fracture, he is likely to be out for a couple of months. However, Luke Allen and Danny Leonard are back in contention. To cover Meade’s position, King has brought in Kai Woollard-Innocent on loan from Queens Park Rangers. The 21 year-old impressed King whilst at Eastbourne Borough last season and has been with Queens Park Rangers since he was eight.
Despite Dartford’s patchy results over the last three months, their opponents are going through a tougher spell. Weymouth have been in torrid form in the National League with seven straight losses, but that sequence was broken up by their F.A Trophy win over Hungerford Town. Sitting third from bottom the Terras last league victory was against the team below them, Kings Lynn at the end of October. The only other home win in the National League was against Maidenhead United and they are one place above the Terras.
Their last outing proved to be the last under Brian Stock as the club parted ways with the former Welsh international on Wednesday. Stock’s final game ended in a 1-0 defeat at home to Southend United. The Terras can look forward to Bradley Ash’s return from injury, the former Chippenham Town and Weston-super-Mare striker came off the bench in the latter stages of the defeat. Tom Bearwish also managed a substitute appearance after being out with injury, whilst Sean Shields is currently unavailable.
Like Dartford, the Terras have a prolific goalscorer from a division below the National League. Brandon Goodship is in his second spell with Weymouth returning to the club from Southend United in the summer. The striker scored 77 goals in 97 appearances in his first spell with the Terras earning an England C cap whilst in the Southern Premier League and consecutive golden boot awards.
F.A Trophy story so far…
Bath City 0-0 Dartford (Dartford won 5-3 on penalties)
A tight affair at Twerton Park ended with no goals scored after normal time and so the tie went straight to penalties. The Darts scored all five of their spot kicks and after two penalties each gained an advantage when Dan Wilks saved from Alex Fletcher. The Darts kept their heads and with Tyrique Hyde last to go for the visitors, the midfielder slotted home.
Cray Wanderers 1-3 Dartford
Three goals in five first half minutes settled Dartford’s nerves in round three. The Kent derby against Isthmian Premier League side Cray Wanderers could have been a banana skin but the Darts negotiated their way through to the next round. Jake Robinson opened the scoring past former Dartford goalkeeper Bailey Vose. The striker added a second from the penalty spot and Danny Leonard made it three. The Wands scored a consolation in the second half when Jai Reason scored.
Hungerford Town 0-1 Weymouth
Josh McQuoid’s late winner was enough for the National League side to get past National South’s Hungerford Town. With eight minutes left on the clock, Terras midfielder Cameron Murray split the Crusaders defence with a pass for McQuoid to strike beyond Luke Cairney.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 17 / Weymouth wins: 35 / Draws: 16
Current Form (all competitions)
|Dulwich Hamlet||H||1-1||Southend United||H||0-1|
|Braintree Town||A||2-2||Hungerford Town (FAT)||A||1-0|
|Cray Wanderers (FAT)||A||3-1||Wrexham||A||0-1|
|Maidstone United||A||0-4||Torquay United||H||1-2|
(FAT – F.A Trophy)
Previous Six Meetings
Weymouth 0 – 0 Dartford* (01/08/2020 – National South Playoff Final)
Weymouth 3 -1 Dartford (17/08/2019 – National South)
Weymouth 2 – 0 Dartford (27/12/1997 – Southern League Southern Division)
Dartford 2 – 3 Weymouth (23/08/1997 – Southern League Southern Division )
Weymouth 2 – 1 Dartford (15/02/1997 – Southern League Southern Division )
Dartford 3 – 5 Weymouth (05/10/1996 – Southern League Southern Division )
* Weymouth won 3-0 on penalties
- Dartford’s win percentage over Weymouth is 25%, the second lowest out of teams the Darts have played over 30 times (Yeovil Town is the lowest at 23.44%)
- The Darts have won their last four cup games since exiting the F.A Cup in October
- Another appearance from Luke Wanadio will take the winger to a century for the Darts. Over three spells at the club, Wanadio has started 81 times, made 18 substitute appearances and scored 18 goals
On This Day
Dartford have never lost an F.A Trophy tie on this day winning two and drawing two. In 2011, George Purcell scored the winning goal in round two against underdogs Ashford Town (Middlesex) who played two divisions below the Darts. Two replays were required in 1991 as Dartford drew 1-1 in the original rematch with Carshalton Athletic, the Darts went on to win at the third attempt. Lewes were beaten 2-0 in 1983 and five years earlier Dartford drew 2-2 with Horsham both in the first round. The Darts have won their last two games on this day, Jon Wallis and Lee Noble scored in a 2-0 National League win over Macclesfield Town in 2013, two years prior was the F.A Trophy tie with Ashford Town (Middlesex). Apart from the draw with Carshalton Athletic, the Darts have won the other five home games on 15 January including an 11-1 victory over Faversham Town in the 1966 Kent Senior Cup, a 5-1 win against Colchester United in the Southern League back in 1949 and a 5-3 triumph versus Faversham in 1898, also in the Kent Senior Cup.