Alan Dowson takes charge of his first F.A Cup game as Dartford manager this weekend against in form Isthmian Division One South East side Beckenham Town.
The Darts reached the final qualifying round last season losing to lower league opposition for a second time in three years. Dowson will want to avoid a cup upset and recreate the run he had in the competition whilst at Woking when they reached the third round, finally losing to Watford. Beckenham Town have a perfect record in their division winning their opening four fixtures to top the table. The Reds have already made it through three ties starting in the extra preliminary round and a win on the weekend will see them achieve their best ever run in the competition.
Dartford have faced Beckenham Town once before at this stage in the F.A Cup way back in 1926 and won 3-1. The two sides also met over the three seasons Dartford spent in the Kent League First Division during the nineties, the last meeting almost 27 years ago ended 0-0. In that 1995/1996 campaign the Darts finished runners up on goal difference losing one league match all season, the Reds managed two draws against Dartford with the reverse fixture finishing 1-1. During the Kent League days the Darts won three times with Beckenham Town’s only ever victory over Dartford coming in September 1994.
Leading up to Tuesday night’s 3-1 victory at Dover Athletic, the Darts had lost four of their last five 2-1 with late goals proving a thorn in their side. Dowson’s team did manage a win though when they beat Hemel Hempstead Town 2-0 on Bank Holiday Monday. Prior the Kent derby, the Dartford boss strengthened the midfield with the loan signing of Kwaku Frimpong from AFC Wimbledon, the 19-year-old was named as a substitute. Three changes were made from the defeat at Chippenham Town with Samir Carruthers and Davide Rodari now fully fit and Luke Coulson returning to the starting line up.
The Darts may have missed Carruthers in their last outing, but the midfielder made his mark with a brilliantly crafted opener. The selection of Coulson also proved crucial, not only did he set up the first goal he chipped in the second. Within a 18 minute spell, the Darts grabbed a third, Maxwell Statham scoring for a second game in a row. Dover Athletic pulled a goal back before half-time when Luke Baptiste gave the hosts a lifeline. There were no goals in the second-half, but Frimpong did come on for his debut replacing Carruthers.
Louie Theophanous has been the star of Beckenham Town’s cup run this season scoring in every game. The forward also helped Kingstonian knock out the Darts three years ago scoring the second goal in a 3-2 win for the K’s. In the extra preliminary round Beckenham Town took on Dartford’s first ever opponents at Princes Park, Horsham YMCA. Within three minutes the Reds gave away a penalty, but he hosts missed their opportunity and Beckenham Town never looked back. Mudiaga Wonugho headed home the opener, Theophanous won and scored a penalty and George Goodwin nodded in the third. In the preliminary qualifier the Reds faced K Sports, another side a division below them and raced into a three-goal lead through Luke Hedges, Theophanous and Harvey Brand. Perhaps taking their foot off the pedal, Beckenham Town conceded twice in the final two minutes but won 3-2.
Theophanous continued his record of scoring in every round by recording a brace against East Grinstead Town in the first qualifying round. Both goals were cancelled out when Matthew Daniel then Tahjae Anderson equalised. The replay ended 3-1 to Beckenham Town with Theophanous opening the scoring and Tyler Anderson doubling the lead. Daniel halved the deficit for the Wasps, but Theophanous secured victory with his sixth F.A Cup goal in four games.
On Tuesday night, Beckenham Town were in F.A Trophy action going out on penalties. After an even opening half hour, the Reds found themselves a goal down at the break against a Heybridge Swifts side that included former Dartford favourite Lee Noble. However, once again Theophanous’ coolness in front of goal put the Reds level for his ninth goal in as many games and the tie went to penalties. Callum Chafer saved twice to deny Beckenham Town as the Swifts went through 4-1 on spot kicks. Saturday’s match will be the Reds fourth cup tie in a row.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 5 / Beckenham Town wins: 1 / Draws: 1
Current Form (FAC – F.A Cup / FAT – F.A Trophy)
|Dover Athletic||A||3-1||Heybridge Swifts (FAT)*||H||1-1|
|Chippenham Town||A||1-2||East Grinstead Town (FAC)||H||3-1|
|Hemel Hempstead Town||A||2-0||East Grinstead Town (FAC)||A||2-2|
|Taunton Town||A||1-2||Sheppey United||H||2-1|
|Havant and Waterlooville||H||1-2||K Sports (FAC)||H||3-2|
* Lost 4-1 on penalties
Last Six Meetings
Beckenham Town 0 – 0 Dartford (20/01/1996 – Kent League First Division)
Dartford 1 – 1 Beckenham Town (16/08/1995 – Kent League First Division)
Beckenham Town 1 – 2 Dartford (15/10/1994 – Kent League First Division)
Dartford 1 – 2 Beckenham Town (06/09/1994 – Kent League First Division)
Dartford 2 – 0 Beckenham Town (23/04/1994 – Kent League First Division)
Beckenham Town 0 – 4 Dartford (07/09/1993 – Kent League First Division)
- Dartford last failed to feature in at least the second qualifying round back in 2006/2007
- The Darts have won all five F.A Cup ties when they have played on 17 September
On This Day
John Bartley scored four in a 7-1 F.A Cup win against Flackwell Heath in 1988 at Watling Street, his hat-trick was completed within the opening 20 minutes. A strong wind and ‘a game of two halves’ affected Dartford’s last F.A Cup tie on this day in 2016. The Darts raced into a three goal lead before half-time at Chelmsford City. Danny Harris headed on to the post with the rebound coming off Ross Fitzsimons in the Clarets goal. Elliot Bradbrook scored twice to put Dartford in command. In the second half Shamir Mullings netted twice, but the Darts held on for the final twenty minutes. Other F.A Cup ties on this day featured Dartford beating Hoddesdon Town 4-0 in 1983, Northfleet United 1-0 in 1910 and Folkestone 5-1 in 1904.