Dartford are back in county cup action when they host Isthmian Premier League South side Metropolitan Police in the second round.
After two postponements of this fixture it’s third time lucky on Tuesday night. The Darts reached the quarter-final stage last season. Their opponents went out at this stage of the competition last term and are hoping to go one better this time.
This fixture has produced plenty of goals over the years stretching back to the seventies and most recently the 2006/2007 Isthmian Division One South season. Since the first ever meeting, when the Darts won a friendly 5-2 in 1939, there has been a 5-3 Dartford victory in 1975, a 6-2 triumph in the Southern League Division One South during the same season, and the last time the two sides played it ended 4-3 in Metropolitan Police’s only win over Dartford. The final game of the campaign in front of 239 at Met Police saw Brendon Cass score twice and Ryan Hayes net the other. Hayes was also on the scoresheet in December 2006 along with Richard Avery in a 2-2 draw at Princes Park.
The most famous clash had the Match of the Day cameras visiting Imber Court back in 1984, when the Darts beat Metropolitan Police in the only cup meeting between the two sides, George Borg scoring a wonder goal in a 3-0 win. The reward for John Still’s side was a second round tie with AFC Bournemouth in which Dartford lost in a replay, missing out on a dream draw against Manchester United.
Both sides negotiated their way through the first round without conceding. It took Dartford just over an hour to break the deadlock against Isthmian Division One Central side Tooting and Mitcham United, when Alex Wall was on the end of Davide Rodari’s pass across the goal. Metropolitan Police strolled to a 4-0 win over Combined Counties League Premier Division North side Hilltop FC. Jasper Mather opened the scoring with a tidy finish just 15 minutes into the cup tie and ten minutes later he added a second. Scoring his first goal since returning to the club, Ollie Knight increased the lead. The game was wrapped up six minutes from time when Josh Keeya completed the rout.
Dartford’s outstanding form did take them them to the top of the National South before their last two outings, which both ended in defeat. Alan Dowson has selected the same team for the last four games which included completing a double over Ebbsfleet United and beating Cheshunt before defeat at home to Hemel Hempstead Town and away to Worthing. However, the Darts boss is expected to make changes in the county cup to give fringe and academy players an opportunity.
New signings Jamar Loza and Jernade Meade made a substitute appearance on the weekend, but Tommy Block awaits his debut. Charlie Sheringham was missing through illness whilst midfielder, Luke Allen and defender Sam Odaudu are still recovering from injury. Dartford had an awful afternoon down at Worthing conceding three times for the second consecutive league game. Misery was compounded when Alex Wall was sent off late on, now the striker will be facing a suspension. Two early goals from the hosts put the Darts on the back foot and they never recovered. Maxwell Statham scored an own goal in eighth minute and three minutes later Ollie Pearce doubled the Rebels lead. In the second half, former Dartford loanee, Davide Rodari made it 3-0 before Wall was dismissed for an off the ball incident.
Metropolitan Police moved into the Southern League Premier South playoff places with a fifth straight win in their last match. It was a case of better late than never for Metropolitan Police in their game versus Hanwell Town on the weekend. Two goals from substitute Louis Degand in the final five minutes secured a 2-0 at Imber Court. The midfielder was only on the pitch for ten minutes when he netted his first and right at the end he added a second.
Martell Taylor-Crossdale’s goal at home to Plymouth Parkway was enough to earn all three points just over a fortnight ago. The Met had scored two in each of the three victories leading up to Saturday’s triumph, keeping a clean sheet at Harrow Borough before beating both Hendon and Winchester City 2-1. However, a couple of postponements has seen the Met slip out of the playoff zone. The Darts will need to watch out for Herson Rodrigues-Alves if selected, the striker has scored 17 goals in the league this term.
In cup competitions, the Met have beaten Corinthian and Burgess Hill Town in reaching the third qualifying round of the F.A Cup. Their cup run was ended by National South side Chippenham Town. They reached the same stage of the F.A Trophy going out at the first hurdle on penalties to Hastings United. Like Dartford, Metropolitan Police have entered two regional competitions this term. In the Surrey Senior Cup, they comfortably defeated Westfields 3-0 and will take on Banstead Athletic or Dowson’s old club Woking in the next round.
The winner of this second round tie will host Haringey Borough of the Isthmian Premier League in the last eight.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 6 / Metropolitan Police wins: 1 / Draws: 1
|Hemel Hempstead Town||H||1-3||Plymouth Parkway||H||1-0|
|Ebbsfleet United||A||4-1||Harrow Borough||A||2-0|
|Havant & Waterlooville||A||3-1||Yate Town||A||0-1|
Met Police 4 – 3 Dartford (28/04/2007 – Isthmian Division One South)
Dartford 2 – 2 Met Police (16/12/2006 – Isthmian Division One South)
Met Police 0 – 3 Dartford (17/11/1974 – F.A Cup)
Dartford 6 – 2 Met Police (29/11/1975 – Southern League Division One South)
Met Police 0 – 2 Dartford (09/09/1975 – Southern League Division One South)
Met Police 3 – 5 Dartford (14/01/1975 – Mid Surrey Floodlight League)
Dartford 3 – 1 Met Police (08/10/1974 – Mid Surrey Floodlight League)
Dartford 5 – 2 Met Police (11/11/1939 – Friendly)
- There has been 43 goals in 8 matches in this fixture at an average of 5.37 goals per game
- Dartford have always scored two or more goals against Metropolitan Police hitting 3+ goals in six out of eight meetings
- The Darts have won 11 of their last 12 county cup ties (includes penalties)
On This Day
Dartford have never lost at home on 31 January winning eight and drawing two. One of those stalemates came in their last fixture on this day which ended 2-2 at home to Bristol Rovers eight years ago. The Darts came from behind twice thanks to two goals from Ryan Hayes. In 2009, Rob Haworth was the hero against rivals Maidstone United in a 1-0 Isthmian Premier derby day win at Princes Park. That was the seventh consecutive home victory on this day for the Darts, which included two county cup wins against Herne Bay in 1959 (4-2) and Snowdon Colliery Welfare in 1953 (1-0).