Dartford get their F.A Trophy campaign underway this weekend with a trip to Swindon Supermarine of the Southern Premier League South.
In the first meeting between the two sides, the Darts will be determined to bounce back from Saturday’s defeat which saw their unbeaten run of eleven games come to an end. Swindon Supermarine on the other hand will be hoping to join a list of teams who have upset Dartford in cup competitions recently.
After ten victories and a draw the Darts travelled to Hampshire last weekend to face Farnborough, who were on a good run of their own. Alan Dowson’s side were second best throughout the afternoon losing 3-1 and not only did they miss an opportunity to return to the top of the National South they also missed their captain, Tom Bonner. The defender was suspended after his red card in the 4-1 victory over Braintree Town, but he will be available for the F.A Trophy second round tie. Having been reliable in a defensive midfield role, Jordan Wynter dropped to centre back with Keiran Murtagh and Samir Carruthers coming into the side in place of Bonner and Josh Johnson.
The hosts exposed Dartford’s defence and after nineteen minutes were ahead when Hisham Kasimu got the better of Wynter then finished a one on one with Joe Young in goal. The lead was doubled when Dartford failed to clear the ball and Johnathon Page netted from close range. After five weeks without any playing time, Darts full back Kristian Campbell returned to action at half-time. His introduction was rewarded when he scored a header from Luke Coulson’s corner. However, Farnborough made sure of maximum points when Ollie Pendleberry scored a brilliant free-kick.
Disappointed with the result, Dowson was unhappy with his performance as well as his players, especially after the high standards set by the Darts over the last two months by taking an astonishing 31 points from a possible 33 in the league prior to defeat at Farnborough. Sitting third in the National South two points behind rivals Ebbsfleet United keeps Dartford in a strong position, but now they now focus on cup football and will hope to put past cup results behind them.
Earlier this season, Dowson lost his first competitive cup match for the club at home against Beckenham Town, a team one division lower than Swindon Supermarine. Last term, the Darts were beaten by lower league teams AFC Sudbury in the F.A Cup and Needham Market in the F.A Trophy. The season before the Darts lost to Haringey Borough in the F.A Trophy and former boss, Steve King lost on debut to Kingstonian in the F.A Cup three years ago. Dartford should know too well that complacency is no option come three o’clock on Saturday.
Swindon Supermarine have only reached the third round on two occasions losing to Ebbsfleet United in 2008/09 and Bath City in 2020/21, so victory will equal their best performance in the F.A Trophy. The Marine are going well in the Southern Premier League South sitting in fifth and occupying a playoff place. The Wiltshire club are currently four unbeaten in all competitions including a 5-0 victory in the last round of the competition. During those four matches Harry Williams has netted each time adding five to his total tally of the season which stands at 20 in as many games. The striker has an impressive scoring record for Marine recording nearly goal every other game since being at the club.
On the weekend they beat Yate Town 2-0 with new loan signing from Gloucester City, Liam Armstrong keeping a clean sheet on debut. Yate Town were reduced to ten men before the break with the scores level. It took Williams until seventy minutes to register the first goal and with five minutes to go Conor McDonagh sealed the victory.
The Marine’s F.A Trophy campaign began after the F.A Cup exit to Farnborough. Swindon Supermarine were beaten 5-1 by the Hampshire side in the third qualifying round. In the F.A Trophy, Lee Spalding’s side have negotiated through two rounds beating Cirencester Town 3-0 early last month in a local derby. Brad Hooper scored with a fine strike after ten minutes and a second half back heel from James Harding made it two. The third came when Zack Kotwica took the ball round the goalkeeper to slot home. In the last round they drew out Winchester City and despite losing to the Hampshire club in the league a week earlier they thrashed City 5-0 on the road. Williams and McDonagh gave Marine a two goal cushion heading into the interval to put the visitors in control. Williams got the scoring started again in the second half with twenty minutes left on the clock and two late goals from Hooper and Kotwica wrapped up the win.
Current Form (all competitions)
|Braintree Town||H||4-1||Chesham United||A||1-1|
|Welling United||H||5-1||Winchester City (FAT)||A||5-0|
|Slough Town||A||2-1||Winchester City||H||1-2|
|St Albans City||A||1-1||Harrow Borough||H||2-1|
- In the last two F.A Trophy campaigns Dartford won on penalties in the second round
- Since reaching the semi-final in 2013, the Darts have got to at least the third round in three of the last nine years
- This is only the third time Swindon Supermarine has played in the F.A Trophy second round since entering the competition for the first time in 2001/02
On This Day
This will be Dartford’s first F.A Trophy game on this day, but other cup competitions haven’t gone so well on 19 November for the Darts. They have won just twice beating Sheppey United 6-2 in the Kent Senior Cup 42 years ago and Headington United 2-0 in a Southern League Cup tie in 1958. Dartford have lost six cup games on this day including their last four. In 1985 AFC Bournemouth knocked the Darts out of the F.A Cup for a second year in a row, the year before the Cherries denied Dartford a chance to take on Manchester United in the next round. The Darts were also beaten by Millwall in 1983 and Kettering Town in 1988 in the F.A Cup first round. The last outing for Dartford on this day was six years ago when they defeated Bishop’s Stortford 3-0, an own goal was added to by Andy Pugh and Elliot Bradbrook.