Dartford begin their F.A Cup campaign at home to Essex League champions Barking, in the second qualifying round this weekend.
The Darts prepared by moving top of the National South on goal difference following two victories in the space of three days. Eastbourne Borough were the latest victims at Princes Park even though the arrived in Kent unbeaten in their last eight games. Warren Mfula and Duane Ofori-Acheampong were both unavailable but recovering from injuries, whilst Mark Onyemah missed Tuesday’s game for family reasons, Danny Harris returned to action.
Alex Brown gave the Darts the lead with a shot from just outside the box and in the second half Alfie Pavey headed home for 2-0. A third arrived when Elliot Bradbrook notched his seventh of the season. The visitors managed to pull a goal back before Andy Pugh restored the three goal cushion. There was still time for the Sports to earn a consolation as the game finished 4-2.
Dartford’s confidence is growing and with a competitive squad it will give Tony Burman a chance to look at others, who have been on the fringes of the starting eleven. Although the upset two years ago when the Darts went out to Uxbridge will serve as warning. Last term, Dartford made it to the F.A Cup first round going out in an entertaining 6-3 defeat to one of last season’s giant killers Sutton United.
Eleven and a half years have gone by since Dartford played Barking, although back then had merged with East Ham United. A pair of 2-2 draws in the Southern Division One East took place in 2005 and 2006. The previous season Barking and East Ham United won both league matches including a 6-1 away win in March 2005.
Fortunes have changed since then, Dartford’s homecoming led to promotions up the non league pyramid. Barking and East Ham United folded in 2006. Barking became the new club of the town and for the last eleven campaigns played in the Essex League which they won with 100 points and 125 goals last season.
The Blues still overhauled their squad in preparation for the Isthmian Division One North, only captain Ben O’Brien, Max Watters, Steve Willis and Timi Abiola have featured this term and were part of the championship winning side. Glen Colby was another member and the joint manager resigned recently leaving Justin Gardner in charge.
Barking’s F.A Cup journey started a month ago in the preliminary round against Saffron Walden Town of the Eastern Counties League. The home tie ended 0-0 with the Blues dominating possession but failing to breakdown their opponents. The replay three days later made up for a lack of goals as the two teams entertained in a seven goal thriller.
After falling behind, Barking’s Dan Gilchrist levelled and took the lead courtesy of Abs Seymour’s free kick. The lead was surrendered but Seymour had the Blues ahead again from a free kick, only for Saffron Walden Town to equalise once more. The winner came from Billy Jones and when captain Ben O’Brien was dismissed eight minutes from time the visitors piled on the pressure, but the Blues held out 4-3.
In the following round the cup tie was more straight forward against Gorleston, also of the Eastern Counties League. Goals from Theo Ola, a brace from Gilchrist and one for Alan Smalls meant a comfortable 4-0 triumph for Barking. The Blues have won their last three, the last two in the league against Grays Athletic o Saturday and Ware on Tuesday.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 2 / Barking wins 3 / Draws: 2
Previous Meetings (^ – Eastern Floodlit Cup)
|25.02.2006||Barking & East Ham Utd||2||Dartford||2|
|25.10.2005||Dartford||2||Barking & East Ham Utd||2|
|05.04.2005||Barking & East Ham Utd||1||Dartford||0|
|13.03.2005||Dartford||1||Barking & East Ham Utd||6|
Current League Form
|Dartford (WWDLWW)||Barking (WWWLLW)|
|Chippenham Town||H||3-0||Grays Athletic||H||3-1|
|Hampton & Richmond||A||2-2||Witham Town||A||0-1|
|East Thurrock United||H||0-1||Heybridge Swifts||H||0-1|
|Hemel Hempstead Town||A||3-0||Saffron Walden Town||A||4-3|
F.A Cup Stats
Since 2010, the Darts have reached the first round proper four times, including the run to the second round seasons ago.
In those seven years, Dartford have won nine out of ten against lower league opposition in the F.A Cup.
Barking last reached the second qualifying round in 1999 as Barking and East Ham United, they went a step further but were knocked out in the next round.
Since reforming as Barking in 2006, the Blues have only got past the preliminary stages once. Eleven years ago, they went out to Chelmsford City.
On This Day
Dartford thrashed Hemel Hempstead 9-2 away from home in 1972. The Darts won the first qualifying round in style eventually reaching the fourth qualifying round stage. Five years earlier, Dartford beat local rivals Gravesend and Northfleet 4-0 at Watling Street. In 1989, a win over Redbridge Forest set the Darts on their way to the first round. The first game of their run ended 4-2 with the story ending in a replay down in Exeter against the Grecians. Since then, Dartford drew 0-0 with Chertsey Town in 2000 and lost 2-0 to Hastings United in 2006.
DATE: Saturday 16th September 2017
VENUE: Princes Park, Grassbanks, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1RT
KICK OFF: 3:00pm
TURNSTILES: Open from 12:30pm
Adults: £14, Concessions £7, Youth ( 13-17) £5, Children:£2, Under 5’s FREE – SEASON TICKETS ARE NOT VALID
SEATING: Seating is available on a first come first served basis in certain areas of the stadium.
FACILITIES: Bar and food open from 12:30pm
PARKING: Parking is free of charge in the clubs car park but is a first come first served basis.
MATCH UPDATES: Available on Twitter @dartfordfc and on website www.dartfordfc.com
MATCH SPONSOR: Champions Bar, for more information Click HERE