Dartford can look forward to their biggest cup game at Princes Park in seven years when they take on League Two promotion chasers Swindon Town.

It’s only the second time in the history of Princes Park that Dartford have hosted a Football League side in a competitive match, a rare opportunity to become giantkillers. Whilst the Darts go into their F.A Cup first round tie having maintained and stretched their lead at the top of the National South last weekend, their former Premier League opponents are two divisions above in fifth place.

As well as prize money and coverage on a national level, Tony Burman is hoping the feel good factor returns to Dartford, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk after the draw was made and said: “It’s a good draw for us. It will be a big day for the club and the town and I hope it’ll bring in a big crowd. It’s something we can all look forward to”, he added: “It would be nice to get the enthusiasm going again and bring back some good times. Everyone deserves it”, he continued: “These days are something we all want to look forward to and be proud of what we’ve achieved as a football club and get the interest back”.

Last weekend, a consecutive 2-1 victory this time at home to St Albans City moved Tony Burman’s side two points clear at the summit of the National South. Richard Sho-Silva returned to the defence to partner Ronnie Vint, Mark Onyemah started after recovering from a minor injury and Tom Bonner was on the bench after being sidelined by a head injury against Bath City. Keaton Wood was suspended for the league win but will be available against Swindon Town. Andy Pugh will miss out after his red card appeal was rejected, the striker was sent off in the 2-1 win over Bath City.

The Darts welcomed the win over St Albans City, a side they have struggled against in recent meetings, thanks to a former Dartford player. Tom Bender scored an own goal in the second half which turned out to be decisive. Earlier in the match Sho-Silva caused some trouble with his long throws into the Saints box and on six minutes Elliot Bradbrook nodded one in for the opener. The Saints came back with an equaliser five minutes before the interval when Charlie Walker fired beyond Deren Ibrahim. In the second half Bender’s own goal gave Dartford an important three points on a day other promotion challengers slipped up.

Burman was delighted with the outcome and in his post match interview he said: “We had to dig in, we had a bit of luck which we haven’t had in other games”, he added: “What’s pleasing is from last Saturday, seven days in football, we’ve gone and won two games as a reaction from losing at Chelmsford City”.

Swindon Town will know preparation will be key to avoiding an upset at the first round stage. Ben Futcher, Assistant Manager told www.swindontownfc.co.uk: “We’ve seen the draw and it is somewhere we’ve not been before. Dartford are doing quite well in the league so it will be a tough game away from home, but one we’re looking forward to,” he added: “The early rounds are tough because the non-league sides can be banana skins and it will be a tough match, but we’ll prepare as we would for a league game and we’ll go there looking to win”.

The Robins will want to avoid slipping on a ‘banana skin’ after doing exactly that a year ago. After a 1-1 draw with National League side Eastliegh they lost 3-1 at home in the replay. Swindon Town also lost to non league opposition two years in a row in 2012 and 2013, both times against Macclesfield Town, Crawley Town in 2010 and Histon in 2008.

Last weekend, the Robins defeated Port Vale, the side Dartford lost to in a F.A Cup replay seven years ago after the 1-1 draw at Princes Park. The 3-0 victory earned David Flitcroft’s side back to back wins in which they took the lead early in the second half, through Matty Taylor’s free-kick. With twenty minutes remaining Paul Mullin made an impact grabbing the second goal of the afternoon and Kellan Gordon netted his first professional goal, seconds after entering the action as a substitute.

Away from home, the Robins have a strong defence conceding just five times on their travels in eight fixtures. They have won six of those matches on the road only losing twice. Luke Norris leads the way in the goal scoring charts with seven to his name and Mullin is behind with four league this term.

After relegation last season, Flitcroft was named boss in June and has made a solid start to life at the County Ground. The former Chester City, Rochdale and Bury midfielder started his managerial career at Barnsley just five years ago. He guided the Tykes to safety, moved to Bury to repeat the feat and took the Shakers up to League One, now the 43 year old hopes to get Swindon Town back up.

The Wiltshire club have been members of the Football League since 1920, they won the League Cup in 1969 beating Arsenal 3-1 at Wembley and reached the Premier League in 1993, finishing bottom in their only season in the top flight conceding a record 100 goals.

Only once before have the Darts faced the Robins and that was way back in 1933. The F.A Cup second round tie ended 1-0 to the hosts Swindon Town. In the thirties Dartford faced Swindon Town Reserves on six occasions, twice in the London Combination Second Division and four times in the Southern League. In each of the three campaigns Dartford won one and lost the other.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 0 / Swindon Town wins: 1 / Draws: 0

Previous Meeting

09.12.1933 Swindon Town 1 Dartford 0

Current Form

Dartford (WWLWWW) Swindon Town (WWLWLW)
St Albans City H 2-1 Port Vale A 3-0
Bath City A 2-1 Wycombe Wanderers H 1-0
Chelmsford City A 0-1 Lincoln City H 0-1
Burgess Hill Town (FAC) A 1-0 Mansfield Town A 3-1
Bognor Regis Town H 3-1 Cheltenham Town A 1-2
Needham Market (FAC) A 6-1 Cambridge United H 2-0

 

F.A Cup Stats
Dartford have won 3, drawn 8 and lost 19 against Football League opposition in the F.A Cup.

The Darts last beat Football League opposition in the 1968/69 season when the knocked out Aldershot 3-1 in the first round at home. The other two victories were against Exeter City in 1961/62, the first game ended 3-3 and the replay was won by the Darts 2-1. In the historic 1935/36 cup run Dartford beat Cardiff City 3-0 in the first round, the season the Darts lost 3-2 to top flight Derby County in the third round.

Four of the last five F.A Cup ties against Football League teams have ended in a replay. In 2010, the Darts lost 4-0 at Port Vale after a 1-1 draw. In 1989, Exeter City were held 1-1 at Watling Street before overcoming the Darts 4-1 in the second match. In consecutive seasons Dartford drew with AFC Bournemouth 1-1 in 1984 before losing 4-1 and a year later drew 0-0 prior the 2-0 replay defeat. Bradford City ended that sequence with a 4-1 win at Valley Parade in 2014.

On This Day
Exactly a year ago, the Darts lost an entertaining F.A Cup first round tie at home to Sutton United. The frenetic fixture started at blistering pace with Maxime Biamou scoring for the visitors inside the first minute. Elliot Bradbrook equalised before Roary Deacon put the U’s back in front. Bradbrook levelled again six minutes before Biamou grabbed his second. Early in the second half Duane Ofori-Acheampong had the Darts level for a third time but two goals from Ross Stern and another from Deacon set Sutton United on their way. The Surrey side ended up reaching the fifth round losing to Arsenal.

DATE: Sunday 5th November 2017

VENUE: Princes Park, Grassbanks, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1RT

KICK OFF: 2:00pm

TURNSTILES: Open from 12:30pm

ADMISSION:
ALL TICKET GAME, TICKETS MUST BE PURCHASED IN ADVANCE

THIS GAME IS SEGREGATED AND ALL DARTFORD SUPPORTERS MUST ENTER THROUGH THE TURNSTILES AT THE PRINCES ROAD END.

SEATING: Seating is available on a first come first served basis in certain areas of the stadium.

FACILITIES: Bar and food open from 11:30am

PARKING: Parking is free of charge in the clubs car park but is a first come first served basis. Parking spaces to supporters will be very limited due to TV production, away coaches and additional media requiring spaces. Parking in the town centre is free of charge on Sunday’s with the fast track busses running normal Sunday service.

MATCH UPDATES: Available on Twitter @dartfordfc and on website www.dartfordfc.com

MATCH SPONSOR: Macintyre Hudson

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PROGRAMMES: £2.50

TICKETS: Tickets are still on sale 9am – 8pm today and 9am – 5pm on Saturday at Reception.