Dartford will have to erase memories of their last meeting against Kent rivals Dover Athletic, if they want to progress in the F.A Trophy this weekend.
The Darts are hoping to make it into round two and make up for the 6-1 thrashing that was dished out to them almost two years ago. Dartford can take some comfort in the fact that they did beat Dover Athletic at home that season in a match that had a tense finale.
Ricky Miller, who is in form for Dover Athletic this term toping the National League scoring charts with 22 goals already, opened the scoring in the last meeting at Princes Park with a 25 yard free kick. Dartford were forced to come from behind after Miller’s eighth minute strike. Harry Crawford equalised from close range and with five minutes remaining Tom Bradbrook scored Dartford’s second. Elliot Bradbrook gave away a penalty during injury time, but the hero was goalkeeper Jason Brown who saved Miller’s effort.
Dartford’s first and only fixture in this season’s F.A Trophy was only a fortnight ago. The Darts travelled across the country to to take on struggling National South side Weston-super-Mare. Despite having Tom Bonner sent off, who has started his four match ban and will miss the clash with former club Dover Athletic, Dartford recorded a 4-2 victory. Elliot Bradbrook kept up his extraordinary cup form with an impressive hat-trick, taking his cup tally to ten goals in just six games, whilst Andy Pugh opened the scoring for the Darts in the 4-2 triumph.
A former Dover Athletic striker was to thank for Dartford’s win on the weekend at home to Poole Town. Duane Ofori-Acheampong headed Lee Noble’s free kick to make it 1-0 and within a couple of minutes Luke Wanadio made it two. Poole Town halved the deficit causing trouble for the Darts in the second half. Tony Burman spoke to kentonline.co.uk and praised the effort of his players, he said: “Second half I don’t think we played the best football ever, but we dug in and we have won the game ugly and got the three points and I will take that all day long”.
Victory over fellow playoff contenders leave the Darts fourth in the National South and without Tom Bonner, central defender Ronnie Vint stepped up with an assured performance, together with Ofori-Acheampong and Noble he made it into the kentonline Team of the Week.
Twenty places above Dartford in the football pyramid, Dover Athletic will provide a tough test. The Whites beat Sutton United 6-0 away from the Crabble recently, a team that knocked the Darts out of the F.A Cup with a 6-3 victory. Chris Kinnear’s team are just outside the playoff spots and in their first campaign back in the top non league division they reached the playoffs, losing to Forest Green Rovers in the semi-final.
Away from the National League for thirteen years, it looks like Dover Athletic have established themselves once more. Helping them to achieve stability is two former Dartford players Jim Stevenson and Tyrone Sterling. Partnering the prolific Miller up front is former Welling United hitman Ross Lafayette who has found the net nine times this season.
The last two F.A Trophy ties between the Darts and Dover Athletic have ended in the same scoreline. Although Dartford won 3-2 just over 11 years ago, the Whites got revenge four years later.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 32 / Dover Athletic wins: 35 / Draws: 23
Dover Athletic 6 Dartford 1 (17/01/2015 – National League)
Dartford 2 Dover Athletic 1 (16/09/2014 – National League)
Dartford 0 Dover Athletic 1 (04/03/2013 – Kent Senior Cup)
Dartford 3 Dover Athletic 1 (03/12/2011 – National South)
Dover Athletic 2 Dartford 2 (23/08/2011 – National South)
Dartford 4 Dover Athletic 0 (25/04/2011 – National South)
Current Form (all competitions)
Won 2-1 v Poole Town (H)
Won 4-2 v Weston-super-Mare (A) – F.A Trophy
Lost 2-2 (1-4 on penalties) v Welling United (A) – Kent Senior Cup
Won 3-0 v Bishop’s Stortford (A)
Won 2-0 v Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Lost 0-2 v St Albans City (H)
Dover Athletic (LWWWLW)
Lost 1-2 v Dagenham and Redbridge (H)
Won 6-0 v Sutton United (A)
Won 3-1 v Woking (H)
Won 2-0 v Guiseley (H)
Lost 2-4 v Cambridge United (H) – F.A Cup Replay
Won 3-2 v Solihull Moors (A)
2 – In the F.A Trophy Dartford and Dover Athletic have both beaten each other twice and the other two matches ended in a draw.
Dover Athletic 3 Dartford 2 (21/11/2009 – F.A Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round)
Dartford 3 Dover Athletic 2 (18/10/2005 – F.A Trophy 1st Qualifying Round Replay)
Dover Athletic 1 Dartford 1 (15/10/2005 – F.A Trophy 1st Qualifying Round)
Dartford 2 Dover Athletic 0 (07/02/1989 – F.A Trophy 2nd Round Replay)
Dover Athletic 0 Dartford 0 (04/02/1989 – F.A Trophy 2nd Round)
Dover 2 Dartford 1 (11/01/1975 – F.A Trophy 1st Round)
10 – Elliot Bradbrook has scored in every cup game he has started this season. He failed to score against Cray Wanderers in the Kent Senior Cup but came on as a substitute in that match.
35 – the number of goals featuring in Dartford cup matches this term, over seven games that’s 5 goals a game.
44 – the number of goals featuring the Darts in the National South, the lowest average in the league of 2.32 per game.
On This Day
Elliot Bradbrook and a Jacob Erskine double sealed a 3-0 F.A Trophy victory for the Darts five years ago. Dartford went on to reach the third round going out to Wealdstone in a replay. Two years ago, the Darts were knocked out of the Kent Senior Cup in a 7-3 defeat to Gillingham at the second round stage.