Dartford were handed a tough F.A Trophy second round draw against Bath City which takes place on the weekend at Twerton Park.
For a fourth season in a row the Darts open their F.A Trophy campaign away to a National South side. This time they are hoping to start a run they haven’t enjoyed in the trophy for a few years. Dartford last went deep into the competition back in 2013 when they reached the semi-final, whilst Bath City got to the same stage back in 2015. Last term both sides were beaten by lower league opposition with the Darts crashing out to Haringey Borough and the Romans losing to Peterborough Sports.
The two sides last played each other in September with the Darts claiming three National South points at Saturday’s venue. The first half belonged to the visitors and with striker Ade Azeez returning to the starting eleven he opened the scoring with a header. On the stroke of half time Jake Robinson doubled the lead, but Bath City’s Alex Fletcher cut the deficit in the second half. George Porter came on as a substitute and made an impact by putting the game out of Bath City’s reach.
The Darts have form over their opponents winning seven straight matches before Steve King suffered his first league defeat as Dartford boss two years ago. The Romans won 3-0 that day, but have since lost their last two, a 1-0 defeat at Princes Park and this season’s reverse.
Steve King’s side warmed up with a convincing Kent Senior Cup final victory on Wednesday beating Whitstable Town 6-1, Dartford’s twelfth triumph in the competition. King put out a strong line up which featured a Robinson hat-trick and another impressive performance from midfielder Tyrique Hyde.
Dartford got off to a super start after just three minutes, Kieran Murtagh hit the crossbar and moments later Danny Leonard’s excellent strike opened the scoring. The Darts were controlling the game and when Hyde won a penalty, Robinson stepped up to make it two. The pair were involved again just past the half hour mark when Hyde’s effort was turned in by Robinson. The Darts continued relentlessly; Michael Kedman ran down the left wing delivered the ball to George Porter for his fourth of the season. Then just before the interval Hyde made it 5-0. In the second half, Robinson completed his hat-trick bending the ball beyond the goalkeeper after he was played in on goal by Hyde. Whitstable Town did find the back of the Dartford net, a Danny Walder free kick was a worthy consolation. Victory now means both Dartford men’s and women’s teams hold the county cup.
After the 9-0 trouncing of Cockfosters in the London Senior Cup in which Emmanuel Sonupe netted a hat-trick, the Darts were back to winning ways in the National South too. Recalled from his loan spell at Hemel Hempstead Town, Hyde’s first task back in league action for the Darts was to take on his old teammates. The midfielder scored twice in a 3-2 victory, which also saw Ade Azeez score his fourteenth of the season. Since returning from his loan spell, Hyde has scored twice on his first league game back against the Tudors, netted in the London Senior Cup versus Cockfosters and added another to his tally in the Kent Senior Cup final.
Bath City reached the National South playoffs in consecutive campaigns before last term was abandoned. This season the Romans have yet to draw in the league and their inconsistency leaves them occupying sixteenth place. But they do approach Saturday’s trophy tie off the back of a 2-1 victory against Concord Rangers, a late goal from their top scorer Cody Cooke sealed the triumph. Jerry Gill highlighted his side’s first half dominance in an interview with Bath City Radio, he commented: “I thought we should have come in four up in the first half…once we got into our flow, we were the dominant side”.
After a victory Gill is excited about the trophy tie coming up this weekend, he added: “Obviously now we really look forward to it, when you get a win everyone’s up for it”. The Bath City boss is optimistic, he added: “Dartford have had a little bit of a wobble, but they are still in a very strong position in the league. For us it’s a home game and on the weekend, it felt like fortress Twerton again. Second half against Dartford here, I remember us going down the hill and we absolutely dominated the game and bombarded them, but they caught us on the counter attack”.
The only meetings between the two sides in the F.A Trophy came in 1980. Dartford drew 1-1 in the first round at Watling Street. The replay was a night to forget for the Darts as they were beaten 6-1 in the replay.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 35 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19
Current Form (all competitions)
|Whitstable Town (KSC)||H||6-1||Concord Rangers||H||2-1|
|Hemel Hempstead Town||A||3-2||Hampton & Richmond Borough||H||1-3|
|Cockfosters (LSC)||H||9-0||Dulwich Hamlet||A||0-3|
|Oxford City||H||0-0||Portishead Town (SPC)||H||3-0|
|Chippenham Town||H||3-3||Welling United||H||2-1|
|Concord Rangers||A||0-1||Slough Town||A||0-2|
(KSC – Kent Senior Cup / LSC – London Senior Cup / SPC – Somerset Premier Cup)
Bath City 1 – 3 Dartford (04/09/2021 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Bath City (17/10/2020 – National South)
Bath City 3 – 0 Dartford (30/11/2019 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Bath City (09/02/2019 – National South)
Bath City 1 – 2 Dartford (04/08/2018 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 0 Bath City (21/04/2018 – National South)
- Dartford have won four of their last five trips to Twerton Park
- The Darts have kept five clean sheets in their last ten meetings with Bath City
- In that same period Dartford have only failed to score once versus the Romans
- The Darts have scored 18 goals in their last three games and conceded just twice. Beating a run of 16 goals in three games from this season between 18 September and 28 September (5-1 v Hythe Town, 6-0 v Welling United, 5-2 v Athletic Newham)
- Dartford have never scored five or more goals in four consecutive matches
On This Day
Dartford put on a masterclass on their way to becoming Isthmian Division One North champions in 2007. The Darts hit Witham Town for seven at Princes Park in a 7-2 victory. Brendon Cass and Eddie McClements both scored a brace, Jay May, Ryan Hayes, Jamie Coyle were the other scorers. The Darts last played on this day three years ago in the F.A Trophy going out in a replay against Eastbourne Borough. A former Dart came back to haunt his old club after Dartford almost staged a dramatic comeback from two down. Andre Coker then Taylor Fisher scored two goals in the final minute to level the tie. However, there was one last twist when Tom Gardiner won it for the Sports in injury time.