Kent Senior Cup holders Dartford have the chance to progress to the last four of the competition when they travel to Isthmian Premier League side Margate.
Retaining the trophy is now Dartford’s best chance of silverware after a draw on Saturday left them further behind in the National South. The twelve time winners have won their last five Kent Senior Cup ties. In their way are Margate who are aiming for a top ten finish in the Isthmian Premier League,now the playoffs are out of reach. The Gate will want to stay on track in their quest to win two pieces of silverware this term after making it into the Isthmian League Cup final.
The Darts injury woes in defence continued last week with Connor Essam likely to be out for the remainder of the season. Goalkeeper, Dan Wilks was rested on the weekend after suffering a groin strain, Jordan Wynter has been out and Josh Hill has been missing for most of the campaign. One player to have glued the defence together over the years is captain Tom Bonner, who made his 400th appearance for the club on the weekend. Midfielders, Luke Allen and George Porter have also been sidelined giving manager Steve King some selection problems of late.
King has admitted that he needs to be careful with who he selects for this quarter-final tie, he spoke to Dartford FC TV on Saturday and said: “I’ve just got to give all the subs minutes that haven’t played. We’ve got to be very careful because we’ve only got two centre halves in the club and we can’t sign anymore”, he added: “It’s not about getting through in that top competition now, for me we will do our best to go and win it, but I need to think about the team very seriously”.
The trip to Oxford City on the weekend only saw King make two changes with Reice Charles-Cook making his debut in goal and Olumide Durojaiye making his first start for the club. The pair become the 27th and 28th players to make a first start under King this season in all competitions, with Durojaiye filling in at full back.
New goalkeeper, Charles-Cook played against Dartford when he was at Swindon Town, the 27-year-old was on the right side of a 5-1 thrashing in the F.A Cup first round tie five years ago. Prior his time with the Robins, Charles Cook played over 50 times for Coventry City and is a Grenada international. However he was unable to keep out Oxford City’s Joe Iaciofano which turned out to be the equaliser in a 1-1 draw. Dartford came away from Oxfordshire with a point after Marcus Dinanga scored from the spot inside three minutes, the striker has now scored six in eight appearances for the Darts. The away point stretches Dartford’s current unbeaten run to four games.
Dartford were last drawn against Margate in 2013 in the match that never took place. Unable to fit the fixture into their schedule, the Darts were forced to pull out of the competition handing Margate a route into the next round. Since then the Darts have won three of the last four meetings, drawing the other. The most recent was five years ago in the National South. Elliot Bradbrook scored twice, Luke Wanadio and Alfie Pavey grabbed the other goals in a 4-0 home win. In the same season, Dartford’s last visit to Hartsdown Park in September 2016 finished 2-0, this time goals were claimed by Andy Pugh and Bradbrook from the spot in the final fifteen minutes.
Excluding the walkover in this competition nine years ago, Margate last won at home against the Darts in 1998, a 3-0 Kent Senior Cup second round victory. Dartford are unbeaten in their last seven actual visits to Margate. The last time the Gate triumphed in this fixture was at Princes Park in March 2010 when James Pinnock scored the only goal of the game.
There will be a couple of familiar faces to Dartford as two former players look set to face their old side. Ben Greenhalgh had two seasons with the Darts and was brought to the club by former managers Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle. The midfielder played 62 games scoring seven times. This season he has managed 16 goals in the Isthmian Premier League and makes the top five goalscorers in the division. Sam Blackman was another signing by Dartford’s previous management duo, however his spell was cut short after a serious injury. Blackman only managed one game for the Darts before moving to Concord Rangers and appearing in the 2020 F.A Trophy final. Margate will have Samuel Odaudu unavailable for the quarter-final after the youngster extended his loan spell from the Darts. The 19-year-old made his Dartford debut in the 5-2 London Senior Cup win against Athletic Newham in September.
Margate had a tough March in the league and are currently on a run of five defeats in six. Although they claimed all three points against Haringey Borough and beat the same side in the League Cup to reach the final, manager Jay Saunders has four games to try and keep his team in the top ten. Three of Margate’s fixtures are against teams around them in the division, however they can be excused for concentrating on cup competitions. The eight times Kent Senior Cup winners are looking to claim the title for the first time since winning the county cup three times in a row between 2003 and 2005, the last time they appeared in the final.
Story so far
Margate 5-0 Cray Valley Paper Mills
The Gate cruised into the next round beating 2019 F.A Vase finalists Cray Valley Paper Mills. Calvin Ekpiteta opened the scoring with just four minutes on the clock and the lead doubled when Vance Bola netted a header. Reece Prestedge added a third from a free-kick and James Bessey-Saldanha scored twice in the second-half.
Dartford 2-1 Dover Athletic
Jordan Greenidge scored twice on debut to start the defence of the Kent Senior Cup. The striker opened his account after eighteen minutes and added a second with fifteen minutes to go. Dover Athletic pulled a goal back, but the Darts went through to the last eight of the competition.
Margate 2-2 Gillingham (Margate won 4-3 on penalties)
A dramatic ending saw Margate almost go out of the competition, but former Dartford midfielder Ben Greenhalgh came up with a late leveller. Fyn Rutherford put the hosts in front early in the second-half then the Gills turned the tie around. Ronald Sithole equalised before Charlie Kelman looked to have won the match for the League One side with three minutes to go. Margate were awarded a penalty in the last minute which Greenhalgh scored.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 48 / Margate wins: 43 / Draws: 29
Current League Form
|Oxford City||A||1-1||Potters Bar Town||H||0-1|
|Hampton & Richmond||A||1-0||Lewes||A||0-2|
|Havant & Waterlooville||H||1-1||Bognor Regis Town||A||1-4|
|Chelmsford City||H||2-1||Haringey Borough (LC)||A||3-2|
|Chippenham Town||A||2-4||Haringey Borough||H||3-1|
|Dover Athletic (KSC)||H||2-1||Potters Bar Town||A||0-2|
KSC – Kent Senior Cup / LC – League Cup
Previous Meetings (last six)
Dartford 4 – 0 Margate (21/03/2017 – National South)
Margate 0 – 2 Dartford (13/09/2016 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Margate (28/12/2015 – National South)
Margate 0 – 2 Dartford (29/08/2015 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Margate (23/03/2010 – Isthmian Premier League)
Margate 0 – 4 Dartford (18/08/2009 – Isthmian Premier League)
- This will be the 15th time Dartford have played Margate in the Kent Senior Cup (W6, D2, L6)
- The pair have met twice at the Quarter-Final stage. In 1947, the Darts won 4-0 and in 1979 after a 1-1 draw, Dartford won the replay 4-2.
- In 1970 Dartford beat Margate 5-1 on aggregate to lift the Kent Senior Cup.
On This Day
Alex O’Brien scored an important late equaliser at Potters Bar Town on this day. Challenging for the Isthmian Division One North with AFC Sudbury, the Darts were two down until Jay May then O’Brien scored to earn a draw. For an eighth time in a row Dartford have played away on this day. Between 1998 and 2016, the Darts have won once on their travels on 5 April and that was the 3-0 win over Ramsgate in the 2011 Kent Senior Cup semi-final. Charlie Sheringham scored twice and Ryan Hayes the other to send Burman’s boys into the final. The Darts went on to lift the county cup with a 4-1 victory against Bromley. Dartford’s last outing on this day was a 3-0 loss at Truro City, two years earlier they visited Sincil Bank and drew 0-0 with Lincoln City in the National League. The Darts have won once in the last 13 games on 5 April going back to 1977 when they beat Wimbledon 1-0 in the Southern Premier League.