The two most successful clubs in the history of the Kent Senior Cup go head to head, when Dartford visit the Gallagher Stadium to take on Maidstone United for the fourth time this season.
Dartford have claimed the title eleven times with the last triumph in the competition in 2016. The Stones are the current holders after winning the county cup for the eighteenth time last season. The pair have already played each other in the National South and twice in the F.A Trophy and on each occasion, it has been a tight affair.
In November, the F.A Trophy draw produced one of those coincidences pairing the two rivals together with the fixture taking place a week after their league encounter. With the F.A Trophy match ending in a draw, the replay took place three days later. meaning for the first time since 1957 Dartford played three consecutive games against the same opponents.
Steve King’s side have shown plenty of spirit in their contests with Maidstone United. Still building a squad and filling in holes from an extensive injury list, the Darts came from two down with four minutes remaining to take a point at Princes Park in the National South two months ago. After a goalless first half, two quickfire goals from Dan Wishart and Ibby Akanbi had the visitors in control. However, Dartford hit back late on when Tom Bonner headed one back from close range, then Darren McQueen followed up his own effort with the equaliser.
The final score was repeated the following week in the F.A Trophy with Dartford equalising twice at the Gallagher Stadium. Wishart found the net again for the Stones and Justin Amaluzor put the hosts ahead for a second time. Former Maidstone United striker, Elliott Romain kept Dartford in the hat by netting a brace in an entertaining tie. The replay went the way of the Stones who finally got the better of the Darts when Iffy Allen finished off a counter attack.
On the way to taking the Kent Senior Cup title last term, the Stones knocked Dartford out at the quarter-final stage. In fact had this year’s meeting been a day later it would be exactly a year since Maidstone United went through on penalties. The game is mostly remembered for Ben Greenhalgh’s heroics in goal after Bailey Vose had been sent off. Charlie Sheringham scored a penalty before the Stones missed one of their own. Then early in the second half Vose received his marching orders leaving Greenhalgh between the sticks for almost the entire second half. An inspired performance by Greenhalgh kept the score at 1-0 until nine minutes from time when Elliott Romain, now a Dart equalised. After 15 perfect spot kicks Maidstone United goalkeeper Josh Strizovic saved Daniel Johnson’s effort, sending the Stones on their way.
Steve King indicated prior the 1-0 defeat at Slough Town on the weekend that players looking to build up match fitness are likely to start. Lee Noble, Sheringham and Sam Blackman are possibilities, however Jordan Wynter could be a few weeks from a return.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 44 / Maidstone United wins: 45 / Draws: 19
Kent Senior Cup Head to Head
Dartford wins: 6 / Maidstone United wins: 5 / Draws: 3* (* Maidstone United have won two on penalties)
Last Six Meetings
* – Kent Senior Cup, Maidstone United won 8-7 on penalties / ^ – F.A Trophy