Dartford will need to stretch their unbeaten run to ten when they visit Tonbridge Angels in the F.A Cup, if they want to be in the hat for the first round draw.
The Darts are looking to enter the first round proper for the fourth time in seven years and join the likes of Gillingham and Charlton Athletic. Their opponents, Tonbridge Angels last made the first round 44 years ago when they lost to the Addicks and last reached the fourth qualifying stage nine years ago.
For the third time in this year’s competition Dartford have faced a tough away tie. In the previous two rounds the Darts won both fixtures 3-2, first against Chelmsford City after taking a three goal lead and then versus Slough Town, coming from behind twice.
Tony Burman has led his team to six straight wins in all competitions including a stunning 5-0 away win at Truro City last weekend. Unbeaten throughout September and so far this month, Burman feels his squad has grown in confidence, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “We know Tonbridge will be tough but with the way we are playing we are going to take some stopping”, he continued: “There is a feel-good factor around the club at the moment and we hope that continues. We have been down in the dumps over the last couple of seasons and maybe this is our time again”.
The Darts will welcome back Gibraltar international goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim. The shot-stopper already made history this week conceding the fastest World Cup qualifying goal ever; he will be hoping to create more history of his own.
Ibrahim has never played beyond the F.A Cup fourth qualifying round, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “I have never played past the fourth qualifying round and so that would make it a great few days for me if we can do that”, he is also hoping to continue his excellent form for Dartford so he can earn more caps with Gibraltar, he added: “Hopefully I can become a regular now. I don’t want to just be a one-cap wonder. I want to be the Gibraltar number one; I know I need to keep my form up for Dartford to get another call-up. If I can get another chance to play then that would be fantastic”.
The Angels, unbeaten at home this term they had to overcome Ascot United in a replay, Wingate and Finchley then Hereford. Whilst the 2-2 draw with Ascot United provided a surprise, the replay at Longmead was one sided with Tonbridge Angels storming to a 7-0 win. A Craig Dundas brace and Nathan Elder strike helped the Kent side see off Wingate and Finchley. Elder is currently the Angels top marksman and has previously netted against the Darts for rivals Ebbbsfleet United. In the last round and in front of an impressive crowd, the Angels ran out 4-2 winners against revitalised Hereford, to progress to the fourth qualifying round.
Although the Kent club are fifth in the Isthmian Premier League, the Angels have a game in hand and with it could close the gap to four points. Tonbridge Angels have already recorded a 14 game unbeaten run in all competitions until a double defeat at the end of September. However, McKimm’s side have responded well with back to back victories.
It’s been almost four years since Dartford met the Angels in a F.A Trophy second round tie. The Darts won 3-0 with goals from Harry Crawford, Elliot Bradbrook and Jon Wallis. In other cup competitions, Dartford also won the previous two Kent Senior Cup ties. Tonbridge Angels last beat the Darts in 2008 winning 4-1 in the Isthmian Premier League but it’s the Darts who have dominated this fixture with seven wins and a draw since then.
Current Form (all competitions)
Tonbridge Angels (WWLLDW)
Won 2-0 v Grays Athletic (H)
Won 4-2 v Hereford (H) – F.A Cup
Lost 3-5 v Merstham (A)
Lost 0-2 v Bognor Regis Town (A)
Drew 2-2 v Leiston (H)
Won 3-0 v Wingate and Finchley (A) – F.A Cup
Won 5-0 v Truro City (A) – National South
Won 2-1 v Cray Wanderers (A) – Kent Senior Cup
Won 3-2 v Slough Town (A) – F.A Cup
Won 2-1 v Concord Rangers (A) – National South
Won 3-2 v Chelmsford City (A) – F.A Cup
Won 2-0 v Margate (A) – National South
Dartford 3 Tonbridge Angels 0 (15/12/2012 – F.A Trophy 2nd rd)
Tonbridge Angels 0 Dartford 1 (03/03/2012 – National South)
Tonbridge Angels 2 Dartford 4 (31/01/2012 – Kent Senior Cup Quarter Final)
Dartford 3 Tonbridge Angels 1 (24/09/2011 – National South)
Dartford 2 Tonbridge Angels 0 (25/01/2011 – Kent Senior Cup First Round)
Tonbridge Angels 1 Dartford 4 (13/02/2010 – Isthmian Premier League)
Dartford have beaten Tonbridge Angels in all competitions in each of the last seven meetings
The Darts have not conceded a goal in their last two matches against the Angels
The sides last met at this stage of the F.A Cup in 1965. After a 0-0 draw the goals flooded in the replay at Watling Street. Dartford won 6-2 to make it into the first round.
Dartford’s 5-0 away win against Truro City was their biggest victory on the road since clinching the Isthmian Premier League title on 10 April 2010, the Darts defeated Kingstonian 6-2. The last time Dartford had won by five goals away from home was at Chipstead in the F.A Cup first qualifying round on 12 September 2012 in a 6-1 win.
The Darts six game winning streak is the best run since January 2012. Dartford won all seven games that month ending with the 4-2 Kent Senior Cup victory over Tonbridge Angels.
On This Day
Dartford have played to F.A Cup qualifiers on 15 October since reforming with mixed fortunes. Cray Wanderers were beaten 2-1 despite going ahead, goals from Ryan Hayes and Danny Harris late on put the Darts through. In 2000, Dartford were comfortably defeated 4-0 at home to Havant and Waterlooville.