On Saturday we welcome Dartford FC to the Arena in the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy. For the fourth successive round, we have been drawn at home in the competition, although we needed to win replays away from home in the first two rounds against South Park and Bedford Town.
As members of the National League South, Dartford were exempt from playing in those three earlier rounds of the FA Trophy. They are currently top of their league, which is two levels above Bostik North, and Blues manager Craig Shipman says: “Saturday is going to be a real test, but we are more than capable of giving Dartford a run for their money as we've proven in past weeks. We tend to step up when our backs are against the wall and the odds are against us, so I expect nothing less from us.”
The two teams last met in season 2007-08, Brentwood’s first season in the Isthmian North division. The Dartford manager then was Tony Burman who is still in charge of the team today. Dartford were promoted as champions in 2008, but Brentwood enjoyed some success against the Darts taking four points from the two league meetings. The first meeting at the Arena ended 2-2 but the return match at Princes Park saw Brentwood win 1-0 in front of a crowd of 1309 to end a long unbeaten run by Dartford. Blues goal scorer that day was Lee Noble with a long range shot into the top corner. Lee must have impressed the home side as they signed him at the end of the season and he is still with Dartford, making a return on Saturday to the club where he began his career in the Brentwood Town youth teams.
The Darts also signed another Brentwood player, Danny Dafter, at the end of the 2007-08 season and Danny enjoyed some successful years with them until returning to the Arena as a player and joint manager, helping Brentwood to promotion to the Ryman Premier via the play-offs in 2015.
If Saturday’s match ends in a draw the replay will be at Dartford on Tuesday, 28th November, kick-off 7.45pm.