Elliot Bradbrook reaches 400 appearances for Dartford: I’m 33 now, so I really do only have one aspiration left and that is to help this great club get promoted back into the National League. I can then leave happy
DARTFORD captain Elliot Bradbrook says he is feeling proud after making his 400th appearance for his home-town club at the weekend.
The midfielder helped Tony Burman’s side thrash Truro City 4-1 at Princes Park to stay four points clear at the top of the Vanarama National League South table with 10 games left to play.
Dartford have banked 59 points from their 32 league outings and occupy the sole automatic promotion place, while the next six battle it out to join them in the Vanarama National League via the play-offs.
Hampton & Richmond Borough are in second-place with 55 points from 31 games, Havant & Waterlooville have 54 points from 29 games, Chelmsford City are in fourth-place on 52 points from 32 games, while St Albans City (50 points from 30 games), Braintree Town (49 points from 32 games) and Hemel Hempstead Town (49 points from 31 games) are all pushing for promotion.
“Obviously very proud to reach 400 appearances for such a great club,” said Bradbrook, 33.
“I have been lucky enough to have been part of the most exciting and successful periods in the clubs history and it’s honestly been a great privilege.
“Dartford is my home-town club and it’s very special to me, so it’s been great to have spent the majority of my career here and most of it as team captain.”
Reflecting on their 4-1 win at the weekend, Bradbrook recalled: “I thought it was one of our best performances of the season. The conditions in the first half were terrible and it was a case of digging in and doing the ugly work until half-time.
“With the wind in the second half, we took the game to them and played some excellent stuff at times. It could have been six or seven comfortably!
Bradbrook is delighted that his club are sitting pretty at the summit as they bid to return to the top-flight of non-league football after a three-year absence.
“Things have gone well, obviously. We are top, but my only disappointment is that we are not further ahead than we are,” said Bradbrook.
“We have thrown away some silly points along the way and the teams like Havant & Waterlooville have a few games in hand on us. But the pressure is on them to win those games and all we can do is focus on ourselves.
“If we win the rest of our games we will win the game, I am sure of that, so that’s the aim.
Burman takes his side to Evesham in Worcestershire this coming Saturday to play Gloucester City.
The Tigers travel to Hampshire to play Havant & Waterlooville tomorrow night, sitting in fifteenth-place in the table with 37 points from 30 league outings.
As things stand tonight, on the eve of that game, Gloucester are nine points clear of the drop zone, which is currently occupied by Poole Town (28 points), Bognor Regis Town (24) and Whitehawk (20).
Bradbrook said: “My initial thoughts are that I will be very surprised if the game is on with this week’s weather forecast!!!
“Aside from that, Gloucester have obviously hit some form recently and it will be a very difficult game. But all games are difficult – every team is capable of beating another in this league and that will be no different on Saturday.
“We need to go there, perform well and bring back three points. No other result is good enough at this stage of the season!”
Bradbrook made his own personal aspirations clear.
“I’m 33 now, so I really do only have one aspiration left and that is to help this great club get promoted back into the National League. I can then leave happy.
“I obviously really hope that will happen this year, but if it doesn’t, I’ll keep trying until it does!”
Reflecting on his Dartford past, Bradbrook said: “I’ve played 400 times for the club and scored a lot of goals but I really do only get enjoyment from first team success and I take team failure really personally.
“Winning the Ryman Premier League in my first season (April 2010) was a special one and finishing eighth in the Conference (2012-13) was a tremendous achievement.
“But my best moment in football was about five seconds before the referee blew the final whistle in the Conference South Play-Off Final (May 2012) win against Welling. I was so focused that I hadn’t really thought about what winning that game meant and then all off a sudden I knew we had done it and it was the best feeling I have ever had in football.
“Obviously, on the flip side, the two relegation seasons (finishing third-from-bottom in two Conference seasons between 2013-2015) were tough. You do question yourself and there were a lot of sleepless nights because I felt responsible as team captain, but that’s football. There’s a lot of lows and not that many highs unfortunately.”
Visit Dartford’s website: www.dartfordfc.com
Gloucester City v Dartford
Vanarama National League South
Saturday 3 March 2018
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Jubilee Stadium, Cheltenham Road, Evesham, Worcestershire WR11 2LZ