Monday 12th December 2005

We're taking cup seriously

The managers of Dartford and Cray Wanderers insist they are taking Tuesday night's Kent Senior Cup tie at Stonebridge Road seriously - and with both sides capable of entertaining and scoring goals, this first round clash is definitely one not to miss, writes Stephen McCartney.

Cray Wanderers were 3-0 down to Leatherhead at Hayes Lane on Saturday but Leigh Bremner's second half hat-trick helped the Wands' collect their 27th point of the season.

And the former Herne Bay striker wasn't the only one banging in the goals in Kent at the weekend, with Darts' striker James Carter netting three in their 4-2 win over Enfield.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk, Dartford manager Tony Burman reflected on their ninth league win of their Southern League Division One East campaign.

"We played some good football going forward," he said.  "We felt we should have gone in more than 1-0 up in the first half, but it wasn't to be.

"At half-time I felt once we scored the goal we should have gone and probably scored more goals without conceding any, but for a little bit of sloppy defending Enfield managed to equalise and then we went straight back up and made it 2-1.

"I felt we'd go on from there but again Enfield came and equalised from a free-kick but I still felt we were still going to win the game and for the last 30 minutes we pushed on and managed to make it 4-2."

The Dartford stalwart was delighted with his side's forward play.  "Our forward play was excellent," he said.  "Our two wingers Dave Martin and Ryan Hayes (who scored the other goal) and Jim Carter. I'm really pleased for him scoring a hat-trick for all his hard work this season.

Looking ahead to their Kent Senior Cup showdown against Cray Wanderers, Burman cannot wait.

"First of all we are taking it seriously," he said. "I will be making one or two changes only.

"Gary Carter is out with the 'flu and I will be putting a strong enough side as I want to be involved in the competition after Christmas."

Can the Darts win the competition? Burman replied: "There's some tough teams in the competition and we are playing against Cray tomorrow night, who are one of them."

Ian Jenkins, meanwhile, will be hoping his Cray side climb the Ryman League Division One table, after his side slid down the table after losing six games on the trot earlier in the season.

And how is the Cray stalwart treating tomorrow's cup tie against Dartford?  "Seriously mate," was Jenkins' reply.  "We are only in two cups (the other, a trip to Staines Town in the London Senior Cup) and I want to get as far as we can to be honest with you.

"It won't be easy as Dartford are going well in their league and there is always a bit of needle between the two sides when they do play."

Jenkins admitted he doesn't read too much into his side's last appearance at Stonebridge Road, which ended in a 4-1 defeat to Dartford in a friendly during the close season - a game he missed due to being on holiday.

But he will be without influential, experienced defensive pair, David Gray and Ian Rawlings - which is a blow.

"We've got a big squad so I can use players that haven't been playing," he said.  "I am down to a bare fifteen at the moment, there's a few injuries so the team picks itself with what I've got available."

Speaking about his missing defensive pair, he added: "We are going to miss them as we've been leaking a lot of goals.  I want to plug that in.  I want to get them back and stop that."

One thing for sure, Jenkins calls upon fans to flock through the turnstiles at Hayes Lane to watch his entertaining, free-scoring team in action.

After their trips to Dartford and Banstead Athletic (Saturday), Kingstonian visit Hayes Lane next Tuesday (20th) - the side that knocked them out of the FA Trophy at the end of last month.

"We are the sort of side that gets people through the turnstiles, scoring goals and entertaining.  That's what it's all about," said Jenkins.

"We've still got to play local derbies against Dover and Tonbridge and that will bring a fair few hundred, but our lack of support surprises me."

Tuesday night's game completes the first round of the competition with Margate (winners three years running), Dover Athletic (last season's runners-up), Bromley, Ramsgate, Gravesend & Northfleet, Folkestone Invicta and Welling United already in the last eight.

*Meanwhile, Dartford are sending their reserve team down to Sevenoaks Town's Greatness Park for a friendly.  The Greatness Park outfit have won two games since former Dartford reserve team manager Bob Pittaway took over at the helm of the Kentish Observer Premier club.

Dartford v Cray Wanderers
Kent Senior Cup First Round
Tuesday 13th December 2005
Kick Off 7:45pm
at Stonebridge Road, Northfleet