By Stuart Warren
This Saturday 4th February sees Wealdstone travel to Kent to face high flying Conference South side Dartford in the last 16 of the FA Trophy, a stage that Stones last reached in 1986.
This season’s FA Trophy run has been a highly dramatic one for Stones, culminating in their superb win over Blue Square Premier side AFC Barrow in the last round with goals from Richard Jolly and Britt Assombalonga handing them an historic 2-1 victory over their professional counterparts. Stones fans will no doubt be hoping for more of the same as their team attempts to book a place in the quarter finals of the most prestigious competition in the non-league game.
Dartford are currently a team in great form, with manager Tony Burman having been named Blue Square Bet South manager of the month for January as he led his side to victory in all seven league and cup matches last month. One of the key reasons for the Darts recent superb run has been the form of captain Elliot Bradbrook, with the former Maidstone United man having netted 6 times in January on his way to picking up the Blue Square Bet South player of the month award.
Wealdstone also come into this contest in inspired form of their own, having tasted defeat just once in their last 17 games but will nevertheless again be cast in the role of underdog as one of the lowest ranked sides left in the competition. Stones will be backed by a large and vociferous following, with the supporters club having already had a sell out for their coach bookings as well as a large number of fans travelling down by train and car that will ensure a red hot atmosphere at the very well appointed Princes Park Stadium.
The talisman for Stones will be top scorer Richard Jolly, with the prolific striker having racked up an incredible 29 goals already this season. Nine of these goals have come in the FA Trophy, including two hat-tricks, one in the 4-0 victory over Banbury in the 3rd Qualifying round and one in the next round during the 5-0 thrashing of near neighbours Uxbridge. Jolly will be very ably backed up in the striking department by Watford loanee Britt Assombalonga, with the explosive forward having been in superb form since joining the club in November. The youngster’s finest moment in a Wealdstone shirt was without doubt in the last round of the Trophy when he gleefully netted the winner against AFC Barrow.
For those fans wanting to travel to the game by public transport, directions can be found here http://www.dartfordfconline.com/site/?q=pages/directions-dartford-fc