It’s time to dust off those tinfoil FA Cups as we get back on the Road to Wembley on Saturday, heading to Dartford to face Thamesmead Town in the First Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup. The Mead have been in decent form this season, winning three and drawing one of the five games so far, the only defeat coming last Monday at VCD Athletic where they went down 3-1.
The thrashed East Preston in the previous round, 8-0, with centre-forward Alex Teniola scoring four, then following that up with another hatrick a week later in the 5-0 drubbing of Horsham.
James Hammond still has one game left his three-game suspension but Gus Sow has made good progress in shaking off his foot injury which means Darren could have an almost full-squad to choose from, although Shomari Barnwell is ineligible to play due to the conditions of his loan agreement from Solihull Moors.
How was last season?
Thamesmead once again struggled to compete with many of the bigger teams in
the league and will be grateful for some early season points that kept them
insulated from any relegation battle. They
lost 17 of their 24 league games by a single goal, which if they could have
tightened up at the back would have seen them challenging higher up the
table. At the time of writing there
hasn’t been any notable changes to Tommy Warrilow’s squad.
Isthmian League North Division – 17th – P 46 W 16 D 6 L 24 GS 70 GA 78 GD -8 PTS 54
FA Cup – Third Qualifying Round – Lost away to
FA Trophy – Preliminary Round – Lost away to Corinthian
Kent Senior Cup – First Round – Lost away to Folkestone
Isthmian League Cup – First Round – Tie awarded
When did we last meet
We met Thamesmead Town for the first time in the 2013/14 season although we
only took 1 point from the two encounters.
In late November at The Pan it took an injury time goal from Matt Crabb
to grab a share of the points whilst at Thamesmead in March we went down 2-0
with the game most notable for a horrible injury to Jack Walder.
About Princes Park
Few people won’t know about the excellent facilities at Princes Park, home
of Dartford FC. It came as quite a
surprise that Thamesmead Town decided to move out of their Bayliss Avenue
stadium at the end of last season, which had gone through significant
redevelopment in the last few years and was more than adequate for their supporter
base. Averaging less than 100 fans in
the past few seasons there will be a lot of space in the 4,100 capacity Princes
On one side is the Main Stand. This stand is all seated and
comprises just four rows, seating in total 645 spectators. It has the team
dugouts at its front and a glassed area at the rear, which contains amongst
other things the clubhouse bar. Like the rest of the stadium, the roof is
situated quite high above the spectator area and has a slight oval angle to it.
The other three sides of the stadium are small terraced areas, being around
seven rows high. Opposite the Main Stand the Wooden Man sculpture stands on the
terrace, keeping a watchful eye over proceedings.
How to get to Princes Park
Head north on the A23/M23 then M25 anti-clockwise. Leave the M25 at Junction 2 (signposted
A2/Dartford A225). At the roundabout below the roundabout take the Dartford
A225 exit. At the next roundabout take the 1st exit by the Esso garage onto the
A225 towards Dartford. Go straight across the next roundabout, passing a BP
garage on the right. At the next set of traffic lights turn left into Darenth
Road and then take the second left into Grassbanks for the stadium. There is a car park at the stadium which has
300 spaces and is free. Approximate
driving time from Lewes is 70 minutes for the 60-mile trip.
Dartford railway station is located just over a mile away
from Princes Park. It is served by trains from Charing Cross and London Bridge.
If on leaving the station you follow the pedestrian signs for the Orchard
Shopping Centre then before the bridge going across the main road, descend the
steps down to the road side. Just to left you will find a row of bus stops including
the Fastrack B bus stop. This service runs every ten minutes during the day
(every 20 minutes in the evenings) to the Bluewater Shopping Centre and stops
at Princes Park. The cost (one way) is Adults £1, Children 50p. Otherwise a
taxi from the station to the stadium will cost around £5.
Otherwise the ground is a 15-minute walk away. Descend down
the steps as above (or at the bottom of the station approach road), keep to the
left along the main road and at the roundabout turn left. At the next traffic lights
cross over and then walk straight on using the wide footpath beside the
dedicated bus route. When this footpath ends, go up and into Darenth Road and
follow this road to the right, then after crossing at the traffic lights go up
the hill and the first road on the right is Darenth Road. Turn right and the
Malt Shovel pub is on the right). Proceed along Darenth Road to the main road,
which is Princes Road – The ground is on the other side of the road.
Admission at Princes
Admission hasn’t been confirmed at the time of writing but is expected to
be £8 for Adults, £5 for Concessions and £3 for Under16s. Under11s are admitted free of charge.
Fancy a beer?
The nearest pub to the ground is the Ivy Leaf on Darenth Road, which is
about a five-minute walk away, whilst further along the same road is the Malt
Shovel. Both these pubs are listed in
the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. Other ones
of note are the CAMRA Good Beer Guide listed Wat Tyler on the High Street, the
Paper Moon Wetherspoons outlet opposite and another Wetherspoons outlet called
the Flying Boat on Spital Street. There are also two good sized bars at the
stadium, which also have Sky television.