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National South Season Preview Part Four

Maidstone United

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P46 W17 D13 L16 Pts64 (PPG 1.39) – Ranking 9th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 5th Round

It’s almost been thirty years since Maidstone United reformed and in that time, they have collected eight league titles, two playoff triumphs and been relegated twice. The most recent relegation came in their last finished season when the Stones ended bottom of the National League. Returning to the National South after three years away, the Kent side picked up ninth place on points per game and last season were mid-table after only thirteen games. Maidstone United started well by losing just one of their first six fixtures last time out, but form dipped with only one win in their next seven outings.

Manager: Hakan Hayrettin

A well-respected coach, Hayrettin became Maidstone United manager in January 2019. Before that all his managerial jobs were situated on the other side of the River Thames in Essex. Starting out at Waltham Forest (now Walthamstow), he moved onto Thurrock then convincingly won the Isthmian Division One North with Grays Athletic. Hayrettin went on to join former Maidstone United and Dartford boss, John Still at Luton Town as coach before a spell with Braintree Town. When Still was given the title of Head of Football at the Gallagher Stadium he decided to link back up with Hayrettin and appoint him as the manager.

Summer

It all started for Alfie Pavey at Maidstone United’s academy and he is now back at the club. The former Dartford favourite swaps the amber of Barnet for the amber of Maidstone United this summer. Whilst it didn’t quite work out for Jack Barham in terms of goalscoring at Dartford, the striker becomes the second former Dart to join the Stones. Moving the other way, George Porter leaves the Gallagher Stadium in favour of Princes Park. A similar trade-off has occurred with Ebbsfleet United where two new players, Tom Hadler and Reece Grant arrive with Kreshnic Krasniqi switching to Stonebridge Road. Returning to the club after a spell at Wealdstone is Michael Phillips, Tushaun Walters arrives from Herne Bay and Billy Johnson has been signed as back up goalkeeper. Maidstone United have also secured the services of Regan Booty from Notts County, Jake Gallagher from Dorking Wanderers, Taylor Curran from Swindon Town and Roarie Deacon from Havant and Waterlooville. Perri Iandolo and Max Sutton have been promoted from the academy, whilst Ibrahim Olutade leaves for Tonbridge Angels and Justin Amaluzor will be playing Scottish Premier League football with Motherwell this season.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 45 / Maidstone United wins: 45 / Draws: 19

Previous Meetings (last six)

Maidstone United 0 – 2 Dartford (14/11/2020 – National South)
Maidstone United 0 – 1 Dartford (21/01/2020- Kent Senior Cup)
Dartford 0 – 1 Maidstone United (26/11/2019 – F.A Trophy)
Maidstone United 2 – 2 Dartford (23/11/2019 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 2 – 2 Maidstone United (16/11/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Maidstone United (22/01/2019 – Kent Senior Cup)*
*Maidstone United won 8-7 on penalties

  • Dartford are eight league matches unbeaten against Maidstone United, winning six and drawing two
  • Since both sides reformed Dartford have won seven, drawn two and lost one in the league against the Stones
  • Maidstone United’s last away win in the league against Dartford was in 1978, the Darts are now eight league matches at home unbeaten

Oxford City

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P51 W20 D14 L17 Pts74 (PPG 1.45) – Ranking 8th

F.A Cup: 2nd Round
F.A Trophy: Quarter-Final

Since switching over from the National North to the National South, Oxford City has been a consistent mid-table side, but last season they were the form side before the campaign was cut short. In March 2020, David Oldfield was appointed and with his philosophy led the Hoops into fourth spot. Results suggest it took a while to embed his ideas into the team, with just two victories in their opening eight games, but his side were difficult to beat losing only three times. Once everything clicked, Oxford City went nine games unbeaten dropping just four points and scored thirteen in their final three fixtures.

Manager: David Oldfield

Another manager who joined his club in early 2020 yet to have a whole season under his belt. In the short space of time Oldfield has made a significant impact making Oxford City promotion contenders. Oldfield’s only managerial experience came at Brackley Town, where he left in 2008. However coaching and assistant manager roles together with his playing experiences make up for the lack of first team management. Making his name in football back in the eighties, the former midfielder won promotion to the top flight with Manchester City and played the first half of the nineties at Leicester City making it to the Premier League.

Summer

Joint top scorer in the 2018/2019 National South season, Joe Iaciofano earned a move to Havant and Waterlooville, a year on the striker leaves the Hawks for Oxford City. Hading to Iaciofano’s old side will be Joe Oastler and James Roberts. The Hoops have also signed former Fulham and England under 16 right back Zico Asare and Charlie Rowan, a defender with experience with Queens Park Rangers and Watford. Impressing on trial, midfielder Canice Carroll won a Scottish League Two title with Queens Park last season, the 22-year-old signs a one year deal. Another arrival is former West Bromwich Albion full back George Harmon.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 8 / Oxford City wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 3 – 0 Oxford City (11/01/2020 – National South)
Oxford City 0 – 1 Dartford (12/10/2019 – National South)
Oxford City 2 – 1 Dartford (27/04/2019 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 2 Oxford City (13/11/2018 – National South)
Oxford City 4 – 1 Dartford (06/10/2018 – F.A Cup)
Oxford City 0 – 2 Dartford (24/03/2018 – National South)

  • Dartford have won the last four league games against Oxford City including a 7-1 victory in 2017
  • The Darts are unbeaten in all seven home games versus the Hoops winning five and drawing two
  • Oxford City have won two of the last here at home losing the last time the Darts visited Marsh Lane

Slough Town

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P47 W20 D12 L15 Pts72 (PPG 1.53) – Ranking 6th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

Three very different seasons since promotion to the National South, who knows what Slough Town will turn up this time. In their first campaign in this division, the Rebels finished in a credible eleventh place three points off a playoff spot. Then the Berkshire club had a terrific time reaching the playoffs, going out in the eliminator round. Last term, Slough Town found life difficult after completing the fewest number of games and picking up just a point per game, which would have seen them in a relegation battle, however with only a dozen games played it’s tricky to read too much into their form.

Managers: Jon Underwood and Neil Baker

Slough Town’s management duo have been leading the Rebels since May 2013 and before that Underwood and Baker were together at Godalming Town, leading the Surrey club to third in the Southern Division One Central. In the campaign before that they won promotion via the playoffs for the G’s. As players the pair teamed up for Farnborough as well, so they have formed a close relationship through non-league football. At Slough Town, Underwood and Baker have guided the Rebels from the Southern Division One Central to the National South winning two playoff finals, they also reached the playoffs a year ago losing to Dartford in the eliminator round. 

Summer

Former Wealdstone goalkeeper, Jonathan North signs from Hendon possibly replacing the departing Jack Turner. The Rebels welcome back to familiar faces in Matthew Lench and Scott Davies from Wealdstone and Biggleswade Town respectively. Tom Derry has been signed from Braintree Town, the forward has been brought in to cover the loss of Dan Roberts to Dartford. After leaving Bath City, Freddie Grant will be a Rebel next season to strengthen the midfield, George Hunt will join Grant in the middle of the park having arrived from AFC Bournemouth. The Rebels have also promoted young Gabe George from their under 23’s team as well as Eitel Goueth and Joseph Lawal.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Slough Town wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Slough Town 2 – 2 Dartford (15/12/2020 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 2 – 0 Slough Town (21/11/2020 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Slough Town (03/10/2020 – F.A Cup)
Slough Town 0 – 3 Dartford (19/07/2020 – National South Playoff)
Slough Town 1 – 0 Dartford (18/01/2020 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 3 Slough Town (28/09/2019 – National South)

  • The Darts have won just one league game against Slough Town drawing two and losing two
  • In all competitions, out of the eleven meetings between the two sides the home team has only won three times
  • Both teams scored in each of the first six meetings, which has only happened once in the last five, when they last met in December

St Albans City

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P50 W18 D15 L17 Pts69 (PPG 1.38) – Ranking 10th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

The hardest team to beat last season, only Chelmsford City managed to take maximum points from the Saints. An eleven-match unbeaten run at the start of the campaign had the Hertfordshire side in a strong position, only Dorking Wanderers but only just. Had last season continued, St Albans City were on course to challenge for an automatic promotion spot and had they achieved that, then that would mean a return to the National League after their solitary season in the top flight of non-league back in 2006/2007. In contrast, St Albans City finished the previous campaign third from bottom highlighting the improvement they have made. 

Manager: Ian Allinson

A manager who can call upon experiences from his playing days, Allinson has also been in management since 1989 when he started out at Baldock Town. The former Arsenal winger moved around the non-league circuit as a manager until he settled at Boreham Wood and made an impact for the Hertfordshire club. Allinson took the Wood from the Isthmian Premier League to the National League via two playoff promotions. Due to work commitments he left Boreham Wood in October 2015 and four months later was appointed at St Albans City. After some mixed results during Allinson’s tenure, the Saints were in title contention last term.

Summer

St Albans City’s successful start to last season means they have retained many of their players including former Dartford defender Tom Bender, he will begin his seventh campaign with the Saints. Another ex Dart, Luke Warner-Eley leaves Clarence Park to join Billericay Town. Callum Adebiyi becomes a new signing from Southern Premier League side Kings Langley and Luke Brown arrives from Hitchin Town. Michael Oluwadara Dada remains in the National South by joining Chelmsford City.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 9 / St Albans City wins: 6 / Draws: 5

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 0 – 1 St Albans City (17/11/2020 – National South)
St Albans City 1 – 2 Dartford (07/03/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 St Albans City (06/08/2019 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 2 St Albans City (12/01/2019 – National South)
St Albans City 2 – 0 Dartford (01/09/2018 – National South)
St Albans City 4 – 0 Dartford (03/02/2018 – National South)

  • Dartford’s 2-1 away win in March 2020 ended a four-game losing streak at Clarence Park without scoring
  • The darts have only lost twice at home against the Saints, winning five and drawing the other four
  • St Albans City have won four of their last five home matches in this fixture

Tonbridge Angels

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P45 W14 D10 L21 Pts52 (PPG 1.16) – Ranking 15th

F.A Cup: 1st Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

It took a while for Tonbridge Angels to get used to National South football. The Kent side won promotion through a series of playoff matches just over two years ago. The Angels have stuck by their manager and after a slow start in which they picked up just eleven points out of the first 15 outings, they only lost three of the next 16 games. Last season they were picking up points at the same rate only they didn’t manage back to back victories and defeats were spread out evenly. Tonbridge Angels have performed consistently enough to keep out of trouble since promotion.

Manager: Steve McKimm

Committing his future to the Angels, McKimm signed a new contract in April extending his stay at Longmead after seven seasons already completed. He guided Tonbridge Angels back to the second tier of non-league football in 2019, the Kent side needed to win two Playoff Finals in one campaign to reach the National South. McKimm added another milestone last season when he guided his side to the F.A Cup first round for the first time since 1972. As a player, McKimm gained experience at a number of non-league teams including Kent sides Margate and Gravesend and Northfleet, where he won the Isthmian Premier League.

Summer

A Dartford duo last term, Craig Braham-Barrett and Ricky Modeste make the short journey to represent Tonbridge Angels this season. The Angels have also brought in some experience with the signing of Doug Loft, the former Gillingham and Port Vale player arrives from Billericay Town. Ibrahim Olutade stays in Kent but switches from Maidstone United and coming from Horsham, Jerry O’Sullivan will bring more experience in defence. Harry Hudson comes in from Watford’s under 23 side and attacking midfielder Aaron Smith-Joseph has been signed fromBurgess hill Town. Squad numbers have been bolstered with three academy graduates in Bobby Moore, Toby McKimm and Luca Woodhouse.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 69 / Tonbridge Angels wins: 38 / Draws: 24

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 1 – 0 Tonbridge Angels (05/01/2021 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Tonbridge Angels (28/12/2019 – National South)
Tonbridge Angels 3 – 2 Dartford (03/09/2019 – National South)
Tonbridge Angels 0 – 3 Dartford (15/10/2016 – F.A Cup)
Dartford 3 – 0 Tonbridge Angels (15/12/2012 – F.A Trophy)
Tonbridge Angels 0 – 1 Dartford (03/03/2012 – National South)

  • Dartford have won ten of the last eleven matches against Tonbridge Angels
  • The Angels only win in that sequence came in Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan’s last game in charge, ending an eight-match losing streak versus the Darts
  • The Darts have won the last six matches versus the Angels at Princes Park

Welling United

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P48 W14 D12 L22 Pts54 (PPG 1.13) – Ranking 16th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

Playoff runners up just over two years ago, Welling United have not been able to create that excellent run that saw them finish third in the National South. Unsurprisingly, since Steve King left as manager the Wings have dropped down the division, whilst his Dartford team are challenging for promotion. After ending 2019/2020 in mid-table, Welling United were rock bottom when last season was halted. They tasted just a single victory before Bradley Quinton was dismissed as manager. Steve Lovell was named as boss managing one win, draw and loss in his three games in charge before the premature end to the season.

Manager: Steve Lovell

The Wings appointed Lovell just six months ago and barely had time to make himself comfortable before the season prematurely ended. A well-known face around Kent non-league football with heaps of playing and managerial experience. As a player during the eighties and early nineties Lovell is mainly associated with Gillingham and Millwall. He won the F.A Vase with Deal Town and played for a host of Kent sides. As a manager, Lovell guided Sittingbourne to the Southern League Southern Division in the mid-nineties and has been at Gravesend and Northfleet, Hastings United, Ashford Town and his last managerial role was at Gillingham in League One.

Summer

The lack of summer activity suggests that he Wings will be running tight ship this season. Several last season’s squad have returned to Park View Road including former Dartford midfielder Lyle Della-Verde. However there were some signings to announce, Bradley Stevenson whose last club was Chelmsford City, Bradley Pearce from Sutton United, Chi Ezennolim, a left back from Millwall and Tom Smith, a goalkeeper from Arsenal’s academy.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 22 / Welling United wins: 10 / Draws: 10

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 2 – 2 Welling United (06/02/2021 – National South)
Dartford 4 – 0 Welling United (01/01/2020 – National South)
Welling United 0 – 3 Dartford (26/12/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Welling United (01/01/2019 – National South)
Welling United 2 – 0 Dartford (26/12/2018 – National South)
Dartford 4 – 1 Welling United (01/01/2018 – National South)

  • Dartford have lost just once in their last fourteen matches against Welling United, winning eight and drawing five
  • The Darts are seven home games unbeaten versus the Wings winning six in a row before the draw in February
  • Dartford have kept three clean sheets in the last four fixtures against Welling United

National South Season Preview Part Three

Ebbsfleet United

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P18 W8 D4 L6 Pts28 (PPG 1.56) – Ranking 5th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

The way in which Ebbsfleet United returned to the National South after three seasons away was agonising for the club. Relegated by the tinniest of margins on points per game sent the Fleet down and last season they were on course for a playoff push ending as one of the form teams. In the summer the club tried a cheeky attempt at getting their National League place back so the division above would return to a 24-team competition. It was worth a shot, but the Kent club will have to earn promotion on the pitch during their 75th year anniversary instead.

Manager: Dennis Kutrieb

In recent years German managers have been well sought after in the professional game and Kutrieb is flying the flag in the National South. Appointed just over a year ago, the Fleet were alerted to Kutrieb’s progress through the German football publication Kicker. He has connections with Tennis Borussia Berlin who he represented as a player then as a coach. Kutrieb led the German side to the Berlin Cup Final and second in the fifth tier. The following season he had his former team top before the season was cut short and his side were declared champions winning promotion.

Summer

Last summer the Fleet were busy in the transfer market and they are again this time. Signing from rivals Dartford, the Fleet have snapped up Elliott Romain who provides hard work up front. Michael West spent ten years at Stonebridge Road and returns to the club from Eastbourne Borough. Kreshnic Krasniqi signs from fellow Ken side Maidstone United with Tom Hadler moving the other way. Replacing Hadler in goal will be former Concord Rangers goalkeeper Chris Haigh. Burnley under 23 midfielder Christian N’Guessan moves to Stonebridge Road along with Sido Jombati from Oldham Athletic, Craig Tanner and Alex Finney from Aldershot Town, Joe Martin from Stevenage and St Lucia international Kieran Monlouis from Horsham.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 66 / Ebbsfleet United wins: 55 / Draws: 33

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 0 – 0 Ebbsfleet United (02/01/2021 – National South)
Ebbsfleet United 1 – 0 Dartford (01/01/2017 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Ebbsfleet United (26/12/2016 – National South)
Ebbsfleet United 1 – 1 Dartford (28/03/2016 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Ebbsfleet United (31/08/2015 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Ebbsfleet United (29/10/2013 – F.A Cup)

  • Dartford have won six of their last nine home league games against Ebbsfleet United, drawing two and losing the other
  • The Darts last won an away league game against the Fleet in March 1979, since then their local rivals have won five and drawn five
  • The 0-0 draw in January was Dartford’s first league clean sheet against the Fleet since the 5-0 New Years Day victory in 1992

Hampton and Richmond Borough

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P50 W23 D7 L20 Pts76 (PPG 1.52) – Ranking 7th

F.A Cup: 1st Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

Another club celebrating an anniversary, the Beavers have a new revamped badge for their centenary campaign. Apart from a mid-table finish in 2018/2019, Hampton and Richmond Borough have been consistent since winning the Isthmian Premier just over five years ago. The Middlesex club reached the playoffs in consecutive seasons after promotion and narrowly missed out in the 2019/2020 campaign. Last time out Hampton and Richmond Borough were sitting in sixth before the season ended. Comfortable against teams in the bottom half of the table, the Beavers were inconsistent against those around them, but they did pick up draws at home to the top two.

Manager: Gary McCann

A manager who knows what it’s like to be around a club for a long time, McCann has just agreed a three-year deal and has been manager of Hampton and Richmond Borough since May 2018. Those three years seem relatively short in comparison to his previous managerial job at Hendon, where he also played as a goalkeeper in the nineties. McCann led his former club, Hendon to the Isthmian Premier League playoff final in his thirteenth campaign as boss, before the Beavers came calling. Whilst at the Beveree, McCann has improved in each season finishing fifteenth, eighth and ended last term in sixth.

Summer

Jorome Slew made his name in the 2019/2020 F.A Cup with an amazing solo goal for Maldon and Tiptree against Leyton Orient. Since then he has been at Wealdstone and after an impressive trial signs for the Beavers. Hampton and Richmond Borough have retained most of the squad from last season including former Dartford goalkeeper Alan Julian. Guyana international, Kadell Daniel moves to the Beveree from Kingstonian and returning to the club after a previous loan spell, Ryan Gondoh arrives from Wealdstone. Myles Anderson impressed on loan last term and has agreed to come back for this season, whilst David Fisher returns on loan once more from AFC Wimbledon.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 5 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Hampton & Richmond Borough 0 – 0 Dartford (10/10/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough (08/02/2020 – National South)
Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 – 2 Dartford (05/11/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough (23/03/2019 – National South)
Hampton & Richmond Borough 0 – 1 Dartford (17/11/2018 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Hampton & Richmond Borough (30/03/2018 – National South)

  • Dartford have lost just one of the last eight games against Hampton and Richmond Borough, winning four and drawing three of the other matches
  • Hampton and Richmond Borough are unbeaten in their last two games against the Darts, their longest streak since winning three in a row between 2008 and 2010
  • The 0-0 draw in the last meeting ended a run of ten consecutive games in which the Darts scored against the Beavers, a run stretching back to those three consecutive defeats

Havant and Waterlooville

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P48 W25 D12 L11 Pts87 (PPG 1.81) – Ranking 1st

F.A Cup: 2nd Round
F.A Trophy: 5th Round

Over the seven years preceding last season’s unfinished campaign, Havant and Waterlooville have had something to play for right until the end. The Hawks missed out on the playoffs on goal difference, reached the playoff semi-finals, suffered a final day relegation, won promotion straight back up, then claimed a consecutive title. Havant and Waterlooville managed just one season in the National League before returning to the National South, where they finished runners up. In the 14 matches they played last term they won six, drew two and lost six so this summer has given the Hawks a chance to regroup for another challenge at the top.

Manager: Paul Doswell

A successful non-league manager, Doswell was given the challenge to lead Havant and Waterlooville back into the National League after relegation in 2019. In his first campaign with the Hawks he came close finishing runners up and losing the playoff semi-final against Dartford. Slightly off the pace last term, Doswell has pedigree at this level to get the Hawks back on track. He spent eleven years at Sutton United winning the Isthmian Premier and National South titles and guided the U’s to the fifth round of the F.A Cup losing to Arsenal. At Eastleigh he took them from the Wessex League to the National South.

Summer

Former Dartford player, Alex Wall scored the goal that took Concord Rangers to Wembley, the striker joins Havant and Waterlooville for this campaign. Forward, James Roberts and experienced Joe Oastler sign from Oxford City, whilst league top scorer in 2019/2020 Joe Iaciofano leaves the Hawks for the Hoops. Havant and Waterlooville made a double signing from Dover Athletic by capturing the signatures of defenders Josh Passley and Paul Rooney. Also, in defence, 19-year-old Joe Newton arrives from Coventry City’s under 23 side. Paul Doswell looked towards two of his former clubs by bringing in Abdulai Bell-Baggie and Jamie Collins from Eastleigh and Jamie Collins from Sutton United, Collins returns to the Hawks after 12 years away. Jake McCarthy has been taken from National League side Weymouth and Charlie Searle arrives from Wessex League side Baffins Milton Rovers. Departing Westleigh Park, Josh Taylor joins Dorking Wanderer’s promotion bid and Roarie Deacon moves to Maidstone United.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / Havant and Waterlooville wins: 3 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 2 – 1 Havant & Waterlooville (31/10/2020 – National South)
Havant & Waterlooville 1 – 2 Dartford (25/07/2020 – National South Playoff)
Dartford 1 – 1 Havant & Waterlooville (10/08/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Havant & Waterlooville (13/01/2018 – National South)
Havant & Waterlooville 0 – 0 Dartford (12/08/2017 – National South)
Havant & Waterlooville 0 – 2 Dartford (19/03/2016 – National South)

  • Dartford are unbeaten in nine games against Havant and Waterlooville wining seven and drawing two
  • The Darts are six matches unbeaten at home versus the Hawks
  • Havant and Waterlooville’s last win over the Darts came in 2011, their last match of a five game unbeaten sequence against Dartford in which they won three and drew two

Hemel Hempstead Town

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P52 W18 D10 L24 Pts64 (PPG 1.23) – Ranking 12th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

Another steady club in the National South now approaching their eighth season in the division. Hemel Hempstead Town won promotion from the Southern League in 2014 and since then they have mainly finished in the top half. In their second campaign at this level they narrowly missed out on a playoff place, but they have made one appearance in the end of season competition losing falling at the first hurdle three years ago. Last term the Hertfordshire club lost ten out of the 18 matches completed, picking up just one home win, but they managed to win just over half of their away fixtures.

Manager: Lee Bircham

Appointed last summer, Bircham has had under half a season to shape a squad to push Hemel Hempstead Town further up the table. The Tudors are his hometown club and before rocking up at Vauxhall Road, Bircham had managerial success with Berkhamsted, who were top of the Southern League Division One Central with twenty wins from twenty-eight matches before the pandemic hit. He also had a good track record at local club Bovingdon where he won the Hertfordshire Premier Division with an eighteen-point margin and racking up an average of four goals a game.

Summer

Ky Marsh-Brown had two unfinished seasons with the Darts and has left Princes Park for Hemel Hempstead Town. The Tudors have also signed left back, Jack Williams from Hayes and Yeading and Cole Kpekawa from Chelmsford City. Over the last few campaigns Royston Town has been the source of new players for Hemel Hempstead Town, Josh Castiglione joins previously signed duo Gus Scott-Morris and Matt Bateman at the club. Alfie Cerulli, Dominic Morgan-Griffiths and Samir Carruthers have also signed on. Meanwhile former club captain Jake Howells has left the club.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 6 / Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 1 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings (last six)

Hemel Hempstead Town 1 – 3 Dartford (10/11/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Hemel Hempstead Town (31/08/2019 – National South)
Hemel Hempstead Town 1 – 2 Dartford (05/03/2019 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 0 Hemel Hempstead Town (11/08/2018 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 2 Hemel Hempstead Town (17/03/2018 – National South)
Hemel Hempstead Town 0 – 3 Dartford (26/08/2017 – National South)

  • Dartford are unbeaten in their last nine games against Hemel Hempstead Town, winning five and drawing four
  • The Darts are unbeaten in all five home matches versus the Tudors
  • Hemel Hempstead Town’s only victory in this fixture came on the opening day of the 2015/2016 season when they won 1-0

Hungerford Town

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P52 W17 D6 L29 Pts57 (PPG 1.10) – Ranking 19th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

Saved from relegation after propping up the table, Hungerford Town went on to begin last season in blistering form winning six of their first eight. The Crusaders had shown that type of form before in their debut National South season in 2016/2017. That time they managed to maintain their decent showing by finishing in the playoffs, but unfortunately, they were denied the chance to participate. For the next three seasons Hungerford Town battled relegation surviving on the final day twice before finishing bottom. So, the start of last term saw a big turnaround influenced by manager Danny Robinson who had his side in seventh place.

Manager: Danny Robinson

A F.A Vase winner with his previous club Thatcham Town, it hasn’t taken long for Robinson to turn Hungerford Town’s fortunes around as well. He started his managerial career at the early age of 21 with Winchester City’s reserves before claiming the Hampshire Senior Cup with Alresford Town. At Thatcham Town, to go with the F.A Vase triumph he won promotion and had them on the verge of another one before the season was halted. So with all the successes achieved, Hungerford Town came calling in May 2020 where he turned the Crusaders into one of the surprise packages last term.

Summer

An important signing for the Crusaders wasn’t that of a new player, but one who decided to stay. Ryan Seager was in top form before the season was cut short and his goals helped Hungerford Town reach the top end of the table, the striker remains at Bulpit Lane with the majority of last season’s squad. Matt Jones and Warren Bentley return to the club, whilst attacking midfielder’s Theo Lewis and Ty Ward also join the Crusaders. Other new signings include Chris Flood and Nana Kyei, defender Henry Lander and midfielder Simo Mbonkwi.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Hungerford Town wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 1 – 1 Hungerford Town (16/01/2021 – National South)
Hungerford Town 1 – 2 Dartford (28/11/2020 – National South)
Hungerford Town 2 – 2 Dartford (26/08/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Hungerford Town (22/12/2018 – National South)
Hungerford Town 1 – 0 Dartford (25/08/2018 – National South)
Hungerford Town 1 – 0 Dartford (09/12/2017 – National South)

  • Dartford are four games unbeaten against Hungerford Town, their best sequence versus the Crusaders since the first meeting back in 2016
  • The Darts are unbeaten in all four matches at Princes Park, winning two and drawing two
  • Hungerford Town have conceded in each of the last four games against the Darts having previously kept four clean sheets in a row

National South Season Preview Part Two

Concord Rangers

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P46 W13 D12 L21 Pts51 (PPG 1.11) – Ranking 17th

F.A Cup: 1st Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

If one club can be excused for being distracted last season, then it’s Concord Rangers. A highlight of last season was the Beachboys’ overdue visit to Wembley. The Essex club reached the F.A Trophy final during the 2019/2020 campaign and had to wait until 2021 to play in the showpiece. Concord Rangers gave a great account of themselves losing 1-0 to Harrogate Town, who had already become a Football League side. A proud moment for a team who have been in relegation battles in four of the last five years. The only exception was when they were denied a playoff spot despite finishing sixth in 2018/2019.

Manager: Chris Search

Promoted from within after a successful four years with the Concord Rangers under 18’s side, Search has a wealth of experience how the club works. It’s a familiar tale at Thames Road where they have looked towards the talent already at the club. Search has already mentioned his ambition of following in the footsteps of two former managers, Danny Cowley who propelled the Essex Club into the National South and is now respected in the Football League and Danny Scopes who to the Beachboys to Wembley in the F.A Trophy. Search knows the step up is big, but he wants to prove doubters wrong.

Summer

The biggest surprise of the summer was the news that Ant Smith decided to stand down as chairman of the club. Yet that was not all, also departing after leading the Beachboys to the F.A Trophy final is manager Danny Scopes, assistant manager Lee Minshull and Head of Recruitment Adam Drew. So a backroom staff overhaul means Chris Search was named as the new boss and Danny Green his number two. Former Dart, Billy Roast agreed to stay on for a fourth season, but several other former Dartford players have now left Concord Rangers, Alex Wall moves to Havant and Waterlooville, Tyrone Sterling to Dulwich Hamlet and Sam Blackman to Margate. Goalkeeper, Chris Haigh also leaves for Kent to join Ebbsfleet United. Meanwhile, Ryan Blackman signs for Concord Rangers from Welling united, Joe Payne signs on after impressing in the F.A Trophy final and Ollie Kensdale arrives from Colchester United. Another Danny Green has made his move from Wealdstone, Calvin Ekpiteta joins from Merstham and goalkeeper Myles Roberts will be on loan from Watford. After a few pre-season games, the Beachboys have also taken on Hani Berchiche, formerly of Billericay Town and Metropolitan Police, Wyan Reid and Joseph Boachie, a forward who used to play for AFC Stamford.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Concord Rangers wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 0 – 1 Concord Rangers (21/12/2019 – National South)
Concord Rangers 0 – 2 Dartford (14/09/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Concord Rangers (26/01/2019 – National South)
Concord Rangers 2 – 0 Dartford (14/08/2018 – National South)
Concord Rangers 1 – 1 Dartford (06/01/2018 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 0 Concord Rangers (15/08/2017 – National South)

  • Dartford have won just one of the last five against Concord Rangers, drawing two and losing the other two
  • In the last four matches that resulted in a win, the victorious team has kept a clean sheet
  • The Darts won the two meetings versus the Beachboys, since then the honours have been shared with three wins each and three draws.

Dartford

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P53 W26 D12 L15 Pts90 (PPG 1.70) – Ranking 2nd

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

The Darts will be one of the favourites going into the new season having lost out in the playoff final a year ago before occupying second spot when last term was cut short. The turn around since Steve King has been in charge has been excellent, from a relegation battle when he took charge to the playoff final, then to follow that up with a title challenge. Over the last two seasons Dartford have accrued the most points out of the teams still in the National South. A first full season for King at Princes Park should end up with another promotion push.

Manager: Steve King

Over the summer King signed a new three-year deal with the Darts, he is yet to complete a full season of fixtures, although he did take Dartford to the playoff final. Although playoffs and King do not go together, suffering four final defeats with four different clubs, King and automatic promotions do go together. Guaranteed to bring entertainment, much of his early managerial career was spent in Sussex where he won the National South title with Lewes, his third promotion in five years with the club. He went on to win another title at Farnborough and embark on successful F.A Cup runs with Macclesfield Town and Whitehawk.

Summer

Two spells at Billericay Town yielded 82 goals in 113 appearances for Jake Robinson, the striker joins the Darts to provide firepower up front. Robinson will be linking up with winger Luke Wanadio again, who also joins Dartford from Billericay Town to start a third spell at Princes Park. Another returning player, Tyrique Hyde is back after time at Dulwich Hamlet, whilst Jazzi Barnum-Bobb goes the other way. Dan Roberts arrives from Slough Town and George Porter from local rivals Maidstone United with Elliott Romain and Jack Barham moving in the opposite direction. The Darts have also brought in Ade Azeez from Dover Athletic, Bagasan Graham from Romford and midfielder Danny Leonard from Sheppey United. Kieran Murtagh played for Steve King at Macclesfield Town when they reached the F.A Cup fourth round, the experienced midfielder is reunited with the Dartford boss joining from Boreham Wood. Plenty of players in last season’s squad could easily face the Darts at their new clubs, Charlie Sheringham will be at Chelmsford City, Ricky Modeste and Craig Braham-Barrett at Tonbridge Angels, Ky Marsh-Brown at Hemel Hempstead Town and Femi Akinwande back at Braintree Town. Skilful winger, Nassim L’Ghoul returns to France to play for Lyon – La Duchere a Championnat National Two team. Youngster, Cameron Brodie will gain more experience on loan at Cray Wanderers.

Dorking Wanderers

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P53 W26 D11 L16 Pts89 (PPG 1.68) – Ranking 3rd

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 4th Round

There is no secret that Dorking Wanderers are aiming high and that is where they were on course to finish last season. Topping the National South table by five points after eighteen games, Wanderers were in pole position to reach the National League. Ten years ago, the Surrey club had just won the Sussex County League Division Three and four promotions later they want another. Manager, Marc White has been on this journey from the start and has ambitions to lead his club further up the pyramid. This season Dorking Wanderers will be hoping to replicate the form that had them as the team to beat.

Manager: Marc White

Dorking Wanderers have climbed the non-league pyramid and Marc White has been able to witness their rise from day one. A founder member over 20 years ago, his club have won eleven promotions and after guiding the Surrey club to the playoffs in their first ever campaign in the National South, he had Wanderers at the top of the table last term. White is passionate about his club and was one of the outspoken managers putting pressure on the National League when last season came to an end. Dorking Wanderers have a boss with ambition to continue climbing the football pyramid.

Summer

Confidence in the squad is high after leading the National South table and a few tweaks plus promoted academy players have bolstered numbers. Bobby-Joe Taylor agreed a two-year deal joining from Ebbsfleet United, midfielder Josh Taylor also signed a two-year contract from Havant and Waterlooville. In between the sticks, Lee Worgan brings National South know how after joining from Chelmsford City. Australian striker, Callum Kealy was part of the Sutton United squad that won promotion to the Football League, he joins the Wanderers, whilst Olly Allen, Cameron Black, Noah Sapsford, Josh Barnett, George Membrillera and James Dickson were promoted from the academy. Jake Gallagher has left the club and has signed for Maidstone United.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Dorking Wanderers wins: 2 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings (last three)

Dartford 2 – 3 Dorking Wanderers (07/11/2020 – National South)
Dorking Wanderers 2 – 3 Dartford (04/01/2020 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 4 Dorking Wanderers (07/09/2019 – National South)

  • The home side has never won this fixture since the first meeting in September 2019
  • This fixture has averaged over 5.66 goals a game in the three meetings so far
  • The away side has scored three or more goals in each meeting

Dulwich Hamlet

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P48 W13 D14 L21 Pts53 (PPG 1.10) – Ranking 18th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

Years in the Isthmian Leagues finally came to an end in 2018 after three failed playoff attempts in a row. When Dulwich Hamlet won promotion to the National South it seemed like it was only a matter of time. The London based club temporarily lost their home, returned to Champion Hill and have held their own in the division. In their first campaign at this level Hamlet finished fourteenth followed by a lower finish in the points per game season. Last term, Dulwich Hamlet started slowly with no wins in their opening seven matches, but three victories on the bounce moved them up the table.

Manager: Gavin Rose

Over ten years in charge at Hamlet, Gavin Rose is the club’s longest serving manager and when he joined, he admitted the club weren’t living up to their potential. Now Dulwich Hamlet have established themselves in the National South and become a very inclusive club within the community. A former midfielder, Rose enjoyed a career which included spells at Wimbledon, Charlton Athletic and Queens Park Rangers. He guided Dulwich Hamlet to the Isthmian Division One North title in 2013 and won the Isthmian Premier League playoffs in 2018. Stability is important to the London based side and it shows with Rose’s loyalty.

Summer

The biggest story coming out of Champion Hill this summer was the off field signing of Peter Crouch. The former England international will be working behind the scenes at the club he spent time on loan with in 2000 as a 17-year-old. Former Dartford defender and F.A Trophy finalist, Tyrone Sterling joins the Hamlet from Concord Rangers and another former Dart defender, Jazzi Barnum-Bobb will be donning the Hamlet shirt, whilst Tyrique Hyde is on his way across to Dartford. The total of former Darts rises with the news that Danny Mills, Sanchez Ming and Giovanni McGregor are all staying at Champion Hill. Arriving from Bromley after seven years at the club, Jack Holland brings his experience as captain to the Hamlet. Former Dartford striker, Darren McQueen has spent pre-season at Champion Hill and could join the list of ex Darts at the club.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Dulwich Hamlet wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 1 – 0 Dulwich Hamlet (25/01/2020 – National South)
Dulwich Hamlet 1 – 1 Dartford (07/12/2019 – National South)
Dulwich Hamlet 2 – 0 Dartford (02/03/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Dulwich Hamlet (20/10/2018 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Dulwich Hamlet (31/03/2007 – Isthmian Division One South)
Dulwich Hamlet 3 – 2 Dartford (19/09/2006 – Isthmian Division One South)

  • Dartford are unbeaten at home in this fixture winning three and drawing two at Princes Park
  • Dulwich Hamlet are also unbeaten on their own patch beating Dartford three times and drawing once
  • The Darts have never beaten Dulwich Hamlet in consecutive games

Eastbourne Borough

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P52 W17 D20 L15 Pts71 (PPG 1.37) – Ranking 11th

F.A Cup: 1st Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

It would have been interesting to see where Eastbourne Borough would have finished last season, if the campaign was played out. Three consecutive eighteenth place finishes leading up to 2020/2021 showed the Sports were consistently inconsistent. When the National South table was frozen in time, the Sussex club were occupying third spot. On points per game they were within the top seven, so a playoff challenge was on the cards at least. Just one defeat on the road and an early eight game unbeaten run set the tone. The Sports also ended with four wins and a draw from their final five outings.

Manager: Danny Bloor

Since arriving at Priory Lane, Bloor has taken small steps in making Eastbourne Borough competitive again. The Sports were going through a difficult spell before appointing Bloor in November 2019 and having worked with previous manager’s Jamie Howell, Mark McGhee and Lee Bradbury the club decided to promote within. First, he made the Sports difficult to beat by drawing seven of the last eleven matches in the 2019/2020 campaign, losing just once against Dartford. Then he followed it up by getting Eastbourne Borough into third place last term with the fifth best points per game ratio.

Summer

Defender, Jake Elliott makes his move to Priory Lane from Hastings United along with a number of players agreeing to stay including Chris Whelpdale who was in excellent form before the season ended early. Goalkeeper, Franco Ravizzoli earned a deal with League One side Milton Keynes Dons, Dean Cox leaves after three seasons with the Sussex club and Michael West departs for Ebbsfleet United. Jack Currie will be on loan from AFC Wimbledon for the season and Joshua Oyinsah impressed enough in pre-season to sign a deal. An England under 17 World Cup winner, Curtis Anderson comes in on loan from Wycombe Wanderers. Club favourite Sergio Torres leaves the club for a new adventure in Spain.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 12 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 8 / Draws: 4

Previous Mettings (last six)

Dartford 0 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (09/02/2021 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 3 – 1 Dartford (05/12/2020 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (22/02/2020 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 0 – 2 Dartford (02/11/2019 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 6 – 0 Dartford (20/04/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 3 Eastbourne Borough (27/11/2018 – F.A Trophy)

  • The Darts have won just two of the last six meetings against Eastbourne Borough having previously been unbeaten in twelve versus the Sports
  • In the ten seasons Dartford have been in the same league as Eastbourne Borough, the Darts have completed five league doubles over the Sussex club
  • However, last season Eastbourne Borough completed a league double over the Darts for the first time since the 2002/2003 Southern League Division One East campaign

National South Season Preview Part One

Last season was cut short less than halfway through the campaign, the season before became null and void with around a quarter of the games still to play. Over the previous two years the National South has been full of uncertainty. Throw in the wrangling between the league and its members back in February and March, unfulfilled fixtures, furloughed staff and the financial challenges that come with a pandemic and it’s safe to say we can only look forward to the 2021/2022 season.

Crowds will return to grounds urging their team to succeed, lifting the players, creating the atmosphere everyone has been missing. The National South line-up remains the same and the future looks brighter. Maybe at the third time of asking the season will be played out in its entirety. Pure DFC looks at each club, the managers, and the squads they have assembled for the forthcoming campaign…

Bath City

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P48 W22 D10 L16 Pts76 (PPG 1.58) – Ranking 4th

F.A Cup (2020/21): 4th Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy (2020/21): 4th Round

Going into last season the Romans felt optimistic after successive playoff appearances. History repeated itself when on both occasions Bath City were beaten in the eliminator round. In the second of those campaigns the west country club were on course to beat their previous points tally. The story was different last season, a point per game had the Romans down at the bottom end after an unexpectedly slow start. Bath City lost six of their first seven games picking up just three points. Results picked up in December with a notable away victory at Dorking Wanderers and home win over Havant and Waterlooville.

Manager: Jerry Gill

In charge at Twerton Park since October 2017, Gill managed to turn the Romans from a top ten side to a top five side before last season. Bath City only managed thirteen league games last term and were fourth from bottom when the campaign was cut short, Gill will be hoping his side were just making a slow start. As a former Bath City defender who made over 200 appearances for the club in the nineties, the Romans boss will know the club inside out. He also has playing experience with Birmingham City where he reached a League Final and won promotion to the Premier League.

Summer

The most exciting signing of the summer for Bath City is that of Elliott Frear, the former Salisbury City winger was also part of the Hearts title winning team north of the border. He has also played over 70 games in the Scottish Premier League for Motherwell. Another to join the Romans, from Chippenham Town is Eddie Jones, a defender who played over a hundred games for his former side, going the other way is Will Henry. Jamaican international Omar Holness signs from National North side Darlington. Cody Cooke comes in from Weymouth and Ben Gerring from Woking. Manager, Jerry Gill who signed a new contract until July 2023 has also signed three goalkeepers, Coniah Boyce-Clarke from Reading, Harley Wilkinson from Clevedon Town and Will Fuller from Cardiff Metropolitan University, where he played over 250 matches in the Welsh Premier League. Momodou Touray will be on loan until the New Year from Salford City. Players leaving Twerton Park include Frankie Artus, Callum Evans and Donovan Wilson who impressed at National League champions Sutton United after the National South season was curtailed.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 34 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 1 – 0 Bath City (17/10/2020 – National South)
Bath City 3 – 0 Dartford (30/11/2019 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Bath City (09/02/2019 – National South)
Bath City 1 – 2 Dartford (04/08/2018 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 0 Bath City (21/04/2018 – National South)
Bath City 2 – 1 Dartford (24/10/2017 – National South)

  • Dartford have won the last five games against Bath City at Princes Park
  • Bath City’s win on 30/11/2019 ended a run of seven straight defeats against the Darts
  • Dartford have won eight of the last nine meetings against the Romans

Billericay Town

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P49 W12 D17 L20 Pts53 (PPG 1.08) – Ranking 20th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

Gone are the days when the owner made more headlines off the pitch than the team made on the pitch. In the only full National South season completed by the Blues they ended in a creditable eighth place. In the two unfinished seasons the Essex club went through three managers, Jamie O’Hara replaced Harry Wheeler in September 2019 and guided Billericay Town to seventeenth. But the former Spurs midfielder’s tenure ended in December 2020 after just two victories in nine outings. Kevin Watson took up the managerial post in January and will embark on his first full campaign at New Lodge.

Manager: Kevin Watson

Appointed at the beginning of the year, Watson has had little time to shape his squad and playing style at Billericay Town. The former Ebbsfleet United boss started his managerial career at Maldon and Tiptree until a Teddy Sheringham led Stevenage took him in as assistant manager. Watson had various assistant roles with the likes of Eastleigh, Whitehawk and Hungerford Town either side of a stint as manager at Bishop’s Stortford. A former midfielder as a player, Watson became a serial promotion winner as runners up with Rotherham United twice, Reading and Colchester United in a seven-year spell.

Summer

Billericay Town will have to find goals from somewhere as top scorer Jake Robinson has left to cross the River Thames and join Dartford. Winger, Luke Wanadio makes the same move and will team up with Robinson at Princes Park. Meanwhile, three former Darts will be with the Blues next season, Rowan Liburd signed and new deal, Luke Warner-Eley joins from St Albans City and goalkeeper Bailey Vose moves from Margate. Charlie Lee joins the Blues and Luis Shamshoun has been in the youth set up for four years and signs a first team contract. Marvel Ekpiteta left Dover Athletic to move to Billericay Town and former Dart, Norman Wabo has been with the Essex club during pre-season. Whilst some of the squad leaving include Lewis Knight to Margate and Doug Loft to Tonbridge Angels.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Billericay Town wins: 2 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 1 – 0 Billericay Town (12/01/2021 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Billericay Town (14/12/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Billericay Town (22/04/2019 – National South)
Billericay Town 1 – 1 Dartford (15/09/2018 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 4 Billericay Town (06/03/2010 – Isthmian Premier)
Billericay Town 1 – 0 Dartford (02/02/2010 – Isthmian Premier)

  • Dartford have won their last three matches against Billericay Town all at Princes Park
  • The Darts are four games unbeaten against the Blues
  • Billericay Town’s only victories against the Darts came in 2010, when Dartford won the Isthmian Premier League

Braintree Town

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P51 W14 D6 L31 Pts48 (PPG 0.94) – Ranking 21st

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

Ten years ago, the Iron won the National South and followed up their title with a six year stay in non-league’s top flight. It looked as though Braintree Town would turn into that yo-yo club when they were finally relegated from the National League, went back up and came straight back down. Over the last two uncompleted campaigns, the Essex side have found themselves in the bottom three with several managers struggling to improve results. Glen Driver, Jake Hutchings and former Dart, George Borg all had a go. Seven straight defeats opened the 2020/21 campaign and so Borg resigned. Now it’s Ryan Maxwell’s turn.

Manager: Ryan Maxwell

When Maxwell joined the Iron in November, he made immediate changes, in his first named starting eleven he selected eight new signings and ended a seven-game losing streak with a win. Arriving from Walthamstow where he was player-manager, Maxwell as a player moved around the non-league scene which included three appearances for Braintree Town in 2007. At Walthamstow, he guided them to third in the Essex Senior League. When the former midfielder left the Essex club in January 2020, he had them challenging for the title and when the league was abandoned in that March, Walthamstow were only three points off the top.

Summer

The Iron will be delighted with the signing of Femi Akinwande, who finished at the Darts last term. Akinwande is back at Cressing Road for a second spell after scoring six goals in 18 games last time. A youngster at Dartford, Jay Porter will be part of the squad after signing from Margate. Goalkeeper, Preston Edwards was signed as cover at Dartford during the playoffs a couple of seasons ago, he re-signs for the Essex club. Former England C international defender Luke Pennell arrives from Dagenham and Redbridge, Ezra IkeBuasi joins from Farnborough, Anderson Pinto from Cheshunt and Lance Akins from Maldon and Tiptree. Winger, Marcus Goldbourne is a new signing and Harry Savage signs first team forms after impressing in the under 18’s.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Braintree Town wins: 7 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings (last six)

Braintree Town 2 – 1 Dartford (09/01/2021 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Braintree Town (24/08/2019 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Braintree Town (06/05/2018 – National South Playoff)
Dartford 1 – 1 Braintree Town (23/12/2017 – National South)
Braintree Town 2 – 2 Dartford (08/08/2017 – National South)
Braintree Town 3 – 0 Dartford (01/01/2015 – National League)

  • Dartford have won just one of their last ten matches against Braintree Town, drawing three and losing six
  • The Darts have scored in four of the last five meetings, but failed to score at all in the previous five
  • Braintree Town have scored in their last nine games against the Darts

Chelmsford City

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P50 W15 D15 L20 Pts53 (PPG 1.20) – Ranking 13th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

Expectations for the Clarets are normally set at reaching the playoffs as a minimum. Chelmsford City have been there plenty of times in their thirteen-year stay, but they have been unable to cross the promotion line. In their seven playoff attempts they have reached the final once and have finished outside of the top seven in the last two incomplete campaigns. The first of those season’s ended with Rod Stringer moving aside and Robbie Simpson impressing enough to make the job his own. Still to be judged on forty completed league games, Simpson will be hoping the Clarets return to at least the playoffs.

Manager: Robbie Simpson

The journey from player to manager at Chelmsford City moved fast for Simpson. Signed as a player by Rod Stringer, the previous manager of the Clarets, Simpson was put in temporary charge just five months later and in March 2020 he became permanent player-manager. His first managerial role, the former forward enjoyed a long career in the Football League after he had already represented both Cambridge clubs, United and City at non-league level. Coventry City took a chance and afterwards he played for Huddersfield Town, Oldham Athletic, Leyton Orient, returned to Cambridge United in League Two, Exeter City and Milton Keynes Dons.

Summer

During his loan spell at Chelmsford City last season Charlie Sheringham impressed, now the striker has signed a deal after leaving Dartford. Another former Dart who will stay for a fourth campaign with the Clarets is Chez Isaac. Midfielder, Louis Dunne had a previous loan spell with Concord Rangers, the 22-year-old joins from Colchester United. Michael Oluwadara Dada arrives from St Albans City and the experienced Simeon Jackson returns with coaching and community responsibilities. Arriving on loan from Cambridge United will be Tom Dickens. Departing the Melbourne Stadium is the retiring Elliott Ward, Cole Kpekawa moves to Hemel Hempstead Town and goalkeeper Lee Worgan joins Dorking Wanderers.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 40 / Chelmsford City wins: 55 / Draws: 22

Previous Meeting (last six)

Dartford 1 – 0 Chelmsford City (06/10/2020 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Chelmsford City (14/03/2020 – National South)
Chelmsford City 4 – 1 Dartford (12/08/2019 – National South)
Chelmsford City 2 – 1 Dartford (09/01/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Chelmsford City (07/08/2018 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 2 Chelmsford City (10/02/2018 – National South)

  • Dartford have won their last three home games against Chelmsford City, another home win will equal the longest winning streak versus the Clarets at home set between 1960 and 1965.
  • The Darts have not conceded a goal in the last three home matches versus Chelmsford City, a home record against the Clarets
  • Chelmsford City have won seven of the last eleven meetings home and away

Chippenham Town

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P49 W14 D16 L19 Pts58 (PPG 1.18) – Ranking 14th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

Since promotion to the National South, Chippenham Town have been consistent in where they end up in the league standings. Consecutive thirteenth place finishes were followed by coming in fourteenth. Last time out the Bluebirds were averaging around their normal points per game from those three campaigns. When the Wiltshire club came into the division, they arrived with Mark Collier at the helm, he was replaced in January 2020 by Michael Cook who has kept the status quo in terms of results. Yet to have a full season at Hardenhuish Park, Cook will be aiming to see an improvement to the usual mid-table finish. 

Manager: Michael Cook

Forced into the coaching world at an early age, Cook overcame a spinal injury when he was 22 years old. He won the F.A Youth Cup with Coventry City as player and went on to represent York City, Cambridge United and in non-league Wycombe Wanderers. Another manager who made the most of an interim spell, Cook was appointed as permanent boss of Chippenham Town in March 2020. The former Gloucester City manager took over the Bluebirds in January following the departure of Mark Collier and impressed enough to make the job his own after some improved results.

Summer

Returning to Chippenham Town after a spell in Australia is Will Richards, he left the Bluebirds in 2019 and is now back after signing from Grange Thistle. Goalkeeper, Will Henry joins Chippenham Town from Bath City and going in the opposite direction will be Eddie Jones. The Bluebirds have also captured the signature of former Weymouth midfielder, Alefe Santos, ex Cardiff City youngster Dan Griffiths and 20-year-old forward Harry Warwick from Bristol Rovers. A number of players have renewed their contracts but leaving the Wiltshire club will be Bradley Ash, Will Puddy, George Rigg and Chris Zebrowski.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Chippenham Town wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings (last six)

Chippenham Town 1 – 2 Dartford (27/10/2020 – National South)
Chippenham Town 1 – 5 Dartford (01/02/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Chippenham Town (26/10/2019 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Chippenham Town (13/04/2019 – National South)
Chippenham Town 1 – 2 Dartford (13/10/2018 – National South)
Chippenham Town 2 – 2 Dartford (20/01/2018 – National South)

  • Dartford are unbeaten in all four visits to Hardenhuish Park winning three and drawing one
  • Dartford’s only defeat against the Bluebirds was also the only time the Darts have failed to score in this fixture
  • Both teams have kept just one clean sheet against each other in seven meetings

National League South Season Preview 2018/2019 – Part Four

Truro City |Wealdstone | Welling United | Weston-super-Mare | Woking

Truro City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Plainmoor

Seven years ago, Truro City propelled themselves up the football pyramid reaching the National South for the first time in their history. Since then they have had financial problems, relegation back to the Southern Premier and a return to the National South. A much more stable club now, the White Tigers reached the playoffs for a second time in three seasons losing to Hampton and Richmond Borough after extra time. At late notice Truro City will groundshare with Torquay United this season as they plan for a new stadium. They also reached the F.A Cup first round for the first time in their history last season, putting in a credible performance against Charlton Athletic in their 3-1 defeat.

Last Season

National South: 7th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Cody Cooke (13 goals)

Average Attendance: 469 (15th in National South)

The Manager – Lee Hodges

In his second spell as manager of Truro City, Lee Hodges has taken the White Tigers to the playoffs in two of the last three campaigns. In his first spell he won the Southern Premier League with the club to complete the Cornwall club’s rise from the Western League, their fourth title in five seasons. As a player he won two league titles with Plymouth Argyle and the promotion to the Football League with Torquay United through the playoffs. Finishing his playing career at Truro City, Hodges first spell as manager ended due to financial problems the club faced, two years ago he returned to Treyew Road to finish off a job.

The Summer

The White Tigers will be pinning their goal scoring hopes on new striker Jared Lewington. A target for manager Lee Hodges last summer Lewington joins from Southern Premier League side Tiverton Town. Midfielder Lloyd Gardner moves from Buckland Athletic whilst Truro City welcome back Louis Rooney from Linfield, who was on loan at Treyew Road in 2016/2017. The Cornwall club have lost some decent players in the process including Cody Cooke to St Mirren, goalkeeper Tom McHale and Ben Gerring to Billericay Town. Fletcher Williams, River Allen and Stewart Yetton have also been released. Alex Hartridge and Max Smallcombe sign on loan from Exeter City, defender Cameron Kelly arrives from Buckland Athletic and goalkeeper Corey Harvey will be on dual registration with Bodmin Town. Hodges has managed to secure the services of Bristol City youngsters Jojo Wollacott and Tom Richards on loan. Wollacott spent time on loan last season with club. Paul Bignot will provide football league experience and has been capped by England at C level.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Truro City wins: 4 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings

24.02.2018 Dartford 4 Truro City 1
11.11.2017 Truro City 3 Dartford 1
18.03.2017 Dartford 5 Truro City 3
08.10.2016 Truro City 0 Dartford 5
05.04.2016 Truro City 3 Dartford 0
19.09.2015 Dartford 0 Truro City 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 27 October 2018 at Treyew Road

Saturday 30 March 2019 at Princes Park

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Wealdstone

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Vale Stadium

On 21 August 2017 a monumental change happened at Wealdstone. A generation of supporters would only know the club with Gordon Bartlett at the helm, he stepped down after twenty-two years. A big change after Bartlett managed one win in the five games at the start of the season. In came Bobby Wilkinson from Hungerford Town who led the Stones to their obligatory mid-table position come the end of the season. The new regime started in good form with one defeat in twelve games and then Wealdstone returned to their norm. This summer has seen a major overhaul of players and so after four campaigns in the National South, the Stones will be looking at a playoff place.

Last Season

National South: 11th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: Semi-Final

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: David Pratt (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 880 (3rd in National South)

The Manager – Bobby Wilkinson

It came as a shock when Bobby Wilkinson quit Hungerford Town early last season, after all he had spent seven seasons improving the Crusaders. He led the Berkshire club to promotion through the Southern League South & West playoffs and went on to win the Southern Premier playoffs. In Hungerford Town’s first campaign in the National South he guided them to an impressive sixth, missing out on the playoffs due to ground grading requirements. Wilkinson also got the Crusaders to the F.A Trophy last eight on two occasions during his time there. This summer is the first with the Stones for the new boss and has seen many changes to the playing personnel.

The Summer

Bobby Wilkinson went early with transfers this summer having had the majority of last season to assess his players. Plenty of players departed including defender Ian Gayle to Woking, and a squad worth arrived. Former Dartford defender Tom Gardiner will be a Wealdstone player, signed from St Albans City he made 75 appearances for the Darts between 2015 and 2017. Ebbsfleet United missed a trick when they didn’t give Yado Mambo the number five shirt, he will certainly be wearing that number with the Stones. A superb F.A Cup hat-trick put Matthew Lench in the limelight last term, the midfielder joins having scored 15 times for Slough Town last season. Wadah Ahmidi and Sam Hatton follow each other from Staines Town, the same goes for Rhys Tyler, Stefan Brown and James Clark from Wilkinson’s former club Hungerford Town and Godfrey Poku and Freddie Grant from Oxford City. Montel Agyemang from East Thurrock United, Marvel Ekpiteta from Bishop’s Stortford, Jake Sheppard from Reading’s academy team and Connor Stevens from Watford U23’s all join the Stones. Bradley Hudson-Odoi returns to the club, the Stones Junior Player of the Year in 2015/2016 has been away with Hampton and Richmond Borough, Sutton United, Eastleigh and Maidstone United. Goalkeeper Callum Thomas impressed Bobby Wilkinson during pre-season and joins from Charlton Athletic. Striker, Joe White rejoins the Stones on loan from Stevenage, he previously scored six goals in 17 appearances for Wealdstone.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 13 / Wealdstone wins: 13 / Draws: 13

Previous Meetings

17.02.2018 Wealdstone 1 Dartford 2
21.11.2017 Dartford 3 Wealdstone 3
28.01.2017 Wealdstone 0 Dartford 4
06.08.2016 Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2
26.01.2016 Dartford 1 Wealdstone 2
03.10.2015 Wealdstone 2 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 18 March 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 5 January 2019 at Vale Stadium

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Welling United

Founded: 1963 / Ground: Park View Road

A new start for the Wings who finished tenth last season, out goes new Dartford boss Jamie Coyle and in comes former Whitehawk manager Steve King. Welling United have plenty of experience in the top two tiers of non-league football going back to the late seventies. The Kent side were amongst the front runners in the first three months of last season thanks to a six-game winning streak. A drop of form in November and December as well as a poor end to the season left the Wings eight points shy of the playoffs. Since relegation from the National League, Welling United have stabilised in the National South and will be pushing for the playoffs under new management.

Last Season

National South: 10th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Bradley Goldberg (10 goals)

Average Attendance: 541 (10th in National South)

The Manager – Steve King

Nothing but a top seven finish will be acceptable for Steve King at Welling United. The ambitious manager was appointed this summer after he departed Whitehawk. To be fair his task of keeping the Hawks up last term was difficult considering the ground he had to make up, despite improvements they still went down. In his first spell at Whitehawk life was rosier, King kept the Hawks up, reached a playoff final and made it to the F.A Cup second round, almost earning a tie with Everton. He had spells managing Lewes, Northwich Victoria and Farnborough before he took Macclesfield Town to the F.A Cup fourth round in 2013.

The Summer

It seems to be theme that managers are looking towards their former clubs and it’s no different for Steve King. The new Welling United boss has brought in goalkeeper Daniel Wilks, Jordon Gibbons and Nassim L’Ghoul from relegated Whitehawk. King is also familiar with John Paul Kissock who also had a spell with the Hawks before joining Southport, the pair also worked together at Macclesfield Town and will both be working wioth each other once more. Former Canadian international, Gavin McCallum won the Supporters Player of the Year with Eastbourne Borough last term, scorer of 15 goals in 39 games the midfielder will be a Welling United player this season. Richard Orlu has been signed from Woking, the former Dover Athletic defender could pair up with Anthony Acheampong, who joins the Wings for his third spell after signing from Dulwich Hamlet. Ben Jefford and Jack Parkinson have left Park View Road along with Director of Football, Tristan Lewis. French centre-back Thierry Audel worked with King at Macclesfield Town. Since leaving the SIlkmen he played for Crewe Alexandra, Notts County and Barrow. King also once got the best out of Danny Mills when at Whitehawk, the striker scored 58 goals over two seasons there. Signed from Ebbsfleet United, he went out on loan last term to Dartford where he scored six in 26 games. David Ijaha is another from Whitehawk, the midfielder includes St Albans City, Harrow Borough and Wealdstone as former clubs. Guinea-Bissau international Arnaud Mendy will also be part of the Wings squad this season and has represented Luton Town, Macclesfield Town, Lincoln City and Whitehawk. Hampton and Richmond Borough’s Player of the Season, Brendan Kiernan moves to Park View Road, the 25-year-old has played for Ebbsfleet United, Bromley and AFC Wimbledon in the past.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 19 / Welling United wins: 7 / Draws: 10

Previous Meetings

01.01.2018 Dartford 4 Welling United 1
26.12.2017 Welling United 2 Dartford 3
28.02.2017 Welling United 0 Dartford 0
22.11.2016 Welling United 2 Dartford 2
06.09.2016 Dartford 2 Welling United 1
19.10.2015 Dartford 3 Welling United 1

Next Meetings

Wednesday 26 December 2018 at Park View Road

Tuesday 1 January 2019 at Princes Park

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Weston-super-Mare

Founded: 1887 / Ground: Woodspring Stadium

The longest serving club currently in the National South, the Seagulls recorded their highest finish since 2014 and it could have been better. The Somerset club were always chasing the playoff spot without really threatening to break into the top seven. At home, Weston-super-Mare took advantage of those clubs below them in the table tasting defeat just once. They swept aside Eastbourne Borough and Wealdstone 5-1 but were also capable of losing to struggling Whitehawk by the same score line. Those inconsistencies cost the Seagulls a better campaign and when they lost eight of their last eleven fixtures, the Somerset club knew a fifteenth consecutive season in the National South would beckon.

Last Season

National South: 12th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Gethyn Hill (19 goals)

Average Attendance: 492 (14th in National South)

The Manager – Marc McGregor

Formerly a player and assistant manager at Weston-super-Mare, Marc McGregor took the step up last summer. He already had experience as a player coach with Worcester City and played for Oxford United and Notts County. The former England C international moved to Forest Green Rovers and was there until Ian Holloway took him on at Queens Park Rangers. Injury forced McGregor to quit playing full time and so he had spells with Tamworth and Hinckley. He guided the Seagulls to a County Cup triumph in his first campaign and the club’s highest finish since 2014 when they ended up in twelfth.

The Summer

Jamie Lucas joins permanently after two loan spells with the club. The striker scored 12 in 21 for Weston-super-Mare at the age of 19. Outside of his spells with the Seagulls, the striker has played for Gloucester City, Boreham Wood, Woking, Bath City and F.A Trophy finalists Brackley Town. He has also made four appearances for Bristol Rovers. Former Dart, Ben Swallow has joned from Bognor Regis Town, the midfielder made 11 appearances for Dartford in 2014. Danny Greenslade has left the Somerset club for Hereford F.C. Tristan Plummer has decided to move onto pastures new, signing with Bitton A.F.C. After a successful trial with the Seagulls, Eli Phipps signs from Colchester United.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 8 / Weston-Super-Mare wins: 3 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings

07.04.2018 Dartford 3 Weston-super-Mare 1
23.09.2017 Weston-super-Mare 3 Dartford 0
17.01.2017 Dartford 3 Weston-super-Mare 2
26.11.2016 Weston-super-Mare 2 Dartford 4
20.08.2016 Weston-super-Mare 1 Dartford 2
05.03.2016 Weston-super-Mare 2 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 29 September 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 6 April 2019 at Woodspirng Stadium

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Woking

Founded: 1945 / Ground: Enclosed Ground

Relegated from the National South after six years, the Cards needed one more goal entering the last minute of the season. Poised at 1-1 with Dover Athletic and needing victory, Woking conceded instead ending their stay in the National League. The Surrey club were promoted to the top non-league division as champions in the season Dartford went up with them. The Cards held their own until last term and looked to be doing the same again at the end of November. After victory against Ebbsfleet United on 21 November 2017, Woking won just three more games as they slumped towards the bottom four. A win in their penultimate fixture gave them hope but it wasn’t to be for the Cards.

Last Season

National League: 21st

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Charlie Carter (12 goals)

Average Attendance: 2024 (8th in National League)

The Manager – Alan Dowson

Alan Dowson represented Millwall, Fulham, Bradford City and Darlington before non-league football came calling. He spent time at Slough Town, Gateshead then Waltham and Hersham, where he got his break as a manager. Staying in Surrey, Dowson then took charge of Kingstonian where he won the Isthmian Division One South. He was unveiled as Hampton and Richmond Borough’s manager in 2014 and two years later led the Beavers to the Isthmian Premier League title. Dowson made his former club contenders for promotion to the National League losing last season’s playoff final. Now he will start a new challenge back in Surrey to get Woking back to the National League at the first attempt.

The Summer

Top scorer in a struggling season, Charlie Carter attracted the attention of Chesterfield and moved to the newly relegated National League side. Josh Staunton also makes the step up a division by switching to FC Halifax Town. With a new boss at the helm many more have arrived, mainly from his former side Hampton and Richmond Borough and last season’s runners up Dartford. Nathan Collier worked with Dowson at Hampton and Richmond Borough and now has his man back, Collier joins from Dartford having made 21 appearances for them last season. Struggling with injury, striker Duane Ofori-Acheampong only managed six starts for the Darts last term and along with the impressive goalkeeper Berti Schotterl, who kept six clean sheets in 13 outings the total of former Dartford players reaches three. Dowson has taken Charlie Wassmer with him from his old club, the defender was namesd in the National South’s team of the season and after over 150 appearances for Hampton and Richmond Borough, Josh Casey follows. Jack Cook formed a partnership with Wassmer with the Beavers last term and they will team up again. Ian Gayle adds more strength to the back line from Wealdstone and winger Nicky Wheeler comes in from Billericay Town. Christian Jolley was given his break in 2009 by Alan Dowson at Kingstonian, they now pair up again. Jolley went on to play for AFC Wimbledon, Newport County, Forest Green Rovers, Grimsby Town then Margate. Max Kretzschmar returns to the Cards after one season with Hampton and Richmond Borough, where he scored 14 goals in 39 league appearances last season. Striker, Jake Hyde made 130 appearances in the Football League for Barnet, York City, and Stevenage. Last season Hyde played for Maidenhead United in the National League. Former Burgess Hill Town striker, Greg Luer spent more than three years with Hull City making eight appearances. Loan spells in League One with Port Vale and Scunthorpe United, and League Two with Stevenage followed and now he is at Woking.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Woking wins: 5 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

03.03.2015 Dartford 1 Woking 3
12.08.2014 Woking 1 Dartford 1
18.02.2014 Dartford 5 Woking 1
12.11.2013 Woking 3 Dartford 0
01.04.2013 Dartford 4 Woking 1
14.08.2010 Woking 1 Dartford 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 1 December 2018 at Kingsfield

Saturday 23 February 2019 at Princes Park

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National League South Season Preview 2018/2019 – Part Three

Hemel Hempstead Town | Hungerford Town | Oxford City | Slough Town | St Albans City | Torquay United

Hemel Hempstead Town

Founded: 1885 / Ground: Vauxhall Road

It’s been just over four years ago since Hemel Hempstead Town smashed the Southern Premier League, now the Tudors are looking towards the next level. The Hertfordshire based side have held their own in the National South finishing ninth, sixth and twelfth before last season. The Tudors reached the playoffs in the second tier of non-league football for the first time going out to eventual playoff winners Braintree Town on penalties at the first hurdle. Ending the campaign in fifth, Hemel Hempstead Town’s twelve game unbeaten run had them thinking of top spot back around the New Year. The Tudors also lost just two out of the last thirteen, but a division high thirteen draws saw them drop too many points.

Last Season

National South: 5th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Jordan Parkes (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 527 (12th in National South)

The Manager – Dean Brennan

A career playing in the Football League career never took off for Dean Brennan, but he had a decent time in non-league football. The former midfielder won the F.A Trophy with Grays Athletic and had spells with Stevenage, AFC Wimbledon and various other clubs including Hemel Hempstead Town. At the age of 29, the Tudors appointed Brennan as interim manager and he kept them in the Southern Premier League. After a spell at Dunstable Town the Irishman returned to the Tudors six years ago. Brennan took the Tudors up to the National South in 2015 and last term reached the playoffs in fifth, their highest ever finish.

The Summer

The Tudors are focussing on attack with a host of signings boosting their forward line. Former Concord Rangers top scorer Steve Cawley signs a two-year deal after scoring 88 times in 225 appearances for the Beachboys. Phil Roberts was on course to win the National South golden boot at one point after spells with Chelmsford City and Braintree Town, he ended up with 18 goals last season. Ex Dartford striker, Charlie Sheringham returns to Hemel Hempstead Town after a spell in Bangladesh and Sanchez Watt signs a permanent deal after a successful loan spell from Billericay Town.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

17.03.2018 Dartford 3 Hemel Hempstead Town 2
26.08.2017 Hemel Hempstead Town 0 Dartford 3
01.04.2017 Hemel Hempstead Town 2 Dartford 2
12.11.2016 Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 0
17.10.2015 Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 2
08.08.2015 Hemel Hempstead Town 1 Dartford 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 11 August 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 2 February 2019 at Vauxhall Road

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Hungerford Town

Founded: 1886 / Ground: Bulpit Lane

Promoted from the Southern Premier League two years ago, the Crusaders only had to wait less than a month for their first setback. Long serving manager Bobby Wilkinson left Bulpit Lane in favour of Wealdstone. Not the best preparation for a side hoping to keep momentum going from a sixth place finish the season before. Instead Hungerford Town struggled and survival went right down to the wire. With a one-point advantage over Poole Town going into the final day, the Crusaders clinched a place in the National South thanks to Nicholas Bignall’s winning goal against East Thurrock United. The 1-0 victory was crucial considering Poole Town also won, so now Hungerford Town will compete in this division for a third successive campaign.

Last Season

National South: 19th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Louie Soares (11 goals)

Average Attendance: 267 (21st in National South)

The Manager – Ian Herring

He experienced two promotions via the playoffs as a player with Hungerford Town and now he leads the team off the field. Ian Herring was appointed as the Crusaders manager just under a year ago having played for the Berkshire club since 2012. The 34-year-old replaced Bobby Wilkinson in September, who had been manager of Hungerford Town since the 2009/2010 campaign. With big shoes to fill, Herring was given the task of keeping the Crusaders in the National South which was just about completed on the final day of the season. Before a career with the Berkshire club, he played for Swindon Town, Salisbury City, Chippenham Town, Forest Green Rovers and Eastleigh.

The Summer

Ramone Rose will be looking to settle at Bulpit Lane having moved around the non-league scene frequently. The former Whitehawk man had a decent run in the Hawks side last term. The 28-year-old has been at Queens Park Rangers, Newport County, Wealdstone, Maidenhead United and Eastleigh to name but a few. Defender Tommy Cooney arrives having previously played for Brentford, Boston United and Margate. Tommy Ouldridge will bolster the midfield and has experience with Cirencester Town, Swindon Town and Chippenham Town. Sam Deadfield is another midfielder joining Hungerford Town from Basingstoke Town. Right back Marcus Johnson-Schuster also had spells with Basingstoke Town and Wealdstone as well as Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Hungerford Town wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

09.12.2017 Hungerford Town 1 Dartford 0
05.08.2017 Dartford 0 Hungerford Town 0
14.04.2017 Hungerford Town 2 Dartford 0
27.08.2016 Dartford 2 Hungerford Town 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 25 August 2018 at Bulpit Lane

Saturday 22 December 2018 at Princes Park

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Oxford City

Founded: 1882 / Ground: Marsh Lane

A consistent side since switching from the National North to National South in the summer of 2015, Oxford City have finished their three seasons in this division in twelfth, fourteenth and last term sixteenth. The Nomads had a slow start to their campaign and were in the bottom three at the end of October. The Oxfordshire side woke up going unbeaten for the next two months with the run ending on New Year’s Day. Away from league competition, Oxford City managed to put together a F.A Cup run knocking out a Football League side for the first time in their history. The Nomads defeated Colchester United to reach the second round for the first time in forty-seven years where their run ended against Notts County.

Last Season

National South: 16th

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Matt Patterson (21 goals)

Average Attendance: 319 (17th in National South)

The Manager – Mark Jones

In the F.A Cup last season, Oxford City knocked out Football League opposition for the first time in their history and it was masterminded by Mark Jones. He also guided City to their first County Cup triumph in fifteen years. Taking charge of the first team in December 2016, Jones came into the role with coaching and playing experience. Not only does he currently head up Oxford City’s scholarship programme he also played for the club. His playing career included spells at Aylesbury United, Harrow Borough and Thame United and after hanging up his boots, Jones worked at Stevenage as Centre of Excellence Manager and Watford as Lead Youth Development Phase Coach

The Summer

Josh Ashby returns to the Nomads on a one-year deal from Oxford United, he already played for Oxford City in 2016/2017 making 21 appearances. Scorer of 15 goals in 44 games, Kabongo Tshimanga arrives at Marsh Lane from Boston United, the striker has also played six times for Milton Keynes Dons. Left back, Ben Jefford had three spells with Welling United but he will be part of Mark Jones’ squad, the 23-year-old has National League experience with Sutton United, Woking and Forest Green Rovers. Four players impressed in pre-season one of which is Luke Ruddick, who had spent time out of the game, the defender previously played for Sutton United and Salisbury City. Kyran Wiltshire won the National South in 2016/17 and joins from Maidenhead United, Belize international Mike Atkinson and Eze Ibrahim will also be part of Oxford City’s squad. There was also a clear out with the likes of Lee Henderson, Godfrey Poku, Freddie Grant, Ezra Forde, Mamadou Fofana and Justin Bennett leaving.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Oxford City wins: 1 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings

24.03.2018 Oxford City 0 Dartford 2
19.08.2017 Dartford 7 Oxford City 1
25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1
29.10.2016 Dartford 1 Oxford City 0
23.04.2016 Dartford 2 Oxford City 2
15.09.2015 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 20 October 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 27 April 2019 at Marsh Lane

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Slough Town

Founded: 1893 / Ground: Arbour Park

In the early nineties Slough Town were mixing it in the top flight of non-league football. The Rebels enjoyed seven seasons in what was then the Conference over eight years. By the end of the decade they dropped two divisions and have since been trying to find their way back. In their fourth campaign in the Southern Premier League, Slough Town took a significant step up winning the playoffs after finishing third. The Rebels accrued a massive ninety-nine points and scored an incredible one hundred and eleven goals. In the F.A Cup they reached the second round losing to Rochdale in front of the television cameras. Promoted after a last gasp playoff winner, the Rebels will look to keep their momentum going.

Last Season

Southern Premier: 3rd

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: James Dobson (21 goals)

Average Attendance: 666 (4th in Southern Premier)

The Managers – Neal Baker and Jon Underwood

Joint managers since May 2013, Neal Baker and Jon Underwood both came from Godalming Town. At 29-years-old a knee injury ended Baker’s playing career so he moved into management with Fleet Spurs in the Wessex League Division One. Underwood was managing Sandhurst Town before teaming up with Baker at Godalming Town. Whilst with the G’s the duo reached the Isthmian Division One South playoffs and lifted the Surrey Senior Cup. At Slough Town, Baker and Underwood have been part of an upward trend by guiding the club to promotion to the Southern Premier League, via the playoffs, the same promotion route as last term to reach this season’s National South

The Summer

The Rebels have managed to keep most of their promotion winning squad together and with it they have added Sam Togwell. The midfielder has Football League experience with Barnsley and Scunthorpe United and signs from Eastleigh. Slough Town have also persuaded Louie Soares to join their ranks having top scored for Hungerford Town last term earning him Player of the Year. Matthew Lench hit the headlines with a sublime F.A Cup hat-trick last season, however he’s been released by the club.

Head to Head

Slough Town wins: 0 / Dartford wins: 3 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

01.10.2016 Slough Town 2 Dartford 3
29.10.1988 Slough Town 1 Dartford 2
10.01.1981 Dartford 4 Slough Town 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 8 December 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 16 February 2019 at Arbour Park

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St Albans City

Founded: 1908 / Ground: Clarence Park

The early pace setters last season were left disappointed that they failed to reach the playoffs. However, the Saints can be pleased that they achieved their highest finish since returning to the National South in 2014. St Albans City racked up maximum points in their opening six games and were still joint top at the end of October. Four defeats in five games followed as they began to lose ground, but the Saints came again and went unbeaten in December. In the New Year they thrashed East Thurrock United 7-2 and followed that up with a 4-0 win over then league leaders Dartford to put them back in contention. The Saints hit more good form over Easter then ended losing five of their last six.

Last Season

National South: 8th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Sam Merson (20 goals)

Average Attendance: 765 (5th National South)

The Manager – Ian Allinson

Out of all the managers in the National South this season, Ian Allinson has one of the biggest profiles due to his footballing career. The former winger amassed over 300 league appearances as a player for Colchester United in two spells, and played over 100 games in all competitions for Arsenal. He also appeared for Stoke City and Luton Town. As a manager, he won the Isthmian Premier League and National South playoff finals with Boreham Wood before joining St Albans City two years ago. Allinson has also managed Baldock Town, Barton Rovers, Harlow Town and Stotfold so has plenty of experience to offer the Saints.

The Summer

If Gary McCann at Hampton and Richmond Borough isn’t taking players from Hendon then Ian Allinson is. St Albans City add 21-year-old Luke Tingey to their squad, a versatile defender who played over a century of games over a three-year spell with the Greens. Tingey will be joined by Senegalese midfielder Dave Diedhiou, the 29-year-old made over 400 appearances for Hendon since 2008. Khale da Costa joins from Concord Rangers whilst former Dart, Tom Gardiner leaves as does Shaun Lucien who has joined Hampton and Richmond Borough. Allinson’s son Lee, has left his assistant manager’s post to take up a role with Biggleswade Town as first team manager. In his place Glenn Alzapiedi becomes the number two, who had three years with Concord Rangers as assistant to Adam Flanagan. Striker, Ralston Gabriel scored over 30 times during Haringey Borough’s promotion winning term and impressed manager Ian Allinson enough to sign a deal with the Saints. David Moyo lacked opportunities at Hemel Hempstead Town and will be given a chance at Clarence Park. National South playoff winner with Braintree Town, Roman Michael-Percil joins and has had previous spells with Concord Rangers, Billericay Town and Dulwich Hamlet.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / St Albans City wins: 4 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings

03.02.2018 St Albans City 4 Dartford 0
28.10.2017 Dartford 2 St Albans City 1
25.03.2017 St Albans City 1 Dartford 0
08.11.2016 Dartford 0 St Albans City 2
30.04.2016 St Albans City 4 Dartford 0
06.02.2016 Dartford 2 St Albans City 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 1 September 2018 at Clarence Park

Saturday 12 January 2019 at Princes Park

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Torquay United

Founded: 1899 / Ground: Plainmoor

A club that flirted with Football League existence for years, the warning signs have always been at Plainmoor. The Gulls have reached an all-time low, playing in the National South for the first time in their history. Torquay United did spend two years in the National League between 2007 and 2009 and made a F.A Trophy final appearance. They managed to head back to the Football League but once again lost their status with relegation four years ago. After four more seasons, the Gulls edged closer and closer to the dreaded drop and then it came. Last term Torquay United started on a thirteen-game winless run and never recovered.

Last Season

National League: 22nd

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Jamie Read and Rhys Healey (6 goals)

Average Attendance: 1731 (13th National League)

The Manager – Gary Owers

F.A Cup runner up 26 years ago, Gary Owers walked up the Wembley steps to collect his medal after Sunderland lost the 1992 final to Liverpool. The former midfielder made over 300 appearances for the Black Cats and afterwards continued his career with Bristol City and Notts County. He moved in to non-league with Forest Green Rovers before playing for Bath City, the same two clubs he later went on to manage. When he left Weston-super-Mare in 2007 he spent the next nine years as a number two at Aldershot Town, Plymouth Argyle and Gateshead. Owers made the step back into first team management with Bath City before replacing Kevin Nicholson early last season at Plainmoor.

The Summer

Gary Owers’ first summer in charge has brought change to Plainmoor. Out go Reece Mitchell, Conrad Balatoni, Sam Chaney, Yan Klukowski and Jake Gosling. Ryan Clarke joins Bath City and Luke Young makes the step up to play for Wrexham. That has left plenty of room to sign new players like experienced 31-year-old Asa Hall who has represented Luton Town, Oxford United, Shrewsbury Town and Cheltenham Town. Former Woking duo Bobson Bawling and Jason Banton move down to Devon, whilst 21-year-old defender George Essuman and ex Bromley right back Ben Wynter sign up for Torquay United. Samir Nabi comes in from Carlisle United having previously spent time in the Indian Premier League with Dehli Dynamos. Two goalkeepers have also been signed with the arrivals of Shaun MacDonald from Blyth Spartans and Alex Bass on loan from Portsmouth. Early in his career Ryan Dickson went on loan at Plainmoor and now he is back at the age of 31. Kyle Cameron came through the Newcastle United academy and after loan spells at Workington, York City and Queen of the South the defender joins Torquay United. Another defender, Jean-Yves Koué Niate brings with him experience of time in France and Belgium as well as Solihull Moors, Oxford City, Ebbsfleet United and Guiseley.

Head to Head

Torquay United wins: 0 / Dartford wins: 0 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

04.04.2015 Torquay United 1 Dartford 1
23.08.2014 Dartford 0 Torquay United 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 10 November 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 16 Match 2019 at Plainmoor

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National League South Season Preview 2018/2019 – Part Two

 Dartford | Dulwich Hamlet | East Thurrock UnitedEastbourne Borough | Gloucester CityHampton and Richmond Borough

Dartford

Founded: 1888 / Ground: Princes Park

A new era begins for the Darts after the resignation of club legend Tony Burman. The former manager left his position in the summer after fourteen years at the helm but will be involved with the academy. Starting out as joint favourites last season, Dartford had a strong squad only to suffer final day heartbreak and lose the title on goal difference. The Kent club did lead the table for long periods of the campaign but just couldn’t break away and finished runners up. The Darts were the top scorers in the National South partly thanks to the league’s Player of the Season Alfie Pavey. It has been a big summer for the playoff semi-finalists as they look to go one better.

Last Season

National South: 2nd

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Alfie Pavey (22 goals)

Average Attendance: 1053 (1st in National South)

The Managers – Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle

They played in defence for the Darts and won titles together in 2008 and 2010, first the Isthmian Division One North then the Isthmian Premier. Flanagan captained the side during the latter championship victory at centre back, Coyle alongside him at full back. The pair moved into management taking different routes, Flanagan won promotion to the Isthmian Premier League via the playoffs at Brentwood Town, whilst Coyle continued playing going up to the National League with Maidstone United. Coyle moved on to Welling United and in his only campaign as manager guided the Wings to tenth in the Nation South last term. Flanagan came to Dartford after three  years with Concord Rangers.

The Summer

The influence Burman had on the players that were at the club is evident in the fact that many have left. Loyal servants Ryan Hayes and Danny Harris depart having played 980 times for the Darts combined. Alex Brown switches to Margate, Lyle Della-Verde to Braintree Town, but the biggest loss was top scorer and National South’s Player of the Year Alfie Pavey to champions Havant and Waterlooville. On top of that the trio of Nathan Collier, Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Berti Schotterl all moved to Woking. So, with the squad numbers dwindling new management duo Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle can cease the opportunity to create something new at Princes Park. Attacking intent has been illustrated with the signing of Alex Wall, whio scored six in 11 games whilst on loan at the Darts in 2014, the striker spent last term with Hungerford Town. Forward, Kudus Oyenuga arrives from Chelmsford City and 29-year-old striker Delano Sam-Yorke from Maidstone United. Callum Driver returns to the Darts after three years away with Maidstone United and Welling United and winger Ben Greenhalgh joins from Flanagan’s former club Concord Rangers. Simon Mensah will provide competition in midfield having been signed from Whitehawk.

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Dulwich Hamlet

Founded: 1893 / Ground: Imperial Fields

It was only a matter of time before the Hamlet reached the National South. Over the past three season’s they made the playoffs, losing two finals in a row. The Greater London club must have feared the worst then when they ended the Isthmian Premier campaign as runners up, even with an impressive 95 points. However, at the fourth attempt Dulwich Hamlet won the playoffs beating Hendon on penalties. It’s certainly been a dramatic year for the club having been forced out of their ground, meaning the Hamlet have been playing home games at Tooting and Mitcham United’s the Imperial Fields. This season will see the club play at National South level for the very first time.

Last Season

Isthmian Premier: 2nd

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: Nyren Clunis (19 goals)

Average Attendance: 1381 (1st in Isthmian Premier)

The Manager – Gavin Rose

Hamlet’s longest serving manager finally earned promotion to the National South last season. The 39-year-old former midfielder had spells with Wimbledon, Charlton Athletic, Queens Park Rangers, Southend United, Bromley, Gravesend & Northfleet and Walton & Hersham amongst others during his long career. Rose runs an academy which specialises in coaching youngsters and as a manager with Beckenham Town almost won the Kent League. Under his guidance, Hamlet won the Isthmian Division One South title five years ago and the Isthmian Premier League playoffs last season. Helping Rose in the dugout will be former Dartford midfielder Junior Kadi, who was part of Dartford’s 2008 title winning team.

The Summer

Hamlet strengthened their midfield over the break with the signing of former Ebbsfleet United and Chelmsford City man Anthony Cook, the 28-year-old spent four years with the Clarets before playing for Fleet. The attacking midfielder also had spells at Bromley and was on loan at Woking last term. Byron Lawrence made the move up to the National South coming in from Leiston, the 22-year-old previously played for Billericay Town, Ipswich Town, Colchester United and Bishop’s Stortford. Hamlet have added former Colchester United defender Magnus Okuonghae and striker Jay May to the squad. Okuonghae played 215 games for Colchester United and spent two years with National League outfit Maidstone United before moving to Welling United last summer. May was also at Maidstone United where he topped scored before spells at Hythe Town and Margate, he was also part of Dartford’s Isthmian Division One North and Isthmian Premier League title winning sides, scoring 51 goals in 117 games. Rose also agreed to sign former Chelsea youngster Daniel Pappoe. Dulwich Hamlet will be without Reise Allassani who earned a move to League One Coventry City, after 17 goals in 31 appearances last season. Crowd favourites Marc Weatherstone and Kenny Beaney leave along with Nana Boakye-Yiadom to Concord Rangers and Anthony Acheampong to Welling United.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 0 / Dulwich Hamlet wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

31.03.2007 Dartford 1 Billericay Town 1
19.09.2006 Dulwich Hamlet 3 Dartford 2
09.12.1996 Dulwich Hamlet 3 Dartford 1
04.12.1996 Dartford 0 Dulwich Hamlet 0

Next Meetings

Tuesday 30 October 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 2 March 2019 at Imperial Fields

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East Thurrock United

Founded: 1969 / Ground: Rookery Hill

Unbeaten in their first ten league matches, East Thurrock United looked on course to be last season’s surprise package. When they were promoted to the National League two years ago they had carried forward their habit of scoring goals. Helped by Sam Higgins, the National South’s top talisman last term with twenty-five goals, the Rocks saw plenty of goals once more. This time they scored two less than the champions but conceded eighty-four times, the second highest in the division. As a result of their defensive frailties, the Essex club lost momentum going eight without victory after their excellent start. East Thurrock United concluded their campaign with a six-game losing streak aided by a series of injuries and suspensions.

Last Season

National South: 15th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: Sam Higgins (25 goals)

Average Attendance: 294 (18th in National South)

The Manager – John Coventry

East Thurrock United needed rebuilding following relegation to the Isthmian Division One in 2008. The astuteness and coaching experience of John Coventry has had a large part to play in the Rocks rise to the National South. Seven years ago, the Essex club won the Isthmian Division One North, in the division above they reached the playoffs in 2013 and three years later won the playoffs. When East Thurrock United won promotion they played an attacking brand scoring 107 times in that campaign. Coventry has now overseen two consecutive years in the National South finishing thirteenth then fifteenth.

The Summer

Former England international and Premier League full back, Paul Konchesky will take on a dual role as player and assistant first team coach. The ex-Charlton Athletic, West Ham United, Fulham and Liverpool left back has non-league experience with Billericay Town, Hardworking midfielder turned full back Danny Harris leaves Dartford after 400 appearances and 75 goals to join the Rocks. Goalkeeper, Jack Giddens moves from local rivals Billericay Town, Tom Derry comes in from Leatherhead and Ashley Miller re-joins East Thurrock United. Former Darts, James White, Max Cornhill and Lewis Smith have all departed John Coventry’s squad.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / East Thurrock United wins: 3 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings

30.04.2005 East Thurrock United 0 Dartford 1
28.08.2017 Dartford 0 East Thurrock United 1
07.01.2017 Dartford 6 East Thurrock United 1
10.09.2016 East Thurrock United 1 Dartford 1
30.04.2005 Dartford 0 East Thurrock United 3
28.08.2004 East Thurrock United 2 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Monday 27 August 2018 at Rookery Hill

Saturday 29 December 2018 at Princes Park

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Eastbourne Borough

Founded: 1964 / Ground: Priory Lane

A new era began for the Sports last season under a new management team and they started with back to back defeats. An eight-match unbeaten run followed moving the Sussex club up the table and into the top ten. This is when Eastbourne Borough peaked and from September they spent the rest of their campaign picking up the odd victory between losing streaks. They ended the season with four straight losses looking over their shoulders until the penultimate game when they reached safety. In all fairness the Sports picked up the points against the teams that mattered, winning six out of eight against those who finished below them in the National South.

Last Season

National South: 18th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Quarter-Final

League Top Scorer: Jamie Taylor (11 goals)

Average Attendance: 517 (13th in National South)

The Manager – Jamie Howell

Last summer Jamie Howell walked away from Bognor Regis Town after guiding them into the National South. The former defender made over 400 appearances for the Rocks before managing the club for seven years. His last match as boss for the Sussex club was the playoff final win over Dulwich Hamlet, two days later he rocked up at Priory Lane. In his first campaign with the Sports the club survived whilst his former side were relegated back to the Isthmian Premier League. Howell started his management career at neighbours Burgess Hill Town, where he spent a couple of years as player manager. The Sports will be hoping for a more comfortable ride this time under Howell.

The Summer

Dave Martin used to create excitement amongst the Princes Park faithful and his talent was rewarded with a move to Crystal Palace. The former Millwall winger has made his way back to non-league and will be at Priory Lane this season. Charlie Walker scored 16 goals in 67 appearances for St Albans City and he will be part of Eastbourne Borough’s team. Once of Ebbsfleet United and Chelmsford City, experience midfielder Michael West joins the clan and so does 18-year-old centre back Harry Pollard from Charlton Athletic. The Sports may miss the departures of striker Jamie Taylor as well as Kiran Khinda-John, Charlie Harris, Shaun Okojie and Gavin McCallum, who has joined Welling United. Marvin Hamilton made one appearance for Dartford a few years ago. He returns to Priory Lane after spending last term at Whitehawk. Centre back James Harran has left the club trading football for a modelling career.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 10 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

14.04.2018 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1
12.09.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 2
08.04.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 3
16.08.2011 Eastbourne Borough 2 Dartford 3
20.02.2016 Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1
11.08.2015 Dartford 1 Eastbourne Borough 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 8 September 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 20 April 2019 at Priory Lane

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Gloucester City

Founded: 1883 / Ground: Jubilee Stadium

Moved from the National North to the South last summer, Gloucester City found their feet in their new surroundings, but had to wait until the fifth game to secure their first victory. The Tigers didn’t fully settle though and were surprised in November when manager Tim Harris resigned after 300 games in charge. Form improved in the New Year with the Gloucestershire club suffering just two defeats in eleven leading up to the Easter period. Although the Tigers couldn’t keep the run going and their season petered out, remaining in the National South was never really in doubt. A fourteenth-place finish was very much in keeping with their previous life in the National North where mid-table was the norm.

Last Season

National South: 14th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Final to be played 30/07/2018

League Top Scorer: Joseph Parker (12 goals)

Average Attendance: 284 (19th in National South)

The Manager – Marc Richards

Former Gloucester City defender Marc Richards returned to the club four years ago as part of the back-room staff. As a player he had three spells with the Tigers, first signing from Cirencester Town then departing for Australia to play for Manly United. Richards enjoyed a long career in non-league which also included time at Cinderford Town, Weston-super-Mare, Swindon Supermarine, Chippenham Town, Shortwood United and Evesham United. He became assistant to former boss Tim Harris and when he unexpectedly resigned in December, Richards was there to take up the manager’s position with the club two points above the drop. By the end of the campaign the Tigers survived with eleven points to spare.

The Summer

After a strong finish to the campaign, Marc Richards rewarded most of the squad with new contracts. Although he lost the services of Kieran Parselle to Chippenham Town and Robbie Cundy he has signed replacements. Jack Deaman is back with the Tigers after making 11 appearances in 2016/2017, Adam Page returns to the club after two loan appearances in 2017 and Mat Liddiard, a graduate of Gloucester City is back after a spell with Evesham United, where he scored 22 goals last season. Jake Mawford signs after impressing Marc RFichards during pre-season and Exeter City forward, Ben Seymour joins the Tigers on a three month loan.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 27 / Gloucester City wins: 12 / Draws: 10

Previous Meetings

10.04.2018 Gloucester City 0 Dartford 1
18.11.2017 Dartford 4 Gloucester City 1
07.03.1992 Gloucester City 0 Dartford 0
26.10.1991 Dartford 2 Gloucester City 0
16.03.1991 Dartford 2 Gloucester City 1
29.09.1990 Gloucester City 2 Dartford 0

Next Meetings

Tuesday 3 November 2018 at Jubilee Stadium

Saturday 9 March 2019 at Princes Park

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Hampton and Richmond Borough

Founded: 1921 / Ground: The Beveree

An incredible twenty-one game unbeaten run from the end of August to the end of January made sure the Beavers challenged for the title, until the Good Friday mud bath. A last-minute defeat against title contenders Dartford over ended all hope. The Beavers, along with champions Havant and Waterlooville lost the fewest matches last term, just six. So, dropped points from eighteen outings cost the Middlesex club dearly. Hampton and Richmond Borough earned a playoff spot, this time settled on the field, but once more fell short when they agonisingly lost the final to Braintree Town on penalties. The Beavers will start the new campaign with a new boss after Alan Dowson’s departure for Woking.

Last Season

National South: 4th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Quarter-Final

League Top Scorer: Max Kretzschmar (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 590 (9th in National South)

The Manager – Gary McCann

There is common ground between the Beavers and their new boss, they both experienced playoff heartbreak last season. Hampton and Richmond Borough had been keeping tabs on the great work McCann was doing at Hendon. When former manager Alan Dowson jumped ship to take over at Woking, the appointment of his replacement was swift. McCann first joined the Greens as a player in 1997 and then became the longest serving manager at the Middlesex club, where he won an Isthmian League Cup. He consistently kept Hendon in the Isthmian Premier League finishing runners up in 2015 and third last season, losing the playoff final to Dulwich Hamlet on penalties.

The Summer

Rebuilding the squad at the Beveree began with a raid on Gary McCann’s former club Hendon. Trusting players, he already knows, the new Hampton and Richmond Borough boss has attracted the versatile Casy Maclaren, who made 358 appearances for Hendon since 2007. Daniel Uchechi has represented Nigeria at under 20 and under 23 level and experienced playing for Charlton Athletic, West Ham United, Sheffield Wednesday, Aberdeen as well as spells in Sweden and Germany, he also joins from Hendon. Also switching from Silver Jubilee Park to the Beveree is Michael Corcoran once of Oxford United, Wealdstone and Chelmsford City, Jake Eggleton, an ever present last term, right back James Hammond, 18 goal striker Zak Joseph, goalkeeper Tom Lovelock and 19-year-old defender Rian Bray. Former Billericay Town pair Oliver Sprague and Josh Mcleod-Urquhart have joined the Beavers along with Shaun Lucien who returns to the club from St Albans City and Ricky Wellard arrives from Wealdstone. Nathan Mavilla signs from Leyton Orient and has previously represented Aldershot, Cambridge City & Wealdstone and made an appearance for West Ham United in the Europa League against Astra Giurgui three years ago. Up front, Chris Dickson has been signed from Chelmsford City and brings experience to the front line. He spent five seasons playing in Cyprus, before moving to China. Dickson also has Football League pedigree, having joined Championship side Charlton Athletic in 2007 and he also has two caps for Ghana. Hampton & Richmond Borough have also completed the signing of Charlton Athletic’s Dan Bowry, on a loan deal that will run until January. One big loss will be the goals from midfield scored by Max Kretzschmar, he netted 14 times last term and joins the Beavers former boss now at Woking.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings

30.03.2018 Dartford 1 Hampton & Richmond Borough 0
02.09.2017 Hampton & Richmond Borough 2 Dartford 2
17.04.2017 Dartford 3 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
29.08.2016 Hampton & Richmond Borough 4 Dartford 1
21.01.2012 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 3
20.08.2011 Dartford 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 17 November 2018 at the Beveree

Saturday 23 March 2019 at Princes Park

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National League South Season Preview 2018/2019 – Part One

 Bath City | Billericay Town | Chelmsford CityChippenham Town | Concord Rangers

Bath City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Twerton Park

Over the last four years you cannot fault Bath City for consistency. The Romans left the National League via the relegation trapdoor six years ago, since then they have gone through off field transition. The Somerset club turned to filmmaker and fan Ken Loach, who campaigned for a community owned club, the appeal was successful and last summer the transition was completed. During that period, Bath City finished successive seasons in fourteenth followed by back to back ninth place finishes. Hoping to benefit from the playoff places being extended to seventh, the Romans had to settle for the top ten last term, even with the disruption of manager Gary Owers leaving in September for Torquay United.

Last Season

National South: 9th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: Tom Smith (10 goals)

Average Attendance: 702 (6th in National South)

The Manager – Jerry Gill

Appointed manager of Bath City in October 2017, Gill took over from Gary Owers who had left for Torquay United. The appointment marked the return of the former defender who played over 200 times for the Romans in the nineties. His playing career included a League Cup Final and promotion to the Premier League with Birmingham City and a League Two playoff triumph with Cheltenham Town. Gill started managing eight years ago with Weymouth, but he resigned after 44 days with the club struggling financially. Since then he has held coaching roles at Bristol Rovers, Birmingham City and Kidderminster Harriers as well as with Norwich City’s and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ academies.

The Summer

With Bath City’s golden boot winner Jack Compton signing for Chippenham Town, Gill swooped to sign John Mills from Hereford FC. The striker scored 140 goals in three seasons with the Bulls and before that he netted 57 in one campaign with Didcot Town. Ross Stearn makes the move from Sutton United a permanent one, he will be back at Twerton Park for a third time after two loan spells in 2013 and 2015. Also, Adam Mann joins the Romans after scoring 24 goals with Evesham United in the Southern League Division One West last term. Defender Robbie Cundy arrives from National South rivals Gloucester City, Ryan Brunt from Exeter City and goalkeeper Ryan Clarke from Torquay United. Having impressed during pre-season The Romans signed midfielder Joe Raynes from Frome Town. Bath City also welcome the return of James Morton on loan from Bristol City until the end of January 2019. Miles Welch-Hayes was named in the National South’s Team of the Year and returns to the Football League with promoted Macclesfield Town. Ryan Case, Nat Jarvis and George Rigg have also left the club with the latter two moving to rivals Chippenham Town.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 31 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Previous Meetings

21.04.2018 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
24.10.2017 Bath City 1 Dartford 2
04.03.2017 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
22.10.2016 Bath City 0 Dartford 1
16.01.2016 Dartford 4 Bath City 1
05.09.2015 Bath City 0 Dartford 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 4 August 2018 at Twerton Park

Saturday 9 February 2019 at Princes Park

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Billericay Town

Founded: 1880 / Ground: New Lodge

An ambitious club under owner and former manager Glenn Tamplin, Billericay Town delivered under the pressure of high expectations. The Essex club have attracted old Premier League stars such as Jamie O’Hara and Paul Konchesky and signed players who should be playing higher up the pyramid. With financial allure, the Blues built a squad who should have won the Isthmian Premier League and they did, as well as the League Cup. Billericay Town also reached the F.A Cup first round for only the fourth time in their history and were F.A Trophy quarter-finalists last season. Ricay’s last and only foray in the National South ended in relegation five years ago, expectations are higher this time.

Last Season

Isthmian Premier: 1st

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: Quarter-Final

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Jake Robinson (34 goals)

Average Attendance: 1057 (2nd in Isthmian Premier)

The Manager – Harry Wheeler

At 23-years-old, Harry Wheeler beat a record set by Andre Villas Boas when he became the youngest person to gain a UEFA A-License. Joining from Welling United in April 2017 he led the Blues to success last term winning the Isthmian Premier League and League Cup. Wheeler played for Stevenage, Hampton & Richmond Borough and St Albans City before moving towards a coaching career. He ran the reserve team at Potters Bar Town, managed St Albans City at 26-years-old and was head of Professional Development at Dagenham and Redbridge for two years. This summer he added owner Glenn Tamplin as his assistant, who was also Wheeler’s predecessor.

The Summer

High ambitions and a step up in non-league football means plenty of change for Billericay Town. Simon Walton will bring experience to the team having played for Sutton United last season, Walton has played in the Football League with Leeds United, Cardiff City, Ipswich Town, Hull City and Plymouth Argyle. Promoted with Dulwich Hamlet in May, Ricky Hayles switches allegiances to Ricay, apart from a short stint with Welling united the defender has spent most of his career in Essex with the likes of Tilbury, Thurrock and East Thurrock United. Wheeler has also persuaded former Truro City captain Ben Gerring to join his side as well as England C international Jake Howells from Dagenham and Redbridge, former Bromley striker Moses Emmanuel, left back Callum Kennedy from AFC Wimbledon and winger Connor Hunte from Greenwich Borough via Kingstonian. Between the sticks, 18-year-old Josh Strizovic comes in as back up after spells with Waltham Forest and Burnham Ramblers. Scott Doe made over 300 appearances for rivals Dagenham and Redbridge, the 29-year-old joins after spells with Whitehawk and Boreham Wood. Adam Coombes showed his potential at Welling United two years ago scoring 31 goals which included four hat-tricks. The striker moved to Sutton United, but injury hampered his progress, so he returned to the Wings. The 27-year-old will now be playing in Essex again with Billericay Town. There have also been notable departures including Rob Swaine going back to local rivals Chelmsford City, Billy Bricknell who scored 105 goals for the club in 184 appearances, Rob Evans and Josh Urquhart both played over 50 times last season. Goalkeeper Jack Giddens leaves for East Thurrock United, Leo Chambers and Louie Theophanous both join Kingstonian and Kevin Foley was released. Olly Sprague, Liam Hughes, Byron Lawrence, Luke Rooney, Sanchez Watt, Nick Wheeler and Charlie Cole are also no longer part of Wheeler’s plans.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Billericay Town wins: 2 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

24.04.2010 Dartford 1 Billericay Town 4
07.11.2009 Billericay Town 1 Dartford 0
02.05.1981 Dartford 2 Billericay Town 0
13.12.1980 Billericay Town 0 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 15 September 2018 at New Lodge

Monday 22 April 2019 at Princes Park

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Chelmsford City

Founded: 1878 / Ground: Melbourne Stadium

Last season, the Clarets celebrated a tenth consecutive campaign in the National South. The Essex side will think that’s not worth celebrating simply because they are desperate for a crack at the National League. With an exception of a three-year mediocre spell, Chelmsford City have made regular appearances in the playoffs reaching the end of season finale six times in the last decade, losing the final two years ago. Joint favourites to win the National South last term, The Clarets made a solid start and were amongst the front runners, but they dropped off the pace only to frustratingly lose another playoff semi-final.  The Essex club have spent the summer talking of a takeover and hope this to be resolved fully soon.

Last Season

National South: 3rd

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Runner Up

League Top Scorer: Philip Roberts (18 goals)

Average Attendance: 897 (2nd in National South)

The Manager – Rod Stringer

When Rod Stringer took over two years ago Chelmsford City had spent the previous three seasons outside of the playoffs. Joining from rivals Bishop’s Stortford he has turned the Clarets into title contenders finishing fourth and third since his arrival. He has a proven track record of getting teams challenging for promotion winning the Isthmian Division One North with Aveley, then taking them to the Isthmian Premier League playoffs. Stringer moved to Braintree Town and in his only season at Cressing Road he won the Isthmian Premier League. A spell at Bishop’s Stortford wasn’t as successful as previous roles, but Stringer has brought optimism and consistency back to the Essex club.

The Summer

Rod Stringer has looked across the county border this summer bringing in a number of players from Kent sides. Joe Anderson and Tom Wraight join from Maidstone United, Anderson spent four years at Bromley before playing for the Stones whilst Wraight only managed 26 appearances last season off the back of a decent record at East Thurrock United where he scored 43 times across two seasons. Another former Maidstone United man, Alex Akrofi scored 34 goals in 68 appearances for Tonbridge Angels and is now a Claret. Joining from Gillingham is striker Rhys Murphy, who impressed on trial in pre-season, he has also played in the Netherlands for Telstar in 2012 as well as Dagenham and Redbridge, Oldham Athletic and Forest Green Rovers. Amos Nasha moves from local rivals Concord Rangers, experience goalkeeper Ross Worner comes in from Sutton United and 30-year-old defender Rob Swaine returns to the club for a second spell. Familiar with Stringer at Braintree Town, Jai Reason teams back up with the Chelmsford City boss after spells at Eastleigh and Boreham Wood. Stringer also managed to convince prolific striker Scott Fenwick to stay and move down from the North East. The Clarets have picked up Jordan Chiedozie who netted 29 times in 39 appearances for Margate last term. The striker had a spell with Dartford on loan in 2015 and has featured for Concord Rangers, Poole Town and Cambridge United in the past. Kudus Oyenuga leaves Melbourne Park for Princes Park for a new chapter with Dartford, Michael West moves south to Eastbourne Borough and goalkeeper Sam Beasant is now at Concord Rangers. The experienced Chris Dickson has left to continue his career at Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 36 / Chelmsford City wins: 55 / Draws: 91

Previous Meetings

10.02.2018 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 2
21.10.2017 Chelmsford City 1 Dartford 0
07.05.2017 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 2
03.05.2017 Chelmsford City 0 Dartford 0
18.02.2017 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1
14.01.2017 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1

Next Meetings

Tuesday 7 August 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 19 January 2019 at Melbourne Stadium

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Chippenham Town

Founded: 1873 / Ground: Hardenhuish Park

Competing at their highest level in the football pyramid didn’t faze Chippenham Town last season. Having gained confidence by winning the Southern Premier League with a record number of points, the Bluebirds settled in the National South with a mid-table finish. To add a touch of gloss to their debut campaign the Wiltshire club also won the Wiltshire Premier Shield. Chippenham Town made the most of their home form losing just four times at Hardenhuish Park, comparative to teams in the playoffs. However, they did lose the most away games in the league, the same amount as relegated Whitehawk. Overall a solid start for the Bluebirds’ life in the National South.

Last Season

National South: 13th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Rhys Healey (6 goals)

Average Attendance: 600 (8th in National South)

The Manager – Mark Collier

Chippenham Town had hit a low point in 2013 when they lost 9-0 to Stourbridge. Mark Collier was on holiday in Egypt at the time and when he was asked to become manager he obliged. Year on year Collier has improved the Bluebirds league position and just over a year ago he won the Southern Premier League with his side recording 103 points. Last season was his first in the National South and the Wiltshire club finished in a respectable thirteenth. Prior his appointment at Chippenham Town, Collier famously led Swindon Supermarine to the F.A Cup second round, where they lost 1-0 to Colchester United.

The Summer

When Chippenham Town take on rivals Bath City on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day three new signings will be up against their former club. Jack Compton scored 12 times for the Romans last term, George Rigg made 25 appearances and Nat Jarvis have all joined from Bath City. The Bluebirds add experienced 31-year-old Yan Klukowski from Torquay United, the midfielder also played for Forest green Rovers, Newport County and York City. Goalkeeper, Will Puddy comes in from Hereford FC to take Jared Thompson’s place, who returned to parent club Chelsea. Whilst left back Kieran Parselle makes his move from Gloucester City.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Chippenham Town wins: 0 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings

20.01.2018 Chippenham Town 2 Dartford 2
09.09.2017 Dartford 3 Chippenham Town 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 13 October 2018 at Hardenhuish Park

Saturday 13 April 2019 at Princes Park

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Concord Rangers

Founded: 1967 / Ground: Thames Road

The Beachboys retained their status in the National South in their penultimate game of the season. Concord Rangers won a relegation six pointer against Hungerford Town to stay up. Even with safety confirmed, the Essex club still had a massive say in where the title would end up. On the final day they were two down against Havant and Waterlooville then fought back to level. In the final minute they conceded the goal that sent the title to Hampshire. The Essex club have now completed five seasons in the National South, the new management team will be hoping the sixth campaign will be less of a battle at the wrong end of the table.

Last Season

National South: 17th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Quarter-Final

League Top Scorer: Steve Cawley (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 263 (22nd in National South)

The Manager – Sammy Moore

New to the management game, 30-year-old Sammy Moore has had one year’s experience as a manager which was at Leatherhead. He was part of Ipswich Town’s F.A Youth Cup winning side in 2005 and went on to play for Brentford and Stevenage Borough. The midfielder won the Isthmian Premier League with Dover Athletic nine years ago, then made it into the Football League with AFC Wimbledon through the playoffs two years later. Moore had a spell with Leyton Orient before returning on loan to Dover Athletic. A year ago, he was appointed Player Manager at Leatherhead and impressed enough to replace Adam Flanagan at Concord Rangers this summer.

The Summer

New manager Sammy Moore set his stall out early in the transfer window and made wholesale changes. After ** years at Dartford, Ryan Hayes will be showing his skills with Concord Rangers next term, the winger played 580 times for the Darts and scored 108 goals. Another former Dart, Tyrone Sterling was a F.A Trophy finalist last season with Bromley he will be reunited with Hayes. The former Leatherhead boss, Moore raided his old club by bringing over Frazer Shaw, the experienced Sean Clohessy and midfielder Sam Blackman. The exciting signing of Billy Knott, ex Bradford City, Sunderland, AFC Wimbledon and Gillingham plus a host of other Football League clubs has provided quiet optimism amongst the Beachboys. Lee Minshull will link up again with Moore and Jack Midson, Jack Parkinson joins from Welling United as a player coach, Kojo Awotwi signs from VCD Athletic and Nana Boakye-Yiadom from Dulwich Hamlet. Concord Rangers will also welcome Danny Green on the wing and 30-year-old goalkeeper Sam Beasant from Chelmsford City. On the way out, last season’s top scorer Steve Cawley moves to Hemel Hempstead Town, Ben Greenhalgh joins Dartford, Khale Da Costa switches to St Albans City and Steve King leaves after ten years. Billy Roast and Lewis Knight were also released.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Concord Rangers wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

06.01.2018 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 1
15.08.2017 Dartford 2 Concord Rangers 0
11.03.2017 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 1
24.09.2016 Dartford 2 Concord Rangers 1
27.02.2016 Dartford 1 Concord Rangers 2
18.08.2015 Concord Rangers 2 Dartford 3

Next Meetings

Tuesday 14 August 2018 at Thames Road

Saturday 26 January 2019 at Princes Park

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Whitehawk v Dartford

Dartford aim to close the gap on fifth place when they visit winless Whitehawk on Tuesday night.

The Darts showed their fighting spirit on the weekend by coming from two goals down and earn a draw against Hampton and Richmond Borough. The story was the same for the Hawks who hosted Poole Town and recorded the same score despite finding themselves two down as well.

Tony Burman watched on as Hampton and Richmond Borough’s Max Kretzschmar netted a pair of free kicks in the second and 28th minutes. The Darts for the second time this term found themselves two down and like their away trip to Braintree Town they came up with the goods. Andy Pugh pulled a goal back, his first goal of the season and once again Elliot Bradbrook netted, to remain the club’s top scorer in this campaign with five goals.

Dartford need to find ways of turning draws into victories having picked up the most draws in the division. On their travels the Darts have picked up a point in three of the four fixtures and twice they have had to come from two goals down. Currently six points behind the leaders and in sixth place, Dartford have plenty of time to make up the ground, however a more clinical attack could be the difference between an automatic promotion spot and a place in the playoffs.

Deren Ibrahim will return after representing Gibraltar in World Cup qualifying against Belgium and Bosnia. Duane Ofori-Acheampong is still out injured and Warren Mfula was missing from the matchday squad on the weekend. For the first time the squad is almost fully available for selection giving Tony Burman plenty of options.

The Darts will hope to reverse the result just over a year ago when Whitehawk ran out 1-0 winners. A fourth minute penalty by Ahmed Abdulla settled the match, Keaton Wood was sent off just before half time.

Whitehawk have drawn their last two matches at the Enclosed Ground, their only two points of the campaign. Sitting bottom of the National South, the Sussex club have had a turbulent few years. The 2014/15 playoff runners up have faltered of late and are desperate for some kind of stability. Last term, the Hawks went through a staggering five managers and almost fifty players finishing seventeenth. In the summer they lost regular top scorer Danny Mills to Dartford’s rivals Ebbsfleet United in the National League, the experienced Sergio Torres to Eastbourne Borough whilst Michael West and Elliot Omozusi to Chelmsford City.

After the 4-0 away defeat to Havant and Waterlooville, the Hawks parted company with manager Jimmy Dack who resigned. On the weekend for their 2-2 draw with Poole Town, Dan Harding stepped up as caretaker manager. The former defender gained lots of experience in the Football League during his playing career with the likes of Brighton and Hove Albion, Leeds United, Southampton, Ipswich Town and Nottingham Forest.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 3 /Whitehawk wins: 3 / Draws: 0

Current League Form

Whitehawk (DLDLLL) Dartford (DLWWWD)
Poole Town H 2-2 Hampton & Richmond A 2-2
Havant & Waterlooville A 0-4 East Thurrock United H 0-1
Braintree Town H 1-1 Hemel Hempstead Town A 3-0
Concord Rangers A 0-1 Oxford City H 7-1
Bognor Regis Town A 2-6 Concord Rangers H 2-0
Oxford City H 0-3 Havant & Waterlooville A 0-0

Previous Meetings

04.02.2017 Dartford 3 Whitehawk 1
10.08.2016 Whitehawk 1 Dartford 0
12.03.2016 Dartford 2 Whitehawk 4
19.12.2015 Whitehawk 0 Dartford 1
28.11.2015 Dartford 1 Whitehawk 2
04.09.1982 Dartford 5 Whitehawk 2

Stats
Dartford have not lost from a winning position so far this season and have picked up two points after falling behind. The Darts have only failed once to turn a game around when they lost to East Thurrock United.

The Darts have the third best defence in the National South conceding five goals in the first half and just one in the second half. Out of the 16 goals scored Dartford have netted ten in the second half making them formidable after the break, scoring ten and conceding just once.

On This Day
Dartford last conceded a goal on 5 September in 1987 winning four out of their last five games on this day. The last fixture may have been a 0-0 with Bath City in 2015, but the three previous resulted in 14 goals without reply for the Darts. In 2009, Hendon were blown away 5-0 in the Isthmian Premier League with goals from Lee Burns, Robbie Haworth, a brace from Jay May and Lee Noble. Five years earlier, Horsham YMCA suffered the same fate in the F.A Cup when the Darts won a preliminary round tie 5-0. In the F.A Vase first qualifying round some 22 years ago, Dartford won 4-0 away to Steyning Town.

National League South Season Preview 2017/18 – Part V

 Wealdstone | Welling United | Weston-super-Mare | Whitehawk

Wealdstone

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Vale Stadium

A late surge coupled with Poole Town and Hungerford Town unable to participate in the playoffs, almost saw the Stones sneak a shot at promotion. However, the Middlesex club were unable to nudge past Hampton and Richmond Borough so ended the campaign in a respectable eighth. Wealdstone will feel they have a greater chance this time around as the top seven will take part in the end of season playoffs.

Last Season

National North: 8th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Runners Up

League Top Scorer: Elliot Benyon (16 goals)

Average Attendance: 734 (5th in league / 43rd in non-league)

The Manager – Gordon Bartlett

The longest serving manager in the National South having joined the Stones in the Summer of 1995, playing in the Isthmian Division Three without a home. Bartlett was put under pressure last term but still managed to almost gatecrash the playoffs. An experienced manager with three promotions and an F.A Trophy semi-final appearance whilst with the Middlesex club, Bartlett’s chances of guiding Wealdstone to the National League have increased now finishing seventh is good enough to reach the playoffs.

The Summer

Experienced heads have been retained with the likes of Eddie Oshodi, Elliott Benyon and Ricky Wellard signing for another year. Former Dartford full back, Josh Hill made a switch from Chelmsford City, Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick moved from Hampton and Richmond Borough and Jerome Okimo from Braintree Town. Looking towards the league’s below, Bartlett has also signed Benji Crilley from Chesham United and Abobaker Eisa from Uxbridge. Returning to action after time out from the game will be defender Liam Harwood.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 12 / Wealdstone wins: 13 / Draws: 12

Previous Meetings

28.01.2017 Wealdstone 0 Dartford 4
06.08.2016 Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2
26.01.2016 Dartford 1 Wealdstone 2
03.10.2015 Wealdstone 2 Dartford 1
21.02.2012 Wealdstone 1 Dartford 0
14.02.2012 Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2

Next Meetings

Saturday 4 November 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 17 February 2018 at Vale Stadium

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Welling United

Founded: 1963 / Ground: Park View Road

Relegated to the National South just over a year ago, the Wings were probably expecting to perform better last season considering they gained three years National League experience. The goal scoring form of Adam Coombes who netted 20 times was missed in the latter stages of the campaign. Stability is a word the Wings would welcome after managers have been and gone over the last year.

Last Season

National South: 16th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Runners Up

League Top Scorer: Adam Coombes (20 goals)

Average Attendance: 536 (11th in league / 68th in non-league)

The Manager – Jamie Coyle

A former full back with Dartford, Coyle has been part of successful teams including the Darts title winning campaigns in 2008 and 2010 making 140 appearances under Tony Burman scoring 19 times. He also experienced promotion with Maidstone United and played for Welling United six years ago. Coyle started out coaching whilst with the Darts working with the academy and now he’ll be eager to impress in his first managerial role.

The Summer

Welling United will have a familiar look about them to Dartford fans. Coyle has kept in contact with his former club and signed Alfie Pavey and brought back Tom Bradbrook to the world of football, after his brief retirement. Chairman, Mark Goldberg will be overseeing his son’s progress as Bradley Goldberg joins from Bromley. Returning to Park View Road will be Joe Healey and Jack Parkinson both previously with Dover Athletic. Conor Dymond also joins from Bromley whilst Jack Parter and Ian Gayle come in from Tonbridge Angels. After a spell in Ireland with Cork City, Cristian Nanetti signed to join the Wings squad.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 17 / Welling United wins: 7 / Draws: 10

Previous Meetings

28.02.2017 Welling United 0 Dartford 0
22.11.2016 Welling United 2 Dartford 2
06.09.2016 Dartford 2 Welling United 1
19.10.2015 Dartford 3 Welling United 1
11.11.2014 Dartford 2 Welling United 1
30.09.2014 Welling United 2 Dartford 2

Next Meetings

Tuesday 26 December 2017 at Park View Road

Monday 1 January 2018 at Princes Park

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Weston-super-Mare

Founded: 1887 / Ground: Woodspring Stadium

If there is one team guaranteed to be in the National South, it’s Weston-super-Mare. The only side to have taken part in every National South campaign since its creation in 2004. Apart from being reprieved on two occasions they have rarely threatened to leave the second tier of non-league. Last term they finished strongly rattling in the goals, but still finished in the bottom half.

Last Season

National South: 15th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Runners Up

League Top Scorer: Dayle Grubb (19 goals)

Average Attendance: 435 (15th in league / 91st in non-league)

The Manager – Marc McGregor

Excited by his new role as Seagulls boss, Marc McGregor returns to the Woodspring Stadium having played for the club. He’s been player coach at Worcester City and represented Oxford United and Notts County on the pitch too. After a spell at Forest Green Rovers McGregor earned a move to Queens Park Rangers but injury cut his full-time career short. The new Weston-super-Mare boss managed to have playing spells with Tamworth and Hinckley United before going into coaching.

The Summer

Danny Greenslade will be playing in Weston-super-Mare shirt after joining from Bristol Rovers. The Seagulls will miss Bradley Ash who was on loan from Barnsley last season and has returned to his parent club. It took a while for the summer activity to come to fruition and when it did the Seagulls secured the services of Jarrad Welch, Ben Seymour, Jake Mawford and Tristan Plummer.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / Weston-Super-Mare wins: 2 /  Draws: 4

Previous Meetings

17.01.2017 Dartford 3 Weston-Super-Mare 2
26.11.2016 Weston-Super-Mare 2 Dartford 4
20.08.2016 Weston-Super-Mare 1 Dartford 2
05.03.2016 Weston-Super-Mare 2 Dartford 1
13.09.2015 Dartford 2 Weston-Super-Mare 1
12.11.2011 Dartford 1 Weston-Super-Mare 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 23 September 2017 at Woodspring Stadium

Saturday 7 April 2018 at Princes Park

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Whitehawk

Founded: 1945 / Ground: Enclosed Ground

Tough times have hot the Sussex club highlighted by the managerial merry-go-round last season. The Hawks went through five managers and almost 50 players last term alone. For a club that made F.A Cup headlines just over a year ago, Whitehawk have fallen rapidly with a former club president imprisoned and rumours of cashflow issues. The 2014/15 playoff runners up hit their peak in that season almost making it four promotions in six campaigns, now progress has halted the Sussex club need to find stability.

Last Season

National South: 17th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Danny Mills (16 goals)

Average Attendance: 297 (21st in league / 139th in non-league)

The Manager – Jimmy Dack

A former midfielder who knows his way around the non-league scene, Jimmy Dack spent his playing days in Surry and Hampshire with Sutton United, Carshalton Athletic, Aldershot Town and Farnborough Town. Spells in Sussex with Crawley Town means he has already travelled most of the Southern counties. Dack was appointed in January after being Andy Woodman’s assistant and he will be hoping to last longer than the last four managers of the Hawks.

The Summer

The loss of top striker Danny Mills is a huge blow for Whitehawk, the 26 year old has joined Ebbsfleet United. Experienced midfielder Sergio Torres leaves for Eastbourne Borough and Michael West has gone to Chelmsford City along with Elliot Omozusi. Academy players have been given the opportunity with no less than seven under 18’s joining the senior squad, perhaps a sign of the budget cuts at the Enclosed Ground. Connor Tighe has signed from Brighton and Hove Albion, Alex Tokarczyk from Basingstoke Town and Ed Sanders from Gosport Borough. Boosting the squad number another four signed, defenders Tom Cadnam and Ed Wakley as well as forwards Papa Gueye and Bayan Fenwick joined the list of Hawks players.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 /Whitehawk wins: 3 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

04.02.2017 Dartford 3 Whitehawk 1
10.08.2016 Whitehawk 1 Dartford 0
12.03.2016 Dartford 2 Whitehawk 4
19.12.2015 Whitehawk 0 Dartford 1
28.11.2015 Dartford 1 Whitehawk 2
04.09.1982 Dartford 5 Whitehawk 2

Next Meetings

Tuesday 5 September 2017 at Enclosed Ground

Saturday 27 January 2018 at Princes Park

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