Rss

Archives for : General

Dartford v Ebbsfleet United

Dartford will scrapping for points on Boxing Day against their local rivals Ebbsfleet United to keep in contention of the playoff places.

In a tough December, the Darts know that a win against the Fleet will be the perfect recipe for festive cheer. Often the highlight of the season’s fixture list, Dartford host Ebbsfleet United before the return fixture on New Year’s Day.

After a heavy defeat at table toppers Maidenhead United, Tony Burman’s side will have the opportunity to bounce back and move level on points with their opponents. Dartford were victims of a superb solo performance last weekend by the National South’s top goalscorer, Dave Tarpey who netted four for the Magpies in their 5-0 drubbing of the Darts.

The set back was only the fourth league defeat for Burman’s team this season and third against a top four side. If Dartford are to show they have playoff credentials then positive results against the teams around them need improving. Despite the reverse, the Darts have been in decent form winning eight of their last ten.

Last season, the Fleet won bragging rights as the rivals met after a two year absence. At Princes Park, Ebbsfleet United won 1-0 when Jordan Parkes scored the winner from close range. Dartford pushed for an equaliser but were unable to break down their opponents even after Dean Rance was sent off.

Tom Bonner returns from his suspension but in his place Tom Wynter will be missing. Wynter was red carded in the 5-0 defeat to Maidenhead United and will serve a three match ban.

Ebbsfleet United, amongst the favourites to return to the National League fell short last term, finishing runners up then losing the playoff final. This time out they are back in second spot but rather than setting the pace like twelve months ago, they are playing catch up.

The Fleet started slowly by their standard with a run of four consecutive draws in August, leaving Daryl McMahon’s side in tenth. Since then they have taken an impressive 28 points from the last 33 available, with the last three collected in a 2-0 victory over Gosport Borough. McMahon commented told www.kentonline.co.uk: “We’ve evolved from day one to now and hopefully it continues and we keep on getting better,” he said. “Barring the start of the season, our form from September 5 to now, we’ve only lost one game, drawn two and won the rest in the league. So we’ve been in good form for a couple of months and we’re ticking along nicely”.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 116 / Ebbsfleet United wins: 108 / Draws: 91

Current League Form
Dartford (LWWWLW)
Lost 0-5 v Maidenhead United (A)
Won 2-1 v Poole Town (H)
Won 3-0 v Bishop’s Stortford (A)
Won 2-0 v Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Lost 0-2 v St Albans City (H)
Won 1-0 v Oxford City (H)

Ebbsfleet United (WWLWWW)
Won 2-0 v Gosport Borough (H)
Won 3-1 v Oxford City (A)
Lost 2-3 v Maidenhead United (H)
Won 2-1 v Welling United (A)
Won 4-2 v Truro City (H)
Won 1-0 v Bath City (H)

Previous Six Meetings
Ebbsfleet United 1 Dartford 1 (28/03/2016 – National South)
Dartford 0 Ebbsfleet United 1 (31/08/2015 – National South)
Dartford 1 Ebbsfleet United 0 (29/10/2013 – F.A Cup Replay)
Ebbsfleet United 1 Dartford 1 (26/10/2013 – F.A Cup)
Ebbsfleet United 2 Dartford 2 (01/01/2013 – National League)
Dartford 3 Ebbsfleet United 1 (26/12/2012 – National League)

Stats
Dartford have picked up one point from 12 against teams above them in the National South. Last term they managed 13 points from 48 versus those that finished above them.

Despite conceding five on Saturday, the Darts still have the third best defensive record conceding 20. Ebbsfleet United (17) are second behind Maidenhead United (13).

Last season saw the Fleet win their first league game in Dartford since 1983. The Darts won the last six games at Watling Street against Gravesend and Northfleet before reforming, scoring 23 and conceding just once.

On This Day
Since reforming Dartford have won five, drawn three and lost six on Boxing Day. The most notable victory was the 6-1 home win against Canvey Island in 2007. Steve Norman, Ryan Hayes, Brendon Cass, Jay May, Eddie McClements and Jamie Coyle all scored for the Darts that day, in the season they clinched the Isthmian Division One North title. Only once has Dartford played Ebbsfleet United on St Stephen’s Day and that was four years ago at Princes Park. Dartford claimed the local bragging rights with Harry Crawford netting a brace and Elliot Bradbrook scoring the other. Before then, the Fleet were known as Gravesend and Northfleet and the previous fixture 23 years earlier saw Peter Taylor’s Dartford win 5-0 at Watling Street. Last season’s outing on 26 December ended with the Darts beating their next F.A Trophy opponents, Chelmsford City 1-0 thanks to an Andy Pugh winner.

Welling United v Dartford

Dartford continue to defend their Kent Senior Cup title and will reach the last eight if they beat Welling United.

For the second year in a row the Darts take on the Wings in the county cup. Last season, Dartford started their run to the final with a 3-1 victory over Welling United in round one. In a dominant display, the Darts were forced to wait until the second half when goals from George Sykes, Callum McNaughton and Dajon Golding helped Dartford progress.

This term Tony Burman has already led his side to all four Kent derby victories and Welling United were one of those teams that suffered. A late Elliot Bradbrook winner, after the captain had earlier missed a penalty secured three points. Alex Brown had put the Darts in front by netting the rebound from the spot kick before Welling United’s Adam Coombes scored a free kick.

In the last round, Dartford overcame Cray Wanderers with Burman admitting his side had not reached fifth gear. Falling behind, the Darts were made to work hard for victory, which they managed thanks to goals by Andy Pugh and Duane Ofori-Acheampong.

The Darts remain on excellent form in the league and on the weekend moved into the playoff places with a comfortable 3-0 win at bottom of the table side Bishop’s Stortford. An own goal got Dartford moving and from that moment they didn’t look back. Pugh notched his fourth league goal of the season and Elliot Bradbrook moved on to 11 in all competitions.

Keaton Wood missed the win against Bishop’s Stortford through illness but goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim returned from international duty. Dartford’s number one set a milestone reaching 100 appearances for the club having graduated from the academy.

Welling United’s first campaign since returning to the National South has been a season of struggle so far. Occupying a relegation place at the moment, the Wings are second from bottom and four points adrift of safety. The Wings have lost their last three league matches with the most recent against Hampton and Richmond Borough.

In the previous round Welling United brushed aside Isthmian Division One South side Chatham Town. The away tie became a formality when Dan Walker scored a hat-trick and further goals by Jonte Smith, Lyle Della-Verde and Josh Jackson secured a 6-1 win.

Head to Head
Welling United wins: 6 / Dartford wins: 17 / Draws: 9

Previous Meetings
Dartford 2 Welling United 1 (06/09/2016 – National South)
Dartford 3 Welling United 1 (19/10/2015 – Kent Senior Cup)
Dartford 2 Welling United 1 (11/11/2014 – National League)
Welling United 2 Dartford 2 (30/09/2014 – National League)
Welling United 1 Dartford 1 (10/01/2014 – National League)
Dartford 1 Welling United 2 (26/12/2013 – National League)

Current Form (all competitions)
Welling United (LLLDLL)
Lost 1-3 v Hampton and Richmond Borough (A)
Lost 0-1 v Hungerford Town (A)
Lost 1-2 v Ebbsfleet United (H)
Drew 1-1 v Gosport Borough (A)
Lost 0-1 v Wealdstone (A)
Lost 1-2 v Whitehawk (H)

Dartford (WWLLWW)
Won 3-0 v Bishop’s Stortford (A)
Won 2-0 v Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Lost 0-2 v St Albans City (H)
Lost 3-6 v Sutton United (H) – F.A Cup
Won 1-0 v Oxford City (H)
Won 1-0 v Bath City (A)

On This Day
Dartford have to look back 28 years to find their last win on 22 November. In 1988, a Southern League Cup second round tie against Crawley Town ended in a convincing 4-0 victory. Since then, three defeats and two draws later leave Dartford still waiting. A F.A Cup first round replay in 1989 versus Football League side Exeter City ended 4-1, but the Darts pushed them close in the original tie in front of over 3000 supporters. Losses against King’s Lynn (4-1 in 2003) and Lincoln City (1-0 in 2014) came either side of the two draws versus Wivenhoe Town in 2005 and St Albans City in 2008.

Ten Years Back Home – Princes Park

A decade ago football proudly came home for Dartford with the opening of a brand new environmentally friendly stadium. Princes Park has been the venue for some memorable moments in the club’s history and so Pure DFC raises a glass for many more to come.

Without the pain and heartbreak it’s really hard to experience the pride and joy Princes Park gave club officials and supporters on 11 November 2006. Exiled for fourteen years after one of the most difficult periods in Dartford’s history the road back home seemed never ending.

End of the Watling Street era
Whilst the eighties and in particular the latter part of the decade was successful on the pitch, the financial situation worsened. When Maidstone United started their groundshare with the Darts, the extra income was welcome. However, further politics turned the thought of bankruptcy into a reality and so Watling Street was finished and the following 1992/93 campaign went unfinished. Mudeford dart, one of over 550 forum members using Pure DFC remembers the day the terrible news broke, “I don’t mind admitting I sat at my desk and cried my heart out the day we went under, that might explain my half full, rose tinted attitude through thick and thin”.

It is with that positive attitude that kept the club going thanks to The Club’s Supporters’ Association. The club was rescued and senior status was kept thanks to the Youth Team. All that was left was to appoint a manager (step forward Tony Burman), find a squad and a venue, so the Darts could start over in the Kent League.

Watling Street: A former home of Dartford Football Club.

Watling Street: A former home of Dartford Football Club.

Dartford on tour
Known as the nomadic days, the fourteen years before Princes Park saw Dartford touring Kent and Essex with false alarms of homecomings along the way. Oxford Road, Sidcup became the first ‘home’ of the new era as the Darts shared with Cray Wanderers, a period Mudeford dart looks back on nostalgically, “from a personal point of view I loved our days at Cray with the iconic “Dave Skinner Stand”. There was a real camaraderie because everyone was so happy to have our Darts run by our supporters. Cray were great landlords and made us feel very welcome”.

Park View, Belverdere had better facilities, but once again drama unfolded and the main stand was burnt down in 1997. Between September and December, Dartford played home fixtures at Purfleet, Slade Green, Northfleet and Barking. The Kent derby against Margate was actually played in Essex.

Unsuitable to host Dartford matches the club were forced to move from Park View and into Ship Lane, Purfleet. With that came new problems, enticing fans across the River Thames, poor public transport links and the M25 to contend with. Attendances declined but the venue would eventually be the last destination of Dartford’s tour.

Before Ship Lane hosted Dartford games again, the club struck a deal with rivals Gravesend and Northfleet to play at Stonebridge Road. It was during this period news broke on 10 April 2004 that funding for a new home was granted by Dartford Borough Council. The words of a former fanzine title was never more apt, finally their was a “Light at the End of the Tunnel”.

So the nomadic times may have been tough but many have fond memories and were delighted the club were back, paulnorwich reflects on those fourteen years, “I never went to Stonebridge Road to watch the Darts. Cray was good, Erith and Belvedere and Welling was handy for me as they were both so local, but because of family commitments I could only really start watching the Darts again more regularly at Purfleet, which I quite liked though. None of them were ever “home” though”.

Oxford Road: A lifeline for the Darts.

Oxford Road: A lifeline for the Darts.

Homecoming
11 November 2006. An emotional day in the history of Dartford Football Club, a celebration of the continuous hard work put in by those that kept the club running, of those that made Princes Park happen. A huge sense of pride and relief to be home again and for new supporters an exciting adventure. In the days leading up to the grand opening, on the morning before kick off, behind the scenes was hectic. In the excellent Princes Among Men: The History of Dartford Football Club, Jeremy Kite MBE recalls the desperation on the eve of the homecoming when the Princes Park lights went out. Luckily it wasn’t a metaphor of fourteen years ago, the venue was ready for the sell out crowd against Horsham YMCA.

A day of entertainment didn’t disappoint on and off the pitch. paulnorwich remembers, “I was talking to everyone I know about the “return” throughout 2006 and it was a day I’ll never forget!”. The team arrived by coach almost cup finalesque with fans waiting for the arrival. Fireworks greeted the two teams out of the players tunnel and finally football would do the talking.

Princes Park erupted when Brendon Cass entered the history books with the first goal. The striker netted another before Eddie McClements struck the goal of the day. Although the visitors pulled two goals back, Nick Barnes scored Dartford’s fourth in a 4-2 victory. The win was the icing on the homecoming cake.

Another Pure DFC user, El Kebabus of Arabia sums up the journey from homelessness to Princes Park, “all those years of following the Darts around during our nomadic days. Putting hard earned cash into the Warbler, holding ebay sales to raise funds, whip rounds and signing other people up for the Warbler. Boy was it worth it”.

Jeremy Kite’s chapter in Princes Among Men looks back at the long road back home and how much it meant to the community and on a personal level, “in the years since opening day, Princes Park has certainly fulfilled its promise as a catalyst for change and I couldn’t be more proud of it”.

Homecoming: Dartford take to the Princes Park pitch for the first time. Photo courtesy of Tony Jaglo.

Dartford take to the Princes Park pitch for the first time. Photo courtesy of Tony Jaglo.

Ten years of history and memories
Three promotions, two county cup wins, becoming the best part time team in the country and many more wonderful moments, the last decade at Princes Park has without doubt changed Dartford Football Club. Attendances have risen, an academy is beginning to blossom and the reputation of the club has improved.

In the early days, the venue helped attract players to pull on a white shirt and some of those players, Dave Martin, Cody McDonald, Charlie Sheringham, Ebou Adams, Tom Champion and current centre half Tom Bonner went on to play higher up the football chain. The core of today’s squad Elliot Bradbrook, Ryan Hayes, Lee Noble and Danny Harris have all provided brilliant moments, whilst a former core member Lee Burns added his imaginative and humorous goal celebrations. Title winning captains, Adam Flanagan and Alex O’Brien embodied the character and spirit manager Tony Burman works so hard to create, the type of spirit provided by current captain Elliot Bradbrook, Princes Park’s top goalscorer.

pp

Wingers such as Hayes and Martin have produced some special goals and creativity, in particular Hayes’ trademark curler in front of the television cameras against Mansfield Town, Martin’s wonder strike against Burgess Hill Town. There have been a fair share of important goals, like Lee Noble’s in the National South playoff final against local rivals Welling United and the one that goes down in history as the first scored at Princes Park, Brendon Cass’ effort versus Horsham YMCA.

As team performances go, the Darts have blown opponents away at times, twice they have won 7-2 against Burgess Hill Town and then Witham Town. Through the leagues Enfield Town, Canvey Island, Ilford, Tilbury, Kingstonian, Thurrock, Sutton United, Alfreton Town and Woking have all been put to the sword. Dartford have shocked and conquered bigger sides such as Crawley Town in the F.A Trophy, Luton Town, Mansfield Town, Macclesfield Town, Grimsby Town, Newport County, Hereford United and Wrexham in the league. Port Vale were so close to being put on the list in the heroic F.A Cup first round 1-1 draw.

paulnorwich picks his favourite moments, “beating Welling United in the playoff final cannot be beaten in front of over 4000 and what a goal from Lee Noble to do it. So many great memories in ten years and so many goals but the performance versus Port Vale was excellent, as was the one against Mansfield Town on television when Ryno’s goal must be in the top five at Princes Park”.

Dartford have got used to celebrating whether it was the homecoming, the two league titles, the playoff win or the two Kent Senior Cup’s. Here’s to more glories, to ten brilliant years and many more fond memories. Cheers.

Thank you to Pure DFC forum users paulnorwich, El Kebabus of Arabia and Mudeford dart. Thank you sonytino for all the youtube highlights over the years, Tony Jaglo for the excellent photographs on homecoming day (to view them all go to http://imgbox.com/g/E0nCwQ0wUK). Credit to John Anthony, Mike Brett-Smith, Tony Brown, Gary Clark and Steve Irving for the excellent Princes Among Men: The History of Dartford Football Club book, available in the club shop.

Dartford v Havant & Waterlooville

Dartford play their fifth consecutive home game this weekend when they host Havant and Waterlooville in the National South.

The Darts have been getting back on track after a six match unbeaten run in all competitions. However, last weekend Tony Burman’s side suffered a setback, losing their F.A Trophy tie against Whitehawk. Defeat leaves Dartford out of both major cup competitions and a chance to concentrate on the league and Kent Senior Cup.

In the league, Dartford need to make their two games in hand count if they are to challenge for a playoff spot. Currently eight points adrift, the Darts know two victories will bring them within touching distance. In the meantime, the club need to keep pace and stretch their unbeaten league form to five matches.

Last time out in the National South, an Elliot Bradbrook equaliser earned Dartford a point against Kent rivals Maidstone United. The draw followed consecutive league wins over Bishop’s Stortford then Hayes and Yeading United. Elliot Bradbrook will be hoping to keep his goalscoring run going having scored in each of his last three league appearances.

Tony Burman has backed his on loan defender Mark Onyemah this week, the full back’s mistake was vital in Whitehawk knocking Dartford out of the F.A Trophy, Burman told www.kentonline.co.uk: “He’s a more than strong enough character to put that behind him. He has been outstanding for us since he’s been here. He was nearly the hero when he went through and hit the bar, then he was penalised for handball and he should have done better when he got closed down (for the second goal)”. The Dartford boss also felt his side struggled to get into ‘top gear’ after a two week break.

A return to National South action starts against Hampshire side Havant and Waterlooville, who have only won once on their travels in the league this campaign. The Hawks finished last season in the playoffs losing in the semi final to the promoted Boreham Wood. This term fortunes have turned with Lee Bradbury’s side in nineteenth, five points clear of the bottom two.

Bradbury may have pedigree as a Football League player and his short managerial career has been promising. Now, the 40 year old faces an unfamiliar challenge at the wrong end of the table after two victories in the last dozen league games. Back to back 3-1 wins at Oxford City and home to Maidenhead United have been a brief respite from eight defeats and two draws they have recorded since the end of August.

Dartford last played Havant and Waterlooville during their National South playoff winning campaign. In March 2012, Sam Pearce put the Hawks ahead and Scott Jones missed a penalty, which only served to stir the Darts into action. Dartford bounced back with three goals without reply, with the first coming from Lee Noble. With nine minutes remaining Danny Harris bundled in the second and to seal victory Luke Wilkinson scored his first for the Darts. A 3-1 triumph was added to the comprehensive 4-1 win achieved at Westleigh Park two months prior, completing a double against the Hampshire side.

In the previous campaign, the two sides met on the opening day in an entertaining 2-2 draw. Dartford, just promoted as Isthmian Premier earned a point with a stoppage time Ryan Hayes penalty. Earlier, Danny Harris headed the first goal from a Hayes free kick before the Hawks went ahead through Bobby Hopkinson’s penalty and Wes Fogden’s strike two minutes from time.

The Darts won’t return to Princes Park until the end of the month to close out the year.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Havant and Waterlooville wins: 3 / Draws 2

Current League Form

Dartford (DWWDLL) Havant & Waterlooville  (LLWWLD)
Maidstone United  H  1-1 Weston Super Mare  A  2-3
Hayes & Yeading  H  2-0 Sutton United  A  0-3
Bishop’s Stortford  A  2-1 Maidenhead United  H  3-1
Hemel Hempstead Town  H  2-2 Oxford City  A  3-1
Wealdstone  A  1-2 Margate  A  1-4
Truro City  H  0-1 St Albans City  H  1-1

Previous Meeting at Princes Park

17 March 2012 – Dartford 3 Havant and Waterlooville 1 – attendance 1087 – view highlights 

Goalscorers: Noble (23), Harris (81), Wilkinson (87); Pearce (8)

Dartford lineup: Wells, Jones, Green, Bonner, Wilkinson, Champion, Noble, Wallis, Erskine, Bradbrook, Harris (Subs used: Hayes, Garrod, Burns)

Previous Meetings (* – F.A Cup)

17.03.2012 Dartford 3 Havant & Waterlooville 1
07.01.2012 Havant & Waterlooville 1 Dartford 4
18.04.2011 Havant & Waterlooville 1 Dartford 0
14.08.2010 Dartford 2 Havant & Waterlooville 2
15.10.2000* Dartford 0 Havant & Waterlooville 4
29.04.1999 Havant & Waterlooville 1 Dartford 1
06.03.1999 Dartford 0 Havant & Waterlooville 2

 

Stats

At home, Dartford have won three out of three against teams below them in the league

The Dartford defence at home ranks sixth in the league on average conceded per game. However, only two teams home and away (Ebbsfleet United and Maidstone United) have conceded fewer.

Havant and Waterlooville have the leakiest defence having conceded 39 times, they have shipped in 25 goals on their travels.

 

On This Day

Dartford’s last win on 5 December came 34 years ago in the top flight of non league. A 5-0 home win against Yeovil Town. Since then, in 1987 the Darts picked up a goaless away draw with Nuneaton Borough in the Southern Premier League. Following relegation to the Southern Division Dartford lost a year later, 3-2 away to Baldock Town.

National League South Season Preview 2015/2016 – Part Five

Sutton United | Truro City | Wealdstone | Weston-Super-Mare | Whitehawk

Sutton United

Founded: 1898 / Ground: Borough Sports Ground

A famous name in non league football thanks to a F.A Cup third round win, against holders Coventry City in 1989. Sutton United were a Conference Premier side back then but have spent most of their time in the Isthmian League. Joining the Conference South when non league was restructured, the club were relegated in 2007/08. The U’s spent just three season’s away winning the Isthmian Premier League after two playoff attempts, including a runner up spot behind Dartford. The Surrey club reached the playoffs twice in the Conference South in four seasons, but last term finished mid table.

SuttonunitedLast Season

Conference South: 15th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: 3rd Round

League Top Scorer: Jessy Reindorf & Dan Fitchett (6 goals)

Average Attendance: 548

The Manager – Paul Doswell

Making his name at Eastleigh, Paul Doswell led the Hampshire club through three consecutive promotions to take the Spitfires from the Wessex League to the Conference South. Doswell had an immediate impact at Eastleigh, appointed in 2002 he won the Wessex League title in the same year. Two playoff triumphs followed and the first season in the Conference South his side finished a creditable eighth. Leaving Eastliegh in 2006 it wasn’t until two years later he joined Sutton United. Success has continued with two playoff appearances in the Isthmian Premier League before winning the league title. In the Conference South Doswell has made a further two playoff appearances and came runners up against his old side Eastleigh in 2013/14.

The Summer

Connections with Eastleigh remain sound for Paul Doswell by signing a trio of players. Dean Beckwith, Dan Spence and the experienced Craig McAllister move from the Silverlake Stadium to the Borough Sports Ground. Striker Stuart Fleetwood, another former Eastleigh player will provide goals and has had spells with Forest Green Rovers, Luton Town and Hereford United. Last season’s goalkeeper for the Darts, Jason Brown had joined but left without playing a match to concentrate on coaching. That meant Doswell had to search for a goalkeeper again finding AFC Wimbledon’s Ross Worner. Tom Bolarinwa comes in from Cray Wanderers and Ross Stearn from Bath City.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

14 April 2012 – Sutton United 0 Dartford 1 – view highlights

Dartford may have taken all three points but results elsewhere meant they couldn’t catch Woking at the top of the table. A counter attacking move starting from the Darts own half ended with Tony Garrod scoring the winner.

20 March 2012 – Dartford 6 Sutton United 1 – view highlights

One of Dartford’s finest performances since Princes Park opened. The Darts thrashed eventual runners up Sutton United in some style. Lee Noble and an Adam Green penalty three minutes apart had the hosts two up. Harry Beautyman pulled a goal back then Dartford raced away. Danny Harris before the break, Luke Wilkinson, Elliot Bradbrook and Jacob Erskine turned the match into a rout.

Next Meetings

Saturday 15 August 2015 at Princes Park

Saturday 23 January 2016 at Borough Sports Ground

Last Ten Yearssufc last 10 years

Back to top

Truro City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Treyew Road

If ever there is example of how a chairman can influence a club then Truro City fall in to that category. An F.A Vase triumph nine years ago and promotion the same season was only the start. Three consecutive league titles moved the Cornwall club through the regional divisions into the Southern Premier. After only two attempts the Southern Premier League was won and then wheels began to fall off. A winding up petition in August 2011 caused uncertainty and chairman Kevin Heaney stepped down. The club were relegated back to the Southern League in 2012/13, however they have enjoyed a swift return winning the playoffs in May.

Truro-city-football-clubLast Season

Southern Premier: 3rd

F.A Cup: 1st Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Did not enter

League Top Scorer: Craig Duff (18 goals)

Average Attendance: 417

The Manager – Steve Tully

At just 35 years old Steve Tully is one of the youngest managers in this season’s National South. The former full back spent his playing days in the West Country representing Torquay United, Weymouth and Exeter City making over 100 appearances for each club. He joined Truro City as a player in 2013 and in March 2014 became player manager. In his first role as boss Steve Tully guided Truro City back to the National League South with a playoff triumph over St Neots Town.

The Summer

It’s been quiet at Treyew Road with only three signings being made. Martin Rice makes the short journey across the Devon/Cornwall border moving from Torquay United, the goalkeeper returns to the club after spending three years at Truro City. Midfielder, Aaron Dawson has limited experience at Exeter City and Torquay United, the 23 year old can also play in defence. On loan left back Conor Riley-Lowe will be at Treyew Road for at least the next six months.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

28 April 2012 – Truro City 1 Dartford 1
With a playoff spot secured the final match of the season played out evens. Dartford fans made their way across the country to enjoy a celebratory weekend. Former Premier League striker Barry Hayles scored for Truro City with three minutes left. Dartford’s Jacob Erskine equalised with virtually the last kick of the game.

22 October 2011 – Dartford 1 Truro City 2 – view highlights
Truro City took full advantage of slack defending, Adam Green and Andrew Young got things mixed up leaving Andrew Watkins to tap in for the visitors. A couple of minutes later Paul Goodacre scored an own goal giving the Cornishmen a two goal lead. Tom Bonner halved the deficit after Truro City were reduced to ten men.

Next Meetings

Saturday 19 September 2015 at Princes Park

Saturday 13 February 2016 at Treyew Road

Last Ten Yearstcfc last 10 years

 

Back to top

Wealdstone

Founded: 1899 / Ground: The Vale Stadium

It may have taken a while but Wealdstone have returned to the level they were at in the late eighties. Whether they can return to the heights of the early eighties is another matter, the Middlesex club won the Alliance Premier League and F.A Trophy double but were relegated from the Conference in 1988. The Stones sunk as far down as Isthmian Division Three before their current manager was appointed. Since then four promotions in twenty years, including the most recent Isthmian Premier League title in 2013/14, has seen Wealdstone get back to the second tier of non league. Three years ago they embarked on a F.A Trophy run to reach the last four and last season finished a creditable twelfth in the Conference South.

wealdstoneLast Season

Conference South: 12th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Jefferson Louis, Scott McGleish and Matt Ball (8 goals)

Average Attendance: 720

The Manager – Gordon Bartlett

By far the longest serving manager in this season’s National South, Gordon Bartlett has been in charge of Wealdstone since 1995 and involved in non league coaching for 25 years. At Southall and Yeading before he joined the Stones he guided both clubs to Wembley reaching F.A Vase finals. Since taking over at the Middlesex club he has won four promotions, including the Isthmian Division Three and Premier titles, seventeen years apart. The school teacher also had a playing career with Portsmouth, Denver Dynamos in the United States of America, Brentford, Slough Town and Hayes.

The Summer

Budget plays a part any any level and Wealdstone have had to look at divisions below the National South over the summer. With the exception Ryan Hope who won promotion with Boreham Wood, each signing has come from the National South or lower. Dale Binns has plenty of experience at this level having played for **********, he joins from Sutton United. Tom Cadmore missed out on promotion at Whitehawk last term and he also moves to the Stones. From the Isthmian and Southern Leagues comes in Bradley Hudson-Odoi from Metropolitan Police, Josh Urquhart from Harlow Town and Josh Hutchinson from Potters Bar Town, Oliver Duffy has arrived from Hanwell Town.

Last Meeting Versus The Darts

21 February 2012 – Wealdstone 1 Dartford 0

An upset was caused a week later as Wealdstone’s Lee Chappell scored the decisive goal to take the Stones to the next round. The Isthmian Premier leaguers held on to defeat the Darts, a division higher, and went on to reach the last four in an excellent trophy run.

14 February 2012 – Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2 – view highlights

An entertaining F.A Trophy third round tie ended with the Wealdstone levelling twice. Danny Harris scored first before Richard Jolly equalised. Lee Noble had the Darts ahead once more until Chris O’Leary forced a replay ten minutes from time.

Next Meetings

Saturday 3 October 2015 at the Vale Stadium

Tuesday 26 January 2016 at Princes Park

Last Ten Yearswfc last 10 years

Back to top

Weston-Super-Mare

Founded: 1887 / Ground: Woodspring Stadium

The Somerset club boast a proud record in that they have never been relegated in their 128 year history. Weston-Super-Mare did however come close on three occasions when reprieves saved the club in 2007, 2008 and 2010. Over the last five years the Seagulls have improved into a mid-table side and three season’s ago they recorded their highest ever league finish, two places outside of the Conference South playoffs. The forthcoming season will be Weston -Super-Mare’s twelfth consecutive in the National League South and that comes after twelve campaigns in the Southern League.

Weston-super-Mare_AFC_logoLast Season

Conference South: 17th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Dayle Grubb (11 goals)

Average Attendance: 287

The Manager – Ryan Northmore

A career change was forced upon Ryan Northmore when a number of knee operations led to coaching. The former goalkeeper made over 200 appearances for the Seagulls and won Player of the Year three seasons in a row. As a player he turned out for Torquay United before making his way in non league football. Spells at Team Bath, Woking and Dorchester Town before returning to Weston-Super-Mare as boss, he officially retired from playing just three years ago. Northmore has been heavily involved in  working with Weston-Super-Mare’s academy side and in November 2014 was named caretaker manager. The 34 year old impressed enough last term to make the vacant managers job his own.

The Summer

Returning to Weston-Super-Mare for a third spell is 25 year old Tristan Plummer. The winger was unable to hold a first team place whilst at Bristol City, Hereford United and Aldershot Town. Two other signings come from Southern Premier League side Paulton Rovers, Danny Wring is added to the midfield and Scott Wilson could provide goals up front. Joe McClennan returns to Weston-Super-Mare after leaving the club previously for Bath City.

Last Meeting Versus The Darts

12 November 2011 – Dartford 1 Weston-Super-Mare 1 – view highlights
Even with a man advanatge Dartford failed to capitalise. The visitors left when Matt Villis got on the end of a goal mouth scramble.  Adam Green made the game all square with a well driven shot. James Price was red carded with just under twenty minutes remaining.

13 August 2011 – Weston-Super-Mare 0  Dartford 4 – view highlights

The campaign couldn’t get off to a better start for the Darts. An away trip West and Charlie Sheringham’s brace put three points on the board. Elliot Bradbrook and Tom Bonner had earlier put Dartford two goals to the good.

Next Meetings

Saturday 12 September 2015 at Princes Park

Saturday 5 March 2016 at Woodspring Stadium

Last Ten Yearswsmfc last 10 years
Back to top

Whitehawk

Founded: 1945 / Ground:Enclosed Ground

Only five years ago Whithawk were playing in the Sussex League where they had been throughout their history. Finally winning the title in 2009/10, the club excelled at a rapid rate. A playoff defeat in their début Isthmian Division One South was soon forgotten when they won the championship the following campaign. A consecutive title followed moving Whitehawk out of the Isthmian Premier League to the Conference South. The Sussex club survived their first term finishing nineteenth, six points from safety. Last season the Hawks reached the playoff final with a fourth place finish losing out to Boreham Wood, the clubs best ever league performance.

Whitehawk_F.C._logoLast Season

Conference South: 4th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Danny Mills (18 goals)

Average Attendance: 258

The Manager – Steve King

In the space of just five years, Steve King took Lewes from Isthmian League Division One South to the Football Conference with three titles and that was just the beginning of his managerial career. At this level he has finished in each of the top four positions and in the league below added a further title with Farnborough. Another spell at Lewes was followed by leading Macclesfield Town in the Confereence Premier, who he took to the F.A Cup fourth round bowing out to eventual winners Wigan Athletic. In February 2014, he retunred to management and was denied another promotion this time with Whitehawk losing the playoff final to Boreham Wood.

The Summer

Steve King possesses enough confidence in his squad which very nearly gained promotion to the National League. Rather than bringing in new blood, King has concentrated on securing players in last years squad. Paul Lorraine, who joined Dartford briefly before the Darts were reprieved will be part of the Whitehawk defence. In midfield Sergio Torres brings his experiences with Wycombe Wanderers, Peterborough United and Crawley Town. Last season’s top goalscorer Danny Mills remains at the Enclosed Ground and will be looking to add to the 18 he scored last term.

Last Meeting Versus The Darts

4 September 1982 – Dartford 5 Whitehawk 2

Carl Laraman scored a hat trick and was the star of this F.A Cup preliminary round fixture. The Darts went on to win comfortably against the Sussex club representing their regional division. Dartford were spending their first campaign back in the Southern Premier following relegation from the Alliance Premier League the season before.

Next Meetings

Saturday 19 December 2015 at Enclosed Ground

Saturday 12 March 2016 at Princes Park

Last Ten Yearswhitehawk last 10 years
Back to top

National League South Season Preview 2015/2016 – Part Four

Maidenhead United | Maidstone United | Margate | Oxford City | St Albans City

Maidenhead United

Founded: 1869 / Ground: York Road

A proud record is held by Maidenhead United in that York Road is the oldest senior football ground continuously used by the same club. For nine of those years they have had the same manager in Johnson Hippolyte in charge, stability is important to the club. Now the Berkshire side feel it is time to push up the pyramid and in the summer Maidenhead United welcome a familiar face in town. Fresh ideas, experience and a bit of backing could see the Magpies enjoying a more comfortable campaign than they are used to. Over the last six seasons, Maidenhead United have finished no higher than sixteenth, so flirtation with relegation has been the norm at York Road.

Maidenhead UnitedLast Season

Conference South: 18th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Dave Tarpey (20 goals)

Average Attendance: 406

The Manager – Alan Devonshire

A former England international as a player, Devonshire returns to Maidenhead United after managerial experience with the club in the late nineties. The former West Ham United midfielder played over 350 games for the Hammers winning the F.A Cup in 1980. The 59 year old knows a thing or two about being an underdog and proved this at former club Braintree Town. When he took over in May 2011, Braintree Town had just won promotion to the Conference Premier for the first time in their history. At Cressing Road, he improved the club each season until last term. Devonshire also impressed at Hampton and Richmond, who he took from the Isthmian Division One to the Conference Premier.

The Summer

Contacts at a former club has come in handy for Maidenhead United’s new boss. Devonshire has signed three from Braintree Town and one he worked with whilst with the Iron. Defenders Ryan Peters and Alan Massey, creative midfielder James Mulley and goalkeeper Carl Pentney all move from Braintree Town. When the Iron spent their first campaign in the Conference Premier striker Ben Wright was amongst the goals, he links back up with Devonshire. Josh Huggins follows Wright from Havant and Waterlooville. Dean Inman from Hayes and Yeading, Jake Reid from Dover Athletic and Rene Steer from Boston United also bulk out the Magpies squad. Last season’s top scorer with 20 goals Dave Tarpey signed a new contract at York Road. To make way for the host of signings there has been something of a clearout including former Dartford striker Jacob Erskine.

Last Meeting Versus The Darts

31 March 2012 – Dartford 2 Maidenhead United 1 – view highlights
A playoff spot was clinched by Dartford as the two sides met for the second time in just over a fortnight. Jacob Erskine tucked the ball in the net just before the hour and Luke Wilkinson doubled the lead. Paul Semakula pulled one back for the visitors. Daniel Brown was dismissed for Maidenhead United and Danny Harris followed for the Darts.

13 March 2012 – Maidenhead United 1  Dartford 1 – view highlights
The hosts had to grind out a result when they were left with ten men meaning Dartford dropped valuable points. Alex Wall opened the scoring for the Magpies then Reece Tison-Lascaris was sent off. Danny Harris scored the equaliser for Dartford who pushed for a winner to no avail.

Next Meetings

Saturday 21 November 2015 at York Road

Saturday 2 April 2016 at Princes Park

Last Ten Years

mufc last 10 years

Back to top

Maidstone United

Founded: 1992 / Ground: Gallagher Stadium

The only former Football League club in the National League South, Maidstone United had to make their way back up from the Kent League. Off field mismanagement led to the Stones being declared bankrupt in 1992 and being forced out of the Football League. Progress was made up to 2007 when they won a place in the Isthmian Premier League with three promotions. A relegation followed after three campaigns and progress stalled until their new Gallagher Stadium opened in 2012. Crowds flocked back and the club flourished ever since, an average attendance of 200 fifteen years ago is now just under 2000. One of two sides to have installed a 3G pitch, the Stones were the first to host an F.A Cup proper match on that particular surface.

maidstoneLast Season

Isthmian Premier: 1st

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Jay May (22 goals)

Average Attendance: 1846

The Manager – Jay Saunders

Entering a fifth full season in charge Jay Saunders was appointed caretaker manager in March 2011. The former Gillingham midfielder made the most of his opportunity and at the end of the 2010/11 campaign he was given the role permanently. Over the last three seasons the Saunders has added three honours to his list. The Isthmian Division One South playoff was won followed by the Isthmian League Cup . Last term the 35 year old guided Maidstone United to the Isthmian Premier League title after a close contest with runners up Hendon. If he continues the good work at the Gallagher Stadium then come the end of the campaign Saunders will have guided the new look Stones to their highest position since reforming.

The Summer

A host of former Dartford players will be at the Gallagher next season. Jamie Coyle will remain part of the managerial team, the former Darts defender made 140 appearances for the club. On the pitch, Callum Driver left Princes Park in the summer in favour of the Stones. James Rogers impressed last season and signed a new contract to stay at the Gallagher Stadium, he also won the Supporters Player of the Year award. Former loanee Matt Bodkin has also agreed to remain with Maidstone United. One impressive capture over the break is former Welling United midfielder Joe Healy he joins Mitchell Pinnock from Bromley, Manny Parry from Grays Athletic, Simon Johnson from Eastbourne Borough and Bobby-Joe Taylor from Cambridge United.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

20 March 2010 – Dartford 3 Maidstone United 0 – view highlights

The double over Kent rivals was completed a fortnight later  by the champions elect. Danny Dafter finished at the far post to give the Darts the lead. Lee Burns tapped in late in the first half and a trademark Ryan Hayes curler made victory convincing in the second half.

7 March 2010 – Maidstone United 0 Dartford 1 – view highlights

It took ten minutes for Dartford to get their noses in front when Ryan Hayes crossed for Lee Burns to score. In difficult conditions where the pitch was sandy and the ball bobbling about, the Darts held on to the slender lead to take all three points.

Next Meetings

Saturday 14 November 2015 at Princes Park

Saturday 9 April 2016 at the Gallagher Stadium

Last Ten Yearsmaidstone last 10 years

Back to top

Margate

Founded: 1896 / Ground: Hartsdown Park

The Seaside town of Margate peaked at the turn of the millennium when they won the Southern Premier League under Chris Kinnear. The Gate had their place in the top flight of non league which lasted three season’s without finishing in the bottom four. Reaching eighth place in their first campaign, two years later they were demoted to the Conference South because of ground grading issues. Whilst Hartsdown Park was being redeveloped the Gate suffered another relegation the following season. The Kent club returned to their home in 2005 and spent the next ten years in the Isthmian Premier League. Margate rarely threatened to leave the division they were in until last term when they beat an in form Hendon to clinch victory in the Playoff final.

MargateFCLast Season

Isthmian Premier: 3rd

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi Final

League Top Scorer: Frederick Ladapo and Ryan Moss (22 goals)

Average Attendance: 682

The Manager – Terry Brown

Promotion was a must for Terry Brown last season and winning the playoffs may have kept him in the job. Seems harsh ater finishing third but high expectations have been set by Margate by appointing a successful manager. Starting out at Hayes, where he began hi playing career, Brown was in charge for nine years taking the Middlesex club from relegation candidates in the Isthmian Premier League to third in the Conference Premier. Frustrated with the budget he moved to Aldershot Town where he won promotion to the Conference Premier at the first attempt. The following campaign saw the Shots lose the playoff final. Most notably, Brown led AFC Wimbledon into the Football League and kept the Dons in League Two in his final full season at the club.

The Summer

During a short spell with Dartford, Nathan Green impressed on the wing but decided to move to the coast joining the Gate. Soloman Taiwo switches his allegiance from another Kent club moving from Dover Athletic making Margate his sixteenth club. Christian Jolley helped Newport County to Football League promotion two years ago and will be part of Margate’s strike force. Terry Brown made a double signing from Maidenhead United by capturing David Hunt and Danny Green. Former Aldershot Town defender Glenn Wilson will add experience at the back and is joined by Millwall’s Jake Goodman. Last season’s top scorers Frederick Ladapo and Ryan Moss also signed new contacts to remain at Hartsdown Park.

Last Meeting Versus The Darts

23 March 2010 – Dartford 0 Margate 1 – view highlights

Princes Park was left stunned when the league leaders were undone by Margate. James Pinnock capitalised on a defensive mishap and netted the winner just after the hour. The visitors stayed organised and desperate for points at the other end of the table grabbed them.

18 August 2009 – Margate 0 Dartford 4 – view highlights

A training ground free kick routine had Dartford one up after seven minutes. A Ryan Hayes faked to cross but slid the ball through to Jamie Day who finished the move. Margate couldn’t cope with John Beales’ long throw in’s and twice the Darts benefited through Rob Haworth then Lee Burns. Alan Tait came on as a substitute and added to the scoreline.

Next Meetings

Saturday 29 August 2015 at Hartsdown Park

Monday 28 December 2015 at Princes Park

Last Ten Yearsmfc last 10 years

Back to top

Oxford City

Founded: 1882 / Ground: Marsh Lane

Over the last ten years Oxford City have steadily moved up the non league pyramid. Champions of the Spartan South Midland League in 2005/06 set City on their way. That campaign finished in dramatic circumstances with Oxford City taking the title on goal difference. After two attempts the club were promoted again this time via the playoffs to the Southern Premier League. A runners up place and another playoff triumph three years ago completed their journey to the second tier of non league. In the Conference North results have been mixed, a tenth place finish was followed up with surviving relegation. Last season City narrowly missed out on the top five to remain in the second tier of non league, making a début in the National League South.

OCFCLast Season

Conference North: 6th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Quarter-Final

League Top Scorer: Adi Yussuf (26 goals)

Average Attendance: 321

The Manager – Justin Merrit

A second spell in charge of City having guided the Oxfordshire club to the Southern Premier League via the playoffs. With business interests on the side, Justin Merritt resigned just two matches into the 2009/10 campaign to concentrate on a sports coaching company. The 40 year old returned to Marsh Lane last summer replacing Mike Ford, who took Merritt’s place after his first spell. The difference this time is that Merritt will have to work with Enrique Guillen, the Spaniard who has been promoted to head coach. The current Oxford City boss has also won honours with Oxford City Nomads and managed Witney Town.

The Summer

The Spanish connections remain strong with a trio of Spaniards joining up with those already at the club. Jon Arzamendi moves from Real Union, Carlos Pifarre from Olimpic de Xativa and Julen Fafuente from Deportivo Alaves. Experienced player at this level, Bradley Bubb has signed from Havant and Waterlooville having had spells with various Hampshire clubs. Midfielder at Solihull Moors last term, Reece Fleet will be at Marsh Lance this season. Craig Hill will give Laurie Walker competition in goal both players signing from Aston Villa and Hemel Hempstead Town respectively. Cheltenham Town duo Omari Sterling-James and Jamal Lawrence agreed a loan deal, Mark Bell joins from Chesham United and Kynan Isaac from Luton Town.

Last Meeting Versus The Darts

4 November 2008 –  Oxford City 2 Dartford 4 – view highlights

Another six goals but this time Dartford came out on top. City’s Jon Gardner put the hosts in the lead which was cancelled out by Cody McDonald’s fourth of the tie. Steve Butterworth, Lee Noble and once more McDonald again increased the Darts advantage. James Saulsbury’s spot kick halved the deficit for Oxford City as the match ended 4-2.

1 November 2008 – Dartford 3 Oxford City 3 – view highlights

In a set of entertaining F.A Trophy Second Qualifying ties, Dartford’s Cody McDonald poached the opener after two minutes. The visitors levelled with a superb curling effort from Jon Gardner. McDonald headed the Darts back in front and completed a hat trick after half time. The visitors forced a replay with goals from Andy Gunn and a last minute header by Steve Jackman.

Next Meetings

Tuesday 15 September 2015 at Marsh Lane

Saturday 23 April 2016 at Princes Park

Last Ten Yearsocfc last 10 years

Back to top

St Albans City

Founded: 1908 / Ground: Clarence Park

The Hertfordshire clubs finest moment came nine years ago, a playoff victory earned St Albans City a place in the Conference Premier. The Saints only managed one season in non league’s top division finishing bottom of the table. Four years in the Conference South ended with relegation to the Southern Premier League and a ten point deduction. Financial concerns worried the faithful at Clarence Park prior dropping out of the Conference, however the club enjoyed better league positions in the Southern League. Rewarded with another playoff triumph just a year ago returned St Albans City to the Conference South where they finished mid table last term.

stalbansLast Season

Conference South: 13th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: John Frendo (11 goals)

Average Attendance: 570

The Managers – John Gray & Graham Golds

The only managerial joint partnership in the National League South, John Gray and Graham Golds have worked together in the managers role for two and half years. The pair have guided St Albans City to promotion to the Conference South and appearances in the first and second rounds of the F.A Cup and F.A Trophy. Gray and Golds were appointed after a successful spell as caretaker managers, the duo replaced David Howell who was dismissed after a poor run of results. Over the last two and half years, Gray and Golds have guided the club through better days.

The Summer

New signings have been sparse for St Albans City over the summer, Jack Lampe has joined from Concord Rangers, Billy Medlock from Sutton United and Lewis Hilliard from St Neots Town. Defender, Ben Martin returns to the club having previously left for Boreham Wood.

Last Meeting Versus The Darts

2 April 2011 –  St Albans City 1 Dartford 2 – view highlights

Lee Burns scored his first goal of the campaign when his hopeful long ranged header looped over the City defence and into the net. Relegated, St Albans City pegged the Darts back through Tony Battersby and almost went in front from the spot. Jack Pallen came off the bench to score the winner with four minutes remaining.

22 March 2011 – Dartford 2 St Albans City 2 – view highlights

A late penalty miss denied the Darts all three points when Ryan Hayes hit the woodwork in the final minute. The visitor led through Inih Effiong and led until Charlie Sheringham equalised. Sheringham completed his brace before Dartford had James White sent off. Ollie Kelly grabbed a point for St Albans City in an unexpected draw.

Next Meetings

Saturday 6 February 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 30 April 2016 at Clarence Park

Last Ten Yearssacfc last 10 years

Back to top

National League South Season Preview 2015/2016 – Part Three

Gosport Borough | Havant and Waterlooville | Hayes and Yeading | Hemel Hempstead Town

Gosport Borough

Founded: 1944 / Ground: Privett Park

The last two seasons have seen Gosport Borough excel after a second rise from the Wessex League. The Borough had previously worked their way up the non league pyramid in the eighties before returning to their regional division in 1992. The Hampshire club had to do it all again and were rewarded with a sixth place finish setting a club record. Last season, the Borough also made their first appearance in the F.A Cup first round bowing out in an entertaining 6-3 defeat against League One Colchester United. In the season before Gosport Borough were award with Non League Newspaper’s Cup Run of the Year, the Hampshire club reached Wembley for the first time losing the F.A Trophy final to Cambridge United.

Gosport_BoroughLast Season

Conference South: 6th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Justin Bennett (24 goals)

Average Attendance: 532

The Manager – Alex Pike

At a local level and now beyond the Wessex League, Alex Pike has been successful. He became the youngest manager to win the F.A Vase when he guided Wimborne to victory, in the same season he won Wessex League and Dorset Senior Cup, not bad for a first full season as a boss. Spells at Bournemouth F.C, AFC Lymington and Hamworthy United took Pike through twenty years in football management. Over the last ten he has been at Gosport Borough winning the Wessex League in 2006/07. Five years later, the Borough were promoted to the Southern Premier League via the playoffs and repeated the feat again to reach the Conference South the following season. Pike led Gosport Borough to the F.A Trophy final in 2013/14 losing to non league double winners Cambridge United.

The Summer

Hampshire has been a happy hunting ground for new recruits. Pike has taken two from Havant and Waterlooville by signing Perry Ryan and Ryan Woodford. Relegated from the Conference South last term Adam Brice joins from Farnborough, whilst TJ Cuthbertson comes in from 2013/2014 F.A Vase winners AFC Sholing. Pike has also persuaded Bradey Norton from Fareham Town and Ryan Scott from AFC Totton. Outside of Hampshire, Jamie White has signed from Sutton United and Dean Stow from Hungerford Town. Last season’s top goalscorer Justin Bennett remains at Privett Park.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

24 October 1989 – Gosport Borough 0 Dartford 1
Three days before Gosport Borough, the Darts lost their first league game of the season at home to Burton Albion. In a month full of cup fixtures, this rare Southern Premier League affair got the Darts back on track with a single goal victory.

22 August 1989 – Dartford 5  Gosport Borough 1
Having finished the last two season’s as runners up Dartford were amongst the favourites for promotion. Peter Taylor’s late eighties squad won their second home match of the campaign in style, keeping their perfect start to 1989/90 going.

Next Meetings

Saturday 22 August 2015 at Princes Park

Saturday 30 January 2016 at Privett Park

Last Ten Yearsgbfc last 10 years

Back to top

Havant and Waterlooville

Founded: 1998 / Ground: Westleigh Park

Merged in 1998 when Havant Town and Waterlooville joined forces, the Hawks won promotion under their new guise at the first attempt. Since then Havant and Waterlooville have played at the same level making the upcoming campaign their seventeenth consecutive season. Three years ago their status was under threat and an injury time winner on the final day ensured the Hawks avoided relegation. Since the Hampshire club’s scare, results on the pitch have improved with an F.A Trophy semi final appearance followed by last season’s semi final Playoff defeat to eventual winners Boreham Wood. The Hawks will be eyeing up a top five finish in this seasons National League South campaign.

Last Season

Conference South: 5th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: 3rd Round

League Top Scorer: Scott Donnelly (15 goals)

Average Attendance: 628

The Manager – Lee Bradbury

One of the most high profile managers in this season’s National League South, Lee Bradbury is only four years into his managerial career. His playing career spanned sixteen years most notably at Portsmouth, Manchester City and Crystal Palace. The former striker replaced Eddie Howe at AFC Bournemouth as caretaker manager in January 2011 and at that point choose to retire from playing. Although Bradbury reached the playoffs he was dismissed the following campaign after a poor run of results. Since October 2012, the 40 year old has been in charge at Westleigh Park and in his two full season’s the Hawks have finished sixth and fifth and reached the F.A Trophy semi-final.

The Summer

James Hayter adds experience to the Hawks forward line this season, the 36 year old has won three Football League playoff finals and made over 700 appearances in the Championship down to League Two. The former AFC Bornemouth, Doncaster Rovers and Yeovil Town striker also holds the record for the fastest Football League hat-trick. Hayter could be partnered by 32 year old up front Marvin Morgan, the former Shrewsbury Town and Plymouth Argyle man returns to non league after early career appearances with Wealdstone, Yeading and Woking. Adrian Clifton left the rebuilding at Maidenhead United to join Havant and Waterlooville and ex Gosport Borough duo Matthew Patterson and Lee Molyneaux also join the club. Former Dartford winger Ben Swallow signed a new contract and along with another experienced midfielder Brain Stock, formerly of Doncaster Rovers.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

17 March 2012 – Dartford 3 Havant and Waterlooville 1 – view highlights

Sam Pearce put the visitors ahead and Scott Jones missed a penalty, which only served to stir the home side into action. Dartford bounced back with three goals without reply with the first coming from Lee Noble. With nine minutes remaining Danny Harris bundled in the second and to seal victory Luke Wilkinson scored his first for the Darts.

7 January 2012 – Havant and Waterlooville 1 Dartford 4 – view highlights

A convincing away triumph started when Elliot Bradbrook’s surging run through the middle of the pitch gave Dartford the lead. Before half time that lead had doubled with a cheeky Danny Harris lob. The same two added a further two but not before Scott Jones temporarily put the Hawks back in the game.

Next Meetings

Saturday 5 December 2015 at Princes Park

Saturday 19 March 2016 at Westleigh Park

Last Ten Yearshwfc last 10 years

Back to top

Hayes and Yeading

Founded: 2007 / Ground: York Road

Another club formed by a merger, Hayes and Yeading United are currently groundsharing with Maidenhead United. In their second campaign as Hayes and Yeading United they won promotion to the Conference Premier via the playoffs. Tipped to get relegated United held their own surviving comfortably. Three seasons at the top of non league ended in 2012 and since returning to the Conference South the Middlesex club has continued to struggle. Reprieved two years ago, due to the demise of Hereford United in the division above, Hayes and Yeading United battled against relegation last term as well. Once the new stand has been built at Beaconsfield Road, moving back home could lead to much needed optimism.

Hayes_&_Yeading_United_FC.svgLast Season

Conference South: 19th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Semi Final

League Top Scorer: Pat Cox (6 goals)

Average Attendance: 271

The Manager – Tristan Lewis

Appointed interim manager last season after Phil Babb left by mutual consent, Tristan Lewis has been given his opportunity. Lewis arrived at Hayes and Yeading in 2011 as an Assistant Manager from Reading. With a background in youth development he has won National titles as well as the Conference Youth Alliance. Guiding United to safety last term, on a limited budget, was an achievement in itself and with the development of their new home the task will be made just as challenging for Lewis for the forthcoming campaign. A rookie manager with an honest and hands on approach is hoping he can quickly gain support from the York Road terraces for now.

The Summer

United have had a thin squad for most of the summer break but Lewis wasted no time in making his first signing. Max Worsfold joined from relegated Staines Town as well as Harry Grant from fellow relegated side Farnborough. Former Ebbsfleet United and Boreham Wood striker Michael Thalassitis had a spell with Hayes and Yeading on loan three years ago and returns to the Middlesex club. Yado Mambo signed from Chelmsford City along with 19 year old goalkeeper Magnus Norman on loan from Fulham and Jhai Dillon from Stevenage.

Next Meetings

Saturday 31 October 2015 at Princes Park

Saturday 9 January 2016 at York Road

Last Ten Yearshyfc last 10 years

 

Back to top

Hemel Hempstead Town

Founded: 1885 / Ground: Vauxhall Road

Eight years in the Southern Premier League ended in style when the Tudors breezed to the title. The near misses of two playoff semi finals and a final as well as relegation battles, including one reprieve, Hemel Hempstead Town were always in the thick of the action. When the Hertfordshire club did win the Southern Premier League they dominated the division racking up an impressive 102 points and scoring an incredible 128 goals. Now playing at the highest level the club has ever been, the Tudors were guaranteed to set their highest ever finish last term. Respectably they finished in a healthy ninth place to secure another campaign in the National League South.

Hemel_Hempstead_Town_F.CLast Season

Conference South: 9th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Jordan Parkes (21 goals)

Average Attendance: 574

The Manager – Dean Brennan

Seventeen clubs in a playing career and only one club as manager, Dean Brennan is just 35 years old and has been in charge at Vauxhall Road since May 2012. The Irishman has turned Hemel Hempstead Town’s fortunes around. In the three season’s before he joined the club finished no higher than fifteenth which included two successive reprieves from the Southern Premier League. In his first full season with the Tudors, Brennan helped the club to their highest ever finish losing the playoff final after coming fourth. Hemel Hempstead Town went a step further the following season taking the Southern Premier League title with an astonishing 128 goals and 102 points.

The Summer

Replacing last season’s top scorer Jordan Parkes has been the top priority in the summer. Jamie Slabber has a reasonable goalscoring record at this level with Eastleigh, Chelmsford City, Sutton United and recently champions Bromley, he will be at Vauxhall Road hoping to continue his record. John Frendo netted eleven times for St Albans City last term and also bolsters the Tudors front line. Matthew Spring won promotion with Watford to the Premier League nine years ago and will provide creativity in midfield having spent last term at St Neots Town. Central defender Terrell Forbes will add experience having played for Queens Park Rangers and Yeovil Town, making over 100 appearances at both clubs. Ben Herd comes in from promotion winners Boreham Wood, Herd was part of the Wood team that won last season’s playoffs. England C representative Jamie Butler joins from Concord Rangers and Jamal Lowe follows Frendo from St Albans City.

Last Meeting Versus The Darts

16 September 1972 – Hemel Hempstead 2 Dartford 9 

In the F.A Cup First Qualifying Round, Dartford were drawn out against Athenian Division Two side Hemel Hempstead. The Darts of the Southern Premier League had a new boss at the helm in Doug Holden. After a slow start to the campaign a comprehensive away win ensured progression in the cup.

Next Meetings

Saturday 8 August 2015 at Vauxhall Road

Saturday 17 October 2015 at Princes Park

Last Ten Yearshhtfc last 10 years

 

Back to top

National League South Season Preview 2015/2016 – Part One

Basingstoke Town | Bath City | Bishop’s Stortford | Chelmsford City

Basingstoke Town

Founded: 1896 / Ground: The Camrose

About to embark on their twelfth consecutive campaign at National South level, Basingstoke Town unexpectedly finished last term in third spot. At the beginning of April, the Hampshire club could have stolen the title sitting two points off the top with three matches to go. Instead they had to settle for their highest ever finish and repeat the playoff appearance of four years ago. A semi final defeat to Whitehawk denied Basingstoke Town the big shot at promotion. For a club often finishing in the bottom two thirds of the league, last season was proven to be more than successful.

Last SeasonBasingstoke Town

Conference South: 3rd

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Chris Flood (13 goals)

Average Attendance: 602

The Manager – Jason Bristow

A knee injury led Jason Bristow to an early retirement after ten playing years with Basingstoke Town in central defence. Crowned the Fans Player of the Year on three occasions as well as picking up an Away Fans Player of the Season, Bristow became known as Mr Basingstoke following a community role and a testimonial. In February 2012, he was made caretaker boss following the departure of Frank Gray. An incredible end of season run earned his side a playoff spot and a permanent job.

The Summer

Trust has been placed in the squad that achieved an impressive third place. Top scorer Chris Flood secured terms for the new campaign along with Managers Player of the Year, David Ray. Tom Bird who was recognised in last season’s Conference South Team of the Year remains at The Camrose. The boss has managed to sign up goalkeeper Aaron Howe from Sutton United and defender Will Salmon from Metropolitan Police, who was named in the Isthmian Team of the Year. Simon Dunn, Nathan Smart, Robbie Rice, Jay Gasson and twice goalscorer against Dartford, Shaun McAuley are still at the Camrose three years on from the last time the club faced the Darts.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

6 May 2012 – Dartford 2 Basingstoke Town 1 – view highlights
The only other playoff semi final appearance also ended in defeat for Basingstoke Town. At Princes Park, Dartford secured a 3-1 aggregate victory winning 2-1 on the night. Elliot Bradbrook headed the Darts in front which was cancelled out by Shaun McAuley. Luke Wilkinson put the tie beyond doubt in a match that saw Delano Sam-Yorke sent off for the visitors.

2 May 2012 – Basingstoke Town 0 Dartford 1 – view highlights
At the Camrose, Dartford took a one goal lead thanks to the playoff hero of 2012, Lee Noble. In first half injury time, the creative midfielder scored the only goal of the game, a feat he would repeat in the final against local rivals Welling United.

27 February 2012 – Dartford 4 Basingstoke Town 1 – view highlights
Inspired by Danny Harris who grabbed a hat trick, the Darts won convincingly. Harris arrived late prior the game but he was unaffected with a fine performance. Tony Garrod scored the other goal for Dartford whilst Stuart Lake’s effort was merely a consolation.

3 September 2011 – Basingstoke Town 3 Dartford 2 – view highlights
A thoroughly entertaining fixture repeated the scoreline from the campaign before. Delano Sam-Yorke had the hosts ahead before Charlie Sheringham netted from the spot. Dartford went in front through Jon Wallis but it was Basingstoke Town’s turn to come from behind with a goal from Toby Little and a winner by Shaun McAuley.

Next Meetings

Saturday 24 November 2015 at The Camrose

Saturday 16 April 2016 at Princes Park

Last Ten Years

btfc last 10 years

Back to top

Bath City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Twerton Park

A brief flirtation with the Conference Premier just five years ago ended with a top ten finish then relegation the following season. Bath City may have experience of the top flight of non league football, being founder members of the Alliance League, but have spent the majority of their history at step two. Three campaigns in the Conference South have seen the Somerset side three points off the playoffs sandwiched between two mid table finishes. Last term was defined with a run to the F.A Trophy semi-finals where they lost to surprise winners North Ferriby United. The club are being backed by the fans who are trying to raise money during struggling times.

Last SeasonBath_City_FC

Conference South: 14th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: Semi-Finals

County Cup: Quarter-Finals

League Top Scorer: David Pratt (18 goals)

Average Attendance: 491

The Manager – Lee Howells

Apart from a brief playing spell in Australia, Lee Howells has spent his career in the West of England. As a midfielder, he made over 350 appearances for Cheltenham Town winning the 1998 F.A Trophy final. Howells was part of the Robins squad who won promotion to the Football League. His fledgling management career may have began in 2006 at Mangotsfield United, however the 46 year old spent five years away from any manager’s role before returning with Bath City. As an assistant he helped the Romans to promotion to the Conference Premier before being appointed boss in June 2012.

The Summer

Howells has gone for experience at the heart of defence starting with newly acquired goalkeeper Steve Phillips. Signed from his local team Shepton Mallet, Phillips has over 500 Football League appearances under his belt with both Bristol clubs and Crewe Alexandra. Defensive duo Sekani Simpson and Dan Ball sign new contracts and last season’s top scorer David Pratt commits to another campaign, the striker has scored 40 goals in 96 games for the Romans. Winger, Joe McClennan joins from Weston Super-Mare and attacking player Jon Davies from Paulton Rovers. Frankie Artus was a key player last term and the Manager’s Player of the Year will be part of the Bath City squad again.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

7 April 1990 – Dartford 0 Bath City 1
With both sides challenging for league title, Bath City put a serious dent in Dartford’s hopes. After the Darts lost to Chelmsford City, the visitors to Watling Street went home with all three points. Bath City would fall short by finishing runners up, one place above Dartford.

9 September 1989 – Bath City 0 Dartford 0
The Romans were the first side to take points off Dartford who had won their opening five Southern Premier League fixtures. Peter Taylor’s side were held to a goalless draw at Twerton Park and wouldn’t drop another point for three more matches.

Next Meetings

Saturday 5 September 2015 at Twerton Park

Saturday 16 January 2016 at Princes Park

Last Ten Years

bcfc last 10 years

Back to top

Bishop’s Stortford

Founded: 1874 / Ground: Woodside Park

Even a brief absence from the Conference South failed to break the consistency of Bishop’s Stortford. The Hertfordshire based club finished in the bottom third of the table for the previous three campaigns, whether in the southern or northern section of step two. The Bishops were forced to move from south to north in 2011 but returned after two years. Over the last decade, Bishop’s Stortford have produced one playoff appearance in 2007 and a four top ten finishes. The Bishops moment of glory came 34 years ago when they lifted the F.A Trophy and in the same season were crowned champions of Isthmian Division One.

Bishops stortfordLast Season

Conference South: 16th

F.A Cup: 1st Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Mikkel Suarez & Anthony Church (8 goals)

Average Attendance: 389

The Manager – Rod Stringer

Having been successful in his previous two managerial jobs, Stringer was appointed Bishop’s Stortford boss in December 2011. He took Aveley to the Isthmian League Division One North title in the 2008/09 campaign and earned a move to Braintree Town. Stringer guided the Iron to Conference South glory winning the championship four years ago. In that very summer the former non league player walked out of Braintree Town over a car dispute as well as the playing budget. Now the 40 year old believes with the right backing his team can reach the playoffs for the first time in nine attempts.

The Summer

A busy summer of new signings give cause for optimism as Rod Stringer tries to avoid a relegation battle like last term. Adam Bailey-Dennis and Elliot Buchanan won the Conference South just over three months ago and the pair joins from Bromley. Paul Goodacre, helped Dartford to promotion to the Conference Premier in 2012 and made a total 88 appearances for the club, the central defender departs East Thurrock United for Woodside Park. Also moving from Essex to Hertfordshire is Tom Lovelock from Chelmsford City and Jay Dowie from Concord Rangers. Former Welling United player DeReece Vandehyde joins from Maidenhead United and Billy Lobjoit switches from the north to south having played for Gainsborough Trinity last season. Meanwhile, former Dartford striker Mikkel Suarez agrees a new contract as well as joint top scorer Anthony Church.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

29 January 2011 – Bishop’s Stortford 0 Dartford 1 – view highlights
Dartford kept another clean sheet and with Charlie Sheringham’s 74th minute goal took home the three points. For the hosts it was their fifth straight defeat in a dreadful run of a fifteen winless games. The Darts hit a purple patch with four successive wins including three clean sheets.

24 August 2010 – Dartford 3 Bishop’s Stortford 0 – view highlights
Newly promoted Dartford took four games to register a first Conference South win and they did it comfortably. Danny Harris scored against his former club minutes before the visitors had a penalty saved by Andrew Young. The lead was doubled prior the break through Charlie Sheringham and Carl Rook wrapped things up with a third.

Next Meetings

Saturday 24 October 2015 at Woodside Park

Saturday 26 March 2016 at Princes Park

Last Ten Yearsbsfc last 10 years

Back to top

Chelmsford City

Founded: 1878 / Ground: Melbourne Stadium

Over the last two seasons Chelmsford City have not reached the levels of expectations set upon them. The 2007/08 Isthmian Premier League champions easily fitted in to a promotion push to non league’s top flight. Four playoff appearances in five years all ended in semi-final disappointment. The Clarets have had to settle for a lowly seventeenth place finish and an improved tenth spot in their last two campaigns. The Essex club have four Southern League titles in their honours list and with a sizeable support the club are waiting for the right ingredients to go beyond the National League South.

ChelmsfordCityFCLast Season

Conference South: 10th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 4th Round

League Top Scorer: Michael Cheek (15 goals)

Average Attendance: 690

The Manager – Mark Hawkes

Vowing to ‘wake a sleeping giant’, Mark Hawkes has ambitions to attract the quality to push Chelmsford City to the next level. The Clarets boss jumped at the chance to manage the Essex club back in November 2013 when he moved up two divisions. Hawkes led Heybridge Swifts to second in the Isthmian Division One which grabbed the attention of Chelmsford City. Since his arrival at Melbourne Park, he has steadied the club after the club’s poor spell under Dean Holdsworth, steering the Clarets away from the relegation zone. Last season Hawkes guided Chelmsford City to a top ten finish in his first full campaign in charge.

The Summer

In April, the Clarets boss stated he needed experience and so the highlight for Chelmsford City fans is the return of midfielder Billy Bricknell, after spells with Ebbsfleet United and Maidstone United. Former loanee and Dartford defender Rory McAuley will add quality to the back four, with Conference Premier experience he spent a month on loan under Hawkes in 2013/14. Ashley Miller comes in from Bishop’s Stortford as Tom Lovelock goes the other way. Ashley Timms signs from Maidenhead United and Charlie Henry from Team Wellington.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

7 April 2012 – Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 0 – view highlights
Dropped points for the Darts put a dent in the Conference South title quest, whilst a point for the Clarets aided their playoff aspirations. The visitors were resilient in defence and when Dartford’s Luke Wilkinson was dismissed in the closing stages a 0-0 draw seemed inevitable.

27 August 2011 – Chelmsford City 0 Dartford 0 – view highlights
The Darts led the Conference South table in its fledgling stages and prior kick off were unbeaten. Whilst the Darts run continued they were knocked off top spot dropping to third. Not for the first time the deadlock wasn’t broken in a match where the defence came out tops.

Next Meetings

Saturday 26 December 2015 at Melbourne Stadium

Saturday 2 January 2016 at Princes Park

Last Ten Years

ccfc last ten years

Back to top

Season Review 2014/2015

1st – Barnet – 92 pointsBFC

Deservedly winning the title on the final day of the season, Barnet become Conference champions for a record third time. Manager, Martin Allen picked up a second league winners medal in three years, having won League Two with Gillingham, and his know how had the Hertfordshire club leading the Conference for the majority of the campaign. An opening day 5-0 win set the tone in a consistent season as the Bees went on to open up a comfortable gap. John Akinde’s 31 goals earned the striker the golden boot award in his first season with the Bees, the striker helped his side top score with 94. A wobble in the New Year and February allowed challengers to claw back the deficit. Having led the way for five months, Barnet were knocked off the top at the start of March. The Bees wasted no time and returned to the summit immediately, an eight match unbeaten run had Allen’s side a point clear entering the final day showdown. Facing Gateshead at home, The Hive was in a celebratory mood as the season closed with a 2-0 victory, stretching the unbeaten run to nine ensuring the Conference title returned to Barnet. The honours board now reads at The Hive, Conference champions 1991, 2005 and 2015.

Did you know…
Barnet had six spells at the top of the table and ended up at the summit 42 times, after completing a match.

2nd – Bristol Rovers – 91 pointsbristol rovers

This season’s playoff winners were officially the most difficult team to beat in the Conference Premier, Bristol Rovers’ extraordinary form from September to the end of the season meant Barnet couldn’t quite shrug them off until the very end. After three games, the Gas were shown that life in non-league wasn’t easy. Relegated from League Two, Bristol Rovers opened their campaign with a draw, defeat to eventual champions and a loss to promoted Altrincham. Darrell Clarke soon pulled his troops together and embarked on a nine game unbeaten run. After defeat at home to Forest Green Rovers, the Gas set a season’s record of a further twenty matches unbeaten and ended eight games without a loss. The best defence in the league kept 22 clean sheets and with summer signing Matty Taylor and Ellis Harrison netting 31 between them, Bristol Rovers were always hot on Barnet’s tails. Going into the final day, Clarke’s men knew they had to win and they did in style with a 7-0 thrashing of Alfreton Town. A 19 match unbeaten away run looks good on paper but too many draws on the road cost Bristol Rovers the title. A playoff semi-final win over Forest Green Rovers meant a Wembley showdown with Grimsby Town. A record playoff final crowd gathered to witness a 1-1 extra time draw but ‘Gas Heads’ went home celebrating with a 5-3 penalty shoot-out victory.

Did you know…
Bristol Rovers hit the woodwork 16 times, the joint highest with Conference Premier champions Barnet

3rd – Grimsby Town – 86 pointsgtfc

Qualifying for the playoffs for a third successive season, Grimsby Town broke their record points haul but went home as bridesmaid’s yet again. The Mariners have come so close in recent years losing two playoff semi finals and a F.A Trophy final. This time Paul Hurst’s side managed to keep in close contact with the top two and were still within a shout of the title going into the last month. Entering April, the Mariners were a point behind leaders Barnet thanks to a run of eight wins from nine, including victory against the champions. As expected and consistent with their last two campaigns, Grimsby Town’s defence was difficult to breach. In attack, Lenell John-Lewis’ 16 goals and Nathan Arnold’s ten assists helped make the Mariners a solid yet productive team. The opening to the season was mixed with three draws against a mixture of opposition but back to back 6-1 and 7-0 wins against Gateshead and Alfreton Town made the Conference sit up and take notice. Indifferent form in very small patches turned out to be the difference as the top two continued to remain ahead of Grimsby Town. The majority of their campaign consisted of strong unbeaten runs and so a playoff spot was well deserved. The Mariners defeated Eastleigh in the semi-final but a fourth Wembley defeat in a row prevented a return to the Football League.

Did you know…
The Mariners recorded the most shots on target with 285, averaging 6.19 per game.

4th – Eastleigh – 82 pointseastleigh

A terrific debut season for the Conference South champions who for a consecutive campaign set the clubs highest ever finish. The backing of Stewart Donald and the management of Richard Hill led the Spitfires to an impressive fourth spot. The Hampshire club bought in a wealth of experience recruiting the likes of Stuart Fleetwood, Jack Midson, James Constable and Crag McAllister. Constable’s 18 strikes continued his prolific record in the Conference Premier. Eastleigh’s attacking prowess, second top scorers in the division coupled with consistently beating teams in the bottom half led to a strong first term at the top of non league. One of many highlights included a 2-1 away win at Bristol Rovers and a new stand opening in December to increase capacity at the Silverlake Stadium. Eastleigh have been a growing club despite nine years in the Conference South, but the move to professional status has taken the Spitfires higher. For a successive season a newly promoted side reached the playoffs and like FC Halifax Town the campaign before it was a step too far. Eastleigh faced third place side Grimsby Town, after a 2-1 loss at home the return leg finished 3-0 to the Mariners, the Spitfires dream of reaching Wembley ended in a 5-1 aggregate defeat.

Did you know…
The offside trap was perfected by Eastleigh when they caught their opponents out 221, more than any other club, a staggering 67 times more than second place Aldershot Town.

5th – Forest Green Rovers – 79 pointsfgrfc

Constantly starting as one of the favourites, Forest Green Rovers finally showed their promise this term. Since the investment of Dale Vince, Rovers have disappointed including three tenth place finishes in a row. This time instead of fading after early promise, the Gloucestershire club ended the campaign strongly. Accumulating the most points in 2015, Rovers broke into the top five over the New Year and their consistency kept them above the playoff line. The first half of the campaign could have been just as impressive had Adrian Pennock’s team converted draws into wins. Jon Parkin’s success up front with 25 goals left him six behind the golden boot winner John Akinde. Capable of putting together strong unbeaten runs, with two sequences lasting ten and 12 games respectively, the Gloucestershire club may have fancied their playoff chances. An array of midfield creativity helped the frontline with Marcus Kelly, Rob Sinclair and Elliot Frear all inside the top ten assist makers. Currently the longest serving Conference Premier club Rovers threatened to depart after 17 years, for the first time in this spell they reached the playoffs. Facing promotion favourites Bristol Rovers, Pennock’s side were unable to make the final as they lost 3-0 on aggregate.

Did you know…
Forest Green Rovers were often caught napping up front being caught offside 135 times, the highest in the division.

6th – Macclesfield Town – 78 pointsmtfc

There is a lot more to be positive about at Moss Rose as the Silkmen narrowly missed out on a playoff place. One more goal on the final day of the season at Torquay United would have been enough as Forest Green Rovers drew, as it was Macclesfield Town could only earn a point. Beneath the end of season disappointment the Cheshire club had less off field speculation about finances than the previous campaign, a manager in John Askey who is a club favourite from his playing days and up until mid-February the title was in reach. The financial situation at Moss Rose had an impact in the end as a small squad ran out of steam, in the final two months won just three from the last eleven fixtures leading to a drop to sixth place. An exemplary home record laid the foundations of a much improved campaign, the best home defence and only two defeats at Moss Rose. The Silkmen got results, even if the fewest number of goals were scored in games featuring Macclesfield Town. Waide Fairhurst and Matthew Barnes-Homer netted 19 between them but other than that their attack was as productive as a mid-table team.

Did you know…
Macclesfield Town recorded their best home record since 1997/1998 when they went unbeaten. This term they picked up 49 points (W14, D7, L2).

7th – Woking – 76 pointswokingfc

This season’s best part time team in the United Kingdom, Woking recorded their highest finish for eighteen years and their biggest Conference Premier points tally since 1996. Garry Hill’s reputation grows as he manages to keep improving Woking’s final league position ever since he took charge in 2011. For part of the campaign it looked as if though the Cards would surprisingly challenge at the very top, they occupied second and third on a number of occasions between September and December. Scott Rendell continued his excellent form in front of goal by netting 24 times, only Jon Parkin and John Akinde scored more. The season started with a nine match unbeaten run, including a 6-1 thrashing of Conference South playoff winners Dover Athletic. Three consecutive defeats weren’t enough to derail the Surrey side as they soon climbed to second. Approaching the New Year became a little sticky with an indifferent November and a run of eight games without victory in December and January. Dropping to eighth, Woking picked themselves up as consistency returned for the remainder of the campaign, nine wins, three draws and three losses for the final run in kept the Cards ahead of the part time pack.

Did you know…
Woking’s 76 points was their highest in the Conference Premier for 19 years, when the Cards finished runners up on 83 points.

8th – Dover Athletic – 68 pointsdover

The Conference South playoff winners will be more than pleased at their first season back at the top of non-league football for twelve years. Yet the hard part is still to come with the dreaded ‘second season syndrome’ approaching, a jinx playoff winners of the Conference South seem to suffer from. For now, the second best team in Kent can reflect on a solid campaign helped by Stefan Payne’s contribution of 15 goals and nine assists. Had anyone mentioned a top ten finish mid-September they would have been classed as mad. Dover Athletic struggled to get to grips with their new surroundings losing eight of their opening eleven matches. The tide turned and the rest of the season was a blast for the newboys. A thirteen match unbeaten run took them through September to the last day of January. Resounding wins at home against Nuneaton Town as well as Kent rivals Welling United and Dartford lifted the Crabble support. A minor blip followed but Chris Kinnear could be excused as he got his side back on track losing just twice in the final eleven. The Whites also managed to enjoy a F.A Cup run to the third round where they bowed out to Premier Leaguers Crystal Palace.

Did you know…
Dover Athletic picked up 31 out of 36 points at the Crabble against teams who finished in the bottom half.

9th – FC Halifax Town – 66 pointsFC Halifax Town

The Shaymen were unable to repeat their excellent season a year ago and so missed out on the playoffs. It started all so well despite the loss of star striker Lee Gregory in the summer to Champions hip side Millwall. The campaign begun with manager Neil Aspin signing a new two year contract, despite having a year to run and in September he was rewarded with Manager of the Month. FC Halifax Town boasted a 100% record after five games and showed no signs of missing a quality striker. The rest of the season played out inconsistently until March when the only consistency was picking up a point. The Shaymen drew nine out of eleven games towards the end of the season ending with a four match losing streak. Lois Maynard managed to find the net eleven times closely followed by Scott Boden on ten. Away from home FC Halifax Town struggled to find goals with only four teams scoring fewer on their travels. However, the back remained tight away from the Shay recording the fourth best defence. Their second term in the Conference Premier was always going to be tough after a superb return last campaign, the Shaymen certainly found that out.

Did you know…
Jamie Jackson’s yellow card against Aldershot Town came after only 26 seconds on the field, the quickest caution of the season.

10th – Gateshead – 66 pointsgfc

Last term the Heed were just one game away from a return to the Football League for the first time in 55 years, this time last season’s playoff runners up only just made the top ten on goals scored. Form against those who finished above them yielded only one victory but the story was so different up to November. Gateshead lost only twice in their opening sixteen matches as they set to challenge for promotion continuing where they left off last campaign. At the start of November, the Heed were second behind Barnet but the distraction of the F.A Cup changed the picture. A run to the third round and a 7-0 defeat against Premier League’s West Bromwich Albion in January came at the end of a period of one win in nine league games. Gary Mills guided the Tynesiders through the rest of the campaign inconsistently but always on the fringes of a playoff spot. When their chance of promotion disappeared they still had a major say in the title race. Gateshead’s final day defeat handed Barnet the title and ended the campaign with one win in nine. With the season closed Mills moved to take the reins at Wrexham, the appointment of a new manager will have to wait until after Chairman Graham Wood leaves his post.

Did you know…
Gateshead managed just one win against teams finishing above them, the Heed also lost to the top five at home.

11th – Wrexham – 66 pointswfc

With a summer of rebuilding, Wrexham were led by Kevin Wilkin who impressed with his spell as Nuneaton Town boss. Wilkin took some key players with him in Louis Moult and Wes York, Moult managed 16 goals in a side which were unable to live up to expectations. The Welsh side completed their seventh campaign in the Conference Premier and after three consecutive playoff failures have struggled to reach those same heights. Still, the Red Dragons improved on last term’s seventeenth but a return to the Football League eludes them. Up until the end of September, Wrexham were in a healthy third position but form dipped for too long, only three more league were recorded from October through to the end of January. The New Year saw an improvement as the Red Dragons were tougher to beat, losing just four more in 2015. Wins were interspersed with draws but even still Wrexham finished fairly strong. The Welsh side performed admirably in both cup competitions reaching the F.A Cup third round, giving Premier League Stoke City a run for their money. Yet Wilkin lost his job when a 2-0 lead was thrown away in the F.A Trophy final to Conference North underdogs North Ferriby United, the 3-2 defeat denied Wrexham any silverware and their second F.A Trophy in three years.

Did you know…
Wrexham ended their campaign with a nine game unbeaten run at the Racecourse Ground, the longest current sequence.

12th – Chester – 63 pointsCFC

When their campaign started Chester must have thought ‘here we go again’. Reprieved last term as Hereford United were demoted for their financial issues, the Blues lost the opening game 5-0 to eventual champions Barnet. By the time April arrived Steve Burr’s side were the most improved team from the Conference Premier class of 2013/2014. Fourth from bottom last season, Chester were twelve points and nine places better off this time. Add a run to the F.A Cup second round which included a 2-1 win at Southend United and a respectable 0-0 draw at Barnsley then Chester took advantage of a second bite of the Conference Premier cherry. The Blues finished just three points behind their rivals Wrexham and recorded their highest league position since forming as Chester. John Rooney topped scored with eleven whilst Sean McConville impressed with nine strikes and eleven assists. Their slow start always had the Cheshire club looking over their shoulder but stability approached in January. The Blues went on a run of taking thirteen out fifteen points giving them a cushion to hit a poor patch, one victory in nine. The final three fixtures boosted Chester’s final position as they took all nine points including an entertaining 5-3 triumph over Nuneaton Town on the final day.

Did you know…
Since reforming in 2010, Chester recorded their highest ever finish to retain their Conference Premier status.

13th – Torquay United – 61 pointstufc

Despite an opening day defeat Torquay United lived up to expectations over the first eleven games reaching second place. Chris Hargreaves ‘ side kept eight clean sheets in that time which contributed to the Gulls six straight victories. A ten match unbeaten run came to halt unexpectedly at bottom of the table AFC Telford United and from then on Torquay United were not quite the same. The Gulls lost five from six and only won five more up to the beginning of April. By which time it was too late leaving Torquay United in a disappointing sixteenth. Hargreaves felt the frustration and revealed the average wage of £375 per week for his first team against Kidderminster Harriers, sparking national headlines. Luke Young’s creativity impressed with his fourteen assists, the joint highest in the division with Eastleigh’s Jai Reason. However, the Gulls lacked a striker to earn them more points. The Devonshire club did finish fairly strong though winning three and drawing one of their final four fixtures conceding just once. Last time Torquay United fell from the Football League it took them two attempts to return, they will have to try once more next term after a disappointing campaign.

Did you know…
Torquay United conceded the most fouls this term by giving away 513 free-kicks, an average of 11.13 per game.

14th – Braintree Town – 59 pointsBTFC

It was the first time in six years that the Iron failed to improve on their league position. In all fairness it was always going to be challenging considering the last four campaigns set new record high finishes. The man instrumental to the success of Braintree Town will not be at the helm next term, Alan Devonshire turned down a new contract offer. The Essex club were consistent throughout 2014/2015 and drew the fewest number of games in the division. The first two months started well and Devonshire’s side looked set to continue where they left off in April 2014. By mid-September the Iron were in seventh but a sticky run of ten without a win, including six games without a goal left them in the bottom half. Winning ways returned more often and apart from two further blips Braintree Town finished where you would expect. The highlight of the season came in March when the part timers went to Plainmoor and convincingly beat Torquay United 5-1, their highest scoring away win since competing in the Conference Premier. Jordan Cox and Dan Sparkes shared the club’s golden boot with ten league goals.

Did you know…
The Iron suffered the most 1-0 defeats in this season’s Conference Premier losing by a single goal ten times, they also recorded the most 2-0 wins with seven.

15th – Lincoln City – 58 pointslcfc

A fourth season completed in the Conference Premier since relegation four years ago, the Imps have made little progress by finishing between fourteenth and seventeenth on each occasion. Lincoln City started the campaign with Gary Simpson in charge and a four game unbeaten run, winning three after drawing their opening game. Six defeats from seven and a whole host of draws slid Simpson’s side down to mid table. Three goals up against Forest Green Rovers on 1 November, the Imps conceded the lead in the final twenty minutes to draw 3-3. The board reviewed the progress made and decided it was time to place Simpson on ‘gardening leave’. Chris Moyses was named the new boss having been promoted from the Lincoln City Centre of Excellence. Moyses remained in charge until the end of the season and initially the appointment looked promising when a run of six wins in seven moved his side up the ladder. Form returned to pre Moyses level as the Imps earned just four more victories in the final nineteen fixtures. Defensively on their travels Lincoln City struggled conceding 43 times, the fourth highest in the division. Ben Tomlinson was one of the bright sparks of the campaign netting 14 times, whilst Jordan Burrow grabbed ten goals.

Did you know…
The Imps were left without their kit when their hotel in Southampton suffered a fire, the incident led to their match at Eastleigh being rescheduled.

16th – Kidderminster Harriers – 57 pointsKHFC

It feels like Kidderminster Harriers missed their chance to return to the Football League two years ago. Taking the title to the final day, the Harriers missed out finishing runners up. The longer the Worcestershire club have spent in the Conference Premier greater off field pressures have caused managers to come and go and now board members. Harriers started off on the front foot unbeaten in their opening seven and perhaps their expectations were raised too high. However, Gary Whild had his team contending for the playoffs even up until January, finishing that month in fifth spot. Two months prior it was announced Kidderminster Harriers were having financial difficulties and when the transfer window opened players moved on. The wage budget was cut and out went Michael Gash, Chey Dunkley, Nathan Blissett, Kyle Storer and Marvin Johnson. Fans favourite, Lee Hughes did return to Aggborough where he started his career over 20 years ago scoring a goal every other game. It was no coincidence that form dipped, Kidderminster Harriers went on to win just once in their final fifteen games picking up eight out of 45 points available. Chairman Kevin Rae quit the club along with two directors and at the end of the campaign Harriers only had five players contracted players for next term, the wage budget is to be cut again.

Did you know…
Kidderminster Harriers recorded their lowest league position since returning to the Conference Premier, the last time they finished lower in the football pyramid was in 1997/98.

17th – Altrincham – 56 pointsaltrincham

A three year absence from the Conference Premier made no difference to Alty who had enough in the tank to take their foot off the gas. In Conference Premier seasons gone by Altrincham have consistently been in the lower reaches of the division, so their final position this term went with historical form. Losing five from their opening six games made safety look a long way off, yet in that spell they took the scalp of playoff winners and runners up Bristol Rovers. By October, Altrincham started to fit in with the division and up until February showed why they were capable of staying up. Damian Reeves brought his Conference North goalscoring form with him by scoring an impressive 18 goals, only three others in the league scored more times than the 29 year old. A decent run of just two defeats from a dozen matches moved the Greater Manchester club towards the middle of the standings. With fifty points reached before the end of March, Alty added seven more against FC Halifax Town, Dartford and Southport. The final four games all ended defeat but by then the mission had already been accomplished. Manager, Lee Sinnott will be pleased with survival and the way his team altered to their new surroundings.

Did you know…
The Conference North playoff winners of last season used the fewest number of players this term, 21 players took part in their first campaign back in the Conference Premier.

18th – Aldershot Town – 53 pointsAldershot Town FC

This time the Shots started on a level playing field compared to last terms ten point deduction. Andy Scott began the campaign in charge but dreadful form in the depths of winter cost Scott his job. The Hampshire club couldn’t find any sort of consistency in the early part of the season, and the reliance on Brett Williams’ goals throughout the campaign continued. The Shots had an awful December and January and during that time lost nine out of ten. Club captain, Chris Barker took the hotseat and the 34 year old guided Aldershot Town to a more comfortable position. When the defender took charge, the Shots were just six points from the drop zone, an unbeaten run of six games helped him secure the role until the end of the season. Barker may well have done a decent enough job but it will be former Dundee and Alloa Athletic boss Barry Smith at the helm next term. Aldershot Town eventually surpassed last season’s points tally by two points, but would have been way off had it not been for the Shots starting 2013/14 with minus ten points. Off the field, Chairman Shahid Azeem seems to have stabilised the club but on the field the Shots failed to make any progress.

Did you know…
Brett Williams took 42 seconds to score after coming off the bench against Alfreton Town, the quickest goal scored by a substitute this season.

19th – Southport – 51 pointssfc

Two excellent runs kept Southport afloat for another campaign in the Conference Premier. This time the Sandgrounders had their fair share of managerial changes bringing instability to Haig Avenue. Even still, Southport waded through and stayed up despite constantly keeping an eye on those trailing closely behind. Martin Foyle was the man responsible for getting the Merseysiders off to a slow start and by October he was sacked following a 5-2 defeat at home to Woking. Three wins in their opening 14 matches left the club third from bottom and in stepped Gary Brabin. The new boss made an immediate impact setting a six game unbeaten run but his tenure was short lived. In January he chose to move to coach at Everton’s academy leaving Southport looking for a third manager of the campaign. Four defeats in a row soon followed making Paul Carden’s task tougher but he pulled his team together in an unbeaten March taking 14 points out of the 18 available. With six games remaining Southport were just three points shy of the 50 point mark but they had to wait to the final match to reach it, the Sandgrounders ended too close to the drop zone for comfort.

Did you know…
Southport collected the most yellow cards picking up 88, Luke George’s 15 cautions was the most by a single player.

20th – Welling United – 45 pointswelling

Two major decisions severely affected Welling United’s return the Conference Premier taking survival down the wire. The Wings participated at the top of non-league for the first time in 14 years and with promising manager Jamie Day in charge, the Conference South champions looked as if though they would ease to safety. All was going to plan until November which saw the loss of Harry Beautyman to Peterborough United then a fortnight later decision one, Day left. Conference South side Ebbsfleet United wanted to flex their financial muscles and picked Day to lead their spending spree, the 35 year old accepted. The second decision came days before Christmas when Welling United gambled on Jody Brown from Grays Athletic. Brown was unable to make a positive impact and one win in nine games made his position shortlived. The Kent club managed to lose nine in a row and so it was up to right back Loui Fazakerley to have a go in the dugout. With the Wings sliding down the ladder fast, Fazakerley managed back to back victories at home to Kidderminster Harriers and Wrexham. The penultimate fixture away to Alfreton Town proved crucial; avoiding defeat would give Welling United an advantage over their opponents going into the final day, a 2-2 draw turned out to be enough, both sides lost on the last day.

Did you know…
The Wings had 12 players red carded in their first Conference Premier campaign since 1999/2000, more than any other club this term. Midfielder, Jake Gallagher saw red three times.

21st – Alfreton Town – 45 pointsatfc

In the end the Reds went down with a whimper, a crushing 7-0 loss a title chasers Bristol Rovers returned Alfreton Town back to the Conference North after a four year spell in the Conference North. The Derbyshire side conceded the most goals shipping in 90 and a goal difference of minus 41 was twenty short of Welling United’s. Nicky Law was always playing catch up not helped by the fact the manager began the campaign with a six match ban. The Reds lost all six of those fixtures and one more on his return to the sideline for good measure. Good results against fellow strugglers Southport, AFC Telford United and Nuneaton Town lifted Alfreton Town out of the drop zone, but this was only temporary. Four more defeats in a row, this time without scoring and a further four successive defeats a month later left them in trouble. Surprisingly, the Reds managed to move out of the bottom four when form picked up in 2015. With only three defeats between January and March, including seven unbeaten gave the Derbyshire a fighting chance of survival. The final five matches were too tough against three of the playoff contenders, the Reds lost three before a damaging 2-2 draw with Welling United, ultimately leading to the final day catastrophe.

Did you know…
Alfreton Town failed to pick up a single point against all top 12 teams on their travels.

22nd – Dartford – 39 pointsdfc

Lightning struck twice for the Darts when they ended up third from bottom for a successive campaign. Last term Hereford United and Salisbury City helped the Darts out leading to the Kent club’s reprieve. Although this time the consequences are far smaller AFC Telford United’s points deduction moved Dartford up one place weeks after the campaign ended. On paper the squad looked in better shape, despite preparing for Conference South football in the summer, but on the field where it matters the Darts were five points shy of last season’s total. In almost a repeat to last term a terrible ten game period was the catalyst to a bottom four finish. In November and December 2013 Dartford went on a ten game losing streak, equally a club record. A year later from November to January the feat was almost repeated; a win at Wrexham in the middle of a poor ten game run prevented the record being equalled again. Against the bottom sides Dartford fared better than the campaign before but an increase in draws and almost as many defeats left the Kent side relegated. Lee Noble impressed and Elliot Bradbrook yet again top scored from midfield. The Darts failed to fire on all cylinders up front with only Nuneaton Town scoring fewer goals.

Did you know…
Dartford may have recorded the fewest attempts on goal with 318 shots, but Ryan Hayes goal after 25 seconds against Kidderminster Harriers was the quickest this season. The midfielder’s  goal was one of three corners he directly scored from this term.

23rd – AFC Telford United – 36 pointsAFCTUFC

In danger of becoming a ‘yo-yo’ club AFC Telford United returned to the Conference North after one season. The Bucks finished bottom two years ago before bouncing back at the first attempt, now the Shropshire club drop a division once more. Liam Watson led the Bucks to the Conference North title a year ago and was rewarded with the chance to keep AFC Telford United in the top non-league division. However, his start failed to take off with the first win coming after 12 games albeit an entertaining 4-3 victory versus Torquay United. The Bucks were rooted to the bottom for the majority of the campaign and by December Watson lost his position as manager with Steve Kittrick taking over. In the second half of the season AFC Telford United did manage to pick up almost twice as many points as the first half. High scoring draws against Nuneaton Town and Eastleigh and a 4-0 win away to Wrexham, showed life in attack. When the goals dried up more defeats followed and despite moving of the foot of the table Kittrick’s team fell through the relegation trapdoor. The current boss will be hoping for a clean slate next term, especially after he went public over players not wishing to play for the club.

Did you know…
AFC Telford United’s home record was the worst in the division; the Bucks also had the worst home defence conceding 44 times.

24th – Nuneaton Town – 36 pointsntfc

An unstable and poor season for Nuneaton Town, who finished the last two seasons in fifteenth and thirteenth. Boro struggled throughout, a stark contrast to last term when they were flirting with the Conference Premier playoffs. A poor start to the campaign cost Brian Read his job in September, the Scotsman was dismissed just seven games into the new season. Boro had only scored twice in that time during a 2-1 home win against newly promoted Altrincham. Former Ebbsfleet United boss Liam Daish took over but failed to make a major impact working with the least prolific attack and a leaky defence. Off the field, Chief Executive Officer and director Ian Neale resigned following his arrest in October which led to a suspended sentence. On the field, when Daish managed to plug the leaky defence Boro went on a seven game unbeaten run during February and March, in that time Nuneaton Town kept six consecutive clean sheets helping them move up to fourth from bottom. Any chances of survival ended when they lost five of their final six games, picking up a point. To make matters worse, three points were deducted for an ineligible player to ensure the wooden spoon for Boro.

Did you know…
The Boro scored just 13 times on their travels and failed to score in 56% of their away games, the worst away attack in the division.

Dartford v Grimsby Town

The Darts face a tough fixture to kick start this month when they prepare for the visit of Grimsby Town this weekend.

Hoping to repeat the upset of last season’s 1-0 win at Princes Park, Dartford go into the Conference Premier fixture having lost just once in their last four outings.

After beating Nuneaton Town from a goal down on the weekend, the Darts were at it again. On Tuesday night they had to come from behind twice at Welling United, who remain unbeaten at home. Tom Bender made his first start for the Darts whilst in form Danny Harris made the first eleven, returning striker Andy Pugh was on the bench and made a late appearance.

An entertaining first half ended level with Welling United taking the lead on six minutes. Ben Jefford’s cross was nudged beyond Jason Brown by Harry Beautyman, but the lead lasted just three minutes. Peter Sweeney scored his first goal for the club and his side’s maiden first half strike of the season. The Wings went ahead once more when Jamal Fyfield headed in Beautyman’s cross to leave the Darts a goal down. Yet again Dartford fought back and a trio of long throw in’s by Mat Mitchel-King put the hosts under pressure, Elliot Bradbrook benefited the most when he hit he’s fourth of the season.

Almost six months have passed since Max Cornhill’s header with fifteen minutes to go gave the Darts a massive three points against the Mariners. A minute before the winning goal Grimsby Town were reduced to ten men when Jamal Fyfield received a second caution. At the time, victory for the Darts put them a point away from safety with four games to go.

In the campaign before, Grimsby Town visited Princes Park twice and went home with fond memories. Jack Evans scored the Darts only goal in the 26th minute following up Nathan Collier’s rebound. Despite working hard, the Darts conceded two late goals. Andy Cook equalised with fifteen minutes to go and full back Aswad Thomas secured an away win, which earned Grimsby Town a playoff spot.

The other result ended 0-0 in the second leg of the F.A Trophy semi-final which was enough to see the Mariners reach Wembley. The 3-0 aggregate win earned Grimsby Town a place in the final which they lost on penalties to Wrexham.

Grimsby Town have finished fourth in the past two seasons losing out in the playoffs, yet again they are pushing for a return to the Football League. Their fifth campaign in the Conference Premier with three consecutive draws with the side taking 254 minutes to score their first goal. Over the Bank Holiday period the Mariners took off in style, a surprise 6-1 away win at Gateshead was followed by  7-0 home win at Blundell Park against Alfreton Town. Since August, Grimsby have won three, lost three and drawn once to leave them in a mid table spot.

On the weekend the Mariners swept Chester aside in a 3-0 victory at home. Shaun Pearson scored from close range and Ross Hannah doubled the lead early in the second half. Hannah then missed a penalty but in the final minute Nathan Arnold made it three having returned from injury. Paul Hurst’s side hosted Southport in the week and went down to a Richard Brodie goal eight minutes from time, the striker grabbed the winner against his former club.

Team News

Lee Noble missed a third successive match through an ankle injury. Andy Pugh returned to action after suffering tendinitis of the Achilles.

Grimsby Town’s Jon-Paul Pittman is still recovering from injury, Nathan Arnold is back in training and Aswad Thomas missed Tuesday’s defeat. Lenell John-Lewis was back in the starting eleven, the striker has scored three this campaign.

Head to Head 

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

Current Form

Dartford (DWLWLD) Grimsby Town (LWWDLL)
Welling United A 2-2 Southport H 0-1
Nuneaton Town A 2-1 Chester H 3-0
Forest Green Rovers H 1-2 Kidderminster Harriers A 1-0
Dover Athletic H 2-1 FC Halifax Town A 1-1
Gateshead A 0-1 Torquay United H 0-2
Eastleigh H 2-2 Lincoln City A 2-3

Last League Meeting at Princes Park

10 April 2014 – Dartford 1 Grimsby Town 0 – Att: 1257

Goalscorer: Cornhill (75)

Dartford Lineup: Julian, Mitchel-King, McAuley, Sterling, Burns, Noble, Stevenson, Swallow, Cornhill, Harris, Suarez (subs used: Collier, Eisa)

Grimsby Town Lineup: McKeown, Doig, Fyfield, McDonald, Walker, Colbeck, Thanoj, McLaughlin, Tounkara, Cook (subs used: Southwell, Winfarrah)

Match Stats

dfc v gtfc

Previous Meetings (* – F.A Trophy semi-final / ** – Friendly)

10.04.2014 Dartford 1 Grimsby Town 0
25.09.2013 Grimsby Town 5 Dartford 2
09.04.2013 Dartford 1 Grimsby Town 2
23.02.2013* Dartford 0 Grimsby Town 0
16.02.2013* Grimsby Town 3 Dartford 0
06.10.2012 Grimsby Town 0 Dartford 2
17.04.1897** Dartford 2 Grimsby Town 3

Stats

13 – After 13 games last season Dartford were in 18th place with one point per game, the same as this term

24 – Only Barnet (31) have scored more goals than Grimsby Town this season

50 – Mat Mitchel-King made his 50th start for the Darts against Nuneaton Town last weekend and if Nathan Collier starts this weekend he’ll join the defender.

70 – Elliot Bradbrook has now scored 70 times for Dartford and is ten behind current top scorer Ryan Hayes

77 – Prior last weekend Grimsby Town had the most shots on target

83 – Minutes Dartford have been in front this season out of 1170 minutes played