Archives for : May2012

Club by Club: 2011-2012 Review


F.A Cup 4th Qualifying Round County Cup Winners
F.A Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round Top Scorer 19 – Giuseppe Sole

The Cards enjoyed an exceptional season winning the Conference South by nine points. Having gone 17 matches unbeaten from 10 September 2011 to 1 January 2012, including six away wins on the spin many tipped Garry Hill’s side to win the title by early March. However the Surrey club were pushed until the final two weeks of the season.

Woking players celebrate a title winning season

During January and February Woking showed signs of dropping points but then came Giuseppe Sole. The striker netted in the final 12 matches amassing 15 goals, the most prolific spell of any Conference South player this season.

Deservedly the Surrey club lifted the trophy with consistent performances and the best away record, equalling Grays Athletic’s Conference South record of 15 away victories in 2004-05. At home they matched the number of wins whilst having the tightest defence conceding just 18.

Up front Garry Hill’s squad scored 92 goals, 49 as visitors. Four players scored over ten goals with Giuseppe Sole top scoring with 19, Paris Cowan-Hall found the net 14 times, Moses Ademola scored 13 and the experienced Elvis Hammond netted ten.

At the back The Cards kept the most number of clean sheets with 16, nine away from home.  Their efficiency in attack and solidity in defence resulted in the best goal difference of +51 and best away goal difference of +26.

To add to the league title Woking also took home the Surrey Senior Cup defeating Sutton United 3-1 in the final.

Did you know…

Woking scored 17 league goals between 31-45 minutes the most during this period of the game.

The Cards scored 47 first half goals more than any other Conference South club this season.


F.A Cup 3rd Qualifying Round County Cup Runners Up
F.A Trophy Third Round Top Scorer 15 – Danny Harris

Dartford finished nine points behind the league champions but justice was done in the playoffs as the runners up earned promotion. Lee Noble may go down in Dartford history for netting the playoff winner against Welling United but excellent form at Princes Park, where they won 15 games, contributed to their return to the top flight of non-league football for the first time in 26 years.

Elliot Bradbrook lifts the playoff trophy for The Darts

Despite the loss of last season’s top scorer Charlie Sheringham, The Darts did not struggle for goals scoring in 90% of league games and all but one match at home.  Princes Park witnessed 52 goals, the highest home total of this campaign.

Tony Burman’s side ended up the best home team of 2011/12 winning eight in a row from 2 January 2012 to 31 March 2012, the start of that run included three consecutive clean sheets.  At home The Darts had the best goal difference of +33 and conceded the fewest goals (40) home and away.

Danny Harris top scored with 15 and was aided by the midfield support from Captain Elliot Bradbrook who netted 14. Charlie Sheringham managed 11 goals with his replacement Jacob Erskine matching the AFC Bournemouth striker. In the second half of the season loan signings Conor Essam then Luke Wilkinson complimented an ever present Adam Green, Tom Bonner and Lee Burns in defence as Burman tightened his defence.

For all the good work at home, Dartford had the second best away record which the club would have settled for at the start of the season when the playoffs were targeted. Tony Burman’s men accrued nine fewer points than Woking on their travels, those nine points turned out to be crucial.

Did you know…

Dartford scored in 21 consecutive games from 29 August 2012 to 28 January 2012.

The Darts scored 18 goals between 16-30 minutes and 52 second half goals, the most during these periods of the game.

Welling United

F.A Cup 2nd Qualifying Round County Cup Quarter Final
F.A Trophy First Round Top Scorer 16 – Andrew Pugh

Jamie Day has worked wonders against financial difficulties but his side fell short losing the playoff final. Even still The Wings continue to impress on the field and their performances at Park View Road where they went 19 games unbeaten helping the Kent club counteract an inconsistent away record.

Andy Pugh top scored despite leaving the club

Welling United were challenging for automatic promotion during parts of the season and topped the Conference South at the early stages thanks to an opening day draw followed by six consecutive wins.

Andy Pugh left in January and he still finished the clubs top scorer. Although Jamie Day couldn’t find a prolific replacement, Loick Pires waded in with a dozen goals and Luis Cumbers netted 11.

The Wings stopped conceding goals in the second half of the season as they dried up at the other end. From 20 March 2012 to 14 April 2012 Welling did not concede a goal in 533 minutes of football and ended their away form with four clean sheets in a row.

During the whole season at home the Kent club kept the most home clean sheets (8) and conceded the fewest times joint with Woking (18).

Did you know…

The Wings scored 21 goals between 61-75 minutes the most during this period of the game.

Sutton United

F.A Cup 2nd Round County Cup Runners Up
F.A Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round Top Scorer 16 – Craig Watkins

Sutton United can be proud of their first season back in the Conference South. The Surrey club erased memories of their last campaign at this level when they were relegated with just five wins.

The U's take on Nott's County in the F.A Cup

Paul Doswell’s experiences at Eastleigh helped The U’s to promotion last season and a playoff spot this time round. Unfortunately they missed out on a playoff off final showdown when they lost to Welling United 2-1 on aggregate.

Defensively The U’s were as good as any team keeping an impressive 16 clean sheets equal with champions Woking. Like the champion nine of those shut outs happened away from Ganders Green Lane.

Paul Doswell’s side were difficult to beat in general losing just eight times and drawing 14 including 8 on their travels. The U’s played decent football, even when losing Doswell would continue with his philosophy proven by a 5-0 defeat to Woking and 6-1 loss at Dartford.

Sutton United have good foundations to build on next season with reliable striker Craig Watkins and midfielder Harry Beautyman. The Surrey side also reached the second round of the F.A Cup losing to Nott’s County 2-0 and finished runners up in the Surrey Senior Cup.

Did you know…

In their last 42 home league games The U’s have won 29, drawn 10, lost 3, scored 87, conceded 40.

Basingstoke Town

F.A Cup 1st Round County Cup 3rd Round
F.A Trophy 2nd Round Top Scorer 14 – Delano Sam-Yorke

The Stokes gate crashed the playoffs and entered the season finale in their best form. Basingstoke Town were going steady in fifth spot in the opening ten fixtures but their mid-season slump saw them laying in tenth at the start of February.

The Camrose fills up before a Conference South fixture

Frank Gray was sacked by Chairman Rafi Razzak on 20 February 2012 and in came Academy Manager Jason Bristow. The new boss experienced mixed results in his first five games but then everything on the field clicked. Four straight wins either side the loss at home to Woking earned the Hampshire club 24 points from 27 available.

The Stokes made it to the playoffs in the final week of the season. An eighth win in nine against Hampton and Richmond put them ahead of Chelmsford City. On the final day a goalless draw was enough to stave off The Clarets.

Basingstoke Town could not overcome playoff winners Dartford in the semi-final going down 3-1 on aggregate. The Hampshire club did reach the first round of the F.A Cup when they fell to a solitary Brentford goal. All in all, a great season for The Stokes.

Did you know…

The Stoke scored 18 goals between 16-30 minutes the most during this period of the game.

Chelmsford City

F.A Cup 2nd Round County Cup 4th Round
F.A Trophy 1st Round Top Scorer 11 – Dave Rainford

Playoff losers in the past two seasons The Clarets missed out this time round. Chelmsford City are guaranteed to be challenging the top five and will be disappointed not to have finished in the playoffs.

Dave Rainford top scored for The Clarets from midfield

Glenn Pennyfather’s squad excelled away from the Melbourne Stadium and went 14 away matches without defeat, a Conference South record. In addition to this they conceded just 19 times on the road.

At the same time Woking were unbeaten from 10 September 2011 to 1 January 2012 Chelmsford City were also racking up an incredible 17 games without defeat. In fact the Essex club looked a certainty for at least a playoff spot.

The excellent form carried over to the F.A Cup when they reached the second round. Macclesfield Town needed two attempts to knock out The Clarets eventually prevailing in a 1-0 win.

Chelmsford City were a tough nut to crack, not only did they draw the most away games (8), suffer the least away defeats (3), kept the most clean sheets at home (8), they never lost by more than a goal.

The wheels started to fall off at the beginning of 2012 and completely came off by March. Glenn Pennyfather managed just three victories from March in the final dozen fixtures in a disappointing finish.

Did you know…

The Clarets are one of five teams who managed to keep 3 consecutive home clean sheets.

Chelmsford are one of 12 teams who failed to score in 3 consecutive games.

The Clarets scored 19 goals between 0-15 minutes the most during this period of the game.

Dover Athletic

F.A Cup 4th Qualifying Round County Cup Quarter Final
F.A Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round Top Scorer 15 – Billy Bricknell

It is safe to say that Dover Athletic had an inconsistent season which has left supporters slightly frustrated. Martin Hayes was expected to get the Kent club to the playoffs at least.

Ex Dart loanee George Purcell

By September Hayes was gone and Chairman Jim Parmenter appointed Nicky Forster. Although The Whites barely lost games they failed to pick up wins as well. At The Crabble they equalled the Conference South record for most consecutive home draws set by Bognor Regis Town in 2005-06 and Bromley in 2010-11.

In all fairness if Dover converted some of the 15 draws into wins they would have made the top five. The reason the club did not achieve more three point hauls were down to the failure to score at home on nine occasions, including a run of four consecutive games.

Nicky Forster’s side were better away from The Crabble, maybe due to the supporter’s expectations. Only three teams topped Dover’s away record and so they will try again next season.

Did you know…

Billy Bricknell and George Purcell scored 43.5% of Dover’s league goals this season, netting 27 between them.

Boreham Wood

F.A Cup 2nd Qualifying Round County Cup 2nd Round
F.A Trophy 1st Round Top Scorer 12 – David Bryant

Ian Allinson continues to work wonders at the Hertfordshire club. On one of the lowest budgets The Wood rely on loan signings and for the second successive season achieved their highest ever finish.

Ian Allinson

At Meadow Park they guaranteed goals scoring in 20 consecutive home matches, only Havant and Waterlooville on the opening day stopped Boreham Wood.

It took a 3-1 win versus Dartford in October to kick start a floundering start to the season, prior the match they had only recorded two victories. Ian Allinson’s side went on a six match winning streak before showing typical mid-table form.

The Wood ended in a comfortable eighth place but it will be difficult to repeat this season’s success with a small budget and the lowest average attendance of 243, but when has that stopped the Hertfordshire club.

Did you know…

Boreham Wood had 23 different goal scorers, the most by any Conference South club this season.

Tonbridge Angels

F.A Cup 2nd Qualifying Round County Cup Quarter Final
F.A Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round Top Scorer 29 – Frannie Collin

The Angels enjoyed a pleasing debut season in the Conference South having won promotion via the playoffs last season.

Frannie Collin the Conference South's top goal scorer

Tommy Warrilow can thank the scoring prowess of Frannie Collin who ended up with the Conference South golden boot. Collin netted 29 times for the Kent club and was the only Angels player to reach double figures.

The Angels played a more open game at Longmead and at their home ground 75 goals were scored for and against, more than any other venue. The club seemed to be more cautious on their travels picking up 8 draws and only once did they win by more than a goal.

One of Tonbridge’s strengths was to never give up; they scored 24 goals in the final 15 minutes of games. However, The Angels made it difficult for themselves by letting in 20 goals in the opening quarter of an hour of their matches, more than any other Conference South club.

Did you know…

Frannie Collin scored 41.43% of Tonbridge’s goals – the highest ratio by any Conference South player in 2011/12.

Salisbury City

F.A Cup 3rd Round County Cup Finalist – to be played
F.A Trophy 2nd Round Top Scorer 10 – Marvin Williams

Salisbury City also achieved Conference South football via the playoffs but they have far more experience this level. Demoted to the Southern League from the Conference Premier in 2010 the Wiltshire club have started to rebuild.

Salisbury City: Raymond McEnhill Stadium

Darrel Clarke led The Whites to a top ten finish in their first season back at this level closing the season with four straight wins. A poor middle patch of the season between September and February prevented Salisbury pushing for the playoffs but overall a steady league season ensures another crack at step two next campaign.

The Whites had the most average record winning the same amount as losing with a goal difference of +1. To sum 2011-12 they drew five consecutive away games, a Conference South record, amassed the most away draws (8) and the most consecutive draws home and away (4).

In the cups the club performed admirably reaching the second round of the F.A Trophy, the final of the county cup (yet to be played) and impressively mixed with the big boys in the F.A Cup. Arlesey Town were beaten in round one then Grimsby Town were defeated in a dramatic replay ending 3-2. In round three The Whites drew out Sheffield United at Bramall Lane losing 3-1.

Did you know…

Salisbury City will take on Swindon Supermarine in the Wiltshire Premier Shield Final.

Dorchester Town

F.A Cup 2nd Qualifying Round County Cup Winners
F.A Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round Top Scorer 8 – Ashley Nicholls

Dorchester Town finished in their highest position since 2006 which was a brilliant achievement for current boss Alan Knight. The former Portsmouth goalkeeper steered The Magpies to a respectable eleventh.

Alan Knight led The Magpies to cup victory

Former boss Ashley Vickers tenure ended in October and after 15 matches the club were seventeenth and looking set to repeat last season’s relegation battle.

Alan Knight made the squad more solid and after The Magpies drew their first game of the season on match 17, the side kept four straight clean sheets. Away from The Avenue Stadium the defence racked up nine clean sheets.

Down the other end of the field goals were difficult to come by with their top scorer Ashley Nicholls netting just eight. Prior an end of season mini slump Alan Knight was defeated only twice in seventeen. The Magpies did end up with some silverware beating Weymouth 6-2 in the Dorset Senior Cup.

Did you know…

Dorchester Town scored 9 penalties in the Conference South this season, the most goals from the spot this season.


F.A Cup 3rd Qualifying Round County Cup Winners
F.A Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round Top Scorer 10 – Bradley Bubb

After six seasons in the Conference South, The Spitfires went full time in the summer and at the early stages of the season looked like they had made a mistake. The idea was to have younger players on full time contracts so the squad could gel over time.

Bradley Bubb top scored

Eastleigh showed their potential in fits and starts, after three fixtures The Spitfires were bottom but peaked at the end of February as they reached sixth. At home they were excellent until there was nothing to play for, Ian Baird’s squad put in an 11 match unbeaten run to propel the club up the table to finish twelfth, not quite what they hoped for but the squad has time.


The issue facing the Hampshire club is their inability to perform away from the Silverlake Stadium and finish in front of goal. Twice Eastleigh failed to score in an away match in four consecutive attempts. Furthermore they recorded the most blanks in the season (17) with 12 of them on the road.

Did you know…

Eastleigh won the Hampshire County Senior Cup beating AFC Totton 2-0 in a final which trialled goal line technology.

Weston Super-Mare

F.A Cup 4th Qualifying Round County Cup Winners
F.A Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round Top Scorer 15 – Sahr Kabba

Craig Laird showed his faith in his players by keeping most of last season’s squad together. After four years fighting down the wrong end of the table Laird has managed a second mid-table finish in a row.

Nat Pepperall chipped in with ten goals

Stability in Somerset was really achieved in the first half of the season as The Seagulls flirted with the idea of reaching the playoffs. By mid-January Weston Super-Mare hit the heights of sixth place which had supporters dreaming of what could have been.


A run of seven straight defeats which included five blanks in front of goal, a solitary win, then a poor haul of four points from 24 saw The Seagulls slump down the pecking order into thirteenth. A county cup victory put the gloss on a floundering second half of the season but at least all the good work was already completed.

Did you know…

Weston Super Mare beat Clevedon 2-1 in the Somerset Premier Cup to retain their title after defeating Yeovil Town 1-0 last season

Truro City

F.A Cup 3rd Qualifying Round County Cup Quarter Final
F.A Trophy 1st Round Top Scorer 13 – Scott Walker

A testing season for the rise and rise of Truro City because the Conference South has been a baptism of fire after a recording five promotions in six years, to go with a F.A Vase victory in 2007.

Treyew Road: home of Truro City

Manager Lee Hodges has not only had to put up with rumours of Plymouth Argyle’s apparent interest in his Chairman Kevin Heaney but also the clubs legal wrangling over unpaid tax. The rumours were dismissed whilst the tax bill was settled and so a debut season in the Conference South turned out satisfactory.


The White Tigers were quick out of the blocks almost leading the table after three games. Thereafter supporters didn’t know what side would turn up, the team that thrashed Farnborough 8-2 the highest score of the Conference South season or the players that lost 5-2 to Basingstoke Town a fortnight earlier.

One thing for sure is goals were guaranteed when the Cornwall club took to the field. Lee Hodges’ defence conceded 80 times, only Thurrock shipped in more. The White Tigers conceded in 37 matches and whilst they let in goals on 19 occasions on the road they scored in 20 of them, including finding the net in 16 consecutive away games.

This season has left some fans wondering if the club have peaked especially with the off field concerns but at least the supporters have been entertained.

Did you know…

Truro City scored 9 from the penalty spot, the most in the Conference South this season along with Dorchester Town.

The Cornwall side conceded 45 second half goals, the most by any club this season in the league.

Staines Town

F.A Cup 4th Qualifying Round County Cup 2nd Round
F.A Trophy 2nd Round Top Scorer 9 – David Wheeler and Ali Chaaban

Staines Town finished fifteenth for the second year running. Last season they looked comfortable until they ended the campaign with six straight defeats and a final day draw. That type of form continued this season in Steve Cordery’s ninth and final year in charge.

Steve Cordery's final season

The Swans won two of their first 18 fixtures and up until the turn of the year looked certainties for the drop. The Middlesex club failed to keep a clean sheet and in their 23rd game faced high flying Woking. Staines Town caused an upset and won 1-0, two weeks later they repeated the score line at Chelmsford City. Perhaps this gave the squad the belief as points started to add up.


Steve Cordery will not be at Wheatsheaf Park next season, instead The Swans will be under the stewardship of former Wimbledon midfielder Marcus Gayle. Next season they will be hoping for a steadier campaign.

Did you know…

The Swans went 19 games without a home clean sheet and 11 without an away clean sheet.

Staines kept just one clean sheet at Wheatsheaf Park and that was in their penultimate home match.


F.A Cup 2nd Qualifying Round County Cup 2nd Round
F.A Trophy 1st Round Top Scorer 12 – Reece Connolly

For a side that finished sixteenth, The Boro had some ups and downs in the Conference South this season. Another Hampshire club who went full time in the summer hoped to capitalise on last year’s runners up spot and push for the Conference Premier.

Spencer Day stopped the rot

Steve King was replaced by Garry Haylock and whilst the first eight games were steady Farnborough went nine matches without a win including a run of seven straight defeats, five at home as well as two absolute beatings within four days. After losing 8-2 at Truro City they were defeated 5-0 at Havant and Waterlooville, the club looked doomed.


Garry Haylock was sacked and Spencer Day appointed. The new boss recruited from his old club Chertsey Town and within a few weeks turned results around.  A run of six consecutive wins lifted the club up the table then two victories in the last ten saw them drop again. To cap off a topsy-turvy season the club were deducted five points for financial irregularities costing them two places.

Did you know…

The Boro did not manage a single draw at home, only Histon have gone a whole Conference South season without a draw in 2006-07.

Farnborough conceded 18 goals between 32-45 minutes and 45 times in the first half more than any other club.

The Hampshire side lost 12 times at Cherrywood Road the most home defeats in the league by any club.


F.A Cup 1st Round County Cup 2nd Round
F.A Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round Top Scorer 13 – Hakeem Araba

A familiar tale for Bromley occurred when Hayden Bird resigned in the summer. Mark Goldberg returned for a third spell at the Kent club this time coinciding with new Chairman Ashley Reading taking over.

Hayes Lane: Home of Bromley FC

Up until October, The Lillywhites were inconsistent to say the least but eventually consistency settled in albeit the wrong type. Bromley went on a disastrous 14 match streak without victory picking up a meagre five points and so a relegation battle ensued.


At Hayes Lane they drew ten times and kept eight clean sheets, hardly a place if you wanted to see goals, the fewest at any venue this season. However it was their solidity which steered them to safety because from 21 January 2012 they won five, drew nine and lost just three.

The clubs highlight of the season was reaching the F.A Cup first round where they went out at Leyton Orient.

Did you know…

Bromley had the lowest average attendance of 483 out of the Kent clubs.

Eastbourne Borough

F.A Cup 4th Qualifying Round County Cup Semi Final
F.A Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round Top Scorer 11 – Ben Watson

Another club whose inconsistency ran up until October until their form took a turn for the worst. Sitting in mid-table The Sports embarked on a run of one win in 14 up to the end of January.

The Sports finished eighteenth

Garry Hill was sacked and along came former Southampton midfielder Tommy Widdrington. The Sussex club were left repairing a poor first half of the season to avoid a relegation tussle.

With wintry conditions halting much of the football played in February the following month was the most productive points wise. It was this form that kept The Sports from potential drama at the wrong end of the table although they tried their best.


In the final seven games they lost six and failed to score in four of them. Not quite the return to the Conference South expected by Eastbourne Borough fans.

Did you know…

The Sports conceded 18 goals between 45-60 minutes, the most by any club during this period.

Havant and Waterlooville

F.A Cup 3rd Qualifying Round County Cup Semi Final
F.A Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round Top Scorer 13 – Ollie Palmer

Havant and Waterlooville were involved in the most dramatic of endings to a Conference South season to survive on the final day. Entering their final match at home to Staines Town, The Hawks sat above Maidenhead United by a point.

The sun shined on Westleigh Park on the final day

After twenty minutes the Hampshire side looked in severe danger when news filtered through to Westleigh Park that Alex Wall and Reece Tison-Lascaris put Maidenhead two up against Eastleigh. To make matters worse Ali Chaaban scored for Staines Town as well.

Typical of the afternoon Havant and Waterlooville equalised courtesy of Scott Jones but straight from kick off Kyle Vassell had Staines back in front. Afterwards it looked like nothing would go right for Havant and Waterlooville when Christian Nanneti missed a penalty and so as it stood Maidenhead United were in the driving seat.

In the space of two minutes a glimmer of hope shone on Westleigh Park when Ollie Palmer equalised. A minute earlier Eastleigh’s Lee Peacock and pulled a goal back at York Road. Seven goals and a missed penalty in the first half meant the scores were Havant and Waterlooville 2 Staines Town 2 and Maidenhead United 2 Eastleigh 1.

If you thought the first half was enthralling then think again. With half an hour played the tides turned swiftly within four minutes. Eastleigh went in front with goals from Sam Wilson and Mitchell Nelson only for Tison-Lascaris to net one for Maidenhead United two minutes later, Maidenhead were all level but The Hawks were safe.

Incredibly in injury time, Staines Town fans started to taunt their opposition with news of a Paul Semakula goal to put Maidenhead United 4-3 up. The Hawks applied more and more pressure and with the last kick of the season an unlikely winner was struck by Joe Dolan, The Hawks stayed up.

Did you know…

Havant and Waterlooville conceded 18 goals between 45-60 minutes, the most in the Conference South during this period of the match.

Maidenhead United

F.A Cup 1st Round County Cup Semi Final
F.A Trophy 1st Round Top Scorer 10 – Alex Wall

Maidenhead United didn’t start too bad this campaign winning five of their first nine. Then the bad habits come back from last season in an atrocious winter.

The Magpies look down and out

Between mid-September and mid-December The Magpies picked up two points from 36, including a run of seven straight defeats and six consecutive away from home.

At home the Berkshire club had the worst defence conceding 41 times. Although form picked up after the terrible mid-season run Maidenhead United went on to lose one in eight, the final stretch put the club in a precarious position.

The heart-breaking end to the season serves as a warning to the club who were reprieved following the demise of Kettering Town and Darlington in the Conference Premier. They won’t want to go this close to relegation next time.

Did you know…

Maidenhead United went 14 matches without an away draw, the longest sequence in the Conference South this season.

The Magpies also conceded 18 goals between 16-30 minutes and between 61-75 minutes, the most during these periods.

Hampton and Richmond

F.A Cup 2nd Qualifying Round County Cup Winners
F.A Trophy 3rd Round Top Scorer 10 – Dave Tarpey

Hampton and Richmond will be plying their trade in the Isthmian Premier League next season because they never got going this season.

Jacob Erskine: Now at The Darts

The Middlesex outfit spent one week out of the bottom five and that was after the opening day of the season. In fact after 33 of their 42 matches they were in the relegation zone.

It took Hampton and Richmond ten attempts to record their first victory and a lack of fire power hindered their chances of survival. When Jacob Erskine left for playoff winners Dartford the task became harder.

Their downfall was really on their own patch where they won just three matches. Away from The Beveree Stadium an average record of tenth best in the Conference South was not quite enough.

Did you know…

Hampton and Richmond conceded in 37 out of 42 games, the most amount of games conceded in.

The Beavers scored 17 goals between 46-30 minutes, the most by any of the Conference South club this season during this period.


F.A Cup 3rd Qualifying Round County Cup 3rd Round
F.A Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round Top Scorer 10 – Lee Boylan

Thurrock were given a second bite of the cherry when they were reprieved last season and may have been better off in the Isthmian Premier.

Ship Lane will be hosting Isthmian Premier games next season

The Fleet set or equalled three unwanted Conference South records. The Essex club went 16 matches without a win, recorded the fewest number of victories in total and at home. Ship Lane didn’t welcome a triumph for six months going 17 without a win.

At home they failed to score in nine games, suffered 12 loses, scored a meagre 13 goals and had a goal difference of -23. Away, they went 12 without a win, 11 without a clean sheet, suffered 14 loses, netted just 20 times and conceded 40, ending up on a goal difference of -28. All of which were the worst records in the league during the 2011-12 season.

To compound the clubs misery The Fleet failed to score in 17 matches, had the worst attack scoring 33 (the least), conceded 84 (the most) and ended with a goal difference of -51. It’s safe to say that Thurrock didn’t enjoy the Conference South this time round.

Did you know…

Thurrock conceded 18 goals between 16-30 minutes and 22 goals between 76-60 minutes, the most during these periods.


Interview with Tony Burman following the playoff final

Interview with Tony Burman following the club’s 1-0 win over Welling United in the Blue Square Bet South Play-off Final

Congratulations Dartford FC

Dartford reached the pinnacle of non league football for the first time in 26 years with a playoff victory against Welling United.

At a sold out Princes Park fans packed into the stadium an hour before kick off to create a fantastic atmosphere. Flagzilla was given a cameo back and forth across The Academy End as Darts supporters waited in anticipation. Up the other end the 1000 segregated Welling United fans were in great voice, there was no better place to be on Sunday 13 May 2012.

Tony Burman named an unchanged side from the semi-finals for The Darts. Jamie Day selected Lee Clarke who returned from his suspension which kept him out of the second leg, Andy Sambrook was replaced. Dartford had home advantage after securing a runners up spot, The Wings finished third seven points behind.

The Darts started the brighter and pressed the Welling defenders. Danny Harris put pressure on Ben Martin and continued his constant pursuit of lost causes which he had done terrifically all season.

With four minutes on the clock Lee Noble gained possession, attacked the space and sweetly struck a shot from almost 25 yards. The ball rippled the back of Craig Holloway’s net and Princes Park erupted. The tricky winger scored the winner in the semi final first leg from similar distance this time there was no deflection.

Noble showed his tremendous form with excellent deliveries into the box but Welling’s Martin and his central partner Jack Parkinson dealt with the crosses.

Welling United ceased control of possession and settled into the final by passing the ball and using the width. Loick Pires and Jack Obersteller linked up well but Dartford’s Lee Burns admirably defended at right back with the assistance of James Rogers tracking back.

Dartford fans suffered a scare when Luis Cumbers charged down a couple of attempted clearances, with the number 9 clean through referee Paul Rees blew his whistle for handball. Moments later Joe Healy was on the end of a positive Welling move but he could only blast his shot high and wide.

In truth the first half was a tight affair but Noble’s wonderful strike gave the home side a crucial advantage. Forty five minutes away from Conference Premier football the match was still in the balance.

The Darts looked more comfortable after the break and the first chance of the second half fell to Elliot Bradbrook. Dartford’s captain managed to send a header towards a struggling Holloway but the goalkeeper parried the ball to safety.

Bradbrook caused further problems but another header failed to reach Harris who was waiting to pounce and was cleared by Parkinson. Dartford fans continued the amazing support and spurred on their team. Harris and Bradbrook created further chances but the Welling defence were equal to the attacks.

In the final five minutes The Wings tried to save a long season and Pires went down in the box. Wings supporters desperately claimed a penalty, Mr Rees correctly waved play on. The visitors failed to conjure up anything to note with Wells confidently catching anything directed at him in the Dartford goal.

When the fourth official allocated four minutes of injury time The Darts kept the ball in Welling’s half for the majority of the added moments. As the referee moved towards the players tunnel he blew the final whistle. Dartford had done it, a third promotion in six years for Tony Burman, the club, the players and the fans.

What a memorable day.

Dartford v Welling United (Conference South Playoff Final)

Semi Final First Leg | Semi Final Second Leg | Recent Meetings | Season So Far | The Managers | The Players | Statistics | Conference South Playoff History

Dartford will hope to make history on Sunday by returning to the top flight of non league football for the first time since 1986.

The Darts face Kent rivals Welling United at Princes Park after finishing higher up in the Conference South by one position and seven points. Dartford finished runners up whilst The Wings ended up in third place and so the top two playoff teams go head to head.

A huge crowd is expected for the final especially considering the largest attendance at Princes Park this season was when the two sides last met there. The 2559 spectators that turned up that day is also Welling United’s biggest away attendance this season.

After the second leg on Sunday Tony Burman spoke to PURE DFC, he said: “I’m very proud and delighted with the way the team has been consistent all season. This is a good squad of players we’ve got and I think they deserve to be in the playoff final”. He added: “No one can take away that we’ve had a fantastic season and it’s been a pleasure to work with the players”.

Burman will fully focus on the winner takes all match and believes his team is up for the challenge, he commented: “We’ll be ready; our preparations have been excellent for all the games. I’ve got to give Steve (Mosely) and Paul (Sawyer) all the credit for the training sessions and the way we prepare for games, they’ve been an absolute rock for me”, he continued: “I said to the players they have to look forward to days like this and times like this. This is what we want to do, we want to move the club forward and that is what we are trying to do”.

Dartford’s boss will not be underestimating his opponents in the final, he said: “Welling are a decent side, Jamie (Day) has got them playing really well and it’s what happens on the day”.

Semi Final First Leg

Basingstoke Town 0 Dartford 1 – Highlights

In the semi final first leg Dartford defeated fifth place Basingstoke Town but a solitary goal. The first match at The Camrose was controlled by The Darts for the first twenty five minutes. On six minutes, James Rogers hit a volley on the edge of the box which was tipped over by Basingstoke goalkeeper Ashley Bayes. Dartford seemed to be ‘knocking on the door’ until The Stokes Shaun McAuley’s excellent long range effort was superbly saved by Louis Wells mid way through the first half.

Lee Noble scored the decisive goal in the first leg

Dartford had a shaky moment soon after when Tom Champion’s header looped over Wells and just wide of his own goal. Up the other end Danny Harris snapped at a shot which Bayes kept out with his legs and Luke Wilkinson came close to guiding the ball goal-wards on thirty eight minutes. Then on the stroke of half time Basingstoke players called for handball which was turned down by the official but they still had a chance to clear their lines. The Stokes attempted clearance fell to Lee Noble on the edge of the eighteen yard box and he struck a low shot taking a minor deflection into the corner of the goal.

Basingstoke Town dominated the second half and deserved to come away with a draw. Matt Warner hit a speculative effort over from thirty five yards just before the hour, Jay Gasson headed wide on the hour and Wells denied the same player two minutes later. With twenty two minutes left McAuley missed an open goal when Delano Sam-Yorke’s driven cross whizzed past Wells and with three quarters of the goal to aim at McAuley somehow side footed wide. The Stoke continued to pressure but the defiant defence of Dartford held out to take back a 1-0 lead.

Sutton United 1 Welling United 2

Welling United travelled to Ganders Green Lane and also came away with a slender lead. In the opening five minutes Welling’s Luis Cumbers pressured goalkeeper Kevin Scriven who managed to clear his lines. The U’s goalkeeper was kept on his toes by saving a Loick Pires free kick twenty minutes in. Sutton’s Craig Dundas set up Alan Payne who placed his shot wide before the deadlock was finally broken mid way through the first half. Dean Cracknell crossed ball and lurking at the back post was Lee Clarke to nod The Wings in front. A few long range efforts from Sutton United closed the first half with Welling in front.

The U’s put The Wings on the back foot at the start of the second half and Dundas hit a decent shot from distance. On sixty five minutes Sutton’s Michael Boateng tested Craig Holloway who had to tip the ball to safety. The equaliser arrived when Watkins beat Ben Martin and his cross was turned in by Holloway for an own goal. In response to throwing away a goal lead Welling United grabbed a winner after a brilliant bursting run from Pires who centred for Joe Healy to flick the ball home. In injury time Dunda’s almost levelled the tie for a second time but his effort was deflected wide.

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Semi Final Second Leg

Dartford 2 Basingstoke Town 1

The Darts secured a place in the final with an improved performance and an unchanged side from the first leg. Basingstoke Town replaced Jide Ogunbote with Ross Adams who missed the first leg through suspension.

The first major chance came on eighteen minutes when Adams headed straight at Louis Wells. The Darts later won the first corner of the match and Lee Noble’s cross was hacked away towards Danny Harris whose header drifted over. Wells so often called upon in the previous leg saved well from Tim Sills half an hour in. Dartford won a free kick on the edge of the box but Noble’s curling effort sailed over the bar. After Sills headed at Wells again the best opportunity arrived in injury time at the end of the first half. Delano Sam-Yorke pounced on some uncertain defending and clean through on goal he fired into the side netting.

Elliot Bradbrook scores with his head in the second leg

James Rogers looked to have increased Dartford’s aggregate lead five minutes into the second half. Six yards out Rogers swept the ball towards goal but Ashley Bayes pulled off a terrific reaction stop to deny the midfielder. On fifty six minutes another well taken free kick from Noble was met by the head of Elliot Bradbrook which looped into the far corner, Dartford had a two goal advantage. A few more set pieces caused The Stoke problems but from out of nowhere the visitors levelled the score on the night. Sam-Yorke cut the ball back to Shaun McAuley just inside the edge of the box and he smashed the ball beyond Wells.

Five minutes later controversy favoured The Darts when Harris bundled the ball over the line. Noble’s corner wasn’t dealt with by the Stoke’s defence and after Jacob Erskine landed on the ball a goalmouth scrambled ensued. Harris forced the ball over the line much to Basingstoke’s dismay. The away team protested resulting in Bayes and McAuley getting a caution from the official.

Dartford’s opponents pushed for the two goals required to force extra time. Sills dragged a shot wide and Sam-Yorke’s ‘goal’ was flagged offside, the striker was subsequently booked for his protests. Basingstoke hit the crossbar with nine minutes left and from the rebound Ogunbote failed to beat Wells. A minute later all chances of a Basingstoke comeback were dashed when Sam-Yorke’s reckless tackle brought down Adam Green, a straight red challenge was punished with a second yellow card instead and so the striker was dismissed.

Welling United 0 Sutton United 0

Welling United were forced to make one change for the second leg due to Lee Clarke’s suspension. Replacing The Wings scorer in the first leg was Andy Sambrook. Sutton United made three changes with Wayne Shaw in goal for the suspended Kevin Scriven, Romone McCrae replaced Leroy Griffiths and Tony Taggart came in for Stefan Payne.

The Kent side had lost just once at home all season but this did not deter Sutton United. The opening moments of the match was nervy but The U’s created chances, Paul Telfer’s attempted scissor kick flew over and Taggart’s shot was directed straight at Craig Holloway. The Welling United goalkeeper was thanked on twenty five minutes when McCrae squandered a one on one chance which Holloway saved. Craig Watkins had the last of the first half chances but he could not get his shot away with Holloway out of position.

The Wings woke up on fifty two minutes Loui Fazakerley fired wide from the angle and minutes later Luis Cumbers crossed for Loick Pires whose diving header was kept out by Shaw. For the rest of the match Welling suffered a barrage of attacks from Sutton United. Craig Watkins was denied by Holloway who parried the ball and Taggart’s follow up deflected to safety. Substitute and former Dartford striker Bradley Woods-Garness took a pot at goal but failed to score. In injury time The U’s forced corner after corner until Watkins was left unmarked at the back post, his shot agonisingly found the side netting and Welling held on to their 2-1 aggregate lead.

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Recent Meetings

Over the last two seasons Dartford have played Welling United four times in the Conference South. Whilst this season Dartford came out on top, Welling United were the better side in 2010/11.

The last meeting between the two clubs recorded the start of Dartford’s incredible home run in the league. Having failed to win their last two home matches The Darts went into their New Years fixture needing a win to pressure Woking at the top and put some distance between them and The Wings. The match was delayed for fifteen minutes as 2559 fans made their way into Princes Park.

Dartford 1 Welling United 0 – Highlights

Danny Harris flicks in the winner at Princes Park

Welling United deserved to go home with a draw but an outstanding goalkeeping performance from Louis Wells ensured Dartford kept a clean sheet. With little action in the first half the second forty five was more entertaining. Danny Harris blasted his shot over just after the restart before Dean Cracknell hit the crossbar for The Wings.

The away team should have taken the lead when Jack Evans’ shot from long range was stopped by Wells, Ben Martin and Jack Parkinson had attempts cleared off the line before the latter hit the woodwork. Against the run of play Ryan Hayes sent in a corner and a glancing header was flicked in the net by Harris’ head. Dartford defender Tom Bonner had a header cleared off the line by Jack Obersteller and the Welling defender was superbly denied by Wells later on. Pugh had a number of chances to equalise but The Darts came out 1-0 winners.

Welling United 1 Dartford 1 – Highlights

At Park View Road this Boxing Day fixture ended dramatically. Dartford were the better team for the first half hour and had two attempts by Jon Wallis to show for it. On thirty eight minutes full back Matt Jones tripped Loick Pires and Welling won a penalty. Lee Clarke stepped up and the home team went in front.

Louis Wells saves from Lee Clarke to set up a dramatic finish

Elliot Bradbrook headed wide early in the second half and on the hour Joe Healy was sent off reducing The Wings to ten men. Welling created their best chances with a man down, Andrew Pugh curled wide and hit the woodwork whilst Luis Cumbers missed a good chance. In injury time a second penalty was awarded to Welling when the assistant referee flagged for a handball on Tom Bonner. Louis Wells saved Clarke’s spot kick, the Dartford keeper set up a counter attack and Ryan Hayes crossed for Lee Noble to head in a last gasp equaliser.

Dartford 1 Welling United 1 – Highlights

Last season Dartford’s Lee Noble returned back from a loan spell at Concord Rangers and early on he set up Jon Main, his shot was tipped round the post. At the other end Joe Bruce was turned by Andrew Pugh and his curling effort was bravely blocked by Billy Burgess. Former Dart, Jamie Day took a free kick but his effort dipped just over the cross bar.

In the second half, Loui Fazackerley crossed for Liam Bellamy who nodded wide. Elliot Bradbrook dug out an opportunity but his sliced volley scraped the side netting. Then just past the hour The Wings took the advantage. After a number of testing corners they finally made one count when Jack Parkinson headed in from six yards.

With eight minutes remaining Dartford won a free kick way out against the right touchline a good 30 to 35 yards out. Substitute Ryan Hayes struck the ball with power and swerve which beat Tom Lovelock at the near post to level the game.

Welling United 2 Dartford 1 – Highlights

Welling United got the better of Dartford on New Years Day in last season’s match at Park View Road. Lee Clarke opened the goal scoring three minutes before the break and Lee Cumbers made it two with ten minutes played in the second half. Adam Burchell controversially won The Darts a penalty with eight minutes to go which Carl Rook scored from.

A packed terrace watches the action at Park View Road

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Season So Far

Dartford F.C

Dartford set a target of reaching the playoffs and started off the season with a six match unbeaten run. The opener at Weston Super-Mare kicked off the new campaign on the front foot with a 4-0 win. Charlie Sheringham continued where he left off the previous season by netting a brace. The promising start of the season included creditable draws at Dover Athletic and Chelmsford City where The Darts struggled the season before. The first defeat arrived in September when Basingstoke Town won 3-2 at The Camrose.

Jacob Erskine celebrates a hat trick against Boston United

The Darts hit back with four straight wins and ending September joint top with Woking. The next month saw the departure of Charlie Sheringham who joined League One side AFC Bournemouth. Sheringham amassed thirty league goals in his eighteen months at Princes Park. Tony Burman was quick to replace the striker with Hampton and Richmond’s Jacob Erskine.

In October Dartford suffered back to back losses at Boreham Wood and at home to Truro City. The Cornwall side ended Dartford’s 100% home record and were only the first of two teams to win in the league at Princes Park.

Elliot Bradbrook continued to chip in with goals, Erskine opened his account at Thurrock and Adam Green scored in three consecutive matches as Dartford earned three victories and two draws leading up to the important match against Woking. In November Tony Burman signed Louis Wells from Staines Town and Tony Garrod from Farnborough Town to bolster the squad.

Nine points behind league leaders with two games in hand, a win would put Dartford in with a title challenge. However, Woking had other ideas and won 3-2, despite defeat The Darts did not give up and this set the tone of what was to come in the league.

Eventual champions Woking expected the title to be sewn up in early March but Dartford refused to lie down. At the end of 2011, Woking led the Conference South by 12 points with Welling United in second and Dartford back in fourth 17 points adrift.

What happened in 2012 was astonishing, after two last minute equalisers against Dorchester Town and Welling United to close 2011, The Darts went on an excellent run. Another five successive wins started at home versus Welling United followed by goals galore. Havant and Waterlooville and Hampton and Richmond were outplayed on their own patch as Dartford won 4-1 and 3-1 respectively. Staines Town suffered a 4-1 defeat and bottom side Thurrock were on the end of a 6-0 thrashing. In four games Tony Burman’s men scored 17 and conceded just 3. Comfortable in defence, helped by loan signing Connor Essam from Gillingham, Dartford racked up goals with Bradbrook adding six and Danny Harris four in this excellent run.

Luke Wilkinson has been an important loan signing this season

By the time the return fixture with Woking came round in mid February the lead at the top was cut to nine points with Dartford two games behind. A win at the Kingsfield Stadium would pile on the pressure at the top. Welling United were in third three points behind The Darts. Once again, Woking beat The Darts and so hopes of automatic promotion faded but once again Dartford kept going.

Central defender Connor Essam returned to Gillingham before the Woking match and after the game Burman signed Dagenham and Redbridge’s Luke Wilkinson on loan to replace him. Dartford won six of their next seven sweeping aside Basingstoke Town 4-1, Farnborough Town 3-0 and in their performance of the season defeated playoff contenders Sutton United 6-1. Only Maidenhead United took points off The Darts.

On 24 March the top two sides were beaten, Dartford lost to Dorchester Town which ended a seven game unbeaten run. Woking lost to Eastbourne Borough. With time running out Woking found form and goals and despite another run of seven games without defeat The Darts ended nine points short finishing on 88.

Dartford’s home form kept the title race alive until two weeks of the season to go. The Darts ended up with the best home record beating Woking on goal difference and Welling United by a point. No one defeated Dartford in the league at Princes Park in 2012.

Welling United F.C

Welling United went one game further to start their campaign scoring twenty times and beating Woking on the way in a seven match unbeaten run. The Wings led the table until 18 September 2011 but never returned to the summit. Dorchester Town were the first team to defeat Welling and two wins in seven left Welling in fourth but still three points off the top by October.

Form picked up again and Jamie Day’s side won five of the next six with Tonbridge Angels sharing a point. Only once did Welling win by more than a two goal margin but this just showed the resolve of the team. Hampton and Richmond were defeated 2-1, Truro City lost 3-2 and Salisbury City beaten 4-3 thanks to a last minute winner by Loick Pires.

Andy Pugh ended up top scorer for The Wings despite his move in January

From December onwards Welling United couldn’t put a winning run together stretching to just three on the spin during March. One point from nine over the festive period against playoff rivals, a loss at Sutton United and a draw and defeat against Dartford, left The Wings 12 points behind top spot in the New Year.

Although difficult to beat The Wings relied heavily on excellent home form where they were within two games from remaining unbeaten all season. January included a 5-1 victory versus Truro City but mixed results left the side comfortable in the top five. In the last seventeen fixtures Welling were only to lose three more times winning ten and drawing four.

For all the goals The Wings scored at the beginning of the season they have dried up since the departure of top scorer Andrew Pugh back in January 2012. However it is now at the other end Jamie Day’s are excelling conceding two in their final eight games, keeping a league seasons best five consecutive clean sheets between 20 March 2012 and 9 April 2012. Welling United finished third, seven points behind Dartford in a creditable season.

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The Managers

Tony Burman – Dartford FC

Since the club returned home in 2006 Tony Burman has brought success off the field managing The Darts to two promotions as champions and a county cup over the last five years. This is now Burman’s second spell as a permanent manager but he has also stood in as a caretaker boss when needed.

Tony Burman in his second spell as permanent manager

When Dartford reformed in 1993 the former striker was appointed boss asThe Darts had to rebuild from the Kent League. In only his second season in charge he led the side to a runners up spot losing out on goal difference, tasting defeat in the league just once.

Despite league disappointment he won the Kent Senior Trophy beating Chatham Town 3-0 and promotion to the Southern League East. Due to work commitments Burman resigned from the club handing over the managers job to Gary Julians.

In 2001, Burman returned as manager after Dartford parted company with Julians but only as a caretaker. Tommy Sampson was finally appointed and remained in charge until January 2005. In came Burman again as ‘caretaker manager’ but he went permanent for his second spell in charge.

Burman’s second spell has seen Dartford return home in 2006, win the Isthmian League North in 2008 and the Isthmian Premier League two years later.

Last season The Darts reached the first round of the F.A Cup for the first time since 1989, won the Kent Senior Cup and finished a respectable tenth in the Conference South.

This season, Burman has led The Darts to a runner up spot, a playoff final appearance and almost retained the county cup losing out to Hythe Town.

The Dartford manager also boasts an excellent goalscoring record for Dartford when he played up front for the club between 1981 and 1987. Burman was the club’s top scorer six seasons in a row, still a club record.

Jamie Day – Welling United FC

Jamie Day during his spell with The Darts

Former Dartford midfielder is new to management and has done an excellent job for Welling United. He rejoined The Wings from Dartford to take up the player manager position.

In November 2009 he rejoined Welling United and guided them to seventh place and ninth the following season.

Last season Day kept Welling United in playoff contention all season but with two games to go they dropped out the top five.

This season is Day’s best finish as player manager in which he has weighed in with five goals of his own.

Formerly an Arsenal trainee and AFC Bournemouth player he was signed by The Wings in 2004 after spells at Dover Athletic and Crawley Town. In a three year spell as a player he played eighty nine times for Welling United scoring twelve. Day went on to join Grays Athletic in 2008 two years before they resigned from the Conference Premier.

At Dartford he made fifty five appearances between 2008 and 2009 starting ten of the first eleven league games in Dartford’s Isthmian Premier League title season.

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The Players

Dartford F.C

Tony Burman named an unchanged side in the second leg and it was the same team that started eight of the last ten league fixtures. As second place had been sewn up the matches at Sutton United and Boreham Wood gave other players a run out.

Louis Wells will be expected to start between the sticks and over the two legs against Basingstoke Town he played a key role in Dartford reaching the final.

At full back on the right Lee Burns has stepped in since the injury to Matt Jones who is now available for selection. Burns started as a striker and was Dartford’s top scorer with twenty two goals when The Darts won the Isthmian Premier League, his versatility means he is comfortable going forward too. On the other side Adam Green has been ever present in the Conference South this season and is the only Dartford player to have featured in every league game. Powerful at set pieces and penalty taker he has scored seven in the league.

The centre back pairing of Tom Bonner and loanee Luke Wilkinson has blossomed. They have played 16 times together in the Conference South (including playoffs) and during that spell have kept seven clean sheets. Bonner was recognised by his peers just losing out in the Player’s Player of the Year and Wilkinson has been a threat at set pieces netting four league goals.

Team photo from the start of the 2011/2012 season. Louis Wells, Jacob Erskine and Luke Wilkinson joined the squad later

Dartford have options out wide with Lee Noble who has kept the loyal Ryan Hayes out the side and James Rogers who has been reliable since signing from Dover Athletic last season. Noble became the first player to retain The Leach/Towersey Memorial Shield winning the most man of the matches voted by members of the PURE DFC forum. As back up Ryan Hayes has excelled in Kent derbies and can be a threat from off the bench.

In the centre of midfield captain Elliot Bradbrook has had his best season with The Darts so far. The Player’s Player of the Year scored the opener in the second leg to add to his fourteen league goals. Tom Champion takes the more defensive role of the two and is always looking to bring the ball down. He has moved into centre midfield since the injury to playmaker Jon Wallis.

Up front a combination of power and pace has worked well for The Darts. Jacob Erskine signed a day after the departure of then top scorer Charlie Sheringham. Erskine on his day can be excellent which he showed with his hat trick in the F.A Trophy against Boston United. In the league he netted eleven in twenty nine appearances and that excludes three goals he scored for Hampton and Richmond earlier in the season. The pace comes from Danny Harris the winner of the John Stevens Memorial Player of the Year voted by the fans. Harris had to bide his time on the bench in the earlier months of the season but has taken his chances literally, top scoring for The Darts with fifteen league goals.

Welling United F.C

The Wings have experience between the posts in Craig Holloway who has played for a host of Conference South clubs. Welling’s number one also played in the Kent Senior Cup Final last season for Bromley which Dartford won 4-1.

At full back on the left Jack Obersteller has been starting regularly and was one of Jamie Day’s first signings. The other full back position has been shared amongst a few players but recently Loui Fazakerley has played there despite having experience as a right midfielder. Adam Sambrook has also had a go at right back and is equally comfortable in the centre.

In the middle of defence is former St Albans City centre back Ben Martin who has made an impression at Park View Road. Usually he is partnered by Anthony Acheampong who took a while to break in to the first team squad due to injuries.

Welling United line up for this seasons team photo

In midfield The Wings have versatility, Scott Kinch was signed form Tonbridge Angels after being released by the club. Kinch played against The Darts back in September and was on the receiving end of a 3-1 defeat. Dean Cracknell is in his second spell at Welling United after returning from Thurrock and is a tough tackling midfielder.

Jamie Day can count on Jack Parkinson and Lee Clarke to score goals and support the forwards. Captain, Parkinson has netted nine times in the league this season trebling his total from last season. Clarke was suspended for the second leg on Sunday but will be a threat if selected. He has scored eight league goals to add to the fifteen from last season and became The Wings top scorer in the Conference South on forty two goals in total. Day can also call upon Joe Healy for width and a good work ethic.

Loick Pires is a pacey and skilful and caused Dartford trouble at Park View Road in December. Out of the players still at the club he has top scored for The Wings this season with a dozen goals. Louis Cumbers has scored one less goal than Pires and last season netted fourteen times so can be dangerous around in the box.

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Dartford lead the head to head record against Welling United over the twenty six previous meetings. The Darts have a superior home record with the away matches evening out.

Played Won Drawn Lost For Against
Total 26 13 5 8 41 33
Home 12 7 3 2 17 12
Away 14 6 2 6 23 21

The Darts never dropped out of the top four all season and neither did Welling United once they got into the playoff spots early doors. In total the two clubs spent a combined eight matches at the summit with The Wings holding the lead for longer.

Both sides have set season records in 2011/2012 with Dartford scoring in the most amount of games including scoring in twenty one consecutive matches from 21 August 2011 to 28 January 2012. Welling United won the most matches in a row, joint with Boreham Wood and Farnborough. Here is a comparison of Dartford and Welling’s longest sequences home and away.

In all league games 2011/2012



Consecutive Wins



Consecutive Draws



Consecutive Defeats



Consecutive Clean Sheets



Number of Clean Sheets



Consecutive Scoring



Scored in a Game



Consecutive Blanks



Number of Blanks



Without a Win



Without a Draw



Without a Defeat



Consecutive Without Clean Sheets



Games Without Clean Sheet



Dartford have home advantage in the final and set a season’s best of eight consecutive home wins from 2 January 2012 to 31 March 2012, a run which started against Welling United. Only Chelmsford City stopped The Darts from scoring at Princes Park in the league meaning they scored at home in the most amount of matches. Welling United set a record recently with four consecutive away clean sheets all in their final four away fixtures of the season. Here is a comparison of Dartford’s longest sequences at home versus Welling United’s away.

Home vs Away 2011/2012



Consecutive Wins



Consecutive Draws



Consecutive Defeats



Consecutive Clean Sheets



Number of Clean Sheets



Consecutive Scoring



Scored in a Game



Consecutive Blanks



Number of Blanks



Without a Win



Without a Draw



Without a Defeat



Consecutive Without Clean Sheets



Games Without Clean Sheet



In the Conference South this season both sides have scored one hundred and sixty eight goals between them. Whilst The Darts are most productive in the final fifteen minutes scoring twenty three and conceding just six, The Wings have their best spells in the fifteen minutes before scoring twenty one and conceding just the once.

Goal Timings

DFC For WUFC For DFC Against

WUFC Against


9 13 12



18 12 7



10 13 4


First Half

37 38 23



16 9 5



13 21 6



23 11 6


Second Half

52 41 17



89 79 40


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Conference South Playoff History

When the Conference South was formed in 2004 the playoff final was contested between a Conference South club and a Conference North club. Since 2006 a club from each league earned a place in the Conference Premier via the playoffs.

No team has finished 5th and been promoted. Eastbourne Borough were the closest winning the Conference South Playoff Final but lost in the South versus North Playoff showdown in 2005. Twice has fourth place achieved promotion, Ebbsfleet United are the only third place team to win the final and three runners up teams have gone up after playoff victories. A one goal margin has been enough on three occasions and a two goal margin twice.

Since 2006 three of the promoted teams won both legs of their semi-finals, here is how the playoffs have been played out over the last five seasons.

2010-2011 – Ebbsfleet United defeated Chelmsford City in the semi final 4-1 and 2-1 before overcoming Farnborough in an exciting 4-2 triumph. The Fleet were without a win in the last three league fixtures winning just four of their last ten.

2009-2010 – Bath City denied Chelmsford City a place in the final by winning 3-0 on aggregate. The Romans became the second team to not concede a goal in the playoffs winning the final 1-0 versus Woking. Like Ebbsfleet they went three without a win at the end of the league campaign.

2008-2009 – Hayes and Yeading are the only side to bounce back from a first leg deficit. After a 4-2 defeat to Eastleigh at home they won 4-0 in the away leg. In the final they beat the unfortunate Hampton and Richmond 3-2. Hayes and Yeading were unbeaten in their last fifteen league games are were the form team winning 10 in a row in that run, a Conference South record shared with Weymouth.

2007-2008 – Eastbourne Borough are the only club to have won the Conference South playoff twice. Only the first time they lost out in a North versus South Playoff. The Sports beat Braintree Town 5-0 on aggregate and Hampton and Richmond in the final 2-0.

2006-2007 – Salisbury City are the only side to have drawn in the semi-finals and gone on to win the final. The Wiltshire club drew 1-1 with Bishop’s Stortford before knocking them out with a 3-1 triumph. The Whites then went on to beat Braintree Town 1-0 in the final.

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* Pictures courtesy of Dave Adkins. Goal timings taken from Team photo’s taken from and

Interview following Play Off 2nd leg

Interview with Tony Burman following the 2-1 victory over Basingstoke Town in the second leg of the Blue Square Bet South playoff semi finals.

Conference South Playoff Previews

Dartford v Basingstoke Town (1-0 on aggregate)

Dartford take a slender lead going into Sunday’s Conference South Playoff Second Leg at Princes Park.

On Wednesday night Lee Noble’s fine strike on the stroke of half time ensured The Darts gained what could be a crucial advantage.

Danny Harris celebrates his hat trick goal in February

James Rogers had a shot tipped over by the experienced Ashley Bayes and the Basingstoke Town goalkeeper also denied Danny Harris from close range. Louis Wells pulled off a stunning save to keep the scores level until Noble put The Darts in front with an excellent drilled shot from the edge of the box.

Basingstoke Town controlled the second half and a resilient display from Dartford’s defence ensured they went home with a clean sheet. Wells continued to make important saves and after a number of goal line clearances by The Darts, Basingstoke’s Shaun McAuley missed an open goal. The Darts managed to hold on and will hope to make home advantage in the second leg on Sunday count.

Tony Burman spoke to PURE DFC after the first leg, he said: “You want to get something from the away game whether it’s a draw or a win. We’ve managed to win the game”, he added: “I thought we were organised and I felt the players did excellent. We know it’s half time and it’s not done by a long way”.

Earlier in the season Danny Harris put in a fantastic performance netting a hat trick in a win 4-1.  Harris opened the scoring two minutes before the break with a great finish drilled low into the net. In the second half The Darts upped their game and Harris doubled his goal tally for the night by following up Tom Champion’s header with one of his own. Three minutes later a Basingstoke Town free kick was bundled over the line by Stuart Lake to half the deficit. With twelve minutes remaining substitute Tony Garrod sealed the match thanks to some hard work from Harris. The icing was on the cake nine minutes from time when Harris completed a hat trick with a curling effort into the bottom corner.

Dartford also won the meeting at Princes Park last season when a calamitous own goal by Callum Reynolds separated the two sides. After Lee Noble’s deflected shot hit the cross bar the ball hit Reynolds on the way down and over the line.

The Darts will be hoping to add to their home successes in 2012 and progress to the final which will be staged on their own turf.

Did you know…

Dartford finished the season with the best home record in the Conference South amassing 49 points the same as Woking. The Darts finished with a better goal difference of +33 to Woking’s +25

The Darts recorded 8 consecutive home wins from 2 January 2012 to 31 March 2012 the best home run by any Conference South club this season, In 2012 they only dropped four points at Princes Park when they drew their last two home matches

Basingstoke Town are currently on their best league run away from The Camrose. The Dragons are unbeaten in six having won five and drawing the final game of the season which clinched a playoff spot.

The Dragons suffered the heaviest away defeat of the season when they last played Dartford at Princes Park on 27 February 2012

Welling United v Sutton United (2-1 on aggregate)

Welling United also won there away fixture on Wednesday night to take a goal lead into the second leg.

Lee Clarke will miss the second leg through suspension but he made amends with the opening goal after 24 minutes. Dean Cracknell’s cross was finished by Clarke’s diving header to give The Wings the lead.

Sutton United levelled in the second half after 66 minutes when The U’s top scorer Craig Watkins sent in a cross which deflected and wrong footed goalkeeper Craig Holloway.

The Wings grabbed a winner just four minutes later when tricky Loick Pires picked out Joe Healy who flicked the ball beyond Kevin Scriven to make it 2-1.

Jamie Day knows his side still has a job to do and urges his side to finish off the job. The player manager hopes to guide The Wings to the top flight of non league football for the first time since 1999/2000.

Paul Doswell hopes his side overturns a 2-1 deficit

Sutton United manager Paul Doswell believes the first goal is important and his side is still in with a chance. The U’s manager aims for the same approach as Wednesday and does not want to ‘go gung-ho’ from the start.

Last time the two sides met at Park View Road the fixture ended 0-0.  The Wings will be encouraged by almost going unbeaten at home for the entire season. The only league defeat suffered happened three weeks ago when Eastleigh got the better of Welling United. The U’s have had a patchy season away from home and since the turn of the year they have scored just nine times on the road winning on three occasions.

Did you know…

Welling United went an incredible 19 games without defeat at home this season and ended up with the third best home record. The Wings were two games away before their only defeat from going unbeaten all season at home. Only Newport County AFC managed to go unbeaten at home in the Conference South in 2009/10.

On two occasions Sutton United managed three consecutive clean sheets on the road in the league. Only Boreham Wood went longer without conceding an away goal.

The U’s lost their final away fixture but have not been defeated in successive away league games this season.

Stats and Trends – 6th May 2012

Matches on this day…

1922 (H) Northfleet United; D2-2
1935 (H) Northfleet United; W3-1 (Kent Senior Shield Final)
1939: (A) Aldershot Reserves; L0-7
1950: (H) Worcester City; W2-1
1961: (A) Yeovil Town; D0-0
1966: (A) Yeovil Town; D1-1
1967: (A) Stevenage Borough; L0-3
1968: (H) Deal Town; D1-1
1989: (H) Fareham Town; W3-0
1995: (A) Ramsgate; L1-2
2000: (H) Raunds Town; W2-0

Against our visitors – last five matches

01/03/2011 – Home – Won 1-0
12/03/2011 – Away – Drew 2-2
03/09/2011 – Away – Lost 2-3
27/02/2012 – Home – Won 4-1
02/05/2012 – Away – Won 1-0

Records v Basingstoke Town
Played 15, Won 8, Drawn 3, Lost 4, For 29, Against 16


Post match interview following Play Off 1st Leg

Interview with Tony Burman following the 1-0 victory over Basingstoke Town in the first leg of the Blue Square Bet South playoff semi finals. Interview conducted by Peter Guise of BBC Radio Kent

Stats and Trends – 2nd May 2012

1923: (A) RMLI (Chatham); W2-1
1925: (H) Sheppey United; W4-0 (Kent League Cup Final)
1931: (H) Norwich City Reserves; W7-0
1932: (H) Queens Park Rangers; W3-0 (Friendly, Doug Thomson Benefit match)
1934: (A) Folkestone; L2-3 (Kent Senior Shield Final)
1936: (A) Margate; D2-2
1939: (H) Colchester United; D2-2
1953: (A) Chelmsford City; L1-3
1956: (A) Barry Town; L1-3
1962: (A) Tunbridge Wells United; W2-0
1977: (H) Hillingdon Borough; W2-0
1978: (A) Atherstone Town; D1-1
1981: (H) Bognor Regis Town; D1-1
1982: (A) Runcorn; L2-4
1983: (H) Stourbridge; W1-0
1987: (A) Salisbury City; W2-1
1988: (H) Fareham Town; W2-0
1990: (A) VS Rugby; W1-0 (Southern League Cup Final 2nd Leg)
1992: (H) Cambridge City; D2-2
1996: (A) Furness; D1-1
1998: (H) Witney Town; W2-0
2001: (H) Wisbech Town; W3-2
2011: (N) Bromley; W4-1 (Kent Senior Cup Final, played at Princes Park, Dartford)