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National League South Season Preview 2015/2016 – Part Two

Concord Rangers | Dartford | Eastbourne Borough | Ebbsfleet United

Concord Rangers

Founded: 1967 / Ground: Thames Road

Since the turn of the millennium Concord Rangers have taken off. Starting with the odd piece of silverware in cup competitions, promotions shortly followed. Two Essex Senior League triumphs in five years and promotion to the Isthmian League as runners up, The Beachboys have flown through non league. In the Isthmian Division One North, Concord Rangers finished runners up in their debut season before winning the playoffs. Three years later the Isthmian Premier League playoffs were added to the honours list. Now the Essex club are more than holding their own in the National League South.

concord rangersLast Season

Conference South: 7th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Steve Cawley (11 goals)

Average Attendance: 311

The Manager – Adam Flanagan

Former Dartford defender Adam Flanagan returns to Concord Rangers as manager this time, having had a spell as a player with the club. The 37 year old replaces Danny Cowley and will have big shoes to fill, Cowley guided the Beachboys through the divisions in an eight year spell. Flanagan previously managed Brentwood Town and has had success of his own by winning promotion to the Isthmian Premier League via the playoffs. As a player he captained the Dartford side who clinched the Isthmian Premier League title five years ago, making a total of 145 appearances for the Darts and scoring 14 goals.

The Summer

Dartford links continue with the playing squad and the talk of the summer is where the impressive Alex Woodyard will end up. The former Dart is keen to return to the professional game and was influential last season for the Beachboys. If Woodyard remains at Thames Road he could partner Max Cornhill in the middle of the park, the attacking midfielder was released by Dartford after 68 appearances and nine goals. New contracts have been handed to James White who played 112 times for the Darts, and appeared with Flanagan in the Isthmian Premier League title winning side. Tony Stokes, who was on dual registration at Princes Park back in 2012 has also been secured for another term. In between the sticks Conor Gough will keep guard having signed from Grays Athletic, Tom Stephen comes in from East Thurrock United, Sam Bantwick from Flanagan’s previous side Brentwood Town and Ben Greenhalgh moves from Maidstone United.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

27 January 2009 – Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 3 – view highlights
In the only competitive meeting between the two sides, two Dartford favourites scored the goals to help the Darts progress in the Isthmian League Cup. Brendon Cass followed up his own shot to tuck away a rebound. In the second half, Cody McDonald rounded the goalkeeper then added his second with ease. A well taken volley was merely a consolation for the Beachboys.

Next Meetings

Tuesday 18 August 2015 at Thames Road

Saturday 27 February 2016 at Princes Park

Last Ten Years

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Dartford

Founded: 1888 / Ground: Princes Park

Five years on the rise culminated in their first Conference Premier appearance in 26 years where they stayed for three seasons. The Darts longest spell in the top non league flight came to an end last term with a consecutive bottom four finish, a reprieve the previous campaign was just a stay of execution. Historians will say the club has returned to their normal level, but with a modern eco-friendly ground nine years young, a decent following by National South standards they are looking to build a club sustainable in the National League. Whilst the playing budget may not be at the very top, the Darts will look for the right infrastructure within their means.

DartfordLast Season

Conference Premier: 22nd

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Elliot Bradbrook (8 goals)

Average Attendance: 1112

The Manager – Tony Burman

Three promotions including two titles in a five year spell makes relegation last term a minor wound that Burman will be desperate to patch up. The 57 year old celebrated ten consecutive years at the helm back in January adding to two previous spells managing the Darts, the first featured promotion to the Southern League. The former Dartford striker is top in the all time scoring list with 159 goals and he made 535 appearances, third in the all time appearances list. Signed from Charlton Athletic in 1978, there is no questioning Burman’s loyalty and dedication to the Darts.

The Summer

Normally it’s out with the old and in with the new but this summer the old guard remain. Captain, Elliot Bradbrook had to be persuaded to stay last term due to travelling commitments but this time there was no hesitation in signing a new contract. Ryan Hayes, Lee Noble, Danny Harris, Deren Ibrahim and Lee Burns have all been at the club through the Isthmian and Conference Leagues and continue their stay at Princes Park. So in with the new, George Sykes has been brought in from National League champions Barnet to help Andy Pugh and Tom Bradbrook up front. Yet again Burman has had to rebuild his defence opting to sign ex West Ham United defender Callum McNaughton from National League South champions Bromley, former Hibernian defender Tom Gardiner from Cambridge City and Danny Fitzsimons from Luton Town. Jack Simmons will provide width to the midfield and has moved from Canvey Island. Packed with midfield players already, Barry Cogan is added to the list after signing from Dover Athletic. Mark Onyemah who has impressed over pre season has signed a loan deal from Luton Town.

Last Ten Years

dfc last ten years

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Eastbourne Borough

Founded: 1964 / Ground: Priory Lane

Seven years ago the Sports finished runners up and clinched a Conference Premier place via the playoffs. The club had risen up through the local league as Langney Sports and the Southern League as Eastbourne Borough. The Sussex club spent three seasons in the top flight of non league football and returned to the National League South in 2011. Initially the club found life difficult back in the second tier but over the last three campaigns some stability has returned to Priory Lane. The Sports are one of a number of clubs looking to install a 3G pitch which has approval by the Football Conference.

ebfcLast Season

Conference South: 11th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Gavin McCallum (9 goals)

Average Attendance: 574

The Manager – Tommy Widdrington

An experienced former midfielder Tommy Widdrington had a successful playing career with four promotions and two Football League Trophy triumphs. He moved to non league football ten years ago representing Salisbury City and became player manager in 2009/10. Widdrington had a spell as Southend United assistant manager before being appointed Hemel Hempstead Town’s boss, which lasted four months in the lower region of the Southern Premier League. Since February 2012, the 43 year old has stabilised Eastbourne Borough’s league position and has won the previous two National League South Manager of the Month awards for August.

The Summer

Utility player Nathan Collier moved to Priory Road from Princes Park where he played in a variety of positions. The 28 year old played over 100 times for the Darts scoring six goals. Another former Dart, Jack Evans is at the Sussex club following a move from Sutton United in January. Craig Stone has been around his fair share of Kent clubs featuring for Gillingham, Ebbsfleet United and Maidstone United, the 26 year old has joined from Dover Athletic. A new striking option for the Sports will be Elliot Romain who makes the short journey from local rivals Lewes.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

3 April 2012 – Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1 – view highlights
For the third time in 2011/12 the Darts recorded a singe goal victory over the Sports. The league double against Eastbourne Borough was completed when Elliot Bradbrook scored the decisive goal. Dartford’s  Adam Green missed a first half penalty.

29 November 2011 – Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 1
Another Princes Park win by the same scoreline as three months ago meant the Darts progressed to play Brackley Town. Second half goals from Tom Champion and Danny Harris was enough for the host, striker Carl Rook inevitably scored against his former club to half the scoreline for the visitors.

26 November 2011 – Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 0 – view highlights
A dour F.A Trophy tie almost ended dramatically when Lee Burns had his effort cleared off the line in the final minute. Other than that there was very little to report so the sides battled it out for a place in first round just three days later.

16 August 2011 – Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 1 – view highlights
The first home game of the season for the Darts ended in a second successive victory to maintain a perfect start to the campaign. Charlie Sheringham scored his third in the opening two fixtures and Adam Green made it 2-0. Ethan Strevett’s corner was fumbled into his own net by Dartford goalkeeper Andrew Young in the final minute.

Next Meetings

Tuesday 11 August 2015 at Princes Park

Saturday 20 February 2016 at Priory Lane

Last Ten Years

ebfc last 10 years

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Ebbsfleet United

Founded: 1946 / Ground: Stonebridge Road

Since their name change from Gravesend and Northfleet eight years ago, Ebbsfleet United have really experienced some up and downs. Taken over by a website MyFootballClub caused controversy and that period of the clubs history lasted six years. In that time the Kent club lifted the F.A Trophy, suffered relegation out of the Conference Premier, won the Conference South playoffs then were relegated again. Two years ago, KEH Sports Limited a group of Kuwaiti investors took control of the Fleet. Losing a playoff final to Dover Athletic and an eighth place finish last term, Ebbsfleet United are amongst the favourites this time thanks to Middle Eastern backing.

EUFClogoLast Season

Conference South: 8th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: Quarter Final

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Matthew Godden (15 goals)

Average Attendance: 940

The Manager – Daryl McMahon

A first senior managerial job began for Daryl McMahon in May when he replaced Jamie Day in the dugout. Whilst playing the former academy boss and club captain gained coaching experience at his former clubs. Assistant manager at Boreham Wood and two spells as caretaker manager with the Fleet will stand the former midfielder in good stead. As a player McMahon won the F.A Trophy with Stevenage and made Football League appearances for Leyton Orient, Torquay United, Port Vale and Notts County. In June 2013, he joined Ebbsfleet United and after a brief stint back at Boreham Wood as a player rejoined the Fleet as manager.

The Summer

Last season’s Conference South player of the Year, Jordan Parkes is the biggest signing for the Fleet this summer. McMahon swooped for the man who netted 21 times for Hemel Hempstead Town last term. Goalkeeper Jonathan Miles makes his move from Tottenham Hotspur and has a good chance of being number one with the loan departure of Preston Edwards. Robbie Willmott joins from Newport County and John Paul Kissock from Whitehawk. In to provide cover for the left back spot is Craig Braham-Barrett from relegated Cheltenham Town. Former Darts, Tom Bonner, Kenny Clark and Charlie Sheringham remain at Stonebridge Road and may return to Princes Park as early as Bank Holiday August.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

29 October 2013 – Dartford 1 Ebbsfleet United 0 – view highlights
Once again a spot kick became decisive in this F.A Cup qualifier. Elliot Bradbrook took his chance from 12 yards on his 200th Dartford appearance. The visitors had a penalty of their own which was saved by Alan Julian, Fleet’s Anthony Cook missed.

26 October 2013 – Ebbsfleet United 1 Dartford 1 – view highlights
With a place in the F.A Cup first round up for grabs this local derby took on extra significance. Fleet’s Ben May missed a penalty which proved costly. Lee Noble put the Darts ahead but the sides were forced to meet again when Anthony Cook equalised.

Next Meetings

Monday 31 August 2015 at Princes Park

Monday 28 March 2016 at Stonebridge Road

Last Ten Years

eufc last 10 years

 

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