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National League South Season Preview 2017/18 – Part III

 Gloucester City | Hampton and Richmond Borough | Havant and Waterlooville | Hemel Hempstead Town | Hungerford Town

Gloucester City

Founded: 1883 / Ground: Jubilee Stadium

After eight years in the National North and a decade in exile, Gloucester City made a switch to the National South this summer. Consistent mid-table finishers, the Tigers lost their Meadow Park home during the Gloucestershire floods in 2007. Since then they have shared grounds with Forest Green Rovers, Cirencester Town, Cheltenham Town and this year they are homed at Evesham. In October, the Tigers received full planning permission to build a new stadium from the council and hope to build a new legacy.

Last Season

National North: 10th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Luke Hooper (19 goals)

Average Attendance: 483 (19th in league / 76th in non-league)

The Manager – Tim Harris

Returning to Gloucester City as manager in February 2014, Tim Harris has experience of the National South with Newport County. After a playing career with Shrewsbury Town, Cheltenham Town and Redditch United, Harris has also managed Merthyr Tydfil and Forest Green Rovers. Having experienced both the National North and South, he knows the leagues are equally competitive and his side need to be ready for the new challenge.

The Summer

Will Morford is the man to replace 19 goal striker Luke Hopper, who joined Hungerford Town. Morford will work as a player coach having made the move from Shortwood United. George Forsyth couldn’t break into the Kidderminster Harriers side and will now try to impress for the Tigers. Kieran Parselle joins from Newport County and Alex Harris from Hereford. Over pre-season Edji Mbunga a former Birmingham City youth team forward caught Harris’ eye and has also signed to the club.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 25 / Gloucester City wins: 12 / Draws: 10

Previous Meetings

07.03.1992 Gloucester City 0 Dartford 0
26.10.1991 Dartford 2 Gloucester City 0
16.03.1991 Dartford 2 Gloucester City 1
29.09.1990 Gloucester City 2 Dartford 0
21.04.1990 Dartford 6 Gloucester City 2
20.01.1990 Gloucester City 0 Dartford 4

Next Meetings

Saturday 18 November 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 3 March 2018 at Jubilee Stadium

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Hampton and Richmond Borough

Founded: 1921 / Ground: The Beveree

Last season’s pace setters started the campaign scoring for fun until the Beavers lost influential players. Jamal Lowe and Nicke Kabamba moved to League Two champions Portsmouth in January, Hampton and Richmond Borough finished seventh. The disappointment of missing out on the playoffs was short-lived for the 2015/16 Isthmian Premier champions, with Poole Town and Hungerford Town unable to compete, the Beavers were given a second chance losing to Ebbsfleet United in the semi-final.

Last Season

National South: 7th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Nicke Kabamba (16 goals)

Average Attendance: 636 (7th in league / 54th in non-league)

The Manager – Alan Dowson

Most of Alan Dowson’s managerial career has been with Kingstonian where he won the Isthmian Division One South. A former defender as a player he entered the managerial world with Walton and Hersham. Dowson was appointed boss of the Beavers nearly three years ago and was joined by Martin Tyler, who he worked with at Kingstonian. He led Hampton and Richmond Borough to the Isthmian Premier title just over a year ago and last term helped the club reach the playoffs.

The Summer

A key change took place during the break with Chairman Steve McPherson stepping down and being replaced by former Gateshead Chairman Graham Wood. Former Dartford midfielder Nathan Collier will don the Beavers shirt once more; he will team up with ex Dartford striker Harry Crawford who joins from Welling United. The signing that has Hampton and Richmond Borough fans talking though is Max Kretzchmar, the 23 year old has experience with Wycombe Wanderers and Woking. Ryan Moss comes in from Kingstonian, Charlie Wassmer from National South champions Maidenhead United and Claudiu Vilcu from Wingate and Finchley. Looking for a goalkeeper nearly all summer, Sam Howes finally put pen to paper after his loan spell with the Beavers last term.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

17.04.2017 Dartford 3 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
29.08.2016 Hampton & Richmond Borough 4 Dartford 1
21.01.2012 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 3
20.08.2011 Dartford 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
19.02.2011 Dartford 0 Hampton & Richmond Borough 4
17.08.2010 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 2 September 2017 at The Beveree

Saturday 31 March 2018 at Princes Park

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Havant and Waterlooville

Founded: 1998 / Ground: Westleigh Park

It’s been a roller coaster ride for the Hawks over the last three seasons decided by fine margins. From playoff semi-finalists to unexpected relegation by a single goal, Havant and Waterlooville bounced back by winning the Southern League Premier last term, with help from former Dartford striker Jason Prior who top scored for the Hawks. Havant and Waterlooville have made a swift return to the National South and will be determined to stay up this time round.

Last Season

Southern Premier: 1st

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Jason Prior (17 goals)

Average Attendance: 713 (2nd in league / 45th in non-league)

The Manager – Lee Bradbury

Lee Bradbury is six 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, he has been in charge at Westleigh Park.

The Summer

Havant and Waterlooville have kept much of the squad that competed in the National South last time. Former Dartford loanee Bradley Tarbuck has been retained along with experienced striker James Hayter. As a former forward himself, Bradbury will know the qualities needed to find the net and this summer he’s signed Matt Tubbs from Eastleigh. The 32 year old made his name with Crawley Town after being spotted at Salisbury City. The striker had successful spells with AFC Wimbledon and Portsmouth before moving around the National League over the last eighteen months.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Havant and Waterlooville wins: 3 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

19.03.2016 Havant and Waterlooville 0 Dartford 2
05.12.2015 Dartford 4 Havant and Waterlooville 2
17.03.2012 Dartford 3 Havant and Waterlooville 1
07.01.2012 Havant and Waterlooville 1 Dartford 4
18.04.2011 Havant and Waterlooville 1 Dartford 0
14.08.2010 Dartford 2 Havant and Waterlooville 2

Next Meetings

Saturday 12 August 2017 at Westleigh Park

Saturday 13 January 2018 at Princes Park

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Hemel Hempstead Town

Founded: 1885 / Ground: Vauxhall Road

Entering their third successive season in the National South, the Tudors followed up their impressive debut season with a mid-table finish. A year ago, Hemel Hempstead Town ended their campaign one place outside the playoffs, last time out the Hertfordshire side could only manage twelfth. Towards the final stages of last season Hemel Hempstead Town lost their way and whilst they beat teams at the bottom they struggled against those above them.

Last Season

National South: 12th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Jake Robinson (25 goals)

Average Attendance: 486 (13th in league / 75th in non-league)

The Manager – Dean Brennan

Hemel Hempstead Town were struggling before Dean Brennan’s appointment in May 2012. The Tudors were reprieved from the Southern Premier League two seasons in a row and had not finished higher the fifteenth, in the three campaigns before the Irishman joined the Hertfordshire club. Brennan managed to guide the Tudors to their highest ever position in his first full campaign and had improved on this record ever since. A playoff defeat, a storming Southern Premier League title triumph and an eighth place finish in the National South was bettered by last term’s sixth spot.

The Summer

Dean Brennan is building a squad and must be quietly confident to challenge for the title. Former Dartford striker Charlie Sheringham had a good spell with the Tudors towards the end of last season and he joins permanently to link up with Jordan Parkes again, the pair were together at Ebbsfleet United. Another former Dart, Callum Driver has signed from Maidstone United, the club the Tudors have got Phil Walsh and Laurie Walker from as well. Ismail Yakubu will provide experience after joining from Woking, Tom Hamblin will provide creativity coming in from Wealdstone. The Tudors have also signed Joe Howe from Leatherhead, Taylor Miles from National League champions Lincoln City, Alex Osborn from Whitehawk and David Moyo from Brackley Town. 

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

01.04.2017 Hemel Hempstead Town 2 Dartford 2
12.11.2016 Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 0
17.10.2015 Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 2
08.08.2015 Hemel Hempstead Town 1 Dartford 0
16.09.1972 Hemel Hempstead 2 Dartford 9

Next Meetings

Saturday 26 August 2017 at Vauxhall Road

Saturday 17 March 2018 at Princes Park

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Hungerford Town

Founded: 1886 / Ground: Bulpit Lane

Winners of the Southern Premier League playoffs in 2015/16, the Crusaders had an excellent debut season in the National South last term. The surprise package almost gate crashed the playoffs finishing in sixth, but the Berkshire club took a blow when informed that they couldn’t participate in the end of season lottery. Ground grading was below the required standard and like Poole Town, the Crusaders missed out on buying a ticket.

Last Season

National South: 6th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Runners Up

League Top Scorer: Stefan Brown (11 goals)

Average Attendance: 318 (18th in league / 125th in non-league)

The Manager – Bobby Wilkinson

In his seventh year as Hungerford Town manager, Bobby Wilkinson has taken the Crusaders to the highest level of football they have competed in. Two playoff victories got Hungerford Town to the National South and in their debut season came so close to another playoff spot. Wilkinson’s foundations in the management trade were put down at a young age when injury cut his playing career short. The Crusaders boss coached and gained experience from the likes of Mark McGhee, Brendan Rogers and Brian McDermott whilst at Reading.

The Summer

Bobby Wilkinson feels that his squad doesn’t need much change claiming they are 95% there. His biggest job was to replace Nat Jarvis who joined Bath City and to do that Wilkinson looked towards Luke Hopper, signing him from Gloucester City. Paul Stonehouse also moves to the Crusaders from Slough Town and Callum Willmoth from Newbury. Most recently, central defender Matt Partridge signed from Basingstoke Town

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

14.04.2017 Hungerford Town 2 Dartford 0
27.08.2016 Dartford 2 Hungerford Town 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 5 August 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 9 December 2017 at Bulpit Lane

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