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National League South Season Preview 2018/2019 – Part Four

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

Truro City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Plainmoor

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

Last Season

National South: 7th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Cody Cooke (13 goals)

Average Attendance: 469 (15th in National South)

The Manager – Lee Hodges

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 27 October 2018 at Treyew Road

Saturday 30 March 2019 at Princes Park

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Wealdstone

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Vale Stadium

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

Last Season

National South: 11th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: Semi-Final

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: David Pratt (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 880 (3rd in National South)

The Manager – Bobby Wilkinson

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 18 March 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 5 January 2019 at Vale Stadium

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Welling United

Founded: 1963 / Ground: Park View Road

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

Last Season

National South: 10th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Bradley Goldberg (10 goals)

Average Attendance: 541 (10th in National South)

The Manager – Steve King

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Wednesday 26 December 2018 at Park View Road

Tuesday 1 January 2019 at Princes Park

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Weston-super-Mare

Founded: 1887 / Ground: Woodspring Stadium

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

Last Season

National South: 12th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Gethyn Hill (19 goals)

Average Attendance: 492 (14th in National South)

The Manager – Marc McGregor

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 29 September 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 6 April 2019 at Woodspirng Stadium

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Woking

Founded: 1945 / Ground: Enclosed Ground

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

Last Season

National League: 21st

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Charlie Carter (12 goals)

Average Attendance: 2024 (8th in National League)

The Manager – Alan Dowson

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 1 December 2018 at Kingsfield

Saturday 23 February 2019 at Princes Park

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