Rss

National South Season Preview Part Two

Concord Rangers

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P46 W13 D12 L21 Pts51 (PPG 1.11) – Ranking 17th

F.A Cup: 1st Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

If one club can be excused for being distracted last season, then it’s Concord Rangers. A highlight of last season was the Beachboys’ overdue visit to Wembley. The Essex club reached the F.A Trophy final during the 2019/2020 campaign and had to wait until 2021 to play in the showpiece. Concord Rangers gave a great account of themselves losing 1-0 to Harrogate Town, who had already become a Football League side. A proud moment for a team who have been in relegation battles in four of the last five years. The only exception was when they were denied a playoff spot despite finishing sixth in 2018/2019.

Manager: Chris Search

Promoted from within after a successful four years with the Concord Rangers under 18’s side, Search has a wealth of experience how the club works. It’s a familiar tale at Thames Road where they have looked towards the talent already at the club. Search has already mentioned his ambition of following in the footsteps of two former managers, Danny Cowley who propelled the Essex Club into the National South and is now respected in the Football League and Danny Scopes who to the Beachboys to Wembley in the F.A Trophy. Search knows the step up is big, but he wants to prove doubters wrong.

Summer

The biggest surprise of the summer was the news that Ant Smith decided to stand down as chairman of the club. Yet that was not all, also departing after leading the Beachboys to the F.A Trophy final is manager Danny Scopes, assistant manager Lee Minshull and Head of Recruitment Adam Drew. So a backroom staff overhaul means Chris Search was named as the new boss and Danny Green his number two. Former Dart, Billy Roast agreed to stay on for a fourth season, but several other former Dartford players have now left Concord Rangers, Alex Wall moves to Havant and Waterlooville, Tyrone Sterling to Dulwich Hamlet and Sam Blackman to Margate. Goalkeeper, Chris Haigh also leaves for Kent to join Ebbsfleet United. Meanwhile, Ryan Blackman signs for Concord Rangers from Welling united, Joe Payne signs on after impressing in the F.A Trophy final and Ollie Kensdale arrives from Colchester United. Another Danny Green has made his move from Wealdstone, Calvin Ekpiteta joins from Merstham and goalkeeper Myles Roberts will be on loan from Watford. After a few pre-season games, the Beachboys have also taken on Hani Berchiche, formerly of Billericay Town and Metropolitan Police, Wyan Reid and Joseph Boachie, a forward who used to play for AFC Stamford.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Concord Rangers wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 0 – 1 Concord Rangers (21/12/2019 – National South)
Concord Rangers 0 – 2 Dartford (14/09/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Concord Rangers (26/01/2019 – National South)
Concord Rangers 2 – 0 Dartford (14/08/2018 – National South)
Concord Rangers 1 – 1 Dartford (06/01/2018 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 0 Concord Rangers (15/08/2017 – National South)

  • Dartford have won just one of the last five against Concord Rangers, drawing two and losing the other two
  • In the last four matches that resulted in a win, the victorious team has kept a clean sheet
  • The Darts won the two meetings versus the Beachboys, since then the honours have been shared with three wins each and three draws.

Dartford

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P53 W26 D12 L15 Pts90 (PPG 1.70) – Ranking 2nd

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

The Darts will be one of the favourites going into the new season having lost out in the playoff final a year ago before occupying second spot when last term was cut short. The turn around since Steve King has been in charge has been excellent, from a relegation battle when he took charge to the playoff final, then to follow that up with a title challenge. Over the last two seasons Dartford have accrued the most points out of the teams still in the National South. A first full season for King at Princes Park should end up with another promotion push.

Manager: Steve King

Over the summer King signed a new three-year deal with the Darts, he is yet to complete a full season of fixtures, although he did take Dartford to the playoff final. Although playoffs and King do not go together, suffering four final defeats with four different clubs, King and automatic promotions do go together. Guaranteed to bring entertainment, much of his early managerial career was spent in Sussex where he won the National South title with Lewes, his third promotion in five years with the club. He went on to win another title at Farnborough and embark on successful F.A Cup runs with Macclesfield Town and Whitehawk.

Summer

Two spells at Billericay Town yielded 82 goals in 113 appearances for Jake Robinson, the striker joins the Darts to provide firepower up front. Robinson will be linking up with winger Luke Wanadio again, who also joins Dartford from Billericay Town to start a third spell at Princes Park. Another returning player, Tyrique Hyde is back after time at Dulwich Hamlet, whilst Jazzi Barnum-Bobb goes the other way. Dan Roberts arrives from Slough Town and George Porter from local rivals Maidstone United with Elliott Romain and Jack Barham moving in the opposite direction. The Darts have also brought in Ade Azeez from Dover Athletic, Bagasan Graham from Romford and midfielder Danny Leonard from Sheppey United. Kieran Murtagh played for Steve King at Macclesfield Town when they reached the F.A Cup fourth round, the experienced midfielder is reunited with the Dartford boss joining from Boreham Wood. Plenty of players in last season’s squad could easily face the Darts at their new clubs, Charlie Sheringham will be at Chelmsford City, Ricky Modeste and Craig Braham-Barrett at Tonbridge Angels, Ky Marsh-Brown at Hemel Hempstead Town and Femi Akinwande back at Braintree Town. Skilful winger, Nassim L’Ghoul returns to France to play for Lyon – La Duchere a Championnat National Two team. Youngster, Cameron Brodie will gain more experience on loan at Cray Wanderers.

Dorking Wanderers

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P53 W26 D11 L16 Pts89 (PPG 1.68) – Ranking 3rd

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 4th Round

There is no secret that Dorking Wanderers are aiming high and that is where they were on course to finish last season. Topping the National South table by five points after eighteen games, Wanderers were in pole position to reach the National League. Ten years ago, the Surrey club had just won the Sussex County League Division Three and four promotions later they want another. Manager, Marc White has been on this journey from the start and has ambitions to lead his club further up the pyramid. This season Dorking Wanderers will be hoping to replicate the form that had them as the team to beat.

Manager: Marc White

Dorking Wanderers have climbed the non-league pyramid and Marc White has been able to witness their rise from day one. A founder member over 20 years ago, his club have won eleven promotions and after guiding the Surrey club to the playoffs in their first ever campaign in the National South, he had Wanderers at the top of the table last term. White is passionate about his club and was one of the outspoken managers putting pressure on the National League when last season came to an end. Dorking Wanderers have a boss with ambition to continue climbing the football pyramid.

Summer

Confidence in the squad is high after leading the National South table and a few tweaks plus promoted academy players have bolstered numbers. Bobby-Joe Taylor agreed a two-year deal joining from Ebbsfleet United, midfielder Josh Taylor also signed a two-year contract from Havant and Waterlooville. In between the sticks, Lee Worgan brings National South know how after joining from Chelmsford City. Australian striker, Callum Kealy was part of the Sutton United squad that won promotion to the Football League, he joins the Wanderers, whilst Olly Allen, Cameron Black, Noah Sapsford, Josh Barnett, George Membrillera and James Dickson were promoted from the academy. Jake Gallagher has left the club and has signed for Maidstone United.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Dorking Wanderers wins: 2 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings (last three)

Dartford 2 – 3 Dorking Wanderers (07/11/2020 – National South)
Dorking Wanderers 2 – 3 Dartford (04/01/2020 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 4 Dorking Wanderers (07/09/2019 – National South)

  • The home side has never won this fixture since the first meeting in September 2019
  • This fixture has averaged over 5.66 goals a game in the three meetings so far
  • The away side has scored three or more goals in each meeting

Dulwich Hamlet

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P48 W13 D14 L21 Pts53 (PPG 1.10) – Ranking 18th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

Years in the Isthmian Leagues finally came to an end in 2018 after three failed playoff attempts in a row. When Dulwich Hamlet won promotion to the National South it seemed like it was only a matter of time. The London based club temporarily lost their home, returned to Champion Hill and have held their own in the division. In their first campaign at this level Hamlet finished fourteenth followed by a lower finish in the points per game season. Last term, Dulwich Hamlet started slowly with no wins in their opening seven matches, but three victories on the bounce moved them up the table.

Manager: Gavin Rose

Over ten years in charge at Hamlet, Gavin Rose is the club’s longest serving manager and when he joined, he admitted the club weren’t living up to their potential. Now Dulwich Hamlet have established themselves in the National South and become a very inclusive club within the community. A former midfielder, Rose enjoyed a career which included spells at Wimbledon, Charlton Athletic and Queens Park Rangers. He guided Dulwich Hamlet to the Isthmian Division One North title in 2013 and won the Isthmian Premier League playoffs in 2018. Stability is important to the London based side and it shows with Rose’s loyalty.

Summer

The biggest story coming out of Champion Hill this summer was the off field signing of Peter Crouch. The former England international will be working behind the scenes at the club he spent time on loan with in 2000 as a 17-year-old. Former Dartford defender and F.A Trophy finalist, Tyrone Sterling joins the Hamlet from Concord Rangers and another former Dart defender, Jazzi Barnum-Bobb will be donning the Hamlet shirt, whilst Tyrique Hyde is on his way across to Dartford. The total of former Darts rises with the news that Danny Mills, Sanchez Ming and Giovanni McGregor are all staying at Champion Hill. Arriving from Bromley after seven years at the club, Jack Holland brings his experience as captain to the Hamlet. Former Dartford striker, Darren McQueen has spent pre-season at Champion Hill and could join the list of ex Darts at the club.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Dulwich Hamlet wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 1 – 0 Dulwich Hamlet (25/01/2020 – National South)
Dulwich Hamlet 1 – 1 Dartford (07/12/2019 – National South)
Dulwich Hamlet 2 – 0 Dartford (02/03/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Dulwich Hamlet (20/10/2018 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Dulwich Hamlet (31/03/2007 – Isthmian Division One South)
Dulwich Hamlet 3 – 2 Dartford (19/09/2006 – Isthmian Division One South)

  • Dartford are unbeaten at home in this fixture winning three and drawing two at Princes Park
  • Dulwich Hamlet are also unbeaten on their own patch beating Dartford three times and drawing once
  • The Darts have never beaten Dulwich Hamlet in consecutive games

Eastbourne Borough

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P52 W17 D20 L15 Pts71 (PPG 1.37) – Ranking 11th

F.A Cup: 1st Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

It would have been interesting to see where Eastbourne Borough would have finished last season, if the campaign was played out. Three consecutive eighteenth place finishes leading up to 2020/2021 showed the Sports were consistently inconsistent. When the National South table was frozen in time, the Sussex club were occupying third spot. On points per game they were within the top seven, so a playoff challenge was on the cards at least. Just one defeat on the road and an early eight game unbeaten run set the tone. The Sports also ended with four wins and a draw from their final five outings.

Manager: Danny Bloor

Since arriving at Priory Lane, Bloor has taken small steps in making Eastbourne Borough competitive again. The Sports were going through a difficult spell before appointing Bloor in November 2019 and having worked with previous manager’s Jamie Howell, Mark McGhee and Lee Bradbury the club decided to promote within. First, he made the Sports difficult to beat by drawing seven of the last eleven matches in the 2019/2020 campaign, losing just once against Dartford. Then he followed it up by getting Eastbourne Borough into third place last term with the fifth best points per game ratio.

Summer

Defender, Jake Elliott makes his move to Priory Lane from Hastings United along with a number of players agreeing to stay including Chris Whelpdale who was in excellent form before the season ended early. Goalkeeper, Franco Ravizzoli earned a deal with League One side Milton Keynes Dons, Dean Cox leaves after three seasons with the Sussex club and Michael West departs for Ebbsfleet United. Jack Currie will be on loan from AFC Wimbledon for the season and Joshua Oyinsah impressed enough in pre-season to sign a deal. An England under 17 World Cup winner, Curtis Anderson comes in on loan from Wycombe Wanderers. Club favourite Sergio Torres leaves the club for a new adventure in Spain.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 12 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 8 / Draws: 4

Previous Mettings (last six)

Dartford 0 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (09/02/2021 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 3 – 1 Dartford (05/12/2020 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (22/02/2020 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 0 – 2 Dartford (02/11/2019 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 6 – 0 Dartford (20/04/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 3 Eastbourne Borough (27/11/2018 – F.A Trophy)

  • The Darts have won just two of the last six meetings against Eastbourne Borough having previously been unbeaten in twelve versus the Sports
  • In the ten seasons Dartford have been in the same league as Eastbourne Borough, the Darts have completed five league doubles over the Sussex club
  • However, last season Eastbourne Borough completed a league double over the Darts for the first time since the 2002/2003 Southern League Division One East campaign

Comments are closed.