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National South Season Preview Part Four

Maidstone United

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P46 W17 D13 L16 Pts64 (PPG 1.39) – Ranking 9th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 5th Round

It’s almost been thirty years since Maidstone United reformed and in that time, they have collected eight league titles, two playoff triumphs and been relegated twice. The most recent relegation came in their last finished season when the Stones ended bottom of the National League. Returning to the National South after three years away, the Kent side picked up ninth place on points per game and last season were mid-table after only thirteen games. Maidstone United started well by losing just one of their first six fixtures last time out, but form dipped with only one win in their next seven outings.

Manager: Hakan Hayrettin

A well-respected coach, Hayrettin became Maidstone United manager in January 2019. Before that all his managerial jobs were situated on the other side of the River Thames in Essex. Starting out at Waltham Forest (now Walthamstow), he moved onto Thurrock then convincingly won the Isthmian Division One North with Grays Athletic. Hayrettin went on to join former Maidstone United and Dartford boss, John Still at Luton Town as coach before a spell with Braintree Town. When Still was given the title of Head of Football at the Gallagher Stadium he decided to link back up with Hayrettin and appoint him as the manager.

Summer

It all started for Alfie Pavey at Maidstone United’s academy and he is now back at the club. The former Dartford favourite swaps the amber of Barnet for the amber of Maidstone United this summer. Whilst it didn’t quite work out for Jack Barham in terms of goalscoring at Dartford, the striker becomes the second former Dart to join the Stones. Moving the other way, George Porter leaves the Gallagher Stadium in favour of Princes Park. A similar trade-off has occurred with Ebbsfleet United where two new players, Tom Hadler and Reece Grant arrive with Kreshnic Krasniqi switching to Stonebridge Road. Returning to the club after a spell at Wealdstone is Michael Phillips, Tushaun Walters arrives from Herne Bay and Billy Johnson has been signed as back up goalkeeper. Maidstone United have also secured the services of Regan Booty from Notts County, Jake Gallagher from Dorking Wanderers, Taylor Curran from Swindon Town and Roarie Deacon from Havant and Waterlooville. Perri Iandolo and Max Sutton have been promoted from the academy, whilst Ibrahim Olutade leaves for Tonbridge Angels and Justin Amaluzor will be playing Scottish Premier League football with Motherwell this season.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 45 / Maidstone United wins: 45 / Draws: 19

Previous Meetings (last six)

Maidstone United 0 – 2 Dartford (14/11/2020 – National South)
Maidstone United 0 – 1 Dartford (21/01/2020- Kent Senior Cup)
Dartford 0 – 1 Maidstone United (26/11/2019 – F.A Trophy)
Maidstone United 2 – 2 Dartford (23/11/2019 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 2 – 2 Maidstone United (16/11/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Maidstone United (22/01/2019 – Kent Senior Cup)*
*Maidstone United won 8-7 on penalties

  • Dartford are eight league matches unbeaten against Maidstone United, winning six and drawing two
  • Since both sides reformed Dartford have won seven, drawn two and lost one in the league against the Stones
  • Maidstone United’s last away win in the league against Dartford was in 1978, the Darts are now eight league matches at home unbeaten

Oxford City

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P51 W20 D14 L17 Pts74 (PPG 1.45) – Ranking 8th

F.A Cup: 2nd Round
F.A Trophy: Quarter-Final

Since switching over from the National North to the National South, Oxford City has been a consistent mid-table side, but last season they were the form side before the campaign was cut short. In March 2020, David Oldfield was appointed and with his philosophy led the Hoops into fourth spot. Results suggest it took a while to embed his ideas into the team, with just two victories in their opening eight games, but his side were difficult to beat losing only three times. Once everything clicked, Oxford City went nine games unbeaten dropping just four points and scored thirteen in their final three fixtures.

Manager: David Oldfield

Another manager who joined his club in early 2020 yet to have a whole season under his belt. In the short space of time Oldfield has made a significant impact making Oxford City promotion contenders. Oldfield’s only managerial experience came at Brackley Town, where he left in 2008. However coaching and assistant manager roles together with his playing experiences make up for the lack of first team management. Making his name in football back in the eighties, the former midfielder won promotion to the top flight with Manchester City and played the first half of the nineties at Leicester City making it to the Premier League.

Summer

Joint top scorer in the 2018/2019 National South season, Joe Iaciofano earned a move to Havant and Waterlooville, a year on the striker leaves the Hawks for Oxford City. Hading to Iaciofano’s old side will be Joe Oastler and James Roberts. The Hoops have also signed former Fulham and England under 16 right back Zico Asare and Charlie Rowan, a defender with experience with Queens Park Rangers and Watford. Impressing on trial, midfielder Canice Carroll won a Scottish League Two title with Queens Park last season, the 22-year-old signs a one year deal. Another arrival is former West Bromwich Albion full back George Harmon.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 8 / Oxford City wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 3 – 0 Oxford City (11/01/2020 – National South)
Oxford City 0 – 1 Dartford (12/10/2019 – National South)
Oxford City 2 – 1 Dartford (27/04/2019 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 2 Oxford City (13/11/2018 – National South)
Oxford City 4 – 1 Dartford (06/10/2018 – F.A Cup)
Oxford City 0 – 2 Dartford (24/03/2018 – National South)

  • Dartford have won the last four league games against Oxford City including a 7-1 victory in 2017
  • The Darts are unbeaten in all seven home games versus the Hoops winning five and drawing two
  • Oxford City have won two of the last here at home losing the last time the Darts visited Marsh Lane

Slough Town

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P47 W20 D12 L15 Pts72 (PPG 1.53) – Ranking 6th

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

Three very different seasons since promotion to the National South, who knows what Slough Town will turn up this time. In their first campaign in this division, the Rebels finished in a credible eleventh place three points off a playoff spot. Then the Berkshire club had a terrific time reaching the playoffs, going out in the eliminator round. Last term, Slough Town found life difficult after completing the fewest number of games and picking up just a point per game, which would have seen them in a relegation battle, however with only a dozen games played it’s tricky to read too much into their form.

Managers: Jon Underwood and Neil Baker

Slough Town’s management duo have been leading the Rebels since May 2013 and before that Underwood and Baker were together at Godalming Town, leading the Surrey club to third in the Southern Division One Central. In the campaign before that they won promotion via the playoffs for the G’s. As players the pair teamed up for Farnborough as well, so they have formed a close relationship through non-league football. At Slough Town, Underwood and Baker have guided the Rebels from the Southern Division One Central to the National South winning two playoff finals, they also reached the playoffs a year ago losing to Dartford in the eliminator round. 

Summer

Former Wealdstone goalkeeper, Jonathan North signs from Hendon possibly replacing the departing Jack Turner. The Rebels welcome back to familiar faces in Matthew Lench and Scott Davies from Wealdstone and Biggleswade Town respectively. Tom Derry has been signed from Braintree Town, the forward has been brought in to cover the loss of Dan Roberts to Dartford. After leaving Bath City, Freddie Grant will be a Rebel next season to strengthen the midfield, George Hunt will join Grant in the middle of the park having arrived from AFC Bournemouth. The Rebels have also promoted young Gabe George from their under 23’s team as well as Eitel Goueth and Joseph Lawal.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Slough Town wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Slough Town 2 – 2 Dartford (15/12/2020 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 2 – 0 Slough Town (21/11/2020 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Slough Town (03/10/2020 – F.A Cup)
Slough Town 0 – 3 Dartford (19/07/2020 – National South Playoff)
Slough Town 1 – 0 Dartford (18/01/2020 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 3 Slough Town (28/09/2019 – National South)

  • The Darts have won just one league game against Slough Town drawing two and losing two
  • In all competitions, out of the eleven meetings between the two sides the home team has only won three times
  • Both teams scored in each of the first six meetings, which has only happened once in the last five, when they last met in December

St Albans City

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P50 W18 D15 L17 Pts69 (PPG 1.38) – Ranking 10th

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

The hardest team to beat last season, only Chelmsford City managed to take maximum points from the Saints. An eleven-match unbeaten run at the start of the campaign had the Hertfordshire side in a strong position, only Dorking Wanderers but only just. Had last season continued, St Albans City were on course to challenge for an automatic promotion spot and had they achieved that, then that would mean a return to the National League after their solitary season in the top flight of non-league back in 2006/2007. In contrast, St Albans City finished the previous campaign third from bottom highlighting the improvement they have made. 

Manager: Ian Allinson

A manager who can call upon experiences from his playing days, Allinson has also been in management since 1989 when he started out at Baldock Town. The former Arsenal winger moved around the non-league circuit as a manager until he settled at Boreham Wood and made an impact for the Hertfordshire club. Allinson took the Wood from the Isthmian Premier League to the National League via two playoff promotions. Due to work commitments he left Boreham Wood in October 2015 and four months later was appointed at St Albans City. After some mixed results during Allinson’s tenure, the Saints were in title contention last term.

Summer

St Albans City’s successful start to last season means they have retained many of their players including former Dartford defender Tom Bender, he will begin his seventh campaign with the Saints. Another ex Dart, Luke Warner-Eley leaves Clarence Park to join Billericay Town. Callum Adebiyi becomes a new signing from Southern Premier League side Kings Langley and Luke Brown arrives from Hitchin Town. Michael Oluwadara Dada remains in the National South by joining Chelmsford City.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 9 / St Albans City wins: 6 / Draws: 5

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 0 – 1 St Albans City (17/11/2020 – National South)
St Albans City 1 – 2 Dartford (07/03/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 St Albans City (06/08/2019 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 2 St Albans City (12/01/2019 – National South)
St Albans City 2 – 0 Dartford (01/09/2018 – National South)
St Albans City 4 – 0 Dartford (03/02/2018 – National South)

  • Dartford’s 2-1 away win in March 2020 ended a four-game losing streak at Clarence Park without scoring
  • The darts have only lost twice at home against the Saints, winning five and drawing the other four
  • St Albans City have won four of their last five home matches in this fixture

Tonbridge Angels

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P45 W14 D10 L21 Pts52 (PPG 1.16) – Ranking 15th

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

It took a while for Tonbridge Angels to get used to National South football. The Kent side won promotion through a series of playoff matches just over two years ago. The Angels have stuck by their manager and after a slow start in which they picked up just eleven points out of the first 15 outings, they only lost three of the next 16 games. Last season they were picking up points at the same rate only they didn’t manage back to back victories and defeats were spread out evenly. Tonbridge Angels have performed consistently enough to keep out of trouble since promotion.

Manager: Steve McKimm

Committing his future to the Angels, McKimm signed a new contract in April extending his stay at Longmead after seven seasons already completed. He guided Tonbridge Angels back to the second tier of non-league football in 2019, the Kent side needed to win two Playoff Finals in one campaign to reach the National South. McKimm added another milestone last season when he guided his side to the F.A Cup first round for the first time since 1972. As a player, McKimm gained experience at a number of non-league teams including Kent sides Margate and Gravesend and Northfleet, where he won the Isthmian Premier League.

Summer

A Dartford duo last term, Craig Braham-Barrett and Ricky Modeste make the short journey to represent Tonbridge Angels this season. The Angels have also brought in some experience with the signing of Doug Loft, the former Gillingham and Port Vale player arrives from Billericay Town. Ibrahim Olutade stays in Kent but switches from Maidstone United and coming from Horsham, Jerry O’Sullivan will bring more experience in defence. Harry Hudson comes in from Watford’s under 23 side and attacking midfielder Aaron Smith-Joseph has been signed fromBurgess hill Town. Squad numbers have been bolstered with three academy graduates in Bobby Moore, Toby McKimm and Luca Woodhouse.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 69 / Tonbridge Angels wins: 38 / Draws: 24

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 1 – 0 Tonbridge Angels (05/01/2021 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Tonbridge Angels (28/12/2019 – National South)
Tonbridge Angels 3 – 2 Dartford (03/09/2019 – National South)
Tonbridge Angels 0 – 3 Dartford (15/10/2016 – F.A Cup)
Dartford 3 – 0 Tonbridge Angels (15/12/2012 – F.A Trophy)
Tonbridge Angels 0 – 1 Dartford (03/03/2012 – National South)

  • Dartford have won ten of the last eleven matches against Tonbridge Angels
  • The Angels only win in that sequence came in Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan’s last game in charge, ending an eight-match losing streak versus the Darts
  • The Darts have won the last six matches versus the Angels at Princes Park

Welling United

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P48 W14 D12 L22 Pts54 (PPG 1.13) – Ranking 16th

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

Playoff runners up just over two years ago, Welling United have not been able to create that excellent run that saw them finish third in the National South. Unsurprisingly, since Steve King left as manager the Wings have dropped down the division, whilst his Dartford team are challenging for promotion. After ending 2019/2020 in mid-table, Welling United were rock bottom when last season was halted. They tasted just a single victory before Bradley Quinton was dismissed as manager. Steve Lovell was named as boss managing one win, draw and loss in his three games in charge before the premature end to the season.

Manager: Steve Lovell

The Wings appointed Lovell just six months ago and barely had time to make himself comfortable before the season prematurely ended. A well-known face around Kent non-league football with heaps of playing and managerial experience. As a player during the eighties and early nineties Lovell is mainly associated with Gillingham and Millwall. He won the F.A Vase with Deal Town and played for a host of Kent sides. As a manager, Lovell guided Sittingbourne to the Southern League Southern Division in the mid-nineties and has been at Gravesend and Northfleet, Hastings United, Ashford Town and his last managerial role was at Gillingham in League One.

Summer

The lack of summer activity suggests that he Wings will be running tight ship this season. Several last season’s squad have returned to Park View Road including former Dartford midfielder Lyle Della-Verde. However there were some signings to announce, Bradley Stevenson whose last club was Chelmsford City, Bradley Pearce from Sutton United, Chi Ezennolim, a left back from Millwall and Tom Smith, a goalkeeper from Arsenal’s academy.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 22 / Welling United wins: 10 / Draws: 10

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 2 – 2 Welling United (06/02/2021 – National South)
Dartford 4 – 0 Welling United (01/01/2020 – National South)
Welling United 0 – 3 Dartford (26/12/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Welling United (01/01/2019 – National South)
Welling United 2 – 0 Dartford (26/12/2018 – National South)
Dartford 4 – 1 Welling United (01/01/2018 – National South)

  • Dartford have lost just once in their last fourteen matches against Welling United, winning eight and drawing five
  • The Darts are seven home games unbeaten versus the Wings winning six in a row before the draw in February
  • Dartford have kept three clean sheets in the last four fixtures against Welling United

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