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Dartford v Bath City

Dartford aim to create some breathing space in the playoff race, when they host Bath City in the National South this weekend.

Earlier in the season Dartford left it late to beat the Romans in a match with plenty of opportunities for both sides. However, it was Luke Wanadio who made the most of his chance by bending in the winner with six minutes remaining.

The corresponding fixture last term also ended in a Dartford win, this time it was more comfortable. The Darts on an unbeaten run of ten at the time climbed into the playoffs with a 4-1 triumph. Andy Pugh scored two excellent first half goals, Ryan Hayes made it three by half time and Callum McNaughton netted his first for the club.

Over the last three games Dartford have slipped off the pace at the top of the National South. Starting a point behind leaders Ebbsfleet United and Maidenhead United, the Darts were beaten 1-0 at home to Chelmsford City before conceding a last minute equaliser at Oxford City. Ryan Hayes opened the scoring on Saturday netting his 99th goal for the club in the 1-1 draw with the Nomads. After those two matches, the Darts dropped seven points behind the front runners, the pack now hunting Dartford down for a playoff spot now includes Poole Town, Chelmsford City and Hungerford Town.

On Tuesday night, Tony Burman’s side made the short trip to local rivals Welling United. In a first half of few clear cut chances neither team could break the deadlock. Hayes was replaced in the second half by the returning Lee Noble and Ben Francis, recalled to the squad was on the bench for the second consecutive game and was brought on. Still neither side could find the back of the net in a 0-0 draw, leaving Dartford trailing by six points from the top two with eleven games remaining.

Opponents, Bath City lost 1-0 to league leaders Ebbsfleet United last weekend, which halted a run of 14 consecutive games in which the Romans had scored in the National South. The sequence stretched back to October, when the Fleet kept a clean sheet on that day too. A unbeaten run spanning nine matches finished when a solitary mistake was enough for Ebbsfleet United to punish the hosts, condemning them to their first league defeat in 2017, Bradley Bubb headed the winner just after the interval.

Currently in the top ten, Bath City have an outside chance of reaching the playoffs, if they can return to the form which served them well before Saturday’s loss. Up front, Bath City have a trio of attacking players available in Nick McCootie, Marvin Morgan and Andy Watkins. Between them they have scored 25 league goals, just over half of the Romans total.

Bath City have a steady away record, but where they lack goals on their travels they have been tight at the back. Twenty goals scored on the road, the Romans have conceded just eighteen times, only five sides have a better away defence. Yet to beat a team from the National South’s top seven, Bath City have also picked up no points against those in the current top four, but each defeat has only been by a single goal.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 28 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Current League Form
Dartford (DDLWWW)
Drew 0-0 v Welling United (A)
Drew 1-1 v Oxford City (A)
Lost 0-1 v Chelmsford City (H)
Won 4-0 v Gosport Borough (A)
Won 3-1 v Whitehawk (H)
Won 4-0 v Wealdstone (A)

Bath City (DWLWWW)
Lost 0-1 v Ebbsfleet United (H)
Won 4-1 v St Albans City (A)
Drew 1-1 v Oxford City (A)
Won 4-0 v Truro City (H)
Won 2-0 v Margate (H)
Won 2-0 v Bishop’s Stortford (H)

Last Six Meetings
Bath City 0 Dartford 1 (22/10/2016 – National South)
Dartford 4 Bath City 1 (16/01/2016 – National South)
Bath City 0 Dartford 0 (05/09/2015 – National South)
Dartford 0 Bath City 1 (07/04/1990 – Southern Premier League)
Bath City 0 Dartford 0 (09/09/1989 – Southern Premier League)
Dartford 1 Bath City 0 (28/01/1989 – Southern Premier League)

Stats
Dartford’s 1-0 win in October against Bath City was the first time the Darts recorded back to back victories against the Romans since 1971/72.

The Darts have lost just once in their last six meetings with Bath City. Prior this current run, Bath City went 15 matches unbeaten against Dartford between 1977 and 1989.

In the previous six meetings between the two sides Dartford have kept four clean sheets.

On This Day
Dartford last tasted victory on 4 March in 1989 when they travelled to Gosport Borough in the Southern Premier League and won 2-1. The last home win came 37 years ago, Graham Carr’s Darts beat Waterlooville 2-1 at Watling Street. The long wait for another triumph has seen Dartford draw 1-1 with Chelmsford City in 1991 and Tunbridge Wells in 1995 (Kent League Cup semi-final first leg). The Darts are now on a run of three straight defeats by Eastbourne Borough in 2003 and Enfield Town in 2006, both 1-0 losses and three years ago a 3-0 Kent Senior Cup exit to Dover Athletic.

Bath City v Dartford

On the back of seven straight wins in all competitions, Dartford travel West this weekend to face Bath City.

When the Darts visited Twerton Park last season, Bath City were the in form team leading the table after six consecutive victories and a draw. Dartford took a well earned point from the Romans in a 0-0 draw, but are still searching for their first away win over their opponents for 41 years.

Since Dartford’s 2-1 Southern Premier League win in 1975, Bath City have won six and drawn four of their home matches against the Darts.

Tony Burman can be confident in his side who are unbeaten in ten games and progressed to the F.A Cup first round last weekend. The Darts beat Isthmian Premier League side Tonbridge Angels 3-0 in the Kent derby. Alex Brown netted his fourth for the club, Andy Pugh kept up his good form with his fifth of the season and Elliot Bradbrook scored his fifth F.A Cup goal in three games. Victory in the cup equalled Dartford’s best winning streak since January 2012.

Burman is not surprised with his team’s current form, he told www.kentonline.co.uk:”We had a torrid time with injuries back in August, but I felt there was a lot of potential in the people we signed”, he continued: “The results are going for us, which always helps, and they have had a great reception from the supporters”.

He added: “Duane-Ofori-Acheampong didn’t do a pre-season, but has now played a number of games and you can see he is benefiting from it. Alex Brown has done exceptionally well and Luke Wanadio is one who has given us another outlet. They and the others are decent players who have come into the fold. I love to build a team and get them gelling together. If we do that we can become a force”.

One player getting plenty of recognition from the fans is Tom Wynter and he played a part last weekend by coming off the bench, the full back has been injured missing all of October so far. Deren Ibrahim returned as number one goalkeeper after international duty with Gibraltar.

After falling victim to the dreaded penalty shoot out, Bath City followed up the F.A Cup defeat at home to Potters Bar Town with a 1-1 draw against Eastbourne Borough. The Romans cup exit means they last played a fortnight ago with new loanee Ryan Broom making an immediate impact. The 20 year old midfielder from Bristol Rovers scored with his first touch in a Bath City shirt, but his goal was cancelled out just four minutes later.

The West country club seem to be draw specialists of late if you include games of ninety minutes. In the National South they have picked up a point in their last two fixtures including a 3-3 draw away to Hemel Hempstead Town. Gary Owers’ side have had mixed results this term and currently occupy tenth place and only three points away from the Darts.

Last season, early promise ended in mid-table obscurity and scoring goals seemed to be a problem. Owers, who took charge during last term identified the issue and has since brought in Marvin Morgan and Stuart Fleetwood. Morgan is the Romans top scorer this season with six goals in all competitions, the 33 year old has also had Football League experience with Aldershot Town, Plymouth Argyle and Shrewsbury Town. These days Fleetwood is used more as a substitute and has only manged to find the net once this season, however the striker built up a decent reputation in his days at Forest Green Rovers.

Head to Head
Bath City wins: 40 / Dartford wins: 27 / Draws: 19

Current League Form
Bath City (DDWLLW)
Drew 1-1 v Eastbourne Borough (H)
Drew 3-3 v Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Won 4-0 v Gosport Borough (H)
Lost 1-2 v Hampton and Richmond Borough (A)
Lost 1-3 v Oxford City (A)
Won 2-1 v Whitehawk (H)

Dartford (WWWDWD)
Won 5-0 v Truro City (A)
Won 2-1 v Concord Rangers (A)
Won 2-0 v Margate (A)
Drew 1-1 v East Thurrock United (A)
Won 2-1 v Welling United (H)
Drew 0-0 v Maidenhead United (H)

Last Six Meetings
Dartford 4 Bath City 1 (16/01/2016 – National South)
Bath City 0 Dartford 0 (05/09/2015 – National South)
Dartford 0 Bath City 1 (07/04/1990 – Southern Premier League)
Bath City 0 Dartford 0 (09/09/1989 – Southern Premier League)
Dartford 1 Bath City 0 (28/01/1989 – Southern Premier League)
Bath City 4 Dartford 2 (03/12/1988 – Southern Premier League)

Stats
Dartford have won just three of their last 20 matches against Bath City. The Romans have won half of those games with seven draws.

In the last two games, the Darts have kept two clean sheets in a row for the first time this campaign.

Dartford have failed to score in four of their last five trips to Twerton Park and have not found the net in the last two away games against the Romans. The Darts last goal at this weekend’s venue was in the 4-2 defeat back in 1989.

Bath City have drew each of their last six competitive games over 90 minutes. Two in the National South and four in the F.A Cup, both ties went to penalties.

The Romans have played two and won two against teams above them in the league at home.

On This Day
Ten years ago Brendon Cass stole the show in the F.A Trophy first qualifying round, Cass’ four goals helped Dartford ease to victory as they thrashed Horsham YMCA 6-0. Eddie McClements opened the scoring and Ryan Hayes also scored, with his trademark curler. The cup tie was a prequel to the Princes Park homecoming on 11 November.

National League South Season Preview 2016/2017 (A-C)

 Bath City | Bishop’s Stortford | Chelmsford City | Concord Rangers

Bath City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Twerton Park

Early pace setters to mid table obscurity, that is how last season panned out for the Romans. Bath City disappointingly matched their previous National South finish after such a promising start. Having topped the table with a one hundred percent record after six games, the Somerset club slid down the league prompting a change in management. Two league wins in nineteen attempts saw the end of Lee Howells and in came Gary Owers. The new boss oversaw just one victory in the next ten but made the Romans harder to beat picking up draws on the way. Once settled, Owers led Bath City to five wins in the final seven fixtures. The real struggle throughout the campaign was a lack of goals, only bottom of the table Basingstoke Town scored fewer.

Last SeasonBath_City_FC

National South: 14th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: David Pratt (9 goals)

The Manager – Gary Owers

Now in his second spell in charge at Twerton Park, Owers was appointed in February following Lee Howells’ departure. The former Sunderland, Bristol City and Notts County midfielder last managed Bath City over ten years ago in the Southern Premier League. The 47 year old, went on to manage Forest Green Rovers and Weston-Super-Mare prior assistant manager roles at Aldershot Town, Plymouth Argyle and his hometown club Gateshead.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 27 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Previous Meetings

16.01.2016 Dartford 4 Bath City 1
05.09.2015 Bath City 0 Dartford 0
07.04.1990 Dartford 1 Bath City 0
09.09.1989 Bath City 0 Dartford 0
28.01.1989 Dartford 0 Bath City 1
03.12.1988 Bath City 4 Dartford 2

Next Meetings

Saturday 22 October 2016 at Twerton Park

Saturday 4 March 2017 at Princes Park

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Bishop’s Stortford

Founded: 1874 / Ground: Woodside Park

A steady campaign resulted in Bishop’s Stortford’s highest finish in four years. At the start of the season former manager Rod Stringer believed he could guide them to the playoffs with the right backing. Instead they rarely challenged peaking in eighth place at the start of February. It was during that month the Bishop’s struggled going on a five game losing streak. Although the Hertfordshire club recovered with only two more defeats the damage was done. Stringer was largely thankful to Golden Boot winner Elliott Buchanan who netted 28 times, half of the club’s total goals. The striker, like the former boss will no longer be at Woodside Park having left the club this summer.

Bishops stortfordLast Season

National South: 11th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi-final

League Top Scorer: Elliott Buchanan (28 goals)

The Manager – Gordon Boateng

Seen as a gamble by the directors who appointed him, Boateng was recruited by previous manager Rod Stringer a year ago as Head of Player Recruiting and Scouting. His contacts should serve Bishop’s Stortford well as they rebuild following Stringer’s resignation. It’s Boateng’s third spell as part of the management team and he beat seven other candidates to the job. The 35 year old, has never managed in the National South but has experience with Cheshunt and his profile fits the ambitions of the board.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Bishop’s Stortford wins: 3 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

25.03.2016 Dartford 3 Bishop’s Stortford 1
24.10.2015 Bishop’s Stortford 1 Dartford 2
29.01.2011 Bishop’s Stortford 0 Dartford 1
24.08.2010 Dartford 3 Bishop’s Stortford 0
11.04.1981 Bishop’s Stortford 2 Dartford 1
04.04.1981 Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 19 November 2016 at Woodside Park

Saturday 22 April 2017 at Princes Park

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Chelmsford City

Founded: 1878 / Ground: Melbourne Stadium

Since promotion to the National South eight years ago, the Clarets were consistent playoff candidates but haven’t been for the last three campaigns. Mark Hawkes was the latest man to attempt to match Chelmsford City’s ambitions and whilst it looked good at the start of the season a turbulent Winter left the Essex club needing to do too much. A comfortable 5-2 win at home to Concord Rangers left the Clarets in fourth by mid-September and come November they were hanging on the playoff fringes. Then came the horror show between Halloween and to the end of February where the club picked up just eight points from fourteen games. The rest of the campaign drifted by but they did record an impressive 6-1 win at home to playoff contenders Gosport Borough.

ChelmsfordCityFCLast Season

National South: 15th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Quarter-final

League Top Scorer: Billy Bricknell (17 goals)

The Manager – Rod Stringer

Linked with the Chelmsford City hotseat for the last three years, the Clarets finally got their man who they believe will guide them upwards and onwards. Stringer’s reputation has been built on two league titles, first with Aveley’s triumph in the Isthmian League Division One North then with Braintree Town in the National South. Stringer had the chance to manage in the top non league division but decided to controversially walk away. This summer he made the move back to Essex from local rivals Bishop’s Stortford bringing players with him.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 35 / Chelmsford City wins: 50 / Draws: 89

Previous Meetings

02.01.2016 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 1
26.12.2015 Chelmsford City 0 Dartford 1
07.04.2012 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 0
27.08.2011 Chelmsford City 0 Dartford 0
03.01.2011 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 2
30.08.2010 Chelmsford City 2 Dartford 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 13 August 2016 at Melbourne Stadium

Saturday 18 February 2016 at Princes Park

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Concord Rangers

Founded: 1967 / Ground: Thames Road

A well run club who have moved up the divisions from the Essex League in a short space of time. When Concord Rangers won their first two matches last season they unexpectedly topped the National South. Four straight defeats followed and confidence dwindled until the end of October. The following month restored positivity around the club with four wins from four and no goals conceded. The Beachboys began to believe the playoffs were possible but soon another set back occurred with a trio of losses. Although Concord Rangers managed a ten game unbeaten run in the early part of 2016, the Essex Senior Cup winners lost eleven at home which cost them overall.

concord rangersLast Season

National South: 10th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Steve Cawley (20 goals)

The Manager – Adam Flanagan

Former Dartford defender Adam Flanagan impressed in his first season as Concord Rangers manager. He had replaced Danny Cowley who guided the Beachboys up the non league pyramid so had big shoes to fill. The 38 year old previously managed Brentwood Town where he won 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.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Concord Rangers wins: 1 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

27.02.2016 Dartford 1 Concord Rangers 2
18.08.2015 Concord Rangers 2 Dartford 3
27.01.2009* Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 3

Next Meetings

Saturday 24 September 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 11 March 2017 at Thames Road

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Dartford v Bath City

After a week off, Dartford host West Country side Bath City for the first time in 26 years this weekend.

If the match is anything like the last four meetings between the two sides, then there will be very little between the Darts and the Romans. However, Bath City have the upper hand, with Dartford winning just one of their last 19 matches against the Romans.

Earlier this season, Dartford travelled to Twerton Park to face the then league leaders, who had only dropped two points prior the fixture. With four senior players unavailable, the Darts earned an excellent 0-0 draw against the in form opponents.

Only two goals have been scored in the last four meetings. Both clubs recorded 1-0 wins at Watling Street, back in 1989 and 1990.

In December, Dartford dropped just two points and they started 2016 with a draw at home to Chelmsford City. A last gasp Tom Bradbook header cancelled out Billy Bricknell’s 80th minute goal, however Burman felt his side should have made home advantage count, he said: “When you’re playing at home you want to take three points. We’ve got one and we were a bit fortunate to get that at the death. We’re disappointed to drop two points in a home fixture”.

The Dartford boss was satisfied by his player’s spirit, he added: “The players have got a never-say-die attitude, which is a massive plus for us. It’s pulled us back into games which we looked like we were going to lose”.

After the stalemate with Margate, the draw with Chelmsford City means consecutive 1-1 draws. Mark Onyemah has impressed during his loan spell which ended after last weekend’s match versus the Clarets. Burman is keen to make a new agreement with managerless Luton Town to keep Onyemah for longer. Meanwhile, midfielder Lee Noble and full back Lee Burns have recently been kept out by injury.

Meanwhile, the progress of academy starlets Ebou Adams and Ronnie Vint has been catching the eye of professional clubs. Co-chairman, Steve Irving told www.kentonline.co.uk: “Both of them are outstanding prospects. With the supporters’ hat on, you want them to be with us for years to come, grow with us and succeed and win trophies and medals. But the financial hat says these boys are good enough to go on to full-time careers”.

Bath City were fast out of the blocks winning their opening six National South games this campaign. The Romans scored thirteen and conceded just three in that time. Dropped points away to West Country rivals Weston Super-Mare meant Bath City topped the division at the end of the first month.

The Romans went on to record another two draws with Dartford and Hemel Hempstead Town before sliding to eleventh position. The West Country club, have won just twice since against Chelmsford City and at league leaders Ebbsfleet United, but they have picked up just eight points from the last 39 available.

Lee Howells’ side travel to Princes Park on the back of two consecutive home defeats without scoring. However, they will have fond memories of the last trip to Kent ending a four month winless away run. A Kaid Mohamed goal was enough to beat Ebbsfleet United in a tight encounter. Mohamed has since left the club, just in time to represent Eastleigh and help them almost upset Bolton Wanderers last weekend.

Continuing from last term, Frankie Artus and David Pratt remain influential in the Bath City side. Artus won last season’s Player of the Year and Pratt top scored, the same players lead the scoring charts for Bath City this time around with 13 goals between them in all competitions. Howells’ also puts his trust in summer signing and experienced goalkeeper Steve Phillips, Dan Ball and Andy Gallinagh who have all played more than 20 times this campaign.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 26 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Current League Form

Dartford (DDWWWW) Bath City (LLWLLD)
Chelmsford City  H  1-1 Maidstone United  H  0-2
Margate  H  1-1 Truro City  H  0-3
Chelmsford City  A  1-0 Ebbsfleet United  A  1-0
Whitehawk  A  1-0 Hayes & Yeading Utd  H  2-3
Basingstoke Town  A  1-0 Wealdstone  A  0-2
Havant & Waterlooville  H  4-2 Margate  A  1-1

Last Meeting at Watling Street

7 April 1990 – Dartford 0 Bath City 1
With both sides challenging for league title, Bath City put a serious dent in Dartford’s hopes. After the Darts lost to Chelmsford City, the visitors to Watling Street went home with all three points. Bath City would fall short by finishing runners up, one place above Dartford.

Previous Six Meetings

05.09.2015 Bath City 0 Dartford 0
07.04.1990 Dartford 1 Bath City 0
09.09.1989 Bath City 0 Dartford 0
28.01.1989 Dartford 0 Bath City 1
03.12.1988 Bath City 4 Dartford 2
19.04.1986 Dartford 1 Bath City 2

League Stats

Over the last ten games Dartford are the form side with six wins and four draws.

If Dartford avoid defeat they will join Ebbsfleet United, Truro City and Oxford City, who all went 11 games unbeaten, the longest undefeated runs this season.

Only Chelmsford City have a worse league record than Bath City, since the Romans lost their first game on 15 September. Since then, Bath City have won two, drawn two and lost nine.

The last time Dartford played out three successive league draws was ten years ago. The Darts drew with Dover Athletic, Metropolitan Police and Walton Casuals back in December 2006, during the Isthmian Division One South campaign.

On This Day

You have to go back 16 years since Dartford last played on the 16 January. In an F.A Trophy third round tie, the Darts, then in the Southern Leaage Division One East took on Heybridge Swifts, of the Isthmian Premier League. The Swifts won 2-1 knocking Dartford out of the trophy. The Darts last win on this day was 28 years ago when they beat Burton Albion 4-1 in the Southern Premier League.

Bath City v Dartford

Dartford make the long trip across the country to take on league leaders Bath City on the weekend.

The Darts will visit Twerton Park for the first time in 26 years when the two sides were battling it out in the Southern Premier league. Dartford have collected just three points at Bath City in the last nine attempts stretching back to 1975, drawing three and losing six. In all competitions, the Darts have managed one win in 18 meetings with the Somerset club.

After winning their last away match against Margate, the Darts will have taken on the top two come the end of this weekend. Making the league fixture even trickier is the fact Bath City are leading the National League South standings ahead of Ebbsfleet United, who beat the Darts on Bank Holiday Monday.

Burman recognised the importance of conceding early against their local rivals Ebbsfleet United. Fleet striker Jordan Parkes netted the winner after seven minutes, his fourth of the campaign after a fortunate deflection. Burman told www.kentonline.co.uk: “It was unfortunate but it was a good start for them and it gave them a little bit of an incentive. It calmed them down as well. We were a little bit disorganised for the first 20 minutes”.

Despite getting back into the game the Darts couldn’t find the equaliser in a match of few opportunities, the Dartford boss added: “I don’t think it was a game of many chances to be fair. In previous games, we’ve created a lot more chances than we had today. I just think we didn’t get that bounce”.

Looking to bounce back from a derby day defeat at the start of the week Tony Burman’s side are hoping to add to the ten points collected this term.

Midfielder Barry Cogan missed out on the Kent derby through injury which gave Ebou Adams a chance in the first team. Promoted from the academy in the summer, Adams made his first start of the season only his third for the club in all competitions. The youngster went on to earn man of the match as he continues to impress in midfield.

Dartford are currently in tenth spot and had that not rued misses in front of goal and cut out some costly defensive errors, the Darts would be closer to Bath City in the National League South.

The Romans are on a wave of positivity which begun over the summer. Manchester United legend Eric Cantona backed the club’s community buyout scheme and key players like Frankie Artus and David Pratt penned new deals, both players are currently joint top scorers with Nick McCootie all on three goals.

When the season commenced results couldn’t have got any better with Lee Howells’ team taking maximum points from their opening six fixtures.

Wealdstone, Basingstoke Town and Maidenhead United were all beaten 2-1, whilst Whitehawk and St Albans City were defeated 1-0. Last weekend Bath City saved their best performance against Havant and Waterlooville recording their highest score of the season. A 5-0 victory involved two goals for Pratt, a brace from Andy Watkins and the fifth scored by Artus.

The form book was compromised on Bank Holiday Monday when the Romans were held by bottom of the table side Weston Super Mare to drop their first points of the campaign.

City took the lead six minutes before half time when Ashley Kington’s cross found the net with Nick McCootie claiming the final touch. Weston Super Mare, without a point prior kickoff got off the mark when Dayle Grubb’s cross found Ollie Barnes at the far post to equalise.

Current League Form

Bath City (DWWWWW) Dartford (LWLWDW)
Weston Super Mare  A  1-1 Ebbsfleet United  H  0-1
Havant and Waterlooville  H  5-0 Margate  A  2-0
St Albans City  A  1-0 Gosport Borough  H  2-3
Maidenhead United  H  2-1 Concord Rangers  A  3-2
Whitehawk  A  1-0 Sutton United  H  2-2
Basingstoke Town  A  2-1 Eastbourne Borough  H  1-0

Previous Meetings

07.04.1990 Dartford 0 Bath City 1
09.09.1989 Bath City 0 Dartford 0
28.01.1989 Dartford 1 Bath City 0
03.12.1988 Bath City 4 Dartford 2
19.04.1986 Dartford 1 Bath City 2
05.04.1986 Bath City 2 Dartford 0

On This Day

Dartford have won their last four matches on 5 September, the last three since reforming and without conceding a goal. Steyning Town were beaten 4-0 twenty years ago in the F.A Vase first qualifying round replay, the Darts went out to Furness at the next hurdle. Horsham YMCA, the first visitors to Princes Park were thrashed 5-0 in the F.A Cup preliminary round, two tears before Princes Park opened. Six years ago, Hendon were brushed aside in another 5-0 victory with Lee Burns and Lee Noble scoring that day as well as Rob Haworth and two by Jay May.

National League South Season Preview 2015/2016 – Part One

Basingstoke Town | Bath City | Bishop’s Stortford | Chelmsford City

Basingstoke Town

Founded: 1896 / Ground: The Camrose

About to embark on their twelfth consecutive campaign at National South level, Basingstoke Town unexpectedly finished last term in third spot. At the beginning of April, the Hampshire club could have stolen the title sitting two points off the top with three matches to go. Instead they had to settle for their highest ever finish and repeat the playoff appearance of four years ago. A semi final defeat to Whitehawk denied Basingstoke Town the big shot at promotion. For a club often finishing in the bottom two thirds of the league, last season was proven to be more than successful.

Last SeasonBasingstoke Town

Conference South: 3rd

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Chris Flood (13 goals)

Average Attendance: 602

The Manager – Jason Bristow

A knee injury led Jason Bristow to an early retirement after ten playing years with Basingstoke Town in central defence. Crowned the Fans Player of the Year on three occasions as well as picking up an Away Fans Player of the Season, Bristow became known as Mr Basingstoke following a community role and a testimonial. In February 2012, he was made caretaker boss following the departure of Frank Gray. An incredible end of season run earned his side a playoff spot and a permanent job.

The Summer

Trust has been placed in the squad that achieved an impressive third place. Top scorer Chris Flood secured terms for the new campaign along with Managers Player of the Year, David Ray. Tom Bird who was recognised in last season’s Conference South Team of the Year remains at The Camrose. The boss has managed to sign up goalkeeper Aaron Howe from Sutton United and defender Will Salmon from Metropolitan Police, who was named in the Isthmian Team of the Year. Simon Dunn, Nathan Smart, Robbie Rice, Jay Gasson and twice goalscorer against Dartford, Shaun McAuley are still at the Camrose three years on from the last time the club faced the Darts.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

6 May 2012 – Dartford 2 Basingstoke Town 1 – view highlights
The only other playoff semi final appearance also ended in defeat for Basingstoke Town. At Princes Park, Dartford secured a 3-1 aggregate victory winning 2-1 on the night. Elliot Bradbrook headed the Darts in front which was cancelled out by Shaun McAuley. Luke Wilkinson put the tie beyond doubt in a match that saw Delano Sam-Yorke sent off for the visitors.

2 May 2012 – Basingstoke Town 0 Dartford 1 – view highlights
At the Camrose, Dartford took a one goal lead thanks to the playoff hero of 2012, Lee Noble. In first half injury time, the creative midfielder scored the only goal of the game, a feat he would repeat in the final against local rivals Welling United.

27 February 2012 – Dartford 4 Basingstoke Town 1 – view highlights
Inspired by Danny Harris who grabbed a hat trick, the Darts won convincingly. Harris arrived late prior the game but he was unaffected with a fine performance. Tony Garrod scored the other goal for Dartford whilst Stuart Lake’s effort was merely a consolation.

3 September 2011 – Basingstoke Town 3 Dartford 2 – view highlights
A thoroughly entertaining fixture repeated the scoreline from the campaign before. Delano Sam-Yorke had the hosts ahead before Charlie Sheringham netted from the spot. Dartford went in front through Jon Wallis but it was Basingstoke Town’s turn to come from behind with a goal from Toby Little and a winner by Shaun McAuley.

Next Meetings

Saturday 24 November 2015 at The Camrose

Saturday 16 April 2016 at Princes Park

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Bath City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Twerton Park

A brief flirtation with the Conference Premier just five years ago ended with a top ten finish then relegation the following season. Bath City may have experience of the top flight of non league football, being founder members of the Alliance League, but have spent the majority of their history at step two. Three campaigns in the Conference South have seen the Somerset side three points off the playoffs sandwiched between two mid table finishes. Last term was defined with a run to the F.A Trophy semi-finals where they lost to surprise winners North Ferriby United. The club are being backed by the fans who are trying to raise money during struggling times.

Last SeasonBath_City_FC

Conference South: 14th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: Semi-Finals

County Cup: Quarter-Finals

League Top Scorer: David Pratt (18 goals)

Average Attendance: 491

The Manager – Lee Howells

Apart from a brief playing spell in Australia, Lee Howells has spent his career in the West of England. As a midfielder, he made over 350 appearances for Cheltenham Town winning the 1998 F.A Trophy final. Howells was part of the Robins squad who won promotion to the Football League. His fledgling management career may have began in 2006 at Mangotsfield United, however the 46 year old spent five years away from any manager’s role before returning with Bath City. As an assistant he helped the Romans to promotion to the Conference Premier before being appointed boss in June 2012.

The Summer

Howells has gone for experience at the heart of defence starting with newly acquired goalkeeper Steve Phillips. Signed from his local team Shepton Mallet, Phillips has over 500 Football League appearances under his belt with both Bristol clubs and Crewe Alexandra. Defensive duo Sekani Simpson and Dan Ball sign new contracts and last season’s top scorer David Pratt commits to another campaign, the striker has scored 40 goals in 96 games for the Romans. Winger, Joe McClennan joins from Weston Super-Mare and attacking player Jon Davies from Paulton Rovers. Frankie Artus was a key player last term and the Manager’s Player of the Year will be part of the Bath City squad again.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

7 April 1990 – Dartford 0 Bath City 1
With both sides challenging for league title, Bath City put a serious dent in Dartford’s hopes. After the Darts lost to Chelmsford City, the visitors to Watling Street went home with all three points. Bath City would fall short by finishing runners up, one place above Dartford.

9 September 1989 – Bath City 0 Dartford 0
The Romans were the first side to take points off Dartford who had won their opening five Southern Premier League fixtures. Peter Taylor’s side were held to a goalless draw at Twerton Park and wouldn’t drop another point for three more matches.

Next Meetings

Saturday 5 September 2015 at Twerton Park

Saturday 16 January 2016 at Princes Park

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Bishop’s Stortford

Founded: 1874 / Ground: Woodside Park

Even a brief absence from the Conference South failed to break the consistency of Bishop’s Stortford. The Hertfordshire based club finished in the bottom third of the table for the previous three campaigns, whether in the southern or northern section of step two. The Bishops were forced to move from south to north in 2011 but returned after two years. Over the last decade, Bishop’s Stortford have produced one playoff appearance in 2007 and a four top ten finishes. The Bishops moment of glory came 34 years ago when they lifted the F.A Trophy and in the same season were crowned champions of Isthmian Division One.

Bishops stortfordLast Season

Conference South: 16th

F.A Cup: 1st Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Mikkel Suarez & Anthony Church (8 goals)

Average Attendance: 389

The Manager – Rod Stringer

Having been successful in his previous two managerial jobs, Stringer was appointed Bishop’s Stortford boss in December 2011. He took Aveley to the Isthmian League Division One North title in the 2008/09 campaign and earned a move to Braintree Town. Stringer guided the Iron to Conference South glory winning the championship four years ago. In that very summer the former non league player walked out of Braintree Town over a car dispute as well as the playing budget. Now the 40 year old believes with the right backing his team can reach the playoffs for the first time in nine attempts.

The Summer

A busy summer of new signings give cause for optimism as Rod Stringer tries to avoid a relegation battle like last term. Adam Bailey-Dennis and Elliot Buchanan won the Conference South just over three months ago and the pair joins from Bromley. Paul Goodacre, helped Dartford to promotion to the Conference Premier in 2012 and made a total 88 appearances for the club, the central defender departs East Thurrock United for Woodside Park. Also moving from Essex to Hertfordshire is Tom Lovelock from Chelmsford City and Jay Dowie from Concord Rangers. Former Welling United player DeReece Vandehyde joins from Maidenhead United and Billy Lobjoit switches from the north to south having played for Gainsborough Trinity last season. Meanwhile, former Dartford striker Mikkel Suarez agrees a new contract as well as joint top scorer Anthony Church.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

29 January 2011 – Bishop’s Stortford 0 Dartford 1 – view highlights
Dartford kept another clean sheet and with Charlie Sheringham’s 74th minute goal took home the three points. For the hosts it was their fifth straight defeat in a dreadful run of a fifteen winless games. The Darts hit a purple patch with four successive wins including three clean sheets.

24 August 2010 – Dartford 3 Bishop’s Stortford 0 – view highlights
Newly promoted Dartford took four games to register a first Conference South win and they did it comfortably. Danny Harris scored against his former club minutes before the visitors had a penalty saved by Andrew Young. The lead was doubled prior the break through Charlie Sheringham and Carl Rook wrapped things up with a third.

Next Meetings

Saturday 24 October 2015 at Woodside Park

Saturday 26 March 2016 at Princes Park

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Chelmsford City

Founded: 1878 / Ground: Melbourne Stadium

Over the last two seasons Chelmsford City have not reached the levels of expectations set upon them. The 2007/08 Isthmian Premier League champions easily fitted in to a promotion push to non league’s top flight. Four playoff appearances in five years all ended in semi-final disappointment. The Clarets have had to settle for a lowly seventeenth place finish and an improved tenth spot in their last two campaigns. The Essex club have four Southern League titles in their honours list and with a sizeable support the club are waiting for the right ingredients to go beyond the National League South.

ChelmsfordCityFCLast Season

Conference South: 10th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 4th Round

League Top Scorer: Michael Cheek (15 goals)

Average Attendance: 690

The Manager – Mark Hawkes

Vowing to ‘wake a sleeping giant’, Mark Hawkes has ambitions to attract the quality to push Chelmsford City to the next level. The Clarets boss jumped at the chance to manage the Essex club back in November 2013 when he moved up two divisions. Hawkes led Heybridge Swifts to second in the Isthmian Division One which grabbed the attention of Chelmsford City. Since his arrival at Melbourne Park, he has steadied the club after the club’s poor spell under Dean Holdsworth, steering the Clarets away from the relegation zone. Last season Hawkes guided Chelmsford City to a top ten finish in his first full campaign in charge.

The Summer

In April, the Clarets boss stated he needed experience and so the highlight for Chelmsford City fans is the return of midfielder Billy Bricknell, after spells with Ebbsfleet United and Maidstone United. Former loanee and Dartford defender Rory McAuley will add quality to the back four, with Conference Premier experience he spent a month on loan under Hawkes in 2013/14. Ashley Miller comes in from Bishop’s Stortford as Tom Lovelock goes the other way. Ashley Timms signs from Maidenhead United and Charlie Henry from Team Wellington.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

7 April 2012 – Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 0 – view highlights
Dropped points for the Darts put a dent in the Conference South title quest, whilst a point for the Clarets aided their playoff aspirations. The visitors were resilient in defence and when Dartford’s Luke Wilkinson was dismissed in the closing stages a 0-0 draw seemed inevitable.

27 August 2011 – Chelmsford City 0 Dartford 0 – view highlights
The Darts led the Conference South table in its fledgling stages and prior kick off were unbeaten. Whilst the Darts run continued they were knocked off top spot dropping to third. Not for the first time the deadlock wasn’t broken in a match where the defence came out tops.

Next Meetings

Saturday 26 December 2015 at Melbourne Stadium

Saturday 2 January 2016 at Princes Park

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