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Dartford v Bishop’s Stortford

Dartford welcome relegated Bishop’s Stortford to Princes Park this weekend in the Darts last home match of the regular campaign.

With a playoff place confirmed on Easter Monday and a showdown against Chelmsford City, the Darts know that finishing third will give them a home advantage in the second leg. So with two league games to go, Dartford will be hoping to build momentum for the semi-final on the 3rd and 7th May.

Tony Burman stated reaching the playoffs was one of his best achievements since being at the club. The Dartford boss watched his side beat Hampton and Richmond 3-1 on Easter Monday, to make up for the poor 2-0 defeat at Hungerford Town on Good Friday.

The Darts outplayed the Middlesex club and took the lead when Elliot Bradbrook drilled in a rebound for his 23rd goal in all competitions. A well worked team goal and quality finish from Alex Brown extended the lead before half time. Former Dartford player, Nathan Collier headed in for Hampton and Richmond, but the three points were secure once Ronnie Vint netted the third.

The Darts will be aiming for a sixth consecutive win over Bishop’s Stortford to complete a double over their opponents. Back in November, Tony Burman’s side strolled to a 3-0 victory, in which goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim celebrated his 100th appearance with a clean sheet. An own goal got Dartford on the move with Andy Pugh and Elliot Bradbrook adding more to the tally.

Last season at Princes Park, the Darts hosted Bishop’s Stortford just over a year ago. Danny Harris scored against his former club after just five minutes, but the Blues drew level when Ronnie Vint headed past his own goalkeeper. Keaton Wood scrambled home his first for the Darts and after Tom Bradbrook had a goal chalked off, the striker made it 3-1. The victory completed a double last term after a 2-1 triumph at Bishop’s Stortford. Dartford also won both fixtures during the 2010/2011 campaign and victory this weekend will mean three consecutive doubles over the Blues.

Manager, Kevin Watson has been unable to steer Bishop’s Stortford to safety. Relegated a fortnight ago, the Blues have struggled all season and can only avoid finishing bottom if they overtake Margate, who are a point ahead. The Blues have gone eight games without a league goal and on Easter Monday lost 5-0 for the second time in three matches, conceding their 100th goal of the season. Bishop’s Stortford will be without Darren Purse and Luke Callandar for the rest of the season due to suspension, while Adam Everett will play his final game of the campaign on Saturday.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 5 / Bishop’s Stortford wins: 3 / Draws: 2

Current League Form
Dartford (WLWDLW)
Won 3-1 v Hampton and Richmond Borough (H)
Lost 0-2 v Hungerford Town (A)
Won 4-3 v Eastbourne Borough (H)
Drew 2-2 v Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Lost 0-1 v St Albans City (A)
Won 4-0 v Margate (H)

Bishop’s Stortford (LLLLLL)
Lost 0-5 v Wealdstone (A)
Lost 0-2 v Gosport Borough (H)
Lost 0-5 v Weston-super-Mare (A)
Lost 0-2 v Oxford City (H)
Lost 0-2 v Maidenhead United (H)
Lost 0-8 v Ebbsfleet United (A)

Previous Meetings
Bishop’s Stortford 0 Dartford 3 (19/11/2016 – National South)
Dartford 3 Bishop’s Stortford 1 (25/03/2016 – National South)
Bishop’s Stortford 1 Dartford 2 (24/10/2015 – National South)
Bishop’s Stortford 0 Dartford 1 (29/01/2011 – National South)
Dartford 3 Bishop’s Stortford 0 (24/08/2010 – National South)
Bishop’s Stortford 2 Dartford 1 (11/04/1981 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 1 (04/04/1981 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 4 (22/11/1975 – F.A Cup)
Bishop’s Stortford 3 Dartford 1 (27/10/1970 – F.A Cup)
Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 2 (24/10/1970 – F.A Cup)

Stats
Dartford will equal their season’s best of consecutive home wins in the league if they beat Bishop’s Stortford. From 12 November 2016 to 4 February 2017, the Darts won six in a row scoring 18 times. Dartford’s current sequence of five consecutive home wins has seen them score the same number of goals.

In seven of the 20 home league games this term, Dartford have scored three or more and all since the turn of the year.

The Darts have won 48 points at home this season with 15 wins and 3 draws. Another victory will take them above the last time Dartford achieved promotion from the National South in 2011/12, when the Darts won 15 and drew 4 to total 49 points.

Dartford have kept seven clean sheet at Princes Park in the league this campaign, matching the total in the 2012/2013 National League season when the Darts finished eighth.

On This Day
Dartford have won just once on 22 April since reforming and that was seven years ago. A Danny Harris double gave the Darts a 2-0 away win at Hendon, almost two weeks on from claiming the Isthmian Premier League title. The last victory at home was at Watling Street back in 1989 when Dartford beat Dorchester Town 4-0.

Bishop’s Stortford v Dartford

Dartford will be aiming for a fourth National League away win in a row when they visit bottom of the table side Bishop’s Stortford.

The Darts have experienced defeat in the league just once in their last ten matches and on their travels remain unbeaten since the end of August, in all competitions. Sitting in sixth place with a game in hand, Dartford’s success on the road owes a lot to a defence that has kept five clean sheets in their last seven outings.

Last weekend, a 2-0 win over Hemel Hempstead Town returned Tony Burman’s side back to winning ways. Danny Harris, a former Bishop’s Stortford player crowned his 250th start for the Darts with a well taken goal and substitute Luke Wanadio netted his fourth of the campaign. The victory came after consecutive defeats against Sutton United in the F.A Cup and promotion contenders St Albans City.

Victory over Bishop’s Stortford will be the club’s fifth in a row against the Hertfordshire side. Dartford completed a double last season and during the previous spell in the National South back in 2010/11.

The Darts had to take the lead twice just over a year ago to secure a win at Woodside Park. Barry Cogan gave Dartford the early momentum after just 12 minutes but the Blues equalised against the run of play. The winner came from captain Elliot Bradbrook in the second half, who finished coolly with a curling shot into the top corner. Almost five years ago, a Charlie Sheringham goal turned out to be the decider in a 1-0 triumph. At Princes Park, Tony Burman has led the Darts to two more triumphs over Bishop’s Stortford winning 3-1 and 3-0 respectively.

Tony Burman selected from almost a full squad last weekend and the only absentee will return. Goalkeeper, Deren Ibrahim was on international duty with Gibraltar and played in their 3-1 loss at Cyprus. Dartford’s number one earned his second cap for his country and is likely to return, replacing Bailey Vose who stood in last weekend.

Bishop’s Stortford are having their National South status tested this term, playing at this level since the reorganisation of the non league period in 2004, the Blues are a point adrift at the bottom. That gap could have been more had they not won their last home match against Weston-super-Mare, the side above Bishop’s Stortford in the table. Victory versus the Seagulls is the Hertfordshire’s club only home victory, they have lost the other eight.

The Blues started the campaign with Gordon Boateng in charge after former boss Rod Stringer moved to Chelmsford City in the summer. Boateng’s reign didn’t last long and was replaced last month by former Chelmsford City duo Mark Hawkes and Steve Smith. The pair got off to an awful start with their side shipping in eleven goals in their first two matches, a 6-0 defeat against league leaders Maidenhead United was followed up with a 5-1 loss to St Albans City.

In an attempt to turn the fortunes around at Woodside Park, Hawkes and Smith have brought in former Dartford academy player Femi Akinwande. The youngster, on loan from Colchester United is already making an impression for the Blues.

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

Current League Form
Bishop’s Stortford (LWLLLL)
Lost 1-3 v Oxford City (A)
Won 2-1 v Weston-super-Mare (H)
Lost 0-1 v Eastbourne Borough (A)
Lost 1-5 v St Albans City (H)
Lost 0-6 v Maidenhead United (A)
Lost 0-3 v Whitehawk (H)

Dartford (WLWWWW)
Won 2-0 v Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Lost 0-2 v St Albans City (H)
Won 1-0 v Oxford City (H)
Won 1-0 v Bath City (A)
Won 5-0 v Truro City (A)
Won 2-1 v Concord Rangers (A)

Previous Meetings
Dartford 3 Bishop’s Stortford 1 (25/03/2016 – National South)
Bishop’s Stortford 1 Dartford 2 (24/10/2015 – National South)
Bishop’s Stortford 0 Dartford 1 (29/01/2011 – National South)
Dartford 3 Bishop’s Stortford 0 (24/08/2010 – National South)
Bishop’s Stortford 2 Dartford 1 (11/04/1981 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 1 (04/04/1981 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 4 (22/11/1975 – F.A Cup)
Bishop’s Stortford 3 Dartford 1 (27/10/1970 – F.A Cup)
Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 2 (24/10/1970 – F.A Cup)

Stats
Dartford have kept five clean sheets in their last seven games.

The Darts have won nine out of ten against teams currently in the bottom half the National South table.

Bishop’s Stortford’s have scored the fewest goals at home in the league this campaign, scoring just four in nine games.

On This Day
Dartford suffered their heaviest defeat at Princes Park three years ago losing 5-1 to Wrexham. The Darts took an early lead through Lee Burns but that just antagonised the Red Devils who hit back with five unanswered goals. It wasn’t too rosy five years ago either, Dartford let a two goal lead slip against ten man Eastleigh. Adam Green scored from the spot before the Spitfires were reduced to ten men and Jon Wallis made it 2-0. The Hampshire club went away with a point when Danny Smith and Tom Jordan scored for Eastleigh. In 1985, Dartford took AFC Bournemouth to a F.A Cup replay for a second year in a row. In the previous season defeat cost the Darts an historic trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United, this time a 2-0 loss prevented the Darts taking on Dagenham.

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 Bishop’s Stortford

Dartford begin their Easter schedule at home to Bishop’s Stortford on Good Friday, ahead of the Kent derby days later.

The Darts’ season is in danger of fizzling out after suffering a fourth straight defeat on the weekend at Havant and Waterlooville. The loss at Westleigh Park leaves Dartford further down the pecking order but still five points adrift of the playoffs.

A depleted squad will need to pick themselves up again and turnaround recent misfortunes. Dartford have taken one point from their last five games and need to improve performances with just eight games to go. On Saturday, Tom Bradbrook was ruled out with injury and brother Elliot suspended, the captain will also miss both Easter fixtures. Danny Harris has a hamstring problem and striker Andy Pugh was pulled off in the 2-0 defeat at Havant and Waterlooville with a groin problem. Lee Noble captained the Darts on Saturday, however two goals from James Hayter gave the hosts a comfortable win.

Last time out against the Blues, Dartford secured a first win in over a month. Barry Cogan scored his first for the Darts from a Tom Gardiner cross. Bishop’s Stortford equalised when Christian Smith headed from close range. The winner came from Elliot Bradbrook who shot on the turn found the back of the net.

The last time the Darts hosted the Blues was in August 2010. Dartford, newly promoted as Isthmian Premier League champions took four games to register a first National South win. 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.

Bishop’s Stortford have been sporadic this campaign and sit comfortably five places below Dartford but just a win away. Rod Stringer’s side can look towards the goals provided by top scorer Elliot Buchanan who has 22 this season. The striker scored twice on the weekend in a 2-2 draw with Bath City, which extended Bishop’s Stortford’s unbeaten run to four. Last month, the Hertfordshire club lost five in a row after recording their longest spell of seven games without defeat seven.

Dartford last lost to Bishop’s Stortford in 1981 in the F.A Trophy semi-final. Since then the Darts have won three in a row against their Good Friday opponents.

 

Head to Head

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

Last Meeting at Princes Park

Current League Form

Dartford (LLLLDL) Bishop’s Stortford (DWDWLL)
Havant & Waterlooville  A  0-2 Bath City  A  2-2
Maidenhead United  A  1-2 Whitehawk  H  2-1
Whitehawk  H  2-4 Eastbourne Borough  H  1-1
Weston-Super-Mare  A  1-2 Whitehawk  A  3-2
Hayes & Yeading Utd  A  2-2 Chelmsford City  A  1-4
Concord Rangers  H  1-2 Truro City  H  0-3

Previous Meetings (* – F.A Cup / ^ – F.A Trophy)

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
22.11.1975* Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 4
27.10.1970* Bishop’s Stortford 3 Dartford 1
24.10.1970* Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 1

On This Day

Ten years have past since Dartford played on 25 March against Corby Town. A 1-1 draw in the Southern League Division One East came six years after beating the same club 1-0 in the Southern League Southern Division. Fareham Town were beaten 3-1 at home in 1998 and Herne Bay held the Darts to a goalless draw 21  years ago in the Kent League.

Bishop’s Stortford v Dartford

The Darts travel to Woodside Park this weekend to take on Bishop’s Stortford in the National League South. 

Exactly forty five years on from meeting for the first time, the two sides will face each other for the ninth occasion. Saturday’s opponents may have the upper hand in cup competitions with wins in the F.A Cup and F.A Trophy, however Dartford have won both of their only league encounters during the 2010/11 season.

Tony Burman’s last visit to Woodside Park ended in a 1-0 victory with Charlie Sheringham netting the decisive goal. The win completed a double over the Hertfordshire club, having recorded a 3-0 triumph at Princes Park earlier in that campaign. The former Darts striker has just spent time on loan back at Bishop’s Stortford scoring the winner last weekend against Eastbourne Borough.

A run of four consecutive defeats finally ended last weekend with a 2-2 draw over Hemel Hempstead Town. The Darts were forced to battle back from two goals down with a last minute equaliser. The match turned when former Forest Green Rovers defender Eddie Oshodi was sent off with the Tudors two up. Wilfried Gnahore and Noor Husin put the visitors in command before half time leaving Dartford with plenty of work to do. The Darts capitalised on the extra man advantage when Danny Harris pulled a goal back. In injury time Ryan Hayes’ trademark curling effort deservedly snatched a point.

Burman told www.dartfordonline.com: “I think it was a well earned point against a good side who I’m sure will be up there come the end of the season. I didn’t think we played that badly in the first half, but once again we found ourselves two nil down. I think the players deserve a lot of credit for the mountain that had to be climbed, and fair play to them for doing that”.

The league draw was followed up with a 3-1 Kent Senior Cup victory of National League side Welling United. Tony Burman opted to play a young side and would have been pleased to see academy player Dajon Golding score his first goal for the club on his debut. George Sykes and Callum McNaughton scored the first two goals to help Dartford earn a tie with League One leaders Gillingham.

Bishop’s Stortford have fared better away from home and are three league games without a win at Woodside Park. Rod Stringer’s side can take heart from a miserly defence which has kept two consecutive clean sheets. On their own patch the Blues have misfired last scoring a home goal in the National South on 29 August.

Mixed results leaves Bishop’s Stortford in eleventh, three points from the playoff places and five points ahead of the Darts. Despite inconsistencies the Hertfordshire club are performing better than last term’s finish. Elliott Buchanan will be one to watch after notching ten league goals, just two behind the National South’s top scorer Justin Bennett.

Bishop’s Stortford may have lost there last two over Dartford, however the Blues won the most important of the meetings in 1981. The F.A Trophy semi final ended 3-2 on aggregate before Bishop’s Stortford lifted the trophy with a 1-0 Wembley win against Sutton United.

Team News

Tom Wynter suffered a small hairline fracture on his ankle against Welling United. Tom Gardiner has served his one match ban for his red card, whilst Lee Noble is awaiting suspension following five cautions this term.

Head to Head

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

Last Meeting at Woodside Park

29 January 2011 – Bishop’s Stortford 0 Dartford 1 – attendance 627

Goalscorer: Charlie Sheringham

Darts lineup – Andrew Young, Billy Burgess, Tom Bonner, Joe Bruce, Paul Goodacre, Tom Champion, Lee Noble, Danny Harris, Charlie Sheringham, Jon Main, Elliot Bradbrook (subs used: Carl Rook, Matt Jones)

Current League Form

Bishop’s Stortford (WDLWWL) Dartford (DLLLWD)
Eastbourne Borough  A  1-0 Hemel Hempstead Town  H  2-2
Hayes & Yeading United  H  0-0 Wealdstone  A  1-2
Maidenhead United  H  0-2 Truro City  H  0-1
Hemel Hempstead Town  A  2-1 Oxford City  A  1-2
Hayes & Yeading United  A  2-0 Weston-super-Mare  H  2-1
Weston-super-Mare  H  0-1 Bath City  A  0-0

Previous Meetings (* – F.A Cup / ^ – F.A Trophy)

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
22.11.1975* Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 4
27.10.1970* Bishop’s Stortford 3 Dartford 1
24.10.2070* Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 1

 

 

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

Last Ten Years

btfc last 10 years

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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

Last Ten Years

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Season Review Part Eight– A look back on 2010/2011

8 – Mid-January to February – Dartford on Tour

Bouncebackability

Whilst Dartford was falling Farnborough was rising. The Boro had won three consecutive matches and striker Bradley Bubb was scoring for fun with eight goals in his last five league matches. The Darts had no chance especially if the last match between the two sides in August was anything to go by. Before the game Tony Burman signed full back Matt Jones from Bishop’s Stortford, George Purcell and Lee Burns were ruled out through injury.

Lee Noble who was recalled from his loan spell was on form and Dartford’s main hope, in the twelfth minute he was taken out in the penalty box. Dartford fans behind the goal were jubilant, great start. Charlie Sheringham stepped up to the spot to place his shot right footed and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way.

The lead lasted just eight minutes when on form striker Bradley Bubb was released on the left, his shot was struck well enough. Andrew Young pushed the ball upwards but it looped into the far corner. Dartford defenders all looked at one another, shoulders shrugged, here we go again.

Noble continued to weave inside out causing Farnborough some problems, he harassed, scurried at their defenders to put them under pressure. His enthusiasm rubbed off on the Dartford team until it went a step too far. Noble knocked the ball out to Elliot Bradbrook on the right who put in a deep cross to the far post. A misplaced header across the six yard box enticed Farnborough goalkeeper Michael Jordan to go for the ball. Noble steamed forward in an over enthusiastic attempt to win possession. The ball hit the goalkeeper; Noble’s outstretched leg went into Jordan’s chest. The referee charged to the scene, Farnborough players were furious and surrounded the referee, the red card was pulled out, Noble was sent off. The Dartford players were furious with the Boro reaction. Everything calmed down. The Darts had to play 55 minutes a man down. No chance for a win, let’s hope for a draw.

Tom Champion takes the plaudits

Adversity galvanised Dartford and three minutes after the restart Jon Main was sent through but the ball got caught between his feet. Main turned with his back to goal and layed the ball off to the onrushing Sheringham. Charlie drove the shot low and hard into the bottom corner from 19 yards, a quality finish, and an unexpected lead.

Fifteen minutes later, The Darts grew in confidence and boxed Farnborough into their own corner. The Boro tried to clear their lines three times and Dartford kept pressing. Main won possession and passed to Sheringham who looked up to notice Tom Champion on the edge of the ‘d’ and crossed the ball. One bounce, Champion adjusted his body, wrapped his right foot around the ball and his stunning volley landed in the top far corner of the net. The head strapped Champion milked the plaudits from the crowd, he deserved it. What was going on? Farnborough was shell shocked.

The Darts was denied a penalty, Main was denied by Jordan, it looked like Farnborough was a man down.  Then on 73 minutes The Boro failed to clear again from a corner. Sheringham flicked the ball on and Danny Harris nodded the ball past the goalkeeper at the near post, 4-1. Incredible afternoon.

Dartford 4 Farnborough 1 – Highlights

A New Cup Adventure

A new cup adventure began. Okay so it was ‘only the Kent Senior Cup’ but for some fans it was a realistic opportunity to land some silverware. The Kent Senior Cup is like the Football League Cup in some ways. Do we go for it? Do we try out some youngsters? Is it a chance to win something or a waste of time? However you feel about the cup it was here and Dartford faced Isthmian Premier League outfit Tonbridge Angels. Tony Burman opted for the young and promising Deren Ibrahim in goal and gave Adam Burchell a run out, other than that the first eleven could have started a league match.

Danny Harris opened the scoring on the hour when Ryan Hayes’ deep free kick to the far post was knocked down to Harris who swept the ball home. Charlie Sheringham replaced Hayes in the 85th minute then wrapped up the win. Sheringham took the ball down on his chest before cutting inside the defender and curling the ball beyond the Tonbridge keeper into the net. The Darts negotiated their way through the first round.

Dartford 2 Tonbridge Angels 0 – Kent Senior Cup First Round Highlights

Out of Harms Way

Despite the incredible win against the odds versus Farnborough, Dartford was still in the bottom three. The atmosphere surrounding the club lifted after a second win in succession against Tonbridge Angels. Next up was mid-table side Bishop’s Stortford who The Darts demolished earlier in the season.

Lee Noble was lively and was blocked off the ball early on, blood was spilt, and the challenge was nasty enough for Noble to change his shirt and to be bandaged up. The knock back failed to stop the midfielder as he controlled the game with his intricacy and skill; the sides were level at the break.

In the second half, Danny Harris was sent clear and rounded the goalkeeper. Harris went to ground, the referee deemed it a dive, yellow card, contentious decision. Jon Main was shut out, Bonner shot straight at the keeper, and Dartford was defending and playing on the break. With sixteen minutes remaining Noble delivered a low in swinger from the left, Billy Burgess jumped over the ball and Charlie Sheringham with his back towards goal turned on a sixpence and fired into the roof of the net, brilliant finish. The afternoon in Hertfordshire was a success, a third consecutive win and second consecutive clean sheet, 1-0 it finished. Out of the bottom three.

Bishops Stortford 0 Dartford 1 – Highlights

Thou Shall Not Pass

Princes Park hosted league leaders Braintree Town in a fiery encounter against The Darts. Dartford was growing in confidence but knew this would be a difficult fixture. The supporters started to believe, the team gained momentum, and everyone was starting to pull together. The Irons had won six in a row with strikers Sean Marks and Jamie Guy scoring eleven between them in the last seven matches.

Braintee Town showed why they were comfortable league leaders early on when Kenny Davis tested Andrew Young. Dartford’s Danny Harris failed to get on the end of Jon Main’s cross then on seventeen minutes, controversy. Charlie Sheringham went up for a header just inside the Braintree half; Matt Paine fell to the ground clutching his face. It was hard to tell what had happened but referee was convinced Sheringham threw an elbow to Paine’s face, red card, and uphill struggle.

Later on in the first half Irons player Kenny Davis was more than fortunate. When on the halfway line he lunged two footed at Danny Harris, the tackle was a shocker, the Dartford fans gasped in horror it was that bad. The referee unbelievably played on as Braintree won possession back and attacked, at which point the referee put a stop to the game. Braintree players raced towards the referee furious he stopped their attack, the man in black lost control of the match. Complete injustice for Dartford.

 

Captain Bradbrook nets the only goal of the game in a fiery contest

Like the Farnborough game the poor refereeing decisions galvanised Dartford supporters who remained incensed. The second half was tough; Dartford players worked their socks off against 11 men and the officials, as if it wasn’t hard enough playing the league leaders. Dartford held out until 81 minutes when the crucial moment arrived.  Lee Noble persisted to keep control off the ball on the half way line but was bundled over. The ball trickled to Elliot Bradbrook, The Captain dinked the ball forward which rolled underneath the foot of the Braintree centre half. Suddenly Jon Main was in, his first touch was heavy, his second was almost smothered by the goalkeeper, the ball bobbled up, Bradbrook reacted and side footed goal wards, goal! The Darts had beaten the odds again. Four consecutive wins, three consecutive clean sheets. Onwards and upwards.

Dartford 1 Braintree Town 0 – Highlights

The Darts Head North East

It was onwards and upwards indeed as The Darts and their faithful travelled to the north east. Dartford faced Conference National side Gateshead in the last sixteen of the F.A Trophy. Quite literally the journey was just too far for the Dartford players.

Phil Turnball’s deflected shot gave Gateshead the lead just before the break, if only The Darts could have held on. In the second half Gateshead were in control as they used their wingers to good effect. Substitute Brain Wake doubled the lead four minutes from time and with Dartford pressing forward were caught out again in the last minute by Kris Gale. Gateshead was barely troubled but like the Port Vale game in the F.A Cup the adventure was fun, Dartfordians could be proud.

 

This is Hardcore: Dartford fans travelled all the way to the North East

Gateshead 3 Dartford 0 – F.A Trophy Third Round Highlights

Gateshead to Weston

After the long trip north east The Darts and their travelling contingent travelled west as they clocked up the miles. A Tuesday night at Weston Super-Mare was to follow; a side Dartford soundly beat 4-1 back in September. The Seagulls was winless in six losing their last three, Dartford had won three league matches on the bounce.

Weston started brightly and Justin Porter tested the reflexes of Andrew Young. There were very few chances in the first half. The best efforts from The Darts came from Carl Rook and Charlie Sheringham. A tight game ensued and the second half was much the same until Weston’s Jamie Laird lost his footing, Sheringham turned quickly and beat goalkeeper Lloyd Irish in the 73rd minute. The season was turning around, another win, and another clean sheet.

Jon Main's first for Dartford

Loanee Strikes

The battle between Dartford and Braintree Town just eleven days ago was still fresh in the memory.  Charlie Sheringham was controversially sent off whilst Braintree’s Kenny Davis was lucky to stay on the pitch. Dartford supporters were still aggrieved by the events and really wanted to put one over the league leaders, furthermore our very own Ray Cherry was not allowed to film the match.

Dartford players were looking tired after long journeys and a crammed fixture list. Lee Noble was suspended and young Deren Ibrahim replaced Andrew Young in goal. On five minutes the league leaders attacked, a cross was unfortunately turned in by Billy Burgess, Dartford got off to a bad start. However parity was restored when Ibrahim’s punt up field was met by loanee Jon Main who lobbed the keeper with aplomb. The rest of the match was played out with both sets of players looking weary. The spoils were shared.

Unbeaten Run Continues

One of Dartford’s poorest performances was against Welling United in January. The Wings were coping well with off field problems and still challenging in the playoff places. Lee Noble was back and early on he set up Jon Main, his shot was tipped round the post. Another Dartford effort was hacked off the line. At the other end Joe Bruce was turned by Andrew Pugh and his curling effort was bravely blocked by Billy Burgess. A desperate lunge by Paul Goodacre gave Welling a free kick on the edge of the box, Jamie Day’s effort dipped just over the cross bar.

In the second forty five, Loui Fazackerley crossed for Liam Bellamy who nodded wide, Ibrahim was beaten. Elliot Bradbrook dug out an opportunity on the edge of the Welling box but his sliced volley ended inches wide scrapping the side netting. Then just past the hour The Wings took the advantage. After a number of testing corners they finally made one count when Jack Parkinson headed in from six yards.

Ryan Hayes scores an audacious free kick

Tony Burman made a double substitution on 73 minutes which proved to be a great decision. Ryan Hayes who had been out of the first eleven for a little while was introduced for his craft, Lee Burns came on for his endeavour. With eight minutes remaining Dartford won a free kick way out against the right touchline a good 30 to 35 yards out. Hayes looked up and struck the ball with power and swerve, Welling goalkeeper Tom Lovelock moved across to his near post, the ball swerved into the top corner, what a goal. Super sub Ryno saved the day.

Dartford 1 Welling United 1 – Highlights

Slip Up

It had been seven matches since Dartford lost, it had been 15 games since Hampton and Richmond last won. Normally in this position Dartford supporters will be expecting nothing but victory but with our record against the bottom sides we were still wary. After all, we lost to Thurrock when they were on a dreadful run; we were turned over by Dorchester Town which left us shocked. Dartford did not disappoint, well they did but some of us expected.

The Beavers came away from Princes Park with a resounding 4-0 win. Dean Wells scored against the Darts for a second time in the season when a corner was not cleared on 24 minutes. Six minutes before the break Ian Hodges doubled the lead. In the second half it took Hampton and Richmond a minute to make it three through Lawrence Yaku. Just two minutes later Yaku headed in his second. Let’s just call it a slip up.

Dartford 0 Hampton and Richmond 4 – Highlights

Back On Track

Dartford travelled to Dorset on a Tuesday night to put right their latest defeat, to revenge the 4-0 drubbing The Magpies gave us in November. The pitch was boggy as the winter weather had taken its toll across the non-league scene across the country. In all fairness this was not a game for the football purists but the exhausted Dartford players battled hard and were rewarded.

A goalless draw looked on the cards and how fitting it was when the Patron Saint of Lost Causes battled a lost cause in the Dorchester box. Danny Harris broke one tackle, rode another challenge and reached out a leg to slide the ball into the goal, 1-0 with just under seventeen minutes remaining. As the game reached a conclusion Jon Main spotted Lee Noble who looked like he went too wide, his shot was hit low and into the net for number two. Dartford avenged the defeat early in the season and had put the previous match to bed.

Dorchester Town 0 Dartford 2 – Highlights

February Finishes

It had been an incredible turnaround for Dartford, who was in the bottom three just a month and a half ago.  Six league wins, three draws and a defeat lifted them up to fourteenth position and seven points clear of relegation. Although they were fourteen matches to play over two more months it was the first time Dartford supporters could relax a little but there was still work to be done.

Braintree Town still led the table seven points ahead of in form Ebbsfleet United. The Fleet won four of their five February fixtures. Welling United, Farnborough and Chelmsford City maintained their playoff spots. Lewes moved off the foot of the table with three consecutive wins and Maidenhead United slipped towards danger after just two victories in twenty one matches. It was Woking who were the in form team with six consecutive wins without conceding, this was to stretch to seven on 1 March 2011.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Braintree Town 29 20 5 4 57 22 +35 65
2 Ebbsfleet United 29 17 7 5 55 36 +19 58
3 Farnborough 29 17 5 7 55 33 +22 56
4 Chelmsford City 29 16 6 7 58 33 +25 54
5 Welling United* 29 17 5 7 55 35 +20 51
6 Eastleigh 27 14 5 8 49 33 +16 47
7 Dover Athletic 28 14 5 9 60 40 +20 47
8 Woking 28 13 7 8 39 27 +12 46
9 Bromley 29 12 10 7 37 41 -4 46
10 Havant and W 24 9 6 9 34 33 +1 33
11 Staines Town 29 9 11 9 37 39 -2 38
12 Basingstoke Town 29 9 8 12 33 43 -10 35
13 Weston-super-Mare 31 10 7 14 41 47 -6 37
14 Dartford 28 8 9 11 35 40 -5 33
15 Bishop’s Stortford 30 9 4 17 34 60 -26 31
16 Hampton and Richmond 26 5 11 10 31 38 -7 26
17 Dorchester Town 28 6 9 13 28 38 -10 27
18 Thurrock 28 6 9 13 37 56 -19 27
19 Maidenhead United 27 6 7 14 28 46 -18 25
20 Boreham Wood 29 6 8 15 37 53 -16 26
21 Lewes 31 6 6 19 25 49 -24 24
22 St Albans City 29 4 10 15 25 48 -23 22

*Welling United deducted five points

Stuart Maidment

Photos courtesy of Dave Adkins, videos courtesy of Ray Cherry.

 

Season Review Part Three – A look back on 2010/2011

3- Let The Season Begin – August 2010

Danny Harris celebrates Dartford's first goal in the Conference South

The Opener

The fourteenth of August arrived and The Darts opener against Havant and Waterlooville was the talk of the town. Back in the second tier of non league football, 1302 turned up for the first fixture of 2010/2011 season. Havant and Waterlooville were the bookies favourite to go up having lost just nine games the season before and finishing a point away from the playoffs. Dartford missed Elliot Bradbrook and new signing Tom Champion through suspension. Tom Bonner, Joe Bruce, Paul Goodacre and Ollie Berquez made their competitive debuts. Three o’clock, the referee’s whistle commenced the start of another chapter in Dartford F.C’s history. No one really knew what to expect but Princes Park was buzzing with optimism and on twenty six minutes Danny Harris flicked a Ryan Hayes free kick goalwards, 1-0. The Darts had opened the scoring, the crowd were in full voice, the season was well and truly underway, what a start. The Hawks looked for the equaliser, hit the crossbar and had a goal ruled out for offside. Burman’s side were clinging on and as the half time break approached Hayes handled the ball in his own area, penalty, the home crowd silenced. Bobby Hopkinson converted the spot kick and the teams went back to their dressing rooms all square.

The second half started with a fine drizzle and the Hampshire side took control, the Dartford crossbar was rattled for the second time. With a couple of minutes remaining Dartford were unable to clear a corner, the ball was eventually laid off to Wes Fogden who unleashed a terrific eighteen yard curler into Andrew Young’s far corner, game over. Or was it? In the last minute Young launched a goal kick forward which was flicked on. Lee Burns desperately helped the ball up in the air and into the penalty box, Danny Harris was knocked over and the referee pointed to the spot. Hayes stepped up, the Dartford faithful crossed their fingers, and the Havant goalkeeper was sent the wrong way, 2-2. Dartford had earned their first league point, relief.

Dartford 2 Havant and Waterlooville 2 – Highlights

Paul Goodacre heads for an early bath at The Beveree

Searching For Win Number One

Two away matches followed starting in mid week at The Beveree. Hampton and Richmond were the first team to host The Darts. After two games Dartford unveiled their third kit, green with white sleeves, eyebrows were raised not for the first time that afternoon. Not even ten minutes had passed when Paul Goodacre clipped the last man, the letter of the law was applied and Dartford were reduced to ten men. Despite a numerical disadvantage the boys held their own but it was not enough. A Dean Wells header on 68 minutes inflicted the first defeat for The Darts.

Hampton and Richmond 1 Dartford 0 – Highlights

A second successive reverse was to follow at newly promoted Farnborough. The Hampshire side lost their opening two matches. It took just twelve minutes for Dean McDonald to smash home a superb half volley from 18 yards to give Farnborough the lead. Andrew Young was extremely busy against the lively Boro attack and when he upended Kezie Ibe a penalty was awarded. McDonald doubled his tally and Farnborough’s advantage. Lee Noble nodded in a consolation in the final minute, The Darts were given a wakeup call, welcome to the Conference South.

Farnborough 2 Dartford 1 – Highlights

A First For Everything

At last Charlie Sheringham and Tom Champion made competitive debuts as Bishop’s Stortford travelled to Princes Park. The Bishop’s finished a lowly eighteenth last season but had become an experienced Conference South outfit. The Hertfordshire club were already familiar with Andrew Young, Danny Harris, Paul Goodacre and debutant Charlie Sheringham who all plied their trade at Woodside Park in the past. After a slow start to the season Dartford fans debated over the best line up and the best formation. Importantly of all, they all agreed to get behind the team in search of their first victory. The performance was much improved by the Dartford lads and on twenty minutes Billy Burgess’ long throw was flicked on by Lee Burns, Danny Harris turned and shot, 1-0. Barely a couple of minutes passed and

The Darts run riot and record win number one

Paul Goodacre was in the thick of it again, another penalty conceded. This time, Andrew Young made an excellent stop to keep The Darts ahead and save his first penalty of the season. Two minutes before the interval things got better for Dartford. Sheringham found Ryan Hayes out wide who returned the ball with a delightful cross; Sheringham headed his first goal for his new club, 2-0. Young kept The Bishop’s at bay in the second half with a string of fine saves, the penalty save was looking to be a turning point. With nine minutes remaining a terrible mistake from Bishop’s Stortford goalkeeper Nicky Morgan handed Carl Rook a four yard tap in, game, set and match, the first win of the season was accomplished in style.

Dartford 3 Bishop’s Stortford 0 – Highlights

Derby Day

Dartfordians were on a high after the mid week triumph and for the next 96 hours the emotional journey would continue. It had been eighteen long and hard years without playing our rivals. Back then they were known as Gravesend and Northfleet, now their name had controversially changed to Ebbsfleet United. Only two and half years had passed since The Fleet tasted Wembley triumph in the F.A Trophy final, being the first Kent side to lift the honour. Dartford had lost Watling Street, started all over again in the Kent League and even shared Stonebridge Road with their local rivals, the road had been long. The occasion was full of excitement and nervousness, take the start of the season and multiply it by ten or maybe more. A season’s record attendance turned out, 2781, Dartford’s biggest in the league since the opening of Princess Park. Prior the match supporters of both clubs mingled, some would have to speak to each other after the match at work, down the local. Friends before the game, enemies during and returning to friends again once all is over. In 1992, Dartford destroyed The Fleet 5-0 on New Year’s Day and the reverse fixture ended 1-1. Many fans would remember this as the last time the two sides met in the league; newer fans looked forward to a ‘new rivalry’ for it was Dover Athletic or Maidstone United in recent years. The only similarity between the two sets of supporters was that no one wanted to experience defeat.

Darts fans saviour the atmosphere against Ebbsfleet United

Ebbsfleet started the brighter and struck the left post through Craig Stone. However, Dartford bounced back with half chances of their own via Charlie Sheringham and Lee Burns. Hearts were in mouths shortly afterwards. Callum Willock was sent through who delicately lobbed the ball over John Whitehouse, surely The Fleet had taken the lead? The ball was destined for the goal. Billy Burgess scampered back before sliding in time to clear the ball off the line. The first half went by, scrappy, competitive with both defences resolute, yet the game remained entertaining because of the amount at stake. On the stroke of half time Dartford broke with a counter attack and Danny Harris’ cross was inches away from the toes of Lee Burns, the half time whistle sounded, goalless.

At the half time interval drink was required to nullify the nerves. The only affect this had was to lubricate the vocal chords for the second half. Drums and trumpets continued to stir up vociferous support for the final forty five minutes and the game continued where it had left off, scrappy, competitive and entertaining.

On sixty two minutes Fleet goalkeeper Preston Edwards comfortably dealt with a Dartford cross, he released Willock with an accurate throw who was cynically tripped off the ball by Ryan Hayes, free kick awarded. Although the free kick was forty yards out right on the far side Ebbsfleet United packed the Dartford box. As the ball was hurled in Michael West rose from six yards out to powerfully header The Fleet into the lead. Ebbsfleet supporters were ecstatic, a jubilant roar sounded out over Princes Park. Despite going a goal down the atmosphere of that goal made Dartford realise what they had missed for eighteen years, a big game, a big gate, a higher level of football and support, it was what Princes Park was built for, shame about conceding though.

Seconds later The Darts attacked in search of a quick leveller. Whitehouse’s kick went long, Sheringham flicked it on to Burns who exchanged a one two. Only the keeper to beat from six yards, this was it, 1-1 and we’ve bounced back. Burns set himself, too complacent it was harder to miss and he did. The chance had vanished and over half of Princes Park was in disbelief. The game opened up and straight from Dartford’s opportunity, The Fleet broke away and Willock’s header was brilliantly tipped round the post by Andrew Young.

Nine frantic minutes passed and the setback gave Dartford the impetus to find an equaliser. A hopeful boot into the Ebbsfleet box caused problems for Paul Lorraine as he hauled Harris to the ground, penalty. Sheringham immediately grabbed the ball despite Hayes’ protest that he normally takes the spot kicks. Confusion surrounded the Ebbsfleet players who disagreed with the referees decision, confusion surrounded the Dartford players who couldn’t decide on who should take the penalty. The referee completed formalities; Princes Park held its breath. Sheringham to stepped up, shot to the keepers right into the bottom corner, equaliser. Relief for the Dartford fans, for Sheringham, for Hayes, for Burman’s men. A few more half chances were squandered and when the referee brought an end to the derby, Princes Park was reduced to a credible round of applause, an exhausting yet entertaining fixture had come to an end, the sixteen year wait was worth it.

Dartford 1 Ebbsfleet United 1 – Highlights

Dartford fans celebrate as Charlie Sheringham converts a spot kick

End of August

After the highs of the last two league fixtures The Darts travelled across to Essex to face Chelmsford City. Just under a year ago the two sides met in the F.A Cup with The Clarets progressing to the next round. A disappointing performance by Dartford ended August on a defeat, goals from Billy Bricknell and Anthony Cook gave Chelmsford a 2-0 win leaving Dartford with five points from the first eighteen.

Chelmsford City 2 Dartford 0 – Highlights

During the opening month of the season Bromley set the pace with a perfect record. Mark Goldberg’s team won every fixture in August. Only Braintree Town and Dover Athletic were unbeaten whilst five teams were yet to record a victory. St Albans City opened with five consecutive draws which was to remain the longest drawing streak of 2010/11 season. The promoted newcomers were all struggling to adapt with Farnborough lying in fourteenth, Dartford in sixteenth and Boreham Wood second from bottom.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Bromley 6 6 0 0 12 5 +7 18
2 Braintree Town 6 4 2 0 12 2 +10 14
3 Dover Athletic 6 4 2 0 10 3 +7 14
4 Chelmsford City 6 4 0 2 13 8 +5 12
5 Maidenhead United 6 4 0 2 7 8 -1 12
6 Welling United 6 3 2 1 11 8 +3 11
7 Bishop’s Stortford 6 3 0 3 7 10 -3 9
8 Eastleigh 6 2 2 2 11 8 +3 8
9 Ebbsfleet United 6 2 2 2 7 6 +1 8
10 Basingstoke Town 6 2 2 2 4 4 0 8
11 Weston-super-Mare 6 2 2 2 4 4 0 8
12 Hampton and Richmond 6 1 4 1 7 7 0 7
13 Staines Town 6 1 4 1 5 5 0 7
14 Farnborough 6 2 1 3 5 7 -2 7
15 Woking 6 2 1 3 4 8 -4 7
16 Dartford 6 1 2 3 7 8 -1 5
17 St Albans City 6 0 5 1 6 7 -1 5
18 Havant and W 6 0 4 2 5 8 -3 4
19 Lewes 6 1 1 4 4 9 -5 4
20 Thurrock 6 0 3 3 8 12 -4 3
21 Boreham Wood 6 0 3 3 6 11 -5 3
22 Dorchester Town 6 0 2 4 4 11 -7 2