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Bognor Regis Town v Dartford

Dartford can win the National South title and promotion this weekend when they travel to already relegated Bognor Regis Town.

Nyewood Lane holds fond memories for the Darts, a venue where they celebrated at the end of the 2009/2010 campaign when Dartford went up as Isthmian Premier League champions. This time the circumstances are so much different.

Havant and Waterlooville’s 6-1 mid-week win over East Thurrock United on Wednesday night has left the Darts needing a bundle of goals. Dartford need to better Havant and Waterlooville’s result against Concord Rangers, or if both teams win the Darts’ winning margin needs to be greater than three goals more than Havant and Waterlooville’s winning margin.

Despite the three-goal deficit Dartford manager, Tony Burman remains positive, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “We’re in with a massive shout, the target was to be challenging for the league title and we’re still in prime position at the moment”.

He added: “Against Bognor we’ve got to think about ourselves and what we can do. Bognor is going to be hit with a lot of people from Dartford, it’s going to be a good day and hopefully it goes well for us”.

The Darts have won their last eight league games and another victory will mean the clubs longest winning streak in the league for nine years, when they ended up as Isthmian Premier League winners.

Over those last eight games Dartford have been less free scoring than earlier in the season, Burman commented: “I realise we haven’t played brilliant football over those games but we’re at the nitty gritty end of the season”, he continued: “It’s about work-rate and just winning games. We’ve got to get on with it and do what we can do. Hopefully it swings our way”.

Dartford’s defence has been formidable over the last month, conceding just one goal in the last seven games has kept them in with a chance of claiming a first league title in eight years. They are also the league’s top scorers with 79 and have Alfie Pavey who has netted 22 times, three behind the National South’s top scorer. Recently, Danny Mills has scored three in his last three appearances helping the Darts to vital points.

Earlier in the season, the Darts beat Bognor Regis Town at Princes Park. Alfie Pavey put the Darts ahead, but the visitors quickly levelled before the break. Elliot Bradbrook’s penalty restored Dartford’s lead and the points were secured when Andy Pugh’s header made it 3-1.

Bognor Regis Town will be leaving the National South through the relegation trapdoor, the Rocks were promoted last term through the Isthmian Premier League playoffs. Guaranteed to finish in last place after their 1-0 defeat to Chelmsford City on Tuesday night, the Sussex club have managed just five league wins all season.

With Dartford needing goals they will be hoping that former defender Keaton Wood doesn’t make too much of an impact. Wood made 74 appearances for the Darts and represented the England C Team during his spell at Princes Park, the 22-year-old left the club for Bognor Regis Town in November.

The Rocks have lost nine of their last ten games with the only success at home to St Albans City on 10 April. It’s been a season of struggle for Jack Pearce’s side who will bow out of the National South potentially having a say in where the league title will end up.

Head to Head
Bognor Regis Town wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 4 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Bognor Regis Town (LLLLWL) Dartford (WWWWWW)
Chelmsford City H 0-1 Bath City H 2-0
Oxford City City A 0-4 East Thurrock United A 1-0
Concord Rangers A 1-2 Eastbourne Borough A 1-0
Hemel Hempstead Town H 2-3 Gloucester City A 1-0
St Albans City H 2-1 Weston-super-Mare H 3-1
Gloucester City A 2-3 Hampton and Richmond H 1-0

Previous Meetings

07.10.2017 Dartford 3 Bognor Regis Town 1
24.04.2010 Bognor Regis Town 0 Dartford 2
07.11.2009 Dartford 3 Bognor Regis Town 3
02.05.1981 Dartford 1 Bognor Regis Town 1
13.12.1980 Bognor Regis Town 2 Dartford 2
01.05.1980 Bognor Regis Town 2 Dartford 0
10.11.1979 Dartford 2 Bognor Regis Town 0
06.04.1976 Bognor Regis Town 2 Dartford 2
06.09.1975 Dartford 3 Bognor Regis Town 1

Stats
The Darts have won eight league games in a row, a feat that was achieved in 1996 leading up to the final game of the season. Needing a win on the last day against Furness to clinch the title, the Darts drew 1-1 losing out to their opponents on goal difference.

Dartford’s run of six clean sheets in the last seven games is their best defensive display since they kept six clean sheets in a row in 2009. That was part of the last time Dartford won eight consecutive league games and won a championship.

The Darts have won five away games on a spin their best run since the 2009/2010 season when they recorded nine straight wins.

Dartford are two victories away from equalling a club record ten consecutive wins in all competitions last achieved in 1996. The Darts have won ten in a row in all competitions on six occasions in their history.

On This Day
Dartford had already secured second place in the National South six years ago when they played their final match of the season down at Truro City. The White Tigers took the lead through veteran striker and former Premier League player Barry Hayles, in the final minute Jacob Erskine equalised. Dartford were promoted that season through the playoffs beating local rivals Welling United in the final. Eleven years ago, the Darts also finished their 2006/2007 campaign in an entertaining defeat, Brendon Cass scored two and Ryan Hayes the pther in a 4-3 loss at Metropolitan Police.

Dartford v Bognor Regis Town

The Darts return to league action this weekend hosting last season’s Isthmian Premier playoff winners Bognor Regis Town at Princes Park.

Dartford bounced back from their last National South fixture that saw them lose 3-0 away to Weston-super-Mare. Tony Burman guided his side to the F.A Cup fourth qualifying round on Saturday with a comprehensive 6-1 win at Needham Market.

In the previous round the Darts had to keep their wits about them against lower league opposition, this time they negotiated any potential upset the Isthmian Premier side could pose. Alfie Pavey struck a first half hat-trick to put Dartford on their way. In the second half, Tom Murphy, Andy Pugh and Ryan Hayes added three more and it could have been more had Elliot Bradbrook not missed a penalty earlier on in the half.

Dartford created fond memories for the fans after last playing Bognor Regis Town in 2010. On the final day of the season having already clinched the Isthmian Premier League title, the Darts won 2-0 with Jamie Coyle scoring the Darts 100th goal of the campaign and Lee Noble adding the 101st. However, the fixture earlier in that season at Princes Park was a much tougher affair. Bognor Regis Town were bottom of the table, where they finished the campaign but it was future Dartford striker Jason Prior who grabbed the headlines in a 3-3 draw. Prior alerted Burman to his potential with a superb hat-trick. Danny Harris scored a brace for the Darts but it was right back Billy Burgess who saved Dartford’s blushes with a 94th minute equaliser.

Bognor Regis Town are still finding their feet in the National South and are eighteenth in the division, thirteen places below the Darts. The Sussex club may be waiting for their first league victory in the league, but they did manage their maiden away win of the season on the weekend. Also in F.A Cup action, the Rocks were paired up with rivals Eastbourne Borough in the third qualifying round. The tie was made even more tasty by the fact that former Bognor Regis Town boss, Jamie Howell now manages the Sports. Ollie Pearce scored both goals either side of the break to make sure the Rocks came out on top.

In their last league fixture Bognor Regis Town threw away a two goal lead with twenty minutes remaining. Pearce netted his fifth National South goal of the campaign in the first half before James Muitt made it 2-0 in the second half, also notching his fifth for the season. Gloucester City hit back when substitute Edward Williams scored a brace and rescued a point for the visitors.

One player who could make a return to Princes Park after a brief spell with the Darts is Ben Swallow. The winger was part of the 2013/14 National League squad that finished in the relegation zone but were reprieved. Swallow made 11 appearances with seven of those coming off the substitutes bench. This season he has been a regular in the Bognor Regis Town starting eleven having signed for the club in the summer from Havant and Waterlooville.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 3 / Bognor Regis Town: 1 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings

24.04.2010 Bognor Regis Town 0 Dartford 2
07.11.2009 Dartford 3 Bognor Regis Town 3
02.05.1981 Dartford 1 Bognor Regis Town 1
13.12.1980 Bognor Regis Town 2 Dartford 2
01.05.1980 Bognor Regis Town 2 Dartford 0
10.11.1979 Dartford 2 Bognor Regis Town 0

Current League Form

Dartford (LWWWDL) Bognor Regis Town (DLLLDL)
Weston-super-Mare A 0-3 Gloucester City H 2-2
Eastbourne Borough H 4-2 Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-3
Chippenham Town H 3-0 Wealdstone A 0-3
Whitehawk A 4-0 Hungerford Town H 1-2
Hampton & Richmond A 2-2 Chelmsford City A 0-0
East Thurrock United H 0-1 Eastbourne Borough H 0-1

Stats
Dartford have scored three or more goals in seven of their opening 15 matches. One less time than the first 15 games of the 2009/10 campaign when they were promoted at the end of the season.

The Darts are top scorers in the National South with 27 goals, one ahead of Braintree Town.

Bognor Regis Town have the third leakiest defence conceding 23 times, only Whitehawk (36) and Oxford City (27) have let in more goals.

On This Day
Dartford have only won once on 7 October since reforming and that was eleven years ago in the F.A Trophy Preliminary round against Ilford, the Darts ran out 4-1 winners on their way to second qualifying round. Dartford had to wait eight years to play on this day again, this time losing 1-0 away to Bristol Rovers in the National League. The match was marred by an incident where Dartford goalkeeper Jason Brown was racially abused by a Rovers fan. Aside from a 0-0 draw with Deal Town in 1995, the Darts have lost the other three outings with 18 goals being scored. Fisher Athletic won the Southern League Cup encounter 5-3 in 1997, Rothwell Town won 3-2 in 2000 and Bromley were victorious by the same score in the Kent Senior Cup in 2003.

National League South Season Preview 2017/18 – Part I

 Bath City | Bognor Regis Town | Braintree Town | Chelmsford City

Bath City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Twerton Park

The Romans achieved their highest finish in three years last term to finish in the top ten. Decent form from mid-November to mid-February helped the cause as Bath City tasted league defeat just once in that period. This season will mark the Romans sixth consecutive campaign in the National South as they push for a playoff place and a hopeful return to the National League, which they exited five years ago.

Last Season

National South: 9th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Andy Watkins (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 612 (8th in league / 59th in non-league)

The Manager – Gary Owers

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. Owers enjoyed his first full campaign last season and this time is aiming for the top five. The Romans boss committed to the club this summer for the next two years and hopes the community buy out off the field will reap its rewards.

The Summer

Shaun McClousky returns to his parent club Bristol City, which allows Jamie Lucas from Bristol Rovers and Nat Jarvis from Hungerford Town to try and replace his goals. Owers has opted for experience at the back signing Grenadian international Anthony Straker from Aldershot Town and Darren Jones from Newport County, adding a little youthfulness in the defence will be Miles Welch-Hayes from Oxford United. Top scorer Andy Watkins was retained after picking up last season’s Player of the Year for the Romans. Turning his loan spell last season to a permanent deal, Marvin Morgan signs from Havant and Waterlooville. Triallists, Matt Cafer and Ryan Case impressed enough in pre-season to earn deals.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 29 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Previous Meetings

04.03.2017 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
22.10.2016 Bath City 0 Dartford 1
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

Next Meetings

Saturday 14 October 2017 at Twerton Park

Saturday 21 April 2018 at Princes Park

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Bognor Regis Town

Founded: 1883 / Ground: Nyewood Lane

Isthmian Premier League runners up two years in a row, the Rocks return to the National South after an eight year absence. In that time the sank to the Isthmian Division One South where again they finished second in consecutive seasons, going up in the playoffs. The Sussex club managed to overcome a strong Dulwich Hamlet side in April’s playoff final and deservedly earned promotion.

Last Season

Isthmian Premier: 2nd

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi Final

League Top Scorer: James Fraser (22 goals)

Average Attendance: 550 (5th in league / 64th in non-league)

The Manager – Vacant

The search for a new boss took some time only for the hard work to be undone. Sami El-Abd agreed to combine the manager’s post with a full time coaching role at Brighton and Hove Albion, only for the defender to step down. General Manager, Jack Pearce praised El-Abd’s honesty and believes any disruptions won’t be a problem for the Rocks.

The Summer

Bognor Regis Town suffered a double blow, after losing manager Jamie Howell, top scorer James Fraser departed Nyewood Lane for Worthing. Corey Heath, once a youth team player with the Rocks will now be part of the senior squad. Goalkeeper, Dan Lincoln and midfield trio Joe Lea, Pat Suraci and Tommy Scutt have all signed on but attracting new players has proved challenging without a manager for most of the summer.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Bognor Regis Town wins: 1 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings

24.04.2010 Bognor Regis Town 0 Dartford 2
07.11.2009 Dartford 3 Bognor Regis Town 3
02.05.1981 Dartford 1 Bognor Regis Town 1
13.12.1980 Bognor Regis Town 2 Dartford 2
01.05.1980 Bognor Regis Town 2 Dartford 0
10.11.1979 Dartford 2 Bognor Regis Town 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 7 October 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 28 April 2018 at Nyewood Lane

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Braintree Town

Founded: 1898 / Ground: Cressing Road

The Irons six year stay amongst the elite of non league ended in relegation last season. In that time the Essex club kept defying the odds starting with mid-table finishes and in 2014 were three points from a playoff spot. A couple of years later, Braintree Town achieved their best ever campaign finishing third, losing the playoff semi final against Grimsby Town. Perhaps victims of their own success, the Iron never recovered and were relegated last term on the final day. At least they reached the F.A cup second round for the first time.

Last Season

National League: 22nd

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Michael Cheek (17 goals)

Average Attendance: 725 (22nd in league / 44th in non-league)

The Manager – Brad Quinton

The club’s record appearance maker after twelve successful seasons with the Iron, Brad Quinton re-joins the Essex club to take charge. Winner of the Isthmian Premier and National South as a player with Braintree Town, he has had a lot of rebuilding to do and his new look squad will be hoping to consolidate in the National South. Quinton has set his sights on the top half of the table by the festive period and then see where he can take them from there. Being a crowd favourite on the pitch may well help him in the dug out.

The Summer

The Irons have signed a teams worth of new players alone including former Dartford striker George Sykes from Canvey Island. Quinton also raided resources at Enfield Town, his former club to work with players he knows and trusts. Nathan McDonald, Jonathan Muleba, Scott Schulton, Samir Bihmoutine, Ricky Gabriel, Nigel Neita and Connor Bolton all join from the Middlesex club. Xavier Vidal has been brought in from Mertsham, Roman Michael-Percil from Metropolitan Police, George Craddock from East Thurrock United and Marc Okoye from Dulwich Hamlet.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Braintree Town wins: 6 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

01.01.2015 Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
26.12.2014 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
18.04.2014 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0
24.08.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
11.04.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 0
25.09.2012 Braintree Town 0 Dartford 2

Next Meetings

Tuesday 8 August 2017 at Cressing Road

Saturday 23 December 2018 at Princes Park

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Chelmsford City

Founded: 1878 / Ground: Melbourne Stadium

A solid reliable outfit last season, the Clarets failed at the final hurdle in the playoffs, this time against ten men Ebbsfleet United. Chelmsford City will be aiming for promotion after their fourth place finish last term was a vast improvement on the three campaigns before. Like local rivals Braintree Town, the Clarets have been busy in the summer transfer window and have overhauled their squad in an attempt to mount a challenge.

Last Season

National South: 4th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Shaun Jeffers (21 goals)

Average Attendance: 912 (4th in league / 38th in non-league)

The Manager – Rod Stringer

The Chelmsford City boss ensured the club finished in their best league position since 2011. 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. He will come up against his former club Braintree Town this season after controversially walking away. Last summer he made the move back to Essex from Bishop’s Stortford and has the Clarets believing again.

The Summer

Capitalising on players leaving rivals Braintree Town, the former Irons boss Rod Stringer grabbed the opportunity by signing former Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur forward Lee Barnard. Ex AFC Wimbledon goalkeeper Sam Beasant joins from the Clarets rivals as does Harry Lee. Chelmsford City are amongst the busiest teams in the transfer window capturing the likes of Michael West and Elliott Omozusi from Whitehawk, Craig Braham-Barrett from Welling United and former Dartford loanee Jim Stevenson from Dover Athletic. Former Peterborough United, Millwall and Leyton Orient striker, Shaun Batt was signed from Barnet with the help of the Clarets ’12th man’ fund. Scott Davies (Oxford City), Paul Rodgers (Bishop’s Stortford), Kudus Oyenuga (Greenock Morton), Matt Johnson (Billericay Town) and Aaron Greene (Bishop’s Stortford) have also signed for the Clarets. Former Darts, Max Cornhill and Josh Hill have left the club.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 36 / Chelmsford City wins: 53 / Draws: 91

Previous Meetings

07.05.2017 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 2
03.05.2017 Chelmsford City 0 Dartford 0
18.02.2017 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1
14.01.2017 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1
17.09.2016 Chelmsford City 2 Dartford 3
13.08.2016 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 21 October 2017 at Melbourne Stadium

Saturday 10 February 2018 at Princes Park

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