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Chippenham Town v Dartford

Dartford are left to concentrate on the National South for now with their main focus on an away trip to take on Chippenham Town this weekend.

The Darts crashed out of the F.A Cup last weekend when they went down 4-1 at Oxford City. A return to league action on Saturday gives Dartford the chance to extend an unbeaten run in the National South to four games. The third qualifying round of the F.A Cup is where it ended for Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle’s side with a performance that led to the captain apologising to the travelling faithful.

New loan signing from Maidstone United, Andre Coker made his debut replacing fellow loanee Kenneth Yao, who was ruled out with concussion. With Coker playing out on the wing that meant Chez Isaac slotted in at full back. Charlie Sheringham returned after missing the victory against Weston-Super-Mare replacing Jamie Philpot. Despite alterations to the starting eleven, the Darts found themselves four down allowing lone striker Kabby Tshimanga to score a hat-trick, the fourth was netted by loan signing Bobson Bawling, who joined from Torquay United a few days before kick off. Elliot Bradbrook grabbed a consolation for the Darts when he scored for the third time in five games to take his tally to five this season.

Coyle has called for his players to show a positive reaction, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk this week and said: “The players were hurting at the end of the game so we’ve got to pick them up. We’d been on a great run, we were four unbeaten and we had an opportunity to carry that on and build some momentum. We’ve taken a backward step but there’s an opportunity to reset and go again”, he added: “After the second-half performance on Saturday, there has to be a reaction”.

Defeat remain three games unbeaten in the league though, however they have drawn two of those. Two late draws against Eastbourne Borough and league leaders Billericay Town were followed up by victory over Weston-super-Mare, who are bottom of the table. Lee Noble opened the scoring before Gethyn Hill equalised for the Seagulls, but Jamie Philpot found the net in the second half to clinch a much needed win.

Chippenham Town finished their debut season in the National South last term in a respectable thirteenth. This time the Bluebirds are sitting in tenth amongst three other teams on eighteen points. Dartford will know a win at Hardenhuish Park will put them level with their opponents on points. However, the Wiltshire club are a tough prospect on their own patch losing just four at home last season, whilst this term they have won four out of five and lost the other.

Coyle commented: “Chippenham have only lost once at home all season so it’s going to be tough but we’re expecting a huge reaction for everyone at the football club”, he continued: “Me and Adam have been there with Welling and Concord and it’s a tough place to go but I’m looking forward to it”.

Mark Collier has got his side settled into the National South and despite defeat at newly promoted Dulwich Hamlet last weekend, they had just completed three consecutive wins, including an impressive 1-0 victory over Torquay United at Plainmoor. The Bluebirds also inflicted the first defeat on Billericay Town this season winning 2-0 towards the end of August.

The Bluebirds had to wait ten days before starting their October fixture list when they were in F.A Cup action. Their belated third qualifying round tie against Hendon ended 4-1 on Wednesday night. Chippenham Town as good as wrapped up the game before half-time racing into a three-goal lead. Nat Jarvis opened the scoring mid-way through the first half before a Nick McCootie brace. Within ten minutes of the restart George Rigg made it four, but the deficit was reduced when Ricardo German scored a consolation for Hendon.

Collier has added two more players to his squad this week, welcoming back the experienced Andy Sandell from his loan spell at Melksham Town. The Chippenham Town boss has also taken on loan Jordan Edwards from Swindon Town, the 19 year old has been drafted into the squad due to some long term injuries and suspensions. Summer signing Nat Jarvis leads the way in front of goal for the Bluebirds with four in the league so far, the striker signed from Bath City along with Jack Compton and George Rigg.

Last season, the Darts frustratingly came back from Hardenhuish Park with a point. Dartford who were sitting top of the National League were looking to extend their lead, but twice they went ahead only for Chippenham Town to fight back. Alfie Pavey made sure the Darts were in front at the interval only for Dean Evans to equalise early in the second half. Pavey completed a brace to make it 2-1, but once again the Bluebirds levelled, this time through McCootie. Earlier in the season, the Darts ran out 3-0 winners at Princes Park with goals from Pavey, Andy Pugh and Ryan Hayes.

Kenneth Yao should be available for selection again, Callum Driver is back in training and Andy Pugh is still recovering from a broken leg.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Chippenham Town wins: 0 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Chippenham Town (LWWWLW) Dartford (WDDLWL)
Dulwich Hamlet A 0-2 Weston-super-Mare H 2-1
Gloucester City H 1-0 Billericay Town A 1-1
Torquay United A 1-0 Eastbourne Borough H 2-2
Concord Rangers H 4-1 St Albans City A 0-2
Hampton & Richmond A 1-2 East Thurrock United H 2-0
Billericay Town H 2-0 Hungerford Town A 0-1

Previous Meetings

20.01.2018 Chippenham Town 2 Dartford 2
09.09.2017 Dartford 3 Chippenham Town 0

Stats

Dartford are aiming to extend their unbeaten league run to four game, which will be their longest unbeaten streak in the National South this season.

Deren Ibrahim, Mark Onyemah, Tom Bonner and Ben Greenhalgh are the only Dartford players to have started every game this season.

On This Day

In Dartford’s last two matches on 13 October they have managed to keep two clean sheets. The last fixture on this day was a bore draw with Barrow in the National League, six years ago. The long trip North West ended 0-0 with only Tom Bonner and Lee Noble from the current squad involved in that match, current England international Marcus Bettinelli also lined up for the Darts. In 2009, Allan Tait and Danny Harris helped see off Tonbridge Angels in the Isthmian Premier League title winning campaign. Before those victories, the Darts lost three in a row without scoring including getting knocked out to Bromley in the 2007 F.A Cup third qualifying round tie, and six years earlier at the same stage of the competition against Gravesend and Northfleet. Dartford’s last away win on 13 October came in 1984 when they beat Scarborough 3-1 in the top flight of non-league football.

National League South Season Preview 2018/2019 – Part One

 Bath City | Billericay Town | Chelmsford CityChippenham Town | Concord Rangers

Bath City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Twerton Park

Over the last four years you cannot fault Bath City for consistency. The Romans left the National League via the relegation trapdoor six years ago, since then they have gone through off field transition. The Somerset club turned to filmmaker and fan Ken Loach, who campaigned for a community owned club, the appeal was successful and last summer the transition was completed. During that period, Bath City finished successive seasons in fourteenth followed by back to back ninth place finishes. Hoping to benefit from the playoff places being extended to seventh, the Romans had to settle for the top ten last term, even with the disruption of manager Gary Owers leaving in September for Torquay United.

Last Season

National South: 9th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: Tom Smith (10 goals)

Average Attendance: 702 (6th in National South)

The Manager – Jerry Gill

Appointed manager of Bath City in October 2017, Gill took over from Gary Owers who had left for Torquay United. The appointment marked the return of the former defender who played over 200 times for the Romans in the nineties. His playing career included a League Cup Final and promotion to the Premier League with Birmingham City and a League Two playoff triumph with Cheltenham Town. Gill started managing eight years ago with Weymouth, but he resigned after 44 days with the club struggling financially. Since then he has held coaching roles at Bristol Rovers, Birmingham City and Kidderminster Harriers as well as with Norwich City’s and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ academies.

The Summer

With Bath City’s golden boot winner Jack Compton signing for Chippenham Town, Gill swooped to sign John Mills from Hereford FC. The striker scored 140 goals in three seasons with the Bulls and before that he netted 57 in one campaign with Didcot Town. Ross Stearn makes the move from Sutton United a permanent one, he will be back at Twerton Park for a third time after two loan spells in 2013 and 2015. Also, Adam Mann joins the Romans after scoring 24 goals with Evesham United in the Southern League Division One West last term. Defender Robbie Cundy arrives from National South rivals Gloucester City, Ryan Brunt from Exeter City and goalkeeper Ryan Clarke from Torquay United. Having impressed during pre-season The Romans signed midfielder Joe Raynes from Frome Town. Bath City also welcome the return of James Morton on loan from Bristol City until the end of January 2019. Miles Welch-Hayes was named in the National South’s Team of the Year and returns to the Football League with promoted Macclesfield Town. Ryan Case, Nat Jarvis and George Rigg have also left the club with the latter two moving to rivals Chippenham Town.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 31 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Previous Meetings

21.04.2018 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
24.10.2017 Bath City 1 Dartford 2
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

Next Meetings

Saturday 4 August 2018 at Twerton Park

Saturday 9 February 2019 at Princes Park

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Billericay Town

Founded: 1880 / Ground: New Lodge

An ambitious club under owner and former manager Glenn Tamplin, Billericay Town delivered under the pressure of high expectations. The Essex club have attracted old Premier League stars such as Jamie O’Hara and Paul Konchesky and signed players who should be playing higher up the pyramid. With financial allure, the Blues built a squad who should have won the Isthmian Premier League and they did, as well as the League Cup. Billericay Town also reached the F.A Cup first round for only the fourth time in their history and were F.A Trophy quarter-finalists last season. Ricay’s last and only foray in the National South ended in relegation five years ago, expectations are higher this time.

Last Season

Isthmian Premier: 1st

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: Quarter-Final

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Jake Robinson (34 goals)

Average Attendance: 1057 (2nd in Isthmian Premier)

The Manager – Harry Wheeler

At 23-years-old, Harry Wheeler beat a record set by Andre Villas Boas when he became the youngest person to gain a UEFA A-License. Joining from Welling United in April 2017 he led the Blues to success last term winning the Isthmian Premier League and League Cup. Wheeler played for Stevenage, Hampton & Richmond Borough and St Albans City before moving towards a coaching career. He ran the reserve team at Potters Bar Town, managed St Albans City at 26-years-old and was head of Professional Development at Dagenham and Redbridge for two years. This summer he added owner Glenn Tamplin as his assistant, who was also Wheeler’s predecessor.

The Summer

High ambitions and a step up in non-league football means plenty of change for Billericay Town. Simon Walton will bring experience to the team having played for Sutton United last season, Walton has played in the Football League with Leeds United, Cardiff City, Ipswich Town, Hull City and Plymouth Argyle. Promoted with Dulwich Hamlet in May, Ricky Hayles switches allegiances to Ricay, apart from a short stint with Welling united the defender has spent most of his career in Essex with the likes of Tilbury, Thurrock and East Thurrock United. Wheeler has also persuaded former Truro City captain Ben Gerring to join his side as well as England C international Jake Howells from Dagenham and Redbridge, former Bromley striker Moses Emmanuel, left back Callum Kennedy from AFC Wimbledon and winger Connor Hunte from Greenwich Borough via Kingstonian. Between the sticks, 18-year-old Josh Strizovic comes in as back up after spells with Waltham Forest and Burnham Ramblers. Scott Doe made over 300 appearances for rivals Dagenham and Redbridge, the 29-year-old joins after spells with Whitehawk and Boreham Wood. Adam Coombes showed his potential at Welling United two years ago scoring 31 goals which included four hat-tricks. The striker moved to Sutton United, but injury hampered his progress, so he returned to the Wings. The 27-year-old will now be playing in Essex again with Billericay Town. There have also been notable departures including Rob Swaine going back to local rivals Chelmsford City, Billy Bricknell who scored 105 goals for the club in 184 appearances, Rob Evans and Josh Urquhart both played over 50 times last season. Goalkeeper Jack Giddens leaves for East Thurrock United, Leo Chambers and Louie Theophanous both join Kingstonian and Kevin Foley was released. Olly Sprague, Liam Hughes, Byron Lawrence, Luke Rooney, Sanchez Watt, Nick Wheeler and Charlie Cole are also no longer part of Wheeler’s plans.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Billericay Town wins: 2 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

24.04.2010 Dartford 1 Billericay Town 4
07.11.2009 Billericay Town 1 Dartford 0
02.05.1981 Dartford 2 Billericay Town 0
13.12.1980 Billericay Town 0 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 15 September 2018 at New Lodge

Monday 22 April 2019 at Princes Park

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Chelmsford City

Founded: 1878 / Ground: Melbourne Stadium

Last season, the Clarets celebrated a tenth consecutive campaign in the National South. The Essex side will think that’s not worth celebrating simply because they are desperate for a crack at the National League. With an exception of a three-year mediocre spell, Chelmsford City have made regular appearances in the playoffs reaching the end of season finale six times in the last decade, losing the final two years ago. Joint favourites to win the National South last term, The Clarets made a solid start and were amongst the front runners, but they dropped off the pace only to frustratingly lose another playoff semi-final.  The Essex club have spent the summer talking of a takeover and hope this to be resolved fully soon.

Last Season

National South: 3rd

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Runner Up

League Top Scorer: Philip Roberts (18 goals)

Average Attendance: 897 (2nd in National South)

The Manager – Rod Stringer

When Rod Stringer took over two years ago Chelmsford City had spent the previous three seasons outside of the playoffs. Joining from rivals Bishop’s Stortford he has turned the Clarets into title contenders finishing fourth and third since his arrival. He has a proven track record of getting teams challenging for promotion winning the Isthmian Division One North with Aveley, then taking them to the Isthmian Premier League playoffs. Stringer moved to Braintree Town and in his only season at Cressing Road he won the Isthmian Premier League. A spell at Bishop’s Stortford wasn’t as successful as previous roles, but Stringer has brought optimism and consistency back to the Essex club.

The Summer

Rod Stringer has looked across the county border this summer bringing in a number of players from Kent sides. Joe Anderson and Tom Wraight join from Maidstone United, Anderson spent four years at Bromley before playing for the Stones whilst Wraight only managed 26 appearances last season off the back of a decent record at East Thurrock United where he scored 43 times across two seasons. Another former Maidstone United man, Alex Akrofi scored 34 goals in 68 appearances for Tonbridge Angels and is now a Claret. Joining from Gillingham is striker Rhys Murphy, who impressed on trial in pre-season, he has also played in the Netherlands for Telstar in 2012 as well as Dagenham and Redbridge, Oldham Athletic and Forest Green Rovers. Amos Nasha moves from local rivals Concord Rangers, experience goalkeeper Ross Worner comes in from Sutton United and 30-year-old defender Rob Swaine returns to the club for a second spell. Familiar with Stringer at Braintree Town, Jai Reason teams back up with the Chelmsford City boss after spells at Eastleigh and Boreham Wood. Stringer also managed to convince prolific striker Scott Fenwick to stay and move down from the North East. The Clarets have picked up Jordan Chiedozie who netted 29 times in 39 appearances for Margate last term. The striker had a spell with Dartford on loan in 2015 and has featured for Concord Rangers, Poole Town and Cambridge United in the past. Kudus Oyenuga leaves Melbourne Park for Princes Park for a new chapter with Dartford, Michael West moves south to Eastbourne Borough and goalkeeper Sam Beasant is now at Concord Rangers. The experienced Chris Dickson has left to continue his career at Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 36 / Chelmsford City wins: 55 / Draws: 91

Previous Meetings

10.02.2018 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 2
21.10.2017 Chelmsford City 1 Dartford 0
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

Next Meetings

Tuesday 7 August 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 19 January 2019 at Melbourne Stadium

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Chippenham Town

Founded: 1873 / Ground: Hardenhuish Park

Competing at their highest level in the football pyramid didn’t faze Chippenham Town last season. Having gained confidence by winning the Southern Premier League with a record number of points, the Bluebirds settled in the National South with a mid-table finish. To add a touch of gloss to their debut campaign the Wiltshire club also won the Wiltshire Premier Shield. Chippenham Town made the most of their home form losing just four times at Hardenhuish Park, comparative to teams in the playoffs. However, they did lose the most away games in the league, the same amount as relegated Whitehawk. Overall a solid start for the Bluebirds’ life in the National South.

Last Season

National South: 13th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Rhys Healey (6 goals)

Average Attendance: 600 (8th in National South)

The Manager – Mark Collier

Chippenham Town had hit a low point in 2013 when they lost 9-0 to Stourbridge. Mark Collier was on holiday in Egypt at the time and when he was asked to become manager he obliged. Year on year Collier has improved the Bluebirds league position and just over a year ago he won the Southern Premier League with his side recording 103 points. Last season was his first in the National South and the Wiltshire club finished in a respectable thirteenth. Prior his appointment at Chippenham Town, Collier famously led Swindon Supermarine to the F.A Cup second round, where they lost 1-0 to Colchester United.

The Summer

When Chippenham Town take on rivals Bath City on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day three new signings will be up against their former club. Jack Compton scored 12 times for the Romans last term, George Rigg made 25 appearances and Nat Jarvis have all joined from Bath City. The Bluebirds add experienced 31-year-old Yan Klukowski from Torquay United, the midfielder also played for Forest green Rovers, Newport County and York City. Goalkeeper, Will Puddy comes in from Hereford FC to take Jared Thompson’s place, who returned to parent club Chelsea. Whilst left back Kieran Parselle makes his move from Gloucester City.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Chippenham Town wins: 0 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings

20.01.2018 Chippenham Town 2 Dartford 2
09.09.2017 Dartford 3 Chippenham Town 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 13 October 2018 at Hardenhuish Park

Saturday 13 April 2019 at Princes Park

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Concord Rangers

Founded: 1967 / Ground: Thames Road

The Beachboys retained their status in the National South in their penultimate game of the season. Concord Rangers won a relegation six pointer against Hungerford Town to stay up. Even with safety confirmed, the Essex club still had a massive say in where the title would end up. On the final day they were two down against Havant and Waterlooville then fought back to level. In the final minute they conceded the goal that sent the title to Hampshire. The Essex club have now completed five seasons in the National South, the new management team will be hoping the sixth campaign will be less of a battle at the wrong end of the table.

Last Season

National South: 17th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Quarter-Final

League Top Scorer: Steve Cawley (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 263 (22nd in National South)

The Manager – Sammy Moore

New to the management game, 30-year-old Sammy Moore has had one year’s experience as a manager which was at Leatherhead. He was part of Ipswich Town’s F.A Youth Cup winning side in 2005 and went on to play for Brentford and Stevenage Borough. The midfielder won the Isthmian Premier League with Dover Athletic nine years ago, then made it into the Football League with AFC Wimbledon through the playoffs two years later. Moore had a spell with Leyton Orient before returning on loan to Dover Athletic. A year ago, he was appointed Player Manager at Leatherhead and impressed enough to replace Adam Flanagan at Concord Rangers this summer.

The Summer

New manager Sammy Moore set his stall out early in the transfer window and made wholesale changes. After ** years at Dartford, Ryan Hayes will be showing his skills with Concord Rangers next term, the winger played 580 times for the Darts and scored 108 goals. Another former Dart, Tyrone Sterling was a F.A Trophy finalist last season with Bromley he will be reunited with Hayes. The former Leatherhead boss, Moore raided his old club by bringing over Frazer Shaw, the experienced Sean Clohessy and midfielder Sam Blackman. The exciting signing of Billy Knott, ex Bradford City, Sunderland, AFC Wimbledon and Gillingham plus a host of other Football League clubs has provided quiet optimism amongst the Beachboys. Lee Minshull will link up again with Moore and Jack Midson, Jack Parkinson joins from Welling United as a player coach, Kojo Awotwi signs from VCD Athletic and Nana Boakye-Yiadom from Dulwich Hamlet. Concord Rangers will also welcome Danny Green on the wing and 30-year-old goalkeeper Sam Beasant from Chelmsford City. On the way out, last season’s top scorer Steve Cawley moves to Hemel Hempstead Town, Ben Greenhalgh joins Dartford, Khale Da Costa switches to St Albans City and Steve King leaves after ten years. Billy Roast and Lewis Knight were also released.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Concord Rangers wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

06.01.2018 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 1
15.08.2017 Dartford 2 Concord Rangers 0
11.03.2017 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 1
24.09.2016 Dartford 2 Concord Rangers 1
27.02.2016 Dartford 1 Concord Rangers 2
18.08.2015 Concord Rangers 2 Dartford 3

Next Meetings

Tuesday 14 August 2018 at Thames Road

Saturday 26 January 2019 at Princes Park

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Chippenham Town v Dartford

Dartford continue their push to break away from the National South chasing pack when they visit Southern Premier League champions Chippenham Town.

Back in September, the Darts hosted the Bluebirds at Princes Park and the inspiration that afternoon was Ryan Hayes. The longest serving Dartford player was involved in all three goals by setting up two and scoring the other.

Hayes’ accurate cross was met by Alfie Pavey on 26 minutes to give Dartford the lead. In the second half, Hayes anticipated a defensive error and when he picked out Andy Pugh, the Darts doubled their lead. Good team work made the third goal with Hayes finishing off the move with a low shot into the corner.

Last weekend, Dartford moved clear at the top of the National South with a significant win over Havant and Waterlooville. The top two started the afternoon level on points making Tom Murphy’s decisive second minute goal important in the title race. The 26-year-old expertly volleyed Pavey’s flick on past Ryan Young in the Hawks’ goal early on, but it was an impressive defensive display that kept Havant and Waterlooville at bay.

Tony Burman was pleased with the result and what he called a battling performance, he told www.dartfordfc.com: “It’s a big win in respect that they had a game in hand and now they’ve got to win that game in hand. It doesn’t mean we’ve won the league or they’ve lost it. It’s another game where we’ve picked up three points, the bonus for us was a clean sheet”.

Chippenham Town are six points clear of the relegation zone having played a game more than Poole Town, who occupy the final relegation spot. The two were meant to go head to head on Tuesday in a rearranged fixture but the match was postponed for a second time.

The Bluebirds have tasted league victory just once in their last nine attempts, and that was against bottom of the table side Whitehawk. However, they have had their fair share of notable wins including the 3-2 triumph against Chelmsford City in October, the 5-1 win at home to Hemel Hempstead Town in September and the 5-2 away victory at Bath City in the second game of the season.

The Southern League Premier champions are relying on their home form this term. With five wins and five draws they have only lost three times at Hardenhuish Park in the National South. Last weekend manager Mark Collier was pleased with the Bluebirds 1-1 home draw with Braintree Town, he told the club’s website: “It’s a big point for us, we’ve had some difficult times, I think we deserved the point, we were under pressure, we put the right tactics in against as good a side I have seen in this league”, he continued: “We must take getting the point as a confidence boost, they have worked really hard against the best team in the division”.

Collier, has had to contend with experienced forward David Pratt leaving the club, the top scorer for the Bluebirds switched to Wealdstone. Over the last month, Collier has signed replacements in Jake Jackson from Southern Premier League side Frome Town and Nick McCootie from rivals Bath City. The Chippenham Town boss has also shifted his backroom staff in attempt to move further away from the drop zone.

Head to Head
Chippenham Town wins: 0 / Dartford wins: 1 / Draws: 0

Current League Form

Chippenham Town (DLLLLW) Dartford (WDWWDL)
Braintree Town H 1-1 Havant & Waterlooville H 1-0
Hungerford Town H 1-2 Concord Rangers A 1-1
Hungerford Town A 1-2 Welling United H 4-1
Bath City H 0-3 Welling United A 3-2
Havant & Waterlooville A 0-4 Braintree Town H 1-1
Whitehawk H 2-1 Hungerford Town A 0-1

Previous Meeting

09.09.2017 Dartford 3 Chippenham Town 0

Stats
Dartford may be top of the National South, but at step 2 of non league football, they have the fourth best points per game with 1.88. The Darts sit behind National North sides Salford City (2.23), Harrogate Town (2.00) and Brackley Town (1.92).

In their last eight away games in the National South, the Darts have lost half of those fixtures, won three and drew one.

Over 90 minutes, Dartford are unbeaten in seven matches in all competitions with three wins and four draws

On This Day
Dave Martin played his last game for Dartford on 20 January 2007 in a entertaining 4-3 win against Ashford Town. The Isthmian Division One South fixture saw the winger win the decisive penalty scored by Ryan Hayes. The Darts fought back from two down with Jay May scoring twice and Lew Watts the other. Martin went on to join Crystal Palace before playing at Millwall, Southend United and Luton Town amongst others. He returned to Dartford on loan in the 2013/14 campaign.

Dartford v Chippenham Town

Dartford host Southern Premier League champions Chippenham Town this weekend in the first ever match between the two clubs.

The Darts approach their tenth game of the season after their mid-week win against bottom of the table Whitehawk. In a dominant first half display, Dartford took lead after just eight minutes when Alfie Pavey poked in the opener. The lead was doubled half way through the first period with Ryan Hayes’ low strike. On the stroke of half-time, Elliot Bradbrook tapped home Lyle Della-Verde’s cross. Della-Verde became the goalscorer in second half stoppage time to net the Darts fourth.

Tuesday’s fixture saw the return of goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim from international duty with Gibraltar. Strikers, Warren Mfula was missing from the matchday squad with a groin strain and Duane Ofori-Acheampong is recovering from injury. During the 4-0 win, Danny Harris was replaced in the first half with Keaton Wood taking his place, although Harris could still feature. Tom Murphy is available for squad selection and Ronnie Vint is looking to get back into the first eleven.

Last weekend, the Darts came from two goals down to earn a draw with Hampton and Richmond Borough. Andy Pugh scored his first goal of the season and Elliot Bradbrook netted the equaliser. Tony Burman’s side suffered a 1-0 defeat to East Thurrock United in their previous fixture at Princes park, which ended an unbeaten run of six league games including the 7-1 home win against Oxford City and 2-0 home victory over Concord Rangers.

Now top scorers in the National South and with one of the best defences, Tony Burman is pleased with the start of the 2017/18 campaign, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “Under the circumstances, with players missing still, we’ve done well. We’ve conceded six goals but one of those was a penalty and three were from free-kicks, so we’re not getting torn apart in open play. Defensively, we’ve been sound and we’ve had enough clean sheets to say that’s a decent start to the season”, he added: “We’ve had a lot of goals and I’ve always said that if you’re creating chances, you’ve got the opportunity to score. I’m not looking at one particular person to do it, it needs to be shared about. I’m pleased with the start. We’re slightly under target but hopefully we’ll get that changed in the coming games”.

Chippenham Town’s form is mixed as they settle in the National South, the first time the club has played at this level. After an opening day draw with newly promoted Havant and Waterlooville, the Bluebirds announced themselves to the division with an excellent 5-2 win at Bath City. After four games without victory, the Wiltshire club bagged their second at home to Oxford City to end August.

This month started with a 4-2 reverse at Eastbourne Borough in which they let the lead slip twice. On Tuesday night, Chippenham Town made sure they stayed in front after an early goal from David Pratt and a second by Jake Andrews.

Pratt who signed for Mark Collier’s Bluebirds from Bath City is now on five goals for the campaign, the striker also was amongst the goals in this division when he played for Basingstoke Town. Partnering Pratt up front is experienced striker Andrew Sandell, who has a decent record with the Bluebirds in front of goal and came up against the Darts for Newport County in the National League four years ago.

Chippenham Town were rewarded for their patience last season by becoming Southern League champions. The Wiltshire club won promotion in 2001 as runners-up from the Southern League Division One West, a year after losing the F.A Vase final to Deal Town. Another promotion followed as they finished second again, this time moving up to the Southern Premier League. Since then Chippenham Town reached the playoff final three times but kept falling at the final hurdle. Eventually and deservedly, the Bluebirds won the league last season with an impressive 103 points.

Saturday’s match is the first of three home matches in a week for the Darts,

Current League Form

Chippenham Town (WLWDDL) Dartford (WDLWWW)
Gloucester City H 2-0 Whitehawk A 4-0
Eastbourne Borough A 2-4 Hampton & Richmond A 2-2
Oxford City H 3-2 East Thurrock United H 0-1
Weston-super-Mare A 2-2 Hemel Hempstead Town A 3-0
East Thurrock United H 2-2 Oxford City H 7-1
Poole Town H 0-1 Concord Rangers H 2-0

Stats
Dartford are now the top scorers in the National South with 20 goals and have the second best defence.

The Darts kept their fifth clean sheet in nine games on Tuesday night and remain unbeaten away from home.

Chippenham Town are early starters, in 5 games out of 9 they have scored in the opening ten minutes.

In David Pratt’s first spell with Chippenham Town he was red carded after three seconds, a record set in 2008.

On This Day
Dartford last won on 9 September back in 1998 when they beat Reading Town 3-0 in a F.A Cup preliminary round replay, the first game ended 0-0 three days earlier. The Darts lost their next two games on this day, 1-0 against Spalding United in 2000 and 2-0 versus Hastings United in 2006. Two years later Dartford secured a 1-1 draw at home to Heybridge Swifts and three years ago a last gasp Harry Crawford goal earned a 2-2 draw with Eastleigh. The Darts were 2-0 down in the National League fixture and were given hope when Elliot Bradbrook scored. The comeback was complete in stoppage time by Crawford.

National League South Season Preview 2017/18 – Part II

 Chippenham Town | Concord Rangers | Dartford | Eastbourne Borough | East Thurrock United

Chippenham Town

Founded: 1873 / Ground: Hardenhuish Park

A new entry into the National South, Chippenham Town are the Southern League champions and set their highest ever points tally last season, with an impressive 103, a league record. The Bluebirds spent 15 years in the Southern Premier League reaching the playoffs on four occasions and suffering heartbreak in the final three times. So when the Wiltshire club took all the glory last term, the long wait was certainly worth it for club officials and supporters.

Last Season

Southern Premier: 1st

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Andrew Sandell (27 goals)

Average Attendance: 459 (8th in league / 86th in non-league)

The Manager – Mark Collier

Responsible for guiding Chippenham Town to thee highest level they have ever played, Collier gained experience at Swindon Supermarine. He led the Marine to the F.A Cup second round seven years ago and three months later left the club. Since then Collier has been learning his coaching trade at Wootton Bassett and Abingdon United. The current Bluebirds boss has a championship winning side to work with and hopes his team can repay the trust he is giving the players.

The Summer

Not too much action in the transfer marker and that is because Collier has retained 16 players believing his squad will be competitive. The three signings he has made, Dean Evans, Mark Cooper and Jason Matthews have all come from Weymouth. Most importantly the Bluebirds have kept hold of Andrew Sandell, the Southern Premier League top scorer for the last two season’s. The striker used to play for Bristol Rovers and Newport County. On loan for the season, Chelsea teenager Jared Thompson could gain experience between the sticks. Jake Andrews has been added on a two month loan from Bristol City. Attacking midfielder, Scott Donnelly will provide more experience having played for numerous clubs at Football League and National South level.

Next Meetings

Saturday 9 September 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 20 January 2018 at Hardenhuish 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. Despite small crowds the Beachboys continue to hold their own in the National South and will now participate at this level for a fourth consecutive year. Last term was their lowest finish since promotion to the National South as the Essex club started poorly, but a decent recovery lifted them away from the drop zone to safety.

Last Season

National South: 18th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 3rd Round

League Top Scorer: Steve Cawley (18 goals)

Average Attendance: 287 (22nd in league / 140th in non-league)

The Manager – Adam Flanagan

Former Dartford defender Adam Flanagan impressed in his first two season’s 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.

The Summer

Steve Cawley has been the club’s top scorer regularly and will get help from Jordan Cox, who signed from National South champions Maidenhead United. Lewis Taafe returns to Thames Road and Khale Da Costa will be a Beachboy too. Flanagan has returned to a former club in Maldon and Tiptree to sign up Jordan Sanderson and Billy Roast. From Southend United, Jason Williams joins Concord Rangers and Jordan Brown from Welling United. Last season their were a fair few former Dartford players around Thames Road, now that has been cut down with the departures of James White and Jordan Chiedozie.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Concord Rangers wins: 1 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings

11.03.2017 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 1
24.09.2016 Dartford 2 Concord Rangers 1
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

Tuesday 15 August 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 6 January 2018 at Thames Road

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Dartford

Founded: 1888 / Ground: Princes Park

After a season of consolidation, the Darts went a step further by reaching the playoffs losing out to their season’s nemesis Chelmsford City in the semi final. Considering the budget available to the top two Maidenhead United and local rivals Ebbsfleet United, Dartford finished the best of the rest pipping the Clarets on the final day. Once again, captain Elliot Bradbrook led by example in midfield top scoring, but a small, solid and flexible squad had the togetherness to almost challenge for the title in February. However the strength of the top two left the Darts behind in a respectable third place.

Last Season

National South: 3rd

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Elliot Bradbrook (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 998 (3rd in league / 37th in non-league)

The Manager – Tony Burman

It seemed like Tony Burman rediscovered the Dartford spirit of old last season. Overseeing title winning sides in the Isthmian Leagues and a triumphant National South playoff team, Burman guided the Darts to eighth in the National League back in 2014/15. From then on Dartford spiralled downwards with a reprieve then relegation leaving supporters in the doldrums. Consolidation has now been followed by optimism again and with Burman’s experience, the Darts are eyeing up promotion again.

The Summer

The nucleus of last season were tied down early doors largely due to the team spirit Burman has once again created. The ‘core’ of Elliot Bradbrook, Ryan Hayes, Danny Harris and Lee Noble have stayed on. The hole left by goal scoring winger Luke Wanadio to Bromley has been filled by Lyle Della Verde from Concord Rangers. Full back, Tom Wynter who moved down a division to relegated Margate has been replaced by Mark Onyemah from Thurrock, who played 24 times whilst on loan at Princes Park from Luton Town back in 2015/16. Scorer of 44 goals last term for AFC Croydon Athletic in the Southern Counties East League, Warren Mfula impressed enough for Burman to take a gamble.

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Eastbourne Borough

Founded: 1964 / Ground: Priory Lane

It’s time for Eastbourne Borough to show some progression after Tommy Widdrington’s five year tenure. The Sports finished between 10th and 17th during Widdrington’s spell in charge and are only on their fifth manager in 34 years. Stability is a word Eastbourne Borough are used to but the new boss wants more. Last term the Sussex club ended in a predictable mid-table spot and will continue life in the National South once more.

Last Season

National South: 11th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi Final

League Top Scorer: Elliot Romain (20 goals)

Average Attendance: 541 (10th in league / 67th in non-league)

The Manager – Jamie Howell

After ten years as a player at Bognor Regis Town and seven years as a manager, Howell shocked the Rocks with his switch to Sussex rivals Eastbourne Borough. The 40 year old played over 400 games for last season’s Isthmian Premier playoff winners taking his former side to their highest ever level. Howell now wants to take Eastbourne Borough back to the National League by playing attractive football and in the long term have a team of local players from the county.

The Summer

Sergio Torres is the main signing this summer joining the Sports from Whitehawk. The 35 year old Argentinian made his name at Wycombe Wanderers and Peterborough before being part of Crawley Town’s rise. Jamie Howell, also went back to a former club to get Leon Redwood to sign from Burgess Hill Town. Replacing Josh Hare at full back will be ex Wothing player Will Hendon and Matt Drage comes in from Dulwich Hamlet. Yemi Odubade returns to the Sports after spells with Oxford United and Maidstone United.

Head To Head

Dartford wins: 8 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

08.04.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 3
16.08.2011 Eastbourne Borough 2 Dartford 3
20.02.2016 Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1
11.08.2015 Dartford 1 Eastbourne Borough 0
03.04.2012 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1
29.11.2011 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 1

Next Meetings

Tuesday 12 September 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 14 April 2018 at Priory Lane

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East Thurrock United

Founded: 1969 / Ground: Rookery Hill

The Rocks had a fine season last time out consolidating in the National South in their first ever campaign at this level. The Essex club will be one of four representing the county and they have their fair share of former Darts in their squad. A similar season to last term will be the aim for the club and success will be signs of improvement at this level.

Last Season

National South: 13th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: Second Round

County Cup: Runners up

League Top Scorer: Tom Wraight (19 goals)

Average Attendance: 305 (19th in league / 129th in non-league)

The Manager – John Coventry

East Thurrock United needed rebuilding following relegation to the Isthmian Division One in 2008. The astuteness and coaching experience of John Coventry has had a large part to play in the Rocks rise to the National South. Four years ago, the Essex club won the playoffs to reach the Isthmian Premier League. Last term provided consolidation after winning promotion via the Isthmian Premier playoffs.

The Summer

Three former Dartford players join East Thurrock United and will team up with ex Dart Lee Burns, who was signed a year ago. Max Cornhill left Chelmsford City and James White moved on from Concord Rangers. The Rocks have also signed Lewis Smith, who Dartford gambled on a few years ago only for the striker to move out to Australia shortly after agreeing to sign for the Darts, he was later banned for 17 months by the F.A which ends next month. George Allen also joins East Thurrock United from fellow Essex side Canvey Island. Leaving Rookery Hill this summer wsa top scorer Tom Wraight who secured a move to Maidstone United.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / East Thurrock United wins: 2 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings

07.01.2016 Dartford 6 East Thurrock United 1
10.09.2016 East Thurrock United 1 Dartford 1
30.04.2005 Dartford 0 East Thurrock United 3
28.08.2004 East Thurrock United 2 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Monday 28 August 2017 at Princes Park

Monday 2 Monday 2018 at Rookery Hill

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