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National South Season Preview Part II

Concord Rangers

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 16th
F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: Finalists
Top Scorer: Decarrey Sheriff (9 goals)

Just over a year ago Concord Rangers were denied a place in the National South playoffs despite finishing in sixth. Thames Road was deemed unsuitable for the next level up and so the Beachboys missed out on a potential big day. Little did the Essex club know they would get their chance to create history and have their big day, even if it’s been put on hold for the time being. Concord Rangers will at some point play at Wembley in the delayed F.A Trophy final against League Two side Harrogate Town, the Beachboys could well create more history.

Manager: Danny Scopes

When Danny Scopes was promoted within the club, following Sammy Moore’s departure last summer, chairman Ant Smith was confident the Concord Rangers boss would give his all. His first season back as boss of the Beachboys ended with a trip to Wembley and so the Essex club couldn’t ask for more. Not only that, Scopes was a former player of the club and previously worked within the youth system. His first spell between 2007 and 2012 was as a joint manager alongside Danny Cowley, when Concord Rangers climbed from the Essex Senior League to the Isthmian Premier League.

Summer

Five players return to the Beachboys this summer after one season away and three of them used to play for the Darts. Alex Wall made an immediate impact after returning to Concord Rangers from Hemel Hempstead Town, the former Dartford striker scored the winner in the F.A Trophy semi-final. Tyrone Sterling and Sam Blackman are the other two former Darts back at Concord RangersBlackman suffered a nasty injury shortly after joining Dartford, keeping him out for the long term. Unable to make his way into the team under Steve King the midfielder is back at Thames Road. Sterling follows the same route as Wall by re-joining from Hemel Hempstead Town as did Tosan Popo. The final returning player is Frazer Shaw who spent a season away at local rivals Chelmsford City. The Beachboys have also signed Ryan Charles from Maldon and Tiptree, Odei Martin (Heybridge Swifts), Sam Remfry (South Park), Nathan Carlyle on a month’s loan from Queens Park Rangers, Tom Hanfrey, a former AFC Bournemouth academy defender and Jason Raad from Aveley.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Concord Rangers wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Dartford

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 6th
F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round
Top Scorer: Darren McQueen (17 goals)

At the start of last term Dartford were expected to make the top seven, by the end of the campaign they were underdogs in the playoff final. A topsy-turvy campaign saw the Darts battling relegation and joint managers Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle relieved of their duties. Appointing one of the best managers at this level, the club surged up the table and into the playoffs. The Kent club beat Slough Town and favourites Havant and Waterlooville before losing on penalties against Weymouth. Now they are seeking a return to the National League after five years away.

Manager: Steve King

A highly successful non-league manager, Steve King guarantees to bring you entertainment. If he could beat his playoff nemesis King would have even more promotions to his credit. Much of his early managerial career was spent in Sussex where he won the National South title with Lewes, his third promotion in five years with the club. He went on to win another title at Farnborough and embark on F.A Cup runs with Macclesfield Town and Whitehawk. However, for every title there is playoff heartbreak losing finals with Farnborough, Whitehawk, Welling United and last season with the Darts.

Summer

The Darts have been busy in the transfer market making sure there is plenty of competition for places. The first job in the summer was replacing the National South’s joint top scorer from last season Darren McQueen. So in came Jack Barham from Dorking Wanderers, who has also played under King at Welling United and recently Kairo Mitchell, a former Leicester City academy player with experience at Nuneaton Borough and Coalville Town. Coming back to the Darts after seven years away, central defender Connor Essam joined from Hemel Hempstead Town. Since his last spell with the Darts, Essam has played for Dover Athletic, Leyton Orient and Eastleigh. King has signed David Ijaha from Dulwich Hamlet and Gavin McCallum from Welling United who have also worked with the Dartford boss previously. Jazzi Barnum-Bobb has played for three Welsh clubs, Cardiff City, Newport County and Wrexham, the defender joins Dartford’s back line. Winger Ricky Modeste has spent half his footballing career with rivals Dover Athletic and switches to the Darts. Midfielder, Abdul Osman arrives from Queen of the South and has played in the Greek top flight. In goal, Craig King (Oxford City) will be pushed for the number one jersey by Chelsea academy goalkeeper Ethan Wady. The Darts also signed Michael Fernandes on loan from Colchester United.

Dorking Wanderers

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 7th
F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Round
Top Scorer: Jason Prior (14 goals)

The youngest club in the division was formed 21 years ago and have won five league titles and 11 promotions to propel themselves up the pyramid. Last season was their first at National South level and once again the Wanderers were looking forwards and showing their ambitions. The Surrey club finished seventh to have a shot at another promotion. Dorking Wanderers knocked out Bath City in the playoff eliminator round before losing 3-2 to eventual winners Weymouth in the semi-final. They don’t hang around in divisions long and will be looking upwards yet again.

Manager: Marc White

Dorking Wanderers have climbed the non-league pyramid and Marc White has been able to witness their rise from day one. A founder member just over 20 years ago, his club have won 11 promotions and last season he guided the Surrey club to the playoffs in their first ever campaign in the National South. White has overseen the club moving to a new stadium as well as all the on-field success and has had clubs from higher leagues interested in his services, but he has his heart on getting to the Football League with the Wanderers.

Summer

When Alfie Rutherford and Wes Fogden left Havant and Waterlooville they were the last of the group that won back to back promotions with the Hawks. Now the duo will be reunited with Ed Harris and former Dartford striker Jason Prior at Dorking Wanderers, who were also part of that squad. One of the biggest signings, as far as experience goes, is that of Barry Fuller, the former Gillingham full back also made over 200 appearances in the Football League with AFC Wimbledon. Goalkeeper, Sam Howes has made his loan spell into a permanent deal, defender Callum Kennedy signs from Billericay Town and midfielder Kane Willis comes in from Eastbourne Borough.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Dorking Wanderers wins: 1 / Draws: 0

Dulwich Hamlet

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 19th
F.A Cup: 1st Round
F.A Trophy: 1st Round
Top Scorer: Danny Mills (13 goals)

After a few years of agonisingly waiting persistently knocking on the National South door, Hamlet won the Isthmian Premier playoffs at the fourth time of asking. It was only a matter of time before Dulwich Hamlet succeeded and they did so two years ago. After so much determination the London club will not give their spot up easily in the National South. In their first season at this level they finished fourteenth with healthy crowds since their return to Champion Hill. Last time out Hamlet were concentrating on avoiding the drop finishing in the bottom four.

Manager: Gavin Rose

When last season started, Gavin Rose had just clocked up ten years in charge of Dulwich Hamlet and he’s still going. Hamlet’s longest serving manager admitted the club weren’t living up to their potential when he was appointed and now, he can’t quite believe how far the London club has come. A former midfielder who enjoyed a career including spells at Wimbledon, Charlton Athletic and Queens Park Rangers, Rose guided Dulwich Hamlet to the Isthmian Division One North title in 2013 and won the Isthmian Premier League playoffs in 2018 to earn promotion to the National South.

Summer

Impressive performances at Dartford last term, Tyrique Hyde moves to Dulwich Hamlet after 12 appearances with the Darts. The midfielder follows former Dartford defender, Sanchez Ming who has already had spells with the Hamlet making over 200 appearances for the club in the past. The pair join up with another three signings from Kent clubs, midfielders Michael Timlin moves from Ebbsfleet United and Jordan Higgs from Bromley, in addition to forward Korrey Henry from Welling United. Jesse Debrah spent a loan spell in defence at Champion Hill last season, he completes a move from Championship club Millwall. More excitingly for Hamlet fans is the return of Reise Allassani, the winger scored 16 times in 28 games for the club before being picked up by Coventry City. After some loan spells last season, he is back at Champion Hill.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Dulwich Hamlet wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Eastbourne Borough

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 18th
F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 1st Round
Top Scorer: Greg Luer (8 goals)

If there is a consistent team in the National South then look no further than Eastbourne Borough. Three consecutive eighteenth place finishes they will begin their tenth year in row in this division. Borough drew the most amount of games last season and at one stage completed a sequence of six on the spin. The Sussex club initially struggled in front of goal but managed to find the net in each of their last 11 matches, losing just once but drawing seven. If they want to improve Borough will need to tighten up at the back.

Manager: Danny Bloor

Arriving at Eastbourne Borough as number two to Jamie Howell, Danny Bloor also worked with Mark McGhee and Charlie Oatway as well as Lee Bradbury during their spells as managers. Several candidates went for the Borough job and in the end the Sussex club opted for Bloor to pull everyone together, after difficult times at Priory Lane. Briefed to keep Eastbourne Borough in the National South and re-establish a bond with the supporters, Bloor has started taking small strides forward by making his side tougher to beat as they became draw specialists prior last season coming to a halt.

Summer

Bringing Football League experience to the midfield, Chris Whelpdale signs from Chelmsford City. The 33-year-old has previously represented Gillingham, Peterborough United, Stevenage and AFC Wimbledon. Goalkeeper, Luke Glover scored a winning F.A Trophy goal last season when playing for Haywards Heath Town, he completes a move to the Sports. James Hammond arrives from local rivals Lewes and Mitchell Dickenson joins from Hemel Hempstead Town. From lower leagues, Eastbourne Borough have picked up Charlie Towning (Three Bridges), Joe Kay (Newhaven) and striker Charlie Lambert (Peacehaven and Telscombe). James Vaughan has been studying out in the United States, now he will be playing at Priory Lane this season.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 12 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 6 / Draws: 4

Dartford v Concord Rangers

Dartford can put more distance between them and Concord Rangers this weekend if they complete a league double over the Essex club.

The Darts welcome the Beachboys to Princes Park knowing victory could potentially move themselves up into the top ten. Earlier this season, under the guidance of Tony Burman during his interim spell, the Darts beat Concord Rangers away from home to end a run of nine away games without a win. Charlie Sheringham opened the scoring after four minutes and Alex Flisher scored the second to claim all three points.

Unbeaten in their last three meetings against the Essex side at Princes Park, last season finished all square on home soil. Former Concord Rangers midfielder, Ben Greenhalgh netted against his former club only for Jack Midson to equalise. The Beachboys were reduced to ten men, however the Darts were unable to take advantage. Dartford had won the previous two home meetings before that 2-0 in August 2017 and 2-1 in September 2016.

Steve King will be hoping to achieve something the Darts have been unable to do this season, win consecutive home games. Last weekend the introduction of some new faces helped his side claim only a second league win at home by beating Billericay Town 3-2. Second choice goalkeeper Alhaji Sesay made his debut replacing Mark Smith, whilst Jordan Gibbons made way for new loan signing Rowan Liburd, who joined from Hereford. The striker’s performances for Billericay Town five years ago earned him a move to the Football League. The 27 year-old went on to play for Wycombe Wanderers, Stevenage and Leyton Orient. More recently he represented Hemel Hempstead Town and Guiseley before joining Hereford. On the substitutes bench Kyjoun Marsh-Brown returned from injury and made an appearance, whilst another new signing Miloud Djouaher came on to make his debut. Once again Elliott Romain continued his goalscoring streak taking his tally to seven goals in just nine games for the Darts.His double helped Dartford secure three points after Darren McQueen opened the scoring in the 3-2 triumph.

McQueen spoke to DFCTV after the game and commented: “We did really well to get the three points. We had to grind it out in the second half”, he added: “We all came together as a collective, the shape was very good as well, defensively we were hard to play through”. He continued: “Our home form hasn’t been the best, so this was the win we needed and we need to carry that on”.

Meanwhile, Concord Rangers were in F.A Trophy action and would have been Dartford’s opponents had they not been knocked out by Maidstone United. The Beachboys took on the Stones in the first round and it was music to Concord’s ears at full-time, although the afternoon didn’t begin too well. Maidstone United were two up inside twenty minutes, but Kit Elliott gave Concord Rangers hope before half-time. In the final eight minutes Lamar Reynolds equalised then Danny Green struck to complete the F.A Trophy comeback.

In the National South it hasn’t been particular great on the road for the Essex club losing their last four on their travels, yet their home form means they are just a point behind the Darts in the league standings. Danny Scopes will lead his team out at Princes Park with a degree of confidence after his side recorded consecutive victories. Before the 3-2 win over Maidstone United, the Beachboys claimed an impressive 5-0 triumph over Eastbourne Borough, in that starting eleven was former Dart, Billy Roast.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Concord Rangers wins: 2 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Dartford (WDLDWW) Concord Rangers (WLDLWL)
Billericay Town H 3-2 Eastbourne Borough H 5-0
Dulwich Hamlet A 1-1 Wealdstone A 0-3
Bath City A 0-3 Dorking Wanderers H 3-3
Maidstone United H 2-2 Bath City A 1-3
Hampton and Richmond A 2-1 Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-1
Eastbourne Borough A 2-0 Havant & Waterlooville A 1-2

Last Six Meetings

14.09.2019 Concord Rangers 0 Dartford 2
26.01.2019 Dartford 1 Concord Rangers 1
14.08.2018 Concord Rangers 2 Dartford 0
06.01.2018 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 1
15.08.2017 Dartford 2 Concord Rangers 0
11.03.2017 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 1

Stats

In the last ten league games at Princes Park both teams have scored. Dartford last failed to score in the league at home on 13 April 2019 against Chippenham Town, whilst their last clean sheet was on 9 March 2019 in the 2-0 win versus Gloucester City.

In all competitions, the last five games involving Concord Rangers has seen 24 goals at an average of 4.8 goals per game.

On This Day

Dartford’s last home win on this day was back in 1974 when they beat Cambridge City 3-0 in the Southern Premier League, since then they have only played one more time at home. The 1991 Southern Premier League clash with Moor Green ended in the away side beating the Darts 3-1. Therefore, the visit of Concord Rangers will be the first time Dartford have hosted a team at Princes Park on this day. The last fixture on 21 December finished in a 2-1 loss at Alfreton Town six years ago in the National League and in 2002, Dartford hammered 5-0 at Histon in the Southern Division One East.

Concord Rangers v Dartford

The Darts are back in action this weekend chasing their first away win of the season against fifth place Concord Rangers.

Tony Burman will remain in the hotseat as interim manager, until the club find a suitable candidate to replace previous joint managers Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle. Last weekend, Burman began his stint in charge in defeat as seven goals were shared with newly promoted Dorking Wanderers.

Angonisingly the final six minutes at Princes Park proved pivotal as the Darts tried to hold on to a crucial lead. Two changes were made to the starting elevn after the 3-2 loss at Tonbridge Angels, Charlie Sheringham replaced Norma Wabo to start with striker Adam Cunnington for the first time and Jordan Wynter returned to the line up with loanee Rob Howard stepping aside. Although the Darts started brightly, the visitors were in front after 12 minutes when Niall McManus hit a brilliant long range effort beyond Mark Smith. Dartford went ahead with Ben Greenhalgh’s quick fire brace, his first goals of the campaign. However, in first half stoppage time Dartford conceded a penalty and former Dart, Jason Prior equalised.

The second half had more goals in store, Ryan Hayes and Luke Allen combined well before Hayes put in a delightful cross for Sheringham to score. In the closing stages during a six minute spell the match turned dramatically, former Woking striker Guiseppe Sole levelled with a brilliant free-kick, Lee Noble was harshly sent off and with two minutes on the clock James McShane grabbed Dorking Wanderers a winner.

Burman praised his side work ethic, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “I was delighted with the effort the players put in”, before questioning some important decisions from the match officials, he added: “The penalty decision against us I can say is a poor goal in respect of the way we defended. Was it a penalty? I honestly don’t think it was”, he continued: “No-one thought it was a sending-off other than their bench. I wouldn’t say they got him sent-off but their reaction wasn’t good and it shouldn’t be like that. It was a poor decision”. Aside from getting the rub of the green, Burman also pinpointed where the Darts can improve, he exclaimed: “I have to question a few of them who haven’t played. I thought the fitness was down from what it should be. That’s no disrespect to anybody, I’m just giving an honest opinion”.

Around the club there has been plenty of focus off the pitch including the role Burman has with the first team, he commented: “The long-term is not for me”, he added: “I am happy with what I do at the club in the academy during the daytime and that’s my goal now”. Whoever the successful applicant is in however long it takes to find the right boss, they will need to strengthen a defence that has conceded the most goals in the division. In contrast to the previous season at least the Darts are starting to put the ball in the oppositions net with more frequency, scoring five in their last two defeats.

Burman was pleased with Sheringham’s performance last weekend and Greenhalgh made it in the National South’s team of the week. Luke Wanadio was out injured, Sam Blackman is starting to do fitness work and Mark Onyemah is getting closer to a return. Adam Cunnington is banned for one game after picking up too many cautions and Lee Noble starts a three match suspension after his red card.

Concord Rangers have started their campaign brightly building on their success last term under Sammy Moore. The Beachboys reached the playoff places but were unable to participate due to league rules. Moore left in the summer and his replacement Danny Scopes has kept the momentum going. The Essex club won their opening three matches to top the table, but then suffered three defeats in four picking up a single point. Concord Rangers have recovered since are currently unbeaten in their last three matches beating Welling United and Hampton and Richmond Borough either side of a draw against local rivals Braintree Town.

In their last two games the Essex club have scored vital late goals, Marcel Barrington scored a brace to help his side win 3-2 last weekend. Barrington was in the Braintree Town side along with Dartford’s Josh Hill, Billy Crook and Luke Allen that beat the Darts in the playoffs just over a year ago. After the victory, defender Joe Claridge commented via the club’s Twitter account: “It’s a great three points…it wasn’t ideal going behind but it shows the character of this set of players, even though we were 2-1 down the management team still believed we could get three points”, he continued: “We are ten games in and in a good place, not only looking at the table and on the pitch, but as a team”.

Billy Roast will return to Princes Park, the defender made seven appearances for the Darts last term after he followed Adam Flanagan from the Beachboys to Dartford, but this summer he made his return to Concord Rangers via Maldon and Tiptree. Roast was in the Dartford team that lost to Concord Rangers last term, whilst Ryan Hayes was lining up against the Darts alongside Sam Blackman. The Beachboys won 2-0 with former Dart, Alex Wall scoring as well as D’Sean Theobalds. The return fixture ended 1-1 at Princes Park with former Concord Rangers midfielder, Greenhalgh opening the scoring and Jack Midson equalising from the spot.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Concord Rangers wins: 2 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Dartford (LLDDWL) Concord Rangers (WDWLLD)
Dorking Wanderers H 3-4 Hampton & Richmond H 3-2
Tonbridge Angels A 2-3 Braintree Town A 2-2
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Welling United H 3-0
Hungerford Town A 2-2 St Albans City A 1-2
Braintree Town H 2-1 Maidstone United H 0-1
Weymouth A 1-3 Dulwich Hamlet A 2-2

Last Six Meetings

26.01.2019 Dartford 1 Concord Rangers 1
14.08.2018 Concord Rangers 2 Dartford 0
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

Stats

For the first time, last season Dartford failed to beat Concord Rangers in at least one of their league games against them.

Concord Rangers are unbeaten in their last three games against Dartford, their longest unbeaten run versus the Darts.

Dartford have picked up one point out of their last nine away games, drawing one and losing eight going back to March last season.

In nine of Dartford’s ten games this season both teams have scored, the exception being on the opening day at Wealdstone.

On This Day

Louis Moult scored a brace to defeat Dartford six years ago at Princes Park, the striker’s double helped Nuneaton Town to a 2-1 victory in the National League, Elliot Bradbrook scoring a consolation for the Darts. In 2003, Dartford progressed in the F.A Cup with a 3-0 home victory over Peacehaven and Telscombe, the Darts went out in the next round against Bromley. A home friendly at Summer’s Meadow, Lowfield Street versus Pickwicks way back in 1895 saw Dartford rack up ten goals without reply on this day.

Concord Rangers – Season Preview 2019/2020

Concord Rangers

2018/19 Season

National South: 6th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 3rd Round

League Top Scorer: Alex Wall (21 goals) / Average Attendance: 404

Reaching the play-offs last season was a great achievement for the club under Sammy Moore, who left in the summer due to ‘personal reasons’Chairman, Ant Smith looked from within the club for the next appointment and was ‘over the moon’ when Danny Scopes accepted the managerial role.

In the summer, the Beachboys have seen a huge turnover of players. Freddy Moncur spent time in the National League with Ebbsfleet United along with spells at East Thurrock, Wingate and Finchley and Bishop Stortford after making his professional debut for Leyton Orient in 2017. Son of former Tottenham Hotspur, Swindon Town and West Ham United midfielder John, football runs in the family as older brother George plays for Luton Town. James Blanchfield had interest from the Beachboys to join on loan last season from Dagenham and Redbridge, the midfielder signed a pre contractional agreement. Goalkeeper, Chris Haigh won Player of the Year at Heybridge Swifts last season and now he looks set to wear the number one jersey at Thames Road. Hoping to replace the goals that will be lost by Alex Wall leaving for Hemel Hempstead Town, Greg Cundle put pen to paper signing from East Grinstead Town, he scored 21 goals last season and last year made his professional debut for Gillingham before joining Kingstonian. Tosin Olufemi and Michael O’Donoghue were signed on the same day from Harringey Borough and following them was Joel Nouble. In defence, Scopes swooped for the signature of Jack Cawley, the 26-year-old moves from Maldon and Tiptree. Chris Millar has also been added to provide the midfield with more attack, he was at Heybridge Swifts. Danny Bassett was involved in 30 goals last season scoring 20 and assisting ten, he comes in from Tooting and Mitcham United. Another addition is Decarrey Sheriff who was released by Colchester United at the end of last season, his had loan spells with Dulwich Hamlet, Needham Market and Maldon and Tiptree. Concord Rangers have added Kosovan, Kreshnic Krasniqi and forward Lamar Reynolds.

The Manager – Danny Scopes

Part of the backroom team under Sammy Moore, the new Concord Rangers boss Danny Scopes was appointed when Moore left this summer. Chairman, Ant Smith believes Scopes will run through brick walls for the club and his attention to detail was fundamental to Concord Rangers’ success last term. Scope has been with the Beachboys as a player, manager and within the youth system. Working with Scopes as Head of Recruitment is Adam Drew, who has previously been involved at Heybridge Swifts as well as Maldon and Tiptree.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Concord Rangers wins: 2 / Draws: 3

Last Six Meetings

26.01.2019 Dartford 1 Concord Rangers 1
14.08.2018 Concord Rangers 2 Dartford 0
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

Facts

For the first time, last season Dartford failed to beat Concord Rangers in at least one of their league games against them.

Concord Rangers are unbeaten in their last three games against Dartford, their longest unbeaten run versus the Darts.

Last Ten Years

 

 

 

Next Meetings

Saturday 14 September 2019 at Thames Road

Saturday 21 December 2019 at Princes Park

Dartford v Concord Rangers

Dartford could move above this weekend’s opponents and get back into the playoff places when they host Adam Flanagan’s former side Concord Rangers. 

The Darts dropped out of the top seven on goal difference last weekend and are currently two places and two points behind the Beachboys. It will be the third match in a row where the Darts have faced a team in the playoff spots during a period manager Jamie Coyle described as crucial. 

Victory over St Albans City a fortnight ago was balanced out with a late defeat away to Chelmsford City. During those two games Phil Roberts netted his maiden goal and has now scored three in his last two appearances. The striker scored a brace in the 3-2 home win over St Albans City and he opened the scoring against Chelmsford City last Saturday inside five minutes. The Darts were on course for a rare double over their Essex rivals having beaten them in August, however the Clarets scored two goals in the final five minutes to end Dartford’s three game unbeaten run. 

Lee Noble will be available against Concord Rangers after serving a three-match suspension. Meanwhile, Callum Driver has spent the last three league fixtures on the bench after returning from injury. Elliot Bradbrook was not selected against the Clarets in the matchday squad, which paved the way for Joe Healy to make his debut in midfield, having joined from Welling United. Mark Onyemah has been out with injury since he hobbled of on New Year’s Day and Andy Pugh is still making a recovery from his broken leg he suffered in pre-season. 

Having started the previous two league games, Ryan Hayes could face the side he joined in the summer. The creative winger came back to Dartford after he started to be left out of the Concord Rangers side. Hayes played an hour against the Darts back in August, that day the 32-year-old came out on the winning side when Alex Wall and D’Sean Theobalds scored for the Essex club. On the other wing Ben Greenhalgh is likely to come up against his former team, the midfielder had to go in goal on Tuesday night after Bailey Vose was red carded in the Kent Senior Cup penalties defeat against Maidstone United. 

Wall will miss out on a return to Princes Park for the first time since leaving in the summer. The striker opened the scoring and was sent off last weekend meaning his two game ban will start this weekend. Wall impressed for the Darts in pre-season and had initially signed for the club, but due to Andy Pugh’s injury a rethink by Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan saw Wall move on and picked up by Concord Rangers. The 28-year-old has scored 14 National South goals this term, only two away from the three top scorers in the league.  

Two other familiar faces likely to return to Princes Park are Connor Essam and Tyrone Sterling. The defenders both played for the Darts with Essam having two spells with the club, the first whilst on loan from Gillingham and the second when he was on loan from Crawley Town. Sterling made 36 appearances during the 2013/2014 season when the Darts finished in the bottom four of the National League but were reprieved.

Concord Rangers are still waiting for their first league win of 2019 and have drawn their last two fixtures 2-2. The Beachboys shared the points with Wealdstone thanks to a Wall brace and his equaliser six minutes from time. Against Billericay Town they left it late once more, after Wall’s third goal in two games Billericay Town levelled the match before both teams were reduced to ten men. The Blues took the lead on the hour and led until the final minute when Jack Midson earned a point for Concord Rangers. This month Sammy Moore’s side have drawn three and lost one, but that defeat is the only one in their last ten outings, they have drawn five of their last eight matches. 

At Princes Park, Dartford have lost just once against Concord Rangers winning the other four and drawing twice. The previous two home games against the Beachboys have finished with the Darts coming out on top. Lasts season goals from Elliot Bradbrook and Lyle Della-Verde secured three points and in the campaign before that Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Danny Harris netted in a 2-1 triumph.

Head to Head

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

Current League Form

Dartford (LWDWDL) Concord Rangers (DDLDWW)
Chelmsford City A 1-2 Billericay Town H 2-2
St Albans City H 3-2 Wealdstone H 2-2
Wealdstone A 1-1 Hungerford Town A 1-2
Welling United H 1-0 East Thurrock United H 1-1
East Thurrock United A 2-2 Welling United A 1-0
Welling United A 0-2 East Thurrock United A 2-0

Previous Meetings

14.08.2018 Concord Rangers 2 Dartford 0
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

Stats

Dartford have lost just one in the last ten home league games (W7 D2 L1).

Concord Rangers have scored the most goals in the 15 minutes before half-time (10), the Darts have conceded more than any other National South team in that period (13).

The two late goals conceded at Chelmsford City takes Dartford’s tally in the final 15 minutes to eight this season, six teams have conceded more in this period.

On This Day

Current Dartford boss and former Concord Rangers manager, Adam Flanagan headed home the winner from a Ryan Hayes corner against Arlesey Town eleven years ago. A 1-0 Isthmian Division One North victory kept the Darts four points clear at the top of the table. The last two fixtures on 26 January have ended in defeat, against Welling United in the Kent Senior Cup nine years ago and Wealdstone in the National South three years ago. In 1991, Colin Sowerby scored a hat-trick at Watling Street to help the Darts thrash Crawley Town 6-1 in the Southern Premier League, Simon Quail made his debut in that game. Sowerby ended up playing 217 games for the club scoring 48 times.

Concord Rangers v Dartford

Adam Flanagan returns to Thames Road on Tuesday night when he leads the Darts out against his former club Concord Rangers.

The joint Dartford manager left the Essex club shortly after guiding the Beachboys to safety last season. He enjoyed three years managing Concord Rangers which included a top ten finish in his first campaign.

In recent years there have been connections between the two clubs and it’s no different this time. In the summer Flanagan and Jamie Coyle signed Ben Greenhalgh, Manny Ighorae and Billy Roast from the Beachboys, who will also face their former club for the first time. Greenhalgh has been involved from the start in all three of Dartford’s games this term, whilst Ighorae and Roast have only managed appearances from the bench so far.

It will be a strange evening for many involved with Dartford Football Club on Tuesday, when they see midfield legend Ryan Hayes in a Concord Rangers shirt. The former Dartford winger made 580 appearances for the club scoring 108 goals. A creative winger spent 13 years at Dartford winning two league titles and promotion through the playoffs. Only Steve Robinson and Les Burns have made more appearances in a Dartford shirt and he is sixth in the Darts all time goal scoring chart.

The football pitch is no place for sentiment though and the Darts will be hoping they can add another victory. Dartford have had a respectable start to their campaign winning their first two against Bath City and Chelmsford City. The Darts finally defeated the Clarets at home after an 18 year wait. On Saturday, Elliot Bradbrook was rested and in his place a debut was given to Simon Mensah. At the beginning of the day Dartford in second place were hosting league leaders Hemel Hempstead Town, by the end of the afternoon they were still level on seven points after a 0-0 draw. The Darts did have a glorious opportunity to win the match ten minutes from time, but Jamie Philpot missed his spot kick.

One player who will have a point to prove is Concord Rangers striker Alex Wall. Having spent 11 games on loan at Princes Park in 2015 scoring 6 goals he signed for Dartford this summer. However, injury to Andy Pugh and with Jamie Philpot and Chez Isaac bolstering the Dartford squad, Wall left without playing a competitive game since re-joining. A day later the striker joined Concord Rangers and immediately made an impact scoring on his debut.

Wall netted a brace on the opening day of the season when the beachboys beat Gloucester City 2-0 at home. The new era under manager Sammy Moore was kickstarted into life when Wall fired a shot into the Gloucester City goal. The Essex club went down to ten men on half-time when Lee Minshull was red carded, but that didn’t deter Concord Rangers as Wall scored another to seal three points.

Another former Dart, Tyrone Sterling made his debut against the Tigers and he was also in the starting eleven when his side drew with local rivals Billericay Town. Wall gave Concord Rangers the lead when he scored a free-kick. In the final minute Moses Emmanuel ghosted in at the far post to deservedly level the match. On the weekend, the Beachboys picked up their seventh point of the campaign with Jack Midson scoring the winner against newly promoted Dulwich Hamlet.

The previous two visits to Thames Road have ended in 1-1 draws with the last meeting in January. Elliot Bradbrook had a penalty saved by former Darts goalkeeper Louis Wells before the Beachboys took the lead. Ben Greenhalgh’s shot was parried by Deren Ibrahim and Steve Cawley, who left Concord Rangers in the summer scored. Ryan Hayes equalised with a rasping shot in off the crossbar. In March 2017, Hayes recorded his 100th goal for Dartford but it was cancelled out by a Cawley penalty.

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

Stats

The Darts are unbeaten in four matches away to Concord Rangers having never lost a match at Thames Road.

In six of the seven matches between Dartford and Concord Rangers both teams have scored. The only clean sheet was kept by the Darts a year ago in a 2-0 win.

Dartford have missed two penalties out of three this season by three different penalty takers.

On This Day

In 1993 it was an historic day for the Darts as they played their first league match since reforming. For the opening day of the season they were put up against Deal Town, a team that had scored 128 goals in their previous campaign and it was away, but then so were all the other matches technically. Micky Collins was responsible for the most memorable moment scoring the winner after just ten minutes securing the last win for the Darts on 14 August. Future Darts boss Gary Julians was sent off before half-time and somehow Dartford held on against an onslaught to create history.

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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Concord Rangers v Dartford

Dartford look to extend their unbeaten run to four in the league when they travel to Concord Rangers this weekend.

The Darts maintained their position at the top of the National South over the festive period and have a two point cushion. Tony Burman led his side to double victory over local rivals Welling United, but will face a stern test against a Concord Rangers side unbeaten in their last twelve league outings.

In what will be the seventh meeting between Dartford and the Beachboys, the Darts kept up their good record against the Essex club back in August with a 2-0 win at Princes Park. Searching for the maiden win of the campaign, Dartford entered the match on the back of three consecutive draws. A goal in either half by Elliot Bradbrook and Lyle Della-Verde gave the Darts their first three point haul of the season.

On Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, Andy Pugh and Alfie Pavey came back to haunt their former club Welling United in both sets of fixtures. In the 3-2 Boxing Day victory, Pavey’s last minute scissor kick won the match in style, Pugh had earlier put Dartford two up. In the return fixture, Ryan Hayes opened the scoring and after conceding an equaliser the Darts could rely on Pugh to put them back ahead. Pavey came off the substitutes bench once more and this time netted a brace, taking his tally to 18 for the season. Dartford’s performance drew praise from former Dartford defender Jamie Coyle, now in charge at Welling United. Coyle tips the Darts for the title.

Much has been made of whether Alfie Pavey should start instead of Danny Mills, considering Pavey’s recent form from off the bench since returning to action. Burman backs Mills who is on loan from Ebbsfleet United, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “I’d like to have him here rather than being at another club,” said Burman. “The whole division wants to sign him so we can’t be wrong, can we? I’d like him to stay”. To add further competition to the front line, Duane Ofori-Acheampong managed to get some minutes on the pitch after a long term injury.

Concord Rangers had their Boxing Day game abandoned at 1-1 with East Thurrock United, but the two sides managed to finish the New Year’s Day meeting. Former Dartford play Femi Akinwande scored twice in a 3-2 win that stretched the Beachboys unbeaten run and move them into sixteenth. The Beachboys recent run of a dozen unbeaten matches only includes four wins, which have come in the last five outings in the National South.

Head to Head
Concord Rangers wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 4 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Concord Rangers (WDWWWD) Dartford (WWDLWD)
East Thurrock United A 3-2 Welling United H 4-1
Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-1 Welling United A 3-2
Wealdstone H 3-1 Braintree Town H 1-1
Bognor Regis Town A 2-1 Hungerford Town A 0-1
Chippenham Town H 4-2 Poole Town A 1-0
Welling United A 3-3 Wealdstone H 3-3

Previous Meetings

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
27.01.2009 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 3

Stats
Alfie Pavey has now scored 14 league goals this season in just 16 starts and three substitute appearances. The striker has scored three in his last two appearances both off the bench.

Andy Pugh has scored four in his last three league appearances and has eight league goals from nine starts and seven substitute appearances. Pugh also made his 100th start for the club on New Year’s Day to go with the 42 substitute appearances, in that time Pugh has managed 45 goals for the Darts.

On This Day
For the first time in 22 years Dartford play on 6 January, a date in which they have been unbeaten for 56 years over six games. Greenwich Borough were the only side to take points off the Darts during that time, in a 0-0 Kent League draw back in 1996. Before then, Dartford won five in a row beating Moor Green 4-1 (Southern Premier League in 1990), Fisher Athletic 1-0 (Southern League Cup in 1987), Nuneaton Borough 1-0 (Southern League Cup in 1975), Dover Athletic 2-1 (Southern Premier League in 1973) and Folkestone Town 1-0 (Southern League First Division in 1968). The last defeat on this day was a 1-0 loss in 1962 against Ramsgate Athletic.

Dartford v Concord Rangers

Dartford may be unbeaten this season but they are also without a win, Concord Rangers are next up at Princes Park in the Darts second home match of the campaign.

Injury hit Dartford have struggled in front of goal and on the weekend drew another blank, although a second clean sheet earned the Darts an away point at Havant and Waterlooville. The scoreline was a repeat of Dartford’s season opener at Princes Park, when they drew 0-0 with Hungerford Town. Sandwiched between those results, Dartford came from two goals down to earn a point at Braintree Town, with goals from Tom Murphy and Elliot Bradbrook.

The noticeable absentees of strike duo Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Andy Pugh has seen the Darts score just twice in the first three games. At the back, Ronnie Vint is out with injury and Keaton Wood has been recovering. Burman also mentioned knocks taken by Lee Noble, Alex Brown and Tom Bonner, whilst Tom Murphy was taken off at Braintree Town after netting his goal. Down to the ‘bare bones’ an opportunity has opened up for young Alfie Cue who has come through the Dartford academy.

Concord Rangers have managed a win, draw and loss this season starting with a defeat away to Wealdstone. New summer signing Jordan Cox’s equaliser wasn’t enough for the Beachboys to get anything from the game. Stephen Cawley’s winner at home to Hemel Hempstead Town got the Essex club off the mark with a first win, and on the weekend they recorded their first draw in dramatic fashion.

Returning to the club Lewis Taafe put Concord Rangers ahead early in the second half, but the match really took off in the final six minutes. Truro City turned the game on its head with goals from Noah Keats and Stewart Yetton in the 84th and 87th minutes. The Beachboys tried their best to throw the points away but were rescued in the final minutes thanks to Taafe’s second of the day.

When the Darts hosted Concord Rangers nearly a year ago, Duane Ofori-Acheampong’s fledgling Dartford career started to take off. The striker, netted his first for the club and put in an impressive performance. Danny Harris made it 2-0, but the Beachboys pulled a goal back with five minutes on the clock. The result was the exact reverse of the campaign before when Concord Rangers won their only fixture against the Darts, memorable for former Dartford midfielder James White scoring a wonderful goal. The last meeting between the two sides ended 1-1 at Thames Road just five months ago.

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

Stats

Dartford last drew their first three league games of the season back in 1965. The opener at home to Cheltenham Town ended 1-1 and four days later the Darts drew 1-1 at home to Guildford City. The sequence was completed in a 2-2 stalemate away to Hereford United in Southern Premier League.

If the Darts draw a fourth consecutive game it will be the first time they have opened their campaign with four draws since 1965. It will also be a repeat of last term when Dartford drew their first two home games. A year ago, Wealdstone and Gosport Borough went home with a point from Princes Park.

It’s been almost two years since Dartford failed to score in consecutive games. In September 2015, the Darts lost 1-0 at home to Truro City before the shock F.A Cup exit to Uxbridge by the same score.

On This Day

Eight years ago, Elliot Bradbrook started his Dartford career by scoring a brace against Horsham on the opening day of the 2009/10 season. Although the Sussex club took the lead with a well taken free kick, Bradbrook had the Darts level. Now manager of Concord Rangers, Adam Flanagan scored from the spot and Bradbrook increased the lead. Horsham grabbed a consolation in the final few minutes. The Darts went on to win the Isthmian Premier League, eighteen points ahead of Sutton United. Two years ago, Dartford played the U’s in the National South and although it was Sutton United’s turn to turn into champions, the Darts drew 2-2 with both goals from Tom Bradbrook.

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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