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Concord Rangers v Dartford

Dartford make the short journey to Essex on the weekend to face a few former players at Concord Rangers.

Managed by Adam Flanagan, Dartford’s Isthmian Premier League title-winning captain, Concord Rangers visited Princes Park back in September propping up the league table at the time. On the stroke of half time Duane Ofori-Acheampong volleyed in his first goal for the Darts in his ninth appearance for the club. The striker was involved in the second just before the hour mark setting up Danny Harris. Dartford had to hold on though when Jay Dowie scored a consolation five minutes from time.

Last term, the Darts had to produce a comeback full of character to overcome the Beachboys. Lewis Taafe opened the scoring for the hosts after just two minutes and doubled the lead on the hour. Andy Pugh’s deflected shot pulled a goal back and with five minutes to go he grabbed the equaliser. In the final minute Tom Bradbrook netted the winner as Dartford won 3-2 from two goals down.

Whatever the result, Dartford will remain third after the weekend but will hope to close the six point gap on rivals Ebbsfleet United in second. The five point advantage over fourth place Chelmsford City gives the Darts some stability for the time being. Unbeaten in their last three matches, Tony Burman has strengthened his strike force by signing Alfie Pavey on loan from Millwall. The 21-year-old has had previous spells on loan with Barnet, Aldershot Town, Bromley and Hampton and Richmond.

Concord Rangers may be in the lower half of the National South yet they have an eight point cushion on Gosport Borough, who occupy the final relegation spot. The Beachboys took a while to warm up this campaign going nine games without a win. The season began to take off after a 5-1 away win at Margate and decent form leading up to the New Year moved them out of the relegation places. Since then the Beachboys’ inconsistencies reflect their position in the National South.

It was just over a year ago when former Dartford midfielder James White scored a stunning decisive goal to give the Beachboys victory at Princes Park, their only ever win versus Dartford. White is still integral to the Concord Rangers team and made 112 appearances for the Darts.

In between the sticks Bailey Vose has made 14 appearances this season for Concord Rangers to add to the three starts he had for Dartford in November. Vose’s short spell included a home defeat to St Albans City and a clean sheet against Hemel Hempstead Town, as well as a Kent Senior Cup win over Cray Wanderers. The 18-year-old goalkeeper is on loan from Championship side Brighton and Hove Albion.

Jordan Chiedozie had a brief spell with Dartford on loan from Cambridge United in 2015 where he scored twice in four games. He returned to the Beachboys this term having previously been part of their 2014/15 squad.

Head to Head
Concord Rangers wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 3 / Draws: 0

Current League Form
Concord Rangers (DLWWLW)
Drew 0-0 v Margate (H)
Lost 3-4 v Chelmsford City (A)
Won 2-1 v Truro City (A)
Won 3-1 v Eastbourne Borough (H)
Lost 0-4 v Ebbsfleet United (A)
Won 3-2 v St Albans City (A)

Dartford (WDDLWW)
Won 2-0 v Bath City (H)
Drew 0-0 v Welling United (A)
Drew 1-1 v Oxford City (A)
Lost 0-1 v Chelmsford City (H)
Won 4-0 v Gosport Borough (A)
Won 3-1 v Whitehawk (H)

Previous Meetings
Dartford 2 Concord Rangers 1 (24/09/2016 – National South)
Dartford 1 Concord Rangers 2 (27/02/2016 – National South)
Concord Rangers 2 Dartford 3 (18/08/2015 – National South)
Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 3 (27/01/2009 – Isthmian League Cup)

Stats
1 – Dartford have conceded once in the last 360 minutes away from home, keeping three clean sheets in thbeir last four outings

2 – A second clean sheet in a row last weekend was the first time Dartford achieved this feat since November

4 – Concord Rangers are unbeaten in their last four home games

5 – The Darts have not lost on their travels since New Years Day spanning five matches

15 – In previous meetings, both sides have scored in every fixture with Dartford netting nine to the Beachboys’ six

293 – Concord Rangers have the second lowest average attendance in the National League, one ahead of Oxford City

On This Day
Steve Robinson was the hero in 1989 when he scored the only goal of the game against Altrincham in the F.A Trophy quarter-final. Dartford’s record appearance maker helped Peter Taylor’s side to a run which ended in the last four against Macclesfield Town. The last away match for the Darts on 11 March was 37 years ago in 1980. A trip South to Hastings United ended in a 2-1 Southern League Cup semi-final first leg loss. The Darts away goal made sure of a narrow 3-2 aggregate victory to reach the final, where Graham Carr’s side fell short to Kidderminster Harriers in the final.

Dartford v Concord Rangers

Dartford look to extend their unbeaten home run to six when they host bottom of the table side Concord Rangers this weekend.

In the three previous meetings between the two sides only the away team has managed to come home victorious. The Darts will be hoping to break that record at Princes Park to keep momentum going in the National South. Concord Rangers on the other hand have struggled to get going this term winning just one of their opening eleven fixtures.

Last weekend, current top scorer for the Darts, Elliot Bradbrook took his goal tally for Dartford to 99 in the 3-2 F.A Cup win at Chelmsford City. The captain scored twice in the first half and was unlucky to miss out on his one hundredth and a hat-trick when he had a goal ruled out as well. An own goal by Chelmsford City’s goalkeeper, Ross Fitzsimons set the tone for the first half before Bradbrook’s duo. The Clarets fought back in the second half finding the goal twice in four minutes when Shamir Mullings scored both.

Burman praised his side’s attitude and desire to hold on and progress to the F.A Cup third qualifying round where they meet Slough Town.Victory for the Darts now means they are unbeaten in five in all competitions, avoiding defeat at Concord Rangers will make it a season’s best run.

Defeat was something the Darts were unable to avoid in the same fixture last campaign. Former Dartford midfielder James White scored a superb goal to give the Beachboys an away win at Princes Park. In fact all three strikes in the 2-1 loss back in February were expertly taken from outside the box. Tom Bradbrook curled his effort into the top corner but his goal was cancelled out by Steve Cawley’s twenty yarder.

At last Dartford are back to full strength with defender Ronnie Vint named on the subs bench for the F.A Cup tie, after his cast on his wrist was finally removed. That means Burman is pleased with the amount of players in his squad, so much so he has this week let Ben Francis out on loan for a month and Richard Seixas will join the striker on dual registration at Leatherhead. The Darts boss is hoping the pair can reach a higher level of fitness following injury whilst promoting some more academy talent.

Managed by former Dartford title winning captain Adam Flanagan, Concord Rangers have had a poor start to their season. In their fourth term in the National South, the Beachboys have reached the top ten in their previous three campaigns but sit at the bottom this time.

The Essex club suffered four straight defeats to begin their campaign before picking up their first point away to Oxford City. Since that draw the Beachboys have managed to avoid back to back league losses but still remained winless after nine attempts. At the tenth effort, Concord Rangers finally grabbed their first win beating Weston-super-Mare away.

Flanagan’s team will approach this weekend’s fixture having lost two in a row, the National South reverse at home to Wealdstone was followed by a F.A Cup exit against AFC Rushden and Diamonds. Two former Darts took part in those games, Joao Carlos who played four times in the Isthmian Premier league winning side and Mark Onyemah, the full back spent time on loan at Princes Park last term.

Head to Head

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

Current League Form
Dartford (WDWDLW)
Won 2-0 v Margate (A)
Drew 1-1 v East Thurrock United (A)
Won 2-1 v Welling United (H)
Drew 0-0 v Maidenhead United (H)
Lost 1-4 v Hampton & Richmond Borough (A)
Won 2-0 v Hungerford Town (H)

Concord Rangers (LWDLDL)
Lost 0-1 v Wealdstone (H)
Won 2-1 v Weston-super-Mare (A)
Drew 0-0 v Bishop’s Stortford (H)
Lost 0-5 v Welling United (H)
Drew 0-0 v Whitehawk (A)
Lost 0-1 v Maidenhead United (H)

Last Meetings

Dartford 1 Concord Rangers 2 (27/02/2016)
Concord Rangers 2 Dartford 3 (18/08/2015)
Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 3 (27/01/2009)

Stats

Elliot Bradbrook is one goal away from his century after 311 starting appearances and 13 substitute appearances. The Dartford midfielder averages approximately a goal every 3.27 games.

Dartford are unbeaten in five home matches this season winning two and drawing three.

Only league leaders Maidenhead United and newcomers Poole Town have conceded fewer goals (1) at home than Dartford(3).

All five of Concord Rangers’ goals have come away from home this season.

The Beachboys last went one win from their opening eleven league games back in 2011, when they finished 14th in the Isthmian Premier League.

On This Day

Dartford’s match against Concord Rangers will be only their fourth home game on the 24 September in the last 39 years. Since defeat to Atherstone United in the 1977 Southern Premier League, the Darts have beaten Witney Town 4-1 in 1983 and Tonbridge Angels 3-1 five years ago in the National South, Elliot Bradbrook, Danny Harris and Charlie Sheringham all scored. In between the two home victories, Dartford played six away matches in a row including a 5-1 hammering of Darenth Heathside in the Kent Premier League in 1994. The last time Dartford played on this day was at Blundell Park where they lost 5-2 to Grimsby Town in the National League three years ago.

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

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

Bath City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Twerton Park

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

Last SeasonBath_City_FC

National South: 14th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: David Pratt (9 goals)

The Manager – Gary Owers

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 22 October 2016 at Twerton Park

Saturday 4 March 2017 at Princes Park

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Bishop’s Stortford

Founded: 1874 / Ground: Woodside Park

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

Bishops stortfordLast Season

National South: 11th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi-final

League Top Scorer: Elliott Buchanan (28 goals)

The Manager – Gordon Boateng

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 19 November 2016 at Woodside Park

Saturday 22 April 2017 at Princes Park

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Chelmsford City

Founded: 1878 / Ground: Melbourne Stadium

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

ChelmsfordCityFCLast Season

National South: 15th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Quarter-final

League Top Scorer: Billy Bricknell (17 goals)

The Manager – Rod Stringer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 13 August 2016 at Melbourne Stadium

Saturday 18 February 2016 at Princes Park

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Concord Rangers

Founded: 1967 / Ground: Thames Road

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

concord rangersLast Season

National South: 10th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Steve Cawley (20 goals)

The Manager – Adam Flanagan

Former Dartford defender Adam Flanagan impressed in his first season as Concord Rangers manager. He had replaced Danny Cowley who guided the Beachboys up the non league pyramid so had big shoes to fill. The 38 year old previously managed Brentwood Town where he won promotion to the Isthmian Premier League via the playoffs. As a player he captained the Dartford side who clinched the Isthmian Premier League title five years ago, making a total of 145 appearances for the Darts and scoring 14 goals.

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 24 September 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 11 March 2017 at Thames Road

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Dartford v Concord Rangers

Sentiment will count for nothing this weekend as Dartford host a Concord Rangers side for the first time.

Tony Burman will welcome back his Isthmian Premier League title winning captain Adam Flanagan, only he will be in the opposite dugout. In the Concord Rangers midfield the Darts will be up against two former players James White and Max Cornhill.

Adam Flanagan marshalled Dartford’s defence between 2007 and 2010 making 145 appearances and scoring 14 times. He has since made his way in management leading Brentwood Town to promotion to the Isthmian Premier League before joining Concord Rangers.

James White joined the Essex club and is now captain, he was alongside Flanagan in Dartford’s title winning season, the midfielder made 112 appearances for the Darts. Max Cornhill left only last season, the attacking midfielder was used sparingly prompting the 28 year old to depart Princes Park after 68 appearances and nine goals.

The Darts won their last home match against lowly St Albans City. The 2-0 victory came after a two game losing streak which ended an eleven match unbeaten run. Andy Pugh netted twice against the Saints and another in the following match versus Eastbourne Borough, which ended 1-1.

On Tuesday night, Dartford’s travelled to fourth place Gosport Borough with the chance to climb back into the playoff places. Dan Wooden put the hosts ahead to give Boro a 1-0 lead going into half time but after the break the match swung Dartford’s way. On the hour Elliot Bradbrook took advantage of a rebound from Ryan Hayes’ cross to level the score. The Darts skipper doubled his tally for the night with a breakaway goal, Bradbrook calmly took it round the Boro goalkeeper for his eleventh of the season. Moments later Andy Pugh scored his ninth in his last seven starts to propel Dartford into the playoff places.

If the season started in November, Concord Rangers would be in sixth place partly because that month turned the Beachboys fortunes around. The Essex club won all four in November without conceding a goal lifting them from seventeenth to eighth.

The following month highlighted their inconsistencies with one point taken from twelve available, however the Beachboys are now seven unbeaten and in tenth place. Flanagan’s side had their fixture against Truro City called off on Tuesday night meaning their last outing was last weekend.

Over the last three National South matches Concord Rangers have played the same teams as Dartford. The Beachboys breezed past Eastbourne Borough when Steve Cawley scored twice before Sam Bantick and Ben Greenhalgh sealed a 4-1 triumph. Cawley and Bantick rescued a point against St Albans City after Concord Rangers came from two down to draw 2-2. Their last game at home to Gosport Borough ended 0-0.

Attacking midfielder, Steve Cawley provides Concord Rangers with goals. The 24 year old has scored 15 in the National South this season. Alex Osborn has joined on loan from Ebbsfleet United, the striker almost spent time on loan with Concord Rangers last term but injury saw the deal fall through. Michael Thalassitis was also added to the forward line last month, signing from Chelmsford City. Defender, Jack Lampe returned to the club from Bishop’s Stortford early this month.

Head to Head

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

Current League Form

Dartford (WDWLLW) Concord Rangers (DDWDWD)
Gosport Borough  A  3-1 Gosport Borough  H  0-0
Eastbourne Borough  A  1-1 St Albans City  A  2-2
St Albans City  H  2-0 Eastbourne Borough  H  4-1
Wealdstone  H  1-2 Maidstone United  A  2-2
Sutton United  A  0-2 Bath City  A  1-0
Bath City  H  4-1 Ebbsfleet United  H  0-0

Previous Meetings (* – Isthmian League Cup)

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

On This Day

It was four years ago when Danny Harris inspired the Darts to a 4-1 victory over Basingstoke Town with a hat-trick. Tony Garrod scored the other goal in the Conference South fixture in a comfortable win. In 2010, Dartford grabbed a rare win at Boreham Wood with the solitary goal coming from Elliot Bradbrook. Three years prior beating the Wood, the Darts drew 2-2 with Tooting and Mitcham United. It was also on the 27 February when Dartford had one of their bleakest days since reforming, losing 7-0 away to Raunds Town in the 1998/99 Southern League Southern Division.

Concord Rangers v Dartford

Tony Burman will be up against his former captain when Dartford travel to Adam Flanagan’s Concord Rangers.

The two worked together to mastermind the Darts promotion five years ago as Isthmian Premier League champions, this time they will be in opposite dugouts.

Flanagan returned to Concord Rangers as manager having had a spell as a player with the club. The 37 year old replaced Danny Cowley and will have big shoes to fill, Cowley guided the Beachboys through the divisions in an eight year spell. As a manager, Flanagan has already had success with Brentwood Town winning promotion to the Isthmian Premier League via the playoffs.

Thames Road will be hosting a mini reunion, three more former Darts are now representing Concord Rangers this season and have participated in the opening three fixtures. Max Cornhill left only last season, the attacking midfielder was used sparingly since the turn of this year prompting the 28 year old to depart Princes Park after 68 appearances and nine goals.

James White has impressed Concord Rangers since joining the Essex club and he was alongside Flanagan in Dartford’s title winning season, the midfielder made 112 appearances for the Darts.

Tony Stokes was signed by Burman in 2012 on dual registration but didn’t make an appearance, but the talk of the summer has been whether former Dartford midfielder Adam Woodyard remains a Concord Rangers player.

After opening day disappointment away at Hemel Hempstead Town, the Darts have picked up four points from their last two fixtures. A 1-0 home win over Eastbourne Borough was followed up with a 2-2 draw with Sutton United, Tom Bradbrook scoring all the goals in each match.

Signs have been promising that the team is gelling and had the opportunities in front of goal been taken then the points tally could be better. The entertaining draw against Sutton United saw Dartford pegged back twice with Tom Bradbrook heading in the first from a Ryan Hayes free kick. The visitors were level before the break courtesy of Micky Spillane’s volley. A bizarre second put the Darts back in front, an underhit pass forced U’s goalkeeper Ross Worner’s to clear the ball which hit Tom Bradbrook in the face, the striker scored but was forced off. With five minutes remaining Sutton United equalised through Jamie Collins, his second in as many games.

Concord Rangers topped the National League South table after two games but defeat away to Truro City has seen the Beachboys drop to sixth. On the weekend, Tony Stokes started with good news scoring after just three minutes but was later red carded in the final minute. Truro City came from behind at Treyew Road to end Concord Rangers’ perfect record with goals from Shane White and Matt Wright.

Prior their defeat, the Essex club got off to a stunning start to the campaign with a goal after 16 seconds, Tony Stokes’ half volley from 25 yards put Concord Rangers in front. Joe Gardner, Max Cornhill and Steve Cawley added to the score before Weston Super Mare grabbed a consolation.

The Beachboys followed up their 4-1 victory with another three points beating Wealdstone 2-1 away from home. Cornhill netted another which was cancelled out by Elliot Godfrey. Ben Greenhalgh scored the decisive goal early in the second half.

The only competitive meeting between the two clubs came in the Isthmian League Cup encounter six and half years ago. Two Dartford favourites scored the goals to help the Darts progress in the Isthmian League Cup. Brendon Cass and a Cody McDonald brace was enough secure a passage into the next round as Dartford ran out 3-1 winners against the Beachboys.

Head to Head

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

On This Day

On 18 August, the Darts have played five since reforming and winning just once. The most recent fixture three years ago, in the National League, resulted in 2-0 defeat away to Macclesfield Town. Dartford’s only win on this day came six years ago in a formidable 4-0 victory over Margate during the Isthmian Premier league title winning campaign. Jamie Day, Rob Haworth, Lee Burns and Alan Tait netted the goals. On the opening day of the 2007/08 campaign Brendon Cass and Jay May scored to earn a 2-2 draw versus Maldon Town in the Isthmian Division One North whilst in 2001 Stamford won 3-1 in the Southern League Division One East. In what turned out to be crucial result Furness beat the Darts back in the Kent League 2-1 and went on to win the league on the final day, Dartford’s 1-1 draw on the last game of the season wasn’t enough to snatch the title from Furness.

 

National League South Season Preview 2015/2016 – Part Two

Concord Rangers | Dartford | Eastbourne Borough | Ebbsfleet United

Concord Rangers

Founded: 1967 / Ground: Thames Road

Since the turn of the millennium Concord Rangers have taken off. Starting with the odd piece of silverware in cup competitions, promotions shortly followed. Two Essex Senior League triumphs in five years and promotion to the Isthmian League as runners up, The Beachboys have flown through non league. In the Isthmian Division One North, Concord Rangers finished runners up in their debut season before winning the playoffs. Three years later the Isthmian Premier League playoffs were added to the honours list. Now the Essex club are more than holding their own in the National League South.

concord rangersLast Season

Conference South: 7th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Steve Cawley (11 goals)

Average Attendance: 311

The Manager – Adam Flanagan

Former Dartford defender Adam Flanagan returns to Concord Rangers as manager this time, having had a spell as a player with the club. The 37 year old replaces Danny Cowley and will have big shoes to fill, Cowley guided the Beachboys through the divisions in an eight year spell. Flanagan previously managed Brentwood Town and has had success of his own by winning 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

Dartford links continue with the playing squad and the talk of the summer is where the impressive Alex Woodyard will end up. The former Dart is keen to return to the professional game and was influential last season for the Beachboys. If Woodyard remains at Thames Road he could partner Max Cornhill in the middle of the park, the attacking midfielder was released by Dartford after 68 appearances and nine goals. New contracts have been handed to James White who played 112 times for the Darts, and appeared with Flanagan in the Isthmian Premier League title winning side. Tony Stokes, who was on dual registration at Princes Park back in 2012 has also been secured for another term. In between the sticks Conor Gough will keep guard having signed from Grays Athletic, Tom Stephen comes in from East Thurrock United, Sam Bantwick from Flanagan’s previous side Brentwood Town and Ben Greenhalgh moves from Maidstone United.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

27 January 2009 – Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 3 – view highlights
In the only competitive meeting between the two sides, two Dartford favourites scored the goals to help the Darts progress in the Isthmian League Cup. Brendon Cass followed up his own shot to tuck away a rebound. In the second half, Cody McDonald rounded the goalkeeper then added his second with ease. A well taken volley was merely a consolation for the Beachboys.

Next Meetings

Tuesday 18 August 2015 at Thames Road

Saturday 27 February 2016 at Princes Park

Last Ten Years

crfc last 10 yearsBack to top

Dartford

Founded: 1888 / Ground: Princes Park

Five years on the rise culminated in their first Conference Premier appearance in 26 years where they stayed for three seasons. The Darts longest spell in the top non league flight came to an end last term with a consecutive bottom four finish, a reprieve the previous campaign was just a stay of execution. Historians will say the club has returned to their normal level, but with a modern eco-friendly ground nine years young, a decent following by National South standards they are looking to build a club sustainable in the National League. Whilst the playing budget may not be at the very top, the Darts will look for the right infrastructure within their means.

DartfordLast Season

Conference Premier: 22nd

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Elliot Bradbrook (8 goals)

Average Attendance: 1112

The Manager – Tony Burman

Three promotions including two titles in a five year spell makes relegation last term a minor wound that Burman will be desperate to patch up. The 57 year old celebrated ten consecutive years at the helm back in January adding to two previous spells managing the Darts, the first featured promotion to the Southern League. The former Dartford striker is top in the all time scoring list with 159 goals and he made 535 appearances, third in the all time appearances list. Signed from Charlton Athletic in 1978, there is no questioning Burman’s loyalty and dedication to the Darts.

The Summer

Normally it’s out with the old and in with the new but this summer the old guard remain. Captain, Elliot Bradbrook had to be persuaded to stay last term due to travelling commitments but this time there was no hesitation in signing a new contract. Ryan Hayes, Lee Noble, Danny Harris, Deren Ibrahim and Lee Burns have all been at the club through the Isthmian and Conference Leagues and continue their stay at Princes Park. So in with the new, George Sykes has been brought in from National League champions Barnet to help Andy Pugh and Tom Bradbrook up front. Yet again Burman has had to rebuild his defence opting to sign ex West Ham United defender Callum McNaughton from National League South champions Bromley, former Hibernian defender Tom Gardiner from Cambridge City and Danny Fitzsimons from Luton Town. Jack Simmons will provide width to the midfield and has moved from Canvey Island. Packed with midfield players already, Barry Cogan is added to the list after signing from Dover Athletic. Mark Onyemah who has impressed over pre season has signed a loan deal from Luton Town.

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Eastbourne Borough

Founded: 1964 / Ground: Priory Lane

Seven years ago the Sports finished runners up and clinched a Conference Premier place via the playoffs. The club had risen up through the local league as Langney Sports and the Southern League as Eastbourne Borough. The Sussex club spent three seasons in the top flight of non league football and returned to the National League South in 2011. Initially the club found life difficult back in the second tier but over the last three campaigns some stability has returned to Priory Lane. The Sports are one of a number of clubs looking to install a 3G pitch which has approval by the Football Conference.

ebfcLast Season

Conference South: 11th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Gavin McCallum (9 goals)

Average Attendance: 574

The Manager – Tommy Widdrington

An experienced former midfielder Tommy Widdrington had a successful playing career with four promotions and two Football League Trophy triumphs. He moved to non league football ten years ago representing Salisbury City and became player manager in 2009/10. Widdrington had a spell as Southend United assistant manager before being appointed Hemel Hempstead Town’s boss, which lasted four months in the lower region of the Southern Premier League. Since February 2012, the 43 year old has stabilised Eastbourne Borough’s league position and has won the previous two National League South Manager of the Month awards for August.

The Summer

Utility player Nathan Collier moved to Priory Road from Princes Park where he played in a variety of positions. The 28 year old played over 100 times for the Darts scoring six goals. Another former Dart, Jack Evans is at the Sussex club following a move from Sutton United in January. Craig Stone has been around his fair share of Kent clubs featuring for Gillingham, Ebbsfleet United and Maidstone United, the 26 year old has joined from Dover Athletic. A new striking option for the Sports will be Elliot Romain who makes the short journey from local rivals Lewes.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

3 April 2012 – Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1 – view highlights
For the third time in 2011/12 the Darts recorded a singe goal victory over the Sports. The league double against Eastbourne Borough was completed when Elliot Bradbrook scored the decisive goal. Dartford’s  Adam Green missed a first half penalty.

29 November 2011 – Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 1
Another Princes Park win by the same scoreline as three months ago meant the Darts progressed to play Brackley Town. Second half goals from Tom Champion and Danny Harris was enough for the host, striker Carl Rook inevitably scored against his former club to half the scoreline for the visitors.

26 November 2011 – Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 0 – view highlights
A dour F.A Trophy tie almost ended dramatically when Lee Burns had his effort cleared off the line in the final minute. Other than that there was very little to report so the sides battled it out for a place in first round just three days later.

16 August 2011 – Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 1 – view highlights
The first home game of the season for the Darts ended in a second successive victory to maintain a perfect start to the campaign. Charlie Sheringham scored his third in the opening two fixtures and Adam Green made it 2-0. Ethan Strevett’s corner was fumbled into his own net by Dartford goalkeeper Andrew Young in the final minute.

Next Meetings

Tuesday 11 August 2015 at Princes Park

Saturday 20 February 2016 at Priory Lane

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Ebbsfleet United

Founded: 1946 / Ground: Stonebridge Road

Since their name change from Gravesend and Northfleet eight years ago, Ebbsfleet United have really experienced some up and downs. Taken over by a website MyFootballClub caused controversy and that period of the clubs history lasted six years. In that time the Kent club lifted the F.A Trophy, suffered relegation out of the Conference Premier, won the Conference South playoffs then were relegated again. Two years ago, KEH Sports Limited a group of Kuwaiti investors took control of the Fleet. Losing a playoff final to Dover Athletic and an eighth place finish last term, Ebbsfleet United are amongst the favourites this time thanks to Middle Eastern backing.

EUFClogoLast Season

Conference South: 8th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: Quarter Final

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Matthew Godden (15 goals)

Average Attendance: 940

The Manager – Daryl McMahon

A first senior managerial job began for Daryl McMahon in May when he replaced Jamie Day in the dugout. Whilst playing the former academy boss and club captain gained coaching experience at his former clubs. Assistant manager at Boreham Wood and two spells as caretaker manager with the Fleet will stand the former midfielder in good stead. As a player McMahon won the F.A Trophy with Stevenage and made Football League appearances for Leyton Orient, Torquay United, Port Vale and Notts County. In June 2013, he joined Ebbsfleet United and after a brief stint back at Boreham Wood as a player rejoined the Fleet as manager.

The Summer

Last season’s Conference South player of the Year, Jordan Parkes is the biggest signing for the Fleet this summer. McMahon swooped for the man who netted 21 times for Hemel Hempstead Town last term. Goalkeeper Jonathan Miles makes his move from Tottenham Hotspur and has a good chance of being number one with the loan departure of Preston Edwards. Robbie Willmott joins from Newport County and John Paul Kissock from Whitehawk. In to provide cover for the left back spot is Craig Braham-Barrett from relegated Cheltenham Town. Former Darts, Tom Bonner, Kenny Clark and Charlie Sheringham remain at Stonebridge Road and may return to Princes Park as early as Bank Holiday August.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

29 October 2013 – Dartford 1 Ebbsfleet United 0 – view highlights
Once again a spot kick became decisive in this F.A Cup qualifier. Elliot Bradbrook took his chance from 12 yards on his 200th Dartford appearance. The visitors had a penalty of their own which was saved by Alan Julian, Fleet’s Anthony Cook missed.

26 October 2013 – Ebbsfleet United 1 Dartford 1 – view highlights
With a place in the F.A Cup first round up for grabs this local derby took on extra significance. Fleet’s Ben May missed a penalty which proved costly. Lee Noble put the Darts ahead but the sides were forced to meet again when Anthony Cook equalised.

Next Meetings

Monday 31 August 2015 at Princes Park

Monday 28 March 2016 at Stonebridge Road

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Dartford v Charlton Athletic XI & Concord Rangers v Dartford XI

On Tuesday night the Darts will be happy to recreate their Kent Senior Cup semi final win over Charlton Athletic from two seasons ago.

Dartford triumphed over the Addicks in a 3-1 victory with goals from Jack Pallen, Lee Noble and Elliot Bradbrook. The win put the Darts through to their second successive Kent Senior Cup final where they lost to Hythe Town.

Dartford have failed to win any of their pre season fixtures with the latest defeat coming at the hands of another Conference South side. Tony Burman’s side went down 2-0 against Tonbridge Angels on Saturday which followed a 1-0 loss versus Bromley.

On the weekend Burman took a look at Matt Mitchell-King who played against the Darts for rivals Ebbsfleet United last week. The defender was released in the summer by Dartford’s first opponents AFC Wimbledon. Uche Ibemere who scored for a Dartford XI against East Thurrock United was the only other non senior player to start. New signing Kenny Clark and captain Bradbrook were unavailable against the Angels.

As the new season comes ever closer, Burman is still trying to add to the squad looking for someone to partner Jason Prior up front. Goals have been at a premium so far with midfielder Bradbrook leading the way with three during this summer’s friendlies.

Charlton Athletic last played the Darts by making up a side of academy and senior players. Whilst the senior side have started pre season well the XI team were unbeaten having played a number of local non league clubs. The summer started with a 2-1 away win at Maidstone United, followed by a 1-1 draw with Bromley. Thurrock were defeated 3-1 but the streak ended at against Ebbsfleet United on Sunday with a 2-1 defeat. Youngster Oliver Muldoon has been the pre season star for the Addicks scoring four goals in as many games.

Concord Rangers v Dartford XI

On Wednesday, a Dartford XI side will be back in Essex to face newly promoted club Concord Rangers, who went up via the Isthmian Premier League playoffs.

The Darts XI recorded their first victory on Sunday against local side Sutton Athletic. Bode Aniougbe curled a shot in the top corner to give Dartford a half time lead. Jeff Allen doubled the advantage by tapping in number two at the far post and George Monger’s lob added a third. There was still time for a fourth goal as Kakaa Dembele slid home to cap of a 4-0 victory.

Concord Rangers were playing in the Essex Senior League just five years ago and have risen up the non league pyramid.  The Beach Boys reached new ground by achieving their highest ever finish last season and will participate in the Conference South for the first time in their history. A fourth place spot last term guaranteed a playoff spot where the Essex club beat Wealdstone and Lowestoft Town.

Managed by Danny Cowley, Concord Rangers are having a superb pre season so far beating Stevenage Borough XI (6-1), local rivals Canvey Island (4-0), Waltham Abbey (3-1), St Albans City (3-0) and Southend United XI (6-0).

A couple of former Darts are now with the Conference South club including midfielder James White who made over a hundred appearances between 2008 and 2011, winning  the Isthmian Premier League. Defender Paul Goodacre had a good two years with the Darts featuring in both Conference South seasons. Striker, Tony Stokes was once signed on dual registration and remains a regular for the Beach Boys.