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Dartford v Eastbourne Borough

Dartford face Eastbourne Borough for a third time this season when they host the Sussex side in the F.A Trophy third qualifying round replay.

The Darts had to leave it late on the weekend to force a replay after falling behind at Priory Lane on Saturday. The Sports took the lead in the second half when the experienced striker Dean Cox hit a low shot into the bottom corner of Bailey Vose’s goal. With four minutes remaining the Darts salvaged a result to remain in the competition when Kudus Oyenuga equalised to earn a rematch at Princes Park.

History repeated itself on the weekend as seven years ago Dartford drew Eastbourne Borough in the F.A Trophy third qualifying round. The tie went to a replay after a 0-0 draw at Priory Lane, Lee Noble and Tom Bonner were the only members of the current squad involved that day. The Darts won at the second attempt with goals from Tom Champion and Danny Harris, the Sports halved the deficit through former Dart, Carl Rook.

Dartford have already hosted the Sports this season when they met in the league at Princes Park. Playing his first game back at Dartford’s home since returning to the club, Charlie Sheringham scored then later got sent off on a dramatic afternoon. The Darts needed to come from behind twice in September having conceded when ex Dart, Dave Martin opened the scoring on twelve minutes. Sheringham levelled the match converting from the penalty spot, but just after half-time Eastbourne Borough regained the lead through Emmanuel Odubade. Sheringham received his second yellow card leaving the hosts a man short for the final twelve minutes. Against the odds, Elliot Bradbrook equalised in stoppage time to earn the Darts a vital point in the National South.

If the last three home clashes with Eastbourne Borough are to go by then plenty of goals should be expected. As well as the 2-2 draw two months ago, the Darts scored four in the two meetings before that. Last season, the two sides met at Princes Park in a contest that had a major talking point. It was one way traffic in the first half as Alex Brown had Dartford ahead going into the break. Ryan Hayes, on his 400th appearance for the club set up Alfie Pavey on the hour with his corner and Elliot Bradbrook’s header four minutes later made it 3-0. Jamie Taylor pulled a goal back with six minutes remaining, but shortly afterwards it was 4-1. A quick free-kick was taken by the Sports which rebounded off the grounded Hayes, who was a few yards away. The referee controversially played on as the ball broke to Tom Murphy who scored. Eastbourne Borough managed a late consolation when Lee Noble scored an own goal.

In the campaign before that 4-2 victory, the Darts had to hold out in a seven goal thriller. Andy Pugh, Luke Wanadio, Ryan Hayes and Elliot Bradbrook had Dartford 4-1 before the Sports staged a late fightback which fell just short, Dartford hung on to win 4-3.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 10 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 4  / Draws: 4

Current Form (all competitions *-Sussex Senior Cup / ^-F.A Trophy)

Dartford (DWWWLW) Eastbourne Borough (DLLWWL)
Eastbourne Borough A 1-1^ Dartford H 1-1^
Hampton & Richmond A 1-0 Bath City A 0-1
Oxford City H 3-2 Concord Rangers A 0-3
Gloucester City A 2-1 Hungerford Town H 3-1
Truro City A 1-3 Eastbourne United A 5-0*
Dulwich Hamlet H 2-1 Chelmsford City A 2-3

Previous Meetings

24.11.2018 Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1
08.09.2018 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 2
14.04.2018 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1
12.09.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 2
08.04.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 3
16.08.2011 Eastbourne Borough 2 Dartford 3

Stats

Dartford are 12 games unbeaten against the Sports winning eight and drawing four.

Prior this season’s draw at Princes Park, the Darts had beaten Eastbourne Borough five time in a row at home.

Eastbourne Borough last beat Dartford in 2003, the Sports won 1-0 in the Southern League Division One East.

On This Day

Ryan Hayes, Adam Flanangan and Jamie Coyle were all pert of the team that crushed Witham Town 7-2 eleven years ago at Princes Park. It took just five minutes for Jay May to open the scoring and a couple of minutes late Brendon Cass doubled the lead. Hayes made it three before the break from the penalty spot. Eddie McClements had the Darts four up but Witham Town grabbed two to halve the deficit. However, Dartford relentlessly managed three more through Cass, McClements and Coyle.

Eastbourne Borough v Dartford

The F.A Trophy gets underway for Dartford this weekend when they visit fellow National South side Eastbourne Borough at Priory Lane. 

Dartford have already hosted the Sports this season when they met in the league at Princes Park. Playing his first game back at Dartford’s home since returning to the club, Charlie Sheringham scored then later got sent off on a dramatic afternoon. The Darts needed to come from behind twice in September having conceded when ex Dart, Dave Martin opened the scoring on twelve minutes. Sheringham levelled the match converting from the penalty spot, but just after half-time Eastbourne Borough regained the lead through Emmanuel Odubade. Sheringham received his second yellow card leaving the hosts a man short for the final twelve minutes. Against the odds, Elliot Bradbrook equalised in stoppage time to earn the Darts a vital point in the National South.

Having lost four from five leading up to the 2-2 draw, the result against Eastbourne Borough marked the start of an upturn in form. Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle have led the Darts to one defeat in nine league games to leave them top of the form guide. On the weekend, Sheringham’s winning goal against Hampton and Richmond Borough moved Dartford into fifth place having secured a third consecutive victory. Tom Bonner will face a fitness test before the trophy tie having been taken off at the Beveree with a hamstring strain. Goalkeeper, Bailey Vose has had his loan extended to the end of the season, Delano Sam-Yorke and Tom Murphy have gone out on loan to Kingstonian and Margate respectively.

Flanagan spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and believes his squad has more to offer, he commented: “It sounds a lot better than it did at the start! We can’t complain but Jamie and I believe we’re just touching the surface of what we’ve got at the moment. There are still improvement areas but we’re winning games. Eight of those nine games have been by one goal and we want to kick on”.

So far, this term Dartford have only played two cup matches and on both occasions, there was plenty of room to improve. The Darts struggled past AFC Uckfield Town in the F.A Cup second qualifying round then were well beaten in the next stage at Oxford City.

Saturday will almost be seven years since Dartford drew Eastbourne Borough in the F.A Trophy third qualifying round. The tie went to a replay after a 0-0 draw at Priory Lane, Lee Noble and Tom Bonner were the only members of the current squad involved that day. The Darts won at the second attempt with goals from Tom Champion and Danny Harris, the Sports halved the deficit through former Dart, Carl Rook. Dartford reached the third round that year, losing to Wealdstone.

The Darts last enjoyed a decent run in the competition in 2012/13 when they reached the semi-final stage against Grimsby Town. Since then they have only got passed the first round twice, going out on penalties against Boreham Wood in round one last time. Flanagan stated: “The club got to the semi-finals (in 2012/13) and everyone I’ve spoken to about that run said what a good experience it was. It would be nice to replicate that”.

As well as the four goals scored in this season’s fixture between the two clubs, there has been plenty of goalmouth action in previous meetings. Almost two years ago at a foggy Priory Lane, Dartford won 3-2 in a match where you could excuse anyone who missed Kaka Dembele’s strike and Nathaniel Pinney’s consolation. The Darts netted four times in the next two home clashes winning 4-3 then 4-2, however the last time Dartford visited the Sussex club, Danny Mills was on hand to score the winner.

Whilst the 2-2 draw in September was the beginning of Dartford’s good form, it was also the start of a decline in results for the Sports. Leading up to the meeting at Priory Lane, the Sussex club had lost just once in eight National South outings. Although the draw extended that run to another game, since then Eastbourne Borough have won just twice in the league in nine attempts. On the weekend, the Sports lost a second consecutive fixture at Bath City. The 1-0 defeat followed a 2-0 loss at Concord Rangers.

In cup competitions, Jamie Howell’s side made hard work getting past Brantham Athletic in the F.A Cup second qualifying round two months ago. The Sports nervously overcame Dulwich Hamlet, after racing into a 4-0 first half lead they conceded three times in the second half against ten men and just held on. Eastbourne Borough missed out on the F.A Cup first round when they were narrowly beaten 2-1 by Slough Town.

Eastbourne Borough’s best performance in the F.A Trophy is reaching the third round, most recently in their 2010/2011 campaign. After their trophy run seven years ago they went out at the third qualifying round four years in a row, including the defeat to Dartford. Last season they beat Royston Town on penalties before going out to Dover Athletic.

Head to Head

Eastbourne Borough wins: 4 / Dartford wins: 10 / Draws: 3

Current Form (all competitions *-Sussex Senior Cup)

Eastbourne Borough (LLWWLD) Dartford (WWWLWW)
Bath City A 0-1 Hampton & Richmond A 1-0
Concord Rangers A 0-3 Oxford City H 3-2
Hungerford Town H 3-1 Gloucester City A 2-1
Eastbourne United A 5-0* Truro City A 1-3
Chelmsford City A 2-3 Dulwich Hamlet H 2-1
Hampton & Richmond H 2-2 Chippenham Town A 2-1

Previous Meetings

08.09.2018 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 2
14.04.2018 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1
12.09.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 2
08.04.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 3
16.08.2011 Eastbourne Borough 2 Dartford 3
20.02.2016 Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1

Stats

Dartford named an unchanged side for the third game in a row last weekend, the first time this has happened this season.

Mark Onyemah is close to making his 100th start for the Darts in his second spell with the club.

Lee Noble will be approaching 450 appearances in total.

On This Day

Dartford progressed to the second round of the F.A Trophy with a commanding 4-0 win at Kingstonian in 2012. Marcus Bettenelli was called into action after just four minutes as he saved Andre McCollin’s penalty, which served as an early warning for the Darts. Jacob Erskine gave Dartford the lead halfway through the first half then K’s midfielder Simon Huckle was sent off. The afternoon got easier and so the Darts made sure of victory when Elliot Bradbrook, Danny Harris and Nathan Collier added three more goals to the scoreline. Ryan Hayes celebrated his 150th start nine years ago in style, helping Dartford come from two down to beat Tooting and Mitcham United 3-2. The winger scored a brace including a well taken free kick, Rob Haworth netted the winner to complete the comeback.

Dartford v Eastbourne Borough

Four defeats in five games have left Dartford needing goals and much needed points, when they host Eastbourne Borough at Princes Park this weekend.

The Darts have struggled in front of goal this season and have failed to find the net in five of their last six National South outings. After the 2-0 reverse last weekend away to St Albans City, Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle will want their side to make the most of home advantage against this weekend’s opponents Eastbourne Borough, the Sports have started their campaign well and are third in the league.

Improving the attacking options has been a priority and the management duo took some steps in addressing the lack of firepower. Charlie Sheringham started his third spell with the Darts making his debut on Saturday, the striker who was with Hemel Hempstead Town last term spent some time in Bangladesh. The 30 year-old made 61 starting appearances and scored 41 times during his previous two spells with the Darts.

Also making his debut was Cambridge United winger Tom Knowles who signed a one month loan deal with Dartford. Jamie Philpot, who came off injured in the East Thurrock United win didn’t take part in the defeat at St Albans City and Callum Driver was also missing from the squad.

The latest addition to the squad is Amadou Ba, the on loan French striker from Southend United will be available for selection. The 20 year-old has made five appearances for the Essex club and was part of Le Havre’s reserve team before moving across the Channel.

Dartford are not in the best of form and so Coyle has called on his players to match opponents on their work ethic, something that was done against East Thurrock United, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk after their previous home triumph and commented: “We have been disappointed because not only have we not got the results but the performances have been poor and that’s been a concern”, he added: “If we lose games, we can’t lose them when we’ve been outworked by the opposition and that’s happened recently”.

Statistics point towards a low scoring afternoon and much of Eastbourne Borough’s success has been built on a solid back line. However, if previous meetings between the two sides are anything to go by then the low scoring trend could well be broken.

Former Dartford favourite Dave Martin may have scored the match winner in their last game against Weston-super-Mare, but a fourth clean sheet in eight shows how tough it’s been to breach the Sports defence, which includes former Darts, Marvin Hamilton and Tom Gardiner.

Martin earned a move to Crystal Palace after impressing at Princes Park, where he scored 16 goals, some of them memorable in 71 starting appearances. The winger enjoyed spells at Millwall and Southend United before returning to non-league, which included a loan spell back at the Darts in 2013 where he made a further 11 appearances.

Gardiner joined the Sports from St Albans City and whilst the defender was at Dartford he played 75 times. Marvin Hamilton spell at the Darts was very brief, the 29 year-old made just one substitute appearance.

Unbeaten away from home, Jamie Howell’s side have won two and drawn two on their travels. Their only defeat so far came against the league leaders Woking on Bank Holiday Monday, ending a six game unbeaten run which included wins over Welling United, East Thurrock United and Chippenham Town.

The Sports’ squad includes former Ebbsfleet United and Dover Athletic defender Ian Simpemba, ex Ebbsfleet United midfielder Michael West as well as the experienced Sergio Torres and Dean Cox.

A year ago, the two sides met at Princes Park in a contest that had a major talking point. It was one way traffic in the first half as Alex Brown had Dartford ahead going into the break. Ryan Hayes, on his 400th appearance for the club set up Alfie Pavey on the hour with his corner and Elliot Bradbrook’s header four minutes later made it 3-0. Jamie Taylor pulled a goal back with six minutes remaining, but shortly afterwards it was 4-1. A quick free-kick was taken by the Sports which rebounded off the grounded Hayes, who was a few yards away. The referee controversially played on as the ball broke to Tom Murphy who scored. Eastbourne Borough managed a late consolation when Lee Noble scored an own goal. Victory secured a double over the Sussex club, Danny Mills scored the only goal at Priory Lane in April.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 10 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 2

Current Form

Dartford (LWLLLD) Eastbourne Borough (WLDWWD)
St Albans City A 0-2 Weston-super-Mare A 1-0
East Thurrock United H 2-0 Woking H 1-2
Hungerford Town A 0-1 St Albans City A 1-1
Wealdstone H 0-3 Chippenham Town H 2-1
Concord Rangers A 0-2 East Thurrock United A 1-0
Hemel Hempstead Town H 0-0 Truro City H 2-2

Previous Meetings

14.04.2018 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1
12.09.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 2
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

Stats

Dartford are unbeaten in their last ten matches against Eastbourne Borough stretching back to 2011 (W8, D2). The Darts have won the last four against the Sussex club.

Under the guise of Eastbourne Borough, the Sports won their first four meetings against the Darts between 2001 and 2003.

The Darts have won their last five home matches against the Sussex club, scoring eight and conceding five in the last two meetings at Princes Park.

Games involving Dartford and Eastbourne Borough this season have been low scoring. The Darts have totalled 14 goals in their fixtures (scored 5 conceded 9) whilst the Sports have seen just 15 (scored 9 conceded 6).

Only East Thurrock United (3) have scored fewer then Dartford this term.

On This Day

Dartford last won on 8 September way back in 2001 when they beat Grantham Town 1-0 in the Southern League Division One East. The last home win was even further back in 1979, the Darts beat Hastings United 3-0 in the Southern League Southern Division. The last match Dartford played on this day ended in a 2-0 defeat away to Gateshead in the National League six years ago.

National League South Season Preview 2018/2019 – Part Two

 Dartford | Dulwich Hamlet | East Thurrock UnitedEastbourne Borough | Gloucester CityHampton and Richmond Borough

Dartford

Founded: 1888 / Ground: Princes Park

A new era begins for the Darts after the resignation of club legend Tony Burman. The former manager left his position in the summer after fourteen years at the helm but will be involved with the academy. Starting out as joint favourites last season, Dartford had a strong squad only to suffer final day heartbreak and lose the title on goal difference. The Kent club did lead the table for long periods of the campaign but just couldn’t break away and finished runners up. The Darts were the top scorers in the National South partly thanks to the league’s Player of the Season Alfie Pavey. It has been a big summer for the playoff semi-finalists as they look to go one better.

Last Season

National South: 2nd

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Alfie Pavey (22 goals)

Average Attendance: 1053 (1st in National South)

The Managers – Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle

They played in defence for the Darts and won titles together in 2008 and 2010, first the Isthmian Division One North then the Isthmian Premier. Flanagan captained the side during the latter championship victory at centre back, Coyle alongside him at full back. The pair moved into management taking different routes, Flanagan won promotion to the Isthmian Premier League via the playoffs at Brentwood Town, whilst Coyle continued playing going up to the National League with Maidstone United. Coyle moved on to Welling United and in his only campaign as manager guided the Wings to tenth in the Nation South last term. Flanagan came to Dartford after three  years with Concord Rangers.

The Summer

The influence Burman had on the players that were at the club is evident in the fact that many have left. Loyal servants Ryan Hayes and Danny Harris depart having played 980 times for the Darts combined. Alex Brown switches to Margate, Lyle Della-Verde to Braintree Town, but the biggest loss was top scorer and National South’s Player of the Year Alfie Pavey to champions Havant and Waterlooville. On top of that the trio of Nathan Collier, Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Berti Schotterl all moved to Woking. So, with the squad numbers dwindling new management duo Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle can cease the opportunity to create something new at Princes Park. Attacking intent has been illustrated with the signing of Alex Wall, whio scored six in 11 games whilst on loan at the Darts in 2014, the striker spent last term with Hungerford Town. Forward, Kudus Oyenuga arrives from Chelmsford City and 29-year-old striker Delano Sam-Yorke from Maidstone United. Callum Driver returns to the Darts after three years away with Maidstone United and Welling United and winger Ben Greenhalgh joins from Flanagan’s former club Concord Rangers. Simon Mensah will provide competition in midfield having been signed from Whitehawk.

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Dulwich Hamlet

Founded: 1893 / Ground: Imperial Fields

It was only a matter of time before the Hamlet reached the National South. Over the past three season’s they made the playoffs, losing two finals in a row. The Greater London club must have feared the worst then when they ended the Isthmian Premier campaign as runners up, even with an impressive 95 points. However, at the fourth attempt Dulwich Hamlet won the playoffs beating Hendon on penalties. It’s certainly been a dramatic year for the club having been forced out of their ground, meaning the Hamlet have been playing home games at Tooting and Mitcham United’s the Imperial Fields. This season will see the club play at National South level for the very first time.

Last Season

Isthmian Premier: 2nd

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: Nyren Clunis (19 goals)

Average Attendance: 1381 (1st in Isthmian Premier)

The Manager – Gavin Rose

Hamlet’s longest serving manager finally earned promotion to the National South last season. The 39-year-old former midfielder had spells with Wimbledon, Charlton Athletic, Queens Park Rangers, Southend United, Bromley, Gravesend & Northfleet and Walton & Hersham amongst others during his long career. Rose runs an academy which specialises in coaching youngsters and as a manager with Beckenham Town almost won the Kent League. Under his guidance, Hamlet won the Isthmian Division One South title five years ago and the Isthmian Premier League playoffs last season. Helping Rose in the dugout will be former Dartford midfielder Junior Kadi, who was part of Dartford’s 2008 title winning team.

The Summer

Hamlet strengthened their midfield over the break with the signing of former Ebbsfleet United and Chelmsford City man Anthony Cook, the 28-year-old spent four years with the Clarets before playing for Fleet. The attacking midfielder also had spells at Bromley and was on loan at Woking last term. Byron Lawrence made the move up to the National South coming in from Leiston, the 22-year-old previously played for Billericay Town, Ipswich Town, Colchester United and Bishop’s Stortford. Hamlet have added former Colchester United defender Magnus Okuonghae and striker Jay May to the squad. Okuonghae played 215 games for Colchester United and spent two years with National League outfit Maidstone United before moving to Welling United last summer. May was also at Maidstone United where he topped scored before spells at Hythe Town and Margate, he was also part of Dartford’s Isthmian Division One North and Isthmian Premier League title winning sides, scoring 51 goals in 117 games. Rose also agreed to sign former Chelsea youngster Daniel Pappoe. Dulwich Hamlet will be without Reise Allassani who earned a move to League One Coventry City, after 17 goals in 31 appearances last season. Crowd favourites Marc Weatherstone and Kenny Beaney leave along with Nana Boakye-Yiadom to Concord Rangers and Anthony Acheampong to Welling United.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 0 / Dulwich Hamlet wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

31.03.2007 Dartford 1 Billericay Town 1
19.09.2006 Dulwich Hamlet 3 Dartford 2
09.12.1996 Dulwich Hamlet 3 Dartford 1
04.12.1996 Dartford 0 Dulwich Hamlet 0

Next Meetings

Tuesday 30 October 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 2 March 2019 at Imperial Fields

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East Thurrock United

Founded: 1969 / Ground: Rookery Hill

Unbeaten in their first ten league matches, East Thurrock United looked on course to be last season’s surprise package. When they were promoted to the National League two years ago they had carried forward their habit of scoring goals. Helped by Sam Higgins, the National South’s top talisman last term with twenty-five goals, the Rocks saw plenty of goals once more. This time they scored two less than the champions but conceded eighty-four times, the second highest in the division. As a result of their defensive frailties, the Essex club lost momentum going eight without victory after their excellent start. East Thurrock United concluded their campaign with a six-game losing streak aided by a series of injuries and suspensions.

Last Season

National South: 15th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: Sam Higgins (25 goals)

Average Attendance: 294 (18th in National South)

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. Seven years ago, the Essex club won the Isthmian Division One North, in the division above they reached the playoffs in 2013 and three years later won the playoffs. When East Thurrock United won promotion they played an attacking brand scoring 107 times in that campaign. Coventry has now overseen two consecutive years in the National South finishing thirteenth then fifteenth.

The Summer

Former England international and Premier League full back, Paul Konchesky will take on a dual role as player and assistant first team coach. The ex-Charlton Athletic, West Ham United, Fulham and Liverpool left back has non-league experience with Billericay Town, Hardworking midfielder turned full back Danny Harris leaves Dartford after 400 appearances and 75 goals to join the Rocks. Goalkeeper, Jack Giddens moves from local rivals Billericay Town, Tom Derry comes in from Leatherhead and Ashley Miller re-joins East Thurrock United. Former Darts, James White, Max Cornhill and Lewis Smith have all departed John Coventry’s squad.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / East Thurrock United wins: 3 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings

30.04.2005 East Thurrock United 0 Dartford 1
28.08.2017 Dartford 0 East Thurrock United 1
07.01.2017 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 27 August 2018 at Rookery Hill

Saturday 29 December 2018 at Princes Park

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Eastbourne Borough

Founded: 1964 / Ground: Priory Lane

A new era began for the Sports last season under a new management team and they started with back to back defeats. An eight-match unbeaten run followed moving the Sussex club up the table and into the top ten. This is when Eastbourne Borough peaked and from September they spent the rest of their campaign picking up the odd victory between losing streaks. They ended the season with four straight losses looking over their shoulders until the penultimate game when they reached safety. In all fairness the Sports picked up the points against the teams that mattered, winning six out of eight against those who finished below them in the National South.

Last Season

National South: 18th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Quarter-Final

League Top Scorer: Jamie Taylor (11 goals)

Average Attendance: 517 (13th in National South)

The Manager – Jamie Howell

Last summer Jamie Howell walked away from Bognor Regis Town after guiding them into the National South. The former defender made over 400 appearances for the Rocks before managing the club for seven years. His last match as boss for the Sussex club was the playoff final win over Dulwich Hamlet, two days later he rocked up at Priory Lane. In his first campaign with the Sports the club survived whilst his former side were relegated back to the Isthmian Premier League. Howell started his management career at neighbours Burgess Hill Town, where he spent a couple of years as player manager. The Sports will be hoping for a more comfortable ride this time under Howell.

The Summer

Dave Martin used to create excitement amongst the Princes Park faithful and his talent was rewarded with a move to Crystal Palace. The former Millwall winger has made his way back to non-league and will be at Priory Lane this season. Charlie Walker scored 16 goals in 67 appearances for St Albans City and he will be part of Eastbourne Borough’s team. Once of Ebbsfleet United and Chelmsford City, experience midfielder Michael West joins the clan and so does 18-year-old centre back Harry Pollard from Charlton Athletic. The Sports may miss the departures of striker Jamie Taylor as well as Kiran Khinda-John, Charlie Harris, Shaun Okojie and Gavin McCallum, who has joined Welling United. Marvin Hamilton made one appearance for Dartford a few years ago. He returns to Priory Lane after spending last term at Whitehawk. Centre back James Harran has left the club trading football for a modelling career.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 10 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

14.04.2018 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1
12.09.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 2
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

Next Meetings

Saturday 8 September 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 20 April 2019 at Priory Lane

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Gloucester City

Founded: 1883 / Ground: Jubilee Stadium

Moved from the National North to the South last summer, Gloucester City found their feet in their new surroundings, but had to wait until the fifth game to secure their first victory. The Tigers didn’t fully settle though and were surprised in November when manager Tim Harris resigned after 300 games in charge. Form improved in the New Year with the Gloucestershire club suffering just two defeats in eleven leading up to the Easter period. Although the Tigers couldn’t keep the run going and their season petered out, remaining in the National South was never really in doubt. A fourteenth-place finish was very much in keeping with their previous life in the National North where mid-table was the norm.

Last Season

National South: 14th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Final to be played 30/07/2018

League Top Scorer: Joseph Parker (12 goals)

Average Attendance: 284 (19th in National South)

The Manager – Marc Richards

Former Gloucester City defender Marc Richards returned to the club four years ago as part of the back-room staff. As a player he had three spells with the Tigers, first signing from Cirencester Town then departing for Australia to play for Manly United. Richards enjoyed a long career in non-league which also included time at Cinderford Town, Weston-super-Mare, Swindon Supermarine, Chippenham Town, Shortwood United and Evesham United. He became assistant to former boss Tim Harris and when he unexpectedly resigned in December, Richards was there to take up the manager’s position with the club two points above the drop. By the end of the campaign the Tigers survived with eleven points to spare.

The Summer

After a strong finish to the campaign, Marc Richards rewarded most of the squad with new contracts. Although he lost the services of Kieran Parselle to Chippenham Town and Robbie Cundy he has signed replacements. Jack Deaman is back with the Tigers after making 11 appearances in 2016/2017, Adam Page returns to the club after two loan appearances in 2017 and Mat Liddiard, a graduate of Gloucester City is back after a spell with Evesham United, where he scored 22 goals last season. Jake Mawford signs after impressing Marc RFichards during pre-season and Exeter City forward, Ben Seymour joins the Tigers on a three month loan.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 27 / Gloucester City wins: 12 / Draws: 10

Previous Meetings

10.04.2018 Gloucester City 0 Dartford 1
18.11.2017 Dartford 4 Gloucester City 1
07.03.1992 Gloucester City 0 Dartford 0
26.10.1991 Dartford 2 Gloucester City 0
16.03.1991 Dartford 2 Gloucester City 1
29.09.1990 Gloucester City 2 Dartford 0

Next Meetings

Tuesday 3 November 2018 at Jubilee Stadium

Saturday 9 March 2019 at Princes Park

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Hampton and Richmond Borough

Founded: 1921 / Ground: The Beveree

An incredible twenty-one game unbeaten run from the end of August to the end of January made sure the Beavers challenged for the title, until the Good Friday mud bath. A last-minute defeat against title contenders Dartford over ended all hope. The Beavers, along with champions Havant and Waterlooville lost the fewest matches last term, just six. So, dropped points from eighteen outings cost the Middlesex club dearly. Hampton and Richmond Borough earned a playoff spot, this time settled on the field, but once more fell short when they agonisingly lost the final to Braintree Town on penalties. The Beavers will start the new campaign with a new boss after Alan Dowson’s departure for Woking.

Last Season

National South: 4th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Quarter-Final

League Top Scorer: Max Kretzschmar (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 590 (9th in National South)

The Manager – Gary McCann

There is common ground between the Beavers and their new boss, they both experienced playoff heartbreak last season. Hampton and Richmond Borough had been keeping tabs on the great work McCann was doing at Hendon. When former manager Alan Dowson jumped ship to take over at Woking, the appointment of his replacement was swift. McCann first joined the Greens as a player in 1997 and then became the longest serving manager at the Middlesex club, where he won an Isthmian League Cup. He consistently kept Hendon in the Isthmian Premier League finishing runners up in 2015 and third last season, losing the playoff final to Dulwich Hamlet on penalties.

The Summer

Rebuilding the squad at the Beveree began with a raid on Gary McCann’s former club Hendon. Trusting players, he already knows, the new Hampton and Richmond Borough boss has attracted the versatile Casy Maclaren, who made 358 appearances for Hendon since 2007. Daniel Uchechi has represented Nigeria at under 20 and under 23 level and experienced playing for Charlton Athletic, West Ham United, Sheffield Wednesday, Aberdeen as well as spells in Sweden and Germany, he also joins from Hendon. Also switching from Silver Jubilee Park to the Beveree is Michael Corcoran once of Oxford United, Wealdstone and Chelmsford City, Jake Eggleton, an ever present last term, right back James Hammond, 18 goal striker Zak Joseph, goalkeeper Tom Lovelock and 19-year-old defender Rian Bray. Former Billericay Town pair Oliver Sprague and Josh Mcleod-Urquhart have joined the Beavers along with Shaun Lucien who returns to the club from St Albans City and Ricky Wellard arrives from Wealdstone. Nathan Mavilla signs from Leyton Orient and has previously represented Aldershot, Cambridge City & Wealdstone and made an appearance for West Ham United in the Europa League against Astra Giurgui three years ago. Up front, Chris Dickson has been signed from Chelmsford City and brings experience to the front line. He spent five seasons playing in Cyprus, before moving to China. Dickson also has Football League pedigree, having joined Championship side Charlton Athletic in 2007 and he also has two caps for Ghana. Hampton & Richmond Borough have also completed the signing of Charlton Athletic’s Dan Bowry, on a loan deal that will run until January. One big loss will be the goals from midfield scored by Max Kretzschmar, he netted 14 times last term and joins the Beavers former boss now at Woking.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings

30.03.2018 Dartford 1 Hampton & Richmond Borough 0
02.09.2017 Hampton & Richmond Borough 2 Dartford 2
17.04.2017 Dartford 3 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
29.08.2016 Hampton & Richmond Borough 4 Dartford 1
21.01.2012 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 3
20.08.2011 Dartford 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 17 November 2018 at the Beveree

Saturday 23 March 2019 at Princes Park

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Eastbourne Borough v Dartford

Dartford are back at the top of the National South and are hoping to maintain their position against Eastbourne Borough this weekend.

The Darts travelled to Evesham on Tuesday night to take on Gloucester City. A hard fought victory was earned thanks to Alfie Pavey’s 21st league goal of the campaign. Dartford’s win against Gloucester City moved them level on points with Havant and Waterlooville, Pavey’s goal edged the Darts ahead on goal difference, the two sides are now seperated by a single goal.

Dartford now face the challenge of two more away games before the penultimate fixture at home then the final day of the season at Bognor Regis Town. Next up though is Eastbourne Borough and the Darts have hit form at the right moment. Tuesday’s triumph extended Dartford’s winning streak to five meaning they have now won seven of their last eight games. Defensively, Tony Burman’s side have also improved having conceded just once in their last four outings.

When Dartford last played Eastbourne Borough in September they ended up moving to the top of the National South back then. The Princes Park crowd witnessed six goals as the free scoring Darts claimed victory. Tony Burman’s side dominated the first half and opened the scoring when Alex Brown scored from just inside the penalty area. In the second half, Alfie Pavey headed in Ryan Hayes’s corner then Elliot Bradbrook nodded in a third. The Sports pulled a goal back through Jamie Taylor before the Darts scored a controversial fourth. The visitors took a quick free kick which was blocked by the grounded Hayes from close range, presumably to get the winger booked. However, the match official played on as Tom Murphy went through on goal to score. Lee Noble’s own goal took the gloss off the 4-2 leaving Burman disappointed at his side conceding two sloppy goals.

Last season, Dartford completed the double over Eastbourne Borough by a one goal margin. Twelve goals were scored over the two fixtures. The Darts won 3-2 in their last visit to Priory Lane on a foggy Tuesday night. In a game that could well have been abandoned, Kaka Dembele scored the winner after goals from Luke Wanadio and Andy Pugh. The return fixture at Princes Park ended 4-3 with Pugh and Wanadio finding the net again. Hayes and Bradbrook added two more to make it 4-1, but the Sports rallied to reduce the arrears late on. In the season before current Dartford defender Nathan Collier was wearing the Eastbourne Borough shirt having left the Darts that summer to move to the Sussex club.

Since the start of March, the Sports run of form has been inconsistent alternating wins and losses for the last seven games. However, it was their victory in the Sussex derby against Bognor Regis Town on Easter Monday which virtually assured them another campaign in the National South.

Last weekend, Eastbourne Borough were beaten by Oxford City when two early second half goals left the Sussex club too much to overturn. Matt Pickering turned the ball into his own net and Matt Paterson scored a penalty, conceded by former Crawley Town and Wycombe Wanderers midfielder Sergio Torres. The Sports set up a nervy finish for the hosts when Yemi Obudabe scored four minutes from time.

At Priory Lane, the Sports have won just twice in the National South in 14 attempts and only five times all season. Defensively, up until last weekend’s fixtures only Whitehawk had conceded more in total. The leaky defence has been a weakness for the Sussex club, who have managed to score 57 times at the right end, a similar figure to three of the top four and the majority of mid-table sides.

Head to Head
Eastbourne Borough wins: 4 / Dartford wins: 9 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Eastbourne Borough (LWLWLW) Dartford (WWWWWL)
Oxford City A 1-2 Gloucester City A 1-0
Bognor Regis Town H 3-0 Weston-super-Mare H 3-1
Chippenham Town A 0-4 Hampton & Richmond H 1-0
Wealdstone A 3-2 Oxford City A 2-0
Truro City H 1-3 Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-2
Bath City A 1-0 Poole Town H 0-1

Previous Meetings

12.09.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 2
08.04.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 3
16.08.2016 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

Stats
Andy Pugh has scored in his last three appearances against Eastbourne Borough.

Dartford have gone nine games unbeaten against the Sports stretching back to 2011. The Darts have won seven and drawn two in that time.

If the Darts win against Eastbourne Borough it will be the third time the Darts have completed a league double against the Sussex club, in the last four campaigns they have been in the same division.

Before that, the Sports won the first four meetings in the Southern Division One East to complete the double over the Darts in successive seasons.

On This Day
Dartford secured a place in the Southern League Cup final thirty years ago in comprehensive fashion. Leading the first leg over Wealdstone 4-0, the Darts won the return fixture 4-1 to record an impressive 8-1 aggregate victory. Dartford went on to turn around a 3-1 first leg loss to Bromsgrove Rovers by winning the second leg 3-0 to lift the cup. The last three games on 14 April have all been away from home, the most recent just a year ago when the Darts lost 2-0 to Hungerford Town. Before that defeat Dartford had gone eight matches unbeaten on this day which included a 4-3 win over Wealdstone in 1979, a 2-1 victory against Ashford United in 1990. In 2007, Carl Bruce and Brendon Cass scored in a 2-1 triumph over Hastings United and in 2012 a Tony Garrod goal helped the Darts beat Sutton United.

Dartford v Eastbourne Borough

Dartford closed the gap at the top on the weekend and up next is an Eastbourne Borough side unbeaten in eight league games.

The Darts are gaining momentum and after beating Chippenham Town on Saturday found themselves two points off top spot in third place. In the space of a week, Dartford have hit seven goals without reply and now boast the best attack and second best defence.

Tony Burman stuck Keaton Wood in the first eleven to replace the injured Danny Harris, in the only change from the 4-0 win at Whitehawk. Warren Mfula and Duane Ofori-Acheampong were both unavailable but recovering from injuries, whilst Tom Murphy made a return from off the bench.

Ryan Hayes inspired Dartford to a 3-0 win at home to Chippenham by creating the first two goals then scoring the third. In a man of the match performance the winger provided an excellent cross for Alfie Pavey to head home his fourth in six games. The second assist came from another cross to Andy Pugh who slid in at the far post to extend the lead. With the points secure, Hayes made sure with a calm finish curling the ball into the far corner of the Chippenham Town net, Hayes’ second goal in as many games.

Similar to the Darts, Eastbourne Borough prefer stability with only five managers appointed in the last 34 years. So this summer when the Sports changed who’s in charge they were also making a statement. After ten years as a player at Bognor Regis Town and seven years as a manager, Jamie Howell shocked the Rocks with his switch to their Sussex rivals replacing Tommy Widdrington at Priory Lane.

Howell made a slow start losing his first two games at the helm with a pair of 3-2 defeats at home to Braintree Town and away to Havant and Waterlooville. Despite the losses, the Sports picked up where they left of last season amongst the top scorers in the league, last term they were the fifth highest scorers. The Sussex club have not tasted defeat since the second game of the season, getting off the mark with a 1-1 draw at Hampton and Richmond Borough, doubling their tally with a 0-0 draw at home to Welling United then winning four of their next five, including the 1-0 away victory over Howell’s former club Bognor Regis Town.

On Saturday, the Sports maintained their unbeaten run taking it to eight but had to work hard for a result. Two goals in first half stoppage time put St Albans City in command, former Dart Tom Gardiner scoring the first and Zane Banton the other. Eastbourne Borough came back when former Maidstone United player Emmanuel Odubade pulled a goal back from the spot with the penalty conceded by ex Dartford defender Tom Bender, and in the last minute Sergio Torres turned the defeat into a draw.

The man currently in form is striker Jamie Taylor who has netted five times in his last five appearances. Added to the midfield experience of Torres, who signed from rivals Whitehawk in the summer it’s no surprise the Sports can be potent in attack. The Darts will be familiar with goalkeeper Bailey Vose, who had a spell with Dartford last season covering for Deren Ibrahim whilst on international duty. Vose played three times keeping one clean sheet in his loan spell from Brighton and Hove Albion.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 8 / Eastbourne Borough: 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

Current League Form

Dartford (WWDLWW) Eastbourne Borough(DWWWDW)
Chippenham Town H 3-0 St Albans City A 2-2
Whitehawk A 4-0 Concord Rangers H 3-1
Hampton & Richmond A 2-2 Chippenham Town H 4-2
East Thurrock United H 0-1 Bognor Regis Town A 1-0
Hemel Hempstead Town A 3-0 Wealdstone H 1-1
Oxford City H 7-1 Truro City A 1-0

Stats
Since going 2-0 down at Hampton and Richmond Borough, the Darts have gone nine goal without reply.

Dartford have kept four clean sheets out of six home league games this season, last achieved in 1988 when they conceded just three times in that spell, This time the Darts have let in just two.

It’s still a long way off the record set in 1896 when Dartford scored 36 and conceded once in their opening seven Southern League Division Two home games, which included six clean sheets.

On This Day
Dartford start their F.A Cup campaign next weekend and eight years on 12 September they began their journey at Chipstead. The Darts led the Isthmian Premier League dropping just two points in their opening seven games and were in no mood to suffer an upset to a side a division below. Tony Burman faced former Dartford striker and team mate Micky Collins in the dugout and watched on as the Darts won 6-1. Ryan Hayes scored a free kick in the first minute and Lee Burns added a second goal five minutes later. Billy Burgess headed his first goal for the Darts before half-time to give the Darts a 3-0 lead at the break. In the second half, Dartford added another three when James White scored before Chipstead netted a penalty, Rob Haworth made it 5-1 and Adam Gross finished the rout with a rasping 30 yard volley.

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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Dartford v Eastbourne Borough

Dartford’s playoff battle continues this weekend when they host mid-table side Eastbourne Borough at Princes Park.

When the two teams met in January, the game ended in farcical conditions as fog descended on Priory Lane. As a spectacle their was very little to see yet the game ended 3-2 to the Darts. Luke Wanadio opened the scoring but three minutes later Elliott Romain equalised. Andy Pugh then put Dartford back in front as the fog began to roll in, giving his side the lead going into the break. Conditions worsened in the second half, Kaka Dembele extended the lead and very few in the ground witnessed Nat Pinney net the final goal of the game.

Dropped points over the last seven weeks has left the Darts in fourth place, level on points with Chelmsford City. Looking over their shoulder Tony Burman’s side are only a win ahead of Poole Town, who have a game in hand. Whilst the teams currently occupying a playoff spot jostle for position, Eastbourne Borough will be hoping to finish as high as they can in the National South, the Sports are guaranteed a place in the division next season.

It was only last weekend which saw Dartford lose their third place spot. Defeat away to St Albans City was followed up with a 2-2 draw at Hemel Hempstead Town, the hosts were reduced to ten men. Burman assessed the performance when speaking to www.dartfordfc.com, he commented: “I felt the players worked really hard on Saturday and I think we all realised that once a team goes down to 10 men it’s not always easy to play against.  There seems to be a lot of  tension in the performances of the team of late which for me is affecting their decision making and their performance as individuals and as a group”.

A penalty scored by Elliot Bradbrook and a Luke Wanadio goal put Dartford ahead twice, however the Tudors showed character to come back with former Dart, Charlie Sheringham and defender Tony Diagne finding the net. Burman added: “It is obviously disappointing to take the lead twice and not come away winning the game especially away from home. The two goals scored against us from our point of view were poor goals to concede, and I think both highlighted that tension and decision making”.

Eastbourne Borough have taken ten points from their last six league games and have been amongst the goals. The Sports were thrashed by Chelmsford City 5-1 and after a successive defeat they beat Welling United 7-3 at home, Jamie Taylor notching a hat-trick. Last weekend, Tommy Widdrington’s side took on a Wealdstone team unbeaten in eleven and with slim hopes of the playoffs. The Sports ended that glimmer the Stones had with a resounding 5-1 victory featuring two more strikes from Taylor and a brace from Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain, younger brother to Arsenal midfielder Alex. Another threat in attack is Elliott Romain, scorer of 20 goals this term and third highest scorer in the National South. Widdrington has now stepped down as boss after five years in charge stabilising the club.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 7 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 2

Current League Form
Dartford (DLWWDW)
Drew 2-2 v Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Lost 0-1 v St Albans City (A)
Won 4-0 v Margate (H)
Won 5-3 v Truro City (H)
Drew 1-1 v Concord Rangers (A)
Won 2-0 v Bath City (H)

Eastbourne Borough (WDWLLW)
Won 5-1 v Wealdstone (H)
Drew 1-1 v Margate (A)
Won 7-3 v Welling United (H)
Lost 1-2 v Bath City (H)
Lost 1-5 v Chelmsford City (A)
Won 2-0 v Truro City (H)

Previous Six Meetings
Eastbourne Borough 2 Dartford 3 (24/01/2017 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1 (20/02/2016 – National South)
Dartford 1 Eastbourne Borough 0 (11/08/2015 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1 (03/04/2012 – National South)
Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 1 (29/11/2011 – F.A Trophy replay)
Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 0 (26/11/2011 – F.A Trophy)

Stats
3 – Dartford have won their last three home matches beating Margate, Truro City and Bath City

4 – Elliot Bradbrook has scored in each of Dartford’s last three home games with four goals

7 – The Darts are unbeaten in seven games against Eastbourne Borough in all competitions, winning five a drawing two

71 – number of goals scored by Eastbourne Borough, only the top three in the division have scored more

On This Day
Dartford are on a 12 game unbeaten run in games played on the 8 April, including a 10-0 victory over Crawley Town in 1975. The Darts handed the Sussex club a thrashing when taking part in the MSFL. The unbeaten run consists of six wins and six draws with the last match at home in 2006 against Boreham Wood. The Southern League Division One East fixture ended 2-2. In fact Dartford have drawn their last three home games on this day, one being the F.A Trophy semi-final first leg goalless stalemate with Macclesfield Town. The Silkmen ended up victors in the tie finishing runners up at the Wembley final to Telford United. The Darts last win came 17 years ago in the 2-0 away triumph at Wisbech Town, the last home victory was against rivals Gravesend and Northfleet back in 1977 in an entertaining 3-2 encounter.

Eastbourne Borough v Dartford

Dartford should be back in action when they visit mid table opposition Eastbourne Borough at Priory Lane.

The Darts had their local derby with Welling United on Saturday postponed due to a frozen pitch. On a weekend with just two matches surviving, Eastbourne Borough were supposed to take on league leaders Maidenhead United.

Last time out, Dartford made life difficult trying to overcome Weston-super-Mare. Manager, Tony Burman watched as his side went behind before taking the lead through Tom Murphy and Danny Harris. After conceding an equaliser, Alex Brown’s fine effort sealed a 3-2 triumph, the midfielder will be unavailable against the Sports through suspension.

Burman, whose side moved up to third in the table told www.kentonline.co.uk: “We made hard work of it to be fair”, he added: “I don’t think we played great but the spirit has come through again and we’ve won the game”. The Darts had to earn victory without two strikers, Andy Pugh was struggling with illness and Duane Ofori-Acheampong missed the match due to a bereavement.

The Darts have lost their last two away games to the top two in the National South. They suffered a 5-0 hammering at Maidenhead United and a New Year’s Day defeat to rivals Ebbsfleet United.

Dartford drew 1-1 last season with the Sports and had to come from behind in windy conditions. Nathaniel Pinney scored from a rebound to have the home side ahead but Andy Pugh equalised with 18 minutes to go. Tom Bradbrook was sent off late on making Dartford needing to hold out Eastbourne Borough to secure a point.

Under Tommy Widdrington, the Sports have been a constant fixture in the middle of the National South table. This season is no different so far with the Sussex club in thirteenth place. Their home record holds up well with six wins, three draws and three defeats.

It’s been a week since Widdrington’s side last played beating Worthing in the Sussex Senior Cup, to move into the semi-finals. In the National South, they are unbeaten in four matches and drew their last two against Poole Town and Hungerford Town.

This month Widdrington has identified his defence needs strengthening in numbers and has signed Australian goalkeeper, Jordan Holmes and defender Shaun Hobson from Premier League side AFC Bournemouth. Another defender, Ryan Case has also joined the Sports from Poole Town, who he signed for in the summer from Basingstoke Town. Also in the squad are Ian Simpemba and Craig Stone, who have played for various Kent clubs in the past. Up front, Nathaniel Pinney and Elliott Romain normally form a strike partnership, with Romain scoring 12 National South goals this term.

The two sides first met 16 years ago when Eastbourne Borough were known as Langley Sports. The Darts won the first two completing a league double in the Southern League Division One East. The next four meetings in the same league, ended with the newly named Eastbourne Borough winning all four. Since then, Dartford are unbeaten in six against the Sports, including three visits to Priory Lane.

Head to Head
Eastbourne Borough wins: 4 / Dartford wins: 6/ Draws: 2

Current League Form
Eastbourne Borough (DDWLLW)
Drew 2-2 v Hungerford Town (H)
Drew 0-0 v Poole Town (H)
Won 4-2 v Whitehawk (H)
Lost 0-1 v Oxford City (A)
Lost 0-1 v St Albans City (A)
Won 2-1 v Margate (H)

Dartford (WWLWLW)
Won 3-2 v Weston-super-Mare (H)
Won 6-1 v East Thurrock United (H)
Lost 0-1 v Ebbsfleet United (A)
Won 2-1 v Ebbsfleet United (H)
Lost 0-5 v Maidenhead United (A)
Won 2-1 v Poole Town (H)

Previous Six Meetings
Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1 (20/02/2016 – National South)
Dartford 1 Eastbourne Borough 0 (11/08/2015 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1 (03/04/2012 – National South)
Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 1 (29/11/2011 – F.A Trophy replay)
Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 0 (26/11/2011 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 1 (16/08/2011 – National South)

On This Day
Dartford are unbeaten in five on 24 January stretching back to 1998, their only loss in ten matches on this day. Just two years ago, the Darts were involved in a F.A Trophy third round tie with FC Halifax Town. Dartford fought from two goals down to earn a last minute draw with the Shaymen, Rory McAuley netting the equaliser after Lee Burns’ goal five minutes into the second half. The Darts strolled to a 4-1 win at Staines Town in their last league match on 24 January, despite falling from behind. The National South fixture saw goals from Tom Bonner, Conor Essam, Danny Harris and Adam Green as the Darts moved into second that day. The last trip to Sussex on this day came nine years ago when a Ryan Hayes opener and Cody McDonald’s brace earned a 3-0 win over Horsham in the Isthmian Premier League.

National League South Season Preview 2016/2017 (D-G)

 Dartford | Eastbourne Borough | East Thurrock United | Ebbsfleet United | Gosport Borough

Dartford

Founded: 1888 / Ground: Princes Park

A National League reprieve followed by relegation meant the Darts were hoping for at least a playoff spot. Dartford’s return to the National South after a three year absence started inconsistently. A three match losing streak and early cup exits put pressure on the club until an eleven game unbeaten run put Dartford in with a shout of a top five finish. Every time their goal edged closer they just seemed to be unable to get over that dotted line. On the final day the Kent Senior Cup winners still had a long shot but it was too much to ask so they settled for stability.

DartfordLast Season

National South: 8th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Elliot Bradbrook (17 goals)

The Manager – Tony Burman

There is no questioning Tony Burman’s loyalty to the club and over the last three season’s there has been pockets of pressure. The 58 year old has won three promotions and two Kent Senior Cups in his current spell with the Darts and he’s won promotion from the Kent League to the Southern League as well as the Kent Senior Trophy in previous spells. The only blemish is two back to back bottom three finishes in the National League, however he was the man to take Dartford up to the top non-league division and reach eighth place. Burman has enjoyed longevity as manager and is also the club’s all time top goalscorer.

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Eastbourne Borough

Founded: 1964 / Ground: Priory Lane

A fifth season in the National South turned out to be unpredictable for the Sports. Their opening two games ended in defeat but they bounced back with four consecutive victories and that was as good as it got. In the end the Sussex club finish just three points above the relegation zone. The one positive was that the Sports had a decent goal difference for a side in the lower third of the table so never really looked threatened. Eastbourne Borough on their day were capable of big scores like the 5-1 win over Basingstoke Town or the 5-2 victory over Bath City. They could also leak goals with back to back 4-4 and 3-3 draws in February. They managed to beat teams around them but took just three points away from home against those in the top ten.

ebfcLast Season

National South: 17th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Nathaniel Pinney (18 goals)

The Manager – Tommy Widdrington

The former midfielder can draw upon his successful playing career in which he achieved four promotions and two Football League Trophy triumphs. Since February 2012, Tommy Widdrington has stabilised Eastbourne Borough who had just fallen out of the National League the campaign before his appointment. Last season was his lowest finish at the Sports in a full season at the club having pushed for a top ten spot in the previous three years. Widdrington did however win some silverware for the club when they triumphed in the Sussex Senior Cup beating Worthing in the final.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 6 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

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
26.11.2011 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 0
16.08.2011 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 5 November 2016 at Priory Lane

Sunday 8 April 2017 at Princes Park

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East Thurrock United

Founded: 1969 / Ground: Rookery Hill

The Rocks set a new club record last season with their highest ever league finish. East Thurrock United were unlucky not to finish in the top two after amassing 91 points, the most by a third place club in the Isthmian Premier since the reforming of the non league pyramid. The Essex club topped the table in February but the excellent form of champions Hampton and Richmond as well as Bognor Regis Town prevented them from grabbing the title. East Thurrock United outscored anyone in the Isthmian Premier with an impressive 107 goals; they scored four or more times on an incredible 11 occasions.

Last SeasonETUFC

Isthmian Premier: 3rd

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: 4th Round

League Top Scorer: Sam Higgins (38 goals)

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. Three years ago, the Essex club won the playoffs to reach the Isthmian Premier League. Last term a second playoff triumph has led them to their highest level of football. Coventry builds his squad around togetherness and is often on the lookout for discovering young players, his background with coaching a district youth side helps in this area. 

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 0 / East Thurrock United wins: 2 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

30.04.2005 Dartford 0 East Thurrock United 3
28.08.2004 East Thurrock United 2 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 10 September 2016 at Rookery Hill

Saturday 7 January 2017 at Princes Park

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Ebbsfleet United

Founded: 1946 / Ground: Stonebridge Road

Money doesn’t always guarantee success and that proved the case for runners up Ebbsfleet United last term. The Kent side led the National South for a total of 34 matchdays, dropped just two points in their opening 11 fixtures and had quality and numbers in their squad. Backed by KEH Sports Limited, the Fleet suffered their first away defeat on Good Friday, drew with local rivals Dartford on Easter Monday then lost the important clash with champions Sutton United in their penultimate game, handing the title to the U’s. Any other campaign and it would have been a success but since the turn of the year wins turned into draws and slowly their lead was eaten away. The last straw came in the penalty shoot out playoff final defeat to Kent rivals Maidstone United. Now the Fleet will aim for the title again. 

EUFClogoLast Season

National South: 2nd

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: Quarter Final

County Cup: Semi-final

League Top Scorer: Matthew Godden (26 goals)

The Manager – Daryl McMahon

When your first managerial job includes a big budget, a large squad and your team being branded as favourites then that is a lot of pressure to take. Daryl McMahon completed his first full season in charge last term and it ended in disappointment, normally a second place finish in your debut campaign would be seen as a success. Given another chance through the playoffs the Fleet lost by the narrowest of margins in a penalty shootout. McMahon has kept hold of his job so must have impressed the owners and will need to go one better this season with a trimmer squad.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 116 / Ebbsfleet United wins: 108 / Draws 91

Previous Meetings

28.03.2016 Ebbsfleet United 1 Dartford 1
31.08.2015 Dartford 0 Ebbsfleet United 1
29.10.2013 Dartford 1 Ebbsfleet United 0
26.10.2013 Ebbsfleet United 1 Dartford 1
01.01.2013 Ebbsfleet United 2 Dartford 2
26.12.2012 Dartford 3 Ebbsfleet United 1

Next Meetings

Monday 26 December 2016 at Princes Park

Sunday 1 January 2017 at Stonebridge Road

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Gosport Borough

Founded: 1944 / Ground: Privett Park

If the season ended mid February then the Borough would have been delighted with what they achieved. Up to that moment in time the Hampshire club were fourth in the league spurred on by the goals supplied by Justin Bennett. Unbeaten after their first eight fixtures gave the club solid foundations to build on and despite slight wobbles in September and October, Gosport Borough regained their form with just two defeats in twelve. Then the tables turned, the Borough lost ten of their final fifteen league matches picking up just two more victories. The end of season slide included 6-1 and 5-2 defeats to Chelmsford City and relegated Hayes and Yeading United respectively.

Gosport_BoroughLast Season

National South: 9th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Justin Bennett (23 goals)

The Manager – Alex Pike

Over ten years at the helm as manager of Gosport Borough, Alex Pike has had plenty of success during his managerial career. He guided Boro to the Wessex League title, won two promotions through the Southern League via the playoffs, reached the F.A Trophy final and claimed the Hampshire Senior Cup. With all that success behind him Pike is now being tested in the National South and it hasn’t been simple. Going well until the New Year by leading the club to the playoff places, financial problems threw a spanner in the works and left Pike questioning whether he could continue. Luckily for Gosport Borough he agreed to remain at Privett Park for the season ahead. 

Head To Head

Dartford wins: 10 / Gosport Borough wins: 5 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings

23.02.2016 Gosport Borough 1 Dartford 3
22.08.2015 Dartford 2 Gosport Borough 3
24.10.1989 Gosport Borough 0 Dartford 1
22.08.1989 Dartford 5 Gosport Borough 1
04.04.1989 Dartford 4 Gosport Borough 2
04.03.1989 Gosport Borough 1 Dartford 2

Next Meetings

Tuesday 16 August 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 11 February 2017 at Privett Park

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