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Gosport Borough v Dartford

Dartford look for their sixth consecutive league win to continue their challenge at the top of the table, when they visit struggling Gosport Borough this weekend.

The Darts moved within four points of league leaders Maidenhead United last weekend and kept in touch with rivals Ebbsfleet United, by beating relegation battlers Whitehawk. Yet again, Dartford managed to spread out the goals amongst the starting eleven with Ryan Hayes, Tom Murphy and Andy Pugh helping to secure a 3-1 victory and Dartford’s ninth home win in the league in their last ten.

Since the New Year’s Day defeat to Ebbsfleet United, Tony Burman’s side has responded excellently with four consecutive league wins to keep up the pressure on the top two. Burman is pleased with the club’s turnaround this season, speaking at a fans forum on Monday he attributed the success to the squad’s character, he said: “I haven’t changed what I do each season, but without a doubt those players have a great bond. That has been better as the results have been good. We’ve been through the mill for a few years and when we’re all getting on it’s good. I feel we’ve got our mojo back, on the terraces and in the changing rooms. The response from everyone has been positive”.

Earlier in the season when Dartford faced Gosport Borough they were up against the odds despite home advantage. With the only two recognised strikers out in Andy Pugh and Duane Ofori-Acheampong, captain Elliot Bradbrook injured and Ronnie Vint sidelined, Tony Burman’s squad was dwindling in numbers. The cause was not helped when after nine minutes Tom Bonner was sent off, but in another example of team spirit shining through the Darts claimed a 0-0 draw.

Last term, Dartford put in one of their best performances of the campaign in their visit to Privett Park. Almost a year ago, the Darts came from behind to win 3-1. Dan Wooden gave Boro a first half lead when his deflected shot beat Deren Ibrahim. The second half was a different story, Elliot Bradbrook scrambled home an equaliser and added a second by taking the ball round Nathan Ashmore in the Gosport Borough goal. Andy Pugh capped off a fine display with a third from a tight angle to secure the points.

Borough have had a torrid time of late losing six straight National South games dragging them into the relegation battle. Manager, Alex Pike felt he could see ‘green shoots of recovery’ and when they picked up a point on Tuesday night he may be right. Three new signings featured in the 2-2 draw with playoff hopefuls Hampton and Richmond, which saw Tony Lee score twice. Goalkeeper, Mark Childes and Jack Masterton are two new faces from Eastleigh whilst defensive midfielder Ed Sanders signed from Bognor Regis Town.

Last weekend, Gosport Borough may have lost 2-0 to league leaders Maidenhead United, but conceding two was a vast improvement on the three games prior, when they shipped in 16. Poor form has left Borough two points ahead of the bottom three with the worst defensive record in the division.

Signs of a potential difficult campaign came over the festive period when Chris Flood and Warren Bentley, their summer signings to replace the departed prolific striker Justin Bennett, left with numerous other players. The club were forced to make a statement after the 7-0 loss to Poole Town, in which the Borough had just 12 players available. Since then, a transfer embargo has been lifted and Pike has managed to rebuild a squad. With plenty going on off the field, Gosport Borough are trying to do everything on the pitch to stay in the National South.

Head to Head
Gosport Borough wins: 5 / Dartford wins: 10 / Draws: 4

Current League Form
Gosport Borough (DLLLLL)
Drew 2-2 v Hampton and Richmond Borough (A)
Lost 0-2 v Maidenhead United (H)
Lost 1-5 v East Thurrock United (H)
Lost 1-4 v Hungerford Town (H)
Lost 0-7 v Poole Town (A)
Lost 0-2 v Poole Town (H)

Dartford (WWWWWL)
Won 3-1 v Whitehawk (H)
Won 4-0 Wealdstone (A)
Won 3-2 v Eastbourne Borough (A)
Won 3-2 v Weston-super-Mare (H)
Won 6-1 v East Thurrock United (H)
Lost 0-1 v Ebbsfleet United (A)

Previous Six Meetings
Dartford 0 Gosport Borough 0 (16/08/2016 – National South)
Gosport Borough 1 Dartford 3 (23/02/2016 – National South)
Dartford 2 Gosport Borough 3 (22/08/2015 – National South)
Gosport Borough 0 Dartford 1 (24/10/1989 – Southern Premier)
Dartford 5 Gosport Borough 1 (22/08/1989 – Southern Premier)
Dartford 4 Gosport Borough 2 (04/04/1989 – Southern Premier)

Stats
Gosport Borough have conceded 67 times this season at an average of 2.48 per game. Only the bottom two sides, Margate and Bishops Stortford have a worse goal difference.

Dartford have won 6 of the last 8 in this fixture, including the last three visits to Gosport. The Boro last beat the Darts on home soil in 1988.

The 0-0 draw earlier in the season was the first blank Dartford recorded against Boro since the 1-0 loss in 1988.

In each of the last five league matches Dartford have recorded different goalscorers. In that time the Darts have scored a total of 19 goals at almost four a game.

On This Day
For the first time since reforming Dartford play on 11 February. The last time the Darts played on this day was in 1989 when they breezed past Waterlooville 4-1, away from home in the Southern Premier League. Five years before, they travelled to Witney Town and won 1-0 and in 1967 defeated Wisbech Town 3-0 in the Southern League First Division. The last defeat in 1961 was also an away fixture, Tunbridge Wells United knocked the Darts out of the Kent Senior Cup with a 2-0 victory.

Dartford v Gosport Borough

Dartford search for their first win of their National South campaign when they host Gosport Borough on Tuesday night.

The Darts will hope to reverse the 3-2 scoreline from last season against the Hampshire club. Borough inflicted a first home defeat last term with Justin Bennett opening the scoring from the spot. Bennett double his tally for the afternoon in the second half before Elliot Bradbrook pulled a goal back. Gosport Borough restored their two goal lead through Lee Wort meaning Tom Bradbrook’s last minute header was merely a consolation.

Already Tony Burman has selection problems with Elliot Bradbrook out after damaging ligaments in the opening day draw with Wealdstone. Ronnie Vint was taken off with concussion in the 1-0 defeat at Whitehawk and after the game it was revealed he broke a bone in his hand. Andy Pugh has been struggling for fitness whilst Lee Noble’s groin injury is being managed by the club. Duane Ofori-Acheampong picked up a hamstring injury but he could feature along with Noble. Keaton Wood is suspended for his red card at Whitehawk for a second caution.

The Darts have picked up just two points this term, but can be encouraged by the way they played after being a man light and a goal down at Whitehawk. On Saturday Dartford took the lead at Chelmsford City only to come away with a draw. Luke Wandio scored his first for the club when he headed goalwards, Shaun Jeffers equalised for the Clarets.

Burman spoke to www.dartfordfc.com after the match, he said: “Before the game, if someone had offered us a point with the situation we’re in at the moment, I’d have been happy”.

 

Dartford finished just one place above Gosport Borough last season with a three point margin. Whilst the Darts slowly made their way into the playoff hunt, the Borough started the campaign brightly before slipping away from February.

Alex Pike’s job got slightly harder this summer when star striker Justin Bennett left for Wiltshire side Salisbury City. The task over the break for Pike was to find his replacement. Warren Bentley was finally captured by the Borough boss from Winchester City, Chris Flood signed from relegated Basingstoke Town and Ben Wright from Maidenhead United. Defensively, the Borough looked West with the signings of former Torquay United players Martin Rice and Aaron Dawson from Truro City.

The Borough took their end of season form from last term into the new campaign. After the opening day defeat at Wright’s former club, Pike was less than impressed by his side’s performance. Since then the Hampshire outfit have taken on Truro City and Eastbourne Borough at home, winning both games.

Pike’s side won both games 3-1 with new signing Warren Bentley scoring five of the six goals. Two against Truro City was followed by a hat trick at Eastbourne Borough to fire Gosport Borough into sixth place.

Head to Head

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

Previous Six 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

Stats

There has been 22 goals scored between Dartford and Gosport Borough over their last five meetings. In that time Dartford recorded their biggest victory against Borough winning 5-1 in 1989 at Watling Street.

Gosport Borough’s win at Princes Park last season was their only away victory against a side who finished above them in 2015/16.

The Hampshire side’s away win last term was the first at Dartford for 35 years. The Darts put a run of five home wins and a draw in between the two defeats.

On This Day

Dartford last played on 16 August in 2014 when they lost 1-0 away to Kidderminster Harriers, Kyle Storer scoring the winner in the National League fixture. Three years earlier, Charlie Sheringham and Adam Green gave the Darts a 2-1 victory over Eastbourne Borough in the first home game of the National South campaign. On the opening day of the 2008/09 Tony Burman received a wake up call to life in the Isthmian Premier. Newly promoted, Dartford went down 3-0 at Hendon. The last home defeat on this day was sixteen years ago against Bashley but two years later the Darts beat Great Wakering Rovers 3-2, both matches in the Southern Division One East. The only other two games since reforming on 16 August ended all level against Weston-Super-Mare (0-0 in 1997) and Beckenham Town (1-1 in 1995).

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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Gosport Borough v Dartford

Dartford look for a way back into the playoff places when they take on fourth place Gosport Borough.

The rescheduled fixture, following the postponement last month could see the Darts close the gap on Boro. A win or a draw could be enough to move into the top five, however the Darts have failed to beat any of the current teams in the playoff zone this season.

Dartford picked up a useful point on the weekend to follow up a 2-0 home win over St Albans City. Travelling to Eastbourne Borough, the Darts had to come from behind to settle on a 1-1 draw. Nathaniel Pinney put the hosts ahead netting a rebound after Deren Ibrahim initially saved. Andy Pugh continued his fine goalscoring form with a excellent equaliser in the final twenty minutes. Tom Bradbrook was red carded having been adjudged to have elbowed Kiran Khinda-John leaving Dartford to hang on.

Tony Burman was bemused by the decision by the referee who sent Tom Bradbrook off, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “Sometimes it’ll go for you and sometimes it goes against you. I don’t think there was any malice in it, nothing happened, it’s just two guys challenging for the ball”, he added: “Nowadays you’re not allowed to touch anybody or have your arms past your waist”. The Dartford boss was pleased with an away point considering the conditions. Strong winds limited the quality on show but Burman was content with the second half performance.

Earlier in the season, the Bradbrook brothers scored but it wasn’t enough as Gosport Borough won 3-2. Despite the Darts having penalty shouts turned down it was Borough who won one just before half time. Justin Bennett dispatched the spot kick and on the other side of half time netted a second goal. Elliot Bradbrook halved the deficit but Gosport’s Lee Wort restored the two goal advantage, in the final minute Tom Bradbrook grabbed a consolation.

Bennett’s goals at Princes Park serve as a warning, the prolific striker has scored 26 times in all competitions in just 32 appearances. The National South top scorer has netted three hat-tricks this term which include four goal hauls against Weston-Super-Mare in the league and Bideford in the F.A Cup.

Gosport Borough are unbeaten in six home league games stretching back to the end of October, in that time Boro have won five. Alex Pike’s side started the campaign of without losing their opening eight, leaving them in third spot. A poor September and October saw the Hampshire drop to tenth. Since then, Gosport Borough have recovered putting a run of eight win, three draws and three defeats together.

On Saturday, the Boro were held to a 0-0 draw away at Concord Rangers, Dartford’s next opponents. Pike was upbeat despite failing to find the net, he told www.gosportboroughfc.co.uk: “After losing last week, it’s important we got a reaction from the players and not lose two on the bounce. We were solid and Sam Pearce didn’t put a foot wrong and he and Ryan Woodford looked a good pairing at the back”.

Boro’s boss remains confident ahead of the mid-week clash with the Darts, he commented: “We’ve got a decent home record and I want to ensure that remains intact this time next week. If it is, then we will be doing extremely well. We’ll get back home to face two teams in and around the play offs and I won’t need to motivate my players and they’ll be up for those matches”.

Head to Head

Gosport Borough wins: 5 / Dartford wins: 9 / Draws 3

Current League Form

Gosport Borough (DLWWWL) Dartford (DWLLWD)
Concord Rangers  A  0-0 Eastbourne Borough  A  1-1
Maidstone United  A  1-2 St Albans City  H  2-0
Havant & Waterlooville  A  3-1 Wealdstone  H  1-2
Maidenhead United  H  2-1 Sutton United  A  0-2
Eastbourne Borough  H  3-1 Bath City  H  4-1
Bishop’s Stortford  A  0-2 Chelmsford City  H  1-1

Last Meeting at Privett Park

24 October 1989 – Gosport Borough 0 Dartford 1
Three days before Gosport Borough, the Darts lost their first league game of the season at home to Burton Albion. In a month full of cup fixtures, this rare Southern Premier League affair got the Darts back on track with a single goal victory.

Previous Six Meetings

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
05.03.1988 Gosport Borough 1 Dartford 0

Stats

Gosport Borough’s win at Princes Park earlier in the season, ended Dartford’s four game winning streak against the Hampshire side.

Dartford have won in their last two visits to Gosport Borough and have a 50% win ratio at Privett Park.

In the eighties, the two clubs met 16 times out of the 17 they have played each other.

On This Day

Dartford will have fond memories of their F.A Trophy run three years ago. However, it came to an end on 23 February 2013 with a 0-0 second leg draw with Grimsby Town. The Darts were unable to overturn a 3-0 deficit from the first leg as they bowed out in the semi-final. Eight years ago, the Darts thrashed Waltham Abbey 5-0 away from home just days after beating Arlesey Town 4-0. Burman’s on song team remained top of the Isthmian Division One North thanks to a brace from Brendon Cass and goals from John Geust, Jamie Coyle and Junior Kadi.

Dartford v Gosport Borough

Dartford will be hoping to continue their unbeaten run at Princes Park today when they host Gosport Borough.

It’s been 26 years since the Darts last hosted the Hampshire side when they convincingly won 5-1 in the Southern Premier League. The fixture took place at Watling Street where the Boro failed to win in their last six attempts there, losing five.

On Tuesday night, Dartford had to show character to come from two down to beat Concord Rangers. Tony Burman’s side were undone by two Lewis Taafe both from defensive mistakes.

An Andy Pugh effort, helped by a deflection, gave the Darts a lifeline. The striker then curled a shot into the top corner five minutes from time to level the match. In injury time, top scorer Tom Bradbrook managed to score his fourth of the season in as many games to earn the Darts their first away win and points on the road.

Dartford have fared slightly better at Princes Park taking four out of a possible six points on their own patch. A 1-0 win over Eastbourne Borough was followed up by a 2-2 draw with Sutton United.

Tonight’s opponents have been on the rise after a rapid fall in the early nineties. At the end of the 1989/90 campaign Gosport Borough began their slide into the Wessex League, firstly relegated to the Southern League South then two years later into the regional division. The Boro spent 15 seasons in Wessex Leagues before rising again.

The man who has masterminded the club’s return is boss Alex Pike. Ten years at the helm he has brought stability and progression to the Boro, winning the Wessex League in 2006/07. Five years later, the Hampshire side were promoted to the Southern Premier League via the playoffs and repeated the feat again to reach the National League South the following season. Pike led Gosport Borough to the F.A Trophy final in 2013/14 losing to non-league double winners Cambridge United.

This season, Gosport Borough opened their campaign without conceding a goal in 318 minutes. An opening day goalless stalemate with St Albans City was followed up with a 4-0 away win at Weston Super Mare. The club’s golden boot winner from last season, Justin Bennett was the star of the show netting all four goals. A second 0-0 draw kept the unbeaten start going as they shared a point with Maidenhead United.

On Tuesday night, Pike’s side hosted last season’s playoff runners up Whitehawk. Like Dartford they left it late, this time grabbing a draw from two down.

It took until the 48th minute for the deadlock to be broken when the Hawks went in front courtesy of Scott Neilson. The away side won a penalty which was scored by Sam Deering five minutes later. Bennett halved the deficit with his fourth goal of the campaign in as many games. In the final minute Boro’s Rory Williams looped in a cross which found the back of the net.

Dartford will hope to continue their good run against Gosport Borough intact. The Darts last experienced a home defeat against the Hampshire side in April 1981 and have only lost once to the Boro in their last ten meetings.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 9 / Gosport Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 3

Last Meeting at Watling Street

22 August 1989 – Dartford 5  Gosport Borough 1
Having finished the last two seasons as runners up Dartford were amongst the favourites for promotion. Peter Taylor’s late eighties squad won their second home match of the campaign in style, keeping their perfect start to 1989/90 going.

Previous Six Meetings

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
05.03.1988 Gosport Borough 0 Dartford 1
26.09.1987 Dartford 2 Gosport Borough 2

On This Day (since reforming)

Hastings United 1 Dartford 3 – Dartford continued their 100% start to the 2009/10 season with a dominating display. Lee Burns clipped in the first goal in off the upright and Rob Haworth made sure the Darts were two up at half time. Ryan Hayes crossed for Burns to score his second, Hastings United’s Matt Maclean scored from distance into an empty net. Seventeen years ago, Dartford faced Fleet Town losing the away fixture 2-1 in the Southern League South.

 

National League South Season Preview 2015/2016 – Part Three

Gosport Borough | Havant and Waterlooville | Hayes and Yeading | Hemel Hempstead Town

Gosport Borough

Founded: 1944 / Ground: Privett Park

The last two seasons have seen Gosport Borough excel after a second rise from the Wessex League. The Borough had previously worked their way up the non league pyramid in the eighties before returning to their regional division in 1992. The Hampshire club had to do it all again and were rewarded with a sixth place finish setting a club record. Last season, the Borough also made their first appearance in the F.A Cup first round bowing out in an entertaining 6-3 defeat against League One Colchester United. In the season before Gosport Borough were award with Non League Newspaper’s Cup Run of the Year, the Hampshire club reached Wembley for the first time losing the F.A Trophy final to Cambridge United.

Gosport_BoroughLast Season

Conference South: 6th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Justin Bennett (24 goals)

Average Attendance: 532

The Manager – Alex Pike

At a local level and now beyond the Wessex League, Alex Pike has been successful. He became the youngest manager to win the F.A Vase when he guided Wimborne to victory, in the same season he won Wessex League and Dorset Senior Cup, not bad for a first full season as a boss. Spells at Bournemouth F.C, AFC Lymington and Hamworthy United took Pike through twenty years in football management. Over the last ten he has been at Gosport Borough winning the Wessex League in 2006/07. Five years later, the Borough were promoted to the Southern Premier League via the playoffs and repeated the feat again to reach the Conference South the following season. Pike led Gosport Borough to the F.A Trophy final in 2013/14 losing to non league double winners Cambridge United.

The Summer

Hampshire has been a happy hunting ground for new recruits. Pike has taken two from Havant and Waterlooville by signing Perry Ryan and Ryan Woodford. Relegated from the Conference South last term Adam Brice joins from Farnborough, whilst TJ Cuthbertson comes in from 2013/2014 F.A Vase winners AFC Sholing. Pike has also persuaded Bradey Norton from Fareham Town and Ryan Scott from AFC Totton. Outside of Hampshire, Jamie White has signed from Sutton United and Dean Stow from Hungerford Town. Last season’s top goalscorer Justin Bennett remains at Privett Park.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

24 October 1989 – Gosport Borough 0 Dartford 1
Three days before Gosport Borough, the Darts lost their first league game of the season at home to Burton Albion. In a month full of cup fixtures, this rare Southern Premier League affair got the Darts back on track with a single goal victory.

22 August 1989 – Dartford 5  Gosport Borough 1
Having finished the last two season’s as runners up Dartford were amongst the favourites for promotion. Peter Taylor’s late eighties squad won their second home match of the campaign in style, keeping their perfect start to 1989/90 going.

Next Meetings

Saturday 22 August 2015 at Princes Park

Saturday 30 January 2016 at Privett Park

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Havant and Waterlooville

Founded: 1998 / Ground: Westleigh Park

Merged in 1998 when Havant Town and Waterlooville joined forces, the Hawks won promotion under their new guise at the first attempt. Since then Havant and Waterlooville have played at the same level making the upcoming campaign their seventeenth consecutive season. Three years ago their status was under threat and an injury time winner on the final day ensured the Hawks avoided relegation. Since the Hampshire club’s scare, results on the pitch have improved with an F.A Trophy semi final appearance followed by last season’s semi final Playoff defeat to eventual winners Boreham Wood. The Hawks will be eyeing up a top five finish in this seasons National League South campaign.

Last Season

Conference South: 5th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: 3rd Round

League Top Scorer: Scott Donnelly (15 goals)

Average Attendance: 628

The Manager – Lee Bradbury

One of the most high profile managers in this season’s National League South, Lee Bradbury is only four years into his managerial career. His playing career spanned sixteen years most notably at Portsmouth, Manchester City and Crystal Palace. The former striker replaced Eddie Howe at AFC Bournemouth as caretaker manager in January 2011 and at that point choose to retire from playing. Although Bradbury reached the playoffs he was dismissed the following campaign after a poor run of results. Since October 2012, the 40 year old has been in charge at Westleigh Park and in his two full season’s the Hawks have finished sixth and fifth and reached the F.A Trophy semi-final.

The Summer

James Hayter adds experience to the Hawks forward line this season, the 36 year old has won three Football League playoff finals and made over 700 appearances in the Championship down to League Two. The former AFC Bornemouth, Doncaster Rovers and Yeovil Town striker also holds the record for the fastest Football League hat-trick. Hayter could be partnered by 32 year old up front Marvin Morgan, the former Shrewsbury Town and Plymouth Argyle man returns to non league after early career appearances with Wealdstone, Yeading and Woking. Adrian Clifton left the rebuilding at Maidenhead United to join Havant and Waterlooville and ex Gosport Borough duo Matthew Patterson and Lee Molyneaux also join the club. Former Dartford winger Ben Swallow signed a new contract and along with another experienced midfielder Brain Stock, formerly of Doncaster Rovers.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

17 March 2012 – Dartford 3 Havant and Waterlooville 1 – view highlights

Sam Pearce put the visitors ahead and Scott Jones missed a penalty, which only served to stir the home side into action. Dartford bounced back with three goals without reply with the first coming from Lee Noble. With nine minutes remaining Danny Harris bundled in the second and to seal victory Luke Wilkinson scored his first for the Darts.

7 January 2012 – Havant and Waterlooville 1 Dartford 4 – view highlights

A convincing away triumph started when Elliot Bradbrook’s surging run through the middle of the pitch gave Dartford the lead. Before half time that lead had doubled with a cheeky Danny Harris lob. The same two added a further two but not before Scott Jones temporarily put the Hawks back in the game.

Next Meetings

Saturday 5 December 2015 at Princes Park

Saturday 19 March 2016 at Westleigh Park

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Hayes and Yeading

Founded: 2007 / Ground: York Road

Another club formed by a merger, Hayes and Yeading United are currently groundsharing with Maidenhead United. In their second campaign as Hayes and Yeading United they won promotion to the Conference Premier via the playoffs. Tipped to get relegated United held their own surviving comfortably. Three seasons at the top of non league ended in 2012 and since returning to the Conference South the Middlesex club has continued to struggle. Reprieved two years ago, due to the demise of Hereford United in the division above, Hayes and Yeading United battled against relegation last term as well. Once the new stand has been built at Beaconsfield Road, moving back home could lead to much needed optimism.

Hayes_&_Yeading_United_FC.svgLast Season

Conference South: 19th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Semi Final

League Top Scorer: Pat Cox (6 goals)

Average Attendance: 271

The Manager – Tristan Lewis

Appointed interim manager last season after Phil Babb left by mutual consent, Tristan Lewis has been given his opportunity. Lewis arrived at Hayes and Yeading in 2011 as an Assistant Manager from Reading. With a background in youth development he has won National titles as well as the Conference Youth Alliance. Guiding United to safety last term, on a limited budget, was an achievement in itself and with the development of their new home the task will be made just as challenging for Lewis for the forthcoming campaign. A rookie manager with an honest and hands on approach is hoping he can quickly gain support from the York Road terraces for now.

The Summer

United have had a thin squad for most of the summer break but Lewis wasted no time in making his first signing. Max Worsfold joined from relegated Staines Town as well as Harry Grant from fellow relegated side Farnborough. Former Ebbsfleet United and Boreham Wood striker Michael Thalassitis had a spell with Hayes and Yeading on loan three years ago and returns to the Middlesex club. Yado Mambo signed from Chelmsford City along with 19 year old goalkeeper Magnus Norman on loan from Fulham and Jhai Dillon from Stevenage.

Next Meetings

Saturday 31 October 2015 at Princes Park

Saturday 9 January 2016 at York Road

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Hemel Hempstead Town

Founded: 1885 / Ground: Vauxhall Road

Eight years in the Southern Premier League ended in style when the Tudors breezed to the title. The near misses of two playoff semi finals and a final as well as relegation battles, including one reprieve, Hemel Hempstead Town were always in the thick of the action. When the Hertfordshire club did win the Southern Premier League they dominated the division racking up an impressive 102 points and scoring an incredible 128 goals. Now playing at the highest level the club has ever been, the Tudors were guaranteed to set their highest ever finish last term. Respectably they finished in a healthy ninth place to secure another campaign in the National League South.

Hemel_Hempstead_Town_F.CLast Season

Conference South: 9th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Jordan Parkes (21 goals)

Average Attendance: 574

The Manager – Dean Brennan

Seventeen clubs in a playing career and only one club as manager, Dean Brennan is just 35 years old and has been in charge at Vauxhall Road since May 2012. The Irishman has turned Hemel Hempstead Town’s fortunes around. In the three season’s before he joined the club finished no higher than fifteenth which included two successive reprieves from the Southern Premier League. In his first full season with the Tudors, Brennan helped the club to their highest ever finish losing the playoff final after coming fourth. Hemel Hempstead Town went a step further the following season taking the Southern Premier League title with an astonishing 128 goals and 102 points.

The Summer

Replacing last season’s top scorer Jordan Parkes has been the top priority in the summer. Jamie Slabber has a reasonable goalscoring record at this level with Eastleigh, Chelmsford City, Sutton United and recently champions Bromley, he will be at Vauxhall Road hoping to continue his record. John Frendo netted eleven times for St Albans City last term and also bolsters the Tudors front line. Matthew Spring won promotion with Watford to the Premier League nine years ago and will provide creativity in midfield having spent last term at St Neots Town. Central defender Terrell Forbes will add experience having played for Queens Park Rangers and Yeovil Town, making over 100 appearances at both clubs. Ben Herd comes in from promotion winners Boreham Wood, Herd was part of the Wood team that won last season’s playoffs. England C representative Jamie Butler joins from Concord Rangers and Jamal Lowe follows Frendo from St Albans City.

Last Meeting Versus The Darts

16 September 1972 – Hemel Hempstead 2 Dartford 9 

In the F.A Cup First Qualifying Round, Dartford were drawn out against Athenian Division Two side Hemel Hempstead. The Darts of the Southern Premier League had a new boss at the helm in Doug Holden. After a slow start to the campaign a comprehensive away win ensured progression in the cup.

Next Meetings

Saturday 8 August 2015 at Vauxhall Road

Saturday 17 October 2015 at Princes Park

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