Archives for : Hampton and Richmond

Dartford v Hampton and Richmond Borough

Dartford complete their Easter schedule by hosting Hampton and Richmond Borough and hope to avoid a repeat of the reverse fixture back in August.

Eight months ago on Bank Holiday August, the Darts travelled to the Beveree and suffered a 4-1 hiding. At the time the Beavers were a free scoring outfit and continued their run with goals by Christian Jolley, Michael Kamara, a Tom Bonner own goal and Nicke Kabamba. As early as the fourteenth minute, Danny Harris had equalised for the Darts but the afternoon belonged to the Middlesex club.

The Darts last hosted the Beavers six years ago and three  of the current squad started that day. Bonner, Elliot Bradbrook and Ryan Hayes helped Dartford win 2-1 with Lee Noble and Danny Harris making substitute appearances. The Darts made it three wins out of three to climb to the top of the table thanks to early goals from Charlie Sheringham and Elliot Bradbrook, the scorer of Hampton and Richmond Borough’s consolation was soon to be Darts, Jacob Erskine.

Another former Dartford player to have featured for the Beavers this season is versatile midfielder Nathan Collier. The former Darts made over 100 appearances for the club joining up with Tony Burman from Hampton and Richmond Borough in July 2012, he rejoined the Beavers last summer after a spell at Eastbourne Borough.

Under Alan Dowson, Hampton and Richmond Borough clinched the Isthmian Premier League title on the last day just over a year ago. This season they started strongly and had been a challenger at the top for the first three months of the campaign. The Middlesex may have fell out of the playoff places but they have remained in contention for the majority of the season. The Beavers’ boss believes it has been a ‘tremendous season’, especially when the club lost prolific scorers Jamal Lowe and Kabamba to League Two side Portsmouth in January.

Dartford’s penultimate home game will be followed by the visit of relegated Bishop’s Stortford in five days time. The final match of the regular campaign will see the Darts travel to the Dorset coast, to take on last year’s Southern Premier League champions Poole Town.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 3 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 0

Current League Form
Dartford (LWDLWW)
Lost 0-2 v Hungerford Town (A)
Won 4-3 v Eastbourne Borough (H)
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)

Hampton and Richmond Borough (DWLDWD)
Drew 1-1 v Wealdstone (H)
Won 5-0 v Oxford City (A)
Lost 0-2 v Chelmsford City (H)
Drew 1-1 v Ebbsfleet United (H)
Won 3-1 v Whitehawk (A)
Drew 3-3 v Poole Town (A)

Previous Six Meetings
Hampton and Richmond Borough 4 Dartford 1 (29/08/2016 – National South)
Hampton and Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 3 (21/02/2012 – National South)
Dartford 2 Hampton and Richmond Borough 1 (20/08/2011 – National South)
Dartford 0 Hampton and Richmond Borough 4 (19/02/2011 – National South)
Hampton and Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 0 (19/08/2010 – National South)
Dartford 0 Hampton and Richmond Borough 1 (27/09/2008 – F.A Cup 2nd Qualifying)

The Darts have not lost back to back games in the league all season

3 – Dartford have only lost three games at home this campaign, whilst Hampton and Richmond have only lost three on their travels.

11 – Dartford have scored three or more goals in a league match on 11 occasions this term. Their best record since the 2011/12 campaign when the Darts achieved this feat 14 times.

77 – The Beavers are the fourth highest scorers in the National South, only the top three have outscored the Middlesex club.

On This Day
Dartford will be hoping to end a 36 year wait for a win on 17 April, last tasting victory in 1981 against Crawley Town. The Darts were victorious in the Southern League Southern Division fixture winning 2-1 at Watling Street. Three defeats and three draws later has seen Dartford travel to Barrow a year later only to lose 2-0 in the top division of non league, a 1-1 draw at Folkestone Invicta in the Kent League back in 1995 and a 1-0 defeat at Newport Isle of Wight. Thirteen years ago, Dartford were brushed aside 5-0 by Histon at home before two 2-2 draws in 2006 away to Enfield and in 2010 at home versus Aveley.

Hampton & Richmond Borough v Dartford

Dartford go for a third consecutive win this Bank Holiday Monday when they travel to Isthmian Premier champions Hampton and Richmond Borough.

The Darts who won their first game of the season last weekend doubled their win tally on Saturday thanks to an unlikely source. With time running out at Princes Park against another newly promoted side Hungerford Town, goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim took a free kick inside his own half which found the back of the net. Alex Brown extended the Dartford lead when he too scored his first goal for the club.

Tony Burman had to wait until the fifth match of the campaign to notch the maiden win when they beat Weston-super-Mare last weekend. The squad is now taking shape after a spate of injuries and suspensions and with only one defeat this season the Darts are looking a more solid outfit.

Tom Bonner will return from his suspension whilst Keaton Wood served his and played in the victory over Hungerford Town. Striker, Duane Ofori-Acheampong and midfielder Lee Noble are getting minutes under their belts whilst skipper Elliot Bradbrook and forward Andy Pugh made appearances off the bench as part of their full recovery.

Hampton and Richmond Borough won the Isthmian Premier League title last term on the final day of the season. A 95 point haul and 105 goals saw them worthy winners and earned them a return to the National South, after four years away.

The Beavers have made their best league start in four years opening with victories over Bishop’s Stortford and Easrbourne Borough. Although Alan Dowson’s side lost the first home game since September last year when they were beaten by East Thurrock United, the Middlesex club have since gone three games unbeaten. A couple of 4-2 wins over Margate and Wealdstone sandwiched a 2-2 draw with Truro City.

League top scorers with 15 so far this campaign, Hampton and Richmond Borough have shipped in nine. Jamal Lowe is the striker in form with six goals in his last five appearances, leaving him joint second in the National South goalscoring charts. Manager Dowson highlighted the defensive frailties prior the Wealdstone match branding some of the goal conceded this term as sloppy.

Former Dartford midfielder Nathan Collier rejoined the Beavers this summer after a spell with Eastbourne Borough. He signed for the Darts in May 2012 from Hampton and Richmond Borough making over a hundred appearances scoring six goals under Tony Burman.

Dartford’s last trip to the Beveree ended in a 3-1 victory despite finding themselves a goal down. Elliot Bradbrook equalised after James Simmonds had the Middlesex club in front. Bradbrook then netted a stunning volley to put the Darts ahead and Jacob Erskine scored the third, against his former club. Tony Burman guided Dartford to a league double over the Beavers that season.

At the end of that 2011/12 campaign Dartford were promoted via the playoffs whilst Hampton and Richmond were relegated to the Isthmian Premier.

Current League Form (last six games)

Hampton & Richmond Borough (WDWLWW) Dartford (WWDDLD)
Wealdstone A 4-2 Hungerford Town H 2-0
Truro City H 2-2 Weston-super-Mare A 2-1
Margate A 4-2 Gosport Borough H 0-0
East Thurrock United H 1-2 Chelmsford City A 1-1
Eastbourne Borough H 3-1 Whitehawk A 0-1
Bishop’s Stortford A 1-0 Wealdstone H 2-2

Head to Head

Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 3 / Dartford wins: 3 /  Draws: 0

Previous Meetings 

21.01.2012 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 3
20.08.2011 Dartford 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
19.02.2011 Dartford 0 Hampton & Richmond Borough 4
17.08.2010 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 0
27.09.2008 Dartford 0 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
19.09.1970 Hampton 0 Dartford 1


The only league meetings between the two sides were in Dartford’s last spell in the National South. Both teams completed doubles most recently the Darts in 2011/12, whilst the Beavers achieved the same feat the season before. They have also met twice in the F.A Cup and share a win each

Five players took part in the last trip to the Beveree in January 2012, Tom Bonner, Lee Noble, Elliot Bradbrook and Danny Harris all started, Ryan Hayes made a substitute appearance.

Elliot Bradbrook has scored three in his last two appearances against Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Goalkeeper, Deren Ibrahim has scored this season before any of Dartford’s strikers and is the only non midfielder to have netted for the club this term.

On This Day

Unbeaten in their last three on 29 August, Dartford won 2-0 against Margate a year ago. Lee Noble scored after half an hour, Lee Burns was sent off in the second half and Elliot Bradbrook secured the points. Five years ago the Darts christened their new scoreboard by celebrating a 3-1 home victory over Bromley. Elliot Bradbrook’s goal was the first one registered after six minutes but was cancelled out with twenty five minutes to go. Charlie Sheringham scored a spot kick and Danny Harris bundled in a third to keep Dartford unbeaten in six at the time. In the Isthmian Premier League back in 2009, Dartford earned a home draw with Wealdstone. The Stones took the lead but Lee Burns levelled the scores as it stayed 1-1. The last defeat on this day came sixteen years ago when Newport Isle of Wight won 2-0 in the Southern Division One Eastern Division.

National League South Season Preview 2016/2017 (H-M)

 Hampton and Richmond Borough | Hemel Hempstead Town | Hungerford Town | Maidenhead United | Margate

Hampton and Richmond Borough

Founded: 1921 / Ground: The Beveree

Pushed right to the final day of the Isthmian Premier League campaign, Hampton and Richmond Borough won the title with 0-0 draw at home to Enfield Town in their last game. Amassing an impressive 95 points, the Middlesex club scored 105 goals to return to the National South after a four year absence. Seven consecutive victories in January and February applied pressure to the front runners and from the first week in March they held on to top spot. The only weakness shown was a below par record away from home against the top eight adding to the excitement of a closely ran title race with Bognor Regis Town. Borough became the first team to win the Isthmian Premier League twice since the non league pyramid was reformed in 2004. 

Last SeasonHampton-Richmond-badge

Isthmian Premier: 1st

F.A Cup: 1st Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Quarter-Final

League Top Scorer: Nicke Kabamba (18 goals)

The Manager – Alan Dowson

Most of Alan Dowson’s managerial career has been with Kingstonian where he won the Isthmian Division One South. The K’s almost went up twice more but playoff defeats prevented progress. A former defender as a player he entered the managerial world with Walton and Hersham starting out as Player Manager. Dowson was appointed boss of Hampton and Richmond nearly two years ago and was joined by commentator Martin Tyler, who worked with Dowson at Kingstonian. After a mid-table finish in his first season he claimed another title taking the Beavers up as Isthmian Premier League champions last term. 

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 3 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

21.01.2012 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 3
20.08.2011 Dartford 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
19.02.2011 Dartford 0 Hampton & Richmond Borough 4
17.08.2010 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 0
27.09.2008 Dartford 0 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
19.09.1970 Hampton 0 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Monday 29 August 2016 at the Beveree Stadium

Monday 17 April 2017 at Princes Park

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Hemel Hempstead Town

Founded: 1885 / Ground: Vauxhall Road

Another solid season saw the Tudors finish in their highest ever league position. Despite gaining a point less than the previous campaign, Hemel Hempstead Town almost made the playoffs. Back to back defeats at the end of the season finally cost the club along with too many draws over the entire season. What the Tudors did occasionally bring to the league were high scoring matches most notably a 5-5 draw with Weston-Super-Mare, the highest score draw ever in the National South. In the end the campaign was pleasing for Hemel Hempstead Town who improved their final league standing for the fourth consecutive year. 

Hemel_Hempstead_Town_F.CLast Season

National South: 6th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Jamie Slabber (12 goals)

The Manager – Dean Brennan

Hemel Hempstead Town were struggling before Dean Brennan’s appointment in May 2012. The Tudors were reprieved from the Southern Premier League two seasons in a row and had not finished higher the fifteenth, in the three campaigns before the Irishman joined the Hertfordshire club. Brennan managed to guide the Tudors to their highest ever position in his first full campaign and had improved on this record ever since. A playoff defeat, a storming Southern Premier League title triumph and an eighth place finish in the National South was bettered by last term’s sixth spot. 

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 1 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings

17.10.2015 Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 2
08.08.2015 Hemel Hempstead Town 1 Dartford 0
16.09.1972 Hemel Hempstead 2 Dartford 9

Next Meetings

Saturday 12 November 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 1 April 2017 at Vauxhall Road

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Hungerford Town

Founded: 1886 / Ground: Bulpit Lane

A new face at National South level achieved promotion through the Southern Premier League playoffs. Set to play at their highest level during a 130 year history, the Crusaders having only just been plotting their rise through the leagues after years of struggle. The Berkshire club were amongst the top five from October onwards and a solid defence which kept an impressive 22 clean sheets gave them solid foundations. Hungerford Town beat Hitchin Town 3-2 in the semi-final having been two goals down. In the final they won 2-1 against Leamington and once more had to come from behind, like the semi-final the winner came five minutes from time. Now the club step into the unknown. 

Last SeasonHungerfordTownFC

Southern Premier: 4th

F.A Cup: 1st Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Nathaniel Jarvis (19 goals)

The Manager – Bobby Wilkinson

Took to coaching at a young age due to an injury in his playing career, the former Reading and Fulham player worked under Mark McGhee, Brendon Rogers and Brian McDermott. Bobby Wilkinson has also been part of the Royals backroom team before gaining non-league experience at Didcot Town Reserves, Kintbury Rangers and Milton United. Wilkinson has been in charge of Hungerford Town now for six years and has taken the Berkshire club to their highest ever level of football. He has overseen two playoff final victories to take the Crusaders from the Southern League Division One South and West to the National South and has been highly praised for his work. 

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 0 / Hungerford Town wins: 0 / Draws: 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 27 August 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 15 April 2017 at Bulpit Lane

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Maidenhead United

Founded: 1870 / Ground: York Road

One of a handful of clubs hoping to achieve at least a playoff spot last season, Maidenhead United blew hot and cold. The Magpies had the second best home record behind champions Sutton United. For a team that managed a seventh place finish that meant their away form wasn’t so impressive. The Berkshire side drifted in and out of the top five mainly due to the amount of fixtures rescheduled due to postponements and ground sharing with Hayes and Yeading United. Strangely enough it was the Winter snap when they suffered, going on a run of one win in thirteen. When the Magpies faced a fixture backlog they handled the schedule better, bringing themselves into the playoff race they fell just short. 

Maidenhead United

Last Season

National South: 7th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Quarter-final

League Top Scorer: Dave Tarpey (16 goals)

The Manager – Alan Devonshire

In a second spell with Maidenhead United, Alan Devonshire first managed the club back in 1996. The former F.A Cup winner as a player with West Ham United earned a few cup triumphs with the Magpies at league and county level as a manager. Devonshire then led the Berkshire club to promotion in 2000 to the Isthmian Premier League. The 60 year old had even more success at Hampton and Richmond Borough then Braintree Town getting both sides up the non-league pyramid. Last summer he returned to Maidenhead United for part two and missed out on a top five place. Capped eight times for England, Devonshire has built a good reputation in the dugout and has plenty of experience. 

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / Maidenhead United wins: 2 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings

02.04.2016 Dartford 2 Maidenhead United 0
15.03.2016 Maidenhead United 2 Dartford 1
31.03.2012 Dartford 2 Maidenhead United 1
13.03.2012 Maidenhead United 1 Dartford 1
30.04.2011 Maidenhead United 2 Dartford 3
05.03.2011 Dartford 3 Maidenhead United 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 3 September 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 17 December 2016 at York Road

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Founded: 1896 / Ground: Hartsdown Park

One more goal conceded would have sent the Gate back down to the Isthmian Premier League. Staring relegation in the face Havant and Waterlooville let in a goal twenty minutes time against Weston-Super-Mare moving Margate outside the drop zone. When Margate let in another, to go 2-0 down against Bath City, one more goal would have been disastrous. Although it took a while to get used to the National South the Kent club’s wheels well and truly fell off when they lost their backing. Terry Brown departed in December and Nikki Bull earned the manager’s job when he won eight out of the next eleven, drawing twice. Weeks of rumours about Bob Laslett, the owner stepping down led to a downturn in form and in March he finally stood down. In this period of uncertainly the Gate lost ten in a row before the penultimate game which gave them a lifeline, a 4-3 win at home to Hemel Hempstead Town. 

MargateFCLast Season

Conference South: 19th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Freddie Ladapo (12 goals)

The Manager – Nikki Bull

With only seven months managerial experience Nikki Bull has had to learn quickly. When he replaced Terry Brown in December 2015, the Gate were not heading in the direction the owners had hoped for. Bull improved results and his side climbed the National South, until their backer pulled out. Life in a difficult environment began and in the end Bull kept Margate in the division. The former Aldershot Town goalkeeper played most of his career in Hampshire making almost 300 appearances for the Shots, where he won promotion to the Football League. He also spent a few years at Wycombe Wanderers making over a century of appearances and was part of the promotion winning team five years ago.  

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 45 / Margate wins: 42 / Draws: 29

Previous Meetings

28.12.2015 Dartford 1 Margate 1
29.08.2015 Margate 0 Dartford 2
23.03.2010 Dartford 0 Margate 1
18.08.2009 Margate 0 Dartford 4
07.03.2009 Margate 2 Dartford 2
02.12.2008 Dartford 3 Margate 2

Next Meetings

Tuesday 13 September 2016 at Hartsdown Park

Tuesday 21 March 2017 at Princes Park

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Staines Town v Dartford

A second journey to Middlesex in three days awaits Dartford on Tuesday night when they take on Staines Town at Wheatsheaf Park.

The Darts will hope to make their game in hand count over the teams above them with a three point haul. The Swans have picked up some excellent results in recent weeks and continue their fight for survival at the bottom of the Conference South.

Ryan Hayes celebrates scoring from the spot

For a successive match one of Dartford’s mid season signings will be facing his former club. Goalkeeper Louis Wells played against The Darts earlier in the season and ended up on the losing side. Dartford came from behind at Princes Park back in September when Adam Everitt scored a penalty with eighteen minutes played. Undeterred by the deficit The Darts fought back in the second half. First Ryan Hayes was brought down in the box, he stepped up and tucked the spot kick away to draw the sides level. Then, in the 73rd minute Tom Champion went up for a corner and his bullet header gave Dartford their first ever victory against Staines Town at the sixth attempt.

In last seasons meeting at Wheatsheaf Park, Staines Town ran out 2-0 winners. The league meeting was brought to life on four minutes when the home side went in front from a quick break finished by Andre Scarlett. The lead was doubled when Elliot Onochie cut into the box and set up Scott Taylor who made it two.

Dartford enter Tuesday nights Conference South clash in good form. One defeat in ten league games has seen The Darts maintain pressure on the sides above them. On Saturday, Tony Burman’s team had to come back from a goal down to defeat Hampton and Richmond 3-1 at The Beveree. James Simmons gave the hosts the lead inside ten minutes but Dartford continued to control the game. Just after the half hour mark Elliot Bradbrook’s looping header tied the match and the sides went in at the break all square. In the second half, Bradbrook scored his fourth goal in two league games with a stunning long range volley which could well win goal of the season. To secure victory Jacob Erskine netted yet again to add to last weeks hat trick in the cup.

Tony Burman was delighted with his sides  performance in difficult conditions, he spoke to PURE DFC and said: “I’m pleased for them because it was a very difficult pitch and the conditions were not so good with the wind. We had a warning early on, we didn’t clear the ball as well as we should have done and then didn’t charge the guy down who had the shot”.

Despite going a goal down Burman praised the teams professionalism and added: “They took the lead which put us under pressure. All in all we should have come in at half time with more than the one goal. Having said that the boys come out the second half and did the business”.

Louis Wells in action for The Darts

Whilst Dartford helped out Staines Town with a win against Hampton and Richmond, Staines Town have returned the favour in recent weeks. Prior to the league match against Woking a fortnight ago Staines had failed to keep a clean sheet in the Conference South and win back to back league games, now that has all changed. The Swans caused an upset two weeks ago when they travelled to the league leaders and won 1-0. On Saturday, Steve Cordery’s team were at it again and this time defeated Chelmsford City by a solitary goal at Melbourne Park.

Cast your mind back to our last match at Wheatsheaf Park and The Swans were challenging for a top ten spot with The Darts. However, the tail end of last season saw the Middlesex club win just twice in their final sixteen fixtures. In fact Staines picked up just one point out of the last twenty one available in 2010/2011. This season the poor form has continued until recently with two wins from the first eighteen league matches leaving the club in a relegation battle. Despite the wins away from Wheatsheaf Park over the past two weeks only Thurrock have a home record worse than The Swans this season.

Team News

 Tom Champion will be out through suspension and Lee Noble who was substituted on the weekend with an injury will be assessed before Tuesday’s match and could feature.

Since Dartford’s last meeting with The Swans, Steve Cordery has added to his squad which includes the return of crowd favourite Ali Chaaban who shot to fame during The Swans 2009 F.A Cup run. Rhys Evans, former Swindon player of the year replaced Louis Wells back in November and recently Mo Shariff has joined The Swans on loan from Queens Park Rangers.

Statistics (league only)

Staines Town (19th) v Dartford (4th)

Current Form

Last five Staines Town matches at home Last five Dartford matches away
Lost 1-4  v Hampton and Richmond Won 3-1 v Hampton and Richmond
Lost 0-3 v Dover Athletic Won 4-1 v Havant and Waterlooville
Drew 1-1 v Havant and Waterlooville Drew 1-1 v Welling United
Lost 1-4 v Sutton United Drew 2-2 v Eastleigh
Lost 0-1 v Woking Won 2-1 v Salisbury City


Staines Town average home attendance: 452 (18th)

Highest home attendance: 1019 v Woking / Lowest: 255 v Boreham Wood

Dartford average away attendance: 821 (2nd)

Highest away attendance: 1815 v Welling United / Lowest: 441 v Boreham Wood

Did you know…

For the second Conference South fixture in a row Dartford are playing away to a side from Middlesex occupying nineteenth place and with a current player up against his former club.

In the league, Staines Town have picked up one point from their last six home matches and have yet to keep a clean sheet at Wheatsheaf Park.

Since the departure of Charlie Sheringham Dartford have scored 24 league goals in 11 games at a rate of 2.18 a game. With Sheringham The Darts scored 26 league goals in 12 matches at a rate of 2.16 a game.

Hampton and Richmond v Dartford

Dartford travel to The Beveree to take on Hampton and Richmond for the second time this season.

Saturdays fixture is important for both clubs as The Darts will be aiming to keep the pressure on at the top of the Conference South table. The Beavers are searching for points to keep them at bay from the dreaded drop zone.

Jacob Erskine takes home the match ball after his hat trick against Boston United

Saturday’s fixture at Hampton and Richmond will be the first in a run against teams in the bottom four. Dartford travel to Staines Town who are second from bottom on Tuesday night and entertain Thurrock who occupy last spot at Princes Park the following Saturday.

Burman realises that the next week of football presents a good opportunity to make up some ground on Welling United, Chelmsford City and Woking, he commented: “We have got three or four of the toughest games coming up because they are the teams around the bottom at the moment. It’s what we do against them sort of sides because that is where our bread and butter is going to lay in the next few months. These sides will be difficult to beat because they are fighting for their lives”.

Jacob Erskine will face his former club on the weekend after his terrific hat trick in a bruising cup tie against Boston United. Erskine took home the match ball in a 4-2 victory which earned Dartford a draw against Wealdstone in the last sixteen.

Tony Burman praised Erskine and told PURE DFC: “He has been working hard to do well. He is a big lad and he has got to improve his work rate which we’re trying to do and he understands what we are asking him to do we can’t ask for anything more”, the Dartford boss added: “I’m pleased when something works like that and you can see someone working hard in training and he has got his just rewards, he scored a good hat trick”.

The Darts approach this weekend in good form having tasted defeat just once in fourteen league and cup games. Victory at The Beveree will be Dartford’s third in a row in the Conference South and sixth league matches away from home without defeat.

Elliot Bradbrook scores against The Beavers

Earlier in the season Dartford triumphed 2-1 over the Middlesex club with a goal from Elliot Bradbrook and a penalty scored by Charlie Sheringham. Hampton and Richmond managed to half the deficit when Erskine netted for The Beavers. A second victory against The Beavers will go some way to erasing the memories of last seasons results.

In the first meeting, Paul Goodacre was dismissed at The Beveree with less than ten minutes played and from then on it was an uphill struggle for The Darts. Dean Wells headed the only goal of the game on 58 minutes to win the match 1-0 for Hampton and Richmond. At Princes Park, Dartford were comfortably beaten 4-0.

Hampton and Richmond took ten league games to record their first win but since November they have started to pick up valuable points and climbed out of the bottom three on New Years Day. The 4-1 thrashing of Staines Town was followed up with a 1-1 draw with Tonbridge Angels and a creditable 2-2 draw against Sutton United. A third consecutive draw was recorded in the F.A Trophy when East Thurrock United held Mark Harper’s side 1-1 to earn a replay.

Team News

Connor Essam has extended his loan spell with The Darts which will give Paul Goodacre more time to recover which is going well at the moment. Tom Champion is suspended for accruing ten cautions so Jon Wallis could return to the starting eleven.

Last week Hampton and Richmond boss Mark Harper signed striker Adam Thomas from Chesham United and midfielder Esmond James from Farnborough. Lost Dan Thompson to Portsmouth and Joel Ledgister’s loan spell ended when he moved to Sutton United. Ledgister scored twice against The Beavers in their last league fixture.

Statistics (league only)

Hampton and Richmond (19th) v Dartford (4th)

Current Form

Last five Hampton and Richmond matches at home Last five Dartford matches away
Drew 1-1 v Tonbridge Angels Won 4-1 v Havant and Waterlooville
Lost 1-2 v Staines Town Drew 1-1 v Welling United
Lost 0-2 v Thurrock Drew 2-2 v Eastleigh
Won 3-1 v Eastbourne Borough Won 2-1 v Salisbury City
Drew 3-3 v Havant and Waterlooville Won 3-0 v Thurrock


Hampton and Richmond average home attendance: 469 (17th)

Highest home attendance: 629 v Staines Town / Lowest: 260 v Dorchester Town

Dartford average away attendance: 836 (2nd)

Highest away attendance: 1815 v Welling United/ Lowest: 441 v Boreham Wood

Scoring times

Mins H&RFC For DFC For H&RFC Against DFC Against
0-15 3 8 6 7
16-30 3 8 8 5
31-45+ 4 6 8 4
45-60 13 5 4 3
61-75 7 9 6 5
76-90+ 3 11 10 3

Did you know…

Dartford have the best defensive record in the league if you count second half league goals only

No team has scored more goals in the first quarter of the second half than Hampton and Richmond

Dartford’s best unbeaten away run in the Conference South is five. If they avoid defeat on Saturday The Darts will set a personal best in the Conference South.

Hampton and Richmond have failed to score in three successive home games in the Conference South this season, they have scored in their last two.

The Beavers are one of two teams who have yet to manage a clean sheet at home, Staines Town are the other club.

Mark Harper’s side have managed to score in their last six league fixtures and are three unbeaten in the Conference South , their best run this season.



Dartford v Hampton & Richmond

Dartford will be determined to maintain their 100% record and avenge the double defeat of last season in their second successive league match at home on Saturday.

The Beavers enjoyed an emphatic 4-0 away victory in February which ended their fifteen match winless streak. Dean Wells, Ian Hodges and Lawrence Yaku’s brace inflicted Dartford’s first defeat in seven at the time. Tony Burman is keen to put the losses of last season right, he told PURE DFC, “they deserved the points last season but we’ll have a training session on Thursday night to see where we can improve and hopefully we’ll put that into practice on Saturday. Hopefully we can gain another three points”.

Charlie's nets his third of the season

The Darts opened their campaign with two wins out of two after defeating Eastbourne Borough 2-1 on Tuesday night. A superb mid week turnout saw Charlie Sheringham score his third of the season and new signing Adam Green net his first Dartford goal.

Burman was pleased with the performance but feels improvements in front of goal can be made, he said, “the guys have worked hard and it’s come off for them tonight I think with a bit clinical finishing the scoreline should have been a little bit more”, he added, “we’ve got six points out of two games and I think we thoroguhly deserved them points. We were the better side on Saturday and we were the better side tonight but I felt we played a bit too much football around the box rather than being a little bit more clinical”.

Going into Saturday’s fixture James Rogers and Jack Pallen are on the road to recovery but are not likely to be back yet, Burman commented, “James has had a bad ten days but he feels much better and his done a bit of training. He’ll come in and train on Thursday but there is no pressure to force him back in, he was excellent in pre season. Jack will be back, by the end of next week he’ll be okay”.

Hampton and Richmond lost both their openers 2-1 against Bromley due to a last minute goal and Woking who scored a late winner. It’s been a tough start for the Middlesex club who didn’t have the best 2011/2012. Last season The Beavers struggled finishing five points clear of safety. Between October 2010 and February 2011 Mark Harper’s men could not find a win, until they won at Princes Park. Hampton and Richmond have had mixed fortunes since joining the Conference South in 2007, in their first two seasons they suffered playoff heartbreak but in recent years they have finished in the lower realms of the league.

The Beavers have since lost the services of two of the goalscorers in last season’s 4-0 victory. Hodges joined Falmouth and Yaku was signed by Boreham Wood. However, last seasons joint top league scorer for the Middlesex club Charlie Moone has remained part of Mark Harper’s squad.

Mark Harper: Hampton and Richmond boss

Mark Harper knows his side need to improve to avoid any mid season slumps and to help he has taken a chance with lower league signings like James Simmonds from Carshalton Athletic, Ricky Machel from Northwood and Billy Jeffreys from Ashford Town (Middlesex). In return for Jeffreys Ashford Town (Middlesex) have taken Takahiro Kirihara, Pietro Palladino and Jack Mullan on loan.

Added to the lower league signings he has brought in a few players with higher league experience like Matt Ruby on a free, Callum Stewart from Histon and like many other clubs he raided Hayes and Yeading for Lewis Ferrell. In the other direction Barrie Matthews joins up with Yaku at Boreham Wood and Craig Tanner left the club due to work commitments.

A win for Dartford will not only put last seasons results against Hampton and Richmond to bed but also the 1-0 defeat in the F.A Cup Second Qualifying Round three years ago.

Did you know…

Hampton and Richmond inflicted Dartford’s first ever Conference South defeat. A goal by Dean Wells was enough for The Beavers after The Darts were reduced to ten men.

If Dartford win on Saturday it will be their longest winning streak in the league since joining the Conference South. The Darts ended last season with victories against Dover Athletic, Maidenhead United and opened this season with wins against Weston Super-Mare and Eastbourne Borough.


Season Review Part Eight– A look back on 2010/2011

8 – Mid-January to February – Dartford on Tour


Whilst Dartford was falling Farnborough was rising. The Boro had won three consecutive matches and striker Bradley Bubb was scoring for fun with eight goals in his last five league matches. The Darts had no chance especially if the last match between the two sides in August was anything to go by. Before the game Tony Burman signed full back Matt Jones from Bishop’s Stortford, George Purcell and Lee Burns were ruled out through injury.

Lee Noble who was recalled from his loan spell was on form and Dartford’s main hope, in the twelfth minute he was taken out in the penalty box. Dartford fans behind the goal were jubilant, great start. Charlie Sheringham stepped up to the spot to place his shot right footed and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way.

The lead lasted just eight minutes when on form striker Bradley Bubb was released on the left, his shot was struck well enough. Andrew Young pushed the ball upwards but it looped into the far corner. Dartford defenders all looked at one another, shoulders shrugged, here we go again.

Noble continued to weave inside out causing Farnborough some problems, he harassed, scurried at their defenders to put them under pressure. His enthusiasm rubbed off on the Dartford team until it went a step too far. Noble knocked the ball out to Elliot Bradbrook on the right who put in a deep cross to the far post. A misplaced header across the six yard box enticed Farnborough goalkeeper Michael Jordan to go for the ball. Noble steamed forward in an over enthusiastic attempt to win possession. The ball hit the goalkeeper; Noble’s outstretched leg went into Jordan’s chest. The referee charged to the scene, Farnborough players were furious and surrounded the referee, the red card was pulled out, Noble was sent off. The Dartford players were furious with the Boro reaction. Everything calmed down. The Darts had to play 55 minutes a man down. No chance for a win, let’s hope for a draw.

Tom Champion takes the plaudits

Adversity galvanised Dartford and three minutes after the restart Jon Main was sent through but the ball got caught between his feet. Main turned with his back to goal and layed the ball off to the onrushing Sheringham. Charlie drove the shot low and hard into the bottom corner from 19 yards, a quality finish, and an unexpected lead.

Fifteen minutes later, The Darts grew in confidence and boxed Farnborough into their own corner. The Boro tried to clear their lines three times and Dartford kept pressing. Main won possession and passed to Sheringham who looked up to notice Tom Champion on the edge of the ‘d’ and crossed the ball. One bounce, Champion adjusted his body, wrapped his right foot around the ball and his stunning volley landed in the top far corner of the net. The head strapped Champion milked the plaudits from the crowd, he deserved it. What was going on? Farnborough was shell shocked.

The Darts was denied a penalty, Main was denied by Jordan, it looked like Farnborough was a man down.  Then on 73 minutes The Boro failed to clear again from a corner. Sheringham flicked the ball on and Danny Harris nodded the ball past the goalkeeper at the near post, 4-1. Incredible afternoon.

Dartford 4 Farnborough 1 – Highlights

A New Cup Adventure

A new cup adventure began. Okay so it was ‘only the Kent Senior Cup’ but for some fans it was a realistic opportunity to land some silverware. The Kent Senior Cup is like the Football League Cup in some ways. Do we go for it? Do we try out some youngsters? Is it a chance to win something or a waste of time? However you feel about the cup it was here and Dartford faced Isthmian Premier League outfit Tonbridge Angels. Tony Burman opted for the young and promising Deren Ibrahim in goal and gave Adam Burchell a run out, other than that the first eleven could have started a league match.

Danny Harris opened the scoring on the hour when Ryan Hayes’ deep free kick to the far post was knocked down to Harris who swept the ball home. Charlie Sheringham replaced Hayes in the 85th minute then wrapped up the win. Sheringham took the ball down on his chest before cutting inside the defender and curling the ball beyond the Tonbridge keeper into the net. The Darts negotiated their way through the first round.

Dartford 2 Tonbridge Angels 0 – Kent Senior Cup First Round Highlights

Out of Harms Way

Despite the incredible win against the odds versus Farnborough, Dartford was still in the bottom three. The atmosphere surrounding the club lifted after a second win in succession against Tonbridge Angels. Next up was mid-table side Bishop’s Stortford who The Darts demolished earlier in the season.

Lee Noble was lively and was blocked off the ball early on, blood was spilt, and the challenge was nasty enough for Noble to change his shirt and to be bandaged up. The knock back failed to stop the midfielder as he controlled the game with his intricacy and skill; the sides were level at the break.

In the second half, Danny Harris was sent clear and rounded the goalkeeper. Harris went to ground, the referee deemed it a dive, yellow card, contentious decision. Jon Main was shut out, Bonner shot straight at the keeper, and Dartford was defending and playing on the break. With sixteen minutes remaining Noble delivered a low in swinger from the left, Billy Burgess jumped over the ball and Charlie Sheringham with his back towards goal turned on a sixpence and fired into the roof of the net, brilliant finish. The afternoon in Hertfordshire was a success, a third consecutive win and second consecutive clean sheet, 1-0 it finished. Out of the bottom three.

Bishops Stortford 0 Dartford 1 – Highlights

Thou Shall Not Pass

Princes Park hosted league leaders Braintree Town in a fiery encounter against The Darts. Dartford was growing in confidence but knew this would be a difficult fixture. The supporters started to believe, the team gained momentum, and everyone was starting to pull together. The Irons had won six in a row with strikers Sean Marks and Jamie Guy scoring eleven between them in the last seven matches.

Braintee Town showed why they were comfortable league leaders early on when Kenny Davis tested Andrew Young. Dartford’s Danny Harris failed to get on the end of Jon Main’s cross then on seventeen minutes, controversy. Charlie Sheringham went up for a header just inside the Braintree half; Matt Paine fell to the ground clutching his face. It was hard to tell what had happened but referee was convinced Sheringham threw an elbow to Paine’s face, red card, and uphill struggle.

Later on in the first half Irons player Kenny Davis was more than fortunate. When on the halfway line he lunged two footed at Danny Harris, the tackle was a shocker, the Dartford fans gasped in horror it was that bad. The referee unbelievably played on as Braintree won possession back and attacked, at which point the referee put a stop to the game. Braintree players raced towards the referee furious he stopped their attack, the man in black lost control of the match. Complete injustice for Dartford.


Captain Bradbrook nets the only goal of the game in a fiery contest

Like the Farnborough game the poor refereeing decisions galvanised Dartford supporters who remained incensed. The second half was tough; Dartford players worked their socks off against 11 men and the officials, as if it wasn’t hard enough playing the league leaders. Dartford held out until 81 minutes when the crucial moment arrived.  Lee Noble persisted to keep control off the ball on the half way line but was bundled over. The ball trickled to Elliot Bradbrook, The Captain dinked the ball forward which rolled underneath the foot of the Braintree centre half. Suddenly Jon Main was in, his first touch was heavy, his second was almost smothered by the goalkeeper, the ball bobbled up, Bradbrook reacted and side footed goal wards, goal! The Darts had beaten the odds again. Four consecutive wins, three consecutive clean sheets. Onwards and upwards.

Dartford 1 Braintree Town 0 – Highlights

The Darts Head North East

It was onwards and upwards indeed as The Darts and their faithful travelled to the north east. Dartford faced Conference National side Gateshead in the last sixteen of the F.A Trophy. Quite literally the journey was just too far for the Dartford players.

Phil Turnball’s deflected shot gave Gateshead the lead just before the break, if only The Darts could have held on. In the second half Gateshead were in control as they used their wingers to good effect. Substitute Brain Wake doubled the lead four minutes from time and with Dartford pressing forward were caught out again in the last minute by Kris Gale. Gateshead was barely troubled but like the Port Vale game in the F.A Cup the adventure was fun, Dartfordians could be proud.


This is Hardcore: Dartford fans travelled all the way to the North East

Gateshead 3 Dartford 0 – F.A Trophy Third Round Highlights

Gateshead to Weston

After the long trip north east The Darts and their travelling contingent travelled west as they clocked up the miles. A Tuesday night at Weston Super-Mare was to follow; a side Dartford soundly beat 4-1 back in September. The Seagulls was winless in six losing their last three, Dartford had won three league matches on the bounce.

Weston started brightly and Justin Porter tested the reflexes of Andrew Young. There were very few chances in the first half. The best efforts from The Darts came from Carl Rook and Charlie Sheringham. A tight game ensued and the second half was much the same until Weston’s Jamie Laird lost his footing, Sheringham turned quickly and beat goalkeeper Lloyd Irish in the 73rd minute. The season was turning around, another win, and another clean sheet.

Jon Main's first for Dartford

Loanee Strikes

The battle between Dartford and Braintree Town just eleven days ago was still fresh in the memory.  Charlie Sheringham was controversially sent off whilst Braintree’s Kenny Davis was lucky to stay on the pitch. Dartford supporters were still aggrieved by the events and really wanted to put one over the league leaders, furthermore our very own Ray Cherry was not allowed to film the match.

Dartford players were looking tired after long journeys and a crammed fixture list. Lee Noble was suspended and young Deren Ibrahim replaced Andrew Young in goal. On five minutes the league leaders attacked, a cross was unfortunately turned in by Billy Burgess, Dartford got off to a bad start. However parity was restored when Ibrahim’s punt up field was met by loanee Jon Main who lobbed the keeper with aplomb. The rest of the match was played out with both sets of players looking weary. The spoils were shared.

Unbeaten Run Continues

One of Dartford’s poorest performances was against Welling United in January. The Wings were coping well with off field problems and still challenging in the playoff places. Lee Noble was back and early on he set up Jon Main, his shot was tipped round the post. Another Dartford effort was hacked off the line. At the other end Joe Bruce was turned by Andrew Pugh and his curling effort was bravely blocked by Billy Burgess. A desperate lunge by Paul Goodacre gave Welling a free kick on the edge of the box, Jamie Day’s effort dipped just over the cross bar.

In the second forty five, Loui Fazackerley crossed for Liam Bellamy who nodded wide, Ibrahim was beaten. Elliot Bradbrook dug out an opportunity on the edge of the Welling box but his sliced volley ended inches wide scrapping the side netting. Then just past the hour The Wings took the advantage. After a number of testing corners they finally made one count when Jack Parkinson headed in from six yards.

Ryan Hayes scores an audacious free kick

Tony Burman made a double substitution on 73 minutes which proved to be a great decision. Ryan Hayes who had been out of the first eleven for a little while was introduced for his craft, Lee Burns came on for his endeavour. With eight minutes remaining Dartford won a free kick way out against the right touchline a good 30 to 35 yards out. Hayes looked up and struck the ball with power and swerve, Welling goalkeeper Tom Lovelock moved across to his near post, the ball swerved into the top corner, what a goal. Super sub Ryno saved the day.

Dartford 1 Welling United 1 – Highlights

Slip Up

It had been seven matches since Dartford lost, it had been 15 games since Hampton and Richmond last won. Normally in this position Dartford supporters will be expecting nothing but victory but with our record against the bottom sides we were still wary. After all, we lost to Thurrock when they were on a dreadful run; we were turned over by Dorchester Town which left us shocked. Dartford did not disappoint, well they did but some of us expected.

The Beavers came away from Princes Park with a resounding 4-0 win. Dean Wells scored against the Darts for a second time in the season when a corner was not cleared on 24 minutes. Six minutes before the break Ian Hodges doubled the lead. In the second half it took Hampton and Richmond a minute to make it three through Lawrence Yaku. Just two minutes later Yaku headed in his second. Let’s just call it a slip up.

Dartford 0 Hampton and Richmond 4 – Highlights

Back On Track

Dartford travelled to Dorset on a Tuesday night to put right their latest defeat, to revenge the 4-0 drubbing The Magpies gave us in November. The pitch was boggy as the winter weather had taken its toll across the non-league scene across the country. In all fairness this was not a game for the football purists but the exhausted Dartford players battled hard and were rewarded.

A goalless draw looked on the cards and how fitting it was when the Patron Saint of Lost Causes battled a lost cause in the Dorchester box. Danny Harris broke one tackle, rode another challenge and reached out a leg to slide the ball into the goal, 1-0 with just under seventeen minutes remaining. As the game reached a conclusion Jon Main spotted Lee Noble who looked like he went too wide, his shot was hit low and into the net for number two. Dartford avenged the defeat early in the season and had put the previous match to bed.

Dorchester Town 0 Dartford 2 – Highlights

February Finishes

It had been an incredible turnaround for Dartford, who was in the bottom three just a month and a half ago.  Six league wins, three draws and a defeat lifted them up to fourteenth position and seven points clear of relegation. Although they were fourteen matches to play over two more months it was the first time Dartford supporters could relax a little but there was still work to be done.

Braintree Town still led the table seven points ahead of in form Ebbsfleet United. The Fleet won four of their five February fixtures. Welling United, Farnborough and Chelmsford City maintained their playoff spots. Lewes moved off the foot of the table with three consecutive wins and Maidenhead United slipped towards danger after just two victories in twenty one matches. It was Woking who were the in form team with six consecutive wins without conceding, this was to stretch to seven on 1 March 2011.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Braintree Town 29 20 5 4 57 22 +35 65
2 Ebbsfleet United 29 17 7 5 55 36 +19 58
3 Farnborough 29 17 5 7 55 33 +22 56
4 Chelmsford City 29 16 6 7 58 33 +25 54
5 Welling United* 29 17 5 7 55 35 +20 51
6 Eastleigh 27 14 5 8 49 33 +16 47
7 Dover Athletic 28 14 5 9 60 40 +20 47
8 Woking 28 13 7 8 39 27 +12 46
9 Bromley 29 12 10 7 37 41 -4 46
10 Havant and W 24 9 6 9 34 33 +1 33
11 Staines Town 29 9 11 9 37 39 -2 38
12 Basingstoke Town 29 9 8 12 33 43 -10 35
13 Weston-super-Mare 31 10 7 14 41 47 -6 37
14 Dartford 28 8 9 11 35 40 -5 33
15 Bishop’s Stortford 30 9 4 17 34 60 -26 31
16 Hampton and Richmond 26 5 11 10 31 38 -7 26
17 Dorchester Town 28 6 9 13 28 38 -10 27
18 Thurrock 28 6 9 13 37 56 -19 27
19 Maidenhead United 27 6 7 14 28 46 -18 25
20 Boreham Wood 29 6 8 15 37 53 -16 26
21 Lewes 31 6 6 19 25 49 -24 24
22 St Albans City 29 4 10 15 25 48 -23 22

*Welling United deducted five points

Stuart Maidment

Photos courtesy of Dave Adkins, videos courtesy of Ray Cherry.


Season Review Part Three – A look back on 2010/2011

3- Let The Season Begin – August 2010

Danny Harris celebrates Dartford's first goal in the Conference South

The Opener

The fourteenth of August arrived and The Darts opener against Havant and Waterlooville was the talk of the town. Back in the second tier of non league football, 1302 turned up for the first fixture of 2010/2011 season. Havant and Waterlooville were the bookies favourite to go up having lost just nine games the season before and finishing a point away from the playoffs. Dartford missed Elliot Bradbrook and new signing Tom Champion through suspension. Tom Bonner, Joe Bruce, Paul Goodacre and Ollie Berquez made their competitive debuts. Three o’clock, the referee’s whistle commenced the start of another chapter in Dartford F.C’s history. No one really knew what to expect but Princes Park was buzzing with optimism and on twenty six minutes Danny Harris flicked a Ryan Hayes free kick goalwards, 1-0. The Darts had opened the scoring, the crowd were in full voice, the season was well and truly underway, what a start. The Hawks looked for the equaliser, hit the crossbar and had a goal ruled out for offside. Burman’s side were clinging on and as the half time break approached Hayes handled the ball in his own area, penalty, the home crowd silenced. Bobby Hopkinson converted the spot kick and the teams went back to their dressing rooms all square.

The second half started with a fine drizzle and the Hampshire side took control, the Dartford crossbar was rattled for the second time. With a couple of minutes remaining Dartford were unable to clear a corner, the ball was eventually laid off to Wes Fogden who unleashed a terrific eighteen yard curler into Andrew Young’s far corner, game over. Or was it? In the last minute Young launched a goal kick forward which was flicked on. Lee Burns desperately helped the ball up in the air and into the penalty box, Danny Harris was knocked over and the referee pointed to the spot. Hayes stepped up, the Dartford faithful crossed their fingers, and the Havant goalkeeper was sent the wrong way, 2-2. Dartford had earned their first league point, relief.

Dartford 2 Havant and Waterlooville 2 – Highlights

Paul Goodacre heads for an early bath at The Beveree

Searching For Win Number One

Two away matches followed starting in mid week at The Beveree. Hampton and Richmond were the first team to host The Darts. After two games Dartford unveiled their third kit, green with white sleeves, eyebrows were raised not for the first time that afternoon. Not even ten minutes had passed when Paul Goodacre clipped the last man, the letter of the law was applied and Dartford were reduced to ten men. Despite a numerical disadvantage the boys held their own but it was not enough. A Dean Wells header on 68 minutes inflicted the first defeat for The Darts.

Hampton and Richmond 1 Dartford 0 – Highlights

A second successive reverse was to follow at newly promoted Farnborough. The Hampshire side lost their opening two matches. It took just twelve minutes for Dean McDonald to smash home a superb half volley from 18 yards to give Farnborough the lead. Andrew Young was extremely busy against the lively Boro attack and when he upended Kezie Ibe a penalty was awarded. McDonald doubled his tally and Farnborough’s advantage. Lee Noble nodded in a consolation in the final minute, The Darts were given a wakeup call, welcome to the Conference South.

Farnborough 2 Dartford 1 – Highlights

A First For Everything

At last Charlie Sheringham and Tom Champion made competitive debuts as Bishop’s Stortford travelled to Princes Park. The Bishop’s finished a lowly eighteenth last season but had become an experienced Conference South outfit. The Hertfordshire club were already familiar with Andrew Young, Danny Harris, Paul Goodacre and debutant Charlie Sheringham who all plied their trade at Woodside Park in the past. After a slow start to the season Dartford fans debated over the best line up and the best formation. Importantly of all, they all agreed to get behind the team in search of their first victory. The performance was much improved by the Dartford lads and on twenty minutes Billy Burgess’ long throw was flicked on by Lee Burns, Danny Harris turned and shot, 1-0. Barely a couple of minutes passed and

The Darts run riot and record win number one

Paul Goodacre was in the thick of it again, another penalty conceded. This time, Andrew Young made an excellent stop to keep The Darts ahead and save his first penalty of the season. Two minutes before the interval things got better for Dartford. Sheringham found Ryan Hayes out wide who returned the ball with a delightful cross; Sheringham headed his first goal for his new club, 2-0. Young kept The Bishop’s at bay in the second half with a string of fine saves, the penalty save was looking to be a turning point. With nine minutes remaining a terrible mistake from Bishop’s Stortford goalkeeper Nicky Morgan handed Carl Rook a four yard tap in, game, set and match, the first win of the season was accomplished in style.

Dartford 3 Bishop’s Stortford 0 – Highlights

Derby Day

Dartfordians were on a high after the mid week triumph and for the next 96 hours the emotional journey would continue. It had been eighteen long and hard years without playing our rivals. Back then they were known as Gravesend and Northfleet, now their name had controversially changed to Ebbsfleet United. Only two and half years had passed since The Fleet tasted Wembley triumph in the F.A Trophy final, being the first Kent side to lift the honour. Dartford had lost Watling Street, started all over again in the Kent League and even shared Stonebridge Road with their local rivals, the road had been long. The occasion was full of excitement and nervousness, take the start of the season and multiply it by ten or maybe more. A season’s record attendance turned out, 2781, Dartford’s biggest in the league since the opening of Princess Park. Prior the match supporters of both clubs mingled, some would have to speak to each other after the match at work, down the local. Friends before the game, enemies during and returning to friends again once all is over. In 1992, Dartford destroyed The Fleet 5-0 on New Year’s Day and the reverse fixture ended 1-1. Many fans would remember this as the last time the two sides met in the league; newer fans looked forward to a ‘new rivalry’ for it was Dover Athletic or Maidstone United in recent years. The only similarity between the two sets of supporters was that no one wanted to experience defeat.

Darts fans saviour the atmosphere against Ebbsfleet United

Ebbsfleet started the brighter and struck the left post through Craig Stone. However, Dartford bounced back with half chances of their own via Charlie Sheringham and Lee Burns. Hearts were in mouths shortly afterwards. Callum Willock was sent through who delicately lobbed the ball over John Whitehouse, surely The Fleet had taken the lead? The ball was destined for the goal. Billy Burgess scampered back before sliding in time to clear the ball off the line. The first half went by, scrappy, competitive with both defences resolute, yet the game remained entertaining because of the amount at stake. On the stroke of half time Dartford broke with a counter attack and Danny Harris’ cross was inches away from the toes of Lee Burns, the half time whistle sounded, goalless.

At the half time interval drink was required to nullify the nerves. The only affect this had was to lubricate the vocal chords for the second half. Drums and trumpets continued to stir up vociferous support for the final forty five minutes and the game continued where it had left off, scrappy, competitive and entertaining.

On sixty two minutes Fleet goalkeeper Preston Edwards comfortably dealt with a Dartford cross, he released Willock with an accurate throw who was cynically tripped off the ball by Ryan Hayes, free kick awarded. Although the free kick was forty yards out right on the far side Ebbsfleet United packed the Dartford box. As the ball was hurled in Michael West rose from six yards out to powerfully header The Fleet into the lead. Ebbsfleet supporters were ecstatic, a jubilant roar sounded out over Princes Park. Despite going a goal down the atmosphere of that goal made Dartford realise what they had missed for eighteen years, a big game, a big gate, a higher level of football and support, it was what Princes Park was built for, shame about conceding though.

Seconds later The Darts attacked in search of a quick leveller. Whitehouse’s kick went long, Sheringham flicked it on to Burns who exchanged a one two. Only the keeper to beat from six yards, this was it, 1-1 and we’ve bounced back. Burns set himself, too complacent it was harder to miss and he did. The chance had vanished and over half of Princes Park was in disbelief. The game opened up and straight from Dartford’s opportunity, The Fleet broke away and Willock’s header was brilliantly tipped round the post by Andrew Young.

Nine frantic minutes passed and the setback gave Dartford the impetus to find an equaliser. A hopeful boot into the Ebbsfleet box caused problems for Paul Lorraine as he hauled Harris to the ground, penalty. Sheringham immediately grabbed the ball despite Hayes’ protest that he normally takes the spot kicks. Confusion surrounded the Ebbsfleet players who disagreed with the referees decision, confusion surrounded the Dartford players who couldn’t decide on who should take the penalty. The referee completed formalities; Princes Park held its breath. Sheringham to stepped up, shot to the keepers right into the bottom corner, equaliser. Relief for the Dartford fans, for Sheringham, for Hayes, for Burman’s men. A few more half chances were squandered and when the referee brought an end to the derby, Princes Park was reduced to a credible round of applause, an exhausting yet entertaining fixture had come to an end, the sixteen year wait was worth it.

Dartford 1 Ebbsfleet United 1 – Highlights

Dartford fans celebrate as Charlie Sheringham converts a spot kick

End of August

After the highs of the last two league fixtures The Darts travelled across to Essex to face Chelmsford City. Just under a year ago the two sides met in the F.A Cup with The Clarets progressing to the next round. A disappointing performance by Dartford ended August on a defeat, goals from Billy Bricknell and Anthony Cook gave Chelmsford a 2-0 win leaving Dartford with five points from the first eighteen.

Chelmsford City 2 Dartford 0 – Highlights

During the opening month of the season Bromley set the pace with a perfect record. Mark Goldberg’s team won every fixture in August. Only Braintree Town and Dover Athletic were unbeaten whilst five teams were yet to record a victory. St Albans City opened with five consecutive draws which was to remain the longest drawing streak of 2010/11 season. The promoted newcomers were all struggling to adapt with Farnborough lying in fourteenth, Dartford in sixteenth and Boreham Wood second from bottom.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Bromley 6 6 0 0 12 5 +7 18
2 Braintree Town 6 4 2 0 12 2 +10 14
3 Dover Athletic 6 4 2 0 10 3 +7 14
4 Chelmsford City 6 4 0 2 13 8 +5 12
5 Maidenhead United 6 4 0 2 7 8 -1 12
6 Welling United 6 3 2 1 11 8 +3 11
7 Bishop’s Stortford 6 3 0 3 7 10 -3 9
8 Eastleigh 6 2 2 2 11 8 +3 8
9 Ebbsfleet United 6 2 2 2 7 6 +1 8
10 Basingstoke Town 6 2 2 2 4 4 0 8
11 Weston-super-Mare 6 2 2 2 4 4 0 8
12 Hampton and Richmond 6 1 4 1 7 7 0 7
13 Staines Town 6 1 4 1 5 5 0 7
14 Farnborough 6 2 1 3 5 7 -2 7
15 Woking 6 2 1 3 4 8 -4 7
16 Dartford 6 1 2 3 7 8 -1 5
17 St Albans City 6 0 5 1 6 7 -1 5
18 Havant and W 6 0 4 2 5 8 -3 4
19 Lewes 6 1 1 4 4 9 -5 4
20 Thurrock 6 0 3 3 8 12 -4 3
21 Boreham Wood 6 0 3 3 6 11 -5 3
22 Dorchester Town 6 0 2 4 4 11 -7 2