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Oxford City v Dartford

Dartford are two games away from the F.A Cup first round, but they must overcome Oxford City at Marsh Lane this weekend to progress in the competition. 

The Darts made it through the second qualifying round a fortnight ago leaving victory late against AFC Uckfield Town. The away tie almost ended in an upset when Callum Smith opened the scoring for the Uckers. With ten minutes to go Tom Murphy equalised and shortly afterwards Charlie Sheringham put Dartford in front. In the last-minute Elliot Bradbrook scored his 18th F.A Cup goal for the club to record a 3-1 win.

Oxford City also took on opponents from step five cruising to a 5-0 victory against Southern Counties East side Cray Valley Paper Mills. The headlines belonged to Zac McEachran who took home the match ball with a hat-trick, Kabongo Tshimanga and Oxford City’s top scorer Matthew Paterson netted the others.

It won’t be the first time Dartford have drawn out Oxford City in the F.A Cup, the only other meeting in the competition was back in 1935. That season, the Darts won 5-1 with goals from Robert Patrick, two from Arthur Mercer and one each for George Nicholas and Fred Dell. Victory set up a run to the third round and a famous 3-2 defeat against top flight Derby County, in which the Darts led 2-0.

Last weekend, Dartford recorded back to back victories for the first time since the start of the season. A 2-1 triumph over bottom side Weston-super-Mare gave the Darts their first three-point haul since the end of August.
Joint-Manager, Jamie Coyle praised Lee Noble, who scored the opening goal on 14 minutes, for his role in keeping Weston-super-Mare’s left back quiet, the Dartford boss told www.kentonline.co.uk: “Wherever you ask him to do a job, he does it. Their left-back is one of the main threats they offer and it was a case of stopping him going forward and tracking his movements, and we kept him really quiet”.

The visitors equalised just before the break when Gethyn Hill scored his first of the season from long distance, however Jamie Philpot won the match for Dartford when he got on the end of Bradbrook’s assist, to score his second goal in a Darts shirt.

Content with how his side started the game on the weekend, Coyle said: “It’s one of our best starts to a game this season”, he added: “Amadou Ba was through on goal, if the keeper didn’t handle it outside the area so it was a potential red card (referee showed a yellow card). Then Ben Greenhalgh hit the bar from the free-kick, and then we’ve scored. The positives are we created some really good chances and should have scored more goals”. The Dartford boss also highlighted improvements, he continued: “Defensively we looked a little bit shaky from set pieces and gave away too many free-kicks in the final third”. Unbeaten in four games, Coyle is now hoping that the two draws and two wins will give his players more confidence going forward.

The Darts have been without Callum Driver through and have drafted in loanee Jordan Wynter from Maidstone United, who made his debut last weekend. Tom Knowles’ recall to Cambridge City has also opened up an opportunity for the three month loan of Andre Coker, also from Maidstone United, Coyle explained to www.kentonline.co.uk: “We needed some pace and directness in wide areas and it also means we can use Ben Greenhalgh on the right. I’ve seen Andre a number of times. He offers something different, he’s really quick and tricky. He always seems to come up with an end product, whether it’s a cross or a shot. It gives us another avenue, we’ve only really got Ben and Tom Murphy that’s pushing for those wide areas so it gives us some competition”.

There’s been plenty of change to the playing personnel at Princes Park and Coker will be the fifth loanee in just two months. Coyle exclaimed: “We’ve still got so much work to do. We’re having to bring new players in to improve what’s gone on so far. It’s always going to take time but we’re 12 games into the season now and we need to start putting a run of decent performances together”.

Oxford City’s victory in the last round of the F.A Cup was there only triumph in September. Mark Jones’ side have lost four consecutive league games with the latest defeat coming at Hemel Hempstead Town. Zac McEachran scored his fourth goal in his last two appearances, but his consolation wasn’t enough for the Nomads.

Prior to the losing streak, Oxford City did go four unbeaten including decent victories against St Albans City and a surprise win over Torquay United at home. Jones’ side is capable of springing a cup shock as they proved last term when they beat Colchester United away in round one, although the Nomads went out to Notts County in the following round it was there best F.A Cup run since 1969/1970.

Recently returning from injury, Rob Sinclair came back after a six weeks out of action. His boss described his return as a ‘big advantage’. The goalscoring threat will come from Matthew Patterson, prolific at Gosport Borough, he joined Oxford City last summer then scored 27 times in his debut season.

Last season goals from Elliot Bradbrook and Tom Murphy at Marsh Lane secured a double over Oxford City. Earlier that season the Darts thrashed their opponents 7-1 which included a Warren Mfula hat-trick.

Head to Head

Oxford City wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 5 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings

24.03.2018 Oxford City 0 Dartford 2
19.08.2017 Dartford 7 Oxford City 1
25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1
29.10.2016 Dartford 1 Oxford City 0
23.04.2016 Dartford 2 Oxford City 2
15.09.2015 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1

Current Form (all competitions) FAC-F.A Cup

Oxford City (LWLLLW) Dartford (WWDDLW)
Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-2 Weston-super-Mare H 2-1
Cray Valley Paper Mills (FAC) H 5-0 AFC Uckfield Town (FAC) A 3-1
Bath City H 1-2 Billericay Town A 1-1
Slough Town A 0-2 Eastbourne Borough H 2-2
Welling United A 2-3 St Albans City A 0-2
Wealdstone H 3-0 East Thurrock United H 2-0

Stats

Dartford have reached the 4th Qualifying Round or further four times in the last five seasons.

Last season Oxford City progressed beyond the 3rd Qualifying Round for the first time in four years going on to equal their best ever FA Cup run.

The Darts have always managed to score against Oxford City in all of the previous nine meetings.

This will be the fourth cup match between the two sides with Dartford winning three and drawing one. The pair met in the F.A Cup in 1935 and the F.A Trophy in 2008. Ten years ago, the Darts drew 3-3 before winning the replay 4-2.

On This Day

The Darts have won their last four games on 6 October most recently in 2012. Dartford famously went to Blundell Park and beat Grimsby Town 2-0 in the National League. Tom Champion opened the scoring before Adam Birchall completed the upset. In 2001, Dartford beat Ashford Town 3-1 in the Southern League Division One East and in 1990 they overcame Moor Green 2-1 at Watling Street in the Southern Premier. In another National League fixture back in 1984, Dartford beat Northwich Victoria 1-0. Taken from the Princes Among Men book, the first recorded match was on 6 October 1988 when Dartford lost 3-1 to local rivals Erith in a friendly, Alf Mace scored Dartford’s first goal.

National League South Season Preview 2018/2019 – Part Three

Hemel Hempstead Town | Hungerford Town | Oxford City | Slough Town | St Albans City | Torquay United

Hemel Hempstead Town

Founded: 1885 / Ground: Vauxhall Road

It’s been just over four years ago since Hemel Hempstead Town smashed the Southern Premier League, now the Tudors are looking towards the next level. The Hertfordshire based side have held their own in the National South finishing ninth, sixth and twelfth before last season. The Tudors reached the playoffs in the second tier of non-league football for the first time going out to eventual playoff winners Braintree Town on penalties at the first hurdle. Ending the campaign in fifth, Hemel Hempstead Town’s twelve game unbeaten run had them thinking of top spot back around the New Year. The Tudors also lost just two out of the last thirteen, but a division high thirteen draws saw them drop too many points.

Last Season

National South: 5th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Jordan Parkes (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 527 (12th in National South)

The Manager – Dean Brennan

A career playing in the Football League career never took off for Dean Brennan, but he had a decent time in non-league football. The former midfielder won the F.A Trophy with Grays Athletic and had spells with Stevenage, AFC Wimbledon and various other clubs including Hemel Hempstead Town. At the age of 29, the Tudors appointed Brennan as interim manager and he kept them in the Southern Premier League. After a spell at Dunstable Town the Irishman returned to the Tudors six years ago. Brennan took the Tudors up to the National South in 2015 and last term reached the playoffs in fifth, their highest ever finish.

The Summer

The Tudors are focussing on attack with a host of signings boosting their forward line. Former Concord Rangers top scorer Steve Cawley signs a two-year deal after scoring 88 times in 225 appearances for the Beachboys. Phil Roberts was on course to win the National South golden boot at one point after spells with Chelmsford City and Braintree Town, he ended up with 18 goals last season. Ex Dartford striker, Charlie Sheringham returns to Hemel Hempstead Town after a spell in Bangladesh and Sanchez Watt signs a permanent deal after a successful loan spell from Billericay Town.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

17.03.2018 Dartford 3 Hemel Hempstead Town 2
26.08.2017 Hemel Hempstead Town 0 Dartford 3
01.04.2017 Hemel Hempstead Town 2 Dartford 2
12.11.2016 Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 0
17.10.2015 Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 2
08.08.2015 Hemel Hempstead Town 1 Dartford 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 11 August 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 2 February 2019 at Vauxhall Road

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Hungerford Town

Founded: 1886 / Ground: Bulpit Lane

Promoted from the Southern Premier League two years ago, the Crusaders only had to wait less than a month for their first setback. Long serving manager Bobby Wilkinson left Bulpit Lane in favour of Wealdstone. Not the best preparation for a side hoping to keep momentum going from a sixth place finish the season before. Instead Hungerford Town struggled and survival went right down to the wire. With a one-point advantage over Poole Town going into the final day, the Crusaders clinched a place in the National South thanks to Nicholas Bignall’s winning goal against East Thurrock United. The 1-0 victory was crucial considering Poole Town also won, so now Hungerford Town will compete in this division for a third successive campaign.

Last Season

National South: 19th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Louie Soares (11 goals)

Average Attendance: 267 (21st in National South)

The Manager – Ian Herring

He experienced two promotions via the playoffs as a player with Hungerford Town and now he leads the team off the field. Ian Herring was appointed as the Crusaders manager just under a year ago having played for the Berkshire club since 2012. The 34-year-old replaced Bobby Wilkinson in September, who had been manager of Hungerford Town since the 2009/2010 campaign. With big shoes to fill, Herring was given the task of keeping the Crusaders in the National South which was just about completed on the final day of the season. Before a career with the Berkshire club, he played for Swindon Town, Salisbury City, Chippenham Town, Forest Green Rovers and Eastleigh.

The Summer

Ramone Rose will be looking to settle at Bulpit Lane having moved around the non-league scene frequently. The former Whitehawk man had a decent run in the Hawks side last term. The 28-year-old has been at Queens Park Rangers, Newport County, Wealdstone, Maidenhead United and Eastleigh to name but a few. Defender Tommy Cooney arrives having previously played for Brentford, Boston United and Margate. Tommy Ouldridge will bolster the midfield and has experience with Cirencester Town, Swindon Town and Chippenham Town. Sam Deadfield is another midfielder joining Hungerford Town from Basingstoke Town. Right back Marcus Johnson-Schuster also had spells with Basingstoke Town and Wealdstone as well as Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Hungerford Town wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

09.12.2017 Hungerford Town 1 Dartford 0
05.08.2017 Dartford 0 Hungerford Town 0
14.04.2017 Hungerford Town 2 Dartford 0
27.08.2016 Dartford 2 Hungerford Town 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 25 August 2018 at Bulpit Lane

Saturday 22 December 2018 at Princes Park

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Oxford City

Founded: 1882 / Ground: Marsh Lane

A consistent side since switching from the National North to National South in the summer of 2015, Oxford City have finished their three seasons in this division in twelfth, fourteenth and last term sixteenth. The Nomads had a slow start to their campaign and were in the bottom three at the end of October. The Oxfordshire side woke up going unbeaten for the next two months with the run ending on New Year’s Day. Away from league competition, Oxford City managed to put together a F.A Cup run knocking out a Football League side for the first time in their history. The Nomads defeated Colchester United to reach the second round for the first time in forty-seven years where their run ended against Notts County.

Last Season

National South: 16th

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Matt Patterson (21 goals)

Average Attendance: 319 (17th in National South)

The Manager – Mark Jones

In the F.A Cup last season, Oxford City knocked out Football League opposition for the first time in their history and it was masterminded by Mark Jones. He also guided City to their first County Cup triumph in fifteen years. Taking charge of the first team in December 2016, Jones came into the role with coaching and playing experience. Not only does he currently head up Oxford City’s scholarship programme he also played for the club. His playing career included spells at Aylesbury United, Harrow Borough and Thame United and after hanging up his boots, Jones worked at Stevenage as Centre of Excellence Manager and Watford as Lead Youth Development Phase Coach

The Summer

Josh Ashby returns to the Nomads on a one-year deal from Oxford United, he already played for Oxford City in 2016/2017 making 21 appearances. Scorer of 15 goals in 44 games, Kabongo Tshimanga arrives at Marsh Lane from Boston United, the striker has also played six times for Milton Keynes Dons. Left back, Ben Jefford had three spells with Welling United but he will be part of Mark Jones’ squad, the 23-year-old has National League experience with Sutton United, Woking and Forest Green Rovers. Four players impressed in pre-season one of which is Luke Ruddick, who had spent time out of the game, the defender previously played for Sutton United and Salisbury City. Kyran Wiltshire won the National South in 2016/17 and joins from Maidenhead United, Belize international Mike Atkinson and Eze Ibrahim will also be part of Oxford City’s squad. There was also a clear out with the likes of Lee Henderson, Godfrey Poku, Freddie Grant, Ezra Forde, Mamadou Fofana and Justin Bennett leaving.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Oxford City wins: 1 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings

24.03.2018 Oxford City 0 Dartford 2
19.08.2017 Dartford 7 Oxford City 1
25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1
29.10.2016 Dartford 1 Oxford City 0
23.04.2016 Dartford 2 Oxford City 2
15.09.2015 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 20 October 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 27 April 2019 at Marsh Lane

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Slough Town

Founded: 1893 / Ground: Arbour Park

In the early nineties Slough Town were mixing it in the top flight of non-league football. The Rebels enjoyed seven seasons in what was then the Conference over eight years. By the end of the decade they dropped two divisions and have since been trying to find their way back. In their fourth campaign in the Southern Premier League, Slough Town took a significant step up winning the playoffs after finishing third. The Rebels accrued a massive ninety-nine points and scored an incredible one hundred and eleven goals. In the F.A Cup they reached the second round losing to Rochdale in front of the television cameras. Promoted after a last gasp playoff winner, the Rebels will look to keep their momentum going.

Last Season

Southern Premier: 3rd

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: James Dobson (21 goals)

Average Attendance: 666 (4th in Southern Premier)

The Managers – Neal Baker and Jon Underwood

Joint managers since May 2013, Neal Baker and Jon Underwood both came from Godalming Town. At 29-years-old a knee injury ended Baker’s playing career so he moved into management with Fleet Spurs in the Wessex League Division One. Underwood was managing Sandhurst Town before teaming up with Baker at Godalming Town. Whilst with the G’s the duo reached the Isthmian Division One South playoffs and lifted the Surrey Senior Cup. At Slough Town, Baker and Underwood have been part of an upward trend by guiding the club to promotion to the Southern Premier League, via the playoffs, the same promotion route as last term to reach this season’s National South

The Summer

The Rebels have managed to keep most of their promotion winning squad together and with it they have added Sam Togwell. The midfielder has Football League experience with Barnsley and Scunthorpe United and signs from Eastleigh. Slough Town have also persuaded Louie Soares to join their ranks having top scored for Hungerford Town last term earning him Player of the Year. Matthew Lench hit the headlines with a sublime F.A Cup hat-trick last season, however he’s been released by the club.

Head to Head

Slough Town wins: 0 / Dartford wins: 3 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

01.10.2016 Slough Town 2 Dartford 3
29.10.1988 Slough Town 1 Dartford 2
10.01.1981 Dartford 4 Slough Town 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 8 December 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 16 February 2019 at Arbour Park

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St Albans City

Founded: 1908 / Ground: Clarence Park

The early pace setters last season were left disappointed that they failed to reach the playoffs. However, the Saints can be pleased that they achieved their highest finish since returning to the National South in 2014. St Albans City racked up maximum points in their opening six games and were still joint top at the end of October. Four defeats in five games followed as they began to lose ground, but the Saints came again and went unbeaten in December. In the New Year they thrashed East Thurrock United 7-2 and followed that up with a 4-0 win over then league leaders Dartford to put them back in contention. The Saints hit more good form over Easter then ended losing five of their last six.

Last Season

National South: 8th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Sam Merson (20 goals)

Average Attendance: 765 (5th National South)

The Manager – Ian Allinson

Out of all the managers in the National South this season, Ian Allinson has one of the biggest profiles due to his footballing career. The former winger amassed over 300 league appearances as a player for Colchester United in two spells, and played over 100 games in all competitions for Arsenal. He also appeared for Stoke City and Luton Town. As a manager, he won the Isthmian Premier League and National South playoff finals with Boreham Wood before joining St Albans City two years ago. Allinson has also managed Baldock Town, Barton Rovers, Harlow Town and Stotfold so has plenty of experience to offer the Saints.

The Summer

If Gary McCann at Hampton and Richmond Borough isn’t taking players from Hendon then Ian Allinson is. St Albans City add 21-year-old Luke Tingey to their squad, a versatile defender who played over a century of games over a three-year spell with the Greens. Tingey will be joined by Senegalese midfielder Dave Diedhiou, the 29-year-old made over 400 appearances for Hendon since 2008. Khale da Costa joins from Concord Rangers whilst former Dart, Tom Gardiner leaves as does Shaun Lucien who has joined Hampton and Richmond Borough. Allinson’s son Lee, has left his assistant manager’s post to take up a role with Biggleswade Town as first team manager. In his place Glenn Alzapiedi becomes the number two, who had three years with Concord Rangers as assistant to Adam Flanagan. Striker, Ralston Gabriel scored over 30 times during Haringey Borough’s promotion winning term and impressed manager Ian Allinson enough to sign a deal with the Saints. David Moyo lacked opportunities at Hemel Hempstead Town and will be given a chance at Clarence Park. National South playoff winner with Braintree Town, Roman Michael-Percil joins and has had previous spells with Concord Rangers, Billericay Town and Dulwich Hamlet.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / St Albans City wins: 4 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings

03.02.2018 St Albans City 4 Dartford 0
28.10.2017 Dartford 2 St Albans City 1
25.03.2017 St Albans City 1 Dartford 0
08.11.2016 Dartford 0 St Albans City 2
30.04.2016 St Albans City 4 Dartford 0
06.02.2016 Dartford 2 St Albans City 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 1 September 2018 at Clarence Park

Saturday 12 January 2019 at Princes Park

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Torquay United

Founded: 1899 / Ground: Plainmoor

A club that flirted with Football League existence for years, the warning signs have always been at Plainmoor. The Gulls have reached an all-time low, playing in the National South for the first time in their history. Torquay United did spend two years in the National League between 2007 and 2009 and made a F.A Trophy final appearance. They managed to head back to the Football League but once again lost their status with relegation four years ago. After four more seasons, the Gulls edged closer and closer to the dreaded drop and then it came. Last term Torquay United started on a thirteen-game winless run and never recovered.

Last Season

National League: 22nd

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Jamie Read and Rhys Healey (6 goals)

Average Attendance: 1731 (13th National League)

The Manager – Gary Owers

F.A Cup runner up 26 years ago, Gary Owers walked up the Wembley steps to collect his medal after Sunderland lost the 1992 final to Liverpool. The former midfielder made over 300 appearances for the Black Cats and afterwards continued his career with Bristol City and Notts County. He moved in to non-league with Forest Green Rovers before playing for Bath City, the same two clubs he later went on to manage. When he left Weston-super-Mare in 2007 he spent the next nine years as a number two at Aldershot Town, Plymouth Argyle and Gateshead. Owers made the step back into first team management with Bath City before replacing Kevin Nicholson early last season at Plainmoor.

The Summer

Gary Owers’ first summer in charge has brought change to Plainmoor. Out go Reece Mitchell, Conrad Balatoni, Sam Chaney, Yan Klukowski and Jake Gosling. Ryan Clarke joins Bath City and Luke Young makes the step up to play for Wrexham. That has left plenty of room to sign new players like experienced 31-year-old Asa Hall who has represented Luton Town, Oxford United, Shrewsbury Town and Cheltenham Town. Former Woking duo Bobson Bawling and Jason Banton move down to Devon, whilst 21-year-old defender George Essuman and ex Bromley right back Ben Wynter sign up for Torquay United. Samir Nabi comes in from Carlisle United having previously spent time in the Indian Premier League with Dehli Dynamos. Two goalkeepers have also been signed with the arrivals of Shaun MacDonald from Blyth Spartans and Alex Bass on loan from Portsmouth. Early in his career Ryan Dickson went on loan at Plainmoor and now he is back at the age of 31. Kyle Cameron came through the Newcastle United academy and after loan spells at Workington, York City and Queen of the South the defender joins Torquay United. Another defender, Jean-Yves Koué Niate brings with him experience of time in France and Belgium as well as Solihull Moors, Oxford City, Ebbsfleet United and Guiseley.

Head to Head

Torquay United wins: 0 / Dartford wins: 0 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

04.04.2015 Torquay United 1 Dartford 1
23.08.2014 Dartford 0 Torquay United 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 10 November 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 16 Match 2019 at Plainmoor

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Oxford City v Dartford

In what looks like a three way race to the National South title, Dartford face another crucial match when they take on Oxford City this weekend at Marsh Lane.

Dartford’s late showing at Princes Park last weekend heaped some pressure on league leaders Havant and Waterlooville, and with the Hawks dropping points Hampton and Richmond Borough have become serious contenders too.

The dramatic week started with the Darts four points behind the league leaders, who had a game in hand. However, Tony Burman led his side to an important three points even though it was far from comfortable. In the Princes Park snow, Dartford scored twice in the final ten minutes to win 3-2 against Hemel Hempstead Town, who themselves were looking to edge into the playoffs.

Danny Harris was out injured with a hamstring, Alfie Pavey and Danny Mills were named as substitutes and in came Ronnie Vint, Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Lee Noble. Just passed the half hour mark Andy Pugh put the Darts in front with a curling strike from outside the box which took a slight deflection. Hemel Hempstead Town were quickly level through former Ebbsfleet United striker Jordan Parkes and by half-time they were ahead when David Moyo scored moments before the interval. With Havant and Waterlooville and Hampton and Richmond Borough level at 0-0, and that’s how it stayed, it looked like a wasted opportunity for Burman’s side, until the final ten minutes. Pugh chipped in a wonderful equaliser and in the final minute, super sub and top scorer Alfie Pavey nodded home the dramatic winner.

Burman celebrated the last gasp winner on Saturday with a touchline sprint and after the game he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “We’ve won with a bit of character and desire and shown again that we’re back in the mix”. Looking forward he added: “It’s one game at a time but it’s the business end of the season and we’ve got to win as many as we can”.

In mid-week Havant and Waterlooville lost to Truro City leaving Dartford just two points behind their title rivals level on games played. On the same evening Hampton and Richmond Borough won 3-1 versus Weston-super-Mare to move onto 62 points with Dartford.

Dartford’s last three games at Marsh Lane have produced mix results conceding late just over year ago in 1-1 draw, Ryan Hayes scored his 99th goal for the club but Ezra Forde equalised. In 2015, the Darts lost 2-1 after Pugh had put Dartford ahead and just under a decade ago, the Darts won 4-2 in a F.A Trophy second qualifying round replay.

But it’s the home fixture this term in August that captures the attention of Dartford fans. Warren Mfula scored a hat-trick in a 7-1 triumph, the striker scoring the last three Dartford goals in the game. Before Mfula’s treble in 19 second half minutes, Richard Sho-Silva, Lyle Della-Verde, Alfie Pavey and Lee Noble all found the back of the Oxford City net.

Oxford City have improved since then and are currently on 41 points in 15th place. Mark Jones’ side have an even home record winning five, drawing five and losing six. Nine points above relegation and twelve behind the playoffs, it looks like City will stay in the National South for a fourth consecutive campaign and at this level for the seventh.

The Oxfordshire are started to take some notable scalps lately with a 2-0 home win over Chelmsford City, a 3-2 away victory against Truro City and a 4-1 triumph at home to Hemel Hempstead Town, all playoff hopefuls this season. Even when they did fall to defeat it was narrow and against the league leaders Havant and Waterlooville. Oxford City also beat Oxford United 1-0 to reach the Oxfordshire Senior Cup final this month.

Matt Paterson has provided the goals scoring 17 times in the National South, one less than Dartford’s Alfie Pavey. However, Paterson has scored just once in the last two months, but the pressure on the striker to find the net has been alleviated with the arrival of Samuel Nombe. The loanee from Milton Keynes Dons has managed five goals in as many games.

Jones has strengthened his squad since the defeat to Concord Rangers by looking towards Luton Town, most recently right sided midfielder Kavan Cotter joined on loan from the Hatters. Cotter teams back up with central defender Frankie Musonda who also came in from the Bedfordshire club.

Victory will be vital for the Darts as Havant and Waterlooville travel to Bath City and Hampton and Richmond Borough host Braintree Town. Dartford then face Hampton and Richmond Borough at home on Good Friday.

Head to Head
Oxford City wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Oxford City (WLWWWL) Dartford (WLWWLL)
Welling United A 3-1 Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-2
Havant & Waterlooville H 0-1 Poole Town H 0-1
Chelmsford City H 2-0 Truro City H 4-1
Truro City A 3-2 Wealdstone A 2-1
Hemel Hempstead Town H 4-1 Chelmsford City H 1-2
Concord Rangers A 1-2 St Albans City A 0-4

Previous Meetings

19.08.2017 Dartford 7 Oxford City 1
25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1
29.10.2016 Dartford 1 Oxford City 0
23.04.2016 Dartford 2 Oxford City 2
15.09.2015 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1
04.11.2008 Oxford City 2 Dartford 4
01.11.2008 Dartford 3 Oxford City 3

Stats
Dartford have won just two of their last seven away matches over 90 minutes matching their first seven away games of the season (W2, D3, L2).

The Darts have gone eight games without a clean sheet, the last time they achieved a clean sheet was in January against Havant and Waterlooville.

Andy Pugh has reached 150 appearances for the Darts starting 108 games and appearing 42 times as a substitute. Pugh also netted his 50th goal for the club thanks to his brace against Hemel Hempstead Town.

Only Elliot Bradbrook (131 goals), Ryan Hayes (108) and Danny Harris (75) have scored more goals for Dartford in the current squad than Pugh.

According to the BBC Sport website, out of the top 20 National South goalscorers Alfie Pavey has the best goals per minutes ratio (111 minutes per goal) and Pugh is third with 120 minutes per goal.

On This Day
Jay May scored a hat-trick in a victory against Corinthian Casuals. The 2007 Isthmian Division One South fixture ended up 4-0 to the Darts with Brendon Cass scoring the other. A year later Cass netted the winner and Dartford’s last away goal on this day in a 1-0 win over Canvey Island, the three points helping Dartford to the Isthmian Division One North title. Dartford have only produced one away goal in their last four away fixtures on this day. In 2015, the Darts took home a point drawing 0-0 with Alfreton Town in the National League and three years earlier, Dartford lost 1-0 at Dorchester Town. Way back in the Southern Premier League, another notable result was Dartford’s 6-2 victory over Weymouth.

Dartford v Oxford City

Dartford are back at Princes Park this weekend when they host Oxford City in the National South.

The Darts will want to recreate the victory achieved last season against the Nomads at home. Andy Pugh scored the decisive goal with a deft lob over the Oxford City goalkeeper. Dartford are unbeaten in the three fixtures against the Oxfordshire club at home, drawing twice in a F.A trophy tie almost nine years ago and a National South match 18 months ago.

Tagged as one of the favourites to win the title, Dartford have made a slow start as some of the expected challengers sit at the top end of the table. However, the Darts finally got their first win in mid-week beating Concord Rangers 2-0. Elliot Bradbrook netted his second goal of the season after a good counter attacking move, Lyle Della-Verde’s well taken effort secured the three points against his former club.

Burman praised winger Della-Verde after the game along with defender Richard Sho-Silva. In the build up to this weekend’s fixture, the Dartford boss also stressed the importance of keeping clean sheets, a feat that the Darts have achieved three time already this campaign in just four matches.

With Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Andy Pugh missing through injury at the start of the season, Tony Burman has turned to a striker he knows. Alfie Pavey, was on loan at the Darts last term and joined Kent rivals Welling United in the summer. The 21 year old has now signed for Dartford having appeared nine times scoring twice last season, although he only made two starts. Burman told www.dartfordfc.com: “I would like to welcome Alfie back to the club, Alfie has successfully worked with us before and he now returns to the club where I hope he can show his full potential”. Pavey was unavailable for selection on Tuesday night against Concord Rangers but can be selected this weekend. With goals lacking Burman is not overly concerned as he feels chances are still be created and the goals will come.

Pugh may be back against Oxford City if he comes through the last training session, Keaton Wood is still struggling with an achilles problem, but was named on the bench on Tuesday as emergency. Tom Murphy aggravated his ankle/ hamstring in the draw against Braintree Town last week.

 

Oxford City, who moved from the National North to South two years ago, started their season with a win, draw and loss before playing Hungerford Town on Tuesday night. The Nomads added a further three points with a mid-week win over the Crusaders thanks to some resolute defending and a clean sheet. Goals from Zac McEachran and Matt Patterson’s third of the season gave Oxford City a 2-0 victory.

Having finished the last two season’s in twelfth and fourteenth respectively, Oxford City manager Mark Jones has set a realistic target and wants his team to make use of the extra playoff spots available this term. A seventh place finish or above will give the Oxfordshire club a shot at the National League, which they have never reached.

The last meeting between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw in Oxford. Ryan Hayes scored the goal to take him within one more of a century. However, the Darts threw away a three point haul by conceding a last minute equaliser.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Oxford City wins: 1 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings

25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1
29.10.2016 Dartford 1 Oxford City 0
23.04.2016 Dartford 2 Oxford City 2
15.09.2015 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1
04.11.2008 Oxford City 2 Dartford 4
01.11.2008 Dartford 3 Oxford City 3

Stats

Dartford have equalled their best defensive record after four games since 1992. However, the three clean sheets in four games this term betters the two clean sheets in four recorded 25 years ago.

The last time Dartford kept three clean sheets in their opening four league games was in 1988, when their defence was only breached once. Including the Southern League Challenge Match, the Darts failed to concede in four of the first five games that year.

Last season’s home win is the only time a clean sheet has been recorded in this fixture, Dartford won 1-0.

On This Day

Eleven years ago, Brendon Cass netted a hat-trick as Dartford thrashed Burgess Hill Town 6-1 in Sussex. Cass was the star of the show but strike partner Jay May grabbed a brace. John Farley netted the other on his Dartford debut, but a serious injury meant he only ever started five times for the Darts. Cass also recorded another hat-trick against the Hillians five months later in a 7-2 win at Princes Park, memorable for that Dave Martin wonder goal.

National League South Season Preview 2017/18 – Part IV

 Oxford City | Poole Town | St Albans City | Truro City

Oxford City

Founded: 1882 / Ground: Marsh Lane

The Nomads had an ordinary campaign last time out and will spend their third season in the National South, following their sideways step from the North in the summer of 2015. Justin Merritt resigned halfway through last term and Mark Jones took over in December to ensure a mid-table finish. This season, Oxford City will be playing on a 3G pitch after their Marsh Lane ground was renovated.

Last Season

National North: 14th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi Final

League Top Scorer: Jefferson Louis (8 goals)

Average Attendance: 302 (20th in league / 132nd in non-league)

The Manager – Mark Jones

Already on the coaching staff, Jones was promoted from within the club to take on his first managerial role (??). He represented the Nomads over 100 times during his playing days and also played for Aylesbury United, Harrow Borough and Thame United. Jones is hoping the new playing surface can help attract new players as he builds a competitive squad for the National South.

The Summer

Justin Bennett hammered in the goals at this level before with Gosport Borough and after a spell with Salisbury City he’s back. He will partner Matt Paterson who left Havant and Waterlooville, the pair enjoyed a successful spell together at Borough which could be pivotal in Oxford City’s latest campaign. Joe Oastler, formerly Aldershot Town and Gosport Borough will be part of the squad as will David Pearce from Chesham, Eddie Jones from AFC Telford United, Zac McEachran from Banbury United and Horatio Hirst on loan from League One champions Sheffield United. Mamadou Fofana joins as a free agent having played for Barrow. Veteran striker Jefferson Louis has departed the Nomads at the age of 38.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Oxford City wins: 1 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings

25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1
29.10.2016 Dartford 1 Oxford City 0
23.04.2016 Dartford 2 Oxford City 2
15.09.2015 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1
04.11.2008 Oxford City 2 Dartford 4
01.11.2008 Dartford 3 Oxford City 3

Next Meetings

Saturday 18 August 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 24 March 2018 at Marsh Lane

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Poole Town

Founded: 1880 / Ground: Tatnam Ground

The surprise package of 2016/17 finishing in the top five but denied a playoff place due to required ground improvements. The Dolphins kicked on from their Southern Premier League title campaign with consistency and a decent brand of football. Now the ground grading has been resolved, the Dorset club will be hoping their time comes round again. With the expansion of the playoffs, Poole Town will want to prove last term was no fluke.

Last Season

National South: 5th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Steve Devlin (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 570 (9th in league / 60th in non-league)

The Manager – Tom Killick

Poole Town have been on the up since Tom Killick joined the Dorset club 13 years ago. Although he has won three Wessex League titles in a row, three Southern League Division One South and West championships, promotions and the Southern Premier League, last season was arguably up their with the best as the Dolphins exceeded expectations finishing in fifth.

The Summer

Marvin Brooks will be missed at the Tatnam Ground, the midfielder decided to join Salisbury City and drop two divisions. Tony Lee comes in from AFC Totton, but there has been very little change. Manager Tom Killick put trust in his Southern Premier League squad and will be content in doing so again. With new Chairman, Chris Reeves calling it a massive task to keep up with operational costs, Killick may well have to work with what he already has.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 16 / Poole Town wins: 15 / Draws: 5

Previous Meetings

29.04.2017 Poole Town 2 Dartford 3
03.12.2016 Dartford 2 Poole Town 1
14.03.1992 Dartford 4 Poole Town 0
02.11.1991 Poole Town 0 Dartford 0
06.04.1991 Poole Town 1 Dartford 0
24.11.1990 Dartford 0 Poole Town 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 2 December 2017 at Tatnam Ground

Saturday 10 March 2018 at Princes Park

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St Albans City

Founded: 1908 / Ground: Clarence Park

Two years ago, St Albans City were battling at the wrong end of the table until a tremendous run of form helped them steer to safety. The Saints survived with games to spare and their form continued into last term. The Hertfordshire club became promotion contenders and with Louie Theophanous netting the goals a top five finish looked good. Then, the striker left and the squad struggled in the second half of the campaign sinking down the standings to tenth.

Last Season

National South: 10th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi Final

League Top Scorer: Louie Theophanous (15 goals)

Average Attendance: 703 (6th in league / 46th in non-league)

The Manager – Ian Allinson

The man responsible for turning the Saints fortunes around last season, Ian Allinson now has a full campaign under his belt with the Hertfordshire club. The former Arsenal player has 28 years managerial experience and was very successful at Boreham Wood, leading them to the National League via two playoff triumphs. In October 2015, work commitments saw Allinson resign and take up a tough role at St Albans City. After guiding the Saints to safety, the 59 year old almost turned his side into title contenders, but early season promise dwindled.

The Summer

Former Dartford defender Tom Gardiner has been retained, the 22 year old moved to St Albans City due to work commitments in January. At the back he will join Tom Bender who also played for the Darts. Zane Banton has turned his loan spell from Luton Town into a permanent place at Clarence Park and former Cambridge City duo, Rhys Murrell Williamson and Dean Snedker have been added to the squad. Looking towards the divisions below, Percy Kiangebeni and Harold Joseph join from Enfield Town and Layne Eadie from Harlow Town.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 6 / St Albans City wins: 3 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings

25.03.2017 St Albans City 1 Dartford 0
08.11.2016 Dartford 0 St Albans City 2
30.04.2016 St Albans City 4 Dartford 0
06.02.2016 Dartford 2 St Albans City 0
02.04.2011 St Albans City 1 Dartford 2
22.03.2011 Dartford 2 St Albans City 2

Next Meetings

Saturday 28 October 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 3 February 2018 at Clarence Park

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Truro City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Treyew Road

From playoff semi-finalists to a tussle against the drop, the White Tigers have experienced the highs and lows of football in recent seasons. Relegated from the National South in 2013 and promoted as Southern Premier playoff winners in 2016, the Cornwall club have had two more contrasting campaigns since. Last time out they conceded 99 goals and must tighten their defence to avoid looking over their shoulder this time.

Last Season

National South: 19th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Andrew Neal (16 goals)

Average Attendance: 402 (16th in league / 97th in non-league)

The Manager – Lee Hodges

Leading the White Tigers to Southern Premier League glory was a highlight for Hodges seven years ago. Then the club’s financial situation worsened and their grip on National South stability loosened, eventually returning to the Southern Premier. Hodges lost his managerial role as the White Tigers couldn’t afford to keep him. After returning to the National South, the former Plymouth Argyle midfielder came back to Treyew Road reaching the playoffs before last season’s battle with relegation.

The Summer

Truro City welcome back forward Stuart Yetton who played over 300 games for the White Tigers, the 32 year old comes back after a spell with Torquay United. Also coming back to the club, Jordan Copp from Weymouth, Ed Palmer from Taunton Town and Ben Gerring from Bideford Town. Ben Harding switched this summer from Gosport Borough. Finally work begins on a new stadium due to be ready for the 2019/2020 season. Designed to share with rugby club Cornish Pirates, their new home is expected to be completed to Football League standards. Hard working midfielder Aaron Lamont, ‘busy midfielder’ Noah Keats and full back Bill Palfrey also make up the squad numbers. On loan from Exeter City will be defender Alex Hartridge.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Truro City wins: 3 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings

18.03.2017 Dartford 5 Truro  City 3
08.10.2016 Truro  City 0 Dartford 5
05.04.2016 Truro City 3 Dartford 0
19.09.2015 Dartford 0 Truro City 1
28.04.2012 Truro  City 1 Dartford 1
22.10.2011 Dartford 1 Truro  City 2

Next Meetings

Saturday 11 November 2017 at Treyew Road

Saturday 24 February 2018 at Princes Park

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Oxford City v Dartford

Dartford lost ground on the league leaders this week and will be looking to make it back up at Oxford City on Saturday

The Darts beat the Nomads in October with a brilliantly taken goal by Andy Pugh. The Dartford striker raced on to a flick on to delicately lob the ball over the Oxford City goalkeeper. Last term the away fixture saw the Darts suffer their only ever loss to Oxford City. Pugh was the goalscorer again when he broke the deadlock against a high flying Oxford City side, the score remained 1-0 at half time. The match turned around though when the Nomads made some changes to come back to win 2-1.

Last weekend, Tony Burman’s side were just a point behind league leaders Ebbsfleet United and second place Maidenhead United a week ago. A home defeat to playoff contenders Chelmsford City coupled with victories for the top two left the Darts further behind. Burman had to add academy players Richard Seixas and Shai Thorley-Porter to the bench with the youngsters featuring later on in the game, Michael Habte, another academy player was also named amongst the bench.

The squad has been left thin on the ground of late with the knee injury to Duane Ofori-Acheampong, Lee Noble coming back to fitness and Kaka Dembele going out on loan to Leatherhead. After midweek fixtures, Dartford are now seven points behind new leaders Maidenhead United and trail rivals Ebbsfleet United by five.

Oxford City are now led by Mark Jones who took charge just two months ago from Justin Merritt. The Nomads were six points above the drop in seventeenth and have since risen three places with a greater cushion of nine points on the teams in the relegation zone. Jones has changed supporting staff and signed centre back Jean Niate. Loan players from Oxford United have returned and others such as goalkeeper Tyrell Belford have left with Shaun McAuley and Tom Winters going out on loan.

Shipping players out has made way for new signings Kaiman Anderson, Wilson Carvalho and Ezra Forde. Already Jones admits he is building with one eye on next season but his priority is to keep the Nomads in the National South.

Last weekend, a 1-0 victory means Oxford City are now unbeaten in their last three league games. Lee Henderson scored the all important goal in a game that saw veteran Jefferson Louis return to the starting line up. The previous two games before beating Hemel Hempstead Town ended in 1-1 draws with Bath City and Wealdstone respectively.

Head to Head
Oxford City wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Current League Form
Oxford City (WDDLDL)
Won 1-0 v Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Drew 1-1 v Bath City (H)
Drew 1-1 v Wealdstone (A)
Lost 0-4 v Welling United (A)
Drew 3-3 v Concord Rangers (A)
Lost 2-3 v Truro City (A)

Dartford (LWWWWW)
Lost 0-1 v Chelmsford City
Won 4-0 v Gosport Borough (A)
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)

Previous Six Meetings
Dartford 1 Oxford City 0 (29/10/2016 – National South)
Dartford 2 Oxford City 1 (23/04/2016 – National South)
Oxford City 2 Dartford 1 (15/09/2015 – National South)
Oxford City 2 Dartford 4 (04/11/2008 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 3 Oxford City 3 (01/11/2008 – F.A Trophy)

Dartford v Oxford City

Dartford host their first game for just over a month when they welcome Oxford City to Princes Park this weekend.

The Darts have been on tour since their triumph over Concord Rangers at the end of September, travelling to the outskirts of London as well as back and forth from Kent to the West of England. During that time Tony Burman has overseen a perfect record and an eight match winning streak going back to 13 September.

Unbeaten at home this campaign the Darts will be full of confidence, especially after their latest away victory over Bath City. In a tight affair the National South fixture looked to be heading for a goalless draw until Luke Wanadio scored his third of the season to seal the three points. A fifth consecutive triumph on their travels in all competitions means Dartford are seventh in the league and a point off the playoffs.

Last term the Darts slipped up in their quest for a playoff spot when they played Oxford City. A last minute penalty from Elliot Bradbrook salvaged a point, but all three were needed to give Dartford a chance of reaching the top five. The spot kick was Bradbrook’s second of the afternoon, both of his goals came after Oxford City took the lead through Matty Wichelow then Julen Lafuente.

Oxford City started with promise last term outscoring the majority of opponents reaching second place in November. The rest of the campaign fizzled out as the club finished twelfth. This time the Nomads are closer to the relegation places and currently occupy eighteenth place, three points above the drop zone.

Justin Merritt’s side have only won twice since the opening day victory over Welling United, picking up just nine points from the last 42 available. Wins away to Bath City and Poole Town are the Nomads highlights so far, but on three separate occasions they have managed to lose three league games in a row. A 0-0 draw in a six pointer against Weston-super-Mare last weekend equals their best run this season of two league matches unbeaten.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 1 / Oxford City wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Current League Form
Dartford (WWWWDW)
Won 1-0 v Bath City
Won 5-0 v Truro City (A)
Won 2-1 v Concord Rangers (A)
Won 2-0 v Margate (A)
Drew 1-1 v East Thurrock United (A)
Won 2-1 v Welling United (H)

Oxford City (DWLLLD)
Drew 0-0 v Weston-super-Mare (H)
Won 3-1 v Poole Town (A)
Lost 0-1 v East Thurrock United (H)
Lost 0-3 v Whitehawk (A)
Lost 1-3 v Maidenhead United (H)
Drew 1-1 v Truro City (H)

Last Meetings
Dartford 2 Oxford City 1 (23/04/2016 – National South)
Oxford City 2 Dartford 1 (15/09/2015 – National South)
Oxford City 2 Dartford 4 (04/11/2008 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 3 Oxford City 3 (01/11/2008 – F.A Trophy)

Stats
Dartford have won eight games in a row in all competitions beating their best run since January 2012.

Another victory will equal the run set twenty years ago between 20 March 1996 and 27 April 1996. With eight Kent League wins and a Kent Senior Trophy triumph the Darts won nine in a row. The club record of ten consecutive wins was set just eight days before. If it wasn’t for a draw with Deal Town between the two winning streaks, a Dartford victory against the coastal club would have set a staggering record of 20 wins in a row.

The Darts have kept three clean sheets in a row for the first time since December. Dartford won three back to back away games 1-0 in the National South. This time the trio of away wins and clean sheets have came in league and cup with the Darts scoring nine without reply.

Only league leaders Maidenhead United (8) and local rival Ebbsfleet United (10) have conceded fewer goals than Dartford (12) in this season’s National South.

On This Day
Local rivals Ebbsfleet United visited Princes Park in a F.A Cup replay  three years ago. The fourth qualifying round tie ended with Dartford earning the bragging rights thanks to an Elliot Bradbrook winner from the spot. Victory ended a run of four straight loses on 29 October against Bromley in the F.A Cup fourth qualifying round five years ago, Stamford Town in 2005, Crawley Town in 1996 and Deal Town in the F.A Vase back in 1994. Prior the winless sequence the Darts had won six in a row between 1977 and 1991, proceeding to the F.A Cup first round on three occasions in 1983, 1988 and 1989.

National League South Season Preview 2016/2017 (O-T)

 Oxford City | Poole Town | St Albans City | Truro City

Oxford City

Founded: 1882 / Ground: Marsh Lane

Switched from the National North to the South at the beginning of last season, the Nomads were in their fourth season at this level. Oxford City with their Spanish influence started the campaign scoring goals and racking up the points. Up until mid November, only eventual relegated side Havant and Waterlooville had beaten them albeit twice. That left the Oxfordshire club in second spot and one of the front runners to keep pace with Ebbsfleet United. After their second defeat to the Hawks, Oxford City slipped down the table tasting victory just twice in the following fourteen attempts. Three consecutive wins including a 5-1 win versus Concord Rangers gave them a chance of a playoff place but then they took just two more points in their final eight matches. 

OCFCLast Season

National South: 12th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Runners-up

League Top Scorer: Bradley Bubb (18 goals)

The Manager – Justin Merrit

Ten years ago Justin Merritt became Player Manager for the Nomads in a spell that lasted almost three years. In that time Merritt guided Oxford City to the Southern Premier League beating Uxbridge in a playoff final. The first campaign in the higher division saw the club miss out on a top five finish by three points but they were unable to repeat the feat languishing in mid-table the following season’s. Merritt stepped down in August 2009 but returned two years ago, this time in the National North. Once again Merritt’s side missed out on a playoff spot by just a point this time and a switch to the National South started with promise before a mid-table finish. 

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Oxford City wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

23.04.2016 Dartford 2 Oxford City 2
15.09.2015 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1
04.11.2008 Oxford City 2 Dartford 4
01.11.2008 Dartford 3 Oxford City 3

Next Meetings

Saturday 29 October 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 25 February 2017 at Marsh Lane

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Poole Town

Founded: 1880 / Ground: Tatnam Ground

A year ago The Dolphins led the Southern Premier League going into the final game of the season. Their opponents Corby Town were second and the two met in a winner takes all showdown. Poole Town lost and were unable to recover in the playoffs. Last term, the Dorset club bounced back in style winning the championship. During the crucial run in, Poole Town dropped just two points in the final eight fixtures conceding just once. The Dolphins scored three or more in a game on fourteen occasions and kept 25 clean sheets, more than half of the league games they played.  

Last SeasonPooleTownFC

Southern Premier: 1st

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Qualifying Round

County Cup: Quarter-final

League Top Scorer: Marvin Brooks (16 goals)

The Manager – Tom Killick

Since joining Poole Town twelve years ago, the Dorset club have been looking upwards. In his first full season with the Dolphins, Killick led them to promotion, won three consecutive Wessex League titles and thee Southern League Division One South and West championship. Two years ago, Killick’s side were narrowly beaten to the Southern Premier League, his only other setback was a playoff defeat in 2012. The Poole Town boss responded by winning yet another title with Poole Town taking them to the National South. Over 600 games in charge of the Dorset club he has an impressive win ratio of 67%. 

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 14 / Poole Town wins: 15 / Draws: 5

Previous Meetings

14.03.1992 Dartford 4 Poole Town 0
02.11.1991 Poole Town 0 Dartford 0
06.04.1991 Poole Town 1 Dartford 0
24.11.1990 Dartford 0 Poole Town 0
14.03.1983 Dartford 0 Poole Town 1
08.03.1983 Poole Town 2 Dartford 3

Next Meetings

Saturday 3 December 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 29 April 2017 at Tatnam Ground

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St Albans City

Founded: 1908 / Ground: Clarence Park

If one team summed up St Albans City then it was Whitehawk. When the sides faced each other in October the Saints were thrashed 6-0. The Hertfordshire club spent the majority of the campaign battling the drop picking up a meagre five wins from their first thirty. The club looked doomed to relegation back to the Southern Premier League after a two year absence. In February the turning point arrived under the stewardship of the experienced Ian Allinson. It was St Albans City’s turn to thrash Whitehawk 6-0 and from then on they lost just two of their last dozen games, against the two promoted sides Sutton United and Maidstone United. Over their last three games they beat relegation rival Havant and Waterlooville 6-0 and signed of in style with a 4-0 victory over Dartford. 

stalbansLast Season

National South: 18th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: Louie Theophanus (18 goals)

The Managers – Ian Allinson

A seventeen year playing career including a five year spell with Arsenal and a managerial career spanning twenty seven years, Allinson is full of experience. The former Colchester United, Stoke City and Luton Town winger has had most of his success at Boreham Wood as a manager. In charge at the Wood from 2008, he won promotion twice through the playoffs taking the un-fancied Hertfordshire club to the National League. In October 2015 he resigned due to work commitments but was back in the dugout with rivals St Albans City. The 58 year old turned the Saints fortunes around leading them to National South safety winning eight out of fifteen league games since being at the helm.  

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 6 / St Albans City wins: 1 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings

30.04.2016 St Albans City 4 Dartford 0
06.02.2016 Dartford 2 St Albans City 0
02.04.2011 St Albans City 1 Dartford 2
22.03.2011 Dartford 2 St Albans City 2
25.11.2008 Dartford 1 St Albans City 1
22.11.2008 St Albans City 0 Dartford 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 15 October 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 25 March 2017 at Clarence Park

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Truro City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Treyew Road

If one club in the National South has been on a roller coaster ride over the last few years then it’s Truro City. Their speedy rise to the National South eventually led to financial problems resulting in relegation to the Southern Premier. Even though the White Tigers were absent for two years their return to the National South last term looked as though they were never away. In their first season back they reached the playoff semi-final and from February they maintained a top five place, finally finishing fourth. The hard work was done when they lost just one in 22 games between September and mid-March. Although the campaign ended with one win in seven the Cornwall club had a fine return. 

Truro-city-football-clubLast Season

National South: 4th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Did not enter

League Top Scorer: Isaac Vassell (10 goals)

The Manager – Lee Hodges

Three years ago Truro City parted company with Lee Hodges, which seemed harsh considering the state the club were in at the time. In 2010, he took over the White Tigers as Caretaker Manager and won the Southern Premier League title in his first season. In the National South the club nearly went out of business due to financial mismanagement meaning Hodges lost his job, the Cornwall club could no longer afford him. Now the former midfielder inherits a side back in the National South who reached the playoffs last term. Taking over from Steve Tully, Hodges will feel there in unfinished business at Treyew Road. 

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 0 / Truro City wins: 3 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings

05.04.2016 Truro City 3 Dartford 0
19.09.2015 Dartford 0 Truro City 1
28.04.2012 Truro  City 1 Dartford 1
22.10.2011 Dartford 1 Truro  City 2

Next Meetings

Saturday 8 October 2016 at Treyew Road

Saturday 18 March 2017 at Princes Park

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Dartford v Oxford City

Dartford have two games left to try and get into the playoffs, starting with their final home game against Oxford City.

The Darts are one of eight teams attempting to take the final two places whilst Oxford City’s chances ended last weekend. With Maidstone United and Ebbsfleet United set for the playoffs, Dartford could become the third Kent club making the top five.

Tony Burman watched his side drop two points to relegated Basingstoke Town last weekend in a 0-0 draw. He told www.dartford.com after the game: “It needed us to score early in the game to open things up a little bit. We huffed and puffed but the players gave a good account of themselves, we just couldn’t break the five man defence”.

With no midweek fixture Burman is hoping some respite may work to his squad’s advantage, he added: “It’s going to be a busy two weeks for some of the teams. It’s a welcome rest for us to get some of the players who have injuries to come back into the frame”.

Goalkeeper, Dean Gardikiotis made his debut replacing the Deren Ibrahim who was out with a dislocated shoulder. Barry Cogan missed out with a hamstring injury, Lee Noble with a groin strain and Callum McNaughton has a fractured metatarsal. Defender, Paul Lorraine was absent through illness and is still waiting his first start for the Darts. Danny Harris and Tom Bradbrook made the bench after suffering with injury problems recently.

Dartford have now lost just once in their last six outings and are now three unbeaten at Princes Park. The clean sheet against Basingstoke Town was the tenth for the Darts this term, their fifth at home.

The Darts current form has kept them in with a chance which pleases Burman, he commented: “I’m pleased we’re challenging for the playoffs that was the aim. We all know we’ve had two difficult years in the top league. I feel we’ve managed to come back this season and we’ve kept our own”, he continued: “It’s been strange league and we’ve done well, to go in to the last two games with something to play for, I think it’s a credit to the players”.

Earlier in the season when Burman’s side were finding their feet, the Darts faced a free scoring Oxford City team in second place. Ryan Hayes expertly found Andy Pugh to set up the only goal of the first half. Top scorers in the National South at the time, Oxford City pressed in the second half and were rewarded with an equaliser by Jon Arzamendi and a winner from Kynan Isaac.

Last weekend, Oxford City’s chances of reaching the playoffs took a final blow at the expense Hemel Hempstead Town. Both sides were eyeing up fifth spot in a game that drifted in the first half, but the Tudors hit two quick goals before half time through Morgan Ferrier and Graeme Montgomery. Hemel Hempstead Town added another in the second half courtesy of Michael Richens and Oxford City’s Lee Henderson made it 3-1.

City have been efficient in front of goal this term with Bradley Bubb the main marksman. The 27 year old has plenty of experience at this level with Havant and Waterlooville, Farnborough Town and Basingstoke Town. The Grenada international has scored 17 times for Oxford City this term and has football league experience as well.

Manager, Justin Merritt is about to complete a second campaign in charge and led City in the National North last term. Oxford City missed out of the playoffs by a point and inconsistencies this season could cost them again. Merritt’s side have brushed aside opponents at times beating Truro City 6-0 and Concord Rangers 5-1. They have drawn all three against the top two in the division, they host Sutton United on the final day. Yet City have failed to beat struggling teams Havant and Waterlooville, Hayes and Yeading United and Basingstoke Town, they also lost 5-2 to Weston-Super-Mare.

Up until mid-November it looked promising for Oxford City but two wins in 15 attempts derailed the side. After last weekend’s result, City have one point in their last six league outings.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Oxford City wins: 1 / Draws 1

Current League Form 

Dartford (DWLWDW) Oxford City (LLLDLL)
Basingstoke Town H 0-0 Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-3
Maidstone United A 2-1 Whitehawk A 0-2
Truro City A 0-3 Hayes & Yeading Utd H 2-2
Maidenhead United H 2-0 Bishop’s Stortford A 0-3
Ebbsfleet United A 1-1 Truro City H 1-2
Bishop’s Stortford H 3-1 Basingstoke Town A 0-2

Last Meeting at Princes Park

1 November 2008 – Dartford 3 Oxford City 3 – view highlights – attendance: 749

In a set of entertaining F.A Trophy Second Qualifying ties, Dartford’s Cody McDonald poached the opener after two minutes. The visitors levelled with a superb curling effort from Jon Gardner. McDonald headed the Darts back in front and completed a hat trick after half time. The visitors forced a replay with goals from Andy Gunn and a last minute header by Steve Jackman.

Previous Meetings (* – F.A Trophy)

12.12.2015 Oxford City 1 Dartford 2
04.11.2008* Oxford City 2 Dartford 4
01.11.2008* Dartford 3 Oxford City 3

Stats

Dartford last won their final home league game of the season five years ago against Dover Athletic. The Darts won 4-0 with two goals from Charlie Sheringham and one each from Tom Champion and Danny Harris.

15 – number of league goals scored at home by the Bradbrook brothers. Tom has netted eight times at Princes Park in the National South this season, one more than Elliot. The total scored by the duo account for 45% of Dartford’s league goals scored at home.

30 – points taken by the Darts at home this season, the best return since the 2012/13 campaign in the National League

1039 – the average league attendance at Princes Park this season.

2251 – highest attendance at home this term when the Darts played Ebbsfleet United on 31 August 2015

738 – lowest league attendance at Princes Park versus Havant and Waterlooville on 5 December 2015

On This Day

Dartford won eleven of their last thirteen matches on 23 March stretching back to 1964. Margate are the only team to beat the Darts when they met six years ago. Gravesend and Northfleet were lucky enough to get a draw in 1971 when the sides met in the Kent Floodlight Cup. Gateshead were the last team to be beaten by Dartford when a Ryan Hayes inspired performance earned the Darts three points in the Conference Premier. After coming on as a substitute Hayes scored two and set up Charlie Sheringham in a 3-0 win. Between 1974 and 2004, the Darts won five in a row beating Fleet Town (2004), Sittingbourne (2002), Northwich Victoria (1985), Romford (1976) and Chelmsford City (1974). Folkestone Town and Gloucester City were the other sides defeated by Dartford in 1970 and 1968 respectively.

Oxford City v Dartford

Dartford meet Oxford City for the first time in seven years this week hoping to record consecutive wins.

For the first time the two sides are up against each other in a league fixture, having previously played in two entertaining F.A Trophy second qualifying matches. The Darts won a replay at Marsh Lane 4-2 having drew 3-3 at Princes Park, back in 2008.

The Darts form has been somewhat mixed this season leaving them mid table. Approaching Saturday’s home game, the Darts had gone two matches without scoring which almost stretched to three. Weston Super Mare were the weekend’s visitors and they almost went home with all three points.

Ronnie Vint’s defensive error let in Dayle Grubb with ten minutes to go who put the Seagulls a goal up. Sitting bottom of the league, Weston Super Mare were hoping to get off the foot of the table. A late Dartford fightback turned round fortunes, Danny Harris headed the equaliser from a corner with two minutes remaining and a Clayton Fortune own goal cruelly snatched victory away from the visitors. The Darts continue their run of not recording a successive win, lose or draw this term.

Tony Burman highlighted the importance set pieces played in the win, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “We’ve said about the importance of the restarts, set-pieces, it’s something we’ve been strong at for most of the season and it’s paid off in the end”.

The Dartford boss was confident of turning the deficit around even without playing well, he added: “I believed we could get back into the game, even though we went 1-0 down. It showed good character to do that especially after the two chances that we missed prior to getting the goal back”, he continued: “People have got to realise what level we’re playing at. As much as you want to play lovely football, at the end of the day, you have to get a result”.

Noble who took part in an under 21 match last week returned to first team action after recovering from a chest infection. Lee Burns was suspended allowing Vint to start in the defensive back four. Barry Cogan had to settle for a place on the bench whilst Kaka Dembele made his second successive start.

If questions have been asked about the attacking prowess of the Darts, the same can’t be said about Tuesday’s opponents Oxford City. The Nomads are the current top scorers with 20 goals including a 6-0 away win at Truro City.

Another away victory at Concord Rangers on Saturday kept Oxford City in a healthy third spot. The 2-0 triumph was their fourth consecutive clean sheet. Summer signing Julen Fafuente opened the scoring and former Dart, Max Cornhill scored an own goal.

Last season was spent in the National North where they finished sixth. Under Justin Merrit and head coach Enrique Guillen their has been a Spanish vibe at Marsh Lane. A trio of Spaniards joined the club over the summer Jon Arzamendi, Carlos Pifarre and Fafuente to add to the three already there.

Dartford will be familiar with coming up against striker Bradley Bubb, the Grenadian international was at Farnborough and Basingstoke Town the last time the Darts played at National South level. Bubb, who signed from Havant and Waterlooville in the summer has scored five goals this season.

Previous Meetings

4 November 2008 –  Oxford City 2 Dartford 4 – view highlights

Another six goals but this time Dartford came out on top. City’s Jon Gardner put the hosts in the lead which was cancelled out by Cody McDonald’s fourth of the tie. Steve Butterworth, Lee Noble and once more McDonald again increased the Darts advantage. James Saulsbury’s spot kick halved the deficit for Oxford City as the match ended 4-2.

1 November 2008 – Dartford 3 Oxford City 3 – view highlights

In a set of entertaining F.A Trophy Second Qualifying ties, Dartford’s Cody McDonald poached the opener after two minutes. The visitors levelled with a superb curling effort from Jon Gardner. McDonald headed the Darts back in front and completed a hat trick after half time. The visitors forced a replay with goals from Andy Gunn and a last minute header by Steve Jackman.

Current League Form

Oxford City (WDWWLD) Dartford (WDLWLW)
Concord Rangers  A  2-0 Weston Super Mare  H  2-1
Whitehawk  H  0-0 Bath City  A  0-0
Truro City  A  6-0 Ebbsfleet United  H  0-1
Weston Super Mare  H  3-0 Margate  A  2-0
Havant & Waterlooville  A  1-2 Gosport Borough  H  2-3
Basingstoke Town  H  2-2 Concord Rangers  A  3-2

On This Day

Dartford’s return to the now named National League hit one of many high points three years ago. Hosting recently relegated Hereford United, another experienced Football League side, the home fans may not have been quite ready for what was in store. The Darts brushed the Bulls aside in a confident 4-0 win with goals from Ryan Hayes, James Rogers, Danny Harris and Jon Wallis. The previous two fixtures on 15 September ended 1-1 both in the F.A Cup first qualifying round. In 2007, Dartford were held by Sittingbourne and six years before that Deal Town.