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Dartford v Poole Town

Only ten games remain in Dartford’s pursuit of the National South title and next up is the home fixture against Poole Town.

The Darts won 1-0 in the previous encounter back in December with Richard Sho-Silva’s winning header. The defender is currently out of action after an injury he picked up whilst playing for VCD Athletic. Last time at Princes Park, Dartford scored two first half goals in quick succession, Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Luke Wanadio put the Darts in the driving seat before Luke Parker pulled a late goal back for the Dolphins.

Dartford build up this weekend’s game on the back of consecutive wins and a week off. Following two straight defeats, the Darts bounced back coming from a goal down to triumph 2-1 away at Wealdstone, then followed that up with more success against Truro City. A week later, the snowy weather conditions gave every team in the division a break, as the National South fixture list was completely wiped out last weekend.

After manager, Tony Burman urged players and supporters to ‘pull in the right direction’ the Darts recorded their eleventh home league win this season a fortnight ago. Victory over Truro City extended Dartford’s lead at the top of the National South to four points after closest rivals Havant and Waterlooville drew 0-0 with Hemel Hempstead Town. The deficit was then cut last Tuesday when the Hawks beat Gloucester City to overtake Hampton and Richmond Borough in the table into second, three points behind the Darts.

Burman missed the 4-1 triumph over Truro City on Saturday through illness leaving assistant manager Paul Sawyer in charge. Danny Harris made his 300th start for the club and Elliot Bradbrook became only the ninth player to reach 400 appearances. An achievement the Dartford captain is proud of, he told www.kentishfootball.co.uk: “I have been lucky enough to have been part of the most exciting and successful periods in the club’s history and it’s honestly been a great privilege”, he added: “Dartford is my home-town club and it’s very special to me, so it’s been great to have spent the majority of my career here and most of it as team captain”.

Lee Noble, Ronnie Vint missed out on a starting place as the Darts lined up in a positive 4-3-3 formation, Alfie Pavey, Danny Mills and Andy Pugh up front. Meanwhile, Ofori-Acheampong has struggled with a tight hamstring but is hopeful to be back in contention this weekend.

Pugh scored in the first half with a superb volley from the edge of the box and in the second half three more goals were added. Alex Brown scored within a minute of the restart and Danny Mills added another a minute later. A fortuitous own goal added number four, but Darts goalkeeper Berti Schotterl was denied his first clean sheet when Niall Thompson scored a stunner in stoppage time.

Sawyer was pleased with the performance and the confidence the players showed, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “I thought we played extremely well, especially in the second half”, he continued: “In the first half we had to dig in because the wind was really strong…We got a great goal from Pughy and the hope at half-time is that you’ll come out second half and take advantage of those conditions – and we did. I thought we should have scored more goals but we played some lovely football”.

The teams chasing Dartford at the summit have games in hand but Sawyer remains focus on what his club has to do, he commented: “We can’t do a lot about what happens elsewhere. It’s for Havant to lose at the moment. They’ve got the games in hand and all we can do is look after our own performances”.

Striker, Danny Mills has scored twice in his last two games and he told www.kentonline.co.uk that the result versus Truro City has given the Darts confidence, he said: “I think we showed on Saturday that we’re definitely title contenders,” he added: “That was definitely a message. We’ve beaten a team who are in the play-offs and we’ve shown how good we can be on the day”, he continued: “There’s no doubt in my mind that we can go and win this league”.

Poole Town have followed up last season’s surprise performance, when they finished in a playoff spot, with a campaign of struggle. The Dolphins missed out on taking part in the playoffs last term due to ground grading and this time they find themselves in the bottom three fighting relegation. The Dorset club are four points from safety but still have three of the bottom six to play.

The Dolphins have lost their last three league games without scoring in their last two outings. Poole Town’s last victory came at the end of January against their closest relegation rivals Chippenham Town. Tom Killick’s side have heavily relied on the goals of Warren Bentley to keep them in touch, the striker was signed from Hungerford Town and was a prolific scorer for his former side Winchester City, where he scored 113 goals in two seasons, Bentley has netted 16 times this term.

For a team in the bottom three, the Dolphins away record reads like a mid-table side, but they have only taken two points from teams in the top six all season, scoring just three times and conceding 12.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 17 / Poole Town wins: 15 / Draws: 5

Current League Form

Dartford (WWLLWD) Poole Town (LLLDWW)
Truro City H 4-1 Braintree Town A 0-1
Wealdstone A 2-1 Eastbourne Borough H 0-4
Chelmsford City H 1-2 Havant & Waterlooville H 1-3
St Albans City A 0-4 Gloucester City A 2-2
Whitehawk H 3-1 Chippenham Town H 2-0
Chippenham Town A 2-2 Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-0

Previous Meetings

02.12.2017 Poole Town 1 Dartford 2
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

Stats
Dartford have won their last four matches against Poole Town scoring 10 and conceding 3. The previous four meetings ended with the Darts failing to score when they drew two and lost two.

The Darts have lost one of the last six home games against the Dolphins and just two in the last 13 home and away (W8, D3, L2).

Tom Bonner will make his 250th start for Dartford if selected in the first eleven.

If Ryan Hayes is a used substitute he will make his 150th appearance from off the bench.

On This Day
Ryan Hayes scored a Princes Park hat-trick against Croydon Athletic in the Isthmian Division One South fixture. The wingers first came from the penalty spot but his next strike was pure quality. On the corner of the 18 yard box, Hayes flicked the ball behind his standing leg before curling a shot in trademark fashion. His hat-trick was completed when he tucked away a one on one chance to clinch a 3-0 win for the Darts. Five years later, Jacob Erskine helped Dartford overcome an in form Farnborough at Princes Park. Still in the title race with Woking, the Darts hosted a Boro side who had one six on the bounce. Yet it took 18 minutes to break the deadlock when Erskine rounded the goalkeeper for his first. The striker repeated the trick early in the second half and a last minute third by Tony Garrod, against his former side made it 3-0.

Poole Town v Dartford

Dartford travel to the Jurassic coast this weekend starting the day top of the National South when they visit Poole Town.

If their last trip to Tatnam Road is anything to go by, then it should be an entertaining afternoon. The Darts played their final game of last season against the Dolphins needing a win to clinch third place. Andy Pugh’s ninth minute tap in set Dartford on their way. However, Poole Town came from behind with a headed goal by Marvin Brooks and a second from Steve Devlin before half time. The game swung in second half injury time when Tom Murphy hooked the ball over his head from close range, then six minutes into stoppage time Lee Noble lashed home a winner.

Despite leading the National South table, Dartford’s advantage is minimal with the top eight separated by just four points. Recent form has been patchy with the last four results showing the Darts inconsistencies at the moment. Last weekend a late 2-1 F.A Trophy victory versus Brentwood Town masked the performance, Lee Noble scoring the winner against his former club who play two divisions below. The midfielder, who was sent off in the last league match, a 3-3 draw with Wealdstone, is suspended this weekend.

The two previous fixtures saw Dartford beat Gloucester City 4-1 at home but lose 3-1 down at Truro City. During the week manager, Tony Burman spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “The league is crying out for someone to go on a run. Each week, the results become stranger for the teams in the top few places and I’ve got to really start to look at it”, he added: “We’ve got to start trying to be consistent. We’ve done all right but I want better than all right and the players know that”, he continued: “Some of the performances have been below-par and you have to go through that in a season. Hopefully, you put things right and I’m sure we’ll be able to do that and have a run where we’re picking up wins instead of draws”.

Poole Town would have made the playoffs last season, but ground grading prevented them from participating. After winning the Southern League the year before, a fifth place finish was a great achievement for the club. This season they have failed to win at home picking up just three points out of 27 available. The opportunity for Dartford to improve their away form is their for the taking but Burman remains cautious, he commented: “Poole are a good side and they’re playing a lot better than their league position suggests. It’s a big pitch down there and I’m expecting a tough game. We’ve got to go to these away games and start picking up more points. Rather than drawing, we’ve got to try to win the games”.

The Dolphins went out of the F.A Trophy last weekend losing 3-1 to St Albans City and on Tuesday they won a Dorset Senior Cup game 10-2 against Hamworthy United. Manager Tom Killick, now in his thirteenth year can look towards the 4-0 away win at Eastbourne Borough at the start of the month for inspiration, however his side have lost their last two league games without scoring.

Warren Bentley signed for Poole Town this term and is their main goal threat, scoring 11 goals in 15 games in all competitions. The striker was prolific at Winchester City before joining Gosport Borough and then Hungerford Town. Bentley is only one league goal behind Dartford’s top scorer Alfie Pavey who has netted 11 National South goals this campaign.

The recent run of results has led to Poole Town chairman, Chris Reeves urging fans to turn up this weekend. In a statement published on www.pooletownfc.co.uk, he said: “If on Saturday against league leaders Dartford there is a bumper turnout of fans, all showing absolute backing and encouragement for a group of players who in the last few seasons have given us so much, that could be the very thing that makes the difference”.

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

Current League Form

Poole Town (LLWDLW) Dartford (DWLWWL)
Hampton & Richmond A 0-1 Wealdstone H 3-3
Braintree Town H 0-3 Gloucester City H 4-1
Eastbourne Borough A 4-0 Truro City A 1-3
Concord Rangers H 1-1 St Albans City H 2-1
Gloucester City H 0-3 Bath City A 2-1
Havant & Waterlooville A 2-2 Chelmsford City A 0-1

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

Stats
Dartford have lost three of their last four away games in the National South

The Darts have won four of the last six away matches against Poole Town (D1, L1)

Dartford have conceded in each of their last four away games in the league

The Darts have played only three teams currently in the bottom half of the table away from home this season. Whitehawk and Bath City were beaten but Dartford lost to Weston-super-Mare.

On This Day
A second round Kent Senior Trophy win against Folkestone Invicta took place 22 years ago. The Darts won the second round tie 1-0 against one of the favourites. Dean Bowey scored the winner in front of a crowd of 327. Victory kick started Dartford’s run to the final after beating Whitstable Town 2-1, Furness 1-0 then claim the trophy with a 3-0 win over Chatham Town. Since then, in 2006 Dartford have beaten Fleet Town 3-0 thanks to a Brendon Cass hat-trick. Two years later Dartford beat Margate 3-2 in the Isthmian League Cup second round, Sean Eferakorho, Rob Haworth and Ryan Hayes all getting a goal. The last match on 2 December was in 2014 when the Darts lost 2-0 in the National League against Eastleigh.

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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Poole Town v Dartford

Dartford will prepare for the National South playoffs by travelling to Poole Town for their final league game of the season.

Tony Burman’s men went out on a Princes Park high last weekend with a 4-0 win over basement boys Bishop’s Stortford. our different players found the net, Andy Pugh, Elliot Bradbrook, Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Alfie Pavey. It was a fantastic way to celebrate an afternoon which saw Bradbrook crowned Player of the Year and Ofori-Acheampong collecting the Leach?Towersey Memorial Shield.

Dartford’s fate may well be known to some extent in that take on Chelmsford City, but with the sides level on points both will be trying to finish third for a second leg home advantage. Captain, Bradbrook told www.kentonline.co.uk: “I’d much rather finish third than fourth to have the second leg here rather than away”, he added: “We can start looking ahead to those play-off games but we need to try and finish third so we’ve got two big games to finish off”.

Away form has dipped in recent months with the club without a win in six attempts collecting four points from 18, their worst away run this campaign. Despite the downturn on their travels, Burman expressed his delight at securing at least a top four finish, he also spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “At the start of the season if you look at the financial table, we weren’t top or third, we were around eighth or 10th”, he continued: “That’s why I’m delighted with what we’ve done. On and off the field, we should be proud of the team because we’ve had a good group this year”.

Opponents, Poole Town have had an excellent campaign in their first season back at this level. Promoted as Southern League champions last term, the Dolphins have held their own and more in the National South. The Dorset club will want to prove a point by finishing in the top five despite being rejected for a place in the Playoffs. Five games without a win has coincided with the news Poole Town cannot take part in the end of season finale due to standards to their ground. The Dolphins will definitely be playing National South football next term.

Over the course of this season, they were the first to defeat table toppers Maidenhead United, thrashed Gosport Borough 7-0 in the New Year and have the fourth best defence in the division. They have lacked goals for a top half side but Steve Devlin has still managed 14 goals for the Dolphins this season. Currently on an unbeaten home run of seven, their best during 2016/2017, Poole Town will be hoping to lift the mood by making it eight.

Earlier in the season, Dartford beat Poole Town at Princes Park when Ofori-Acheampong headed in Lee Noble’s free kick and within a couple of minutes Luke Wanadio made it two. Poole Town halved the deficit causing trouble for the Darts in the second half but Burman’s men held on.

The Darts will want to end their six year final game blues to carry momentum into the playoff semi-final against Chelmsford City. Dartford last tasted victory on the last day of a league season back in 2011.

Head to Head
Poole Town wins: 25 / Dartford wins: 15 / Draws: 5

Current League Form
Poole Town (LLDLDW)
Lost 0-2 v Whitehawk (A)
Lost 0-3 v Bath City (A)
Drew 1-1 v Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Lost 0-3 v Chelmsford City (A)
Drew 1-1 v Hungerford Town (H)
Won 2-1 v Concord Rangers (H)

Dartford (WDLWWD)
Won 4-0 v Bishop’s Strotford (H)
Won 3-1 v Hampton and Richmond (H)
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)

Previous Meetings
Dartford 2 Poole Town 1 (03/12/2016 – National South)
Dartford 2 Poole Town 0 (14/03/1992 – Southern League Premier)
Poole Town 0 Dartford 0 (02/11/1991 – Southern League Premier)
Poole Town 1 Dartford 0 (06/04/1991 – Southern League Premier)
Dartford 0 Poole Town 0 (24/11/1990 – Southern League Premier)
Dartford 0 Poole Town 1 (14/03/1983 – Southern League Premier)

Dartford League Stats 2016/2017
Biggest Win: 6-1 v East Thurrock United (Home) / 5-0 v Truro City (Away)
Biggest Loss: 0-2 v St Albans City (Home) / 0-5 v Maidenhead United (Away)
Most Consecutive Wins: 6 (07/01/2017 to 11/02/2017)
Most Consecutive Draws: 2 (13/08/2016 to 16/08/2016 & 25/02/2017 to 28/02/2017)
Most Consecutive Losses: 1 (on eight occasions)
Clean Sheets: 15
Failed to Score: 10

On This Day
Ricky Bennett scored four as Dartford swept aside Faversham Town 6-0 in the Kent League back on 29 April 1995. Since reforming the Darts are unbeaten in their two away matches on this day. Seventeen years ago was the match away to Tonbridge Angels in the Southern League Southern Division, the Darts ran out 4-2 winners. A year before the millennium, Dartford drew 1-1 with Havant and Waterlooville.

Dartford v Poole Town

A return to league action kick starts December as Dartford host Southern Premier League champions Poole Town.

The fixture brings back memories of the two sides meeting regularly during their Southern League days in the seventies, eighties and nineties. The last time the Darts faced the Dolphins was way back in March 1992 when Dartford won 4-0 at Watling Street.

This season both clubs are challenging for the playoffs with goal difference separating them. Dartford occupy the last spot in fifth place with Poole Town close behind in sixth.

Dartford kept up their recent form in an excellent 4-2 win at Weston-super-Mare on Saturday. The Darts progressed to the F.A Trophy first round but had to do it with ten men. Falling behind to a Bradley Ash goal, Dartford equalised when Andy Pugh scored just before half time. The second half belonged to Elliot Bradbrook who kept up his extraordinary cup scoring form. The captain put Dartford in front before Tom Bonner was sent off and Weston-super-Mare levelled from the spot. Bradbrook replied by giving his side the lead then completed his hat-trick to round off a fine afternoon for the Darts. The captain has now netted ten goals in just six cup games this season.

Over the last ten league games, Dartford top the form guide and other than a defeat to St Albans City they have won eight in that time with six clean sheets along the way. In fact, St Albans City are the only side to breach Dartford’s goal in the league in the last six matches. The Darts last outing in the National South ended in a 3-0 victory against Bishop’s Stortford adding to the 2-0 triumph over Hemel Hempstead Town.

Poole Town were also involved in the F.A Trophy third qualifying round scraping a 1-1 draw with Southern Premier League side Weymouth. The Dolphins avoided an upset with an injury time equaliser from Lewis Lindsay, the Terras led at half time through a Dean Evans header. The replay on Tuesday night ended with Weymouth causing an upset.

Having claimed the Southern Premier League crown last season, Poole Town have started this campaign positively. Sam Surridge’s seven league goals in seven starts and five substitute appearances have given the Dorset side more firepower up front. The loanee from AFC Bournemouth netted a hat-trick in the Dolphins impressive 4-0 win over Chelmsford City at the beginning of November. Defeat away to Concord Rangers was followed up with victory over Whitehawk in their last National South fixture.

Manager Tom Killick, in charge for the last 12 years has engineered a change in fortune for the South Coast club. Dropping out of the Southern League in 1996 with just an embarrassing one point and 188 goals conceded, Poole Town spent the next 15 years in the Hampshire and Wessex Leagues. Appointed in May 2004, Killick led the Dolphins to three consecutive Wessex League titles between 2008 and 2011, the Southern League Division One South and West championship and last season’s Southern Premier League crown. Never finishing lower than eighth, Killick has three runners up medals too.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 14 / Poole Town wins: 25 / Draws: 5

Current League Form
Dartford (LWWWWW)
Won 3-0 v Bishop’s Stortford (A)
Won 2-0 v Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Lost 0-2 v St Albans City (H)
Won 1-0 v Oxford City (H)
Won 1-0 v Bath City (A)
Won 5-0 v Truro City (A)

Poole Town (WLWDWL)
Won 3-1 v Whitehawk (H)
Lost 2-3 v Concord Rangers (A)
Won 4-0 v Chelmsford City (H)
Drew 1-1 v East Thurrock United (H)
Won 1-0 v Hungerford Town (A)
Lost 1-3 v Oxford City (H)

Previous Meetings
Dartford 2 Poole Town 0 (14/03/1992 – Southern League Premier)
Poole Town 0 Dartford 0 (02/11/1991 – Southern League Premier)
Poole Town 1 Dartford 0 (06/04/1991 – Southern League Premier)
Dartford 0 Poole Town 0 (24/11/1990 – Southern League Premier)
Dartford 0 Poole Town 1 (14/03/1983 – Southern League Premier)
Poole Town 2 Dartford 3 (08/03/1983 – Southern League Premier)

 

On This Day
Challenging at the top end of the National South, Dartford hosted rivals Dover Athletic five years ago and took the bragging rights. In front of over 1500 fans, the Darts brushed aside their opponents with goals from Adam Green, Ryan Hayes and Elliot Bradbrook in a 3-1 win. A trip to Forest Green Rovers was the last time Dartford played on 3 December just three years ago, the Darts went out in a F.A Trophy replay losing 1-0.

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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