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National League South Season Preview 2017/18 – Part V

 Wealdstone | Welling United | Weston-super-Mare | Whitehawk

Wealdstone

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Vale Stadium

A late surge coupled with Poole Town and Hungerford Town unable to participate in the playoffs, almost saw the Stones sneak a shot at promotion. However, the Middlesex club were unable to nudge past Hampton and Richmond Borough so ended the campaign in a respectable eighth. Wealdstone will feel they have a greater chance this time around as the top seven will take part in the end of season playoffs.

Last Season

National North: 8th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Runners Up

League Top Scorer: Elliot Benyon (16 goals)

Average Attendance: 734 (5th in league / 43rd in non-league)

The Manager – Gordon Bartlett

The longest serving manager in the National South having joined the Stones in the Summer of 1995, playing in the Isthmian Division Three without a home. Bartlett was put under pressure last term but still managed to almost gatecrash the playoffs. An experienced manager with three promotions and an F.A Trophy semi-final appearance whilst with the Middlesex club, Bartlett’s chances of guiding Wealdstone to the National League have increased now finishing seventh is good enough to reach the playoffs.

The Summer

Experienced heads have been retained with the likes of Eddie Oshodi, Elliott Benyon and Ricky Wellard signing for another year. Former Dartford full back, Josh Hill made a switch from Chelmsford City, Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick moved from Hampton and Richmond Borough and Jerome Okimo from Braintree Town. Looking towards the league’s below, Bartlett has also signed Benji Crilley from Chesham United and Abobaker Eisa from Uxbridge. Returning to action after time out from the game will be defender Liam Harwood.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 12 / Wealdstone wins: 13 / Draws: 12

Previous Meetings

28.01.2017 Wealdstone 0 Dartford 4
06.08.2016 Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2
26.01.2016 Dartford 1 Wealdstone 2
03.10.2015 Wealdstone 2 Dartford 1
21.02.2012 Wealdstone 1 Dartford 0
14.02.2012 Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2

Next Meetings

Saturday 4 November 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 17 February 2018 at Vale Stadium

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Welling United

Founded: 1963 / Ground: Park View Road

Relegated to the National South just over a year ago, the Wings were probably expecting to perform better last season considering they gained three years National League experience. The goal scoring form of Adam Coombes who netted 20 times was missed in the latter stages of the campaign. Stability is a word the Wings would welcome after managers have been and gone over the last year.

Last Season

National South: 16th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Runners Up

League Top Scorer: Adam Coombes (20 goals)

Average Attendance: 536 (11th in league / 68th in non-league)

The Manager – Jamie Coyle

A former full back with Dartford, Coyle has been part of successful teams including the Darts title winning campaigns in 2008 and 2010 making 140 appearances under Tony Burman scoring 19 times. He also experienced promotion with Maidstone United and played for Welling United six years ago. Coyle started out coaching whilst with the Darts working with the academy and now he’ll be eager to impress in his first managerial role.

The Summer

Welling United will have a familiar look about them to Dartford fans. Coyle has kept in contact with his former club and signed Alfie Pavey and brought back Tom Bradbrook to the world of football, after his brief retirement. Chairman, Mark Goldberg will be overseeing his son’s progress as Bradley Goldberg joins from Bromley. Returning to Park View Road will be Joe Healey and Jack Parkinson both previously with Dover Athletic. Conor Dymond also joins from Bromley whilst Jack Parter and Ian Gayle come in from Tonbridge Angels. After a spell in Ireland with Cork City, Cristian Nanetti signed to join the Wings squad.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 17 / Welling United wins: 7 / Draws: 10

Previous Meetings

28.02.2017 Welling United 0 Dartford 0
22.11.2016 Welling United 2 Dartford 2
06.09.2016 Dartford 2 Welling United 1
19.10.2015 Dartford 3 Welling United 1
11.11.2014 Dartford 2 Welling United 1
30.09.2014 Welling United 2 Dartford 2

Next Meetings

Tuesday 26 December 2017 at Park View Road

Monday 1 January 2018 at Princes Park

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Weston-super-Mare

Founded: 1887 / Ground: Woodspring Stadium

If there is one team guaranteed to be in the National South, it’s Weston-super-Mare. The only side to have taken part in every National South campaign since its creation in 2004. Apart from being reprieved on two occasions they have rarely threatened to leave the second tier of non-league. Last term they finished strongly rattling in the goals, but still finished in the bottom half.

Last Season

National South: 15th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Runners Up

League Top Scorer: Dayle Grubb (19 goals)

Average Attendance: 435 (15th in league / 91st in non-league)

The Manager – Marc McGregor

Excited by his new role as Seagulls boss, Marc McGregor returns to the Woodspring Stadium having played for the club. He’s been player coach at Worcester City and represented Oxford United and Notts County on the pitch too. After a spell at Forest Green Rovers McGregor earned a move to Queens Park Rangers but injury cut his full-time career short. The new Weston-super-Mare boss managed to have playing spells with Tamworth and Hinckley United before going into coaching.

The Summer

Danny Greenslade will be playing in Weston-super-Mare shirt after joining from Bristol Rovers. The Seagulls will miss Bradley Ash who was on loan from Barnsley last season and has returned to his parent club. It took a while for the summer activity to come to fruition and when it did the Seagulls secured the services of Jarrad Welch, Ben Seymour, Jake Mawford and Tristan Plummer.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / Weston-Super-Mare wins: 2 /  Draws: 4

Previous Meetings

17.01.2017 Dartford 3 Weston-Super-Mare 2
26.11.2016 Weston-Super-Mare 2 Dartford 4
20.08.2016 Weston-Super-Mare 1 Dartford 2
05.03.2016 Weston-Super-Mare 2 Dartford 1
13.09.2015 Dartford 2 Weston-Super-Mare 1
12.11.2011 Dartford 1 Weston-Super-Mare 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 23 September 2017 at Woodspring Stadium

Saturday 7 April 2018 at Princes Park

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Whitehawk

Founded: 1945 / Ground: Enclosed Ground

Tough times have hot the Sussex club highlighted by the managerial merry-go-round last season. The Hawks went through five managers and almost 50 players last term alone. For a club that made F.A Cup headlines just over a year ago, Whitehawk have fallen rapidly with a former club president imprisoned and rumours of cashflow issues. The 2014/15 playoff runners up hit their peak in that season almost making it four promotions in six campaigns, now progress has halted the Sussex club need to find stability.

Last Season

National South: 17th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Danny Mills (16 goals)

Average Attendance: 297 (21st in league / 139th in non-league)

The Manager – Jimmy Dack

A former midfielder who knows his way around the non-league scene, Jimmy Dack spent his playing days in Surry and Hampshire with Sutton United, Carshalton Athletic, Aldershot Town and Farnborough Town. Spells in Sussex with Crawley Town means he has already travelled most of the Southern counties. Dack was appointed in January after being Andy Woodman’s assistant and he will be hoping to last longer than the last four managers of the Hawks.

The Summer

The loss of top striker Danny Mills is a huge blow for Whitehawk, the 26 year old has joined Ebbsfleet United. Experienced midfielder Sergio Torres leaves for Eastbourne Borough and Michael West has gone to Chelmsford City along with Elliot Omozusi. Academy players have been given the opportunity with no less than seven under 18’s joining the senior squad, perhaps a sign of the budget cuts at the Enclosed Ground. Connor Tighe has signed from Brighton and Hove Albion, Alex Tokarczyk from Basingstoke Town and Ed Sanders from Gosport Borough. Boosting the squad number another four signed, defenders Tom Cadnam and Ed Wakley as well as forwards Papa Gueye and Bayan Fenwick joined the list of Hawks players.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 /Whitehawk wins: 3 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

04.02.2017 Dartford 3 Whitehawk 1
10.08.2016 Whitehawk 1 Dartford 0
12.03.2016 Dartford 2 Whitehawk 4
19.12.2015 Whitehawk 0 Dartford 1
28.11.2015 Dartford 1 Whitehawk 2
04.09.1982 Dartford 5 Whitehawk 2

Next Meetings

Tuesday 5 September 2017 at Enclosed Ground

Saturday 27 January 2018 at Princes Park

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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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National League South Season Preview 2017/18 – Part III

 Gloucester City | Hampton and Richmond Borough | Havant and Waterlooville | Hemel Hempstead Town | Hungerford Town

Gloucester City

Founded: 1883 / Ground: Jubilee Stadium

After eight years in the National North and a decade in exile, Gloucester City made a switch to the National South this summer. Consistent mid-table finishers, the Tigers lost their Meadow Park home during the Gloucestershire floods in 2007. Since then they have shared grounds with Forest Green Rovers, Cirencester Town, Cheltenham Town and this year they are homed at Evesham. In October, the Tigers received full planning permission to build a new stadium from the council and hope to build a new legacy.

Last Season

National North: 10th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Luke Hooper (19 goals)

Average Attendance: 483 (19th in league / 76th in non-league)

The Manager – Tim Harris

Returning to Gloucester City as manager in February 2014, Tim Harris has experience of the National South with Newport County. After a playing career with Shrewsbury Town, Cheltenham Town and Redditch United, Harris has also managed Merthyr Tydfil and Forest Green Rovers. Having experienced both the National North and South, he knows the leagues are equally competitive and his side need to be ready for the new challenge.

The Summer

Will Morford is the man to replace 19 goal striker Luke Hopper, who joined Hungerford Town. Morford will work as a player coach having made the move from Shortwood United. George Forsyth couldn’t break into the Kidderminster Harriers side and will now try to impress for the Tigers. Kieran Parselle joins from Newport County and Alex Harris from Hereford. Over pre-season Edji Mbunga a former Birmingham City youth team forward caught Harris’ eye and has also signed to the club.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 25 / Gloucester City wins: 12 / Draws: 10

Previous Meetings

07.03.1992 Gloucester City 0 Dartford 0
26.10.1991 Dartford 2 Gloucester City 0
16.03.1991 Dartford 2 Gloucester City 1
29.09.1990 Gloucester City 2 Dartford 0
21.04.1990 Dartford 6 Gloucester City 2
20.01.1990 Gloucester City 0 Dartford 4

Next Meetings

Saturday 18 November 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 3 March 2018 at Jubilee Stadium

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Hampton and Richmond Borough

Founded: 1921 / Ground: The Beveree

Last season’s pace setters started the campaign scoring for fun until the Beavers lost influential players. Jamal Lowe and Nicke Kabamba moved to League Two champions Portsmouth in January, Hampton and Richmond Borough finished seventh. The disappointment of missing out on the playoffs was short-lived for the 2015/16 Isthmian Premier champions, with Poole Town and Hungerford Town unable to compete, the Beavers were given a second chance losing to Ebbsfleet United in the semi-final.

Last Season

National South: 7th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Nicke Kabamba (16 goals)

Average Attendance: 636 (7th in league / 54th in non-league)

The Manager – Alan Dowson

Most of Alan Dowson’s managerial career has been with Kingstonian where he won the Isthmian Division One South. A former defender as a player he entered the managerial world with Walton and Hersham. Dowson was appointed boss of the Beavers nearly three years ago and was joined by Martin Tyler, who he worked with at Kingstonian. He led Hampton and Richmond Borough to the Isthmian Premier title just over a year ago and last term helped the club reach the playoffs.

The Summer

A key change took place during the break with Chairman Steve McPherson stepping down and being replaced by former Gateshead Chairman Graham Wood. Former Dartford midfielder Nathan Collier will don the Beavers shirt once more; he will team up with ex Dartford striker Harry Crawford who joins from Welling United. The signing that has Hampton and Richmond Borough fans talking though is Max Kretzchmar, the 23 year old has experience with Wycombe Wanderers and Woking. Ryan Moss comes in from Kingstonian, Charlie Wassmer from National South champions Maidenhead United and Claudiu Vilcu from Wingate and Finchley. Looking for a goalkeeper nearly all summer, Sam Howes finally put pen to paper after his loan spell with the Beavers last term.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

17.04.2017 Dartford 3 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
29.08.2016 Hampton & Richmond Borough 4 Dartford 1
21.01.2012 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 3
20.08.2011 Dartford 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
19.02.2011 Dartford 0 Hampton & Richmond Borough 4
17.08.2010 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 2 September 2017 at The Beveree

Saturday 31 March 2018 at Princes Park

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Havant and Waterlooville

Founded: 1998 / Ground: Westleigh Park

It’s been a roller coaster ride for the Hawks over the last three seasons decided by fine margins. From playoff semi-finalists to unexpected relegation by a single goal, Havant and Waterlooville bounced back by winning the Southern League Premier last term, with help from former Dartford striker Jason Prior who top scored for the Hawks. Havant and Waterlooville have made a swift return to the National South and will be determined to stay up this time round.

Last Season

Southern Premier: 1st

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Jason Prior (17 goals)

Average Attendance: 713 (2nd in league / 45th in non-league)

The Manager – Lee Bradbury

Lee Bradbury is six years into his managerial career. His playing career spanned sixteen years most notably at Portsmouth, Manchester City and Crystal Palace. The former striker replaced Eddie Howe at AFC Bournemouth as caretaker manager in January 2011 and at that point choose to retire from playing. Although Bradbury reached the playoffs he was dismissed the following campaign after a poor run of results. Since October 2012, he has been in charge at Westleigh Park.

The Summer

Havant and Waterlooville have kept much of the squad that competed in the National South last time. Former Dartford loanee Bradley Tarbuck has been retained along with experienced striker James Hayter. As a former forward himself, Bradbury will know the qualities needed to find the net and this summer he’s signed Matt Tubbs from Eastleigh. The 32 year old made his name with Crawley Town after being spotted at Salisbury City. The striker had successful spells with AFC Wimbledon and Portsmouth before moving around the National League over the last eighteen months.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Havant and Waterlooville wins: 3 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

19.03.2016 Havant and Waterlooville 0 Dartford 2
05.12.2015 Dartford 4 Havant and Waterlooville 2
17.03.2012 Dartford 3 Havant and Waterlooville 1
07.01.2012 Havant and Waterlooville 1 Dartford 4
18.04.2011 Havant and Waterlooville 1 Dartford 0
14.08.2010 Dartford 2 Havant and Waterlooville 2

Next Meetings

Saturday 12 August 2017 at Westleigh Park

Saturday 13 January 2018 at Princes Park

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Hemel Hempstead Town

Founded: 1885 / Ground: Vauxhall Road

Entering their third successive season in the National South, the Tudors followed up their impressive debut season with a mid-table finish. A year ago, Hemel Hempstead Town ended their campaign one place outside the playoffs, last time out the Hertfordshire side could only manage twelfth. Towards the final stages of last season Hemel Hempstead Town lost their way and whilst they beat teams at the bottom they struggled against those above them.

Last Season

National South: 12th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Jake Robinson (25 goals)

Average Attendance: 486 (13th in league / 75th in non-league)

The Manager – Dean Brennan

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

The Summer

Dean Brennan is building a squad and must be quietly confident to challenge for the title. Former Dartford striker Charlie Sheringham had a good spell with the Tudors towards the end of last season and he joins permanently to link up with Jordan Parkes again, the pair were together at Ebbsfleet United. Another former Dart, Callum Driver has signed from Maidstone United, the club the Tudors have got Phil Walsh and Laurie Walker from as well. Ismail Yakubu will provide experience after joining from Woking, Tom Hamblin will provide creativity coming in from Wealdstone. The Tudors have also signed Joe Howe from Leatherhead, Taylor Miles from National League champions Lincoln City, Alex Osborn from Whitehawk and David Moyo from Brackley Town. 

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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
16.09.1972 Hemel Hempstead 2 Dartford 9

Next Meetings

Saturday 26 August 2017 at Vauxhall Road

Saturday 17 March 2018 at Princes Park

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Hungerford Town

Founded: 1886 / Ground: Bulpit Lane

Winners of the Southern Premier League playoffs in 2015/16, the Crusaders had an excellent debut season in the National South last term. The surprise package almost gate crashed the playoffs finishing in sixth, but the Berkshire club took a blow when informed that they couldn’t participate in the end of season lottery. Ground grading was below the required standard and like Poole Town, the Crusaders missed out on buying a ticket.

Last Season

National South: 6th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Runners Up

League Top Scorer: Stefan Brown (11 goals)

Average Attendance: 318 (18th in league / 125th in non-league)

The Manager – Bobby Wilkinson

In his seventh year as Hungerford Town manager, Bobby Wilkinson has taken the Crusaders to the highest level of football they have competed in. Two playoff victories got Hungerford Town to the National South and in their debut season came so close to another playoff spot. Wilkinson’s foundations in the management trade were put down at a young age when injury cut his playing career short. The Crusaders boss coached and gained experience from the likes of Mark McGhee, Brendan Rogers and Brian McDermott whilst at Reading.

The Summer

Bobby Wilkinson feels that his squad doesn’t need much change claiming they are 95% there. His biggest job was to replace Nat Jarvis who joined Bath City and to do that Wilkinson looked towards Luke Hopper, signing him from Gloucester City. Paul Stonehouse also moves to the Crusaders from Slough Town and Callum Willmoth from Newbury. Most recently, central defender Matt Partridge signed from Basingstoke Town

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Hungerford Town wins: 1 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

14.04.2017 Hungerford Town 2 Dartford 0
27.08.2016 Dartford 2 Hungerford Town 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 5 August 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 9 December 2017 at Bulpit Lane

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National League South Season Preview 2017/18 – Part II

 Chippenham Town | Concord Rangers | Dartford | Eastbourne Borough | East Thurrock United

Chippenham Town

Founded: 1873 / Ground: Hardenhuish Park

A new entry into the National South, Chippenham Town are the Southern League champions and set their highest ever points tally last season, with an impressive 103, a league record. The Bluebirds spent 15 years in the Southern Premier League reaching the playoffs on four occasions and suffering heartbreak in the final three times. So when the Wiltshire club took all the glory last term, the long wait was certainly worth it for club officials and supporters.

Last Season

Southern Premier: 1st

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Andrew Sandell (27 goals)

Average Attendance: 459 (8th in league / 86th in non-league)

The Manager – Mark Collier

Responsible for guiding Chippenham Town to thee highest level they have ever played, Collier gained experience at Swindon Supermarine. He led the Marine to the F.A Cup second round seven years ago and three months later left the club. Since then Collier has been learning his coaching trade at Wootton Bassett and Abingdon United. The current Bluebirds boss has a championship winning side to work with and hopes his team can repay the trust he is giving the players.

The Summer

Not too much action in the transfer marker and that is because Collier has retained 16 players believing his squad will be competitive. The three signings he has made, Dean Evans, Mark Cooper and Jason Matthews have all come from Weymouth. Most importantly the Bluebirds have kept hold of Andrew Sandell, the Southern Premier League top scorer for the last two season’s. The striker used to play for Bristol Rovers and Newport County. On loan for the season, Chelsea teenager Jared Thompson could gain experience between the sticks. Jake Andrews has been added on a two month loan from Bristol City. Attacking midfielder, Scott Donnelly will provide more experience having played for numerous clubs at Football League and National South level.

Next Meetings

Saturday 9 September 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 20 January 2018 at Hardenhuish Park

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Concord Rangers

Founded: 1967 / Ground: Thames Road

A well run club who have moved up the divisions from the Essex League in a short space of time. Despite small crowds the Beachboys continue to hold their own in the National South and will now participate at this level for a fourth consecutive year. Last term was their lowest finish since promotion to the National South as the Essex club started poorly, but a decent recovery lifted them away from the drop zone to safety.

Last Season

National South: 18th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 3rd Round

League Top Scorer: Steve Cawley (18 goals)

Average Attendance: 287 (22nd in league / 140th in non-league)

The Manager – Adam Flanagan

Former Dartford defender Adam Flanagan impressed in his first two season’s as Concord Rangers manager. He had replaced Danny Cowley who guided the Beachboys up the non league pyramid so had big shoes to fill. The 38 year old previously managed Brentwood Town where he won promotion to the Isthmian Premier League via the playoffs. As a player he captained the Dartford side who clinched the Isthmian Premier League title five years ago, making a total of 145 appearances for the Darts and scoring 14 goals.

The Summer

Steve Cawley has been the club’s top scorer regularly and will get help from Jordan Cox, who signed from National South champions Maidenhead United. Lewis Taafe returns to Thames Road and Khale Da Costa will be a Beachboy too. Flanagan has returned to a former club in Maldon and Tiptree to sign up Jordan Sanderson and Billy Roast. From Southend United, Jason Williams joins Concord Rangers and Jordan Brown from Welling United. Last season their were a fair few former Dartford players around Thames Road, now that has been cut down with the departures of James White and Jordan Chiedozie.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Concord Rangers wins: 1 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings

11.03.2017 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 1
24.09.2016 Dartford 2 Concord Rangers 1
27.02.2016 Dartford 1 Concord Rangers 2
18.08.2015 Concord Rangers 2 Dartford 3
27.01.2009 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 3

Next Meetings

Tuesday 15 August 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 6 January 2018 at Thames Road

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Dartford

Founded: 1888 / Ground: Princes Park

After a season of consolidation, the Darts went a step further by reaching the playoffs losing out to their season’s nemesis Chelmsford City in the semi final. Considering the budget available to the top two Maidenhead United and local rivals Ebbsfleet United, Dartford finished the best of the rest pipping the Clarets on the final day. Once again, captain Elliot Bradbrook led by example in midfield top scoring, but a small, solid and flexible squad had the togetherness to almost challenge for the title in February. However the strength of the top two left the Darts behind in a respectable third place.

Last Season

National South: 3rd

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Elliot Bradbrook (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 998 (3rd in league / 37th in non-league)

The Manager – Tony Burman

It seemed like Tony Burman rediscovered the Dartford spirit of old last season. Overseeing title winning sides in the Isthmian Leagues and a triumphant National South playoff team, Burman guided the Darts to eighth in the National League back in 2014/15. From then on Dartford spiralled downwards with a reprieve then relegation leaving supporters in the doldrums. Consolidation has now been followed by optimism again and with Burman’s experience, the Darts are eyeing up promotion again.

The Summer

The nucleus of last season were tied down early doors largely due to the team spirit Burman has once again created. The ‘core’ of Elliot Bradbrook, Ryan Hayes, Danny Harris and Lee Noble have stayed on. The hole left by goal scoring winger Luke Wanadio to Bromley has been filled by Lyle Della Verde from Concord Rangers. Full back, Tom Wynter who moved down a division to relegated Margate has been replaced by Mark Onyemah from Thurrock, who played 24 times whilst on loan at Princes Park from Luton Town back in 2015/16. Scorer of 44 goals last term for AFC Croydon Athletic in the Southern Counties East League, Warren Mfula impressed enough for Burman to take a gamble.

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Eastbourne Borough

Founded: 1964 / Ground: Priory Lane

It’s time for Eastbourne Borough to show some progression after Tommy Widdrington’s five year tenure. The Sports finished between 10th and 17th during Widdrington’s spell in charge and are only on their fifth manager in 34 years. Stability is a word Eastbourne Borough are used to but the new boss wants more. Last term the Sussex club ended in a predictable mid-table spot and will continue life in the National South once more.

Last Season

National South: 11th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi Final

League Top Scorer: Elliot Romain (20 goals)

Average Attendance: 541 (10th in league / 67th in non-league)

The Manager – Jamie Howell

After ten years as a player at Bognor Regis Town and seven years as a manager, Howell shocked the Rocks with his switch to Sussex rivals Eastbourne Borough. The 40 year old played over 400 games for last season’s Isthmian Premier playoff winners taking his former side to their highest ever level. Howell now wants to take Eastbourne Borough back to the National League by playing attractive football and in the long term have a team of local players from the county.

The Summer

Sergio Torres is the main signing this summer joining the Sports from Whitehawk. The 35 year old Argentinian made his name at Wycombe Wanderers and Peterborough before being part of Crawley Town’s rise. Jamie Howell, also went back to a former club to get Leon Redwood to sign from Burgess Hill Town. Replacing Josh Hare at full back will be ex Wothing player Will Hendon and Matt Drage comes in from Dulwich Hamlet. Yemi Odubade returns to the Sports after spells with Oxford United and Maidstone United.

Head To Head

Dartford wins: 8 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

08.04.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 3
16.08.2011 Eastbourne Borough 2 Dartford 3
20.02.2016 Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1
11.08.2015 Dartford 1 Eastbourne Borough 0
03.04.2012 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1
29.11.2011 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 1

Next Meetings

Tuesday 12 September 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 14 April 2018 at Priory Lane

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East Thurrock United

Founded: 1969 / Ground: Rookery Hill

The Rocks had a fine season last time out consolidating in the National South in their first ever campaign at this level. The Essex club will be one of four representing the county and they have their fair share of former Darts in their squad. A similar season to last term will be the aim for the club and success will be signs of improvement at this level.

Last Season

National South: 13th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: Second Round

County Cup: Runners up

League Top Scorer: Tom Wraight (19 goals)

Average Attendance: 305 (19th in league / 129th in non-league)

The Manager – John Coventry

East Thurrock United needed rebuilding following relegation to the Isthmian Division One in 2008. The astuteness and coaching experience of John Coventry has had a large part to play in the Rocks rise to the National South. Four years ago, the Essex club won the playoffs to reach the Isthmian Premier League. Last term provided consolidation after winning promotion via the Isthmian Premier playoffs.

The Summer

Three former Dartford players join East Thurrock United and will team up with ex Dart Lee Burns, who was signed a year ago. Max Cornhill left Chelmsford City and James White moved on from Concord Rangers. The Rocks have also signed Lewis Smith, who Dartford gambled on a few years ago only for the striker to move out to Australia shortly after agreeing to sign for the Darts, he was later banned for 17 months by the F.A which ends next month. George Allen also joins East Thurrock United from fellow Essex side Canvey Island. Leaving Rookery Hill this summer wsa top scorer Tom Wraight who secured a move to Maidstone United.

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

07.01.2016 Dartford 6 East Thurrock United 1
10.09.2016 East Thurrock United 1 Dartford 1
30.04.2005 Dartford 0 East Thurrock United 3
28.08.2004 East Thurrock United 2 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Monday 28 August 2017 at Princes Park

Monday 2 Monday 2018 at Rookery Hill

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National League South Season Preview 2017/18 – Part I

 Bath City | Bognor Regis Town | Braintree Town | Chelmsford City

Bath City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Twerton Park

The Romans achieved their highest finish in three years last term to finish in the top ten. Decent form from mid-November to mid-February helped the cause as Bath City tasted league defeat just once in that period. This season will mark the Romans sixth consecutive campaign in the National South as they push for a playoff place and a hopeful return to the National League, which they exited five years ago.

Last Season

National South: 9th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Andy Watkins (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 612 (8th in league / 59th in non-league)

The Manager – Gary Owers

Former Sunderland, Bristol City and Notts County midfielder last managed Bath City over ten years ago in the Southern Premier League. The 47 year old, went on to manage Forest Green Rovers and Weston-Super-Mare prior assistant manager roles at Aldershot Town, Plymouth Argyle and his hometown club Gateshead. Owers enjoyed his first full campaign last season and this time is aiming for the top five. The Romans boss committed to the club this summer for the next two years and hopes the community buy out off the field will reap its rewards.

The Summer

Shaun McClousky returns to his parent club Bristol City, which allows Jamie Lucas from Bristol Rovers and Nat Jarvis from Hungerford Town to try and replace his goals. Owers has opted for experience at the back signing Grenadian international Anthony Straker from Aldershot Town and Darren Jones from Newport County, adding a little youthfulness in the defence will be Miles Welch-Hayes from Oxford United. Top scorer Andy Watkins was retained after picking up last season’s Player of the Year for the Romans. Turning his loan spell last season to a permanent deal, Marvin Morgan signs from Havant and Waterlooville. Triallists, Matt Cafer and Ryan Case impressed enough in pre-season to earn deals.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 29 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Previous Meetings

04.03.2017 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
22.10.2016 Bath City 0 Dartford 1
16.01.2016 Dartford 4 Bath City 1
05.09.2015 Bath City 0 Dartford 0
07.04.1990 Dartford 1 Bath City 0
09.09.1989 Bath City 0 Dartford 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 14 October 2017 at Twerton Park

Saturday 21 April 2018 at Princes Park

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Bognor Regis Town

Founded: 1883 / Ground: Nyewood Lane

Isthmian Premier League runners up two years in a row, the Rocks return to the National South after an eight year absence. In that time the sank to the Isthmian Division One South where again they finished second in consecutive seasons, going up in the playoffs. The Sussex club managed to overcome a strong Dulwich Hamlet side in April’s playoff final and deservedly earned promotion.

Last Season

Isthmian Premier: 2nd

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi Final

League Top Scorer: James Fraser (22 goals)

Average Attendance: 550 (5th in league / 64th in non-league)

The Manager – Vacant

The search for a new boss took some time only for the hard work to be undone. Sami El-Abd agreed to combine the manager’s post with a full time coaching role at Brighton and Hove Albion, only for the defender to step down. General Manager, Jack Pearce praised El-Abd’s honesty and believes any disruptions won’t be a problem for the Rocks.

The Summer

Bognor Regis Town suffered a double blow, after losing manager Jamie Howell, top scorer James Fraser departed Nyewood Lane for Worthing. Corey Heath, once a youth team player with the Rocks will now be part of the senior squad. Goalkeeper, Dan Lincoln and midfield trio Joe Lea, Pat Suraci and Tommy Scutt have all signed on but attracting new players has proved challenging without a manager for most of the summer.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Bognor Regis Town wins: 1 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings

24.04.2010 Bognor Regis Town 0 Dartford 2
07.11.2009 Dartford 3 Bognor Regis Town 3
02.05.1981 Dartford 1 Bognor Regis Town 1
13.12.1980 Bognor Regis Town 2 Dartford 2
01.05.1980 Bognor Regis Town 2 Dartford 0
10.11.1979 Dartford 2 Bognor Regis Town 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 7 October 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 28 April 2018 at Nyewood Lane

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Braintree Town

Founded: 1898 / Ground: Cressing Road

The Irons six year stay amongst the elite of non league ended in relegation last season. In that time the Essex club kept defying the odds starting with mid-table finishes and in 2014 were three points from a playoff spot. A couple of years later, Braintree Town achieved their best ever campaign finishing third, losing the playoff semi final against Grimsby Town. Perhaps victims of their own success, the Iron never recovered and were relegated last term on the final day. At least they reached the F.A cup second round for the first time.

Last Season

National League: 22nd

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Michael Cheek (17 goals)

Average Attendance: 725 (22nd in league / 44th in non-league)

The Manager – Brad Quinton

The club’s record appearance maker after twelve successful seasons with the Iron, Brad Quinton re-joins the Essex club to take charge. Winner of the Isthmian Premier and National South as a player with Braintree Town, he has had a lot of rebuilding to do and his new look squad will be hoping to consolidate in the National South. Quinton has set his sights on the top half of the table by the festive period and then see where he can take them from there. Being a crowd favourite on the pitch may well help him in the dug out.

The Summer

The Irons have signed a teams worth of new players alone including former Dartford striker George Sykes from Canvey Island. Quinton also raided resources at Enfield Town, his former club to work with players he knows and trusts. Nathan McDonald, Jonathan Muleba, Scott Schulton, Samir Bihmoutine, Ricky Gabriel, Nigel Neita and Connor Bolton all join from the Middlesex club. Xavier Vidal has been brought in from Mertsham, Roman Michael-Percil from Metropolitan Police, George Craddock from East Thurrock United and Marc Okoye from Dulwich Hamlet.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Braintree Town wins: 6 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

01.01.2015 Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
26.12.2014 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
18.04.2014 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0
24.08.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
11.04.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 0
25.09.2012 Braintree Town 0 Dartford 2

Next Meetings

Tuesday 8 August 2017 at Cressing Road

Saturday 23 December 2018 at Princes Park

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Chelmsford City

Founded: 1878 / Ground: Melbourne Stadium

A solid reliable outfit last season, the Clarets failed at the final hurdle in the playoffs, this time against ten men Ebbsfleet United. Chelmsford City will be aiming for promotion after their fourth place finish last term was a vast improvement on the three campaigns before. Like local rivals Braintree Town, the Clarets have been busy in the summer transfer window and have overhauled their squad in an attempt to mount a challenge.

Last Season

National South: 4th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Shaun Jeffers (21 goals)

Average Attendance: 912 (4th in league / 38th in non-league)

The Manager – Rod Stringer

The Chelmsford City boss ensured the club finished in their best league position since 2011. Stringer’s reputation has been built on two league titles, first with Aveley’s triumph in the Isthmian League Division One North then with Braintree Town in the National South. He will come up against his former club Braintree Town this season after controversially walking away. Last summer he made the move back to Essex from Bishop’s Stortford and has the Clarets believing again.

The Summer

Capitalising on players leaving rivals Braintree Town, the former Irons boss Rod Stringer grabbed the opportunity by signing former Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur forward Lee Barnard. Ex AFC Wimbledon goalkeeper Sam Beasant joins from the Clarets rivals as does Harry Lee. Chelmsford City are amongst the busiest teams in the transfer window capturing the likes of Michael West and Elliott Omozusi from Whitehawk, Craig Braham-Barrett from Welling United and former Dartford loanee Jim Stevenson from Dover Athletic. Former Peterborough United, Millwall and Leyton Orient striker, Shaun Batt was signed from Barnet with the help of the Clarets ’12th man’ fund. Scott Davies (Oxford City), Paul Rodgers (Bishop’s Stortford), Kudus Oyenuga (Greenock Morton), Matt Johnson (Billericay Town) and Aaron Greene (Bishop’s Stortford) have also signed for the Clarets. Former Darts, Max Cornhill and Josh Hill have left the club.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 36 / Chelmsford City wins: 53 / Draws: 91

Previous Meetings

07.05.2017 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 2
03.05.2017 Chelmsford City 0 Dartford 0
18.02.2017 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1
14.01.2017 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1
17.09.2016 Chelmsford City 2 Dartford 3
13.08.2016 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 21 October 2017 at Melbourne Stadium

Saturday 10 February 2018 at Princes Park

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National League South Season Preview 2016/2017 – (Final Part)

Wealdstone | Welling United | Weston-Super-Mare | Whitehawk

Wealdstone

Founded: 1899 / Ground: The Vale Stadium

The draw specialists of the National South were difficult to beat last season, the Stones lost the same as promoted Maidstone United but only bottom side Basingstoke Town won fewer. A slow start last term left the Middlesex club second from bottom with just a point in their opening six fixtures. The next seven matches set the tone for the rest of the season when they won four and drew three leaving them in mid-table for the remainder of their campaign. 

wealdstoneLast Season

National South: 13th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Bradley Hudson-Odoi (11 goals)

The Manager – Gordon Bartlett

Wealdstone were homeless when Gordon Bartlett took charge in June 1995 and playing in the Isthmian Division Three. The long serving manager won back to back promotions and was denied a third consecutive one due to the standards of the ground the Stones were sharing. Bartlett was in charge when the Middlesex club returned home in 2008 and since then guided them to a F.A Trophy semi-final and two playoff semi-final defeats. Finally, Bartlett won another title to earn promotion to the National South where Wealdstone finished twelfth in the first season and fifteenth last term. Now about to begin his twenty second season with the Stones, Bartlett is by far the longest serving manager currently in the National South. 

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 11 / Wealdstone wins: 13 / Draws: 11

Previous Meetings

26.01.2016 Dartford 1 Wealdstone 2
03.10.2015 Wealdstone 2 Dartford 1
21.02.2012 Wealdstone 1 Dartford 0
14.02.2012 Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2
20.04.2010 Wealdstone 1 Dartford 1
29.08.2009 Dartford 1 Wealdstone 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 6 August 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 28 January 2017 at the Vale Stadium

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Welling United

Founded: 1963 / Ground: Park View Road

When the Wings won four National League games in a row at the end of September, Welling United thought the tide had turned. The Kent club were second from bottom but pulled themselves out of trouble temporarily. In truth, the victories masked a season of struggle. From their highest point of the campaign the Wings slumped into the relegation zone and went on a 23 match winless run. The Kent club finished five points adrift at the bottom of the National League and ended up fourteen points shy of safety. They now return to the National South after a three year absence. 

Last SeasonWelling

National League: 24th

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Sahr Kabba (6 goals)

The Manager – Mark Goldberg

Once owner now manager, Mark Goldberg purchased Crystal Palace in the mid-nineties only for the adventure to end in administration. Since then he has managed Bromley on three occasions and is their most successful manager taking them to the National League. The winner of three senior cups, Goldberg won promotion with Bromley via the Isthmian Premier playoffs and as champions of the National South. In his second spell he left due to an internal disagreement but was brought back when a new Chairman was appointed. In February, Goldberg decided to step down under pressure from Bromley’s owners. Towards the end of Welling United’s campaign in last season’s National League, Goldberg was in charge and now he will be aiming for immediate return to the top flight of non league with the Wings. 

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 16 / Welling United wins: 6 / Draws: 9

Previous Meetings

19.10.2015 Dartford 3 Welling United 1
11.11.2014 Dartford 2 Welling United 1
30.09.2014 Welling United 2 Dartford 2
10.01.2014 Welling United 1 Dartford 1
26.12.2013 Dartford 1 Welling United 2
03.09.2013 Welling United 2 Dartford 3

Next Meetings

Tuesday 6 September 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 21 January 2017 at Park View Road

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Weston-Super-Mare

Founded: 1887 / Ground: Woodspring Stadium

The Seagulls looked nailed on relegation candidates halfway through November. Weston-Super-Mare had won just three of their opening sixteen games sinking to second from bottom. Suddenly, the Seagulls found their scoring boots in a nine match unbeaten run including three 3-2 wins, a 5-2 and 4-1 triumph and an incredible 5-5 draw with Hemel Hempstead Town. Although the Somerset side returned to inconsistency they ended the campaign strongly beating runners up Ebbsfleet United then winning five of their last seven fixtures. 

Weston-super-Mare_AFC_logoLast Season

Conference South: 16th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Semi-final

League Top Scorer: Scott Wilson (19 goals)

The Manager – Ryan Northmore

A rookie compared to the majority of the managers in the National South, Ryan Northmore has playing history with the Seagulls as a goalkeeper. Making over 200 appearances for Weston-Super-Mare he won Player of the Year for three consecutive seasons for the club. Initially drafted in as Caretaker Manager when the Seagulls were in the middle of an eight match losing streak, the 35 year old steadied the sinking ship earning his role permanently. Last term was the former Torquay United goalkeeper’s first full season. After a tricky opening to the campaign he managed to guide the Seagulls one position higher than the previous year. 

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Weston-Super-Mare wins: 2 /  Draws: 4

Previous Meetings 

05.03.2016 Weston-Super-Mare 2 Dartford 1
13.09.2015 Dartford 2 Weston-Super-Mare 1
12.11.2011 Dartford 1 Weston-Super-Mare 1
13.08.2011 Weston-Super-Mare 0 Dartford 4
08.02.2011 Weston-Super-Mare 0 Dartford 1
04.09.2010 Dartford 4 Weston-Super-Mare 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 20 August 2016 at Woodspring Stadium

Saturday 14 January 2017 at Princes Park

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Whitehawk

Founded: 1945 / Ground: Enclosed Ground

A 6-0 win in October over St Albans City put Whitehawk in a strong position, third place after a dozen games and just one loss. An entertaining 5-3 F.A Cup win over Lincoln City followed by a 1-1 draw away to Dagenham and Redbridge in the next round, the Hawks were gaining national coverage then they drew Everton. Unfortunately, the Sussex club lost the replay and during the cup run league form dipped. After the second round exit, the Hawks went nine games without victory. At the start of April, Whitehawk had seven fixtures to fulfil and were in fifteenth, and then they pulled the trick out of the hat. Winning six of their last seven, dropping just two points they grabbed the final playoff spot only to lose on penalties to Ebbsfleet United in the semi-final. 

Whitehawk_F.C._logoLast Season

National South: 5th

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Semi-final

League Top Scorer: Danny Mills (23 goals)

The Manager – Pablo Asensio

Born in Argentina and a former professional footballer, it is no surprise Asensio will call upon his knowledge of South American football when recruiting for Whitehawk. The former midfielder took his coaching badges in England and held roles at Droylsden and Accrington Stanley. The 43 year old became an observer to Gus Poyet at Leeds United and Tottenham Hotspur, briefly managed in the Spanish Segunda División B and continued his learning in the North West with Southport, who he took to seventh in the National League. Asensio didn’t have to move far for his next job when he joined Macclesfield Town but now he will work on the South Coast with Whitehawk, where he was Caretaker manager last term.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 /Whitehawk wins: 2 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings 

12.03.2016 Dartford 2 Whitehawk 4
19.12.2015 Whitehawk 0 Dartford 1
28.11.2015 Dartford 1 Whitehawk 2
04.09.1982 Dartford 5 Whitehawk 2

Next Meetings

Wednesday 10 August 2016 at Enclosed Ground

Saturday 4 February 2017 at Princes Park

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

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

Hampton and Richmond Borough

Founded: 1921 / Ground: The Beveree

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

Last SeasonHampton-Richmond-badge

Isthmian Premier: 1st

F.A Cup: 1st Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Quarter-Final

League Top Scorer: Nicke Kabamba (18 goals)

The Manager – Alan Dowson

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Monday 29 August 2016 at the Beveree Stadium

Monday 17 April 2017 at Princes Park

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Hemel Hempstead Town

Founded: 1885 / Ground: Vauxhall Road

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

Hemel_Hempstead_Town_F.CLast Season

National South: 6th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Jamie Slabber (12 goals)

The Manager – Dean Brennan

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 12 November 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 1 April 2017 at Vauxhall Road

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Hungerford Town

Founded: 1886 / Ground: Bulpit Lane

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

Last SeasonHungerfordTownFC

Southern Premier: 4th

F.A Cup: 1st Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Nathaniel Jarvis (19 goals)

The Manager – Bobby Wilkinson

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

Head to Head

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 27 August 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 15 April 2017 at Bulpit Lane

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Maidenhead United

Founded: 1870 / Ground: York Road

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

Maidenhead United

Last Season

National South: 7th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Quarter-final

League Top Scorer: Dave Tarpey (16 goals)

The Manager – Alan Devonshire

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 3 September 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 17 December 2016 at York Road

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Margate

Founded: 1896 / Ground: Hartsdown Park

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

MargateFCLast Season

Conference South: 19th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Freddie Ladapo (12 goals)

The Manager – Nikki Bull

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Tuesday 13 September 2016 at Hartsdown Park

Tuesday 21 March 2017 at Princes Park

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

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

Dartford

Founded: 1888 / Ground: Princes Park

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

DartfordLast Season

National South: 8th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Elliot Bradbrook (17 goals)

The Manager – Tony Burman

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

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Eastbourne Borough

Founded: 1964 / Ground: Priory Lane

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

ebfcLast Season

National South: 17th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Nathaniel Pinney (18 goals)

The Manager – Tommy Widdrington

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

20.02.2016 Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1
11.08.2015 Dartford 1 Eastbourne Borough 0
03.04.2012 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1
29.11.2011 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 1
26.11.2011 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 0
16.08.2011 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 5 November 2016 at Priory Lane

Sunday 8 April 2017 at Princes Park

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East Thurrock United

Founded: 1969 / Ground: Rookery Hill

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

Last SeasonETUFC

Isthmian Premier: 3rd

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: 4th Round

League Top Scorer: Sam Higgins (38 goals)

The Manager – John Coventry

East Thurrock United needed rebuilding following relegation to the Isthmian Division One in 2008. The astuteness and coaching experience of John Coventry has had a large part to play in the Rocks rise to the National South. Three years ago, the Essex club won the playoffs to reach the Isthmian Premier League. Last term a second playoff triumph has led them to their highest level of football. Coventry builds his squad around togetherness and is often on the lookout for discovering young players, his background with coaching a district youth side helps in this area. 

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 10 September 2016 at Rookery Hill

Saturday 7 January 2017 at Princes Park

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Ebbsfleet United

Founded: 1946 / Ground: Stonebridge Road

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

EUFClogoLast Season

National South: 2nd

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: Quarter Final

County Cup: Semi-final

League Top Scorer: Matthew Godden (26 goals)

The Manager – Daryl McMahon

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Monday 26 December 2016 at Princes Park

Sunday 1 January 2017 at Stonebridge Road

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Gosport Borough

Founded: 1944 / Ground: Privett Park

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

Gosport_BoroughLast Season

National South: 9th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Justin Bennett (23 goals)

The Manager – Alex Pike

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

Head To Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Tuesday 16 August 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 11 February 2017 at Privett Park

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National League South Season Preview 2016/2017 (A-C)

 Bath City | Bishop’s Stortford | Chelmsford City | Concord Rangers

Bath City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Twerton Park

Early pace setters to mid table obscurity, that is how last season panned out for the Romans. Bath City disappointingly matched their previous National South finish after such a promising start. Having topped the table with a one hundred percent record after six games, the Somerset club slid down the league prompting a change in management. Two league wins in nineteen attempts saw the end of Lee Howells and in came Gary Owers. The new boss oversaw just one victory in the next ten but made the Romans harder to beat picking up draws on the way. Once settled, Owers led Bath City to five wins in the final seven fixtures. The real struggle throughout the campaign was a lack of goals, only bottom of the table Basingstoke Town scored fewer.

Last SeasonBath_City_FC

National South: 14th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: David Pratt (9 goals)

The Manager – Gary Owers

Now in his second spell in charge at Twerton Park, Owers was appointed in February following Lee Howells’ departure. The former Sunderland, Bristol City and Notts County midfielder last managed Bath City over ten years ago in the Southern Premier League. The 47 year old, went on to manage Forest Green Rovers and Weston-Super-Mare prior assistant manager roles at Aldershot Town, Plymouth Argyle and his hometown club Gateshead.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 27 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Previous Meetings

16.01.2016 Dartford 4 Bath City 1
05.09.2015 Bath City 0 Dartford 0
07.04.1990 Dartford 1 Bath City 0
09.09.1989 Bath City 0 Dartford 0
28.01.1989 Dartford 0 Bath City 1
03.12.1988 Bath City 4 Dartford 2

Next Meetings

Saturday 22 October 2016 at Twerton Park

Saturday 4 March 2017 at Princes Park

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Bishop’s Stortford

Founded: 1874 / Ground: Woodside Park

A steady campaign resulted in Bishop’s Stortford’s highest finish in four years. At the start of the season former manager Rod Stringer believed he could guide them to the playoffs with the right backing. Instead they rarely challenged peaking in eighth place at the start of February. It was during that month the Bishop’s struggled going on a five game losing streak. Although the Hertfordshire club recovered with only two more defeats the damage was done. Stringer was largely thankful to Golden Boot winner Elliott Buchanan who netted 28 times, half of the club’s total goals. The striker, like the former boss will no longer be at Woodside Park having left the club this summer.

Bishops stortfordLast Season

National South: 11th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi-final

League Top Scorer: Elliott Buchanan (28 goals)

The Manager – Gordon Boateng

Seen as a gamble by the directors who appointed him, Boateng was recruited by previous manager Rod Stringer a year ago as Head of Player Recruiting and Scouting. His contacts should serve Bishop’s Stortford well as they rebuild following Stringer’s resignation. It’s Boateng’s third spell as part of the management team and he beat seven other candidates to the job. The 35 year old, has never managed in the National South but has experience with Cheshunt and his profile fits the ambitions of the board.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Bishop’s Stortford wins: 3 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

25.03.2016 Dartford 3 Bishop’s Stortford 1
24.10.2015 Bishop’s Stortford 1 Dartford 2
29.01.2011 Bishop’s Stortford 0 Dartford 1
24.08.2010 Dartford 3 Bishop’s Stortford 0
11.04.1981 Bishop’s Stortford 2 Dartford 1
04.04.1981 Dartford 1 Bishop’s Stortford 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 19 November 2016 at Woodside Park

Saturday 22 April 2017 at Princes Park

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Chelmsford City

Founded: 1878 / Ground: Melbourne Stadium

Since promotion to the National South eight years ago, the Clarets were consistent playoff candidates but haven’t been for the last three campaigns. Mark Hawkes was the latest man to attempt to match Chelmsford City’s ambitions and whilst it looked good at the start of the season a turbulent Winter left the Essex club needing to do too much. A comfortable 5-2 win at home to Concord Rangers left the Clarets in fourth by mid-September and come November they were hanging on the playoff fringes. Then came the horror show between Halloween and to the end of February where the club picked up just eight points from fourteen games. The rest of the campaign drifted by but they did record an impressive 6-1 win at home to playoff contenders Gosport Borough.

ChelmsfordCityFCLast Season

National South: 15th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Quarter-final

League Top Scorer: Billy Bricknell (17 goals)

The Manager – Rod Stringer

Linked with the Chelmsford City hotseat for the last three years, the Clarets finally got their man who they believe will guide them upwards and onwards. Stringer’s reputation has been built on two league titles, first with Aveley’s triumph in the Isthmian League Division One North then with Braintree Town in the National South. Stringer had the chance to manage in the top non league division but decided to controversially walk away. This summer he made the move back to Essex from local rivals Bishop’s Stortford bringing players with him.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 35 / Chelmsford City wins: 50 / Draws: 89

Previous Meetings

02.01.2016 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 1
26.12.2015 Chelmsford City 0 Dartford 1
07.04.2012 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 0
27.08.2011 Chelmsford City 0 Dartford 0
03.01.2011 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 2
30.08.2010 Chelmsford City 2 Dartford 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 13 August 2016 at Melbourne Stadium

Saturday 18 February 2016 at Princes Park

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Concord Rangers

Founded: 1967 / Ground: Thames Road

A well run club who have moved up the divisions from the Essex League in a short space of time. When Concord Rangers won their first two matches last season they unexpectedly topped the National South. Four straight defeats followed and confidence dwindled until the end of October. The following month restored positivity around the club with four wins from four and no goals conceded. The Beachboys began to believe the playoffs were possible but soon another set back occurred with a trio of losses. Although Concord Rangers managed a ten game unbeaten run in the early part of 2016, the Essex Senior Cup winners lost eleven at home which cost them overall.

concord rangersLast Season

National South: 10th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Steve Cawley (20 goals)

The Manager – Adam Flanagan

Former Dartford defender Adam Flanagan impressed in his first season as Concord Rangers manager. He had replaced Danny Cowley who guided the Beachboys up the non league pyramid so had big shoes to fill. The 38 year old previously managed Brentwood Town where he won promotion to the Isthmian Premier League via the playoffs. As a player he captained the Dartford side who clinched the Isthmian Premier League title five years ago, making a total of 145 appearances for the Darts and scoring 14 goals.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Concord Rangers wins: 1 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

27.02.2016 Dartford 1 Concord Rangers 2
18.08.2015 Concord Rangers 2 Dartford 3
27.01.2009* Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 3

Next Meetings

Saturday 24 September 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 11 March 2017 at Thames Road

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