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Dartford v St Albans City

Dartford will need to extend their unbeaten home run to four this weekend to be in with a chance of leapfrogging fellow playoff chasers St Albans City.

Victory will move the Darts above the Saints who hold a one point advantage leading up to the National South fixture. The Hertfordshire club already got one over Dartford this term by claiming a 2-0 triumph at Clarence Park in September. Solomon Sambou and Khale Da Costa scored the goals to earn St Albans City three points and earn a fourth win in five over the Darts.

However, the last meeting at Princes Park went Dartford’s way partly due to a former player and last season’s National South Player of the Year. Alfie Pavey found the back of the St Albans City net and unfortunately so did defender Tom Bender to score an own goal. It wasn’t the first time Bender had scored in Saints shirt at Princes Park, during the 2016/2017 campaign he scored at the right end past Bailey Vose, who was making his league debut for the Darts in his first spell with the club, Sam Merson netted the other as the Darts fell to a 2-0 defeat. In February 2016, Andy Pugh was on hand twice to give Dartford a 2-0 home victory.

Dartford were denied all three points last weekend in second half injury time. Visiting an out of form Wealdstone without the suspended Lee Noble, the injured Charlie Sheringham and Mark Onyemah, the Darts called in Jamie Philpot up front, Ryan Hayes in midfield and Jordan Wynter at the back. Former captain, Elliot Bradbrook scored a header with twenty minutes remaining, but his seventh goal of the campaign was not enough as Wealdstone’s Eoin McKeown equalised very late on. The draw extended Dartford’s unbeaten run to three as they look towards the playoff places.

This week, Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle have added another member to the squad by signing 28-year-old midfielder Billy Crook from Braintree Town. A statement from the joint managers said: ”Billy showed last season against Dartford, what a great player he is and this was recognised by getting in the team of the year. He was a major part in the success Braintree had and after not being able to do something in the summer it was good to finally be able to bring him to the club”. Crook caused heartbreak to Dartford in May when his goal knocked the Darts out of the National South playoffs.

St Albans City travel to Princes Park on the back of a seven game unbeaten run. Their best sequence of the season has lifted the Saints towards the playoffs after previously losing three in a row. Four wins by a single goal margins and three draws have earned Ian Allinson’s side 15 points from the last 21 available.

The Saints top scorer this season, David Moyo netted the winner last weekend against Oxford City to record his tenth goal of the campaign. Moyo joined the club in the summer after leaving Hemel Hempstead Town. Tom Bender is still plying his trade with the Hertfordshire club, the defender played 20 times for the Darts during the 2014/2015 campaign.

Despite victory over Oxford City, Ian Allinson thought his side was second best and needed some luck, he told www.hertsad.co.uk: ““We haven’t played well. I can’t blame the players for their commitment and endeavour and work rate but the quality was poor”, he added: ““We can’t play well every week and sometimes you have to dig deep and we’ve done that. You have to ride your luck at times and we’ve picked up 13 points from the five games”.

Head to Head

St Albans City wins: 5 / Dartford wins: 7/ Draws: 4

Current Form

Dartford (DWDLWD) St Albans City (WDWWWD)
Wealdstone A 1-1 Oxford City H 1-0
Welling United H 1-0 Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-1
East Thurrock United A 2-2 Billericay Town H 2-1
Welling United A 0-2 Hemel Hempstead Town H 2-1
Hungerford Town H 2-1 Eastbourne Borough A 2-1
Slough Town H 1-1 Wealdstone H 0-0

Previous Meetings

01.09.2018 St Albans City 2 Dartford 0
03.02.2018 St Albans City 4 Dartford 0
28.10.2017 Dartford 2 St Albans City 1
25.03.2017 St Albans City 1 Dartford 0
08.11.2016 Dartford 0 St Albans City 2
30.04.2016 St Albans City 4 Dartford 0

Stats

Dartford have only lost one at home to St Albans City which was in November 2016, however the Darts have won one and lost four of the last five meetings.

The Darts have failed to score in four of the last five matches against St Albans City.

However, the Darts were unbeaten for the first ten games against the Saints winning six and drawing four up until the recent run of four defeats in five.

All but one of Elliot Bradbrook’s goals this season (his last six) have come in the last 20 minutes of matches.

Former Dart, Tom Bender has scored in his last two visits at Princes Park, one for St Albans City and the other an own goal.

The Saints have scored the most goals (5) in 90+ minutes of games. They have scored 30% of their goals in the final 15 minutes of matches.

On This Day

Dartford have scored 12 goals in their last three home games on 12 January with the most recent match played six years ago against Bromley in the F.A Trophy third round. Dominic Green scored his only two goals for the club in a loan spell that spanned five appearances, Lee Burns and Harry Crawford scored the others in a 4-2 win. In 2008, Dartford trounced Ilford in the Isthmian Division One North. Brendon Cass scored twice, Jay May, John Guest and Steve Norman to complete the 5-0 rout. Another cup tie took place on this day in 1988 with the Darts beating Hastings Town 3-0 in the Southern League Cup third round.

 

St Albans City v Dartford

After a barren spell of victories and goals for Dartford they were back to winning ways on Bank Holiday Monday, now they have to end a poor run of form against St Albans City this weekend.

The Darts have lost three straight games at Clarence Park without finding the back of the net, hopefully the home win over East Thurrock United this week will provide Dartford with the confidence to break the sequence.

Joint manager, Jamie Coyle praised his team after the 2-0 win over the Rocks on monday, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “It’s been a tough couple of weeks, we’ve worked hard on the training pitch to get things right”.

Adam Flanagan and Coyle made two changes in an attempt to put things right with Lee Noble returning from injury and replacing Simon Mensah. The management duo recognised more was needed up front and in came Kudus Oyenuga for Alfie Cue.

The return and stand out performance of Noble was noted by Coyle, he commented: “He’s always on the front foot and in the face of the opposition. It allows everyone in midfield and the back four to get higher up the pitch and press with him”, he added: “He’s a catalyst of so much what the club has done in the past and what we’re going to do this year. You can really see when he doesn’t play that we miss him”.

Tom Bonner put Dartford ahead after a goal was wrongly ruled out earlier. Bonner smashed home a driven shot taking advantage of East Thurrock United’s goalkeeper who had flapped at Ben Greenhalgh’s corner. Noble provided a clever cross for the second goal, which Greenhalgh put away with a diving header at the far post, his first goal for the club.

Charlie Sheringham returns to the Darts for a third spell having previously scored 36 goals in 26 appearances, the 30 year old striker joins from Hemel Hempstead Town. Winger, Tom Knowles has also been signed on a one month loan from Cambridge United, the 18 year old has previous experience with St Ives Town, Cambridge City and St Neots Town. Meanwhile, Alfie Cue has gone out on a month loan to Leatherhead.

A win moved the Darts up six places to eleventh and a point behind a playoff place, whilst also ending a four game winless streak.

If goals are on the agenda then it normally involves St Albans City, already this season they have been involved in four games ending 3-2, winning two of those, against Hungerford Town on the opening day and Weston-super-Mare a week later.

On Bank Holiday Monday, the Saints lost one of those five goal thrillers to newly promoted and title challengers Billericay Town. Ian Allinson’s side were reduced to ten men just before half-time when Harold Joseph was red carded with his team 2-1 up. Billericay Town made use of the extra man scoring before the break then the winner in the second half. Two former Dartford defenders lined up in the starting eleven, Tom Bender who played 20 times during the 2014/2015 campaign and Richard Sho-Silva who managed 24 appearances last season scoring three goals.

Up front, Allinson can call upon striker Ralston Gabriel, the summer signing has started well at his new club scoring five times in St Albans City’s opening seven fixtures. Last season he netted 32 goals for Haringey Borough in their Isthmian Division One North playoff winning campaign, including four hat-tricks.

The Saints haven’t managed a repeat of last season’s start when they won six in a row. The Hertfordshire club finished four points and a place below the playoffs in the end but have only taken seven points from their first seven National South fixtures this time.

It was only seven months ago when the Darts last played at Clarence Park and were trounced 4-0, a repeat of the score in April 2016 at the same venue. Two goals from Sam Merson in three first half minutes followed by second-half strikes by Percy Kiangebeni and Rhys Murrell-Williamson earned the Saints three points last term. Earlier in that season, the Darts won at Princes Park 2-1 with Elliot Bradbrook opening the scoring and Bender’s own goal handing his former side the win. Bender also got on the scoresheet in November 2016 when St Albans City won 2-0 away from home, again Merson scored the other.

Dartford have managed just one win in their last five attempts against this weekend’s opponents.

Head to Head

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

Current Form

St Albans City (LDLLLL) Dartford (WLLLDW
Billericay Town A 2-3 East Thurrock United H 2-0
Eastbourne Borough H 1-1 Hungerford Town A 0-1
Oxford City A 1-2 Wealdstone H 0-3
Hampton & Richmond H 2-3 Concord Rangers A 0-2
Weston-super-Mare A 2-3 Hemel Hempstead Town H 0-0
Woking A 1-2 Chelmsford City H 1-0

Previous Meetings

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

Stats

In every St Albans City match this season both teams have scored, only once has this happened this term in Dartford games, on the opening day of the campaign.

The Darts have failed to score in four of their last five trips to Clarence Park.

Tom Bonner’s goal on Bank Holiday Monday ended a run of 411 minutes without scoring for the Darts.

A total of 28 goals have been scored in games involving St Albans City this season, more than any other team at four goals a game. There has only been 12 goals during Dartford matches the fourth fewest number of goals.

On This Day

Harry Crawford netted a hat-trick as Dartford completed one of their best performances in the National League on this day six years ago. The last time the Darts played on 1 September was at home to Alfreton Town and Crawford was the star of the show. The striker’s low drive opened the scoring, Jacob Erskine added a second and Ryan Hayes prodded in a third. Crawford scored again in the second half before Danny Meadows pulled a goal back for the Reds. Crawford secured the match ball scoring his third of the match from close range. Prior Dartford’s big win they had played their last four games on this day at home in the F.A Cup Preliminary Round beating Leatherhead 3-0 in 2007 with a brace from Brendon Cass and a goal by Tom Bradbrook. The Darts drew 2-2 with Carterton Town in 2002, defeated Eastbourne Borough 3-1 a year before and drew 1-1 with Horsham in 1996. The last away game was in 1990 and ended in a 4-0 defeat to Bromsgrove Rovers in the Southern Premier League.

National League South Season Preview 2018/2019 – Part Three

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

Hemel Hempstead Town

Founded: 1885 / Ground: Vauxhall Road

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

Last Season

National South: 5th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Jordan Parkes (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 527 (12th in National South)

The Manager – Dean Brennan

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 11 August 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 2 February 2019 at Vauxhall Road

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Hungerford Town

Founded: 1886 / Ground: Bulpit Lane

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

Last Season

National South: 19th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Louie Soares (11 goals)

Average Attendance: 267 (21st in National South)

The Manager – Ian Herring

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 25 August 2018 at Bulpit Lane

Saturday 22 December 2018 at Princes Park

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Oxford City

Founded: 1882 / Ground: Marsh Lane

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

Last Season

National South: 16th

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Matt Patterson (21 goals)

Average Attendance: 319 (17th in National South)

The Manager – Mark Jones

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 20 October 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 27 April 2019 at Marsh Lane

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Slough Town

Founded: 1893 / Ground: Arbour Park

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

Last Season

Southern Premier: 3rd

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: James Dobson (21 goals)

Average Attendance: 666 (4th in Southern Premier)

The Managers – Neal Baker and Jon Underwood

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 8 December 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 16 February 2019 at Arbour Park

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St Albans City

Founded: 1908 / Ground: Clarence Park

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

Last Season

National South: 8th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Sam Merson (20 goals)

Average Attendance: 765 (5th National South)

The Manager – Ian Allinson

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 1 September 2018 at Clarence Park

Saturday 12 January 2019 at Princes Park

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Torquay United

Founded: 1899 / Ground: Plainmoor

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

Last Season

National League: 22nd

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

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

Average Attendance: 1731 (13th National League)

The Manager – Gary Owers

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 10 November 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 16 Match 2019 at Plainmoor

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St Albans City v Dartford

February will be an important month for Dartford and they begin with a trip to Clarence Park to face St Albans City this weekend.

The Darts return to the venue where they have lost in their last two attempts without scoring. However, it was Dartford who came out on top earlier in the season when they met at Princes Park back in October. Starting the afternoon level on points with the Saints, a 2-1 victory moved the Darts three points ahead of their opponents to cement first place in the National South. Elliot Bradbrook headed the hosts in front before St Albans City levelled through Charlie Walker. Lyle Della-Verde was involved in the eventual winner when his cross was turned in by former Dart, Tom Bender.

Dartford’s win ended a run of three defeats in a row against the Hertfordshire club, who had kept clean sheets in each of those encounters. Dartford last beat St Albans away from home in 2011 when Lee Burns’ header from 30 yards bounced over the goalkeeper and helped the Darts to a 2-1 victory. Since then, Dartford travelled to Hertfordshire in April 2016 with a glimmer of hope of reaching the playoffs, only to end the campaign on a whimper. The Saints ran out 4-0 winners with two goals from James Kaloczi, a Becka-kah Dembele own goal and Louie Theophanous strike. Almost a year later Charlie Walker’s goal was enough to separate the two sides as the hosts won 1-0 to complete a double over the Darts. Earlier in the campaign, the Saints ended Dartford’s unbeaten home record with goals from Sam Merson and Bender.

Last weekend, Dartford beat one of the form teams of the National South to open a three point lead at the top of the table. Despite their opponents Whitehawk propping up the division, the Darts came through with a 3-1 home win. Ronnie Vint, who celebrated his century of starts for the club before the game opened the goalscoring. The defender scored after the Hawks failed to clear their lines from a Ryan Hayes free kick. The visitors were level on 56 minutes through David Ijaha, but Andy Pugh’s brace a day before his birthday secured another important three points.

Manager Tony Burman spoke to www.dartfordfc.com after the game, he said: “I was really pleased with the performance of the players throughout the ninety minutes, Whitehawk are a much improved side and now have some excellent players. It was very important to gain three points which helped us to reach our targets for the end of the month. Although our opponents caused us some problems I felt we managed them very well and probably in the second half when we had a spell with some good delivery from set pieces we could have increased our goals tally.  It is very important that we stay focused in what we want to achieve as we have another tough month coming up”.

The Darts are still searching for more consistencies in their away showings. With five wins, five draws and four defeats Dartford are currently three league matches unbeaten away from Prince Park in the National South, including home form they have not lost in their last seven league outings.

Striker, Danny Mills who has made nine starts and two substitute appearances, has had his loan spell extended until the end of the season. Burman told www.dartfordfc.com: “I am delighted to have Danny on board for the rest of the season. It now means I have a formidable strike force to pick from for our run in, and with his experience covers any problems that may occur. Danny’s attitude and work rate has been spot on”.

Another former Dart that could be involved on the weekend is Tom Gardiner, who moved to the Saints due to work commitments last season. The defender was was named on the bench last weekend and made an appearance in their 7-2 smashing of East Thurrock United. The headlines belonged to Merson who netted four in the rout to take his tally to 13 league goals for the season, three behind Dartford’s Alfie Pavey who sits third in the scoring charts.

Guided by the experience of Ian Allinson, St Albans City have gone six National South fixtures at home without defeat. Similar to the Darts, the away form is holding the Hertfordshire back as they sit in sixth place. However, the Saints know if they win on the weekend as well as their game in hand then they could be level with Dartford once more.

Head to Head
St Albans City wins: 3 / Dartford wins: 7 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

St Albans City (WDWLDW) Dartford (WDWDWL)
East Thurrock United H 7-2 Whitehawk H 3-1
Eastbourne Borough A 1-1 Chippenham Town A 2-2
Chelmsford City H 2-1 Havant & Waterlooville H 1-0
Hemel Hempstead Town A 0-2 Concord Rangers A 1-1
Hemel Hempstead Town H 2-2 Welling United H 4-1
Wealdstone A 3-1 Hungerford Town A 0-1

Previous Meetings

28.10.2017 Dartford 2 St Albans City 1
25.03.2017 St Albans City 1 Dartford 0
08.11.2016 Dartford 0 St Albans City 2
30.04.2016 St Albans City 4 Dartford 0
06.02.2016 Dartford 2 St Albans City 0
02.04.2011 St Albans City 1 Dartford 2

Stats
Dartford are unbeaten against the current top six winning three and drawing three.

The Saints have taken just four points from 18 against teams in the top six, all of those came at home.

Pugh has now scored ten league goals for the Darts this term in 12 starts and eight substitute appearances. The striker has netted five in his last six National South appearances.

St Albans City have scored 29 home goals this term, the second highest in the division behind Dartford (37).

On This Day
Dartford have yet to concede a goal on 3 February since reforming. In the only two fixtures on this day, the Darts drew 0-0 at home to Cray Wanderers in 2007 and beat Herne Bay 2-0 in the Kent League back in 1996. In the Southern Premier League, the Darts drew 1-1 with Burton Albion in 1990 and three years prior they beat Folkestone 1-0 in the Kent Senior Cup quarter-final. The last defeat came in 1979 when Dartford lost 1-0 to Hillingdon Borough in the Southern Premier League.

Dartford v St Albans City

The Darts are back at Princes Park this weekend heading the National South table and hosting fourth place St Albans City.

Dartford started the week down in seventh place and one win saw a huge leap up the standings into pole position. With the top four separated by goal difference, Tony Burman will be hoping to improve his record against Saints boss Ian Allinson, to ensure the Darts maintain their lead in the National South. Victory at home will almost guarantee top spot as Dartford’s goal difference is seven goals more than their closest rivals.

However, the Darts have lost their last three meetings against St Albans City without even scoring a goal. The last of which came in March when Charlie Walker’s goal was enough to complete the double over Dartford. Earlier in the campaign St Albans City won 2-0 at Princes Park to end the Darts unbeaten home start that season. Sam Merson headed in the opener and former Dart, Tom Bender grabbed a second. At the end of the 2015/16 season, the Saints recorded their first ever victory over Dartford with a comprehensive 4-0 win on the final day.

After a second consecutive away defeat in the league last weekend without scoring, the Darts travelled to Bath City on Tuesday night. Having been beaten 3-0 by Weston-super-Mare then 1-0 by Chelmsford City on the road, the Darts were hoping to break their barren spell. Richard Sho-Silva was missing from the squad against the Romans meaning captain Elliot Bradbrook paired up with Ronnie Vint in central defence.

The match began with Ryan Hayes trying his luck immediately shooting straight from kick off and hitting the crossbar. In form striker Alfie Pavey looked lively and when Lee Noble crossed the ball on 32 minutes Pavey headed home. The lead lasted almost up to the interval but Tom Smith equalised before half-time. Dartford failed to break down ten men Chelmsford City on Saturday, but this time the Darts had to be resolute after Andy Pugh was dismissed. Despite the disadvantage Pavey pounced again to win the match 2-1 and keep up his record of almost a goal a game.

St Albans City, unbeaten in six prior to their Tuesday night fixture took on Hampton and Richmond Borough at the Beveree. The hosts took the lead on half an hour when Charlie Wassmer headed the opener which turned out to be the decisive goal, denying the Saints a place at the summit of the table.

Allinson’s side were the fastest out of the blocks this season winning their opening six, before losing to Braintree Town and Gloucester City back to back. Since then they remained unbeaten in the league until their mid-week reverse at Hampton and Richmond Borough.

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

Current League Form

Dartford (WLWLWW) St Albans City (LDWDDW)
Bath City A 2-1 Hampton & Richmond A 0-1
Chelmsford City A 0-1 Hungerford Town H 0-0
Bognor Regis Town H 1-0 Bath City H 2-0
Weston-super-Mare A 0-3 East Thurrock United A 1-1
Eastbourne Borough H 4-2 Whitehawk A 1-1
Chippenham Town H 3-0 Havant & Waterlooville H 2-1

Stats
Only St Albans City (17 points) have picked up more points at home this season than Dartford (16).

The Darts are the top scorers in the league with 32 goals and only Chelmsford City (9) have conceded fewer than Dartford’s 14 goals.

The Saints have failed to win any of their last four away games in the National South (D2 L2). Their last away win in the National South came on 19 August 2017 against Poole Town.

On This Day
Nine years ago Dartford were involved in a thrilling come back when they drew 3-3 with AFC Hornchurch in the Isthmian Premier League. Dean Green scored the opener for the Urchins and set up the second when his cross found Simon Parker. AFC Hornchurch went three up when Green netted his second before half-time. Early in the second half Cody McDonald’s pace helped him to start the come back, Rob Haworth scored by getting on the end of Ray Powell’s corner and Jamie Day completed the turnaround with a 25 yarder.

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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St Albans City v Dartford

Dartford look a strong bet to secure a playoff spot and hope to increase their chances and winning streak this weekend against St Albans City.

On current form Dartford have a great opportunity to make it three victories in a row and record a seventh away game without defeat. The Darts should approach the fixture with confidence after scoring nine in their last two outings. On Tuesday night, a 4-0 victory over basement boys Margate was secured when Elliot Bradbrook scored twice taking his tally to 20 for the campaign, Luke Wanadio and loanee Alfie Pavey added to the scoreline. Bradbrook, who scored a stunning volley in the 5-3 triumph versus Truro City scored the goal of the night with another long range effort.

Before Tuesday’s win Tony Burman managed to sign Brighton and Hove Albion goalkeeper Billy Collings on loan. The debutante kept a clean sheet in the absence of Gibraltar international Deren Ibrahim. Andy Pugh picked up an injury against the Gate and was replaced with Dartford’s other loan signing Pavey.

The Darts will be keen to erase the memory of last season’s disappointing 4-0 final day defeat at Clarence Park. Chasing an unlikely playoff place, Dartford capitulated to finish the campaign in eighth place. Earlier this term, Dartford failed to score again against the Saints in a 2-0 loss at Princes Park.

St Albans City began December in second place but have since claimed one win in their last 15 outings, losing their last six in the National South. The Hertfordshire club are now eleventh and desperate to halt their slide down the standings. Manager, Ian Allinson who guided the Saints to safety last term now faces a different challenge in renewing the early season promise.

Two particular defeats will come as a concern to the Saints, on the weekend they went down 4-0 to struggling Gosport Borough and before the 3-0 reverse to Ebbsfleet United, they lost 1-0 to relegation candidates Bishop’s Stortford. With no goals scored this month, the problem worsened when top striker Louie Theophanous moved to Dartford’s playoff rivals Chelmsford City, the forward scored 41 goals in his Saints career in 94 appearances. That leaves Merson, the current top scorer this term partnering veteran Jamie Cureton or Charlie Walker. From midfield, Shaun Lucien has scored seven times since his summer move from Weladstone, but the success rate in front of goal has dried up.

When Allinson signed Tom Gardiner from Dartford to boost the defence back in January, it looked like the Saints had made a statement of intent. However, form has turned and Gardiner who had played 76 matches for the Darts in his career has lost in a St Albans City shirt in nine of his 14 appearances so far. Tom Bender, another ex Dartford defender has been out of action this month after injuring shoulder at the end of February, the 24 year old scored at Princes Park earlier in the campaign in the Saints 2-0 win back in November, Merson scored the other.

To aid stopping the rot, St Albans City have made some on field changes by signing Solomon Sambou, Kieran Monlouis and Christopher Haigh from lower league clubs. It looks like mid-table this term for the Saints, a vast improvement on last campaign’s relegation battle but falling short of their early season promise.

Head to Head
St Albans City wins: 2 / Dartford wins: 6 / Draws: 4

Current League Form
St Albans City (LLLLLL)
Lost 0-4 v Gosport Borough (A)
Lost 0-3 v Ebbsfleet United (H)
Lost 0-1 v Bishop’s Stortford (A)
Lost 0-3 v Wealdstone (H)
Lost 2-3 v Truro City (A)
Lost 1-4 v Bath City (H)

Dartford (WWDWDD)
Won 4-0 v Margate (H)
Won 5-3 v Truro City (H)
Drew 1-1 v Concord Rangers (A)
Won 2-0 v Bath City (H)
Drew 0-0 v Welling United (A)
Drew 1-1 v Oxford City (A)

Previous Meetings
Dartford 0 St Albans City 2 (08/11/2016 – National South)
St Albans City 4 Dartford 0 (30/04/2016 – National South)
Dartford 2 St Albans City 0 (06/02/2016 – National South)
St Albans City 1 Dartford 2 (02/04/2011 – National South)
Dartford 2 St Albans City 2 (22/03/2011 – National South)
Dartford 1 St Albans City 1 (25/11/2008 – F.A Trophy – Lost 2-4 on penalties)

Stats
3 – the last three league victories have completed league doubles over Bath City, Truro City and Margate.

15 – the number of times Dartford have scored three or more goals in a game in all competitions. Ten of which have been in the National League and eight of those in 2017.

31 – Number of goals scored by Elliot Bradbrook and Luke Wanadio in all competitions this term, more than the combined number of goals scored by recognised strikers Andy Pugh, Duane Ofori-Acheampong, Ben Francis, Tom Murphy and Alfie Pavey (27 between them).

360 – St Albans City have gone over 360 minutes without scoring in the National South. The Saints worst run since August 2015.

On This Day
he Darts are unbeaten in their last five matches on 25 March with the most recent victory a year ago. Danny Harris scored early on, Keaton Wood put Dartford ahead again and Tom Bradbrook secured a 3-1 win at Princes Park. The previous two games on this day were home and away versus Corby Town. In 2006, the Darts drew 1-1 in the Southern Division One East and six years earlier won 1-0 in the southern section. Fareham Town were beaten 3-1 in 1998 and in 1995, Dartford were held at home to a goalless draw with Herne Bay in the Kent League.

Dartford v St Albans City

Dartford may have missed out on equalling a club record on Saturday but they have a chance to extend their unbeaten league run as they host St Albans City.

The Darts have had the extraordinary run of nine straight wins halted, yet in the National South they have won six of their last eight, drawing two in a run spanning two months. St Albans City have also hit form over the three matches taking maximum points and scoring ten goals in their last two league fixtures.

Last season Dartford struggled to break down a St Albans City side bottom of the table. Andy Pugh turned out to be the match winner with both goals in a 2-0, the last coming in stoppage time to calm any nerves around Princes Park. On the final day of the campaign, the Saints went on to record their first ever victory in normal time against the Darts in a commanding 4-0 win.

On the weekend, The Darts crashed out of the F.A Cup against last year’s National South champions Sutton United in a topsy-turvy affair. Dartford fell behind three times, the first after just 41 seconds but on each occassion pegged the U’s back. In a crazy opening 23 minutes Dartford found themselves 3-2 down. Elliot Bradbrook scored from the edge of the box and from the spot whilst Duane Ofori-Acheampong fired into the roof of the net. Maxime Biamou, Roary Deacon and Ross Stearn all notched a brace for the visitors in an entertaining 6-3 cup tie.

One of four teams yet to lost at home this term, Dartford know three points will take them above thri opponents and potentially into the playoff places. Tony Burman had a full squad to select from on the weekend with Tom Bonner returning, who slipped back into the first team.

Since February and a change in manager St Albans City have vastly improved. From bottom when they played Dartford last time at Princes Park to sixth this term, the Saints have the best record over the last nine months of the teams in the National South.

Ian Allinson, who led Boreham Wood to promotion to the National League in 2014/15 continues to work wonders in Hertfordshire. St Albans City have netted five in their last two league games beating Truro City 5-0 and Bishop’s Stortford 5-1. Whilst the Saints were commanding from the start against Truro City they had to wait an hour to break the deadlock against Bishop’s Stortford, courtesy of former Dartford defender Tom Bender, the left back made 20 appearances for the Darts in 2014/15.

Another familiar face at Clarence Park is Josh Hill, who had a short spell under Tony Burman in 2013/14 making just five appearances. Dartford will have to keep an eye on Louie Theophanous, the division’s third top scorer with 13 goals behind Wealdstone’s Elliot Benyon and Maidenhead United’s Dave Tarpey.

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

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

St Albans City (WWWDLL)
Won 5-1 v Truro City (H)
Won 5-0 v Bishop’s Stortford (A)
Won 2-1 v Gosport Borough (H)
Lost 1-3 v Ebbsfleet United (A)
Drew 2-2 v Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Drew 1-1 v Maidenhead United (A)

Last Six Meetings
St Albans City 4 Dartford 0 (30/04/2016 – National South)
Dartford 2 St Albans City 0 (06/02/2016 – National South)
St Albans City 1 Dartford 2 (02/04/2011 – National South)
Dartford 2 St Albans City 2 (22/03/2011 – National South)
Dartford 1 St Albans City 1 (25/11/2008 – F.A Trophy)
St Albans City 0 Dartford 0 (22/09/2009 – F.A Trophy)

Stats
Dartford conceded six goals for the first time at Princes Park on Saturday. The F.A Cup tie was the highest aggregate score matching the 7-2 wins against Witham Town and Burgess Hill Town and the 5-4  loss versus Aveley.

In the National South, the Darts went the whole of October without conceding a goal. The Dartford defence have kept three clean sheets in a row.

Elliot Bradbrook ended the F.A Cup campaign with seven goals in four games.

Last season St Albans City were bottom after 30 games but the last 12 fixtures saw a dramatic turnaround with eight wins, two draws and 2 defeats. During that run of form the Saints had the second highest points average (2.17) behind champions Sutton United (2.71). This term St Albans City have averaged two points a game.

On This Day
Dartford’s last league win on 8 November came in 1986 when they beat Gosport Borough in the Southern League Premier Division. Since then the Darts drew with Cambridge City 1-1 in the F.A Trophy and Banbury United 2-2 in the Southern League Division One East. A 2-1 defeat to Harrow Borough eight years ago in the Isthmian Premier League was followed by a F.A Cup win over Bromley in 2014, the match ended 4-3 in the first round.

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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St Albans City v Dartford

Dartford need something close to a miracle to make the playoffs this weekend, when they visit relegation threatened St Albans City.

The Darts travel to Hertfordshire needing to win by five clear goals and even that may not be enough. Tony Burman’s side hope Hemel Hempstead Town and Whitehawk draw with each other so they secure a top five finish.

St Albans City, on the other hand know survival is in their hands. The Saints need to match Havant and Waterlooville’s result in order to stay up.

Dartford enter the final game of the season on the back of a Kent Senior Cup victory. The Darts claimed the cup for the eleventh time when they beat Charlton Athletic 3-1 in the final. Elliot Bradbrook opened the scoring before the Addicks drew level, Ronnie Vint netted the second and Ben Francis added a third.

The Darts came from behind twice in their last league game against Oxford City, Elliot Bradbrook scoring a brace to earn what still could be a crucial point. Dartford have only lost once in their last seven outings and are unbeaten in their last three.

Burman will be without defender Callum McNaughton who has a fractured metatarsal and goalkeeper and Deren Ibrahim, out with a dislocated shoulder. Lee Noble has been struggling with a groin injury and George Sykes with illness.

St Albans City have been given a ray of light since the arrival of manager Ian Allinson. The former Boreham Wood boss took charge at Clarence Park with the Saints bottom of the National South.

Allinson’s first match after his appointment was the 2-0 defeat against Dartford. The Hertfordshire club went on to win just one in his first six games in charge, a 6-0 victory over Whitehawk.

Fortunes soon turned and one defeat in their last nine league games have given St Albans City the chance of National South football next season. A fortnight ago, another 6-0 triumph over relegation rivals Havant and Waterlooville has given them the advantage going into the final day.

Attacking midfielder Louie Theophanous has impressed this term with 17 league goals, the same as Dartford’s captain Elliot Bradbrook. Whilst former Dart, Tom Bender could line up against his old club.

Saturday will be the first meeting between the two sides for four years. Lee Burns scored his first goal of that campaign when his hopeful long ranged header looped over the City defence and into the net. St Albans City pegged the Darts back through Tony Battersby and almost went in front from the spot. Jack Pallen came off the bench to score the winner with four minutes remaining.

Dartford manager, Tony Burman knows the challenge ahead of him he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “St Albans are full of experienced players. Ian Allinson’s gone in there and done a great job and he’ll be trying to win the game – but so will we”, he added: “We’re came in on Thursday just to do attacking play and shooting because we need a lot of goals”, he continued: “Who knows? The league’s brought up some funny results and we’ll just have to see what happens come quarter to five”.

Head to Head

St Albans City wins: 0 / Dartford wins: 6 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

St Albans City (DWDWLW) Dartford (DDWLWD)
Wealdstone A 1-1 Oxford City H 2-2
Havant & Waterlooville H 6-0 Basingstoke Town H 0-0
Hemel Hempstead Town A 2-2 Maidstone United A 2-1
Maidenhead United A 1-0 Truro City A 0-3
Maidstone United H 1-2 Maidenhead United H 2-0
Eastbourne Borough H 3-1 Ebbsfleet United A 1-1

Last League Meeting at Clarence Park

2 April 2011 – St Albans City 1 Dartford 2 – view highlights

Goalscorers: Lee Burns (23), Jack Pallen (85); Tony Battersby (55)

The Darts Lineup: Andrew Young, Billy Burgess, Tom Bonner, Joe Bruce, Paul Goodacre, Tom Champion, Lee Noble, James White, Charlie Sheringham, Lee Burns, Danny Harris (sub used: Ryan Hayes, Jack Pallen, Elliot Bradbrook)

Previous Meetings (* – F.A Cup / ^ – F.A Trophy)

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
04.10.1988* St Albans City 2 Dartford 4
01.10.1988* Dartford 1 St Albans City 1
15.09.1973* Dartford 4 St Albans City 1
19.03.1898 Dartford 3 St Albans 1
09.10.1897 St Albans 1 Dartford 4

** = St Albans City won 4-2 on penalties

On This Day

It’s been four years since Dartford won on the final day of the season and that was against Maidenhead United. The 3-2 victory in 2011 came before draws at Truro City, back to back last day defeats against Nuneaton Town and another stalemate versus Lincoln City. Charlie Sheringham, Jack Pallen and Ryan Hayes put the Darts three up against the Magpies before surviving a late fightback from Maidenhead United.