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Dartford v Torquay United

Dartford’s exit from the F.A Trophy last week leaves them concentrating on the National South and next up is Torquay United at Princes Park. 

It was only twelve years ago since the Darts were competing for the Isthmian Division One North title, whilst Torquay United were battling to keep their Football League status. Although the two sides have met since then, back in the 2014/15 campaign, it’s the first time they have come up against each other in the National South.

The Darts last hosted the Seagulls just over four years ago in the National League. Torquay United were the big draw for the division back then and Dartford managed to draw 0-0, however it could have been better had Elliot Bradbrook not grazed the top of the crossbar from the penalty spot. At the end of that season Dartford were relegated and four years on Torquay United followed.

A week ago, Dartford were knocked out of the F.A Trophy by a former player in a dramatic finale to match. The replay took place after Kudus Oyenuga scored a late equaliser at Eastbourne Borough in a 1-1 draw. Once again Dartford found themselves behind in the tie when Dean Cox’s brace put the Sports in control. In the final minute of the ninety Andre Coker gave Dartford hope and in injury time academy player Taylor Fisher scored on only his second appearance. Heading into extra time, ex Dartford defender Tom Gardiner popped up with a header to knock out his former side.

Taylor Fisher who started the first game against Eastbourne Borough to make his debut, was trusted to come off the bench last week. Joint Manager, Adam Flanagan spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and praised the academy set up, he commented: “We’ve got some good young lads, it’s trying to build the environment where they can come into the team and perform well”, he added: “Taylor got an opportunity on Saturday and he took it. We’ve got Liam Gillies who is a potential prospect as well. There will be opportunities during the season for him to get minutes”, he continued: “We haven’t got a massive squad so there will be opportunities for these young players and we’ve got the confidence to throw them in”.

Only second defeat in eight competitive games, however they remain the form team in the National South with six wins from the last seven outings. At home in the league, the Darts are five unbeaten picking up 13 points from the last 15 available at Princes Park.
Captain, Tom Bonner is set to return from injury whilst former skipper Elliot Bradbrook returns after missing the F.A Trophy replay due to work commitments. Andy Pugh is still on the road to recovery from his leg break in pre-season.

Torquay United made a slow start to life in the National South and as early as September sacked Gary Owers after defeat to Chippenham Town. In came the experienced Gary Johnson, who is yet to taste a league defeat with his new club. The Gulls have won five and drawn three since Johnson’s appointment and have moved from 14th to third in the table.

Johnson has had international managerial experience with Latvia, won the F.A Trophy, National League and League Two with Yeovil Town then returned to the club to guide them to the Championship for the first time in the Glovers history. The 63 year old also led Bristol City to the Championship and Cheltenham Town back into the Football League.

Dartford boss, Flanagan recognises the influence Torquay United’s new boss has had since joining the Devonshire club, he said: “Since Gary Johnson’s gone there he has improved them. There’s a connection with his son so he’s had a few loans from Bristol City. The feedback is that they are the best team in the league. If you want to be in the mix then you need to challenge yourselves against these teams”.

The Darts will need to watch out for Jamie Reid, the striker has managed 12 goals this term and is the second highest scorer in the National South. The former Exeter City forward has his current total in Torquay United’s last 11 league games, including a hat-trick against Eastbourne Borough. Saikou Jennah has also been hitting the target of late with his trio of goals versus Concord Rangers and brace against Billericay Town recently. On Saturday, Torquay United visited newly promoted Dulwich Hamlet and goals from Reid and Jennah made sure of the three points.

Victory for the Devonshire club moved them into third place and a point behind league leaders Welling United. The Darts moved down to sixth on the weekend because they were without a fixture, but Flanagan and Coyle’s side are only four points from the top of the National League.

Head to Head

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

Current League Form

Dartford (WWWLWW) Torquay United
Hampton & Richmond A 1-0 Dulwich Hamlet A 2-0
Oxford City H 3-2 Concord Rangers H 4-1
Gloucester City A 2-1 St Albans City H 4-1
Truro City A 1-3 Billericay Town H 2-2
Dulwich Hamlet H 2-1 Weston-super-Mare A 2-2
Chippenham Town A 2-1 Wealdstone A 0-3

Previous Meetings

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

Stats

The Darts top the form guide over the last six games, one point ahead of Torquay United in second place.

The Gulls are unbeaten in their last nine away games making them the form team on the road.

Dartford and Torquay United have scored in each of the last nine league matches.

The Darts have scored two or more in their last five league matches at home. Torquay United have scored two or more in their last five away games in the National South.

On This Day

Dartford last won in the league on 4 December back in 1990 when they hosted Cambridge City in a Southern Premier League fixture, the Darts won 2-0. Since then they have been knocked out of the Kent Senior Cup in 1993 losing 5-1 to Folkestone Invicta, drew 0-0 with Dulwich Hamlet three years later in the F.A Trophy and lost 2-1 to Corby Town in the Southern League South in 1999. Since the turn of the millennium, 14 years ago the Darts drew 2-2 with Boreham Wood in the Southern League Division One East, beat Whitstable Town in the Isthmian League Cup in 2007 and lost their last fixture on this day 1-0 away to Nuneaton Town in the National League. In 1989, Dartford did record a comprehensive 5-0 triumph over Wealdstone in the Southern League Cup second round.

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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Torquay United v Dartford

Dartford visit Plainmoor for the first time to take on Torquay United and hope to bring back three points from the English Riviera.

Only once have these two teams met and that was back in August. A goalless draw left both sides waiting to score the first ever goal in this fixture. Elliot Bradbrook came the closest just under eight months ago when his penalty kick hit the crossbar, the miss proved vital as the deadlock could not be broken. Earlier in the match Jason Brown made a fantastic double stop in the Dartford goal and at the other end Andy Pugh’s header was well saved by Martin Rice.

The Darts are on the brink of relegation to the Conference South, on Saturday they need to avoid defeat and hope Aldershot Town and Alfreton Town fail to pick up a win. Any other outcome means Dartford live for another game, the forthcoming Easter Monday fixture at home to league leaders Barnet.

On Tuesday night, a crowd of just over 600 turned out at Princes Park for the lowest attendance of the campaign. The highlight of the 1-1 draw against Gateshead was a tremendous individual goal by on loan striker Jordan Chiedozie. The 20 year old ran at the Heed defence cut inside and curled a precise shot into the corner for the opener. Ahead for only nine minutes the Darts conceded from a corner when Tom Allan looped a header over Deren Ibrahim.

Since Dartford’s poor run of nine defeats in ten games they have avoided back to back defeats and the draw versus Gateshead kept that run going. After a disappointing performance in the 2-1 loss at home to Altrincham, Tony Burman was encouraged by what he saw in mid week. The Dartford boss told www.kentonline.co.uk: “To get a response from Saturday’s performance is a positive. We’d like to have the three points but we haven’t lost the game2, he added: “We tried to do some things which hopefully helped the crowd to get behind them. I felt it was better than Saturday”.

Goalscorer, Chiedozie netted his first in a Dartford shirt in only his second on loan from League Two side Cambridge United. Over the two matches his played the striker has looked lively enough to earn praise from Burman. Another player earning praise from supporters is Lee Noble, the midfielder’s man of the match performance in the defeat against Altrincham has given him the Pure DFC Player of the Year award for the third time. Approaching his 300th appearance for Dartford, Noble won the award in 2010/2011 as well as the following season.

Torquay United manager, Chris Hargreaves has found life tough in the Conference Premier with his side amongst one of the favourites at the start of the campaign. The tag given to the Gulls seemed apt in the first two months of the season with the Devonshire club reaching second spot. An unbeaten run of ten, which included eight clean sheets, gave Torquay United a start full of promise. The following six fixtures yielded one win and five defeats and from then on form has been inconsistent.

With just two league wins in 2015, a 5-1 home reverse at Braintree Town and Thea Bristow the club’s chairwoman departing earlier than expected, Torquay United have dropped to sixteenth with one win needed to secure Conference Premier football next season. Financially, Hargreaves realises his full time side may not be able to compete, a point he made to the media almost a fortnight ago

The Gulls host Dartford on the back of consecutive defeats at the hands of Woking and Southport. On Saturday they conceded late in the game to give Southport victory. Hargreaves called his captain’s actions a “moment of madness” when Luke Young was sent off. Despite being a man down Torquay United dominated for large spells but it was Southport who lead through Scott Kay. The Devonshire side were back level when Toby Ajala grabbed a deserved equaliser but their work was undone five minutes from time by Southport’s Paul Smith.

One bright note for Torquay United this term is the fact they reached the F.A Trophy last four. The eventual runners up Wrexham knocked the Gulls out of the competition 5-1 on aggregate.

Head to Head

Torquay United wins: 0 / Dartford wins: 0 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Torquay United (LLWLDL) Dartford (DLDLWL)
Southport  A  1-2 Gateshead  H  1-1
Woking  A  2-3 Altrincham  H  1-2
Kidderminster Harriers  H  2-1 Alfreton Town  A  0-0
Braintree Town  H  1-5 Southport  A  0-2
Nuneaton Town  A  0-0 Chester  A  2-1
Chester  H  0-1 Alfreton Town  H  0-1

Previous Meeting

23.08.2014 Dartford 0 Torquay United 0

Stats

6 – Torquay United’s six game winning streak early in the season is still the longest winning run by any club this term

12 – Dartford’s away record is good enough for a mid-table team, the Darts have the 12th best away form

14 – Luke Young has created the most goals in the Conference Premier this season leading the assists chart

69 – At the back, Torquay United’s Aaron Downes had made more defensive clearances than any other Conference Premier player this term

 

Dartford v Torquay United

Dartford will host former Football League side Torquay United for the first time this weekend and will be hoping to cause an upset.

The Darts have started their campaign with matches against Wrexham, Woking and Kidderminster Harriers picking up one point in the process. The tough opening continues with the Gulls followed by an away trip to Barnet. Torquay United on the other hand, visited Gateshead, hosted Welling United before facing Southport and have managed three points more than the Darts.

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Burman feels a win is round the corner

Last weekend a second defeat of the season left Dartford still searching for their first victory. Kidderminster Harriers looked competent and comfortable taking the lead just before half time through Kyle Storer. Despite another loss, Tony Burman feels his side deserve more than the points tally they have, he told www.newsshopper.co.uk: “We could be sitting here at the end of the first week and we could have had six points without any doubt, but unfortunately it was not to be”, he added: “I do not think we are doing a lot wrong, but hopefully the breaks will come our way and we will get our first win over the weekend”.

Burman has been pleased with performances and the squad as a whole looks much improved compared to a year ago. During the summer Burman already planned to rotate his players having signed enough to provide competition in midfield and up front. With Nathan Collier and Lee Burns also available their versatility adds extra cover on the park. Tom Bradbrook has started his second spell with the club by picking up the PureDFC man of the match vote on the first day of the season. Andy Pugh and Elliot Bradbrook have been recognised amongst the supporters and Peter Sweeney’s first start was promising at Woking. Meanwhile, striker Harry Crawford and winger Ryan Hayes have yet to start which shows the depth within the squad this term.

Whilst Dartford’s opponents have a wealth of Football League experience, Dartford have spent more full season’s in the Conference Premier, now totalling five compared to Torquay United’s two. The Darts will want to make the most of their reprieve whilst their visitors are chasing a return to League Two.

It took the Gulls two attempts last time they played Conference Premier football having finished third in 2007/08 then fourth the next year. A playoff semi final defeat to rivals Exeter City was forgotten the following season when they won the playoff final versus Cambridge United. The Gulls also lost the F.A Trophy final to Dartford’s local rivals Ebbsfleet United, during their last stint at this level.

The Devonshire club have had an average start tasting a 3-1 defeat on the opening day at Gateshead, a 3-0 win at home to Welling United followed by a 0-0 draw versus Southport. Chris Hargreaves is the man in charge at Plainmoor where he spent three years making over 100 appearances for the club. His squad looks fairly new with many faces moving in and out of the Devonshire club. Louis Briscoe, Luke Young, Ryan Bowman, Angus MacDonald have all featured in the opening fixtures with Toby Ajala mainly appearing as a substitute.

Bowman has played against Dartford before whilst at Hereford United two season’s ago and in the same campaign Louis Briscoe faced the Darts in Mansfield Town colours. At the back Angus MacDonald formerly of Salisbury City has represented England at under 16 and under 19 level and the England C team.

Team News

Lee Burns will be out of action this weekend after picking up a rib injured when he collided with goalkeeper Jason Brown. Defender Ronnie Vint has signed for Southern Counties East League side Cray Valley Paper Mills and Kaka Dembele moves to Leatherhead of the Isthmian Premier League. Both players have signed on dual registration meaning they are still available for selection.

Ryan Bowman will be missing for the visitors when he was red carded on Saturday. With 20 minutes gone in the match against Southport, Bowman head butted Scott Kay. The decision wasn’t questioned by boss Chris Hargreaves who said the referee had no option but to send his player off.

Stats

dartford v torquay

Torquay United

Plainmoor Founded 1899 The Gulls

Last time it took two attempts to return back to the Football League for the Devonshire club and in that short period they reached the F.A Trophy final. Torquay United have had recent experience of relegation to the Conference Premier prior their five year stay in the League Two. A second trip to Wembley followed the next season when they reached the playoff final beating Cambridge United to win their place back to the Football League. The Gulls have spent the majority of their history in the bottom two tiers of English football after election way back in 1927.

tufc

Last Season

League Two: 24th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

Leaue Cup: 1st Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

Top Scorer: Jordan Chapell

Average Attendance: 2970

A campaign to forget ended with Torquay United finishing at the foot of the Football League. A lack of goals meant top scorer Jordan Chapell won the clubs golden boot with a total of just five and the Devonshire club recording one of the worst attack forces. Only twice the Gulls won back to back matches throughout the league campaign and from the beginning of March never moved off the bottom of the table. Alan Knill start the season as manager and lasted until 2 January 2014 when he was sacked leaving the Gulls in 23rd. The club went for a familiar face as Knill’s replacement but someone with no managerial experience. Results didn’t improve and the poor home record continued, from March to May Torquay United failed to score in four consecutive matches at Plainmoor equalling a club record. Failure to net in their first home game in the Conference Premier will increase the barren spell.

The Manager – Chris Hargreaves

In a playing career that just kept on going, Hargreaves finally hung up his boots four years ago at the age of 38. For his first managerial role, the former midfielder returned to Torquay United where he made over 100 appearances in three years. It all started at the end of the eighties when he played for Grimsby Town and was involved in their climb from the old Division Four to what is now the Championship. Spells at Hull City, Hereford United and rivals Plymouth Argyle followed taking his career throguh to the millennium. In 2000, Hargreaves joined Northampton Town where he made over 150 appearances and won Player of the Year. After turning out for Brentford, the 42 year old started his first spell with Oxford United and suffered relegation to the Conference Premier in 2006. Torquay United picked the midfielder up after they too were relegated to the Conference Premier, Hargreaves helped them up with the first goal in a playoff final win against Cambridge United.

The Summer

He may have played for Devonshire rivals Plymouth Argyle but Luke Young has switched allegiances over the summer. The 21 year old midfielder was one match shy of a century for Argyle. Louis Briscoe who won the Conference Premier two years ago with Mansfield Town joins from the Stags. Goalkeeper, Jordan Seabright replaces Michael Poke who has moved to Portsmouth. Seabright turned out for Dagenham and Redbridge last term making only four starts. Ryan Bowman has been captured from York City, the youngster top scored with Hereford United two years ago to earn his move to the Football League. Determined to make a name for himself, Toby Ajala has been used to going out on loan most recently at Welling United. Having already spent time on loan at Plainmoor, Angus MacDonald has joined the club from Salisbury City.

Moving out of Plainmoor to the side relegated out of the Football League with Torquay United, Lee Mansell joins Bristol Rovers. The 31 year old made an excellent 389 appearances for the Gulls over an eight year period. Hargreaves has bid farewell to another of the old guard releasing club legend Kevin Nicholson after seven years and more than 300 appearances. Damon Lathrope moves to Aldershot Town, Danny Stevens released and Joss Labadie joins Dagenham and Redbridge. Shaun Cooper’s contract was cancelled by mutual consent over the summer.

Next Meetings

Saturday 23 August 2014 at Princes Park

Saturday 4 April 2015 at Plainmoor

League Performance Last Ten Years

torquay last ten years

Best Performances

2nd Division Three South (1956/57) F.A Cup 4th Round (on seven occasions) F.A Trophy Runners Up (2007/08)