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Truro City v Dartford

In form Dartford make the long trip to Plainmoor in Devon to face Cornwall opponents Truro City and it’s likely to be Deren Ibrahim’s last game for the club.

Ibrahim announced he’s leaving Princes Park after an opportunity at Charlton Athletic came up. A full time position as a goalkeeping coach was too good to refuse, so a win in what will be the 27-year-old’s 180th game for the Darts will be the perfect way to sign off.

Despite one favourite going another one came home last Friday, but he was ruled out in bizarre circumstances. Crowd favourite Ryan Hayes returned to Dartford for a second spell, however an accident at work left the creative winger with a broken hand and stitches in his leg after falling down a hole.

The Darts approach their fourteenth league game of the season on the back of a three match winning streak in the competition. Consecutive 2-1 victories over Weston-super-Mare, Chippenham Town and Dulwich Hamlet have propelled Dartford up to sixth and into the playoff places.

With just two National South fixtures going ahead last weekend, Dartford took full advantage to climb the table after coming from behind to beat Dulwich Hamlet, in front of the biggest home crowd at Princes Park this season. The South Londoners took the lead when Afolabi Akinyemi’s powerful shot beat Ibrahim on nineteen minutes. Just before half-time the Darts were level as in form striker Jamie Philpot scored, his fourth in as many league games. The winner came from the spot and Charlie Sheringham stepped up to earn Dartford another three points. Going slightly under the radar, Daniel Johnson who was signed from Bromley made his debut at full back.

Dartford had a mixture of results against the White Tigers last season losing in their last visit to Treyew Road. With the Darts topping the table at the time it was a surprise to see them three down inside nineteen minutes. Tyler Harvey scored a penalty, Cody Cooke made it two in as many minutes and then added a third, Ronnie Vint found the net half way through the first half, but the game ended 3-1. 

The reversed fixture went Dartford’s way with a comfortable 4-1 triumph at Princes Park in February. Andy Pugh, Alex Brown, Danny Mills and an own goal helped the Darts to victory. If it’s goals you’re looking for then this could be the fixture, Dartford managed to score five on both occasions against Truro City the season before last, winning 5-0 at Treyew Road and 5-3 at home. 

It’s not been plain sailing since Truro City’s rise up the non-league pyramid. The 2007 F.A Vase winners won five promotions in six seasons to reach the National South in 2011. In their second campaign at this level they were relegated and faced financial problems. It took the Cornwall club four years to get back and they have managed to reach the playoffs twice in the last three years. 

The club have ambitions to play at a Stadium for Cornwall and this off field activity is starting to impact the White Tigers. Developers, Helical Retail announced they intended to start the development of Treyew Road and asked Truro City to vacate their home nine days before the start of this season.  

Presently, supporters face a 180-mile trip to watch their side play at Torquay United’s Plainmoor ground. Now the situation has changed and realistically according to Jonathan Cox, representative of Helical Retail, work on a new stadium will not start until May 2019, therefore Truro City chairman Peter Masters is looking for the club to be back at Treyew Road this season, and for the groundshare with Torquay United to be back in place when work is due to begin. 

This term, the White Tigers are struggling lying second from bottom with just one win in all competitions. Former manager, Lee Hodges left two games into the campaign after a 4-0 defeat to newcomers Billericay Town and a 1-1 draw with bottom club Weston-super-Mare. Midfielder, Ben Harding temporarily took charge and took two points from his six games. 

New boss, Leigh Robinson started off to a flyer winning his first game beating Gloucester City 2-0, but no points have been collected in the league since. The former Taunton Town manager did manage a 0-0 draw in the F.A Cup second qualifying round against Hereford only to lose the replay 4-3 after extra time. The 37-year-old spent six years at Taunton Town winning the Southern League West Division with just one defeat from 42 League games. 

Truro City have struggled this season and only Weston-super-Mare stand between them and the bottom of the table. The White Tigers have picked up just six points with only one of those coming at Plainmoor, their temporary home. 

Dartford’s last visit to Plainmoor in April 2015 was in the National League when the game ended 1-1 against Torquay United. Jordan Chiedozie’s goal earned Dartford a point, but it was too little too late to save the Darts from relegation that season. 

Head to Head

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

Current League Form

Truro City (LLLWLL) Dartford (WWWDDL)
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-2 Dulwich Hamlet H 2-1
Concord Rangers A 0-3 Chippenham Town A 2-1
Hampton & Richmond H 0-2 Weston-super-Mare H 2-1
Gloucester City A 2-0 Billericay Town A 1-1
Weadlstone A 0-3 Eastbourne Borough H 2-2
Hungerford Town H 2-3 St Albans City A 0-2

Previous Meetings

24.02.2018 Dartford 4 Truro City 1
11.11.2017 Truro City 3 Dartford 1
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

Stats

Jamie Philpot has scored in each of his last four league games. Danny Mills was the last Dartford player to do that in the final four league games of last season.

Only St Albans City (5) have conceded more goals in the opening 15 minutes of games than Truro City (4). The White Tigers have also let in 12 goals between 60-75 minutes, seven more than anyone else.

Only Dulwich Hamlet and Hungerford Town (7) have let in more goals than Dartford (5) in first 15 minutes of the second half.

Dartford have won their last three league games 2-1, the last time the Darts recorded three consecutive 2-1 victories was in 1994 against Faversham Town, Cray Wanderers and Folkestone Invicta in the Kent League.

With the departure of Deren Ibrahim confirmed only Ben Greenhalgh and Tom Bonner will be on course to play in every National South game this season.

On This Day

Two of the current squad scored against Ashford Town (Middlesex) nine years ago in a 4-1 away win. Lee Noble and Ryan Hayes scored the first two Dartford goals, Danny Harris and Jay May added two more in the Isthmian Premier League encounter. Two years before the Darts also hit four this time against Potters Bar Town, one more Jay May found himself on the scoresheet alongside Brendon Cass, Junior Kadi and Tom Bradbrook.

National League South Season Preview 2018/2019 – Part Four

Truro City |Wealdstone | Welling United | Weston-super-Mare | Woking

Truro City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Plainmoor

Seven years ago, Truro City propelled themselves up the football pyramid reaching the National South for the first time in their history. Since then they have had financial problems, relegation back to the Southern Premier and a return to the National South. A much more stable club now, the White Tigers reached the playoffs for a second time in three seasons losing to Hampton and Richmond Borough after extra time. At late notice Truro City will groundshare with Torquay United this season as they plan for a new stadium. They also reached the F.A Cup first round for the first time in their history last season, putting in a credible performance against Charlton Athletic in their 3-1 defeat.

Last Season

National South: 7th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Cody Cooke (13 goals)

Average Attendance: 469 (15th in National South)

The Manager – Lee Hodges

In his second spell as manager of Truro City, Lee Hodges has taken the White Tigers to the playoffs in two of the last three campaigns. In his first spell he won the Southern Premier League with the club to complete the Cornwall club’s rise from the Western League, their fourth title in five seasons. As a player he won two league titles with Plymouth Argyle and the promotion to the Football League with Torquay United through the playoffs. Finishing his playing career at Truro City, Hodges first spell as manager ended due to financial problems the club faced, two years ago he returned to Treyew Road to finish off a job.

The Summer

The White Tigers will be pinning their goal scoring hopes on new striker Jared Lewington. A target for manager Lee Hodges last summer Lewington joins from Southern Premier League side Tiverton Town. Midfielder Lloyd Gardner moves from Buckland Athletic whilst Truro City welcome back Louis Rooney from Linfield, who was on loan at Treyew Road in 2016/2017. The Cornwall club have lost some decent players in the process including Cody Cooke to St Mirren, goalkeeper Tom McHale and Ben Gerring to Billericay Town. Fletcher Williams, River Allen and Stewart Yetton have also been released. Alex Hartridge and Max Smallcombe sign on loan from Exeter City, defender Cameron Kelly arrives from Buckland Athletic and goalkeeper Corey Harvey will be on dual registration with Bodmin Town. Hodges has managed to secure the services of Bristol City youngsters Jojo Wollacott and Tom Richards on loan. Wollacott spent time on loan last season with club. Paul Bignot will provide football league experience and has been capped by England at C level.

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

24.02.2018 Dartford 4 Truro City 1
11.11.2017 Truro City 3 Dartford 1
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

Next Meetings

Saturday 27 October 2018 at Treyew Road

Saturday 30 March 2019 at Princes Park

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Wealdstone

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Vale Stadium

On 21 August 2017 a monumental change happened at Wealdstone. A generation of supporters would only know the club with Gordon Bartlett at the helm, he stepped down after twenty-two years. A big change after Bartlett managed one win in the five games at the start of the season. In came Bobby Wilkinson from Hungerford Town who led the Stones to their obligatory mid-table position come the end of the season. The new regime started in good form with one defeat in twelve games and then Wealdstone returned to their norm. This summer has seen a major overhaul of players and so after four campaigns in the National South, the Stones will be looking at a playoff place.

Last Season

National South: 11th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: Semi-Final

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: David Pratt (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 880 (3rd in National South)

The Manager – Bobby Wilkinson

It came as a shock when Bobby Wilkinson quit Hungerford Town early last season, after all he had spent seven seasons improving the Crusaders. He led the Berkshire club to promotion through the Southern League South & West playoffs and went on to win the Southern Premier playoffs. In Hungerford Town’s first campaign in the National South he guided them to an impressive sixth, missing out on the playoffs due to ground grading requirements. Wilkinson also got the Crusaders to the F.A Trophy last eight on two occasions during his time there. This summer is the first with the Stones for the new boss and has seen many changes to the playing personnel.

The Summer

Bobby Wilkinson went early with transfers this summer having had the majority of last season to assess his players. Plenty of players departed including defender Ian Gayle to Woking, and a squad worth arrived. Former Dartford defender Tom Gardiner will be a Wealdstone player, signed from St Albans City he made 75 appearances for the Darts between 2015 and 2017. Ebbsfleet United missed a trick when they didn’t give Yado Mambo the number five shirt, he will certainly be wearing that number with the Stones. A superb F.A Cup hat-trick put Matthew Lench in the limelight last term, the midfielder joins having scored 15 times for Slough Town last season. Wadah Ahmidi and Sam Hatton follow each other from Staines Town, the same goes for Rhys Tyler, Stefan Brown and James Clark from Wilkinson’s former club Hungerford Town and Godfrey Poku and Freddie Grant from Oxford City. Montel Agyemang from East Thurrock United, Marvel Ekpiteta from Bishop’s Stortford, Jake Sheppard from Reading’s academy team and Connor Stevens from Watford U23’s all join the Stones. Bradley Hudson-Odoi returns to the club, the Stones Junior Player of the Year in 2015/2016 has been away with Hampton and Richmond Borough, Sutton United, Eastleigh and Maidstone United. Goalkeeper Callum Thomas impressed Bobby Wilkinson during pre-season and joins from Charlton Athletic. Striker, Joe White rejoins the Stones on loan from Stevenage, he previously scored six goals in 17 appearances for Wealdstone.

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

17.02.2018 Wealdstone 1 Dartford 2
21.11.2017 Dartford 3 Wealdstone 3
28.01.2017 Wealdstone 0 Dartford 4
06.08.2016 Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2
26.01.2016 Dartford 1 Wealdstone 2
03.10.2015 Wealdstone 2 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 18 March 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 5 January 2019 at Vale Stadium

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Welling United

Founded: 1963 / Ground: Park View Road

A new start for the Wings who finished tenth last season, out goes new Dartford boss Jamie Coyle and in comes former Whitehawk manager Steve King. Welling United have plenty of experience in the top two tiers of non-league football going back to the late seventies. The Kent side were amongst the front runners in the first three months of last season thanks to a six-game winning streak. A drop of form in November and December as well as a poor end to the season left the Wings eight points shy of the playoffs. Since relegation from the National League, Welling United have stabilised in the National South and will be pushing for the playoffs under new management.

Last Season

National South: 10th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Bradley Goldberg (10 goals)

Average Attendance: 541 (10th in National South)

The Manager – Steve King

Nothing but a top seven finish will be acceptable for Steve King at Welling United. The ambitious manager was appointed this summer after he departed Whitehawk. To be fair his task of keeping the Hawks up last term was difficult considering the ground he had to make up, despite improvements they still went down. In his first spell at Whitehawk life was rosier, King kept the Hawks up, reached a playoff final and made it to the F.A Cup second round, almost earning a tie with Everton. He had spells managing Lewes, Northwich Victoria and Farnborough before he took Macclesfield Town to the F.A Cup fourth round in 2013.

The Summer

It seems to be theme that managers are looking towards their former clubs and it’s no different for Steve King. The new Welling United boss has brought in goalkeeper Daniel Wilks, Jordon Gibbons and Nassim L’Ghoul from relegated Whitehawk. King is also familiar with John Paul Kissock who also had a spell with the Hawks before joining Southport, the pair also worked together at Macclesfield Town and will both be working wioth each other once more. Former Canadian international, Gavin McCallum won the Supporters Player of the Year with Eastbourne Borough last term, scorer of 15 goals in 39 games the midfielder will be a Welling United player this season. Richard Orlu has been signed from Woking, the former Dover Athletic defender could pair up with Anthony Acheampong, who joins the Wings for his third spell after signing from Dulwich Hamlet. Ben Jefford and Jack Parkinson have left Park View Road along with Director of Football, Tristan Lewis. French centre-back Thierry Audel worked with King at Macclesfield Town. Since leaving the SIlkmen he played for Crewe Alexandra, Notts County and Barrow. King also once got the best out of Danny Mills when at Whitehawk, the striker scored 58 goals over two seasons there. Signed from Ebbsfleet United, he went out on loan last term to Dartford where he scored six in 26 games. David Ijaha is another from Whitehawk, the midfielder includes St Albans City, Harrow Borough and Wealdstone as former clubs. Guinea-Bissau international Arnaud Mendy will also be part of the Wings squad this season and has represented Luton Town, Macclesfield Town, Lincoln City and Whitehawk. Hampton and Richmond Borough’s Player of the Season, Brendan Kiernan moves to Park View Road, the 25-year-old has played for Ebbsfleet United, Bromley and AFC Wimbledon in the past.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 19 / Welling United wins: 7 / Draws: 10

Previous Meetings

01.01.2018 Dartford 4 Welling United 1
26.12.2017 Welling United 2 Dartford 3
28.02.2017 Welling United 0 Dartford 0
22.11.2016 Welling United 2 Dartford 2
06.09.2016 Dartford 2 Welling United 1
19.10.2015 Dartford 3 Welling United 1

Next Meetings

Wednesday 26 December 2018 at Park View Road

Tuesday 1 January 2019 at Princes Park

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Weston-super-Mare

Founded: 1887 / Ground: Woodspring Stadium

The longest serving club currently in the National South, the Seagulls recorded their highest finish since 2014 and it could have been better. The Somerset club were always chasing the playoff spot without really threatening to break into the top seven. At home, Weston-super-Mare took advantage of those clubs below them in the table tasting defeat just once. They swept aside Eastbourne Borough and Wealdstone 5-1 but were also capable of losing to struggling Whitehawk by the same score line. Those inconsistencies cost the Seagulls a better campaign and when they lost eight of their last eleven fixtures, the Somerset club knew a fifteenth consecutive season in the National South would beckon.

Last Season

National South: 12th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Gethyn Hill (19 goals)

Average Attendance: 492 (14th in National South)

The Manager – Marc McGregor

Formerly a player and assistant manager at Weston-super-Mare, Marc McGregor took the step up last summer. He already had experience as a player coach with Worcester City and played for Oxford United and Notts County. The former England C international moved to Forest Green Rovers and was there until Ian Holloway took him on at Queens Park Rangers. Injury forced McGregor to quit playing full time and so he had spells with Tamworth and Hinckley. He guided the Seagulls to a County Cup triumph in his first campaign and the club’s highest finish since 2014 when they ended up in twelfth.

The Summer

Jamie Lucas joins permanently after two loan spells with the club. The striker scored 12 in 21 for Weston-super-Mare at the age of 19. Outside of his spells with the Seagulls, the striker has played for Gloucester City, Boreham Wood, Woking, Bath City and F.A Trophy finalists Brackley Town. He has also made four appearances for Bristol Rovers. Former Dart, Ben Swallow has joned from Bognor Regis Town, the midfielder made 11 appearances for Dartford in 2014. Danny Greenslade has left the Somerset club for Hereford F.C. Tristan Plummer has decided to move onto pastures new, signing with Bitton A.F.C. After a successful trial with the Seagulls, Eli Phipps signs from Colchester United.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 8 / Weston-Super-Mare wins: 3 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings

07.04.2018 Dartford 3 Weston-super-Mare 1
23.09.2017 Weston-super-Mare 3 Dartford 0
17.01.2017 Dartford 3 Weston-super-Mare 2
26.11.2016 Weston-super-Mare 2 Dartford 4
20.08.2016 Weston-super-Mare 1 Dartford 2
05.03.2016 Weston-super-Mare 2 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 29 September 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 6 April 2019 at Woodspirng Stadium

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Woking

Founded: 1945 / Ground: Enclosed Ground

Relegated from the National South after six years, the Cards needed one more goal entering the last minute of the season. Poised at 1-1 with Dover Athletic and needing victory, Woking conceded instead ending their stay in the National League. The Surrey club were promoted to the top non-league division as champions in the season Dartford went up with them. The Cards held their own until last term and looked to be doing the same again at the end of November. After victory against Ebbsfleet United on 21 November 2017, Woking won just three more games as they slumped towards the bottom four. A win in their penultimate fixture gave them hope but it wasn’t to be for the Cards.

Last Season

National League: 21st

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Charlie Carter (12 goals)

Average Attendance: 2024 (8th in National League)

The Manager – Alan Dowson

Alan Dowson represented Millwall, Fulham, Bradford City and Darlington before non-league football came calling. He spent time at Slough Town, Gateshead then Waltham and Hersham, where he got his break as a manager. Staying in Surrey, Dowson then took charge of Kingstonian where he won the Isthmian Division One South. He was unveiled as Hampton and Richmond Borough’s manager in 2014 and two years later led the Beavers to the Isthmian Premier League title. Dowson made his former club contenders for promotion to the National League losing last season’s playoff final. Now he will start a new challenge back in Surrey to get Woking back to the National League at the first attempt.

The Summer

Top scorer in a struggling season, Charlie Carter attracted the attention of Chesterfield and moved to the newly relegated National League side. Josh Staunton also makes the step up a division by switching to FC Halifax Town. With a new boss at the helm many more have arrived, mainly from his former side Hampton and Richmond Borough and last season’s runners up Dartford. Nathan Collier worked with Dowson at Hampton and Richmond Borough and now has his man back, Collier joins from Dartford having made 21 appearances for them last season. Struggling with injury, striker Duane Ofori-Acheampong only managed six starts for the Darts last term and along with the impressive goalkeeper Berti Schotterl, who kept six clean sheets in 13 outings the total of former Dartford players reaches three. Dowson has taken Charlie Wassmer with him from his old club, the defender was namesd in the National South’s team of the season and after over 150 appearances for Hampton and Richmond Borough, Josh Casey follows. Jack Cook formed a partnership with Wassmer with the Beavers last term and they will team up again. Ian Gayle adds more strength to the back line from Wealdstone and winger Nicky Wheeler comes in from Billericay Town. Christian Jolley was given his break in 2009 by Alan Dowson at Kingstonian, they now pair up again. Jolley went on to play for AFC Wimbledon, Newport County, Forest Green Rovers, Grimsby Town then Margate. Max Kretzschmar returns to the Cards after one season with Hampton and Richmond Borough, where he scored 14 goals in 39 league appearances last season. Striker, Jake Hyde made 130 appearances in the Football League for Barnet, York City, and Stevenage. Last season Hyde played for Maidenhead United in the National League. Former Burgess Hill Town striker, Greg Luer spent more than three years with Hull City making eight appearances. Loan spells in League One with Port Vale and Scunthorpe United, and League Two with Stevenage followed and now he is at Woking.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Woking wins: 5 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

03.03.2015 Dartford 1 Woking 3
12.08.2014 Woking 1 Dartford 1
18.02.2014 Dartford 5 Woking 1
12.11.2013 Woking 3 Dartford 0
01.04.2013 Dartford 4 Woking 1
14.08.2010 Woking 1 Dartford 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 1 December 2018 at Kingsfield

Saturday 23 February 2019 at Princes Park

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National South Playoff Preview

Six clubs will compete in the new National South playoff format aiming to earn a place in the top flight of non league. Pure DFC takes a look at the contenders in this season’s showdown and the build up to the final on Sunday 13th May.

Dartford

The Darts will need to get over their last minute heartbreak quickly, which denied them the championship on goal difference. For a few minutes Dartford were up until champions Havant and Waterlooville cruelly snatched the trophy away with a last minute winner against Concord Rangers. On a positive note, Dartford’s last foray in the National South playoffs ended in promotion six years ago, they have home advantage and they are on the verge of a record breaking run. The Darts ended the campaign with a nine game winning streak and if they win the playoffs will break their club record on ten victories in a row. Finishing the league’s top scorers thanks to the attacking prowess in the early parts of the campaign, the Darts have been solid at the back recently too with six clean sheets in the last eight games.

Player to watch – Alfie Pavey

The National South’s Player of the Year didn’t know where his career was going in the summer. Pavey joined Welling United, but that failed to work out. The 22 year old was picked up by Tony Burman a couple of weeks into the campaign and 23 goals later he finished the second highest goalscorer in the league.

Record vs playoff contenders (W4, D3, L3, F18 A14)

Dartford will be pleased to have avoided Chelmsford City in the semi-final considering the Clarets did the double over the Darts. The Essex club also beat Dartford in last season’s playoff semi-final. At home Dartford took ten points off their playoff rivals out of 15 (W3, D1, L1).

Next fixture

The Darts will be at home in the semi-final on 6th May 2018 against the winners of the Hemel Hempstead Town versus Braintree Town match.

Chelmsford City

Starting the campaign as joint favourites with Dartford, last season’s playoff runners up have been eyeing up the National League for some time now. Since their return to the National South ten years ago, the Clarets have reached the playoffs five times losing two finals, one of those against Hampton and Richmond Borough in 2009 and three semi-finals. Along with St Albans City, the Essex club set the early season pace, but a cluster of draws in September and lack of form in the New Year left Chelmsford City playing catch up. Rod Stringer’s side are the form team heading into the end of season lottery having won seven out of the last eight league matches. With an identical home and away record the Clarets will always be tough opponents whoever they come up against.

Player to watch – Chris Dickson

A former Charlton Athletic striker who made his way through non league with Erith and Belvedere then Dulwich Hamlet. Dickson’s experience could be vital in the playoffs, the 33 year old managed to score 14 times this term for the Clarets.

Record vs playoff contenders (W3, D4, L3, F15, A16)

Chelmsford City will be relishing a chance to make up for their final defeat a year ago. They will have home advantage in the semi-final, only Hampton and Richmond Borough beat then on their own patch. The only team they will face away will be Dartford, if these two make the final and they did the double over the Darts.

Next fixture

The Clarets will be at home in the semi-final on 6th May 2018 against the winners of the Hampton and Richmond Borough versus Truro City match.

Hampton and Richmond Borough

The Beavers were title contenders up until Dartford practically ruled them out on a muddy Good Friday. A last-minute Alfie Pavey goal opened up a gap between the Darts and two draws and a defeat later it was game over. However, they have recovered lately winning two in a row before drawing their final game with Truro City. The Beavers have playoff experience from last season despite finishing seventh, losing to eventual winners Ebbsfleet United in the semi-final. The Middlesex club were only promoted to the National South two years ago as Isthmian Premier League champions and have performed consistently since then. Between the final game of August through to the end of January the Beavers went 21 games unbeaten, including an eight-match winning streak. Alan Dowson’s men will be a force at home where they have lost just once this term.

Player to watch – Max Kretzschmar

A goalscoring midfielder and dead ball specialist, Max Kretzschmar started his career at Wycombe Wanderers where he spent three years before joining Woking. The 24 year old joined Hampton and Richmond Borough in the summer and a sound return of 14 goals from midfield has helped the Beavers finish fourth in the National South.

Record vs playoff contenders (W1, D6, L3, F9, A11)

The Beavers seem to keep games tight against those in the playoff places, but they have managed just one win against Chelmsford City away. Hampton and Richmond Borough drew all five home matches versus teams in the playoffs and whether they win or lose the margin has just been by one.

Next fixture

The Beavers play their first match on Wednesday 2nd May at home to Truro City. If Hampton and Richmond win then they will face Chelmsford City away in the semi-final on Sunday 6th May.

Hemel Hempstead Town

It took until October for Hemel Hempstead Town to get going, the Tudors couldn’t string a sequence together for the first two months and then they went 12 games unbeaten. At one point they topped the table, but that was a very brief moment. The Tudors have been on a solid run during the final stretch of the campaign, the loss against Dartford their only loss in 12 attempts before a final day defeat at Weston-super-Mare. Hemel Hempstead Town have collected the second most points at home this term, seven less than the Darts. Dean Brennan took the Hertfordshire club up four years ago winning the Southern Premier League in style. This season the Tudors have reached a new milestone in setting their highest ever league finish and will take part in the National South playoffs for the first time.

Player to watch – Jordan Parkes

The Tudors seem to be a good fit for Jordan Parkes, now in his second spell for the club. The attacking midfielder scored 42 times in 112 appearances between 2012-2015 before joining Ebbsfleet United. It didn’t quite work out for the 28 year old at Stonebridge Road so he returned to Hemel Hempstead Town where his scoring a goal every other game.

Record vs playoff contenders (W4, D3, L3, F19, A19) 

Hemel Hempstead Town will be pleased to play Braintree Town who they beat twice, they will be keen to avoid Dartford who inflicted two defeats on them. The Tudors won three at home and were involved in some high scoring matches including a 4-3 victory over Braintree Town and a pair of 3-3 draws against Chelmsford City and Truro City respectively.

Next fixture

The Tudors play their first match on Wednesday 2nd May at home to Braintree Town. If Hemel Hempstead Town win then they will face Dartford away in the semi-final on Sunday 6th May.

Braintree Town

Set the task of rebuilding in the summer, Braintree Town boss Brad Quinton hasn’t done a bad job by getting the Iron into the top seven with a final day 3-0 victory versus Gloucester City. The Essex club were relegated last term from the National League, a stark contrast to the campaign before when they lost to Grimsby Town in the playoff semi-final. Braintree Town spent six seasons in the National League often punching above their weight and now they have a shot of returning to the top non-league division after one season. The Iron have been within a shout of promotion all campaign by being amongst the early pace setters before the New Year slump in January and February. Quinton’s side are now another one of the playoff contenders hitting form at the right time winning five of their last six games.

Player to watch – Billy Crook

The Supporters Player of the Year adds to his accolades he won at Enfield Town the season before, whilst under manager Brad Quinton. Another goalscoring midfielder to feature in this season’s playoffs, Billy Crook started as youngster at Crystal Palace and was part of the Glenn Hoddle Academy in Spain.

Record vs playoff contenders (W2, D6, L2, F17, A17)

The Iron drew all four games against the highest ranked teams Dartford and Chelmsford City, they lost twice to their next opponents Hemel Hempstead Town and beat Hampton and Richmond Borough at home and Truro City away. Each game has had no more than a one goal winning margin so expect a tough ride against the Iron.

Next fixture

The Iron play their first match on Wednesday 2nd May at away to Hemel Hempstead Town. If Braintree Town win then they will face Dartford away in the semi-final on Sunday 6th May.

Truro City

The White Tigers had to wait to the final day of the season to book their place in the top seven. A draw with Hampton and Richmond Borough coupled with St Albans City’s defeat got them over the line. It will be the third time in four years the Cornwall club has reached the playoffs, their last attempt to win promotion to the National League ended in a semi-final loss to eventual winners Maidstone United. The campaign before their return to the National South, the White Tigers went up through the playoffs in 2015 from the Southern League they beat St Neots Town 1-0 in the final. Since Lee Hodges returned has manager, Truro City have got back to the level of expectancy. This term has been a vast improvement to the relegation threatened side of last season, however their form in April tailed off but the White Tigers managed to hang on.

Player to watch – Cody Cooke

Popular amongst the fans and players, last season’s Player of the Year top scored for the White Tigers this term. Cody Cooke joined the Cornwall club in 2010 so has been through the ups and downs with Truro City. The 34 year old knows where the goal is and gives his side experience.

Record vs playoff contenders (W3, D4, L3, F15, A16)

Truro City have a better home record than away which is hardly surprising considering the amount of travelling needed. The problem then is that Truro City, the lowest ranked team will have to play their matches away from Treyew Road. So with that in mind they did manage to beat Hemel Hempstead Town on their travels, picked up two draws and lost to the two highest ranked clubs.

Next fixture

The White Tigers play their first match on Wednesday 2nd May at away to Hampton and Richmond Borough. If Truro City win then they will face Chelmsford City away in the semi-final on Sunday 6th May.

 

Dartford v Truro City

Dartford end a tough February with a home fixture against playoff chasing Truro City in the National South this weekend.

The Darts currently have a three point cushion at the top of the table, but having played more games than anyone in the top seven they are being put under pressure by the chasing pack. One of those on the fringes of chasing are Truro City, who sit in seventh place and ten points behind Tony Burman’s men with two games in hand.

This fixture has brought with it plenty of goals over the last four meetings, the last time at Princes Park an eight goal thriller ended with the Darts winning 5-3. The visitors went in front when Andrew Neal took advantage of Deren Ibrahim’s mistake, but Andy Pugh equalised with his first of the afternoon. Elliot Bradbrook volleyed in the goal of the game from 25 yards to give the Darts a 2-1 half-time lead. In the second half Neal equalised for the White Tigers, but it wasn’t long until Luke Wanadio put Dartford ahead in a hectic final 25 minutes. Jamie Richards headed the White Tigers level at 3-3, however goals from Pugh and Tom Murphy sealed the win for Dartford.

That victory completed a double over the White Tigers last term after Dartford’s 5-0 demolition of the Cornwall club five months earlier. Keaton Wood, Andy Pugh, Duane Ofori-Acheampong’s brace and Alex Brown all helped Dartford to their first ever victory over Truro City.

However, it was Truro City who recorded their fourth victory in seven meetings against Dartford back in November. A disastrous start for the Darts saw them three down inside nineteen minutes. Within a six minute spell Tyler Harvey scored from the penalty spot and Cody Cooke netted twice. Ronnie Vint pulled a goal back mid-way through the first half in the 3-1 loss. Lee Hodges’ side also came away with wins at Princes Park in 2011 and 2015 and notched up a home win in 2016.

After consecutive defeats for the first time in almost two years, the Darts put an end to the losing streak last weekend. A trip to Wealdstone ended with a late comeback to keep Dartford in pole position at the top. The Stones had Iffy Allen sent off just before the break but still managed to take the lead with ten men. Dan Fitchett’s header was cancelled out by Danny Mills, only his second goal in 14 appearances. Minutes later top scorer Alfie Pavey scored the winner after coming off the substitutes bench, the striker is now second in the National South scoring charts on 17 goals.

Burman was pleased with the result and told www.kentishfootball.co.uk after the game: “Football’s a strange game. We had to take some steps backwards in results over the last couple of weeks and at one stage today.  I thought in the first half we were excellent and maybe should’ve took the lead but we’ve had to dig deep and the guys have shown why they are where they are”.

One of the surprises of the afternoon was the exclusion of goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim from the starting eleven. Instead new signing Berti Schotterl made his debut, the 23 year old left German side Inter Leipzig in January and had been training with Fulham, who recommended him to the Dartford boss.

Burman feels that adding another goalkeeper to the squad will provide cover and competition in that position. Ibrahim, who has made 164 appearances for the Darts has been advised to ‘recharge his batteries’, Burman explained to www.kentonline.co.uk: “Deren has been in goal on his own for a long time and, in my opinion, he’s had some situations over the last couple of months where he could have done better”, he added: “Deren knew all about what I was deciding to do but it was a difficult situation”. By the sound of things the squad could be strengthened even more, Burman also commented: “I’ve got one who’s come in now and I’ve got some irons in the fire as well in case anything happens”.

Truro City have spent some of the campaign top of the National South, but their spell was brief and a steady season so far has them battling for a playoff spot. The Cornwall club have lost three of their last four matches including last weekend when they let a two goal slip. Captain, Ben Gerring headed the first and Aaron Lamont chipped in a second before half time. Oxford City then staged a second half comeback when Matt Patterson netted from the spot and Samuel Nombe scored twice. Whilst Gerring and Lamont have been scoring the majority of goals for Truro City recently, Cooke is the top scorer for the White Tigers in the league with 11 goals.

Lee Hodges spoke to www.trurocityfc.net after the game and said: “That’s two weeks in succession where we’ve worked extremely hard during the first half and then allowed the game to slip away after the break”, he added: “It’s hard to take; we rode our luck a little bit during the first half but we were compact and solid and when you’re 2-0 up at half-time at home, you expect to see the game out”.

Despite defeat Hodges remains confident that his side can prepare well enough to give the Darts something to think about, he commented: “I will go away and analyse what went wrong after the break; we’re all hurting but we’ll be ready for the challenge that Dartford will present to us in our next game”. he continued: “They are a good side and flying high at the top of the table, but I will be looking for us to go there and compete”.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 2 /Truro City wins: 4 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford (WLLWDW) Truro City (LLWLDW)
Wealdstone A 2-1 Oxford City H 2-3
Chelmsford City H 1-2 Wealdstone H 1-3
St Albans City A 0-4 Bognor Regis Town A 2-0
Whitehawk H 3-1 Whitehawk A 2-3
Chippenham Town A 2-2 Bath City A 0-0
Havant & Waterlooville H 1-0 Poole Town H 3-1

Previous Meetings

11.11.2017 Truro City 3 Dartford 1
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

Stats
It’s been two years since Dartford last suffered consecutive home defeats in the league. On 27 February 2016, the Darts lost 2-1 against Concord Rangers and on 12 March 2016 lost 4-2 versus Whitehawk.

There has been 20 goals in the last four meetings between these two sides, an average of 2.5 goals a game.

Dartford have scored in eleven consecutive home matches in the National South.

The Darts have the best home record in the division, whilst Havant and Waterlooville and Hampton and Richmond are the only two clubs to have accrued more away points than Truro City this term.

On This Day
Mark Green scored on his debut for the Darts in a 2-2 draw with Kent rivals Dover Athletic at the Crabble. Signed from Tonbridge Angels in 2007, Green made an excellent start to his Dartford career opening the scoring. The hosts went ahead with goals either side of the break only for Brendon Cass to equalise with thirteen minutes remaining. Green went on to make 37 starting appearances and 14 substitute appearances for Dartford scoring twice and picked up an Isthmian Division One North winners medal. The last home match for the Darts on this day was back in 2004 when they were thrashed 6-1 by Folkestone Invicta in the Southern League Eastern Division. In 2001, Dartford beat Langley Sports at home 1-0 and in the Kent League back in 1996, the Darts won 2-0 when they hosted Whitstable Town.

Truro City v Dartford

Dartford will make their longest journey of the season this weekend when they travel to fellow promotion hopefuls Truro City.

Dartford will hope to recreate last season’s performance at Treyew Road where they won 5-0. Keaton Wood, Andy Pugh, Duane Ofori-Acheampong’s brace and Alex Brown all found the back of the net in a comfortable win and biggest away victory for six and half years. The triumph secured the Darts first victory against the Cornwall club at the fifth attempt.

The Darts hit five again in the home match last term but conceded three in the process of completing the double of the White Tigers. Pugh scored two with Elliot Bradbrook, Luke Wanadio and Tom Murphy adding the other goals in an entertaining fixture.

After the euphoria of taking on Football League clubs in the F.A Cup, both teams can now concentrate on the National South. The Darts were comprehensively beaten at home to League Two side Swindon Town, whilst the White Tigers lost 3-1 to League One’s Charlton Athletic.

Hopeful of causing a cup upset, Dartford’s tie was effectively over in 26 minutes when Timi Elsnick, Harry Smith then Elsnick again put the Robins 3-0 up. Despite an encouraging final quarter of an hour in the first half, the Darts couldn’t manage anything to show for their efforts. Swindon Town added two more in quick succession at the start of the second half through Amine Lingazi and Paul Mullin, but at least Richard Sho-Silva gave Dartford fans something to cheer with a consolation.

Tony Burman was disappointed with his side’s defending, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “It’s disappointing because, defensively, we’re better than that. Yes, they were good finishes but we shouldn’t have given them the opportunities to finish their efforts like that”.

Andy Pugh will serve the second match of his three game ban for his red card at Bath City. Duane Ofori-Acheampong was not named in the squad for the F.A Cup fixture and is recovering from injury.

Currently leading the National South on goal difference, the Darts know a third league win in a row will more than likely keep them top of the table. Meanwhile, Truro City will want to close the four point gap on Dartford especially as they also have a game in hand.

After Sunday’s F.A Cup defeat to Charlton Athletic, manager Lee Hodges told BBC Radio Cornwall: “My main feeling is pride, we have faced a team a few leagues above and put in a performance that was great”, he added: “We have shown guts and determination and we left everything on the pitch against a very good team”.

Truro City struggled last term but this time they have put themselves amongst the many early front runners. The White Tigers hit form in September winning all five matches to extend a winning streak to six, Hodges picked up Manager of the Month. However, the curse of the monthly award struck as Truro City went on to pick up two points from their nine available in October.

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

Current League Form

Truro City (DLDWWW) Dartford (WWLWLW)
Bognor Regis Town H 1-1 St Albans City H 2-1
Wealdstone A 1-2 Bath City A 2-1
Hampton & Richmond H 1-1 Chelmsford City A 0-1
East Thurrock United A 2-1 Bognor Regis Town H 3-1
Chippenham Town H 1-0 Weston-super-Mare A 0-3
Whitehawk H 7-2 Eastbourne Borough H 4-2

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

Stats
Dartford’s win at Bath City in their last away game in the National South ended a run of two successive defeats on the road in the league.

The Darts are the league’s top scorers with 34, only second place Braintree Town can match that.

Although Dartford have conceded 15 in their last three F.A Cup proper rounds (excluding qualifiers), they have the second best defence in the National South letting in just 15 in 16 games, three more goals than Chelmsford City.

On This Day
Princes Park opened as a full house packed the new stadium for Dartford’s homecoming. Hosting Horsham YMCA history was made by Brendon Cass who scored the first goal at the Darts new home, the time of the goal now etched on the window in the club bar. Cass scored again but the goal of the game came from Eddie McClements who struck a shot from outside the box. Nick Barnes scored the fourth and final goal in a 4-2 win on a day many fondly remember. Eleven years on Dartford have won 151, drawn 68, lost 78, scored 587 and conceded 374 in competitive matches at Princes Park. Happy Birthday.

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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Dartford v Truro City

Dartford will hope to win a second home game in a row to keep the playoff chasing pack at bay, when they host Truro City.

With just one win in five league matches, the gap on the Darts’ third place spot is closing. Completing a double over Truro City will help alleviate some pressure going into the final run in. If the previous fixture between the two clubs is anything to go by, then Dartford should be in for a good afternoon.

Having never beaten the White Tigers at Treyew Road, Dartford took the long trip to Cornwall and came home with all three points. The Darts dominated the affair in their best away performance of this campaign running out 5-0 winners.

Keaton Wood settled any nerves as early as the fourth minute and from then on the goals kept coming. Andy Pugh nodded in a second and Duane Ofori-Acheampong netted a rebound to make it 3-0 at half-time. In the second half, Ofori-Acheampong scored again and Alex Brown wrapped up victory. Prior the win at Truro City, the Darts had drawn 1-1 against the White Tigers on the final game of the 2011/12 promotion campaign and lost miserably 3-0 last term.

Last weekend, Ryan Hayes hit the headlines with his 100th goal for the club. The winger opened the scoring against Concord Rangers. It wasn’t enough as a late penalty scored by Beachboys top scorer Steve Cawley meant a third draw in the last four games for the Darts.

Meanwhile, Truro City hosted Wealdstone and found themselves a goal down until Jamie Richards scored just before the interval. The Stones grabbed a winner ten minutes from time to condemn the White Tigers to their second consecutive loss. Defeat left the Cornwall club eight points clear of the relegation zone with manager Lee HOdges asking his players to ‘put their bodies on the line’ over the remaining fixtures.

Hodges has also tapped into the loan market for two defenders. Trying to shore up the back, Ben Gerring comes in from Torquay United, having had two spells with Truro City before. Alex Hartridge has signed from Exeter City after the 18-year-old has emerged for the Grecians academy. Earlier in the month, Cody Cooke returned to action after a hernia problem ruled him out since September. Whilst last month, crowd favourite Stewart Yetton returned to the club on loan from Weymouth until the end of the season.

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

Current League Form
Dartford (WDDLWW)
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)
Lost 0-1 v Chelmsford City (H)
Won 4-0 v Gosport Borough (A)

Truro City (DLWWLW)
Lost 1-2 v Wealdstone (H)
Lost 0-2 v Eastbourne Borough (A)
Won 3-2 v St Albans City (H)
Won 2-0 v Gosport Borough (H)
Lost 1-2 v Concord Rangers (H)
Lost 0-4 v Bath City City (A)

Previous Meetings
Truro City 0 Dartford 5 (08/10/2016 – National South)
Truro City 3 Dartford 0 (05/04/2016 – National South)
Dartford 1 Truro City 0 (19/09/2015 – National South)
Truro City 1 Dartford 1 (28/04/2012 – National South)
Dartford 1 Truro City 2 (22/10/2011 – National South)

Stats
Ryan Hayes is the second player to notch his 100th career goal for the club this season. Elliot Bradbrook also scored his 100th earlier in the campaign.

Hayes is currently sixth in the all time goalscorers chart for the Darts, behind Tony Burman (159 goals), John Ripley (136), John Mitchell (121), Elliot Bradbrook and Tommy Huckstepp (111).

On This Day
On the way to the Isthmian Premier League title seven years ago, Elliot Brabrook scored twice and Allan Tait once in a 3-1 away win at Horsham. Four years earlier, the Darts came out of the wrong side in a close encounter with Wingate and Finchley, the Southern League Division One East fixture ended 3-2 to the Blues. Dartford suffered a heavy home defeat in 2003 when they lost 4-1 to Salisbury City, but won 1-0 in 1998 against Tonbridge Angels.

Truro City v Dartford

Dartford will travel across the country this weekend in search of their first ever win against Truro City

Tony Burman’s side will be buoyed by the fact they have gone eight unbeaten in all competitions without ‘setting the world alight’. Consecutive cup runs this week have seen Dartford progress to the F.A Cup fourth qualifying round and the Kent Senior Cup second round. In both away ties the Darts have had to come from behind, twice against Slough Town to win 3-2 and once versus Cray Wanderers to claim a 2-1 victory, both strikers Andy Pugh and Duane Ofori-Acheampong scoring the goals.

Replacing a training session with the Kent Senior Cup, Burman made four changes to a strong line up on Wednesday night with academy player Henry Fulton making his debut as a substitute. Keaton Wood got his extended run out as did Lee Noble and new goalkeeper Bailey Vose. The Brighton and Hove Albion first year professional will be available for selection and is stepping in for number one Deren Ibrahim, who is away on international duty with Gibraltar.

The journey east to west is the Darts longest of the season and in their two previous visits to Treyew Road they have only managed to pick up one point. The draw earned by Dartford, in their promotion season over fours years ago was on the final day of the campaign. All the action came towards the end with veteran striker Barry Hayles putting Truro City in front with two minutes to go but his goal was cancelled out by Jacob Erskine during stoppage time.

Last term, the White Tigers strolled to victory with goals from Ollie Knowles, Dan Green and Matt Jay. The defeat enhanced Truro City’s playoff push whilst damaging Dartford’s. In the two other meetings at Princes Park, the Cornwall club has won both times.

It’s not often a National South fixture will be without three players because of international call ups. As well as Ibrahim, Truro City’s Rory Fallon and loanee from Plymouth Argyle, Louis Rooney will be playing for New Zealand and Northern Ireland under 21’s respectively.

The White Tigers have been inconsistent so far and have yet to win back to back National South games. Last time out they defeated Wealdstone 2-1 helping them bounce back from a shock F.A Cup exit to Winchester City. The Cornwall club lost 4-0 to a side two divisions below them in the Southern League Division One South and West.

The victory over the Stones did however stretch their unbeaten league run to four matches. The run started when Hungerford Town were beaten 2-0 before consecutive draws with Oxford City and Poole Town. The White Tigers unbeaten sequence comes after a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of East Thurrock United. In fifteenth place, Truro City have won just one of their opening six home games in the National South.

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

Current League Form
Truro City (WDDWLL)
Won 2-1 v Wealdstone (A)
Drew 0-0 v Poole Town (H)
Drew 1-1 v Oxford City (A)
Won 2-0 v Hungerford Town (H)
Lost 0-6 v East Thurrock United (H)
Lost 0-2 v Maidenhead United (A)

Dartford (WWDWDL)
Won 2-1 v Concord Rangers (A)
Won 2-0 v Margate (A)
Drew 1-1 v East Thurrock United (A)
Won 2-1 v Welling United (H)
Drew 0-0 v Maidenhead United (H)
Lost 1-4 v Hampton and Richmond (A)

Previous Meetings
Truro City 3 Dartford 0 (05/04/2016 – National South)
Dartford 1 Truro City 0 (19/09/2015 – National South)
Truro City 1 Dartford 1 (28/04/2012 – National South)
Dartford 1 Truro City 2 (22/10/2011 – National South)

League Stats
Dartford have won four out of five against teams currently below Truro City in the table.

Only Wealdstone (16) and Chelmsford City (15) have picked up more points from teams in the bottom third than Dartford (12).

Only Hemel Heampstead Town (27) and Oxford City (26) have conceded more goals than Truro City (21).

On This Day
Matthew Godden scored on his Dartford debut in a 1-1 draw with Salisbury City. The National League match in 2013 ended all square after Salisbury City’s Theo Lewis gave the visitors the lead. Two years prior, the Darts suffered a 3-1 defeat in the National South against Boreham Wood. Dartford were a goal down inside a minute when Chez Isaac hit a 30 yarder beyond Andy Young. Although Elliot Bradbrook levelled the scores, Michael Thalassitis and Nathan Koranteng won the match for the Wood. In 2005, the Southern League Division One Eastern fixture finished with Potters Bar Town 4-1 to the Darts and back in 1994, Corinthian won 2-0 in the Kent League.

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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Truro City v Dartford

Dartford could climb to fourth in the National League South if they beat Tuesday’s opponents Truro City.

Tony Burman’s side occupy the final playoff spot, with Truro City level on points in fourth place. The Cornwall club have four games in hand and face a fixture backlog this month.

The Darts have turned around their form with seven points from the last three games. The Easter period has got the club’s playoff bid back on track after previously losing four in a row. A comfortable home win against Bishop’s Stortford was followed up by a creditable draw with league leaders and local rivals Ebbsfleet United.

On Saturday, Dartford’s win over fellow playoff chasers leapfrogged them over their opponents Maidenhead United. Two first half goals from Danny Harris and Elliot Bradbrook in the space of six minutes clinched victory. Harris scored just after the half hour mark with a well taken curling effort which finished in the top corner. Andy Pugh won a penalty which Elliot Bradbrook netted, the skipper scoring on his return from a three match ban.

Paul Sawyer took charge in the dugout in the absence of manager Tony Burman, who has missed the last two matches in the dugout through illness. Jack Simmons was missing after turning his ankle in training, Callum McNaughton is out with a fractured metatarsal. Tom Bradbrook was substituted early on against Maidenhead United after pulling up sharply, he was replaced by the returning Pugh. Paul Lorraine is yet to feature since signing for the Darts, the defender is making good progress to get fit. Lee Burns was also named in the squad on the weekend after recovering from a groin strain.

Truro City are eighteen points behind third place Sutton United, but another postponement on the weekend has left them with nine fixtures to cram in by the end of the month.

Since September, Truro City have been one of the most consistent teams in the National South. The first month of the season yielded just five points from a possible 21 and included a 6-0 hammering at home to Oxford City. The defeat had been a wakeup call as the White Tigers went on to lose just once over the next twenty two games. Their last four National South matches have resulted in a win, a draw and two defeats.

The Darts have yet to beat Truro City in all three attempts since their first meeting in 2011. However, Dartford did record their best result against the Cornwall club at Treyew Road, on the final day of the 2011/12 season.

With a playoff place and runners up spot secured, Dartford travelled to the West Country and returned with a 1-1 draw. All the action happened in the final three minutes when veteran striker Barry Hayles gave the home side the lead and in injury time Jacob Erskine levelled for the Darts. The two encounters at Princes Park ended in Truro City wins, most recently in September when the White Tigers won the match with an Isaac Vassell goal three minutes from time.

Head to Head
Truro City wins: 2 / Dartford wins: 0 / Draws 1

Current League Form

Truro City (LDWLWW) Dartford (WDWLLL)
Sutton United H 0-2 Maidenhead United H 2-0
Maidenhead United A 0-0 Ebbsfleet United A 1-1
Bath City H 3-1 Bishop’s Stortford H 3-1
Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-2 Havant & Waterlooville A 0-2
Chelmsford City H 1-0 Maidenhead United A 1-2
Bishop’s Stortford A 3-0 Whitehawk H 2-4

Last Meeting at Treyew Road

28 April 2012 – Truro City 1 Dartford 1 – attendance 751
Goalscorers: Hayles (87), Erskine (90)

The Darts lineup: Louis Wells, Lee Burns, Adam Green, Tom Bonner, Luke Wilkinson, Tom Champion, Lee Noble, James Rogers, Jacob Erskine, Elliot Bradbrook, Danny Harris (Subs used: Richard Graham, Ryan Hayes, Tony Garrod)

Previous Meetings

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

Stats
3 – points Dartford have taken from sides above them in the National South, three draws and three defeats. Truro City and Maidstone United are the last of the two the Darts face until the end of the season.

8 – the number of promotions achieved by Dartford and Truro City over the last ten years. The Darts have been promoted three times whilst Truro City five times, both sides have suffered relegation once.

46 – the Darts have conceded 46 times this season and on a per game basis only the top three Ebbsfleet United, Maidstone United and Sutton United have a tighter defence. Truro City have let in 42 but have played four less games.

Only Maidstone United (2.06) and Maidenhead United (2.00) have a better points per game ratio at home than Truro City (1.88).

On This Day
Dartford have won just once in nine attempts on 5 April since reforming. In fact, they had to wait 34 years between a 1-0 Southern Premier League win over Wimbledon in 1977 and a 3-0 victory against Ramsgate, in the Kent Senior Cup semi-final five years ago. In between those years, the Darts drew four and lost six with the most important point earned eight years ago at Potters Bar Town. Battling for the Isthmian Division One North, captain Alex O’Brien saved the match and completed a comeback from two down, Jay May scored the other to keep the Darts marginally ahead of AFC Sudbury at the top of the table.