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Wealdstone v Dartford

Dartford kick start their National South campaign on Saturday with an away trip to Wealdstone.

Pre-season dealt the Darts with an unlucky set of circumstances which left Andy Pugh as the only fit striker until Norman Wabo and Adam Cunnington signed. Pugh has yet to play a full ninety minutes of competitive football since his double leg break last summer. Darren McQueen and Alex Flisher, who signed for Dartford this summer have both dislocated their shoulders and Charlie Sheringham is nursing a thigh injury. That left management duo Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle frantically scrambling for a striker before the campaign starts.

Then two came along at once. Wabo joins after leaving Southend United and impressing the Darts in pre-season. The 21-year-old has also had spells with Ebbsfleet United, Maidstone United and Braintree Town.

Cunnington scored a stunning brace against the Darts on the opening day of the 2012 National League season when he played for Tamworth. The 31-year-old left Billericay Town this week looking for first team football, the striker scored 23 goals in 37 appearances for his former club, including three last season. Cunnington’s former teams also include Bromley, Ebbsfleet United and Cambridge United.

On Wednesday, Coyle spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “As we speak, we have Andy Pugh as our only fit forward. When I say fit, he hasn’t played a full game yet because we’re trying to increase his minutes since his leg break. So, in terms of Saturday, we’re a little concerned. We’ve lost some influential players and we’re down to the bare bones”.

Hoping to improve their success rate in recruitment compared to last season, Flanagan and Coyle have introduced some new faces around Princes Park. Sam Blackman is eager to impress after his move to Princes Park from Concord Rangers and made a decent start in the friendlies he played. However, the midfielder broke his ankle, had surgery and will be out for some time. That leaves a smaller squad available to select on the weekend, including a permanent goalkeeper, Mark Smith who joined from Eastbourne Borough, defender Josh Hill who signed from local rivals Welling United, new signing Luke Warner-Eley who performed well in pre-season and Jordan Wynter, who signed from Maidstone United after his successful loan spell with the Darts last term.

Another player returning to Princes Park, Luke Wanadio will provide assists and goals from the wing, Luke Allen could line up in central midfield after signing from Braintree Town and latest signing Amos Nasha comes in from Chelmsford City, after previous experience with Dover Athletic and Concord Rangers. Academy graduate, Cameron Brodie will also be an available midfielder after signing his first contract with the Darts.

Three years on from when Dartford opened their campaign at home against Wealdstone, the Darts will be hoping to win against their opponents for only the fourth time in twenty meetings. When the two sides met in August 2016, the Darts went ahead twice and were denied victory during second half injury time as the game ended 2-2. Dartford suffered the same fate in January last season, this time at the Vale, Elliott Bradbrook opening the scoring and Wealdstone’s Eion McKeown rescuing a point in the 92nd minute.

Despite finding the Stones difficult to beat since Dartford reformed in the early nineties, the Darts are unbeaten in their last three trips to the Vale winning 4-0 two years ago and 2-1 the year after.

At the tail end of last term, the Darts playoff push faltered, whilst by contrast Wealdstone timed their run perfectly to earn a top seven spot on the final day of the campaign. The Stones negotiated their way to the semi-final beating Bath City before defeat against eventual winners Woking. Since then, former manager Bobby Wilkinson left the club and in his place Dean Brennan was appointed.

Brennan brings plenty of experience from his playing days in non-league football and developed a proven track record in management at Hemel Hempstead Town. He guided the Tudors to their highest ever league finish then beat the record by claiming the Southern Premier League title. Brennan went on to better Hemel Hempstead Town coming ninth then sixth in the National South. His spells at Billericay Town and Kingstonian didn’t work out for different reasons, but now he will lead Wealdstone with the hope of reaching the playoffs again.

Using his contacts in the game, Brennan has made fourteen signings as he shapes his squad for the 2019/2020 campaign. Four of which have been signed from his former club Billericay Town, Connor Smith and Ross Lafayette return to the Vale, whilst Michee Efete and Billy Clifford also join from the Essex club. Clifford also worked with Brennan at Hemel Hempstead Town, who the new boss signed Kavan Cotter and Matt Saunders from.

Another five players arrive having signed from teams playing above the National South. Dennon Lewis spent some of his summer away from football by featuring on television show Love Island, he will be hoping to last longer at Wealdstone having left Bromley. Ryan Sellars returns to the Stones from FC Halifax Town, Nick Arnold joined from Aldershot Town and Dejon Noel-Williams, son of former Premier League striker Gifton comes in from Oxford United. Michael Phillips was Maidstone United’s Player of the Season last term and made the move to Wealdstone last week.

Further additions were made from teams below the National South, Reece Beckles-Richards from Wingate and Finchley, Jacob Smith from Kings Langley, Jacob Mendy from Carshalton Athletic and Afolabi Coker from Ashford United.

Dartford’s joint boss, Coyle commented: “They’ve signed some very good players, they have a large squad to call upon and it’s going to be a tough game”, he added: “They were very good against us last year. Dean’s gone in there as manager, the players will be eager to impress in his first game but you look at the league this year and there are no easy games”, he concluded: “Even though we’re struggling with numbers, we’ll go there with confidence and be as positive as we can possible can”.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 13 / Wealdstone wins: 14 / Draws: 14

Last Six Meetings

05.01.2016 Wealdstone 1 Dartford 1
18.08.2018 Dartford 0 Wealdstone 3
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

Stats

Dartford have lost just once in their last six games against Wealdstone, an upturn in form considering they had lost the three meetings before that sequence.

In eight of the last fourteen games bewteen the two sides the match has ended up in a draw, Wealdstone have won four to Dartford’s two in that spell.

Both teams have only failed to score once in the last eight games against each other, with the last scoreless draw coming ten years and thirteen matches ago.

The last time both teams were defeated on the opening day of the season was in 2015.

Wealdstone – Season Preview 2019/2020

Wealdstone

National South: 7th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Quarter-Final

League Top Scorer: David Pratt (11 goals) / Average Attendance: 882

Sneaking into the National South play-offs in April, the Stones won the elimination match only to lose the semi-final. Bobby Wilkinson left the club and in came former Hemel Hempstead Town and Billericay Town boss Dean Brennan on a two-year contract. Brennan arrived with Jerome Okimo, Daniel Green, Jake Sheppard, Connor Stevens and Jonathan North already signed up for another campaign. The first summer signing was Reece Beckles-Richards from Isthmian Premier League side Wingate and Finchley, the striker has represented Antigua and Barbuda at international level. Kavan Cotter was at Hemel Hempstead Town last season, the versatile midfielder moves to the Middlesex club and has experience with Gillingham and Luton Town. Returning to Grosvenor Vale both Ryan Sellers and Connor Smith are back. Sellers made 20 appearances in the National League with FC Halifax Town last term whilst Smith was at Billericay Town and has 80 Football League appearances under his belt. Jacob Smith has already played alongside new signings Smith and Cotter whilst at Kings Langley last season, the midfielder will know more of his teammates having been part of the same Watford under 18’s title winning side as Connor Stevens. At full back, Nick Arnold has joined the Hampshire club, the 25-year-old has represented Wycombe Wanderers, Woking and Whitehawk. Wealdstone have signed the son of former Premier League striker Gifton Noel-Williams, Dejon. The 20-year-old joins from League Two side Oxford United and had two loans spells in the National South with Slough Town and Gloucester City. Ross Lafayette returns to Grosvenor Vale after a handful of appearances for Wealdstone a decade ago, the striker was at Billericay Town and has plenty of National League experience including a spell with Welling United. Dennon Lewis tried his luck with Scottish Championship side Falkirk before signing for Bromley, the youngster will be part of Brennan’s squad. Winger, Jacob Mendy helped Isthmian Premier League side Carshalton Athletic to a second place finish last season and will add versatility to the flanks for Wealdstone. Afolabi Coker played in the division below Mendy for Ashford United in the Isthmian League South East Division and he takes the step up with the Stones. Michee Efete joins from Billericay Town, the defender has had a loan spell in Iceland and with Torquay United and Bath City in the past, he has also played for Maidstone United. Wealdstone have added Billiy Clifford to their squad, who has worked with manager Dean Brennan at Hemel Hempstead Town and Billericay Town. The 26-year-old finished last season on loan at Slough Town and has previously played for Boreham Wood, Crawley Town and Walsall.

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 taking them up to the National South. Brennan moved to Billericay Town and lasted four months before parting company last season and this summer he has taken charge of Wealdstone.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 13 / Wealdstone wins: 14 / Draws: 14

Last Six Meetings

05.01.2016 Wealdstone 1 Dartford 1
18.08.2018 Dartford 0 Wealdstone 3
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

Facts

Dartford have won just three of the last nineteen games against Wealdstone in all competitions.

The two sides meet on the opening day, which happened just three years ago when they played out a 2-2 draw at Princes Park.

Last Ten Years

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next Meetings

Saturday 3 August 2019 at The Vale

Saturday 29 February 2020 at Princes Park

Wealdstone v Dartford

Dartford will be hoping consecutive wins will get them back into the playoff places this weekend when they travel to Wealdstone. 

The Darts already enjoyed getting revenge on their local rivals this week and will want to do the same to the Stones, who comfortably won the reverse fixture back in August. Bradley Bubb netted a brace and Jeffrey Monakana scored the other in a 3-0 victory at Princes Park.

On New Year’s Day, Dartford extended their unbeaten home run to three with a win over Welling United. Ronnie Vint claimed the winner four minutes from time, his goal just as scrappy as the game itself. Victory put to bed a defeat against the Wings on Boxing Day, the defender spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk after the game and said: “It’s great to win a local derby and it’s nice for the fans – they deserve it”, he added: “We were poor on Boxing Day. We know the standard that we need to reach and we knew that we weren’t good enough all over the pitch”.

Joint Manager, Adam Flanagan was pleased with his side’s performance, he commented: “I felt we competed a lot better than we did previously and on the day we deserved a goal. We put a lot of good balls into the box, their keeper made a good save in the first half, and I felt we were asking more questions than they were”.

Flanagan also admitted he and joint boss Jamie Coyle learnt from their mistakes on Boxing Day and choose to alter the team formation, he explained: “Analysing ourselves, we missed a trick on Boxing Day. We analysed their home record and we went too defensive on the day, me and Jamie have held our hands up over that”, he continued: “On New Year’s Day, we wanted to give a better account of ourselves, especially going forward, and I think we did that. It was a good performance by everyone, there wasn’t any stand-out player. It was a real collective that worked hard from each other”.

The Darts last league defeat at Princes Park came against league leaders Torquay United, the only other team to take maximum points away with them this term is Wealdstone.

Victory followed on from a determined display at East Thurrock United where the Darts had to rescue a point with ten men. Lee Noble’s sending off means he will miss this weekend’s game against Wealdstone, whilst Mark Onyemah hobbled off on New Year’s Day against Welling United and Andy Pugh is on the road to recovery from his pre-season injury.

Wealdstone also won on New Year’s Day against newly promoted Slough Town. Their triumph was much needed and halted a run of five without a win in all competitions. Connor Stevens popped up with the winner to end a four and half game goal drought for the club. The Stones are now in thirteenth place on 33 points, five behind Dartford in eighth.

The Middlesex club will be without Bradley Bubb, scorer of two goals at Princes Park in August. The striker has been suffering with a knee injury and faces a number of weeks sidelined, Bubb is the Stones top scorer in the league this term on six alongside David Pratt.

Dartford could see the return of Simon Mensah, who only managed two starts and a substitute appearance with the Darts this season. The midfielder started in Wealdstone’s win over Slough Town, in a game that saw a return to the starting lineup for Pratt, Monakana and Bradley Hudson-Odoi.

The Darts have won on their last two trips to Grosvenor Vale, last season leaving late to win 2-1 against ten men. After the Stones had Iffy Allen dismissed they took the lead through Dan Fitchett. However, two goals in three minutes from Danny Mills and Alfie Pavey in the final ten minutes clinched victory. The year before, Dartford ended a run of seven without a win at Wealdstone, goals from Luke Wanadio, Ryan Hayes, Elliot Bradbrook and Andy Pugh clinched a 4-0 win.

Head to Head

Wealdstone wins: 14 / Dartford wins: 13 / Draws: 13

Current League Form

Wealdstone (WLLDLW) Dartford (WDLWDL)
Slough Town A 1-0 Welling United H 1-0
Oxford City H 0-2 East Thurrock United A 2-2
Slough Town H 0-3 Welling United A 0-2
St Albans City A 0-0 Hungerford Town H 2-1
Eastbourne Borough H 0-3 Slough Town H 1-1
Concord Rangers A 3-2 Torquay United H 0-2

Previous Meetings

18.08.2018 Dartford 0 Wealdstone 3
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

Stats

Dartford’s clean sheet on New Year’s Day was their first since mid-November and first at home since Bank Holiday August.

The Darts have conceded 11 goals in the fifteen minutes leading up to half-time, more than anyone else in the league. In that same period Wealdstone have scored just two, the fewest in the National South this season.

Ryan Hayes is looking to score in three consecutive games played for Dartford on 5 January.

On This Day

Jamie Coyle was among the goalscorers eleven years ago in a 4-0 win against Witham Town in the Isthmian Division North. The Darts last away victory on this day included further goals from Eddie McClements, Ryan Hayes and Brandon Cass. There has been only two other matches on 5 January since reforming, in 2002 the Darts lost 2-0 to Histon in the Southern League Division One East and more recently they were defeated six years ago against Alfreton Town. The National League fixture ended 3-2 to the Reds, Hayes was on the scoresheet again as well as Nathan Collier.

Dartford v Wealdstone

Dartford are back at home this weekend and will aim to keep their unbeaten Princes Park record this season when they host Wealdstone.

The Darts have taken four points from six in their first two home matches beating Chelmsford City and drawing with Hemel Hempstead Town. Meanwhile, Wealdstone have taken just one point on the road when they drew 1-1 with Hungerford Town and narrowly lost 1-0 to Billericay Town.

When the two sides last met at Princes Park a topsy-turvy six goal thriller was played out with the points shared. The Darts had to twice come from behind through a double from Alfie Pavey before a strike from substitute Andy Pugh had put Dartford in the driving seat with ten minutes remaining. However, with three minutes to go Daniel Green stepped up to equalise from the penalty spot before Lee Noble was given his marching orders in stoppage time after a second yellow.

Pavey also scored a late winner in the return fixture last season as the Darts came from behind against ten men. Wealdstone had Iffy Allen sent off just before half-time yet managed to take the lead in the second-half through Dan Fitchett. With ten minutes to go, Danny Mills headed Dartford level and two minutes later up popped Pavey to clinch victory.

Two years ago, Dartford faced Wealdstone at home on the opening day of the season and that time it ended 2-2. It took until a minute before half time for Dartford to open their account when Luke Wanadio hit a low ball across the box for Elliot Bradbrook to finish. Early in the second half, Wealdstone were level through Elliot Benyon but the lead was restored after Ryan Hayes netted from the spot. The three points looked like they were heading for the Darts, however in the final minute Eddie Oshodi headed an equaliser.

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

Stats

Dartford have won two of the last three meetings versus Wealdstone, however before this unbeaten run the Darts were winless against the opponents in 14 games stretching back to 1989.

The last home win against the Stones came in 1991 when Dartford won 4-1. Since then the Darts have hosted Wealdstone six times, drawing five and losing once.

At Princes Park, the previous two games there have been ten goals scored between Dartford and Wealdstone. The last six meetings have seen three or more goals scored in this fixture.

On This Day

They recently met on Tuesday night and only three years ago Dartford staged a fantastic comeback to beat Concord Rangers 3-2. Lewis Taaffe’s second-minute strike and his second goal on the hour mark had the Darts staring at defeat. Andy Pugh’s deflected effort seven minutes later gave Dartford hope and set up a late flourish. Pugh levelled things up five minutes from time with a curling shot into the top corner and Tom Bradbrook stepped up to complete the comeback in stoppage-time. The Darts lost 2-0 to Macclesfield Town in 2012 and beat Margate 4-0 in 2009 which included a well worked free-kick between Ryan Hayes and Jamie Day. The last home match on 18 August was a 2-2 draw with Maldon Town in the Isthmian Division One North back in 2007.

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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Wealdstone v Dartford

Dartford need to return to winning ways after a dip in form has left them clinging on to top spot and next up is an away trip to Wealdstone this weekend.

February doesn’t get much easier with a testing fixture at twelfth place Wealdstone, who have won their last three National South games and lost just twice against the Darts in the last sixteen meetings. Dartford have lost consecutive league matches for the first time in almost two years, but just about lead the National South by two points having played more games then their closest rivals.

Despite the Stones being one of Dartford’s bogey teams, the last trip to Grosvenor Vale ended in a comprehensive 4-0 victory last season. The Darts record their biggest win against their opponents since 1991. Luke Wanadio scored from the edge of the box, Ryan Hayes scored with a trademark curling effort, Elliot Bradbrook added a third and Andy Pugh netted the fourth.

The last clash between the two sides was in November on a night of mixed emotions for the Darts. Finding themselves 2-1 down, Dartford showed character to go in front at 3-2 with the goals coming from Alfie Pavey (two) and Andy Pugh. However, the three points were thrown away as the Stones levelled the game from the spot with three minutes to go in an entertaining 3-3 draw.

Penalty decisions and last minute goals seem to be a hot topic for Dartford this week after another three points were dropped last weekend. Ryan Hayes scored a superb solo goal at Princes Park against Chelmsford City but all was forgotten as the Clarets left it late to snatch victory. A controversial penalty was awarded with four minutes to go which Kudus Oyenuga scored, then in injury time Taylor Miles netted direct from a corner.

Another talking point was the first start of the campaign for Duane Ofori-Acheampong, who partnered Danny Mills up front. Burman choose to leave out form strikers Andy Pugh and Alfie Pavey for their physical presence against a strong Chelmsford City side. However, it was what Burman called the ‘lack of intelligence’ by his players that cost his side the match citing errors that led to the two conceded goals.

Pushing for the playoffs, Wealdstone went to Truro City last weekend and won 3-1 thanks to a brace from David Pratt and a third by Daniel Green, who scored at Princes Park earlier in the season. The league win is the Stones third in a row and was the sixth in all competitions under Bobby Wilkinson. On Tuesday night they lost a Middlesex Senior Cup semi-final on penalties versus Staines Town.

The Middlesex have a congested schedule this week with Dartford on Saturday followed by a Monday night clash with Gloucester City. The Stones will also have one eye on the up and coming F.A Trophy quarter final tie against Billericay Town. A run that has seen them knock out Chelmsford City, Wingate and Finchley then Hereford.

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

Current League Form

Wealdstone (WWWLDL) Dartford (LLWDWD)
Truro City A 3-1 Chelmsford City H 1-2
Weston-super-Mare H 2-1 St Albans City A 0-4
Bognor Regis Town H 3-0 Whitehawk H 3-1
Hampton & Richmond H 0-3 Chippenham Town A 2-2
Hampton & Richmond A 1-1 Havant & Waterlooville H 1-0
St Albans City H 1-3 Concord Rangers A 1-1

Previous Meetings

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
21.02.2012 Wealdstone 1 Dartford 0

Stats
Dartford last suffered back to back defeats in March 2016 losing three in a row between 5 March and 15 March to Weston-super-Mare (1-2), Whitehawk (2-4) and Maidenhead United (1-2).

The Darts won last season at Wealdstone which was the first time in eight attempts, stretching back to a 4-0 Southern League Cup win in 1989.

In the last three meetings between Dartford and Wealdstone 14 goals have been scored in total.

Both teams have scored in this fixture in 13 of the last 16 matches against each other.

On This Day
Dartford beat Runcorn in a F.A Trophy third round replay in 1987, on the way to the semi-final which they lost to Burton Albion. The replay was forced after a brave Tony Burman header levelled the first tie at 1-1, the return fixture ended 2-1 to the Darts. Dartford last won on 17 February back in 1996 when they beat Corinthian 3-0 at Gay Dawn Farm in the Kent League. The Darts have lost their last two fixtures on this day both at home. Seventeen years ago, Tonbridge Angels won with a single goal in the Southern League Division One East and in 2007, Fleet Town beat Dartford 2-1 in the Isthmian Division One South.

Dartford v Wealdstone

Dartford moved back to the top of the National South on the weekend and hope to retain the number one spot this week when they host Wealdstone.

The Darts maintained their solid home form on Saturday with a 4-1 win over Gloucester City. Warren Mfula opened the scoring with his fourth league goal of the campaign and Lyle Della Verde added a second by capitalising on a defensive error. Della Verde scored again in the second half with Alfie Pavey adding a fourth before the hour. The Tigers pulled a goal back but Dartford were too strong and moved to the top of the table. At Princes Park, Dartford have dropped just four points from their nine home games.

Tony Burman spoke to www.dartfordfc.com after the win and said: “I was delighted with the result and performance this week especially after Truro. The players reacted very well to the loss last week. We played against a good footballing side in Gloucester City and they caused us problems, but I thought we were ruthless in front of goal, and deserved the three points”.

Andy Pugh returns after serving a suspension, Tom Murphy will return to the squad whilst Duane Ofori-Acheampong was back in training last week after a long lay off. Keaton Wood left the club, the defender played 74 times for the Darts scoring four goals, he has made 13 appearances this term.

The Darts last faced Wealdstone at Princes Park over a year ago, on the first day of last season. It took until a minute before half time for Dartford to open their account when Luke Wanadio hit a low ball across the box for Elliot Bradbrook to finish. Early in the second half and Wealdstone were level through Elliot Benyon but the lead was restored after Ryan Hayes netted from the spot. The three points looked like they were heading for the Darts but in the final minute Eddie Oshodi headed an equaliser.

That draw in August 2016 was the last of a winless run against the Stones stretching back nine games to 1991. The away fixture last term saw Dartford record their biggest win against their opponents since that last victory, when they also scored four. Wanadio scored from the edge of the box, Hayes scored with a trademark curling effort, Bradbrook added a third and Andy Pugh secured the 4-0 victory.

Wealdstone made a slow start picking up six points in August out of the 21 available, the only win coming on the opening day of the season. Long serving manager Gordon Bartlett lasted five matches bringing an end to the 22-year spell at the helm. Still involved in the club Bartlett now oversees a new role supporting youth development, football in the community and over key football developments.

A day later, Bobby Wilkinson was announced as the new Stones boss after he enjoyed a successful period with Hungerford Town. Wilkinson led the Crusaders to the National South which included two promotions via the playoffs, his seven-year spell with his former club was successful enough to appeal to Wealdstone Chairman, Peter Marsden.

Since the arrival of Wilkinson, Wealdstone have lost just three competitive matches in their last 15, a run that includes winning their last seven home matches. Although the Stones have won once on the road since the managerial change they have drawn five out of nine, losing just three.

On the weekend Wealdstone had their four game winning streak brought to an end in an away defeat to Weston-super-Mare. Two goals inside the first eight minutes from Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain and Zac McEachran gave the hosts the perfect head start and Reece Fleet scored the decisive goal either side of an Abobaker Eisa brace. The 3-2 loss meant the Stones are now in twelfth, four points off the playoffs.

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

Previous Meetings

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

Current League Form

Dartford (WLWWLW) Wealdstone (LWWWDW)
Gloucester City H 4-1 Oxford City A 2-3
Truro City A 1-3 Hungerford Town H 1-0
St Albans City H 2-1 Welling United A 2-1
Bath City A 2-1 Truro City H 2-1
Chelmsford City A 0-1 Chippenham Town A 0-0
Bognor Regis Town H 1-0 Whitehawk H 2-1

Stats
Four of the last five home games against Wealdstone have ended in draws, the Stones won the other encounter.

Wealdstone have scored two goals in each of their last three visits to Princes Park.

Both teams have scored at least a goal in the last seven matches at against each other at Princes Park.

The Darts have won their last four home games in the National South.

On This Day
Eight years ago, Dartford were knocked out of the F.A Trophy to Kent rivals Dover Athletic at the third qualifying round stage. Adam Burchall gave the Whites the lead at the Crabble but the Darts went ahead through Jay May then Danny Harris. Dover Athletic equalised from the spot when Frannie Collin scored and the winner came from Nicky Southall. Three years prior that tie, the Darts beat Leatherhead 1-0 in the Isthmian Division One South courtesy of Jay May’s decisive goal. The last home match played on the 21 November was back in 1978 when Dartford lost 3-2 to Redditch United in the Southern Premier League.

National League South Season Preview 2017/18 – Part V

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

Wealdstone

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Vale Stadium

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

Last Season

National North: 8th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Runners Up

League Top Scorer: Elliot Benyon (16 goals)

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

The Manager – Gordon Bartlett

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 4 November 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 17 February 2018 at Vale Stadium

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Welling United

Founded: 1963 / Ground: Park View Road

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

Last Season

National South: 16th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Runners Up

League Top Scorer: Adam Coombes (20 goals)

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

The Manager – Jamie Coyle

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Tuesday 26 December 2017 at Park View Road

Monday 1 January 2018 at Princes Park

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Weston-super-Mare

Founded: 1887 / Ground: Woodspring Stadium

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

Last Season

National South: 15th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Runners Up

League Top Scorer: Dayle Grubb (19 goals)

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

The Manager – Marc McGregor

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 23 September 2017 at Woodspring Stadium

Saturday 7 April 2018 at Princes Park

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Whitehawk

Founded: 1945 / Ground: Enclosed Ground

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

Last Season

National South: 17th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Danny Mills (16 goals)

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

The Manager – Jimmy Dack

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Tuesday 5 September 2017 at Enclosed Ground

Saturday 27 January 2018 at Princes Park

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Wealdstone v Dartford

The Darts aim to keep the pressure on the top two this weekend when they visit Wealdstone in the National South.

In recent times, Dartford have found the Stones a thorn in their side last recording a win against their opponents in 1991, and have to go back a further two years for the last away triumph. On the opening day of this season, the Darts came extremely close but were denied victory conceding a last minute goal.

The 2-2 draw back in August was an entertaining affair with Elliot Bradbrook scoring on the stroke of half time. Elliot Benyon levelled for the Stones early in the second half, but the Darts regained the from Ryan Hayes’ penalty eight minutes from time. Just as it looked like Dartford had earned three points Eddie Oshodi headed an injury time equaliser.

In the league, Dartford have bounced back from their heavy defeat against Maidenhead United with three consecutive victories. Even better, in those games the Darts have scored 12 times with ten different goalscorers. In that time, Duane Ofori-Acheampong, Alex Brown and Andy Pugh have all missed games for various reasons, Brown will be the only one of the trio to definitely miss out this weekend because of his suspension. Lee Noble who scored against Eastbourne Borough on Tuesday night, picked up a knock and could be ruled out.

After back to back 3-2 victories, the latest in foggy conditions at Eastbourne Borough, the Darts remain third in the league standings. Tony Burman again highlighted the belief in the squad to catch rivals Ebbsfleet United and league leaders Maidenhead United. He told www.kentonline.co.uk: “If people don’t want to take us seriously, then that’s fine,” he added: “But we’ve been in a really good run of form since September.The players are believing in what we tell them. There’s a feelgood factor around the place at the moment”.

Wealdstone’s last three league games have come against the top two and their win over Maidenhead United on Boxing Day helped out the Darts. However, the Stones lost the reverse fixture in the New Year and recently lost to Ebbsfleet United. In between the league fixtures, the Middlesex club have enjoyed a run to the F.A Trophy’s last 16 where they face Brackley Town next weekend.

The Stones are sitting comfortably in mid-table and owe a lot to experienced striker Elliot Benyon, who has scored 15 of the club’s 34 goals this term. However, Benyon has picked up a shoulder injury which could see him sidelined on the weekend.

Dartford’s last visit to Vale Stadium ended in a 2-1 defeat. Goals either side of half time by Tom Hamblin and Shaun Lucien made the afternoon difficult for Burman’s side. Tom Bradbrook headed a consolation in off the crossbar with fifteen minutes remaining.

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

Current League Form
Wealdstone (LLWDWL)
Lost 2-4 v Ebbsfleet United (H)
Lost 0-2 v Maidenhead United (A)
Won 2-1 v Maidenhead United (H)
Drew 1-1 v Poole Town (A)
Won 1-0 v East Thurrock United (H)
Lost 0-2 v Hungerford Town (A)

Dartford (WWWLWL)
Won 3-2 v Eastbourne Borough (A)
Won 3-2 v Weston-super-Mare (H)
Won 6-1 v East Thurrock United (H)
Lost 0-1 v Ebbsfleet United (A)
Won 2-1 v Ebbsfleet United (H)
Lost 0-5 v Maidenhead United (A)

Previous Six Meetings
Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2 (06/08/2016 – National South)
Dartford 2 Wealdstone 2 (26/01/2016 – National South)
Dartford 1 Wealdstone 2 (03/10/2015 – National South)
Wealdstone 1 Dartford 0 (21/02/2012 – F.A Trophy replay)
Wealdstone 2 Dartford 2 (03/04/2012 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 1 Wealdstone 1 (20/04/2010 – Isthmian Premier)

Stats
Dartford have not beaten Wealdstone on their own patch in the last seven attempts, drawing four.

The Stones have gone nine games unbeaten against the Darts with three wins and six draws.

The Darts have won just one in the last 13 against the Middlesex club

Dartford’s last victory over Wealdstone in 1991, was the last time more than two goals were scored by one of the teams in this fixture

On This Day
Ryan Hayes celebrated his 300th appearance for the Darts in style. The midfielder was involved in Dartford’s 6-0 thrashing of Thurrock. Elliot Bradbrook scored a brace and Danny Harris, James Rogers, Lee Burns and Tony Garrod netted the others. The Darts are unbeaten in six matches on the 28 January stretching back almost 40 years. In 2006, Barton Rovers were defeated 2-1 in the Southern League Division One East and in 1995 Greenwich Borough were beaten 3-0 in the Kent League. A Southern League Cup draw with Dover Athletic was recorded in 1992 and three years earlier Bath City visited Watling Street and lost 1-0, with future Southampton full back Jason Dodd in their starting eleven.

Dartford v Wealdstone

Dartford’s preparations will be put to the test when they start their National South campaign this weekend against Wealdstone.

The Darts have found the Stones a difficult prospect over the years with the last victory against them coming twenty five years ago. Last term Wealdstone completed the double over Tony Burman’s side in a set of 2-1 wins.

At Princes Park back in January, the Stones came from a goal down to go home with all three points. Dartford, on the back of an unbeaten home run spanning just over four months let a lead slip in the final fifteen minutes.

Andy Pugh neatly finished a cross from Ryan Hayes early in the second half to put Dartford ahead. Late goals from veterans Scott McGleish and Jefferson Louis inflicted defeat on the Darts.

Since a 4-1 home victory back in 1991, five consecutive draws have been played out followed by three straight Dartford losses. The first of those defeats came in a F.A Trophy replay over four years ago, the Stones caused an upset knocking the Darts out at the third round stage.

This weekend could see summer signing Alex Brown make his debut having joined from Leatherhead. The midfielder was part of two promotions with Maidstone United where he made 139 appearances. Brown believes his new side should make the playoffs this season.

Keaton Wood and Tom Bonner return to Princes Park wearing the white shirt. Wood made his loan from last term into a permanent deal whilst Bonner is back for the Darts after spells with Cambridge United, Dover Athletic and Ebbsfleet United. Bonner was integral to the Dartford squad who won promotion in 2012 and played over 100 times for the club in his previous spell.

Bringing pace to the squad will be Ellis Brown and Luke Wanadio who impressed Tony Burman over pre-season. Ellis Brown played for Tonbridge Angels and gained experience with Charlton Athletic and Southend United. Wanadio can play on both wings and spent time with Welling United last term.

Burman’s search for a striker finally ended earlier in the week when he signed Duane-Ofori Acheampong. The 23 year old is likely play the role of a target man and has previously played for Southend United, Torquay United and Dover Athletic.

Wealdstone finished last season in thirteenth, recording the most draws in the division. Experienced boss Gordon Bartlett has been in charge at Grosvenor Vale for 21 years, even outstaying Tony Burman at Princes Park.

Over the summer Bartlett refreshed his squad with the signings of strikers Sahr Kabba from Welling United and Elliot Benyon from Hayes and Yeading United. Danny Green and David Hunt moved from Margate, whilst ex Hemel Hempstead Town midfielder Ricky Wellard and St Albans City defender Eddie Oshodi have also been added to the squad. Dylan Williams joins the Stones on loan from Cambridge United until the New Year.

The Middlesex club also announced changes off the field with new Chairman Peter Marsden being appointed. The Wealdstone supporter held the same position at Accrington Stanley for the past four years. Veteran striker Scott McGleish replaced Leo Morris as Assistant Manager to work alongside Bartlett.

Head to Head

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

Previous Six Meetings

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

Dartford have lost three of their last four opening games of the season

Wealdstone have won one of their last eight opening games