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Dartford v Welling United (Conference South Playoff Final)

Semi Final First Leg | Semi Final Second Leg | Recent Meetings | Season So Far | The Managers | The Players | Statistics | Conference South Playoff History

Dartford will hope to make history on Sunday by returning to the top flight of non league football for the first time since 1986.

The Darts face Kent rivals Welling United at Princes Park after finishing higher up in the Conference South by one position and seven points. Dartford finished runners up whilst The Wings ended up in third place and so the top two playoff teams go head to head.

A huge crowd is expected for the final especially considering the largest attendance at Princes Park this season was when the two sides last met there. The 2559 spectators that turned up that day is also Welling United’s biggest away attendance this season.

After the second leg on Sunday Tony Burman spoke to PURE DFC, he said: “I’m very proud and delighted with the way the team has been consistent all season. This is a good squad of players we’ve got and I think they deserve to be in the playoff final”. He added: “No one can take away that we’ve had a fantastic season and it’s been a pleasure to work with the players”.

Burman will fully focus on the winner takes all match and believes his team is up for the challenge, he commented: “We’ll be ready; our preparations have been excellent for all the games. I’ve got to give Steve (Mosely) and Paul (Sawyer) all the credit for the training sessions and the way we prepare for games, they’ve been an absolute rock for me”, he continued: “I said to the players they have to look forward to days like this and times like this. This is what we want to do, we want to move the club forward and that is what we are trying to do”.

Dartford’s boss will not be underestimating his opponents in the final, he said: “Welling are a decent side, Jamie (Day) has got them playing really well and it’s what happens on the day”.

Semi Final First Leg

Basingstoke Town 0 Dartford 1 – Highlights

In the semi final first leg Dartford defeated fifth place Basingstoke Town but a solitary goal. The first match at The Camrose was controlled by The Darts for the first twenty five minutes. On six minutes, James Rogers hit a volley on the edge of the box which was tipped over by Basingstoke goalkeeper Ashley Bayes. Dartford seemed to be ‘knocking on the door’ until The Stokes Shaun McAuley’s excellent long range effort was superbly saved by Louis Wells mid way through the first half.

Lee Noble scored the decisive goal in the first leg

Dartford had a shaky moment soon after when Tom Champion’s header looped over Wells and just wide of his own goal. Up the other end Danny Harris snapped at a shot which Bayes kept out with his legs and Luke Wilkinson came close to guiding the ball goal-wards on thirty eight minutes. Then on the stroke of half time Basingstoke players called for handball which was turned down by the official but they still had a chance to clear their lines. The Stokes attempted clearance fell to Lee Noble on the edge of the eighteen yard box and he struck a low shot taking a minor deflection into the corner of the goal.

Basingstoke Town dominated the second half and deserved to come away with a draw. Matt Warner hit a speculative effort over from thirty five yards just before the hour, Jay Gasson headed wide on the hour and Wells denied the same player two minutes later. With twenty two minutes left McAuley missed an open goal when Delano Sam-Yorke’s driven cross whizzed past Wells and with three quarters of the goal to aim at McAuley somehow side footed wide. The Stoke continued to pressure but the defiant defence of Dartford held out to take back a 1-0 lead.

Sutton United 1 Welling United 2

Welling United travelled to Ganders Green Lane and also came away with a slender lead. In the opening five minutes Welling’s Luis Cumbers pressured goalkeeper Kevin Scriven who managed to clear his lines. The U’s goalkeeper was kept on his toes by saving a Loick Pires free kick twenty minutes in. Sutton’s Craig Dundas set up Alan Payne who placed his shot wide before the deadlock was finally broken mid way through the first half. Dean Cracknell crossed ball and lurking at the back post was Lee Clarke to nod The Wings in front. A few long range efforts from Sutton United closed the first half with Welling in front.

The U’s put The Wings on the back foot at the start of the second half and Dundas hit a decent shot from distance. On sixty five minutes Sutton’s Michael Boateng tested Craig Holloway who had to tip the ball to safety. The equaliser arrived when Watkins beat Ben Martin and his cross was turned in by Holloway for an own goal. In response to throwing away a goal lead Welling United grabbed a winner after a brilliant bursting run from Pires who centred for Joe Healy to flick the ball home. In injury time Dunda’s almost levelled the tie for a second time but his effort was deflected wide.

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Semi Final Second Leg

Dartford 2 Basingstoke Town 1

The Darts secured a place in the final with an improved performance and an unchanged side from the first leg. Basingstoke Town replaced Jide Ogunbote with Ross Adams who missed the first leg through suspension.

The first major chance came on eighteen minutes when Adams headed straight at Louis Wells. The Darts later won the first corner of the match and Lee Noble’s cross was hacked away towards Danny Harris whose header drifted over. Wells so often called upon in the previous leg saved well from Tim Sills half an hour in. Dartford won a free kick on the edge of the box but Noble’s curling effort sailed over the bar. After Sills headed at Wells again the best opportunity arrived in injury time at the end of the first half. Delano Sam-Yorke pounced on some uncertain defending and clean through on goal he fired into the side netting.

Elliot Bradbrook scores with his head in the second leg

James Rogers looked to have increased Dartford’s aggregate lead five minutes into the second half. Six yards out Rogers swept the ball towards goal but Ashley Bayes pulled off a terrific reaction stop to deny the midfielder. On fifty six minutes another well taken free kick from Noble was met by the head of Elliot Bradbrook which looped into the far corner, Dartford had a two goal advantage. A few more set pieces caused The Stoke problems but from out of nowhere the visitors levelled the score on the night. Sam-Yorke cut the ball back to Shaun McAuley just inside the edge of the box and he smashed the ball beyond Wells.

Five minutes later controversy favoured The Darts when Harris bundled the ball over the line. Noble’s corner wasn’t dealt with by the Stoke’s defence and after Jacob Erskine landed on the ball a goalmouth scrambled ensued. Harris forced the ball over the line much to Basingstoke’s dismay. The away team protested resulting in Bayes and McAuley getting a caution from the official.

Dartford’s opponents pushed for the two goals required to force extra time. Sills dragged a shot wide and Sam-Yorke’s ‘goal’ was flagged offside, the striker was subsequently booked for his protests. Basingstoke hit the crossbar with nine minutes left and from the rebound Ogunbote failed to beat Wells. A minute later all chances of a Basingstoke comeback were dashed when Sam-Yorke’s reckless tackle brought down Adam Green, a straight red challenge was punished with a second yellow card instead and so the striker was dismissed.

Welling United 0 Sutton United 0

Welling United were forced to make one change for the second leg due to Lee Clarke’s suspension. Replacing The Wings scorer in the first leg was Andy Sambrook. Sutton United made three changes with Wayne Shaw in goal for the suspended Kevin Scriven, Romone McCrae replaced Leroy Griffiths and Tony Taggart came in for Stefan Payne.

The Kent side had lost just once at home all season but this did not deter Sutton United. The opening moments of the match was nervy but The U’s created chances, Paul Telfer’s attempted scissor kick flew over and Taggart’s shot was directed straight at Craig Holloway. The Welling United goalkeeper was thanked on twenty five minutes when McCrae squandered a one on one chance which Holloway saved. Craig Watkins had the last of the first half chances but he could not get his shot away with Holloway out of position.

The Wings woke up on fifty two minutes Loui Fazakerley fired wide from the angle and minutes later Luis Cumbers crossed for Loick Pires whose diving header was kept out by Shaw. For the rest of the match Welling suffered a barrage of attacks from Sutton United. Craig Watkins was denied by Holloway who parried the ball and Taggart’s follow up deflected to safety. Substitute and former Dartford striker Bradley Woods-Garness took a pot at goal but failed to score. In injury time The U’s forced corner after corner until Watkins was left unmarked at the back post, his shot agonisingly found the side netting and Welling held on to their 2-1 aggregate lead.

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Recent Meetings

Over the last two seasons Dartford have played Welling United four times in the Conference South. Whilst this season Dartford came out on top, Welling United were the better side in 2010/11.

The last meeting between the two clubs recorded the start of Dartford’s incredible home run in the league. Having failed to win their last two home matches The Darts went into their New Years fixture needing a win to pressure Woking at the top and put some distance between them and The Wings. The match was delayed for fifteen minutes as 2559 fans made their way into Princes Park.

Dartford 1 Welling United 0 – Highlights

Danny Harris flicks in the winner at Princes Park

Welling United deserved to go home with a draw but an outstanding goalkeeping performance from Louis Wells ensured Dartford kept a clean sheet. With little action in the first half the second forty five was more entertaining. Danny Harris blasted his shot over just after the restart before Dean Cracknell hit the crossbar for The Wings.

The away team should have taken the lead when Jack Evans’ shot from long range was stopped by Wells, Ben Martin and Jack Parkinson had attempts cleared off the line before the latter hit the woodwork. Against the run of play Ryan Hayes sent in a corner and a glancing header was flicked in the net by Harris’ head. Dartford defender Tom Bonner had a header cleared off the line by Jack Obersteller and the Welling defender was superbly denied by Wells later on. Pugh had a number of chances to equalise but The Darts came out 1-0 winners.

Welling United 1 Dartford 1 – Highlights

At Park View Road this Boxing Day fixture ended dramatically. Dartford were the better team for the first half hour and had two attempts by Jon Wallis to show for it. On thirty eight minutes full back Matt Jones tripped Loick Pires and Welling won a penalty. Lee Clarke stepped up and the home team went in front.

Louis Wells saves from Lee Clarke to set up a dramatic finish

Elliot Bradbrook headed wide early in the second half and on the hour Joe Healy was sent off reducing The Wings to ten men. Welling created their best chances with a man down, Andrew Pugh curled wide and hit the woodwork whilst Luis Cumbers missed a good chance. In injury time a second penalty was awarded to Welling when the assistant referee flagged for a handball on Tom Bonner. Louis Wells saved Clarke’s spot kick, the Dartford keeper set up a counter attack and Ryan Hayes crossed for Lee Noble to head in a last gasp equaliser.

Dartford 1 Welling United 1 – Highlights

Last season Dartford’s Lee Noble returned back from a loan spell at Concord Rangers and early on he set up Jon Main, his shot was tipped round the post. At the other end Joe Bruce was turned by Andrew Pugh and his curling effort was bravely blocked by Billy Burgess. Former Dart, Jamie Day took a free kick but his effort dipped just over the cross bar.

In the second half, Loui Fazackerley crossed for Liam Bellamy who nodded wide. Elliot Bradbrook dug out an opportunity but his sliced volley scraped the side netting. Then just past the hour The Wings took the advantage. After a number of testing corners they finally made one count when Jack Parkinson headed in from six yards.

With eight minutes remaining Dartford won a free kick way out against the right touchline a good 30 to 35 yards out. Substitute Ryan Hayes struck the ball with power and swerve which beat Tom Lovelock at the near post to level the game.

Welling United 2 Dartford 1 – Highlights

Welling United got the better of Dartford on New Years Day in last season’s match at Park View Road. Lee Clarke opened the goal scoring three minutes before the break and Lee Cumbers made it two with ten minutes played in the second half. Adam Burchell controversially won The Darts a penalty with eight minutes to go which Carl Rook scored from.

A packed terrace watches the action at Park View Road

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Season So Far

Dartford F.C

Dartford set a target of reaching the playoffs and started off the season with a six match unbeaten run. The opener at Weston Super-Mare kicked off the new campaign on the front foot with a 4-0 win. Charlie Sheringham continued where he left off the previous season by netting a brace. The promising start of the season included creditable draws at Dover Athletic and Chelmsford City where The Darts struggled the season before. The first defeat arrived in September when Basingstoke Town won 3-2 at The Camrose.

Jacob Erskine celebrates a hat trick against Boston United

The Darts hit back with four straight wins and ending September joint top with Woking. The next month saw the departure of Charlie Sheringham who joined League One side AFC Bournemouth. Sheringham amassed thirty league goals in his eighteen months at Princes Park. Tony Burman was quick to replace the striker with Hampton and Richmond’s Jacob Erskine.

In October Dartford suffered back to back losses at Boreham Wood and at home to Truro City. The Cornwall side ended Dartford’s 100% home record and were only the first of two teams to win in the league at Princes Park.

Elliot Bradbrook continued to chip in with goals, Erskine opened his account at Thurrock and Adam Green scored in three consecutive matches as Dartford earned three victories and two draws leading up to the important match against Woking. In November Tony Burman signed Louis Wells from Staines Town and Tony Garrod from Farnborough Town to bolster the squad.

Nine points behind league leaders with two games in hand, a win would put Dartford in with a title challenge. However, Woking had other ideas and won 3-2, despite defeat The Darts did not give up and this set the tone of what was to come in the league.

Eventual champions Woking expected the title to be sewn up in early March but Dartford refused to lie down. At the end of 2011, Woking led the Conference South by 12 points with Welling United in second and Dartford back in fourth 17 points adrift.

What happened in 2012 was astonishing, after two last minute equalisers against Dorchester Town and Welling United to close 2011, The Darts went on an excellent run. Another five successive wins started at home versus Welling United followed by goals galore. Havant and Waterlooville and Hampton and Richmond were outplayed on their own patch as Dartford won 4-1 and 3-1 respectively. Staines Town suffered a 4-1 defeat and bottom side Thurrock were on the end of a 6-0 thrashing. In four games Tony Burman’s men scored 17 and conceded just 3. Comfortable in defence, helped by loan signing Connor Essam from Gillingham, Dartford racked up goals with Bradbrook adding six and Danny Harris four in this excellent run.

Luke Wilkinson has been an important loan signing this season

By the time the return fixture with Woking came round in mid February the lead at the top was cut to nine points with Dartford two games behind. A win at the Kingsfield Stadium would pile on the pressure at the top. Welling United were in third three points behind The Darts. Once again, Woking beat The Darts and so hopes of automatic promotion faded but once again Dartford kept going.

Central defender Connor Essam returned to Gillingham before the Woking match and after the game Burman signed Dagenham and Redbridge’s Luke Wilkinson on loan to replace him. Dartford won six of their next seven sweeping aside Basingstoke Town 4-1, Farnborough Town 3-0 and in their performance of the season defeated playoff contenders Sutton United 6-1. Only Maidenhead United took points off The Darts.

On 24 March the top two sides were beaten, Dartford lost to Dorchester Town which ended a seven game unbeaten run. Woking lost to Eastbourne Borough. With time running out Woking found form and goals and despite another run of seven games without defeat The Darts ended nine points short finishing on 88.

Dartford’s home form kept the title race alive until two weeks of the season to go. The Darts ended up with the best home record beating Woking on goal difference and Welling United by a point. No one defeated Dartford in the league at Princes Park in 2012.

Welling United F.C

Welling United went one game further to start their campaign scoring twenty times and beating Woking on the way in a seven match unbeaten run. The Wings led the table until 18 September 2011 but never returned to the summit. Dorchester Town were the first team to defeat Welling and two wins in seven left Welling in fourth but still three points off the top by October.

Form picked up again and Jamie Day’s side won five of the next six with Tonbridge Angels sharing a point. Only once did Welling win by more than a two goal margin but this just showed the resolve of the team. Hampton and Richmond were defeated 2-1, Truro City lost 3-2 and Salisbury City beaten 4-3 thanks to a last minute winner by Loick Pires.

Andy Pugh ended up top scorer for The Wings despite his move in January

From December onwards Welling United couldn’t put a winning run together stretching to just three on the spin during March. One point from nine over the festive period against playoff rivals, a loss at Sutton United and a draw and defeat against Dartford, left The Wings 12 points behind top spot in the New Year.

Although difficult to beat The Wings relied heavily on excellent home form where they were within two games from remaining unbeaten all season. January included a 5-1 victory versus Truro City but mixed results left the side comfortable in the top five. In the last seventeen fixtures Welling were only to lose three more times winning ten and drawing four.

For all the goals The Wings scored at the beginning of the season they have dried up since the departure of top scorer Andrew Pugh back in January 2012. However it is now at the other end Jamie Day’s are excelling conceding two in their final eight games, keeping a league seasons best five consecutive clean sheets between 20 March 2012 and 9 April 2012. Welling United finished third, seven points behind Dartford in a creditable season.

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The Managers

Tony Burman – Dartford FC

Since the club returned home in 2006 Tony Burman has brought success off the field managing The Darts to two promotions as champions and a county cup over the last five years. This is now Burman’s second spell as a permanent manager but he has also stood in as a caretaker boss when needed.

Tony Burman in his second spell as permanent manager

When Dartford reformed in 1993 the former striker was appointed boss asThe Darts had to rebuild from the Kent League. In only his second season in charge he led the side to a runners up spot losing out on goal difference, tasting defeat in the league just once.

Despite league disappointment he won the Kent Senior Trophy beating Chatham Town 3-0 and promotion to the Southern League East. Due to work commitments Burman resigned from the club handing over the managers job to Gary Julians.

In 2001, Burman returned as manager after Dartford parted company with Julians but only as a caretaker. Tommy Sampson was finally appointed and remained in charge until January 2005. In came Burman again as ‘caretaker manager’ but he went permanent for his second spell in charge.

Burman’s second spell has seen Dartford return home in 2006, win the Isthmian League North in 2008 and the Isthmian Premier League two years later.

Last season The Darts reached the first round of the F.A Cup for the first time since 1989, won the Kent Senior Cup and finished a respectable tenth in the Conference South.

This season, Burman has led The Darts to a runner up spot, a playoff final appearance and almost retained the county cup losing out to Hythe Town.

The Dartford manager also boasts an excellent goalscoring record for Dartford when he played up front for the club between 1981 and 1987. Burman was the club’s top scorer six seasons in a row, still a club record.

Jamie Day – Welling United FC

Jamie Day during his spell with The Darts

Former Dartford midfielder is new to management and has done an excellent job for Welling United. He rejoined The Wings from Dartford to take up the player manager position.

In November 2009 he rejoined Welling United and guided them to seventh place and ninth the following season.

Last season Day kept Welling United in playoff contention all season but with two games to go they dropped out the top five.

This season is Day’s best finish as player manager in which he has weighed in with five goals of his own.

Formerly an Arsenal trainee and AFC Bournemouth player he was signed by The Wings in 2004 after spells at Dover Athletic and Crawley Town. In a three year spell as a player he played eighty nine times for Welling United scoring twelve. Day went on to join Grays Athletic in 2008 two years before they resigned from the Conference Premier.

At Dartford he made fifty five appearances between 2008 and 2009 starting ten of the first eleven league games in Dartford’s Isthmian Premier League title season.

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The Players

Dartford F.C

Tony Burman named an unchanged side in the second leg and it was the same team that started eight of the last ten league fixtures. As second place had been sewn up the matches at Sutton United and Boreham Wood gave other players a run out.

Louis Wells will be expected to start between the sticks and over the two legs against Basingstoke Town he played a key role in Dartford reaching the final.

At full back on the right Lee Burns has stepped in since the injury to Matt Jones who is now available for selection. Burns started as a striker and was Dartford’s top scorer with twenty two goals when The Darts won the Isthmian Premier League, his versatility means he is comfortable going forward too. On the other side Adam Green has been ever present in the Conference South this season and is the only Dartford player to have featured in every league game. Powerful at set pieces and penalty taker he has scored seven in the league.

The centre back pairing of Tom Bonner and loanee Luke Wilkinson has blossomed. They have played 16 times together in the Conference South (including playoffs) and during that spell have kept seven clean sheets. Bonner was recognised by his peers just losing out in the Player’s Player of the Year and Wilkinson has been a threat at set pieces netting four league goals.

Team photo from the start of the 2011/2012 season. Louis Wells, Jacob Erskine and Luke Wilkinson joined the squad later

Dartford have options out wide with Lee Noble who has kept the loyal Ryan Hayes out the side and James Rogers who has been reliable since signing from Dover Athletic last season. Noble became the first player to retain The Leach/Towersey Memorial Shield winning the most man of the matches voted by members of the PURE DFC forum. As back up Ryan Hayes has excelled in Kent derbies and can be a threat from off the bench.

In the centre of midfield captain Elliot Bradbrook has had his best season with The Darts so far. The Player’s Player of the Year scored the opener in the second leg to add to his fourteen league goals. Tom Champion takes the more defensive role of the two and is always looking to bring the ball down. He has moved into centre midfield since the injury to playmaker Jon Wallis.

Up front a combination of power and pace has worked well for The Darts. Jacob Erskine signed a day after the departure of then top scorer Charlie Sheringham. Erskine on his day can be excellent which he showed with his hat trick in the F.A Trophy against Boston United. In the league he netted eleven in twenty nine appearances and that excludes three goals he scored for Hampton and Richmond earlier in the season. The pace comes from Danny Harris the winner of the John Stevens Memorial Player of the Year voted by the fans. Harris had to bide his time on the bench in the earlier months of the season but has taken his chances literally, top scoring for The Darts with fifteen league goals.

Welling United F.C

The Wings have experience between the posts in Craig Holloway who has played for a host of Conference South clubs. Welling’s number one also played in the Kent Senior Cup Final last season for Bromley which Dartford won 4-1.

At full back on the left Jack Obersteller has been starting regularly and was one of Jamie Day’s first signings. The other full back position has been shared amongst a few players but recently Loui Fazakerley has played there despite having experience as a right midfielder. Adam Sambrook has also had a go at right back and is equally comfortable in the centre.

In the middle of defence is former St Albans City centre back Ben Martin who has made an impression at Park View Road. Usually he is partnered by Anthony Acheampong who took a while to break in to the first team squad due to injuries.

Welling United line up for this seasons team photo

In midfield The Wings have versatility, Scott Kinch was signed form Tonbridge Angels after being released by the club. Kinch played against The Darts back in September and was on the receiving end of a 3-1 defeat. Dean Cracknell is in his second spell at Welling United after returning from Thurrock and is a tough tackling midfielder.

Jamie Day can count on Jack Parkinson and Lee Clarke to score goals and support the forwards. Captain, Parkinson has netted nine times in the league this season trebling his total from last season. Clarke was suspended for the second leg on Sunday but will be a threat if selected. He has scored eight league goals to add to the fifteen from last season and became The Wings top scorer in the Conference South on forty two goals in total. Day can also call upon Joe Healy for width and a good work ethic.

Loick Pires is a pacey and skilful and caused Dartford trouble at Park View Road in December. Out of the players still at the club he has top scored for The Wings this season with a dozen goals. Louis Cumbers has scored one less goal than Pires and last season netted fourteen times so can be dangerous around in the box.

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Statistics

Dartford lead the head to head record against Welling United over the twenty six previous meetings. The Darts have a superior home record with the away matches evening out.

Played Won Drawn Lost For Against
Total 26 13 5 8 41 33
Home 12 7 3 2 17 12
Away 14 6 2 6 23 21

The Darts never dropped out of the top four all season and neither did Welling United once they got into the playoff spots early doors. In total the two clubs spent a combined eight matches at the summit with The Wings holding the lead for longer.

Both sides have set season records in 2011/2012 with Dartford scoring in the most amount of games including scoring in twenty one consecutive matches from 21 August 2011 to 28 January 2012. Welling United won the most matches in a row, joint with Boreham Wood and Farnborough. Here is a comparison of Dartford and Welling’s longest sequences home and away.

In all league games 2011/2012

DFC

WUFC

Consecutive Wins

5

6

Consecutive Draws

2

2

Consecutive Defeats

2

1

Consecutive Clean Sheets

2

5

Number of Clean Sheets

12

14

Consecutive Scoring

21

11

Scored in a Game

38

35

Consecutive Blanks

1

2

Number of Blanks

4

7

Without a Win

3

3

Without a Draw

10

9

Without a Defeat

7

7

Consecutive Without Clean Sheets

7

5

Games Without Clean Sheet

30

28

Dartford have home advantage in the final and set a season’s best of eight consecutive home wins from 2 January 2012 to 31 March 2012, a run which started against Welling United. Only Chelmsford City stopped The Darts from scoring at Princes Park in the league meaning they scored at home in the most amount of matches. Welling United set a record recently with four consecutive away clean sheets all in their final four away fixtures of the season. Here is a comparison of Dartford’s longest sequences at home versus Welling United’s away.

Home vs Away 2011/2012

DFC

WUFC

Consecutive Wins

8

3

Consecutive Draws

2

1

Consecutive Defeats

1

3

Consecutive Clean Sheets

3

4

Number of Clean Sheets

6

6

Consecutive Scoring

19

6

Scored in a Game

20

17

Consecutive Blanks

1

2

Number of Blanks

1

4

Without a Win

2

4

Without a Draw

8

9

Without a Defeat

11

4

Consecutive Without Clean Sheets

7

9

Games Without Clean Sheet

15

15

In the Conference South this season both sides have scored one hundred and sixty eight goals between them. Whilst The Darts are most productive in the final fifteen minutes scoring twenty three and conceding just six, The Wings have their best spells in the fifteen minutes before scoring twenty one and conceding just the once.

Goal Timings

DFC For WUFC For DFC Against

WUFC Against

0-15

9 13 12

13

16-30

18 12 7

5

31-45

10 13 4

7

First Half

37 38 23

25

46-60

16 9 5

7

61-75

13 21 6

1

76-90

23 11 6

14

Second Half

52 41 17

22

Total

89 79 40

47

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Conference South Playoff History

When the Conference South was formed in 2004 the playoff final was contested between a Conference South club and a Conference North club. Since 2006 a club from each league earned a place in the Conference Premier via the playoffs.

No team has finished 5th and been promoted. Eastbourne Borough were the closest winning the Conference South Playoff Final but lost in the South versus North Playoff showdown in 2005. Twice has fourth place achieved promotion, Ebbsfleet United are the only third place team to win the final and three runners up teams have gone up after playoff victories. A one goal margin has been enough on three occasions and a two goal margin twice.

Since 2006 three of the promoted teams won both legs of their semi-finals, here is how the playoffs have been played out over the last five seasons.

2010-2011 – Ebbsfleet United defeated Chelmsford City in the semi final 4-1 and 2-1 before overcoming Farnborough in an exciting 4-2 triumph. The Fleet were without a win in the last three league fixtures winning just four of their last ten.

2009-2010 – Bath City denied Chelmsford City a place in the final by winning 3-0 on aggregate. The Romans became the second team to not concede a goal in the playoffs winning the final 1-0 versus Woking. Like Ebbsfleet they went three without a win at the end of the league campaign.

2008-2009 – Hayes and Yeading are the only side to bounce back from a first leg deficit. After a 4-2 defeat to Eastleigh at home they won 4-0 in the away leg. In the final they beat the unfortunate Hampton and Richmond 3-2. Hayes and Yeading were unbeaten in their last fifteen league games are were the form team winning 10 in a row in that run, a Conference South record shared with Weymouth.

2007-2008 – Eastbourne Borough are the only club to have won the Conference South playoff twice. Only the first time they lost out in a North versus South Playoff. The Sports beat Braintree Town 5-0 on aggregate and Hampton and Richmond in the final 2-0.

2006-2007 – Salisbury City are the only side to have drawn in the semi-finals and gone on to win the final. The Wiltshire club drew 1-1 with Bishop’s Stortford before knocking them out with a 3-1 triumph. The Whites then went on to beat Braintree Town 1-0 in the final.

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* Pictures courtesy of Dave Adkins. Goal timings taken from bbc.co.uk. Team photo’s taken from www.dartfordonline.com and www.pitchero.com/clubs/wellingutd

Conference South Playoff Previews

Dartford v Basingstoke Town (1-0 on aggregate)

Dartford take a slender lead going into Sunday’s Conference South Playoff Second Leg at Princes Park.

On Wednesday night Lee Noble’s fine strike on the stroke of half time ensured The Darts gained what could be a crucial advantage.

Danny Harris celebrates his hat trick goal in February

James Rogers had a shot tipped over by the experienced Ashley Bayes and the Basingstoke Town goalkeeper also denied Danny Harris from close range. Louis Wells pulled off a stunning save to keep the scores level until Noble put The Darts in front with an excellent drilled shot from the edge of the box.

Basingstoke Town controlled the second half and a resilient display from Dartford’s defence ensured they went home with a clean sheet. Wells continued to make important saves and after a number of goal line clearances by The Darts, Basingstoke’s Shaun McAuley missed an open goal. The Darts managed to hold on and will hope to make home advantage in the second leg on Sunday count.

Tony Burman spoke to PURE DFC after the first leg, he said: “You want to get something from the away game whether it’s a draw or a win. We’ve managed to win the game”, he added: “I thought we were organised and I felt the players did excellent. We know it’s half time and it’s not done by a long way”.

Earlier in the season Danny Harris put in a fantastic performance netting a hat trick in a win 4-1.  Harris opened the scoring two minutes before the break with a great finish drilled low into the net. In the second half The Darts upped their game and Harris doubled his goal tally for the night by following up Tom Champion’s header with one of his own. Three minutes later a Basingstoke Town free kick was bundled over the line by Stuart Lake to half the deficit. With twelve minutes remaining substitute Tony Garrod sealed the match thanks to some hard work from Harris. The icing was on the cake nine minutes from time when Harris completed a hat trick with a curling effort into the bottom corner.

Dartford also won the meeting at Princes Park last season when a calamitous own goal by Callum Reynolds separated the two sides. After Lee Noble’s deflected shot hit the cross bar the ball hit Reynolds on the way down and over the line.

The Darts will be hoping to add to their home successes in 2012 and progress to the final which will be staged on their own turf.

Did you know…

Dartford finished the season with the best home record in the Conference South amassing 49 points the same as Woking. The Darts finished with a better goal difference of +33 to Woking’s +25

The Darts recorded 8 consecutive home wins from 2 January 2012 to 31 March 2012 the best home run by any Conference South club this season, In 2012 they only dropped four points at Princes Park when they drew their last two home matches

Basingstoke Town are currently on their best league run away from The Camrose. The Dragons are unbeaten in six having won five and drawing the final game of the season which clinched a playoff spot.

The Dragons suffered the heaviest away defeat of the season when they last played Dartford at Princes Park on 27 February 2012

Welling United v Sutton United (2-1 on aggregate)

Welling United also won there away fixture on Wednesday night to take a goal lead into the second leg.

Lee Clarke will miss the second leg through suspension but he made amends with the opening goal after 24 minutes. Dean Cracknell’s cross was finished by Clarke’s diving header to give The Wings the lead.

Sutton United levelled in the second half after 66 minutes when The U’s top scorer Craig Watkins sent in a cross which deflected and wrong footed goalkeeper Craig Holloway.

The Wings grabbed a winner just four minutes later when tricky Loick Pires picked out Joe Healy who flicked the ball beyond Kevin Scriven to make it 2-1.

Jamie Day knows his side still has a job to do and urges his side to finish off the job. The player manager hopes to guide The Wings to the top flight of non league football for the first time since 1999/2000.

Paul Doswell hopes his side overturns a 2-1 deficit

Sutton United manager Paul Doswell believes the first goal is important and his side is still in with a chance. The U’s manager aims for the same approach as Wednesday and does not want to ‘go gung-ho’ from the start.

Last time the two sides met at Park View Road the fixture ended 0-0.  The Wings will be encouraged by almost going unbeaten at home for the entire season. The only league defeat suffered happened three weeks ago when Eastleigh got the better of Welling United. The U’s have had a patchy season away from home and since the turn of the year they have scored just nine times on the road winning on three occasions.

Did you know…

Welling United went an incredible 19 games without defeat at home this season and ended up with the third best home record. The Wings were two games away before their only defeat from going unbeaten all season at home. Only Newport County AFC managed to go unbeaten at home in the Conference South in 2009/10.

On two occasions Sutton United managed three consecutive clean sheets on the road in the league. Only Boreham Wood went longer without conceding an away goal.

The U’s lost their final away fixture but have not been defeated in successive away league games this season.

Conference South Playoff Preview

Basingstoke Town (5th) v Dartford (2nd)

Dartford will have to overcome Basingstoke Town over two legs to reach the playoff final and be in with a chance of promotion.

The Darts finished runners up in only their second season in the Conference South. Thanks to an incredible 2012 and keeping the title race alive longer than expected, Tony Burman’s side can be proud of what they have achieved so far but we hope to go a step further.

Dartford face a first leg playoff tie at The Camrose on Wednesday night

From the outset the playoffs were the main target for Dartford and since the first match in August they have remained in the top five. With many people writing off the title when Woking were 17 points clear at the end of 2011, The Darts did cut the deficit to four points at one stage before their chances ended on 14 April 2012.

Dartford’s form has included 15 wins, 3 draws and 2 defeats in 2012, where The Darts have dropped just four points at Princes Park this year and they were in their last two home fixtures. On their travels Dartford three of their last four fixtures drawing the final game of the season 1-1 down at Truro City. Barry Hayles looked to have won the match with three minutes to spare but good work from Tony Garrod set up Jacob Erskine in injury time to level with the last kick of the league season.

Luke Wilkinson returned for The Darts after his suspension and his pairing with Tom Bonner at the back has been solid since he joined on loan from Dagenham and Redbridge. Elliot Bradbrook has chipped in with 14 goals from midfield, Danny Harris top scored with 15 goals and will test defences with his pace.

Basingstoke Town gatecrashed the playoffs last week stealing the final spot from Chelmsford City. The Dragons spent most of the season hovering around the top ten but are the form side going into the play offs. Eight wins from their final ten fixtures propelled them into the top five. The Hampshire club staved off Chelmsford City on the final day with a 1-1 away draw at Welling United, Chelmsford failed to beat champions Woking to ensure Basingstoke Town finished four points clear.

Delano Sam-Yorke has often been a thorn in Dartford's side

It is no surprise the form Basingstoke Town are on coincides with Delano Sam-Yorke’s return from injury. The striker has top scored for the Hampshire club with 14 goals including one against The Darts, he also scored twice at The Camrose against Dartford last season. Manager Jason Bristow was only appointed in February replacing Frank Gray. Bristow is able to call upon the experienced Tim Sills up front who has netted a dozen times and midfielder Shaun McAuley who has ten goals to his name.

At The Camrose over the past two seasons Basingstoke Town have the advantage. In September, Delano Sam-Yorke opened the scoring on six minutes when he was left with too much space to power the ball beyond Derren Ibrahim. Charlie Sheringham scored from the penalty spot after a retake ten minutes later and Adam Green’s deflected free kick put The Darts ahead. The lead lasted just two minutes when Toby Little’s free kick wrong footed Ibrahim. Shaun McAuley put away a second half winner on 53 minutes.

Last season the journey to Hampshire in March ended in a 2-2 draw. Sam-Yorke opened the scoring in the first minute with supporters still taking up position on the terrace. The lead didn’t last long when Ryan Hayes scored from an excellent solo effort just three minutes later. Danny Harris put The Darts in front mid-way through the first half and Sam-Yorke equalised fifteen minutes later. The second half was just as entertaining with the woodwork being hit by both sides but both teams failed to score.

Did you know…

Dartford have scored in the most amount of league games, netting at least one goal 38 times out of 42

The Darts have lost just twice in their last 22 league matches

Dartford also have the tightest defence conceding 0.95 goals per league game

Basingstoke Town have lost one out of their last eleven league games

The Dragons’ 5th place finish was their highest in the Conference South

Sutton United (4th) v Welling United (3rd)

Sutton United have had a tremendous first season in the Conference South despite getting off to the worst possible start. After losing 5-0 to Woking in their opener they entered the top five back in September and never looked back. Under the guidance of Paul Doswell, The Surrey club consistently put runs together to finish in fourth place.

Sutton United have lost just three league games in two years at home

Up front The U’s have been grateful for the goals Craig Watkins have scored as well as midfielder Harry Beautyman’s. In the last two seasons Sutton United can rely on the solid foundations provided by just three league defeats at Ganders Green Lane. Highlights have include a five game winning streak in February and March and a ten match unbeaten run in September and October resulting in 26 goals and only five conceded. During that spell The U’s recorded their biggest win of the season beating Salisbury City 5-0.

Last season’s Isthmian Premier League champions have eased off a bit towards the tail end of their campaign by winning twice in the final eight fixtures. The run started with a 6-1 defeat at Dartford and as the goals have dried up The U’s are the most out of form team out of the playoff contenders.

The Wings led the Conference South in September for six games before the eventual champions Woking took control. Welling United looked at one stage contenders to pip Dartford and Woking but that was short lived back in early March. After a win at Chelmsford City, The Wings were six points behind top spot. Without back to back away wins since August, inconsistency on their travels denied Welling United a better challenge for the title.

Jamie Day: During his spell with The Darts, now managing Welling United

Jamie Day’s team dropped out of the playoffs with two games to go last season and after two years of financial difficulties a third place finish is more than credible. The Wings lost Andrew Pugh to Cambridge United in January and his 16 league goals is still more than any other Welling player. In fact only two players in the Conference South have scored more times. Despite the departure of the prolific scorer the Kent club have a more than capable squad.

At Ganders Green Lane the two sides were involved in a seven goal thriller back in December. Tommy Kavangah scored from 25 yards to give Sutton a twelfth minute lead. A minute later the scores were level when Welling’s Pugh tucked away from eight yards. The goals continued to flow when Beautyman drilled in the third of the game after just 16 minutes. The sides went in level at half time when on 25 minutes Luis Cumbers made it 2-2.

With the first half being a difficult act to follow the second 45 minutes lived up to expectations. Three goals in five minutes started off when Cumbers completed a brace in the 73rd minute to put the Kent side in front with a well taken volley. However in the space of a minute it was level again with a Sam Page header and the turnaround was completed thirteen minutes from time as Craig Watkins nodded in the winner from a yard out.

Did you know…

Sutton United have kept the most clean sheets this season. The U’s have not conceded in 16 of their league games, only matched by Woking

The U’s finished in the highest league position since the Conference South was formed. Previously they spent four years in the division recording 15th, 13th and 14th place finishes before relegation in 2008 as the bottom club

Welling United have scored 37 goals on the road this season, only Woking have netted more times away from home

The Wings are unbeaten in four away fixtures, a season’s best. Even better, they have not conceded away from home in the last six hours and forty four minutes of football

Records versus playoff teams

Team Won Drawn Lost For Against Points GD
Dartford 4 1 1 15 6 13 +9
Sutton United 3 1 2 8 11 10 -3
Welling United 1 3 2 6 7 6 -1
Basingstoke Town 1 1 4 6 11 4 -5


Dartford v Welling United

Dartford play the reverse fixture against Welling United on Bank Holiday Monday after the two sides drew on Boxing Day.

Just days ago the Kent derby at Park View Road ended 1-1 with both sides restricted to long range efforts for the majority of the first half. Dartford’s Jon Wallis and Tom Champion fired wide from distance and ex Dart Jamie Day (who is suspended for Mondays match) hit a tame free kick which was easily gathered by Louis Wells. On 38 minutes Loick Pires skilfully got round Matt Jones who upended the Welling winger. Lee Clarke placed the penalty into the corner to give the home side an advantage going into half time. However, there was still time for a Tom Bonner header to be cleared off the line by The Wings.

Dartford met |Welling just over a week ago with a good turnout

In the second half Welling’s Joe Healy went into a committed challenge with Champion who reached the ball first, Healy was late and the referee sent The Wings midfielder off. With a numerical advantage The Darts were let off the hook when Welling’s top scorer Andy Pugh guided the ball goalwards only for the shot to deflect onto the crossbar via Jones. Day had a free kick tipped over the bar by Wells and Pires fired a sliced shot wide.

In the final minute Welling were awarded a second penalty. Bonner tried to cut out the cross with his chest and the assistant referee flagged for handball. Clarke stepped up again and his shot down the middle was saved by Wells. The Darts quickly moved the ball up the pitch and when a cross was sent in substitute Lee Noble rose the highest to head the ball in for the equaliser beating débutante Nick Pope in the Welling goal.

For a second match in a row The Darts salvaged a point in the final minute thanks to a substitute. The stalemate at Park View Road still leaves Dartford in fourth place and Welling United in second, although Woking’s win has seen both sides lose ground at the top of the Conference South.

Bank Holiday’s New Year clash between the Kent clubs will be twenty sixth meeting. Dartford lead the head to head record in total and at home. Last seasons match at Princes Park ended even after Jack Parkinson’s header gave The Wings the lead just past the hour. With eight minutes remaining Ryan Hayes curled in a magnificent free kick to tie the match.

Dartford Team News

Tony Garrod made his first Conference South start in a Dartford shirt on Boxing Day and Connor Essam made his second appearance on loan in defence. Lee Burns missed the fixture at Park View Road with injury and Paul Goodacre will remain on the injury list for some time. Jon Wallis is suspended for The Darts after picking up five cautions this season.

Statistics (league only)

Dartford (4th) v Welling United (2nd)

Current Form

Last five Dartford matches at home Last five Welling United matches away
Drew 1-1 v Dorchester Town Lost 3-4 v Sutton United
Lost 2-3 v Woking Won 1-0 v Basingstoke Town
Won 3-1 v Dover Athletic Drew 1-1 v Tonbridge Angels
Drew 1-1 v Weston Super-Mare Won 3-2 v Truro City
Lost 1-2 v Truro City Lost 0-3 v Eastleigh

Attendances

Dartford average home attendance: 1119

Highest home attendance: 1558 v Dover Athletic/ Lowest: 924 v Dorchester Town

Welling United average away attendance: 497

Highest away attendance: 648 v Bromley/ Lowest: 273 v Boreham Wood

Did you know…

Last season a total of 2924 attended the two matches involving Dartford playing Welling United, an average of 1462 per game.

The Darts have drawn four of their last six league matches home and away.

In 2011, Dartford have won 23, drawn 12, lost 12 league fixtures, they have scored 81 times and conceded 59. The Darts have earned 57.45% of the points available during 2011 (the fourth highest out of the teams that took part in the Conference South since our promotion).

Welling United have won 64.54% points available to them in 2011, only Woking’s incredible 75.69% is better.

The Boxing Day clash between The Darts and The Wings was Welling’s highest league attendance all season, the fifth team to have their highest home crowd against Dartford so far.

Welling United v Dartford

What better way to celebrate festivities than to catch a local derby away to Welling United on Boxing Day, followed by the return fixture a week later.

The Darts start the Christmas period in fourth spot whilst The Wings are in second ten points behind runaway leaders Woking. Both sides are pushing for promotion to the Conference Premier in what could be an enthralling league fixture.

Last years fixture at Park View Road in front of a packed terrace

Welling United got the better of Dartford on New Years Day in last seasons corresponding fixture. Lee Clarke opened the goal scoring three minutes before the break and Lee Cumbers made it two with ten minutes played in the second half. Adam Burchell controversially won The Darts a penalty with eight minutes to go which Carl Rook netted but it was too little, too late.

Dartford rescued a point over the weekend when a last minute Danny Harris goal from close range earned The Darts a draw in front of Princes Park’s lowest home league attendance this term. Dorchester Town looked on course for a win with twenty minutes remaining after Jamie Symes 25 yard curler gave the visitors the lead.

Tony Burman was admitted he did not really want to risk Harris, the Dartford boss spoke to PURE DFC after the match and said: “I’ve had to take the gamble and didn’t really want to bring him (Harris) on in all honesty, he hasn’t trained all week”. Burman needed to introduce an attacker to carve out a point, he added: “I think we looked leggy in the first half, we tried to play and one or two things nearly come off. We needed a spark and didn’t get it. I’m delighted the players went on right to the end and got themselves a point”.

The Wings spent most of last season in the play offs but finished just short in sixth place last season. This campaign is going just as well for Jamie Day’s squad and they have yet to lose a league match at home dropping just four points. Furthermore Welling United have scored the most goals at home and have Conference South’s top scorer in Andrew Pugh.

On Saturday Welling were involved in a dramatic seven goal thriller when they lost 4-3 away to Sutton United. Pugh scored his sixteenth league goal of the season and Cumbers who netted against The Darts last time at Park View Road scored a brace. Like Dartford, The Wings failed to take advantage of Woking’s slip up at lowly Thurrock.

Dartford have now gone fifteen straight league games finding the back of the net whilst Welling are the leagues highest home scorers. Both sides have struggled to keep clean sheets so the Boxing Day clash may well be worth a goal or two. A week later the two clubs play the return fixture at Princes Park.

Welling United have strengthened their squad this month by re-signing winger Ben Greenhalgh and adding Jack Evans on loan from Gillingham.

New loan signing Connor Essam

Dartford Team News

Squad numbers for The Darts have decreased through injuries recently. Paul Goodacre will be out after injuring his knee ligaments, Lee Noble is still regaining fitness and Lee Burns missed the Dorchester Town game. Burman told PURE DFC: “In training Burns pulled a hamstring in Thursday’s training session. Jon Wallis and Matt Jones didn’t train Thursday and they were struggling. That is why we had to take Jonesy off on Saturday as his hamstring had got really tight”.

When speaking about Goodacre, he commented: “There is definite damage to the knee and that is why we have brought Connor Essam in. Paul is having a scan and once we get the result of that scan we will know a lot more about it, the consultant at this time does not thik its his cruciate which is great news”.

Burman drafted in Essam and he is likely to feature again and play against his Gillingham team mate Evans. The Dartford manager was delighted with the youngsters début in a Dartford shirt, he added: “Connor has done excellent, that was one of the bright parts of the game on Saturday”.

Statistics (league only)

Welling United (2nd) v Dartford (4th)

Current Form

Last five Welling United matches at home Last five Dartford matches away
Won 2-0 v Boreham Wood Drew 2-2 v Eastleigh
Won 4-3 v Salisbury City Won 2-1 v Salisbury City
Won 2-1 v Hampton and Richmond Won 3-0 v Thurrock
Won 3-2 v Dorchester Town Lost 1-3 v Boreham Wood
Drew 0-0 v Dover Athletic Won 2-1 v Farnborough

Attendances

Welling United average home attendance: 649

Highest home attendance: 1214 v Welling United/ Lowest: 440 v Salisbury City

Dartford average away attendance: 731

Highest away attendance: 1455 v Dover Athletic/ Lowest: 441 v Boreham Wood

Did you know…

6 – Welling’s six consecutive league victories between 17 August 2011 and 3 September 2011 is the joint best winning run. Boreham Wood equalled this record which started against The Darts

6 – Only six goals have been scored in the final quarter of league matches involving Dartford and Welling, three each and the tightest defences in the league over this period of the match.

10 – After ten league matches at Park View Road, The Wings are one of only two sides unbeaten at home this season

15 – No Conference South team this season has scored in as many consecutive league matches than Dartford. The Darts have netted at least a goal in their last fifteen fixtures.

19 – In the 41 league matches Dartford and Welling have played this season both sides have scored at least a goal 19 times. Only three times Dartford or Welling have failed to score in the Conference South this campaign

The Wings take advantage of matches between 61 and 75 minutes, they have scored 12 times during this period and conceded just once. No other team has a better record at this time of the match.

Season Review Part Eight– A look back on 2010/2011

8 – Mid-January to February – Dartford on Tour

Bouncebackability

Whilst Dartford was falling Farnborough was rising. The Boro had won three consecutive matches and striker Bradley Bubb was scoring for fun with eight goals in his last five league matches. The Darts had no chance especially if the last match between the two sides in August was anything to go by. Before the game Tony Burman signed full back Matt Jones from Bishop’s Stortford, George Purcell and Lee Burns were ruled out through injury.

Lee Noble who was recalled from his loan spell was on form and Dartford’s main hope, in the twelfth minute he was taken out in the penalty box. Dartford fans behind the goal were jubilant, great start. Charlie Sheringham stepped up to the spot to place his shot right footed and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way.

The lead lasted just eight minutes when on form striker Bradley Bubb was released on the left, his shot was struck well enough. Andrew Young pushed the ball upwards but it looped into the far corner. Dartford defenders all looked at one another, shoulders shrugged, here we go again.

Noble continued to weave inside out causing Farnborough some problems, he harassed, scurried at their defenders to put them under pressure. His enthusiasm rubbed off on the Dartford team until it went a step too far. Noble knocked the ball out to Elliot Bradbrook on the right who put in a deep cross to the far post. A misplaced header across the six yard box enticed Farnborough goalkeeper Michael Jordan to go for the ball. Noble steamed forward in an over enthusiastic attempt to win possession. The ball hit the goalkeeper; Noble’s outstretched leg went into Jordan’s chest. The referee charged to the scene, Farnborough players were furious and surrounded the referee, the red card was pulled out, Noble was sent off. The Dartford players were furious with the Boro reaction. Everything calmed down. The Darts had to play 55 minutes a man down. No chance for a win, let’s hope for a draw.

Tom Champion takes the plaudits

Adversity galvanised Dartford and three minutes after the restart Jon Main was sent through but the ball got caught between his feet. Main turned with his back to goal and layed the ball off to the onrushing Sheringham. Charlie drove the shot low and hard into the bottom corner from 19 yards, a quality finish, and an unexpected lead.

Fifteen minutes later, The Darts grew in confidence and boxed Farnborough into their own corner. The Boro tried to clear their lines three times and Dartford kept pressing. Main won possession and passed to Sheringham who looked up to notice Tom Champion on the edge of the ‘d’ and crossed the ball. One bounce, Champion adjusted his body, wrapped his right foot around the ball and his stunning volley landed in the top far corner of the net. The head strapped Champion milked the plaudits from the crowd, he deserved it. What was going on? Farnborough was shell shocked.

The Darts was denied a penalty, Main was denied by Jordan, it looked like Farnborough was a man down.  Then on 73 minutes The Boro failed to clear again from a corner. Sheringham flicked the ball on and Danny Harris nodded the ball past the goalkeeper at the near post, 4-1. Incredible afternoon.

Dartford 4 Farnborough 1 – Highlights

A New Cup Adventure

A new cup adventure began. Okay so it was ‘only the Kent Senior Cup’ but for some fans it was a realistic opportunity to land some silverware. The Kent Senior Cup is like the Football League Cup in some ways. Do we go for it? Do we try out some youngsters? Is it a chance to win something or a waste of time? However you feel about the cup it was here and Dartford faced Isthmian Premier League outfit Tonbridge Angels. Tony Burman opted for the young and promising Deren Ibrahim in goal and gave Adam Burchell a run out, other than that the first eleven could have started a league match.

Danny Harris opened the scoring on the hour when Ryan Hayes’ deep free kick to the far post was knocked down to Harris who swept the ball home. Charlie Sheringham replaced Hayes in the 85th minute then wrapped up the win. Sheringham took the ball down on his chest before cutting inside the defender and curling the ball beyond the Tonbridge keeper into the net. The Darts negotiated their way through the first round.

Dartford 2 Tonbridge Angels 0 – Kent Senior Cup First Round Highlights

Out of Harms Way

Despite the incredible win against the odds versus Farnborough, Dartford was still in the bottom three. The atmosphere surrounding the club lifted after a second win in succession against Tonbridge Angels. Next up was mid-table side Bishop’s Stortford who The Darts demolished earlier in the season.

Lee Noble was lively and was blocked off the ball early on, blood was spilt, and the challenge was nasty enough for Noble to change his shirt and to be bandaged up. The knock back failed to stop the midfielder as he controlled the game with his intricacy and skill; the sides were level at the break.

In the second half, Danny Harris was sent clear and rounded the goalkeeper. Harris went to ground, the referee deemed it a dive, yellow card, contentious decision. Jon Main was shut out, Bonner shot straight at the keeper, and Dartford was defending and playing on the break. With sixteen minutes remaining Noble delivered a low in swinger from the left, Billy Burgess jumped over the ball and Charlie Sheringham with his back towards goal turned on a sixpence and fired into the roof of the net, brilliant finish. The afternoon in Hertfordshire was a success, a third consecutive win and second consecutive clean sheet, 1-0 it finished. Out of the bottom three.

Bishops Stortford 0 Dartford 1 – Highlights

Thou Shall Not Pass

Princes Park hosted league leaders Braintree Town in a fiery encounter against The Darts. Dartford was growing in confidence but knew this would be a difficult fixture. The supporters started to believe, the team gained momentum, and everyone was starting to pull together. The Irons had won six in a row with strikers Sean Marks and Jamie Guy scoring eleven between them in the last seven matches.

Braintee Town showed why they were comfortable league leaders early on when Kenny Davis tested Andrew Young. Dartford’s Danny Harris failed to get on the end of Jon Main’s cross then on seventeen minutes, controversy. Charlie Sheringham went up for a header just inside the Braintree half; Matt Paine fell to the ground clutching his face. It was hard to tell what had happened but referee was convinced Sheringham threw an elbow to Paine’s face, red card, and uphill struggle.

Later on in the first half Irons player Kenny Davis was more than fortunate. When on the halfway line he lunged two footed at Danny Harris, the tackle was a shocker, the Dartford fans gasped in horror it was that bad. The referee unbelievably played on as Braintree won possession back and attacked, at which point the referee put a stop to the game. Braintree players raced towards the referee furious he stopped their attack, the man in black lost control of the match. Complete injustice for Dartford.

 

Captain Bradbrook nets the only goal of the game in a fiery contest

Like the Farnborough game the poor refereeing decisions galvanised Dartford supporters who remained incensed. The second half was tough; Dartford players worked their socks off against 11 men and the officials, as if it wasn’t hard enough playing the league leaders. Dartford held out until 81 minutes when the crucial moment arrived.  Lee Noble persisted to keep control off the ball on the half way line but was bundled over. The ball trickled to Elliot Bradbrook, The Captain dinked the ball forward which rolled underneath the foot of the Braintree centre half. Suddenly Jon Main was in, his first touch was heavy, his second was almost smothered by the goalkeeper, the ball bobbled up, Bradbrook reacted and side footed goal wards, goal! The Darts had beaten the odds again. Four consecutive wins, three consecutive clean sheets. Onwards and upwards.

Dartford 1 Braintree Town 0 – Highlights

The Darts Head North East

It was onwards and upwards indeed as The Darts and their faithful travelled to the north east. Dartford faced Conference National side Gateshead in the last sixteen of the F.A Trophy. Quite literally the journey was just too far for the Dartford players.

Phil Turnball’s deflected shot gave Gateshead the lead just before the break, if only The Darts could have held on. In the second half Gateshead were in control as they used their wingers to good effect. Substitute Brain Wake doubled the lead four minutes from time and with Dartford pressing forward were caught out again in the last minute by Kris Gale. Gateshead was barely troubled but like the Port Vale game in the F.A Cup the adventure was fun, Dartfordians could be proud.

 

This is Hardcore: Dartford fans travelled all the way to the North East

Gateshead 3 Dartford 0 – F.A Trophy Third Round Highlights

Gateshead to Weston

After the long trip north east The Darts and their travelling contingent travelled west as they clocked up the miles. A Tuesday night at Weston Super-Mare was to follow; a side Dartford soundly beat 4-1 back in September. The Seagulls was winless in six losing their last three, Dartford had won three league matches on the bounce.

Weston started brightly and Justin Porter tested the reflexes of Andrew Young. There were very few chances in the first half. The best efforts from The Darts came from Carl Rook and Charlie Sheringham. A tight game ensued and the second half was much the same until Weston’s Jamie Laird lost his footing, Sheringham turned quickly and beat goalkeeper Lloyd Irish in the 73rd minute. The season was turning around, another win, and another clean sheet.

Jon Main's first for Dartford

Loanee Strikes

The battle between Dartford and Braintree Town just eleven days ago was still fresh in the memory.  Charlie Sheringham was controversially sent off whilst Braintree’s Kenny Davis was lucky to stay on the pitch. Dartford supporters were still aggrieved by the events and really wanted to put one over the league leaders, furthermore our very own Ray Cherry was not allowed to film the match.

Dartford players were looking tired after long journeys and a crammed fixture list. Lee Noble was suspended and young Deren Ibrahim replaced Andrew Young in goal. On five minutes the league leaders attacked, a cross was unfortunately turned in by Billy Burgess, Dartford got off to a bad start. However parity was restored when Ibrahim’s punt up field was met by loanee Jon Main who lobbed the keeper with aplomb. The rest of the match was played out with both sets of players looking weary. The spoils were shared.

Unbeaten Run Continues

One of Dartford’s poorest performances was against Welling United in January. The Wings were coping well with off field problems and still challenging in the playoff places. Lee Noble was back and early on he set up Jon Main, his shot was tipped round the post. Another Dartford effort was hacked off the line. At the other end Joe Bruce was turned by Andrew Pugh and his curling effort was bravely blocked by Billy Burgess. A desperate lunge by Paul Goodacre gave Welling a free kick on the edge of the box, Jamie Day’s effort dipped just over the cross bar.

In the second forty five, Loui Fazackerley crossed for Liam Bellamy who nodded wide, Ibrahim was beaten. Elliot Bradbrook dug out an opportunity on the edge of the Welling box but his sliced volley ended inches wide scrapping the side netting. Then just past the hour The Wings took the advantage. After a number of testing corners they finally made one count when Jack Parkinson headed in from six yards.

Ryan Hayes scores an audacious free kick

Tony Burman made a double substitution on 73 minutes which proved to be a great decision. Ryan Hayes who had been out of the first eleven for a little while was introduced for his craft, Lee Burns came on for his endeavour. With eight minutes remaining Dartford won a free kick way out against the right touchline a good 30 to 35 yards out. Hayes looked up and struck the ball with power and swerve, Welling goalkeeper Tom Lovelock moved across to his near post, the ball swerved into the top corner, what a goal. Super sub Ryno saved the day.

Dartford 1 Welling United 1 – Highlights

Slip Up

It had been seven matches since Dartford lost, it had been 15 games since Hampton and Richmond last won. Normally in this position Dartford supporters will be expecting nothing but victory but with our record against the bottom sides we were still wary. After all, we lost to Thurrock when they were on a dreadful run; we were turned over by Dorchester Town which left us shocked. Dartford did not disappoint, well they did but some of us expected.

The Beavers came away from Princes Park with a resounding 4-0 win. Dean Wells scored against the Darts for a second time in the season when a corner was not cleared on 24 minutes. Six minutes before the break Ian Hodges doubled the lead. In the second half it took Hampton and Richmond a minute to make it three through Lawrence Yaku. Just two minutes later Yaku headed in his second. Let’s just call it a slip up.

Dartford 0 Hampton and Richmond 4 – Highlights

Back On Track

Dartford travelled to Dorset on a Tuesday night to put right their latest defeat, to revenge the 4-0 drubbing The Magpies gave us in November. The pitch was boggy as the winter weather had taken its toll across the non-league scene across the country. In all fairness this was not a game for the football purists but the exhausted Dartford players battled hard and were rewarded.

A goalless draw looked on the cards and how fitting it was when the Patron Saint of Lost Causes battled a lost cause in the Dorchester box. Danny Harris broke one tackle, rode another challenge and reached out a leg to slide the ball into the goal, 1-0 with just under seventeen minutes remaining. As the game reached a conclusion Jon Main spotted Lee Noble who looked like he went too wide, his shot was hit low and into the net for number two. Dartford avenged the defeat early in the season and had put the previous match to bed.

Dorchester Town 0 Dartford 2 – Highlights

February Finishes

It had been an incredible turnaround for Dartford, who was in the bottom three just a month and a half ago.  Six league wins, three draws and a defeat lifted them up to fourteenth position and seven points clear of relegation. Although they were fourteen matches to play over two more months it was the first time Dartford supporters could relax a little but there was still work to be done.

Braintree Town still led the table seven points ahead of in form Ebbsfleet United. The Fleet won four of their five February fixtures. Welling United, Farnborough and Chelmsford City maintained their playoff spots. Lewes moved off the foot of the table with three consecutive wins and Maidenhead United slipped towards danger after just two victories in twenty one matches. It was Woking who were the in form team with six consecutive wins without conceding, this was to stretch to seven on 1 March 2011.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Braintree Town 29 20 5 4 57 22 +35 65
2 Ebbsfleet United 29 17 7 5 55 36 +19 58
3 Farnborough 29 17 5 7 55 33 +22 56
4 Chelmsford City 29 16 6 7 58 33 +25 54
5 Welling United* 29 17 5 7 55 35 +20 51
6 Eastleigh 27 14 5 8 49 33 +16 47
7 Dover Athletic 28 14 5 9 60 40 +20 47
8 Woking 28 13 7 8 39 27 +12 46
9 Bromley 29 12 10 7 37 41 -4 46
10 Havant and W 24 9 6 9 34 33 +1 33
11 Staines Town 29 9 11 9 37 39 -2 38
12 Basingstoke Town 29 9 8 12 33 43 -10 35
13 Weston-super-Mare 31 10 7 14 41 47 -6 37
14 Dartford 28 8 9 11 35 40 -5 33
15 Bishop’s Stortford 30 9 4 17 34 60 -26 31
16 Hampton and Richmond 26 5 11 10 31 38 -7 26
17 Dorchester Town 28 6 9 13 28 38 -10 27
18 Thurrock 28 6 9 13 37 56 -19 27
19 Maidenhead United 27 6 7 14 28 46 -18 25
20 Boreham Wood 29 6 8 15 37 53 -16 26
21 Lewes 31 6 6 19 25 49 -24 24
22 St Albans City 29 4 10 15 25 48 -23 22

*Welling United deducted five points

Stuart Maidment

Photos courtesy of Dave Adkins, videos courtesy of Ray Cherry.

 

Season Review Part Seven– A look back on 2010/2011

7 – December to mid-January – Up for the Cup, not for the League

Giant Killers

Like the previous month December opened with another cup game for The Darts against higher league opposition. Away to the future Conference League Champions in the first round of the F.A Trophy, Tony Burman’s side had a huge task to beat Crawley Town. League form was mixed but the cup exploits in previous months gave fans some hope.

Crawley Town were on the up, with financial backing to boot. In the summer, controversial manager Steve Evans had signed players with football league potential. He brought in prolific goal scorer Matt Tubbs from Salisbury City, Sergio Torres from League One’s Peterborough United and the reliable Richard Brodie from York City, for fees that would not look out of place in the higher realms of the football league, Crawley Town were criticised for their spending and were labelled the ‘Manchester City of non-league football’.

Dartford, a club rescued by its supporters in the early nineties, a club within their budget were up against Crawley Town who had been saved by one man with financial clout, a club chasing a dream getting ever closer to reality. Coupled with the managers past, Crawley Town were not everyone’s cup of tea.

Evans underestimated The Darts and made eight changes to the team who had just knocked out Swindon Town in the F.A Cup. With a depleted squad Burman stuck with his strongest eleven and after just nine minutes his side were in complete control. Three minutes had passed when Charlie Sheringham turned and volleyed Dartford in front, great start. Then unbelievably Ryan Hayes put in one of his in swinging corners which hit the far post and landed in the net, dream start 2-0 after just nine minutes.

Billy Burgess and Paul Sawyer

As expected The Red Devils came back into the game, Andrew Young made some good saves before Chris Flood hit the post. Flood caused problems again when his shot was parried by Young; Richard Brodie was waiting and pulled a goal back. Dartford’s post was struck for a second time but they dug deep as their goal led a charmed life. From out of nowhere Charlie Sheringham unleashed a 25 yard strike, a superb goal, 3-1.

With nine minutes to go Dartford were clinging onto victory and when Craig McAllister scored from the spot Crawley Town went all out attack. It took nine minutes for Dartford to build a 2-0 lead at the start of the match, it took nine minutes at the end to lose a two goal lead. In the final minutes Dean Howell scored a well taken free kick from the edge of the box. It wasn’t finished there because moments later The Red Devils ‘won it’ when Richard Brodie tapped home Steve Masterton’s cross. The Assistant Referee’s flag was raised, we almost threw the game away. Like the Port Vale draw it was hard to decide whether a draw was pleasing or not, so close, oh so close.

Tom is the Champion

Losing a 3-1 lead against Crawley Town in the first game was a massive blow. For some the giantkilling chance had gone but home advantage and another 90 minutes gave us hope again. Steve Evans included prolific goalscorer Matt Tubbs and experienced midfielder Sergio Torres in a much stronger line up, had the Sussex side learnt their lesson? Tony Burman replaced Danny Harris with Elliot Bradbrook for the replay in front of 605 supporters. Dartford did not want to repeat their last replay against higher league opposition that was for sure.

The cup tie was just five minutes old when Matt Tubbs went down in the box, the Red Devils claimed penalty, Evans made his feelings known, Mr Hopkins ordered play to continue. Again, the Dartford goal led a charmed life as Andrew Young made comfortable saves and the defence blocked numerous shots. Carl Rook was substituted before half time for Tom Champion, it was all Crawley Town in the first half but remained goalless at the break.

As the game went on Crawley became more urgent in their play, they did not let up using their pace and ability which saw them promoted to the football league at the end of the season. Lee Burns, Dartford’s top scorer last season was struggling to score this term. Crawley Town broke away and when the ball was centred Burns stuck out a foot, half volleyed the ball sped goal bound. Young was wrong footed, Burns looked on in horror, if this goes in then what an own goal. Young adjusted his body shape and from underneath the cross bar palmed the ball over, an incredible test of reflexes, Burns smiled in relief.

Tom Champion strikes a giant killing goal

Dartford were minutes from extra time when Ryan Hayes delivered a free kick which was cut out by the first man, luckily the ball went out for a corner. Hayes crossed with his left foot, the ball swung in to the six yard box. Michel Kuipers got through nine or ten players crowded in his area and palmed the ball away. Kuipers charged forward with his desperate Crawley defenders. The ball bounced once to the feet of Tom Champion standing eight yards out, Champion perfectly positioned volleyed the ball right footed, the crowd erupted with joy, the ball smashed the back of the net, Dartford had won it in the dying minutes of the match, giant killers.

Dartford 1 Crawley Town 0 – F.A Trophy First Round Replay Highlights

Derby Day Defeat

It had been a whole month without league football, rain, heavy snow, the harsh winter all limited the whole football world to a small amount of fixtures. Frustration and boredom settled in on Saturday afternoons nothing could replace football. What better way to return to action than the second derby between Dartford and Ebbsfleet United. The festive spirit was in full flow; fans of both sides passing on season greetings, pints flowing but when kick off signalled three o’clock, the action started and both sets of supporters made plenty of noise. No segregation added to the atmosphere and banter, non-league football, the festive spirit, against your rivals, there is nothing near as good.

Joe Bruce is dismissed

The derby started off frantically and on ten minutes The Fleet won a free kick when Michael West was blocked. The Darts were still setting up and so Derek Duncan took the opportunity to curl the free kick beyond Andrew Young and put The Fleet ahead. It was not long before Dartford was on level terms when four minutes later Ryan Hayes dangerous free kick was nodded in by Elliot Bradbrook. Ebbsfleet missed two more chances and reliable striker Calum Willock somehow missed an open goal from yards out. Willock was to make amends on the half hour mark when he went through on goal, Joe Bruce was caught the wrong side of Willock, legs tangled, Willock went down, Bruce was sent off, penalty. Willock dusted himself off and put The Fleet 2-1 in front at the break.

With a numerical disadvantage Dartford struggled to create chances. Ebbsfleet were denied three more times. James White entered the field of play on 66 minutes in place of Ryan Hayes to sure things up. White let Ebbsfleet know he arrived and his late tackle on Tom Phipp was rewarded with a caution after just 30 seconds on the field. Then moments later disaster struck, already down a man White’s rash tackle on Duncan left The Darts down to nine men, game over, no chance. Despite the uphill struggle Charlie Sheringham almost equalised, snatching an unlikely draw, he was denied by Preston Edwards and The Fleet triumphed in front of a bumper crowd of 2435.

Ebbsfleet United 2 Dartford 1 – Highlights

Winless at Welling

New Year, new start, new found optimism. Dartford faced a second Kent derby in four days against Welling United who were challenging at the top of the table. Managed by ex Dart and crowd favourite Jamie Day, The Wings were in financial trouble off the field but performing admirable on the field.

Loanee George Purcell brought the game to life when he turned ex Dart Jamie Coyle and unleashed a worldy from 25 yards, the cross bar rattled. The first quarter of the match was going to plan, Lee Burns deflected header went over and The Darts started brightly. But this was as good as it got for Tony Burman’s side.  For once Andrew Young looked shaky, a number of chances later and Welling went in front via Lee Clarke.

Carl Rook scores from the spot

The second half was a continuation of the first in that The Wings dominated. Young saved from Jamie Day’s free kick and from the resulting corner Lee Cumbers made it two, punishing some poor defending. Dartford fans were given hope with eight minutes to play. Adam Burchell went down under minimal contact and a controversial penalty was awarded, Carl Rook pulled one back but it was too late. The performance fell well short and Dartford fans were concerned.

The New Year, new start, new found optimism was on the verge of being lost, two defeats in a row against local rivals put Dartford in a tricky position.

Three in a Row

A third difficult match was to follow, home to Chelmsford City. The Essex side were in the playoffs pushing for promotion. The performance was better but in honesty it was not difficult to improve the efforts at Park View Road just days ago.

In the first half an awful injury to Tom Champion changed the mood on the terraces. An accidental clash of heads left Champion transported to East Grinstead hospital; he needed 30 stitches and serious patching up. Seven minutes into the second half Dartford took the lead when Carl Rook headed yet another one of Ryan Hayes’ in swinging corners.

Rook puts The Darts ahead

Chelmsford City manager Glenn Pennyfather had attacking options on the bench and he was not afraid to use the options available. Billy Bricknell was already on as a first half substitute and was joined by Rob Edmans and Stephen Reed early in the second half. The tactical move was crucial; Bricknell levelled the game on 58 minutes and the turnaround was completed five minutes later. A speculative header found its way to Edmans feet who tapped in for 2-1. The Clarets were in control and from the moment they lead they never looked like losing. Three defeats in a row, welcome to 2011.

Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 2 – Highlights

Doom and Gloom

The Darts played Thurrock for the third time this season knowing that the Essex club were on an atrocious run with just two wins from nineteen league games. In fact, they had just conceded thirteen goals in two games losing 6-1 to Chelmsford City and 7-2 at home to Dover Athletic. The Fleet also departed company with manager Greg Lincoln who was replaced with Grant Gordon. Gordon made a few loan signings in an attempt to close the gap on their opposition. With home advantage surely The Darts could end this traumatic run.

The answer was no, things got worse, this month was not going to plan, it was a complete disaster and fans were expressing their worries. An ex Dartford player won the game for Thurrock on 68 minutes. To rub salt into Dartford’s wound, Thurrock had kept their first clean sheet of the season after 20 attempts.

Relegation concerns were rife among the supporters because they cared so much about the club. The team was being questioned, everyone needed to pull together. Tony Burman reacted by releasing Michael Shinn and Ollie Berquez. He also recalled Lee Noble before the Thurrock match.

Dartford 0 Thurrock 1 – Highlights

Cup Distraction

Four consecutive defeats and out of the relegation zone on goal difference, a  trip to The Robert Parker Stadium to take on Ashford Town (Middlesex) in the F.A Trophy Second Round was welcomed. The fixture allowed the team to temporarily forget about their league form. Supporters hoped that a victory would breed confidence and the league season would be turned around.

The numbers in Tony Burman’s squad were dwindling, Elliot Bradbrook, Joe Bruce and James White were suspended. Burman temporarily brought in Jack Clark from Cray Wanderers who impressed Dartford supporters and Adam Burchell made a rare start.

George Purcell's shot finds the back of the net

Twice Dartford rattled the Ashford Town cross bar, first by Charlie Sheringham on three minutes and then Lee Burns half way through the first half. Ashford claimed a penalty but this was turned down, other than that The Darts defence coped easily. In the second half, Ryan Hayes replaced Burchell and before the hour passed to Billy Burgess, he set up George Purcell who placed his shot passed the goalkeeper. At last victory, Dartford made it into the last 16 of the F.A Trophy and faced a long journey to the North East to face Conference National side Gateshead.

Ashford Town (Middlesex) 0 Dartford 1 – F.A Trophy Second Round Highlights

This is a Low

Tony Burman made a coup before the cup tie against Ashford Town (Middlesex). Former Tonbridge Angels and AFC Wimbledon goal getter Jon Main signed on loan but due to the arrangement he was unavailable for the F.A Trophy match. His record was phenomenal, for The Angels he had scored 52 goals in 57 games. Whilst at AFC Wimbledon he broke the Conference South goal scoring record for a season netting 33 times. Last season he was AFC Wimbledon’s second highest scorer with 15 goals and still missed the last two months through injury. Tony Burman had brought in a reliable striker but there was a catch, could Main get fit again and back to his best?

Carl Rook was sacrificed to hand Jon Main his debut in a Darts shirt. Dartford tested Staines Town goalkeeper Louis Wells early on when Charlie Sheringham’s shot was stopped. Purcell fired wide and the travelling fans were encouraged when Purcell and Lee Noble was denied by Wells. Danny Gordon attempted an audacious 40 yard volley for The Swans which flew off target. Dartford was foiled again when Paul Goodacre’s headers crashed against the woodwork. Going into half time the three pronged attack of George Purcell, Jon Main and Charlie Sheringham looked lively enough.

James White rescues a point

In the second half and against the run of play, The Swans opened the scoring when Danny Gordon pounced on some hesitant Dartford defending. A fifth consecutive defeat looked to be on the cards and so Burman introduced Carl Rook. Jon Main who quietly impressed all afternoon, headed the ball out wide to Tom Bonner. The full back crossed for the waiting substitute Rook who back heeled the ball in towards the path of James White, the ball bobbled over the line, White had equalised with six minutes on the clock.

Dartford 1 Staines Town 1 – Highlights

 

A New Year Begins

Braintree Town’s tough defence kept them top of the table by three points after winning three consecutive matches. This run was to continue throughout January as the Essex side won all six matches in January 2011. Bromley had slipped down to eighth after their tremendous start to the season. Chelmsford City picked up form and moved up to second and Eastleigh increased their winning streak to four. Ebbsfleet lost their 12 match unbeaten run against the league leaders but remained in contention at the top.

At the bottom of the table Lewes and Boreham Wood propped up the rest, Thurrock climbed out of the relegation zone. Despite rescuing a point against Staines Town, The Darts hit a season’s low, winless in seven league matches, taking a measly two points from twenty one. Dartford FC slumped into the dreaded bottom three. Supporters, players and management were unhappy at the way the season was panning out, could everyone turn the season around?

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Braintree Town 19 13 3 3 36 14 +22 42
2 Chelmsford City 19 12 3 4 39 22 +17 39
3 Ebbsfleet United 19 11 5 3 31 19 +12 38
4 Farnborough 21 11 5 5 39 24 +15 38
5 Welling United* 21 13 3 5 45 26 +19 37
6 Eastleigh 19 10 4 5 36 22 +14 34
7 Dover Athletic 20 10 5 5 46 30 +16 35
8 Bromley 23 10 8 5 32 35 -3 38
9 Havant and W 18 6 6 6 25 23 +2 24
10 Woking 21 7 7 7 25 25 0 28
11 Bishop’s Stortford 23 9 3 11 27 40 -13 30
12 Basingstoke Town 19 6 6 7 18 21 -3 24
13 Weston-super-Mare 25 8 7 10 35 40 -5 31
14 Staines Town 21 6 8 7 28 28 0 26
15 Maidenhead United 20 6 6 8 21 30 -9 24
16 Hampton and Richmond 19 4 9 6 21 26 -5 21
17 Dorchester Town 19 5 5 9 23 26 -3 20
18 St Albans City 19 3 8 8 20 32 -12 17
19 Thurrock 21 4 6 11 26 45 -19 18
20 Dartford 20 3 7 10 24 33 -9 16
21 Boreham Wood 20 3 5 12 25 41 -16 14
22 Lewes 22 3 3 16 17 37 -20 12


*Welling United deducted five points

 

Stuart Maidment

Photos courtesy of Dave Adkins and Carol White-Griffiths, videos courtesy of Ray Cherry.