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Weymouth v Dartford

Dartford have promotion to the National league in their sights when they take on Weymouth in the National South Playoff Final at the Bob Lucas Stadium this Saturday.

The Darts have already made it through two rounds beating Slough Town in the elimination round then favourites Havant and Waterlooville in the semi-final last weekend. In both playoff matches, Steve King has relied on the depth of his squad as crucial changes have influenced the outcomes.

At Slough Town, a few alterations to the team and tactics as well as the half-time team talk improved Dartford’s performance. King told his players to be braver on the ball and when Charlie Sheringham scored a brace, he justified King’s decision to select him after being out of the squad before lockdown. A third goal was added by substitute Luke Wanadio to secure a 3-0 victory.

Another away game followed and this time it was Ky Marsh Brown’s turn to star against league runners up Havant and Waterlooville. The Darts went a goal down when Danny Kedwell’s was finished by Jonah Ayunga. Then two moments changed the game, first Josh Taylor was red carded for the Hawks late in the first half, then the Darts introduced Ky Marsh-Brown early in the second-half. Marsh-Brown set up Darren McQueen for the equaliser, then he won a penalty which McQueen scored sending the Darts into the final.

Steve King was on the receiving end of last season’s final when Welling United were beaten by Woking. Now he has the chance to return Dartford back to the National League after a five-year absence. This time he believes his side have a free hit and victory will complete a ‘miracle season’ after he steered the club from a relegation battle in October to promotion contenders. King told www.kentonline.co.uk that promotion would: “mean everything…It will be my fourth (play-off) final in National South. Just to go one step further when we have not been expected to would be the icing on the cake, really. We were fourth-bottom (when King took charge), there looked like there was a chance that we would get relegated. I’m just taking it in my stride, really. It’s just another game”.

After the win at Havant and Waterlooville, the Dartford boss praised his squads team ethic, he commented: “The group have done ever so well. They have been magnificent ever since we came through the door to have done what they have as a group”, he added: “We have had to change sides and I changed it at half-time (on Saturday). The boys who came off were disappointed, but they offered their support and they were shouting and hugging at the end and it has been a real team effort, whether they have started or not started”.

Weymouth will host the final having finished higher than Dartford in the National South and are looking to return to the National League after eleven years. The Terras ended the campaign in a respectable third place having only won promotion as champions of the Southern League Premier South last season. King knows that Saturday’s opposition will be difficult, he commented: “It will be tough, they play good football. They are quite a young side. Some of their players are on loan from Bournemouth. It’s going to be really tough, but we will give it one last go”.

Weymouth earned a place in the final after a dramatic finish in the semi-final against Dorking Wanderers. Yemi Odubade scored a last-minute winner to seal a 3-2 win after the home side threw away a two-goal lead. Mark Molesley’s side took the lead from the spot through captain Josh McQuoid, then Jaidon Anthony scored another to put Weymouth two up. Dorking fought back and with 17 minutes to go pulled a goal back through James McShane, and with five left on the clock Eliott Buchanan equalised. It looked as if the semi-final was heading for penalties until Odubade netted in stoppage time to send the Terras into the final.

Manager, Molesley praised his youngsters after the game, he told www.bournemouthecho.co.uk: “You’ve got to remember the average age of that squad (against Dorking Wanderers) was under 24. You forget about how young our team is. Fortunately, we’ve got some good, older, experienced players as well like Stephane Zubar, Yemi Odubade and Josh McQuoid, who have been there done it and seen it. The younger players can be buoyed that they have got some experience around them as well. But they have played maturely beyond their years and they have all season”.

Dartford’s last visit to the Bob Lucas Stadium ended in a 3-1 defeat back in August when Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle were in charge. The return fixture was due to take place on the final day of the season; however, the campaign was cut short. Abdulai Baggie opened the scoring and Brett Williams added two more before Norman Wabo scored a last-minute consolation for the Darts.

Weymouth v Dartford

Dartford visit Southern Premier South champions Weymouth on the weekend in hope they secure their first win of the season.

The Darts have taken just two points in their opening four games in their worst start to a campaign in five years. Meanwhile, newly promoted Weymouth have settled in the National South going unbeaten with two victories and two draws. Over the years, the Terras have often got the better of the Darts, but the last meeting between the two sides was almost 22 years ago. Victory for Dartford will be the first triumph at the Dorset club since April 1990.

On Monday night, Dartford capitulated away from home once again falling to a heavy 4-0 reverse at Chelmsford City. It was the second away game in a row in which the Darts conceded four, the first time being on the opening day of the season at Wealdstone. In both of those matches Dartford fell apart over a short second half period, at Wealdstone they let in three goals in twelve minutes and on Monday they shipped in three in a fifteen minute spell.

The pair of defeats sandwiched a couple of 1-1 draws at home to St Albans City then Havant and Waterlooville. Joint manager, Jamie Coyle is concerned with his side defending, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “We’re conceding sloppy goals which we didn’t do last year which is a concern for us”, he continued: “Some of them are coming from set-pieces which is really disappointing. We’ve got a lot of work to do”.

Despite two heavy defeats, the Darts have been competitive in parts and have arguably been the better side at times with the scorelines flattering the opposition, Coyle added: “We’ve said that too many times this season. The first half was the most we’ve dominated a side this season. We had some glorious chances, put some great set-pieces into the box and unfortunately didn’t score the goal”.

New striker Adam Cunnington has performed well as a target man since joining the Darts, but he has asked his team-mates to mix up their style of play, he told www.kentonline.co.uk:We’ve got to make sure we don’t go too direct and make sure we mix it up a little bit”, he continued: “We did that to a degree at Chelmsford in the first half and looked a better side for it. Second half, we went one-nil down and went long ball again. Every flick-on isn’t going to go through, teams aren’t silly”.

After two away games where Dartford fell apart, Cunnington commented: “We’ve got to stand up and be counted. You can’t be losing games 4-0 in National South. You have to stay in games and then you never know, you might nick a goal at the end and come away with a draw”.

The 31-year-old is keen for the side to get off to a good start on Saturday at Weymouth, he added: “We’ve had a real tough start – no excuses – we should have picked up more points. But we have to look forward. We’ll go there knowing we can hurt them, we’ve just got to take those chances early on. It settles everyone’s nerves a bit and then we can relax and play our football. By the looks of it, that’s the key to us at the moment”.

With a sizeable injury list, which includes summer signing Sam Blackman as a long term absentee, there is hope returning players may turn Dartford’s fortunes around. Charlie Sheringham and Alex Flisher were named on the bench after a spell on the sidelines, but Lee Noble and Darren McQueen have played no part in any matchday squad this term. Luke Allen who impressed in his first three games in a Dartford shirt was out injured on Monday, whilst Jordan Wynter is due to serve a ban after his straight red card against Chelmsford City, although the defender will be available versus Weymouth.

It’s been a tough start for Adam Flanagan and Coyle, but on the South Coast it’s been anything but. The Terras began their return to the National South after a ten year absence with a 2-1 win at Maidstone United. The two clubs were two divisions apart last term and a brace from Ben Thomson gave Weymouth a perfect start. Mark Molesley’s side drew against early pace setters Bath City 1-1 before a Josh McQouid inspired hat-trick earned them a 4-1 victory against Chelmsford City last weekend.

On Tuesday night, the Terras drew 1-1 at Slough Town in an encounter which Molesley described as topsy-turvy, he spoke to www.dorsetecho.co.uk and said: “It was a topsy-turvy one, we started well and it went a bit backfoot for our usual performance”, he added: “We had plenty of chances and were knocking on the door, we just couldn’t find that breakthrough unfortunately. It’s a tough place to come and we’re still unbeaten, so there’s plenty of positives and plenty of stuff to improve on”.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 17 / Weymouth wins: 34 / Draws: 15

Last Six Meetings

27.12.1997 Weymouth 2 Dartford 0
23.08.1997 Dartford 2 Weymouth 3
15.02.1997 Weymouth 2 Dartford 1
05.10.1996 Dartford 3 Weymouth 5
22.12.1990 Weymouth 0 Dartford 0
18.08.1990 Dartford 5 Weymouth 3

Stats

Dartford last beat Weymouth 29 years ago winning 5-3 at Watling Street.

Since Dartford’s last victory, the Terras have gone five unbeaten, drawing one before winning the last four matches.

The Darts have won just twice and drawn three in their last 20 league visits to Weymouth stretching back to 1959.

On This Day

John Hunt netted a hat-tick as Dartford beat Greenwich Borough in the Kent League back in 1994. In his second spell for the Darts, Hunt went on to score one more time making ten appearances. Dartford’s last win on this day came in 2002 when summer signing Shaun Loft scored a brace in a 3-0 home win against Kings Lynn. Two years later the Darts were involved in a six goal thriller drawing 3-3 with Great Wakering Rovers at Stonebridge Road. Dartford have never played at Princes Park on this day, but since the stadium opened they were involved in an away fixture at the Beveree, Hampton and Richmond running out 1-0 winners nine years ago, the last time the Darts played on the 17th August.

Weymouth – Season Preview 2019/2020

Weymouth

Southern Premier South: 1st

F.A Cup: 1st Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Brandon Goodship (37goals) / Average Attendance: 1006

Weymouth’s first season back in the National South will be without talisman Brandon Goodship who won the Southern League golden boot last term with an incredible 37 goals. Goodship earned a move to League One side Southend United, so the conundrum of finding a suitable replacement has been important to the Terras over the summer. To replace the goals, Weymouth have opted to add more experience with the signing of 31-year-old Brett Williams, who used to be a teammate with manager Mark Molesley at Aldershot Town. Williams made his name with the Shots scoring at nearly a goal every other game, the striker has also played for Stevenage, Forest Green Rovers and Torquay United, most recently he was on loan at Sutton United and he has also represented Bromley too. Andy Robinson won the Player of the Year award with Havant and Waterlooville last season making 35 appearances as the Hawks were relegated, he makes the move across to Dorset. Following Robinson from the Hawks will be Jordan Rose, who has played for Weymouth before in two loan spells. Impressing the Terras last season, Ade Olumuyiwa will strengthen Weymouth’s defence having joined from Southern League Division One South champions Blackfield and Langley. The first summer signing was left sided full back or midfielder Ollie Harfield from National League side Dagenham and Redbridge, he played 33 times for the Daggers last term. After scoring for the Terras in two friendlies, the Dorset club signed Jack Hoey who has been recently playing in the States for Gardner Webb University. Calum Ward signed a professional contract with AFC Bournemouth in the summer, the goalkeeper will be on loan at the Bob Lucas Stadium this season.

The Manager – Mark Molesley

An England C international with 4 caps Mark is a vastly experienced midfielder signed by the Terras in July 2015 following his release by Aldershot Town. Mark became First Team Manager following the departure of Jason Matthews in April 2017 and has impressed with his professional attitude. Mark started his career with Hayes, coming through their youth system. Spells with Cambridge City, Aldershot Town, Stevenage Borough and Grays Athletic before being transferred to Bournemouth. He made his debut for Bournemouth, away to Shrewsbury Town, in the 4-1 defeat in the League Two on 18 October 2008. Molesley signed for Exeter City on 18 January 2013. On 30 April 2013, he was released by Exeter due to the expiry of his contract and joined Aldershot Town. Mark made 40 appearances for the Shots and scored 8 goals. Mark joined Weymouth in Summer 2015 and played for two seasons before retiring to take over as First Team Manager. Mark combines his role at Weymouth with Bournemouth Under 23s.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 17 / Weymouth wins: 34 / Draws: 15

Last Six Meetings

27.12.1997 Weymouth 2 Dartford 0
23.08.1997 Dartford 2 Weymouth 3
15.02.1997 Weymouth 2 Dartford 1
05.10.1996 Dartford 3 Weymouth 5
22.12.1990 Weymouth 0 Dartford 0
18.08.1990 Dartford 5 Weymouth 3

Facts

Dartford last beat Weymouth 29 years ago winning 5-3 at Watling Street.

Since Dartford’s last victory, the Terras have gone five unbeaten, drawing one before winning the last four matches.

Last Ten Years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next Meetings

Saturday 17 August 2019 at the Bob Lucas Stadium

Saturday 25 April 2020 at Princes Park