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Dartford v Eastbourne Borough

Bank Holiday football returns in front of fans at Princes Park on Monday when Dartford host Eastbourne Borough in the National South.

The Darts made a blistering start to their campaign with a 3-1 opening day victory over St Albans City and a resounding 3-0 win at home to Slough Town. Ade Azeez scored on his debut and followed up his first with a second against Slough Town. New summer signing Dan Roberts also netted a brace in the season’s opener and was pivotal a week later with a couple of assists. Another new player, George Porter opened his account in the victory over the Rebels in which Noor Husin’s tremendous performance was rewarded with a goal for the midfielder.

The start of the Bank Holiday weekend saw the Darts travel to Dulwich Hamlet and claim a 2-0 victory. Josh Hill smashed in the opening goal in the first half and former Hamlet midfielder Tyrique Hyde sealed maximum points in the last minute. Hyde’s close control and calm side foot finish made sure Dartford remain top of the National South. Steve King made just the one change in a settled line up, George Porter coming in for Dan Roberts.

The focus now switches to Eastbourne Borough and the Darts have found their opponents tough in recent years. After a 12-game unbeaten run against Eastbourne Borough, the Sports have won four of the last six including the previous two meetings. Last time at Princes Park the Darts fell to a 1-0 defeat six months ago before the campaign was curtailed. Eastbourne Borough’s top scorer Chris Whelpdale netted the decisive goal to complete a league double over Dartford, the Sussex club had won the reverse fixture 3-1 at home just two months earlier.

In the campaign before Dartford won both league games over their opponents with a 2-0 away win thanks to goals by Norman Wabo and Elliott Romain. The game at Princes Park ended 2-1 to Dartford with Jack Jebb and Darren McQueen scoring either side of Greg Luer’s equaliser. The league double over the Sports was just the tonic after the 6-0 away humbling under Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle in April 2019.

In their opening three games Eastbourne Borough have been involved in plenty of goals at both ends, the most by any team in the division. Manager Danny Bloor puts that down to a less settled defence compared to last season when he stuck with the same back five each week. This time Bloor has been unable to keep the defence as settled with former goalkeeper Franco Ravizzoli now at Milton Keynes Dons, Jack Currie missed the last game through illness and Steve James has served a suspension.

The Sports had a nightmare start conceding five against Hampton and Richmond Borough without reply, not the best of debuts for England under 17 World Cup winning goalkeeper Curtis Anderson, the 20-year-old on loan from Wycombe Wanderers. Hampton and Richmond Borough’s Kadell Daniel scored the first National South goal of the season after three minutes and he added a second eight minutes later. The afternoon got worse for the Sports when Steve James was red carded and goals from Jorome Slew, Charlie Wassmer and a stunner by Kyron Farrell made it 5-0.

Eastbourne Borough bounced straight back the following week hitting five of their own as they beat Billericay Town 5-2 with all seven goals coming in the second half. Manager, Danny Bloor made four changes as they were without the suspended James and injured summer signing Jake Elliott. Ricay went ahead with a Michael Chambers header, but the scores were level when James Hammond slotted his penalty past former Dartford goalkeeper Bailey Vose. The Sports took the lead through Joel Rollinson and another former Dart, Norman Wabo made his mark on the game equalising for Billericay Town. The Sussex club then pulled away in the final ten minutes when Leone Gravata scored before a brace from Josh Onyinsan. On Saturday, before going to press Eastbourne Borough hosted Oxford City.

On Saturday, another two changes were made to the starting line up including new signing Kasim Aidoo from Charlton Athletic’s under 23 team. A further four goals were scored as the Sports drew 2-2 with Oxford City. The Sussex club squandered a two goal first half lead built up by Charlie Walker’s brace. Oxford City hit back in the second half when Harmon netted then Charlie Rowan equalised.

Danny Bloor spoke after the draw on Twitter @EBFCTheSports and said: “It’s not going to be easy because they have won three out of three. But we look forward to going there, we look forward to every game, we’ve got a great team spirit. It’s a game we’re looking forward to, but make no mistake it will be very tough”.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 12 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 8 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 0 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (09/02/2021 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 3 – 1 Dartford (05/12/2020 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (22/02/2020 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 0 – 2 Dartford (02/11/2019 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 6 – 0 Dartford (20/04/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 3 Eastbourne Borough (27/11/2018 – F.A Trophy)

Stats

  • The Darts have won just two of the last six meetings against Eastbourne Borough having previously been unbeaten in twelve versus the Sports
  • In the ten seasons Dartford have been in the same league as Eastbourne Borough, the Darts have completed five league doubles over the Sussex club
  • However, last season Eastbourne Borough completed a league double over the Darts for the first time since the 2002/2003 Southern League Division One East campaign
  • A fourth league win in a row will equal Dartford’s best start to a league campaign since the 2009 Isthmian Premier League title season
  • Half of Dartford’s goal tally this term have been scored by substitutes, Dan Roberts (2), George Porter and Tyrique Hyde.

On This Day

Dartford have a good record on this day losing just once in the last 11 outings. The last was a 2-1 home win in 2014 over AFC Telford United in the National League. The Darts hit two second-half goals as they came from behind to earn a first win of the season. Luke Daley levelled with a superb 25-yard strike and then set up Andy Pugh to tap in and secure the three points. Four years earlier, the Darts suffered that solitary defeat in those 11 games to Chelmsford City.

Proceeding the defeat against the Clarets, Dartford had drawn the previous two after a run of seven straight wins, which started with a 5-1 home win over Salisbury in the Southern League South back in 1980. In that run, the Darts racked up back to back 4-2 wins (Horsham YMCA in a 1997 F.A Cup tie and Hastings United in 1999) and knocked Chatham Town out of the Southern League Cup in 1983.

It’s a shame Dartford aren’t playing Trowbridge Town as the Darts beat the Wiltshire club 7-2 on this day in 1958 and went one better with an 8-2 victory exactly eleven years later.

Dulwich Hamlet v Dartford

Dartford have made an excellent start to their season and next up they will need to overcome several former players to record a maiden victory at Dulwich Hamlet.

The Darts drew in their last visit to Champion Hill but had lost the previous three in south east London. A perfect start this season will give Steve King’s men confidence as they sit top of the National South table after two games. An opening day victory at St Albans City was followed up with a comfortable and dominating display against Slough Town.

Last weekend, the first competitive game in front of home fans since March 2020 ended with Dartford winning 3-0 over the Rebels. Noor Husin gave a masterclass in midfield and his man of the match performance was rewarded with a goal. Dan Roberts impressed again with a key pass for the opening goal and a couple of assists, Ade Azeez scored his second in two games and George Porter got off the mark too.

Azeez tapped the opening goal into the Slough Town net in the first half after a neat move, Roberts’ precise cut back was nudged on by Danny Leonard and Azeez was there to finish. In the second half, Husin picked up Roberts’ rebound, and his quick feet and composure doubled the lead. Unselfish play by Roberts then led to the third when he squared the ball perfectly for Porter to open his goalscoring account. It could have been more, Jack Jebb hit the woodwork from a free-kick when the game was level and a number of saves from Slough Town’s Jonathan North kept the score down for the visitors.

Dartford FC TV caught up with Noor Husin after victory and he was pleased with his teammates, he said: “I thought we were really good, relentless from the first minute and could have had a lot more. I thought everyone was brilliant”, he continued: “Since I’ve come here it’s been one of the best dressing rooms I’ve been in, everyone’s together and whether you’re playing or not everyone is helping each other”.

Manager, Steve King also spoke to BBC Radio Kent after the win, he said: “I thought the boys were outstanding, limited them to very little and I’ve got to say Jonathan North has kept the scoreline down”. Husin’s quality display did not go unnoticed by King, he commented: “He’s a football league player all day long, he’s miles better than a lot of football league players I’ve seen”. King heaped ‘special praise’ on the Afghan international considering the events happening in Afghanistan, he continued: “to still come out and put in a performance like that and score is a credit to him”.

Looking ahead to the next fixtures King remains cautious but confident he added: “It’s only two wins. I’m level-headed enough to know that it could all fall apart. You could lose the next two and suddenly it’s not so clever”. However, the Dartford boss is pleased with the depth of the squad, the pace, athleticism, and the fact the ‘whole team is comfortable on the ball’. King feels he is now able to rotate players in the starting eleven without losing the level of performance he expects.

Dulwich Hamlet have many familiar faces in their ranks and three of them were handed their debuts on the opening day of the season. Striker, Danny Mills started his third season at Champion Hill and he scored against Chippenham Town in the 1-1 draw. The former Dart, who also enjoyed a spell at Whitehawk under Steve King was assisted by Darren McQueen, who was joint top scorer in the National South during the 2019/2020 campaign when he netted 18 times for Dartford. Chippenham Town equalised with a penalty conceded by another former Dart, Tyrone Sterling. The F.A Trophy finalist with Concord Rangers signed for Hamlet in the summer as did Jazzi Barnum-Bobb who left Princes Park after 19 appearances last term. Dulwich Hamlet also have Sanchez Ming and Giovanni McGregor in their squad.

It’s been a difficult start for the Londoners, who have been without their manager Gavin Rose after he contracted Covid-19 and spent a short time in hospital. So Junior Kadi, another familiar face to Dartford fans has been part of the coaching staff looking after the first team. Kadi was part of Dartford’s Isthmian Division One North title winning team making 28 appearances and scoring six goals.

Due to face each other three times last season, none of the fixtures took place as the campaign was curtailed. The Darts were scheduled to play Dulwich Hamlet twice in the league and in the London Senior Cup. Since the last meeting at Champion Hill in December 2019, Tyrique Hyde played against Dulwich Hamlet, joined them at the end of the season and returned to Dartford this summer. Also representing the Darts in the last visit to Champion Hill was McQueen, but it was his strike partner Elliott Romain who netted a penalty to cancel out Christian Smith’s free kick in a 1-1 draw. In the return fixture McQueen scored the only goal of the game as the Darts won 1-0 a month later.

Dulwich Hamlet have yet to taste a home defeat against the Darts winning 3-1 in a F.A Trophy third qualifying replay in 1996, then winning again in 2006 beating Dartford 3-2 in the Isthmian Division One South. In March 2019, Luke Wanadio was lining up against the Darts and part of the Hamlet side that won 2-0 in the National South, a third consecutive home victory for Dulwich Hamlet in this fixture. The draw six months later was Dartford’s first point gained from their visits to Champion Hill.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Dulwich Hamlet wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 1 – 0 Dulwich Hamlet (25/01/2020 – National South)
Dulwich Hamlet 1 – 1 Dartford (07/12/2019 – National South)
Dulwich Hamlet 2 – 0 Dartford (02/03/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Dulwich Hamlet (20/10/2018 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Dulwich Hamlet (31/03/2007 – Isthmian Division One South)
Dulwich Hamlet 3 – 2 Dartford (19/09/2006 – Isthmian Division One South)

Stats

  • The Darts have never beaten Dulwich Hamlet in consecutive games, a win on the weekend will make it a first after winning the last meeting 1-0 at Princes Park.
  • Josh Hill made his 50th start for the Darts against Slough Town last weekend
  • Victory on Saturday will be Dartford’s best start to a campaign since they won their opening three fixtures in 2011/2012. The season the Darts went on to win promotion to the National League.

On This Day

After 18 years apart in the league more than 2700 fans turned up at Princes Park to watch Dartford draw 1-1 with rivals Ebbsfleet United in 2010. Michael West gave Fleet the lead, but Charlie Sheringham’s penalty made sure the points were shared. The last fixture on this day seven years later ended in a 1-0 home loss to East Thurrock United.

The last away day on 28 August was in 2006 when the Darts went to Whyteleafe and won 3-1, Jay May netted a brace and Brendon Cass the other in the Isthmian Division One South. Dartford have only won five of their 21 games on this day, which includes a 2-1 victory over Merthyr Tydfil in the Southern League Challenge Match in 1989.

Dartford v Slough Town

Fans return to Princes Park this weekend for the first competitive game since March last year to watch Dartford host Slough Town in the National South.

The two sides were due to meet last term, but just before the Darts were due to visit the Rebels the season was curtailed. So despite coming up against each other five times in the previous calendar year, this time will be the first in 2021.

In form Dartford striker Dan Roberts will know the opposition well having played for the Berkshire club last season. He spoke to Dartford FC TV after the season’s opener and said: “Having been there for just over two years they are hard side to breakdown, they defend well and they will make it difficult for us to create chances”.

In total Roberts played 58 games for Slough Town scoring 13 times including a hat-trick against Dorking Wanderers. In pre-season the 23-year-old scored five goals and on the opening day of the season he became the match winner on his debut with a brace. The striker commented after the game: “It starts the group on a positive light. Winning the first game of the season sets the tone for the next four or five games. We’ve now got to put our thoughts on to the weekend, it’s another tough game and we’ve got to get another three points.”

Dartford manager, Steve King handed first starts to four players against one of the expected promotion candidates St Albans City last weekend. Keiran Murtagh and Jake Robinson were amongst the new starters, whilst debutants Danny Leonard and Ade Azeez made an immediate impact. Roberts and George Porter made their first competitive appearances for the club coming on as substitutes.

The Darts scored at the end of either half to take a satisfying opening day victory. The first half closed with Danny Leonard’s cross being headed home by Ade Azeez. In the second half, St Albans City were level when former Dart, Tom Bender scored an equaliser. After coming on as a substitute Roberts scored twice in the final minutes, getting on the end of a Josh Hill flick on then finishing a one on one opportunity. The match winner was delighted even though he didn’t make the starting eleven, he added: “As a player you’ve just got to say look when I get the opportunity to come on I’m going to make an impact. For me it’s all about just coming on and doing as well as I can for the team, working hard and when chances come up putting the ball in the back of the net”.

Dartford have now recorded back to back opening day victories for the first time since 2005 and 2006. Steve King felt the Darts were ‘exceptional’ against St Albans City and his team will need to be on their game come Saturday, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “It’s always a tough game against Slough and they had a good win last weekend against Chelmsford”.

Former Tonbridge Angels striker Tom Derry was one of five debutants in the Slough Town lineup and he managed to net the crucial goal against Chelmsford City. Joint manager, Neil Baker felt his side ‘rode their luck’ at times, but also controlled the game territorial wise, he spoke to www.sloughtownfc.net after the game and said: “It was a really hard working performance, everyone put in a shift”. After claiming all three points, Baker feels he can now “look forward to what is going to be a tough game against Dartford, one of the favourites for the league. Having won (on the opening day) it takes a little bit of pressure off that game”.

Over the previous two reduced campaigns the Darts have faced the Rebels six times. At Princes Park, Dartford lost two in a row before winning 2-0 in the last home meeting. Chris Dickson netted a brace on his debut to claim a first home victory over Slough Town since 1981.

Either side of the league victory, Slough Town knocked the Darts out of the F.A Cup with a last minute penalty, but Dartford won on penalties in the F.A Trophy tie. In the previous season, Dan Roberts scored for Slough Town in both games as the Rebels completed a league double. However when the two sides met in the playoffs, Dartford came out on top with a 3-0 away win.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Slough Town wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Slough Town 2 – 2 Dartford (15/12/2020 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 2 – 0 Slough Town (21/11/2020 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Slough Town (03/10/2020 – F.A Cup)
Slough Town 0 – 3 Dartford (19/07/2020 – National South Playoff)
Slough Town 1 – 0 Dartford (18/01/2020 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 3 Slough Town (28/09/2019 – National South)

Stats

  • The Darts have won just one league game against Slough Town drawing two and losing two.
  • In all competitions, out of the eleven meetings between the two sides the home team has only won three times.
  • Both teams scored in each of the first six meetings, which has only happened once in the last five, when they last met in December.
  • Since reforming Dartford have won 12, drawn 9, lost 7 of their opening home league games.
  • If selected in the starting eleven, Josh Hill will make his 50th start for the club. The defender has also made six substitute appearances and has scored six times for the Darts.

On This Day

Dartford claimed their first victory of the Isthmian Division One North title season on this day in 2007. After drawing 2-2 in the opening game, the Darts travelled to Wivenhoe Town. Adam Flanagan, Steve Norman and Jay May found the back of the net in a 3-0 win, goalkeeper Tony Kessell also saved a penalty.

At home, the Darts have only ever lost once on this day back in 1948 against Exeter Reserves in the Southern League. Since then they have won six and drawn four, including a 3-0 victory versus St Leonards in 2000 and a 2-1 derby triumph over Tonbridge Angels in 1996. The Darts also beat rivals Gravesend and Northfleet 3-0 in the first leg of the Southern League Cup in 1973. Dartford hung on in the return leg losing 2-0 to knock the Fleet out of the competiton 3-2 on aggregate. It’s been eleven years since the Darts played on the 21st August when they lost 2-1 at Farnborough in the National South, Lee Noble heading a late consolation.

St Albans City v Dartford

Dartford get their National South campaign underway this weekend with an away trip to St Albans City.

Both sides were in strong positions to mount a title challenge when last season was curtailed and expect to be pushing for promotion this time around.

St Albans City will be a perfect test on the opening day for the Darts. Although Dartford were two points better off last term, the Saints lost just once in the fifteen league matches they completed, four games fewer than the Darts.

Yet there is a parallel between this weekend’s opponents. When Steve King took charge of the Darts he turned them into promotion contenders after joining during a relegation battle. Saints manager, Ian Allinson has done the same over the last two years taking his club from a struggle at the bottom to a push for promotion.

Dartford’s last visit to Clarence Park in the 2019/2020 season coincided with St Albans City’s relegation battle and saw the Darts end a four game losing hoodoo. In those previous visits to Hertfordshire, the Darts ended with nothing to show in front of goal firing blanks and picking up no points. However in March 2020, King’s men stopped the rot and came home with all three points in a 2-1 victory. An early penalty scored by Joe Iaciofano meant Dartford had to come from behind and they obliged with goals from Liam Nash and a Darren McQueen spot kick.

Last season there was only enough time to meet the once at Princes Park, a stunning goal from Shaun Jeffers was enough to earn the Saints a single goal victory.

Pre-Season
The Darts have warmed up for this season with some decent results against Football League sides. One goal defeats at the hands of Ipswich Town and Charlton Athletic, victories over AFC Wimbledon and Sutton United and a draw with Southend United, who are looking to return to the Football League at the first attempt. New signing, Dan Roberts top scored in the friendlies with five goals since joining from Slough Town.

St Albans City began their pre-season with a resounding 8-1 victory over Arlesey Town, which included a Mitchell Weiss hat-trick. Romeo Akinola has netted six times in the friendlies including a braces against Kings Langley and Hanworth Villa. The Saints also beat a Watford XI, played two games in one day using different squads, losing to Bedford Town but beating AFC Dunstable and closed with a 1-1 draw versus Cheshunt.

Dartford St Albans City
Ipswich Town (home) – lost 0-1Arlesey Town (away) – won 8-1
Sittingbourne (home) – won 5-0Stevenage (home) – lost 0-1
Charlton Athletic (home) – lost 1-2Kings Langley (away) – won 2-1
Carshalton Athletic (away) – won 3-1Wealdstone (home) – drew 1-1
AFC Wimbledon (home) – won 1-0Hanworth Villa (away) – won 2-1
Sutton United (home) – won 3-1Watford XI (home) – won 2-1
Southend United (home) – drew 2-2Bedford Town (away) – lost 1-4
Sittingbourne (away) – won 2-0AFC Dunstable (away) – won 3-1
Lewes (away) – lost 1-2Hendon (home) – won 2-0
Cheshunt (away) – drew 1-1

Summer Signings
Over the summer, Dartford manager Steve King focused on improving his team’s attacking capabilities and with Jake Robinson joining from Billericay Town he is hoping for a good return in front of goal. Robinson will team up again with Luke Wanadio who returns for a third spell with the Darts and can supply creativity on the wing. George Porter netted in the friendlies against Carshalton Athletic and AFC Wimbledon and joins from Maidstone United. Ade Azeez will also be part of the squad after signing from Dover Athletic, but the former AFC Wimbledon and Partick Thistle striker picked up a hamstring injury over pre-season.

In midfield, Tyrique Hyde is another returnee arriving from Dulwich Hamlet, Danny Leonard comes in from Sheppey United and Kieran Murtagh has impressed and brings experience from Boreham Wood. The Darts haven’t made many changes in defence as last term that was an area in which the excelled, Bagasan Graham has joined to strengthen the back line though.

St Albans City manager Ian Allinson has has a quieter summer trusting most of the squad that performed so well last season. Former Dartford defender Tom Bender signed a new contract and will begin his seventh campaign with the Hertfordshire club. In the week leading up to kick off, the Saints have captured the services of Alkeo Bani, an Albanian under 19’s defender and John Goddard. Other new recruits include Callum Adebiyi from Southern Premier League side Kings Langley, Luke Brown from Hitchin Town. and Michael Oluwadara Dada from Chelmsford City.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 9 / St Albans City wins: 6 / Draws: 5

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 0 – 1 St Albans City (17/11/2020 – National South)
St Albans City 1 – 2 Dartford (07/03/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 St Albans City (06/08/2019 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 2 St Albans City (12/01/2019 – National South)
St Albans City 2 – 0 Dartford (01/09/2018 – National South)
St Albans City 4 – 0 Dartford (03/02/2018 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford won last season’s opener 1-0 against Chelmsford City. Victory this weekend will be the first time the Darts recorded consecutive opening day wins since 2006 (1-0 v Arlesey Town in 2005 and 4-0 v Weston-super-Mare in 2006).
  • The Darts last kept a clean sheet against the Saints in a 2-0 win on 6 February 2006, eleven games ago. It remains the only time St Albans City failed to score versus Dartford.
  • St Albans City have won four of their last five home matches in this fixture

On This Day

Dartford celebrated coming back from the brink in 1993 with a historic opening day Kent League win over Deal Town. It took just ten minutes for the party to begin when Micky Collins scored the winning goal in what was a momentous occasion for the club.

In the five fixtures that followed on this day, the Darts have taken just one point, a 2-2 draw with Havant and Waterlooville. The draw with the Hawks in 2010 signified the return to the second tier of non-league football having risen up from the Kent League.

The other four games since beating Deal Town were all away defeats without scoring. In 1999 the Darts lost 4-0 against Fisher Athletic (Southern League South), were beaten 3-0 by Boreham Wood in 2004 (Southern League Division One East), in 2012 Dartford were beaten 1-0 by Woking (National League) and three years ago lost 2-0 at Concord Rangers (National South).

National South Season Preview Part Four

Maidstone United

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P46 W17 D13 L16 Pts64 (PPG 1.39) – Ranking 9th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 5th Round

It’s almost been thirty years since Maidstone United reformed and in that time, they have collected eight league titles, two playoff triumphs and been relegated twice. The most recent relegation came in their last finished season when the Stones ended bottom of the National League. Returning to the National South after three years away, the Kent side picked up ninth place on points per game and last season were mid-table after only thirteen games. Maidstone United started well by losing just one of their first six fixtures last time out, but form dipped with only one win in their next seven outings.

Manager: Hakan Hayrettin

A well-respected coach, Hayrettin became Maidstone United manager in January 2019. Before that all his managerial jobs were situated on the other side of the River Thames in Essex. Starting out at Waltham Forest (now Walthamstow), he moved onto Thurrock then convincingly won the Isthmian Division One North with Grays Athletic. Hayrettin went on to join former Maidstone United and Dartford boss, John Still at Luton Town as coach before a spell with Braintree Town. When Still was given the title of Head of Football at the Gallagher Stadium he decided to link back up with Hayrettin and appoint him as the manager.

Summer

It all started for Alfie Pavey at Maidstone United’s academy and he is now back at the club. The former Dartford favourite swaps the amber of Barnet for the amber of Maidstone United this summer. Whilst it didn’t quite work out for Jack Barham in terms of goalscoring at Dartford, the striker becomes the second former Dart to join the Stones. Moving the other way, George Porter leaves the Gallagher Stadium in favour of Princes Park. A similar trade-off has occurred with Ebbsfleet United where two new players, Tom Hadler and Reece Grant arrive with Kreshnic Krasniqi switching to Stonebridge Road. Returning to the club after a spell at Wealdstone is Michael Phillips, Tushaun Walters arrives from Herne Bay and Billy Johnson has been signed as back up goalkeeper. Maidstone United have also secured the services of Regan Booty from Notts County, Jake Gallagher from Dorking Wanderers, Taylor Curran from Swindon Town and Roarie Deacon from Havant and Waterlooville. Perri Iandolo and Max Sutton have been promoted from the academy, whilst Ibrahim Olutade leaves for Tonbridge Angels and Justin Amaluzor will be playing Scottish Premier League football with Motherwell this season.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 45 / Maidstone United wins: 45 / Draws: 19

Previous Meetings (last six)

Maidstone United 0 – 2 Dartford (14/11/2020 – National South)
Maidstone United 0 – 1 Dartford (21/01/2020- Kent Senior Cup)
Dartford 0 – 1 Maidstone United (26/11/2019 – F.A Trophy)
Maidstone United 2 – 2 Dartford (23/11/2019 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 2 – 2 Maidstone United (16/11/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Maidstone United (22/01/2019 – Kent Senior Cup)*
*Maidstone United won 8-7 on penalties

  • Dartford are eight league matches unbeaten against Maidstone United, winning six and drawing two
  • Since both sides reformed Dartford have won seven, drawn two and lost one in the league against the Stones
  • Maidstone United’s last away win in the league against Dartford was in 1978, the Darts are now eight league matches at home unbeaten

Oxford City

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P51 W20 D14 L17 Pts74 (PPG 1.45) – Ranking 8th

F.A Cup: 2nd Round
F.A Trophy: Quarter-Final

Since switching over from the National North to the National South, Oxford City has been a consistent mid-table side, but last season they were the form side before the campaign was cut short. In March 2020, David Oldfield was appointed and with his philosophy led the Hoops into fourth spot. Results suggest it took a while to embed his ideas into the team, with just two victories in their opening eight games, but his side were difficult to beat losing only three times. Once everything clicked, Oxford City went nine games unbeaten dropping just four points and scored thirteen in their final three fixtures.

Manager: David Oldfield

Another manager who joined his club in early 2020 yet to have a whole season under his belt. In the short space of time Oldfield has made a significant impact making Oxford City promotion contenders. Oldfield’s only managerial experience came at Brackley Town, where he left in 2008. However coaching and assistant manager roles together with his playing experiences make up for the lack of first team management. Making his name in football back in the eighties, the former midfielder won promotion to the top flight with Manchester City and played the first half of the nineties at Leicester City making it to the Premier League.

Summer

Joint top scorer in the 2018/2019 National South season, Joe Iaciofano earned a move to Havant and Waterlooville, a year on the striker leaves the Hawks for Oxford City. Hading to Iaciofano’s old side will be Joe Oastler and James Roberts. The Hoops have also signed former Fulham and England under 16 right back Zico Asare and Charlie Rowan, a defender with experience with Queens Park Rangers and Watford. Impressing on trial, midfielder Canice Carroll won a Scottish League Two title with Queens Park last season, the 22-year-old signs a one year deal. Another arrival is former West Bromwich Albion full back George Harmon.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 8 / Oxford City wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 3 – 0 Oxford City (11/01/2020 – National South)
Oxford City 0 – 1 Dartford (12/10/2019 – National South)
Oxford City 2 – 1 Dartford (27/04/2019 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 2 Oxford City (13/11/2018 – National South)
Oxford City 4 – 1 Dartford (06/10/2018 – F.A Cup)
Oxford City 0 – 2 Dartford (24/03/2018 – National South)

  • Dartford have won the last four league games against Oxford City including a 7-1 victory in 2017
  • The Darts are unbeaten in all seven home games versus the Hoops winning five and drawing two
  • Oxford City have won two of the last here at home losing the last time the Darts visited Marsh Lane

Slough Town

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P47 W20 D12 L15 Pts72 (PPG 1.53) – Ranking 6th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

Three very different seasons since promotion to the National South, who knows what Slough Town will turn up this time. In their first campaign in this division, the Rebels finished in a credible eleventh place three points off a playoff spot. Then the Berkshire club had a terrific time reaching the playoffs, going out in the eliminator round. Last term, Slough Town found life difficult after completing the fewest number of games and picking up just a point per game, which would have seen them in a relegation battle, however with only a dozen games played it’s tricky to read too much into their form.

Managers: Jon Underwood and Neil Baker

Slough Town’s management duo have been leading the Rebels since May 2013 and before that Underwood and Baker were together at Godalming Town, leading the Surrey club to third in the Southern Division One Central. In the campaign before that they won promotion via the playoffs for the G’s. As players the pair teamed up for Farnborough as well, so they have formed a close relationship through non-league football. At Slough Town, Underwood and Baker have guided the Rebels from the Southern Division One Central to the National South winning two playoff finals, they also reached the playoffs a year ago losing to Dartford in the eliminator round. 

Summer

Former Wealdstone goalkeeper, Jonathan North signs from Hendon possibly replacing the departing Jack Turner. The Rebels welcome back to familiar faces in Matthew Lench and Scott Davies from Wealdstone and Biggleswade Town respectively. Tom Derry has been signed from Braintree Town, the forward has been brought in to cover the loss of Dan Roberts to Dartford. After leaving Bath City, Freddie Grant will be a Rebel next season to strengthen the midfield, George Hunt will join Grant in the middle of the park having arrived from AFC Bournemouth. The Rebels have also promoted young Gabe George from their under 23’s team as well as Eitel Goueth and Joseph Lawal.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Slough Town wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Slough Town 2 – 2 Dartford (15/12/2020 – F.A Trophy)
Dartford 2 – 0 Slough Town (21/11/2020 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Slough Town (03/10/2020 – F.A Cup)
Slough Town 0 – 3 Dartford (19/07/2020 – National South Playoff)
Slough Town 1 – 0 Dartford (18/01/2020 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 3 Slough Town (28/09/2019 – National South)

  • The Darts have won just one league game against Slough Town drawing two and losing two
  • In all competitions, out of the eleven meetings between the two sides the home team has only won three times
  • Both teams scored in each of the first six meetings, which has only happened once in the last five, when they last met in December

St Albans City

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P50 W18 D15 L17 Pts69 (PPG 1.38) – Ranking 10th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

The hardest team to beat last season, only Chelmsford City managed to take maximum points from the Saints. An eleven-match unbeaten run at the start of the campaign had the Hertfordshire side in a strong position, only Dorking Wanderers but only just. Had last season continued, St Albans City were on course to challenge for an automatic promotion spot and had they achieved that, then that would mean a return to the National League after their solitary season in the top flight of non-league back in 2006/2007. In contrast, St Albans City finished the previous campaign third from bottom highlighting the improvement they have made. 

Manager: Ian Allinson

A manager who can call upon experiences from his playing days, Allinson has also been in management since 1989 when he started out at Baldock Town. The former Arsenal winger moved around the non-league circuit as a manager until he settled at Boreham Wood and made an impact for the Hertfordshire club. Allinson took the Wood from the Isthmian Premier League to the National League via two playoff promotions. Due to work commitments he left Boreham Wood in October 2015 and four months later was appointed at St Albans City. After some mixed results during Allinson’s tenure, the Saints were in title contention last term.

Summer

St Albans City’s successful start to last season means they have retained many of their players including former Dartford defender Tom Bender, he will begin his seventh campaign with the Saints. Another ex Dart, Luke Warner-Eley leaves Clarence Park to join Billericay Town. Callum Adebiyi becomes a new signing from Southern Premier League side Kings Langley and Luke Brown arrives from Hitchin Town. Michael Oluwadara Dada remains in the National South by joining Chelmsford City.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 9 / St Albans City wins: 6 / Draws: 5

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 0 – 1 St Albans City (17/11/2020 – National South)
St Albans City 1 – 2 Dartford (07/03/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 St Albans City (06/08/2019 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 2 St Albans City (12/01/2019 – National South)
St Albans City 2 – 0 Dartford (01/09/2018 – National South)
St Albans City 4 – 0 Dartford (03/02/2018 – National South)

  • Dartford’s 2-1 away win in March 2020 ended a four-game losing streak at Clarence Park without scoring
  • The darts have only lost twice at home against the Saints, winning five and drawing the other four
  • St Albans City have won four of their last five home matches in this fixture

Tonbridge Angels

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P45 W14 D10 L21 Pts52 (PPG 1.16) – Ranking 15th

F.A Cup: 1st Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

It took a while for Tonbridge Angels to get used to National South football. The Kent side won promotion through a series of playoff matches just over two years ago. The Angels have stuck by their manager and after a slow start in which they picked up just eleven points out of the first 15 outings, they only lost three of the next 16 games. Last season they were picking up points at the same rate only they didn’t manage back to back victories and defeats were spread out evenly. Tonbridge Angels have performed consistently enough to keep out of trouble since promotion.

Manager: Steve McKimm

Committing his future to the Angels, McKimm signed a new contract in April extending his stay at Longmead after seven seasons already completed. He guided Tonbridge Angels back to the second tier of non-league football in 2019, the Kent side needed to win two Playoff Finals in one campaign to reach the National South. McKimm added another milestone last season when he guided his side to the F.A Cup first round for the first time since 1972. As a player, McKimm gained experience at a number of non-league teams including Kent sides Margate and Gravesend and Northfleet, where he won the Isthmian Premier League.

Summer

A Dartford duo last term, Craig Braham-Barrett and Ricky Modeste make the short journey to represent Tonbridge Angels this season. The Angels have also brought in some experience with the signing of Doug Loft, the former Gillingham and Port Vale player arrives from Billericay Town. Ibrahim Olutade stays in Kent but switches from Maidstone United and coming from Horsham, Jerry O’Sullivan will bring more experience in defence. Harry Hudson comes in from Watford’s under 23 side and attacking midfielder Aaron Smith-Joseph has been signed fromBurgess hill Town. Squad numbers have been bolstered with three academy graduates in Bobby Moore, Toby McKimm and Luca Woodhouse.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 69 / Tonbridge Angels wins: 38 / Draws: 24

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 1 – 0 Tonbridge Angels (05/01/2021 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Tonbridge Angels (28/12/2019 – National South)
Tonbridge Angels 3 – 2 Dartford (03/09/2019 – National South)
Tonbridge Angels 0 – 3 Dartford (15/10/2016 – F.A Cup)
Dartford 3 – 0 Tonbridge Angels (15/12/2012 – F.A Trophy)
Tonbridge Angels 0 – 1 Dartford (03/03/2012 – National South)

  • Dartford have won ten of the last eleven matches against Tonbridge Angels
  • The Angels only win in that sequence came in Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan’s last game in charge, ending an eight-match losing streak versus the Darts
  • The Darts have won the last six matches versus the Angels at Princes Park

Welling United

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P48 W14 D12 L22 Pts54 (PPG 1.13) – Ranking 16th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

Playoff runners up just over two years ago, Welling United have not been able to create that excellent run that saw them finish third in the National South. Unsurprisingly, since Steve King left as manager the Wings have dropped down the division, whilst his Dartford team are challenging for promotion. After ending 2019/2020 in mid-table, Welling United were rock bottom when last season was halted. They tasted just a single victory before Bradley Quinton was dismissed as manager. Steve Lovell was named as boss managing one win, draw and loss in his three games in charge before the premature end to the season.

Manager: Steve Lovell

The Wings appointed Lovell just six months ago and barely had time to make himself comfortable before the season prematurely ended. A well-known face around Kent non-league football with heaps of playing and managerial experience. As a player during the eighties and early nineties Lovell is mainly associated with Gillingham and Millwall. He won the F.A Vase with Deal Town and played for a host of Kent sides. As a manager, Lovell guided Sittingbourne to the Southern League Southern Division in the mid-nineties and has been at Gravesend and Northfleet, Hastings United, Ashford Town and his last managerial role was at Gillingham in League One.

Summer

The lack of summer activity suggests that he Wings will be running tight ship this season. Several last season’s squad have returned to Park View Road including former Dartford midfielder Lyle Della-Verde. However there were some signings to announce, Bradley Stevenson whose last club was Chelmsford City, Bradley Pearce from Sutton United, Chi Ezennolim, a left back from Millwall and Tom Smith, a goalkeeper from Arsenal’s academy.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 22 / Welling United wins: 10 / Draws: 10

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 2 – 2 Welling United (06/02/2021 – National South)
Dartford 4 – 0 Welling United (01/01/2020 – National South)
Welling United 0 – 3 Dartford (26/12/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Welling United (01/01/2019 – National South)
Welling United 2 – 0 Dartford (26/12/2018 – National South)
Dartford 4 – 1 Welling United (01/01/2018 – National South)

  • Dartford have lost just once in their last fourteen matches against Welling United, winning eight and drawing five
  • The Darts are seven home games unbeaten versus the Wings winning six in a row before the draw in February
  • Dartford have kept three clean sheets in the last four fixtures against Welling United

National South Season Preview Part Three

Ebbsfleet United

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P18 W8 D4 L6 Pts28 (PPG 1.56) – Ranking 5th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

The way in which Ebbsfleet United returned to the National South after three seasons away was agonising for the club. Relegated by the tinniest of margins on points per game sent the Fleet down and last season they were on course for a playoff push ending as one of the form teams. In the summer the club tried a cheeky attempt at getting their National League place back so the division above would return to a 24-team competition. It was worth a shot, but the Kent club will have to earn promotion on the pitch during their 75th year anniversary instead.

Manager: Dennis Kutrieb

In recent years German managers have been well sought after in the professional game and Kutrieb is flying the flag in the National South. Appointed just over a year ago, the Fleet were alerted to Kutrieb’s progress through the German football publication Kicker. He has connections with Tennis Borussia Berlin who he represented as a player then as a coach. Kutrieb led the German side to the Berlin Cup Final and second in the fifth tier. The following season he had his former team top before the season was cut short and his side were declared champions winning promotion.

Summer

Last summer the Fleet were busy in the transfer market and they are again this time. Signing from rivals Dartford, the Fleet have snapped up Elliott Romain who provides hard work up front. Michael West spent ten years at Stonebridge Road and returns to the club from Eastbourne Borough. Kreshnic Krasniqi signs from fellow Ken side Maidstone United with Tom Hadler moving the other way. Replacing Hadler in goal will be former Concord Rangers goalkeeper Chris Haigh. Burnley under 23 midfielder Christian N’Guessan moves to Stonebridge Road along with Sido Jombati from Oldham Athletic, Craig Tanner and Alex Finney from Aldershot Town, Joe Martin from Stevenage and St Lucia international Kieran Monlouis from Horsham.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 66 / Ebbsfleet United wins: 55 / Draws: 33

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 0 – 0 Ebbsfleet United (02/01/2021 – National South)
Ebbsfleet United 1 – 0 Dartford (01/01/2017 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Ebbsfleet United (26/12/2016 – National South)
Ebbsfleet United 1 – 1 Dartford (28/03/2016 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Ebbsfleet United (31/08/2015 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Ebbsfleet United (29/10/2013 – F.A Cup)

  • Dartford have won six of their last nine home league games against Ebbsfleet United, drawing two and losing the other
  • The Darts last won an away league game against the Fleet in March 1979, since then their local rivals have won five and drawn five
  • The 0-0 draw in January was Dartford’s first league clean sheet against the Fleet since the 5-0 New Years Day victory in 1992

Hampton and Richmond Borough

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P50 W23 D7 L20 Pts76 (PPG 1.52) – Ranking 7th

F.A Cup: 1st Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

Another club celebrating an anniversary, the Beavers have a new revamped badge for their centenary campaign. Apart from a mid-table finish in 2018/2019, Hampton and Richmond Borough have been consistent since winning the Isthmian Premier just over five years ago. The Middlesex club reached the playoffs in consecutive seasons after promotion and narrowly missed out in the 2019/2020 campaign. Last time out Hampton and Richmond Borough were sitting in sixth before the season ended. Comfortable against teams in the bottom half of the table, the Beavers were inconsistent against those around them, but they did pick up draws at home to the top two.

Manager: Gary McCann

A manager who knows what it’s like to be around a club for a long time, McCann has just agreed a three-year deal and has been manager of Hampton and Richmond Borough since May 2018. Those three years seem relatively short in comparison to his previous managerial job at Hendon, where he also played as a goalkeeper in the nineties. McCann led his former club, Hendon to the Isthmian Premier League playoff final in his thirteenth campaign as boss, before the Beavers came calling. Whilst at the Beveree, McCann has improved in each season finishing fifteenth, eighth and ended last term in sixth.

Summer

Jorome Slew made his name in the 2019/2020 F.A Cup with an amazing solo goal for Maldon and Tiptree against Leyton Orient. Since then he has been at Wealdstone and after an impressive trial signs for the Beavers. Hampton and Richmond Borough have retained most of the squad from last season including former Dartford goalkeeper Alan Julian. Guyana international, Kadell Daniel moves to the Beveree from Kingstonian and returning to the club after a previous loan spell, Ryan Gondoh arrives from Wealdstone. Myles Anderson impressed on loan last term and has agreed to come back for this season, whilst David Fisher returns on loan once more from AFC Wimbledon.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 5 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Hampton & Richmond Borough 0 – 0 Dartford (10/10/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough (08/02/2020 – National South)
Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 – 2 Dartford (05/11/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough (23/03/2019 – National South)
Hampton & Richmond Borough 0 – 1 Dartford (17/11/2018 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Hampton & Richmond Borough (30/03/2018 – National South)

  • Dartford have lost just one of the last eight games against Hampton and Richmond Borough, winning four and drawing three of the other matches
  • Hampton and Richmond Borough are unbeaten in their last two games against the Darts, their longest streak since winning three in a row between 2008 and 2010
  • The 0-0 draw in the last meeting ended a run of ten consecutive games in which the Darts scored against the Beavers, a run stretching back to those three consecutive defeats

Havant and Waterlooville

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P48 W25 D12 L11 Pts87 (PPG 1.81) – Ranking 1st

F.A Cup: 2nd Round
F.A Trophy: 5th Round

Over the seven years preceding last season’s unfinished campaign, Havant and Waterlooville have had something to play for right until the end. The Hawks missed out on the playoffs on goal difference, reached the playoff semi-finals, suffered a final day relegation, won promotion straight back up, then claimed a consecutive title. Havant and Waterlooville managed just one season in the National League before returning to the National South, where they finished runners up. In the 14 matches they played last term they won six, drew two and lost six so this summer has given the Hawks a chance to regroup for another challenge at the top.

Manager: Paul Doswell

A successful non-league manager, Doswell was given the challenge to lead Havant and Waterlooville back into the National League after relegation in 2019. In his first campaign with the Hawks he came close finishing runners up and losing the playoff semi-final against Dartford. Slightly off the pace last term, Doswell has pedigree at this level to get the Hawks back on track. He spent eleven years at Sutton United winning the Isthmian Premier and National South titles and guided the U’s to the fifth round of the F.A Cup losing to Arsenal. At Eastleigh he took them from the Wessex League to the National South.

Summer

Former Dartford player, Alex Wall scored the goal that took Concord Rangers to Wembley, the striker joins Havant and Waterlooville for this campaign. Forward, James Roberts and experienced Joe Oastler sign from Oxford City, whilst league top scorer in 2019/2020 Joe Iaciofano leaves the Hawks for the Hoops. Havant and Waterlooville made a double signing from Dover Athletic by capturing the signatures of defenders Josh Passley and Paul Rooney. Also, in defence, 19-year-old Joe Newton arrives from Coventry City’s under 23 side. Paul Doswell looked towards two of his former clubs by bringing in Abdulai Bell-Baggie and Jamie Collins from Eastleigh and Jamie Collins from Sutton United, Collins returns to the Hawks after 12 years away. Jake McCarthy has been taken from National League side Weymouth and Charlie Searle arrives from Wessex League side Baffins Milton Rovers. Departing Westleigh Park, Josh Taylor joins Dorking Wanderer’s promotion bid and Roarie Deacon moves to Maidstone United.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / Havant and Waterlooville wins: 3 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 2 – 1 Havant & Waterlooville (31/10/2020 – National South)
Havant & Waterlooville 1 – 2 Dartford (25/07/2020 – National South Playoff)
Dartford 1 – 1 Havant & Waterlooville (10/08/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Havant & Waterlooville (13/01/2018 – National South)
Havant & Waterlooville 0 – 0 Dartford (12/08/2017 – National South)
Havant & Waterlooville 0 – 2 Dartford (19/03/2016 – National South)

  • Dartford are unbeaten in nine games against Havant and Waterlooville wining seven and drawing two
  • The Darts are six matches unbeaten at home versus the Hawks
  • Havant and Waterlooville’s last win over the Darts came in 2011, their last match of a five game unbeaten sequence against Dartford in which they won three and drew two

Hemel Hempstead Town

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P52 W18 D10 L24 Pts64 (PPG 1.23) – Ranking 12th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

Another steady club in the National South now approaching their eighth season in the division. Hemel Hempstead Town won promotion from the Southern League in 2014 and since then they have mainly finished in the top half. In their second campaign at this level they narrowly missed out on a playoff place, but they have made one appearance in the end of season competition losing falling at the first hurdle three years ago. Last term the Hertfordshire club lost ten out of the 18 matches completed, picking up just one home win, but they managed to win just over half of their away fixtures.

Manager: Lee Bircham

Appointed last summer, Bircham has had under half a season to shape a squad to push Hemel Hempstead Town further up the table. The Tudors are his hometown club and before rocking up at Vauxhall Road, Bircham had managerial success with Berkhamsted, who were top of the Southern League Division One Central with twenty wins from twenty-eight matches before the pandemic hit. He also had a good track record at local club Bovingdon where he won the Hertfordshire Premier Division with an eighteen-point margin and racking up an average of four goals a game.

Summer

Ky Marsh-Brown had two unfinished seasons with the Darts and has left Princes Park for Hemel Hempstead Town. The Tudors have also signed left back, Jack Williams from Hayes and Yeading and Cole Kpekawa from Chelmsford City. Over the last few campaigns Royston Town has been the source of new players for Hemel Hempstead Town, Josh Castiglione joins previously signed duo Gus Scott-Morris and Matt Bateman at the club. Alfie Cerulli, Dominic Morgan-Griffiths and Samir Carruthers have also signed on. Meanwhile former club captain Jake Howells has left the club.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 6 / Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 1 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings (last six)

Hemel Hempstead Town 1 – 3 Dartford (10/11/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Hemel Hempstead Town (31/08/2019 – National South)
Hemel Hempstead Town 1 – 2 Dartford (05/03/2019 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 0 Hemel Hempstead Town (11/08/2018 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 2 Hemel Hempstead Town (17/03/2018 – National South)
Hemel Hempstead Town 0 – 3 Dartford (26/08/2017 – National South)

  • Dartford are unbeaten in their last nine games against Hemel Hempstead Town, winning five and drawing four
  • The Darts are unbeaten in all five home matches versus the Tudors
  • Hemel Hempstead Town’s only victory in this fixture came on the opening day of the 2015/2016 season when they won 1-0

Hungerford Town

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P52 W17 D6 L29 Pts57 (PPG 1.10) – Ranking 19th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

Saved from relegation after propping up the table, Hungerford Town went on to begin last season in blistering form winning six of their first eight. The Crusaders had shown that type of form before in their debut National South season in 2016/2017. That time they managed to maintain their decent showing by finishing in the playoffs, but unfortunately, they were denied the chance to participate. For the next three seasons Hungerford Town battled relegation surviving on the final day twice before finishing bottom. So, the start of last term saw a big turnaround influenced by manager Danny Robinson who had his side in seventh place.

Manager: Danny Robinson

A F.A Vase winner with his previous club Thatcham Town, it hasn’t taken long for Robinson to turn Hungerford Town’s fortunes around as well. He started his managerial career at the early age of 21 with Winchester City’s reserves before claiming the Hampshire Senior Cup with Alresford Town. At Thatcham Town, to go with the F.A Vase triumph he won promotion and had them on the verge of another one before the season was halted. So with all the successes achieved, Hungerford Town came calling in May 2020 where he turned the Crusaders into one of the surprise packages last term.

Summer

An important signing for the Crusaders wasn’t that of a new player, but one who decided to stay. Ryan Seager was in top form before the season was cut short and his goals helped Hungerford Town reach the top end of the table, the striker remains at Bulpit Lane with the majority of last season’s squad. Matt Jones and Warren Bentley return to the club, whilst attacking midfielder’s Theo Lewis and Ty Ward also join the Crusaders. Other new signings include Chris Flood and Nana Kyei, defender Henry Lander and midfielder Simo Mbonkwi.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Hungerford Town wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 1 – 1 Hungerford Town (16/01/2021 – National South)
Hungerford Town 1 – 2 Dartford (28/11/2020 – National South)
Hungerford Town 2 – 2 Dartford (26/08/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Hungerford Town (22/12/2018 – National South)
Hungerford Town 1 – 0 Dartford (25/08/2018 – National South)
Hungerford Town 1 – 0 Dartford (09/12/2017 – National South)

  • Dartford are four games unbeaten against Hungerford Town, their best sequence versus the Crusaders since the first meeting back in 2016
  • The Darts are unbeaten in all four matches at Princes Park, winning two and drawing two
  • Hungerford Town have conceded in each of the last four games against the Darts having previously kept four clean sheets in a row

National South Season Preview Part Two

Concord Rangers

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P46 W13 D12 L21 Pts51 (PPG 1.11) – Ranking 17th

F.A Cup: 1st Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

If one club can be excused for being distracted last season, then it’s Concord Rangers. A highlight of last season was the Beachboys’ overdue visit to Wembley. The Essex club reached the F.A Trophy final during the 2019/2020 campaign and had to wait until 2021 to play in the showpiece. Concord Rangers gave a great account of themselves losing 1-0 to Harrogate Town, who had already become a Football League side. A proud moment for a team who have been in relegation battles in four of the last five years. The only exception was when they were denied a playoff spot despite finishing sixth in 2018/2019.

Manager: Chris Search

Promoted from within after a successful four years with the Concord Rangers under 18’s side, Search has a wealth of experience how the club works. It’s a familiar tale at Thames Road where they have looked towards the talent already at the club. Search has already mentioned his ambition of following in the footsteps of two former managers, Danny Cowley who propelled the Essex Club into the National South and is now respected in the Football League and Danny Scopes who to the Beachboys to Wembley in the F.A Trophy. Search knows the step up is big, but he wants to prove doubters wrong.

Summer

The biggest surprise of the summer was the news that Ant Smith decided to stand down as chairman of the club. Yet that was not all, also departing after leading the Beachboys to the F.A Trophy final is manager Danny Scopes, assistant manager Lee Minshull and Head of Recruitment Adam Drew. So a backroom staff overhaul means Chris Search was named as the new boss and Danny Green his number two. Former Dart, Billy Roast agreed to stay on for a fourth season, but several other former Dartford players have now left Concord Rangers, Alex Wall moves to Havant and Waterlooville, Tyrone Sterling to Dulwich Hamlet and Sam Blackman to Margate. Goalkeeper, Chris Haigh also leaves for Kent to join Ebbsfleet United. Meanwhile, Ryan Blackman signs for Concord Rangers from Welling united, Joe Payne signs on after impressing in the F.A Trophy final and Ollie Kensdale arrives from Colchester United. Another Danny Green has made his move from Wealdstone, Calvin Ekpiteta joins from Merstham and goalkeeper Myles Roberts will be on loan from Watford. After a few pre-season games, the Beachboys have also taken on Hani Berchiche, formerly of Billericay Town and Metropolitan Police, Wyan Reid and Joseph Boachie, a forward who used to play for AFC Stamford.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Concord Rangers wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 0 – 1 Concord Rangers (21/12/2019 – National South)
Concord Rangers 0 – 2 Dartford (14/09/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Concord Rangers (26/01/2019 – National South)
Concord Rangers 2 – 0 Dartford (14/08/2018 – National South)
Concord Rangers 1 – 1 Dartford (06/01/2018 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 0 Concord Rangers (15/08/2017 – National South)

  • Dartford have won just one of the last five against Concord Rangers, drawing two and losing the other two
  • In the last four matches that resulted in a win, the victorious team has kept a clean sheet
  • The Darts won the two meetings versus the Beachboys, since then the honours have been shared with three wins each and three draws.

Dartford

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P53 W26 D12 L15 Pts90 (PPG 1.70) – Ranking 2nd

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

The Darts will be one of the favourites going into the new season having lost out in the playoff final a year ago before occupying second spot when last term was cut short. The turn around since Steve King has been in charge has been excellent, from a relegation battle when he took charge to the playoff final, then to follow that up with a title challenge. Over the last two seasons Dartford have accrued the most points out of the teams still in the National South. A first full season for King at Princes Park should end up with another promotion push.

Manager: Steve King

Over the summer King signed a new three-year deal with the Darts, he is yet to complete a full season of fixtures, although he did take Dartford to the playoff final. Although playoffs and King do not go together, suffering four final defeats with four different clubs, King and automatic promotions do go together. Guaranteed to bring entertainment, much of his early managerial career was spent in Sussex where he won the National South title with Lewes, his third promotion in five years with the club. He went on to win another title at Farnborough and embark on successful F.A Cup runs with Macclesfield Town and Whitehawk.

Summer

Two spells at Billericay Town yielded 82 goals in 113 appearances for Jake Robinson, the striker joins the Darts to provide firepower up front. Robinson will be linking up with winger Luke Wanadio again, who also joins Dartford from Billericay Town to start a third spell at Princes Park. Another returning player, Tyrique Hyde is back after time at Dulwich Hamlet, whilst Jazzi Barnum-Bobb goes the other way. Dan Roberts arrives from Slough Town and George Porter from local rivals Maidstone United with Elliott Romain and Jack Barham moving in the opposite direction. The Darts have also brought in Ade Azeez from Dover Athletic, Bagasan Graham from Romford and midfielder Danny Leonard from Sheppey United. Kieran Murtagh played for Steve King at Macclesfield Town when they reached the F.A Cup fourth round, the experienced midfielder is reunited with the Dartford boss joining from Boreham Wood. Plenty of players in last season’s squad could easily face the Darts at their new clubs, Charlie Sheringham will be at Chelmsford City, Ricky Modeste and Craig Braham-Barrett at Tonbridge Angels, Ky Marsh-Brown at Hemel Hempstead Town and Femi Akinwande back at Braintree Town. Skilful winger, Nassim L’Ghoul returns to France to play for Lyon – La Duchere a Championnat National Two team. Youngster, Cameron Brodie will gain more experience on loan at Cray Wanderers.

Dorking Wanderers

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P53 W26 D11 L16 Pts89 (PPG 1.68) – Ranking 3rd

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 4th Round

There is no secret that Dorking Wanderers are aiming high and that is where they were on course to finish last season. Topping the National South table by five points after eighteen games, Wanderers were in pole position to reach the National League. Ten years ago, the Surrey club had just won the Sussex County League Division Three and four promotions later they want another. Manager, Marc White has been on this journey from the start and has ambitions to lead his club further up the pyramid. This season Dorking Wanderers will be hoping to replicate the form that had them as the team to beat.

Manager: Marc White

Dorking Wanderers have climbed the non-league pyramid and Marc White has been able to witness their rise from day one. A founder member over 20 years ago, his club have won eleven promotions and after guiding the Surrey club to the playoffs in their first ever campaign in the National South, he had Wanderers at the top of the table last term. White is passionate about his club and was one of the outspoken managers putting pressure on the National League when last season came to an end. Dorking Wanderers have a boss with ambition to continue climbing the football pyramid.

Summer

Confidence in the squad is high after leading the National South table and a few tweaks plus promoted academy players have bolstered numbers. Bobby-Joe Taylor agreed a two-year deal joining from Ebbsfleet United, midfielder Josh Taylor also signed a two-year contract from Havant and Waterlooville. In between the sticks, Lee Worgan brings National South know how after joining from Chelmsford City. Australian striker, Callum Kealy was part of the Sutton United squad that won promotion to the Football League, he joins the Wanderers, whilst Olly Allen, Cameron Black, Noah Sapsford, Josh Barnett, George Membrillera and James Dickson were promoted from the academy. Jake Gallagher has left the club and has signed for Maidstone United.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Dorking Wanderers wins: 2 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings (last three)

Dartford 2 – 3 Dorking Wanderers (07/11/2020 – National South)
Dorking Wanderers 2 – 3 Dartford (04/01/2020 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 4 Dorking Wanderers (07/09/2019 – National South)

  • The home side has never won this fixture since the first meeting in September 2019
  • This fixture has averaged over 5.66 goals a game in the three meetings so far
  • The away side has scored three or more goals in each meeting

Dulwich Hamlet

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P48 W13 D14 L21 Pts53 (PPG 1.10) – Ranking 18th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

Years in the Isthmian Leagues finally came to an end in 2018 after three failed playoff attempts in a row. When Dulwich Hamlet won promotion to the National South it seemed like it was only a matter of time. The London based club temporarily lost their home, returned to Champion Hill and have held their own in the division. In their first campaign at this level Hamlet finished fourteenth followed by a lower finish in the points per game season. Last term, Dulwich Hamlet started slowly with no wins in their opening seven matches, but three victories on the bounce moved them up the table.

Manager: Gavin Rose

Over ten years in charge at Hamlet, Gavin Rose is the club’s longest serving manager and when he joined, he admitted the club weren’t living up to their potential. Now Dulwich Hamlet have established themselves in the National South and become a very inclusive club within the community. A former midfielder, Rose enjoyed a career which included spells at Wimbledon, Charlton Athletic and Queens Park Rangers. He guided Dulwich Hamlet to the Isthmian Division One North title in 2013 and won the Isthmian Premier League playoffs in 2018. Stability is important to the London based side and it shows with Rose’s loyalty.

Summer

The biggest story coming out of Champion Hill this summer was the off field signing of Peter Crouch. The former England international will be working behind the scenes at the club he spent time on loan with in 2000 as a 17-year-old. Former Dartford defender and F.A Trophy finalist, Tyrone Sterling joins the Hamlet from Concord Rangers and another former Dart defender, Jazzi Barnum-Bobb will be donning the Hamlet shirt, whilst Tyrique Hyde is on his way across to Dartford. The total of former Darts rises with the news that Danny Mills, Sanchez Ming and Giovanni McGregor are all staying at Champion Hill. Arriving from Bromley after seven years at the club, Jack Holland brings his experience as captain to the Hamlet. Former Dartford striker, Darren McQueen has spent pre-season at Champion Hill and could join the list of ex Darts at the club.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Dulwich Hamlet wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 1 – 0 Dulwich Hamlet (25/01/2020 – National South)
Dulwich Hamlet 1 – 1 Dartford (07/12/2019 – National South)
Dulwich Hamlet 2 – 0 Dartford (02/03/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Dulwich Hamlet (20/10/2018 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Dulwich Hamlet (31/03/2007 – Isthmian Division One South)
Dulwich Hamlet 3 – 2 Dartford (19/09/2006 – Isthmian Division One South)

  • Dartford are unbeaten at home in this fixture winning three and drawing two at Princes Park
  • Dulwich Hamlet are also unbeaten on their own patch beating Dartford three times and drawing once
  • The Darts have never beaten Dulwich Hamlet in consecutive games

Eastbourne Borough

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P52 W17 D20 L15 Pts71 (PPG 1.37) – Ranking 11th

F.A Cup: 1st Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

It would have been interesting to see where Eastbourne Borough would have finished last season, if the campaign was played out. Three consecutive eighteenth place finishes leading up to 2020/2021 showed the Sports were consistently inconsistent. When the National South table was frozen in time, the Sussex club were occupying third spot. On points per game they were within the top seven, so a playoff challenge was on the cards at least. Just one defeat on the road and an early eight game unbeaten run set the tone. The Sports also ended with four wins and a draw from their final five outings.

Manager: Danny Bloor

Since arriving at Priory Lane, Bloor has taken small steps in making Eastbourne Borough competitive again. The Sports were going through a difficult spell before appointing Bloor in November 2019 and having worked with previous manager’s Jamie Howell, Mark McGhee and Lee Bradbury the club decided to promote within. First, he made the Sports difficult to beat by drawing seven of the last eleven matches in the 2019/2020 campaign, losing just once against Dartford. Then he followed it up by getting Eastbourne Borough into third place last term with the fifth best points per game ratio.

Summer

Defender, Jake Elliott makes his move to Priory Lane from Hastings United along with a number of players agreeing to stay including Chris Whelpdale who was in excellent form before the season ended early. Goalkeeper, Franco Ravizzoli earned a deal with League One side Milton Keynes Dons, Dean Cox leaves after three seasons with the Sussex club and Michael West departs for Ebbsfleet United. Jack Currie will be on loan from AFC Wimbledon for the season and Joshua Oyinsah impressed enough in pre-season to sign a deal. An England under 17 World Cup winner, Curtis Anderson comes in on loan from Wycombe Wanderers. Club favourite Sergio Torres leaves the club for a new adventure in Spain.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 12 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 8 / Draws: 4

Previous Mettings (last six)

Dartford 0 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (09/02/2021 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 3 – 1 Dartford (05/12/2020 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (22/02/2020 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 0 – 2 Dartford (02/11/2019 – National South)
Eastbourne Borough 6 – 0 Dartford (20/04/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 3 Eastbourne Borough (27/11/2018 – F.A Trophy)

  • The Darts have won just two of the last six meetings against Eastbourne Borough having previously been unbeaten in twelve versus the Sports
  • In the ten seasons Dartford have been in the same league as Eastbourne Borough, the Darts have completed five league doubles over the Sussex club
  • However, last season Eastbourne Borough completed a league double over the Darts for the first time since the 2002/2003 Southern League Division One East campaign

National South Season Preview Part One

Last season was cut short less than halfway through the campaign, the season before became null and void with around a quarter of the games still to play. Over the previous two years the National South has been full of uncertainty. Throw in the wrangling between the league and its members back in February and March, unfulfilled fixtures, furloughed staff and the financial challenges that come with a pandemic and it’s safe to say we can only look forward to the 2021/2022 season.

Crowds will return to grounds urging their team to succeed, lifting the players, creating the atmosphere everyone has been missing. The National South line-up remains the same and the future looks brighter. Maybe at the third time of asking the season will be played out in its entirety. Pure DFC looks at each club, the managers, and the squads they have assembled for the forthcoming campaign…

Bath City

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P48 W22 D10 L16 Pts76 (PPG 1.58) – Ranking 4th

F.A Cup (2020/21): 4th Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy (2020/21): 4th Round

Going into last season the Romans felt optimistic after successive playoff appearances. History repeated itself when on both occasions Bath City were beaten in the eliminator round. In the second of those campaigns the west country club were on course to beat their previous points tally. The story was different last season, a point per game had the Romans down at the bottom end after an unexpectedly slow start. Bath City lost six of their first seven games picking up just three points. Results picked up in December with a notable away victory at Dorking Wanderers and home win over Havant and Waterlooville.

Manager: Jerry Gill

In charge at Twerton Park since October 2017, Gill managed to turn the Romans from a top ten side to a top five side before last season. Bath City only managed thirteen league games last term and were fourth from bottom when the campaign was cut short, Gill will be hoping his side were just making a slow start. As a former Bath City defender who made over 200 appearances for the club in the nineties, the Romans boss will know the club inside out. He also has playing experience with Birmingham City where he reached a League Final and won promotion to the Premier League.

Summer

The most exciting signing of the summer for Bath City is that of Elliott Frear, the former Salisbury City winger was also part of the Hearts title winning team north of the border. He has also played over 70 games in the Scottish Premier League for Motherwell. Another to join the Romans, from Chippenham Town is Eddie Jones, a defender who played over a hundred games for his former side, going the other way is Will Henry. Jamaican international Omar Holness signs from National North side Darlington. Cody Cooke comes in from Weymouth and Ben Gerring from Woking. Manager, Jerry Gill who signed a new contract until July 2023 has also signed three goalkeepers, Coniah Boyce-Clarke from Reading, Harley Wilkinson from Clevedon Town and Will Fuller from Cardiff Metropolitan University, where he played over 250 matches in the Welsh Premier League. Momodou Touray will be on loan until the New Year from Salford City. Players leaving Twerton Park include Frankie Artus, Callum Evans and Donovan Wilson who impressed at National League champions Sutton United after the National South season was curtailed.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 34 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 1 – 0 Bath City (17/10/2020 – National South)
Bath City 3 – 0 Dartford (30/11/2019 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Bath City (09/02/2019 – National South)
Bath City 1 – 2 Dartford (04/08/2018 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 0 Bath City (21/04/2018 – National South)
Bath City 2 – 1 Dartford (24/10/2017 – National South)

  • Dartford have won the last five games against Bath City at Princes Park
  • Bath City’s win on 30/11/2019 ended a run of seven straight defeats against the Darts
  • Dartford have won eight of the last nine meetings against the Romans

Billericay Town

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P49 W12 D17 L20 Pts53 (PPG 1.08) – Ranking 20th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

Gone are the days when the owner made more headlines off the pitch than the team made on the pitch. In the only full National South season completed by the Blues they ended in a creditable eighth place. In the two unfinished seasons the Essex club went through three managers, Jamie O’Hara replaced Harry Wheeler in September 2019 and guided Billericay Town to seventeenth. But the former Spurs midfielder’s tenure ended in December 2020 after just two victories in nine outings. Kevin Watson took up the managerial post in January and will embark on his first full campaign at New Lodge.

Manager: Kevin Watson

Appointed at the beginning of the year, Watson has had little time to shape his squad and playing style at Billericay Town. The former Ebbsfleet United boss started his managerial career at Maldon and Tiptree until a Teddy Sheringham led Stevenage took him in as assistant manager. Watson had various assistant roles with the likes of Eastleigh, Whitehawk and Hungerford Town either side of a stint as manager at Bishop’s Stortford. A former midfielder as a player, Watson became a serial promotion winner as runners up with Rotherham United twice, Reading and Colchester United in a seven-year spell.

Summer

Billericay Town will have to find goals from somewhere as top scorer Jake Robinson has left to cross the River Thames and join Dartford. Winger, Luke Wanadio makes the same move and will team up with Robinson at Princes Park. Meanwhile, three former Darts will be with the Blues next season, Rowan Liburd signed and new deal, Luke Warner-Eley joins from St Albans City and goalkeeper Bailey Vose moves from Margate. Charlie Lee joins the Blues and Luis Shamshoun has been in the youth set up for four years and signs a first team contract. Marvel Ekpiteta left Dover Athletic to move to Billericay Town and former Dart, Norman Wabo has been with the Essex club during pre-season. Whilst some of the squad leaving include Lewis Knight to Margate and Doug Loft to Tonbridge Angels.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Billericay Town wins: 2 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings (last six)

Dartford 1 – 0 Billericay Town (12/01/2021 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Billericay Town (14/12/2019 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Billericay Town (22/04/2019 – National South)
Billericay Town 1 – 1 Dartford (15/09/2018 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 4 Billericay Town (06/03/2010 – Isthmian Premier)
Billericay Town 1 – 0 Dartford (02/02/2010 – Isthmian Premier)

  • Dartford have won their last three matches against Billericay Town all at Princes Park
  • The Darts are four games unbeaten against the Blues
  • Billericay Town’s only victories against the Darts came in 2010, when Dartford won the Isthmian Premier League

Braintree Town

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P51 W14 D6 L31 Pts48 (PPG 0.94) – Ranking 21st

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

Ten years ago, the Iron won the National South and followed up their title with a six year stay in non-league’s top flight. It looked as though Braintree Town would turn into that yo-yo club when they were finally relegated from the National League, went back up and came straight back down. Over the last two uncompleted campaigns, the Essex side have found themselves in the bottom three with several managers struggling to improve results. Glen Driver, Jake Hutchings and former Dart, George Borg all had a go. Seven straight defeats opened the 2020/21 campaign and so Borg resigned. Now it’s Ryan Maxwell’s turn.

Manager: Ryan Maxwell

When Maxwell joined the Iron in November, he made immediate changes, in his first named starting eleven he selected eight new signings and ended a seven-game losing streak with a win. Arriving from Walthamstow where he was player-manager, Maxwell as a player moved around the non-league scene which included three appearances for Braintree Town in 2007. At Walthamstow, he guided them to third in the Essex Senior League. When the former midfielder left the Essex club in January 2020, he had them challenging for the title and when the league was abandoned in that March, Walthamstow were only three points off the top.

Summer

The Iron will be delighted with the signing of Femi Akinwande, who finished at the Darts last term. Akinwande is back at Cressing Road for a second spell after scoring six goals in 18 games last time. A youngster at Dartford, Jay Porter will be part of the squad after signing from Margate. Goalkeeper, Preston Edwards was signed as cover at Dartford during the playoffs a couple of seasons ago, he re-signs for the Essex club. Former England C international defender Luke Pennell arrives from Dagenham and Redbridge, Ezra IkeBuasi joins from Farnborough, Anderson Pinto from Cheshunt and Lance Akins from Maldon and Tiptree. Winger, Marcus Goldbourne is a new signing and Harry Savage signs first team forms after impressing in the under 18’s.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Braintree Town wins: 7 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings (last six)

Braintree Town 2 – 1 Dartford (09/01/2021 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 1 Braintree Town (24/08/2019 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Braintree Town (06/05/2018 – National South Playoff)
Dartford 1 – 1 Braintree Town (23/12/2017 – National South)
Braintree Town 2 – 2 Dartford (08/08/2017 – National South)
Braintree Town 3 – 0 Dartford (01/01/2015 – National League)

  • Dartford have won just one of their last ten matches against Braintree Town, drawing three and losing six
  • The Darts have scored in four of the last five meetings, but failed to score at all in the previous five
  • Braintree Town have scored in their last nine games against the Darts

Chelmsford City

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P50 W15 D15 L20 Pts53 (PPG 1.20) – Ranking 13th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

Expectations for the Clarets are normally set at reaching the playoffs as a minimum. Chelmsford City have been there plenty of times in their thirteen-year stay, but they have been unable to cross the promotion line. In their seven playoff attempts they have reached the final once and have finished outside of the top seven in the last two incomplete campaigns. The first of those season’s ended with Rod Stringer moving aside and Robbie Simpson impressing enough to make the job his own. Still to be judged on forty completed league games, Simpson will be hoping the Clarets return to at least the playoffs.

Manager: Robbie Simpson

The journey from player to manager at Chelmsford City moved fast for Simpson. Signed as a player by Rod Stringer, the previous manager of the Clarets, Simpson was put in temporary charge just five months later and in March 2020 he became permanent player-manager. His first managerial role, the former forward enjoyed a long career in the Football League after he had already represented both Cambridge clubs, United and City at non-league level. Coventry City took a chance and afterwards he played for Huddersfield Town, Oldham Athletic, Leyton Orient, returned to Cambridge United in League Two, Exeter City and Milton Keynes Dons.

Summer

During his loan spell at Chelmsford City last season Charlie Sheringham impressed, now the striker has signed a deal after leaving Dartford. Another former Dart who will stay for a fourth campaign with the Clarets is Chez Isaac. Midfielder, Louis Dunne had a previous loan spell with Concord Rangers, the 22-year-old joins from Colchester United. Michael Oluwadara Dada arrives from St Albans City and the experienced Simeon Jackson returns with coaching and community responsibilities. Arriving on loan from Cambridge United will be Tom Dickens. Departing the Melbourne Stadium is the retiring Elliott Ward, Cole Kpekawa moves to Hemel Hempstead Town and goalkeeper Lee Worgan joins Dorking Wanderers.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 40 / Chelmsford City wins: 55 / Draws: 22

Previous Meeting (last six)

Dartford 1 – 0 Chelmsford City (06/10/2020 – National South)
Dartford 3 – 0 Chelmsford City (14/03/2020 – National South)
Chelmsford City 4 – 1 Dartford (12/08/2019 – National South)
Chelmsford City 2 – 1 Dartford (09/01/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Chelmsford City (07/08/2018 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 2 Chelmsford City (10/02/2018 – National South)

  • Dartford have won their last three home games against Chelmsford City, another home win will equal the longest winning streak versus the Clarets at home set between 1960 and 1965.
  • The Darts have not conceded a goal in the last three home matches versus Chelmsford City, a home record against the Clarets
  • Chelmsford City have won seven of the last eleven meetings home and away

Chippenham Town

National South League Performance (last 2 years):
P49 W14 D16 L19 Pts58 (PPG 1.18) – Ranking 14th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

Since promotion to the National South, Chippenham Town have been consistent in where they end up in the league standings. Consecutive thirteenth place finishes were followed by coming in fourteenth. Last time out the Bluebirds were averaging around their normal points per game from those three campaigns. When the Wiltshire club came into the division, they arrived with Mark Collier at the helm, he was replaced in January 2020 by Michael Cook who has kept the status quo in terms of results. Yet to have a full season at Hardenhuish Park, Cook will be aiming to see an improvement to the usual mid-table finish. 

Manager: Michael Cook

Forced into the coaching world at an early age, Cook overcame a spinal injury when he was 22 years old. He won the F.A Youth Cup with Coventry City as player and went on to represent York City, Cambridge United and in non-league Wycombe Wanderers. Another manager who made the most of an interim spell, Cook was appointed as permanent boss of Chippenham Town in March 2020. The former Gloucester City manager took over the Bluebirds in January following the departure of Mark Collier and impressed enough to make the job his own after some improved results.

Summer

Returning to Chippenham Town after a spell in Australia is Will Richards, he left the Bluebirds in 2019 and is now back after signing from Grange Thistle. Goalkeeper, Will Henry joins Chippenham Town from Bath City and going in the opposite direction will be Eddie Jones. The Bluebirds have also captured the signature of former Weymouth midfielder, Alefe Santos, ex Cardiff City youngster Dan Griffiths and 20-year-old forward Harry Warwick from Bristol Rovers. A number of players have renewed their contracts but leaving the Wiltshire club will be Bradley Ash, Will Puddy, George Rigg and Chris Zebrowski.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Chippenham Town wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings (last six)

Chippenham Town 1 – 2 Dartford (27/10/2020 – National South)
Chippenham Town 1 – 5 Dartford (01/02/2020 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 1 Chippenham Town (26/10/2019 – National South)
Dartford 0 – 1 Chippenham Town (13/04/2019 – National South)
Chippenham Town 1 – 2 Dartford (13/10/2018 – National South)
Chippenham Town 2 – 2 Dartford (20/01/2018 – National South)

  • Dartford are unbeaten in all four visits to Hardenhuish Park winning three and drawing one
  • Dartford’s only defeat against the Bluebirds was also the only time the Darts have failed to score in this fixture
  • Both teams have kept just one clean sheet against each other in seven meetings