September – League Review

Clubs in the Conference South face a two week break from league action so now is a good chance to reflect on the first two months of the 2011/12 season.

Elliot Bradbrook has netted five goals from midfield

Dartford’s form has continued and finishing month two in second place has the fans buzzing for a promotion push. If Princes Park remains a fortress the target of reaching the playoffs could be upgraded to being involved in the title race. Picking up points away from home will be just as crucial as Woking are currently ahead of The Darts on goal difference.

So far the only slip up was the away match at The Camrose where Basingstoke Town remain the only side to beat Tony Burman’s side. That reverse was at the beginning of the month and since then Dartford have overcame Eastleigh, Farnborough, Staines Town and Tonbridge Angels in a four match winning run.

Charlie Sheringham has continued to find the net scoring five in five in September and in the fixture against Staines Town it was only the second game in which he failed to score. At the start of the season the talk on the terrace was if The Darts had enough recognised strikers. However, Burman has often used one up front in Sheringham and it has worked because of the support play from the midfield, down the middle and out wide. Elliot Bradbrook has netted five goals from midfield in ten games, a ratio of a goal every other match.

With Ryan Hayes and Richard Graham performing on the wings they are supported by Adam Green and Matt Jones in the full back positions. The squad can also look towards last seasons player of the year Lee Noble and the versatility of Danny Harris who can play wide or up top and Lee Burns who has played in a number of positions for The Darts.

It is a much more attacking look at Dartford and it will need to be to keep pace at the top end of the Conference South. But like last years champions Braintree Town found out that clean sheets and a solid defences are just as important. With Tom Champion holding in midfield, Tom Bonner and Paul Goodacre (prior his recent injury) forming a good partnership at the back and Andrew Young between the sticks there is lots to look forward to over the next seven months.

Moses Ademola scorer of seven goals for The Cards

Woking, the best supported club in the division at the moment lead the way but only just keeping their noses ahead of Dartford. The Cards mirrored Dartford’s results with a defeat followed by four straight wins. The Surrey side are just ahead because of their better winning margins helped by in form striker Moses Ademola who has scored five goals in September. The only defeat for Woking was against Welling United who led the table at the end of August. Welling United lost at Dorchester Town, fell to a shock result at Boreham Wood and were held by Bromley so The Wings have dropped to third after an five point turnaround.

Sutton United and Basingstoke Town make up the rest of the play off spots and The U’s will be delighted with fourth position after promotion last season. Sutton United have overcome the 5-0 opening day drubbing against Woking. The defeat was certainly a shock to the system after finishing last season unbeaten at home. In September they recorded four wins and a draw scoring fourteen and conceding just three. For the latter, Basingstoke Town have climbed the most positions this month from twelfth to fifth. An organised outfit with the talented Delano Sam-Yorke and experienced Tim Sills up front, The Hampshire club are looking steady.

With teams jockeying for positions we are starting to see who will be there or thereabouts come the end of April and we can already see a few sides struggling. Hampton and Richmond recorded their first victory on Saturday to lift them off the bottom, Thurrock continue to struggle and Boreham Wood are making a similar start to last season at the wrong end of the table.

Sides like Weston Super-Mare and Maidenhead United are still finding their place after an inconsistent first two months. And the two Hampshire sides, Eastleigh and Farnborough that went full time over the summer are not meeting expectations.

Martin Hayes: ex Dover Athletic boss

One of the biggest surprises in the Conference South is the lack of goalmouth action at The Crabble. Despite the signings of George Purcell and Billy Bricknell only Eastleigh have fired more blanks in front of goal, yet the Kent club have the best defensive record. Dover have only been beaten twice but currently in twelfth place it was enough for Martin Hayes to get the sack.

With two months down things are looking rosy at Princes Park but with seven months to go a lot can happen.


Season in numbers so far…

5 – Most consecutive home draws set by Dover Athletic, one more would beat the Conference South record

6 – The most consecutive home wins in the league set by Dartford (and still counting) and the most consecutive wins set by Welling United

11 – Most goals scored by a team in the last quarter of the match set by Woking

165 – The number of goalscorers this season excluding own goals

336 – The number of minutes without a goal at The Crabble (from 23 August 2011 when Billy Bricknell scored against Dartford to 24 September 2011 when Havant and Waterlooville’s Wes Fogden opened the scoring)

629 – The average league attendance



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