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Dartford v Bath City

Unbeaten in the National South, Dartford will be determined to keep their current run going this weekend when they host promotion hopefuls Bath City.

The Darts opened their league campaign with a 1-0 victory over Chelmsford City followed by a goalless draw at Hampton and Richmond Borough. Bath City tasted an opening day defeat at Oxford City but recorded their first league win last weekend against Billericay Town. Both teams reached the playoffs last term with the Darts falling short in the final and the Romans getting knocked out in the eliminator round.

Defensively, Dartford have been perfect in the league with two clean sheets and if it wasn’t for a controversial penalty in the F.A Cup then their defence wouldn’t have been breached at all this season. However, it hasn’t quite clicked in attack yet with Ky Marsh-Brown the only goalscorer for Steve King’s side, his header on the opening day was enough to earn all three points against Chelmsford City. That has been Dartford’s only goal in their last four competitive games stretching back to the Playoff Final defeat. At the other end only Slough Town and Havant and Waterlooville have netted against the Darts in the last seven competitive matches.

Defensive duo: Tom Bonner and Ronnie Vint kept the Beavers at bay

Dartford’s first away game of the campaign last weekend ended 0-0 at Hampton and Richmond Borough in a game that saw the defences on top. Tom Bonner and Ronnie Vint remaining solid in the centre as they continue to strike up a reliable partnership at the back. Making his debut, Jack Barham replaced Ricky Modeste in the only change to the starting eleven. After the game the striker spoke to DFCTV and said: “We didn’t play to our maximum but coming away with a point is never bad. If we know that really is the minimum of what we can offer, then we have a good chance this year”. Having joined in the summer and after nursing an injury, Barham is confident good times are on their way, he explained: “It’s going to take me a couple of weeks to get my fitness back. I felt like jelly in the second half especially after about 60 minutes, but I can see myself scoring lots of goals. I’m excited now to show everyone what I can do”.

This fixture was supposed to be the next home game in the 2019/2020 league schedule. However, the campaign was halted and so the last time the Darts hosted Bath City was in February 2019. Dartford ended the Romans’ unbeaten run of nine games that day with some stunning goals. Lee Noble curled his shot from outside the box into the top corner, Charlie Sheringham nodded home Ryan Hayes’ pinpoint cross and Phil Roberts cut inside to unleash another curling strike, from outside the box, into the bottom corner.

For more match highlights visit Dartford FC TV

Last season the score was reversed putting an end to Dartford’s seven consecutive victories against Bath City.  Three first half goals, one from Tom Smith and a brace from Andy Watkins handed the Romans three points at Twerton Park inside the first 35 minutes. To sum up Dartford’s day, Elliott Romain missed a penalty in one of very few defeats manager Steve King has suffered since his appointment in October last year.

This season, in the National South, Bath City were beaten 2-0 on the first day of the season against Oxford City. Defeat came just days after leaving it late in the F.A Cup to overcome Winchester City. The Romans were given a scare by the Southern Division One South side needing to come from behind. Tommy Conway scored a brace, his first coming just two minutes into his debut before Winchester City took a 2-1 half-time lead. The on-loan striker from Bristol City equalised and a late deflected Tom Richards strike earned Bath City a third qualifying round tie against Dartford’s conquerors Slough Town. After the reverse at Oxford City, Conway was scoring again, grabbing another Twerton Park brace in their 2-0 victory over Billericay Town, both goals assisted by Freddie Hinds on his second debut for the Romans, also joining on loan from Bristol City.

Linking Up: Bristol City pair Tommy Conway and Freddie Hinds in action for Bath City

Hinds turned from provider into a goalscorer on Tuesday night scoring the winning goal to knock Slough Town out of the F.A Cup. An evenly contested tie saw the Romans defence stand strong with several decent saves from goalkeeper Ryan Clarke. Hinds early second half goal was enough to see Bath City into the fourth qualifying round.

Bath City’s ties with Bristol continued this week with the signing of Lucas Tomlinson on loan from Bristol Rovers. Manager, Jerry Gill already has City players Conway and James Taylor in his squad. Over the summer keeping top scorer Tom Smith was imperative, he has featured in every game so far. Out of the new signings Freddie Grant, Ryan Harley and Callum Evans have earned first team places.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 32 / Bath City wins: 39 / Draws: 19

Previous Six Meetings

30.11.2019Bath City3Dartford0
09.02.2019Dartford3Bath City0
04.08.2018Bath City 1Dartford2
21.04.2018Dartford2Bath City0
24.10.2017Bath City1Dartford2
04.03.2017Dartford2Bath City0

Stats

Dartford have won their last four homes games against Bath City going back to 2016

The Darts last lost to Bath City at home in April 1990, which was the only defeat in the last six home games against the Romans (W5 L1)

Dartford have kept three consecutive clean sheets against Bath City at Princes Park. The Romans last scoring in 2016 when the Darts won 4-1.

On This Day

Allan Tait scored the winning goal eleven years ago against Isthmian Division One North side Sittingbourne. The 1-0 victory in the F.A Trophy first qualifying round was a stern test for the Darts who went on to claim the Isthmian Premier League crown that season. Almost eleven years on, the two sides met in a friendly (on Monday night) with Dartford winning 5-2. Five years ago, at Princes Park, Ryan Hayes netted a superb last-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Hemel Hempstead Town. The Darts were two down at half-time until Danny Harris then Hayes helped the home side earn a point. It is also the 50th anniversary of Dartford’s 7-0 F.A Cup win against Harrow Borough, but the biggest win on this day was 18-0 in 1891 against Old Wilkinson. 

National South Season Preview Part I

Dartford came so close to promotion last season by reaching the playoff final. This time they plan to go one better in Steve King’s first full campaign at the helm. In a season that was cut short at all levels of the non-league game, no teams were relegated from the National South bringing a familiarity to Dartford’s opponents. A lot has changed over the last seven months, new protocols, changes in management and three golden boot winners moving on. Here’s the first part of a club by club preview to whet your appetite…

Bath City

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 4th
F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round
Top Scorer: Tom Smith (13 goals)

The Romans have bowed out at the quarter-final stage of the playoffs in the past two seasons. Since their two-year flirtation with the National League, the West Country side have slowly built their way up to become competitive promotion contenders. Bath City will be aiming to return to the non-league summit after an eight-year absence. The cause will be helped by the National South’s Player of the Year, Tom Smith being in their ranks. He could be a key player yet again having scored 18 times from midfield in all competitions last term.

Manager: Jerry Gill

A former Bath City defender who made over 200 appearances for the club in the nineties. Gill has been in charge at Twerton Park since October 2017 turning the Romans from a top ten side in to a top five side. He enjoyed success as a player notably reaching the League Cup final and winning promotion to the Premier League with Birmingham City. After a 44-day spell managing Weymouth, who had financial issues at the time, Gill picked up coaching experience with Bristol Rovers, Birmingham City and Kidderminster Harriers as well as with Norwich City’s and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ academies.

Summer

Manager Jerry Gill signed a new contract to keep him at Twerton Park until 2022. Ryan Harley made over 350 Football League appearances with the likes of Exeter City, Brighton & Hove Albion and Swindon Town, he arrives from Milton Keynes Dons. Freddie Grant, a left back with experience at this level joins from National League side Maidenhead United. After four years at Weston-super-Mare, Jason Pope moved to Hereford before switching to the Romans. Callum Evans signs from Port Vale having also had a spell at Macclesfield Town, Donovan Wilson comes in after time at Port Vale, Exeter City and Spanish clubs Jumilla and Burgos. Goalkeeper Will Henry steps in to the squad providing National South experience, which he picked up on loan at Hampton and Richmond Borough, Chippenham Town and Hungerford Town. Also, coming to Twerton Park on loan will be Bristol City pair Tommy Conway and James Taylor.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 32 / Bath City wins: 39 / Draws: 19

Billericay Town

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 17th
F.A Cup: 1st Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round
Top Scorer: Jake Robinson (14 goals)

More headlines were made off the pitch than on it under Billericay Town’s former owner, now the media circus shackles have been removed. Instead the Essex club has a former Premier League midfielder leading the team and keeping the club and non-league in the media spotlight. Success came quickly when Ricay went from Isthmian Premier champions to promotion contenders. However, with the owner leaving, the Blues second campaign back in the National South was tougher and they spent much of last term looking over their shoulder winning just three of their last 24 games.

Manager: Jamie O’Hara

A Dartfordian who made his name as a midfielder at Tottenham Hotspur, Jamie O’Hara also represented England at under 21 level. He enjoyed spells notably at Millwall, Portsmouth and Wolverhampton Wanderers and ended up at Billericay Town in the seventh tier of the English game. He helped the Blues claim the 2017/2018 Isthmian Premier League title, two league cups and a county cup. O’Hara left Ricay before returning as player assistant manager and in September last year he was promoted to manager. Alongside football management O’Hara can be heard on national radio channel Talksport.

Summer

Providing some trickery on the flanks, former Dartford winger Luke Wanadio moves across the bridge to Essex. Wanadio had two spells with the Darts both lasting a season, he also had spells with Bromley, Aldershot Town and Dulwich Hamlet. Four more players make the trip from Kent with two, Frank Sutherland and Lawrie Wilson coming from relegated Ebbsfleet United. Lewis Knight signs from Maidstone United and Jai Reason will lead the line after arriving from Dover Athletic. Also, making the step down from the National League will be Shamir Fenelon from Maidenhead United. Josh Hutchinson joins Ricay from Potters Bar Town, Hani Berchiche (Welwyn Garden City) as well as two trialists who impressed Jamie O’Hara in pre-season, Chevron McLean (Maldon and Tiptree) and Ruben Soares Junior (Grays Athletic). Former Fulham and Queen’s Park Rangers full-back, Joe Felix joins the Essex club having previously been at Hampton & Richmond Borough, Woking and Farnborough. With former Dart, Alan Julian leaving the goalkeeper position has been filled by Dion-Curtis Henry and from AFC Wimbledon in comes Ayoub Assal on loan for a month.

Head to Head

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

Braintree Town

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 21st
F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round
Top Scorer: Femi Akinwande (6 goals)

A surprise package when they gate-crashed the National South playoffs and won promotion two years ago, knocking out Dartford in the process. The Iron returned to the National League at the first time of asking, this time their stay lasted one campaign as they yo-yoed between divisions. Braintree Town were nowhere near to reproducing a swift return and instead slid down the National South after a reasonable first two months. The Iron conceded the most goals last term and had the season not been curtailed were on target to finish in the bottom two.

Manager: George Borg

An experienced manager familiar with Braintree Town, Borg has had a few spells with the Iron. In his latest one it started in December 2019 when player manager Jake Hutchings stepped sown. His appointment came 15 years after the first time he led the Essex club back in 2004. Borg enjoyed success in the late nineties when Aldershot Town were back on the rise to the Football League. In 1998 he won the Isthmian League First Division then later added the Isthmian League Cup, two Hampshire Senior Cups and came runners-up in the Isthmian League Premier Division.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Braintree Town wins: 6 / Draws: 4

Chelmsford City

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 10th
F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Round
Top Scorer: Shaun Jeffers (13 goals)

Regularly amongst the playoff places the Clarets fell short of their normal standards last time out. Often dubbed a sleeping giant, the Essex club parted company with Rod Stringer back in January after the former boss had taken Chelmsford City to the playoffs three years running. At the turn of the year the Clarets were only seven points adrift of the top seven and in the last 16 of the F.A Trophy when Stringer departed. Entering their thirteenth consecutive season in the National South, Chelmsford City are currently the longest serving club in the division.

Manager: Robbie Simpson

Just over a year ago Robbie Simpson was signed as a player by Rod Stringer. Five months later the forward was put in temporary charge of Chelmsford City and in March he became permanent player-manager. Simpson 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, Exeter City and Milton Keynes Dons. He also had a second spell with Cambridge United when they had returned to League Two.

Summer

The Clarets signed former Dartford midfielder Billy Crook this summer taking him back across the Thames to Essex. Crook won promotion with Braintree Town before joining the Darts in January 2019. Another former Dart and returning for a third spell with Chelmsford City is Phil Roberts. The striker had a brief spell at Princes Park and at the age of just 26 has been around the non-league circuit, he was also pivotal in helping Braintree Town up alongside Billy Crook. Last season’s Isthmian Division One North top scorer, Alex Teniola will hope to continue grabbing goals after completing a move from Heybridge Swifts. Also boosting the attack, Adam Liddle comes in from Derry City, Adam Morgan (Romford) and Tom Blackwell (Coggleshall Town). Former Tonbridge Angels, Maidstone United and Dover Athletic goalkeeper Lee Worgan will bring experience between the sticks and providing competition on dual registration from Heybridge Swifts will be Jacob Marsden. Defender, Adebola Oluwo (Fisher FC) and midfielder Callum Harrison (AFC Sudbury) are now Clarets and Cameron James has re-joined the club for a second spell from Colchester United. Cadell Fraser-Robinson also joined the Clarets after completing a scholarship at Stevenage.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 39 / Chelmsford City wins: 55 / Draws: 22

Chippenham Town

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 14th
F.A Cup: 1st Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round
Top Scorer: Scott Twine (6 goals)

A consistent team in the National South since they cruised their way to the Southern Premier League title three years ago, the Bluebirds finished thirteenth in consecutive seasons and were on course to ending last term in fourteenth. Yet it wasn’t all plain sailing last season, in mid-January they were embroiled in a relegation battle, appointed a new manager who steered them to safety winning five of their last six games. The Wiltshire club hope to keep that momentum going into the new campaign and improve on their mid-table finishes.

Manager: Michael Cook

Another manager who made the most of an interim spell, Michael Cook was appointed as permanent boss in March. The former Gloucester City manager took over the Bluebirds in January following the departure of Mark Collier. In that time Cook turned Chippenham Town’s fortunes around. After the home hammering to Dartford in February, he guided the Wiltshire club to five wins from seven matches with the last fixture a creditable draw against champions Wealdstone. At Gloucester City, he felt he wasn’t given a fair chance, so now is the time to prove his managerial capabilities.

Summer

Michael Cook’s former club Gloucester City were raided this summer as the former Tigers boss signed a trio of players from their local rivals. Covering all outfield positions Chippenham Town will now have striker Marlon Jackson, midfielder Joe Hanks and defender Spencer Hamilton in their squad. Both Danny Greenslade and Bradley Ash join the Bluebirds from Hereford. Former Sutton United striker, Ross Stearn returns to Hardenhuish Park from Bath City, whilst Luke Ruuse makes his loan spell from Bristol Rovers permanent.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Chippenham Town wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Bath City v Dartford

Dartford can make it eight consecutive victories against Bath City when they return to National South action this weekend with a trip to Twerton Park.

The Darts started a new era last time they visited Twerton Park with joint managers Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle taking charge for the first time. The 2018/2019 season opener ended in triumph for the duo thanks to some late penalty drama. Dartford came from behind after Adam Mann scored ten minutes into his Bath City debut then Elliot Bradbrook equalised just before half-time. With four minutes remaining Bradbrook blasted his penalty over and within a minute the Darts were awarded a second spot-kick, which Delano Sam-Yorke netted to give the Darts their seventh straight win over the Romans.

Over the last week a depleted squad has performed admirably showing manager Steve King the character and attitude that should help the Darts up the National South table. Dartford have just come off the back of three consecutive matches against local rivals Maidstone United, drawing two and losing narrowly on Tuesday night.

In their last National South fixture, Dartford came from two down against the Stones with a couple of late goals by Tom Bonner and Darren McQueen to earn a draw. The two sides met again in the F.A Trophy and this time Maidstone United led twice only for Elliott Romain to equalise on both occasions. In total nine squad members were out through either illness, injury or to avoid being cup tied, which changed the look of the starting eleven including players playing out of position.

If the Darts felt they should have won the initial F.A Trophy clash, the same could have been said about the replay. Despite another committed performance the Darts were finally beaten when Iffy Allen finished off a counter attack. Once again King had limited personnel available but made one change for the replay bringing in Laurent Mendy for Ryan Hayes. The substitutes bench told its own story filled up mainly with academy players, one of which was Charlie Edmundson who made his debut for the club. Although beaten in the end, the Darts have moved in the right direction and will be tested this weekend when they visit Twerton Park.

Bath City are also returning to league action after their F.A Trophy replay win to Southern Premier League South side Gosport Borough. The first meeting ended with no goals to show for either team and so the two sides had to do it all over again on Wednesday night. The Romans were taken to extra time after throwing away a two goal lead, Tom Smith and Andy Watkins scoring the goals. Gosport Borough clawed their was back with to goals of their own, but it was Bath City who progressed when Ryan Brunt netted the winner.

The Romans may have lost their last National South game, but they remain on course to repeat what they achieved last term. Under Jerry Gill, Bath City reached the playoffs last season and they currently occupy fifth place. Their defeat at Havant and Waterlooville ended a five-match unbeaten league run, however at Twerton Park they remain five unbeaten in the National South stretching back to Bank Holiday August, their only home defeat so far in all competitions.

Jerry Gill’s side are eight points off leaders Wealdstone and if it hadn’t been for a run of one victory in nine from the end of August to mid-October, they would be title contenders. The 2019/2020 season started with three wins and two draws and recently the Somerset club put a run of four straight victories together in the league before the 2-1 reverse to Havant and Waterlooville.

Goal threats come from Tom Smith, Ryan Brunt and Adam Mann who have netted 24 goals between them in all competitions, Mann has managed seven in his last nine appearances. Defensively, the Romans have kept things tight and only two sides in the National South have conceded fewer goals this term.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 33 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Current League Form

Dartford (DWWDWL) Bath City (LWWWWD)
Maidstone United H 2-2 Havant & Waterloovile A 1-2
Hampton and Richmond A 2-1 Concord Rangers H 3-1
Eastbourne Borough A 2-0 Dulwich Hamlet A 3-1
Chippenham Town H 1-1 Dorking Wanderers H 1-0
Oxford City A 1-0 St Albans City A 1-0
Slough Town H 2-3 Maidstone United H 1-1

Last Six Meetings

09.02.2019 Dartford 3 Bath City 0
04.08.2018 Bath City 1 Dartford 2
21.04.2018 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
24.10.2017 Bath City 1 Dartford 2
04.03.2017 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
22.10.2016 Bath City 0 Dartford 1

Stats

Dartford have won the last seven games against Bath City with an aggregate score of 16-3. For the past three seasons the Darts have completed the double over the Romans.

The Darts are unbeaten in five games at Twerton Park winning the last three and drawing the other two. Bath City’s last home win over Dartford was a 4-2 victory on 2 December 1988.

Dartford are unbeaten in eight matches against Bath City last tasting defeat on 7 April 1990 at Watling Street.

On This Day

The Darts play their first away game on 30 November since 1983 when they drew 0-0 against Kings Lynn in the Southern Premier League. Dartford’s only win on this day since then was a 4-0 victory over Corby Town back in 2002 in the Southern League Division One East. The last Dartford fixture on 30 November ended in a 1-1 F.A Trophy draw against Forest Green Rovers six years ago, Danny Harris gave the Darts the lead which was cancelled out by Jan Klukowski.

Bath City – Season Preview 2019/2020

Bath City

2018/19 Season

National South: 9th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: Tom Smith (10 goals) / Average Attendance: 702

Chairman, Nick Blofield was happy with his club’s performance last season stating that reaching the playoffs was another step in the right direction. He can be also pleased with average attendances at Twerton Park being at their highest for forty years and the club’s best finish in seven seasons. The club has also requested permission to redevelop their home to safeguard the club’s future, manager Jerry Gill stated on the club’s official website: “The redevelopment of Twerton Park will not only give us, the Football Club, a brand new, fit for purpose and state of the art facility, but also a hub for the local community to use on a regular basis”. 

Even more reason to be optimistic is the fact the Romans signed Tyler Harvey from Truro City. Despite experiencing relegation last season he finished as the third highest scorer in the National South. In 2016, Harvey scored six goals in eleven appearances for Bath City during a loan spell. Bath City have also signed last season’s top scorer for the club, Tom Smith. The 21-year-old can’t get enough of Twerton Park, he has already made 58 appearances for Bath City over three loan spells, and has now signed a two year contract joining from Cheltenham Town. Other new players will include right back Ashley Harper and centre back Matt Bower from relegated Weston-super-Mare, Connor Riley-Rowe also from Truro City and midfielder Jordan Simpson from Forest Green Rovers. The most notable departure over the summer was ever-present centre back Robbie Cundy who moved back to full time football securing a deal with Championship side Bristol City.

The Manager – Jerry Gill

Appointed manager of Bath City in October 2017, Gill took over from Gary Owers who had left for Torquay United. The appointment marked the return of the former defender who played over 200 times for the Romans in the nineties. His playing career included a League Cup Final and promotion to the Premier League with Birmingham City and a League Two playoff triumph with Cheltenham Town. Gill started managing eight years ago with Weymouth, but he resigned after 44 days with the club struggling financially. Since then he has held coaching roles at Bristol Rovers, Birmingham City and Kidderminster Harriers as well as with Norwich City’s and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ academies.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 33 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Last Six Meetings

09.02.2019 Dartford 3 Bath City 0
04.08.2018 Bath City 1 Dartford 2
21.04.2018 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
24.10.2017 Bath City 1 Dartford 2
04.03.2017 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
22.10.2016 Bath City 0 Dartford 1

Facts

Dartford have won the last seven games against Bath City with an aggregate score of 16-3. For the past three seasons the Darts have completed the double over the Romans.

Bath City last beat Dartford on 7 April 1990 at Watling Street in the Southern Premier League.

Last Ten Years

Next Meetings

Saturday 30 November 2019 at Twerton Park

Saturday 28 March 2020 at Princes Park

Dartford v Bath City

Dartford face yet another side aiming for a promotion challenge when they host an in form Bath City in the National South this weekend.

The Darts last four league games have been against teams pushing for the playoffs or the league title. A result on Saturday will see a decent return from those fixtures, especially off the back of Tuesday’s dramatic victory over title contenders Woking. Ronnie Vint headed home a 97th minute winner at the Kingfield Stadium to record Dartford’s first win at the Cards home and move his side into seventh.

In fact it was a game of cards with the hosts finishing the game with just nine men. Ben Gerring was sent off after the official was reminded he had already booked the Woking defender by the Darts management team. Then Armani Little was given a straight red card for striking Lee Noble. Sensing the advantage the Darts pushed for a goal and were rewarded when Vint headed into the Woking goal at the far post.

After the excellent win, Vint spoke to www.kentonline and said: “I got a bit of stick in the first half down in that corner so I thought ‘do you know what, 90th minute, I’m going to give a little bit back here’ and it was nice to see it go in”, he added: “The gaffers have been on my case about getting on the end of things and what a time to get my first header of the season. I’m delighted for the boys”.

The central defender praised his teammates and exclaimed: “It was a proper Dartford performance and we deserved three points.It’s a massive result for us. We’ve been in and out of the play-offs but we’re going in the right direction now”, he continued: “Recently the boys have been brilliant. Everyone’s getting on, they’re gelling and it’s a pleasure to be in the changing-room. When we get results like this, it can only help us going forward. We’re back in the play-offs now and we’ve got to stay in there”.

The Darts won the previous encounter against the Romans on the opening day of the season in dramatic circumstances. At Twerton Park, Dartford had to leave it late to come from behind and secure a 2-1 victory. Bath City’s summer recruit Adam Mann scored after ten minutes, but his strike was cancelled out by Elliot Bradbrook’s header in first half injury time.

With the game heading for a draw Robbie Cundy conceded a dubious penalty only for Bradbrook to miss the target. A couple of minutes later the Darts were awarded a second spot kick which was clear cut decision, this time new signing Delano Sam-Yorke stepped up and scored the winner.

Dartford did host Bath City in April during last season’s title push and on that occasion, it was a tenser affair. Although the Darts took a first half lead when Danny Mills headed in at the far post, the hosts had to wait until seventy minutes to secure the points through Alfie Pavey, who pounced on Brown’s shot across goal and keep up the decent home form versus the Romans.

In March 2017, Dartford recorded the same score with goals from Bradbrook and Duane Ofori-Acheampong and in January 2016, Dartford won 4-1. Andy Pugh’s brace and goals from Ryan Hayes and Callum McNaughton helped the Darts to victory, David Pratt scored for the visitors.

Bath City have finished ninth in the previous two campaigns and during pre-season manager Jerry Gill was confident the Romans would be challengers this term. The Romans have moved up the standings since the festive period and are currently on a nine-match unbeaten league run. Sitting in fourth place, six points behind league leaders Torquay United, Bath City have not lost on the road in the National South since 1 September.

The West Country side have yet to taste defeat in 2019 and their last outing ended in a 0-0 draw against Gloucester City. Without Kebin Amankwaah and Sean Rigg due to injury, the Romans had to settle for a point. Goalkeeper, Ryan Clarke saved a first half penalty to deny their opponents of their best chance, whilst Fredrick Hinds had the ball in the back of the net for Bath City, only for his effort to be ruled out for offside.

Since the back end of December, the Romans have been on form winning six and drawing three. Notably the Somerset club have thrashed Chippenham Town 5-0 and recorded excellent results by beating Torquay United 3-2 and Chelmsford city 2-0.

Although he has not scored in his last four matches Ross Stearn can be a threat up front, the 28-year-old has scored nine league goals this season. The striker has netted a brace against the Darts before at Princes Park during a 6-3 F.A Cup defeat to Sutton United. Ryan Brunt and Anthony Straker have also been amongst the goals this season with eight and seven scored respectively.

Since the opening day of the season, Dartford’s squad has seen numerous changes in contrast to the last starting eleven Bath City selected. On Tuesday night, the Darts fielded six players who had joined or rejoined the club after the opening day (Bailey Vose, Daniel Johnson, Jordan Wynter, Charlie Sheringham, Phil Roberts and Ryan Hayes, including substitutes used then Andre Coker can be added to that list). Bath City selected just three new players compared to the last encounter with the Darts, all of which were loanees added to the squad last month.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 32 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Current League Form

Dartford (WDLWDW) Bath City (DWWDWW)
Woking A 1-0 Gloucester City A 0-0
Concord Rangers H 1-1 Torquay United A 3-2
Chelmsford City A 1-2 East Thurrock United H 1-0
St Albans City H 3-2 Slough Town H 0-0
Wealdstone A 1-1 Dulwich Hamlet A 2-0
Welling United H 1-0 Chippenham Town H 5-0

Previous Meetings

04.08.2018 Bath City 1 Dartford 2
21.04.2018 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
24.10.2017 Bath City 1 Dartford 2
04.03.2017 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
22.10.2016 Bath City 0 Dartford 1
16.01.2016 Dartford 4 Bath City 1

Stats

Dartford have recorded six straight wins against Bath City completing a double in the past two campaigns.

The Romans last defeated the Darts back in 1990 when they won 1-0 in the Southern Premier League.

Dartford have kept four clean sheets in the previous six meetings against Bath City.

Bath City have kept seven clean sheets from their last nine fixtures.

Tuesday’s hero, Vint can make his 150th Dartford appearance if selected this weekend.

On This Day

Brendon Cass controversially scored a ‘ghost goal’ against AFC Sudbury to rescue a point and keep the Darts on top of the Isthmian Division One North table. The top two went head to head eleven years ago and it was John Guest who headed Dartford in front. The hosts fought back to lead with two goals from Jamie Rowe. On the stroke of half-time Cass had a shot saved by goalkeeper only for the ball to ricochet of the striker’s leg towards goal, an AFC Sudbury defender slid and cleared the ball off the line but the official awarded a goal to the Darts. The game ended up 2-2 contributing to the 89 points Dartford accrued to win the title, AFC Sudbury finished runners up.

Bath City v Dartford

New management, new squad, new season, Dartford’s summer of change is put to the test for the first time this weekend against Bath City.

The Darts open their 2018/2019 National South campaign at Twerton Park where they won 2-1 last term. Only half of the squad that featured on that October evening remain at Dartford for the forthcoming season.

Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle will select their first competitive squad which will include seven new signings. Callum Driver will be familiar with the Darts having had a spell with the club previously. The new management team have made use of their contacts by signing Ben Greenhalgh, Billy Roast and Manny Igahore from Flanagan’s former club Concord Rangers, whilst Driver arrives from Coyle’s old team Welling United. Delano Sam-Yorke joins the strike force from Maidstone United, Kudus Oyenuga from Chelmsford City and Sam Mensah from Whitehawk.

Three days before the opening game, Dartford announced the signing of Chez Isaac. The 25 year old midfielder spent last season at Woking and has played for Braintree Town, Boreham Wood and Watford. The news came a day after striker Alex Wall was released even though he only signed this summer. The Darts also brought in Jamie Philpot from Millwall where he made nine first team appearances. He has had previous spells at Woking and Coyle’s former club Welling United.

With the loss of top scorer and National South’s Player of the Year, Alfie Pavey to champions Havant and Waterlooville, the creativity of Ryan Hayes who made 580 appearances for the club and the experience of Danny Harris, who appeared 400 times in a Darts shirt, Flanagan and Coyle have had to rebuild.

However, the duo did manage to retain the likes of former captain Elliot Bradbrook, Deren Ibrahim, who has been publicly backed as the number one goalkeeper, Lee Noble, Andy Pugh and Tom Bonner. Mark Onyemah, Ronnie Vint, Tom Murphy and Alfie Cue will also be part of this season’s squad.

Dartford prepared for the new season with friendly wins at Aveley, Sevenoaks Town, Thamesmead Town and Folkestone Invicta and three defeats to Football League clubs Millwall, Gillingham and Colchester United. Noble has had limited time on the field during pre-season but hopes to be fit for the opening game of the campaign, the midfielder has been struggling with a minor calf injury.  Unfortunately, Pugh’s double leg break against Colchester United will rule him out for the long term. The striker has scored 50 goals for the Darts in 159 appearances and his intelligent play will be missed.

Coyle highlighted his concerns when he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk, he said: “It’s upsetting because we had really high hopes for him this year. He’s been training well, looking sharp and we were expecting him to have a good season. He’s a strong character and with his mentality, he’ll be back as quick as anyone else”, he continued: “We’ll support him as much as we can. He’s a huge player for the club and has been for the last few years. It’s a real concern because if Pughy stayed fit this year, it’s almost a guarantee of 25 goals. Trying to find someone to fill that void is very difficult”.

The Darts completed a league double over Bath City last term, Alfie Pavey’s brace was enough to secure the three points at Twerton Park last time, although the Romans did equalise just before half-time through Tom Smith. The reverse fixture at Princes Park ended 2-0 back in April, this time Danny Mills and Pavey scored in either half.

Jerry Gill will start his first full campaign as Bath City boss having replaced Gary Owers ten months ago. The Romans manager is pleased with preparations which include friendly wins over Reading and Bristol City’s under 23 teams, Keynsham Town and Street, as well as a Bristol Rovers XI, Evesham United and Weymouth. The only defeat for the Romans was against Exeter City.

After a ninth-place finish last season Gill has added some attacking options which include John Mills from Hereford F.C, who netted 140 goals in three seasons with the Bulls. Ross Stearn comes in from Sutton United, where he scored twice against the Darts almost two years ago and Adam Mann from Evesham United, where he scored 24 goals in the Southern League Division One West. Gill also welcomes Ryan Clarke in goal from Bristol City, Ryan Brunt from Exeter City, Robbie Cundy from Gloucester City and Joe Raynes from Frome Town. Other players to feature regularly during pre-season who were part of the squad last term include Kevin Amankwaah, Frankie Artus, Dan Ball, Jack Batten and Matt Richards.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 31 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Previous Meetings

21.04.2018 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
24.10.2017 Bath City 1 Dartford 2
04.03.2017 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
22.10.2016 Bath City 0 Dartford 1
16.01.2016 Dartford 4 Bath City 1
05.09.2015 Bath City 0 Dartford 0

Stats

Dartford have won their last five matches against Bath City, scoring 11 and conceding two.

The Darts are six games unbeaten against the Romans last losing in 1990, when Bath City won 1-0 at Twerton Park.

Dartford last won their opening game of the season five years ago, when they beat Alfreton Town 1-0 at Princes Park. Since then they lost two in a row and drew in the previous two campaigns.

The Darts last away win on the opening day was 4-0 against Weston-super-Mare back in 2011.

This season will be the earliest Dartford have ever started a new league campaign.

National League South Season Preview 2018/2019 – Part One

 Bath City | Billericay Town | Chelmsford CityChippenham Town | Concord Rangers

Bath City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Twerton Park

Over the last four years you cannot fault Bath City for consistency. The Romans left the National League via the relegation trapdoor six years ago, since then they have gone through off field transition. The Somerset club turned to filmmaker and fan Ken Loach, who campaigned for a community owned club, the appeal was successful and last summer the transition was completed. During that period, Bath City finished successive seasons in fourteenth followed by back to back ninth place finishes. Hoping to benefit from the playoff places being extended to seventh, the Romans had to settle for the top ten last term, even with the disruption of manager Gary Owers leaving in September for Torquay United.

Last Season

National South: 9th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: Tom Smith (10 goals)

Average Attendance: 702 (6th in National South)

The Manager – Jerry Gill

Appointed manager of Bath City in October 2017, Gill took over from Gary Owers who had left for Torquay United. The appointment marked the return of the former defender who played over 200 times for the Romans in the nineties. His playing career included a League Cup Final and promotion to the Premier League with Birmingham City and a League Two playoff triumph with Cheltenham Town. Gill started managing eight years ago with Weymouth, but he resigned after 44 days with the club struggling financially. Since then he has held coaching roles at Bristol Rovers, Birmingham City and Kidderminster Harriers as well as with Norwich City’s and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ academies.

The Summer

With Bath City’s golden boot winner Jack Compton signing for Chippenham Town, Gill swooped to sign John Mills from Hereford FC. The striker scored 140 goals in three seasons with the Bulls and before that he netted 57 in one campaign with Didcot Town. Ross Stearn makes the move from Sutton United a permanent one, he will be back at Twerton Park for a third time after two loan spells in 2013 and 2015. Also, Adam Mann joins the Romans after scoring 24 goals with Evesham United in the Southern League Division One West last term. Defender Robbie Cundy arrives from National South rivals Gloucester City, Ryan Brunt from Exeter City and goalkeeper Ryan Clarke from Torquay United. Having impressed during pre-season The Romans signed midfielder Joe Raynes from Frome Town. Bath City also welcome the return of James Morton on loan from Bristol City until the end of January 2019. Miles Welch-Hayes was named in the National South’s Team of the Year and returns to the Football League with promoted Macclesfield Town. Ryan Case, Nat Jarvis and George Rigg have also left the club with the latter two moving to rivals Chippenham Town.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 31 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Previous Meetings

21.04.2018 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
24.10.2017 Bath City 1 Dartford 2
04.03.2017 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
22.10.2016 Bath City 0 Dartford 1
16.01.2016 Dartford 4 Bath City 1
05.09.2015 Bath City 0 Dartford 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 4 August 2018 at Twerton Park

Saturday 9 February 2019 at Princes Park

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Billericay Town

Founded: 1880 / Ground: New Lodge

An ambitious club under owner and former manager Glenn Tamplin, Billericay Town delivered under the pressure of high expectations. The Essex club have attracted old Premier League stars such as Jamie O’Hara and Paul Konchesky and signed players who should be playing higher up the pyramid. With financial allure, the Blues built a squad who should have won the Isthmian Premier League and they did, as well as the League Cup. Billericay Town also reached the F.A Cup first round for only the fourth time in their history and were F.A Trophy quarter-finalists last season. Ricay’s last and only foray in the National South ended in relegation five years ago, expectations are higher this time.

Last Season

Isthmian Premier: 1st

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: Quarter-Final

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Jake Robinson (34 goals)

Average Attendance: 1057 (2nd in Isthmian Premier)

The Manager – Harry Wheeler

At 23-years-old, Harry Wheeler beat a record set by Andre Villas Boas when he became the youngest person to gain a UEFA A-License. Joining from Welling United in April 2017 he led the Blues to success last term winning the Isthmian Premier League and League Cup. Wheeler played for Stevenage, Hampton & Richmond Borough and St Albans City before moving towards a coaching career. He ran the reserve team at Potters Bar Town, managed St Albans City at 26-years-old and was head of Professional Development at Dagenham and Redbridge for two years. This summer he added owner Glenn Tamplin as his assistant, who was also Wheeler’s predecessor.

The Summer

High ambitions and a step up in non-league football means plenty of change for Billericay Town. Simon Walton will bring experience to the team having played for Sutton United last season, Walton has played in the Football League with Leeds United, Cardiff City, Ipswich Town, Hull City and Plymouth Argyle. Promoted with Dulwich Hamlet in May, Ricky Hayles switches allegiances to Ricay, apart from a short stint with Welling united the defender has spent most of his career in Essex with the likes of Tilbury, Thurrock and East Thurrock United. Wheeler has also persuaded former Truro City captain Ben Gerring to join his side as well as England C international Jake Howells from Dagenham and Redbridge, former Bromley striker Moses Emmanuel, left back Callum Kennedy from AFC Wimbledon and winger Connor Hunte from Greenwich Borough via Kingstonian. Between the sticks, 18-year-old Josh Strizovic comes in as back up after spells with Waltham Forest and Burnham Ramblers. Scott Doe made over 300 appearances for rivals Dagenham and Redbridge, the 29-year-old joins after spells with Whitehawk and Boreham Wood. Adam Coombes showed his potential at Welling United two years ago scoring 31 goals which included four hat-tricks. The striker moved to Sutton United, but injury hampered his progress, so he returned to the Wings. The 27-year-old will now be playing in Essex again with Billericay Town. There have also been notable departures including Rob Swaine going back to local rivals Chelmsford City, Billy Bricknell who scored 105 goals for the club in 184 appearances, Rob Evans and Josh Urquhart both played over 50 times last season. Goalkeeper Jack Giddens leaves for East Thurrock United, Leo Chambers and Louie Theophanous both join Kingstonian and Kevin Foley was released. Olly Sprague, Liam Hughes, Byron Lawrence, Luke Rooney, Sanchez Watt, Nick Wheeler and Charlie Cole are also no longer part of Wheeler’s plans.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Billericay Town wins: 2 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

24.04.2010 Dartford 1 Billericay Town 4
07.11.2009 Billericay Town 1 Dartford 0
02.05.1981 Dartford 2 Billericay Town 0
13.12.1980 Billericay Town 0 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 15 September 2018 at New Lodge

Monday 22 April 2019 at Princes Park

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Chelmsford City

Founded: 1878 / Ground: Melbourne Stadium

Last season, the Clarets celebrated a tenth consecutive campaign in the National South. The Essex side will think that’s not worth celebrating simply because they are desperate for a crack at the National League. With an exception of a three-year mediocre spell, Chelmsford City have made regular appearances in the playoffs reaching the end of season finale six times in the last decade, losing the final two years ago. Joint favourites to win the National South last term, The Clarets made a solid start and were amongst the front runners, but they dropped off the pace only to frustratingly lose another playoff semi-final.  The Essex club have spent the summer talking of a takeover and hope this to be resolved fully soon.

Last Season

National South: 3rd

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Runner Up

League Top Scorer: Philip Roberts (18 goals)

Average Attendance: 897 (2nd in National South)

The Manager – Rod Stringer

When Rod Stringer took over two years ago Chelmsford City had spent the previous three seasons outside of the playoffs. Joining from rivals Bishop’s Stortford he has turned the Clarets into title contenders finishing fourth and third since his arrival. He has a proven track record of getting teams challenging for promotion winning the Isthmian Division One North with Aveley, then taking them to the Isthmian Premier League playoffs. Stringer moved to Braintree Town and in his only season at Cressing Road he won the Isthmian Premier League. A spell at Bishop’s Stortford wasn’t as successful as previous roles, but Stringer has brought optimism and consistency back to the Essex club.

The Summer

Rod Stringer has looked across the county border this summer bringing in a number of players from Kent sides. Joe Anderson and Tom Wraight join from Maidstone United, Anderson spent four years at Bromley before playing for the Stones whilst Wraight only managed 26 appearances last season off the back of a decent record at East Thurrock United where he scored 43 times across two seasons. Another former Maidstone United man, Alex Akrofi scored 34 goals in 68 appearances for Tonbridge Angels and is now a Claret. Joining from Gillingham is striker Rhys Murphy, who impressed on trial in pre-season, he has also played in the Netherlands for Telstar in 2012 as well as Dagenham and Redbridge, Oldham Athletic and Forest Green Rovers. Amos Nasha moves from local rivals Concord Rangers, experience goalkeeper Ross Worner comes in from Sutton United and 30-year-old defender Rob Swaine returns to the club for a second spell. Familiar with Stringer at Braintree Town, Jai Reason teams back up with the Chelmsford City boss after spells at Eastleigh and Boreham Wood. Stringer also managed to convince prolific striker Scott Fenwick to stay and move down from the North East. The Clarets have picked up Jordan Chiedozie who netted 29 times in 39 appearances for Margate last term. The striker had a spell with Dartford on loan in 2015 and has featured for Concord Rangers, Poole Town and Cambridge United in the past. Kudus Oyenuga leaves Melbourne Park for Princes Park for a new chapter with Dartford, Michael West moves south to Eastbourne Borough and goalkeeper Sam Beasant is now at Concord Rangers. The experienced Chris Dickson has left to continue his career at Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 36 / Chelmsford City wins: 55 / Draws: 91

Previous Meetings

10.02.2018 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 2
21.10.2017 Chelmsford City 1 Dartford 0
07.05.2017 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 2
03.05.2017 Chelmsford City 0 Dartford 0
18.02.2017 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1
14.01.2017 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1

Next Meetings

Tuesday 7 August 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 19 January 2019 at Melbourne Stadium

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Chippenham Town

Founded: 1873 / Ground: Hardenhuish Park

Competing at their highest level in the football pyramid didn’t faze Chippenham Town last season. Having gained confidence by winning the Southern Premier League with a record number of points, the Bluebirds settled in the National South with a mid-table finish. To add a touch of gloss to their debut campaign the Wiltshire club also won the Wiltshire Premier Shield. Chippenham Town made the most of their home form losing just four times at Hardenhuish Park, comparative to teams in the playoffs. However, they did lose the most away games in the league, the same amount as relegated Whitehawk. Overall a solid start for the Bluebirds’ life in the National South.

Last Season

National South: 13th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Rhys Healey (6 goals)

Average Attendance: 600 (8th in National South)

The Manager – Mark Collier

Chippenham Town had hit a low point in 2013 when they lost 9-0 to Stourbridge. Mark Collier was on holiday in Egypt at the time and when he was asked to become manager he obliged. Year on year Collier has improved the Bluebirds league position and just over a year ago he won the Southern Premier League with his side recording 103 points. Last season was his first in the National South and the Wiltshire club finished in a respectable thirteenth. Prior his appointment at Chippenham Town, Collier famously led Swindon Supermarine to the F.A Cup second round, where they lost 1-0 to Colchester United.

The Summer

When Chippenham Town take on rivals Bath City on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day three new signings will be up against their former club. Jack Compton scored 12 times for the Romans last term, George Rigg made 25 appearances and Nat Jarvis have all joined from Bath City. The Bluebirds add experienced 31-year-old Yan Klukowski from Torquay United, the midfielder also played for Forest green Rovers, Newport County and York City. Goalkeeper, Will Puddy comes in from Hereford FC to take Jared Thompson’s place, who returned to parent club Chelsea. Whilst left back Kieran Parselle makes his move from Gloucester City.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Chippenham Town wins: 0 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings

20.01.2018 Chippenham Town 2 Dartford 2
09.09.2017 Dartford 3 Chippenham Town 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 13 October 2018 at Hardenhuish Park

Saturday 13 April 2019 at Princes Park

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Concord Rangers

Founded: 1967 / Ground: Thames Road

The Beachboys retained their status in the National South in their penultimate game of the season. Concord Rangers won a relegation six pointer against Hungerford Town to stay up. Even with safety confirmed, the Essex club still had a massive say in where the title would end up. On the final day they were two down against Havant and Waterlooville then fought back to level. In the final minute they conceded the goal that sent the title to Hampshire. The Essex club have now completed five seasons in the National South, the new management team will be hoping the sixth campaign will be less of a battle at the wrong end of the table.

Last Season

National South: 17th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Quarter-Final

League Top Scorer: Steve Cawley (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 263 (22nd in National South)

The Manager – Sammy Moore

New to the management game, 30-year-old Sammy Moore has had one year’s experience as a manager which was at Leatherhead. He was part of Ipswich Town’s F.A Youth Cup winning side in 2005 and went on to play for Brentford and Stevenage Borough. The midfielder won the Isthmian Premier League with Dover Athletic nine years ago, then made it into the Football League with AFC Wimbledon through the playoffs two years later. Moore had a spell with Leyton Orient before returning on loan to Dover Athletic. A year ago, he was appointed Player Manager at Leatherhead and impressed enough to replace Adam Flanagan at Concord Rangers this summer.

The Summer

New manager Sammy Moore set his stall out early in the transfer window and made wholesale changes. After ** years at Dartford, Ryan Hayes will be showing his skills with Concord Rangers next term, the winger played 580 times for the Darts and scored 108 goals. Another former Dart, Tyrone Sterling was a F.A Trophy finalist last season with Bromley he will be reunited with Hayes. The former Leatherhead boss, Moore raided his old club by bringing over Frazer Shaw, the experienced Sean Clohessy and midfielder Sam Blackman. The exciting signing of Billy Knott, ex Bradford City, Sunderland, AFC Wimbledon and Gillingham plus a host of other Football League clubs has provided quiet optimism amongst the Beachboys. Lee Minshull will link up again with Moore and Jack Midson, Jack Parkinson joins from Welling United as a player coach, Kojo Awotwi signs from VCD Athletic and Nana Boakye-Yiadom from Dulwich Hamlet. Concord Rangers will also welcome Danny Green on the wing and 30-year-old goalkeeper Sam Beasant from Chelmsford City. On the way out, last season’s top scorer Steve Cawley moves to Hemel Hempstead Town, Ben Greenhalgh joins Dartford, Khale Da Costa switches to St Albans City and Steve King leaves after ten years. Billy Roast and Lewis Knight were also released.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Concord Rangers wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

06.01.2018 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 1
15.08.2017 Dartford 2 Concord Rangers 0
11.03.2017 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 1
24.09.2016 Dartford 2 Concord Rangers 1
27.02.2016 Dartford 1 Concord Rangers 2
18.08.2015 Concord Rangers 2 Dartford 3

Next Meetings

Tuesday 14 August 2018 at Thames Road

Saturday 26 January 2019 at Princes Park

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Dartford v Bath City

Dartford will head into their final home game of the season against playoff hopefuls Bath City with a clear lead at the top of the National South.

The Darts recorded their third 1-0 victory in a week on Tuesday night to give themselves a three point advantage over title rivals Havant and Waterlooville, shifting the pressure onto the Hawks for their final three games of the season.

Leading up to the East Thurrock United game, Tony Burman gave an interview with www.kentonline.co.uk and is feeling a positive vibe, he said: “We’re in a real good place. I’ll tell you now, the group are really together and they’re believing. They’ve worked really hard all season and that work now has got to be carried out in the right manner. Also, the supporters are behind them and there’s a feelgood factor, which is nice, but all we do is take it into the next game”.

Now that vibe is getting stronger thanks to Danny Mills’ 78th minute header on Tuesday night earning Dartford their seventh straight victory. Although the Darts have not been as free scoring as earlier in the campaign, they have now recorded four clean sheets in a row on their travels and five in the last six outings home and away. If the Darts can take their winning streak to eight this weekend then potentially they could lead by six points going into the final week of the season.

Earlier this term Dartford won at Twerton Park and could repeat last season’s double over Bath City with victory at Princes Park. Back in October, the Darts ended up with ten men when Andy Pugh was red carded with the scores at 1-1, but Alfie Pavey pounced to score the decisive goal. The game started with Ryan Hayes trying his luck straight from kick-off and hitting the crossbar and with just over half hour played Pavey opened the scoring. Before the break Bath City’s Tom Smith equalised before Pavey netted the winner with almost ten minutes remaining. The last meeting at Princes Park was just over a year ago when Elliot Bradbrook scored a penalty and Duane Ofori-Acheampong added a second.

Bath City have hopes of their own in trying to reach the National South playoffs. A top seven place will qualify the Romans for a chance to return to the National League after a six-year absence.

Last weekend, the Romans pulled of a comprehensive 5-0 home win over Hungerford Town. Matt Richards scored from the spot early on and Opi Edwards made it 2-0 before the break. Second half goals from Andy Watkins, Jack Batten and Nat Jarvis secured back to back five goal hauls at home.

Manager, Jerry Gill spoke to somersetlive.co.uk after the game, he said: “Once we got into the game and scored the first goal I thought we were massively in the ascendancy”. The Bath City boss still believes a playoff place is possible, he commented: “It keeps us in the hunt, doesn’t it? In the race. A few results have gone with us, people will be getting twitchy at this stage of the season and we might be the ones that come late”, before adding: “”We really believe in this dressing room, as a staff and players, we can make it”.

Sandwiched between the 5-1 win against Gloucester City and the rout over Hungerford Town, the Somerset club lost on the road to Wealdstone. Gill’s side threw away the lead given to them by Richards, his first goal for the club. The Stones left it late to overturn the deficit and take three points from Bath City.

The Somerset club have been on the fringes of the playoffs all season, but have been unable to take the leap above that dotted line. Gill looked back to a number of good performances specifically picking out the narrow defeats to the Darts back in October and the losses to Braintree Town and Havant and Waterlooville in February and March respectively.

One player who caused Dartford some problems in the 6-3 F.A Cup defeat to Sutton United last term was Kevin Amankwaah, the full back joined Bath City in September and returned to action on Saturday, coming off the bench to replace the influential Dan Ball, who was substituted as a precaution due to a minor ankle injury. The Romans have also missed other key players like Frankie Artus and Sean Rigg to injuries.

On Tuesday night, the Romans went out of the Somerset Premier Cup on penalties against Weston-super-Mare. Bath City fielded a first team, but Andy Watkins’ brace only helped Bath City to a 2-2 draw. Their opponents went through to the final with a 4-3 shoot-out win.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 30 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Current League Form

Dartford (WWWWWW) Bath City (WLWDLW)
East Thurrock United A 1-0 Hungerford Town H 5-0
Eastbourne Borough A 1-0 Wealdstone A 1-2
Gloucester City A 1-0 Gloucester City H 5-1
Weston-super-Mare H 3-1 Hemel Hempstead A 1-1
Hampton & Richmond H 1-0 Havant & Waterlooville H 1-2
Oxford City A 2-0 Poole Town A 4-0

Previous Meetings

24.10.2017 Bath City 1 Dartford 2
04.03.2017 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
22.10.2016 Bath City 0 Dartford 1
16.01.2016 Dartford 4 Bath City 1
05.09.2015 Bath City 0 Dartford o
07.04.1990 Dartford 0 Bath City 1

Stats
Dartford have won the last four meetings against Bath City and are unbeaten against the Romans since returning to the National South in 2015 (W4, D1).

The Darts have kept five clean sheets in the last eight outings against the Romans conceding just three times.

At home, Dartford have won six, drew one and lost one against teams in the top ten.

The last time Bath City scored more than one goal against the Darts was in 1988, when the Romans won 4-2 in the Southern Premier League.

On This Day
The Darts will be playing their eighth home game in a row on 21 April, the previous seven has seen four Dartford victories, two draws and a defeat. The last outing on this day four years ago sealed the Darts relegation to the National South with a 3-2 loss at home to Tamworth, Elliot Bradbrook scored both Dartford’s goals. Six years ago, the Darts drew 2-2 after conceding a last minute equaliser against Boreham Wood, Tony Garrod and Jacob Erskine found the net that day. Lee Noble, Jay May, Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle all scored in Dartford’s final game of the 2008/09 campaign securing a 4-2 home win over Ashford Town (Middlesex). The Darts recorded the same score six years earlier beating St Leonards in the Southern League Eastern Division, and in 2007 drew 0-0 with Walton Casuals in the Isthmian Division One South.

Bath City v Dartford

Dartford could end up top of the table on Tuesday night providing they can beat hosts Bath City in the National South.

The Darts may be down in seventh spot but they are just three points behind leaders Braintree Town. If third place St Albans City lose to Hampton and Richmond, then Tony Burman’s side will head the table once again.

Dartford’s superior goal difference could be the difference and with St Albans City the next team to visit Princes Park, a result over Bath City will hopefully give the Darts momentum. Ending the run of difficult fixtures will be Swindon Town in the F.A Cup first round but for now the attention will be on the league.

On the weekend, Dartford had the chance to beat one of the promotion challengers Chelmsford City. However, an early goal by former Ebbsfleet United midfielder Michael West was decisive enough to earn the Clarets all three points. The Darts failed to break down the Essex club despite playing most the match with an extra player, after Kudus Oyenuga was sent off for Chelmsford City. It was the second defeat in three league games for Dartford.

Last season, the trip to Twerton Park ended successfully for the first time since 1975. After ten attempts Dartford finally recorded an away victory against the Romans but had to leave it late. The only goal of the contest was scored on the counter attack by Luke Wanadio who curled the ball into the Bath City net.

The Romans are eleventh in the National South and a win for them will move them a point behind the Darts. Bath City’s fixture scheduled has also been tough lately but last time out they drew 1-1 with league leaders Braintree Town. George Rigg, who was sent off in the final minutes had the Romans ahead before they conceded with five minutes to go. It could have been better for Bath City had they converted an earlier penalty which was missed by Nat Jarvis. In the previous game the Romans lost 2-0 to St Albans City.

Head to Head
Bath City wins: 40 / Dartford wins: 29 / Draws: 19

Current League Form

Bath City (DLDWWW) Dartford (LWLWWW)
Braintree Town H 1-1 Chelmsford City A 0-1
St Albans City A 0-2 Bognor Regis Town H 3-1
Wealdstone H 0-0 Weston-super-Mare A 0-3
Hungerford Town A 2-1 Eastbourne Borough H 4-2
Concord Rangers A 1-0 Chippenham Town H 3-0
Oxford City H 2-1 Whitehawk A 4-0

Previous Meetings

04.03.2017 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
22.10.2016 Bath City 0 Dartford 1
16.01.2016 Dartford 4 Bath City 1
05.09.2015 Bath City 0 Dartford o
07.04.1990 Dartford 0 Bath City 1
09.09.1989 Bath City 1 Dartford 0

Stats
Dartford’s failure to score on the weekend means they are now joint top scorers in the National South with Braintree Town on 30 goals.

The Darts have won their last three against Bath City, their best run since 1971/72

Dartford have kept five clean sheets in their last seven matches against the Romans.

The Darts have won just one of their last eleven at Twerton Park (D4, L6)

Bath City are the only side in the top half of the table with a negative goal difference (-2)

On This Day
Dartford have won their last three games on 24 October with the most recent being against Bishop’s Stortford two years ago. The Darts took the lead through Barry Cogan but the match was level after Christian Smith headed the equaliser. Elliott Bradbrook scored the winner early in the second half. In 2009, Bradbrook, Jamie Coyle, Ryan Hayes and Jay May all found the net as Dartford beat Aveley 4-1 despite ending up with ten men after Adam Flanagan was red carded. Gosport Borough were beaten 1-0 in 1989 in the Southern Premier League meeting.

National League South Season Preview 2017/18 – Part I

 Bath City | Bognor Regis Town | Braintree Town | Chelmsford City

Bath City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Twerton Park

The Romans achieved their highest finish in three years last term to finish in the top ten. Decent form from mid-November to mid-February helped the cause as Bath City tasted league defeat just once in that period. This season will mark the Romans sixth consecutive campaign in the National South as they push for a playoff place and a hopeful return to the National League, which they exited five years ago.

Last Season

National South: 9th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Andy Watkins (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 612 (8th in league / 59th in non-league)

The Manager – Gary Owers

Former Sunderland, Bristol City and Notts County midfielder last managed Bath City over ten years ago in the Southern Premier League. The 47 year old, went on to manage Forest Green Rovers and Weston-Super-Mare prior assistant manager roles at Aldershot Town, Plymouth Argyle and his hometown club Gateshead. Owers enjoyed his first full campaign last season and this time is aiming for the top five. The Romans boss committed to the club this summer for the next two years and hopes the community buy out off the field will reap its rewards.

The Summer

Shaun McClousky returns to his parent club Bristol City, which allows Jamie Lucas from Bristol Rovers and Nat Jarvis from Hungerford Town to try and replace his goals. Owers has opted for experience at the back signing Grenadian international Anthony Straker from Aldershot Town and Darren Jones from Newport County, adding a little youthfulness in the defence will be Miles Welch-Hayes from Oxford United. Top scorer Andy Watkins was retained after picking up last season’s Player of the Year for the Romans. Turning his loan spell last season to a permanent deal, Marvin Morgan signs from Havant and Waterlooville. Triallists, Matt Cafer and Ryan Case impressed enough in pre-season to earn deals.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 29 / Bath City wins: 40 / Draws: 19

Previous Meetings

04.03.2017 Dartford 2 Bath City 0
22.10.2016 Bath City 0 Dartford 1
16.01.2016 Dartford 4 Bath City 1
05.09.2015 Bath City 0 Dartford 0
07.04.1990 Dartford 1 Bath City 0
09.09.1989 Bath City 0 Dartford 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 14 October 2017 at Twerton Park

Saturday 21 April 2018 at Princes Park

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Bognor Regis Town

Founded: 1883 / Ground: Nyewood Lane

Isthmian Premier League runners up two years in a row, the Rocks return to the National South after an eight year absence. In that time the sank to the Isthmian Division One South where again they finished second in consecutive seasons, going up in the playoffs. The Sussex club managed to overcome a strong Dulwich Hamlet side in April’s playoff final and deservedly earned promotion.

Last Season

Isthmian Premier: 2nd

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi Final

League Top Scorer: James Fraser (22 goals)

Average Attendance: 550 (5th in league / 64th in non-league)

The Manager – Vacant

The search for a new boss took some time only for the hard work to be undone. Sami El-Abd agreed to combine the manager’s post with a full time coaching role at Brighton and Hove Albion, only for the defender to step down. General Manager, Jack Pearce praised El-Abd’s honesty and believes any disruptions won’t be a problem for the Rocks.

The Summer

Bognor Regis Town suffered a double blow, after losing manager Jamie Howell, top scorer James Fraser departed Nyewood Lane for Worthing. Corey Heath, once a youth team player with the Rocks will now be part of the senior squad. Goalkeeper, Dan Lincoln and midfield trio Joe Lea, Pat Suraci and Tommy Scutt have all signed on but attracting new players has proved challenging without a manager for most of the summer.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Bognor Regis Town wins: 1 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings

24.04.2010 Bognor Regis Town 0 Dartford 2
07.11.2009 Dartford 3 Bognor Regis Town 3
02.05.1981 Dartford 1 Bognor Regis Town 1
13.12.1980 Bognor Regis Town 2 Dartford 2
01.05.1980 Bognor Regis Town 2 Dartford 0
10.11.1979 Dartford 2 Bognor Regis Town 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 7 October 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 28 April 2018 at Nyewood Lane

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Braintree Town

Founded: 1898 / Ground: Cressing Road

The Irons six year stay amongst the elite of non league ended in relegation last season. In that time the Essex club kept defying the odds starting with mid-table finishes and in 2014 were three points from a playoff spot. A couple of years later, Braintree Town achieved their best ever campaign finishing third, losing the playoff semi final against Grimsby Town. Perhaps victims of their own success, the Iron never recovered and were relegated last term on the final day. At least they reached the F.A cup second round for the first time.

Last Season

National League: 22nd

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Michael Cheek (17 goals)

Average Attendance: 725 (22nd in league / 44th in non-league)

The Manager – Brad Quinton

The club’s record appearance maker after twelve successful seasons with the Iron, Brad Quinton re-joins the Essex club to take charge. Winner of the Isthmian Premier and National South as a player with Braintree Town, he has had a lot of rebuilding to do and his new look squad will be hoping to consolidate in the National South. Quinton has set his sights on the top half of the table by the festive period and then see where he can take them from there. Being a crowd favourite on the pitch may well help him in the dug out.

The Summer

The Irons have signed a teams worth of new players alone including former Dartford striker George Sykes from Canvey Island. Quinton also raided resources at Enfield Town, his former club to work with players he knows and trusts. Nathan McDonald, Jonathan Muleba, Scott Schulton, Samir Bihmoutine, Ricky Gabriel, Nigel Neita and Connor Bolton all join from the Middlesex club. Xavier Vidal has been brought in from Mertsham, Roman Michael-Percil from Metropolitan Police, George Craddock from East Thurrock United and Marc Okoye from Dulwich Hamlet.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Braintree Town wins: 6 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

01.01.2015 Braintree Town 3 Dartford 0
26.12.2014 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
18.04.2014 Braintree Town 1 Dartford 0
24.08.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 2
11.04.2013 Dartford 0 Braintree Town 0
25.09.2012 Braintree Town 0 Dartford 2

Next Meetings

Tuesday 8 August 2017 at Cressing Road

Saturday 23 December 2018 at Princes Park

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Chelmsford City

Founded: 1878 / Ground: Melbourne Stadium

A solid reliable outfit last season, the Clarets failed at the final hurdle in the playoffs, this time against ten men Ebbsfleet United. Chelmsford City will be aiming for promotion after their fourth place finish last term was a vast improvement on the three campaigns before. Like local rivals Braintree Town, the Clarets have been busy in the summer transfer window and have overhauled their squad in an attempt to mount a challenge.

Last Season

National South: 4th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Shaun Jeffers (21 goals)

Average Attendance: 912 (4th in league / 38th in non-league)

The Manager – Rod Stringer

The Chelmsford City boss ensured the club finished in their best league position since 2011. Stringer’s reputation has been built on two league titles, first with Aveley’s triumph in the Isthmian League Division One North then with Braintree Town in the National South. He will come up against his former club Braintree Town this season after controversially walking away. Last summer he made the move back to Essex from Bishop’s Stortford and has the Clarets believing again.

The Summer

Capitalising on players leaving rivals Braintree Town, the former Irons boss Rod Stringer grabbed the opportunity by signing former Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur forward Lee Barnard. Ex AFC Wimbledon goalkeeper Sam Beasant joins from the Clarets rivals as does Harry Lee. Chelmsford City are amongst the busiest teams in the transfer window capturing the likes of Michael West and Elliott Omozusi from Whitehawk, Craig Braham-Barrett from Welling United and former Dartford loanee Jim Stevenson from Dover Athletic. Former Peterborough United, Millwall and Leyton Orient striker, Shaun Batt was signed from Barnet with the help of the Clarets ’12th man’ fund. Scott Davies (Oxford City), Paul Rodgers (Bishop’s Stortford), Kudus Oyenuga (Greenock Morton), Matt Johnson (Billericay Town) and Aaron Greene (Bishop’s Stortford) have also signed for the Clarets. Former Darts, Max Cornhill and Josh Hill have left the club.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 36 / Chelmsford City wins: 53 / Draws: 91

Previous Meetings

07.05.2017 Dartford 1 Chelmsford City 2
03.05.2017 Chelmsford City 0 Dartford 0
18.02.2017 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1
14.01.2017 Dartford 0 Chelmsford City 1
17.09.2016 Chelmsford City 2 Dartford 3
13.08.2016 Concord Rangers 1 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 21 October 2017 at Melbourne Stadium

Saturday 10 February 2018 at Princes Park

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