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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.

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

Dartford v Eastbourne Borough

Dartford host playoff chasing Eastbourne Borough three months on from the defeat they tasted in Sussex.

The Darts were beaten in their last meeting against the Sports going down 3-1, signalling the beginning of Dartford’s inconsistent form. Danny Bloor’s side scored twice in the last fifteen minutes to earn victory after Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong had equalised before the hour. Eastbourne Borough took the lead through Charley Kendall and regained control when Chris Whelpdale scored. Joel Rollinson’s last minute strike secured the three points.

At Princes Park though the Darts have had the upper hand over their opponents over the years. The only home defeat over the Sussex club came in the F.A Trophy in November 2018. In all competitions Dartford have won six of the last eight at home in this fixture.

After a three week break, the Darts were back in action on the weekend and yet again they made a slow start. Manager, Steve King had made three changes to the side that played three weeks prior, bringing in Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, Craig Braham-Barrett and Elliott Romain. Hosting local rivals and bottom side Welling United, Lyle Della-Verde scored against his former club to give the Wings a half-time lead. For the tenth straight league game, the Darts failed to score a first half goal and King wasn’t happy, he spoke to DFC TV after the game and said: “I thought we were poor, especially in the first half. We weren’t at it, which was very disappointing for me”.

Early in the second half Dipo Akinyemi had Welling United two up, but the Darts hit back in a five minute spell. Man of the match, Luke Allen and Dartford’s top scorer this season, Berkeley-Agyepong left the Kent derby level at full-time.

Similar to previous games, utilising the squad paid dividends firstly by preventing Connor Essam picking up a potential red card and secondly, by getting an improved performance. King commented: “We had to take Connor off otherwise he would have got sent off and he probably should have been sent off. We made a couple of changes, Jacob came on and changed the game”. The Darts boss even felt his side should have won highlighting Elliott Romain’s golden opportunity to score from three yards out and Sherigham’s one on one in the first half. He added: “We didn’t play well, but when we got to 2-2 we should have won the game”.

Eastbourne Borough have only tasted defeat once on the road this term in the National South. Bloor’s side approach their trip to Princes Park on the back of two excellent results leaving them in the final playoff spot. Six points against Havant and Waterlooville before the suspension of the league and against Hungerford Town on the weekend has put the Sports in a good position. They have two games in hand over Dartford and could move within two points if they win those, so victory on Tuesday night is an incentive in their bid to join in with the title race.

One player who has impressed since joining in the summer is Chris Whelpdale. He scored in the reverse fixture back in December and he now has seven league goals and eleven in 14 starts in all competitions. Although, Hungerford Town kept the top scorer out at the weekend, the Sports still won 3-2, scoring a brace in his first league start was Charlie Lambert. Rollinson repeated his feat of a last minute goal against Dartford with another ninetieth minute strike against the Crusaders, which ended up being the winner. The Sussex club have made good strides under Bloor and are the second highest scorers in the division.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 12 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 7 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford
(DDWLWD)
Eastbourne Borough
(WWLDLW)
Welling UnitedH1-1Hungerford TownH3-2
Hungerford TownH1-1Havant and WaterloovilleA2-1
Billericay TownH3-0Maidstone UnitedA2-3
Braintree TownA1-2Concord RangersA2-2
Tonbridge AngelsH1-0Dulwich HamletA1-2
Ebbsfleet UnitedH0-0DartfordH3-1

Previous League Meetings

05.12.2020Eastbourne Borough3Dartford1
22.02.2020Dartford2Eastbourne Borough1
02.11.2019Eastbourne Borough0Dartford2
20.04.2019Eastbourne Borough6Dartford0
08.09.2018Dartford2Eastbourne Borough2
14.04.2018Eastbourne Borough0Dartford1

Stats

Dartford are unbeaten in their last six home league games against Eastbourne Borough, winning five of those meetings

The last four league matches at Princes Park between the two sides has seen 20 goals at an average of five per game.

Eastbourne Borough have yet to win a league game at Princes Park, the Sports last beat the Darts on the road in league competition in 2003.

On This Day

Charlie Sheringham scored the second goal in a 3-0 home win against Bath City on this day. The National South fixture two years ago ended in a comfortable victory with Lee Noble and Phil Roberts sandwiching Sheringham’s close range header. The Darts have never lost a competitive home game on 9 February winning all eight. Rothwell Town were beaten 2-1 in 2002 and Basingstoke Town defeated 2-1 in 1980. Dartford beat rivals Gravesend and Northfleet 4-2 in 1972’s Kent Senior Cup quarter-final, claimed a pair of 2-1 victories against Yeovil and Peters in 1935 and Folkestone in 1929. The Darts smashed in six goals versus Ramsgate in 1924, winning 6-2 and triumphed 4-0 over Deptford Town in 1901. The only defeat came in 1889 when the Darts lost 3-1 to Horton Kirby in a friendly.

Eastbourne Borough v Dartford

Steve King takes his Dartford side to Eastbourne Borough on the weekend aiming to stay top of the National League South.

The Darts moved into pole position with an excellent result at Hungerford Town in their last away game to remain at the summit. Their closest challengers then dropped points on Tuesday night meaning Dartford head into Saturday’s fixture with a two point lead, whilst Eastbourne Borough currently occupy seventh place.

Dartford have won eight of their first eleven games in their best start to a season since winning the Isthmian Premier League in 2009. The latest victory came against Hungerford Town in a top of the table clash. Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong had a huge impact from off the bench turning defeat into a triumph. The midfielder had started every game before travelling to Bulpit Lane and was almost ruled out after his harsh dismissal against Slough Town, however his red card was rescinded allowing the former Aldershot Town man to be available.

A soft first-half penalty conceded by former Eastbourne Borough full back, Gavin McCallum led to Hungerford Town’s Ryan Seager goal from the spot. McCallum played almost 150 games for the Sports scoring 25 times. Berkeley-Agyepong and Alfie Pavey were introduced in the second half and the pair combined for the equaliser. Pavey’s header back across to Berkeley-Agyepong was smashed home from inside the box. If the Dartford midfielder needed an assist for his first goal it was a superb solo effort for his second. Receiving the ball from a short throw-in, Berkeley-Agyepong made his way across the pitch and unleashed an unstoppable long range shot to score the winner.

Dartford’s first ever win at Bulpit Lane was their fourth consecutive away win. Steve King described his side’s performance as ‘bitty’ but a half-time chat helped turn the game around, he commented to Dartford FC TV: “We didn’t do enough in the first half with too many long balls”, he added: “We felt we needed to do more in possession, we needed to be braver on the ball”. King also pointed out that the quality of his squad helped earn the three points, he said: “We made subs early to change the shape and it got us back in the game. Jacob had a knock during the week and didn’t train and we thought we have quality players, so we didn’t need to risk him. We went with what we went with, it didn’t quite work then Jacob has come on and scored one good goal and one fantastic goal”.

Dartford have won their last two matched against Eastbourne Borough since a heavy 6-0 defeat at Priory Lane in April 2019. Striker, Elliott Romain will be available after serving his one match ban and could play a part against his old side, who he scored against in last season’s visit to Sussex. Romain was on target as well as Norman Wabo in a 2-0 victory. The return fixture ended 2-1 to the Darts which included Jack Jebb’s stunning free-kick at Princes Park.

The Darts will be without the injured Ricky Modeste, whilst Craig Braham-Barrett and David Ijaha have been nursing injuries. Charlie Sheringham and Ronnie Vint have gone out on loan, Abdul Osman has left the club, but Moussa Bakayoko returned to the bench on the weekend.

Under Danny Bloor, Eastbourne Borough have started their campaign well. The Sports finished their last three season’s in eighteenth place and so far this term they are in the final playoff place. The Sussex club, also made the first round of the F.A Cup where they were beaten 3-0 by Blackpool, but they have only picked up two points in their last three outings.

Former Dartford full back, Nick Arnold is in the Sports squad but has yet to make an appearance. Bloor will have a variety of attacking players to choose from including Charlie Walker, Dean Cox and Chris Whelpdale, all three of them have netted against the Darts in the past. Charley Kendall is also one to watch, his four goals whilst on loan has led to an extended stay and along with Kai Innocent. The duo have been an integral part of the Sports side so far this season.

At home, Eastbourne Borough have an even record of two wins, two draws and two defeats. In their last home fixture, they went down 1-0 versus St Albans City to a Shaun Jeffers goal, which will sound familiar to the Darts after the same combination at Princes Park last month. They did however comfortably beat basement side Braintree Town 4-0 earlier in November before a pair of away draws against Tonbridge Angels and Oxford City.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 12 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 6 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford
(WWLWWL)
Eastbourne Borough
(DWLWWL)
Hungerford TownA2-1St Albans CityH0-1
Slough TownH2-0Oxford CityA1-1
St Albans CityH0-1Tonbridge AngelsA2-2
Maidstone UnitedA2-0Braintree TownH4-0
Hemel Hempstead TownA3-1Ebbsfleet UnitedH1-1
Dorking WanderersH2-3Welling UnitedH2-1

Last Six League Meetings

22.02.2020Dartford2Eastbourne Borough1
02.11.2019Eastbourne Borough0Dartford2
20.04.2019Eastbourne Borough6Dartford0
08.09.2018Dartford2Eastbourne Borough2
14.04.2018Eastbourne Borough0Dartford1
12.09.2017Dartford4Eastbourne Borough2

Stats

Dartford have lost just once in the league against Eastbourne Borough in their last 12 games against the Sports (W9, D2)

The Darts have won four of their last six league visits to Priory Lane (D1, L1)

Josh Hill made his 50th Dartford appearance on Saturday. His fifth substitute appearance at Hungerford Town brought up the defender’s half century.

On This Day

Brian Gregory scored a hat-trick inside eight minutes to help Dartford to a 5-0 victory over Yeovil Town in 1981. The much travelled striker only just signed for the Darts from rivals Dover Athletic and made an instant impact in the Alliance Premier League win. Elliot Bradbrook scored twice as the Darts beat Havant and Waterlooville 4-2 at Princes Park in 2015. The former Darts captain opened the scoring from the spot and Danny Harris doubled the lead in first-half stoppage time. Havant and Waterlooville hit back in the second-half with goals from Dan Strugnell and Matt Paterson. Dartford managed to pull away again when Bradbrook netted once more and Ebou Adams grabbed his first senior goal. Dartford’s last away game on this day was in 1998 when they lost 3-2 at Baldock Town in the Southern League South.

National South Season Preview Part II

Concord Rangers

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 16th
F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: Finalists
Top Scorer: Decarrey Sheriff (9 goals)

Just over a year ago Concord Rangers were denied a place in the National South playoffs despite finishing in sixth. Thames Road was deemed unsuitable for the next level up and so the Beachboys missed out on a potential big day. Little did the Essex club know they would get their chance to create history and have their big day, even if it’s been put on hold for the time being. Concord Rangers will at some point play at Wembley in the delayed F.A Trophy final against League Two side Harrogate Town, the Beachboys could well create more history.

Manager: Danny Scopes

When Danny Scopes was promoted within the club, following Sammy Moore’s departure last summer, chairman Ant Smith was confident the Concord Rangers boss would give his all. His first season back as boss of the Beachboys ended with a trip to Wembley and so the Essex club couldn’t ask for more. Not only that, Scopes was a former player of the club and previously worked within the youth system. His first spell between 2007 and 2012 was as a joint manager alongside Danny Cowley, when Concord Rangers climbed from the Essex Senior League to the Isthmian Premier League.

Summer

Five players return to the Beachboys this summer after one season away and three of them used to play for the Darts. Alex Wall made an immediate impact after returning to Concord Rangers from Hemel Hempstead Town, the former Dartford striker scored the winner in the F.A Trophy semi-final. Tyrone Sterling and Sam Blackman are the other two former Darts back at Concord RangersBlackman suffered a nasty injury shortly after joining Dartford, keeping him out for the long term. Unable to make his way into the team under Steve King the midfielder is back at Thames Road. Sterling follows the same route as Wall by re-joining from Hemel Hempstead Town as did Tosan Popo. The final returning player is Frazer Shaw who spent a season away at local rivals Chelmsford City. The Beachboys have also signed Ryan Charles from Maldon and Tiptree, Odei Martin (Heybridge Swifts), Sam Remfry (South Park), Nathan Carlyle on a month’s loan from Queens Park Rangers, Tom Hanfrey, a former AFC Bournemouth academy defender and Jason Raad from Aveley.

Head to Head

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

Dartford

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 6th
F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round
Top Scorer: Darren McQueen (17 goals)

At the start of last term Dartford were expected to make the top seven, by the end of the campaign they were underdogs in the playoff final. A topsy-turvy campaign saw the Darts battling relegation and joint managers Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle relieved of their duties. Appointing one of the best managers at this level, the club surged up the table and into the playoffs. The Kent club beat Slough Town and favourites Havant and Waterlooville before losing on penalties against Weymouth. Now they are seeking a return to the National League after five years away.

Manager: Steve King

A highly successful non-league manager, Steve King guarantees to bring you entertainment. If he could beat his playoff nemesis King would have even more promotions to his credit. 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 F.A Cup runs with Macclesfield Town and Whitehawk. However, for every title there is playoff heartbreak losing finals with Farnborough, Whitehawk, Welling United and last season with the Darts.

Summer

The Darts have been busy in the transfer market making sure there is plenty of competition for places. The first job in the summer was replacing the National South’s joint top scorer from last season Darren McQueen. So in came Jack Barham from Dorking Wanderers, who has also played under King at Welling United and recently Kairo Mitchell, a former Leicester City academy player with experience at Nuneaton Borough and Coalville Town. Coming back to the Darts after seven years away, central defender Connor Essam joined from Hemel Hempstead Town. Since his last spell with the Darts, Essam has played for Dover Athletic, Leyton Orient and Eastleigh. King has signed David Ijaha from Dulwich Hamlet and Gavin McCallum from Welling United who have also worked with the Dartford boss previously. Jazzi Barnum-Bobb has played for three Welsh clubs, Cardiff City, Newport County and Wrexham, the defender joins Dartford’s back line. Winger Ricky Modeste has spent half his footballing career with rivals Dover Athletic and switches to the Darts. Midfielder, Abdul Osman arrives from Queen of the South and has played in the Greek top flight. In goal, Craig King (Oxford City) will be pushed for the number one jersey by Chelsea academy goalkeeper Ethan Wady. The Darts also signed Michael Fernandes on loan from Colchester United.

Dorking Wanderers

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 7th
F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Round
Top Scorer: Jason Prior (14 goals)

The youngest club in the division was formed 21 years ago and have won five league titles and 11 promotions to propel themselves up the pyramid. Last season was their first at National South level and once again the Wanderers were looking forwards and showing their ambitions. The Surrey club finished seventh to have a shot at another promotion. Dorking Wanderers knocked out Bath City in the playoff eliminator round before losing 3-2 to eventual winners Weymouth in the semi-final. They don’t hang around in divisions long and will be looking upwards yet again.

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 just over 20 years ago, his club have won 11 promotions and last season he guided the Surrey club to the playoffs in their first ever campaign in the National South. White has overseen the club moving to a new stadium as well as all the on-field success and has had clubs from higher leagues interested in his services, but he has his heart on getting to the Football League with the Wanderers.

Summer

When Alfie Rutherford and Wes Fogden left Havant and Waterlooville they were the last of the group that won back to back promotions with the Hawks. Now the duo will be reunited with Ed Harris and former Dartford striker Jason Prior at Dorking Wanderers, who were also part of that squad. One of the biggest signings, as far as experience goes, is that of Barry Fuller, the former Gillingham full back also made over 200 appearances in the Football League with AFC Wimbledon. Goalkeeper, Sam Howes has made his loan spell into a permanent deal, defender Callum Kennedy signs from Billericay Town and midfielder Kane Willis comes in from Eastbourne Borough.

Head to Head

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

Dulwich Hamlet

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 19th
F.A Cup: 1st Round
F.A Trophy: 1st Round
Top Scorer: Danny Mills (13 goals)

After a few years of agonisingly waiting persistently knocking on the National South door, Hamlet won the Isthmian Premier playoffs at the fourth time of asking. It was only a matter of time before Dulwich Hamlet succeeded and they did so two years ago. After so much determination the London club will not give their spot up easily in the National South. In their first season at this level they finished fourteenth with healthy crowds since their return to Champion Hill. Last time out Hamlet were concentrating on avoiding the drop finishing in the bottom four.

Manager: Gavin Rose

When last season started, Gavin Rose had just clocked up ten years in charge of Dulwich Hamlet and he’s still going. Hamlet’s longest serving manager admitted the club weren’t living up to their potential when he was appointed and now, he can’t quite believe how far the London club has come. A former midfielder who enjoyed a career including spells at Wimbledon, Charlton Athletic and Queens Park Rangers, Rose guided Dulwich Hamlet to the Isthmian Division One North title in 2013 and won the Isthmian Premier League playoffs in 2018 to earn promotion to the National South.

Summer

Impressive performances at Dartford last term, Tyrique Hyde moves to Dulwich Hamlet after 12 appearances with the Darts. The midfielder follows former Dartford defender, Sanchez Ming who has already had spells with the Hamlet making over 200 appearances for the club in the past. The pair join up with another three signings from Kent clubs, midfielders Michael Timlin moves from Ebbsfleet United and Jordan Higgs from Bromley, in addition to forward Korrey Henry from Welling United. Jesse Debrah spent a loan spell in defence at Champion Hill last season, he completes a move from Championship club Millwall. More excitingly for Hamlet fans is the return of Reise Allassani, the winger scored 16 times in 28 games for the club before being picked up by Coventry City. After some loan spells last season, he is back at Champion Hill.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Dulwich Hamlet wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Eastbourne Borough

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 18th
F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 1st Round
Top Scorer: Greg Luer (8 goals)

If there is a consistent team in the National South then look no further than Eastbourne Borough. Three consecutive eighteenth place finishes they will begin their tenth year in row in this division. Borough drew the most amount of games last season and at one stage completed a sequence of six on the spin. The Sussex club initially struggled in front of goal but managed to find the net in each of their last 11 matches, losing just once but drawing seven. If they want to improve Borough will need to tighten up at the back.

Manager: Danny Bloor

Arriving at Eastbourne Borough as number two to Jamie Howell, Danny Bloor also worked with Mark McGhee and Charlie Oatway as well as Lee Bradbury during their spells as managers. Several candidates went for the Borough job and in the end the Sussex club opted for Bloor to pull everyone together, after difficult times at Priory Lane. Briefed to keep Eastbourne Borough in the National South and re-establish a bond with the supporters, Bloor has started taking small strides forward by making his side tougher to beat as they became draw specialists prior last season coming to a halt.

Summer

Bringing Football League experience to the midfield, Chris Whelpdale signs from Chelmsford City. The 33-year-old has previously represented Gillingham, Peterborough United, Stevenage and AFC Wimbledon. Goalkeeper, Luke Glover scored a winning F.A Trophy goal last season when playing for Haywards Heath Town, he completes a move to the Sports. James Hammond arrives from local rivals Lewes and Mitchell Dickenson joins from Hemel Hempstead Town. From lower leagues, Eastbourne Borough have picked up Charlie Towning (Three Bridges), Joe Kay (Newhaven) and striker Charlie Lambert (Peacehaven and Telscombe). James Vaughan has been studying out in the United States, now he will be playing at Priory Lane this season.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 12 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 6 / Draws: 4

Dartford v Eastbourne Borough

Dartford are hoping to get back to winning ways this weekend by completing a double over Eastbourne Borough in the National South.

Storm Dennis caused havoc across the country last weekend resulting in both Dartford and Eastbourne Borough getting a ‘winter break’ of their own. The Darts were scheduled to take on Billericay Town, whilst the Sports were due to host league leaders Wealdstone, only for both fixtures to be called off because of the extreme weather conditions. So it has been a fortnight since both sides last played with Dartford losing their last outing at home against a Hampton and Richmond Borough side aiming for the playoffs. Eastbourne Borough picked up a draw versus Weymouth, another club aiming for a top seven finish.

When the Darts last met Eastbourne Borough, Steve King recorded his first victory as boss back in November. King handed a debut to Kyjoun Marsh-Brown and Liam Gordon, who has since returned to his parent club after a successful loan spell. Norman Wabo made a rare appearance under the current Dartford boss and opened the scoring after just four minutes, but the goal of the day was Elliott Romain’s thirty yard strike against his former club. The striker who has scored 12 goals in 19 games for the Darts will be suspended this weekend for his red card against Hampton and Richmond Borough. However, Amrit Bansal-McNullty returns from his suspension after his dismissal at Chippenham Town and new signing Giovanni McGregor is available after making his debut during Dartford’s last outing.

A fortnight ago, despite taking an early lead through Luke Wanadio’s sixth minute header, the Darts lost 2-1 to Hampton and Richmond Borough and manager Steve King was disappointed, he told DFCTV after the match: “We didn’t play at our level, we played nowhere near what we’re capable of and when you do that in this division and when you’re against a good side challenging for the playoffs you end up losing”. However, the Darts boss was impressed by Wanadio’s performance and believes there is more to come from the winger, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “He’s been one of the better players since I’ve come to the club. He wants to learn, he’s always listening and we’re only touching the iceberg. There’s a lot more to come”, King added: “There’s more goals to come from Luke. There was the year when he was at Dartford before and he scored 15 or so goals and then he got a move to Bromley. The only thing missing has been goals”.

Although there were some questionable decisions in the Hampton and Richmond Borough match, when Tom Bonner and Sanchez Ming ended up on the wrong side of challenges that may have seen a red card, King believes ultimately it was down to the team’s performance, he explained: “They were incidents that may change games, but that’s not the reason we’ve lost the game because we were not good enough”. Danilo Orsi-Dadamo and Ryan Hill were on target for the Beavers as the visitors took their chances, King believed ‘costly errors’ and a ‘lack of control in midfield’ were the main factors behind the defeat.

Eastbourne Borough have become draw specialists lately ending their last six league games all square. The run stretches back to New Years Day when they beat Dorking Wanderers and so the Sussex club are eight unbeaten and without defeat in 2020. The Sports under Danny Bloor, have become tougher to beat and are looking for ways to turn draws into victories. Their last stalemate was a last minute 2-2 draw with Weymouth in which the first half was a cagey affair. Eastbourne Borough’s Greg Luer put the hosts in front only for Abdulai Baggie and Jake McCarthy to give the Terras a one goal advantage. However, deep into stoppage time Charlie Walker grabbed an equaliser to extend the Sports unbeaten run.

Goals have not been in short supply in the last four meetings against Eastbourne Borough at Princes Park. The Darts have scored 12 and conceded ten in that time with the Sports winning 3-2 in their last visit in a F.A Trophy third qualifying round replay. Even though Andre Coker and Taylor Fisher scored two goals in as many minutes right at the end of the game, the visitors went straight down the other end to score an even later winner. In the last league meeting at Princes Park, Elliot Bradbrook scored a last minute equaliser, whilst Charlie Sheringham scored on his return to the club and got sent off. Often an entertaining affair between the two clubs, the Darts won the previous two matches at Princes Park 4-2 in September 2017 and 4-3 five months earlier.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 11 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 6 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford (WWLWWL) Eastbourne Borough (DDDDDD)
Hampton & Richmond H 1-2 Weymouth A 2-2
Chippenham Town A 5-1 Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1
Dulwich Hamlet H 1-0 Concord Rangers H 2-2
Slough Town A 0-1 Chelmsford City A 1-1
Oxford City H 3-0 St Albans City H 3-3
Dorking Wanderers A 3-2 Slough Town A 1-1

Last Six Meetings

12.09.2017 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 2
20.04.2019 Eastbourne Borough 6 Dartford 0
27.11.2018 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 3
24.11.2018 Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1
08.09.2018 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 2
14.04.2018 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1

Stats

There has been 17 goals in the last three home games in the National South against Eastbourne Borough, an average of 5.66 goals per game.

Dartford have kept six league clean sheets in their last nine games. Billericay Town have gone 13 league games without a clean sheet.

Over the last eight matches Dartford have picked up 2.25 points per game, the joint best with league leaders Wealdstone.

Eastbourne Borough’s eight game unbeaten run is the best run since they won the National South title back in 2007/08.

On This Day

Lee Noble has scored in his last two games on 22 February, and both times the midfielder netted the second goal in a 2-0 victory. In 2011, conditions were poor in a hard earned 2-0 away win on a cold Tuesday night at Dorchester Town. Danny Harris opened the scoring when his persistence paid off with twelve minutes to go, Noble secured the win by calmly slotting the ball beyond the Dorchester Town goalkeeper. History repeated itself three years later when Noble wrapped up another 2-0 win, this time at home to Hereford United in the National League. Alex Wall had earlier put the Darts in front and with twenty minutes remaining Noble blasted a shot in after his own free-kick had been partially cleared.

Eastbourne Borough v Dartford

Dartford play their first away fixture under new manager Steve King, travelling to Eastbourne Borough this weekend in the National South.

Familiar with the football scene in Sussex during spells at Lewes and Whitehawk, King will be hoping to lead the Darts to their fifth consecutive victory on the road in all competitions. Dartford are just a point from the relegation zone and a triumph at Priory Lane will see them rise above their opponents.

Attempting to make his mark and change the playing style at the Darts, King’s squad has been hampered by injuries to key players. Lee Noble faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines whilst Charlie Sheringham, Jordan Wynter and Sam Blackman are a few weeks away from a return. Added to that list, Mark Onyemah who had just got over an operation in the summer, hobbled off against Chippenham Town with what looked like a hamstring problem. However, since taking over the helm at Princes Park, King has managed to sign full back Jordan Gibbons from Chelmsford City and striker Elliott Romain from this weekend’s opponents.

Both new signings made their league debuts last weekend in the 1-1 home draw with Chippenham Town. Gibbons had already made his full debut in the F.A Cup reverse against Kingstonian, the right back retained his place in the line up and impressed against Chippenham Town. Initially the Darts played a narrow formation with Billy Crook, Luke Allen and Cameron Brodie as a midfield trio with Andy Pugh behind strikers Romain and Darren McQueen. The visitors took the lead through Kieran Parselle after Dartford failed to clear a controversially awarded free kick, the goalscorer was to make another impact on the game later on. With the Darts chasing at least a point, wingers Ryan Hayes and Luke Wanadio came off the bench to stretch the Chippenham Town defence. With five minutes left, Parselle was sent off and three minutes later central defender, Josh Hill moved up front and expertly curled in the equaliser.

King was left disappointed at the decision to award the visitors the free kick leading up to their goal, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk after the game and said: “Their goal I was little bit upset about because it wasn’t a free-kick on the far side, the referee even said it wasn’t so why did he give it?”. However the Dartford boss was pleased with his team adapting to a new style, he commented: “We’re keeping good possession of the ball and they’ll get braver as it comes along, it’s just that last little bit and that will come in time”, he continued: “The boys can’t do anymore than what has been asked of them, I thought they applied themselves brilliantly and bought into the way we’re playing and what we want to do”.

The new Dartford boss is likely to continue shaping the squad with new players and one area he has hinted at is left back. The signing of Gibbons on the opposite side of the pitch has given the Darts a flavour of what to expect, he explained: “Jordan on the right will get better as games go and he plays more matches”, he added: “Saturday (against Chippenham) was his third 90 minutes in two months so as he gets fitter and stronger he’ll be able to do more. We need to be able to do that on the left-hand side as well so we’ll get a left-sider in that can do that bit”.

As well as Romain returning to Priory Lane, goalkeeper Mark Smith also had a spell with the Sports. Romain joined the Sussex club in the summer and was Lee Bradbury’s first signing, however with Bradbury’s departure almost a fortnight ago and financial issues at Eastbourne Borough, King snapped up Romain after he was released and his recent comments shows he has faith in the striker, he explained: “I think he’s capable of 20 goals in this division. He’s done it at other clubs, Eastbourne Borough, Dagenham and Redbridge, Maidstone United, so for this level he’s a 20 goal-a-season man. He will get better and better in the system I play as time goes by”. Smith spent the first half of last season at Eastbourne Borough before a spell with Billericay Town, Smith has been ever present in the Dartford goal this term.

Seven of the current Dartford squad featured in the humiliating defeat last time the Darts visited Priory Lane. Under the guidance of former managers Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle, Dartford recorded their worst defeat in sixteen years when they went down 6-0. Charlie Walker kept hold of the match ball after his hat-trick, Kane Wills, Michael West and Corey Jordan also found the back of the Dartford net. The F.A Trophy third qualifying tie at the same venue went much better almost a year ago, Kudus Oyenuga’s late equaliser forced a replay cancelling out Dean Cox’s strike, the Darts went on to lose the replay at Princes Park 3-2.

Eastbourne Borough played on Tuesday night and were denied all three points against ten men Weymouth. Walker gave the hosts the lead before the Terras missed a penalty then had Brett Williams sent off. Weymouth were awarded a second penalty eight minutes from time and this time Alex McCarthy scored. It was the Sport’s second 1-1 draw in a row after their stalemate at Hemel Hempstead Town on the weekend, Greg Luer equalising for the Sussex side. Eastbourne Borough have now drawn the most games in the division, seven of their 15 National South fixtures this season.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 10 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 6 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Dartford (DWLWLL) Eastbourne Borough (DDWLDL)
Chippenham Town H 1-1 Weymouth H 1-1
Oxford City A 1-0 Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-1
Slough Town H 2-3 St Albans City A 3-1
Concord Rangers A 2-0 Chelmsford City H 0-4
Dorking Wanderers H 3-4 Bath City A 2-2
Tonbridge Angels A 2-3 Slough Town H 0-2

Last Six Meetings

20.04.2019 Eastbourne Borough 6 Dartford 0
27.11.2018 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 3
24.11.2018 Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1
08.09.2018 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 2
14.04.2018 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1
12.09.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 2

Stats

Dartford have won their last four away games in all competitions, a fifth consecutive victory will be the first time the Darts have achieved this feat since April 2018.

Four of Dartford’s five goals against the Sports last season came in the last five minutes of matches.

Prior the F.A Trophy defeat and 6-0 hiding last season, the Darts had gone 12 games unbeaten in all competitions against Eastbourne Borough (W8, D4).

On This Day

Dartford set up a F.A Cup first round tie with Aldershot on this day in 1968. The Darts travelled to Guildford in the fourth qualifying round and won 1-0 setting up a chance to avenge defeat against the Shots four years earlier in the same competition. Dartford also reached the first round in 1982 having survived a scare at Boreham Wood three days earlier. Aidan O’Sullivan’s late equaliser earned a replay which took place on 2 November, the Darts were forced into extra time before going through with a 2-1 victory. The last game on this day came six years ago when the Darts were beaten by Forest Green Rovers in the National League, James Norwood scored the decisive goal in a match that featured Ryan Hayes and Josh Hill. Ten years earlier, Dartford drew a F.A Trophy first round tie with Ashford Town (Middlesex) and two days later went out of the competition after a replay.

Eastbourne Borough – Season Preview 2019/2020

Eastbourne Borough

2018/19 Season

National South: 18th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Quarter-Final

League Top Scorer: Charlie Walker (11 goals) / Average Attendance: 586

Mark McGhee kept the Sports away from the drop when he took charge in the interim, following Jamie Howell’s departure. His vast experience in the Football League and Scottish Premiership will now be taken elsewhere after he set out what the club wanted him to achieve. In came Lee Bradbury, who had spent the last seven years at Havant and Waterlooville guiding them to back to back titles to reach the National League. The former striker made over 500 Football league appearances and had a spell as manager at AFC Bournemouth. Bradbury hopes to bring exciting football to the Sussex to reflect how the fans feel about Eastbourne Borough.

In March 2017, Elliott Romain left the club to pursue a career at a higher level, the striker is back at Priory Lane and was Bradbury’s first summer signing. He will partner Charlie Walker who was the club’s top scorer last season with 11 goals. The Sports’ Player of the Season, Kane Wills agreed to stay at the club as well as left back Kristian Campbell, the experienced Sergio Torres, Mike West and Dan Blackmore. Another player returning to Priory Lane after time away with Woking and Chelmsford City last season is central defender Kiran Khinda-John. The Sports have signed winger, Nick Wheeler who has won two promotions in a row with Billericay Town then Woking, he also had spells with Dagenham and Redbridge and Tonbridge Angels. Ciaren Jones impressed Norwich City whilst at Luton Town and has secured his first loan spell with a temporary move to Eastbourne Borough, the defender was part of the Canaries development squad last term. After a spell with the Sussex club last season, Manny Adebowole joins from National League side Dover Athletic. Moving to Priory Lane with a National South playoff winners medal, striker Greg Luer joins from Woking. Luer showed plenty of promise early in his career when he moved from Burgess Hill Town to Hull City. Playing time was limited with the Tigers and so he had spells with Scunthorpe United, Stevenage and then Maidstone United before Woking. James Ferry will line up as part of the Sports defence having joined from Stevenage, the 22-year-old ended last term with Woking as well. With the loss of goalkeeper Mark Smith to Dartford, the Sports have signed goalkeeper Tom Hadler from League One side Gillingham, he has had loan spells with Folkestone Invicta, Tonbridge Angels, Grays Athletic and Gloucester City. 

The Manager – Lee Bradbury

Lee Bradbury is eight years into his managerial career and joins the Sports after leaving Havant and Waterlooville. His playing career spanned sixteen years most notably at Portsmouth, Manchester City and Crystal Palace. The former striker replaced Eddie Howe at AFC Bournemouth as caretaker manager in January 2011 and at that point choose to retire from playing. Although Bradbury reached the playoffs he was dismissed the following campaign after a poor run of results. At Havant and Waterlooville he bounced back from relegation with back to back titles taking the Hawks to the National League, before dropping down to the National South last term.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 10 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 6 / Draws: 4

Last Six Meetings

20.04.2019 Eastbourne Borough 6 Dartford 0
27.11.2018 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 3
24.11.2018 Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1
08.09.2018 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 2
14.04.2018 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1
12.09.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 2

Facts

Dartford had gone eleven games unbeaten against Eastbourne Borough going back to 2011, winning eight of those fixtures.

Eastbourne Borough have won the last two versus the Darts, the 6-0 victory in April was the biggest win in this fixture.

Last Ten Years

 

 

 

Next Meetings

Saturday 2 November 2019 at Priory Lane

Saturday 22 February 2020 at Princes Park

Eastbourne Borough v Dartford

Dartford have three games to prove they are worthy of a playoff place with the first away to Eastbourne Borough on Easter weekend.

The Darts travel to Priory Lane on Saturday at a time when a lack of form and injuries are testing management duo Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle. Dartford had looked comfortable in the top seven a month ago, but two points out of the last fifteen available has seen them drop out of the playoffs.

Four of the last five league games have been against teams in the lower half of the table, two of which are in a relegation scrap. This weekend will be no different as Eastbourne Borough are above the drop zone by a single point and have not tasted victory in their last fourteen league outings.

However, Adam Flanagan feels a win in Sussex will turn the season around, he told www.kentonline.co.uk: “We just need to get a win, if we get a win then I think we will be settled. We’ve got a group where they are confident they can beat any team in this league. But we’re on a negative run at the moment and we need to flip that round as quickly as we can”.

Dartford have also been hit by the news that former captain Elliot Bradbrook will retire at the end of the season. The midfielder started last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at home to Chippenham Town as centre back before leaving the pitch with a calf injury inside the first twenty minutes. Bradbrook will be a huge miss especially as he’s the second highest scorer in the club’s history with 142 goals in 444 appearances. Flanagan also confirmed that striker Phil Roberts will no longer play for the club, Charlie Sheringham is not available for all the remaining fixtures, whilst Billy Crook and Mark Onyemah have been out injured.

On a positive note, Andy Pugh returned to first team action with a substitute appearance against Chippenham Town. The striker has been recovery from pre-season’s leg break and managed to complete fifteen minutes. Flanagan commented on Pugh’s return, he said: “Ideally if everyone was fit and we had a bench full of players then you’d give him the season off and get him back for pre-season”, he added: “It’s good to have him back and we’ll work closely to make sure we don’t force too much out of him. If he can come on and score a goal or two then great and if his leg isn’t ready or there is any doubt, then we’re not going to push him”.

Defeat against Chippenham Town was only Dartford’s third at home this season and with one more to play at Princes Park they will need to make their away games count too. Flanagan reflected after the loss: “I actually think we’ve played worse and won. In possession we were quite good, moved the ball quite well and got lots of opportunities to get balls into the box. We didn’t test their keeper as much as we wanted. I thought it was an assured performance apart from not scoring”.

Back in September, the Darts had Bradbrook to thank in the reverse fixture against Eastbourne Borough when his last-minute equaliser salvaged a point. Twice Dartford had to come from behind, first when former Dartford winger Dave Martin scored for the Sports, Charlie Sheringham levelled the contest. Then early in the second-half Emmanuel Odubade put Eastbourne Borough ahead before Bradbrook netted at the end.

It’s been a year since the Darts last visited Priory Lane in the league when they were battling for the National South title. A sixth consecutive win was secured by a Danny Mills header to keep Dartford top of the table on goal difference with three games to go.

This season the two sides met in the F.A Trophy at the third qualifying round stage. At Priory Lane, Kudus Oyenuga’s late equaliser forced a replay cancelling out Dean Cox’s goal. In the rematch, the tie ended in dramatic fashion with three goals in the closing minutes. Dean Cox’s brace for the Sports had the Sussex side cruising until the 89th minute when Andre Coker pulled a goal back. Academy product, Taylor Fisher equalised two minutes into injury time and with the tie heading for another thirty minutes former Dart, Tom Gardiner headed the winner knocking Dartford out at the first hurdle.

Three former players could be involved on the weekend wearing the Eastbourne Borough colours, Gardiner appeared 75 times, Martin made 71 starting appearances and scored 16 goals and Marvin Hamilton made just one substitute appearance. The Sports have been on a dismal run that is threatening eight year run in the National South. The Sussex side have started to struggle in front of goal with Charlie Walker responsible for the Sports last three goals, scored over the last five games. In fact, in their 14 game winless streak they have failed to net on nine occasions.

The experienced Mark McGhee is now in charge at Priory Lane taking over from Jamie Howell in February. The Glaswegian has plenty of Football League managerial experience winning promotion with Reading, Millwall and Brighton and Hove Albion, the 61 year-old has also managed in the Scottish Premiership with Motherwell and Aberdeen. Whether McGhee will be in the same role next season remains to be seen as the club are looking for applicants for the position.

Eastbourne Borough have lost their last three league games helping Torquay United to the title last weekend. The Sports lost 2-0 to the champions which followed a 2-1 loss to relegation rivals Gloucester City and 3-2 at Hemel Hempstead Town. Their six game unbeaten run at the start of the campaign seems so long ago, now the Sports are in a ‘mini-league’ at the bottom of the table.

Head to Head

Eastbourne Borough wins: 5 / Dartford wins: 10 / Draws: 4

Current League Form

Eastbourne Borough (LLLDLD) Dartford (LLDDLW)
Torquay United A 0-2 Chippenham Town H 0-1
Gloucester City H 1-2 Weston-super-Mare A 1-3
Hemel Hempstead Town A 2-3 Truro City H 1-1
Bath City H 0-0 Hampton & Richmond H 2-2
Hungerford Town A 0-2 Torquay United A 0-2
Chelmsford City H 1-1 Gloucester City H 2-0

Previous Six Meetings

27.11.2018 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 3
24.11.2018 Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1
08.09.2018 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 2
14.04.2018 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1
12.09.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 2
08.04.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 3

Stats 

Dartford have gone nine league games unbeaten against Eastbourne Borough (W7, D2).

Eastbourne Borough’s F.A Trophy win in November was the Sports first win against the Darts in 13 attempts.

The Darts are unbeaten in five games at Priory Lane in all competitions, last losing an away match against the Sussex club in 2002.

Five games without a win is the longest winless streak under Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle.

On This Day

Six years ago Dartford were officially crowned the best part time team in the country. The final game of the season may have ended 1-0 to Nuneaton Borough when Wesley York scored the only goal of the game, but the Darts enjoyed a fantastic campaign finishing eighth in the National League. Lee Noble scored nine years ago in a 1-1 draw at Wealdstone. Already crowned Isthmian Premier League champions, the Darts were held for a second game in a row.

Dartford v Eastbourne Borough

Dartford face Eastbourne Borough for a third time this season when they host the Sussex side in the F.A Trophy third qualifying round replay.

The Darts had to leave it late on the weekend to force a replay after falling behind at Priory Lane on Saturday. The Sports took the lead in the second half when the experienced striker Dean Cox hit a low shot into the bottom corner of Bailey Vose’s goal. With four minutes remaining the Darts salvaged a result to remain in the competition when Kudus Oyenuga equalised to earn a rematch at Princes Park.

History repeated itself on the weekend as seven years ago Dartford drew Eastbourne Borough in the F.A Trophy third qualifying round. The tie went to a replay after a 0-0 draw at Priory Lane, Lee Noble and Tom Bonner were the only members of the current squad involved that day. The Darts won at the second attempt with goals from Tom Champion and Danny Harris, the Sports halved the deficit through former Dart, Carl Rook.

Dartford have already hosted the Sports this season when they met in the league at Princes Park. Playing his first game back at Dartford’s home since returning to the club, Charlie Sheringham scored then later got sent off on a dramatic afternoon. The Darts needed to come from behind twice in September having conceded when ex Dart, Dave Martin opened the scoring on twelve minutes. Sheringham levelled the match converting from the penalty spot, but just after half-time Eastbourne Borough regained the lead through Emmanuel Odubade. Sheringham received his second yellow card leaving the hosts a man short for the final twelve minutes. Against the odds, Elliot Bradbrook equalised in stoppage time to earn the Darts a vital point in the National South.

If the last three home clashes with Eastbourne Borough are to go by then plenty of goals should be expected. As well as the 2-2 draw two months ago, the Darts scored four in the two meetings before that. Last season, the two sides met at Princes Park in a contest that had a major talking point. It was one way traffic in the first half as Alex Brown had Dartford ahead going into the break. Ryan Hayes, on his 400th appearance for the club set up Alfie Pavey on the hour with his corner and Elliot Bradbrook’s header four minutes later made it 3-0. Jamie Taylor pulled a goal back with six minutes remaining, but shortly afterwards it was 4-1. A quick free-kick was taken by the Sports which rebounded off the grounded Hayes, who was a few yards away. The referee controversially played on as the ball broke to Tom Murphy who scored. Eastbourne Borough managed a late consolation when Lee Noble scored an own goal.

In the campaign before that 4-2 victory, the Darts had to hold out in a seven goal thriller. Andy Pugh, Luke Wanadio, Ryan Hayes and Elliot Bradbrook had Dartford 4-1 before the Sports staged a late fightback which fell just short, Dartford hung on to win 4-3.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 10 / Eastbourne Borough wins: 4  / Draws: 4

Current Form (all competitions *-Sussex Senior Cup / ^-F.A Trophy)

Dartford (DWWWLW) Eastbourne Borough (DLLWWL)
Eastbourne Borough A 1-1^ Dartford H 1-1^
Hampton & Richmond A 1-0 Bath City A 0-1
Oxford City H 3-2 Concord Rangers A 0-3
Gloucester City A 2-1 Hungerford Town H 3-1
Truro City A 1-3 Eastbourne United A 5-0*
Dulwich Hamlet H 2-1 Chelmsford City A 2-3

Previous Meetings

24.11.2018 Eastbourne Borough 1 Dartford 1
08.09.2018 Dartford 2 Eastbourne Borough 2
14.04.2018 Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1
12.09.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 2
08.04.2017 Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 3
16.08.2011 Eastbourne Borough 2 Dartford 3

Stats

Dartford are 12 games unbeaten against the Sports winning eight and drawing four.

Prior this season’s draw at Princes Park, the Darts had beaten Eastbourne Borough five time in a row at home.

Eastbourne Borough last beat Dartford in 2003, the Sports won 1-0 in the Southern League Division One East.

On This Day

Ryan Hayes, Adam Flanangan and Jamie Coyle were all pert of the team that crushed Witham Town 7-2 eleven years ago at Princes Park. It took just five minutes for Jay May to open the scoring and a couple of minutes late Brendon Cass doubled the lead. Hayes made it three before the break from the penalty spot. Eddie McClements had the Darts four up but Witham Town grabbed two to halve the deficit. However, Dartford relentlessly managed three more through Cass, McClements and Coyle.