Archives for : Havant and Waterlooville

National League South Season Preview 2015/2016 – Part Three

Gosport Borough | Havant and Waterlooville | Hayes and Yeading | Hemel Hempstead Town

Gosport Borough

Founded: 1944 / Ground: Privett Park

The last two seasons have seen Gosport Borough excel after a second rise from the Wessex League. The Borough had previously worked their way up the non league pyramid in the eighties before returning to their regional division in 1992. The Hampshire club had to do it all again and were rewarded with a sixth place finish setting a club record. Last season, the Borough also made their first appearance in the F.A Cup first round bowing out in an entertaining 6-3 defeat against League One Colchester United. In the season before Gosport Borough were award with Non League Newspaper’s Cup Run of the Year, the Hampshire club reached Wembley for the first time losing the F.A Trophy final to Cambridge United.

Gosport_BoroughLast Season

Conference South: 6th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Justin Bennett (24 goals)

Average Attendance: 532

The Manager – Alex Pike

At a local level and now beyond the Wessex League, Alex Pike has been successful. He became the youngest manager to win the F.A Vase when he guided Wimborne to victory, in the same season he won Wessex League and Dorset Senior Cup, not bad for a first full season as a boss. Spells at Bournemouth F.C, AFC Lymington and Hamworthy United took Pike through twenty years in football management. Over the last ten he has been at Gosport Borough winning the Wessex League in 2006/07. Five years later, the Borough were promoted to the Southern Premier League via the playoffs and repeated the feat again to reach the Conference South the following season. Pike led Gosport Borough to the F.A Trophy final in 2013/14 losing to non league double winners Cambridge United.

The Summer

Hampshire has been a happy hunting ground for new recruits. Pike has taken two from Havant and Waterlooville by signing Perry Ryan and Ryan Woodford. Relegated from the Conference South last term Adam Brice joins from Farnborough, whilst TJ Cuthbertson comes in from 2013/2014 F.A Vase winners AFC Sholing. Pike has also persuaded Bradey Norton from Fareham Town and Ryan Scott from AFC Totton. Outside of Hampshire, Jamie White has signed from Sutton United and Dean Stow from Hungerford Town. Last season’s top goalscorer Justin Bennett remains at Privett Park.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

24 October 1989 – Gosport Borough 0 Dartford 1
Three days before Gosport Borough, the Darts lost their first league game of the season at home to Burton Albion. In a month full of cup fixtures, this rare Southern Premier League affair got the Darts back on track with a single goal victory.

22 August 1989 – Dartford 5  Gosport Borough 1
Having finished the last two season’s as runners up Dartford were amongst the favourites for promotion. Peter Taylor’s late eighties squad won their second home match of the campaign in style, keeping their perfect start to 1989/90 going.

Next Meetings

Saturday 22 August 2015 at Princes Park

Saturday 30 January 2016 at Privett Park

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Havant and Waterlooville

Founded: 1998 / Ground: Westleigh Park

Merged in 1998 when Havant Town and Waterlooville joined forces, the Hawks won promotion under their new guise at the first attempt. Since then Havant and Waterlooville have played at the same level making the upcoming campaign their seventeenth consecutive season. Three years ago their status was under threat and an injury time winner on the final day ensured the Hawks avoided relegation. Since the Hampshire club’s scare, results on the pitch have improved with an F.A Trophy semi final appearance followed by last season’s semi final Playoff defeat to eventual winners Boreham Wood. The Hawks will be eyeing up a top five finish in this seasons National League South campaign.

Last Season

Conference South: 5th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: 3rd Round

League Top Scorer: Scott Donnelly (15 goals)

Average Attendance: 628

The Manager – Lee Bradbury

One of the most high profile managers in this season’s National League South, Lee Bradbury is only four years into his managerial career. 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. Since October 2012, the 40 year old has been in charge at Westleigh Park and in his two full season’s the Hawks have finished sixth and fifth and reached the F.A Trophy semi-final.

The Summer

James Hayter adds experience to the Hawks forward line this season, the 36 year old has won three Football League playoff finals and made over 700 appearances in the Championship down to League Two. The former AFC Bornemouth, Doncaster Rovers and Yeovil Town striker also holds the record for the fastest Football League hat-trick. Hayter could be partnered by 32 year old up front Marvin Morgan, the former Shrewsbury Town and Plymouth Argyle man returns to non league after early career appearances with Wealdstone, Yeading and Woking. Adrian Clifton left the rebuilding at Maidenhead United to join Havant and Waterlooville and ex Gosport Borough duo Matthew Patterson and Lee Molyneaux also join the club. Former Dartford winger Ben Swallow signed a new contract and along with another experienced midfielder Brain Stock, formerly of Doncaster Rovers.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

17 March 2012 – Dartford 3 Havant and Waterlooville 1 – view highlights

Sam Pearce put the visitors ahead and Scott Jones missed a penalty, which only served to stir the home side into action. Dartford bounced back with three goals without reply with the first coming from Lee Noble. With nine minutes remaining Danny Harris bundled in the second and to seal victory Luke Wilkinson scored his first for the Darts.

7 January 2012 – Havant and Waterlooville 1 Dartford 4 – view highlights

A convincing away triumph started when Elliot Bradbrook’s surging run through the middle of the pitch gave Dartford the lead. Before half time that lead had doubled with a cheeky Danny Harris lob. The same two added a further two but not before Scott Jones temporarily put the Hawks back in the game.

Next Meetings

Saturday 5 December 2015 at Princes Park

Saturday 19 March 2016 at Westleigh Park

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Hayes and Yeading

Founded: 2007 / Ground: York Road

Another club formed by a merger, Hayes and Yeading United are currently groundsharing with Maidenhead United. In their second campaign as Hayes and Yeading United they won promotion to the Conference Premier via the playoffs. Tipped to get relegated United held their own surviving comfortably. Three seasons at the top of non league ended in 2012 and since returning to the Conference South the Middlesex club has continued to struggle. Reprieved two years ago, due to the demise of Hereford United in the division above, Hayes and Yeading United battled against relegation last term as well. Once the new stand has been built at Beaconsfield Road, moving back home could lead to much needed optimism.

Hayes_&_Yeading_United_FC.svgLast Season

Conference South: 19th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: Semi Final

League Top Scorer: Pat Cox (6 goals)

Average Attendance: 271

The Manager – Tristan Lewis

Appointed interim manager last season after Phil Babb left by mutual consent, Tristan Lewis has been given his opportunity. Lewis arrived at Hayes and Yeading in 2011 as an Assistant Manager from Reading. With a background in youth development he has won National titles as well as the Conference Youth Alliance. Guiding United to safety last term, on a limited budget, was an achievement in itself and with the development of their new home the task will be made just as challenging for Lewis for the forthcoming campaign. A rookie manager with an honest and hands on approach is hoping he can quickly gain support from the York Road terraces for now.

The Summer

United have had a thin squad for most of the summer break but Lewis wasted no time in making his first signing. Max Worsfold joined from relegated Staines Town as well as Harry Grant from fellow relegated side Farnborough. Former Ebbsfleet United and Boreham Wood striker Michael Thalassitis had a spell with Hayes and Yeading on loan three years ago and returns to the Middlesex club. Yado Mambo signed from Chelmsford City along with 19 year old goalkeeper Magnus Norman on loan from Fulham and Jhai Dillon from Stevenage.

Next Meetings

Saturday 31 October 2015 at Princes Park

Saturday 9 January 2016 at York Road

Last Ten Yearshyfc last 10 years


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Hemel Hempstead Town

Founded: 1885 / Ground: Vauxhall Road

Eight years in the Southern Premier League ended in style when the Tudors breezed to the title. The near misses of two playoff semi finals and a final as well as relegation battles, including one reprieve, Hemel Hempstead Town were always in the thick of the action. When the Hertfordshire club did win the Southern Premier League they dominated the division racking up an impressive 102 points and scoring an incredible 128 goals. Now playing at the highest level the club has ever been, the Tudors were guaranteed to set their highest ever finish last term. Respectably they finished in a healthy ninth place to secure another campaign in the National League South.

Hemel_Hempstead_Town_F.CLast Season

Conference South: 9th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Jordan Parkes (21 goals)

Average Attendance: 574

The Manager – Dean Brennan

Seventeen clubs in a playing career and only one club as manager, Dean Brennan is just 35 years old and has been in charge at Vauxhall Road since May 2012. The Irishman has turned Hemel Hempstead Town’s fortunes around. In the three season’s before he joined the club finished no higher than fifteenth which included two successive reprieves from the Southern Premier League. In his first full season with the Tudors, Brennan helped the club to their highest ever finish losing the playoff final after coming fourth. Hemel Hempstead Town went a step further the following season taking the Southern Premier League title with an astonishing 128 goals and 102 points.

The Summer

Replacing last season’s top scorer Jordan Parkes has been the top priority in the summer. Jamie Slabber has a reasonable goalscoring record at this level with Eastleigh, Chelmsford City, Sutton United and recently champions Bromley, he will be at Vauxhall Road hoping to continue his record. John Frendo netted eleven times for St Albans City last term and also bolsters the Tudors front line. Matthew Spring won promotion with Watford to the Premier League nine years ago and will provide creativity in midfield having spent last term at St Neots Town. Central defender Terrell Forbes will add experience having played for Queens Park Rangers and Yeovil Town, making over 100 appearances at both clubs. Ben Herd comes in from promotion winners Boreham Wood, Herd was part of the Wood team that won last season’s playoffs. England C representative Jamie Butler joins from Concord Rangers and Jamal Lowe follows Frendo from St Albans City.

Last Meeting Versus The Darts

16 September 1972 – Hemel Hempstead 2 Dartford 9 

In the F.A Cup First Qualifying Round, Dartford were drawn out against Athenian Division Two side Hemel Hempstead. The Darts of the Southern Premier League had a new boss at the helm in Doug Holden. After a slow start to the campaign a comprehensive away win ensured progression in the cup.

Next Meetings

Saturday 8 August 2015 at Vauxhall Road

Saturday 17 October 2015 at Princes Park

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Dartford v Havant and Waterlooville

Dartford aim to equal their six match winning home run they set at the start of the season on Saturday when they face Havant and Waterlooville.

Danny Harris celebrates Dartford's first goal in the Conference South

Twenty months ago The Darts crowned their Conference South début with an opening day draw at Princes Park, their opponents that day were Havant and Waterlooville. The two sides have met three times since Dartford’s promotion in 2010 with the spoils shared.

The first of those meetings ended in a 2-2 draw and ended in dramatic fashion. Danny Harris was privileged to score the first goal of Dartford’s Conference South era when he flicked in a Ryan Hayes free kick on twenty six minutes. The Hawks won a penalty after Hayes handled in the area and Bobby Hopkinson equalised.

Wes Fogden looked to have won the match with two minutes to go with an eighteen yard curler. Undeterred The Darts pushed for a point and in the final minute Harris equalled the penalty count when he was upended. Hayes stepped up and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to earn a draw.

Westleigh Park hosted the other two fixtures between the sides and last season Havant and Waterlooville won 1-0. Sammy Igoe’s cross was turned into the net by Wes Fogden in the thirty third minute. Fogden’s first half strike earned The Hawks victory which helped the Hampshire club finish a point above Dartford in ninth place last campaign.

Earlier this season The Darts convincingly won 4-1 in an excellent away performance, Elliot Bradbrook and Danny Harris scored two goals each. Bradbrook took twenty one minutes to score the first when he waltzed through the Havant defence to calmly slot the ball home. Harris doubled the lead with half hour played with a well taken lob over onrushing goalkeeper Lyall Beasely.

Bradbrook opens up the Havant defence and scores

The Hawks pulled back a goal in the second half when Scott Jones scrambled in from a corner to give the Hampshire side hope. With fifteen minutes remaining Dartford pulled away when Harris turned the ball into the net from close range and Bradbrook ensured Lee Noble’s free kick ended up over the goal line to make it 4-1.

On Tuesday night The Darts dropped two points at York Road as they were held by Maidenhead United in a 1-1 draw. Alex Wall gave the hosts the lead with 13 minutes played when his shot took a deflection over goalkeeper Louis Wells. The lead was cancelled out by Danny Harris fifteen minutes later when he got on the end of a well worked move. Reece Tison-Lascaris was dismissed on the stroke of half time for an altercation with Louis Wells but Dartford couldn’t take advantage of the extra man. The result leaves The Darts eight points behind league leaders Woking with a game in hand.

In contrast to Dartford’s form The Hawks are struggling of late with one win in nine league games. Away from home they have won just three times and only Thurrock have a worse away record. The Hawks are fighting a relegation battle and are currently in 18th position and just a point above the drop zone.

Havant and Waterlooville lost their third successive game, their sixth in seven on the weekend in a enthralling 4-3 defeat against Woking. During this poor run they have conceded an average of just over three a game but in their only victory they netted six when the beat Dorchester Town 6-3. To add to the Hampshire sides woes of late they were knocked out of their County Cup to AFC Totton on Tuesday night. The Hawks were defeated 2-1 in the semi final against the Southern Premier League side.

Although Havant and Waterlooville have struggled in the Conference South this seaon they do pose a threat up front. Ollie Palmer has netted a dozen league goals in just 14 starts and five substitute apeparances. His strike partner Steve Ramsey has scored the same amount of goals in 26 league starts and a single appearance as a substitute. The duo account for just under half of the teams total goals this season in the league.

Manager Shaun Gale strengthened his squad recently with the signing of midfielder Eddie Hutchinson from Eastbourne Borough. Joe Dolan was also signed by Gale after spells with Bromley and Staines Town this season. Craig Braham-Barrett left The Hawks to join playoff hopefuls Sutton United.

Statistics (league only)

Dartford (2nd) v Havant and Waterlooville (18th)

Current Form

Last five Dartford matches at home Last five Havant and Waterlooville matches away
Won 3-0 v Farnborough Lost 0-2 v Sutton United
Won 4-1 v Basingstoke Town Won 6-3 v Dorchester Town
Won 2-0  v Salisbury City Lost 1-3 v Welling United
Won 6-0 v Thurrock Lost 1-3 v Chelmsford City
Won 1-0 v Welling United Lost 2-3 v Eastleigh


Dartford average home attendance: 1253 (2nd)

Highest home attendance: 2559 v Welling United / Lowest: 783 v Basingstoke Town

Havant and Waterlooville average away attendance: 552 (18th)

Highest away attendance: 1655 v Woking/ Lowest: 194 v Thurrock

Did you know…

A win for Dartford will equal their best winning home streak in the Conference South of six set at the start of the season, no other team has won more home games in a row this campaign

At Princes Park The Darts have conceded just one goal in the last 470 minutes of football

Dartford have averaged the most goals per game at home in the league this season with 2.44 goals a match

Havant and Waterlooville have scored the most goals (13) in the league this season during the fifteen minutes before half time

The Hawks have also conceded 17 goals, the most in the first fifteen minutes after half time.

The Hampshire side has conceded 38 times in the second half of league matches this season, the most by any club in the Conference South

Havant and Waterlooville v Dartford

The Darts travel to Hampshire for the third time this season when they visit Havant and Waterlooville on Saturday.

A trip to Westleigh Park last season ended in defeat back in April. Sammy Igoe’s cross was turned into the net by Wes Fogden in the thirty third minute. Fogden’s first half strike earned The Hawks victory which helped the Hampshire club finish a point above Dartford in ninth place last campaign. The Darts will be pleased with the departure of Wes Fogden who scored in both fixtures against Dartford last season. Fogden was signed by AFC Bournemouth teaming up with former Dart Charlie Sheringham.

Danny Harris: Scorer of Dartford's first and last Conference South goal

It will be the thirty ninth meeting between the two clubs including when Dartford’s opponents were two separate entities as Havant Town and as Waterlooville. Despite defeat away from home to Havant and Waterlooville last season, Dartford fans will have fond memories of their Conference South début which ended 2-2 at Princes Park.

Dartford had a fantastic festive period taking four points off high fliers and Kent rivals Welling United. A draw at Park View Road on Boxing Day was followed up by a 1-0 win at Princes Park on Bank Holiday Monday. With an even and uneventful first half Welling United took control after half time. Dean Cracknell hit the cross bar and Adam Green cleared Ben Martin’s shot off the line. Louis Wells made a number of fine saves, Matt Jones and Elliot Bradbrook cleared efforts off the line and The Darts were hanging on. A corner taken by Dartford winger Ryan Hayes on the hour mark was headed towards goal by Tom Bonner and flicked in by Danny Harris for the all important winner. The Darts came away with the points thanks to a stunning goalkeeping display by man of the match Wells.

Tony Burman spoke to PURE DFC after the match and said: “I’m really pleased with the result and with the performance as well. The support was absolutely fantastic for the guys which has given them a lift”. The win at Princes Park was the first win in three league fixtures and first clean sheet in seven. Burman recognises that it’s not just goals that win you points but a tight defence too, he added: “The conversation is about what formation we play and how we are going to replace Charlie Sheringham but at the end of the day teams who are up the top don’t concede goals.”

Havant and Waterlooville only played once over the festive period and drew 0-0 at home to Eastleigh on Boxing Day. The stalemate was The Hawks third in a row at home where they are five league matches unbeaten. The return fixture on New Years Day was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Westleigh Park: Home of Havant and Waterlooville

The Hawks sit in fifteenth position on twenty five points and are unbeaten in five leagues matches and have lost just one in nine Conference South games. Over their last nine fixtures the Hampshire club have won three and drawn five. Burman told PURE DFC that he expects a tough match, he commented: “We are now facing teams that are not at the right end of the table and they are going to be decent sides. We’ve got to show that passion and that will to win which we showed today (against Welling United)”.

Manager Shaun Gale has added more experience to his squad this season. Sammy Igoe has made over 450 appearances for eight football league clubs and has been joined by Lee Peacock and Vincent Pericard. Peacock was signed in the summer from Grimsby Town and has played over 500 games for six league teams including scoring 122 times. Pericard has played over 159 times for teams including Portsmouth, Stoke City and Swindon Town and has been a French under 21 international.

Dartford Team News

Jon Wallis will return from his one game suspension for five cautions this season.

Defender Paul Goodacre will still be out for a few weeks, Burman said: “Paul has had a scan and he has no damage which is great news but his bruised around the cartlidge which is going take a little bit of time to heal up. His probably going to be another two or three weeks at least”.

Lee Burns and Tony Garrod could be back for Saturday, The Darts manager added: “Lee Burns hopefully should be ready for Saturday and Tony Garrod had a bit of a chest infection and was on antibiotics”.

In other squad news the Dartford boss said Jack Pallen “came back from VCD Athletic on loan and because VCD didn’t a game for a couple of weeks he went out to Leatherhead to try and get some games there”.

Statistics (league only)

Havant and Waterlooville (15th) v Dartford (4th)

Current Form

Last five Havant and Waterlooville matches at home Last five Dartford matches away
Drew 0-0 v Eastleigh Drew 1-1 v Welling United
Drew 1-1 v Weston Super-Mare Drew 2-2 v Eastleigh
Drew 0-0 v Eastbourne Borough Won 2-1 v Salisbury City
Won 5-0 v Farnborough Won 3-0 v Thurrock
Won 4-2 v Dorchester Town Lost 1-3 v Boreham Wood


Havant and Waterlooville average home attendance: 691

Highest home attendance: 938 v Eastleigh/ Lowest: 502 v Truro City

Dartford average away attendance: 839

Highest away attendance: 1815 v Welling United/ Lowest: 441 v Boreham Wood

Did you know…

Dartford have now scored in their previous 17 league matches and in their last 7 away league games

Away from home The Darts are unbeaten in four league fixtures

Havant and Waterlooville have scored the most league goals (10) in the final 15 minutes of the first half

The Hawks have conceded the most league goals (14) in the first 15 minutes of the second half

Only Maidenhead United have conceded more second half league goals (26) than Havant and Waterlooville (24) this season



Season Review Part Ten – A look back on 2010/2011

10 – April and May – Mission Complete

Oh Jackie Pallen!

Dartford entered the final month of the season in twelfth position and five points behind a top ten finish. Over April The Darts would play another seven league fixtures and a Kent Senior Cup Semi Final.

Lee Burns scores his first

It was a windy day in Hertfordshire which played a huge part in the result against St Albans City. Dartford started off well and forced Conor Gough into a save which he spilt then gathered up and Charlie Sheringham headed wide. Half way through the first forty five Dartford cleared their lines, Lee Burns flicked on a routine header thirty five yards from goal, and the wind carried the ball which bounced by the penalty spot. Dartford fans watched on in disbelief as Gough watched the bouncing ball sail over his head and into the net. What a way to score your first goal of the season, bizarre indeed. Burns celebrated in style, having recently become a father he cradled the tiny Lee Noble, typical Burnsy, no one could be happier. The crowd started to sing, “Where were you when Burnsy scored?” about time we all thought.

Early into the second half The Darts threatened with a couple of headers but it was the home side that made their chance count.  A long ball fell into Tony Battersby’s path and he neatly finished equalising for The Saints. The side at the bottom of the table came back into the game and when Paul Goodacre committed a foul a penalty was awarded. Battersby stepped up to make it two, struck his shot and smashed the cross bar.

Young Jack Pallen was given a start up front and when there was five minutes to go he chased down the ball forcing the St Albans defender into a mistake. Pallen was through one on one with Gough then slotted the ball beyond the keeper, Jack won the match.

St Albans City 1 Dartford 2 – Highlights

A Trip to the Coast

The emergence of Jack Pallen saw a change to the playing staff. Carl Rook went out on loan and Tony Burman signed winger James Rogers.  The Darts made the journey to the coast to take on Ramsgate in the Kent Senior Cup Semi Final. Now the side had got this far and silverware was in our grasp this competition mattered because it had been fifteen years since Dartford reached a cup final.

Sheringham's spot kick

The Rams held Dartford in the first half as both sides failed to score in the opening forty five minutes. In the second half,  Ramsgate failed to clear a corner and Tom Champion scuffed a half volley towards goal, Charlie Sheringham instinctively blasted the ball into the roof of the net from a couple of yards out, 1-0.

The lead was doubled when Jack Pallen was felled in the box and Sheringham converted the spot-kick for his fourth goal in this year’s competition. And just to make sure the tie was finished off ten minutes from time when Ryan Hayes stylishly cut inside to polish off Ramsgate with goal number three. The Darts had made it through to the Bank Holiday May finale.

Ramsgate 0 Dartford 3 – Kent Senior Cup Semi Final Highlights

Playing Without Fear

The win at St Albans City meant Dartford booked their place in next seasons Conference South. However, Tony Burman was determined for his side to finish in the top ten and play to the end. This type of attitude showed against the in form Woking who had taken an impressive 38 points from their last 45.

The first half was more than dramatic at Princes Park. Elliot Bradbrook was deemed to have handled in his penalty box. The decision was harsh considering Bradbrook was facing the opposite direction and the ball hit is hand. The experienced former football league player Elvis Hammond stepped up, the Dartford fans waited for the spot kick. Hammond struck the ball; Andrew Young guessed right, the ball rolled past the post and the scores stayed level.  The penalty count levelled up when Lee Noble was bundled to the floor giving Charlie Sheringham the opportunity to put Dartford in front. Sheringham stepped up, the Dartford fans waited for the spot kick. Sheringham struck the ball; Andy Little guessed right, the ball rolled past the post and the scores stayed level, déjà vu.

With fifteen minutes left to play in the first half no one could afford to blink, it was all action. Andrew Burgess took a free kick from way out on the right and his effort flew over Young into the far top corner. It was a goal Dartford fans had seen Ryan Hayes score on many occasions, this time the goal went against The Darts. Woking deserved the lead but were left completely stunned.

In the space of four minutes the following took place. Dartford won a corner on the left which was sent into the box by Lee Noble. Elliot Bradbrook rose the highest and headed in the equaliser. A couple of minutes later Lee Burns played a short pass into Jack Pallen who spotted a diagonal run by Sheringham. Pallen picked out his fellow striker, Sheringham slid in to win the ball. Sheringham got to his feet the quickest and lifted the ball over the Little into the goal. Unbelievably it did not stop there when Sheringham flicked the ball into Pallen’s path he expertly blasted in the third, what a turnaround.

Charlie Sheringham lifts the ball goalwards

The Darts played with confidence in the second half but failed to increase the lead and when Woking’s Adam Doyle was dismissed the game looked over.  With seven minutes remaining the visitors won another penalty, the third of the game. Craig Dobson was on duty after Hammond’s earlier miss, he scored to give The Cards a life line but it was all too late.

Dartford 3 Woking 2 – Highlights

Super Mario Defeats The Darts

With a cup final place in the bag and a placed in next year’s Conference South, Dartford’s top ten quest was dealt three fatal blows in the space of a week. Boreham Wood destroyed The Darts back in October with the help of Mario Noto and he was at it again.

Charlie Sheringham gave The Darts the lead to make amends for his second penalty miss in consecutive games.  The striker failed to score after Lee Noble won a penalty and his spot kick was saved.  Dartford won penalty number two when Tom Bonner was hauled down, this time Sheringham went down the middle to give The Darts the lead.

Noto again: Mario takes The Darts apart

A minute before the break Mario Noto curled a superb free kick beyond Andrew Young to level. After the restart Noto beat Young for a second time when another curled effort was unstoppable. For the second game in a row a third penalty was awarded which gave Noto the chance to complete a hat trick, he did. To make things worse The Wood netted a fourth through David Bryant and Lee Burns was sent off.  Noto had now scored five of Boreham Wood’s seven goals against Dartford.

Dartford 1 Boreham Wood 4 – Highlights

Fogden Strikes Again

In a jam packed week Dartford travelled to Hampshire on a Monday night to face Havant and Waterlooville. The pitch at Westleigh Park wasn’t pretty and neither was the result. After a few chances for Tony Burman’s side the home team opened the scoring on thirty three minutes. Dartford’s defence were caught napping and Sammy Igoe’s cross was turned into the net by Wes Fogden. Dartford pushed for an equaliser knowing victory against The Hawks will aid their top ten finish and potentially damage Havant and Waterlooville’s chances. It wasn’t to be and the Hampshire side took the three points.

Havant and Waterlooville 1 Dartford 0 – Highlights

Dress Rehearsal

Defeat against Havant and Waterlooville meant the Good Friday match against Bromley was crucial. It was Havant and Bromley in Dartford’s way to gate crashing the top ten. The fixture at Hayes Lane was also a dress rehearsal for the Kent Senior Cup Final. The dress rehearsal was a disaster.

The Ravens took the lead through Jerry Nnamani and three minutes later Jerrome Sobers doubled their advantage. Charlie Sheringham gave Dartford a lifeline from the spot before half time but two second half goals from Warren McBean and Leon McKenzie completed Bromley’s victory.

Bromley 4 Dartford 1 – Highlights

A Glorious Day

Three defeats in a row and the return of Jon Main in a Dover Athletic shirt had the Dartford fans up for this fixture. The rivalry between Dartford and Dover in the last five years had increased as their paths have crossed more recently. Like Good Friday the sun was beaming down and inside Princes Park the atmosphere was cooking. It is fair to say that Dover has had the upper hand over Dartford for some time but after the 2-0 win by The Darts in November the double was on.

The game started at pace and continued throughout the first half. The Dartford midfield worked tirelessly and combined some good moves but neither side could fashion a goal scoring chance until mid-way into the first forty five. Lee Noble lined up a corner on the left and sent the cross into the crowded box. Charlie Sheringham lost his marker with a run to the near post and flicked the ball into the opposite corner, Princes Park erupted.

Lee Noble and Lee Burns linked up well on the edge of the box and Burns’ volley was parried wide by Ross Flitney. Noble then led a counter attack which failed to materialise and his curling effort later on just missed the target. Noble was everywhere dictating the middle of the park and setting up attacks. Dover survived the first half only a goal down.

Dartford end their home campaign on a high

Ten minutes into the second half Burns played the ball inside to Elliot Bradbrook. The captain laid the ball off to Tom Champion and side footed the ball tamely towards goal, a slight deflection later and the lead was doubled, The Darts were ecstatic. Three minutes on and Andrew Young punted a goal kick to the half way line. Charlie Sheringham headed the ball onwards, Burns flicked on with his head and Danny Harris pounced onto the ball and expertly lobbed Flitney, 3-0 the crowd went crazy. The Dartford players celebrated with the fans, Dover players looked on head in hands and stunned.

To the credit of a handful of Dover fans who kept supporting their club and making noise The Whites tried to get back into the game but found Dartford difficult to break down. Adam Birchall was kept quiet and his only major chance one on one with Andrew Young saw The Darts goalkeeper come out on top. Ross Flitney had to twice tip shots over the bar in the Dover goal as Dartford attempted to increase their lead. After a corner was kept alive Noble took a pop at goal inside the eighteen yard box, Sheringham reached out a leg controlled the ball and poked the ball with the outside of his foot passed Flitney, 4-0 to The Darts, what a way to finish Princes Park’s league campaign for 2010/2011.

Dartford 4 Dover Athletic 0 – Highlights

In at Number Ten

30 April 2011 and Dartford’s long season was to end at Maidenhead United. Whilst The Darts were playing for top ten finish their opponents needed just a point to stay up. Dartford needed to win and hope Bromley were defeated by Eastleigh.

The first half passed by with the home side happy to see out the game and use up time. At the break all looked well for both sides because Bromley and Thurrock were two goals down at the interval. In the second half The Darts threw a spanner in the works when Charlie Sheringham latched onto Ryan Hayes through ball to lob Steve Williams in the Maidenhead goal. A second goal followed fifteen minutes later when Jack Pallen and Sheringham combined on the edge of the box. Pallen finished netting his second league goal of the season, the academy player was settling in just nicely. Two turned to three in the seventy second minute when Ryan Hayes hit a right footed volley sweetly into the corner.  The season was ending on a high, Bromley were still two goals down and Thurrock had managed to pull their game back to 3-2. The Darts partied, The Magpies were on edge.

Maidenhead were not finished yet and substitute Craig Faulconbridge’s glancing header with eleven minutes on the clock gave The Magpies some impetus. Jefferson Louis pulled another goal back with five minutes remaining; surely The Darts wouldn’t throw it away? Then in the dying moments of the season Louis turned his man, fired in a shot, over the cross bar. A close call in the end as the game finished 3-2.

Knowledge of results from elsewhere arrived at York Road. Farnborough 3 Thurrock 2, Maidenhead was safe. Bromley 0 Eastleigh 2, Dartford had gate crashed the top ten.

Braintree Town departed the Conference South as champions. Farnborough Town and Ebbsfleet United overcome Woking and Chelmsford City in the playoffs respectively. Ebbsfleet United won the playoff 4-2 to join Braintree in the Conference National. St Albans City and Lewes were relegated and Thurrock was given a reprieve due to the demise of Rushden and Diamonds in the league above, Bishop’s Stortford moved to the Conference North. Joining the Conference South for 2011/2012 is Sutton United and Tonbridge Angels from the Isthmian Premier League as well as Salisbury City and Truro City from the Southern Premier League. The new adventure awaits.

Maidenhead United 2 Dartford 3 – Highlights

For The Win?

Last time Dartford made it to a cup final was in 1996 so it had been a long time coming. Bromley had won the Kent Senior Cup in 2007 when they retained the prize. The two sides drew 2-2 at Princes Park back in September but the 4-1 defeat to Bromley on Good Friday was still fresh in the memory of players, staff and supporters. The final was to be held at Princes Park and crowd of 2025 made the effort to see who would be crowned champions of Kent.

Tony Burman stuck with Deren Ibrahim in goal who had played in every round, the rest of the team was as you would expect as The Darts aimed to win their third piece of silverware in four years. An expectant crowd wanted to taste glory again and typically a mix of excitement and nerves filled Princes Park.

Dartford started steadily passing the ball around in midfield using their full backs to good effect. Tom Champion won possession and played the ball back to Paul Goodacre. Tom Bonner received the pass and touched the ball inside to Elliot Bradbrook. Bradbrook exchanged a one two with Lee Noble then played the ball wide to Matt Jones. Jones knocked the ball wide to Ryan Hayes who was making his two hundredth start, he cut inside and whipped in an in swinger. Noble was on the end of it unmarked, the header went wide. A promising opening, Noble kicked the post knowing he should have scored.

The Darts celebrate the opener

Bromley hit back when Ibrahim was forced into a reaction save at the near post and the resulting corner was scrambled clear. The next chance came from Dartford when Danny Harris was given space and his curler was deflected out for a corner. Twenty minutes had passed and Hayes swung the corner towards goal, Charlie Sheringham nodded the ball across the crowded six yard box and Bradbrook poked the ball in, just what the Captain ordered.

Straight from kick off Bromley directly carved their way through the Dartford team, Harry Harding was one on one with Young, what a waste from the Bromley player as he blasted the ball over, Dartford went to sleep and were let off. The first half was suddenly over it had all gone so quickly and The Darts had the narrow advantage.

Five minutes into the second half and Bonner took a throw in the corner of the Bromley half, his throw was laid back to him and a first time cross bounced through three Bromley defenders. Hayes was waiting, looked up and calmly picked out the far corner with a side footed shot, Dartford doubled their lead. Hayes ran to the corner flag slid on his knees got up and ‘sang’ using the flag as a microphone. Dartford fans sang knowing silverware was in their grasp.

The Darts started to play with more confidence, Sheringham’s spin and shot went harmlessly over, Hayes tricked his way down the left side, Bromley were on the edge as Dartford won another corner. Hayes swung the ball underneath the goal posts, Craig Holloway fumbled and after fifty five minutes Dartford were three to the good. Hayes was congratulated and out came his imaginary guitar.

Dartford fans were starting to have fun knowing the cup was as good as theirs and if anyone had doubts they didn’t on the hour. Sheringham’s vision picked out Hayes and his first time low cross to the far post reached Harris who was lurking to tap the ball in, 4-0. The players knew the job was done. Although Bromley pulled one back through Warren McBean fifteen minutes from time, Dartford won the Kent Senior Cup for the tenth time in their history.

Dartford F.C - Kent Senior Cup Winners

The celebrations went on into the evening, a third trophy in four years. Back in January, who would have thought Dartford would finish in the top ten and win a cup? Tony Burman, his staff, his players, and supporters had achieved the best set of results since 1989. Dartford Football Club finished tenth in the Conference South, reached the last sixteen of the F.A Trophy, the first round of the F.A Cup and is now the Champions of Kent.

Dartford 4 Bromley 1 – Kent Senior Cup Final Highlights

Kent Senior Cup Final Presentation

Dartford for the win!

Pos Team Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1 Braintree Town 42 27 8 7 78 33 +45 89
2 Farnborough 42 25 7 10 83 47 +36 82
3 Ebbsfleet United 42 22 12 8 75 51 +24 78
4 Chelmsford City 42 23 8 11 82 50 +32 77
5 Woking 42 22 10 10 62 42 +20 76
6 Welling United* 42 24 8 10 81 47 +34 75
7 Dover Athletic 42 22 8 12 80 51 +29 74
8 Eastleigh 42 22 6 14 74 53 +21 72
9 Havant & W 42 16 10 16 56 51 +5 58
10 Dartford 42 15 12 15 60 60 0 57
11 Bromley 42 15 12 15 49 61 -12 57
12 Weston-super-Mare 42 15 8 19 56 67 -11 53
13 Basingstoke Town 42 13 10 19 50 63 -13 49
14 Boreham Wood 42 12 11 19 56 67 -11 47
15 Staines Town 42 11 14 17 48 63 -15 47
16 Bishop’s Stortford 42 13 6 23 48 79 -31 45
17 Dorchester Town 42 10 14 18 49 59 -10 44
18 Hampton & Richmond 42 9 15 18 43 60 -17 42
19 Maidenhead United 42 10 10 22 43 70 -27 40
20 Thurrock 42 8 13 21 50 77 -27 37
21 Lewes 42 9 9 24 34 70 -36 36
22 St Albans City** 42 7 13 22 39 75 -36 24

*Welling United deducted five points

**St Albans City deducted ten points

Stuart Maidment

Photos courtesy of Dave Adkins, videos courtesy of Ray Cherry.


Season Review Part Three – A look back on 2010/2011

3- Let The Season Begin – August 2010

Danny Harris celebrates Dartford's first goal in the Conference South

The Opener

The fourteenth of August arrived and The Darts opener against Havant and Waterlooville was the talk of the town. Back in the second tier of non league football, 1302 turned up for the first fixture of 2010/2011 season. Havant and Waterlooville were the bookies favourite to go up having lost just nine games the season before and finishing a point away from the playoffs. Dartford missed Elliot Bradbrook and new signing Tom Champion through suspension. Tom Bonner, Joe Bruce, Paul Goodacre and Ollie Berquez made their competitive debuts. Three o’clock, the referee’s whistle commenced the start of another chapter in Dartford F.C’s history. No one really knew what to expect but Princes Park was buzzing with optimism and on twenty six minutes Danny Harris flicked a Ryan Hayes free kick goalwards, 1-0. The Darts had opened the scoring, the crowd were in full voice, the season was well and truly underway, what a start. The Hawks looked for the equaliser, hit the crossbar and had a goal ruled out for offside. Burman’s side were clinging on and as the half time break approached Hayes handled the ball in his own area, penalty, the home crowd silenced. Bobby Hopkinson converted the spot kick and the teams went back to their dressing rooms all square.

The second half started with a fine drizzle and the Hampshire side took control, the Dartford crossbar was rattled for the second time. With a couple of minutes remaining Dartford were unable to clear a corner, the ball was eventually laid off to Wes Fogden who unleashed a terrific eighteen yard curler into Andrew Young’s far corner, game over. Or was it? In the last minute Young launched a goal kick forward which was flicked on. Lee Burns desperately helped the ball up in the air and into the penalty box, Danny Harris was knocked over and the referee pointed to the spot. Hayes stepped up, the Dartford faithful crossed their fingers, and the Havant goalkeeper was sent the wrong way, 2-2. Dartford had earned their first league point, relief.

Dartford 2 Havant and Waterlooville 2 – Highlights

Paul Goodacre heads for an early bath at The Beveree

Searching For Win Number One

Two away matches followed starting in mid week at The Beveree. Hampton and Richmond were the first team to host The Darts. After two games Dartford unveiled their third kit, green with white sleeves, eyebrows were raised not for the first time that afternoon. Not even ten minutes had passed when Paul Goodacre clipped the last man, the letter of the law was applied and Dartford were reduced to ten men. Despite a numerical disadvantage the boys held their own but it was not enough. A Dean Wells header on 68 minutes inflicted the first defeat for The Darts.

Hampton and Richmond 1 Dartford 0 – Highlights

A second successive reverse was to follow at newly promoted Farnborough. The Hampshire side lost their opening two matches. It took just twelve minutes for Dean McDonald to smash home a superb half volley from 18 yards to give Farnborough the lead. Andrew Young was extremely busy against the lively Boro attack and when he upended Kezie Ibe a penalty was awarded. McDonald doubled his tally and Farnborough’s advantage. Lee Noble nodded in a consolation in the final minute, The Darts were given a wakeup call, welcome to the Conference South.

Farnborough 2 Dartford 1 – Highlights

A First For Everything

At last Charlie Sheringham and Tom Champion made competitive debuts as Bishop’s Stortford travelled to Princes Park. The Bishop’s finished a lowly eighteenth last season but had become an experienced Conference South outfit. The Hertfordshire club were already familiar with Andrew Young, Danny Harris, Paul Goodacre and debutant Charlie Sheringham who all plied their trade at Woodside Park in the past. After a slow start to the season Dartford fans debated over the best line up and the best formation. Importantly of all, they all agreed to get behind the team in search of their first victory. The performance was much improved by the Dartford lads and on twenty minutes Billy Burgess’ long throw was flicked on by Lee Burns, Danny Harris turned and shot, 1-0. Barely a couple of minutes passed and

The Darts run riot and record win number one

Paul Goodacre was in the thick of it again, another penalty conceded. This time, Andrew Young made an excellent stop to keep The Darts ahead and save his first penalty of the season. Two minutes before the interval things got better for Dartford. Sheringham found Ryan Hayes out wide who returned the ball with a delightful cross; Sheringham headed his first goal for his new club, 2-0. Young kept The Bishop’s at bay in the second half with a string of fine saves, the penalty save was looking to be a turning point. With nine minutes remaining a terrible mistake from Bishop’s Stortford goalkeeper Nicky Morgan handed Carl Rook a four yard tap in, game, set and match, the first win of the season was accomplished in style.

Dartford 3 Bishop’s Stortford 0 – Highlights

Derby Day

Dartfordians were on a high after the mid week triumph and for the next 96 hours the emotional journey would continue. It had been eighteen long and hard years without playing our rivals. Back then they were known as Gravesend and Northfleet, now their name had controversially changed to Ebbsfleet United. Only two and half years had passed since The Fleet tasted Wembley triumph in the F.A Trophy final, being the first Kent side to lift the honour. Dartford had lost Watling Street, started all over again in the Kent League and even shared Stonebridge Road with their local rivals, the road had been long. The occasion was full of excitement and nervousness, take the start of the season and multiply it by ten or maybe more. A season’s record attendance turned out, 2781, Dartford’s biggest in the league since the opening of Princess Park. Prior the match supporters of both clubs mingled, some would have to speak to each other after the match at work, down the local. Friends before the game, enemies during and returning to friends again once all is over. In 1992, Dartford destroyed The Fleet 5-0 on New Year’s Day and the reverse fixture ended 1-1. Many fans would remember this as the last time the two sides met in the league; newer fans looked forward to a ‘new rivalry’ for it was Dover Athletic or Maidstone United in recent years. The only similarity between the two sets of supporters was that no one wanted to experience defeat.

Darts fans saviour the atmosphere against Ebbsfleet United

Ebbsfleet started the brighter and struck the left post through Craig Stone. However, Dartford bounced back with half chances of their own via Charlie Sheringham and Lee Burns. Hearts were in mouths shortly afterwards. Callum Willock was sent through who delicately lobbed the ball over John Whitehouse, surely The Fleet had taken the lead? The ball was destined for the goal. Billy Burgess scampered back before sliding in time to clear the ball off the line. The first half went by, scrappy, competitive with both defences resolute, yet the game remained entertaining because of the amount at stake. On the stroke of half time Dartford broke with a counter attack and Danny Harris’ cross was inches away from the toes of Lee Burns, the half time whistle sounded, goalless.

At the half time interval drink was required to nullify the nerves. The only affect this had was to lubricate the vocal chords for the second half. Drums and trumpets continued to stir up vociferous support for the final forty five minutes and the game continued where it had left off, scrappy, competitive and entertaining.

On sixty two minutes Fleet goalkeeper Preston Edwards comfortably dealt with a Dartford cross, he released Willock with an accurate throw who was cynically tripped off the ball by Ryan Hayes, free kick awarded. Although the free kick was forty yards out right on the far side Ebbsfleet United packed the Dartford box. As the ball was hurled in Michael West rose from six yards out to powerfully header The Fleet into the lead. Ebbsfleet supporters were ecstatic, a jubilant roar sounded out over Princes Park. Despite going a goal down the atmosphere of that goal made Dartford realise what they had missed for eighteen years, a big game, a big gate, a higher level of football and support, it was what Princes Park was built for, shame about conceding though.

Seconds later The Darts attacked in search of a quick leveller. Whitehouse’s kick went long, Sheringham flicked it on to Burns who exchanged a one two. Only the keeper to beat from six yards, this was it, 1-1 and we’ve bounced back. Burns set himself, too complacent it was harder to miss and he did. The chance had vanished and over half of Princes Park was in disbelief. The game opened up and straight from Dartford’s opportunity, The Fleet broke away and Willock’s header was brilliantly tipped round the post by Andrew Young.

Nine frantic minutes passed and the setback gave Dartford the impetus to find an equaliser. A hopeful boot into the Ebbsfleet box caused problems for Paul Lorraine as he hauled Harris to the ground, penalty. Sheringham immediately grabbed the ball despite Hayes’ protest that he normally takes the spot kicks. Confusion surrounded the Ebbsfleet players who disagreed with the referees decision, confusion surrounded the Dartford players who couldn’t decide on who should take the penalty. The referee completed formalities; Princes Park held its breath. Sheringham to stepped up, shot to the keepers right into the bottom corner, equaliser. Relief for the Dartford fans, for Sheringham, for Hayes, for Burman’s men. A few more half chances were squandered and when the referee brought an end to the derby, Princes Park was reduced to a credible round of applause, an exhausting yet entertaining fixture had come to an end, the sixteen year wait was worth it.

Dartford 1 Ebbsfleet United 1 – Highlights

Dartford fans celebrate as Charlie Sheringham converts a spot kick

End of August

After the highs of the last two league fixtures The Darts travelled across to Essex to face Chelmsford City. Just under a year ago the two sides met in the F.A Cup with The Clarets progressing to the next round. A disappointing performance by Dartford ended August on a defeat, goals from Billy Bricknell and Anthony Cook gave Chelmsford a 2-0 win leaving Dartford with five points from the first eighteen.

Chelmsford City 2 Dartford 0 – Highlights

During the opening month of the season Bromley set the pace with a perfect record. Mark Goldberg’s team won every fixture in August. Only Braintree Town and Dover Athletic were unbeaten whilst five teams were yet to record a victory. St Albans City opened with five consecutive draws which was to remain the longest drawing streak of 2010/11 season. The promoted newcomers were all struggling to adapt with Farnborough lying in fourteenth, Dartford in sixteenth and Boreham Wood second from bottom.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Bromley 6 6 0 0 12 5 +7 18
2 Braintree Town 6 4 2 0 12 2 +10 14
3 Dover Athletic 6 4 2 0 10 3 +7 14
4 Chelmsford City 6 4 0 2 13 8 +5 12
5 Maidenhead United 6 4 0 2 7 8 -1 12
6 Welling United 6 3 2 1 11 8 +3 11
7 Bishop’s Stortford 6 3 0 3 7 10 -3 9
8 Eastleigh 6 2 2 2 11 8 +3 8
9 Ebbsfleet United 6 2 2 2 7 6 +1 8
10 Basingstoke Town 6 2 2 2 4 4 0 8
11 Weston-super-Mare 6 2 2 2 4 4 0 8
12 Hampton and Richmond 6 1 4 1 7 7 0 7
13 Staines Town 6 1 4 1 5 5 0 7
14 Farnborough 6 2 1 3 5 7 -2 7
15 Woking 6 2 1 3 4 8 -4 7
16 Dartford 6 1 2 3 7 8 -1 5
17 St Albans City 6 0 5 1 6 7 -1 5
18 Havant and W 6 0 4 2 5 8 -3 4
19 Lewes 6 1 1 4 4 9 -5 4
20 Thurrock 6 0 3 3 8 12 -4 3
21 Boreham Wood 6 0 3 3 6 11 -5 3
22 Dorchester Town 6 0 2 4 4 11 -7 2