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National South Season Preview Part Three

Ebbsfleet United

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

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

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

Manager: Dennis Kutrieb

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

Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings (last six)

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

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

Hampton and Richmond Borough

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

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

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

Manager: Gary McCann

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

Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings (last six)

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

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

Havant and Waterlooville

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

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

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

Manager: Paul Doswell

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

Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings (last six)

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

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

Hemel Hempstead Town

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

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

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

Manager: Lee Bircham

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

Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings (last six)

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

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

Hungerford Town

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

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

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

Manager: Danny Robinson

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

Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings (last six)

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

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

Dartford v Hungerford Town

Dartford returned to the top of the National South and hope to stay there when they host title challengers Hungerford Town this weekend.

The Darts will want to put some distance over the Crusaders as only four points separate the two sides. Whilst Steve King’s men lead the National South, Danny Robinson’s team are in fourth after the same amount of games.

Dartford could make it a first league double over their opponents after winning at Bulpit Lane in November. Finding themselves a goal down when Ryan Seager scored a penalty, the Darts rallied to take victory with two excellent goals by Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong.

Unbeaten in three games against Hungerford Town, the Darts have scored twice in each of those fixtures. A complete turnaround of form before Dartford’s current run, when they went four games without finding the net against the Berkshire club, losing three.

Last season, the two sides met just the once and it ended 2-2 at Bulpit Lane. The now departed pair of Darren McQueen and Luke Wanadio netted after Zidan Akers opened the scoring for Hungerford Town. Looking set for a victory the Darts conceded an equaliser two minutes from time, Conor Lynch rescuing a point for the hosts.

The last time Princes Park hosted this fixture, the Darts ran out 2-1 winners. Phil Roberts made his debut for Dartford, but it was his strike partner Jamie Philpot who put the Darts one up. Lee Noble extended the lead and in the last minute Marvel Ekpiteta grabbed a consolation.

Despite seven players unavailable and five changes to the starting eleven, Dartford approach this weekend’s game on the back of a 3-0 win over Billericay Town. A goalless first half left the Darts wondering whether their lack of goals would continue. However, returning from his successful loan spell at Chelmsford City, Charlie Sheringham scored a second-half hat-trick, his first in a competitive game for the club.

Sheringham scored five goals in five games with the Clarets and he was rewarded with a first Dartford start since November. The striker was one of five changes, another one of those was a surprise signing. With goalkeeper Craig King suspended, Steve King signed Daniel Wilks from Welling United who made his debut and kept a clean sheet. Josh Hill, David Ijaha and Luke Allen were the others selected in a much changed line up.

Craig Braham-Barrett, Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong and Noor Husin weren’t in the squad and Ricky Modeste is still recovering from injury. Cameron Brodie took his place on the bench after returning from a loan spell at Tilbury. Former Huddersfield Town youngster, Denilson Carvalho got a run out following his move from Tower Hamlets prior kick off. Jazzi Barnum-Bobb and Craig King will be suspended for this weekend’s game against Hungerford Town.

Victory against Billericay Town was just the tonic after King labelled the defeat against bottom club Braintree Town as ‘unacceptable and unrecognisable’. After addressing the surprise loss with his players, the Darts put in an outstanding display against Ricay. Not only did the Darts score three they created plenty of chances to add to the tally, including Connor Essam’s shot off the crossbar and two cleared off the line. King feels if his side wants to get a positive result on Saturday they will need to replicate their efforts from Tuesday night.

King is not the only manager making signings. After a blistering start in the National South, Hungerford Town have lost some ground after four defeats in their last seven league games. Antonio Diaz has arrived from Salisbury, Mike Atkinson from Bracknell Town, Andre Burley has had his loan spell extended to the end of the month and Jake Evans scored in their last game on his debut against Maidstone United.

The Crusaders have won three of their last four games showing signs they have returned to that early season form. In those matches Ryan Seager has netted four times as he continues to be the Berkshire club’s main man in front of goal. The striker has 12 goals to his name so far and is the league’s joint top scorer with former Dart, Jason Prior.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Hungerford Town wins: 3 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford
(WLWDLW)
Hungerford Town
(WLWWLL)
Billericay TownH3-0Maidstone UnitedH2-1
Braintree TownA1-2Havant and WaterloovilleA2-4
Tonbridge AngelsH1-0Bath CityA2-0
Ebbsfleet UnitedH0-0Hemel Hempstead TownA1-0
Eastbourne BoroughA1-3Dulwich HamletH0-3
Hungerford TownA2-1Oxford CityH1-4

Previous Meetings

28.11.2020Hungerford Town1Dartford2
26.08.2019Hungerford Town2Dartford2
22.12.2018Dartford2Hungerford Town1
25.08.2018Hungerford Town1Dartford0
09.12.2017Hungerford Town1Dartford0
05.08.2017Dartford0Hungerford Town0
14.04.2017Hungerford Town2Dartford0
27.08.2016Dartford2Hungerford Town0

Stats

Dartford have kept three clean sheets in their last four games and have not conceded at home in the league since the 1-0 defeat against St Albans City on 17 November. The run of four home clean sheets in a row was last achieved between 28 December 2019 and 25 January 2020.

The Darts last managed five consecutive home clean sheets in the league back in the 2008/2009 Isthmian Premier League winning season.

Charlie Sheringham’s hat-trick on the weekend was the first for a Dartford player since Alfie Pavey’s against Needham Market on 30 September 2017. It was also the first Princes Park hat-trick since Warren Mfula scored three against Oxford City on 19 August 2017.

On This Day

Andy Pugh’s first half brace set Dartford on their way to a 4-1 home win over Bath City five years ago. A third was added to the striker’s double by Ryan Hayes before the visitors pulled a goal back. With three minutes remaining Callum McNaughton added some gloss with a fourth. In 2000, the Darts were knocked out of the F.A Trophy third round when they were beaten 2-1 by Heybridge Swifts. Dartford have won two of their last three games on this day 4-1, in 1988 they beat Burton Albion in the Southern Premier League at Watling Street.

Hungerford Town v Dartford

Dartford travel to third place Hungerford Town this weekend in search of their first ever victory at Bulpit Lane.

The Darts are hoping to regain top spot after slipping to second on Tuesday night. Dorking Wanderer’s win in mid-week leaves Steve King’s side level on points with the Surrey club, but behind on goal difference. Hungerford Town have ambitions of their own knowing a win will leapfrog them above the Darts.

Bulpit Lane has not been a happy hunting ground for Dartford in recent years. Suffering defeat in their first three visits without scoring a goal. Last season, the only meeting between the two clubs, the Darts showed progress in a 2-2 draw. After Hungerford Town took the lead through Zidan Akers, Dartford hit back when Darren McQueen equalised and Luke Wanadio put the visitors in front. However, Dartford were denied their first win at the Crusaders and with two minutes left Conor Lynch levelled the match.

Steve King’s ruthless streak was rewarded last weekend with the signing of former Charlton Athletic striker Chris Dickson. The experienced 35-year-old scored twice on his debut against Slough Town. At National South level he has been a reliable source of goals most recently for Chelmsford City and Hampton and Richmond Borough. At AFC Hornchurch he has netted 30 goals in 46 games and has joined the Darts on dual registration. He has been added to the front line which now boasts loanee Alfie Pavey as well as Jack Barham, Elliott Romain and Charlie Sheringham. The squad now has extra depth up front where King feels the side need improving. For all Dartford’s creative play the Dartford manager believes they are lacking the finishing edge.

After a scrappy first half against Slough Town, King’s half-time team talk did wonders and so victory was just the tonic after the 1-0 home defeat to St Albans City. The Darts boss was pleased to get the side’s home form back on track, especially after defeat against Dorking Wanderers at Princes Park earlier in the month. Hungerford Town will provide another type of test on the road against a top three team, Dartford will want to lay down a marker.

It will come as a relief that this week Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong’s red card versus Slough Town has been rescinded, the midfielder has started every game this season and is a key player in the middle of the park. On the injury front, Ricky Modeste is out with a hairline fracture of the knee, whilst Craig Braham-Barrett, David Ijaha and Abdul Osman have been out in recent weeks. King has also been able to call upon goalkeeper Ethan Wady who got the nod over Craig King last weekend and Connor Essam has kept his place in the side, despite competition from Ronnie Vint. Luke Allen also made his first start of the campaign proving King will happily make changes.

Hungerford Town have turned the table upside down with their early season form. The Crusaders finished bottom of the National South last term and would have been relegated in any normal year. But 2020 is no normal year and the Berkshire club under the stewardship of Danny Robinson have won six of their opening nine games, they only won eight in 33 attempts last season.

The Crusaders have been here before, when they were one of the surprise packages after winning promotion. Hungerford Town finished their first ever campaign in the National South in sixth place and were denied a playoff spot due to ground regulations. Hit by the dreaded second season syndrome, the Berkshire side stayed up on the last day in the following two campaigns before finishing last in March.

Manager, Robinson won the F.A Vase with Thatcham Town and took them up the non-league pyramid, they were also on the verge of another promotion before the pandemic ended the 2019/2020 season. His appointment this summer has seen almost a new squad assembled. Ryan Seager is one of the new signings impressing, the striker has scored seven in nine games since joining from Yeovil Town.

Although early days, Hungerford Town have already proven they can mix it with the pace setters. Victory over league leaders Dorking Wanderers and a draw with unbeaten St Albans City have been added to victories against teams at the bottom end of the table, who they would have been competing with eight months ago.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Hungerford Town wins: 3 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford
(WLWWLW)
Hungerford Town
(DWLWWL)
Slough TownH2-0St Albans CityA0-0
St Albans CityH0-1Slough TownA3-1
Maidstone UnitedA2-0Hampton & RichmondH0-1
Hemel Hempstead TownA3-1Braintree TownA2-1
Dorking WanderersH2-3Dorking WanderersH2-0
Havant & WaterloovileH2-1Ebbsfleet UnitedA2-3

Last Six Meetings

26.08.2019Hungerford Town2Dartford2
22.12.2018Dartford2Hungerford Town1
25.08.2018Hungerford Town1Dartford0
09.12.2017Hungerford Town1Dartford0
05.08.2017Dartford0Hungerford Town0
14.04.2017Hungerford Town2Dartford0

Stats

Dartford have never won at Bulpit Lane (D1, L3) and last season’s visit was the first time in four attempts in which the Darts managed to score.

The Darts have score in three of their seven meetings against the Crusaders, each time netting twice.

Tom Bonner made his 350th start in a Dartford shirt when he lined up against Slough Town. The defender is now on 352 appearances in total.

On This Day

Steve King faced his future employers five years ago and knocked them out of the F.A Trophy. His Whitehawk side came to Princes Park and won the third qualifying round tie 2-1. In that Whitehawk side that day was Craig Braham-Barrett and David Ijaha was an unused substitute. Danny Mills, Dave Martin and Paul Lorraine were other Dartford links involved in Whitehawk’s starting eleven. The last win for the Darts on this day was back in 1987 when they beat Dorchester Town 2-1 in the Southern Premier League. Since then the Darts drew a Southern League Southern Division fixture 0-0 with Ashford Town in 1998 and lost 1-0 at home to AFC Hornchurch, in the Isthmian Premier League in 2009 before the trophy exit in 2015.

National South Season Preview Part III

Ebbsfleet United

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 22nd (National League)
F.A Cup: 1st Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Round
Top Scorer: Gozie Ogwu (13 goals)

Relegated by the narrowest of margins, Ebbsfleet United become the fifth Kent side in the National South. With the National League decided using points per game the Fleet were 0.002 points short, despite being in the top three of the form guide when football stopped. Off field damage, with players being paid late, caused instability at the club and finally it caught up with the Kent side. Now Ebbsfleet United enter a new era appointing a manager from the fifth tier of German football, who has begun to overhaul the squad.

Manager: Dennis Kutrieb

German managers seem to do well in the professional game and now the National South has one of their own trying to make a mark. Dennis Kutrieb left Tennis Borussia Berlin at the top of the fifth tier of German football before moving to Ebbsfleet United. In Germany he was on course for his third promotion in six years with two different clubs. Kutrieb is a highly rated young manager and as well as leading the NOFV-Oberliga Nord in March which eventually earned his former side promotion, he led Tennis Borussia Berlin to second spot the year before.

Summer

The Fleet have a new look squad this season and it would be easier to list who they haven’t signed. The first port of call is Dennis Kutrieb’s former club Tennis Borussia Berlin where he takes with him defender Sefa Kahraman and the attacking Alex Eirich. Welcoming back for a third spell at the club is former Eastbourne Borough player Michael West, and following the midfielder from Priory Lane is goalkeeper Tom Hadler and defender Tobi Adebayo-Rowling. Also coming up from Sussex is midfielder Josh Payne, who makes his loan spell from Crawley Town into a permanent deal. Adam Mekki also had a loan spell at Stonebridge Road last term, he has signs on from Bromley following defender Jake Goodman. Dagenham and Redbridge have been raided for players with midfielder James Dobson (season long loan),defender Will Wood and striker Reece Grant crossing the River Thames. Former Manchester United youngster, Lee Martin joins after helping Exeter City to the League Two playoff final last season. Ben Chapman moves from Dulwich Hamlet, winger Iffy Allen from local rivals Maidstone United and defender Ben Frempah from Championship club Wycombe Wanderers. The forward line has been bolstered by the signings of Charlie Rowan (former Watford and Queens Park Rangers defender), Bobby-Joe Taylor (Dover Athletic), Greg Cundle (Concord Rangers) and Rakish Bingham (Dundee United).

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 66 / Ebbsfleet United wins: 55 / Draws: 32

Hampton and Richmond Borough

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 8th
F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round
Top Scorer: Danilo Orsi-Dadamo (12 goals)

A steady climb up the table had the Beavers challenging for a playoff place and on points per game marginally missed out. Two years ago, Hampton and Richmond Borough were in a three-way title race up until Easter. That summer they changed manager and finished the following campaign in a disappointing fifteenth. Last season the Beavers continued where they left off and made a slow start, but the side started to click, the Middlesex club made sure that Dorking Wanderers were left clinging on to that last playoff place.

Manager: Gary McCann

Compared to his previous job Gary McCann has only just begun at Hampton and Richmond Borough. Appointed in the summer of 2018, he had just lost the Isthmian Premier League playoff final on penalties against Dulwich Hamlet with his former club Hendon. It was there where he joined as a goalkeeper in 1997 and later, he spent 13 years as Hendon’s manager where he was often praised for his work. The Beavers kept tabs on him and decided to make a move in May 2018, since then McCann has slowly moved Hampton and Richmond Borough towards the playoff places.

Summer

Manager, Gary McCann will be delighted to have Nico Muir on a permanent basis. The striker was on loan from Hartlepool United last term and played under McCann for Hendon where he netted 40 goals. Although the Beavers lost the services of their top scorer last season, Danilo Orsi-Dadamo to Maidenhead United they have managed to sign left back Rene Steer from the Magpies. Midfielder Christian Smith moves from Dulwich Hamlet, whilst Nathan Minhas arrives from Bracknell Town and Danny Bassett from Tooting and Mitcham United. They have also signed former Dartford goalkeeper Alan Julian from Billericay Town.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 5 / Draws: 2

Havant and Waterlooville

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 2nd
F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 1st Round
Top Scorer: Joseph Ayunga (17 goals)

Favourites last season Havant and Waterlooville will feel slightly aggrieved that the season was cut short. The Hawks were just three points adrift of eventual champions Wealdstone, but at least they had the chance via the playoffs. The Hampshire club may have been beaten in the semi-finals by Dartford, however their squad remains strong for the forthcoming campaign. Even with the loss of golden boot winner Jonah Ayunga, they found a suitable replacement, another golden boot winner. Expect the 2018 National South champions to be challenging for the title again for a third time in four years.  

Manager: Paul Doswell

In his first season at Havant and Waterlooville, Paul Doswell’s directive was to get the club back to the National League. Trusted to lead the Hampshire side because of his wealth of experience and previous non-league success, the Hawks boss came close. Doswell had spent 11 years at Sutton United before moving closer to home, in that time he won the Isthmian Premier and National South titles with the U’s, he also guided them to the fifth round of the F.A Cup losing to Arsenal. At Eastleigh he took them from the Wessex League to the National South.

Summer

Joint National South top scorer Jonah Ayunga departs after making a move to League One side Bristol Rovers. So, the Hawks replace the striker with another National South top scorer Joe Iaciofano from St Albans City. Having signed from Woking in the summer Godfrey Poku has been appointed captain and joining him from the Cards is Moussa Diarra. Midfielder, Billy Clifford won the National South with Wealdstone last season and will be hoping to help Havant and Waterlooville to go one step further this time. After suffering an injury at Sutton United, Tommy Wright also took a break from football, now former U’s manager Paul Doswell welcomes the striker back in to the game. Theo Widdrington is back at Westleigh Park, the midfielder spent a loan spell there in 2017. Lucas Sinclair has joins from AFC Totton, goalkeeper Joe Tupper (Margate) and midfielder Daniel Ajakaiye (Hastings United). Sam Dowdridge also moves to Havant and Waterlooville but has been sent back out on loan to Bognor Regis Town.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 6 / Havant and Waterlooville wins: 3 / Draws: 4

Hemel Hempstead Town

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 11th
F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 1st Round
Top Scorer: Sam Ashford (10 goals)

It was no surprise that Hemel Hempstead Town started last season well. They appointed Sammy Moore as boss who had previously guided an unfancied Concord Rangers to the top seven, he took some of the players with him. The Tudors were in a strong position at the end of October but then lost their way ending in a still creditable eleventh. This summer it has been all change again, with a new manager installed the Hertfordshire club hope to recreate or better their fifth-place finish of two years ago.

Manager: Lee Bircham

Managing his hometown club, Lee Bircham was appointed this summer to take charge of Hemel Hempstead Town. Last season he was denied a shot at promotion with Berkhamsted who were top of the Southern League Division One Central when football stopped. His former club had won 20 of the 28 completed fixtures and had a one-point lead over F.A Trophy semi-finalists Halesowen Town. Bircham also had a good track record at local club Bovingdon where he won the Hertfordshire Premier Division with an 18-point margin, his side racked up 116 goals in just 28 matches.

Summer

The Tudors have looked towards the lower leagues for a pair of goalscorers. Alie Bangura scored an impressive 27 goals in just 23 appearances for Biggleswade United last season and Dan Webb netted 42 times in 45 matches for Leighton Town. Hemel Hempstead Town have brought in experience from the National League signing Ryan Sellers and Reece Beckles-Richards from champions Wealdstone. Defenders, Ben Jefford and Tommy Cooney arrive from Oxford City and Braintree Town respectively, whilst Ade Cole and Jacob Cook both move from Billericay Town. Lee Bircham also made a double signing when he took defenders Daniel Akubuine and Ryan Kinnane from Berkhamsted. George Essuman comes in from Margate, Kyle Ajayi (AFC Dunstable) and Reggie Young (Farnborough). Outfield player Rowan Vine ended up in goal against the Darts when he was Gosport Borough a few years back, he joins the Tudors as well as Jake Evans and Dean Snedker.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 1 / Draws: 4

Hungerford Town

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 22nd
F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round
Top Scorer: Liam Ferdinand (5 goals)

The Crusaders would be plying their trade in the level below, however with no promotion to the National South, Hungerford Town survived. In the National South, the Berkshire side have been often amongst the relegation favourites and will likely keep that tag going into the forthcoming season. That shouldn’t deter the Crusaders as the advantage of being underdogs is the potential to surprise, like they did when they reached the playoff places three years ago. Hungerford Town will enter their fifth season in the National South with a new boss leading the way.

Manager: Danny Robinson

Just over two years ago Danny Robinson was walking out at Wembley with local rivals Thatcham Town. He had guided the Berkshire club to the F.A Vase final in which they claimed glory with victory. If that wasn’t enough Thatcham Town were also promoted in that campaign and last season he was on the verge of another promotion with the club. Robinson started his managerial career as a 21-year-old with Winchester City’s reserves before progressing to their first team. At Alresford Town he picked up the Hampshire Senior Cup before Thatcham Town then Hungerford Town came calling.

Summer

Hungerford Town will have a new look squad hoping to improve their fortunes. Danny Robinson’s previous club former a winning mentality and now a number of F.A Vase winners make the step up with their boss. Baboucarr Jarra is back for a second spell with the Crusaders and after collecting a F.A Vase winners medal with Thatcham Town he went on to play for Thame United. Also playing in that final two years ago was defender Curtis Angell, he follows Robinson as well as Matt Partridge and Callum Willmoth. Another player to return to Hardenhuish Park is striker, Luke Hopper from Chippenham Town, joining him up front will be Ryan Seager (Yeovil Town) and James Harding, who scored 21 goals in 24 starts for Cinderford Town last term. Midfielder, Jack Self and Portuguese full back Nuno Felix also arrive from Chippenham Town. The Crusaders have also signed a pair of wingers in former Oxford City man Craig Fasanmade and Wanjau Smith who joins from Slimbridge after netting 17 goals in 23 appearances last season. At 37 years-old Keith Emmerson will provide plenty of experience in defence from Winchester City. Kensey Maloney (Westfields), goalkeeper Luke Cairney (Poole Town) and Kyle Tooze (Truro City) sign with the Berkshire club, whilst Ralph Graham returns after a loan spell from Swindon Town.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Hungerford Town wins: 3 / Draws: 2

Hungerford Town v Dartford

Dartford recorded their first win of the season on the weekend to give them confidence ahead of their Bank Holiday Monday trip to Hungerford Town.

Under pressure from results in the first five games of the campaign, joint manager Adam Flanagan highlighted the importance of getting positive results over the Bank Holiday weekend, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “We’ve got two big games coming up over the Bank Holiday and I think we need two wins”.

On Saturday, Dartford completed half of the mission with a 2-1 home win against Braintree Town. Norman Wabo opened his goalscoring account in the 3-1 reverse at Weymouth and despite defeat he admitted his first goal will help him find the net more regularly, he commented: “I feel like the weight on my shoulders has lifted and I can play freely and get a lot more goals for the club”. At a time when the Darts have been feeling the pressure, Wabo relishes the opportunity, he continued: “It’s better to go out when there’s a bit of pressure on you and the fans are watching. It tends to bring out the best in me”. The former Southend United man proved his claim with another strike in the home win on Saturday.

The Darts had to come from behind when a former player, Femi Akinwande gave the Iron an early lead. Dartford won a penalty with half hour played but the chance was squandered by Luke Wanadio, his shot saved by Michael Johnson. But the Darts fought back when former Braintree Town midfielder Luke Allen equalised and with three minutes remaining substitute, Wabo scored the winner. Victory over the Iron will provide the Darts with a much needed boost as they ended a run of eight without a win against the Essex club.

The return of Darren McQueen from his dislocated shoulder meant only Sam Blackman on the injury list before the Braintree Town game. Jordan Wynter was suspended and will serve the second of his three match ban against Hungerford Town. Wynter’s absence made way for Ronnie Vint’s first appearance of the season on Saturday, whilst Allen and Wanadio were back from injuries, Alex Flisher earned a starting place and Rob Howard made his debut, meaning Ryan Hayes and Ben Greenhalgh were dropped to the bench and Luke Warner-Eley missed out. Howard was signed prior the weekend from Southend United, the 19 year-old will spend a month on loan with the Darts.

In recent seasons Dartford have struggled when visiting Bulpit Lane, losing all three without scoring. A second victory in three days, against two teams they have previously found difficult to beat, will ease the pressure on joint managers Flanagan and Jamie Coyle. Last season the Darts lost 1-0 on their visit to the Crusaders, Conor Lynch scoring the winner.

Hungerford Town expected a tough season based on previous performances, aside from a sixth place finish in their first campaign at this level the Crusaders have staved off relegation going to the final day on each occasion. Ian Herring guided the Berkshire club to safety both times and this season his side have gained four points in the opening six fixtures.

Like Dartford, the Crusaders have picked up all their points from the three home games so far, beating Slough Town in their first match at Bulpit Lane this season. The experienced James Constable, who netted against Dartford for Eastleigh in the National League, has plenty of know how from his time in the Football League with various clubs. The 34-year-old got off the mark to find the winner against the Rebels and scored in the following 3-1 reverse against Maidstone United. In a local derby, Hungerford Town drew their third home games against Chippenham Town 1-1.

On the road, the Crusaders are still waiting to pick up a point and on Saturday they lost 3-1 to league leaders Wealdstone. Herring went for a more defensive approach playing five at the back, however with home advantage on Monday that formation could change to a more attacking approach. Hungerford Town have the second worst goal difference in the division behind Dartford and are just a point behind in the league standings, the Crusaders are second from bottom.

Head to Head

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

Current League Form

Dartford (WLLDDL) Hungerford Town (LDLLWL)
Braintree Town H 2-1 Wealdstone A 1-3
Weymouth A 1-3 Chippenham Town H 1-1
Chelmsford City A 1-4 Bath City A 1-2
Havant and Waterlooville H 1-1 Maidstone United H 1-3
St Albans City H 1-1 Slough Town H 1-0
Wealdstone A 0-4 Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-4

Last Six Meetings

22.12.2018 Dartford 2 Hungerford Town 1
25.08.2018 Hungerford Town 1 Dartford 0
09.12.2017 Hungerford Town 1 Dartford 0
05.08.2017 Dartford 0 Hungerford Town 0
14.04.2017 Hungerford Town 2 Dartford 0
27.08.2016 Dartford 2 Hungerford Town 0

Stats

Dartford have yet to claim victory at Bulpit Lane, losing in all three trips there without scoring.

The Darts won in the last meeting to end Hungerford Town’s four game unbeaten run in this fixture. It was also the first time that the away team scored in this fixture.

The Darts last lost their opening three away league games in 2010. The last time they lost their first four was in 1990, when they were racked up nine consecutive away loses in the Southern Premier League.

On This Day

Dartford have won their last three games on 26 August without conceding a goal. The last outing two years ago against Hemel Hempstead Town ended in a 3-0 victory at Hemel Hempstead Town. It took until the second half to register a goal when Elliot Bradbrook netted a penalty, Alfie Pavey doubled the advantage before Bradbrook completed a brace. An away National League fixture at Tamworth finished with the Darts winning 2-0 in 2013, Danny Harris opened the scoring on three minutes and Kenny Clark recorded his only goal in a Dartford shirt. Jay May helped the Darts triumph at home against Kingstonian in the Isthmian Division One South back in 2006, the striker scored the only goal of the game.

Hungerford Town – Season Preview 2019/2020

Hungerford Town

2018/19 Season

National South: 19th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Quarter-Final

League Top Scorer: Danilo Orsi-Dadamo (10 goals) / Average Attendance: 325

Hungerford Town have strengthened their squad with the signing of former Football League striker James Constable as a player/coach. Last season he has scored 13 times in the Southern League Premier Division with Poole Town. The 34-year-old has played for Walsall, Oxford United and Shrewsbury Town in the Football League, and also has National League experience with Eastleigh. Taking advantage of Weston-super-Mare’s relegation, Ian Herring signed midfielder Louis McGrory. A former Reading and Hearts of Midlothian under 20 player, Zidane Akers joins from Thatcham Town. Matt Berry-Hargreaves returns to Hungerford Town to add to their defence, Kofi Halliday will bolster wide attacking options having previously spent time playing in Gibraltar and Sweden and Liam Ferdinand will bring some extra firepower upfront joining from Bracknell Town.

The Manager – Ian Herring

He experienced two promotions via the playoffs as a player with Hungerford Town and now he leads the team off the field. Ian Herring was appointed as the Crusaders manager having played for the Berkshire club since 2012. The 35-year-old was given the task of keeping the Crusaders in the National South which has just about been completed on the final day of the last two season’s. Before a career with the Berkshire club, he played for Swindon Town, Salisbury City, Chippenham Town, Forest Green Rovers and Eastleigh.

Head to Head

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

Last Six Meetings

22.12.2018 Dartford 2 Hungerford Town 1
25.08.2018 Hungerford Town 1 Dartford 0
09.12.2017 Hungerford Town 1 Dartford 0
05.08.2017 Dartford 0 Hungerford Town 0
14.04.2017 Hungerford Town 2 Dartford 0
27.08.2016 Dartford 2 Hungerford Town 0

Facts

Dartford have yet to claim victory at Bulpit Lane, losing in all three trips there without scoring.

The Darts won in the last meeting to end Hungerford Town’s four game unbeaten run in this fixture. It was also the first time in six attempts that the away team scored.

Last Ten Years

 

 

 

 

Next Meetings

Monday 26 August 2019 at Bulpit Lane

Monday 13 April 2020 at Princes Park

Dartford v Hungerford Town

Dartford could have been playing Hungerford Town for a second weekend in a row, instead they will just meet in the National South after a week away from competitive action.

Following exits from the F.A Trophy, both sides would have drawn each other in the next round had they not lost to Eastbourne Borough and Dorchester Town. Whilst Dartford booked themselves a friendly at Tonbridge Angels to fill up last weekend, their opponents kept their schedule free.

Four months on from defeat at Bulpit Lane, the Darts hope to avoid a second defeat against the Crusaders this season. Back in August, Dartford lost 1-0 to the Berkshire club when Conor Lynch scored the winner just before the hour. Only three of the current regulars were in the line-up that day, Tom Bonner, Ronnie Vint and Mark Onyemah. The single goal victory for Hungerford Town was their second in a row against the Darts having won by the same score just over a year ago.  

Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle will be hoping to notch Dartford’s second ever win against the Crusaders. The corresponding fixture last term came on the opening day with the match ending up goalless. In the campaign before, the match at Princes Park made headlines when goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim scored from a free-kick inside his own half. The Darts claimed their only victory over the Berkshire club when Alex Brown extended the lead with his first for the club.

In comparison to last season, after the same number of league games, Dartford have accrued four fewer points. Although defensively they have conceded only two more, the Darts were 20 goals better off in the attacking department, an area of improvement both managers have singled out recently. 

In attempt to address the lack of goals, Dartford gave a debut to Phil Roberts in their last league outing. The striker made a substitute appearance in the 1-1 draw with Slough Town at Princes Park and is yet to make his first competitive start. Released by Arsenal five years ago, Roberts spent his early career in Scotland at Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Falkirk, Dundee and Alloa Athletic. The 24-year-old had a loan spell at Sligo Rovers in Ireland before joining Chelmsford City and Chesham United on dual registration. At Braintree Town, he scored 17 goals in 30 appearances, his most prolific spell before Chelmsford City brought him back. Dartford signed Roberts from Hemel Hempstead Town where he failed to make an appearance. 

A second league game without a win, following the 2-0 defeat at home to Torquay United, the Darts had won the previous three in the National South. With all the F.A Trophy action last weekend, Dartford are in seventh, the last playoff place.

Hungerford Town lost the services of manager Bobby Wilkinson last season and his replacement, Ian Herring guided them to safety on the final day. The Crusaders are competing in their third campaign at National South level and have a relegation battle on their hands once more. Hungerford Town have picked up fifteen points from twenty games so far, which includes just four wins. One of those wins was in their last league outing over Chippenham Town.

A stunning late strike from Darren Foxley completed a 2-1 triumph at Bulpit Lane against ten men Chippenham Town, in which the hosts had to come from behind. Nick McCootie scored an early goal for the visitors, Rhys Kavanagh equalised from a rebound and in the final minute Foxley curled his shot into the top corner to snatch victory.

The win ended a five game winless streak for Herring’s men stretching back to the back end of October. On their travels the Crusaders have to look back to Bank Holiday August for their last and only away victory, their only other positive result on the road was a draw and they have lost eight of their last ten away fixtures. The league’s second leakiest defence, Hungerford Town are also third from bottom in the goalscoring charts, the Darts have only scored three more though.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Hungerford Town wins: 3 / Draws: 1

Current League Form

Dartford (DLWWWL) Hungerford Town (LWDLLW)
Slough Town H 1-1 Chippenham Town H 2-1
Torquay United H 0-2 Welling United A 1-3
Hampton & Richmond A 1-0 Billericay Town H 2-2
Oxford City H 3-2 Eastbourne Borough A 1-3
Gloucester City A 2-1 Weston-super-Mare H 0-1
Truro City A 1-3 Woking A 0-3

Previous Meetings

25.08.2018 Hungerford Town 1 Dartford 0
09.12.2017 Hungerford Town 1 Dartford 0
05.08.2017 Dartford 0 Hungerford Town 0
14.04.2017 Hungerford Town 2 Dartford 0
27.08.2016 Dartford 2 Hungerford Town 0

Stats

Dartford have conceded the fewest goals in last half hour of league matches this season (5)

Hungerford have scored the fewest number of first half goals (7) and conceded the most second half goals (25) in the division

The Darts have used 26 different players in league matches this season compared with 24 at the same stage last term

Dartford are one of two teams in the top 12 with a negative goal difference

Hungerford Town have the worst goal difference (-24) in the National South

The away side has never scored in this fixture after five attempts.

On This Day

Dartford have gone seven games without a win on 22 December picking up four draws and three defeats. The last time Dartford played on this day ended in a hiding as Kidderminster Harriers claimed a 5-1 home win. Jacob Erskine had the audacity to equalise for the Darts in 2012, then the Harriers scored four unanswered goals. Rewind back to 1956 and Dartford recorded their last win on this day against…Kidderminster Harriers. A seven goal thriller ended up with Dartford recording a 4-3 Southern League victory.

Hungerford Town v Dartford

Dartford will want to put right their tough week when they visit Hungerford Town at Bulpit Lane this weekend.

After two straight victories at the start of the season, the Darts have picked up just one point in their last three outings without scoring. Joint Manager, Adam Flanagan urged the current crop of players to produce some flair, whilst captain Tom Bonner asked for patience before the 3-0 defeat to Wealdstone.

Instead Dartford put in a disappointing performance leaving the management duo to consider making changes. Flanagan spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk: “”We feel we might have to make changes already,” said Flanagan. “We were trying to put that off thinking we might get a display and if we’d won we would have been in front of where the club were this time last year after five games”.

He added: “It was very disappointing performance by the players, our expectations were a lot higher. I don’t want to be too brutal but it was probably the poorest performance I’ve seen from a Dartford side”.

Wealdstone’s Bradley Bubb fired a double and Jeffrey Monakana scored from a brilliant 25 yard shot to condemn the Darts to a consecutive defeat. Earlier in the week, Concord Rangers beat Dartford 2-0 with former Dart, Alex Wall appearing on the scoresheet.

Failing to score in the 0-0 draw with Hemel Hempstead Town and the Concord Rangers loss led to Flanagan and Jamie Coyle reverting to a 4-4-2 last weekend, in hope Delano Sam-Yorke would get more support up front. However, the desired result didn’t materialise forcing a rethink from the Dartford bosses.

Elliot Bradbrook missed last weekend’s fixture through illness, Lee Noble was out with a knee injury and Jamie Philpot had a hamstring problem. Flanagan is hoping all three will be back for the Bank Holiday weekend fixtures.

Hungerford Town have picked up just two points from their opening five fixtures. Despite thrashings against two Essex clubs, the Crusaders picked up respectable draws at home to Wealdstone and away to Hemel Hempstead Town.

Ian Herring’s side started the campaign on the wrong side of an exciting clash with St Albans City. Leading 2-1 with nine minutes to go, Hungerford Town threw away all three points after conceding in the injury time to lose 3-2. Defeat was followed with the 1-1 draw with Wealdstone which Herring claimed took a lot out of his young squad.

In the Crusaders second home game of the season they fell to a 6-0 thrashing against Chelmsford City. Already four down, Hungerford Town had James Rusby sent off then conceded two more. So when the Berkshire club held Hemel Hempstead Town to a 0-0 draw, Herring was delighted with his players attitude, especially after goalkeeper Jokull Andresson was forced off the pitch with a head injury and Herring himself had to play 75 minutes between the sticks. Last weekend, Hungerford Town were beaten 4-0 at Concord Rangers, in a game which saw former Dartford favourite, Ryan Hayes score his first for the Beachboys.

Last term, Dartford’s visit to Bulpit Lane ended in a shock defeat. The Darts were leading the National South at the time but lost 1-0 after Louie Soares scored from a penalty. The Good Friday visit last year in the 2016/2017 campaign also ended in a Hungerford Town victory with Soares scoring and assisting Stefan Brown.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Hungerford Town wins: 2 / Draws: 1

Current Form

Hungerford Town (LLLLWL) Dartford (LLDWW)
Concord Rangers A 0-4 Wealdstone H 0-3
Hemel Hempstead Town A 0-0 Concord Rangers A 0-2
Chelmsford City H 0-6 Hemel Hempstead Town H 0-0
Wealdstone H 1-1 Chelmsford City H 1-0
St Albans City A 2-3 Bath City A 2-1

Previous Meetings

09.12.2017 Hungerford Town 1 Dartford 0
05.08.2017 Dartford 0 Hungerford Town 0
14.04.2017 Hungerford Town 2 Dartford 0
27.08.2016 Dartford 2 Hungerford Town 0

Stats

Dartford are yet to score at Bulpit Lane, in fact there hasn’t never been an away goal scored in this fixture.

Hungerford Town and the Darts have failed to score in their last three games. Dartford last hit a barren goalscoring run of three consecutive games in April 2015. Losing 0-2 to Macclesfield Town and drawing 0-0 with Lincoln City in their final National League games. The 2016 season opener ended in Dartford losing 1-0 to Hemel Hempstead Town in the National South.

In 2014, Dartford failed to score for three games in a row in the same season between 16 August and 25 August (0-1 v Kidderminster Harriers, 0-0 v Torquay United and 0-4 v Barnet)

The last time Dartford failed to score in four consecutive games in all competitions was in 2002 and in just league matches in 1985.

On This Day

Lee Burns took home the match ball as he scored a hat-trick in Dartford’s 5-0 demolishing of Kingstonian nine years ago. The Darts swept their opponents aside and even had two goals ruled out plus a penalty miss. Elliot Bradbrook and Ryan Hayes also found the net, in a victory which set the tone for the rest of the Isthmian Premier League title winning campaign. Dartford enjoyed a 1-0 home win over Kidderminster Harriers six years ago, the winner was scored by Burns to secure the Darts first victory in the National League since 1986, after 26 years away.

National League South Season Preview 2018/2019 – Part Three

Hemel Hempstead Town | Hungerford Town | Oxford City | Slough Town | St Albans City | Torquay United

Hemel Hempstead Town

Founded: 1885 / Ground: Vauxhall Road

It’s been just over four years ago since Hemel Hempstead Town smashed the Southern Premier League, now the Tudors are looking towards the next level. The Hertfordshire based side have held their own in the National South finishing ninth, sixth and twelfth before last season. The Tudors reached the playoffs in the second tier of non-league football for the first time going out to eventual playoff winners Braintree Town on penalties at the first hurdle. Ending the campaign in fifth, Hemel Hempstead Town’s twelve game unbeaten run had them thinking of top spot back around the New Year. The Tudors also lost just two out of the last thirteen, but a division high thirteen draws saw them drop too many points.

Last Season

National South: 5th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Jordan Parkes (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 527 (12th in National South)

The Manager – Dean Brennan

A career playing in the Football League career never took off for Dean Brennan, but he had a decent time in non-league football. The former midfielder won the F.A Trophy with Grays Athletic and had spells with Stevenage, AFC Wimbledon and various other clubs including Hemel Hempstead Town. At the age of 29, the Tudors appointed Brennan as interim manager and he kept them in the Southern Premier League. After a spell at Dunstable Town the Irishman returned to the Tudors six years ago. Brennan took the Tudors up to the National South in 2015 and last term reached the playoffs in fifth, their highest ever finish.

The Summer

The Tudors are focussing on attack with a host of signings boosting their forward line. Former Concord Rangers top scorer Steve Cawley signs a two-year deal after scoring 88 times in 225 appearances for the Beachboys. Phil Roberts was on course to win the National South golden boot at one point after spells with Chelmsford City and Braintree Town, he ended up with 18 goals last season. Ex Dartford striker, Charlie Sheringham returns to Hemel Hempstead Town after a spell in Bangladesh and Sanchez Watt signs a permanent deal after a successful loan spell from Billericay Town.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Hemel Hempstead Town wins: 1 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

17.03.2018 Dartford 3 Hemel Hempstead Town 2
26.08.2017 Hemel Hempstead Town 0 Dartford 3
01.04.2017 Hemel Hempstead Town 2 Dartford 2
12.11.2016 Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 0
17.10.2015 Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 2
08.08.2015 Hemel Hempstead Town 1 Dartford 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 11 August 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 2 February 2019 at Vauxhall Road

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Hungerford Town

Founded: 1886 / Ground: Bulpit Lane

Promoted from the Southern Premier League two years ago, the Crusaders only had to wait less than a month for their first setback. Long serving manager Bobby Wilkinson left Bulpit Lane in favour of Wealdstone. Not the best preparation for a side hoping to keep momentum going from a sixth place finish the season before. Instead Hungerford Town struggled and survival went right down to the wire. With a one-point advantage over Poole Town going into the final day, the Crusaders clinched a place in the National South thanks to Nicholas Bignall’s winning goal against East Thurrock United. The 1-0 victory was crucial considering Poole Town also won, so now Hungerford Town will compete in this division for a third successive campaign.

Last Season

National South: 19th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Louie Soares (11 goals)

Average Attendance: 267 (21st in National South)

The Manager – Ian Herring

He experienced two promotions via the playoffs as a player with Hungerford Town and now he leads the team off the field. Ian Herring was appointed as the Crusaders manager just under a year ago having played for the Berkshire club since 2012. The 34-year-old replaced Bobby Wilkinson in September, who had been manager of Hungerford Town since the 2009/2010 campaign. With big shoes to fill, Herring was given the task of keeping the Crusaders in the National South which was just about completed on the final day of the season. Before a career with the Berkshire club, he played for Swindon Town, Salisbury City, Chippenham Town, Forest Green Rovers and Eastleigh.

The Summer

Ramone Rose will be looking to settle at Bulpit Lane having moved around the non-league scene frequently. The former Whitehawk man had a decent run in the Hawks side last term. The 28-year-old has been at Queens Park Rangers, Newport County, Wealdstone, Maidenhead United and Eastleigh to name but a few. Defender Tommy Cooney arrives having previously played for Brentford, Boston United and Margate. Tommy Ouldridge will bolster the midfield and has experience with Cirencester Town, Swindon Town and Chippenham Town. Sam Deadfield is another midfielder joining Hungerford Town from Basingstoke Town. Right back Marcus Johnson-Schuster also had spells with Basingstoke Town and Wealdstone as well as Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Hungerford Town wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

09.12.2017 Hungerford Town 1 Dartford 0
05.08.2017 Dartford 0 Hungerford Town 0
14.04.2017 Hungerford Town 2 Dartford 0
27.08.2016 Dartford 2 Hungerford Town 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 25 August 2018 at Bulpit Lane

Saturday 22 December 2018 at Princes Park

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Oxford City

Founded: 1882 / Ground: Marsh Lane

A consistent side since switching from the National North to National South in the summer of 2015, Oxford City have finished their three seasons in this division in twelfth, fourteenth and last term sixteenth. The Nomads had a slow start to their campaign and were in the bottom three at the end of October. The Oxfordshire side woke up going unbeaten for the next two months with the run ending on New Year’s Day. Away from league competition, Oxford City managed to put together a F.A Cup run knocking out a Football League side for the first time in their history. The Nomads defeated Colchester United to reach the second round for the first time in forty-seven years where their run ended against Notts County.

Last Season

National South: 16th

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Matt Patterson (21 goals)

Average Attendance: 319 (17th in National South)

The Manager – Mark Jones

In the F.A Cup last season, Oxford City knocked out Football League opposition for the first time in their history and it was masterminded by Mark Jones. He also guided City to their first County Cup triumph in fifteen years. Taking charge of the first team in December 2016, Jones came into the role with coaching and playing experience. Not only does he currently head up Oxford City’s scholarship programme he also played for the club. His playing career included spells at Aylesbury United, Harrow Borough and Thame United and after hanging up his boots, Jones worked at Stevenage as Centre of Excellence Manager and Watford as Lead Youth Development Phase Coach

The Summer

Josh Ashby returns to the Nomads on a one-year deal from Oxford United, he already played for Oxford City in 2016/2017 making 21 appearances. Scorer of 15 goals in 44 games, Kabongo Tshimanga arrives at Marsh Lane from Boston United, the striker has also played six times for Milton Keynes Dons. Left back, Ben Jefford had three spells with Welling United but he will be part of Mark Jones’ squad, the 23-year-old has National League experience with Sutton United, Woking and Forest Green Rovers. Four players impressed in pre-season one of which is Luke Ruddick, who had spent time out of the game, the defender previously played for Sutton United and Salisbury City. Kyran Wiltshire won the National South in 2016/17 and joins from Maidenhead United, Belize international Mike Atkinson and Eze Ibrahim will also be part of Oxford City’s squad. There was also a clear out with the likes of Lee Henderson, Godfrey Poku, Freddie Grant, Ezra Forde, Mamadou Fofana and Justin Bennett leaving.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Oxford City wins: 1 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings

24.03.2018 Oxford City 0 Dartford 2
19.08.2017 Dartford 7 Oxford City 1
25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1
29.10.2016 Dartford 1 Oxford City 0
23.04.2016 Dartford 2 Oxford City 2
15.09.2015 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 20 October 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 27 April 2019 at Marsh Lane

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Slough Town

Founded: 1893 / Ground: Arbour Park

In the early nineties Slough Town were mixing it in the top flight of non-league football. The Rebels enjoyed seven seasons in what was then the Conference over eight years. By the end of the decade they dropped two divisions and have since been trying to find their way back. In their fourth campaign in the Southern Premier League, Slough Town took a significant step up winning the playoffs after finishing third. The Rebels accrued a massive ninety-nine points and scored an incredible one hundred and eleven goals. In the F.A Cup they reached the second round losing to Rochdale in front of the television cameras. Promoted after a last gasp playoff winner, the Rebels will look to keep their momentum going.

Last Season

Southern Premier: 3rd

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: James Dobson (21 goals)

Average Attendance: 666 (4th in Southern Premier)

The Managers – Neal Baker and Jon Underwood

Joint managers since May 2013, Neal Baker and Jon Underwood both came from Godalming Town. At 29-years-old a knee injury ended Baker’s playing career so he moved into management with Fleet Spurs in the Wessex League Division One. Underwood was managing Sandhurst Town before teaming up with Baker at Godalming Town. Whilst with the G’s the duo reached the Isthmian Division One South playoffs and lifted the Surrey Senior Cup. At Slough Town, Baker and Underwood have been part of an upward trend by guiding the club to promotion to the Southern Premier League, via the playoffs, the same promotion route as last term to reach this season’s National South

The Summer

The Rebels have managed to keep most of their promotion winning squad together and with it they have added Sam Togwell. The midfielder has Football League experience with Barnsley and Scunthorpe United and signs from Eastleigh. Slough Town have also persuaded Louie Soares to join their ranks having top scored for Hungerford Town last term earning him Player of the Year. Matthew Lench hit the headlines with a sublime F.A Cup hat-trick last season, however he’s been released by the club.

Head to Head

Slough Town wins: 0 / Dartford wins: 3 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

01.10.2016 Slough Town 2 Dartford 3
29.10.1988 Slough Town 1 Dartford 2
10.01.1981 Dartford 4 Slough Town 1

Next Meetings

Saturday 8 December 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 16 February 2019 at Arbour Park

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St Albans City

Founded: 1908 / Ground: Clarence Park

The early pace setters last season were left disappointed that they failed to reach the playoffs. However, the Saints can be pleased that they achieved their highest finish since returning to the National South in 2014. St Albans City racked up maximum points in their opening six games and were still joint top at the end of October. Four defeats in five games followed as they began to lose ground, but the Saints came again and went unbeaten in December. In the New Year they thrashed East Thurrock United 7-2 and followed that up with a 4-0 win over then league leaders Dartford to put them back in contention. The Saints hit more good form over Easter then ended losing five of their last six.

Last Season

National South: 8th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Sam Merson (20 goals)

Average Attendance: 765 (5th National South)

The Manager – Ian Allinson

Out of all the managers in the National South this season, Ian Allinson has one of the biggest profiles due to his footballing career. The former winger amassed over 300 league appearances as a player for Colchester United in two spells, and played over 100 games in all competitions for Arsenal. He also appeared for Stoke City and Luton Town. As a manager, he won the Isthmian Premier League and National South playoff finals with Boreham Wood before joining St Albans City two years ago. Allinson has also managed Baldock Town, Barton Rovers, Harlow Town and Stotfold so has plenty of experience to offer the Saints.

The Summer

If Gary McCann at Hampton and Richmond Borough isn’t taking players from Hendon then Ian Allinson is. St Albans City add 21-year-old Luke Tingey to their squad, a versatile defender who played over a century of games over a three-year spell with the Greens. Tingey will be joined by Senegalese midfielder Dave Diedhiou, the 29-year-old made over 400 appearances for Hendon since 2008. Khale da Costa joins from Concord Rangers whilst former Dart, Tom Gardiner leaves as does Shaun Lucien who has joined Hampton and Richmond Borough. Allinson’s son Lee, has left his assistant manager’s post to take up a role with Biggleswade Town as first team manager. In his place Glenn Alzapiedi becomes the number two, who had three years with Concord Rangers as assistant to Adam Flanagan. Striker, Ralston Gabriel scored over 30 times during Haringey Borough’s promotion winning term and impressed manager Ian Allinson enough to sign a deal with the Saints. David Moyo lacked opportunities at Hemel Hempstead Town and will be given a chance at Clarence Park. National South playoff winner with Braintree Town, Roman Michael-Percil joins and has had previous spells with Concord Rangers, Billericay Town and Dulwich Hamlet.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / St Albans City wins: 4 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings

03.02.2018 St Albans City 4 Dartford 0
28.10.2017 Dartford 2 St Albans City 1
25.03.2017 St Albans City 1 Dartford 0
08.11.2016 Dartford 0 St Albans City 2
30.04.2016 St Albans City 4 Dartford 0
06.02.2016 Dartford 2 St Albans City 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 1 September 2018 at Clarence Park

Saturday 12 January 2019 at Princes Park

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Torquay United

Founded: 1899 / Ground: Plainmoor

A club that flirted with Football League existence for years, the warning signs have always been at Plainmoor. The Gulls have reached an all-time low, playing in the National South for the first time in their history. Torquay United did spend two years in the National League between 2007 and 2009 and made a F.A Trophy final appearance. They managed to head back to the Football League but once again lost their status with relegation four years ago. After four more seasons, the Gulls edged closer and closer to the dreaded drop and then it came. Last term Torquay United started on a thirteen-game winless run and never recovered.

Last Season

National League: 22nd

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Jamie Read and Rhys Healey (6 goals)

Average Attendance: 1731 (13th National League)

The Manager – Gary Owers

F.A Cup runner up 26 years ago, Gary Owers walked up the Wembley steps to collect his medal after Sunderland lost the 1992 final to Liverpool. The former midfielder made over 300 appearances for the Black Cats and afterwards continued his career with Bristol City and Notts County. He moved in to non-league with Forest Green Rovers before playing for Bath City, the same two clubs he later went on to manage. When he left Weston-super-Mare in 2007 he spent the next nine years as a number two at Aldershot Town, Plymouth Argyle and Gateshead. Owers made the step back into first team management with Bath City before replacing Kevin Nicholson early last season at Plainmoor.

The Summer

Gary Owers’ first summer in charge has brought change to Plainmoor. Out go Reece Mitchell, Conrad Balatoni, Sam Chaney, Yan Klukowski and Jake Gosling. Ryan Clarke joins Bath City and Luke Young makes the step up to play for Wrexham. That has left plenty of room to sign new players like experienced 31-year-old Asa Hall who has represented Luton Town, Oxford United, Shrewsbury Town and Cheltenham Town. Former Woking duo Bobson Bawling and Jason Banton move down to Devon, whilst 21-year-old defender George Essuman and ex Bromley right back Ben Wynter sign up for Torquay United. Samir Nabi comes in from Carlisle United having previously spent time in the Indian Premier League with Dehli Dynamos. Two goalkeepers have also been signed with the arrivals of Shaun MacDonald from Blyth Spartans and Alex Bass on loan from Portsmouth. Early in his career Ryan Dickson went on loan at Plainmoor and now he is back at the age of 31. Kyle Cameron came through the Newcastle United academy and after loan spells at Workington, York City and Queen of the South the defender joins Torquay United. Another defender, Jean-Yves Koué Niate brings with him experience of time in France and Belgium as well as Solihull Moors, Oxford City, Ebbsfleet United and Guiseley.

Head to Head

Torquay United wins: 0 / Dartford wins: 0 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

04.04.2015 Torquay United 1 Dartford 1
23.08.2014 Dartford 0 Torquay United 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 10 November 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 16 Match 2019 at Plainmoor

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Hungerford Town v Dartford

Dartford begin December at the top of the National South and will visit Hungerford Town this weekend in an attempt to keep a three-point lead.

The Darts have spent almost three weeks in pole position with just six points separating the top eight. Looking for back to back away victories in the league for the first time this season, Dartford take on the Crusaders who themselves are desperate for a win.

Hungerford Town have picked up just one point from their last five National South fixtures, however they did manage to draw 0-0 with Dartford on the opening day of the campaign. Last term, the Berkshire club beat the Darts at Bulpit Lane 2-0 with goals from Louie Soares and Stefan Brown.

Tony Burman has made his intent clear with two signings in the last week. Danny Mills has joined the strike force from local rivals Ebbsfleet United and Nathan Collier returns to the club from Hampton and Richmond Borough. Mills was prolific in his spell at Whitehawk at this level scoring almost a goal every other game over a five year period. At Ebbsfleet United he has had limited chances to shine making just ten appearances and scoring once.

Mills spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “Going from playing 250 games in five years to not knowing if I’ll be in the squad has been really difficult”, he added: “But there comes a time when you have to make a decision. I want to go out and play football and after being used to playing so much, I wanted that feeling again. I wanted that excitement of looking forward to a game on a Saturday, knowing that you’re going to go out and play”.

He continued: “I wanted to go to a team that was challenging, up there at the top of the table, fighting for promotion. I want to play for something every week, I didn’t want to go to a team that was mid-table so when the opportunity to go to Dartford came up, it was a no-brainer”.

Mills went straight into the starting eleven last weekend as Dartford beat nine men Poole Town 1-0 in Dorset. A good defensive display and Richard Sho-Silva’s early winning goal was enough to earn three vital points. The result made even better considering the absentees of Ronnie Vint, Tom Bonner (who became a father this week) and Danny Harris, midfielder Alex Brown slotted into right back to replace Harris. In midfield, Lee Noble was also missing through suspension but he will return from his ban this weekend.

Manager Tony Burman told www.dartfordfc.com: “After Saturdays win, I felt we have played a lot better in previous games and lost but on a positive note we defended really well and looked organised defensively throughout the game. After conceding quite a few goals over the last month it was nice to keep a clean sheet and once again from a good defensive display”.

He commented: “When Richard scored our goal early in the game we had quite a few chances throughout the rest of the game to finish our opponents off, but good goalkeeping kept Poole in the game I felt. Overall with Tom Bonner, Danny Harris, Lee Noble all missing and with Alfie Pavey trying to play not feeling 100% all in all I’m delighted we gained three points”.

The signing of Collier adds further depth to the squad as well as versatility, he previously played 117 times for the Darts between 2012 and 2015. Collier has had spells with Eastbourne Borough and Hampton and Richmond Borough since leaving Princes Park.

Hungerford Town were one of the surprise packages last season but have had to deal with the departure of former boss Bobby Wilkinson, who joined Wealdstone in early in the campaign. Jon Boardman and Ian Herring are now in charge of a team sitting 18th in the National South table.

Last weekend the Crusaders ended a run of six consecutive defeat in all competitions with a 1-1 draw against Chelmsford City. Tom Meechan opened his Hungerford Town account in his first game back from a loan spell with St Neots Town, where he scored six goals in 14 appearances. Meechan’s strike was the first in five games for the Crusaders in a spell where they have netted just three times in their last eight outings.

Struggling with injuries and suspensions Hungerford Town had four academy players on the bench against the Clarets. Former Dartford loanee Alex Wall will continue his suspension for his red card in the F.A Trophy defeat versus Billericay Town, the same side that beat them 6-1 in the F.A Cup. Riak John is also unavailable whilst co-manager Ian Herring returned from his two-game ban in their last league match. Matt Williams has been signed from Evesham United to bolster the defence meaning Darnell Smith’s loan spell from Barnet has not been renewed.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 1 / Hungerford Town wins: 1 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings

05.08.2017 Dartford 0 Hungerford Town 0
14.04.2017 Hungerford Town 2 Dartford 0
27.08.2016 Dartford 2 Hungerford Town 0

Current League Form

Hungerford Town (LLWDLW) Dartford (WDWLWW)
Chelmsford City A 1-1 Poole Town A 1-0
Truro City H 0-1 Wealdstone H 3-3
Wealdstone A 0-1 Gloucester City H 4-1
Havant & Waterlooville H 0-1 Truro City A 1-3
Eastbourne Borough H 0-1 St Albans City H 2-1
St Albans City H 0-0 Bath City A 2-1

Stats
In the three encounters that have taken place between Dartford and Hungerford Town, the away side has never scored.

In the last six league games featuring Hungerford Town there has only been six goals scored at a goal a game. By contrast Dartford have seen a total of 22 goals scored at an average of 3.66 per game.

In all competitions, if Dartford win on the weekend they will record their longest winning away run this season of three consecutive victories.

On This Day
Dartford last won on the 9 December back in 1995 when they beat Ramsgate 3-0 in the Kent League First Division. A year later they were beaten 3-1 in a F.A Trophy third qualifying round replay against Dulwich Hamlet. In 2006, the Darts drew 1-1 with Dover Athletic, Brendon Cass scoring for Dartford at Princes Park. Nine years ago was the last time the Darts played on this day in a 4-2 Kent Senior Cup first round defeat to Bromley.