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National League South Season Preview 2017/18 – Part III

 Gloucester City | Hampton and Richmond Borough | Havant and Waterlooville | Hemel Hempstead Town | Hungerford Town

Gloucester City

Founded: 1883 / Ground: Jubilee Stadium

After eight years in the National North and a decade in exile, Gloucester City made a switch to the National South this summer. Consistent mid-table finishers, the Tigers lost their Meadow Park home during the Gloucestershire floods in 2007. Since then they have shared grounds with Forest Green Rovers, Cirencester Town, Cheltenham Town and this year they are homed at Evesham. In October, the Tigers received full planning permission to build a new stadium from the council and hope to build a new legacy.

Last Season

National North: 10th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Luke Hooper (19 goals)

Average Attendance: 483 (19th in league / 76th in non-league)

The Manager – Tim Harris

Returning to Gloucester City as manager in February 2014, Tim Harris has experience of the National South with Newport County. After a playing career with Shrewsbury Town, Cheltenham Town and Redditch United, Harris has also managed Merthyr Tydfil and Forest Green Rovers. Having experienced both the National North and South, he knows the leagues are equally competitive and his side need to be ready for the new challenge.

The Summer

Will Morford is the man to replace 19 goal striker Luke Hopper, who joined Hungerford Town. Morford will work as a player coach having made the move from Shortwood United. George Forsyth couldn’t break into the Kidderminster Harriers side and will now try to impress for the Tigers. Kieran Parselle joins from Newport County and Alex Harris from Hereford. Over pre-season Edji Mbunga a former Birmingham City youth team forward caught Harris’ eye and has also signed to the club.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 25 / Gloucester City wins: 12 / Draws: 10

Previous Meetings

07.03.1992 Gloucester City 0 Dartford 0
26.10.1991 Dartford 2 Gloucester City 0
16.03.1991 Dartford 2 Gloucester City 1
29.09.1990 Gloucester City 2 Dartford 0
21.04.1990 Dartford 6 Gloucester City 2
20.01.1990 Gloucester City 0 Dartford 4

Next Meetings

Saturday 18 November 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 3 March 2018 at Jubilee Stadium

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Hampton and Richmond Borough

Founded: 1921 / Ground: The Beveree

Last season’s pace setters started the campaign scoring for fun until the Beavers lost influential players. Jamal Lowe and Nicke Kabamba moved to League Two champions Portsmouth in January, Hampton and Richmond Borough finished seventh. The disappointment of missing out on the playoffs was short-lived for the 2015/16 Isthmian Premier champions, with Poole Town and Hungerford Town unable to compete, the Beavers were given a second chance losing to Ebbsfleet United in the semi-final.

Last Season

National South: 7th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Nicke Kabamba (16 goals)

Average Attendance: 636 (7th in league / 54th in non-league)

The Manager – Alan Dowson

Most of Alan Dowson’s managerial career has been with Kingstonian where he won the Isthmian Division One South. A former defender as a player he entered the managerial world with Walton and Hersham. Dowson was appointed boss of the Beavers nearly three years ago and was joined by Martin Tyler, who he worked with at Kingstonian. He led Hampton and Richmond Borough to the Isthmian Premier title just over a year ago and last term helped the club reach the playoffs.

The Summer

A key change took place during the break with Chairman Steve McPherson stepping down and being replaced by former Gateshead Chairman Graham Wood. Former Dartford midfielder Nathan Collier will don the Beavers shirt once more; he will team up with ex Dartford striker Harry Crawford who joins from Welling United. The signing that has Hampton and Richmond Borough fans talking though is Max Kretzchmar, the 23 year old has experience with Wycombe Wanderers and Woking. Ryan Moss comes in from Kingstonian, Charlie Wassmer from National South champions Maidenhead United and Claudiu Vilcu from Wingate and Finchley. Looking for a goalkeeper nearly all summer, Sam Howes finally put pen to paper after his loan spell with the Beavers last term.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

17.04.2017 Dartford 3 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
29.08.2016 Hampton & Richmond Borough 4 Dartford 1
21.01.2012 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 3
20.08.2011 Dartford 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
19.02.2011 Dartford 0 Hampton & Richmond Borough 4
17.08.2010 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 2 September 2017 at The Beveree

Saturday 31 March 2018 at Princes Park

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Havant and Waterlooville

Founded: 1998 / Ground: Westleigh Park

It’s been a roller coaster ride for the Hawks over the last three seasons decided by fine margins. From playoff semi-finalists to unexpected relegation by a single goal, Havant and Waterlooville bounced back by winning the Southern League Premier last term, with help from former Dartford striker Jason Prior who top scored for the Hawks. Havant and Waterlooville have made a swift return to the National South and will be determined to stay up this time round.

Last Season

Southern Premier: 1st

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Jason Prior (17 goals)

Average Attendance: 713 (2nd in league / 45th in non-league)

The Manager – Lee Bradbury

Lee Bradbury is six 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, he has been in charge at Westleigh Park.

The Summer

Havant and Waterlooville have kept much of the squad that competed in the National South last time. Former Dartford loanee Bradley Tarbuck has been retained along with experienced striker James Hayter. As a former forward himself, Bradbury will know the qualities needed to find the net and this summer he’s signed Matt Tubbs from Eastleigh. The 32 year old made his name with Crawley Town after being spotted at Salisbury City. The striker had successful spells with AFC Wimbledon and Portsmouth before moving around the National League over the last eighteen months.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Havant and Waterlooville wins: 3 / Draws: 2

Previous Meetings

19.03.2016 Havant and Waterlooville 0 Dartford 2
05.12.2015 Dartford 4 Havant and Waterlooville 2
17.03.2012 Dartford 3 Havant and Waterlooville 1
07.01.2012 Havant and Waterlooville 1 Dartford 4
18.04.2011 Havant and Waterlooville 1 Dartford 0
14.08.2010 Dartford 2 Havant and Waterlooville 2

Next Meetings

Saturday 12 August 2017 at Westleigh Park

Saturday 13 January 2018 at Princes Park

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Hemel Hempstead Town

Founded: 1885 / Ground: Vauxhall Road

Entering their third successive season in the National South, the Tudors followed up their impressive debut season with a mid-table finish. A year ago, Hemel Hempstead Town ended their campaign one place outside the playoffs, last time out the Hertfordshire side could only manage twelfth. Towards the final stages of last season Hemel Hempstead Town lost their way and whilst they beat teams at the bottom they struggled against those above them.

Last Season

National South: 12th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Jake Robinson (25 goals)

Average Attendance: 486 (13th in league / 75th in non-league)

The Manager – Dean Brennan

Hemel Hempstead Town were struggling before Dean Brennan’s appointment in May 2012. The Tudors were reprieved from the Southern Premier League two seasons in a row and had not finished higher the fifteenth, in the three campaigns before the Irishman joined the Hertfordshire club. Brennan managed to guide the Tudors to their highest ever position in his first full campaign and had improved on this record ever since. A playoff defeat, a storming Southern Premier League title triumph and an eighth place finish in the National South was bettered by last term’s sixth spot.

The Summer

Dean Brennan is building a squad and must be quietly confident to challenge for the title. Former Dartford striker Charlie Sheringham had a good spell with the Tudors towards the end of last season and he joins permanently to link up with Jordan Parkes again, the pair were together at Ebbsfleet United. Another former Dart, Callum Driver has signed from Maidstone United, the club the Tudors have got Phil Walsh and Laurie Walker from as well. Ismail Yakubu will provide experience after joining from Woking, Tom Hamblin will provide creativity coming in from Wealdstone. The Tudors have also signed Joe Howe from Leatherhead, Taylor Miles from National League champions Lincoln City, Alex Osborn from Whitehawk and David Moyo from Brackley Town. 

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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
16.09.1972 Hemel Hempstead 2 Dartford 9

Next Meetings

Saturday 26 August 2017 at Vauxhall Road

Saturday 17 March 2018 at Princes Park

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Hungerford Town

Founded: 1886 / Ground: Bulpit Lane

Winners of the Southern Premier League playoffs in 2015/16, the Crusaders had an excellent debut season in the National South last term. The surprise package almost gate crashed the playoffs finishing in sixth, but the Berkshire club took a blow when informed that they couldn’t participate in the end of season lottery. Ground grading was below the required standard and like Poole Town, the Crusaders missed out on buying a ticket.

Last Season

National South: 6th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Runners Up

League Top Scorer: Stefan Brown (11 goals)

Average Attendance: 318 (18th in league / 125th in non-league)

The Manager – Bobby Wilkinson

In his seventh year as Hungerford Town manager, Bobby Wilkinson has taken the Crusaders to the highest level of football they have competed in. Two playoff victories got Hungerford Town to the National South and in their debut season came so close to another playoff spot. Wilkinson’s foundations in the management trade were put down at a young age when injury cut his playing career short. The Crusaders boss coached and gained experience from the likes of Mark McGhee, Brendan Rogers and Brian McDermott whilst at Reading.

The Summer

Bobby Wilkinson feels that his squad doesn’t need much change claiming they are 95% there. His biggest job was to replace Nat Jarvis who joined Bath City and to do that Wilkinson looked towards Luke Hopper, signing him from Gloucester City. Paul Stonehouse also moves to the Crusaders from Slough Town and Callum Willmoth from Newbury. Most recently, central defender Matt Partridge signed from Basingstoke Town

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 5 August 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 9 December 2017 at Bulpit Lane

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Hungerford Town v Dartford

Dartford will be guaranteed a National South playoff place if they beat Hungerford Town on Good Friday at Bulpit Lane.

Leading the Crusaders by nine points with four games to go, the Darts will move out of reach with victory and even with a draw they will still be in the driving seat. As Tony Burman’s side try to gather momentum in the remaining games they will hope to come back from Berkshire with the win they need.

Over the last few weeks Burman has admitted that tension is starting to creep into Dartford’s game. Defeat away to St Albans City followed by throwing away the lead twice against Hemel Hempstead Town, the Darts hosted Eastbourne Borough last weekend in another tense affair.

Andy Pugh had Dartford in front on eleven minutes only for the Sports to peg the hosts back through Mark Hughes. The goal of the game came from Luke Wanadio as he curled the Darts ahead before the break. Ryan Hayes, on the other wing put Dartford 3-1 up and a fourth came from Elliot Bradbrook. Just when the match looked settled, Eastbourne Borough staged a fight back with goals from Gavin McCallum and Ryan Worrall, leaving Burman’s side to hold on for an entertaining 4-3 victory.

Whilst the Darts have now won their last four home matches, it’s on the road where points are beginning to be dropped. Four draws in the last five away fixtures, including the defeat to St Albans City, means Dartford last won away from home in the league over two months ago.

The meeting with Hungerford Town will be the second one ever and back in August goalkeeper, Deren Ibrahim hit the headlines scoring the opener from inside his own half. The points were secured when Alex Brown made it 2-0 with a few minutes remaining.

Manager, Bobby Wilkinson has led Hungerford Town to their highest ever level and this term will see them finish in the top ten at least. Last season’s Southern Premier League playoff winners have had a decent campaign  taking advantage against teams below them. The Crusaders have however failed to beat any of the top seven, but have managed to draw against the top two at home.

Unbeaten in six league games, Hungerford Town won 2-1 last weekend over Whitehawk. The Berkshire club left it until injury time when Luke Williams scored the winner, the goal completed the turn around from a one goal deficit, Warren Bentley netted the equaliser earlier. At Bulpit Lane, the Crusaders are unbeaten in ten National South matches stretching back to November. Currently in sixth spot, Hungerford Town need the points on Good Friday to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Head to Head
Hungerford Town wins: 0 / Dartford wins: 1 / Draws: 0

Current League Form
Hungerford Town (WDDDWW)
Won 2-1 v Whitehawk (A)
Drew 1-1 v Poole Town (A)
Drew 0-0 v St Albans City (H)
Drew 0-0 v Welling United (A)
Won 2-1 v Weston-super-Mare (H)
Won 2-1 v Concord Rangers (H)

Dartford (WDLWWD)
Won 4-3 v Eastbourne Borough (H)
Drew 2-2 v Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Lost 0-1 v St Albans City (A)
Won 4-0 v Margate (H)
Won 5-3 v Truro City (H)
Drew 1-1 v Concord Rangers (A)

Previous Meeting
Dartford 2 Hungerford Town 0 (27/08/2016 – National South)

On This Day
Unbeaten in their last eight matches on 14 April, the Darts have won their last two against Sutton United and Hastings United respectively. Five years ago, a goal from Tony Garrod was enough to beat the U’s in the National South. Five years earlier, Dartford won 2-1 against Hastings United with goals from Carl Bruce and Brendon Cass. Sittingbourne held the Darts to a 1-1 draw in 2001 whilst in the Southern League Division One East. In 1990, Ashford Town were beaten at Watling Street 2-1 and two years prior Dartford won their Southern League Cup semi-final second leg encounter with Waterlooville 4-1, recording an 8-1 aggregate victory. Dartford lifted the cup almost a fortnight later beating Bromsgrove Rovers 4-3 over tow legs.

National League South Season Preview 2016/2017 (H-M)

 Hampton and Richmond Borough | Hemel Hempstead Town | Hungerford Town | Maidenhead United | Margate

Hampton and Richmond Borough

Founded: 1921 / Ground: The Beveree

Pushed right to the final day of the Isthmian Premier League campaign, Hampton and Richmond Borough won the title with 0-0 draw at home to Enfield Town in their last game. Amassing an impressive 95 points, the Middlesex club scored 105 goals to return to the National South after a four year absence. Seven consecutive victories in January and February applied pressure to the front runners and from the first week in March they held on to top spot. The only weakness shown was a below par record away from home against the top eight adding to the excitement of a closely ran title race with Bognor Regis Town. Borough became the first team to win the Isthmian Premier League twice since the non league pyramid was reformed in 2004. 

Last SeasonHampton-Richmond-badge

Isthmian Premier: 1st

F.A Cup: 1st Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Quarter-Final

League Top Scorer: Nicke Kabamba (18 goals)

The Manager – Alan Dowson

Most of Alan Dowson’s managerial career has been with Kingstonian where he won the Isthmian Division One South. The K’s almost went up twice more but playoff defeats prevented progress. A former defender as a player he entered the managerial world with Walton and Hersham starting out as Player Manager. Dowson was appointed boss of Hampton and Richmond nearly two years ago and was joined by commentator Martin Tyler, who worked with Dowson at Kingstonian. After a mid-table finish in his first season he claimed another title taking the Beavers up as Isthmian Premier League champions last term. 

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 3 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

21.01.2012 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 3
20.08.2011 Dartford 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
19.02.2011 Dartford 0 Hampton & Richmond Borough 4
17.08.2010 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 Dartford 0
27.09.2008 Dartford 0 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
19.09.1970 Hampton 0 Dartford 1

Next Meetings

Monday 29 August 2016 at the Beveree Stadium

Monday 17 April 2017 at Princes Park

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Hemel Hempstead Town

Founded: 1885 / Ground: Vauxhall Road

Another solid season saw the Tudors finish in their highest ever league position. Despite gaining a point less than the previous campaign, Hemel Hempstead Town almost made the playoffs. Back to back defeats at the end of the season finally cost the club along with too many draws over the entire season. What the Tudors did occasionally bring to the league were high scoring matches most notably a 5-5 draw with Weston-Super-Mare, the highest score draw ever in the National South. In the end the campaign was pleasing for Hemel Hempstead Town who improved their final league standing for the fourth consecutive year. 

Hemel_Hempstead_Town_F.CLast Season

National South: 6th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Jamie Slabber (12 goals)

The Manager – Dean Brennan

Hemel Hempstead Town were struggling before Dean Brennan’s appointment in May 2012. The Tudors were reprieved from the Southern Premier League two seasons in a row and had not finished higher the fifteenth, in the three campaigns before the Irishman joined the Hertfordshire club. Brennan managed to guide the Tudors to their highest ever position in his first full campaign and had improved on this record ever since. A playoff defeat, a storming Southern Premier League title triumph and an eighth place finish in the National South was bettered by last term’s sixth spot. 

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

17.10.2015 Dartford 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 2
08.08.2015 Hemel Hempstead Town 1 Dartford 0
16.09.1972 Hemel Hempstead 2 Dartford 9

Next Meetings

Saturday 12 November 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 1 April 2017 at Vauxhall Road

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Hungerford Town

Founded: 1886 / Ground: Bulpit Lane

A new face at National South level achieved promotion through the Southern Premier League playoffs. Set to play at their highest level during a 130 year history, the Crusaders having only just been plotting their rise through the leagues after years of struggle. The Berkshire club were amongst the top five from October onwards and a solid defence which kept an impressive 22 clean sheets gave them solid foundations. Hungerford Town beat Hitchin Town 3-2 in the semi-final having been two goals down. In the final they won 2-1 against Leamington and once more had to come from behind, like the semi-final the winner came five minutes from time. Now the club step into the unknown. 

Last SeasonHungerfordTownFC

Southern Premier: 4th

F.A Cup: 1st Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Nathaniel Jarvis (19 goals)

The Manager – Bobby Wilkinson

Took to coaching at a young age due to an injury in his playing career, the former Reading and Fulham player worked under Mark McGhee, Brendon Rogers and Brian McDermott. Bobby Wilkinson has also been part of the Royals backroom team before gaining non-league experience at Didcot Town Reserves, Kintbury Rangers and Milton United. Wilkinson has been in charge of Hungerford Town now for six years and has taken the Berkshire club to their highest ever level of football. He has overseen two playoff final victories to take the Crusaders from the Southern League Division One South and West to the National South and has been highly praised for his work. 

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 0 / Hungerford Town wins: 0 / Draws: 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 27 August 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 15 April 2017 at Bulpit Lane

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Maidenhead United

Founded: 1870 / Ground: York Road

One of a handful of clubs hoping to achieve at least a playoff spot last season, Maidenhead United blew hot and cold. The Magpies had the second best home record behind champions Sutton United. For a team that managed a seventh place finish that meant their away form wasn’t so impressive. The Berkshire side drifted in and out of the top five mainly due to the amount of fixtures rescheduled due to postponements and ground sharing with Hayes and Yeading United. Strangely enough it was the Winter snap when they suffered, going on a run of one win in thirteen. When the Magpies faced a fixture backlog they handled the schedule better, bringing themselves into the playoff race they fell just short. 

Maidenhead United

Last Season

National South: 7th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Quarter-final

League Top Scorer: Dave Tarpey (16 goals)

The Manager – Alan Devonshire

In a second spell with Maidenhead United, Alan Devonshire first managed the club back in 1996. The former F.A Cup winner as a player with West Ham United earned a few cup triumphs with the Magpies at league and county level as a manager. Devonshire then led the Berkshire club to promotion in 2000 to the Isthmian Premier League. The 60 year old had even more success at Hampton and Richmond Borough then Braintree Town getting both sides up the non-league pyramid. Last summer he returned to Maidenhead United for part two and missed out on a top five place. Capped eight times for England, Devonshire has built a good reputation in the dugout and has plenty of experience. 

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / Maidenhead United wins: 2 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings

02.04.2016 Dartford 2 Maidenhead United 0
15.03.2016 Maidenhead United 2 Dartford 1
31.03.2012 Dartford 2 Maidenhead United 1
13.03.2012 Maidenhead United 1 Dartford 1
30.04.2011 Maidenhead United 2 Dartford 3
05.03.2011 Dartford 3 Maidenhead United 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 3 September 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 17 December 2016 at York Road

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Margate

Founded: 1896 / Ground: Hartsdown Park

One more goal conceded would have sent the Gate back down to the Isthmian Premier League. Staring relegation in the face Havant and Waterlooville let in a goal twenty minutes time against Weston-Super-Mare moving Margate outside the drop zone. When Margate let in another, to go 2-0 down against Bath City, one more goal would have been disastrous. Although it took a while to get used to the National South the Kent club’s wheels well and truly fell off when they lost their backing. Terry Brown departed in December and Nikki Bull earned the manager’s job when he won eight out of the next eleven, drawing twice. Weeks of rumours about Bob Laslett, the owner stepping down led to a downturn in form and in March he finally stood down. In this period of uncertainly the Gate lost ten in a row before the penultimate game which gave them a lifeline, a 4-3 win at home to Hemel Hempstead Town. 

MargateFCLast Season

Conference South: 19th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Freddie Ladapo (12 goals)

The Manager – Nikki Bull

With only seven months managerial experience Nikki Bull has had to learn quickly. When he replaced Terry Brown in December 2015, the Gate were not heading in the direction the owners had hoped for. Bull improved results and his side climbed the National South, until their backer pulled out. Life in a difficult environment began and in the end Bull kept Margate in the division. The former Aldershot Town goalkeeper played most of his career in Hampshire making almost 300 appearances for the Shots, where he won promotion to the Football League. He also spent a few years at Wycombe Wanderers making over a century of appearances and was part of the promotion winning team five years ago.  

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 45 / Margate wins: 42 / Draws: 29

Previous Meetings

28.12.2015 Dartford 1 Margate 1
29.08.2015 Margate 0 Dartford 2
23.03.2010 Dartford 0 Margate 1
18.08.2009 Margate 0 Dartford 4
07.03.2009 Margate 2 Dartford 2
02.12.2008 Dartford 3 Margate 2

Next Meetings

Tuesday 13 September 2016 at Hartsdown Park

Tuesday 21 March 2017 at Princes Park

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