Archives for : Margate

Dartford v Margate

Dartford will be in search of three points against bottom of the table side Margate in the National South.

The Darts who are in a strong position to make the playoffs this season, host the Gate who have it all to do to escape relegation. Tony Burman’s side will enter the Kent derby off the back of an entertaining 5-3 victory over Truro City on the weekend, whilst Margate were beaten thanks to a former Dart.

On Saturday, Andy Pugh’s brace helped overcome the White Tigers, but it was the visitors who went in front. Andrew Neal took advantage of Deren Ibrahim’s mistake in the goalkeeper’s last game before joining up with the Gibraltar squad. Pugh equalised with his first of the afternoon made by the endeavour of Duane Ofori-Acheampong. Then Elliot Bradbrook volleyed in the goal of the game from 25 yards to give the Darts a 2-1 lead at half-time.

The Darts struggled to shake off Truro City and they levelled through Neal once more, it wasn’t long until Luke Wanadio put Dartford ahead in a hectic final 25 minutes of the match. Jamie Richards headed the White Tigers level at 3-3, however goals from Pugh and Tom Murphy sealed the three points for Dartford as they recorded five goals against Truro City for a second time this season.

Earlier in the league campaign, the Darts won 2-0 at Hartsdown Park but had to leave it relatively late to secure the three points. Two goals in the closing quarter of an hour gave Dartford victory, the first scored by Andy Pugh from close range. The win was almost guaranteed once Bradbrook netted from the penalty spot two minutes from time.

Dartford drew 1-1 with Margate last time at Princes Park after falling behind to a Freddie Ladapo goal, the striker went on to move to Premier League side Crystal Palace and is now on loan at Shrewsbury Town. Elliot Bradbrook scored the equaliser after good work from Ryan Hayes.

Tony Burman’s side have fell off the pace of the top two over recent weeks, unable to convert draws into victories. The Darts can take heart in their excellent form against other Kent sides, over ninety minutes, this term having recorded six wins and three draws from ten matches played. Against Margate they are unbeaten in their last three meetings securing two victories and a draw.

The last twelve months have been dreadful for the Gate, the coastal club were on the fringes of the playoff places towards the end of February last year. Nikki Bull looked to have found his feet then ten consecutive losses saw Margate slide down the National South. Surviving on the final day of the season, by a goal, off field problems have spilled over into this campaign.

The Gate’s win over Gosport Borough just over a week ago, was their first in 20 matches and Ira Jackson’s double strike were Margate’s first goals in 10 games. Now Steve Watts is in charge and he had guided his team to a draw in the game preceding the victory, against Concord Rangers, which had ended an incredible 18 game losing streak. On the weekend the Gate fell to a 3-2 defeat versus Hemel Hempstead Town with Charlie Sheringham scoring twice for the Tudors.

Michael Thalassitis has rejoined the club from Welling United. The striker had left Hartsdown Park in November for Hemel Hempstead Town, when Margate were forced to slash their wage bil,l and after a short spell at Park View Road is now back at the coastal side.

At the beginning of the month, Watt used his contacts at former club Maidstone United to attract defender Ben Swift to the squad. Up front Pape Gueye also comes in on loan for a month from National League side Sutton United.

The Darts in third place are eleven points clear of sixth place and hope to edge closer to a playoff spot, whilst Margate are thirteen points adrift from safety.

Head to Head
Dartford wins: 46 / Margate wins: 42 / Draws: 29

Current League Form
Dartford (WDWDDL)
Won 5-3 v Truro City (H)
Drew 1-1 v Concord Rangers (A)
Won 2-0 v Bath City (H)
Drew 0-0 v Welling United (A)
Drew 1-1 v Oxford City (A)
Lost 0-1 v Chelmsford City (H)

Margate (DLWWLW)
Lost 2-3 v Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Won 2-0 v Gosport Borough (H)
Drew 0-0 v Concord Rangers (A)
Lost 2-3 v Chelmsford City (H)
Lost 0-2 v Whitehawk (H)
Lost 0-1 v East Thurrock United (A)

Previous Meetings
Margate 0 Dartford 2 (13/09/2016 – National South)
Dartford 1 Margate 1 (28/12/2015 – National South)
Margate 0 Dartford 2 (29/08/2015 – National South)
Dartford 0 Margate 1 (23/03/2010 – Isthmian Premier League)
Margate 0 Dartford 4 (18/08/2009 – Isthmian Premier League)
Margate 2 Dartford 2 (07/03/2009 – Isthmian Premier League)

The last time a home side won this fixture in 2008 when the Darts progressed in the Isthmian League Cup with a 3-2 victory.

In a league meeting, the last home by either club in this fixture was in 1997, Dartford recorded a 1-0 win in the Southern League Southern Division.

On This Day
Dartford have just won once in their last nine games on 21 March and that was 25 years ago. The Darts beat Moor Green 3-1 in the Southern Premier League. Since then the Darts have tasted three defeats in a row and celebrated just one goal, against Folkestone Invicta in a 4-1 loss 17 years ago. AFC Hornchurch in 2009’s Isthmian Premier League meeting and Southport in 2015’s National League fixture both won 2-0 against Dartford.

Margate v Dartford

Dartford are involved in their second Kent derby in a week when they travel to the coast to face Margate.

The Darts have tasted victory just once on the road this term and are still trying to find their flow ahead of their trip to Hartsdown Park, a venue they have enjoyed visiting in recent years.

Last term, Dartford won 2-0 with goals from Lee Noble and Elliot Bradbrook and seven year ago they strolled to a 4-0 victory. This season, both teams enter the derby on the back of three games without defeat and separated by one point.

On Saturday, the Darts also travelled locally across the Thames to take on East Thurrock United. In a tepid affair, the hosts scored and missed a penalty, which Deren Ibrahim saved. Ryan Hayes came off the bench to make an impact yet again, the midfielder scored the equaliser to become the top marksmen for Dartford this campaign. Hayes is having to make do with substitute appearances and his 93rd goal for the club adds to the part he had in the winning goal against Welling United last week. The loyal servant created the winner for Elliot Bradbrook in a 2-1 triumph over their local rivals.

Manager, Tony Burman stated that his team is yet to get out of third gear and judging by his comments after the draw at East Thurrock United he still looking for the perfect formula, he said: “East Thurrock is a difficult place to come. You have to start with the right attitude and realise sometimes you dig in and it’s not going to be pretty. I think the game quality wise wasn’t great, and probably the best thing I can say is we got something for our efforts”.

With the squad almost back to full capacity, Keaton Wood took his place on the bench on Saturday after missing the 0-0 draw with Maidenhead United  with a dead leg. Ronnie Vint has managed just two games this term before breaking his wrist, but his cast has been deemed unsuitable by match officials.

Margate were spared relegation last season by the thinnest of margins when they survived by a single goal. This term they started off with a 1-0 win at home to Bath City before returning to that relegation form. Four defeats on the spin was ended in a 3-1 triumph over Weston-super-Mare but then came a 4-0 mauling at the hands of Ebbsfleet United.

Form has now taken an upturn with a 1-1 draw at home to Hungerford Town and back to back league wins for the first time since February. On the weekend the Gate defeated Bishop’s Stortford 2-0 with goals from Michael Thalassitis and a penalty from new loanee Vas Karagiannis, who manager Nikki Bull has brought in from Maidstone United. Margate also managed what Dartford couldn’t by beating East Thurrock United 2-1 last Tuesday.

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

Current League Form (Last six games)
Dartford (DWDLWW)
Drew 1-1 v East Thurrock United (A)
Won 2-1 v Welling United (H)
Drew 0-0 v Maidenhead United (H)
Lost 1-4 v Hampton and Richmond Borough (A)
Won 2-0 v Hungerford Town (H)
Won 2-1 v Weston-super-Mare (A)

Margate (WWDLWL)
Won 2-0 v Bishop’s Stortford (A)
Won 2-1 v East Thurrock United (H)
Drew 1-1 v Hungerford Town (H)
Lost 0-4 v Ebbsfleet United (A)
Won 3-1 v Weston-super-Mare (H)
Lost 0-1 v Poole Town (A)

Previous Six Meetings

Dartford 1 Margate 1 (28/12/2015)
Margate 0 Dartford 2 (29/08/2015)
Dartford 0 Margate 1 (23/03/2010)
Margate 0 Dartford 4 (18/08/2009)
Margate 2 Dartford 2 (07/03/2009)
Dartford 3 Margate 2 (02/12/2008)


Excluding the Kent Senior Cup tie scheduled three years ago, Dartford’s last away defeat at Hartsdown Park came in 1998 in the same competition, since then the Darts have won three and drawn three. The Kent Senior Cup tie in 2013 never took place and as a result Dartford were forced to withdraw from the competition.

The last time Margate won at home in the league against Dartford was in 1997, the Gate’s 1-0 victory came in the Southern League Southern division.

Dartford’s last two visits to Margate have ended with a clean sheet with the Darts scoring six without reply. In fact the Darts have kept four clean sheets in their last five trips to Hartsdown Park.

On This Day

Dartford’s last five matches on 13 September have alternated results between winning and losing. Last season the Darts beat Weston-Super-Mare 2-1 in a dramatic late turn around. Dayle Grubb had the Seagulls ahead with ten minutes remaining until Danny Harris levelled with two minutes to go. In the injury time Clayton Fortune turned the ball in to his own net to hand victory to the Darts. In 1997 and 2008, Dartford progressed in the F.A Cup with wins over Herne Bay (2-1) and Hastings United (3-2) respectively. Defeats arrived at the hand of Gateshead (0-1) two years ago and Chelmsford City (0-2) in 1999.

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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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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Dartford v Margate

Dartford see out the year in top form and next up is newly promoted Margate at Princes Park.

An eight match unbeaten run in the National South leaves the Darts two points away from the playoff places, with a game in hand.

Dartford host newly promoted Margate for the first time in over five years hoping to record a double. Earlier in the season, the Darts won 2-0 at Hartsdown Park in August. Lee Noble opened the scoring with a header from Barry Cogan’s cross. The Darts were then reduced to ten men after Lee Burns received a second yellow card. Despite the setback, Elliot Bradbrook added a second to seal a well-deserved victory.

December could see boss Tony Burman in with a chance of picking up Manager of the Month. His team have picked up four wins from four, the latest on Boxing Day away to Chelmsford City. The 1-0 victory was Dartford’s third in a row and the second in which Andy Pugh netted the winner. This time the striker DESCRIBE GOAL.

Pugh’s form means fellow striker, Tom Bradbrook will need to prove his worth as he comes back from injury. Bradbrook is expected to return to the squad on Monday after missing the last four games. Lee Burns made way for the impressive Tom Gardiner on Boxing Day, the full back failed a late fitness test. Gardiner slotted into the defence with ease as the Darts kept a third consecutive clean sheet, the first time since March 2011.

During Dartford’s Isthmian Premier league winning season, Margate left Princes Park stunned in March 2010. James Pinnock capitalised on a defensive mishap and netted the winner just after the hour. The visitors stayed organised and desperate for the points they grabbed all three.

Since reforming, the Darts have beaten Margate twice at home in seven attempts. In a league fixture, the last home victory came 18 years ago. Despite a slow start to 2015/16, Tony Burman will feel his side has every opportunity to end the run as they aim towards the playoffs.

The Gate are struggling in their first National South campaign back after a ten year absence. Terry Brown who guided the club to promotion last term is no longer the man in charge. At the beginning of December, Brown described the month as key for the club. A day later, following a 3-0 defeat to fellow strugglers St Albans City, Brown departed Margate. In stepped club captain Nikki Bull and coach Jamie Stuart, who continue the fight against relegation.

Margate took ten matches to record their first win in the league, leaving the coastal side on the back foot. Consecutive victories over Eastbourne Borough and Gosport Borough were followed by inconsistent results and sitting at the wrong end of the table.

Bull’s managerial reign has got off to a flyer with double 1-0 wins against playoff chasers Gosport Borough and Maidstone United. Similarly to the Darts, a striker has scored the winner in both matches, this time Freddie Ladapo is the man, Margate’s top scorer this season.

Former Dart, Nathan Green is likely to return to Princes Park having made 15 appearances under Tony Burman last season. The defender signed in the summer by Terry Brown can also be used in midfield.

New boss, Nikki Bull has added goalkeeper Chris Lewington to the squad. The 27 year old impressed Dagenham and Redridge when he was at Leatherhead. Lewington made 120 appearances for the Daggers in the Football League before joining Colchester United, where he played just once.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 45 / Margate wins: 42 / Draws: 28

Current League Form

Dartford (WWWWDW) Margate (WWLWDL)
Chelmsford City  A  1-0 Maidstone United  H  1-0
Whitehawk  A  1-0 Gosport Borough  H  1-0
Basingstoke Town  A  1-0 St Albans City  A  0-3
Havant & Waterlooville  H  4-2 Hemel Hempstead Town  A  2-1
Maidstone United  H  1-1 Bath City  H  1-1
Hayes & Yeading United  H  2-0 Whitehawk  H  2-6

Last Meeting at Princes Park

23 March 2010 – Dartford 0 Margate 1 – attendance 907

Darts lineup – Andrew Young, Billy Burgess, Adam Gross, Adam Flanagan, Jon Beales, Danny Dafter, Ryan Hayes, Danny Harris, Allan Tait, Lee Burns, Elliot Bradbrook (subs used: Carl Rook, Rob Haworth, James White)

Previous Six Meetings (* – F.A Trophy)

23.02.2010 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
11.10.2008 Dartford 0 Margate 1
12.11.2005* Margate 0 Dartford 1

League Stats

With one game left of the calendar year, Dartford’s record has been won 13, drew 11, lost 16, scoring 46 and conceding 54.

8 – the Darts are on the longest current sequence of unbeaten runs, five teams have managed reaching double figures (Ebbsfleet United, Truro City and Oxford City recorded 11, whilst Maidstone United and Whitehawk notched up ten)

3 – clean sheets in a row for Dartford for the first time in almost five years. The Darts last kept three consecutive clean sheets between 22 February 2011 and 5 March 2011 when the beat Dorchester Town, Basingstoke Town then Maidenhead United in the Conference South.

27 – points Dartford have taken against teams in the bottom half of the National South. The Darts have won nine out of ten and lost just once to Wealdstone

On This Day

Dartford’s last fixture on 28 December was a local derby against rivals Ebbsfleet United five years ago. The Fleet ran out 2-1 winners at Stonebridge Road as the Darts were reduced to nine men. Derek Duncan’s free kick gave the Fleet the lead before Elliot Bradbrook levelled. Joe Bruce was sent off when he conceded a penalty which Callum Willock scored. James White became the second Dartford player to be dismissed after a second caution. Thirteen years ago, the Darts were involved in an entertaining 3-3 home draw with Burnham and in 1998 beat former landlords Erith and Belvedere 2-0.

Margate v Dartford

Dartford start the Bank Holiday weekend with a tough trip to newly promoted Margate.

After a home defeat, the Darts will be hoping for a solid away performance at Hartsdown Park against the Isthmian Premier league playoff winners, who are looking for their first league win.

The last meeting between the two clubs should have taken place two years ago in the Kent Senior Cup second round. The Darts were unable to fulfil the fixture and were forced to withdraw from the competition meaning the last match versus the Gate was six years ago.

Dartford brushed aside Margate in 2009 with a 4-0 victory. A training ground free kick routine had the Darts one up after seven minutes. Ryan Hayes faked to cross but slid the ball through to Jamie Day who finished the move. Margate couldn’t cope with John Beales’ long throw in’s and twice the Darts benefited through Rob Haworth then Lee Burns. Alan Tait came on as a substitute and added to the scoreline.

At Hartsdown Park, the Darts are unbeaten in five competitive visits stretching back to 1998, when the Gate triumphed 3-0 in the Kent Senior Cup. Since then Dartford have won two and drawn three including a F.A Trophy victory ten years ago.

Over the last two National League South games, defensive errors have given manager Tony Burman to work on. Although Dartford won their last away outing 3-2 at Concord Rangers, they had to overturn a two goal deficit caused by poor defending. The warning signs developed into more costly mistakes resulting in a 3-2 defeat versus Gosport Borough four days later.

Burman knows his work on the training ground will be crucial this week and is determined to overcome the defensive frailties, he told “It’s something that’s got to be stamped out. The players know that and I hope they learn because you just can’t give goals away like we have done in the last two games”.

At home to the Boro enough opportunities were created to win, however the Darts were left to rue missed chances. Burman commented: “In the last third, some of our play should have been a bit more intelligent than it was. The players are better than that but our touch, when it was played up to people, could have been better”, he added: “we’ve given the game away, I think, rather than losing it to the better side”.

One shining light is the form of Tom Bradbrook who has taken his goalscoring tally to five in the first five league games. The striker is only behind Bishop’s Stortford’s Elliott Buchanan and Gosport Borough’s Justin Bennett in the league’s top scorers list. Last weekend he was partnered with George Sykes due to the absence to the preferred Andy Pugh, who picked up an injury at Concord Rangers.

The Darts have a perfectly mediocre record this term sitting eleventh with seven points and a level goal difference. Margate on the other hand have drawn four of their opening five league games. On the opening day they faced another of the promoted sides Truro City, a penalty save by Nikki Bull helped the Gate earn a 1-1 draw with ten men.

Character was shown against Whitehawk when Terry Brown’s side fought from two down to pick up a point. The subsequent match ended in a 2-0 defeat to Havant and Waterlooville before dominating a goalless draw versus Wealdstone.

Last weekend Margate travelled to Basingstoke Town and for the third consecutive match failed to find the back of the net. Another stalemate thanks to the excellent performance from goalkeeper Bull made sure the fourth point of the season was picked up.

Manager, Terry Brown has also taken to the training ground to solve the misfiring Gate, he told “If I look at the last three games we’ve hardly tested the goalkeeper regardless of what system we play or who you play because I’ve juggled that around. Nearly everyone in the squad has had some kind of game time”.

One familiar face who has had plenty of game time is former Dartford player Nathan Green. Last season the 23 year old spent six months at Princes Park making 15 appearances and scoring two goals. Green impressed the Darts but opted for a move to Margate in the summer after his contract ran out, so far he has started every league fixture this term.

Current League Form

Margate (DDLDD) Dartford (LWDWL)
Truro City  H  1-1 Hemel Hempstead Town  A  0-1
Whitehawk  A  2-2 Eastbourne Borough  H  1-0
Havant and Waterlooville  A  0-2 Sutton United  H  2-2
Wealdstone  H  0-0 Concord Rangers  A  3-2
Basingstoke Town  A  0-0 Gosport Borough  H  2-3

Previous Meetings

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
11.10.2008 Dartford 0 Margate 1
12.11.2005 Margate 0 Dartford 1

On This Day

Dartford have played one away fixture away on this day since reforming losing to Newport Isle of Wight fifteen years ago. At this level the Darts beat Bromley 3-1 to christen the newly working scoreboard. Elliot Bradbrook lashed a volley into the top corner. After a Danny Waldren equaliser Dartford came good in the final eight minutes with goals from Charlie Sheringham and Danny Harris. In 2009, Wealdstone were the first team to take a point off Dartford in a 1-1 draw, Lee Burns netted the Darts goal. In the nineties Yate Town were beaten 1-0 in the Southern League Southern division and Folkestone Invicta were 3-2 winners in the Kent League.

National League South Season Preview 2015/2016 – Part Four

Maidenhead United | Maidstone United | Margate | Oxford City | St Albans City

Maidenhead United

Founded: 1869 / Ground: York Road

A proud record is held by Maidenhead United in that York Road is the oldest senior football ground continuously used by the same club. For nine of those years they have had the same manager in Johnson Hippolyte in charge, stability is important to the club. Now the Berkshire side feel it is time to push up the pyramid and in the summer Maidenhead United welcome a familiar face in town. Fresh ideas, experience and a bit of backing could see the Magpies enjoying a more comfortable campaign than they are used to. Over the last six seasons, Maidenhead United have finished no higher than sixteenth, so flirtation with relegation has been the norm at York Road.

Maidenhead UnitedLast Season

Conference South: 18th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Dave Tarpey (20 goals)

Average Attendance: 406

The Manager – Alan Devonshire

A former England international as a player, Devonshire returns to Maidenhead United after managerial experience with the club in the late nineties. The former West Ham United midfielder played over 350 games for the Hammers winning the F.A Cup in 1980. The 59 year old knows a thing or two about being an underdog and proved this at former club Braintree Town. When he took over in May 2011, Braintree Town had just won promotion to the Conference Premier for the first time in their history. At Cressing Road, he improved the club each season until last term. Devonshire also impressed at Hampton and Richmond, who he took from the Isthmian Division One to the Conference Premier.

The Summer

Contacts at a former club has come in handy for Maidenhead United’s new boss. Devonshire has signed three from Braintree Town and one he worked with whilst with the Iron. Defenders Ryan Peters and Alan Massey, creative midfielder James Mulley and goalkeeper Carl Pentney all move from Braintree Town. When the Iron spent their first campaign in the Conference Premier striker Ben Wright was amongst the goals, he links back up with Devonshire. Josh Huggins follows Wright from Havant and Waterlooville. Dean Inman from Hayes and Yeading, Jake Reid from Dover Athletic and Rene Steer from Boston United also bulk out the Magpies squad. Last season’s top scorer with 20 goals Dave Tarpey signed a new contract at York Road. To make way for the host of signings there has been something of a clearout including former Dartford striker Jacob Erskine.

Last Meeting Versus The Darts

31 March 2012 – Dartford 2 Maidenhead United 1 – view highlights
A playoff spot was clinched by Dartford as the two sides met for the second time in just over a fortnight. Jacob Erskine tucked the ball in the net just before the hour and Luke Wilkinson doubled the lead. Paul Semakula pulled one back for the visitors. Daniel Brown was dismissed for Maidenhead United and Danny Harris followed for the Darts.

13 March 2012 – Maidenhead United 1  Dartford 1 – view highlights
The hosts had to grind out a result when they were left with ten men meaning Dartford dropped valuable points. Alex Wall opened the scoring for the Magpies then Reece Tison-Lascaris was sent off. Danny Harris scored the equaliser for Dartford who pushed for a winner to no avail.

Next Meetings

Saturday 21 November 2015 at York Road

Saturday 2 April 2016 at Princes Park

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Maidstone United

Founded: 1992 / Ground: Gallagher Stadium

The only former Football League club in the National League South, Maidstone United had to make their way back up from the Kent League. Off field mismanagement led to the Stones being declared bankrupt in 1992 and being forced out of the Football League. Progress was made up to 2007 when they won a place in the Isthmian Premier League with three promotions. A relegation followed after three campaigns and progress stalled until their new Gallagher Stadium opened in 2012. Crowds flocked back and the club flourished ever since, an average attendance of 200 fifteen years ago is now just under 2000. One of two sides to have installed a 3G pitch, the Stones were the first to host an F.A Cup proper match on that particular surface.

maidstoneLast Season

Isthmian Premier: 1st

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Jay May (22 goals)

Average Attendance: 1846

The Manager – Jay Saunders

Entering a fifth full season in charge Jay Saunders was appointed caretaker manager in March 2011. The former Gillingham midfielder made the most of his opportunity and at the end of the 2010/11 campaign he was given the role permanently. Over the last three seasons the Saunders has added three honours to his list. The Isthmian Division One South playoff was won followed by the Isthmian League Cup . Last term the 35 year old guided Maidstone United to the Isthmian Premier League title after a close contest with runners up Hendon. If he continues the good work at the Gallagher Stadium then come the end of the campaign Saunders will have guided the new look Stones to their highest position since reforming.

The Summer

A host of former Dartford players will be at the Gallagher next season. Jamie Coyle will remain part of the managerial team, the former Darts defender made 140 appearances for the club. On the pitch, Callum Driver left Princes Park in the summer in favour of the Stones. James Rogers impressed last season and signed a new contract to stay at the Gallagher Stadium, he also won the Supporters Player of the Year award. Former loanee Matt Bodkin has also agreed to remain with Maidstone United. One impressive capture over the break is former Welling United midfielder Joe Healy he joins Mitchell Pinnock from Bromley, Manny Parry from Grays Athletic, Simon Johnson from Eastbourne Borough and Bobby-Joe Taylor from Cambridge United.

Last Meetings Versus The Darts

20 March 2010 – Dartford 3 Maidstone United 0 – view highlights

The double over Kent rivals was completed a fortnight later  by the champions elect. Danny Dafter finished at the far post to give the Darts the lead. Lee Burns tapped in late in the first half and a trademark Ryan Hayes curler made victory convincing in the second half.

7 March 2010 – Maidstone United 0 Dartford 1 – view highlights

It took ten minutes for Dartford to get their noses in front when Ryan Hayes crossed for Lee Burns to score. In difficult conditions where the pitch was sandy and the ball bobbling about, the Darts held on to the slender lead to take all three points.

Next Meetings

Saturday 14 November 2015 at Princes Park

Saturday 9 April 2016 at the Gallagher Stadium

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Founded: 1896 / Ground: Hartsdown Park

The Seaside town of Margate peaked at the turn of the millennium when they won the Southern Premier League under Chris Kinnear. The Gate had their place in the top flight of non league which lasted three season’s without finishing in the bottom four. Reaching eighth place in their first campaign, two years later they were demoted to the Conference South because of ground grading issues. Whilst Hartsdown Park was being redeveloped the Gate suffered another relegation the following season. The Kent club returned to their home in 2005 and spent the next ten years in the Isthmian Premier League. Margate rarely threatened to leave the division they were in until last term when they beat an in form Hendon to clinch victory in the Playoff final.

MargateFCLast Season

Isthmian Premier: 3rd

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi Final

League Top Scorer: Frederick Ladapo and Ryan Moss (22 goals)

Average Attendance: 682

The Manager – Terry Brown

Promotion was a must for Terry Brown last season and winning the playoffs may have kept him in the job. Seems harsh ater finishing third but high expectations have been set by Margate by appointing a successful manager. Starting out at Hayes, where he began hi playing career, Brown was in charge for nine years taking the Middlesex club from relegation candidates in the Isthmian Premier League to third in the Conference Premier. Frustrated with the budget he moved to Aldershot Town where he won promotion to the Conference Premier at the first attempt. The following campaign saw the Shots lose the playoff final. Most notably, Brown led AFC Wimbledon into the Football League and kept the Dons in League Two in his final full season at the club.

The Summer

During a short spell with Dartford, Nathan Green impressed on the wing but decided to move to the coast joining the Gate. Soloman Taiwo switches his allegiance from another Kent club moving from Dover Athletic making Margate his sixteenth club. Christian Jolley helped Newport County to Football League promotion two years ago and will be part of Margate’s strike force. Terry Brown made a double signing from Maidenhead United by capturing David Hunt and Danny Green. Former Aldershot Town defender Glenn Wilson will add experience at the back and is joined by Millwall’s Jake Goodman. Last season’s top scorers Frederick Ladapo and Ryan Moss also signed new contacts to remain at Hartsdown Park.

Last Meeting Versus The Darts

23 March 2010 – Dartford 0 Margate 1 – view highlights

Princes Park was left stunned when the league leaders were undone by Margate. James Pinnock capitalised on a defensive mishap and netted the winner just after the hour. The visitors stayed organised and desperate for points at the other end of the table grabbed them.

18 August 2009 – Margate 0 Dartford 4 – view highlights

A training ground free kick routine had Dartford one up after seven minutes. A Ryan Hayes faked to cross but slid the ball through to Jamie Day who finished the move. Margate couldn’t cope with John Beales’ long throw in’s and twice the Darts benefited through Rob Haworth then Lee Burns. Alan Tait came on as a substitute and added to the scoreline.

Next Meetings

Saturday 29 August 2015 at Hartsdown Park

Monday 28 December 2015 at Princes Park

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Oxford City

Founded: 1882 / Ground: Marsh Lane

Over the last ten years Oxford City have steadily moved up the non league pyramid. Champions of the Spartan South Midland League in 2005/06 set City on their way. That campaign finished in dramatic circumstances with Oxford City taking the title on goal difference. After two attempts the club were promoted again this time via the playoffs to the Southern Premier League. A runners up place and another playoff triumph three years ago completed their journey to the second tier of non league. In the Conference North results have been mixed, a tenth place finish was followed up with surviving relegation. Last season City narrowly missed out on the top five to remain in the second tier of non league, making a début in the National League South.

OCFCLast Season

Conference North: 6th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Quarter-Final

League Top Scorer: Adi Yussuf (26 goals)

Average Attendance: 321

The Manager – Justin Merrit

A second spell in charge of City having guided the Oxfordshire club to the Southern Premier League via the playoffs. With business interests on the side, Justin Merritt resigned just two matches into the 2009/10 campaign to concentrate on a sports coaching company. The 40 year old returned to Marsh Lane last summer replacing Mike Ford, who took Merritt’s place after his first spell. The difference this time is that Merritt will have to work with Enrique Guillen, the Spaniard who has been promoted to head coach. The current Oxford City boss has also won honours with Oxford City Nomads and managed Witney Town.

The Summer

The Spanish connections remain strong with a trio of Spaniards joining up with those already at the club. Jon Arzamendi moves from Real Union, Carlos Pifarre from Olimpic de Xativa and Julen Fafuente from Deportivo Alaves. Experienced player at this level, Bradley Bubb has signed from Havant and Waterlooville having had spells with various Hampshire clubs. Midfielder at Solihull Moors last term, Reece Fleet will be at Marsh Lance this season. Craig Hill will give Laurie Walker competition in goal both players signing from Aston Villa and Hemel Hempstead Town respectively. Cheltenham Town duo Omari Sterling-James and Jamal Lawrence agreed a loan deal, Mark Bell joins from Chesham United and Kynan Isaac from Luton Town.

Last Meeting Versus The Darts

4 November 2008 –  Oxford City 2 Dartford 4 – view highlights

Another six goals but this time Dartford came out on top. City’s Jon Gardner put the hosts in the lead which was cancelled out by Cody McDonald’s fourth of the tie. Steve Butterworth, Lee Noble and once more McDonald again increased the Darts advantage. James Saulsbury’s spot kick halved the deficit for Oxford City as the match ended 4-2.

1 November 2008 – Dartford 3 Oxford City 3 – view highlights

In a set of entertaining F.A Trophy Second Qualifying ties, Dartford’s Cody McDonald poached the opener after two minutes. The visitors levelled with a superb curling effort from Jon Gardner. McDonald headed the Darts back in front and completed a hat trick after half time. The visitors forced a replay with goals from Andy Gunn and a last minute header by Steve Jackman.

Next Meetings

Tuesday 15 September 2015 at Marsh Lane

Saturday 23 April 2016 at Princes Park

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St Albans City

Founded: 1908 / Ground: Clarence Park

The Hertfordshire clubs finest moment came nine years ago, a playoff victory earned St Albans City a place in the Conference Premier. The Saints only managed one season in non league’s top division finishing bottom of the table. Four years in the Conference South ended with relegation to the Southern Premier League and a ten point deduction. Financial concerns worried the faithful at Clarence Park prior dropping out of the Conference, however the club enjoyed better league positions in the Southern League. Rewarded with another playoff triumph just a year ago returned St Albans City to the Conference South where they finished mid table last term.

stalbansLast Season

Conference South: 13th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: John Frendo (11 goals)

Average Attendance: 570

The Managers – John Gray & Graham Golds

The only managerial joint partnership in the National League South, John Gray and Graham Golds have worked together in the managers role for two and half years. The pair have guided St Albans City to promotion to the Conference South and appearances in the first and second rounds of the F.A Cup and F.A Trophy. Gray and Golds were appointed after a successful spell as caretaker managers, the duo replaced David Howell who was dismissed after a poor run of results. Over the last two and half years, Gray and Golds have guided the club through better days.

The Summer

New signings have been sparse for St Albans City over the summer, Jack Lampe has joined from Concord Rangers, Billy Medlock from Sutton United and Lewis Hilliard from St Neots Town. Defender, Ben Martin returns to the club having previously left for Boreham Wood.

Last Meeting Versus The Darts

2 April 2011 –  St Albans City 1 Dartford 2 – view highlights

Lee Burns scored his first goal of the campaign when his hopeful long ranged header looped over the City defence and into the net. Relegated, St Albans City pegged the Darts back through Tony Battersby and almost went in front from the spot. Jack Pallen came off the bench to score the winner with four minutes remaining.

22 March 2011 – Dartford 2 St Albans City 2 – view highlights

A late penalty miss denied the Darts all three points when Ryan Hayes hit the woodwork in the final minute. The visitor led through Inih Effiong and led until Charlie Sheringham equalised. Sheringham completed his brace before Dartford had James White sent off. Ollie Kelly grabbed a point for St Albans City in an unexpected draw.

Next Meetings

Saturday 6 February 2016 at Princes Park

Saturday 30 April 2016 at Clarence Park

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