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Dartford v Bath City

Unbeaten in the National South, Dartford will be determined to keep their current run going this weekend when they host promotion hopefuls Bath City.

The Darts opened their league campaign with a 1-0 victory over Chelmsford City followed by a goalless draw at Hampton and Richmond Borough. Bath City tasted an opening day defeat at Oxford City but recorded their first league win last weekend against Billericay Town. Both teams reached the playoffs last term with the Darts falling short in the final and the Romans getting knocked out in the eliminator round.

Defensively, Dartford have been perfect in the league with two clean sheets and if it wasn’t for a controversial penalty in the F.A Cup then their defence wouldn’t have been breached at all this season. However, it hasn’t quite clicked in attack yet with Ky Marsh-Brown the only goalscorer for Steve King’s side, his header on the opening day was enough to earn all three points against Chelmsford City. That has been Dartford’s only goal in their last four competitive games stretching back to the Playoff Final defeat. At the other end only Slough Town and Havant and Waterlooville have netted against the Darts in the last seven competitive matches.

Defensive duo: Tom Bonner and Ronnie Vint kept the Beavers at bay

Dartford’s first away game of the campaign last weekend ended 0-0 at Hampton and Richmond Borough in a game that saw the defences on top. Tom Bonner and Ronnie Vint remaining solid in the centre as they continue to strike up a reliable partnership at the back. Making his debut, Jack Barham replaced Ricky Modeste in the only change to the starting eleven. After the game the striker spoke to DFCTV and said: “We didn’t play to our maximum but coming away with a point is never bad. If we know that really is the minimum of what we can offer, then we have a good chance this year”. Having joined in the summer and after nursing an injury, Barham is confident good times are on their way, he explained: “It’s going to take me a couple of weeks to get my fitness back. I felt like jelly in the second half especially after about 60 minutes, but I can see myself scoring lots of goals. I’m excited now to show everyone what I can do”.

This fixture was supposed to be the next home game in the 2019/2020 league schedule. However, the campaign was halted and so the last time the Darts hosted Bath City was in February 2019. Dartford ended the Romans’ unbeaten run of nine games that day with some stunning goals. Lee Noble curled his shot from outside the box into the top corner, Charlie Sheringham nodded home Ryan Hayes’ pinpoint cross and Phil Roberts cut inside to unleash another curling strike, from outside the box, into the bottom corner.

For more match highlights visit Dartford FC TV

Last season the score was reversed putting an end to Dartford’s seven consecutive victories against Bath City.  Three first half goals, one from Tom Smith and a brace from Andy Watkins handed the Romans three points at Twerton Park inside the first 35 minutes. To sum up Dartford’s day, Elliott Romain missed a penalty in one of very few defeats manager Steve King has suffered since his appointment in October last year.

This season, in the National South, Bath City were beaten 2-0 on the first day of the season against Oxford City. Defeat came just days after leaving it late in the F.A Cup to overcome Winchester City. The Romans were given a scare by the Southern Division One South side needing to come from behind. Tommy Conway scored a brace, his first coming just two minutes into his debut before Winchester City took a 2-1 half-time lead. The on-loan striker from Bristol City equalised and a late deflected Tom Richards strike earned Bath City a third qualifying round tie against Dartford’s conquerors Slough Town. After the reverse at Oxford City, Conway was scoring again, grabbing another Twerton Park brace in their 2-0 victory over Billericay Town, both goals assisted by Freddie Hinds on his second debut for the Romans, also joining on loan from Bristol City.

Linking Up: Bristol City pair Tommy Conway and Freddie Hinds in action for Bath City

Hinds turned from provider into a goalscorer on Tuesday night scoring the winning goal to knock Slough Town out of the F.A Cup. An evenly contested tie saw the Romans defence stand strong with several decent saves from goalkeeper Ryan Clarke. Hinds early second half goal was enough to see Bath City into the fourth qualifying round.

Bath City’s ties with Bristol continued this week with the signing of Lucas Tomlinson on loan from Bristol Rovers. Manager, Jerry Gill already has City players Conway and James Taylor in his squad. Over the summer keeping top scorer Tom Smith was imperative, he has featured in every game so far. Out of the new signings Freddie Grant, Ryan Harley and Callum Evans have earned first team places.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 32 / Bath City wins: 39 / Draws: 19

Previous Six Meetings

30.11.2019Bath City3Dartford0
09.02.2019Dartford3Bath City0
04.08.2018Bath City 1Dartford2
21.04.2018Dartford2Bath City0
24.10.2017Bath City1Dartford2
04.03.2017Dartford2Bath City0

Stats

Dartford have won their last four homes games against Bath City going back to 2016

The Darts last lost to Bath City at home in April 1990, which was the only defeat in the last six home games against the Romans (W5 L1)

Dartford have kept three consecutive clean sheets against Bath City at Princes Park. The Romans last scoring in 2016 when the Darts won 4-1.

On This Day

Allan Tait scored the winning goal eleven years ago against Isthmian Division One North side Sittingbourne. The 1-0 victory in the F.A Trophy first qualifying round was a stern test for the Darts who went on to claim the Isthmian Premier League crown that season. Almost eleven years on, the two sides met in a friendly (on Monday night) with Dartford winning 5-2. Five years ago, at Princes Park, Ryan Hayes netted a superb last-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Hemel Hempstead Town. The Darts were two down at half-time until Danny Harris then Hayes helped the home side earn a point. It is also the 50th anniversary of Dartford’s 7-0 F.A Cup win against Harrow Borough, but the biggest win on this day was 18-0 in 1891 against Old Wilkinson. 

Hampton & Richmond Borough v Dartford

Dartford aim to make it two consecutive league victories in their first away game of the season this weekend, when they travel to Hampton and Richmond Borough.

The Darts opened their National South campaign on Tuesday night with a hard earned 1-0 home win against Chelmsford City. Ricky Modeste made his debut whilst Jordan Wynter and Kyjuon Marsh-Brown were chosen to start. Making way for the trio were Abdul Osman, Gavin McCallum and Charlie Sheringham.

King was rewarded with the selection of Marsh-Brown after he headed the winning goal on 23 minutes. It’s been a mixed few days for the winger, who was harshly adjudged to have conceded the last minute penalty in the 1-0 F.A Cup reverse against Slough Town on the weekend.

Manager, Steve King described his side’s display as ‘gritty and determined’ praising the defence in particular, he told DFCTV: “The back five was solid and didn’t let anything through all night”. At the other end of the pitch the Darts boss can see room for improvement, he added: “Going forward I didn’t think we were as potent, as free flowing as we have been…but we worked extremely hard”.

Ky Marsh-Brown scored his first Dartford goal at the Beveree

In fact Marsh-Brown will have fond memories of last season’s visit to the Beveree where he scored his first goal for Dartford in a 2-1 win. Elliott Romain scored the winning goal after Tyrone Lewthwaite had earlier equalised. The reverse fixture at Princes Park saw Hampton and Richmond Borough win 2-1 back in February. Luke Wanadio gave Dartford an early lead against his former club, but Danilo Orsi-Dadomo and Ryan Hill turned the game around for the visitors.

Dartford will have to try and find their way past former goalkeeper Alan Julian if they want to add to their points tally this season. Signed from Billericay Town in the summer, Julian made 45 appearances for the Darts on his way to picking up the 2013/2014 Supporters Player of the Year. He left that May 2014 to play for Sutton United before moving on to Bromley then Billericay Town.

Meanwhile, Dartford’s Abdul Osman could return to where it all started for him some 16 years ago. The midfielder played nine times for Hampton and Richmond Borough before being scouted by Watford, where he was part of the Hornets youth team. The 33 year old made his Dartford debut in the cup defeat last weekend and came on as a substitute on Tuesday night.

Alan Julian (left) playing for the Darts and new signing Abdul Osman (right)

Hampton and Richmond Borough have repeated Dartford’s scorelines so far but in reverse. The Beavers progressed in the F.A Cup beating F.A Vase semi-finalists Corinthian with a Ruaridh Donaldson goal. Then the Gary McCann’s side lost 1-0 to St Albans City on Tuesday night. Tyrell Miller-Rodney was one of two changes to the line up, the right back was sent off with two minutes remaining.

After the departure of last season’s top scorer Dadamo-Orsi, the Beavers are hoping summer signing Nico Muir can repeat the form he was in for Hendon when McCann was his manager, the striker scored 40 goals during that spell and was on loan at the Beveree last season from Hartlepool United. As well as Muir and Julian making their debuts already this campaign, Rene Steer and Christian Smith are also new faces in the squad to have made an appearance this term.

Head to Head

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

Previous Six Meetings

08.02.2020Dartford1Hampton & Richmond2
05.11.2019Hampton & Richmond1Dartford2
23.03.2019Dartford2Hampton & Richmond2
17.11.2018Hampton & Richmond0 Dartford1
30.03.2018Dartford1 Hampton & Richmond0
02.09.2017 Hampton & Richmond2Dartford2

Stats

Dartford have lost just once in the last seven meetings against Hampton and Richmond Borough (W4, D2) and twice over the last ten (W6, D2).

The Darts are unbeaten in their last three visits to the Beveree (W2, D1).

Dartford have won just one of their last eight opening away fixtures in league competition, in 2018 when the beat Bath City 2-1 (D2, L5).

On This Day

Dartford’s last game on 10 October was way back in 2009 when they were knocked out of the F.A Cup by Chelmsford City. The third qualifying round ended up in a 4-1 defeat with former Dartford manager and captain Adam Flanagan scoring for the Darts. On a brighter note, the Darts went on to win the Isthmian Premier League to join the Clarets in the National South the following season. The last away trip on this day was in 2006 with Dartford beating Tonbridge Angels 3-1 in the Isthmian League Cup second round. In 1891, the Darts racked up a 10-2 friendly victory over Stone.

Dartford v Chelmsford City

Dartford start their National South campaign off the way they finished the regular season last term with a home fixture against Chelmsford City.

Seven months ago the Darts eased to victory in uncertain circumstances when they hosted the Clarets. Games were beginning to be cancelled across the country due to the outbreak of coronavirus, yet the National South pressed on with its schedule for one more week, and it was to be the last.

The Darts ran out 3-0 winners with Jack Jebb setting up Josh Hill to head home the opening goal. Just before half-time Billy Crook’s shot hit the post, only for Elliott Romain to double the lead with the rebound. A third was added in the second half when Noor Husin excellently finished a one two with Jebb. It turned out to be Crook’s last appearance in a Dartford shirt, the midfielder moved to Chelmsford City in the summer and could make his league debut against his former club.

For more Dartford FC video’s check out DFCTV

Dartford kicked off their 2020/21 season with a F.A Cup second qualifying round tie at home to Slough Town. Steve King selected four of his summer signings in the starting eleven. Craig King, Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, Abdul Osman and Gavin McCallum all made their debuts. Kairo Mitchell also made his first appearance replacing Charlie Sheringham in the second half.

The Darts exited the competition at the first hurdle for the first time in five years, leaving Steve King waiting for his maiden F.A Cup victory for the club. With the tie heading for penalties it was a spot kick that decided the outcome when Kyjoun Marsh-Brown was adjudged to have committed a foul in the box. Slough Town’s Jack McKnight scored the penalty on his debut to hand the Rebels a passage into the next round.

Steve King put the loss down to his side not taking their chances and two contentious penalty decisions. The Darts thought they should have been awarded a penalty when McKnight blocked Craig Braham-Barrett’s shot with his arm, but nothing was given. In the last minute Dartford conceded a penalty which looked harsh. Kyjoun Marsh-Brown challenged Ada Okorogheye, only for the striker to go over on his ankle, however the referee thought there was contact and pointed to the spot.

Despite those decisions King pointed out his team had enough opportunities to win. Charlie Sheringham was left to rue a close range miss in the first half and Jack Turner in the Slough Town goal was in inspired form. The Rebels goalkeeper thwarted Romain, Tom Bonner and Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong. Dartford’s new shot stopper, Craig King made one notable save from Ollie Muldoon’s effort.

Chelmsford City visited National North side Kettering Town in their F.A Cup tie with former Dartford midfielder, Chez Isaac in the starting line up and Crook on the bench. Isaac made 12 appearances for the Darts, whilst Crook played 21 times scoring once. Another former Dart and summer signing, Phil Roberts was unavailable and will have wait to link up with Crook again, the pair were part of the Braintree Town team that won promotion to the National League in 2018. Roberts had an impressive spell at Princes Park scoring eight goals in 16 games, he returns to the Clarets for a third spell.

Returning trio: Billy Crook, Phil Roberts and Chez Isaac whilst with the Darts

Chelmsford City manager, Robbie Simpson handed debuts to former Tonbridge Angels, Maidstone United and Dover Athletic goalkeeper Lee Worgan, Cadell Fraser-Robinson, ex Heybridge Swifts goalscorer Alex Teniola, Adam Liddle, who was signed from Derry City, Adebola Oluwo and Callum Harrison, he was substituted for Cameron James who rejoined the club in the summer break.

Simpson was disappointed with a 2-0 defeat on a day when his team ‘lost their personal battles’. With an injury list to contend with, the Clarets started with four academy players on the bench. James, Crook and Danny Imray weren’t fit to start, Tom Wraight is out for the long term and Mickey Spillane pulled his hamstring during the game.

The Clarets boss is now looking towards Tuesday night at Princes Park, treating the National South opener as a benchmark for the Essex club, he spoke to Clarets TV and explained: “It’s weird that our last game was away there as well. So that will actually be good to see where we were to where we are now, we can test ourselves”.

The Chelmsford City manager is one of many outsiders to tip Dartford for promotion to the National League, he added: “They are favourites to win the league and rightly so in my opinion. They are a very good side”.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 39 / Chelmsford City wins: 55 / Draws: 22

Previous Six Meetings

14.03.2020Dartford3Chelmsford City0
12.08.2019Chelmsford City4Dartford1
19.01.2019 Chelmsford City 2Dartford1
07.08.2018Dartford1 Chelmsford City0
10.02.2018Dartford1 Chelmsford City2
21.10.2017 Chelmsford City1Dartford0

Stats

Dartford have won the last two home games against Chelmsford City, the last time that happened was between 1999 and 2000. The last time they won three home games in a row against the Clarets was between 1971 and 1973.

The Darts have won two of the last four fixtures against Chelmsford City. Before this run they had won just two of the last 17.

Dartford have failed to score in their last two competitive games. Under Steve King they have never gone three consecutive matches without scoring.

On This Day

Usually Dartford are a couple of months into their league campaign by now, so the 6 October is the latest that a league campaign has started in the club’s history. It comes on the eighth anniversary of the Darts claiming a memorable away victory at Grimsby Town. Tom Bonner and Adam Birchall were on target to cause one of Dartford’s many surprises in the National League that season. That was the last of four straight wins on this day, Ashford Town were beaten 3-1 in the Southern League Division One East at home in 2001, Moor Green lost 2-1 thirty years ago in the Southern Premier and the Darts travelled to Northwich Victoria in 1984 and won 1-0 in the National League. Two years ago, Dartford crashed out of the F.A Cup third qualifying round losing 4-1 at Oxford City as Kabongo Tshimanga scored a hat-trick.

National South Season Preview Part II

Concord Rangers

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

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

Manager: Danny Scopes

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

Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Dartford

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

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

Manager: Steve King

A highly successful non-league manager, Steve King guarantees to bring you entertainment. If he could beat his playoff nemesis King would have even more promotions to his credit. Much of his early managerial career was spent in Sussex where he won the National South title with Lewes, his third promotion in five years with the club. He went on to win another title at Farnborough and embark on F.A Cup runs with Macclesfield Town and Whitehawk. However, for every title there is playoff heartbreak losing finals with Farnborough, Whitehawk, Welling United and last season with the Darts.

Summer

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

Dorking Wanderers

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

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

Manager: Marc White

Dorking Wanderers have climbed the non-league pyramid and Marc White has been able to witness their rise from day one. A founder member just over 20 years ago, his club have won 11 promotions and last season he guided the Surrey club to the playoffs in their first ever campaign in the National South. White has overseen the club moving to a new stadium as well as all the on-field success and has had clubs from higher leagues interested in his services, but he has his heart on getting to the Football League with the Wanderers.

Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Dulwich Hamlet

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

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

Manager: Gavin Rose

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

Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Eastbourne Borough

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

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

Manager: Danny Bloor

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

Summer

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

Head to Head

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

National South Season Preview Part I

Dartford came so close to promotion last season by reaching the playoff final. This time they plan to go one better in Steve King’s first full campaign at the helm. In a season that was cut short at all levels of the non-league game, no teams were relegated from the National South bringing a familiarity to Dartford’s opponents. A lot has changed over the last seven months, new protocols, changes in management and three golden boot winners moving on. Here’s the first part of a club by club preview to whet your appetite…

Bath City

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 4th
F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 2nd Round
Top Scorer: Tom Smith (13 goals)

The Romans have bowed out at the quarter-final stage of the playoffs in the past two seasons. Since their two-year flirtation with the National League, the West Country side have slowly built their way up to become competitive promotion contenders. Bath City will be aiming to return to the non-league summit after an eight-year absence. The cause will be helped by the National South’s Player of the Year, Tom Smith being in their ranks. He could be a key player yet again having scored 18 times from midfield in all competitions last term.

Manager: Jerry Gill

A former Bath City defender who made over 200 appearances for the club in the nineties. Gill has been in charge at Twerton Park since October 2017 turning the Romans from a top ten side in to a top five side. He enjoyed success as a player notably reaching the League Cup final and winning promotion to the Premier League with Birmingham City. After a 44-day spell managing Weymouth, who had financial issues at the time, Gill picked up coaching experience with Bristol Rovers, Birmingham City and Kidderminster Harriers as well as with Norwich City’s and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ academies.

Summer

Manager Jerry Gill signed a new contract to keep him at Twerton Park until 2022. Ryan Harley made over 350 Football League appearances with the likes of Exeter City, Brighton & Hove Albion and Swindon Town, he arrives from Milton Keynes Dons. Freddie Grant, a left back with experience at this level joins from National League side Maidenhead United. After four years at Weston-super-Mare, Jason Pope moved to Hereford before switching to the Romans. Callum Evans signs from Port Vale having also had a spell at Macclesfield Town, Donovan Wilson comes in after time at Port Vale, Exeter City and Spanish clubs Jumilla and Burgos. Goalkeeper Will Henry steps in to the squad providing National South experience, which he picked up on loan at Hampton and Richmond Borough, Chippenham Town and Hungerford Town. Also, coming to Twerton Park on loan will be Bristol City pair Tommy Conway and James Taylor.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 32 / Bath City wins: 39 / Draws: 19

Billericay Town

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 17th
F.A Cup: 1st Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round
Top Scorer: Jake Robinson (14 goals)

More headlines were made off the pitch than on it under Billericay Town’s former owner, now the media circus shackles have been removed. Instead the Essex club has a former Premier League midfielder leading the team and keeping the club and non-league in the media spotlight. Success came quickly when Ricay went from Isthmian Premier champions to promotion contenders. However, with the owner leaving, the Blues second campaign back in the National South was tougher and they spent much of last term looking over their shoulder winning just three of their last 24 games.

Manager: Jamie O’Hara

A Dartfordian who made his name as a midfielder at Tottenham Hotspur, Jamie O’Hara also represented England at under 21 level. He enjoyed spells notably at Millwall, Portsmouth and Wolverhampton Wanderers and ended up at Billericay Town in the seventh tier of the English game. He helped the Blues claim the 2017/2018 Isthmian Premier League title, two league cups and a county cup. O’Hara left Ricay before returning as player assistant manager and in September last year he was promoted to manager. Alongside football management O’Hara can be heard on national radio channel Talksport.

Summer

Providing some trickery on the flanks, former Dartford winger Luke Wanadio moves across the bridge to Essex. Wanadio had two spells with the Darts both lasting a season, he also had spells with Bromley, Aldershot Town and Dulwich Hamlet. Four more players make the trip from Kent with two, Frank Sutherland and Lawrie Wilson coming from relegated Ebbsfleet United. Lewis Knight signs from Maidstone United and Jai Reason will lead the line after arriving from Dover Athletic. Also, making the step down from the National League will be Shamir Fenelon from Maidenhead United. Josh Hutchinson joins Ricay from Potters Bar Town, Hani Berchiche (Welwyn Garden City) as well as two trialists who impressed Jamie O’Hara in pre-season, Chevron McLean (Maldon and Tiptree) and Ruben Soares Junior (Grays Athletic). Former Fulham and Queen’s Park Rangers full-back, Joe Felix joins the Essex club having previously been at Hampton & Richmond Borough, Woking and Farnborough. With former Dart, Alan Julian leaving the goalkeeper position has been filled by Dion-Curtis Henry and from AFC Wimbledon in comes Ayoub Assal on loan for a month.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Billericay Town wins: 2 / Draws: 1

Braintree Town

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 21st
F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round
Top Scorer: Femi Akinwande (6 goals)

A surprise package when they gate-crashed the National South playoffs and won promotion two years ago, knocking out Dartford in the process. The Iron returned to the National League at the first time of asking, this time their stay lasted one campaign as they yo-yoed between divisions. Braintree Town were nowhere near to reproducing a swift return and instead slid down the National South after a reasonable first two months. The Iron conceded the most goals last term and had the season not been curtailed were on target to finish in the bottom two.

Manager: George Borg

An experienced manager familiar with Braintree Town, Borg has had a few spells with the Iron. In his latest one it started in December 2019 when player manager Jake Hutchings stepped sown. His appointment came 15 years after the first time he led the Essex club back in 2004. Borg enjoyed success in the late nineties when Aldershot Town were back on the rise to the Football League. In 1998 he won the Isthmian League First Division then later added the Isthmian League Cup, two Hampshire Senior Cups and came runners-up in the Isthmian League Premier Division.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Braintree Town wins: 6 / Draws: 4

Chelmsford City

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 10th
F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Round
Top Scorer: Shaun Jeffers (13 goals)

Regularly amongst the playoff places the Clarets fell short of their normal standards last time out. Often dubbed a sleeping giant, the Essex club parted company with Rod Stringer back in January after the former boss had taken Chelmsford City to the playoffs three years running. At the turn of the year the Clarets were only seven points adrift of the top seven and in the last 16 of the F.A Trophy when Stringer departed. Entering their thirteenth consecutive season in the National South, Chelmsford City are currently the longest serving club in the division.

Manager: Robbie Simpson

Just over a year ago Robbie Simpson was signed as a player by Rod Stringer. Five months later the forward was put in temporary charge of Chelmsford City and in March he became permanent player-manager. Simpson enjoyed a long career in the Football League after he had already represented both Cambridge clubs, United and City at non-league level. Coventry City took a chance and afterwards he played for Huddersfield Town, Oldham Athletic, Leyton Orient, Exeter City and Milton Keynes Dons. He also had a second spell with Cambridge United when they had returned to League Two.

Summer

The Clarets signed former Dartford midfielder Billy Crook this summer taking him back across the Thames to Essex. Crook won promotion with Braintree Town before joining the Darts in January 2019. Another former Dart and returning for a third spell with Chelmsford City is Phil Roberts. The striker had a brief spell at Princes Park and at the age of just 26 has been around the non-league circuit, he was also pivotal in helping Braintree Town up alongside Billy Crook. Last season’s Isthmian Division One North top scorer, Alex Teniola will hope to continue grabbing goals after completing a move from Heybridge Swifts. Also boosting the attack, Adam Liddle comes in from Derry City, Adam Morgan (Romford) and Tom Blackwell (Coggleshall Town). Former Tonbridge Angels, Maidstone United and Dover Athletic goalkeeper Lee Worgan will bring experience between the sticks and providing competition on dual registration from Heybridge Swifts will be Jacob Marsden. Defender, Adebola Oluwo (Fisher FC) and midfielder Callum Harrison (AFC Sudbury) are now Clarets and Cameron James has re-joined the club for a second spell from Colchester United. Cadell Fraser-Robinson also joined the Clarets after completing a scholarship at Stevenage.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 39 / Chelmsford City wins: 55 / Draws: 22

Chippenham Town

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 14th
F.A Cup: 1st Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round
Top Scorer: Scott Twine (6 goals)

A consistent team in the National South since they cruised their way to the Southern Premier League title three years ago, the Bluebirds finished thirteenth in consecutive seasons and were on course to ending last term in fourteenth. Yet it wasn’t all plain sailing last season, in mid-January they were embroiled in a relegation battle, appointed a new manager who steered them to safety winning five of their last six games. The Wiltshire club hope to keep that momentum going into the new campaign and improve on their mid-table finishes.

Manager: Michael Cook

Another manager who made the most of an interim spell, Michael Cook was appointed as permanent boss in March. The former Gloucester City manager took over the Bluebirds in January following the departure of Mark Collier. In that time Cook turned Chippenham Town’s fortunes around. After the home hammering to Dartford in February, he guided the Wiltshire club to five wins from seven matches with the last fixture a creditable draw against champions Wealdstone. At Gloucester City, he felt he wasn’t given a fair chance, so now is the time to prove his managerial capabilities.

Summer

Michael Cook’s former club Gloucester City were raided this summer as the former Tigers boss signed a trio of players from their local rivals. Covering all outfield positions Chippenham Town will now have striker Marlon Jackson, midfielder Joe Hanks and defender Spencer Hamilton in their squad. Both Danny Greenslade and Bradley Ash join the Bluebirds from Hereford. Former Sutton United striker, Ross Stearn returns to Hardenhuish Park from Bath City, whilst Luke Ruuse makes his loan spell from Bristol Rovers permanent.

Head to Head

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

Dartford v Chelmsford City

Dartford will be determined to change their fortunes against Chelmsford City this weekend at Princes Park.

Although the Darts won the corresponding fixture last season, it was a rare victory against the Clarets. Elliot Bradbrook settled the match to claim Dartford’s only triumph in this fixture in nine previous attempts. The last two meetings have been at Melbourne Stadium with the Essex club securing a 4-0 win in August and a 2-1 victory just over a year ago.

Dartford followed up progression to the Kent Senior Cup final with a win at St Albans City last weekend, a ground where the Darts had lost in all the previous four visits there without even scoring. When Joe Iaciofano put the National South strugglers ahead from the spot, the Darts could have easily felt that the inevitable defeat was about to happen. However, Steve King’s side had other ideas and within seven minutes the Darts were level when Liam Nash scored his second league goal of the campaign. Five minutes into the second-half Dartford went ahead when they were awarded the second penalty of the afternoon, up stepped Darren McQueen to move his season’s tally to 18 in all competitions.

Steve King described Dartford’s performance as ‘gritty’ and was pleased with the two tactical sides his team needed to show. Whilst the first half was full of attacking intent, the second half was opposite, he explained to DFCTV: ‘’We dug deep, St Albans had a right go at us in the second half with long throws coming into our box, which we had to defend properly and I think we got it spot on’’. He added ‘’We showed another side where we didn’t want to get beaten and people were putting their body on the line’’. The Dartford boss was also delighted with Nash’s goal, work ethic and link up play. The striker told DFCTV after the 2-1 victory: ‘’I’m happy to contribute, my main objective in every game is to score, but I don’t put too much pressure on myself and I try to give an all-round game’’.

Chelmsford City are still hopeful they can reach the top seven and a playoff spot. Results this term had been inconsistent under Rod Stringer and after a 6-2 home defeat to Oxford City in November the former boss was under pressure. Although results improved over the next eight games where the Clarets won four and drew three, the 1-0 reverse at bottom side Hungerford Town was the final straw. At one point it looked as though the new manager was going to be the experienced Garry Hill, however the parties couldn’t agree terms.

Instead Robbie Simpson has been in charge on a temporary basis, he only signed for the club in August after he was released by Milton Keynes Dons. The striker has plenty of playing experience notably representing Cambridge United, Coventry City, Oldham Athletic and Exeter City. Celebrating his birthday this weekend, Simpson initially got off to a difficult start when his conceded five in his first match losing 5-3 at Dulwich Hamlet, the following match was a 2-0 loss at Dorking Wanderers.

However, the Clarets went three games unbeaten with a 3-1 home win over Tonbridge Angels and a creditable 1-1 draw with Slough Town. Struggling on the road this season with just two away wins in the National South, Simpson took his side to league leaders Wealdstone and came home with all three points. Former Dart, Tom Knowles netted the winning goal, but he has since returned to his parent club Cambridge United after 24 appearances and five goals for the Clarets.

On the weekend, Chelmsford City hosted F.A Trophy semi-finalists Concord Rangers in an Essex derby and drew 1-1. The Clarets earned a point despite playing 70 minutes a man down after Troy Brown was sent off. Brown pulled back Concord Rangers striker Decarrey Sherriff to give away a penalty, Sherriff took the spot kick and scored. The equaliser came four minutes prior half-time, Shaun Jeffers set up Tom Wraight who shot past Chris Haigh in the Concord goal.

Speaking to www.chelmsfordcityfc.com manager Simpson said: “I was disappointed until the sending off, games are running out and we can’t afford to not do the right things. It took us until the sending off to get going and do the basics properly. But after that I’m was so proud of my players, they ran their socks off and stuck to the task”.

Simpson can all upon the experience of former Premier League striker Leroy Lita, who came out of retirement to play for Salisbury before penning a short-term deal with the Clarets. Lita made his name at Bristol City prior to his time in the top flight with Reading and Swansea City. Chez Isaac will return to Princes Park after he short spell with the Darts lasted three months, the midfielder made a dozen appearances under the management of Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle. Shaun Jeffers scored in this fixture in August 2016 in a 1-1 draw, the striker is Chelmsford City’s top scorer this term with 13 league goals.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 37 / Wealdstone wins: 57 / Draws: 21

Current League Form

Dartford (WDWLWW)Chelmsford City (DWDWLL)
St Albans CityA2-1Concord RangersH1-1
WealdstoneA0-0WealdstoneA1-0
Eastbourne BoroughH2-1Slough TownH1-1
Hampton & RichmondH1-2Tonbridge AngelsH3-1
Chippenham Town A5-1Dorking WanderersA0-2
Dulwich Hamlet H1-0Dulwich HamletA3-5

Last Six League Meetings

12.08.2019Chelmsford City4Dartford1
19.01.2019Chelmsford City 2Dartford1
07.08.2018Dartford1Chelmsford City0
10.02.2018Dartford1Dartford2
21.10.2017Chelmsford City1Chelmsford City0
18.02.2017Dartford0Chelmsford City1

Stats

Dartford have won just five games in their last 25 competitive matches against Chelmsford City (D5, L15).

The Darts win against the Clarets last term was the first in ten attempts at home.

On This Day

Dartford have played their last four games on 14 March at home with mixed fortunes. The Darts last victory on this day was in 1998 when they claimed a 4-0 win over Waterlooville, who would later merge with Havant Town to form next weekend’s opponents Havant and Waterlooville. Six years earlier, Dartford won by the same score against Poole Town, both matches were in the Southern Premier League. The last two fixtures also ended in the same score, this time a pair of 1-0 defeats. First, Harrow Borough came to Princes Park and won in the Isthmian Premier League back in 2009 and most recently in 2015, Alfreton Town beat the Darts in the National League.



St Albans City v Dartford

Buoyed by the fact the Darts reached a cup final this week, Dartford return to league action this weekend when they visit St Albans City.

The Darts have had nothing to show in their last four visits to Clarence Park, losing them all without even finding the back of the net. Dartford’s last victory there was nine years ago remembered by a freak long range Lee Burns header, but it was young Jack Pallen that scored the winner in a 2-1 triumph.

Over the last three weeks Steve King has made good use of the squad he has assembled with mid-week Kent Senior Cup games scheduled between National South fixtures. In that time the Darts have picked up four points from six, including the stalemate with league leaders Wealdstone and progressed through two rounds of the county cup to reach the final.

On Tuesday night a strong Dartford side strolled past Phoenix Sports in the semi-final. King made five changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Wealdstone, goalkeeper Alhaji Sesay was back in goal, Ronnie Vint replaced Josh Hill at centre back, Jake Jebb made his second start for the club. Luke Wanadio and Liam Nash who were on the bench against the Stones were selected to start. Goals from Jordan Wynter, Liam Nash’s brace, Elliott Romain and Amrit Bansal-McNulty, who has now extended his loan until the end of the season earned the Darts a comprehensive 5-1 victory.

In Dartford’s last league game, King made six changes to the side and his team came away with a creditable draw with league leaders Wealdstone. A solid defence, in which Tom Bonner and Josh Hill excelled, and the impact of Wanadio’s appearance from off the bench were positives in difficult playing conditions. Dartford survived the biggest moment of the match though when Weadstone’s Dennon Lewis missed a penalty.

The Darts bagged their first point of the season when they last played St Albans City in August under the guidance of Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle. New signing and current top scorer for the Saints, Joe Iaciofano scored for the Hertfordshore club, his first goal of the campaign to give the visitors the lead. However, Wanadio netted his first goal since returning to the Darts in the second half.

At Princes Park, Dartford have fared better against the Saints, but it’s the away fixture against Ian Allinson’s side that has troubled them over the last four years. St Albans City have won four in a row against the Darts on their own patch scoring eleven without reply. Last season, Dartford were beaten 2-0 when Solomon Sambou and Khale da Costa scored. The year before on the final day of the season, Sam Merson’s brace helped the Saints to a 4-0 win, Charlie Walker scored the only goal three years ago and two own goals contributed to another 4-0 reverse for the Darts in 2016.

St Albans City are in a relegation fight sitting second from bottom in the National South with just three home wins in the league this season. Although form has picked up for Ian Allinson’s side as they try and get themselves out of trouble in a very tight battle at the bottom, only a point separate St Albans City in 21st and Concord Rangers fifteenth place

Last weekend, they lost a six pointer against Chippenham Town with former Dartford defender Tom Bender heading the Saints in front. However, two goals in the space of four minutes turned the match around when Kieran Parselle then Scott Twine helped Chippenham Town to victory. Bender made 20 appearances for the Darts during the 2014/2015 campaign and scored against the Darts in 2016 for St Albans City, a season later he scored an own goal which gave Dartford a home victory.

However last month, the Saints did beat promotion chasers Bath City then Havant and Waterlooville on the road. Their last victory at home, four weeks ago, was against Maidstone United. Out of the teams around the relegation zone, St Albans City have one of the better records over the last eight games.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / St Albans City wins: 5 / Draws: 5

Current League Form

Dartford (DWLWWL) St Albans (LWDWLL)
WealdstoneH0-0Chippenham TownA1-2
Eastbourne Borough H2-1Havant & WaterloovilleA2-1
Hampton & Richmond H1-2Oxford CityH0-0
Chippenham Town A5-1Bath CityA3-0
Dulwich Hamlet H1-0Welling UnitedH1-2
Slough Town A0-1 Hampton & RichmondA1-2

Last Six Meetings

06.08.2019Dartford1St Albans City1
12.01.2019Dartford3St Albans City2
01.09.2018St Albans City 2Dartford0
03.02.2018St Albans City 4Dartford0
28.10.2017Dartford2St Albans City 1
25.03.2017St Albans City 1Dartford0

Stats

The last away win in this fixture was on 8 November 2016, when St Albans City won 2-0 at Princes Park. Since then the home side has won five of the last six.

The Darts have gone eight games without a clean sheet against St Albans City.

Dartford’s draw with Wealdstone was their 200th league game since relegation from the National League. The Darts have won 100, drawn 46, lost 54, scored 331 goals and conceded 246 in that time.

St Albans City have lost all four home games against sides in the top five, but they have drawn all three against the teams directly below the Darts.

Only Hungerford Town have picked up fewer points at home than St Albans City this season.

On This Day

Inflatable penguins made their debut when Dartford last won on 7 March in 1989, the Darts beat Atherstone United 3-0 at Watling Street in the Southern League Cup semi-final first leg on their way to wining the competition. Thirty years ago, Dartford drew 2-2 with Welling United in the last eight of the Kent Senior Cup and then 0-0 with Gloucester City two years later in the Southern Premier League. Witney Town beat Dartford 3-1 in 1998, Tommy Osborne and Adam Gross scored in a 2-2 draw with Margate in 2009. The last two games have seen the Darts fail to score, in front of the BT Sports cameras six years ago Dartford lost 1-0 at home to Chester and a year later, the Darts drew 0-0 at FC Halifax Town.

Dartford v Wealdstone

League leaders Wealdstone are next to visit Princes Park as the Darts search for a first home win against the Stones since the early nineties.

Dartford have won just two of their previous 15 meetings against Wealdstone since their last home victory against them in 1991, in that time they have drawn five of their last seven when hosting this weekend’s opponents.

A difficult task awaits Steve King’s side when they take on a side who convincingly defeated the Darts on the opening day. Ross Lafayette’s brace book ended Josh Hill’s equaliser, a Dennon Lewis deflection and a goal by Connor Stevens. However, plenty has changed at Princes Park since the 4-1 reverse at Grosvenor Vale, a new manager and playing style as well as wholesale changes to the squad has seen the Darts climb the National South ladder. Meanwhile, Wealdstone have looked down at the rest of the league occupying top spot for the majority of the season.

The Darts were in Kent Senior Cup action on Tuesday night which gave King a look at the rest of his squad. Josh Hill and Liam Nash were the only survivors from the starting eleven that beat Eastbourne Borough, whilst Billy Crook, Jordan Wynter and Amrit Bansal-McNulty turned substitute appearances into starting appearances. Mark Smith, Sanchez Ming, Miloud Djouahaer, Ronnie Vint, Tyrique Hyde and Giovanni McGregor were all called upon as the Darts progressed to the semi-final.

Nash scored the opener before Hyde netted a penalty as Dartford led Folkestone Invicta by two at the break. Crook added the Darts third, his first goal for the club and Elliott Romain, who returns from suspension came off the bench to score his 13th goal for the Darts.

In the league Dartford are in seventh place, three points clear of Hampton and Richmond Borough who beat the Darts three weeks ago. However, King’s side bounced back with a 2-1 victory over Eastbourne Borough. Two new signings made their debuts, Noor Husin from Stevenage and Jake Jebb, who played nine times for Wealdstone this season. Jebb started his Dartford career off by scoring a sublime free-kick and although Alhaji Sesay’s goalkeeping error was costly when the Sports levelled, Darren McQueen scored from the spot yet again to clinch all three points.

King explained that changes in midfield were necessary as he started with a different three against the Sports. The Dartford manager pointed out a lack of goals from the middle of the park and in recent weeks standards had dipped. On Tuesday night in the Kent Senior Cup, Crook and Hyde responded with a couple of goals.

In the same evening Wealdstone were in action when they hosted Chelmsford City. The Stones missed the chance to extend their lead at the summit losing 1-0, the first time they failed to score on their own patch. Former Dartford loanee, Tom Knowles netted the only goal of the game. Defeat ended a streak of five consecutive league wins and an unbeaten run of seven games in all competitions.

During their recent good form, the Stones hit seven goals in back to back games beating title challengers Bath City 7-0, a week after beating another challenger Havant and Waterlooville 4-2. In the match that followed the Bath City triumph, Wealdstone beat Staines Town 7-1 in the Middlesex Senior Cup. Moses Emmanuel and Dennon Lewis also found form in front of goal in that spell scoring four each.

Dartford may be aiming for a return to the National League via the playoffs after a five year absence, Wealdstone are hoping to reach the same destination as champions, returning to the top flight of non-league for the first time in 32 years.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 13 / Wealdstone wins: 15 / Draws: 14

Current League Form

Dartford (WLWWLW) Wealdstone (WWWWWL)
Eastbourne BoroughH2-1Chelmsford CityH0-1
Hampton & RichmondH1-2Dorking WanderersH3-1
Chippenham TownA5-1Billericay TownH3-0
Dulwich HamletH1-0Bath CityH7-0
Slough TownA0-1Havant and WaterloovilleA4-2
Oxford CityH3-0Welling UnitedH1-0

Last Six Meetings

03.08.2019Wealdstone4Dartford1
05.01.2019Wealdstone1Dartford1
18.08.2018Dartford0Wealdstone3
17.02.2018Wealdstone1Dartford2
21.11.2017Dartford3Wealdstone3
28.01.2017Wealdstone0Dartford4

Stats

Dartford are top of the form guide in the last 8 games. Wealdstone have lost three of their last eight.

Wealdstone top the scoring charts with 66 goals and have the best goal difference of +33.

The Darts have gained just four points from 24 against clubs currently in the top six.

Mark Smith, Josh Hill, Tom Bonner and Luke Wanadio are the only four players to have started in the opening day defeat and have made over 20 appearances this season.

On This Day

In the season of Dartford’s greatest ever F.A Cup run, when they went out to top flight Derby County in the third round, Dartford also recorded their last victory on the 29 February. In 1936 the Darts beat Bath City 4-2 in the Southern League Central Section. In their only other win on this day, the Darts beat Cray Wanderers by the same score in the Dartford and District League in 1908. Since then they have been beaten 1-0 in 1952 against Weymouth in the Southern League and in the same league drew with Margate 1-1 in 1964. The last fixture Dartford played on this day was in 1992 when they lost 1-0 to Halesowen Town, also in the Southern Premier League. Whilst the first game the Darts played on 29 February was in 1896 and ended in a dismal 7-3 Kent League defeat to local rivals Northfleet.

Dartford v Eastbourne Borough

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Head to Head

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

Current League Form

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

Last Six Meetings

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

Stats

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

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

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

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

On This Day

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

Dartford v Hampton and Richmond Borough

Two teams with playoff aspirations go head to head this weekend when Dartford host Hampton and Richmond Borough at Princes Park.

Dartford won the last encounter on Guy Fawkes Night at the Beveree with new signings Kyjoun Marsh-Brown and Elliott Romain scoring in a busy ten-minute first half spell. Marsh-Brown celebrated his first start for the club by getting on the end of Liam Gordon’s pass to open his account, but the lead lasted just two minutes when Sam Deadfield equalised for the hosts. Ten minutes before half-time, Romain won a penalty when felled by Charlie Wassmer, the Darts striker picked himself up and netted the winner from the spot.

The Darts last hosted the Beavers in March last year and a late Darren McQueen strike earned Dartford a point. Hampton and Richmond Borough took an early lead through Oliver Sprague and held the advantage until the hour mark. Lee Noble earned the Darts a penalty which Charlie Sheringham dispatched. With nine minutes remaining, Chris Dickson looked to have won the match for the visitors, but McQueen had other ideas when his deflected stoppage time strike made it 2-2.

Steve King’s side moved up to sixth place last weekend with a resounding 5-1 win over struggling Chippenham Town, their biggest away win in the league since October 2016. Prior the game two signings were announced, attacking midfielder Giovanni McGregor wasn’t available for selection, but will be on loan from Crystal Palace until the end of the season. Instead Amrit Bansal-McNullty made an immediate impact scoring and getting sent off on his debut. The winger on loan from Queens Park Rangers was one of two changes as well as Liam Nash, the pair replaced Luke Wanadio and Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong, who returned to Aldershot Town after his successful loan spell.

The game was as good as over by half-time as the Darts rattled in five goals. Darren McQueen won and scored a penalty and the lead was doubled when Nash on his first league start for the Darts. Chippenham Town halved the deficit a minute later through Callum Gunner, but the two-goal cushion was restored when Bansal-McNullty squeezed the ball in from the tightest of angles. The 19-year-old was involved in the fourth when his free-kick was deflected in, and the loanee also won the penalty leading to McQueen’s second spot kick. Bansal-McNullty’s afternoon ended early when he received two yellow cards in a goalless second-half and manager Steve King was also given a red card.

Dartford have now opened up a seven-point gap to rivals Maidstone United in eighth place, although the Stones have three games in hand. Victory made it seven wins from their last eight league outings, whilst at home the Darts have won four National South matches in a row scoring eleven without reply.

If the Darts thought they had racked up the highest score of the weekend, they only had to look as far as their next opponents. Hampton and Richmond Borough hit Hungerford Town with a bigger result, winning 7-1. Striker, Danilo Orsi-Dadomo and Ryan Hill both bagged a brace in the rout with the former opening the scoring on three minutes. However, Hungerford Town were level two minutes later when Zidan Akers picked up a wayward throw from debutant goalkeeper Dion-Curtis Henry before equalising. Ryan Hill scored the first of two Hampton and Richmond Borough penalties, Orsi-Dadamo also netted from the spot just past he half hour mark. Hungerford Town had manager Ian Herring sent off and the afternoon got worse for the side at the foot of the table. Second-half goals from Dean Inman, debutante Niko Muir, a second from Hill and Sam Deadfield completed the comprehensive win for the Beavers.

The Beavers had a slow start to their campaign much like Dartford, the Middlesex club lost their first four and eight of their first eleven. However, they have slowly turned their fortunes around picking up ten wins in their last 16, losing just once on the road in the league since 14 September 2019. The Middlesex club are ninth and level on points with Maidstone United with two games in hand over the Darts.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / Hampton and Richmond Borough wins: 4 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (WWLWWW) Hampton & Richmond (WLWWLD)
Chippenham Town A 5-1 Hungerford Town H 7-1
Dulwich Hamlet H 1-0 Slough Town H 1-2
Slough Town A 0-1 St Albans City H 2-1
Oxford City H 3-0 Concord Rangers A 2-0
Dorking Wanderers A 3-2 Dulwich Hamlet H 0-3
Welling United H 4-0 Bath City H 0-0

Last Six Meetings

05.11.2019 Hampton & Richmond 1 Dartford 2
23.03.2019 Dartford 2 Hampton & Richmond 2
17.11.2018 Hampton & Richmond 0 Dartford 1
30.03.2018 Dartford 1 Hampton & Richmond 0
02.09.2017 Hampton & Richmond 2 Dartford 2
17.04.2017 Dartford 3 Hampton & Richmond 1

Stats

Dartford have kept four consecutive clean sheets at Princes Park going 387 minutes without conceding in the league at home.

Darren McQueen’s double against Chippenham Town means he and Elliot Romain are the two top goalscorers in the National South.

The Darts have failed to win at home against those currently in the top ten.

Dartford are unbeaten in six games against Hampton and Richmond Borough (W4, D2).

Hampton and Richmond Borough’s 7-1 win over Hungerford Town was the first time since 1994 that they had scored seven in a match. The last time was a 7-1 win against Leatherhead.

On This Day

Andy Pugh and Lee Noble starred in Dartford’s famous 2-1 win at Wrexham on this day six years ago. Battling relegation the Darts visited the Racecourse Ground and took the lead when Pugh took advantage as goalkeeper Andy Coughlin failed to hold a free-kick, Pugh netted the rebound from close range. Wrexham equalised through Joe Clarke, but on the stroke of half-time Elliot Bradbrook scored the winner. That was Dartford’s third consecutive victory on 8 February, Charlie Sheringham scored the only goal of the game in 2011 as the Darts beat Weston-super-Mare. The last home fixture on this day was won by Dartford back in 2003, the Darts beat Spalding United 2-1 in the Southern League Division One East.