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National South Season Preview Part IV

Maidstone United

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 9th
F.A Cup: 2nd Round
F.A Trophy: 1st Round
Top Scorer: Ibby Akanbi (9 goals)

A former Football League club, the only in the division started their move through the non-league scene almost 20 years ago. In that time, they made light work in reaching the Isthmian Premier, consolidated themselves then moved to a new stadium. Since then the Stones won three promotions in four seasons to reach the National League. After three years they were relegated, and last term was their first back in the National South. Maidstone United were hoping for a swift return, but instead had to settle for ninth after losing five of their last six matches.

Manager: Hakan Hayrettin

Appointed as manager in January 2019, Hakan Hayrettin is a well-respected coach and Maidstone United represents his first managerial role outside of Essex. Starting out in 2003 with Waltham Forest, Hayrettin’s best moment came almost a decade later when he won the Isthmian Division One North with Grays Athletic, as they notched up an impressive 102 points. After working closely with John Still at Luton Town, he returned to Essex as manager of Braintree Town until they were relegated. Whilst at Maidstone United, Still called upon Hayrettin once more where he has been boss ever since.

Summer

Just over seven and half months ago, Scott Rendell hit the headlines when his goal knocked out Premier League opposition Norwich City in the F.A Cup. Rendell was playing for non-leaguers Luton Town at the time and since then he has spent time at Woking, Aldershot Town and last season Eastleigh. The striker has also gained experience with Cambridge United, Peterborough United and Wycombe Wanderers, now he will be sharing his footballing knowledge at the Gallagher Stadium. The Stones also signed Kreshnic Krasniqi from National South champions Wealdstone and defender Joe Ellul from Maidenhead United. George Porter, Christie Pattison, Raphe Brown and Charlie Seaman have all signed for the Stones as well.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 44 / Maidstone United wins: 45 / Draws: 19

Oxford City

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 13th
F.A Cup: 1st Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round
Top Scorer: Zac McEachran (9 goals)

Spending the majority of last season with interim managers, Oxford City still managed to maintain their consistency of mid-table finishes. The Hoops enjoyed some more F.A Cup success reaching the first round proper for the third year in a row. Shortly afterwards Mark Jones departed and that’s when Justin Merritt and Andy Ballard took over. The interim duo had an immediate impact winning five of their first six which included some high scoring entertaining games. Oxford City now have a new manager at the helm with early nineties top flight playing experience.

Manager: David Oldfield

Waiting to take charge of his first competitive game at Oxford City, David Oldfield made his name in football back in the eighties. The former midfielder impressed at Luton Town before joining Manchester City where he won promotion to the top flight. He played the first half of the nineties at Leicester City and was part of the team making it to the Premier League. After returning to Luton Town he went on to represent Stoke City, Peterborough United and Oxford United before entering the world of non-league as a player and briefly as a manager with Brackley Town.

Summer

At the age of 21, Harvey Bradbury has spent most of his fledgling career out on loan with the likes of Havant and Waterlooville, St Albans City, Hungerford Town and Woking. Son of former Portsmouth striker Lee, Harvey joins Oxford City from Millwall. The Hoops have strengthen their back line with the signings of Dan Matsuzaka from Braintree Town and Louis Hall (Bedford Town), the pair could be playing in front of former Sutton United goalkeeper Ben Dudzinski. Winger, James Roberts joins from Spennymoor Town and Lewis Coyle signs from Thatcham Town. Aaron Drewe and Jacob Bancroft are the latest to join the Hoops.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 7 / Oxford City wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Slough Town

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 5th
F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round
Top Scorer: Ben Harris (9 goals)

Three games into their second season in the National South and it looked like it could be a long campaign for Slough Town. In the end it was, but not because they had no points to show in the opening matches, but because they made the playoffs losing in the eliminator round against Dartford. The Rebels took a while to get going and when they put a run of one defeat in 19 their confidence grew. The Berkshire club can be delighted with what they have achieved since joining the National South.

Managers: Jon Underwood and Neil Baker

It’s not often joint managers work, but at Slough Town it definitely does. Jon Underwood and Neil Baker have been leading the Rebels since May 2013, before that they were both at Goldalming Town. The duo seem to have the knack of making their teams into playoff contenders, at Goldalming Town they reached the Isthmian Division One South playoffs, whilst at Slough Town they have been promoted twice through that route to the Southern Premier then the National South. Last season, they guided the Berkshire club to the National South playoffs but fell short this time.

Summer

There hasn’t been much action in the transfer market at Slough Town. Midfielder, Jack McKnight has been signed from Eastleigh and Louis Lomas has come in on loan from Championship club Norwich City. McKnight impressed the management team a few season’s ago when he scored against hem for Basingstoke Town. Lomas has been a regular in Norwich City’s under 23 squad and spent time on loan at Tampa Bay Rowdies last term in the USL Championship. Olly McCoy, Ada Okorogheye and Michael Edegbe all joined before Slough Town’s F.A Cup win over Dartford.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Slough Town wins: 3 / Draws: 2

St Albans City

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 20th
F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round
Top Scorer: Joe Iaciofano (17 goals)

Embroiled in a relegation battle last time out, the Saints will have to live life without golden boot winner Joe Iaciofano, who netted just under half of St Albans City’s goals. The Hertfordshire club were on course to record their lowest points tally since dropping out of the division nine years ago. Even then they didn’t spend long outside the National South and have been in this league for 12 of the previous 16 seasons. The club have rebranded with a new crest and have signed a sponsorship deal with rock band Enter Shikari.

Manager: Ian Allinson

A former Arsenal winger who turned to management back in 1989 with Baldock Town, Ian Allinson moved around before settling at Boreham Wood. It was in Hertfordshire where he picked up his first honours as a manager taking an unfancied side to the National League via two playoff promotions. Allinson moved the Wood from the Isthmian Premier League to the top flight of non-league on very low crowds, but due to work commitments he left in October 2015. Four months later Allinson rocked up at St Albans City where he has had mixed results so far.

Summer

Losing Joe Iaciofano in the summer meant finding a goalscorer was a priority for Ian Allinson. The St Albans City boss is hoping Shaun Jeffers will be that man after signing the striker from Chelmsford City. Also arriving from the Clarets is forward Joseph Chidyausiku and to add to the attacking line, Mitchell Weiss comes in from Kings Langley and Chid Onokwai from Haringey Borough, where he scored ten goals in as many games before injury cut his season short. Following Onokwai from the North London club is midfielder Romeo Akinola. Also, in the middle of the park, the Saints have brought in Michael Oluwadara Dada from Barking and Kyran Witshire from Oxford City. Luke Warner-Eley had a very short spell with Dartford playing six times before leaving the club, he joins the Saints from Royston Town. Defenders, Joy Mukena (Bracknell Town), Devante Stanley (Biggleswade Town) and goalkeeper Michael Johnson (Dagenham and Redbridge) will also be at Clarence Park this season.

Head to Head

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

Tonbridge Angels

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 15th
F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 1st Round
Top Scorer: Joe Turner (11 goals)

It took some time to settle in their first campaign back in the National South after a five-year absence. The Angels won promotion the hard way winning two playoff finals and that determination would stand them in good stead. Tonbridge Angels lost two thirds of their opening 15 games, then the second half of the season that was played out, they tasted defeat just three more times in 16 outings. In the end they were still in a relegation battle with many of the top sides to play, but they showed they can beat the teams around them.

Manager: Steve McKimm

You will find on Steve McKimm’s honours list two playoff wins in the same season. Tonbridge Angels’ route back to the National South was far from easy, after an Isthmian Premier League playoff win over Merstham, they beat Metropolitan Police in a ‘super-playoff’. He had come close before in 2016 with the Angels so winning two in a season tasted all the sweeter. As a player, McKimm also coached at Sutton United and before then had spells with Margate, Gravesend and Northfleet where he won the Isthmian Premier League title, Kingstonian, Farnborough, Hayes and Yeading United and Dulwich Hamlet.

Summer

Nine months after leaving the Angels, D’Sean Theobald is back at the Longmead Stadium. The midfielder’s performances earned him a move to Poland’s top flight with Korona Kielce, but his stay didn’t go to plan so Steve McKimm links up with Theobald again. Another two players return to the Angels, striker Alex Akrofi scored 15 times for Aveley last season and defender Arthur Lee was at AFC Hornchurch last term and was part of the Kent side’s promotion winning team. At full back, Kristian Campbell arrives from Eastbourne Borough and Javaun Splatt gets a chance following a two year scholarship at Derby County’s Academy, Splatt has also had loan spells with Mickleover Sports and Carshalton Athletic. 

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 68 / Tonbridge Angels wins: 38 / Draws: 24

Welling United

2019/2020 Performance:
League Position: 12th
F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round
F.A Trophy: 1st Round
Top Scorer: Anthony Cook (8 goals)

In one summer Welling United suffered two big losses, the playoff final defeat to Woking just over a year ago and former manager Steve King. Owner, Mark Goldberg decided changes were needed to help the finances of the club and so appointed himself as manager, tapping into the resources already at the club. Goldberg lasted until January and as defeats become more frequent decided it was time to hand the reins over. Welling United went on to pick up form to comfortably finish mid-table, making what they achieved under King stand out more.

Manager: Bradley Quinton

A promotion winner with Braintree Town just over two years ago, Bradley Quinton led the Iron to the National League via the playoffs. Whilst he had a shot at the National League his tenure lasted until October 2018 when he resigned. In January 2019, he was appointed to stop Welling United’s slide as the Wings were in the bottom three of the National South and soon after fortunes improved. Quinton previously played a part in Enfield Town reaching a playoff spot in 2017 and at the Middesex club he worked under current Braintree Town boss George Borg.

Summer

Two former Dartford players have joined the Wings this summer, although both players made very limited appearances for the Darts. Rowan Liburd played just three games during his loan spell under Steve King, the striker signs from Hereford. Marcel Barrington was also at Dartford last season and he is now back alongside Bradley Quinton where the pair worked together at Braintree Town. Lionel Ainsworth brings plenty of experience to the squad after a career at various Football League clubs, the winger enjoyed a spell north of the border at Motherwell and joins from Dulwich Hamlet. Former Yeovil Town winger, Tyrique Clark anddefender Quba Gordon (Maldon and Tiptree) were added to the squad as well as goalkeeper Mohammed Oulad Laarbi and midfielder Emmanuel Maja. Former Staines Town man William Efambe will join Lanre Azeez (Hastings United), German Petrov and Stefan Ilic (Lewes) as new members at Park View Road.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 22 / Welling United wins: 10 / Draws: 9

Dartford v Oxford City

The Darts have been making big strides recently and hope to continue moving forwards when they host Oxford City this weekend in the National South.

Dartford completed their fourth consecutive victory in their last match beating playoff hopefuls and Isthmian Premier League champions Dorking Wanderers. In an eventful afternoon, the Darts went two up with more goals from Darren McQueen and Elliott Romain. Dartford ‘dominated the game until 2-0’, but ‘switched off’ according to manager Steve King. The home side hit back with goals from Jimmy Muitt and Luke Moore setting up an exciting finale in which both sides hit the woodwork in the final ten minutes. Then eight minutes into injury time McQueen won a penalty, dusted himself off and netted the winner.

The Darts have not had much luck with injuries this season, but manager Steve King has been able to quickly plug the holes when necessary. Prior the 3-2 win at Dorking Wanderers, Jordan Wynter hurt his knee in the warm up allowing Kyjoun Marsh-Brown to step in at late notice. Steve King had already brought in full back Nick Arnold from Wealdstone before the game and he explained his decision to DFCTV, he said: “I’ve always wanted at least three full backs. I’ve worked with him before, he’s a very talented boy who started his career at Reading, played at Wycombe Wanderers and went to Whitehawk with me and played in two playoff finals. He signed for Aldershot Town, won a cap for the England C team and more recently played for Wealdstone”.

Wynter joins a list of players who have recently suffered from injury including goalkeeper Mark Smith, midfielder Luke Allen and loanee Tyrique Hyde, who has extended his stay for another month. King has used the loan market to his benefit by bringing players to the club, equally he is using the loan system to benefit current squad members. This week Ryan Hayes went out on dual registration to Sevenoaks Town and Norman Wabo loaned to Cheshunt. Sam Blackman is already at Hythe Town and the Dartford boss intends to send Lee Noble and Cameron Brodie out on loan to build up his match fitness and gain experience in Brodie’s case.

Ahead of the Oxford City game, King stated: “We will see what bodies we’ve got available and we will prepare properly as we always do. We’ve got a good harmony going on here”. It’s that harmony that has seen Dartford make ‘good strides’, King added: “We’ve scored at least three goals four times in a row. We’re going in the right direction because sides are playing us now and they realise it’s not the Dartford it was, it’s now a completely different Dartford and they know they’re going to be in a game”. He continued: “Whoever we play now that’s the level I wanted to get to, where nobody could come and roll us over and I think we’re getting close to that level”.

The form of Romain and McQueen has been extraordinary with the duo responsible for 17 of the 24 league goals scored by the Darts since King has been in charge. A better brand of football and tighter defence in recent weeks has moved the Darts away from looking to maintain their National South status to thinking about gate-crashing the playoffs. The positivity of Dartford’s form is starting to be mirrored off the pitch, King commented: “The mindset has completely changed for the fans, the boys have done brilliantly to change that. Fans are now coming to games excited about what is going to happen”.

It was an end of an era for two managers last time Dartford played Oxford City. Tony Burman led the Darts out for the last time during his interim spell and Mark Jones was in charge for his last league game as Oxford City’s boss. Equal on points before kick-off, Dartford moved three points ahead by full-time as they secured a 1-0 away victory courtesy of Ben Greenhalgh’s curling effort which found the top corner. Greenhalgh has spent the last two months on loan at Tonbridge Angels and the goal he scored at Oxford City turned out to be his last for the Darts, the midfielder left this week by mutual consent after 62 Dartford appearances and seven goals since joining in at the beginning of last season.

Although Jones led Oxford City to a cup win a weekend later, he left the club by mutual consent after failing to win a league game for two months. Since then, Andy Ballard and Justin Merritt have taken charge. Ballard was assistant manager to Jones and has a 20-year affiliation with the club, Merritt is the Director of Football and managed the Hoops between 2014 and December 2016.

Defensively, Oxford City have been vulnerable but since Jones’ departure they have scored with more frequency turning defeats into valuable points. The interim duo has improved Oxford City’s form with six wins, two draws and two defeats. They got off to a brilliant start winning four and drawing one of their first five matches.

Last weekend, Oxford City followed in Dartford’s footsteps by taking a two-goal lead, letting it slip before finding a winner. Only the Hoops managed their 3-2 victory by stunning table toppers Wealdstone. Joe Oastler and Elliot Benyon helped Oxford City go 2-0 ahead before Jacob Mendy and Adam Coombes levelled the match. Finn Tapp headed the decisive goal to secure Oxford City’s third win in their last four outings.

The Hoops other two victories completed a festive double over Hungerford Town with Kyran Lofthouse scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory on New Year’s Day. In the reverse fixture on Boxing Day, Oxford City netted three times in a 22-minute spell eventually winning 3-2. Sandwiched between those two triumphs, the Hoops lost 2-1 at Weymouth.

Both teams have started to hit form after managerial changes this term, the Darts have the second-best record over the last six games whilst Oxford City have the fourth.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 5 / Oxford City wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (WWWWLW) Oxford City (WWLWWL)
Dorking Wanderers A 3-2 Wealdstone H 3-2
Welling United H 4-0 Hungerford Town A 2-1
Tonbridge Angels H 3-0 Weymouth A 1-2
Welling United A 3-0 Hungerford Town H 3-2
Concord Rangers H 0-1 St Albans City H 3-3
Billericay Town H 3-2 Maidstone United H 1-4

Last Six Meetings

12.10.2019 Oxford City 0 Dartford 1
27.04.2019 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1
13.11.2018 Dartford 3 Oxford City 2
06.10.2018 Oxford City 4 Dartford 1
24.03.2018 Oxford City 0 Dartford 2
19.08.2017 Dartford 7 Oxford City 1

Stats

Dartford have won their last three home matches against Oxford City including a 7-1 mauling in August 2017.

Dartford under Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle this season

Won 1, Drew 4, Lost 4, Scored 11, Conceded 20, Points per game: 0.77

Dartford under Steve King this season

Won 7, Drew 3, Lost 2, Scored 24, Conceded 12, Points per game: 2.00

Oxford City under Mark Jones this season

Won 2, Drew 4, Lost 7, Scored 11, Conceded 21, Points per game: 0.76

Oxford City under Andy Ballard and Justin Merritt this season

Won 7, Drew 2, Lost 2, Scored 29, Conceded 22, Points per game: 2.09

On This Day

In the summer of 1958 a young Pele helped Brazil win the World Cup, in the same year Dartford won their last game they played on 11 January. The Darts beat a Lovells Athletic side 3-1 at home in the Southern League and are still waiting to win again on this day. Since then, the Darts have played six times all away from home including two F.A Trophy first round ties. Dartford lost to Dover 2-1 in 1975 and drew with Merthyr Tydfil 1-1 in 1992. In 1962 the Darts lost 4-0 against Hastings United in the Southern Premier League and five years later they drew 2-2 with Wisbech Town in the Southern League First Division. Boston United beat Dartford 3-0 in what is now the National League back in 1986 and the last match 23 years ago saw Witney Town thrash the Darts 5-1 in the Southern League Southern Division.

Oxford City v Dartford

Celebrating Non-League Day, the Darts are back in National South action this weekend taking on Oxford City at Marsh Lane.

Dartford’s playoff ambitions ended at Saturday’s venue six months ago on the final day of last season. Ronnie Vint’s goal put fate in Dartford’s hands as they moved into the playoff places. Then in an eight-minute second half spell Zac McEachran and Kabongo Tshimanga ended Darts’ hopes of finishing in the top seven.

This time the Darts approach their trip with more confidence having won three of their last four matches in all competitions. A couple of 2-0 victories over Concord Rangers in the league and Horsham in the F.A Cup was followed up by a 3-2 reverse at home to Slough Town. On the weekend, Dartford continued their progress in the F.A Cup comfortably beating Southern Premier South side Blackfield and Langley to record their third consecutive away victory.

In charge of the third qualifying round tie, Tony Burman opted to play Cameron Brodie at right back to replace the departed Alex Flisher. Returning from suspension, Lee Noble was back in the team alongside Luke Allen and Tom Bonner came in at left back. Up front Darren McQueen made way for Adam Cunnington.

Charlie Sheringham almost opened the scoring after just three minutes, but his effort was ruled out for offside. However, the striker only had to wait a little longer when he linked up with Cunnington to score from close range. Luke Allen netted his second F.A Cup goal in as many games after a well worked move and just before half-time Mark Smith’s stunning save kept the score at 2-0. In the second-half, Allen won a penalty which Sheringham converted and despite the hosts pulling a goal back, Cunnington headed in the fourth which was to be his last for the club after he left by mutual consent this week.

As well as Brodie racking up more minutes, two other academy players featured as substitutes and were introduced. Alfie Evans showed promise in midfield and Jay Bacon replaced the injured Sheringham, who will now be out with a dislocated shoulder. In other team news, Rob Howard will be available for selection after missing the F.A Cup fixture to prevent getting cup tied. Jordan Wynter and Sam Blackman and  are moving towards full recoveries, Mark Onyemah could be fit after a knee injury. .

Oxford City beat the Darts twice at home last term also winning a F.A Cup fixture 4-1, Tshimanga’s hat-trick was the highlight of the cup tie. Since Dartford’s return to the National South in 2015, the Darts have only managed a single victory at Marsh Lane in five attempts. Elliot Bradbrook and Tom Murphy scored the goals to secure a 2-0 win back in March 2018.

Under the guidance of Mark Jones, Oxford City are level on points with Dartford with the same goal difference. Where the Darts have outscored Saturday’s opponents, the Hoops have a stronger defence. Winless in five league games, the Oxfordshire club last tasted victory in the National South on August’s Bank Holiday, their only home win and only other league triumph came two weeks earlier.

The latest reverse came in their last league fixture against Braintree Town. A first-half penalty was scored by Braintree Town’s Ade Cole and was enough to condemn the Hoops to their sixth defeat of the campaign. Either side the National South loss, Oxford City have progressed through to the F.A Cup fourth qualifying round scoring nine times without reply. Southern League Division One Central side north Leigh were beaten 7-0, goals coming from six different players and an own goal.

Jones’ side will take more confidence from last weekend’s third qualifying round win, especially as it was against fellow National South side Hampton and Richmond Borough. In a six minute second-half spell Nana Owusu netted from the spot and McEachran added a second to earn a fourth qualifying round tie with Margate.

Head to Head

Oxford City wins: 2 / Dartford wins: 4 / Draws: 2

Current League Form

Dartford (LWLLDD) Oxford City (LDLDLW)
Slough Town H 2-3 Braintree Town A 0-1
Concord Rangers A 2-0 Billericay Town H 2-2
Dorking Wanderers H 3-4 Wealdstone A 0-1
Tonbridge Angels A 2-3 Weymouth H 0-0
Hemel Hempstead Town H 1-1 Havant & Waterlooville H 0-3
Hungerford Town A 2-2 Bath City A 2-1

Last Six Meetings

27.04.2019 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1
13.11.2018 Dartford 3 Oxford City 2
06.10.2018 Oxford City 4 Dartford 1
24.03.2018 Oxford City 0 Dartford 2
19.08.2017 Dartford 7 Oxford City 1
25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1

Stats

Dartford are on a three game winning run in all competitions, the last time they won for four straight away matches was from 17 February 2018 to 4 August 2018. The Darts won their last five away games in the 2017/2018 campaign and the opening away match last season.

The Darts have scored two or more goals in each of their last six outings, they last managed that in September 2017. They last managed two or more goals in seven consecutive games the year before during September and October of 2016

The Darts have lost their last two games at Marsh Lane and have won once in their last five attempts at Oxford City.

On This Day

Dartford last tasted defeat on 12 October in 1963 and since then they have played six, won three and drew three. The last two fixtures on this day ended all square in normal time with the most recent six years ago against Hereford United. The National League match finished 2-2 with Lee Noble opening the scoring before Kevin Krans and Ross Dyer put the hosts ahead. A point was rescued when Uche Ibemere’s late goal made sure of the draw. Nine years ago, a dramatic evening saw Dartford beat Canvey Island on penalties after playing out an enthralling 3-3 F.A Cup third qualifying round replay. Danny Harris, Carl Rook and Paul Goodacre put the Darts 3-1 up, but they let the lead slip as Canvey Island forced extra time then penalties, the shoot-out finished 9-8.

Oxford City – Season Preview 2019/2020

Oxford City

2018/19 Season

National South: 12th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Kabonga Tshimanga (24 goals) / Average Attendance: 353

Meticulous planning was required in the summer for the Nomads as their fate relied on a team in the division above. Oxford City were provisionally switched to the National North due to the influx of Southern clubs relegated from the National League. However, the demise of Gateshead, who ended up taking demotion to the National North meant the Nomads were switched back to the National South. The uncertainty of what league Oxford City will be playing in has given the managerial team plenty to ponder over in terms of recruiting players. A core of players committed to the club regardless of the divisional switch including club captain Joe Oastler, Zac McEachran and Ben Jefford, whilst Craig Fasanmade signed his first full-time contract with the club. After a spell at Hemel Hempstead Town, Daniel Rown joins the Nomads from Braintree Town. Winger, Nana Owusu moved from Basingstoke Town to Maidenhead United in 2017 and after 18 months with the Berkshire club has moved to Oxford City. Striker, Stefan Brown comes in from Wealdstone, the striker has experience at National South level with Hungerford Town and manger Mark Jones is hoping he can be the main goalscorerRyan Case, Bobson Bawling, Tom Carter, and John O’Donoghue have departed the club. Finn Tapp, joined the Hoops as a free agent following a year as a professional at Milton Keynes Dons.

The Manager – Mark Jones

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

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 4 / Oxford City wins: 2 / Draws: 2

Last Six Meetings

27.04.2019 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1
13.11.2018 Dartford 3 Oxford City 2
06.10.2018 Oxford City 4 Dartford 1
24.03.2018 Oxford City 0 Dartford 2
19.08.2017 Dartford 7 Oxford City 1
25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1

Facts

Dartford are unbeaten at Princes Park against Oxford City winning three out of five.

Oxford City beat the Darts twice last term, before those victories Dartford went five games unbeaten in this fixture.

Last Ten Years

 

 

 

 

 

Next Meetings

Saturday 12 October 2019 at Marsh Lane

Saturday 11 January 2020 at Princes Park

Oxford City v Dartford

Dartford start the final day of the season in ninth place and could end up with a shot at promotion to the National League, when they travel to Oxford City.

The Darts have it all to do on Saturday, but gave themselves a fighting chance after beating Billericay Town on Easter Monday. Victory against the Essex side moved Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle’s side within a point of the Essex club, who currently occupy the final playoff place in seventh.

At one point it looked as though Dartford were withing a shout of finishing as high as third place, however a run of six games without a win including a 6-0 drubbing at relegation threatened Eastbourne Borough on Easter weekend left hopes hanging by a thread. Dartford’s heaviest loss since 2002 had Adam Flanagan questioning his player’s attitude and work ethic in the press.

The team responded even though they were within a few minutes of their season fizzling out.  Joe Healy and Andre Coker made way for Darren McQueen and Charlie Sheringham, the pair starting together for the first time. Louis Wells maintained his place in goal and with Bailey Vose being recalled to parent club Colchester United, Wells likely to now be first choice. Sheringham wasted a glorious opportunity to put the Darts in front when he had his penalty saved by Billericay Town goalkeeper, Mark Smith. Minutes later the visitors won a spot kick of their own after Daniel Johnson fouled Adam Cunnington, up stepped Jake Robinson who scored. Tom Murphy entered the action replacing McQueen and had a massive impact in closing stages. With two minutes remaining, Billericay Town defender Paul Rooney sliced a clearance and Murphy calmly side footed his shot into the net. The two minutes into added time Murphy used the time and space he had to drive the ball in for a dramatic winner.

Jamie Coyle spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “The boys have provided a real Dartford performance. If you look back over the years, they really dug in to the end and showed that belief and desire that we’ve been after recently. It was a fantastic result against a good side. The reaction from Saturday’s performance was the biggest plus for us. We were very poor at Eastbourne and the players know that. We know it as a management team and everyone around the club knows it. They’ve reacted in a positive way, defended brilliantly collectively and looked a constant threat”.

A win at Oxford City will give Dartford a chance of making the top seven, but they still need results to go their way. If Billericay Town fail to win at home against fifth place Bath City, and St Albans City cannot beat champions Torquay United at home then a Darts victory will be enough. The Darts have recent history of their season going down to the final match and the omens are not favourable. Last term they lost the title on the last day and three years ago they missed out on a playoff spot.

The National South meeting earlier in the season saw one of the best first-half displays from a Dartford side under Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle. After just five minutes Andre Coker scored his first goal for the club and ten minutes later Jordan Wynter doubled the lead to record his first goal too. Oxford City’s Joe Oastler headed in two minutes after Wynter scored. Charlie Sheringham added the third on half an hour nodding home Ben Greenhalgh’s cross. The visitors pushed to get back in the game and made the Darts work hard for the victory in the second half, the Hoops made it 3-2 through Zac McEachran.

Dartford’s last visit to Marsh Lane came in the F.A Cup third qualifying round this season and it was Oxford City who progressed. A hat-trick from Kabongo Tshimanga and a goal from Bobson Bawling gave the Hoops a 4-1 win, Elliot Bradbrook scoring a consolation for the Darts. Tshimanga’s 23 league goals have helped Oxford City to what looks like a mid-table finish, the striker is third in the National South goalscoring charts and poses a threat to the Dartford defence. The 21-year-old recently earned an England C call up alongside goalkeeper Craig King. Manager, Mark Jones watched his side lose both Easter fixtures 1-0 at Bath City and 3-1 at home to Slough Town.

Head to Head

Oxford City wins: 2 / Dartford wins: 6 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Oxford City (LLWWLW) Dartford (WLLLDDL)
Bath City A 0-1 Billericay Town H 2-1
Slough Town H 1-3 Eastbourne Borough A 0-6
Concord Rangers A 1-0 Chippenham Town H 0-1
Hemel Hempstead Town H 2-1 Weston-super-Mare A 1-3
Chelmsford City A 1-2 Truro City H 1-1
Dulwich Hamlet H 4-1 Hampton & Richmond H 2-2

Previous Six Meetings

13.11.2018 Dartford 3 Oxford City 2
06.10.2018 Oxford City 4 Dartford 1
24.03.2018 Oxford City 0 Dartford 2
19.08.2017 Dartford 7 Oxford City 1
25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1
29.10.2016 Dartford 1 Oxford City 0

Stats 

Charlie Sheringham made his 100th appearance on Saturday for the Darts (84 starts 16 sub appearances)

Only Woking (7) and St Albans City (9) have scored more 90 minute + goals than Dartford (6)

Dartford have conceded the most goals in the division in 15 mins before half-time(16), they have conceded the fewest in the middle third of the second half (5) in the league.

Kabongo Tshimanga has scored 23 league goals this season which equates to 37.1% of Oxford City’s tally, this is the highest proportion by any player in the league.

Dartford are second from bottom over the last six league games, only Truro City have earned fewer points.

Oxford City took a scalp when they beat Torquay United at Marsh Lane in August, however they won five and lost 12 against the top nine in the National South.

On This Day

Dartford have won their last three games on this day with the last victory taking place seventeen years ago. The Darts beat Wisbech Town 2-1 in the Southern League Division One East. Two years before, the Darts won just eighteen miles away from Oxford City when they beat Witney Town 1-0 in the Southern League South Division. In 1996, Dartford hosted Hythe United in the Kent League and recorded another 2-1 triumph.

Oxford City v Dartford

Dartford are two games away from the F.A Cup first round, but they must overcome Oxford City at Marsh Lane this weekend to progress in the competition. 

The Darts made it through the second qualifying round a fortnight ago leaving victory late against AFC Uckfield Town. The away tie almost ended in an upset when Callum Smith opened the scoring for the Uckers. With ten minutes to go Tom Murphy equalised and shortly afterwards Charlie Sheringham put Dartford in front. In the last-minute Elliot Bradbrook scored his 18th F.A Cup goal for the club to record a 3-1 win.

Oxford City also took on opponents from step five cruising to a 5-0 victory against Southern Counties East side Cray Valley Paper Mills. The headlines belonged to Zac McEachran who took home the match ball with a hat-trick, Kabongo Tshimanga and Oxford City’s top scorer Matthew Paterson netted the others.

It won’t be the first time Dartford have drawn out Oxford City in the F.A Cup, the only other meeting in the competition was back in 1935. That season, the Darts won 5-1 with goals from Robert Patrick, two from Arthur Mercer and one each for George Nicholas and Fred Dell. Victory set up a run to the third round and a famous 3-2 defeat against top flight Derby County, in which the Darts led 2-0.

Last weekend, Dartford recorded back to back victories for the first time since the start of the season. A 2-1 triumph over bottom side Weston-super-Mare gave the Darts their first three-point haul since the end of August.
Joint-Manager, Jamie Coyle praised Lee Noble, who scored the opening goal on 14 minutes, for his role in keeping Weston-super-Mare’s left back quiet, the Dartford boss told www.kentonline.co.uk: “Wherever you ask him to do a job, he does it. Their left-back is one of the main threats they offer and it was a case of stopping him going forward and tracking his movements, and we kept him really quiet”.

The visitors equalised just before the break when Gethyn Hill scored his first of the season from long distance, however Jamie Philpot won the match for Dartford when he got on the end of Bradbrook’s assist, to score his second goal in a Darts shirt.

Content with how his side started the game on the weekend, Coyle said: “It’s one of our best starts to a game this season”, he added: “Amadou Ba was through on goal, if the keeper didn’t handle it outside the area so it was a potential red card (referee showed a yellow card). Then Ben Greenhalgh hit the bar from the free-kick, and then we’ve scored. The positives are we created some really good chances and should have scored more goals”. The Dartford boss also highlighted improvements, he continued: “Defensively we looked a little bit shaky from set pieces and gave away too many free-kicks in the final third”. Unbeaten in four games, Coyle is now hoping that the two draws and two wins will give his players more confidence going forward.

The Darts have been without Callum Driver through and have drafted in loanee Jordan Wynter from Maidstone United, who made his debut last weekend. Tom Knowles’ recall to Cambridge City has also opened up an opportunity for the three month loan of Andre Coker, also from Maidstone United, Coyle explained to www.kentonline.co.uk: “We needed some pace and directness in wide areas and it also means we can use Ben Greenhalgh on the right. I’ve seen Andre a number of times. He offers something different, he’s really quick and tricky. He always seems to come up with an end product, whether it’s a cross or a shot. It gives us another avenue, we’ve only really got Ben and Tom Murphy that’s pushing for those wide areas so it gives us some competition”.

There’s been plenty of change to the playing personnel at Princes Park and Coker will be the fifth loanee in just two months. Coyle exclaimed: “We’ve still got so much work to do. We’re having to bring new players in to improve what’s gone on so far. It’s always going to take time but we’re 12 games into the season now and we need to start putting a run of decent performances together”.

Oxford City’s victory in the last round of the F.A Cup was there only triumph in September. Mark Jones’ side have lost four consecutive league games with the latest defeat coming at Hemel Hempstead Town. Zac McEachran scored his fourth goal in his last two appearances, but his consolation wasn’t enough for the Nomads.

Prior to the losing streak, Oxford City did go four unbeaten including decent victories against St Albans City and a surprise win over Torquay United at home. Jones’ side is capable of springing a cup shock as they proved last term when they beat Colchester United away in round one, although the Nomads went out to Notts County in the following round it was there best F.A Cup run since 1969/1970.

Recently returning from injury, Rob Sinclair came back after a six weeks out of action. His boss described his return as a ‘big advantage’. The goalscoring threat will come from Matthew Patterson, prolific at Gosport Borough, he joined Oxford City last summer then scored 27 times in his debut season.

Last season goals from Elliot Bradbrook and Tom Murphy at Marsh Lane secured a double over Oxford City. Earlier that season the Darts thrashed their opponents 7-1 which included a Warren Mfula hat-trick.

Head to Head

Oxford City wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 5 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings

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

Current Form (all competitions) FAC-F.A Cup

Oxford City (LWLLLW) Dartford (WWDDLW)
Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-2 Weston-super-Mare H 2-1
Cray Valley Paper Mills (FAC) H 5-0 AFC Uckfield Town (FAC) A 3-1
Bath City H 1-2 Billericay Town A 1-1
Slough Town A 0-2 Eastbourne Borough H 2-2
Welling United A 2-3 St Albans City A 0-2
Wealdstone H 3-0 East Thurrock United H 2-0

Stats

Dartford have reached the 4th Qualifying Round or further four times in the last five seasons.

Last season Oxford City progressed beyond the 3rd Qualifying Round for the first time in four years going on to equal their best ever FA Cup run.

The Darts have always managed to score against Oxford City in all of the previous nine meetings.

This will be the fourth cup match between the two sides with Dartford winning three and drawing one. The pair met in the F.A Cup in 1935 and the F.A Trophy in 2008. Ten years ago, the Darts drew 3-3 before winning the replay 4-2.

On This Day

The Darts have won their last four games on 6 October most recently in 2012. Dartford famously went to Blundell Park and beat Grimsby Town 2-0 in the National League. Tom Champion opened the scoring before Adam Birchall completed the upset. In 2001, Dartford beat Ashford Town 3-1 in the Southern League Division One East and in 1990 they overcame Moor Green 2-1 at Watling Street in the Southern Premier. In another National League fixture back in 1984, Dartford beat Northwich Victoria 1-0. Taken from the Princes Among Men book, the first recorded match was on 6 October 1988 when Dartford lost 3-1 to local rivals Erith in a friendly, Alf Mace scored Dartford’s first goal.

National League South Season Preview 2018/2019 – Part Three

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

Hemel Hempstead Town

Founded: 1885 / Ground: Vauxhall Road

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

Last Season

National South: 5th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Jordan Parkes (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 527 (12th in National South)

The Manager – Dean Brennan

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 11 August 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 2 February 2019 at Vauxhall Road

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Hungerford Town

Founded: 1886 / Ground: Bulpit Lane

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

Last Season

National South: 19th

F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Louie Soares (11 goals)

Average Attendance: 267 (21st in National South)

The Manager – Ian Herring

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 25 August 2018 at Bulpit Lane

Saturday 22 December 2018 at Princes Park

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Oxford City

Founded: 1882 / Ground: Marsh Lane

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

Last Season

National South: 16th

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Winners

League Top Scorer: Matt Patterson (21 goals)

Average Attendance: 319 (17th in National South)

The Manager – Mark Jones

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 20 October 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 27 April 2019 at Marsh Lane

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Slough Town

Founded: 1893 / Ground: Arbour Park

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

Last Season

Southern Premier: 3rd

F.A Cup: 2nd Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi-Final

League Top Scorer: James Dobson (21 goals)

Average Attendance: 666 (4th in Southern Premier)

The Managers – Neal Baker and Jon Underwood

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 8 December 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 16 February 2019 at Arbour Park

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St Albans City

Founded: 1908 / Ground: Clarence Park

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

Last Season

National South: 8th

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 2nd Round

County Cup: 2nd Round

League Top Scorer: Sam Merson (20 goals)

Average Attendance: 765 (5th National South)

The Manager – Ian Allinson

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 1 September 2018 at Clarence Park

Saturday 12 January 2019 at Princes Park

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Torquay United

Founded: 1899 / Ground: Plainmoor

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

Last Season

National League: 22nd

F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

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

Average Attendance: 1731 (13th National League)

The Manager – Gary Owers

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

The Summer

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

Head to Head

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

Previous Meetings

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

Next Meetings

Saturday 10 November 2018 at Princes Park

Saturday 16 Match 2019 at Plainmoor

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Oxford City v Dartford

In what looks like a three way race to the National South title, Dartford face another crucial match when they take on Oxford City this weekend at Marsh Lane.

Dartford’s late showing at Princes Park last weekend heaped some pressure on league leaders Havant and Waterlooville, and with the Hawks dropping points Hampton and Richmond Borough have become serious contenders too.

The dramatic week started with the Darts four points behind the league leaders, who had a game in hand. However, Tony Burman led his side to an important three points even though it was far from comfortable. In the Princes Park snow, Dartford scored twice in the final ten minutes to win 3-2 against Hemel Hempstead Town, who themselves were looking to edge into the playoffs.

Danny Harris was out injured with a hamstring, Alfie Pavey and Danny Mills were named as substitutes and in came Ronnie Vint, Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Lee Noble. Just passed the half hour mark Andy Pugh put the Darts in front with a curling strike from outside the box which took a slight deflection. Hemel Hempstead Town were quickly level through former Ebbsfleet United striker Jordan Parkes and by half-time they were ahead when David Moyo scored moments before the interval. With Havant and Waterlooville and Hampton and Richmond Borough level at 0-0, and that’s how it stayed, it looked like a wasted opportunity for Burman’s side, until the final ten minutes. Pugh chipped in a wonderful equaliser and in the final minute, super sub and top scorer Alfie Pavey nodded home the dramatic winner.

Burman celebrated the last gasp winner on Saturday with a touchline sprint and after the game he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “We’ve won with a bit of character and desire and shown again that we’re back in the mix”. Looking forward he added: “It’s one game at a time but it’s the business end of the season and we’ve got to win as many as we can”.

In mid-week Havant and Waterlooville lost to Truro City leaving Dartford just two points behind their title rivals level on games played. On the same evening Hampton and Richmond Borough won 3-1 versus Weston-super-Mare to move onto 62 points with Dartford.

Dartford’s last three games at Marsh Lane have produced mix results conceding late just over year ago in 1-1 draw, Ryan Hayes scored his 99th goal for the club but Ezra Forde equalised. In 2015, the Darts lost 2-1 after Pugh had put Dartford ahead and just under a decade ago, the Darts won 4-2 in a F.A Trophy second qualifying round replay.

But it’s the home fixture this term in August that captures the attention of Dartford fans. Warren Mfula scored a hat-trick in a 7-1 triumph, the striker scoring the last three Dartford goals in the game. Before Mfula’s treble in 19 second half minutes, Richard Sho-Silva, Lyle Della-Verde, Alfie Pavey and Lee Noble all found the back of the Oxford City net.

Oxford City have improved since then and are currently on 41 points in 15th place. Mark Jones’ side have an even home record winning five, drawing five and losing six. Nine points above relegation and twelve behind the playoffs, it looks like City will stay in the National South for a fourth consecutive campaign and at this level for the seventh.

The Oxfordshire are started to take some notable scalps lately with a 2-0 home win over Chelmsford City, a 3-2 away victory against Truro City and a 4-1 triumph at home to Hemel Hempstead Town, all playoff hopefuls this season. Even when they did fall to defeat it was narrow and against the league leaders Havant and Waterlooville. Oxford City also beat Oxford United 1-0 to reach the Oxfordshire Senior Cup final this month.

Matt Paterson has provided the goals scoring 17 times in the National South, one less than Dartford’s Alfie Pavey. However, Paterson has scored just once in the last two months, but the pressure on the striker to find the net has been alleviated with the arrival of Samuel Nombe. The loanee from Milton Keynes Dons has managed five goals in as many games.

Jones has strengthened his squad since the defeat to Concord Rangers by looking towards Luton Town, most recently right sided midfielder Kavan Cotter joined on loan from the Hatters. Cotter teams back up with central defender Frankie Musonda who also came in from the Bedfordshire club.

Victory will be vital for the Darts as Havant and Waterlooville travel to Bath City and Hampton and Richmond Borough host Braintree Town. Dartford then face Hampton and Richmond Borough at home on Good Friday.

Head to Head
Oxford City wins: 1 / Dartford wins: 3 / Draws: 3

Current League Form

Oxford City (WLWWWL) Dartford (WLWWLL)
Welling United A 3-1 Hemel Hempstead Town H 3-2
Havant & Waterlooville H 0-1 Poole Town H 0-1
Chelmsford City H 2-0 Truro City H 4-1
Truro City A 3-2 Wealdstone A 2-1
Hemel Hempstead Town H 4-1 Chelmsford City H 1-2
Concord Rangers A 1-2 St Albans City A 0-4

Previous Meetings

19.08.2017 Dartford 7 Oxford City 1
25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1
29.10.2016 Dartford 1 Oxford City 0
23.04.2016 Dartford 2 Oxford City 2
15.09.2015 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1
04.11.2008 Oxford City 2 Dartford 4
01.11.2008 Dartford 3 Oxford City 3

Stats
Dartford have won just two of their last seven away matches over 90 minutes matching their first seven away games of the season (W2, D3, L2).

The Darts have gone eight games without a clean sheet, the last time they achieved a clean sheet was in January against Havant and Waterlooville.

Andy Pugh has reached 150 appearances for the Darts starting 108 games and appearing 42 times as a substitute. Pugh also netted his 50th goal for the club thanks to his brace against Hemel Hempstead Town.

Only Elliot Bradbrook (131 goals), Ryan Hayes (108) and Danny Harris (75) have scored more goals for Dartford in the current squad than Pugh.

According to the BBC Sport website, out of the top 20 National South goalscorers Alfie Pavey has the best goals per minutes ratio (111 minutes per goal) and Pugh is third with 120 minutes per goal.

On This Day
Jay May scored a hat-trick in a victory against Corinthian Casuals. The 2007 Isthmian Division One South fixture ended up 4-0 to the Darts with Brendon Cass scoring the other. A year later Cass netted the winner and Dartford’s last away goal on this day in a 1-0 win over Canvey Island, the three points helping Dartford to the Isthmian Division One North title. Dartford have only produced one away goal in their last four away fixtures on this day. In 2015, the Darts took home a point drawing 0-0 with Alfreton Town in the National League and three years earlier, Dartford lost 1-0 at Dorchester Town. Way back in the Southern Premier League, another notable result was Dartford’s 6-2 victory over Weymouth.

Dartford v Oxford City

Dartford are back at Princes Park this weekend when they host Oxford City in the National South.

The Darts will want to recreate the victory achieved last season against the Nomads at home. Andy Pugh scored the decisive goal with a deft lob over the Oxford City goalkeeper. Dartford are unbeaten in the three fixtures against the Oxfordshire club at home, drawing twice in a F.A trophy tie almost nine years ago and a National South match 18 months ago.

Tagged as one of the favourites to win the title, Dartford have made a slow start as some of the expected challengers sit at the top end of the table. However, the Darts finally got their first win in mid-week beating Concord Rangers 2-0. Elliot Bradbrook netted his second goal of the season after a good counter attacking move, Lyle Della-Verde’s well taken effort secured the three points against his former club.

Burman praised winger Della-Verde after the game along with defender Richard Sho-Silva. In the build up to this weekend’s fixture, the Dartford boss also stressed the importance of keeping clean sheets, a feat that the Darts have achieved three time already this campaign in just four matches.

With Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Andy Pugh missing through injury at the start of the season, Tony Burman has turned to a striker he knows. Alfie Pavey, was on loan at the Darts last term and joined Kent rivals Welling United in the summer. The 21 year old has now signed for Dartford having appeared nine times scoring twice last season, although he only made two starts. Burman told www.dartfordfc.com: “I would like to welcome Alfie back to the club, Alfie has successfully worked with us before and he now returns to the club where I hope he can show his full potential”. Pavey was unavailable for selection on Tuesday night against Concord Rangers but can be selected this weekend. With goals lacking Burman is not overly concerned as he feels chances are still be created and the goals will come.

Pugh may be back against Oxford City if he comes through the last training session, Keaton Wood is still struggling with an achilles problem, but was named on the bench on Tuesday as emergency. Tom Murphy aggravated his ankle/ hamstring in the draw against Braintree Town last week.

 

Oxford City, who moved from the National North to South two years ago, started their season with a win, draw and loss before playing Hungerford Town on Tuesday night. The Nomads added a further three points with a mid-week win over the Crusaders thanks to some resolute defending and a clean sheet. Goals from Zac McEachran and Matt Patterson’s third of the season gave Oxford City a 2-0 victory.

Having finished the last two season’s in twelfth and fourteenth respectively, Oxford City manager Mark Jones has set a realistic target and wants his team to make use of the extra playoff spots available this term. A seventh place finish or above will give the Oxfordshire club a shot at the National League, which they have never reached.

The last meeting between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw in Oxford. Ryan Hayes scored the goal to take him within one more of a century. However, the Darts threw away a three point haul by conceding a last minute equaliser.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Oxford City wins: 1 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings

25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1
29.10.2016 Dartford 1 Oxford City 0
23.04.2016 Dartford 2 Oxford City 2
15.09.2015 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1
04.11.2008 Oxford City 2 Dartford 4
01.11.2008 Dartford 3 Oxford City 3

Stats

Dartford have equalled their best defensive record after four games since 1992. However, the three clean sheets in four games this term betters the two clean sheets in four recorded 25 years ago.

The last time Dartford kept three clean sheets in their opening four league games was in 1988, when their defence was only breached once. Including the Southern League Challenge Match, the Darts failed to concede in four of the first five games that year.

Last season’s home win is the only time a clean sheet has been recorded in this fixture, Dartford won 1-0.

On This Day

Eleven years ago, Brendon Cass netted a hat-trick as Dartford thrashed Burgess Hill Town 6-1 in Sussex. Cass was the star of the show but strike partner Jay May grabbed a brace. John Farley netted the other on his Dartford debut, but a serious injury meant he only ever started five times for the Darts. Cass also recorded another hat-trick against the Hillians five months later in a 7-2 win at Princes Park, memorable for that Dave Martin wonder goal.

National League South Season Preview 2017/18 – Part IV

 Oxford City | Poole Town | St Albans City | Truro City

Oxford City

Founded: 1882 / Ground: Marsh Lane

The Nomads had an ordinary campaign last time out and will spend their third season in the National South, following their sideways step from the North in the summer of 2015. Justin Merritt resigned halfway through last term and Mark Jones took over in December to ensure a mid-table finish. This season, Oxford City will be playing on a 3G pitch after their Marsh Lane ground was renovated.

Last Season

National North: 14th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi Final

League Top Scorer: Jefferson Louis (8 goals)

Average Attendance: 302 (20th in league / 132nd in non-league)

The Manager – Mark Jones

Already on the coaching staff, Jones was promoted from within the club to take on his first managerial role (??). He represented the Nomads over 100 times during his playing days and also played for Aylesbury United, Harrow Borough and Thame United. Jones is hoping the new playing surface can help attract new players as he builds a competitive squad for the National South.

The Summer

Justin Bennett hammered in the goals at this level before with Gosport Borough and after a spell with Salisbury City he’s back. He will partner Matt Paterson who left Havant and Waterlooville, the pair enjoyed a successful spell together at Borough which could be pivotal in Oxford City’s latest campaign. Joe Oastler, formerly Aldershot Town and Gosport Borough will be part of the squad as will David Pearce from Chesham, Eddie Jones from AFC Telford United, Zac McEachran from Banbury United and Horatio Hirst on loan from League One champions Sheffield United. Mamadou Fofana joins as a free agent having played for Barrow. Veteran striker Jefferson Louis has departed the Nomads at the age of 38.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Oxford City wins: 1 / Draws: 3

Previous Meetings

25.02.2017 Oxford City 1 Dartford 1
29.10.2016 Dartford 1 Oxford City 0
23.04.2016 Dartford 2 Oxford City 2
15.09.2015 Oxford City 2 Dartford 1
04.11.2008 Oxford City 2 Dartford 4
01.11.2008 Dartford 3 Oxford City 3

Next Meetings

Saturday 18 August 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 24 March 2018 at Marsh Lane

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Poole Town

Founded: 1880 / Ground: Tatnam Ground

The surprise package of 2016/17 finishing in the top five but denied a playoff place due to required ground improvements. The Dolphins kicked on from their Southern Premier League title campaign with consistency and a decent brand of football. Now the ground grading has been resolved, the Dorset club will be hoping their time comes round again. With the expansion of the playoffs, Poole Town will want to prove last term was no fluke.

Last Season

National South: 5th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Quarter Final

League Top Scorer: Steve Devlin (14 goals)

Average Attendance: 570 (9th in league / 60th in non-league)

The Manager – Tom Killick

Poole Town have been on the up since Tom Killick joined the Dorset club 13 years ago. Although he has won three Wessex League titles in a row, three Southern League Division One South and West championships, promotions and the Southern Premier League, last season was arguably up their with the best as the Dolphins exceeded expectations finishing in fifth.

The Summer

Marvin Brooks will be missed at the Tatnam Ground, the midfielder decided to join Salisbury City and drop two divisions. Tony Lee comes in from AFC Totton, but there has been very little change. Manager Tom Killick put trust in his Southern Premier League squad and will be content in doing so again. With new Chairman, Chris Reeves calling it a massive task to keep up with operational costs, Killick may well have to work with what he already has.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 16 / Poole Town wins: 15 / Draws: 5

Previous Meetings

29.04.2017 Poole Town 2 Dartford 3
03.12.2016 Dartford 2 Poole Town 1
14.03.1992 Dartford 4 Poole Town 0
02.11.1991 Poole Town 0 Dartford 0
06.04.1991 Poole Town 1 Dartford 0
24.11.1990 Dartford 0 Poole Town 0

Next Meetings

Saturday 2 December 2017 at Tatnam Ground

Saturday 10 March 2018 at Princes Park

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St Albans City

Founded: 1908 / Ground: Clarence Park

Two years ago, St Albans City were battling at the wrong end of the table until a tremendous run of form helped them steer to safety. The Saints survived with games to spare and their form continued into last term. The Hertfordshire club became promotion contenders and with Louie Theophanous netting the goals a top five finish looked good. Then, the striker left and the squad struggled in the second half of the campaign sinking down the standings to tenth.

Last Season

National South: 10th

F.A Cup: 1st Round

F.A Trophy: 3rd Qualifying Round

County Cup: Semi Final

League Top Scorer: Louie Theophanous (15 goals)

Average Attendance: 703 (6th in league / 46th in non-league)

The Manager – Ian Allinson

The man responsible for turning the Saints fortunes around last season, Ian Allinson now has a full campaign under his belt with the Hertfordshire club. The former Arsenal player has 28 years managerial experience and was very successful at Boreham Wood, leading them to the National League via two playoff triumphs. In October 2015, work commitments saw Allinson resign and take up a tough role at St Albans City. After guiding the Saints to safety, the 59 year old almost turned his side into title contenders, but early season promise dwindled.

The Summer

Former Dartford defender Tom Gardiner has been retained, the 22 year old moved to St Albans City due to work commitments in January. At the back he will join Tom Bender who also played for the Darts. Zane Banton has turned his loan spell from Luton Town into a permanent place at Clarence Park and former Cambridge City duo, Rhys Murrell Williamson and Dean Snedker have been added to the squad. Looking towards the divisions below, Percy Kiangebeni and Harold Joseph join from Enfield Town and Layne Eadie from Harlow Town.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 6 / St Albans City wins: 3 / Draws: 4

Previous Meetings

25.03.2017 St Albans City 1 Dartford 0
08.11.2016 Dartford 0 St Albans City 2
30.04.2016 St Albans City 4 Dartford 0
06.02.2016 Dartford 2 St Albans City 0
02.04.2011 St Albans City 1 Dartford 2
22.03.2011 Dartford 2 St Albans City 2

Next Meetings

Saturday 28 October 2017 at Princes Park

Saturday 3 February 2018 at Clarence Park

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Truro City

Founded: 1889 / Ground: Treyew Road

From playoff semi-finalists to a tussle against the drop, the White Tigers have experienced the highs and lows of football in recent seasons. Relegated from the National South in 2013 and promoted as Southern Premier playoff winners in 2016, the Cornwall club have had two more contrasting campaigns since. Last time out they conceded 99 goals and must tighten their defence to avoid looking over their shoulder this time.

Last Season

National South: 19th

F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round

F.A Trophy: 1st Round

League Top Scorer: Andrew Neal (16 goals)

Average Attendance: 402 (16th in league / 97th in non-league)

The Manager – Lee Hodges

Leading the White Tigers to Southern Premier League glory was a highlight for Hodges seven years ago. Then the club’s financial situation worsened and their grip on National South stability loosened, eventually returning to the Southern Premier. Hodges lost his managerial role as the White Tigers couldn’t afford to keep him. After returning to the National South, the former Plymouth Argyle midfielder came back to Treyew Road reaching the playoffs before last season’s battle with relegation.

The Summer

Truro City welcome back forward Stuart Yetton who played over 300 games for the White Tigers, the 32 year old comes back after a spell with Torquay United. Also coming back to the club, Jordan Copp from Weymouth, Ed Palmer from Taunton Town and Ben Gerring from Bideford Town. Ben Harding switched this summer from Gosport Borough. Finally work begins on a new stadium due to be ready for the 2019/2020 season. Designed to share with rugby club Cornish Pirates, their new home is expected to be completed to Football League standards. Hard working midfielder Aaron Lamont, ‘busy midfielder’ Noah Keats and full back Bill Palfrey also make up the squad numbers. On loan from Exeter City will be defender Alex Hartridge.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 2 / Truro City wins: 3 / Draws: 1

Previous Meetings

18.03.2017 Dartford 5 Truro  City 3
08.10.2016 Truro  City 0 Dartford 5
05.04.2016 Truro City 3 Dartford 0
19.09.2015 Dartford 0 Truro City 1
28.04.2012 Truro  City 1 Dartford 1
22.10.2011 Dartford 1 Truro  City 2

Next Meetings

Saturday 11 November 2017 at Treyew Road

Saturday 24 February 2018 at Princes Park

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