The Southern Premier League South went right to the wire and Farnborough were in the three-horse race. Despite victory in the penultimate game, even a win against league leaders Taunton Town on the final day would have needed a massive goal difference swing. Still, they got back to the National South in the end beating league runners up Hayes and Yeading United in the Playoff final. A decade ago, Farnborough had financial issues and points deductions in tier two of non-league. Two years later they suffered consecutive relegations. After seven years away from the National South the Hampshire side are back.
2021/2022 Season Southern Premier South: 3rd F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round F.A Trophy: 2nd Round County Cup: Winners Top League Scorer: Paul Hodges (15 goals)
Manager – Spencer Day
It’s been a bumpy road for Day to get where he is now. Early decisions as a businessman made life difficult for the former Chertsey Town owner and manager. In the dugout he won promotion from the Combined Counties Premier League to the Southern League Division One Central with the Surrey side. After four years he moved to Farnborough where he has been ever since. Two relegations and administration left Boro in the division he reached with Chertsey Town. However, Day has since brought stability to the Hampshire side and after winning twice in the playoffs Farnborough are back in the National South.
Freddie Grant (Slough Town)
Mitch Brundle (Dover Athletic)
Kevin Lokko (Aldershot)
Hisham Kasimu (AFC Totton)
Adeoye Olumuyiwa (AFC Totton)
Omar Rowe (Hayes and Yeading United)
Liam Ferdinand (Metropolitan Police)
Ollie Robinson (Metropolitan Police)
Kenny Davis (Sutton United)
Selim Saied (Woking)
Jonathon Page (Fulham)
Jordon Norville-Williams (Hayes and Yeading United)
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 2 / Farnborough wins: 5 / Draws: 2
Previous Matches (last six)
Dartford 3 – 0 Farnborough (10/03/2012 – National South) Farnborough 2 – 1 Dartford (17/09/2011 – National South) Dartford 4 – 1 Farnborough (22/01/2011 – National South) Farnborough 2 – 1 Dartford (21/08/2010 – National South) Dartford 1 – 2 Farnborough Town (23/11/1998 – F.A Trophy) Farnborough Town 1 – 1 Dartford (21/11/1998 – F.A Trophy)
Farnborough v Dartford – 12/11/2022 Dartford v Farnborough – 11/03/2023
Dartford are unbeaten in their last two home games against Farnborough, their only victories against the Hampshire side
The Darts have never won at Farnborough in five attempts (D2, L3)
Dartford have scored seven in their last two wins over the Farnborough. The same number of goals in the other seven games they failed to win versus Boro
Snatching defeat at the hands of victory in the playoff final means the Fleet are here to stay. Only the two promoted sides had a better home record and attack last term and the fact they finished strongly, unbeaten in their last seven matches will have Ebbsfleet United amongst one of the favourites this season. The title challenge was really lost after a poor January and February when they suffered five defeats in seven, including heavy reverses at the two who went up. Pressure will now be on to return to the National League after their narrow relegation two years ago.
2021/2022 Season National South: 3rd F.A Cup: 1st Round F.A Trophy: 2nd Round County Cup: Quarter-Final Top League Scorer: Dominic Poleon (17 goals)
Manager – Dennis Kutrieb
Arriving from Germany, Kutrieb rocked up at Stonebridge Road after being successful at a regional level in his homeland. The former attacking player started out coaching with VSG Altglienicke who he took up from the Berlin League to the Regionalliga Nordost, the fourth tier. He returned to Tennis Borussia Berlin, one of his former clubs as a player and led them to the Berlin Cup Final and promotion from the NOFV-Oberliga Nord, fifth division. Kutrieb was appointed as Ebbsfleet United boss in June 2020 and so Fleet’s third place finish and Promotion Final defeat was his first full campaign on these shores.
Dartford 1 – 0 Ebbsfleet United (01/02/2022 – National South) Ebbsfleet United 1 – 0 Dartford (02/01/2022 – National South) Dartford 0 – 0 Ebbsfleet United (02/01/2021 – National South) Ebbsfleet United 1 – 0 Dartford (01/01/2017 – National South) Dartford 2 – 1 Ebbsfleet United (26/12/2016 – National South) Ebbsfleet United 1 – 1 Dartford (28/03/2016 – National South)
Ebbsfleet United v Dartford – 26/12/2022 Dartford v Ebbsfleet United – 01/01/2023
Dartford have lost just one of their last ten home games against Ebbsfleet United (W7, D2)
The Darts are winless in 11 league games as the away team at Stonebridge Road (D5, L6)
The away team has failed to win in 20 of the last 21 league games between the two sides (home wins 13, draws 7, away wins 1)
A disastrous start for the Sports when they were well beaten on the opening day, however in the next game they scored five and that really summed up the campaign. Of the teams in this season’s National South, Eastbourne Borough games averaged more goals than any other club. The Sussex side handed out thrashings but saw their fair share of heavy defeats too. A six-match winning streak in March and the beginning of April was a highlight as well as their highest finish in a decade. In contrast the Sports ended on a four-game losing run then lost in the playoff eliminator round.
2021/2022 Season National South: 6th F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round F.A Trophy: 3rd Round County Cup: 3rd Round Top League Scorer: Charley Kendall (25 goals)
Manager – Danny Bloor
After almost three years Bloor finally completed a full season with Eastbourne Borough last term. When he was appointed in November 2019, he already had experience as an assistant manager working with former boss Jamie Howell. Promotion to first team manager came after the Sports had cashflow problems and the brief was to keep Eastbourne Borough in the National South. Bloor succeeded and when the 2020-2021 was cut short the club had shown positive signs, as they were sitting in third. Last season Bloor guided his team to sixth before bowing out in the playoffs. Previous managerial jobs include Worthing and Eastbourne Town.
Eastbourne Borough 2 – 7 Dartford (07/05/2022 – National South) Dartford 3 –1 Eastbourne Borough (30/08/2021 – National South) Dartford 0 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (09/02/2021 – National South) Eastbourne Borough 3 – 1 Dartford (05/12/2020 – National South) Dartford 2 – 1 Eastbourne Borough (22/02/2020 – National South) Eastbourne Borough 0 – 2 Dartford (02/11/2019 – National South)
Dartford v Eastbourne Borough – 27/09/2022 Eastbourne Borough v Dartford – 07/04/2023
Dartford completed a league double over Eastbourne Borough last season. Out of eleven seasons in which the two sides have been in the same division there has been nine doubles (Dartford 6 v Eastbourne Borough 3)
The 13 goals scored in both fixtures last season was the highest aggregate involving Dartford matches
The 7-2 final day win last season was the biggest victory against the Sports by a Dartford side
Splitting the season into thirds demonstrates what a mixed campaign Dulwich Hamlet had last time out. Their opening dozen matches yielded seven victories and three draws, the middle section a mixture of results and then towards the finishing line an eleven-match winless run, halted with a last day of the season win. The drop in form may have cost Hamlet a playoff place, but tenth in the second tier of non-league is their highest league position for just over two decades. Off the field the club continue to build with their average attendance topping the National South.
2021/2022 Season National South: 10th F.A Cup: 2nd Qualifying Round F.A Trophy: 3rd Round County Cup: Quarter-Final Top League Scorer: Danny Mills (13 goals)
Manager – Gavin Rose
The club’s longest serving manager joined Hamlet in August 2009 and in that time, Rose has taken them from the Isthmian Division One South to the National South. There was plenty of playoff heartbreak and even a period away from Champion Hill to contend with. Nine years ago, he guided Dulwich Hamlet to a league title after two playoff attempts. Rose had to endure another couple of playoff failures in the Isthmian Premier League before succeeding at his fifth attempt to take Hamlet up again. He also played for the club during the 2002/2003 season at the same time as being youth team manager.
Dartford 1 – 1 Dulwich Hamlet (08/01/2022 – National South) Dulwich Hamlet 0 – 2 Dartford (28/08/2021 – National South) Dartford 1 – 0 Dulwich Hamlet (25/01/2020 – National South) Dulwich Hamlet 1 – 1 Dartford (07/12/2019 – National South) Dulwich Hamlet 2 – 0 Dartford (02/03/2019 – National South) Dartford 2 – 1 Dulwich Hamlet (20/10/2018 – National South)
Dulwich Hamlet v Dartford – 08/10/2022 Dartford v Dulwich Hamlet – 01/04/2023
Dartford are unbeaten at home against Dulwich Hamlet (W3, D3)
The Darts have lost just one of the last six meetings with the Hamlet (W3, D3)
After losing on each of their first three visits to Champion Hill, Dartford are unbeaten in their last two there (W1, D1)
When the National League handed a twelve-point deduction out to Dover Athletic last season, it was inevitable they would end up back in the National South. During the pandemic the club decided to furlough its players because of the costs and were unable to fulfill their fixtures. As a result, the Kent side were handed a fine, a points deduction and kept just four players. A new squad was built and their points total broke even after nine months. On the penultimate game of the season, they moved onto one point which is how it all ended.
2021/2022 Season National League: 23rd F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round F.A Trophy: 3rd Round County Cup: 2nd Round Top League Scorer: Alfie Pavey, Michael Gyasi and Koby Arthur (5 goals)
Manager – Andy Hessenthaler
A midfielder for the Darts in Peter Taylor’s successful side of the late eighties, Hessenthaler made 215 appearances for Dartford. He broke into the Football League when he was recommended to Watford. Hessenthaler teamed up with Taylor again at Gillingham, where they won the playoff final to take the Gills into what is now the Championship. His managerial career started shortly after that promotion by taking on a player manager role at Gillingham. In his first spell as Dover Athletic boss, he won the Isthmian Division One South and Isthmian Premier League and since returning in October 2018, Hessenthaler has guided his squad through difficult times.
An outstanding start to last season with seven wins and a draw saw the Darts as the pace setters. They went seventeen home games from the beginning of the campaign without defeat, dished out some thrashings on the road and at times played some delightful football. Momentum was lost between October through to January and although they managed to claw some of the deficit back, the Darts slipped up when it mattered falling short in the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. Steve King met his target on the field, but the club deemed a change necessary this summer.
2021/2022 Season National South: 4th F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round F.A Trophy: 5th Round County Cup: Winners Top League Scorers: Marcus Dinanga (13 goals)
Manager – Alan Dowson
A proven manager at this level, Dowson’s last major success was taking Woking up to the National League in his first season three years ago. Finishing runners up, he won the promotional final, had the Cards flirting with the National League playoffs and recorded Woking’s best F.A Cup run in almost two decades. At Hampton and Richmond Borough, he led the Beavers to the Isthmian Premier League title, then reached consecutive playoff campaigns. Dowson also spent seven years at Kingstonian where he won the Isthmian Division One South and was also successful in his first managerial post at Walton and Hersham.
It was always going to be difficult following the Concord Rangers side that finished in the playoffs in 2018/2019 or the team that reached the F.A Trophy final in the following campaign. Last season the Essex club returned to par compared to the seven years they have been in the National South. An inconsistent start, a barren spell then an upturn in form over March just about kept the Beachboys out of trouble. Home form was key last term with the best record of the teams outside the top seven. However, only Welling United had the worst defence and away record.
2021/2022 Season National South: 14th F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round F.A Trophy: 2nd Round County Cup: Semi-Final Top League Scorer: Danny Green (13 goals)
Manager – Chris Search
Concord Rangers promoted from within when they appointed Search as manager. Having worked closely with the first team when he oversaw the under 18’s side, the Beachboys decided he was the perfect fit for the club that had just seen their chairman step down. Search’s success at youth level was seen as a positive towards maintaining an identity for the club. It isn’t easy following in the footsteps of the Cowley brothers and Danny Scopes, who guided Concord Rangers to the F.A Trophy final. Yet in his first full season, Search was pretty much on course with the club’s previous finishes in the National South.
Even though the Bluebirds changed their manager with six games remaining they sneaked into the playoffs on the final day last time out, setting their highest ever finish. A six-game unbeaten run secured a top seven place and the pressure of beating Havant and Waterlooville to leapfrog them on the last game prepared them for an attempt at promotion. Chippenham Town went to Princes Park and beat Dartford on penalties before falling short in extra time against Ebbsfleet United. A fantastic season for the Wiltshire club who had consistently finished mid-table since promotion to the National South five years ago.
2021/2022 Season National South: 7th F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round F.A Trophy: 2nd Round County Cup: 1st Round Top League Scorer: Jordan Young (10 goals)
Manager – Gary Horgan
Chippenham Town looked to Horgan for the final six games of the National South season after Mike Cook parted ways with the club. The former Bluebird player won four of his six matches in charge taking Chippenham Town from eleventh and into the last playoff spot. He guided the Wiltshire club to a penalty shoot out win over Dartford before going out to Ebbsfleet United after extra time. Horgan worked as assistant manager during Mark Collier’s time in charge of the club after a playing career at Hardenhuish Park, he also represented Swindon Supermarine and Hungerford Town as a player.
Dartford 0 – 0 Chippenham Town (12/05/2022 – National South Playoff)* Chippenham Town 4 – 2 Dartford (12/03/2022 – National South) Dartford 3 – 3 Chippenham Town (06/11/2021 – National South) Chippenham Town 1 – 2 Dartford (27/10/2020 – National South) Chippenham Town 1 – 5 Dartford (01/02/2020 – National South) Dartford 1 – 1 Chippenham Town (26/10/2019 – National South) * – Chippenham Town won 3-2 on penalties
Chippenham Town v Dartford – 03/09/2022 Dartford v Chippenham Town – 11/02/2023
Dartford have gone three games without victory against Chippenham Town
The last three meetings at Princes Park have ended in a draw after 90 minutes
Dartford were unbeaten in their first four visits to Hardenhuish Park (W3, D1), but lost away from home for the first time against the Bluebirds in their last trip there last season
History was created when the Ambers won the Isthmian Premier League South Promotion Final against Hornchurch after coming fifth last term. In their 75th anniversary year, goals from Amadou Kassarate and the winner scored by Zack Newton crowned a phenomenal campaign for Cheshunt. The Hertfordshire club won the county senior cup for the first time, reached the last sixteen of the F.A Trophy and will now be playing at their highest level since forming. Excluding the two covid hit seasons, the Ambers have been successful in back-to-back playoff campaigns after winning promotion to the Isthmian Premier three years ago.
2021/2022 Season Isthmian Premier: Winners F.A Cup: 3rd Qualifying Round F.A Trophy: 5th Round County Cup: Winners Top League Scorers: Reece Beckles-Richards and Rowan Liburd (14 goals)
Manager – Craig Edwards
It was a brave decision when Edwards left Ware after just 47 days to takeover a Cheshunt side bottom of the Isthmian Division One North. That was in January 2018 and by the end of that campaign the Ambers had conceded a century of goals. In his first full season, Edwards won promotion from the Isthmian Division One South Central via the playoffs in a remarkable turnaround. That experience proved useful again last term as Edwards took Cheshunt up through another playoff. The Ambers boss also had spells as manager at Billericay Town and Kingstonian before the short stint at Ware.
Dajon Golding (Worthing)
Adam Crowther (King’s Lynn Town)
Will Seager (Worthing)
Nicholas Dib (Dandenong City)
Wyan Reid (Brightlingsea Regent)
Jerry Puemo (Sittingbourne)
Joe Payne (Concord Rangers)
Brandon Adams (Royston Town)
Head to Head
No previous meetings
Dartford v Cheshunt – 13/08/2022 Cheshunt v Dartford – 07/01/2023
Draw specialists last season, Chelmsford City picked up single points more times than any other team in the National South. The Clarets were one of only two teams to record less than ten victories, the other was relegated Billericay Town. Yet the Essex club were mainly looking over the shoulder as they consistently picked up positive results against those around them. In fairness they were only dragged into the relegation conversation after seven straight losses in February and March, before that they went twelve games with only one defeat. Turning a few draws into wins will see them easily make mid-table.
2021/2022 Season National South: 19th F.A Cup: 4th Qualifying Round F.A Trophy: 2nd Round County Cup: 4th Round Top League Scorer: Simeon Jackson (11 goals)
Manager – Robbie Simpson
Five months after joining Chelmsford City as a free agent from Milton Keynes Dons, Simpson became the interim boss. Impressing as a player manager in January and February 2020, the Clarets appointed Simpson as the permanent successor to Rod Stringer the following month. Last season was his first full campaign at the helm and if he can turn some of those draws into victories then he will have Chelmsford City finishing higher this time. As a player, Simpson won promotion with Milton Keynes Dons and can draw on a wealth of Football League experience during his seventeen years as a professional.
Dartford 2 – 1 Chelmsford City (15/03/2022 – National South) Chelmsford City 0 – 0 Dartford (25/10/2021 – National South) Dartford 1 – 0 Chelmsford City (06/10/2020 – National South) Dartford 3 – 0 Chelmsford City (14/03/2020 – National South) Chelmsford City 4 – 0 Dartford (12/08/2019 – National South) Chelmsford City 2 – 1 Dartford (09/01/2019 – National South)
Chelmsford City v Dartford – 03/12/2022 Dartford v Chelmsford City – 25/03/2023
Dartford are on their best unbeaten run (W3, D1) against Chelmsford City since the six between 2011 and 2016
The Darts have won their last four versus the Clarets at home, a fifth win at Princes Park will set a record
Dartford are winless in their last five trips to Chelmsford (D2, L3) and have only won twice in their last 13 away games against the Clarets (D4, L7)