National League South review: 18th March 2017

Dartford’s Emphatic Win Gives Gosport Borough Hopevanarama-national-league-south-logo

This week in the Vanarama National League South, a big win from Dartford over Truro City 5-3 gave struggling Gosport Borough hope as they ran out 4-0 winners of St Albans City.

Despite the score line, it was Truro who took the lead over Dartford though an own goal from the hosts. Dartford equalised on the half hour mark when Andy Pugh headed home from a great attacking move from the hosts. Dartford took the lead when Bradbrook cut inside and unleashed a thunderous left footed strike from 20 yards out. Truro hit the post themselves on the stroke half-time and were unlucky to go in behind. It was a very open second-half, with both teams having opportunities to score. It was Truro who found the important next goal; some poor defending from Dartford allowed Neal an easy finish to make it 2-2. The scores were only level for two minutes thanks to a good strike from Wanadio. With twelve minutes to go, Truro must have thought they were heading for a point as they levelled once again. A spill from their goalkeeper allowed Andy Pugh to find a 4th for Dartford with four minutes to go. Dartford were effective on the counter, clearing a Truro shot off the line before racing up the pitch to win the game through Tom Murphy to make it 5-3. This result saw Elliot Bradbrook become the hosts 4th highest scorer in their history with 112 goals.

This result gave hope to relegation threatened Gosport Borough, who thanks to their 4-0 win over St Albans City have closed the gap to five points on Truro. It was Gosport’s first league win in four months (17 matches) and was their first clean sheet since September. Gosport were ahead within three minutes when Tom Bird’s cross from the left was nodded home by Tony Lee. Lee was involved in the build-up of the second goal too, driving forward from midfield to set up Joe Lea who beat two defenders to slot the ball passed the keeper. Lee was able to find a third and Ollie Bailey rounded off the afternoon beating two defenders to the ball- making it 4-0.

However, Gosport fans joys would have been reduced by Whitehawk’s 1-0 at home over Bishop’s Stortford. A penalty from Gen Southam was enough to separate the two sides.

Margate now look all but doomed thanks to a 3-2 away defeat to Hemel Hempstead. Hemel were ahead with two minutes when Jake Robinson was ruled on-side to sidestep the keeper and finish from a few yards out. Charlie Sheringham made it 2-0 when Greenhalgh unselfishly squared him the ball on 13 minutes. Margate were able to pull one back through Moore-Azille who headed home from a floating cross. Hempstead’s two goal advantage was restored on 63 minutes as the Margate keeper rushed out but failed to beat Sherringham for pace- slotting home with an easy finish. Margate did themselves proud and kept the pressure up on the home side, Famino was found unmarked inside the box to rifle home. Even though the referee awarded seven minutes of added time, it was not enough for Margate who looked set to play their football in the Ryman Premier League next season.

The weekend was also a positive one for the league leaders Maidenhead United, who’s 3-0 win over Welling United leaves them above Ebbsfleet United by one point. All the action came in the first-half and began on 24 minutes when Dean Inman headed home from a Dave Tarpey cross. Tarpey, predictably, was on the score sheet himself on 28 minutes, scoring his 36th of the season. Inside injury time of the first half, James Mulley volleyed home from a headed clearance to seal the points for Maidenhead.

The final result of note was an entertaining 3-3 draw between Poole Town and Hampton & Richmond Borough. Not even a minute into the match, the hosts found themselves in the lead through Baggie, slotting home from the edge of the box. The home side doubled their lead on 36 minutes through Luke Roberts. Hampton pulled one back on 67 minutes when Casey’s cross from the left was diverted by Kiernan passed Hutchins in goal. Hampton completed their comeback with 15 minutes to go as Culley prodded home a loose ball from six yards out. Hampton then took the lead four minutes later through Brendan Kiernan, but this was son cancelled out by Marvin Brooks to leave the sides with a point apiece.




National League South Review: 11th March 2017

Leaders Hit Big as Bottom Sides Woe Continues

vanarama-national-league-south-logoBy David Marriott.

This week in the Vanarama National League South was goal galore with five teams scoring three goals or more. The biggest winners were Bath City who picked up a stunning 6-0 win over Hemel Hempstead Town to move only one point behind them in the league. Axel Andresson began proceedings with a delightful free-kick from 25 yards out. A red card for Arnaud Mendy saw a shift in momentum with Andresson converting from the penalty spot. Bath were 3-0 up after just 31 minutes when McCootie set up McCoulsky for a simple tap in. McCootie went from creator to scorer himself on 40 minutes with a header from 12 yards out. McCoulsky got his second afternoon just before the hour mark with a simple finish from 10 yards. Bath’s goal scoring form petered out slowly with Shaquille Hunter rounding off the scoring with nearly the last kick of the game.

Chelmsford were also the big winners of the weekend over Eastbourne Borough. Just eight minutes into the match, Dickson was on hand at the far post to put the home side into the lead. Dickson was on the scoresheet once again on 37 minutes, lifting the ball over the keeper before catching up with the ball to roll it home. Dickson became a hat-trick hero in the second half, getting on the end of a set piece to sweep home. Eastbourne pulled one back on the hour mark but it was that man Dickson once again on 77 minutes to restore Chelmsford’s three goal lead. Debutant Louie Theophanous grabbed a goal on his debut in injury time to cap off a great afternoon for the home fans.

Not to be outdone by the form of the other two teams, East Thurrock United pulled off their own great win, beating Bishop’s Stortford 4-0 away from home. Like the other two sides, Thurrock scored early in the game; former Stortford player Ben Marlow volleyed into the net from eight yards. Wraight doubled their lead with a close finish, thanks to some poor defending from the home side. Marlow got his second of the afternoon on 34 minutes with a great low finish from distance. Akinwande made it four upon his own return to his former club. It was a result that just about summed up Bishops Stortford’s entire season, who now look set for the drop.

Near the top of the table, Ebbsfleet United ran out 0-3 winners over St Albans City to remain behind league leaders Maidenhead United. After a hectic start, Sam Deering finally put the away side 1-0 up with a low shot inside the box. Jack Powell gave the hosts a mountain to climb with a great free-kick into the top corner. The game was all but over on 34 minutes when some dreadful defending from St Albans allowed Danny Kedwell to finish underneath the keeper. Despite Fleet having chances to get more, St Albans held on to retain some dignity in the second-half.

Maidenhead ensured to match the form of their rivals with a 3-1 win over Weston-super-Mare. Striker Dave Tarpey equalled and broke the divisions record of goals in a single season, scoring twice to reach his 34th of the season. Tarpey’s form has not gone unnoticed with Charton and Leyton Orient both reportedly interested in the striker.

Some of the lower scoring ties of the afternoon included Concord Rangers’ 1-1 draw with Dartford that sees the latter side fall eight points behind Ebbsfleet- ending their already bleak title hopes. Whitehawk were defeated once again, this time by Oxford City 1-0. Both Wealdstone and Welling United picked up 2-1 victories over Truro City and Poole Town respectively.

Bottom side Margate picked up a rare victory over fellow relegation side Gosport Borough. Margate won a penalty inside twelve minutes, but Dean Morgan couldn’t keep his composure, firing over the bar. Margate were awarded another penalty on 88 minutes, this time converting it to take the lead with minutes to go. Jackson got another inside injury time to send the Margate fans into delirium; hoping this is the start of a better run of form.

Finally, Hampton & Richmond Borough picked up a solid 2-0 win over Hungerford Town. Goals from Christian Jolley and Harold Odametey were the difference between the two sides.

If anything has become clear with the Vanarama National League South, it’s that there will always be goals and this week proved to be no exception.

National League South Review: 25th February 2017

vanarama-national-league-south-logoBy David Marriott

Closest Title Race in Living Memory and Whitehawk Win Leaves Bottom Three Floundering

 This week in the Vanarama National League South, we saw the relegation battle take a twist as Whitehawk picked up a 0-2 away win over bottom side Margate to pull two points away from the drop zone, with a game in hand. Two goals in quick succession just before the hour mark for Whitehawk from Josh Passley and Glen Southam gave The Hawks their first league win since October 29th.

Bishop’s Stortford gave Eastbourne Borough a scare when they took the lead after 18 minutes. Despite this setback, Borough came back to win the fixture 1-4. Two minutes into the second half, Romain glided through the Stortford defence to level the scores. Romain was it again five minutes later with a well-executed half-volley. Stortford showed great character to stay in the tie, but Borough’s quality was evident when Elliot put the game out of sight with three minutes to go. Romain completed his hat-trick in added time to ensure that he would take the match-ball home.

The only consolation for Bishop’s Stortford would be that their afternoon was not quite as bad as fellow relegation threatened side Gosport Borough, who suffered a humiliating 0-6 home defeat to Hemel Hempstead Town. A hat-trick from Charlie Sherringham and efforts from Parkes, Driver and Robinson mean that the three bottom sides now have a mountain to climb to reach safety.

This was somehow not the highest scoring affair as Chelmsford City came out 4-3 winners over Concord Rangers in a fiery affair. Concord took the lead on 25 minutes as Sembie-Ferris raced down the wing to fire the ball into the top corner. The strong winds made for an interesting match as the ball swerved violently in the air. Chelmsford drew level on 40 minutes as Josh Rees’ overhead kick flew passed Vose in goal. The game exploded into life just after the hour mark when Shaun Jeffers put the hosts back into the lead. Jeffers got another a minute later from the spot. A defensive error from Chelmsford allowed the visitors to pull one back. The Clarets regained their two-goal lead with nine minutes to go as Michael Spillane’s powerful header hit the back of the net. Two red cards in two minutes (one being for Chelmsford manager Rod Stringer) allowed Concord to pull another one back, but despite this, Chelmsford held out for the three points.

At the other end of the table, Ebbsfleet and Maidenhead United continued their ridiculously close title race, with the former still topping the table purely due to alphabetical order. This week, Fleet picked up a 0-1 away win over Bath City. Bradley Bubb got the only goal of the afternoon when a poor back header from Bath allowed him to calmly chip over the stranded keeper.

Maidenhead will be disappointed to have dropped points when they draw 1-1 with Hungerford Town. It took Maidenhead only three minutes to take the lead when Harry Pritchard cut inside to curl home a wonderful effort. Hungerford grabbed on equaliser shortly after the hour mark as a high ball was scrapped over the line. Maidenhead were given a penalty on 77 minutes, but top-scorer Dave Tarpey saw his effort saved. A red card in the 90th minute for Jordan Cox rounded a frustrating afternoon for The Magpies.

A 1-1 draw between Dartford and Oxford City has seemingly put the former out of the title race, who are now seven points behind Ebbsfleet. Dartford took the lead on 66 minutes when Ryan Hayes put away a composed strike that curled into the bottom corner. Oxford kept their heads up to stay in the game and a debut goal from Ezra Forde from an acute angle split the points between the two sides.

Meanwhile, Poole Town picked up a composed 1-2 away win over East Thurrock United. Poole took the lead on 39 minutes when Steve Devlin wrong footed the keeper from the spot. James Walker equalised for East Thurrock with 13 minutes to go, but the scores only remained level for three minutes as Marvin Brooks but the away side back in the lead.

Wealdstone picked up a good 0-1 away win over Welling United thanks to a goal from Rick Wellard.

Weston-Super-Mare ran out 0-2 away winners over Hampton & Richmond Borough. Jake Lee fired the visitors in front after just ten minutes. Bradley Ash doubled their lead with four minutes to go in what was an uneventful affair.

Finally, Truro City pulled off a 3-2 victory against St Albans City. Stuart Yetton put the hosts ahead just before the half-hour mark. St Albans found an equaliser but less than a minute later a head from Pughy at the far post from a corner but Truro back in the lead. Just five minutes later, St Albans were back in contention. Once again, Truro were not level for long when Tyler Harvey scored his second penalty in as many games to seal the three points for the home side.

National League South Review: 18th February 2017

vanarama-national-league-south-logoBy David Marriott

Ebbsfleet Edge Passed Hungerford To Remain Top By One Goal Scored

Ebbsfleet United edged passed Hungerford Town to remain top of the National League South by just one goal scored. Ebbsfleet took the lead when Jack Connors played a one two with Adam Drury, with the latter finding the bottom corner with a low driven effort. Ebbsfleet were very much the quieter side in the second-half with Hungerford pressing hard to find an equaliser. This stirred the Fleet attack back into action. McQueen, Powell and Kedwell all had efforts saved in the dying minutes of the match. A super save from Nathan Ashmore was the final touch of the game and was enough to seal the three points for Fleet.

Meanwhile, Maidenhead remained in 2nd place, having scored one goal fewer than Ebbsfleet, with a dramatic 2-1 win over Whitehawk. Maidenhead broke the deadlock 12 minutes before half-time when Sean Marks set up Dave Tarpey for his 34th goal of the season (57% of Maidenhead’s goals have come from Tarpey alone). Tarpey nearly had a second when he headed over just before half-time. Whitehawk found an equaliser on 77 minutes when Pentney got on the end of a rebound to tap home. With the Hawks languishing in the relegation zone, a point would have been invaluable to them. Despite this, Maidenhead kept their heads up and Ryan Upward scored a rocket of a header with two minutes to win the game.

Another one of the top five sides today dropped points in a 1-0 defeat in Dartford. Skipper Anthony Church’s deflected shot on 71 minutes was enough to separate the two sides.

Wealdstone picked up their own 1-0 victory over bottom side Margate, who are nine points clear from safety. A debut goal from Aryan Tajbakhsh with a good half volley on the stroke of half-time made the entrance fee worth it for the travelling fans.

Oxford City also ran out 1-0 winners over Hemel Hempstead Town. Hemel were unfortunate to miss a penalty in the third minute. Lee Henderson’s powerful header was then the main event in what was a quiet match.

Poole Town picked up a good 1-4 away win over Bishop’s Stortford to close the gap on Dartford (who had dropped points). The game was goalless until the 36th minute when Poole were awarded a penalty as Brooks was brought down by Voss. Steve Devlin converted the following spot kick to put Poole into the lead. Poole stormed out of the blocks after half-time, scoring two minutes into the second-half through Devlin once again. On 49 minutes, keeper Voss was picking the ball out of his net again as Luke Roberts scored from the edge of the area. The hosts began to put more pressure on the Poole defence, partly as an attempt to save face. A great free-kick from Green pulled one back for Bishop’s Stortford. Brooks was on hand with two minutes to go to restore Poole’s three goal lead and three points.

Hampton & Richmond Borough dropped to seventh after a disappointing 2-1 defeat to East Thurrock United. East Thurrock took the lead after 11 minutes when a misdirected header from Casey played in Sam Higgins who cut the ball back for Recce Harris for an easy tap-in. Hampton equalised thanks to Duncan Culley getting on the end of a rebound. However, it was an agonising end for the visitors after Tom Wraight scored with two minutes to go.

Concord Rangers picked up three needed points to put some space between them and the drop zone with a 2-1 win over Truro City. Despite Truro taking the lead, Lyle Della-Verde was on hand to equalise. Steve Cawley’s effort just before half-time was all it took to spate the two sides in 90 minutes.

Weston-Super-Mare missed an opportunity to catch up with Welling United as they two sides drew 2-2. Coombes put Welling in front on the stroke of half-time. Weston grabbed an equaliser on the hour mark thanks to a wonderful free-kick from Dave Grubb 30 yards out from goal. The deadlock didn’t last long as Welling retook the lead through Waldren. Weston-Super-Mare had a never say die attitude and Grubb was on hand to pull them back level once again. Despite some both sets of fans willing them on, neither side could find a winner.

Eastbourne Borough picked up a straight forward win over Gosport Borough. Romain and Pinney got on the scoresheet to bring the three points home.

Finally, Bath City brought themselves three points closer to St Albans City with a 4-1 victory. Marvin Morgan put the visitors in the lead inside four minutes. Bath were playing great football and some good build-up play set up Nick McCootie to chip the keeper to double their lead. Some poor defending from St Albans on the hour mark set up McCoulsky for Bath’s third. Despite Walker pulling one back, Bath keeper O’Leary pulled off his third penalty save of the season to keep Bath firmly in the lead. Andy Watkins scored a rebound in the dying minutes in what was a hectic game of football.

National League South Review: 11th February 2017

Maidenhead fall to Second as Bottom Sides Strugglevanarama-national-league-south-logo

By David Marriott.

Maidenhead United fell to second place after a surprising 2-1 defeat to Hemel Hempstead Town. Hemel Hempstead took the lead on 31 minutes when Charlie Sheringham converted from an acute angle into the bottom corner. A goal that his namesake would have been proved of. Sheringham turned creator for Hempstead’s second goal of the afternoon, crossing the ball to Jake Robinson to head home into the far corner. Despite an onslaught from the Maidenhead strike force and Hemel Hempstead going down to ten men, the home fans remained confident that the three points would be theirs. Maidenhead scored a free-kick with five minutes, but this was not enough as this defeat pulled them down into second place.

The new leaders of the division (on goals scored) is Ebbsfleet United after a straight forward 0-3 away win over Whitehawk. Despite the Whitehawk attack asking a few questions of the Ebbsfleet keeper it was Fleet who took the lead on 34 minutes. Danny Kedwell was found inside the box with a low cross to scoop the ball into the back of the net. The game remained bogged down in midfield for most of the second half but Sean Shields found a second on 70 minutes. Fleet managed the game very well and shut out the Whitehawk attack well. Kedwell got his second of the afternoon with seconds to go to put the game out of sight for Fleet.

Dartford kept up the pressure on the top two and remain only one point behind them with a 0-4 away win over Gosport Borough. Former Gillingham man Andy Pugh opened the scoring after just seven minutes. It all went downhill for Gosport from that moment onwards as their keeper Mark Childes went down injured with no substitute available on the bench. Striker Rowan Vine took his chances in goal. Whilst he did keep a clean sheet in the first half, his lack of skill in the position was shown in the second half. Luke Wanadio was on hand to double the Dartford lead on 61 minutes. Vine was helpless to stop a wonder goal from Keaton Wood five minutes later. Gosport remained disciplined and looked to ensure that the score remained a modest one. Dartford did find one more seven minutes from time through Kaka Dembele to cap off the afternoon.

Both Hungerford and Poole Town picked up 2-0 wins to keep their spots inside the top five. Meanwhile, Hampton & Richmond Borough edged out a 1-0 win over Margate. A scramble in the box on 22 minutes finally fell to Brendan Kiernan who stabbed home from six yards.

St Albans City missed their opportunity to overtake Chelmsford City in the table as the two sides drew 1-1 to remained on 49 points. Chelmsford City took the lead of 13 minutes as Elliot Buchanan’s rifled home Haines’ deflected shot. St Albans kept their heads up and grabbed an equaliser five minutes from the end with Theophanous finishing from close range.

Oxford City also missed a chance to leapfrog their table rivals Wealdstone with a 1-1 draw. Wealdstone stormed into the lead after just four minutes with debutant Joshua Walker scoring past keeper Hill from the near post. Despite this early setback, a scramble in the box was finished off by Kaiman Anderson to level the scores

There remains a considerable distance between St Albans City in 8th place and Bath City in 9th place. Despite this, Bath City picked up an excellent 4-0 win over Truro City. Bath were awarded a penalty on 32 minutes after Arran Pugh was deemed to have handled the ball. Axel Andresson was on hand to convert the spot kick. Truro were awarded a penalty themselves on 73 minutes but it was saved heroically by Max O’Leary. With ten minutes to go Billy Murphy’s shot from 25 yards which wrong footed the keeper to double the lead. Bath were finding their rhythm in the final few minutes as Andy Watkins skipped through the Truro defence and played a one two with McCootie and fired the ball into the back of the net. Watkins got his second of the afternoon in added time with a fantastic finish from the edge of the box into the top corner.

Mid table East Thurrock United were unlucky to fall to a 2-0 defeat to fellow strugglers Welling United. It took Welling 70 minutes to break the deadlock but a scrappy finish from Coombes finally got them the goal that they deserved. Walker was on hand after some good foot work from Coombes to seal the points for Welling. Oxford keeper Hill made a very good save in the dying minutes to split the points one a piece.

East Thurrock will be glad that Eastbourne Borough (who are level on points with them) also fell to defeat, losing 3-1 to Concord Rangers. Some great interplay between Taylor Miles and Tony Stokes saw the latter stroke home from close range. A well hit drive from Lyle Della-Verde on 31 minutes was deemed to have crossed the line. Elliot Romain pulled one back for the visitors, but Steve King restored the home side’s two goal lead with a few minutes to go through a rebound from a free-kick.