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Welling United v Dartford

What better way to celebrate festivities than to catch a local derby away to Welling United on Boxing Day, followed by the return fixture a week later.

The Darts start the Christmas period in fourth spot whilst The Wings are in second ten points behind runaway leaders Woking. Both sides are pushing for promotion to the Conference Premier in what could be an enthralling league fixture.

Last years fixture at Park View Road in front of a packed terrace

Welling United got the better of Dartford on New Years Day in last seasons corresponding fixture. Lee Clarke opened the goal scoring three minutes before the break and Lee Cumbers made it two with ten minutes played in the second half. Adam Burchell controversially won The Darts a penalty with eight minutes to go which Carl Rook netted but it was too little, too late.

Dartford rescued a point over the weekend when a last minute Danny Harris goal from close range earned The Darts a draw in front of Princes Park’s lowest home league attendance this term. Dorchester Town looked on course for a win with twenty minutes remaining after Jamie Symes 25 yard curler gave the visitors the lead.

Tony Burman was admitted he did not really want to risk Harris, the Dartford boss spoke to PURE DFC after the match and said: “I’ve had to take the gamble and didn’t really want to bring him (Harris) on in all honesty, he hasn’t trained all week”. Burman needed to introduce an attacker to carve out a point, he added: “I think we looked leggy in the first half, we tried to play and one or two things nearly come off. We needed a spark and didn’t get it. I’m delighted the players went on right to the end and got themselves a point”.

The Wings spent most of last season in the play offs but finished just short in sixth place last season. This campaign is going just as well for Jamie Day’s squad and they have yet to lose a league match at home dropping just four points. Furthermore Welling United have scored the most goals at home and have Conference South’s top scorer in Andrew Pugh.

On Saturday Welling were involved in a dramatic seven goal thriller when they lost 4-3 away to Sutton United. Pugh scored his sixteenth league goal of the season and Cumbers who netted against The Darts last time at Park View Road scored a brace. Like Dartford, The Wings failed to take advantage of Woking’s slip up at lowly Thurrock.

Dartford have now gone fifteen straight league games finding the back of the net whilst Welling are the leagues highest home scorers. Both sides have struggled to keep clean sheets so the Boxing Day clash may well be worth a goal or two. A week later the two clubs play the return fixture at Princes Park.

Welling United have strengthened their squad this month by re-signing winger Ben Greenhalgh and adding Jack Evans on loan from Gillingham.

New loan signing Connor Essam

Dartford Team News

Squad numbers for The Darts have decreased through injuries recently. Paul Goodacre will be out after injuring his knee ligaments, Lee Noble is still regaining fitness and Lee Burns missed the Dorchester Town game. Burman told PURE DFC: “In training Burns pulled a hamstring in Thursday’s training session. Jon Wallis and Matt Jones didn’t train Thursday and they were struggling. That is why we had to take Jonesy off on Saturday as his hamstring had got really tight”.

When speaking about Goodacre, he commented: “There is definite damage to the knee and that is why we have brought Connor Essam in. Paul is having a scan and once we get the result of that scan we will know a lot more about it, the consultant at this time does not thik its his cruciate which is great news”.

Burman drafted in Essam and he is likely to feature again and play against his Gillingham team mate Evans. The Dartford manager was delighted with the youngsters début in a Dartford shirt, he added: “Connor has done excellent, that was one of the bright parts of the game on Saturday”.

Statistics (league only)

Welling United (2nd) v Dartford (4th)

Current Form

Last five Welling United matches at home Last five Dartford matches away
Won 2-0 v Boreham Wood Drew 2-2 v Eastleigh
Won 4-3 v Salisbury City Won 2-1 v Salisbury City
Won 2-1 v Hampton and Richmond Won 3-0 v Thurrock
Won 3-2 v Dorchester Town Lost 1-3 v Boreham Wood
Drew 0-0 v Dover Athletic Won 2-1 v Farnborough

Attendances

Welling United average home attendance: 649

Highest home attendance: 1214 v Welling United/ Lowest: 440 v Salisbury City

Dartford average away attendance: 731

Highest away attendance: 1455 v Dover Athletic/ Lowest: 441 v Boreham Wood

Did you know…

6 – Welling’s six consecutive league victories between 17 August 2011 and 3 September 2011 is the joint best winning run. Boreham Wood equalled this record which started against The Darts

6 – Only six goals have been scored in the final quarter of league matches involving Dartford and Welling, three each and the tightest defences in the league over this period of the match.

10 – After ten league matches at Park View Road, The Wings are one of only two sides unbeaten at home this season

15 – No Conference South team this season has scored in as many consecutive league matches than Dartford. The Darts have netted at least a goal in their last fifteen fixtures.

19 – In the 41 league matches Dartford and Welling have played this season both sides have scored at least a goal 19 times. Only three times Dartford or Welling have failed to score in the Conference South this campaign

The Wings take advantage of matches between 61 and 75 minutes, they have scored 12 times during this period and conceded just once. No other team has a better record at this time of the match.

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