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Welling United v Dartford

Kent Senior Cup action returns for the Darts against newly promoted rivals Welling United on Tuesday night.

Dartford are back in the county cup after exiting last term in controversial circumstances. Unable to fulfil there second round fixture with Margate the Kent F.A awarded the tie to the seaside club. Prior the competition last season, the Darts had reached successive finals defeating Bromley 4-1 in 2011 with goals from Elliot Bradbrook, Ryan Hayes, Danny Harris and an own goal. The following year ended in a shock final defeat when Hythe Town clinched the cup for the first time.

Dartford defeated Welling United in the Conference South playoff final almost 16 months ago but their opponents, who joined them in the Conference Premier for this campaign, have made a better start in the league.

Lee Noble was the hero back in May last year when his fourth minute long range strike settled the final, earning Dartford promotion to the Conference Premier for the first time in 26 years. Whilst Dartford finished runners up in the South division, Welling United finished in third. It didn’t take long for the Wings to recover as they took the Conference South title last season going unbeaten at Park View Road.

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Tuesday’s opponents last reached the final in 2009 thrashing Whitstable Town 6-1. The deadlock was broken from the penalty spot by former Dartford favourite Charlie Sheringham. Parity was restored when Ian Pulman equalised but Jack Parkinson’s two goals, Lee Proterhoe, Sam Hurrell and Ryan Johnson put the score way beyond the Oystermen.

The last meeting between the two sides was in the Conference South which ended in a 1-1 Boxing Day draw at Park View Road in front of 1815 fans. Lee Clarke gave the hosts a first half lead from a penalty and with time running out the hosts were awarded another spot kick. Saved by Louis Wells, the Dartford goalkeeper set up a counter attack which Noble got on the end of to rescue a point. A week later both clubs went head to head for the New Year derby which was delayed by 15 minutes, the crowd struggling to make kick off in time at Princes Park. A bumper attendance of 2559 witnessed Harris head home the winner just before the hour mark.

Both sides lost on Saturday in the league with the Darts yet again starting slow at home to Lincoln City. Ben Tomlinson gave the Imps the lead on 21 minutes and the visitors went two up after half an hour when Andrew Boyce scored. Dartford halved the deficit on the hour through captain Elliot Bradbrook’s header, his first of the campaign. Late on a stonewall penalty was waved away by the referee who claimed to have seen the incident.

Not convinced with the first half performance, Tony Burman ‘couldn’t fault the guys’ in the second half but he was left bemused by Mr Swabey’s decision which potentially costed the Darts a point, he told BBC Sport: “It was 100% handball – no question. Anywhere else on the pitch it’s handball and that’s the second Saturday in a row. It was on target and it was handball”, he added: “The referee says it was handball but it wasn’t intentional. It’s absolute rubbish”.

The Wings lost 2-1 away to Hereford United on Saturday but the Kent side went into the break level. Early in the second half Chris Sharp gave the Bulls an advantage which was doubled with six minutes remaining through Michael Rankine. Welling United’s top scorer Ross Lafayette netted a last minute consolation.

Dartford are scheduled to face Welling United in the Conference Premier at home on Boxing Day and away on New Years Day.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 14 / Welling United wins: 8 / Draws: 5

Previous Meetings (PO = Playoff Final)

13.05.2013 (PO) Dartford 1 Welling United 0
02.01.2012 Dartford 1 Welling United 0
26.12.2011 Welling United 1 Dartford 1
15.02.2011 Dartford 1 Welling United 1
01.01.2011 Welling United 2 Dartford 1

Recent Kent Senior Cup Performances

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Stats

3 – Number of times Welling United have won the Kent Senior Cup

10 – Number of times Dartford have won the Kent Senior Cup

15 – Players Jamie Day has used for Welling United this season, the fewest in the Conference Premier

25 – Amount of games Welling United are unbeaten at home in the league since 28 April 2012

8462 – Combined attendance for the three meetings between Dartford and Welling United during the 2011/12 season, an average of 2820.

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