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Dartford v Welling United

Dartford begin the New Year top of the National South and will look to maintain their position in the league when they host Welling United.

The New Year’s Day clash comes just six days after the Darts recorded a dramatic victory against the Wings in the reverse fixture. A spectacular injury time winner by former Welling United striker, Alfie Pavey decided the local derby in style.

In fact, the 3-2 victory was full of ex-players coming back to haunt their club. The scoring was opened on just three minutes by an unmarked Andy Pugh, after a cross from Ryan Hayes. The former Welling United frontman then made it 2-0 ten minutes into the second half, again Hayes supplying the cross for Pugh to tap home.

Welling United hit back with thirteen minutes to go when former Dart, Callum Driver scored a free-kick from just outside the area. Then Dartford threw their two-goal advantage away when captain Elliot Bradbrook upended brother Tom, another ex-Dart, to concede a penalty. Up stepped Jeffrey Monakana to level the score with just three minutes on the clock. In the third minute of injury time Pavey produced a moment to saviour as he scissor-kicked the winner in front of the jubilant away following.

Dartford’s first win against the Wings at Park View Road since 1983 secured top spot at the end of 2017. Victory ensured the Darts have a two-point cushion over Havant and Waterlooville and Chelmsford City, although both sides have a game in hand.

After the Boxing Day fixture, both managers spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk to give their reaction, Tony Burman commented: “I think we deserved to win the game. When we went 2-0 up we had a couple of other opportunities to increase the lead”, he added: “We were dead and buried when it went 2-2. We gave away two silly fouls and they’ve scored from a free-kick and a penalty. Defensively I thought we were reasonable but something like that changes things”.

Burman also justified his recent team selections specifically the games that top scorer and match winner Alfie Pavey has missed through a chest infection, he commented: “Believe you me, I will make him a lot better than what he is doing. He has got my belief and regardless of whether he has been playing or not, I’ve got to manage him in the way I think is right”, he added: “He is a young, good lad who has done ever so well for us. He has had some problems in the last month and I’m going to manage them problems the best way I can”.

Welling United player manager, Jamie Coyle was disappointed with defeat but pleased with the character shown by his players, and the improvement made after the 4-1 loss against Chelmsford City, he said: “After what happened on Saturday, we could have crumbled after going 1-0 down so early”, he continued: “We stuck at it, and I thought all over the pitch we more than competed and were the better team for the majority of the game. In both boxes, they defended really well and put their chances away”.

Coyle, another former Dart was unable to play due to illness despite looking forward to the fixture. Meanwhile, Bradley Goldberg was substituted at half-time due to an injury to his hamstring.

With Dartford in pole position going into the New Year, Burman feels his squad can kick on after decent performances against Boreham Wood, Braintree Town and now Welling United, he said: “We’re pleased with where we are. We realise we want to kick-start the season and we might just do that with what happened at the end of the Welling United game, he continued: “We know we’ve got to be professional and consistent and get four or five wins on the bounce. If we do that then that group (at the top of the league) will get smaller and it will help us hopefully to pull away from them”.

Head to Head
Welling United wins: 7 / Dartford wins: 17 / Draws: 10

Current League Form

Dartford (WDLWDW) Welling United (LLLDDW)
Welling United A 3-2 Dartford H 2-3
Braintree Town H 1-1 Chelmsford City A 1-4
Hungerford Town A 0-1 East Thurrock United H 0-3
Poole Town A 1-0 Hemel Hempstead Town A 2-2
Wealdstone H 3-3 Concord Rangers H 3-3
Gloucester City H 4-1 St Albans City A 2-1

Previous Meetings

26.12.2017 Welling United 2 Dartford 3
28.02.2017 Welling United 0 Dartford 0
22.11.2016 Welling United 2 Dartford 2
06.09.2016 Dartford 2 Welling United 1
19.10.2015 Dartford 3 Welling United 1
11.11.2014 Dartford 2 Welling United 1

Stats
It’s been 16 years since the Darts won on New Year’s Day when they beat Sittingbourne 5-2 in the Southern League Division One East. Since then, Dartford have lost five out of six and drew the other, including the defeat to Welling United in 2011.

Dartford have won four of the last five matches against the Wings at Princes Park.

If selected, Andy Pugh will make his 100th start for Dartford.

In 2017, Dartford collected 85 points in 44 games averaging at 1.93 points per game. Only on one occasion would that points average be enough to win the National South. Bromley won the title in 2014/15 with 77 points from 40 games.

On This Day
Dartford have won one New Year’s Day fixture since reforming and that was the 5-2 victory against Sittingbourne in 2001. That was the start of seven away days in a row on this day which has resulted in one draw and five defeats. The draw came in 2013 against Ebbsfleet United when the Darts conceded a last minute equaliser. Jon Wallis scored a free kick before Harry Crawford doubled the lead, Nathan Elder netted both goals for the Fleet. The last home match at home on the 1 January was in 1999, which saw Dartford draw 0-0 with Margate in the Southern League South Division and five years before that the Darts lost 3-2 at home to Alma Swanley.

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