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Welling United v Dartford

One half of Dartford’s management team will be returning to his old stomping ground on Boxing Day to take on his former club in the National South.

Joint Manager, Jamie Coyle led Welling United to tenth last season in his only campaign as manager of the Wings. In the summer he joined forces with Adam Flanagan to manage the Darts. It will be the first time the former Dartford defender faces the club he left at Park View Road.

Last term, Dartford completed the double over Welling United with Coyle backing the Darts for the National South title after the festive double header. The Boxing Day fixture a year ago was the first of Dartford’s two victories and is remembered for Alfie Pavey’s sensational last minute winning goal. Ryan Hayes set up an early chance for former Welling United striker Andy Pugh, who scored from close range. The pair combined again ten minutes into the second half to put the Darts two up and in control. The hosts fought back when Callum Driver, now at Dartford scored a well taken free-kick and Jeffrey Monakana netted a penalty with three minutes left. With the local derby heading for a draw, in injury time Pavey produced a stunning volley from the edge of the box to win the match. It was the first Dartford league win against Welling United at Park View Road since 1983. The return fixture on New Year’s Day ended 4-1 to the Darts with goals from Hayes, Pugh and two from Pugh.

Coyle has set a target over the Christmas and New Year schedule when Dartford will be involved in five games over a 15 day period, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “We want to get out of Christmas and the New Year still in the play-offs because it would give us something to build on for the second half of the season”, he added: “I still think there’s so much more to come from us. We’ve done okay and we’ve won games but we’re still sitting there thinking there’s so much more we need to improve on. The players know that”.

On Saturday, the Darts were at home to struggling Hungerford Town and gave Phil Roberts his first start for the club. With the absence of Charlie Sheringham, the new striker partnered Jamie Philpot who also returned to the starting line up. Ben Greenhalgh was drafted back in meaning Kudus Oyenuga and Dan Darbyshire also missed out. Philpot rewarded the managers choice by heading in the opener over goalkeeper Jake Weaver. Lee Noble doubled the lead in the second half thumping home with twenty minutes to go, then the visitors pulled a goal back towards the end. Victory moved Dartford into sixth place to move within a point of their Boxing Day opponents and end a run of four games without a win in all competitions.

Similarly to Dartford, their local rivals changed manager over the summer replacing Coyle with the experienced Steve King. Looking towards former teams, King made plenty of changes by signing players who previously played for him at Whitehawk and Macclesfield Town. One of those players is former Dart, Danny Mills who spent half of last season at Princes Park scoring six goals in 26 appearances. The striker had a spell at Whitehawk under King where he netted an impressive 58 goals over two campaigns. Adding attacking options to the frontline, Brendan Kiernan came in from Hampton and Richmond Borough and has netted seven times for the Wings this term, Bradley Goldberg is another option and he is currently on five goals.

Welling United started with Mills and Kiernan on the bench on Saturday, but the starting eleven did include Matthew Paterson, who was signed from Oxford City in October and can be a goal threat. The Wings visited Hemel Hempstead Town on the weekend hoping to end a run of two consecutive defeats. Hope turned to disappointment with twenty minutes to go when Hemel’s Scott Shulton scored, but the Wings equalised with four minutes left when Gavin McCallum scored in off the post.

The Wings have topped the National South at times this season, but have dropped to fourth after Saturday’s draw. A nine game unbeaten run from mid-August to nearly the end of October has given Welling United some good foundations, with their highlight coming at Concord Rangers where they won 5-0. Most recently they have lost three of their last eight, but have tasted defeat just once at Park View Road this season.

Head to Head

Welling United wins: 7 / Dartford wins: 19 / Draws: 10

Current League Form

Welling United (DLLWWD) Dartford (WDWWWL)
Hemel Hempstead Town A 1-1 Hungerford Town H 2-1
Hampton and Richmond A 1-2 Slough Town H 1-1
Torquay United A 1-3 Hampton and Richmond A 1-0
Hungerford Town H 3-1 Oxford City H 3-2
Weston-super-Mare H 3-1 Gloucester City A 2-1
Wealdstone H 1-1 Truro City A 1-3

Previous Meetings

01.01.2018 Dartford 4 Welling United 1
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

Stats

Dartford are unbeaten in nine competitive meetings against Welling United and seven at Park View Road in all competitions.

In the league the Darts have beaten the Wings just twice away from home, in 1983 and last season. Welling United have won twice in the league at home and the other four meetings ended level.

On This Day

It will be the eighth year in a row Dartford has played on Boxing Day and three of those fixtures have been against Welling United. In 2011, the sides drew 1-1 at Park View Road and two years later the Wings beat the Darts 2-1 at Princes Park. A year ago, Dartford threw a two goal lead away before snatching victory in the final minute. The Darts have also beaten Ebbsfleet United twice, 3-1 in 2012 and 2-1 in 2016, defeated Chelmsford City 1-0 three years ago meaning they have won their last three Boxing Days games. The only other team to get the better of the Darts in the last seven matches on this day was Braintree Town in 2014.  Since reforming the standout Boxing Day clash was in 2007 when Dartford thrashed Canvey Island 6-1 in the Isthmian Division One North.

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