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Dartford v Welling United

Steve King once again comes face to face with his former club as Dartford open the New Year against local rivals Welling United.

The two sides met on Boxing Day with the Darts coming out on top by beating the Wings 3-0 at Park View Road. Darren McQueen scored a brace with his first coming from the penalty spot, Elliot Romain also found the net to claim bragging rights for King’s men. In a repeat of the Boxing Day scoreline, Dartford defeated Tonbridge Angels on the weekend with the same pair scoring. This time McQueen opened the scoring and Romain fired in a long range effort. There was still time for Charlie Sheringham to come off the bench to score and Josh Hill to be sent off in the closing stages.

King introduced new loan signing Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong having signed from Aldershot Town. The 22-year-old winger has made 13 appearances for the Shots, scoring 3 times. The only other change was in defence where Josh Hill replaced Tom Bonner, whilst Sanchez Ming made way for Berkeley-Agyepong. The Dartford b oss was happy with the midfielder’s debut, he told kentonline.co.uk: “You can see little bits of quality, (with his) finesse on the ball and the way he manipulates the ball”, he added: “Bearing in mind he has been out for two weeks at Aldershot with concussion, so he hasn’t played for three weeks and he’s coming into a league where it’s a little bit quicker than the National League – it’s up, down, up, down – he’s another who will grow. But he brings little bits of quality and left-footed (players) always bring a bit of balance”.

Since arriving at the Darts, King has increased competition for places in the starting eleven and after the Tonbridge Angels win he praised goalkeeper Alhaji Sesay, who has taken advantage of Mark Smith’s injury to get an opportunity between the sticks. Overall, King was delighted with Saturday’s result and felt the game should have been wrapped up in the first half, he commented: “That’s as dominant as we have been and we should have gone in 2-0 or 3-0 up at least. But we didn’t capitalise on all our good play and, at that time, then you leave yourself open”, he continued: “But for me, we were so dominant that the game should have been over at half-time”.

Dartford’s boss came so close to guiding the Wings back to the National League last term reaching the Playoff final. Now King will be up against his old team for the second time over the festive season after the Boxing Day clash at Park View Road. It will be the third consecutive year that the Darts have hosted Welling United on New Year’s Day and the previous two meetings ended victorious.

Bragging rights were shared last season when the home side won on each occasion. King was in the opposite dugout and at Park View Road guided the Wings to a 2-0 victory. The former Welling United boss wasn’t the only person up against his future club, Josh Hill was selected in the starting eleven and scored the opening goal. Hill had a previous spell with the Darts in 2013 and when Danny Mills netted the Wings second the Darts were sunk by two former players.

After the Boxing Day defeat, Dartford were looking for revenge at Princes Park on New Year’s Day. Ronnie Vint’s late winner with four minutes remaining was enough to earn the Darts three points. An excellent delivery by Ben Greenhalgh wasn’t cleared by the Welling United defence and Vint forced the ball home for the winner.

The previous campaign also saw the two sides meet on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day with Dartford completing a festive double. Out of the two clashes the away fixture at Park View Road will be remembered for Alfie Pavey’s superb last-minute strike. After the Darts threw away a two-goal lead given to them by an Andy Pugh brace, the home side pulled one back through former Dart, Callum Driver and with three minutes to go Jeffrey Monakana equalised. It looked like a draw was on the cards until in the last-minute Alfie Pavey produced a stunning scissor kick from outside the box to clinch victory.

The return fixture ended with a convincing Dartford win, their biggest against Welling United since New Year’s Eve in 1983. This time Pavey came off the bench to grab a brace against his old club to secure a 4-1 triumph. Ryan Hayes opened the scoring with a low drive and Elliot Romain headed the equaliser against his future side. Pugh sent the Darts into the break with a 2-1 lead before Pavey’s second-half goals.

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 21 / Welling United wins: 10 / Draws: 9

Current League Form

Dartford (WWLWDL) Welling United (LLWLWD)
Tonbridge Angels H 3-0 Eastbourne Borough A 1-2
Welling United A 3-0 Dartford H 0-3
Concord Rangers H 0-1 Hemel Hempstead Town H 2-0
Billericay Town H 3-2 Dorking Wanderers A 0-2
Dulwich Hamlet A 1-1 Braintree Town H 6-2
Bath City A 0-3 Dulwich Hamlet H 0-0

Last Six Meetings

26.12.2019 Welling United 0 Dartford 3
01.01.2019 Dartford 1 Welling United 0
26.12.2018 Welling United 2 Dartford 0
01.01.2018 Dartford 4 Welling United 1
26.12.2017 Welling United 2 Dartford 3
28.02.2017 Welling United 0 Dartford 0

Stats

The Darts have won the last five games against Welling United at Princes Park in all competitions.

Dartford have tasted defeat just once in their last 12 games against the Wings after ninety minutes, on Boxing Day last year. The Darts also lost on penalties in the Kent Senior Cup three years ago.

The Darts have scored in each of their last 17 home games against Welling United, last failing to score on 28 February 1980 in the Kent Floodlit Cup. Dartford have scored in every home league game versus the Wings.

On Saturday the Darts kept back to back clean sheets in the league for the first time since February 2019.

League Record in 2019

Won 16 / Drawn 12 / Lost 15 / Scored 62 / Conceded 67

League Record This Decade

Won 187 / Drawn 102 / Lost 147 / Scored 665 / Conceded 580 / Goal Difference +85

On This Day

Dartford’s last two New Year’s Day wins have been against Welling United. Before those triumphs the Darts had gone six without a win on the first day of the year. In 2001, Dartford brushed aside Sittingbourne 5-2 in the Southern League Division One East, the start of seven consecutive away games on 1 January, in which Dartford lost five a drew two. The Darts lost to Fisher Athletic (2004), Maldon Town (2005) and Welling United (2011) before drawing with Ebbsfleet United in 2013. Defeats against Braintree Town (2015) and Ebbsfleet United (2017) followed before the run was stopped in 2018 against Welling United. That win ended a 28 year wait for a home New Year’s Day win, which came against Gravesend and Northfleet, the final score 5-0 after a goalless first-half.

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