Welling United v Dartford

Tony Burman will come up against a former player in the dugout when the Darts take on local rivals on Boxing Day.

Dartford will make the short journey to Park View Road to play Welling United, managed by Jamie Coyle. The Wings boss made 140 appearances for the Darts and was part of the team that won the Isthmian Division One North and Isthmian Premier leagues, in 2008 and 2010. The ex-Dartford defender is making a good start to his managerial career with his side currently eleventh in the National South four points off a playoff spot.

The Darts took four points from Welling United last term with the away match ending in a 0-0 draw back in February. It was the fourth time in a row at Park View Road that the two sides shared the points in the league. In September 2014, the National League meeting ended 2-2 with the Darts equalising on both occasions. Harry Beautyman put the Wings ahead but Peter Sweeney levelled for Dartford. The game was just 14 minutes old when Jamal Fyfield scored again for Welling United, but for the second time Elliot Bradbrook squared up the score.

Eight months previous, early goals settled another draw this time Dartford loanee Jim Stevenson had the visitors in front. However, Ross Lafayette’s penalty eight minutes later secured a 1-1 draw. The Boxing Day fixture six years ago also ended up 1-1 on a dramatic afternoon. Lee Clarke opened the scoring for Welling United and after Joe Healy was sent off it looked like the Wings would hold on. In the last minute, Clarke had the chance to secure victory but missed his penalty, then Dartford went down the other end and Lee Noble headed in the equaliser.

After taking on Braintree Town on the weekend, in a match that saw the top two battle it out, Welling United will provide a different test for the Darts. Burman spoke to and said: “Welling are going through a transitional period but with all due respect to them, it’s a period at the right end of the table”, the Dartford boss added: “They’ve got players who we know and vice-versa, it will about what happens on the day”, he continued: “The bragging rights are there, it’s not the be all and end all but it’s nice to pick up the points over the Christmas period”.

Braintree Town started Saturday’s game well looking to build from the back and put the Darts under pressure. However, against the run of play some great work from Tom Murphy on the left saw him cross the ball to Andy Pugh who tapped in the opener on 17 minutes. The Darts grew into the first half after the goal until their opponents tried to get back on level terms, which they managed from a counter attack finished off by Marcel Barrington on the stroke of half time. The second half played out with no further goals and left the Darts clinging on to top spot on goal difference, level with four other teams on 39 points.

Burman commented after the game courtesy of “Hopefully we can get the few wins together we need but nothing happens in December, nothing happens in January. You’ve got to keep up there among the pack”, he added: “If we make a gap, great, but it just doesn’t work like that sometimes”.

Alex Brown served his one match suspension against the Iron and will be available for selection. Nathan Collier made his first start since returning to the Darts taking Brown’s place in midfield. Former Welling United striker Alfie Pavey has been named on the bench since returning from a chest infection, Burman said when speaking to “It’s well-publicised that Alfie’s had some breathing problems over the last few weeks, which has hampered him when the weather’s got cold”.

One of the outstanding players so far this campaign, Lee Noble was also left on the bench with Burman confirming to “”When I got here, he was out doing the warm-up,” he said. “He’s come through the warm-up on his own and I decided to put him on the bench. When he did the warm-up with the players, he’s come back in and his calf stiffened up so we had a little problem there”.

Meanwhile, Welling United were at title challengers Chelmsford City on the weekend and a costly start made the afternoon difficult for the Wings. After just a couple of minutes the Clarets were in front when Matthew Johnson scored for the hosts. Former Dart, Luke Daley volleyed home a second after six minutes and Kudus Onyenuga made it 3-0 before the half was over. Chris Dicksom added a fourth in the second half and Welling United’s Bradley Goldberg scored a consolation.

The Wings have won once in their last five outings which has seen them drop slightly off the playoff pace. Over September and October they managed a run of six wins from seven games which put the amongst the crowded field. Joe Healy is their main marksman this term with nine National South goals, whilst former Darts, Coyle and Tom Bradbrook have four goals each. Brother of Dartford captain Elliot, Tom last played at the beginning of the month in Welling United’s 2-2 draw with Truro City, the striker who made 103 appearances for Dartford and scored 24 times, wasn’t in the squad for the Wings defeat at Chelmsford City.

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

Current League Form

Dartford (DLWDWL) Welling United (LLDDWL)
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
Truro City A 1-3 Wealdstone H 1-2

Previous Meetings

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
30.09.2014 Welling United 2 Dartford 2

Dartford’s last league victory at Welling United was in 1983. The Darts won 4-0 and since then have lost one and drawn the last four.

Over 90 minutes, Dartford are unbeaten in seven against the Wings. The Darts have lost just once in their last 13 against Welling United. Including the penalty shoot out loss in last season’s Kent Senior Cup, then the Darts have lost twice in that time.

The Darts are clinging on to top spot and clinging on to the best attacking record. Dartford are still the top scorers with 44 goals, but Braintree Town and East Thurrock United are just one behind.

On This Day
This will be the sixteenth Boxing Day fixture for Dartford since reformation and their record stands at won six, drawn three, lost six. In the time, the Darts have beaten rivals Ebbsfleet United twice in 2012 and 2016. Harry Crawford’s brace and Elliot Bradbrook’s goal earned Dartford a 3-1 win in 2012. Four years later, Tom Bonner’s header against his former side and Duane Ofori-Acheampong’s strike gave the Darts a 2-1 victory. The biggest score was racked up in 2007 when Dartford beat Canvey Island 6-1 in an Isthmian Division One North fixture. On that day six different scorers helped the Darts to the three points, Steve Norman, Ryan Hayes, Brendon Cass, Jay May, Eddie McClements and Jamie Coyle.

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