Dartford aim to win their first league match against Welling United at Park View Road in 34 years this weekend.
The Kent derby will be the Darts tenth of the season in all competitions and third against the Wings, having previously met in the National South and Kent Senior Cup. Dartford have drawn three and lost one of their last away games versus Welling United in the league, since the last victory in 1983.
This term, Dartford drew 2-2 in the Kent Senior Cup’s last eight losing 4-1 on penalties. Former Dart, Harry Crawford put the Wings ahead before Ryan Hayes scored a penalty. The Darts took the lead through Keaton Wood but Matt Fish’s equaliser sent the game to spot kicks.
The National South fixture saw Tony Burman’s side run out 2-1 winners. Elliot Bradbrook missed a penalty but Alex Brown benefited from the rebound, the Wings top scorer Adam Coombes levelled the match before Bradbrook made amends to net the decider.
Dartford lost more ground on the league leaders on Saturday conceding a last minute equaliser at Oxford City. Ryan Hayes curled in the first of the game just past the hour to record his 99th goal for the Darts. New signing Ezra Forde netted the Nomads leveller leaving the Darts tariling the top two by seven points.
Welling United had looked to turn the corner at the end of 2016, only to suffer yet another setback. With the Wings in relegation danger, Mark Goldberg stepped down as manager and the club welcomed back Jamie Day and Ady Pennock. Day, who led the Wings to National South glory four years ago started his second spell off brilliantly lifting the club up the standings with a perfect record in December. Taking the Manager of the Month award was his last triumph as he joined Gillingham with Pennock.
Now sixteenth the Wings have opened up a seven point gap above the drop zone, but have lost top scorer Adam Coombes to F.A Cup heroes Sutton United. Coombes scored 20 times in the National South before earning his move up a division. Christian Nanetti also left Park View Road signing for Cork City. However, players have came in though with Tom Richards signing from Walton Casuals and two loanees, Vas Karagiannis from Maidstone United and Rhys Murrell-Williamson from Dulwich Hamlet.
Welling United did lose at home on the weekend to mid-table Wealdstone, former Wings player Ricky Wellard netted the winner. Prior defeat to the Stones, two successive 2-2 draws against Bishops Stortford and Weston-super-Mare respectively followed their home match versus East Thurrock United, which they won 2-0.
Head to Head
Welling United wins: 6 / Dartford wins: 17 / Draws: 10
Current League Form
Welling United (LDDWLW)
Lost 0-2 v Wealdstone (H)
Drew 2-2 v Bishops Stortford (A)
Drew 2-2 v Weston-super-Mare (A)
Won 2-0 v East Thurrock United (H)
Lost 2-3 v St Albans City (H)
Won 4-0 v Oxford City (H)
Drew 1-1 v Oxford City
Lost 0-1 v Chelmsford City
Won 4-0 v Gosport Borough (A)
Won 3-1 v Whitehawk (H)
Won 4-0 Wealdstone (A)
Won 3-2 v Eastbourne Borough (A)
Previous Six Meetings
Welling United 2 Dartford 2 (22/11/2016 – Kent Senior Cup)
(Welling United won 4-1 on penalties)
Dartford 2 Welling United 1 (06/09/2016 – National South)
Dartford 3 Welling United 1 (19/10/2015 – Kent Senior Cup)
Dartford 2 Welling United 1 (11/11/2014 – National League)
Welling United 2 Dartford 2 (30/09/2014 – National League)
Welling United 1 Dartford 1 (10/01/2014 – National League)
Dartford have picked up 9 points from 12 in Kent derbies this season.
Including cup competitions the Darts also beat Cray Wanderers, Tonbridge Angels and Dover Athletic taking their win tally to 6 out of 9.
Over 90 minutes, Dartford are unbeaten in six games against Welling United stretching back to Boxing Day 2013.
Dartford’s last league victory against Welling United at Park View Road came in the 1983/84 Southern Premier campaign. The 4-0 win was followed up by a 2-1 triumph at Watling Street and remains the only league double completed in this fixture bewteen the two teams.
On This Day
Thirty years ago, the Darts thrashed King’s Lynn 7-0 in the Southern Premier League during Peter Taylor’s first campaign as Dartford boss. The 28 February was also a lucky day in 1996 and 1998 when the Darts first beat Slade Green 4-1 in the Kent League and two years later defeated Yate Town 5-2 in the Southern Division One South. Ryan Hayes and Rob Haworth, who netted a brace were on hand in 2009’s 3-1 Isthmian Premier league victory over Tooting and Mitcham United and the last fixture on this day was a 1-1 draw with Aldershot Town, Andy Pugh equalised in the National fixture two years ago.