Dartford v Welling United
Dartford emphatically made it a festive double against rivals Welling as substitute Alfie Pavey once again emerged from the bench to wreak havoc on his former side on New Year’s Day.
Goals from Ryan Hayes and Andy Pugh, either side of a strike from Elliot Romain, earned the Darts a slender lead.
Just as he had done on Boxing Day, Pavey came off the bench to take his tally for the season to 18 goals with a late brace.
Welling are now seven league games without a victory in National League South, with their last win coming in early November.
It took the home side less than 20 minutes to strike first. Pugh, showing great desire to win the ball ahead of Jack Parkinson, set Hayes driving at the Welling defence who cut inside and unleashed a fierce effort that went beyond keeper Ryan Sandford.
As was the case with both sides on Boxing Day, the lead didn’t last long, and Romain had hauled the away side level after five minutes.
Christian Nanetti’s left-wing cross was inch-perfect and Romain had the simple task of nodding home from close range.
The Darts looked to regain their advantage instantly and Sandford was forced into producing a sensational save to turn away a close-range effort from Pugh.
Dartford kept pressing and soon had their reward six minutes before the break. A nice give and go between Hayes and Danny Harris and the latter’s pull-back was converted on the slide by Pugh.
Dartford should have made it 3-1 through Danny Mills but the forward couldn’t find a way past Sanford. First, heading wide from close range before the keeper spread himself brilliantly to twart him at the near post.
Welling almost punished Dartford for failing to take advantage of their dominance with Deren Ibrahim having to be at his absolute best to deny Joe Healy’s fizzing 20-yard left-foot drive.
Ronnie Vint then produced a wondeful goal-saving tackle on Romain after Tom Bradbrook had rounded Ibrahim before the centre-half followed that up with a heroic block after a corner found its way to Healy.
Dartford needed to kill the game and once again Tony Burman turned to Pavey who wrapped up the points with 17 minutes to go. Elliot Bradbrook’s header cannoned back off the bar and Pavey reacted quickest to nod home the loose ball.
Full of confidence, Pavey had soon made it 4-1 five minutes later, displaying great strength to hold off Parkinson before sending a low shot that Sandford couldn’t get down quick enough to keep out.
The result keeps the Darts top of the National League South on 45 points, but only five points ahead of Hemel Hempstead Town down in seventh in the hotly-contested race for promotion.
Dartford: Ibrahim, Harris, Onyemah, Bonner, Vint, Collier, Hayes (Della-Verde 84mins), E Bradbrook, Mills (Pavey 68mins), Pugh (Ofori-Acheampong 81mins), Murphy.
Subs not used: Sho-Silva, Coxall.
Welling: Sandford, Driver, Jefford (Durojaiye 79mins), Dymond, Coyle, Parkinson, Monakana (Jebb 86mins), Healy, Romain, T Bradbrook, Nanetti (Goldberg 70mins).
Subs not used: Francis, Phipps.
Man of the Match: Ryan Hayes
|January 1, 2018||3:00 pm||National League South||2017/2018||90'|