Dartford v Welling United
Dartford’s excellent form continued, as they put five goals past a shambolic Welling United side in front of 1,711 supporters at a wet Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park.
A relatively even start soon turned into a dominant display for the Darts, as they grasped a firm grip on proceedings within minutes. And it didn’t take long for the hosts to turn that domination into a goal, as the in-form Pierre Fonkeu lashed home the opener after just eleven minutes.
The goal arrived via a corner, which Luke Coulson had whipped into the danger area. Goalkeeper, Kyle McKenzie-Lyle managed to make the initial save from Fonkeu’s first attempt, but was helpless to do anything about the winger’s close-range strike from the rebound.
Such was the hosts’ dominance, even the disappearance of skipper Tom Bonner failed to present Welling with any progress up the pitch! Having received treatment following a clash (22), which also required the “blood shirt” to replace his usual one, Bonner returned to action (24), just in time for his side to double their advantage.
This time it was Davide Rodari’s turn to grab a goal, as McKenzie-Lyle seemed to be having a rough time of it between the Welling sticks. Josh Johnson’s initial strike forced the goalkeeper into making a save, but he failed to keep hold of it, and Rodari pounced to roll the ball home into an empty net (28).
The visitors tried to respond, but as the rain intensified, their efforts on the pitch were littered with errors… some forced by Dartford’s high-press, others unforced…! And, with six minutes remaining until the half-time break, Maxwell Statham was on hand to stretch the lead to three.
The defender’s goal duly arrived following Luke Coulson’s corner, which found the boot of Statham just inside the far side of the box. He put his laces through it, and it flew through a sea of bodies and into the back of the net (39).
At that point, the visitors appeared to discover their wings and they had arguably one of their best spells of the game. They came close twice during the closing stages, with Connor Essam’s timely block preventing Ade Azeez from pulling a goal back (44), before Joe Young made a great save from a good strike from Jamie Sendles-White (45).
The start of the second-half saw the visitors make a double change, as Antony Papadopoulos and Devonte Aransibia made way for Amadou Kassarate and Jay Simpson (46).
And, after 53 minutes they were seemingly gifted a way back into the game. As fortune favours the brave, Ade Azeez charged towards Joe Young, who misjudged things and kicked the ball straight at the former Dart. The ball ricocheted off Azeez and, out of nothing, Welling had a lifeline.
The visitors tried to take it too and were suddenly on top for a brief period… their second good spell of the game… Their opportunity arrived on the hour, but Joe Young redeemed himself with an excellent save to prevent Sendles-White from pulling another goal back (60).
That was the moment when the pendulum duly swung back towards the hosts and parity was soon restored.
The Darts attacked, McKenzie-Lyle ran out to head the ball clear, only to send it straight into the path of Jack Smith! Naturally, the Dartford midfielder couldn’t believe his luck as he sent a delightful lob into the back of the net (62).
McKenzie-Lyle did redeem himself a little while afterwards, as he made a good save to prevent Coulson’s free-kick from going in… However, there was an element of fortune involved once again because the loose ball fell to Josh Johnson. Unfortunately, the Dartford number 23 could only watch as his effort ricocheted wide of the Welling post (68).
Alan Dowson’s only change in personnel came in the 81st minute, as Alex Wall replaced Davide Rodari, before the hosts sealed the win with another fine goal.
The goal came from an excellent counter-attack along their right-flank, whereby Alex Wall found Luke Coulson with a neat ball, and the Dartford number seven fired home to clip Welling’s wings for good.
The result sees local bragging rights remain in the hands of Tom Bonner and Co while, more importantly, the Darts move to the summit of the National League South table. The captain was handed the Man of The Match award afterwards, in what must have been a difficult choice after such an excellent team performance in front of the home faithful.
DARTFORD: Joe Young, Jordan Wynter, Connor Essam, Tom Bonner (c), Luke Coulson, Davide Rodari, Maxwell Statham, Jack Smith, Pierre Fonkeu, Sam Odaudu, Josh Johnson.
SUBSTITUTES: Dan Wilks, Alex Wall, Keiran Murtagh, Charlie Sheringham, Marvin Herschel.
WELLING UNTIED: Kyle McKenzie-Lyle, Chi Ezennolim, Manny Parry, Sam Cox, Yaser Kazim, Antony Papadopoulos, Sid Nelson, Ade Azeez, Devonte Aransibia, James Dunne, Jamie Sendles-White
SUBSTITUTES: Amadou Kassarate, Cameron Andrews, Thomas Dickens, Jay Simpson, Taylor Mahoney.
|November 1, 2022||7:45 pm||National League South||2022/23||0'|