Dartford made the short trip to Park View Road to take on a Welling United side that sat just one point above them at the top of a congested Vanarama National League south table. The visitors would’ve been delighted to see forward Charlie Sheringham fit enough to make the bench after missing their last few games through injury whilst the hosts were looking to secure all three points after a 1-1 draw with Hemel Hempstead last time out.
The game begun as lively as you’d expect a Boxing Day derby to and with just a few minutes on the clock Danny McNamara put in an excellent delivery that ex-Dart Danny Mills couldn’t quite connect with, much to the relief of ‘keeper Bailey Vose.
The hosts certainly edged the encounter in the first period and Mills’ aerial presence, in particular, was starting to cause Dartford problems.
Nassim L’Ghoul, without doubt the star-man of the afternoon, delivered an excellent corner that defender Josh Hill could only nod down into the arms of Vose. L’Ghoul then really should’ve put the hosts ahead midway through the first-half himself, but his glancing header from a Mills cross whistled past Vose’s left post.
Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan’s side couldn’t be faulted for endeavour but lacked quality throughout the contest which was sparked to life by a Mark Onyemah tackle on L’Ghoul that prompted some afters between Mills and Dartford skipper Tom Bonner.
At that stage the sizeable visiting support would’ve been more than happy to hear the referee’s whistle for the interval with United in the ascendency. It didn’t come soon enough though as in the 38th minute the combination of a L’Ghoul corner and the head of Hill did open the scoring as he nestled his header into the bottom right corner.
Half-time: Welling 1-0 Dartford
The Darts had failed to trouble Wings ‘keeper Dan Wilks at all in the first-half and Coyle and Flanagan immediately made an attacking change at the break bringing on Sheringham in place of Jordan Wynter, who looked off the pace.
But again the hosts continued to assert their dominance and silence the visiting support as L’Ghoul left Ben Greenhalgh behind before delivering a cross from the right that Mills, who was aided by Ronnie Vint slipping on the greasy surface, snatched at and ultimately volleyed wide.
Some clever inter-change between Bradley Goldberg and John Paul Kissock created some space for the former to produce a curling effort that was fairly comfortable for a flying Vose to push wide.
Home boss Steve King would’ve been delighted by the fact his side continued their first-half dominance as L’Ghoul was again allowed to run at the Darts defence before producing a low effort that flashed wide.
It took 55 minutes for the Darts to force Wilks into his first save and it was a tame effort at that, Lee Noble failing to connect sweetly with his volley.
Dartford had announced in the week that they’d extended the loan of Andre Coker until the end of the season and it was his introduction that gave the Darts a glimpse of hope in the contest as he finally tested the resolute Welling back-line with his direct running.
The visitors showed a little more quality in the second-half but struggled to get in behind the hosts as the final ball was missing on several occasions – Noble slipping over as he took a free-kick for the visitors encapsulated the afternoon from a Dartford perspective.
Goldberg struck the post from a tight angle after a mazy run by McCallum with the ball eventually falling to an unmarked Mills at the back-post who somehow headed wide from 6 yards out.
He soon made amends as Paul Kissok showed great tenacity to power down the right before producing a cross that forced Vose into a save with the rebound falling into the path of Mills who couldn’t miss to double the hosts’ advantage.
Elliot Bradbrook had a great chance to set-up a nervy finish but he headed wide in the United box following a Greenhalgh cross before Coker struck the post deep into stoppage time following a low effort from 20 yards.
Full-time: Dartford 2-1 Hungerford Town
The home side were full value for the three points as the Darts will go away from this game as a humbled side. They were second best all over the pitch to the hosts who showed real quality when moving the ball in the final third. The visitors have a chance for revenge on New Years Day as they welcome the Wings to Princes Park.
Welling United: Wilks, McNamara, Genousi, Mendy, Hill, Audel, McCallum, Paul-Kissock, Mills, Goldberg, L’Ghoul.
Dartford: Vose, Onyemah, Wynter, Vint, Bonner, Greenhalgh, Noble, Philpot, Bradbrook, Hayes, Johnson.
Man of the match: Danny Mills
Written by Henry Clark (@HenryWAClark)