Dartford begin the New Year top of the National South and will look to maintain their position in the league when they host Welling United.
The New Year’s Day clash comes just six days after the Darts recorded a dramatic victory against the Wings in the reverse fixture. A spectacular injury time winner by former Welling United striker, Alfie Pavey decided the local derby in style.
In fact, the 3-2 victory was full of ex-players coming back to haunt their club. The scoring was opened on just three minutes by an unmarked Andy Pugh, after a cross from Ryan Hayes. The former Welling United frontman then made it 2-0 ten minutes into the second half, again Hayes supplying the cross for Pugh to tap home.
Welling United hit back with thirteen minutes to go when former Dart, Callum Driver scored a free-kick from just outside the area. Then Dartford threw their two-goal advantage away when captain Elliot Bradbrook upended brother Tom, another ex-Dart, to concede a penalty. Up stepped Jeffrey Monakana to level the score with just three minutes on the clock. In the third minute of injury time Pavey produced a moment to saviour as he scissor-kicked the winner in front of the jubilant away following.
Dartford’s first win against the Wings at Park View Road since 1983 secured top spot at the end of 2017. Victory ensured the Darts have a two-point cushion over Havant and Waterlooville and Chelmsford City, although both sides have a game in hand.
After the Boxing Day fixture, both managers spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk to give their reaction, Tony Burman commented: “I think we deserved to win the game. When we went 2-0 up we had a couple of other opportunities to increase the lead”, he added: “We were dead and buried when it went 2-2. We gave away two silly fouls and they’ve scored from a free-kick and a penalty. Defensively I thought we were reasonable but something like that changes things”.
Burman also justified his recent team selections specifically the games that top scorer and match winner Alfie Pavey has missed through a chest infection, he commented: “Believe you me, I will make him a lot better than what he is doing. He has got my belief and regardless of whether he has been playing or not, I’ve got to manage him in the way I think is right”, he added: “He is a young, good lad who has done ever so well for us. He has had some problems in the last month and I’m going to manage them problems the best way I can”.
Welling United player manager, Jamie Coyle was disappointed with defeat but pleased with the character shown by his players, and the improvement made after the 4-1 loss against Chelmsford City, he said: “After what happened on Saturday, we could have crumbled after going 1-0 down so early”, he continued: “We stuck at it, and I thought all over the pitch we more than competed and were the better team for the majority of the game. In both boxes, they defended really well and put their chances away”.
Coyle, another former Dart was unable to play due to illness despite looking forward to the fixture. Meanwhile, Bradley Goldberg was substituted at half-time due to an injury to his hamstring.
With Dartford in pole position going into the New Year, Burman feels his squad can kick on after decent performances against Boreham Wood, Braintree Town and now Welling United, he said: “We’re pleased with where we are. We realise we want to kick-start the season and we might just do that with what happened at the end of the Welling United game, he continued: “We know we’ve got to be professional and consistent and get four or five wins on the bounce. If we do that then that group (at the top of the league) will get smaller and it will help us hopefully to pull away from them”.
Head to Head
Welling United wins: 7 / Dartford wins: 18 / Draws: 10
Current League Form
|Dartford (WDLWDW)||Welling United (LLLDDW)|
|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|
|Gloucester City||H||4-1||St Albans City||A||2-1|
It’s been 16 years since the Darts won on New Year’s Day when they beat Sittingbourne 5-2 in the Southern League Division One East. Since then, Dartford have lost five out of six and drew the other, including the defeat to Welling United in 2011.
Dartford have won four of the last five matches against the Wings at Princes Park.
If selected, Andy Pugh will make his 100th start for Dartford.
In 2017, Dartford collected 85 points in 44 games averaging at 1.93 points per game. Only on one occasion would that points average be enough to win the National South. Bromley won the title in 2014/15 with 77 points from 40 games.
On This Day
Dartford have won one New Year’s Day fixture since reforming and that was the 5-2 victory against Sittingbourne in 2001. That was the start of seven away days in a row on this day which has resulted in one draw and five defeats. The draw came in 2013 against Ebbsfleet United when the Darts conceded a last minute equaliser. Jon Wallis scored a free kick before Harry Crawford doubled the lead, Nathan Elder netted both goals for the Fleet. The last home match at home on the 1 January was in 1999, which saw Dartford draw 0-0 with Margate in the Southern League South Division and five years before that the Darts lost 3-2 at home to Alma Swanley.
DATE: Monday 1st January 2018
VENUE: Princes Park, Grassbanks, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1RT
KICK OFF: 3:00pm
TURNSTILES: Open from 12:30pm
Youth (13-17) : £5
Children ( u12) :£2
Under 5 : FREE
SEATING: Seating is available on a first come first served basis in certain areas of the stadium.
FACILITIES: Bar and food open from 12:30am
PARKING: Parking is free of charge in the clubs car park but is a first come first served basis.
MATCH SPONSOR: JPS Clarity –
JPS Clarity is a company with family values, providing deals that are always straight forward with no additional costs or clauses. We are a local business that wants to stay true its roots by trying to provide and support equipment for other local businesses. We have offices in Swanley, Crayford and Chatham to cover Kent, Essex, London, Surrey and Sussex. We want to make sure we are always competitively priced and also give our local clients excellent service that larger companies seem to lack as they grow too large.
Our objective is simple: to provide a cost analysis of your current equipment which includes the total running cost of your equipment and to provide options for you to consider that tailors the equipment to your needs. We specialise in providing networked or standalone photocopiers, IT support / equipment and networking and telephone systems. We offer everything from rental, leases and purchases and being independent we can choose the correct equipment at this current time and work with the equipment that is better for future proofing and to be more reliable. As the reliability of equipment is a large factor to problems occurring or not receiving a satisfactory service.
We will tailor any deal to work within your budget and to make sure you have the right equipment for the duration of the contract.
ASSOCIATE MATCH SPONSOR:
On the 23rd May 1967, Jack Coxedge took over this shop and began trading as J Coxedge. Paul Coxedge gave up his job to work along side his Dad. Sadly Jack Coxedge passed away in 1977 but Paul has been working ever since and this year marks his 50th year trading.
Generations of families have used our shop over the years. We have seen children grow up, who are now bringing in their children. We have been at the heart of the stone community for all these years.
We would like to thank all of our customers as without you all coming into our shop, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve this milestone.
If you haven’t heard of us, we are a family run traditional fish and chip shop and shellfish specialists. We can cater for small or large parties and our shellfish platters are a great addition to a party buffet.
MATCH UPDATES: Available on Twitter @dartfordfc and on website www.dartfordfc.com