Dartford are back in mid week action with their first Kent derby of the season against Welling United.
Recovering from their disappointment at Hampton and Richmond Borough, the Darts drew 0-0 with league leaders Maidenhead United on the weekend. Tony Burman was pleased with his team’s response, helped by a third home clean sheet in a row to keep their unbeaten run at Princes Park intact.
Burman told www.kentonline.co.uk after the game: “After Monday we kept a clean sheet, defensively we were a lot better”, he added: “I just feel that we’ve got to keep listening and working hard and encouraging the good performances, and the quality there is in the team”.
Ronnie Vint was ruled out again when officials felt his cast on his wrist was not suitable. To add to the injury concerns, Keaton Wood was substituted after a quarter of an hour and Lee Noble missed out entirely.
Welling United have started life back in the National South poorly up until the weekend. With a few changes in the squad, the Wings breezed to a 5-0 win away to Concord Rangers. Their first victory of the campaign was helped by Adam Coombes’ second half hat-trick.
Recently, the Darts spent two seasons with the Wings in the National League until relegation to the National South two years ago. Whilst Welling United stayed in the top flight of non league for another year, they soon followed when they finished bottom last term.
In those two campaigns both sides have shared a win as well as two draws. The last meeting in 2014 ended with Dartford on top in a 2-1 victory at Princes Park. Max Cornhill and Harry Crawford gave Tony Burman’s side a two goal advantage but late on Welling United rallied. After Jake Gallagher’s dismissal, Harry Beautyman halved the deficit for the ten men. The Wings ended the evening with only nine when Chris Bush was also sent off.
Welling United won by the same score almost a year earlier at Princes Park coming from a goal down. Lee Burns had Dartford ahead by half time but late goals from Ross Lafayette and a winner from Kurtis Guthrie stunned the home crowd. The two away fixtures at Park View Road, one of Dartford’s former homes ended in a 1-1 and 2-2 draw.
The two clubs also spent a couple of season’s at National South level between 2010 and 2012. Coincidentally both teams shared a win and two draws in that time as well. At home the Darts drew 1-1 and won 1-0 but lost 2-1 and drew 1-1 away.
Including two Kent Senior Cup victories each in the last ten years then it’s difficult to split the two sides on head to head record. However, a Playoff final triumph for Dartford in 2012 gives the Darts the slightest of edges.
Since last season’s relegation, the Wings made plenty of changes in the summer yet they have struggled to recover. Former Bromley boss, Mark Goldberg has been unable to recreate his success in the non league management so far. Goldberg took Bromley up to the National League as champions but life at Welling United has been tougher. Even after a summer of change the Wings manager has already brought in three more players and let two others leave.
One face familiar to the Darts is striker Harry Crawford. The 24 year old now plays for the Wings and after leaving Princes Park has struggled to settle down. At Dartford he impressed in his debut season scoring 16 goals in 32 games to earn a move to Football League side Barnet. Crawford returned on loan before re-joining the Darts for the 2014/15 campaign where he scored seven in 39 appearances. The Irishman has since had spells with Boreham Wood, St Albans City and Dover Athletic before signing for Welling United this summer.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 16 / Welling United wins: 6 / Draws: 9
Current League Form (last six games)
Drew 0-0 v Maidenhead United (H)
Lost 1-4 v Hampton and Richmond Borough (A)
Won 2-0 v Hungerford Town (H)
Won 2-1 v Weston-super-Mare (A)
Drew 0-0 v Gosport Borough (H)
Drew 1-1 v Chelmsford City (A)
Won 5-0 v Concord Rangers (A)
Lost 0-2 v Chelmsford City (H)
Drew 1-1 v Truro City(A)
Lost 0-1 v St Albans City (H)
Drew 1-1 v East Thurrock United (A)
Lost 0-2 v Weston-super-Mare (H)
Previous Six Meetings
Dartford 3 Welling United 1 (19/10/2015)
Dartford 2 Welling United 1 (11/11/2014)
Welling United 2 Dartford 2 (30/09/2014)
Welling United 1 Dartford 1 (10/01/2014)
Dartford 1 Welling United 2 (26/12/2013)
Welling United 2 Dartford 3 (03/09/2013)
Dartford are unbeaten in their last four games against Welling United and have only tasted defeat once in the last ten.
The Darts have scored in each of their last 12 meetings versus Welling United. The last time the Dartford failed to score was ten years ago in a 3-0 Kent Senior Cup loss. In league football the scoring run goes back to 1983 spanning ten league matches.
Dartford have gone six matches without a clean sheet against the Wings, the last clean sheet was in the 1-0 National South playoff final win in 2012.
On This Day
Rarely has their been a Dartford match on 6 September, although the last one was only two years ago. The Darts travelled to Altrincham for the first time in nearly thirty years only to lose 2-1. Newly promoted as National North champions, Damian Reeves scored a brace before Elliot Bradbrook pulled one back. The last victory on this day came in 1989 when the Darts beat Corby Town 2-1 in the Southern Premier League.
Match Preview written by Stuart Maidment