Lewis Manor netted a brace, but it wasn’t enough as Welling United came from behind twice before clinching a place in the next round of the FA Cup Qualifying stages at the expense of Dartford.
As 1,031 supporters enjoyed the beautiful weather at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park, they were treated to an excellent game of football, as the two local rivals played an open and frantic game.
The visitors created the first opportunity, when Jepthe Tanga forced Mitchell Beeney into a good save in the ninth minute. However, it was the Darts who opened the scoring when Lewis Manor headed home Paul Rooney’s excellent cross (18).
Welling responded well, winning a few corners in quick succession before Tristian Abrahams’s effort took a deflection to fly the wrong side of Beeney’s upright (28). They came even closer sixty seconds later, when a low strike from just inside the box by Cameron Green forced Beeney into a superb save.
The visitors kept on coming, as they searched for an equaliser and, despite the referee (Mr Dean Skipper) ignoring a blatant foul on Paul Rooney, the lively Lewis White sent Tristian Abrahams through with a delicious flick. Abrahams was one-on-one with Mitchell Beeney, but the Dartford goalkeeper won that battle to deny the equaliser (33).
Unfortunately, the pressure eventually paid off for the Wings when Joash Nembhard was adjudged to have fouled Lewis White on the edge of the Dartford box. Antony Papadopoulos took the free-kick and levelled the score before the break.
It was as you were at the start of the second forty-five, as Welling almost edged their noses in front when a neat pass sent Abrahams through… only for Beeney to deal with the danger as casually as you like (47)!
The Dartford number one then became the provider, as his long-ball bounced kindly for Lewis Manor inside the Welling box, and Manor smashed the ball beyond Ben Winterbottom (52).
However, Danny Bloor’s side weren’t done, and they got themselves on top at a crucial moment in the game. As they ploughed forward, dominating the play, they had the Darts on the proverbial ropes and it wasn’t long before they were level once again.
Cameron Green’s driving run was deserving of a goal, yet his initial strike was blocked by a Dartford defender… only for the ball to ricochet into the path of Antony Papadopoulos… who duly drilled home the equaliser in the 63rd minute.
Welling were the first to make a substitution, as they swapped Crossley Lema with Thomas Bramble (65). This would be followed by Kain Adom coming on for Lewis White (89) and Amadou Kassarate replacing Antony Papadopoulos (90+6).
Meanwhile, Alan Dowson made a double change in the 70th minute when Brandon Barzey and Alex Wall came on for James Golding and Charlie Sheringham. That would be followed by Archie Woods making way for Luke Coulson (78).
Returning to the action, the Darts continued to be pressed back by the visitors who were rewarded in the 76th minute via Papadopoulos, who’d bagged his hat-trick.
The Darts tried to respond and force a replay, but Brandon Barzey saw his strike smash back off of Ben Winterbottom’s upright in the 87th minute, before Lewis Manor (88 and 90) and Luke Coulson (90+3) were unable to find the target.
Lewis Manor’s brace and performance earned him the Man of The Match award, but that’ll be of little consolation as Dartford exited the FA Cup early once again.
DARTFORD: Mitchell Beeney, Jordan Wynter, Sam Odaudu, Baris Altintop, Paul Rooney, Lewis Manor, Archie Woods, James Golding, Charlie Sheringham, Joash Nembhard (c), Moussa Diarra.
SUBSTITUTES: Tyrell Miller-Rodney, Luke Coulson, Alex Wall, Brandon Barzey, Ollie Box, Jayden Boulton.
WELLING UNITED: Ben Winterbottom, Crossley Lema, Cameron Green, James Vaughan (c), Dominic Odusanya, Lewis White, Antony Papadopoulos, Jack Burchell, Jepthe Tanga, Tristian Abrahams, Lachlan Byrd.
SUBSTITUTES: Alex MacAllister, Kain Adom, Javarn Pitherson, Thomas Bramble, Amadou Kassarate, David Kamara, Enoch Muwonge.