A third consecutive Kent derby for the Darts could see them complete a double over Welling United against a former player manager this weekend.

Over the last week Dartford have beaten Tonbridge Angels as well as local rivals Ebbsfleet United and now face Peter Taylor and his Welling United side. The current Wings boss wasn’t in charge when the Darts hammered the Wings on their own patch 6-0 back in September. To add extra spice in the dugout, Steve King will also face one of his former clubs, who he led to the playoff final in May 2019 before moving to Dartford five months later.

Dartford were fast out of the blocks in the reverse fixture at Park View Road, Noor Husin finishing a well worked move in the opening minutes of the game. Dan Roberts set up Ade Azeez midway through the first half and when Danny Leonard scored his first league goal for the club, the Darts were three up before half-time. Dartford’s excellent combination play continued and a two-minute brace from Luke Allen stretched the lead to five and there was still time for Azeez to grab his second in the rout.

Highlights of Dartford’s win against Welling United in September courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Allen was also on the scoresheet in the last meeting between the two sides at Princes Park. In Steve Lovells first game in charge at Welling United almost a year ago, the Wings went two up through former Dart, Lyle Della-Verde and a penalty converted by Anthony Cook. It took a spell of five second-half minutes for the Darts to level when Allen started the comeback and Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong completed it, denying the Wings their first win at Dartford since Boxing Day 2013. Lovell left the Wings five days before the 6-0 drubbing earlier this season. 

Much of King’s success at Welling United was built on excellent home form, something the Dartford boss is recreating this season. The Darts approached their rescheduled North Kent derby at home to Ebbsfleet United on the back of a 15 game unbeaten run at Princes Park in all competitions this term. Danny Leonard maintained his place in the side despite being taken off against Tonbridge Angels with a head injury, Ade Azeez was absent after he looked to have picked up an injury in the same game, Jernade Meade and Connor Essam are also nursing injuries. Jake Robinson and Luke Allen returned to the starting eleven and Marcus Dinanga made his Dartford debut. The 24-year-old has already played for Altrincham in the National North and has also had a loan spell at Kidderminster Harriers.

Watch Dartford’s victory over Ebbsfleet United – Dartford FC TV

Jake Robinson scored a first half winner by getting on the end of Kai Innocent’s cross to take him to nine league goals. The striker has now scored 11 in his last 13 appearances in all competitions, and could have added another with a glorious chance just before the half hour mark. Former Dart, Elliott Romain was replaced by Dominic Poleon at half-time, the striker should have scored early in the second half and came close again later on for the Fleet. The visitors piled on the pressure looking for the equaliser and after making all their substitutes Joe Martin went off injured leaving the Fleet down to ten men for the final 15 minutes. Dartford’s excellent performance was rewarded with a 1-0 win to extend the unbeaten home run to 16.

Former Welling United centre back, Josh Hill will not get to face his old side as he is out for the rest of the season. However, Dan Wilks and Jack Jebb are likely to feature, the pair were down at Park View Road during Steve King’s reign there. George Porter is another of the Darts to return to his former home. 

Welling United manager, Peter Taylor had one of the most successful spells in Dartford’s history between July 1986 and 1990. Whilst player manager he made 253 appearances and scored 94 goals. He led the Darts to two Southern League runner up finishes, two Southern League Cup titles and reached the F.A Trophy semi-finals twice. After managing the Darts, Taylor was one of the most successful England under 21 managers, famously took charge of the England senior team for a game giving David Beckham the captain’s armband and has gained vast amounts of experience with various Football League clubs.

Highlights of the last time Dartford hosted Welling United courtesy of Dartford FC TV

Since taking charge of Welling United, the Wings have recorded five league victories and three draws from 17 games. Five points clear of Braintree Town below them, Welling United have earned enough points to close the gap on teams above them, only goal difference separates them with Tonbridge Angels and Chelmsford City are only two points better off. Yet to beat a top five team this term, Taylor’s side have been picking up points against their direct competitors down at the bottom.

However, they did have a chance to put more distance between themselves and Braintree Town in their last outing over ten days ago, but the game finished 2-2. The Iron were even two up with the first goal coming fortuitously, Welling United goalkeeper Jack Sims punched the ball against Braintree Town’s Matt Johnson and into the net. Kyran Clements got on the end of a long throw to double the Iron’s lead, but the Wings fought back. Two headers one from Dipo Akinyemi and the other by Aaron Barnes made sure the points were shared. Welling United also had an opportunity to pass Chelmsford City in the National South standings three weeks ago, this time the game ended scoreless. 

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 23 / Welling United wins: 10 / Draws: 10

Current League Form

Dartford
(LDDDWW)
    Welling United
(LWLDLD)
   
Ebbsfleet United H 1-0 Braintree Town A 2-2
Tonbridge Angels A 3-2 Oxford City H 0-1
Concord Rangers H 0-0 Chelmsford City A 0-0
Hampton and Richmond H 2-2 St Albans City H 2-3
Dulwich Hamlet H 1-1 Dulwich Hamlet A 1-0
Ebbsfleet United A 0-1 Maidstone United A 1-4

Previous Meetings (last six)

Welling United 0 – 6 Dartford (25/09/2021 – National South)
Dartford 2 – 2 Welling United (06/02/2021 – National South)
Dartford 4 – 0 Welling United (01/01/2020 – National South)
Welling United 0 – 3 Dartford (26/12/2019 – National South)
Dartford 1 – 0 Welling United (01/01/2019 – National South)
Welling United 2 – 0 Dartford (26/12/2018 – National South)

Stats

  • Dartford have lost just once in their last 15 matches against Welling United, winning nine and drawing five
  • The Darts are seven home games unbeaten versus the Wings winning six in a row before the draw in February last year
  • Dartford have kept four clean sheets in the last five fixtures against Welling United
  • The Wings have only won three times in 20 attempts when visiting Dartford

On This Day

Ronnie Vint’s 97th minute winner on a Tuesday night at the Kingfield sparked jubilant celebrations three years ago. The academy graduated who recently moved to Dulwich Hamlet headed the winner as the Darts recorded their first ever away win against Woking. Eleven years ago, Datford fans embarked on the long journey to the North East, but came home defeated as their side went out of the F.A Trophy losing to Gateshead 3-0 in the third round. Future Dartford legend, Lee Noble impressed Tony Burman in a 2-2 draw with Brentwood Town in 2008. The midfielder scored the equaliser against the Darts after Brendon Cass and John Guest had put Dartford 2-1 up. Since reforming, Dartford’s only two home matches on this day have resulted in comfortable victories. Tonbridge Angels were beaten 3-0 in the 1999/2000 Southern League South season and Crockenhill defeated 4-1 in the Kent League back in 1994.