Dartford could move to the top of the table if they win their rescheduled Kent derby against Welling United on Tuesday night.
The Darts moved to within two points of league leaders and local rivals Ebbsfleet United on the weekend extending their unbeaten run in the National South to nine. Victory will guarantee top spot for at least 24 hours and the Darts will remain at the summit if Havant and Waterlooville inflict a first defeat of the season on Ebbsfleet United on Wednesday evening.
Dartford are seven without defeat against the Wings and eight unbeaten at Princes Park in all competitions. However, Welling United will desperately want to undo that record with a win, potentially moving back in to the playoff places.
Fortunes have changed for Alan Dowson’s side, when this fixture was scheduled originally the Darts had just lost a fourth league game in five. Whilst, Welling United were in sixth place having won four of their last five. The form table has turned for Dartford as they have not lost in the league since the defeat at Chippenham Town in early September. In the opposite dugout Welling United boss, Warren Feeney has seen just two victories since the 5-0 triumph versus Oxford City, beating Eastbourne Borough before going six without a win until the weekend when they beat Hungerford Town.
Dowson made two changes to the side that beat Slough Town a week ago when they faced bottom side Weymouth on Saturday. Tom Bonner returned after be rested as a precaution, the captain took the place of Keiran Murtagh. Whilst the match winner in the 2-1 win over Slough Town, Pierre Fonkeu started ahead of Marvin Herschel. The Darts secured a ninth league win in eleven with a 3-0 victory over the Terras. Joshua Johnson scored from a delightful long range effort on his home debut and Alex Wall came off the bench to claim a brace and double his tally for the season in all competitions. The fourth consecutive league victory at home was also Dartford’s biggest score this term.
The Darts boss stated that the performance was “alright”, he spoke to Dartford FC TV after the game and said: “It was a good win with three goals, but I don’t think it was that margin to be honest”, he added: “We were probably losing them games earlier on the season, but it was just alright”. Looking ahead to the Tuesday evening derby, Dowson commented: “They have a decent team on paper, but we have as well so we look forward to the game. A local derby and it’s only round the corner, it’s what you’re here for really. That’s the games I like and I’m sure the players like it and we’re in a good position. We look forward to the game”.
Dartford did the league double over the Wings last term and knocked them out of the Kent Senior Cup on penalties. At Princes Park, the Darts had to show their character to come from behind twice after Afolabi Akinyemi scored both of Welling United’s goals. Marcus Dinanga netted his first for the Darts to make it all square at 1-1 and Danny Leonard restored parity after Dartford fell behind again. Luke Allen enjoyed this fixture last season scoring the third at home, the midfielder also found the net at Park View Road. Dinanga went on to complete the 4-2 win with his second of the afternoon.
It was much more convincing earlier in the season when Dartford recorded an impressive away victory. Azeez scored a brace against his future employers and Allen also scored twice. Noor Husin and Leonard were the other scorers that day in a resounding 6-0 win. Towards the end of the campaign the two sides were drawn against each other in the Kent Senior Cup semi-final. Again, Welling United led with both goals from Henry Burnett, but Jordan Greenidge and Jake Robinson last minute penalty forced spot kicks which the Darts won 5-3.
Several players are likely to face their old team in this local derby. Statham signed for the Darts this summer from Welling United, whilst Kristian Campbell moved from Park View Road to Princes Park during last season. Charlie Sheringham scored 19 in 39 games way back in 2008/2009 for Welling United before his first spell with Dartford in 2010/2011. Goalkeeper, Dan Wilks was also at Welling United previously, but an ankle injury means he has not played since late August.
Meanwhile, Ade Azeez who scored 18 times for Dartford last season is now part of the Wings strike force and returns to Princes Park for the first time. The forward has scored seven league goals so far this campaign including a hat-trick against Oxford City. Rob Howard had a brief spell on loan in late 2019 making seven appearances, he could also face his former club.
The Wings have had a reliable start to their campaign, but have yet to taste victory against a side in the current top six. Welling United picked up one point in their opening two fixtures then went on a solid run of five wins in six outings. A number of draws, including stalemates in Kent derbies against Dover Athletic and Ebbsfleet United as well as at home to high fliers Havant and Waterlooville, and defeats against St Albans City and Braintree Town has seen the Wings drop out of the playoffs.
However, the Wings were back to winning ways on Saturday beating Hungerford Town 1-0 at Park View Road. Devonte Aransibia’s penalty was decisive and despite Amadou Kassarate’s late sending off Welling United held on. Despite what Feeney called a ‘flat’ first-half, the Wings dominated in the second forty five but only managed one goal. The Wings boss spoke to www.wellingunited.com post match ahead of their clash with the Darts and said: “We respect everyone we play, but for me it is just another game of football. It’s a local derby but we have got to make sure we take confidence from today (win against Hungerford Town) and give the fans something to cheer about”.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 24 / Welling United wins: 10 / Draws: 11
Current League Form
|Slough Town||A||2-1||Braintree Town||A||1-4|
|St Albans City||A||1-1||Ebbsfleet United||A||1-1|
|Tonbridge Angels||H||2-0||St Albans City||H||0-2|
|Dulwich Hamlet||A||2-1||Hampton and Richmond||A||1-1|
|Hungerford Town||H||2-0||Dover Athletic||H||1-1|
Last Six Meetings
Welling United 2 – 2 Dartford (26/04/2022 – Kent Senior Cup)*
Dartford 4 – 2 Welling United (05/02/2022 – National South)
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 won 5-3 on penalties
- Dartford have lost just one of their last 17 against Welling United in all competitions (W10, D6)
- The Darts are unbeaten in the last eight games at home against the Wings (W7, D1) in all competitions
- The Darts have won by an aggregate score of 10-2 against Welling United last season eclipsing the previous best of 7-0 in the 2019/2020 campaign
- Dartford have kept four clean sheets in the last six league fixtures against Welling United
- The Wings have only won three times in 21 attempts when visiting Dartford (D4, L14)
On This Day
Cody McDonald hit a Princes Park hat-trick in the F.A Trophy on this day in 2008. The striker still didn’t end up on the winning team though as the Darts drew 3-3 with Oxford City. Dartford have to go back to 1975 for their last victory on 1 November. Months after visiting Wembley in the F.A Trophy final they returned to the area to beat Wembley 1-0 in a F.A Cup fourth qualifying round tie. Since then, the Darts have drawn three and lost two on this day. The last time Dartford played on 1 November was eight years ago when they fell to a 3-0 away defeat at Grimsby Town in the National League.