Dartford can maintain a perfect Kent derby record if they get back to winning ways in the National South at Welling United this weekend.
The Darts have won all five county clashes in league competition this season, but approach Saturday’s trip to Park View Road on the back off two disappointing defeats in the division. The Wings will want to end a seven match winless league run against Dartford and put the heavy loss in November behind them.
Three months ago, at Princes Park, Alan Dowson led his side to a resounding 5-1 win over Welling United. The Darts raced into a three goal half-time lead with Pierre Fonkeu, Davide Rodari and former Wing, Maxwell Statham putting the hosts in command. Rodari has since left Dartford for Worthing where he scored in his first match against his former club last weekend. Ade Azeez, who was donning the black and white shirt last season pulled a goal back for Welling United, but loanee Jack Smith and winger Luke Coulson wrapped up a fine display.
Dartford have won six of their last seven National South games against the Wings and racked up 15 goals in the last three meetings. The Darts visited Park View Road in September 2021 and won convincingly 6-0. Azeez played a part in Dartford’s victory scoring the second and last of the day after Noor Husin put the Darts a goal up. Danny Leonard stretched the lead before the interval, but the visitors didn’t stop there. Luke Allen netted a quickfire double and to round up the afternoon Azeez grabbed his second. The reverse fixture last term finished 4-2 to Dartford when Marcus Dinanga scored twice with Allen and Leonard finding the net against Welling United once more.
Eleven changes were made to the starting lineup on Tuesday night as Dowson gave academy and squad players an opportunity in the London Senior Cup. The decision paid off with several players rested and the Darts progressing to the last eight, beating Metropolitan Police by two goals to nil. Academy players Jade Russell and Sam Archibald were handed debuts whilst Archie Panyi and Olly Box made their first ever appearances from off the substitute bench. Luke Allen returned from injury, Charlie Sheringham from illness, Jernade Meade made his first start since returning to the club and Jamar Loza was named in the starting eleven for the first time. Goals from Keiran Murtagh and an injury time second from Fonkeu sealed a 2-0 win and a passage to the quarter-final. Kristian Campbell and Alex Wall came on as substitutes, the only players involved in the 3-0 loss at Worthing last weekend. Sam Odaudu is still recovering from injury, whilst Tommy Block awaits his debut since joining from Hampton and Richmond Borough.
Wall was red carded in that defeat down in Sussex and will begin a three match suspension putting him out of the Kent derby. However, the damage had already been done with Worthing scoring twice early on, an own goal from Statham was followed up by Ollie Pearce’s strike. Rodari made it 3-0 in the second-half prior to Wall’s dismissal. The loss at Worthing was the second time in a row Dartford conceded three, after a 3-1 defeat at home to Hemel Hempstead Town. Dowson and his side will be determined to end the two-game losing streak in the league, especially now the Darts are six points behind league leaders Ebbsfleet United and with Havant and Waterlooville close behind in third.
As many as six players could be facing their former club on the weekend. Dartford goalkeeper Dan Wilks, defenders Statham and Campbell and striker Sheringham all previously played for the Wings. In the other camp, Azeez scored 18 times for the Darts last season in 45 games before joining Welling United in the summer. Former loanee Rob Howard made seven appearances during the 2019/2020 campaign. Azeez has netted 13 times in all competitions this term at almost a goal every other game, whilst Howard has played ten games for the Wings starting in their last outing.
Manager, Warren Feeney made five changes last weekend for the 1-0 win at Chelmsford City, including handing Kyrell Lisbie and Kodi Lyons-Foster their debut. Stefan Payne returned from suspension and Howard was recalled to the lineup. A penalty scored by Taylor Maloney was the decisive moment as the Wings recorded three points for the first time since their festive double over Tonbridge Angels. Leading up to the excellent win at the Melbourne Stadium, Welling United lost 4-2 in their last home game against Dulwich Hamlet and 3-2 at Worthing. Feeney’s side are sitting in mid-table ten points adrift from the playoffs and eleven clear of the relegation zone.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 25 / Welling United wins: 10 / Draws: 11
Current League Form
|Hemel Hempstead Town||H||1-3||Dulwich Hamlet||H||2-4|
|Ebbsfleet United||H||4-0||Tonbridge Angels||H||2-1|
|Ebbsfleet United||A||4-1||Tonbridge Angels||A||1-0|
|Havant & Waterlooville||A||3-1||Farnborough||H||1-2|
Last Six Meetings
Dartford 5 – 1 Welling United (01/11/2022 – National South)
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)
- Dartford have won on their last two trips to Park View Road with an aggregate score of 9-0. The Darts had only scored 12 in their previous nine visits there.
- In all competitions Dartford have lost just once in the last 18 meetings with Welling United in normal time (W11, D6)
- In three of the last four seasons in which the two sides played twice in the league, Dartford have scored seven or more goals against Welling United
On This Day
First-half strikes from Ryan Hayes and Tom Murphy and Andy Pugh’s goal on the hour helped Dartford to a 3-1 home win against Whitehawk on this day. The Darts lost their last away game on 4 February in a Kent derby with Tonbridge Angels, the final score was 1-0 in the Southern League Division One East back in 2003. The last away day victory on this day was back in 1995 when Dartford beat Canterbury City 2-0 in the Kent League. The biggest win on 4 February came in a London Combination Second Division fixture in 1933 when the Darts beat Guildford City 7-1.