Dartford’s last game on the road this year takes place on Boxing Day when they visit local rivals Welling United in the National South.
The Darts’ last Kent derby ended Alan Dowson’s near perfect league record against fellow county opponents. Prior defeat at Tonbridge Angels, the Wings were the only Kent side to have taken points from Dartford since Dowson’s appointment in a draw ten months ago.
In that game, Welling United had the better of the first half with former Dart, Ade Azeez hitting the post. Just before the break George Alexander, now at Dartford scored on his Wings debut. A better second half showing for the Darts saw Charlie Sheringham equalise against his former club. However, the hosts were back in front when Azeez smashed a shot in off the underside of the crossbar. The points were shared when substitute Malachai Napa made an impact by curling home the equaliser.
Dartford were dominant in the reverse fixture last season. At Princes Park the Darts ran out 5-1 winners. Pierre Fonkeu and Davide Rodari scored to set up a fine performance for the hosts. Former Welling United defender added a third before half-time. Azeez may have pulled a goal back for the visitors, but Jack Smith and Luke Coulson wrapped up a resounding victory.
Boxing Day will be the second time Dowson’s side have faced Welling United this term. The pair were drawn out in the F.A Cup second qualifying round three months ago. The Wings progressed with a 3-2 win and their first triumph at Princes Park in almost ten years. Antony Papadopoulos grabbed the headlines with a hat-trick. Dartford took the lead twice through Lewis Manor though, but the Wings fought back before netting a winner fifteen minutes to go.
In the last dozen visits to Park View Road, the Darts have lost just once in normal time. However, seven of those meetings have ended all square including the last two. Four of Dartford’s trips to DA16 have been on Boxing Day. The most memorable of those a last minute 3-2 victory in 2017 in which Alfie Pavey scored a stunner. Most recently, four years ago Dartford won 3-0 courtesy of Darren McQueen and Elliot Romain. The Wings won the 2018 fixture 2-0, whilst back in 2011 it finished 1-1.
Yet Dartford approach this Kent derby having lost their last two, conceding seven without reply. After the 4-0 loss at Tonbridge Angels, Dowson made two changes to the side that faced St Albans City at home. Tyrell Miller-Rodney and Luke Coulson were back in the starting eleven. Once again, the Saints were thankful for Shaun Jeffers scoring against the Darts. His strike with twenty minutes remaining opened up the hosts, the visitors went on to win 3-0.
Slipping to eighteenth in the division, Dartford are now six points off the playoffs and the relegation zone. Dowson will need to find a way to instill some confidence in his players over a crucial period for his side’s season.
There are now three Kent clubs in the bottom seven and Welling United are one of those. The Wings suffered a heavy loss at Bath City on the weekend to leave them third from bottom and five points from safety. Only Havant and Waterlooville have conceded more goals than Danny Bloor’s team this term, the Wings have let in two or more six of their last seven outings.
|Welling United (LWLDLL)
|St Albans City
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 25 / Welling United wins: 11 / Draws: 12
Dartford 2 – 3 Welling United (15/09/2023 – F.A Cup)
Welling United 2 – 2 Dartford (04/02/2023 – National South)
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)
* – Welling United won 5-3 on penalties
- Dartford are unbeaten in eight league games against Welling United (W6, D2)
- The Darts are unbeaten in their last three league games at Park View Road (W2, D1)
- Dartford have lost just once in their last nine league visits (W3, D5)
On This Day
Dartford have won five of their last six Boxing Day matches with only Welling United beating them in 2018. A year ago, the Darts went to Stonebridge Road and thrashed eventual champions Ebbsfleet United. It sealed a first North West Kent derby victory away at the Fleet since 1979. Luke Allen scored after 45 seconds to set the tone, Luke Coulson doubled the lead on five minutes and Maxwell Statham added a third with just eleven on the clock. Alex Wall netted just before the break and there was still time for Ebbsfleet United to get off the mark prior half-time.
The last home game on this day was also against Ebbsfleet United in 2016. Tom Bonner and Duane Ofori-Acheampong put the Darts in command. Craig Tanner halved the deficit for Fleet, but Dartford held out for a 2-1 triumph. The three fixtures between the two clashes with Ebbsfleet United were against Welling United.
This will be Dartford’s 79th Boxing Day game and their 51st at home. In total the Darts have won 30, drawn 21 and lost 25. Two fixtures have been abandoned on this day. The infamous 1959 clash with Gravesend and Northfleet and a 1985 National League match at Maidstone United.