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Welling 2 Dartford 3 match report

By Matthew Panting

Alfie Pavey scored a stunning winner as Dartford won the National League South Boxing Day derby at Park View Road.

Welling came back from 2-0 down to score an 87th-minute equaliser from the penalty spot but Darts were not to be denied.

It was a game of former players coming back to haunt Welling as ex-Wings striker Andy Pugh had put Dartford in charge with a brace against his former club.

Andy Pugh. Picture: Gary Browne
Andy Pugh. Picture: Gary Browne

Welling were two goals down early on in their drubbing at Chelmsford on Saturday and they made another slow start against Dartford.

It took just three minutes for Ryan Hayes to cross from the right wing and Andy Pugh had the freedom of the penalty area to slot home against his former club from close range.

Dartford dominated the early exchanges and with more urgency in attack they should have taken the game away from Welling. Instead, a wayward Pugh header from another Hayes cross was all they had to offer until midway through the half.

Welling took 15 minutes to get going, sparked by an off the ball incident when skipper Connor Dymond left his foot in against Pugh. Four Dartford players surrounded the official demanding a yellow card but the referee opted for just a talking to instead.

Moments later, Bradley Goldberg's snapshot going wide before Darts keeper Deren Ibrahim turned behind Olu Durojaiye's long-range shot.

An error by Welling left-back Ben Jefford let in Hayes at the other end but his shot lacked power from the edge of the box.

Welling's best moments came through Nanetti down the left wing and he nearly fashioned an equaliser when his cross-shot hit Darts defender Tom Bonner and came back out off the post.

Jack Parkinson headed wide from a corner before Welling had excellent claims for a penalty somehow turned down by referee Jack Packman.

Nanetti was initially forced wide by keeper Ibrahim but when he returned into the penalty area he went down under Hayes' challenge only for the official to say no spot-kick but then strangely not book Nanetti for diving either.

On the stroke of half-time Nanetti again caused problems, crossing for Goldberg, whose close-range volley was excellently beaten away by Irabhim.

Welling introduced Tom Bradbrook at the break and he nearly had an immediate impact, beating Tom Bonner for pace before seeing his low shot saved at the near post by Ibrahim.

Dartford doubled their lead 10 minutes into the second half when a ball into the box found Hayes, whose low cross-shot was turned in at close range by Pugh for this second of the game.

It was nearly 3-0 just two minutes later as Danny Mills beat the offside trap but the on-loan Ebbsfleet striker's lob came back off the underside of the bar and was cleared to safety.

Pugh then turned Nathan Collier's cross wide as Darts threatened to run riot.

But Welling showed some character in the final stages. They should have pulled one back with 21 minutes left but when Ibrahim spilled Callum Driver's long-range shot, Ian Gayle somehow blasted the rebound over the bar from five yards with an open goal to aim at.

Bonner timed his challenge perfectly to thwart Bradbrook as Welling kept asking questions. Their efforts were finally rewarded in the 77th minute when Callum Driver produced a perfect free-kick from 20 yards, over the wall and beyond Ibrahim.

Welling suddenly turned the game around and were asking questions of the Dartford defence. They were level three minutes from the end when Elliot Bradbrook, the Darts captain, fouled brother Tom in the box. Monakana stepped up to slot home the spot-kick.

But there was to be another late twist as Pavey produced a goal of the season contender, volleying in a spectacular right-foot finish when the ball was only half-cleared in the area.

The teams do it all again at Princes Park on New Year's Day. it should be quite a game.

Welling: Sandford, Driver, Jefford, Durojjaiye, Gayle, Parkinson, Monakana, Dymond, Romain, Goldberg (Bradbrook 46mins), Nanetti. Subs not used: Jebb, Francis, Phipps, Johnson.

Dartford: Ibrahim, Harris, Onyemah, Bonner, Vint, Collier, Hayes (Della-Verde 67mins), Bradbook, Mills (Sho-Silva 90mins), Pugh, Murphy (Pavey 76mins), Subs not used: Brown, Coxall.

Attendance: 1,401.

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