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Dartford 1 Welling United 0

By Alex Hoad
Dartford celebrate their play-off victory over Welling
Dartford celebrate their play-off victory over Welling

Dartford celebrate their play-off victory over Welling Picture: Steve Crispe

Dartford booked their place in next season's Blue Square Bet Premier Division after winning the Kent derby at Princes Park.

The sides were separated in Sunday’s play-off final by Lee Noble’s spectacular fourth minute strike.

He smashed the ball home from 20 yards, as Welling’s defence stood off him, to delight the majority of the capacity crowd at Princes Park.

That early strike was one of few real chances at goal in a match that had plenty of endeavour but not a lot of goal-scoring opportunities.

Both teams were looking to return to the top-flight of non-league football. Welling hadn’t been there since 2000 while for the Darts, it had been a longer exodus, last tasting that level of football in the Gola League back in 1986.

Tom Champion had a header turned over the bar by Welling keeper Craig Holloway and at the other end Loick Pries saw Louis Wells save his shot and moments later Joe Healey sent an effort over the bar.

Six minutes into the second half the Darts came close to doubling their advantage but Holloway got a hand to Elliot Bradbrook’s looping header and turned it over.

Moments later Danny Harris had a low shot that was deflected wide and as the Darts pressure continued Adam Green sent a shot in on goal that the Welling keeper comfortably gathered.

Welling had half-hearted claims for a penalty waved away by the referee after Pires went down under a challenge from Green.

Darford: Wells, Burns, Green, Bonner, Wilkinson, Champion, Noble, Rogers, Erskine (Garrod 92mins), Bradbrook, Harris. Subs: Hayes, Goodacre, Graham, Young.

Welling: Holloway, Fazakerley, Obersteller, Day, Martin, Parkinson (Acheampong 70mins), Cracknell (Baker 75mins), Clarke, Cumbers, Healey, Pires. Subs: Sambrook, Kinch, Turner.

Attendance: 4,088

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