Dartford 1-2 Welling United

News Shopper: Ross Lafayette opens the scoring for the Wings. PICTURES BY DAVE BUDDEN. Ross Lafayette opens the scoring for the Wings. PICTURES BY DAVE BUDDEN.

HAVING survived a morning inspection, the Princes Park pitch did not help Dartford and Welling United to produce a Boxing Day classic.

Tony Burman, Dartford's manager was forced to make two changes. Danny Harris and Lee Noble, who was serving the first of a four match suspension, were absent.

Nathan Collier and Max Cornhill deputised.

News Shopper: Lafayette (left) celebrates with Doug Bergqvist

Jamie Day also had to make changes to his Welling team including selecting himself to replace the injured Jake Gallagher.

Blaine Hudson's one match ban meant Doug Bergqvist came in whilst Luis Cumbers started for Kurtis Guthrie who was late returning from a family Christmas in Jersey.

Dave Martin created the first chance when springing the offside trap.

His shot from a tight angle , with players in the middle, was blocked by Lee Butcher as far as Elliott Bradbrook but his shot from 25 yards flew high and wide.

Baily Cargill's long diagonal ball found Ross Lafayette who chested down well to Harry Beautyman.

News Shopper: Kurtis Guthrie heads the Welling winner

His ball back enabled Lafayette to work himself some space but Mat Mitchel-King was quick to charge down the shot.

Jamie Day was cautioned for dissent following an earlier warning.  

After 29 minutes the deadlock was broken when Martin again broke through.

Although Butcher
saved his shot, he could not hold it and Lee Burns was on hand to bundle home.

Kenny Clark and Mitchel-King kept Welling clearances at bay as the Darts enjoyed the better of a low tempo first half.

Adam Birchall caused more danger when he cut in from the left but Butcher did well to push his fierce shot away.

Beautyman fired over early in the second period before Dartford claimed the first (and second) corner of the match.

Nothing came of them and Welling started to force themselves into the game.

Tyrone Sterling made a saving header as Cumbers closed in on a Beautyman cross but the Darts might have scored the crucial second moments later when Martin's cross fell between Collier and Jim Stevenson.

Guthrie's introduction for Cumbers was almost marked by an equaliser. His first shot was blocked and the follow up saved by Alan Julian.

Doug Bergqvist's foul earned him a booking but Birchall's free kick came back off the wall.

Julian was put under pressure from crosses.

First, Joe Healy's was pushed away from the oncoming Welling strikers, then he had to tip over from De'Reece Vanderhyde's lofted ball that came directly out of the sun.

News Shopper: Guthrie has a shot

Birchall almost made something out of nothing when chasing a high launch forward from Martin but Welling's pressure brought about an equaliser with seventeen minutes remaining.

Day's near post corner was met by Guthrie's glancing header and Ross Lafayette took advantage by firing home from close range.

Another Day corner was met by Bergqvist's header but he could not muster the power to trouble Julian however Welling did strike again with eleven minutes remaining.

Healy picked up a half hearted clearance and crossed towards the far post where Guthrie rose to head back beyond Julian.  

The Darts searched for an equaliser but Bergqvist and Fraser Franks kept the hosts down to half chances and they only had a Birchall effort that flew wide and a Bradbrook volley straight at Butcher to show for it.

Dartford: Julian, Sterling, Clark, Cornhill (Kamara 80), Bradbrook, Mitchel-King, Collier (Scantlebury 90), Birchall, Martin, Burns, Stevenson (Woodyard 83). Unused substitutes: Ibrahim, Vint.

Welling United: Butcher, Vanderhyde, Cargill (McLaren 68), Day, Franks, Bergqvist, Beautyman (Bassele 75), Clarke, Cumbers (Guthrie 54), Lafayette, Healy. Unused substitutes:Turner, Joe Obersteller.

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