Welling United suffered another home defeat when Dartford's late winner ensured them top place in the Vanarama National League South going into 2018.

Coming into the game, five teams were equal top but the other four drew so Alfie Pavey's late winner sent the Darts two points clear.

It was hard on Welling who had fought back bravely from being two goals behind to give them a well earned point but the injury time decider consigned them to their fifth home league defeat of the season.

They went behind with less than three minutes on the board when Ryan Hayes created space before squaring for Andy Pugh to finish from twelve yards.

One could have become two when Pugh headed wide from another Hayes cross.

However they came back and the lively Elliott Romain headed down to Bradley Goldberg whose low drive had Deren Ibrahim beaten but crashed just the wrong side of the post.

Ibrahim then made a superb full length diving save from Olumide Durojaiye after Romain and Christian Nanetti combined to set up the chance.

Pugh tried to return the favour when giving Hayes a chance to shoot but his shot lacked the power to trouble Ryan Sandford.

Nanetti then came close for Welling with a driven cross shot that Tom Bonner deflected onto the post and out.

Goldberg had a shot blocked by the outstanding Ronnie Vint at the expense of a corner but Jack Parkinson was unable to get a clean header on Jeffrey Monakana's delivery and it floated wide.

Referee Jack Packman then denied Welling a penalty when Nanetti was sent crashing under a robust Hayes challenge. Moments later, the official upset Welling further when Connor Dymond was bundled over in midfield. Dartford broke quickly and Mark Onyemah might have done better when not picked up in the eighteen yard box.

One more first half chance came Welling's way when Goldberg's acrobatic volley from Nanetti's cross was saved brilliantly by Ibrahim.

At the break, a muscle strain caused Goldberg to be withdrawn and Tom Bradbrook replaced him against his former club and he almost made an immediate impact. He muscled his way beyond the Dartford defence but his clean shot was well saved by Ibrahim.

Then, the visitors had a good spell. First Tom Murphy had a shot blocked by Ian Gayle then Pugh had a shot deflected up and onto the roof of the net.

Dartford made the most of it when they went further ahead. Hayes fired in a cross shot that Pugh turned onto the underside of the bar and in.

Bradbrook then had a penalty claim denied when flattened by a clumsy challenge by Ibrahim before Danny Mills almost put the result beyond doubt when his shot hit the bar and came down onto the line before coming out.

Dymond made a superb saving header from Elliott Bradbrook at one end, then Monakana put a twenty yard free kick wide at the other after Romain had been fouled.

Another Dartford chance came and went when Pugh was left unmarked but hooked his shot just wide on the turn..

Their lead should have been halved immediately after when Callum Driver's shot took a deflection and Ibrahim could not hold it. Gayle was first to the loose ball but managed to fire over from two yards.

Monakana found Dymond but his shot was deflected and saved as Welling continued to probe and they pulled one back with thirteen minutes remaining. Dartford's Bradbrook committed a foul outside the area and Driver curled the free kick beyond Ibrahim's grasp and into the top corner.

After Nanetti had a shot deflected wide Welling were given an opportunity to equalise when Bradbrook brotherly love went missing. Dartford's Elliott fouled Welling's Tom and the Wings were awarded a spot kick. Monakana stepped up and converted confidently.

As the game went into injury time, Dartford regained the lead with a spectacular goal. Welling thought they had cleared but Pavey sent a spectacular hooked twenty five yard volley screaming into the top corner.

To their credit, Welling again searched for a leveller and were awarded one last free kick. Driver slung in a 'Hail Mary' delivery that Tom Bonner could only head high into the six yard box. Dymond's determination got him up but his header struck the post and went wide. There was not even time for the goal kick to be taken and Dartford claimed the derby honours.

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

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