A CROWD of 1,512 visited Park View Road on New Year's Day for the first league match between Welling United and Dartford since the 1983-4 season.

Neither side had played much league football in the preceding weeks with Dartford’s defeat at Ebbsfleet on December 28 being the only one played by the Darts or the Wings throughout December.

After Lee Clarke had headed over Welling player-manager Jamie Day’s free kick, Dartford assumed early control of the match.

On loan striker George Purcell had a fierce shot tipped onto the bar and over by goalkeeper Gareth Stewart prompting referee Lee Venamore’s first eccentric decision of the day in awarding a goal kick.

Lee Burns then headed wide when well placed but from then until half Welling ran the show.

Their first chance came about when a turn by Joe Healy left two players in his wake before playing Luis Cumbers in.

The Wings striker drew Darts keeper Andrew Young out before firing across him but just beyond the far post.

Otherwise disinterested looking former Welling striker Charlie Sheringham then went straight through ex-Dart Jamie Coyle but somehow escaped being shown a card of any colour.

When Healy whipped in a left wing cross that Young fumbled, Andy Pugh was first to the loose ball and his hard driven ball across the six yard box just eluded Cumbers.

Cumbers provided the next opportunity when he cut in from the right and crossed low but Billy Burgess made an excellent last ditch tackle to thwart Pugh.

Michael Shinn’s two-footed lunge on the outstanding Loui Fazakerley earned him the first yellow card of the game as Dartford struggled to get any type of foothold on the game and Jack Parkinson headed narrowly wide from Day’s corner.

Clarke fired wide from distance and Pugh hit a long shot straight at Young before Welling took a deserved lead just before half-time.

Tom Bonner’s foul on Fazakerley gave Jack Obersteller the opportunity to float in a free-kick.

Young came a long way out but both he and Paul Goodacre failed to beat Clarke in the air, leaving him with an empty net to head into from 15 yards.

Continuing where they left off Cumbers had a cross deflected fortunately to Young and he then curled a shot wide after collecting an excellent Clarke cross field pass.

Young then made a superb save from Day’s free-kick but Welling doubled their lead from the corner.

Again Clarke leaped highest from Day’s delivery and headed for Cumbers, who was alert enough to flick past Young from inside the six yard box.

Andy Sambrook, who had been excellent despite suffering with flu, was unable to continue and had to be replaced by Anthony Acheampong.

Sheringham shot over before he and Shinn were replaced by Carl Rook and James White.

Coyle and Purcell were shown yellow cards for a minor skirmish but from Ryan Hayes’ free-kick, Elliot Bradbrook headed over.

Good work by Fazakerley and Healy allowed Clarke the opportunity to chest down and volley but his effort went over.

Parkinson was cautioned for an agricultural challenge before Mr Venamore offered Dartford a lifeline.

Day’s challenge on substitute Adam Burchell seemed innocuous but the official deemed it worthy of a penalty.

After Day had been cautioned for being too vocal with his opinion, Rook despatched the spot kick.

Despite a late chance that Tom Champion stabbed wide, Welling held on to register the three points that their performance warranted.

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Welling: Stewart, Coyle, Obersteller, Day, Sambrook (Acheampong 54), Parkinson, Fazakerley, Clarke, Cumbers, Pugh, Healy. Unused substitutes Andrews, Johnson, Obamwonyi.

Dartford: Young, Burgess, Bonner, Champion, Goodacre, Shinn (White 66), Hayes (Burchell 76), Burns, Sheringham (Rook 66), Purcell, Bradbrook. Unused substitutes Bruce, Whitehouse.