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Dartford v Welling United preview
Dartford v Welling United preview

Taking a break from the Vanarama National League South, Dartford and Welling United meet in the F.A. Cup Second Qualifying Round.

Although neither club are firing on all cylinders at the moment, the local derby aspect, and the fact that both clubs are from the highest step at this stage, probably makes this the tie of the round.

Alan Dowson’s Darts have won two, drawn three, and lost four so far this season. Since winning both of their games over the August Bank Holiday weekend, they have lost their following three matches, scoring just one goal in the process. Last Saturday the Darts visited St. Albans City and lost to the only goal but it could have been very different as they twice hit the bar.

There have been similarities in Welling’s start to the season. They have also recorded just two victories, also both over the August Bank Holiday. Since then, they have picked up just one point in three games, a nil-nil draw with St. Albans. They have also found scoring difficult with three consecutive blanks, an issue in which resolving is manager Danny Bloor’s top priority.

Last season, Dartford went out of the cup at the first time of asking in possibly the biggest shock of the round. They entertained Isthmian League South East club Beckenham Town and lost two-one. Harvey Brand put the Becks ahead in the fifteenth minute but the Darts levelled ten minutes after the break through Charlie Sheringham. Rob Carter won it from Beckenham with two minutes remaining.

At the same time, Welling were also having a difficult time when held nil-nil at home to Southern Counties East Football League club Fisher, who were struggling at the time. The Wings got away with that and won the replay three-nil. However, they went out in the third qualifying round by a similar scoreline at Weymouth.

Both clubs would probably have preferred to start with games against lower league sides but that won’t be on their minds when they step onto the pitch in front of a big derby crowd.

Picture supplied by Dave Budden.