First Team
National League South Sat 30 December Princes Park Stadium
Welling Utd

Welling United ended 2023 with a hard-fought point at Dartford thanks an own-goal deep into injury-time on Saturday.

The Darts thought they had won it after taking the lead midway through the first-half, but when Ike Orji saw his cross come off the boot of a Darts defender in the sixth minute of injury time, it ensured a share of the spoils.

A cagey first half with little in the way of goalmouth action saw Dartford take a 19th-minute lead.

A cross from the left was met by the stretching boot of the unmarked Luke Coulson on the edge of the box, who converted his volley into the bottom right-hand corner.

Much of the opening 45 minutes felt very flat, but the Wings did begin to show signs of life towards the end of the half.

First, Taylor Curran saw a header blocked in the box, while Enoch Muwonge’s follow-up also faced the same fate.

Then, Kain Adom sent a good-looking effort inches past the post from the edge oof the box, before the winger hooked a cross towards goal with Tristan Abrahams laying in wait in a good position, but the striker could not get on the end of the touch that would have turned the ball home.

The Wings began the second period fairly brightly, enjoying plenty of the ball in the early exchanges after the restart and came inches away from a leveller on 50 minutes.

Antony Papadopoulos found space for himself to dig out a shot from just outside the box with hit the inside of the post and, somehow, stayed out.

Three minutes later, Ben Winterbottom made a smart stop to keep out Richard Chin after the ball was pulled back from the left for the Dartford loanee.

Winterbottom made another good save just before the hour mark as he saved from former Wing George Alexander at his near post while, at the other end, Dominic Odusanya drew a fine save from Ryan Sandford when his 25-yard piledriver was tipped around the post.

On the 67th-minute mark, Winterbottom made a big, big save to keep the arrears to a single goal, racing out to prevent Coulson from clipping in a second after he had raced through on-on-one from the halfway line.

As the clocked ticked ever closer to 90, Welling were increasingly frustrated by a host of stoppages which disturbed the flow of the game but, just as it looked as if the Wings would be unable to find a way back to prevent a fourth successive defeat, they bagged a deserved leveller with six of the seven minutes of added time played.

Orji got down the right and drilled a cross into the crowded box, nicking off of defender Moussa Diarra and nestling into the back of the net to secure a draw for Danny Bloor’s men.

The Wings return to action next Saturday when they host Aveley in DA16.

Dartford: Sanford, Oduadu, Miller-Rodney, Coulson, Allen (Smith 32),, Rooney, Statham, Alexander (Bradbury 70), Nembhard, Chin (Wynter 90+1), Diarra.

Subs (not used): Wall, Manor.

Booked: Statham 43 (dissent), Coulson 55 (foul), Oduado 69 (foul on Adom), Chin 76 (foul on Grant)

Goal: Coulson 19

Welling United: Winterbottom, Orji, Curran, Bramble, Green (Tanga 90+1), Grant (Chambers 85), Odusanya, Adom, Muwonge (Lema 81), Papadopoulos, Abrahams.

Subs (not used): Roscrow, Byrd.

Booked: Curran 50 (foul on Coulson), Odusanya 52 (foul), Muwonge 74 (simulation), Bramble 83 (foul on Chin), Bradbury 88 (time wasting), Rooney 90+2 (foul on Winterbottom)

Referee: Dean Skipper

Goal: Diarra (og) 90+6

Att: 2,022