Welling United 2-2 Dartford - We just have to get out of this rut, says Dartford boss Tony Burman

Tuesday 30th September 2014

Vanarama Conference
Tuesday 30th September 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Park View Road

DARTFORD manager Tony Burman praised his side for their resilience after fighting back twice to gain a point from an entertaining Kent derby against Welling United.

A crowd of 1,306 – the largest at Park View Road this season – saw all four goals being scored during a pulsating first half.

The Wings drew first blood with midfielder Harry Beautyman flicking home his seventh-goal for the club since his move from Vanarama Conference South side Sutton United.

But their lead lasted less than four minutes as Dartford restored parity through midfielder Peter Sweeney’s first goal for the club since his summer move from League Two outfit AFC Wimbledon.

Welling United regained their lead with only fourteen minutes on the clock through Jamal Fyfield’s header, before Dartford skipper Elliot Bradbrook drove home an equaliser to share the local bragging rights.

“I’m very pleased with the way they’re responding but I’m upset we’ve gone down twice in the first half and we’ve had to pull ourselves back into the game. Fortunately we’ve done that and it’s showing a lot of resilience and showing there’s a spirit in the side,” said Burman.

“A lot of the old things are gradually coming back but I’m away from home, we don’t want to concede goals. We don’t want to keep making it more difficult for ourselves.

“I’m pleased to come here and get something from the game.  After coming back for the second time in the first half, I felt we could go on and win it but it wasn’t to be.  Having said that it’s a good point away from home.”

Welling United manager Jamie Day added: “I think we started the game really well, deservedly took the lead.  The disappointing thing from tonight is we’ve conceded two goals. I don’t think they’ve had to work for their goals really. I think we put them on the plate.  We caused our own problems.

“I thought we played some good stuff up until 25-30 minutes and then we got caught up in a derby atmosphere and decision making went a little bit but overall we’ve taken four points from the last two games so that’s pleasing.

“Our keeper didn’t need to make a save second half. Maybe just the end product let us down at times tonight but we’re still confident and we move on to Saturday.”

Both sides went into the game on the back of away wins at the weekend.  Welling United won their first away game of the season, 4-0 at Altrincham, while Dartford won 2-1 at Nuneaton Town, in ex-Ebbsfleet United manager Liam Daish’s first game in charge.

Welling United took the lead with only five minutes and 36 seconds on the clock.

Midfielder Sam Corne swept the ball out wide to Ben Jefford, who was given time and space to whip in a delicious cross into the penalty area where Beautyman flicked the ball from within a crowd of players, into the far corner from six-yards.

“It’s a great start. We was on the front foot playing some great stuff and we got our goal,” said Day.

It was to be the eleventh time that Dartford have fallen behind in games this season and Burman doesn’t know why.

“I don’t know. If I knew that I’d probably not be here. I’d be a lot higher up. It’s something that’s happened.

“They’re telling me the first goal was deflected. I can’t really see where I am. They’ve put it in and it’s just that lack of concentration, if you like.”

But Burman was delighted with his side’s response, because they were level with nine minutes and four seconds on the clock.

The Darts swept through the heart of the Welling United defence as Sweeney played a fine one-two with Luke Dailey, before drilling his right-footed shot past a devastated Jonathan Henly into the bottom near corner.

Burman said: “Sweeney’s a quality player. The fitter he gets, the better he’s going to be and he is one hell of a player. He’s scored a goal. I think he’s made it happened with a couple of one-twos and fair play to him.

“The hunger is coming back into it. We’ve not had the best of times last season but we’ve brought some players in. We’ve got a decent squad at the moment.  We look at the bench as well and there’s people who can come on and change games.”

Day added: “The next ten minutes (after taking the lead), you’ve got to keep your foot on the game and try and get a second one and we didn’t.

“We let them back in too easily with a sloppy goal on our part.

“The lad walked past four and (my keeper) should have done better from the shot.”

But Welling United regained their lead with thirteen minutes and six seconds on the clock.

Beautyman floated in a right-footed corner from the right which sailed over to the far post where Fyfiled came up from the back to plant his header into the top near corner from six-yards.

Day was pleased with Fyfield, not only with his goal but his solid second half performance at the heart of defence.

“I think both centre halves have done really well over the last four or five weeks,” said Day.

“Jamal has shown why we’ve brought him to the club. I think he’s been steady. The last month or so he’s put in some really good performances in and if he carries on like that they’ll be people watching him.

“He’s still only young. People forget he’s still only 23. He’s got great pace, can read the game, good footballer. I’m pleased with his performance tonight.”

Burman was disappointed with the manner that the former Grimsby Town defender notched his first goal for the Wings.

He said: “The guy’s got a free header from the corner.  Tom Bradbrook should have been marking him and he’s got past him.”

Dartford were denied a second equaliser by a brilliant save from the 20-year-old Welling keeper with only nineteen minutes on the clock.

Sweeney whipped in an excellent free-kick with his left-foot from the right and Mat Mitchel-King came up from the back to direct his header towards the corner, but Henly dived full-length to his right to get a strong right hand to the ball.

Day said: “John’s done really well. I think he’ll be disappointed with the first goal. I think he feels he could do better at his near post with his legs but he’s a first class keeper. He’s shown that with a couple of saves he’s pulled off from close range. He’s got a great kick and since he’s come in I think we’ve been unbeaten so that shows the impact that he’s had on the side.”

Burman added: “To be fair to the keeper, he’s pulled off a couple of great saves as well.”

The game started to die down, but Dartford went close on a couple of occasions.

Sweeney whipped in another free-kick, this time a lot further out than before, and lone striker Tom Bradbrook sent his deflected looping header over the bar.

Dartford revealed Mitchel-King’s secret long throw soon after and defender Rory McAuley’s header brought another fine save from Henly.

But Dartford equalised for the second time just nine minutes before half-time.

Mitchel-King launched a long throw into the penalty area, which wasn’t dealt with by the surprised Welling defence and the ball fell at Elliot Bradbrook’s feet, the long-serving skipper drilling a low right-footed shot into the bottom far corner to the delight of the travelling fans.

Burman admitted Mitchel-King has kept his long throw a secret.

“It’s a surprise to us as well. We didn’t plan it.  Mat’s got a long throw. It just happened one day. I think we were chasing a game again. He put in a good throw and fair play to him.

“It didn’t work so well second half but it’s something that I didn’t know he had.  He didn’t say anything to anyone and all of a sudden he’s picked the ball up and it’s happened.

“We face them enough times. It’s ok. We’ve got on the end of something and scored from that.

“I think we deserved to come in level terms, if not gone in front. Having said that I’m just pleased that we’ve got something out from the game.”

Day wasn’t pleased with the manner his side conceded the second goal.

He said: “We got back in front again and we conceded a sloppy one with a throw. 

“Any side that’s got a long throw is always going to cause a problem. They’ve got some big boys in their team and credit to Dartford, they’re dangerous from corners, free-kicks and long throw.

“We gave too many free-kicks away in the first half and John had to pull one or two saves off but I think that’s down to our own doing. I don’t think they’ve earnt their goals, which is disappointing.

“It is difficult to mark and play against.  Our clearance goes straight to a Dartford lad on the edge of the box and he’s got a target to hit and an area to hit and he obviously does that so that’s the disappointing thing that we couldn’t get another one and just get a proper grip on the first half and make it easier for us in the second half.”

Both managers were asked their thoughts at half-time and Burman felt his side were in the ascendancy.

“I thought at half-time, I felt we could go on and there was a chance of possibly winning the game but it wasn’t to be.”

Day added: “You have to balance it.  You have to make sure you don’t go overboard. We’ve conceded two and you have to give a bit of praise because we’ve played some good stuff and the message at half-time was just a bit more composure on the ball to try to create that chance and that opening and that’s probably the one thing that let us down tonight – just at the vital times we lacked that composure to get the ball in the back of the net.”

Sadly, for the large crowd, both team’s defences performed much better after the interval and there were limited chances at both ends.

The first chance came seventeen minutes into the second half and it fell to Welling United.

Striker Tyrone Marsh released Jefford down the left channel and his driven ball back into the penalty area was sliced narrowly wide of his own post by Dartford left-back Tom Bender.

“He’s been training with Cambridge United,” Burman said of Bender.

“Unfortunately for him he had an injury at the start of the season, which put him out for six-weeks. He needs some game-time.  I think potentially we’ve got a good defender.  He’s been playing development games. I went to watch him a couple of times and we decided to bring him in. He’s not on loan or anything like that. He’s signed for us.  He’s 21 and he wants to get back in the shop window and I don’t think there’s any better place than our place for him to do it.”

Welling United created the last goalscoring chance with 20 minutes of the game remaining.

Barney Williams played the ball inside to Marsh, who curled a right-footed shot from 25-yards, which appeared to be going wide, but Dartford keeper Jason Brown made his first save of the night, diving to his left to push the ball around his post.

“Tyrone, the last five or six weeks, has really come on,” said Day. “We’ve played him wide when he first came but what he’s done over the last five games he’s a middle man really.

“For his size he’s got great movement, great touch and he causes centre halves problems because they don’t know whether to come tight or leave space for him to run in behind.

“I’m really pleased with him.  I thought the two wide players made an impact at times. It’s just a little bit disappointing that we haven’t won but we haven’t got beat and we move on to Chester.”

Welling United pressed for a winner, with Dartford content to soak up pressure and try to hit their hosts on the break, but both sides had to settle for a point.

“I think you get to a certain stage when you go we’ll take a point, you don’t want to get beat and that’s always in the back of your minds,” admitted the Welling United manager.

“In fairness to us I felt we kept on pressure and trying to get that third one but it does leave you open at times and once or twice we nearly got caught out with a quick break but it gets to 85 minutes and a part of you thinks we’ll take a point and we’ll move on and keep the unbeaten run going.”

Burman admitted he was pleased with his side’s work-rate.

“We kept plugging away. There’s a little bit of desire. The work-rates coming back into it. It’s what our teams are sort of about and we’ll get that slowly but surely and I think it’s starting to happen.  Fair play to the boys, they’re doing it the hard way but at least they’re doing something!

“Both teams don’t want to lose it and when you’re away from home, you want something from the game. Yes, I’d like to win the game. We didn’t win at Altrincham. They’re a part-time side and we came away with nothing and that’s what can happen.

“We’ve come here and we’ve got something. There’s a possibility of getting all three points but it wasn’t to be.

“We didn’t cave in. We didn’t do anything out of the unordinary. We just got on with the game. I’d like to get something second half but it didn’t quite work for us much but I just feel that we’ve come here and got something and I’m pleased with what we’ve got.”

Welling United have extended their unbeaten run at Park View Road to seven games and this is key to the club’s survival in the Vanarama Conference.

“In that we’ve drawn too many games (five). We’d like to get one or two wins from that but we’re seven unbeaten at home so that’s a good thing to have and we want to keep that going and we have to improve on the away form a little bit.”

Welling United slipped down a place to seventeenth in the Vanarama Conference table with 14 points from 13 games, while Dartford are in eighteenth with 13 points. Fourth-bottom Altrincham are in the relegation zone with 11 points.

“I’m pleased with the points total we’ve got at the minute,” said Day.

“We have to set realistic goals at the start of the season. I think they’re never going to change when we’re in this league. That’s not to try to finish in the bottom four. That’s the aim at the minute. We’re where we should be points wise and just got to keep our form going and slowly creep up that table, keep getting points on the board.”

Reflecting on Dartford’s league position, Burman added: “You can’t beat getting results. One point is ok. Three points are better. We’ve got to get as many victories on the table. We’ll continue to try to do that.

“We’ve had a good win Saturday away at Nuneaton and we’ve come here and get a point so four points from three games is not too bad.

“We’ve got a tough game again on Saturday, Grimsby at home and then Bristol Rovers away Tuesday night. It’s relentless but at the moment I feel the guys are starting to get things right and now starting to believe. The work-rate’s there and the supporters can see that we just need to get out of this little bit of a rut.”

And reflecting on the bumper, lucrative crowd against his previous club, Day added: “I’m pleased with the gate. Thirteen hundred on a Tuesday night is a good turnout on a Champions League night. I still think these games should be played on a Saturday. You’d probably get double that but credit to both sets of the supporters. Dartford brought a fair few as well so credit to them. I know it’s not far but they have to come out with other football on.  It was a good atmosphere. In the end they got four goals and probably a good game to watch.”

Welling United: Jonathan Henly, Barney Williams, Jamal Fyfield, Jake Gallagher, Aristade Baselle (Loui Fazakerley 57), Chris Bush, Joe Healy, Harry Beautyman, Tyrone Marsh, Sam Corne (Jon Nouble 80), Ben Jefford.
Subs: Zach Fagan, Jamie Turner, Malachi Hudson

Goals: Harry Beautyman 6, Jamal Fyfield 14

Booked:  Aristade Baselle 45, Harry Beautyman 86

Dartford: Jason Brown, Lee Burns, Tom Bender, Nathan Collier, Rory McAuley, Mat Mitchel-King, Danny Harris (Max Cornhill 90), Elliot Bradbrook, Tom Bradbrook (Harry Crawford 65), Peter Sweeney, Luke Daley (Andy Pugh 81).
Subs: Ryan Hayes, Deren Ibrahim

Goals:  Peter Sweeney 10, Elliot Bradbrook 36

Booked:  Lee Burns 86, Peter Sweeney 90

Attendance: 1,306
Referee: Mr Dean Treleaven (Chichester, West Sussex)
Assistants: Mr Jonathan Hollier (Basingstoke, Hampshire) & Mr Samuel Ogles (Eastleigh, Hampshire)
Fourth Official: Mr Gary Jerden (Wickford, Essex)