Blue Square Bet
Published 13th May 2012
....the Conference Premier for the first time in twelve years.
In a perfectly written script, the top two Kent sides in the league will face each other in the fight for promotion after finishing second and third respectively.
The match sold out in a just over a day, meaning 4,000 fans will be packed into Princes Park for the biggest football game in Kent derby history.
In the previous games earlier this season, Dartford snatched a 90th minute equaliser at Park View Road through Lee Noble after Lee Clarke had missed a penalty seconds earlier. In the return leg at Princes Park, Danny Harris' goal gave the home side three points even though Welling dominated the match forcing Louis Wells into several good saves and rattling the woodwork.
Despite the tight games earlier in the season, Dartford have been installed as the pre-match favourites by the majority of bookmakers meaning the Wings will start as underdogs.
But manager Jamie Day is optimistic that the Wings can defy the odds. “Dartford do have a slight advantage. Obviously they will have more vocal support and they are playing at their home ground and have only lost two games at home all season. It’s a good achievement from them.
“We know it’s not going to be an easy task but I also know that if we perform to the level of which that I know we can then we’ll have a good chance of winning the game. So I think we are underdogs and I think people outside expect Dartford to win but as long as we turn up and give what we have done throughout most of the season then we are not going to be too far away.”
Some controversy surfaced earlier in the week when Welling were only allocated 800 tickets causing outrage amongst some Wings’ fans. Although numbers rose to 1,040 later, there have been some calls that, for a final, the allocation should be 50/50.
Day was pleased with how quickly the tickets sold out admitting it wasn’t unexpected and also commented on the ticket allocation. “I’d always thought that if was going to be a Dartford - Welling final I would be disappointed if it wasn’t sold out but we’ve done well to sell our allocation and obviously Dartford have sold theirs out which you would expect. It’s going to be a good atmosphere and great to be a part of.
“I don’t make the calls on the allocation. All I know is that we could have sold more tickets if they were available but at the end of the day we’ve been given a thousand and we’ve sold that and that’s excellent. There needs to be some advantage to the team that finishes second. They’ve finished there for a reason and if that means a bigger attendance for them then I suppose that’s one of the advantages of finishing higher than us.”
The anticipation for the match for both sets of fans has understandably been immense since the final was confirmed.
Day said that he hoped the ages of the individuals wouldn’t matter in this high pressure game. “Most of the boys have played at a decent level before they’ve come to us. We have experienced lads such as Clarke, Martin, Cracknell and Sambrook but again I’d like to think the boys we’ve got can handle the crowd and the situation on Sunday.”