BY MARK DOIG
After more than three weeks without a game, Welling United went to Oxford City and were left feeling disappointed that they didn’t win.
Brad Quinton, Welling’s manager, may have thought that a point wouldn’t be a bad result before the game against a team that had only lost one in seven on their home surface but afterwards he will have believed that Welling should have won. However, they created a number of good chances and kept their first clean sheet of the season, so there were plenty of plusses in their performance.
Despite not having played much football recently, Quinton hasn’t sat back and has signed seven players, four of whom started at Oxford. Prolific Cray Wanderers striker Joe Taylor was joined by his Cray team-mate and former Wing Rhys Murrell-Williamson on-loan. Also starting were Millwall youngster Rob Strachan and Folkestone Invicta centre-back Finn O’Mara.
Taylor was fouled just outside the area in the first minute and Lyle Della-Verde saw a gap between the wall and the near post but his well-aimed shot was pushed around the post by Ben Dudzinski.
At the other end Elliot Benyon had a shot deflected over and Zac McEachran drew a couple of comfortable saves out of Reice Charles-Cook.
It was then Welling’s turn to cause problems and after Murrell-Williamson had fired over, he sent Taylor through and his shot beat Dudzinski but Aaron Drewe made a remarkable goal-line clearance to save the day for his club.
Oxford came close when James Roberts’ free-kick over the wall clattered the bar. Welling were quickly back into the thick of it and Joe Oastler was fortunate that his header from Nathan Green’s cross kicked up and went wide of his own goal out.
As they had in the first half, Welling started the second strongly and Della-Verde forced his way through but lost his balance as he shot and screwed it wide. Taylor then got on the end of Murrell-Williamson’s through ball but Dudzinski made a stunning save to push Taylor’s shot round the far post.
Della-Verde’s shot flew narrowly wide with Dudzinski beaten then Benyon cleared Green’s stabbed close range shot off the line.
Oxford made a change and brought on Alfie Potter, who made an immediate impact when creating a chance for Roberts but he shot wide. Benyon missed the target with a header from Drewe’s deep free-kick but after that Welling had the better of the game and felt that they should have had a penalty when Drewe appeared to block Della Verde’s shot off the line with his arm.
Former Dulwich Hamlet favourite Green made a brave low headed block inside the six yard box before Welling finished strongly. Substitute Lionel Ainsworth set Taylor up and he controlled it before shooting but Dudzinski made another remarkable block.
There was still time for Ainsworth to have one last effort but it was too straight and Dudzinski saved comfortably.
Despite claiming their well earned point, failing to win combined with other results meant that Welling dropped to the foot of the table ahead of their Tuesday night game at home to St. Albans City.
PHOTOS: KEITH GILLARD
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