BY MARK DOIG
It has been a difficult ending to 2021 for Welling United.
First their potentially most lucrative game of the season, the Boxing Day fixture at home to Dulwich Hamlet, was postponed due to Covid in the visitors camp. Then they travelled to in-form Maidstone United and suffered another heavy defeat.
They started poorly at the Gallagher as the hosts created good chances. Joan Luque fired into the side netting then Chi Ezennolim cleared off the line after his initial slip had given Roarie Deacon a chance.
Millwall loanee Arthur Penney threw his body on the line bravely to deflect a Jermaine McGlashan shot over then Jack Sims saved from Luque.
Having survived the early onslaught, Welling came into the game and Tom Hadler tipped a Kristian Campbell effort over before they went ahead. Joe Muscatt delivered a corner, Campbell knocked it back, and Dipo Akinyemi finished joyously.
However, their lead became a deficit soon after. Dominic Odusanya levelled from the edge of the area after Deacon’s shot came out off the bar then Deacon fired home from 25 yards.
The Wings had a big shout for a penalty turned down when Joe Ellul blocked Mason Saunders-Henry’s shot with a raised elbow and the rest of the first half was pretty even.
Luque curled wide then saw his low shot stopped by the outstretched boot of Sims. At the other end, Akinyemi had a header superbly tipped over by Hadler then Muscatt sent Saunders-Henry away down the inside right channel and he clipped it past Hadler but just the wrong side of the near post.
Any hopes that Welling would carry the momentum into the second half were ended five minutes in when Maidstone scored again. Jack Barham chased a hopeful ball over the top and lobbed an out-rushing Sims and floated it into the net.
Sims again thwarted Luque before Gavin Hoyte made it four when it fell nicely for him after a shot was blocked.
Sam Corne missed a chance to add a fifth with a header that went just wide and Sims made a couple of late saves but there was no way back for the Wings, who should next be in action with another difficult away game at Dulwich Hamlet.
PICTURES: DAVE BUDDEN
Main pic: Dominic Odusanya, 14, levels for the Stones
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