BY MARK DOIG
Depleted Welling United weren’t short of endeavour but Barnet’s clinical finishing saw them through to the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy.
Wings boss Rod Stringer was without no fewer than 13 players, seven were cup-tied, four injured, and two serving the first of three-match bans. He was also frustrated that attempts to sign three players had fallen through in the preceding 24 hours. So short was he of man power that he could only name four substitutes, when seven were permitted.
Harry Pritchard’s early shot didn’t bother Reice Charles-Cook unduly and Adam Thompson fired over for the Bees in a cagey start to the game. For Welling, Cameron Green’s free-kick flew just beyond Jack Burchell.
In the 25th minute, the first moment of real quality resulted in the opening goal. Pritchard threaded a clever diagonal pass to Gatlin O’Donkor and Barnet’s new signing from Oxford United made no mistake when firing into the roof of the net.
Adam Roscrow had an immediate half-chance to restore parity but the angle was against him and his shot went beyond the far post.
Thompson twice had shots blocked before Roscrow had another opportunity. Josh Johnson’s shot ricocheted into the path of the Welling striker but goalkeeper Josh Keeley stretched out his right leg to block the shot. It came out to Charlton Athletic loanee Jason Adigun whose shot flew over.
Influential Barnet midfielder Anthony Hartington, on loan from Mansfield Town, rifled a shot just over before the first half drew to a close.
Maybe some straight talking during the break took effect as Welling came out quickly. TJ Bramble did well to turn his man but couldn’t get enough power in his effort to bother Keeley. He had another opportunity when Adigun found him on the edge of the area. He looked to try and place it inside the far post but was well off target,
Johnson was picked out by a deep cross and his first time shot was turned behind by Keeley. From the Welling corner, Reece Hall-Johnson broke away and had options either side of him. He timed his pass perfectly to send Zak Brunt away and he remained calm and slotted it home.
O’Donkor had a shot saved low by Charles-Cook and Brunt curled well over before Adigun had an effort for Welling that Keeley got down well to save.
Two Barnet substitutes, Nicke Kambaba and Callum Stead, combined to create a chance that the latter belted into the side netting before the former added a third with 12 minutes remaining. Good skills by Ben Coker down the left allowed him to get it across and Kambaba met it with a floating header into the net.
That marked the end of knockout football for Welling in the 2023-24 season and Stringer will appreciate having reinforcements when his team resumes their battle against relegation with a home match against Tonbridge Angels on Saturday.
PICTURES: DAVE BUDDEN
Main Pic: Defenders close in on Adam Roscrow
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