BY MARK DOIG
Although the points were shared in Welling United’s visit to Aveley in the National League South match, the scoreline didn’t go close to telling the full story.
Having gone ahead through a controversial penalty, Welling were reduced to ten men from an equally questionable decision that saw them without a recognised goalkeeper for the entire second half, and two-one down.
Against all odds, third from bottom Welling had the better of the second period against the Millers in fourth place and their equaliser was the least that they deserved.
They were already hampered by a centre-back crisis and TJ Bramble was forced into playing at centre-back but his partnership with Lachlan Byrd got stronger and stronger as the match progressed.
Both teams’ goalkeepers made comfortable early saves, Aveley’s Jonathan North holding Dominic Odusanya’s shot, and Reice Charles-Cook catching a header from Alex Hernandez.
Kain Adom glanced a header wide before Welling were awarded a questionable penalty when Josh Chambers went down under a heavy challenge from Siju Odelusi. After a long wait while two Aveley players were cautioned for dissent, Tristan Abrahams fired home from the spot.
Soon after, the Millers levelled. Manny Ogunrinde burst through and was brought down by Charles-Cook in the penalty area, a spot kick was awarded but after a consultation with an assistant referee, a red card was shown rather than the expected yellow card. Anthony Grant went in goal for the penalty but was sent the wrong way by Odelusi.
Antony Papadopoulos was then brought on and he donned the keeper’s jersey. He held a shot from Hernandez before being caught too far off his line and Ogunrinde’s low cross rolled behind him and went in off the far post.
Danny Bloor made another substitution at the interval, replacing Jephte Tanga with Amadou Kassarate to bolster the midfield and change the shape.
Having come close to conceding again when Bramble nodded Harry Gibbs’ header off the line, Welling’s tactics paid dividends when they levelled just shy of the hour. Papadopoulos spotted where Welling had a numerical advantage and launched a long kick for Adom to chase. North came out and got himself stranded allowing Adom to go past him and roll it in off the far post.
Surprisingly, with all of the advantages in their favour, Aveley lacked enterprise and both Grant and Adom went close for the Wings.
Finally. Papadopoulos was tested with a dangerous high diagonal cross into a crowded penalty area but the emergency goalkeeper took command and held on excellently as he showed his prowess.
Dominic Odusanya had one last chance as Welling broke quickly, but he shot over.
It was a good point for Welling as every player gave their all, and Bloor will now be demanding that they keep those levels up over the coming months to get themselves out of the bottom four.
PICTURES: DAVE BUDDEN
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