BY MARK DOIG
Once again, Welling United failed to get the three points that their performance deserved as they had to settle for a draw at a chilly Braintree Town.
In fact, it could have been worse and they were indebted to a late spectacular equaliser from Dipo Akinyemi to save a point.
After losing their first seven games, Braintree brought in former Wing Ryan Maxwell as their new manager and he brought in an almost entirely new squad. It appears to have paid off as they won their first two games under him. Akinyemi’s wonder strike was the first goal that they had conceded and the first points that they had dropped.
However, their defence should have been breached far sooner as Welling missed plenty of chances in the opening hour.
Injury to Reise Charles-Cook meant that Welling had to bring in goalkeeper Nathan Harness on loan from Charlton Athletic and he made a smart early save from Correy Davidson. From then on, Welling dominated and it looked like it was just a matter of time before they scored with the best chances falling to Rowan Liburd.
First Lyle Della-Verde went on a diagonal run across the pitch before his reverse pass caught out the Iron’s defence but also Liburd. The Welling striker then shot wide of the near post after being set-up by Akinyemi before shooting beyond Patrick Ohman but also the far post after Della-Verde put him in behind.
Della-Verde beat Ohman and his shot was on target but Taofiq Olomowewe got back to clear off the line and when it came back to him, Della-Verde’s second effort was saved by Ohman.
Completely against the run of play, the hosts thought that they had gone ahead when Davidson volleyed home from Johnville Renee’s pinpoint cross. Welling were saved when the referee was alerted to the assistant referee’s raised flag at the other end of the pitch for a throw in to Welling at the onset of the move.
Anthony Cook had a big shout for a penalty just before the break but his claims were waved aside.
In the opening moments of the second period, Mustapha Olagunju sent Liburd in behind but he was thwarted by Ohman’s brilliant double save. Then a long Green run enabled him to set up Liburd once more but again his shot didn’t have the power to worry Ohman.
Matthew Johnson headed wide from a corner for Braintree before Ohman saved Anthony Cook’s long shot before chances dried up and it looked as though the game was drifting towards a goal-less draw.
That all changed with just nine minutes remaining. Having given away a needless free-kick Welling’s defence allowed Thomas Derry a free header and he finished well.
One minute remained when Akinyemi received a pass from Della-Verde and had the space and time to power a drive from 25 yards into the top corner. Although, a point seemed like scant reward, it extended Welling’s unbeaten league run to four games ahead of Saturday’s home game with Chippenham Town.
PHOTOS: DAVE BUDDEN
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