BY MARK DOIG
St Albans City completed the double over Welling United but the hosts can consider themselves unfortunate to come away from the game – played in horrendous weather conditions – empty handed.
Should the Saints win all their games in hand they will go top of the National League South. If the league was to be curtailed now they would be crowned champions on points per game so Welling knew that they were in for a tough game. However, they certainly more than played their part and but for a couple of defensive lapses would have come away with at least a point.
Rain throughout, at times torrential, made the Park View Road pitch very boggy but still playable and both teams played some good football.
The game got off to a fast start and almost a perfect one for Peter Taylor’s Wings. Chi Ezennolim got down the left side and sent over an excellent low cross. Dipo Akinyemi was not quite able to reach it and Joe Muscatt, arriving late, could only fire wide.
Straight away St Albans raced to the other end and went one better by scoring. Shaun Jeffers, a Welling nemesis, pulled it back and Alex Lankshear fired home from close range.
Within three minutes it was all square again. Muscatt delivered an inch perfect corner and Danny Parish leapt high to power his header home giving Michael Johnson no chance in the visitors’ goal.
End to end football followed. Ade Shokunbi drew a save out of Johnson and the Welling keeper Jack Sims did well at the other end to thwart Romeo Akinola. Akinola then had an effort disallowed for a foul on Sims.
Parish had a low shot saved before Welling went ahead five minutes before half time. Yannis Drais sent Shokunbi away and he rounded Johnson before slotting home.
Hopes that the Wings had of going in ahead were dashed two minutes later when Akinola got on the end of Zane Banton’s cut back and thrashed it home.
Parish came close to putting Welling back ahead in their first meaningful attack of the second period. He met Muscatt’s corner with a firm header that Johnson could only push back out to him. He then showed great technique to volley towards goal only to see Alex Lankshear head it off the line.
St Albans scored the all important fifth goal of the match 20 minutes into the second half when Welling were again undone by a pull back. Banton was again the provider and this time Joy Mukena was the beneficiary and he gave Sims no chance from 10 yards out.
Although having not been able to train all week through injury, Mason Saunders-Henry had to be brought on and almost had an immediate impact when his powerful angled shot brought a brilliant diving save out of Johnson.
Taylor’s side continued to probe but the visitors wound down the clock well and the closest the Wings came to getting a deserved point was when Akinyemi fizzed a long range shot past the far post.
The Wings visit improving Chelmsford City on Saturday but will have nothing to fear if they can get some of their injured players fit again.
PICTURES: DAVE BUDDEN
Main pic: Despair for the Wings as they concede another goal
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