BY MARK DOIG
Diaz Wright’s late goal proved crucial as Welling United defeated Hungerford Town to lift them out of the relegation zone.
Manager Bradley Quinton had sent two strikers on after the visitors had equalised with under fifteen minutes remaining but even though there were three centre forwards on the field, it was holding midfield player Wright who was in the right place at the right time to finish from inside the six yard box.
Quinton made changes to the starting line-up, some enforced, from the team that had been beaten at Wealdstone one week earlier. Romoney Crichlow-Noble came in for his Welling debut on loan from Huddersfield Town due to injury to Rob Swaine and the non selection of Jay Rich-Baghuelou who has passed a medical at Crystal Palace and is expected to join them during the next week.
Dipo Akinyemi and Aaron Cosgrave also came in with Korrey Henry and Gavin McCallum taking a turn on the bench as Quinton rotated his squad.
His team got off to a great start and went ahead after just eight minutes. Akinyemi did well to set up Anthony Cook and he scored his second in consecutive home games via a deflection.
However, Hungerford came back and after Bradley Webb had drawn a fine save out of Dan Wilks, the Crusaders drew level. Ralph Graham crashed a header against the bar and Liam Ferdinand was first to the rebound to force it home.
Cook side footed over after Cosgrave did well to create the opening before Welling went back ahead. There looked little danger when Cameron James received a short pass from Connor Dymond out wide just inside the Hungerford half. However, he saw space to charge forward, sent one man the wrong way with a little shoulder dip and nutmegged another before guiding his shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
Wilks came out quickly to make an excellent block as Ferdinand burst through before saving from Matt Jones who had tried his luck from a long way out after spotting the Welling custodian off his line.
Akinyemi might have given Welling some breathing space just before the break but he lashed it over from ten yards out after Cook’s good run.
After the interval, Nathan Green’s fierce drive was turned around the post by a flying Adam Siviter before the game became a bit of a midfield battle. Wright fired wide for Welling and they appeared to be containing the visitors comfortably before being stunned when the Crusaders levelled with less than fifteen minutes remaining. It was a real bolt out of the blue when a cross was headed out as far as Jones. He shot low first time and it flew into the bottom corner from twenty-five minutes.
Korrey Henry’s header came back off the bar, but with a draw being no good to either side, Quinton went for broke by bringing on strikers Philip Roberts and Bradley Rolt to join Henry up front and Welling grabbed the winner with four minutes remaining. Rolt found Henry and his low angled cross was met by Wright at the far post and he forced it home before wheeling away in celebration.
Welling might have scored again deep into injury time when James sent Roberts away but he blasted over from just inside the penalty area.
Welling United: Wilks, Dymond, Green, Crichlow-Noble, Joseph, Wright, James, Cosgrave (Rolt 82), Akinyemi (Henry 69), Goldberg (Roberts 82), Cook. Subs not used: McCallum, Johnson.
Pictures by Dave Budden
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