BY MARK DOIG
A 1-0 defeat against Concord Rangers ended Welling United’s long unbeaten home run.
Steve King’s Wings came into the game on the back of an excellent victory over Dartford and had hoped to build on it as he named an unchanged starting 11. They had made Park View Road a fortress for four and a half months following a loss to Billericay Town – but that ended against the Canvey Island-based team.
Although the visitors’ tactics were not attractive, they were effective and they could have won more heavily. Some of their methods were questionable but the referee did not clamp down on their less savoury antics so they were able to break the flow of the game all through the second half.
There was less than a minute on the clock when Concord went ahead and they could have been out of sight within the first 10 minutes.
Dan Wilks could only beat out a Danny Green free-kick and Tyrone Sterling put the rebound away.
Sterling missed a chance to double Concord’s lead soon after before Wilks made a great save from Jack Midson and an easier one from Sam Blackman.
Fraser Shaw was next to try his luck but shot across the face of goal then a corner found Lee Minshull but he was unable to get a shot away as he got it stuck between his feet.
Tosan Popo was cautioned for a nasty foul on Nassim L’Ghoul as Welling started to come back into the game. The flying Frenchman headed wide from Danny McNamara’s before bringing a brilliant save out of Sam Beasant from a free-kick following an agricultural challenge on Bradley Goldberg.
After the break it appeared that Concord had changed their game plan to defend deeper and catch Welling on the counter but to break up play whenever possible to ensure that the hosts couldn’t build momentum.
Liam Nash’s pace was the main outlet for the plan and he fired wide of the near post early in the second half.
When he next broke away his shot flew back off the crossbar before L’Ghoul shot wide of the far post at the other end.
Popo was lucky to remain on the field when he committed another bad foul on L’Ghoul but the Welling man was up quickly to pick out Thierry Audel from the free-kick but he headed wide.
L’Ghoul came close to levelling soon after when his shot took a nick off Popo and crashed against the bar and he then had another free-kick saved by Beasant.
Nash was again off target when again breaking quickly before Arnaud Mendy had a shot deflected wide.
Welling’s last chance came and went with two minutes remaining when Brendan Kiernan met a cross with a firm header but it was too close to Beasant and he was able to save.
King will have to pick up his team for the New Year’s Day game against Dartford but they shouldn’t need too much motivating in a big local derby.
Welling United: Wilks, McNamara (Newton 77), Genovesi, Mendy, Hill, Audel, McCallum (Kiernan 48), Kissock (Anau 64), Mills, Goldberg, L’Ghoul. Subs not used: Ijaha, Acheampong.
IMAGES BY DAVE BUDDEN
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