BY MARK DOIG
Luckless Welling United again fell to defeat, this time at home to high-flying St Albans City and it proved costly for manager Brad Quinton and his backroom staff.
After just one victory in 13 league and cup games, and having gone four games without a goal, the Welling board of directors felt that they had no option other than to make a change and relieve the current management team of their duties.
It was tough on them as should the Saints win their games in hand, they will be well clear at the top of the National League South table. However, for large parts of the game, neutrals would have struggled to have known who were title chasers and who were in a relegation battle.
For the first 30 minutes there were few goalmouth incidents with Wings goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cook tested once when diving full length to push a David Noble free-kick round the post.
However, on the half hour mark, the Saints went ahead when some penalty area pinball ended with the ball falling kindly into the path of Shaun Jeffers and he made no mistake from 10 yards out.
That appeared to stir Welling and only brilliant goalkeeping by Michael Johnson kept them at bay. First he made a fine low save to thwart former Motherwell favourite Lionel Ainsworth, whose angled drive was heading towards the bottom corner.
Next he did well to block Joe Taylor’s shot after he had burst into the penalty area before making his best save of the three, again Taylor being the striker whose shot he saved, after Rhys Murrell-Williamson had caused chaos in the penalty area.
On the stroke of half time, the Saints went two up with a goal that was not only against the run of play but also highly controversial. Michael Weiss appeared to run into Welling full-back Chiori Johnson in the penalty area and when the referee pointed to the spot rather than awarding a free-kick to Welling, few in the ground could believe what they were witnessing. It did not bother Jeffers, though, and he stepped up to send Charles-Cook the wrong way.
As was the case in the first half, it took a while for the second period to get going but when it did, it was again a case of Johnson saving from Taylor as the striker on loan spun and turned on the edge of the area.
Weiss then had a chance for the visitors but the angle was too tight and he could only shoot into the side netting before Taylor again came close for Welling when throwing himself at a cross but seeing his close range header flash wide.
After that, Welling seemed to run out of ideas and were probably guilty of trying to find the killer pass rather than remain patient in the build up. The Saints held firm and looked to pick Welling off on the break.
Ricky Shakes side footed over from Luke Warner-Eley’s clever cross and then had a shot saved comfortably after he had cut back to create the opportunity.
Jeffers might have completed his hat-trick in the closing minutes when finding himself clean through but Charles-Cook came out quickly to make a brave save.
Director of football Garry Fiore will take the team for Saturday’s game when Welling host Tonbridge Angels whilst the club start their search for a new management team.
MAIN PHOTO: KEITH GILLARD INSET PHOTO: STUART FULLER
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.