The Welling United Fanzine
Saturday 18 January
On the PitchFixture List
Park View Road
So after an ultimately disappointing home draw with Dorchester, the fixture list sent us on a lovely Bank Holiday outing to... Thurrock! Manager Neil Smith made three changes to his starting XI for the game, all of them in midfield. The manager himself came into to replace skipper Richard Carpenter who was apparently “rested” whilst Sam Keevil and Lloyd Blackman were relegated to the bench in favour of Michael Johnson and Orlando Smith. The other three substitutes were keeper Marc Powell, Seb Schoburgh and Daniel Maxwell.
As always the away fans outnumbered the home ones and it was the visitors who started the game on the front foot with three-goal Omari Coleman again looking most likely to break the deadlock. It is unusual to have one left-footed striker but to have two would appear greedy although they might have both used their right foot on occasion to some effect.
Welling continued, as in previous games, to pass the ball quite nicely but there was precious little sign of any end product. Coleman wriggled past a couple of challenges and the keeper parried his shot to Cottrell who took an age to decide what to do and the chance was lost. Coleman then stretched to reach a cross by the otherwise anonymous “Magic” Johnson but couldn’t direct the header on target. The home side, despite having some pace in attack, were not offering very much going forward.
The complexion of the game changed right on half time. A free kick was lofted into the box by the home team and before the ball had reached its intended target, the assistant referee flagged for a penalty. After some research it was apparently given for a shirt-pulling offence on the home striker Thomas who got up to score the resultant penalty. It is obvious that shirt pulling does exist at all levels of the game but matches will finish at midnight and there will be 20 penalties a side if officials start giving decisions like this. All the more remarkable when a virtual assault on Chris Moore at a corner at the other end passed unnoticed.
Welling needed a fast start to the second half and almost got one. Coleman was released in the inside-left channel and shot towards the far post. The ball was deflected away from goal and neither Ward nor Smith could force the ball home.
As so often happens after nearly drawing the level the Wings were to fall further behind moments later. An innocuous looking cross from the left passed between Moore and Turner inside the six yard box giving McKenzie the simple task of tapping home at the far post to double the home side’s advantage. It was a very soft goal to concede – a pattern that has occurred in most league games this season.
This setback clearly knocked the stuffing out of the visitors and they were distinctly second best for the rest of the game. Thurrock were first to every header and every loose ball all over the pitch and Welling seemed to have thrown in the towel.
Schoburgh came on to replace Orlando Smith and soon afterwards Maxwell and Blackman were introduced at the expense of Johnson and Cotttrell. However there was no change to the Welling system and no sign of any change to the scoreline. Indeed it was the home side who created a couple of opportunities to increase their lead.
It was so comfortable for the home side to see out the game that Wings fans didn’t even get the chance to cross swords with ex “striker” Che Stadhart who hadn’t taken very long at all to assume his customary position on the bench.
So after an encouraging start it was a third defeat in five games for Welling. What was perhaps the most worrying, apart from two or three exceptions, was the lack of spirit and effort shown after the second goal went in. On paper the league fixtures for September look very tough and a marked improvement will be needed if we are going to climb the table.
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