The Welling United Fanzine
Friday 22 March
On the PitchFixture List
Park View Road
Neil Smith at last gave the recently returned Ellis Green a start on the right flank, with Leon taking up station on the left, leaving Marlon Patterson on the bench. Up front the Wings had Coleman and Montague together for the first time in what should be our strongest strike force, whilst JT took over in goal from Clark Masters whose loan terms rule him out of FA Cup ties. The home side had ex-Wing Jamie Day on the bench.
Both teams started brightly and this set the tone for what turned out to be an excellent cup tie. There was no repeat of the Wings lacklustre first half seen in the recent league fixture at the same venue, but it was Eastbourne who got in the first real strike of the match with a long shot to no avail. Then Ellis showed us what we have been missing when he rounded the full back and sent over a measured cross that the Wings strikers just failed to reach.
A moment of comedy saw the lino’s flag fall apart and the game was held up while he ran the full length of the pitch to get a replacement from the changing rooms. This did not signal good news for the visitors as an Eastbourne free kick near the right corner flag was flighted to the near post and Andy Atkin rose to meet it with a clear header while JT flapped ineffectively; although it was difficult to see for sure from the far end, it looked like JT may have helped the ball on its way into the net to give the home side a 1-0 lead on 13 minutes.
The Wings attacked from the restart and Monty’s shot was pushed over for a corner; as the ball came over, Moore’s legs were clearly chopped from under him by a home defender, but the ref waved away appeals for the penalty. Green’s next run down the wing was halted by a late and high challenge for which Darren Baker was booked. Next it was Welling’s turn to pick up a booking when Turner’s throw failed to reach Green and Cottrell’s desperately late tackle was rewarded with a yellow card.
A rare free kick to the visitors in the home half came to nothing, before another attack saw a good touch by Montague send Coleman away. He took the ball on and fired a solid shot at goal which the keeper failed to hold properly, but just managed to scramble back and gather the rolling ball before any Wings player could reach it. The half closed with a home attack down the right flank and a cross shot which went close with JT beaten. So a closely matched contest stood at 1-0 at the break with the home side probably just edging it and deserving their lead.
Chris Moore was subbed at half time (presumably because of an injury), and Leon took over in central defence with Marlon coming on at left wing. Apparently revelling in his tag of “Pogo”, the winger made a good run down the flank and sent over an inviting cross only to see the lino flag for offside. This was followed by a tussle out on the Welling right that resulted in a booking for Green amid a visiting fans’ rendition of “No2 you’re doggy poo” before it was spotted that it was actually the Eastbourne No3, Neil Jenkins, who had been involved.
Coleman put a shot wide before more good work by Pogo on the left allowed him to knock the ball into Monty who showed great composure, controlled it and calmly placed his shot across the keeper and into the net to level the scores on 55 minutes with by far the best goal of the match. Welling were now really right back in the game, dictating play and pinning the home side in their own half for long periods.
Monty picked up a booking on the Wings right before an Eastbourne attack down their right resulted in a high shot being deflected up and appearing to bounce off the angle of the woodwork. For the visitors, Pogo was still marauding down the left wing without the Wings being able to capitalise on his crosses. Jerome Boyce replaced Neil Smith in midfield and the home side again hit the woodwork with a high ball from the left that sailed over JT.
Blackman came on for Green on 80 minutes and soon played a lofted ball down the visitors’ right flank. The home defender never looked like dealing with it and with Monty in close attendance a desperate charge out by the keeper ended with a high lunge which flattened Monty, who appeared to be in a bad way for a while. Despite it looking like a clear red card offence, the ref produced only a yellow and the keeper stayed on to receive very vocal jeering from a number of the visiting fans. This was dealt with commendably quickly by the stewards, but unfortunately they seemed to do it in an unnecessarily aggressive and confrontational manner. Meanwhile, the Welling free kick skimmed just over the corner of the home goal.
It was then Eastbourne’s turn to attack and they gained a dubious throw-in on the left. As they moved the ball into the corner of the box, the Wings appeared to have two men on hand to clear it comfortably. Unfortunately, Blackman did not do so and seemed to hesitate and leave it for Sinclair; the home side showed no such hesitation and took immediate advantage as substitute Nathan Crabb put the ball in the Welling net on 86 minutes to put the hosts in front.
With little time left to retrieve the match, although there was 4 minutes of injury time, the Wings continued to press forward and a Coleman effort was deflected off for a corner. Turner came up and managed to outjump the defence to get his head on it but put it over the Eastbourne bar.
And so the Wings FA Cup efforts came to a disappointing end after a true cup tie from which we deserved at least a draw. Unfortunately, two defensive errors saw us concede two goals to thwart our own ambitions, and Eastbourne went through for a home draw against Bromley in the next round.
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