By Marg Doig
Adam Coombes marked his return to Welling United with the only goal as they bounced back from Monday’s defeat with a well-deserved 1-0 victory over East Thurrock United.
When the two teams met at Park View Road in December, the Rocks cruised to a 3-0 victory. This time around it was Welling who enjoyed a one-sided win in National League South. Lukas Lidakevicius, East Thurrock’s goalkeeper, was man of the match and that tells its own story.
Magnus Okuonghae, on loan from Maidstone United, also came in for his Welling bow. He replaced Anthony Acheampong, who returned to the substitutes bench at Dulwich Hamlet.
Ben Jefford returned from injury, albeit with an elbow bound with a heavy dressing, so only the suspended Connor Dymond was absent.
Early on the hosts had a couple of half chances through Sam Higgins, who had scored a brace in their earlier meeting, but it was Welling who were soon asking the questions.
After Coombes had shot across the face of goal he created an opportunity with a clever back-heel to Olumide Durojaiye that allowed him a first time shot on goal. His low shot was kept out brilliantly by the foot of Lukas Lidakevicius and came out to Ryan Hall but his shot was blocked.
Jack Jebb curled just over after more excellent play by Adam Coombes allowed him to play it back to him, then Joe Healy set up a chance for Bradley Goldberg but he tried to dink it and Lidakevicius stood up to make another excellent save.
Joe Christou fired just wide for East Thurrock in a rare forage into Welling territory but it was soon Welling who were on the attack again. Jebb hit a deep free-kick and Healy stole in at the far post but blasted his first time volley over.
There was still time for one more Welling chance before half-time when Coombes sent Goldberg away down the left wing. He cut in but was thwarted by another good block by the boot of Lidakevicius.
A stretching Coombes had a header saved from Hall’s cross before the latter fired wide from the edge of the area.
Finally, the deadlock was broken 10 minutes into the second half. Another deadly Jebb free-kick found Healy, whose excellent twisting header was well saved by Lidakevicius under pressure from Jack Parkinson but he could only palm it into the path of Coombes, who stooped to head bravely into the roof of the net.
Welling tested Lidakevicius when a fierce Hall free-kick flew back off his chest and to safety.
East Thurrock did find the net, but to no avail. Bailey Vose made his only save of the match with a reaction stop from a deflected Simon Peddie header and Christou fired it home but the flag was up for offside.
Deep into injury time, two Welling substitutes almost combined for a second goal. Jeffrey Monakana crossed towards Jamie Philpot but the Millwall loanee was unable to find the target.
Welling manager Jamie Coyle said “We could have been three up by half time.
“Adam’s signing shows that Mark (Goldberg) is backing the management team. We are delighted to have him as we need three strikers in the squad.”