BY MARK DOIG
When table topping Wealdstone entertained relegation threatened Welling United the odds against anything other than a home win.
In the end, the hosts were able to claim their twelfth win in thirteen games but they showed their relief at the end in the knowledge that they rode their luck.
For Bradley Quinton, managing the team for the first time in the league, it was a bittersweet day. Ultimately, they came home with nothing to show for their performance but he saw a team whose desire and commitment was top rate and with four new signings, and playing an unfamiliar shape, the players looked to be gelling well quickly.
Cameron James and Diaz Wright are central midfielders on a one month loan from Colchester United whilst Centre Half Harold Joseph and striker Philip Roberts have signed from Royston Town and Romford respectively.
Gavin McCallum had Welling’s first chance but shot wide before the hosts took control as the new look Wings found their feet. Michee Efete, Michael Phillips, Moses Emmanuel, making his Wealdstone debut, having been released by Welling earlier in the week, and Jake Sheppard all failed to test Dan Wilks, with two of the shots sailing into the distance.
Billy Clifford blasted a free kick into the defensive wall and when it came back to him, his follow up shot was deflected wide then Sheppard shot well wide with a first time effort from the edge of the penalty area.
It was not all one way traffic though and McCallum had a deflected shot saved by Harry Isted.
Then came a big moment when on another day, Wealdstone might have been reduced to ten men. Their captain, Jerome Okimo, was caught dithering in possession by Korrey Henry giving him a clear run on goal. Okimo reacted by haling him down yet was only shown a yellow card.
Soon after, Wealdstone rubbed salt into Welling’s wound by going ahead. Emmanuel nodded a cross down to Efete who had lost his marker and fired home.
Welling responded quickly and McCallum drew a great save from Isted before the Wealdstone goalkeeper made a more comfortable one from Bradley Goldberg. Joseph then came close but just missed the far post and another McCallum shot was deflected over.
Almost against the run of play, Wealdstone came close to a second just before half time when Emmanuel’s shot came back off the bar.
Emmanuel twice shot off target early in the second period and Dennon Lewis curled wide of the far post before Roberts came on and from then on, despite playing up the incline, Welling were the better side.
Wright and James combined well to send Roberts away and Isted made a reaction save with his foot to deflect it past the post. Isted saved again soon after, reacting well to claim Nathan Green’s free kick which was diverted by a big deflection.
Wealdstone were reduced to ten men when Phillips was dismissed after being shown two yellow cards within three minutes but Wealdstone defended well and threw bodies in the path of shots. Isted only had one more save to make when Dymond’s well struck shot was close enough to him to be able to claim.
The score-line could have looked worse for Welling when the number of players that had been thrown forward left them short at the back but Wilks made a good low save from Lewis.
Quinton was not too disheartened with the result and has plenty to work with at training before Welling’s next game at home to Hungerford Town.
Welling United: Wilks; Rich-Baghuelou, Joseph, McCallum, Swaine (Dymond 46), Wright, Cook, James, Henry (Cosgrave 80), Goldberg (Roberts 61), Green. Subs not used: Copeland, Akinyemi.
Pictures by: Dave Budden