BY MARK DOIG
After three consecutive victories, Welling United were brought back down to earth with a home defeat against Hampton and Richmond Borough.
They were the better team in the first half but created little and then lost their way completely in the second period and conceded a poor goal from a set piece.
In the early stages it looked as though Anthony Cook was going to take the game away from Hampton. Early on he was pulled back as he tried to break free but whacked the free kick straight into the wall before Adam Coombes sent him away but Daniel Lincoln got down well to make an excellent save.
Bradley Goldberg also tested Lincoln with a rasping drive that the goalkeeper finger-tipped over then Danny Waldren got on the end of a Cook corner but headed over.
At the other end Jake Gray came in from the left but shot directly at Dan Wilks in the Welling goal then Rob Swaine made an excellent tackle as veteran Jefferson Louis broke through.
Coombes had a good shout for a penalty when he appeared to be pulled back in the penalty area but nothing was awarded. Soon after he was fouled outside the penalty area but he drilled the free kick just wide then in first half injury time Waldren shot beyond the angle of bar and post.
Soon after the restart, Coombes was taken out late and Theo Widdrington beat the wall but also the far post with Lincoln scrambling.
From then on, Welling lost their way and almost paid for it when Charlie Wassemer headed Ruaridh Donaldson’s long throw onto the top of the bar and over.
Both teams made changes before the Beavers scored the crucial goal when Luke Ruddick met a corner unopposed and gave Wilks no chance with a firm header.
Nathan Green dived to head a Cook corner but could not muster any power and Lincoln saved easily.
Mark Goldberg went to three at the back with six minutes remaining and Welling showed more urgency and Jack Jebb had a powerful drive deflected wide after Bradley Goldberg had knocked Joe Anderson’s cross into his path.
Goldberg headed wide from a pinpoint cross by Montel Agyemang and Joshua Oyinsan had one final chance but headed wide from close range.
Next Saturday Welling host National League Eastleigh in the F.A. Cup and will need to show great improvement if they are to reach the first round.
Welling United: Wilks, Dymond (Agyemang 85), Anderson, Widdrington (Jebb 74), Swaine, Okosieme, Cook, Waldren, Goldberg, Coombes (Oyinsan 74), Green. Subs not used: Copeland, Rich-Baghuelou.
PICTURES BY DAVE BUDDEN