Wings’ grit has put them into contention for a play-off finish

By Mark Doig
Two consecutive victories, and five wins in their last six matches, have taken Welling United up to eighth in the Vanarama National League South Division.
That means that they are one place and two points behind seventh-placed Hemel Hempstead Town having played a game fewer.
Had the “Beast from the East” not intervened and made any football impossible on their Park View Road pitch, all would have been set up nicely for the visit of Hemel Hempstead on Saturday.
Over the last two Saturdays, Welling’s wins have shown two very different sides to their game. When Welling entertained St Albans City they put in an excellent, powerful football performance.
The first half was solid but some of their play in the second half was superb and completing the double over the title-chasers was outstanding.
Last Saturday they travelled to Concord Rangers where the icy wind was swirling and conditions were very tough.
Welling showed their grit to grind out an excellent result against a team that hadn’t lost at home in the league since mid-September.
It has been a topsy-turvy season for the Wings but they are still on course for a top-seven finish. A slow start saw them win just one of their first nine matches.
They were unbeaten in the league throughout September and all but the last game in August.
That included a run of six consecutive wins and one league defeat in 12 games over three months.
They suffered a tough December in which they picked up just one point before taking a heavy defeat on New Year’s Day.
A budget cut followed with player-manager Jamie Coyle concentrating on management and leaving himself out of the starting line up.
That appears to have galvanised the team into going on their run, up until the weekend break.
Coyle hasn’t had it easy in his first season of first-team management. After just one game, he lost goalkeeper Chris Lewington who felt that he needed a break from football. Since then, Welling have gone through a series of players wearing the number one jersey but now have Bailey Vose on loan from Brighton for the rest of their season. Early on, discipline was poor with too many cautions for dissent resulting in players missing games through suspension, which is not ideal for a club with a small squad.
Coyle appears to have got on top of this as there has been a massive improvement in this area. Another positive for Welling is that they are not dependant on one or two players for goals. Bradley Goldberg and Joe Healy have 10 apiece but almost all of the other outfield players have contributed.
Should that continue, there is no reason why Welling cannot achieve Coyle’s target of getting into the play-offs and fighting for promotion.

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