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Welling United 5-2 Billericay Town
DESPITE the heavy rainfall for two days following Welling United’s victory over Newport County on Saturday, Barry Hobbins still managed to prepare a superb playing surface.
While other games in the area were being called off there was no problem with the Park View Road pitch and the team rewarded him with a five goal display.
Three of Saturday’s starting line up, player-manager Jamie Day, Theo Fairweather-Johnson and Fraser Franks joined club captain Lee Clarke on the sidelines.
Kiernan Hughes-Mason, Scott Kinch and Ben Martin came in as replacements.
One time Welling striker Charlie Taylor had the first opportunity for Billericay Town but headed wide from a corner then Welling had their first opening but Connor McLaren was off target from 25 yards.
After just eleven minutes, Welling went ahead with the scrappiest goal of the evening.
McLaren and Joe Healy worked well to win a corner and from the latter’s delivery chaos ensued.
Debutant keeper Nathan McDonald could only parry the ball out and Chris Wild’s attempted hoof out struck Ben Martin and cannoned back into the net.
Sam Mott did well to hold a swirling shot from Alex Cordeira before Ross Lafayette’s strength saw him power past Rob Swaine but his low cross was well claimed by McDonald as Kurtis Guthrie lurked menacingly.
Two Loui Fazakerley corners found team mates.
First Scott Kinch was unable to muster sufficient power to trouble McDonald then Martin headed well off target.
Thirty seven minutes had elapsed when Welling doubled their lead.
As Welling claimed for a penalty on Hughes-Mason, the ball was worked out to Healy who was brought down by Sam Lechmere.
This time, referee Neil Hair had an easy decision to make and pointed to the spot. Healy picked himself up and gave McDonald no chance with a sweetly struck conversion.
Hughes-Mason’s clever dummy from Jake Gallagher’s pass presented Lafayette with an opening but McDonald was quick to spot the danger and came out sharply to block at point blank range.
Billericay’s reprieve was short lived as Fazakerley’s clever pass found Kinch who showed superb skill to collect, turn and lash his shot into the back of the net.
As half-time loomed, the impressive McLaren went down holding his knee and had to be carried away on a stretcher.
He was replaced by Barney Williams.
Jay May replaced Cordeira for the visitors as the Blues looked to take advantage of having the wind behind them for the second period.
Glenn Poole shot wide from distance and Taylor saw an effort saved by Mott as Welling defended deep and looked to use their pace to break.
Gallagher made a crucial clearance from a free kick then Craig Edwards shinned over.
Eventually, the pressure told and in the seventy second minute Edwards fired home off the underside of the cross bar as Welling failed to clear a corner.
This served to awaken the hosts and within two minutes their three goal lead was restored.
Hughes-Mason played a one-two with Gallagher before cutting across the penalty area and dinking the ball beyond McDonald and inside the far post.
Two more minutes passed before Welling scored again.
This time Fazakerley combined well with Lafayette before his sumptuous near post cross was met by Jon Main, on for Guthrie, who volleyed home from close range.
Malachi Hudson, who had played for Thamesmead Town against Welling in a recent London Senior Cup game, replaced the outstanding Gallagher.
Anthony Acheampong made a brave header out before the visitors made their final change, bringing on Joe Benjamin for Taylor.
The Blues substitute made an immediate impact by breaking beyond the Welling back four before slotting his shot beyond Mott on 90 minutes.
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Welling United: Mott, Fazakerley, McLaren (Williams 45), Kinch, Acheampong, Martin, Hughes-Mason, Gallagher (Hudson 88), Guthrie (Main 68), Lafayette, Healy. Subs not used: Callum, Flack. Att: 408
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