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Basingstoke Town 0-1 Welling United
WELLING United’s tenth consecutive league victory equalled the Conference South record for consecutive victories whilst reducing the lead of pace-setters Salisbury City.
Ross Lafayette claimed the only goal of the game at Basingstoke Town on a boggy pitch that only passed a pitch inspection four hours before kick-off.
Jamie Day and Theo Fairweather-Johnson replaced Scott Kinch and Kiernan Hughes-Mason in the team that had been beaten by Grimsby Town when Welling last played two weeks previously.
In a bright start Fairweather-Johnson collected a pass from Lafayette before firing in an effort that took a massive deflection wrong-footing goalkeeper Ashley Bayes but flying just wide of the near post.
Kurtis Guthrie then struck the outside of the post before his game came to a premature end when a gash on the knee, requiring several stitches, resulted in Hughes-Mason replacing him in the 14th minute.
Tim Sills saw an effort easily saved by Sam Mott, playing his first game since learning of his call up for the England C squad.
Shaun McAuley’s cross was then headed onto the roof of the net by Sills then Nathan Smart shot wide from distance.
Joe Healy played in Hughes-Mason with a delightful pass and Bayes, coming out, could only block the ball out as far as Lafayette.
Welling’s leading scorer shot first time was unable to find the target with his effort.
Mott then made a reaction save from Manny Williams before Welling scored the only goal of the game.
Hughes-Mason again caught out the Basingstoke defence and squared to Lafayette who made no mistake this time round, steering home off Bayes’ outstretched hand.
The first half continued to be an end-to-end saga.
Rob Rice landed a header onto the roof of the net for the Dragons then Lafayette had a shot parried away by Bayes.
Jide Ogunbote shot wide before Richard Kendall enraged Welling with some awful refereeing.
Fairweather-Johnson’s run across the field 20 yards out was ended with a foul but the official decided that the Welling player had dived and then compounded his error by booking the wrong player, with Lafayette being the unfortunate player to be shown the yellow card.
Basingstoke came out strongly in the second period and Mott made a save from Sills then Fraser Franks made a vital clearance in the penalty area, as he and Anthony Acheampong answered all questions asked of them.
McAuley screwed wide from the edge of the area then Sills’ cross was met by the head of Williams but he was unable to find the power needed to worry Mott.
Having weathered the storm, Welling came back and Loui Fazakerley’s strong run earned a corner.
Jack Obersteller’s delivery found Lee Clarke but the Welling captain headed wide.
Clarke was in the thick of things again, moments later, when heading Day’s free kick over the bar.
Healy shot over following good work by Fairweather-Johnson before the hosts were given a gilt edged opportunity in the 90th minute.
Franks blotted an otherwise fine performance by diving in on a tackle and conceding a penalty.
Wes Daly stepped up but saw his spot kick come back off the post and Welling saw out the four additional minutes without further alarm to write their name into the league’s record books.
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Welling United: Mott, Fazakerley, Jack Obersteller, Day, Franks, Acheampong, Fairweather-Johnson, Clarke, Guthrie (Hughes-Mason 14), Lafayette, Healy. Unused substitutes: Kinch, Martin, Main, Turner.
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