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Welling United 3-2 Dorchester Town
DESPITE a mounting injury list Welling United’s will to win saw them come through victorious in a sometimes feisty encounter with Dorchester Town.
As a result, the Wings eclipsed the ten straight wins recorded by Weymouth and Hayes and Yeading, the best runs recorded since the formation of the Conference South.
Season long injuries to Luis Cumbers and Conner McLaren had already afflicted Welling before a training injury to Loui Fazakerley in midweek put doubt into his return prior to the end of the campaign.
Kurtis Guthrie and Anthony Acheampong were also ruled out, and with Jake Gallagher not being ready to start, the Wings small squad was stretched.
Barney Williams returned for his first game since early December and fitted in superbly to solve the problem caused by injuries to defenders.
In fact, for the first 20 minutes it appeared that the game was going to be a stroll for Welling.
A sixth minute first Welling league goal for Fraser Franks, headed home after Kiernan Hughes-Mason had nodded back into the area, appeared to be the springboard to an easy Wings victory.
During this period, all the Magpies could manage was ludicrous hand ball appeals or shouts for restarts when they knew they had touched the ball last before it went out of play.
Meanwhile, Welling recorded several goal attempts after going ahead.
Lee Clarke’s first touch from Joe Healy’s inch perfect through ball was not quite good enough and keeper Alan Walker-Harris was quick to claim.
Jamie Day fired over after Joe Healy knocked back Williams’ pass, Theo Fairweather-Johnson had an effort blocked by Neil Martin and Ross Lafayette’s first time shot was too high after Charlie Clough and Aaron Pugh had collided when trying to head clear.
Another excellent pass by Williams played in Hughes-Mason but Walker-Harris saved his first time attempt.
It came as a major shock when Dorchester equalised on twenty-four minutes.
A first-time effort from Ashley Nicholls arrowed into the roof of the net and gave Sam Mott no chance.
Yellow cards were shown to Lafayette and Clough for fouls however Jamie Gleeson was lucky to escape with no more than a lecture for what appeared to be the worst tackle of the three for a foul on Fairweather-Johnson.
Martin, the Magpies’ dead ball expert belted a free kick into the wall just before the interval.
Five minutes after the interval, Welling regained the lead.
Hughes-Mason headed through for Healy to finish clinically inside the near post.
Three fouls in quick succession by Aaron Pugh, as Dorchester appeared to target Lafayette, might have earned him a yellow card before Dorchester dragged themselves back into the game.
Williams and Jack Obersteller had fewer opportunities to attack and Ben Martin neede to be alert to head out strongly while under pressure.
Ben Watson hit a snapshot into the side netting when Welling failed to clear before Gallagher replaced Fairweather-Johnson for his first appearance since early January.
The Wings midfielder almost made an immediate impact but saw his deflected shot saved comfortably.
Dorchester levelled for the second time when having won a cheap free-kick, the impressive Clough headed home unmarked at the far post.
Gallagher’s clever pass found Healy but his goal-bound effort was deflected wide for a corner.
Lafayette’s efforts in keeping his cool were rewarded twelve minutes from time. Gallagher’s clever pass was back-heeled by Healy into the path of Welling’s leading scorer and he wasted no time before shooting into the bottom corner.
Moments later Lafayette almost scored again but saw his header cannon back off the bar.
Further yellow cards followed for Gallagher and Hughes-Mason but after the free kick for the initial foul was cleared, Dorchester failed to threaten again.
The final chance of the game fell to Gallagher whose fierce effort flew just over following good build up work between Lafayette and late substitute Jon Main.
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Welling : Mott, Williams, Jack Obersteller, Day, Franks, Martin, Fairweather-Johnson (Gallagher 69), Clarke, Hughes-Mason, Lafayette, Healy (Main 89). Unused substitutes: Turner, Kinch.