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Dover Athletic 3-2 Welling United
AFTER a fantastic twelve consecutive wins, both a league and club record, Welling tasted defeat in the Conference South for the first time since October.
There is a football cliché 'a game of two halves' that was certainly relevant to this game. Welling United controlled the first period but Dover manager Chris Kinnear regrouped his side at the break and they were the better side in the second half.
Daryl McMahon fired over for Dover early on before Welling took over.
Joe Healy blasted over after collecting Ben Martin's knock down before scoring a contender for goal of the season. As the ball came back to him from a Ross Lafayette knock back, he struck his shot powerfully inside the far post.
Regrettably for Welling, it took just two minutes for Dover to equalise when Ben May headed home at the far post from a corner.
Searching to regain the lead, Welling caused chaos from a corner at the other end and eventually Lloyd Harrington forced the ball out as far as Fraser Franks whose attempt soared over the bar.
Barney Williams sent over a cross that found Healy but his goal-bound shot struck Harrington and flew away for a corner.
It was not a surprise when Welling went ahead again. After Franks had seen a shot blocked, Dover again found clearing the ball difficult and eventually the ball fell out to Lee Clarke whose deflected shot flew into the top corner.
Whilst Welling played some fine flowing football, they looked at risk on the break and May, Moses Ademola and Ricky Modeste all came close.
Jack Obersteller, on the overlap, cut in and having looked up and seen no other alternative, he tried a cheeky drive at the near post that Mitch Walker was able to save comfortably, before the Dover goalkeeper claimed Martin's header from Jamie Day's corner.
Calum Willock replaced May at the break, and the change was to prove to be decisive.
When Kiernan Hughes-Mason, Jake Gallagher and Day combined to set up a chance that Franks smashed over, it looked that the second period might follow a similar pattern to the first however that was not the case.
Obersteller was booked for a foul on Barry Cogan before Welling failed to clear and Willock equalised.
Welling's only opportunities came from Day's dead ball deliveries. Martin headed one wide, and Clarke did likewise from another.
Dover piled on the pressure and took the lead in the 84th minute. Willock turned provider with a run and cross that another substitute, Billy Bricknell, had time and space to head home at the far post.
Jon Main and Theo Fairweather-Johnson came on as a late replacements for Gallagher and Hughes-Mason but when the latter was foiled by a crucial tackle by Tyrone Sterling, Dover were able to see the game out..
Welling United: Mott, Williams, Obersteller, Day, Franks, Martin, Gallagher (Main 86), Hughes-Mason (Fairweather-Johnson 86), Lafayette, Healy. Unused substitutes: Kinch, Turner, Acheampong.