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Welling United 4-1 Tonbridge Angels
FOLLOWING late drama in their previous two home games, Welling United supporters who braved the bitter temperatures enjoyed a victory that opened up a three point lead at the top.
New loan signing Jake Reid was thrown straight into the starting line up at the expense of Kurtis Guthrie but other than that the Welling team was unchanged from the team who drew with Basingstoke four days earlier.
Anthony Sinclair-Furlonge, on his Tonbridge debut, was involved early on with a cool piece of defending to thwart Kiernan Hughes-Mason.
Lee Clarke did well to make room for Jake Gallagher but Welling’s hero from the last two games failed to muster sufficient power to worry Lee Worgan in the Angels goal.
When Tonbridge failed to clear a corner fully, Fraser Franks chipped the ball back but just beyond the far post.
Worgan made a hash of a clearance but Clarke’s first time effort from 40 yards was gathered by the retreating custodian.
Jon Heath broke dangerously for Tonbridge but his low cross was met by Anthony Acheampong ahead of Mikel Suarez.
Jamie Day hit a screamer just wide and Reid turned well before shooting off target.
Ross Lafayette then chested down to Clarke, but again Welling failed to work Worgan as his shot went beyond the upright.
Lee Browning demonstrated that Welling could be made to pay for not taking their chances when he got behind the Wings’ defence but saw his shot saved by Sam Mott. Frannie Collin then gave notice of the danger he posed when turning well before shooting wide.
One of Jack Obersteller’s many excellent dead ball deliveries found Ben Martin at the far post but his header flew into the side-netting.
Obersteller’s next corner, in the 39th minute, brought about the opening goal.
This time it was Acheampong who was found at the far post and he powered his header home.
After Obersteller had tried to sneak a free kick inside Worgan’s near post, Welling added a second.
Hughes-Mason got close to the by-line before whipping in a delicious header that Lafayette headed goalwards with the help of a touch from a defender.
After the break, the visitors were keen to get themselves back into the game and Browning hit an effort that swerved away late.
Four minutes in and Tonbridge reduced the arrears. Collecting a ball from Ashley Miller, Collin advanced before finishing clinically.
Franks hit a fierce drive that was well saved by Worgan and after being cautioned for a foul that stopped Tonbridge from breaking, Clarke headed another wonderful Obersteller delivery over from close range.
Seventeen minutes into the half, Clarke swept home to restore Welling’s two goal lead after Lafayette and Reid had combined well to create the opening.
A minute later, Lafayette almost scored when his instinctive touch flew just beyond the far post.
Once again an Obersteller corner caused problems with Reid being unlucky not to mark his debut with a goal as his close range header smashed into the upright and away.
Mott then made an excellent save as Collin looked to repeat his earlier success then Worgan was again called into action, saving from Hughes-Mason after good work from Gallagher.
Welling’s fourth and final goal came in the 81st minute courtesy of a Day corner that was side foot volleyed home by Acheampong as substitute Kurtis Guthrie made a nuisance of himself.
Tonbridge claimed their first corner of the game with four minutes remaining but could not capitalise on it and Welling saw out the remaining minutes in comfort.
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Welling United: Mott, Franks, Obersteller, Day (Kinch 83), Martin, Acheampong, Gallagher, Clarke, Reid, Lafayette (Guthrie 75), Hughes-Mason (Fairweather-Johnson 80). Subs not used: Fakinos, Main.