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Welling United 1-0 Grimsby Town
HOME form was key to Welling United’s promotion last season, and victory against Grimsby Town on Saturday provided further evidence that Park View Road could remain a difficult place to visit.
Ross Lafayette’s second goal in as many games proved to be sufficient for the Wings to claim all three points.
Blaine Hudson’s return in the place of Loui Fazakerley was Welling’s only change to the starting line up from Wednesday’s draw with Cambridge United.
New signing Harry Beautyman awaited his turn on the substitute’s bench.
Lee Butcher was called into action in the Welling goal, saving a low shot from Joe Colbeck who latched onto Craig Disley’s clever pass.
Alex Dyer then won the first of three corners in quick succession when his shot was deflected wide by Chris Doig.
His first delivery caused panic stations, ending with a desperate clearance out by Lenell John-Lewis.
Dyer’s second corner was met by a looping header from Hudson that was tipped over by James McKeown and the same two Welling players combined again when Hudson was unable to keep a firmer header below the bar.
Jake Gallagher was cautioned for a meaty challenge in midfield before McKeown was almost embarrassed by a short back pass but cleared hurriedly as Kurtis Guthrie closed him down.
Joe Healy had a shot deflected over before Grimsby came close to opening the scoring just before the break.
Clayton McDonald rose high to meet a corner but looked on in dismay as his header cannoned back off the crossbar.
Shortly into the second period there was a flashpoint when Fraser Franks took a dislike to being charged into the advertising boards and players from both sides jumped in to join an unsightly skirmish.
After much discussion with his two assistants, referee Craig Hicks cautioned Welling’s Doug Bergqvist along with Grimsby’s John-Lewis and Scott Kerr.
Eleven minutes into the second half, Lee Clarke’s brave header out from John-Lewis ended with a clash off heads meaning neither player was able to continue.
Beautyman came on for the Wings and Andy Cook for the Mariners.
Loick Pires then replaced Guthrie and hit an optimistic effort well wide from a long way out.
Playing with the wind behind them and the slope in their favour, the visitors enjoyed a good spell of possession and territorial advantage but the Wings’ defence held firm and little was created.
It meant Jack Obersteller had to concentrate on his defensive duties and was unable to create opportunities as he had done so effectively against Cambridge.
At the other end, Welling were able to cause problems on the break.
Healy held up a long pass well and waited for help from Bergqvist.
The full-back played in Beautyman but his hopes of a debut goal were thwarted by a crucial block by McDonald.
Gallagher and Dyer both shot wide, the latter’s curling just around the post with McKeown beaten.
Franks hit a short free kick over the bar for Welling before Butcher tipped Cook’s effort over as Grimsby looked to up the pace.
They came close again when Doig lashed over from a corner then Franks made a brave block to deflect away Colbeck’s effort.
Five minutes remained when Welling broke the deadlock.
Pires held the ball up brilliantly before finding Dyer who played in Lafayette on the left hand side.
Welling’s leading marksman from last season controlled neatly before lashing his low shot beyond McKeown and inside the far post.
After three minutes of the five additional minutes, substitute Dayle Southwell found space but his shot was well beaten out by Butcher to preserve his clean sheet.
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Welling United: Butcher, Bergqvist, Jack Obersteller, Gallagher, Franks, Hudson, Dyer, Clarke (Beautyman 56), Guthrie (Pires 62), Lafayette, Healy. Unused substitutes: Turner, Webb, Joe Obersteller.
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