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Welling United 1-1 Wrexham
PERSISTENT rain made for a slick Park View Road pitch and Wrexham used it to give Welling United another stern test.
Having had a weekend off, Welling were well rested and were able to bring Harry Beautyman and Lee Clarke back into the starting line-up in place of Alex Dyer, who has left the club, and player-manager Jamie Day.
Neither side created much in the opening minutes but Wrexham had the first clear cut chance when Johnny Hunt’s header towards the bottom corner was saved brilliantly by Lee Butcher.
Although enjoying more of the early play, Welling were again close to conceding when Robert Evans’ flicked effort clipped the bar.
Andy Bishop netted for Wrexham when he brought the down ball well and volleyed home but his joy was cut short by an offside flag.
Brett Ormerod’s disagreement with the decision was voiced excessively earning him a caution.
Clarke registered Welling’s first effort on goal when his header from Baily Cargill’s cross was claimed under the bar by Andy Coughlin.
Welling took the lead in the 28th minute.
Beautyman slung in a tremendous free-kick that was met with a header by Kurtis Guthrie which gave Coughlin no chance for the Wings striker’s first goal of the season.
It might have been two 60 seconds later when Ross Lafayette pulled a pass back to Clarke but the Welling skipper’s measured side foot shot slipped just the wrong side of the post.
Coughlin’s punt clearance caught in the wind and Jake Gallagher attempted an audacious first time effort from forty five yards but the Wrexham custodian was alert to the danger and claimed comfortably.
There was controversy when Wrexham equalised soon after.
Welling were on the attack but referee Robert Whitton appeared to be the only person in the ground not to spot a foul on Joe Healy.
The visitors broke quickly and Hunt finished spectacularly.
This appeared to shake Welling and Wrexham came close again, just before the break, when Neil Ashton’s near post header was beaten out at point blank range by Butcher.
Joe Clarke was cautioned early in the second half, either for pulling back Welling’s captain, or for showing dissent against the decision.
Either offence deserved a booking but Wrexham enjoyed having the wind behind them and put Welling under severe pressure.
Beautyman struck a free-kick wide in a rare foray forward but Welling had to replace influential midfielder Gallagher in the 59th minute when he over-stretched in committing a foul.
He was shown a yellow card as he was helped off the field with Doug Bergqvist replacing him.
Butcher made a great save from Evans and Fraser Franks mopped up before Bishop punched the ball into the Welling net earning him a caution.
Luis Cumbers replaced Guthrie before the officious official produced another Christmas yellow card, this time to Blaine Hudson.
Aristide Bassele came on for Beautyman as Wrexham continued to press, but with Franks and Hudson superb in front of Butcher, Welling weathered the storm and had their own chances late on.
Bassele’s deep cross was headed down by Cumbers just beyond Clarke, then a move involving De’Reece Vanderhyde, Bergqvist, Lafayette and Cumbers ended with Lafayette curling over the bar.
Mark Carrington had a header saved by Butcher then Wrexham player-manager Andy Morrell marked a late substitute appearance with a booking for a bad foul before Welling almost pinched the points deep into injury time.
Another poor refereeing decision denied Welling a penalty when a clear pull back on Cumbers was ignored and the hosts had to settle for a corner.
Failure to deal with it almost cost Wrexham dear but Coughlin made a stunning close range block from Bassele and Rob Ogleby blocked Cumbers’ follow up on the line.
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Welling United: Butcher, Vanderhyde, Cargill, Gallagher (Bergqvist 59), Franks, Hudson, Beautyman (Bassele 66), Clarke, Guthrie (Cumbers 63), Lafayette, Healy. Unused substitutes: Turner, McLaren.
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