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Welling United 0-3 Cambridge United
WELLING welcomed former striker Andy Pugh back to Park View Road on Tuesday night and the prolific striker managed to cap his return with a goal for Conference Premier side Cambridge United.
But despite the 3-0 defeat, it was a game Wings manager Jamie Day will have taken many positives from as the score line did not represent the whole story of the match.
The opening stages were cagey with very little goalmouth action, although Sam Mott had to be alert to tip away a dangerous corner.
Welling grew into the game and a Loui Fazakerley cross was met by Welling new signing Ross Lafayette but his looping header went wide.
Cambridge were causing Welling problems from set pieces and a scramble in the box from a corner fell to Tom Elliott but his low drive was bravely blocked by Ben Martin.
The visitors took the lead in the 22nd minute.
Robbie Wilmott beat Jack Oberstellar down the Welling left and delivered an inch perfect cross for Elliot to delightfully head the ball down past the despairing dive of Mott.
Welling tried to respond and Day put a free-kick from just outside the area over the bar.
The game had a good tempo and Cambridge again found a chance from another corner as Luke Berry was given room in the Welling area but to the relief of Mott he put his free header wide.
Fazakerley was next to try his luck as he picked up a wayward pass just inside the Cambridge half.
His burst of speed took him within shooting distance but he dragged his left foot effort wide.
Lafayette won a free-kick out on the right of the area and Day swung in an inviting delivery which was met by Joe Healy.
But despite being unchallenged, Healy was unable to keep his header down.
As expected both sides made changes at half-time but it was the home side who went closest after the break when good work between sub Hudson and Oberstellar saw Welling win a corner.
From the delivery Scott Kinch managed to get free but his powerful header was straight at Jonathan Hedge in the Cambridge goal, who pushed the ball away for a corner.
Oberstellar shot from range after picking possession up from Healy but his low effort was deflected for a corner.
Welling's domination of the second half continued and Jon Main dummied for Healy, whose clean strike just whistled over the bar.
The impressive Robbie Wilmott picked up a loose ball deep in Welling territory he charged forward before cutting back for Luke Berry, but Day managed to track back and block the goal-bound effort.
From the block Welling broke and Harry Baker led the counter attack to play in Main who took a touch before hitting his low strike straight at the feet of Hedge.
As the game reached its final quarter Welling began to make several substitutions and this seemed to affect the Wings’ rhythm.
Cambridge full back James Jennings had an effort from long range deflected over for a corner, from which returning legend Pugh got his goal.
The home defence failed to clear their lines and the ball finally bounced to Pugh, who swivelled and shot low past the stranded Mott.
Cambridge were now in command and Pugh played in Adam Marriott but Mott was out smart to smother the strikers shot with his legs.
Jennings then saw a curling free-kick go wide before Marriott shot straight at Mott.
With the game into injury time, Cambridge wrapped up the win.
Wilmott ran at the tiring Wings defence who backed off before he played a pass to Rossi Jarvis who took one touch and curled a shot past Mott.
Despite the keeper getting his fingers to the ball, he just could not prevent it going in.
Day will now be looking for his side to learn from the defeat with a strong Crystal Palace side containing many first teamers up next at home on Saturday (3pm).
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