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Welling United 1-1 Dover Athletic
HAVING been devastated to concede on 95 minutes at Dorchester on Saturday, Welling United turned the tables with an equaliser deep into injury time against Dover Athletic.
When the Wings left Dorset on Saturday evening, they had to undertake the long journey home wondering how they had not won, let alone finished empty handed. On Tuesday evening, it looked like history would repeat itself as despite pulverising Dover in the second half, they trailed until Joe Healy converted a 93rd minute penalty.
Kiernan Hughes-Mason troubled the Dover defence from the start and goalkeeper Mitchell Walker was grateful to gather a low cross after the Welling wide man had held off two defenders before crossing low.
Troubled Whites full back, Tom Wynter, who had watched Welling fail to gain promotion through the play-off decider from the Wings’ allocated terracing at Dartford in May, was cautioned early for a clumsy foul.
Fraser Franks made an important headed clearance at the cost of a corner as Dover came forward and when the delivery was only half cleared Ian Simpemba headed over from Barry Cogan’s cross.
Loui Fazakerley made a great block from recent signing Daryl McMahon’s free kick but as the game swung from end to end, Jack Obersteller thumped over a deep cross that caused further problems. Walker was grateful to scramble the ball away of his shins as Hughes-Mason stole in at the far post.
Again, Hughes-Mason used strength and trickery to get to the bye-line and it took desperate defending to stop him with Welling claiming their first corner.
Dover’s next attack resulted in the first goal of the game. Ben Martin’s foul inside the penalty area was punished by the award of a spot kick and Ben May stepped up to convert confidently.
Lee Clarke headed over an Obersteller free kick as Welling looked for a quick response.
Theo Fairweather-Johnson was cautioned for an untidy but not malicious foul before Healy gave Fazakerley an opportunity to put in a shot that lacked sufficient power to trouble Walker.
Walker, who had a spell at Welling two seasons ago, was out bravely at the feet of Healy before Dean Rance was lucky to escape a caution when he bundled Healy over just before half time.
If the first half was even, with both teams passing the ball around well on a damp surface, the second period belonged to Welling.
Jake Gallagher took on the defensive midfield role vacated by the injured Jamie Day, and his intelligent use of the ball started wave after wave of Welling attacks.
When Fazakerley was found in space down the right wing his cross was punched out by Walker as far as Healy. The Welling man struck the ball back cleanly but Walker recovered to make an impressive stop Simpemba headed home from a free kick but his extravagant celebrations were cut short when he realised that his effort had been disallowed for offside.
Hughes-Mason again worried the Dover defence but his shot was deflected over from the corner and when Dover struggled to get the ball away, Fairweather-Johnson’s effort hit a defender and went behind the goal for another Welling corner.
A flicked header by Hughes-Mason was claimed by Walker, then despite his earlier warning, Rance committed another foul and compounded it as he failed to retreat to allow Welling to take the free kick quickly. Referee Ian Cooper had no choice but to caution him.
Clarke thought he had equalised with his first time shot from Obersteller’s cross but Walker made a miraculous reaction save with his foot.
Billy Bricknell became the next Dover player to be cautioned for a bad lunge at Fazakerley then Martin spun and shot wide of the far post.
Moments later, Martin was indebted to Mott who made a point blank save as he diverted a shot towards his own goal.
McMahon was then booked for a foul on Hughes-Mason and Welling came desperately close again when Clarke’s measured shot just missed the angle of post and crossbar.
On a break, McMahon surged through the middle of the pitch but hit a shot that curled away from the goal then substitute Ricky Modeste, who had only just replaced Steven McMahon, was booked for a shameful dive. Shane Huke soon followed as Dover became more and more niggly to try and break up the game Two Welling replacements had opportunities to score. Harry Baker hit a free kick into the mid-drift of Walker, then John Main’s goal bound shot was headed over his own bar by Huke.
The resulting corner proved costly for Dover as Walker shoved Main to the ground and Mr Cooper was on hand to award a spot kick. Despite having to wait while Walker’s name was added to the list of Dover bookings, Healy remained calm and slotted home from the penalty spot.
There was still time for Welling to register one more attempt but Main’s shot from the edge of the penalty area drifted beyond the far post.
Welling United: Turner, Fazakerley, Obersteller, Gallagher, Martin, Franks, Fairweather-Johnson (Main 60), Clarke, Lafayette, Hughes-Mason (Baker 84), Healy. Unused substitutes: Kinch, Turner, Acheampong.