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Welling United 1-2 Grimsby Town
WEMBLEY dreams for Welling United ended with a tight defeat at home to Conference promotion chasers Grimsby Town.
Three penalties and a plethora of cautions, each accompanied by an exuberant brandishing of the yellow card, might suggest a bad tempered match but in truth, it was keenly contested sporting affair.
Coming in to this match off the back of twelve consecutive wins, Welling had hopes of producing a third victory over a higher league opponent but the Mariners had the little bit of extra quality needed to edge their way into the FA Trophy quarter-finals.
Jack Obersteller came close to giving Welling a fifth minute lead when he slung in a free kick that evaded everyone but came back off a relieved James McKeown’s far post.
Anthony Acheampong’s hand-ball in the penalty area was punished by the award of a spot kick and yellow card but Ross Hannah, Grimsby‘s midweek signing from Bradford City, saw his effort come back out off the post.
Acheampong was then in action at the other end, chesting down for Fraser Franks to volley over.
Derek Niven had a shot deflected wide by Joe Healy before it was the Wings’ turn to be awarded a penalty when Shaun Pearson fouled Ross Lafayette.
A harsh booking accompanied the punishment before Healy stepped up to send McKeown the wrong way and put Welling ahead,
Just five minutes had elapsed when a third penalty was given following a foul by Loui Fazakerley, also accompanied by a needless yellow card.
Jamie Devitt converted for a 30th minute equaliser.
Fazakerley tried to make amends with a shot that McKeown saved before referee Nicholas Kinseley booked three more players needlessly.
First, a minor confrontation between Richard Brodie and Scott Kinch was worthy of no more than a word of warning but both were shown a yellow card, then Kurtis Guthrie attempted a shot but caught Bradley Wood accidently and was also cautioned.
Niven had another effort saved by Mott just before the interval, Immediately after the interval, Sam Hatton played a 1-2 with Brodie before shooting well wide before Welling replied with a Kinch lob that landed on the stanchion.
Guthrie and Kinch engineered an opportunity for Clarke whose cleanly hit shot was turned away by a flying McKeown, then Acheampong, under pressure headed wide from Obersteller’s corner.
Craig Disley saw a shot deflected past the post for a corner but Grimsby were soon to score what turned out to be the winner six minutes into the second half.
Good crisp, accurate passing stretched the Welling defence and Marcus Marshall provided the finish with an arrowed shot inside the far post.
Lafayette, who tested the Mariners’ centre backs throughout, teed up two openings for the Wings. First Kinch hit an effort that was turned away for a corner then Clarke struck a rising shot that was tipped over by a busy McKeown.
Clarke hit another effort just over before a good run from Kiernan Hughes-Mason was ended by Hatton who was happy to concede a corner.
Ex-Mariner Hughes-Mason was replaced by Theo Fairweather-Johnson as part of a double substitution which also saw Jamie Day come on for Kinch.
Although clattered by Brodie, the challenge was not malicious and it was good to see Mott get straight up and get on with the game.
Sadly, the referee did not read the good nature of the game and continued to caution players regularly and Hannah, Wood, Day and McKeown all found their way into his notebook.
In between these incidents, Guthrie had a shot saved by McKeown and Lafayette and Healy combined well to give Day an opportunity to shoot from 25 yards but his effort flew over.
Andy Cook, who had just replaced Brodie, showed great skill as he worked his way through some desperate tackles but lost control at the crucial moment and Mott collected the loose ball.
Jon Main came on as a late replacement for Clarke but Welling were unable to fashion another opportunity and it was the Mariners who won two late corners that they wasted in trying to hold the ball by the flag.
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Welling United: Mott, Fazakerley, Jack Obersteller, Healy, Franks, Acheampong, Kinch (Day 60), Clarke (Main 86), Guthrie, Lafayette, Hughes-Mason (Fairweather-Johnson 60). Subs not used: Turner, Martin.