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Welling United 2-2 Cambridge United
DOUBTS over whether Welling United would be able to compete with the full-time former Football League clubs in the Conference were dispelled in a very entertaining draw with Cambridge United.
On Saturday, the Wings could easily have left Wrexham with a point and their performance against Cambridge suggests that they can enjoy their first season back in the top tier of non-league football.
Alex Dyer had an early opportunity charged down into the path of Jack Obersteller but the overlapping full back was thwarted when his goal bound shot was blocked away for a corner by Cambridge captain Ian Miller.
Doug Bergqvist was cautioned for a meaty challenge before Harrison Dunk had an opportunity to open the scoring for the visitors.
Although his first effort was sliced the ball came back to him and his second attempt was struck sweetly but just wide.
Obersteller’s free-kick was met by a flying header from Joe Healy but Chris Maxwell saved comfortably.
There was a large degree of luck in the opening goal, as Ryan Donaldson’s shot took a massive deflection off Dyer and floated over the helpless Lee Butcher in the Welling goal.
Within two minutes, Welling drew level from a corner when Obersteller put in a beautiful delivery that Ross Lafayette met with a powerful header to give Maxwell no chance.
Kurtis Guthrie then headed down for Dyer but his tame shot was saved by Maxwell before Welling went ahead two minutes before the break.
Obersteller played the ball in and Lee Clarke showed his striker instincts with a powerful shot into the back of the net.
Welling could have increased their lead had it not been for a brilliant header away by Dunk as Jake Gallagher looked to get onto the end of Lafayette’s cross.
Even after that, it took a desperate clearance to get away Loui Fazakerley’s teasing cross following a short corner.
Early in the second half, Cambridge had the ball in the Welling net but the referee’s whistle had blown for offside long before.
End to end football then followed and Maxwell’s quick release from Guthrie’s cross sent Dunk away and Cambridge won a corner that was cleared unconvincingly.
Further problems were caused for Cambridge when the enterprising Obersteller’s shot was beaten out by Maxwell just wide of Dyer following up.
Butcher was almost caught out by a cross that came back off the near post then he saved well from Miller from a corner.
Miller was less effective when Welling next attacked, twice missing headers that allowed Lafayette a snap-shot that flew narrowly wide with Maxwell beaten.
Substitute Nathan Arnold brought the scores level in the 69th minute when he went on a long run before firing in a shot that Butcher was unable to keep out.
After Guthrie had a shot deflected wide by Dunk, Cambridge only half cleared Fazakerley’s corner and Fraser Franks sent in a shot that flew away off the post.
Franks’ next contribution was a brilliant last man tackle on Donaldson from Arnold’s perfect pass.
Richard Tait became the second player to be cautioned for a crude tackle on Welling substitute Loick Pires.
Donaldson curled just over for Cambridge before Maxwell held Pires’ low shot well as Lafayette looked to follow up.
Neither team looked content to settle for the point and late yellow cards were shown to Arnold and Gallagher.
The Wings are back in action at Park View Road on Saturday to take on another former Football League side, Grimsby Town the visitors for a 3pm kick-off.
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Welling: Butcher, Fazakerley, Jack Obersteller, Gallagher, Franks, Bergqvist, Dyer (Pires 75), Clarke, Guthrie, Lafayette, Healy. Subs not used: Turner, Webb, Joe Obersteller, Corne.
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