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Alfreton Town 2-2 Welling United
Welling United picked up a hard-earned point in Saturday’s draw at Alfreton Town.
In doing so, the Wings made mathematically sure they are safe from relegation with five games to go, an outstanding achievement for Jamie Day and his players in their debut campaign at Conference level.
With Jack Obersteller back from illness, Day allowed Barney Williams to start for his loan club VCD Athletic.
Day also brought himself into the starting line-up the first time in the several months and it was the player-manager who played a key role in the opening goal which came just 90 seconds into the game.
The boss whipped a corner into the area and Quade Taylor managed to get free of his marker to power a header past Jon Worsnop in the Alfreton goal to give the Wings a dream start.
Harry Beautyman and Ross Lafayette had shots well saved by Worsnop, although Alfreton played nice possession football and started to come into the game.
Day was adjudged to have fouled Elliot Whitehouse on the edge of the area and Shaun Harrad stepped up to take the free-kick but put his effort over the bar.
However, in the 19th minute the play-off chasing home side did equalise and just like the Wings goal, it came from a corner.
Michael Hoganson’s inch-perfect delivery was met with a powerful diving header from captain Nick Fenton, leaving Lee Butcher rooted.
The nervous home crowd started to get behind their side and Alfreton won another free-kick in a great position.
This time Hoganson stepped up, but like Harrad his attempt flew over.
With a cagey first half coming to its conclusion, Welling won a free kick on the edge of the area after Joe Healy was bundled over by Josh Law.
Day stepped up and went for a curling effort that just missed the top right hand corner with Worsnop beaten.
Former Ebbsfleet favourite John Akinde had the first attempt after the break but his left-footed shot just drifted wide.
The lively Daniel Bradley was next to try his luck but he gave Butcher no trouble with a right-footed shot.
Welling nearly took the lead again in the 55th minute as Toby Ajala crossed for Lafayette, who with his back to goal, made space for a shot but his effort was straight at Worsnop.
But the visitors and Lafayette did not have wait long to restore that advantage, the Wings player taking full advantage of some sloppy play out of defence by Rowe-Turner who hauled him down in the area as the striker was about to shoot.
The Park View Road club’s leading scorer picked himself up and coolly sent Worsnop the wrong way by stroking the resulting penalty home.
Lafayette’s goal clearly shocked Alfreton and their play became ragged and nervous as Welling looked to hit them on the break.
However, in the 73rd minute the hosts equalised out of the blue after the ball was only half cleared to Bradley Wood on the edge of the area.
Wood hit an effort goalwards which took a big deflection off Akinde and left Butcher wrong-footed as the ball hit the back of the net.
The momentum was now all with the home side as the ball was launched into the box at every given opportunity.
Beautyman, though, did have a great chance to snatch a dramatic winner for the Wings but his effort was blocked by a great block from Geoffrey Poku.
But Welling were relieved in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Akinde wriggled free to the byline and crossed into the area.
Dan Bradley met the delivery with his knee and the ball cannoned off the underside of the bar and came back down onto the line before Butcher grabbed it.
Alfreton’s players were adamant it was over the line but both referee and linesman refused to give the goal as Welling survived to earn a draw their battling performance more than merited.
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Welling: Butcher, Fazakerley, Taylor, Hudson, Oberstller (Bender 77), Ajala, Beautyman, Day, Healy, Wakefield (Sho Silva 62), Lafayette (Clarke 89). Subs not used: Karagiannis, Turner. Att: 599.
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