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Welling 1-1 Basingstoke
Ross Adams, centre, clips Loick Pires inside the area and a penalty is awarded. PICTURES BY DAVE BUDDEN.
REQUIRING a point to guarantee a place in the play-offs, Basingstoke Town achieved their aim with a 1-1 draw at Welling United who were already certain of a third place finish.
Jamie Day again rotated the squad to ensure all his players would be as fit as possible for the play-off games.
Craig Holloway returned in goal and Andy Sambrook came in after missing the previous two games.
Ben Martin and Anthony Acheampong played half a game each alongside captain Jack Parkinson.
The visitors made a more lively start and Martin had to be alert to clear with an overhead kick before a Nathan Smart cross clipped the top of the crossbar.
Jide Ogunbote came out second best in a clash of heads with Dean Cracknell.
After lengthy treatment he tried to carry on however he soon slumped to the ground again and was stretchered off, and taken to hospital by ambulance.
Steven Old replaced him.
Wes Daly then floated a free kick well over but Basingstoke made their next opportunity count when Old rose to head the ball beyond Holloway.
Lee Clarke and Loick Pires combined to give Dean Cracknell a shooting opportunity but he failed to trouble Ashley Bayes in the Basingstoke goal.
Martin was unlucky to concede a free kick when an assistant referee saw something untoward in what looked to be a clean tackle on Tim Sills.
Injury was added to insult when referee Gavin Muge then produced a yellow card.
Holloway made a fine save at the foot of his post before Welling levelled in the 43rd minute.
Ross Adams was adjudged to have clipped Pires inside the penalty area and although Bayes went the right way, he was given no chance by a firm and accurate Parkinson spot kick.
After Jack Obersteller had a long range shot deflected for a corner, he delivered to the near post where Pires’ stooping header went wide.
At the start of the second half Acheampong replaced Martin and Connor McLaren came on for Obersteller.
Pires’ mazy run across the penalty area teed the ball up for Luis Cumbers whose stabbed shot was gathered by Bayes.
Ross Rice had a shot well saved by Holloway, but the Welling custodian was relieved to see a Shaun McAuley effort come back off the crossbar.
Bayes was then called into action when making a brave save at the feet of Acheampong as Welling came more into the game and Joe Healy’s introduction for Harry Baker allowed a slight change to the formation so they could take a firm grip on midfield.
When Pires got beyond the three centre backs, the angle was too tight for him to be able to hit the target.
Soon after a delicious Healy cross was knocked out to Day who fired well wide.
Sambrook, Cracknell and Pires combined well but the final pass was just beyond Cumbers with the defence stretched.
A Basingstoke break gave Welling a warning but it was thwarted by terrific tracking back by Clarke who forced Smart into a hurried and wayward through ball.
After Delano Sam-Yorke escaped a caution for a nasty tackle on Day, Old received a similar let off when he brought down Healy as the Welling man was about to burst into the penalty area.
Day’s free kick went wide of the near post as Bayes scampered to get across his goal.
As the game drifted towards its conclusion Holloway had to make a late punch out under pressure however neither team threatened again and Basingstoke held on for the point they needed.
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Welling United: Holloway, Sambrook, Obersteller (McLaren 46), Day, Martin (Acheampong 46), Parkinson, Cracknell, Clarke, Cumbers, Baker (Healy 62), Pires. Unused substitutes: Kinch, Greenhalgh.
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