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Dover 0-1 Welling
CRAIG Holloway’s stunning 89th minute penalty save ensured that Welling United held on for the victory at Dover Athletic their performance merited.
Both teams were aware of the importance of the result as Dover attempted to keep tabs with the clubs in the league play-off places.
Welling’s win lifted them back to third place whilst defeat for the hosts saw them drop below Eastleigh into seventh place, thirteen points behind their visitors.
Manager Jamie Day handed first starts to Harry Baker and Scott Kinch whilst Jack Parkinson returned from suspension.
Ben Greenhalgh registered the first shot on target although his free kick was saved comfortably by Mikhael Ruiz.
Ruiz was in action again soon after when saving Ben Martin’s header.
Jemal Johnson hit an effort that Holloway gathered at his near post before Baker shot over playing against his former club.
George Purcell was shown leniency by referee Colin Lymer for a poor tackle on Jack Obersteller.
Kinch and Parkinson were not shown such mercy and were cautioned as Dover enjoyed a spell of territorial advantage but they only had a long distance shot from Purcell that flew over the bar to show for it.
Incredibly, a poor tackle by Shane Huke on Andy Sambrook went unpunished despite it taking place right in front of an assistant referee.
Shortly before half time, Parkinson’s powerful header from a corner was cleared off the line by Phil Starkey.
At the break, Kinch was withdrawn and replaced by Joe Healy, back from a lengthy ban.
Greenhalgh went wide with a first time effort shortly into the second period then Johnson hit a shot straight at Holloway.
Obersteller had a shot saved at the near post then Healy’s cross found Luis Cumbers but he was unable to find the target, under pressure from Ed Harris.
After Obersteller became the third Welling player to be booked Healy headed just beyond the angle of bar and post from Baker’s cross.
Cumbers then came close when his lob over Ruiz hit the bar and went over.
Michael Corcoran became the first and only Dover player to be booked before excellent defending from the outstanding Anthony Acheampong stopped Donovan Simmonds from getting any power in a shot that Holloway fielded easily.
The deadlock was broken in the 78th minute when Dover thought they had cleared the danger from a Greenhalgh corner.
Baker had other ideas and made a fine tackle before sliding the ball back to Greenhalgh.
This time the wide man produced a perfect cross that invited Parkinson to attack it and he made no mistake heading powerfully and joyfully into the corner of the net.
Baker shot over before with three minutes remaining, Parkinson, who had already needed treatment for cramp, was replaced by Dean Cracknell with the industrious Lee Clarke taking the captain’s armband.
Throughout the season, Welling have conceded important penalties, and it looked like all their good work might be undone when another one was awarded, albeit a highly dubious one, against Martin.
Welling’s distress was evident and it appeared that Sambrook and Holloway were booked for their part in the remonstrations.
James Walker stepped up and hit his spot kick hard and true towards the bottom corner however Holloway guessed the right way and made a tremendous one handed save just inside the post.
Welling’s perfect day was marred when deep into injury time Healy tangled with Ruiz with the result that he was shown two yellow cards and dismissed.
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Welling United: Holloway, Sambrook, Obersteller, Kinch (Healy 46), Acheampong, Martin, Parkinson (Cracknell 87), Clarke, Cumbers, Greenhalgh, Baker. Unused substitutes: Flack, Kensington, Cullum.