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Welling 1-0 Thurrock
WELLING United’s fifth consecutive clean sheet and a Harry Baker thunderbolt were sufficient to ensure they kept their unbeaten run going with victory over basement club Thurrock.
Jamie Day’s squad rotation came to the fore and Connor McLaren made his full debut for which he has waited patiently, and his assured performance at right back nullified any danger Thurrock may have posed down the left flank.
Keeper Jamie Turner retained his position in the absence of first choice Craig Holloway, still suffering with a chest infection.
Andy Sambrook took up defensive midfield duties which allowed Joe Healy and Scott Kinch freedom to get forward.
Nathan Ashton’s crude foul on Baker resulted in a very early yellow card brandished by referee Carl Brook.
In the 15th minute Welling took the lead with an excellent goal. Loick Pires found Ben Greenhalgh whose clever flick back gave Pires an invitation to cross.
His deep centre found Kinch who knocked the ball down for Baker to blast into the roof of David Hughes’ net.
Jack Obersteller found himself in space down the left wing but with nobody available in the middle he attempted an audacious chip from a tight angle that just missed the far post.
Turner was alert to thwart former Wing Sam Cutler following a short back pass but a foul at the other end gave Baker another shooting opportunity and his effort skimmed narrowly wide.
Kinch had a shot blocked before Jonathan O’Donnell suffered the same fate at the other end, courtesy of a fine challenge by Welling captain Jack Parkinson.
Hughes made a good save from Baker following another flowing Welling move that included Pires, Healy and Kinch.
Ashton’s brave near post header kept out a wicked Obersteller corner then Healy shot wide shortly before half time.
Cutler shot over early in the second period before Welling made a couple of changes, bringing on Dean Cracknell and Ryan Flack for Kinch and Greenhalgh.
Flack was soon into the action with a threaded pass beyond former Welling player Luke I’Anson that allowed Obersteller to get to the bye-line.
Although there was panic in the penalty area, Thurrock hacked the ball away.
A Baker corner found Parkinson at the far post and his header was well turned over by Hughes at the cost of another corner.
Healy and Cracknell then combined well to find Baker but he was anguished to see his measured curler come out off the inside of the post.
Pires’ diving header from Flack’s cross did find the back of the net but the Welling front man was adjudged offside.
Hughes was in action again when Flack and Baker combined to find Healy whose shot was slowed sufficiently by a half block from a challenge by I’Anson.
Anthony Acheampong was called upon to make a vital clearance before Hughes was out sharply to deflect Pires’ effort over the crossbar following Baker’s perfectly weighted through ball.
Cracknell then found Baker but after his clever flick had wrong footed the Thurrock defence, he screwed his shot well wide.
Lee Clarke replaced Loick Pires with seven minutes remaining however Thurrock had a couple of late chances to punish Welling for not notching a second.
Turner saved O’Donnell’s free kick before Acheampong’s last ditch clearance ensured Welling claimed the three points.
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Welling United: Turner, McLaren, Obersteller, Sambrook, Acheampong, Parkinson, Greenhalgh (Flack 55), Kinch (Cracknell 55), Baker, Healy, Pires (Clarke 83). Subs not used:: Martin, Fazakerley.