Welling United grinded out a 0-0 draw against Chelmsford City in a game short on quality and high on fouls.

David Ijaha missed the biggest chance of the match late in the second half but both sides will be disappointed that Dan Wilks and Nathan McDonald were barely troubled at all during the match.

The game ended on a sour note for Chelmsford only finishing with 10 men. Substitute Shaun Batt was sent off for his second booking in the final minute of stoppage time. His challenge on Charles Banya could’ve been a red in normal time but there was no question it was worth at least a yellow.

It was a match many believed would be a battle of attrition beforehand and that was the case with referee Dan Landport the busiest man on the pitch.

The Wings handed a debut to new signing James Hurst at right back replacing Craig Braham-Barrett absent on international duty with Montserrat.

The Clarets started well on the left as Joe Anderson’s lovely back heel set up Rhys Murphy on who shot a left footed strike from a tight angle straight to Wilks.

The Clarets turned their attention to the right flank with Tom Wraight on the end of two excellent passes. The winger’s poor finishing couldn’t reward his teammates’ enterprise, striking two nothing shots given the position he twice found himself in.  

As the home crowd became increasingly agitated by the number of fouls both teams were committing, a great Jack Jebb free kick found three Wings players unmarked in the penalty area. Brendan Kiernan will be disappointed with his effort though heading the ball wide and unable to work McDonald.

Anderson continued his bright game setting up chances for Scott Fenwick and Murphy on the left wing as Chelmsford’s effective territory game saw them end the scrappy first half on top. Fenwick once again could only fire straight at Wilks after pouncing on a missed defensive header from Anthony Acheampong.

Just a minute after the restart Charles Banya was incensed he did not win a penalty after being brought down in a box. The left back won the ball brilliantly from Wraight in the attacking third before his jinking run into the box was ended.

With just five minutes of the second half gone, Chelmsford brought on the extra height of Batt to combat the impressive heading of Thierry Audel to little effect.

But the big striker was able to get a run on the ball in 63rd minute and tumbled to the floor under pressure from Acheampong who had already been booked. Luckily for the centre half, Landport adjudged the stumble to be of Batt’s own making and waved play on.  

In a second half of even fewer chances than the first, both sides’ left backs appeared to be their best attacking options. Anderson shot another good effort over the bar after a Clarets corner and Banya’s effective outside runs always offered Welling an outlet in partnership with the usual sharpness of Kiernan.

And it was a Banya cross that initially set up Welling’s best chance of the match. The Chelmsford defence couldn’t effectively clear their lines under pressure from Kiernan and Danny Mills in the six-yard box. The ball fell to Ijaha but the midfielder could only blaze the ball over the bar in a really bad miss.

The Welling captain saw another chance go begging after heading over the bar after a good cross by another debutant Tignana Quebe.

With the game now in stoppage time, Batt took centre stage but for reasons he would very much like to forget.

First his plea for a penalty was again dismissed by Landport after hitting the flow following a neat turn in the box. Two minutes later he took his frustrations out on Banya with a lunging challenge receiving a deserved second yellow card.

After three straight matches against their playoff rivals, Welling will now face bottom three side East Thurrock next Saturday at Park View Road.

Chelmsford City: McDonald, Young, Omozusi, Swaine, Anderson, Porter (Miles 85), Spillane, Wraight (Whelpdale 80), Church, Murphy, Fenwick (Batt 50)           Subs Not Used:  Giles, Reason

Bookings:  Church (21), Batt (63)

Red Card: Batt (93) – second bookable offence

Welling United: Wilks, Hurst, Banya, Ijaha ©, Acheampong, Audel, Kiernan (Quebe 86), Mendy, Mills, Jebb, L’Ghoul (McCallum 69)                   Subs Not Used: Goldberg, Ambroisine, Pinney

Bookings: Acheampong (25), Hurst (29)

Referee: Mr. Dan Lamport

Attendance:  806