Defeat at Worthing ended Welling United’s three game unbeaten run.

For the first seventy minutes, an outsider might have struggled to tell which club was third in the league and which one was nineteenth. Welling were involved in a similar type of game three days earlier against St Albans City in which it became evident that a defensive mistake would probably be necessary for either team to score. On that day, neither defences made the mistake, however, at Worthing, one misjudgement proved costly.

After Welling had efforts by Dominic Odusanya and Antony Papadopoulos that were off target, the Rebels had an opportunity when Ricky Agular found Juan Luque and Welling goalkeeper Ben Winterbottom was called upon to make a relatively comfortable save.

Jephte Tanga had an effort blocked out as far as James Vaughan but his shot flew high over a house behind the goal, and into a Worthing inhabitant’s garden.

Lewis White worked his way in against his former club but his shot was blocked before Odusanya was again off target as half time approached.

After the interval, Welling continued to try and drag the obstinate Worthing defence out, but both teams struggled with the final pass. Cameron Green had a shot blocked before Welling came close when Papadopoulos threaded substitute Kareem Isiaka in behind but Rocco Rees was out quickly to make a good save.

Tanga shot over after good build up play between Green and Papadopoulos, however, it was the hosts who took the lead. As Jack Burchell moved in to challenge Bailey Smith in the penalty area, he may have stumbled slightly and leant too strongly into his man. A spot kick was awarded and Ollie Pearce stepped up, making no mistake when sending Winterbottom the wrong way.

Ten minutes later, Worthing ensured that they would take all three points when they scored again. Smith pulled it back from the bye-line and as the Welling defenders tried to close down Pearce, he missed it and it came to Agular in acres of space. He sized up his shot and fired high into the top corner.

Two-nil made it look like a regulation victory for the promotion hopefuls, but it was far from that. However, deep into injury time, they should have made it three when a sloppy defensive pass across his own penalty presented Smith with an open goal. He rushed his shot, though, and placed it beyond the far post.

Bath City, another top three side, visit Welling on Saturday but Wings’ manager knows that if his team can find a cutting edge, they will be a match for anyone.

Welling United: Winterbottom, Lema, Green (Adom 81), Vaughan, Byrd, Burchell, Tanga, Odusanya, Kamara (Isiaka 57), Papadopoulos (MacAllister 88), White. Sub not used: Andrews, Kassarate.