Failings in front of goal, and a contentious decision against them, cost Welling United dearly as the result at Chelmsford City did not reflect their performance.

Samir Carruthers scored the only goal of the game from a highly debatable penalty award in favour of the Clarets for whom goalkeeper Henry Gray was named as man of the match.

There was little between the two teams, other than the controversial spot kick, in a scrappy first half on a cold and windy night however Welling had the better of the second period and should not have come away empty handed.

New signing Joe Ellul was handed his Welling debut at the back and Adam Roscrow made his first start up front following a long time out injured.

Luke Jenkins had the first chance for Chelmsford when heading Carruthers’ corner goalwards but Reice Charles-Cook, Welling’s goalkeeper, pulled off an excellent goal-line save. Jenkins then shot wide with a first time effort. At the other end, David Kamara got behind the last man but Gray rushed out to block.

Just after the midway point of the first half, came the defining moment of the game. There didn’t appear to be anything in a tangle in the penalty area in which Jermaine Francis and a Welling defender went down. However, the referee deemed otherwise and pointed to the spot. Carruthers fired home confidently.

Antony Papadopoulos sent Roscrow clear with a delightful pass but his shot was not struck well enough and Gray was able to make a good save.

After the half time interval, both goalkeepers made routine saves before Charles-Cook had to work a little harder to keep out a low Finley Barbrook long range shot that looked to be sneaking inside the far post. Tight control in the corner by TJ Bramble created space for Cameron Green to cross to Papadopoulos who headed wide.

Charles-Cook then made a stunning save from Jenkins’ downward header from another Carruthers corner to keep Welling’s hopes alive.

Lachlan Byrd headed wide from Green’s free kick, Roscrow met a Papadopoulos cross with a first time shot that whistled wide, and Gray made a straight-forward save from Bramble as Welling searched for a leveller.

Papadopoulos was then kept out by a Gray triple save. First he did superbly to push out a free kick from wide that almost beat him at the near post. He then got up quickly to beat out the Welling player’s follow up and once more it fell to Papadopoulos whose lshot was claimed low by the Clarets’ custodian.

Ellul met a Dominic Odusanya cross at full stretch without the power to trouble Gray but it was the hosts who had the final chance in stoppage time when Francis shot just beyond the far post.

On Saturday, Welling visit Hemel Hempstead Town looking to arrest their barren league spell.

Welling United: Charles-Cook, Lema (Burchell 46), Green, Grant, Ellul, Byrd, Bramble (Johnson 77), Odusanya, Roscrow (Muwonge 83), Kamara, Papadopoulos. Sub not used: Curran, Bridgeman.