Welling United – 2 [Rowe 45, 65]
Sutton United – 3 [Harlow 45, Watson 46, Harford 71]
So, a relegation 6 pointer in November?? Not the sort of thing you need. Especially as the U’s had managed to give away 3 points to this lot on our own ground a few weeks back.
So a win for the choccie ‘n’ amber boys was the only acceptable result. Unfortunately, a huge smash on the A2 sees us arrive at the ground some 10 minutes after the kick off time. Thankfully the team are stuck in the same jam and have’nt actually arrived yet! They finally show up at 5 past 8 and an 8.30 kick off time is announced.
When the game does finally start, the 15 minutes or so our lads have had to warm up has’nt been enough as the home side dictate proceedings. Their pacy forwards Rowe & Hanlon are causing us plenty of concern, but for poor finishing and 2 superb stops from Howells they could have been at least 2 or 3 up in the first 20 minutes. Our own efforts on the Welling goal amount to little and the first real incident involving one of our forwards sees Sammy booked for chasing down a poor backpass to the Welling ‘keeper. The ‘keeper takes a blatant dive as Winston charges in. The little forward clearly has’nt touched him, but the ‘keepers pathetic rolling around on the ground earns Sam a yellow card, much to the disgust of our lot behind the goal. Just as it seems that we’ll go in level, the home side take the lead. The dangerous Zeke Rowe finds himself in space inside the 18 yard box and his delicate chip drifts over Howells and in off the far post. The lead proves to be short lived though. Our front pair have been suffering some underhand treatment from the Welling backline and it’s some of this that gives us a free kick on the edge of the box. The wall does’nt get back the full 10 yards and Harlow uses this to his advantage, brilliantly curling the ball inside the near post. So 1-1 at the break. Our hosts must be sick.
The second half starts in perfect fashion. Sammy turns his marker a good 30 yards out and storms into the area. Shrugging off his marker, he gets to the byeline and pulls the ball back for the onrushing Watson. His powerful first time finish gives us the lead. This only seems to increase the roughouse tactics of our hosts and this coupled with the frankly imbecelic behaviour of the referee ends with another of our players seeing red. A scramble on the edge of our box sees the ball cleared but a bit of handbags stuff between Laker and a Welling forward sees the ref see fit to produce a red card for our defender and yet again as in the K’s encounter, the opposition player gets off scot free.
Laker is furious with the decision and has to be escorted from the field by one of the lads from our bench. This is the catalyst for the ref to lose complete control. Bad challenges from Welling players go completely unpunished whilst Berry and Riley are both cautioned for protesting. It looks like we’ll be lucky to keep 10 men on the field. Several minutes after Lakers dismissal and the home sides pressure brings them an equaliser. A corner is flicked on at the near post and Rowe plants his header past Howells despite the ‘keeper getting his hand to the ball.
It seems as if the game might be up for our lads. But just after Welling have drawn level, our lads conjure up a winner. A corner is won and falls to Harford on the edge of the box and despite the attentions of his midfield pal Sears fires in a low shot into the far corner. We go suitably mental behind the goal and the lads pile in to celebrate. It’s now backs to the wall as our hosts look desperately for a way to rescue the game.
For some reason Welling abandon their more direct style of play that had been so effective in the first half and instead start trying to play through our backline. This makes it easier for our lads to cut out threatening moves. Most of the attacks either break down through over complication or a Sutton defender gets a foot in or anticipates a pass and intercepts. Rowe goes close to his hat-trick, but his weak header is plucked out of the air by Howells.
The final whistle blows at last at 10.30 and we leg it to the car, just managing to get a last second pint in at a boozer in Blackheath. However this is only thanks to Mr Chalmers persuading the bar manager to pour 4 pints minutes after having already called last orders.
Nice one PC, nice one.
MAN OF THE MATCH : The team. Good solid display.
ENTERTAINMENT : 7. To snag 3 points away with 10 men is enough entertainment for me!
TEAM : Howells, Riley, Berry, Laker, Skelly, Brooker, Sears, Harford, Harlow, Watson, Winston.
SUBS : Ekoku, Rowlands, Forrester, Little