Football Is For Saturdays

FA TROPHY 2nd ROUND

Att: 501



WELLING UNITED – 0

SUTTON UNITED – 1    [Akuamouah 12]

A couple of weeks ago, we turned in what could technically be called a ‘performance’ at Park View Road as we slipped to another frustrating and completely giftwrapped league defeat.

That seems to have spurred them on somewhat and they’ve since managed to haul themselves out of the bottom 3 in the meantime.

It’s a rather hectic morning for me, as with the match moved annoyingly to the Sunday due to Welling’s co-inhabitants, Erith & Belvedere, having a league game on the ground on the Saturday. Not normally a big deal, but with a game of my own to play in the morning, I’d be cutting it fine to make the kick off in Kent.

Still, after a 6-4 win and a quick shower, I….er…rapidly made my way round the M25 and managed to find a parking spot nearby, making it through the turnstiles with 5 minutes to spare.

No problem!

The side welcomes back Peter Fear from his knee injury and he returns to his position in the centre of midfield. Nigel Brake also returns to the left. Andy Martin finds himself on the bench, with Steve Douglas again getting a place.

As with recent weeks, we start a match brightly. And after a couple of minutes, Brake is taking on his opponent down the left and swinging in a deep ball. It finds Matt Gray sliding in at the back post, but his touch is parried by the ‘keeper before being gathered.

The hosts are soon responding. And with their first really incisive move, the defence is opened up down the left. The man gets to the byeline and knocks the ball back across into the box. Despite having a free header, the recipient of the cross directs his effort off target. It’s gathered by another red shirt beyond the far post and the lino’s flag on the opposite side immediately goes up.

The ref ignores this for a good few moments and in this time, 2 shots are fired in that clip each post of Wilson’s goal. Finally though, the ref spots his assitant’s signals and stops play.

Wakey wakey mate!

The next real moment of action comes after 12 minutes. Honey wins the ball in the centre circle and advances into Welling territory. A centre back comes to meet him forcing his colleague to try & cover the centre on his own. Unfortunately for him, Ug slots a pass through for Akuamouah before the challenge is made and Eddie is clear on goal.

Admittedly, the ‘keeper does show him quite a lot of the goal, but he still has to finish. And he does. Slotting coolly into the bottom corner from 10 yards with the Wings custodian a little stranded.

Woohoo! Another early lead here. Right, can we keep hold of this one please?

It takes Welling a few minutes to muster a response, but again it’s down our left that they get some joy with a cross to the back post. The ball is nodded back across , but Honey throws himself in to nod clear to the edge of the box, only for the ball to find an unmarked red shirt. But well placed and with a good sight of goal, he skews his shot horribly wide.

Their best chance follows 5 minutes later when once more an attack down the left causes problems. The ball is fired along the byeline & Wilson is forced to get down & make a block at his near post. But he can’t hold the ball and it runs loose in the box. A goal looks certain, but Stuart Booth is in the right place at the right time and makes a brilliant block on the line.

Akuamouah continues his sprightly performance, causing Welling constant problems. On 34 mins he finds Brake out left and his low ball zips across the 6 yard box without a yellow shirt there to apply a finishing touch. Then 5 mins later his run down the right free’s Gray. His ball across the edge of the box finds Honey and he tries his luck. But the shot is blocked, with the ball rebounding to the edge where Fear thumps a volley into the ‘keepers midriff.

We see out the half without too much trouble, only one cross (again from the left) causing problems. Forcing Vansittart to head away for a corner whilst under pressure at the back post.

Winning for a change, the stroll round at half time is actually quite pleasant. No mutterings about crap football at all! Millsy reappears just before the restart of proceedings with a visitor in tow. Our favourite Essex inhabitant, ‘ThurrockBoy’. Obviously doing a bit of spying on the not-so-mighty U’s before we visit the Hotel in a couple of weeks! At this rate, we’ll have to get him a shirt!

Sutton start the second half as brightly as the first. Naturally, Ed is involved again! Chasing down a long ball, he goes out left and delivers a cross into the box, it’s nodded out and finds Fearo 20 yards out. His strike zips just over the bar. Then a couple of minutes later, it’s Gray down the right delivering a cross in for Joff, but his header lacks power and the ‘keeper is able to save low to his left.

Just shy of the hour mark, the U’s have their best chance to extend their lead. Once more, Gray causes problems down the right. He swings an inviting cross in under the bar that evades everyone other than Akuamouah at the back post. The diminutive striker does well to nod the ball back into play. It drops to Brake 10 yards out and after taking a touch raps a shot off the base of the near post.

Wilson is soon dealing with the home sides retaliation, beating out a fierce 20 yard angled drive after a red shirt is allowed too much space to cut in from the right. 5 minutes later and it takes another goal-line clearance to preserve the lead when a pass in from the right evades the defence. Again though, the finishing from the follow up leaves a lot to be desired and the effort is dragged wide.

Things get a little fractious with the visiting fans voicing their displeasure at the ref when he chooses to ignore 2 or 3 rather poor challenges from the home side. The no8 being a particularly regular offender. Ironically, he finally goes in the book, but for dissent!

By now, Joff has limped off, giving young Mr Douglas his opportunity. He’s a quiet player and doesn’t seem to do very much until suddenly bursting into life. As he does after 73 minutes. He’s tracked back and comes into possession of the ball out on the right touchline. He turns and knocks the ball past his marker and bursts into the space behind him. Cutting infield he rakes a pass out to Brake on the left who in turn feeds a little ball into the box for the run of Fear. His pull back finds Douglas in the centre, having continued his run. But the ‘keeper gets down smartly to make a good one handed stop on the line.

Wilson is soon earning his corn again. A swift right to left switch of the play sends an attacker clear into the box, but not for the first time this season, Phil makes a superb one handed reaction save to push away the close range strike.

The last 10 minutes prove to be fairly busy. Akuamouah tests the home ‘keeper from 20 yards after a nice exchange of play with Fear on the right. Mitten just hanging onto the low shot to his left. Fear himself then has the keeper scrambling with a low free-kick round the wall that just skids narrowly wide.

But the last real word again belongs to our man between the sticks. A corner from the left isn’t dealt with and drops inside the area about 8 yards out and to a man in a red shirt in really rather more space than we’d like him to have. He skips round one challenge and with Wilson already on his way to ground, hits a shot at goal that our man reacts to and somehow deflects away from goal with an outstretched arm.

The home side manage a couple more corners near the end but the defence holds out before the ref finally blows to send us into the next round.

We applaud the lads off for their battling efforts, but I’d much rather have taken the 3 points here a fortnight ago. We head out and back to the cars, before heading off back round the M25 and a few drinks,  some pool and the hilarious last minute winner for the Scousers on the telly at the club. But try as we might, we just can’t escape the fact it’s a bloody Sunday and there’s work tomorrow.

Football’s for Saturdays. Thats for sure!

MAN OF THE MATCH – Eddie Akuamouah. Covered every blade of grass & took his goal well.

ENTERTAINMENT – 6. A battling showing from the lads to see us through. Better.

TEAM : Wilson, Booth, Scarborough, Gonsalves, Quinton, Gray, Fear, Honey, Brake, Akuamouah, Vansittart  SUBS : Boosey, Douglas, Martin, Tydeman

THE REFEREE’S………basically a tosser. Had a reasonable 1st half and handled the game ok. But his second half performance left a lot to be desired and his ignorance of several tasty challenges, especially from the Welling no8, deservedly got him a fair bit of stick from the travelling support. Fool.

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