Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Welling United

Abbott (10), (80), Tyne (41), (83)

Hednesford Town

Lucas (50) (penalty)

(2) 4

(0) 1



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Derek Rae



Worcester City (A) 25.2.02

The Pitmen's recent turnaround in form comes to a crashing halt this afternoon as mid-table Welling condemn Kenny Hibbitt's side to defeat at Park View Road

Four unbeaten games in the Southern Premier League had lifted Hednesford a short distance away from the bottom three in the process, starting this afternoon's game in eighteenth place after a morale-boosting 1-0 win last weekend against fellow strugglers Bath City. Hibbitt made just the one change to the side that had started against the Romans at Keys Park, handing Derek Rae - the brother of Wolves man Alex - a debut after the combative midfielder had joined the club in midweek from Elgin City, replacing Stewart Airdrie in the process

Welling - visitors to Keys Park just over two weeks ago in a 1-1 draw between the two sides - had spent the majority of the season mired in mid-table, lacking any real consistency to push themselves up into the top half of the table. Paul Parker's side had lost both of their games since their visit to Keys Park, going down to a 2-1 defeat at Bath City before Chelsmford City beat them 4-2 last weekend at Park View Road. There was once change to the side that had started against Chelmsford for the Wings as Anthony Hogg - the Welling goalscorer at Keys Park - returned to the side in place of former Birmingham City man Steve Barnes

It was another drab, overcast afternoon as the recent spell of poor weather showed no signs of abating. On a heavy, sloping pitch at Park View Road, the hosts made an assertive start through Anthony Riviere as he struck an early warning shot across the bows for Welling in the third minute, drilling a long-range effort narrowly over the crossbar and into the Welling supporters huddled behind Mark Gayle's goal

Good play from Tommy Tyne three minutes later saw him turn away from a Lee Barrow challenge and turn the ball into the path of strike partner Gary Abbott, who was foiled by a last-ditch challenge from Matt Gardiner on the corner of the six-yard box

Welling's early spell of pressure was to earn them the opening the goal of the afternoon in the tenth minute of the game as a corner kick from Riviere was floated into the near post, where Abbott was on hand to have the simple task of heading home from close-range with no player in blue anywhere to be seen. Dreadful defending from the visitors and a gift of a goal for the veteran striker

Rae's first real contribution came in the thirteenth minute as he did well to dispossess Mike Rutherford and set Neil Davis on his way, only for the Pitmen's top scorer to take one touch too many and allow Mark Hone to make a covering tackle

A Richard Lucas two minutes later from the left was floated across to the far post and dropped kindly for skipper Mark Haran, whose goalbound shot was blocked by the body of Rutherford and saw the Welling midfielder require treatment after being winded by the shot

The visitors were dealt a blow in the eighteenth minute as Graham Lancashire pulled up with what appeared to be a muscle pull and was immediately replaced by Wale-Kwik Ajet

Barrow was shown a yellow card for the Pitmen midway through the half as he illegally halted a run from Hogg out on the Welling left wing with a mistimed challenge on the forward

Ajet managed to escape the attentions of Hone on twenty-seven minutes and play Davis through on goal, only for Davis to drag his effort straight into the grateful arms of Glenn Knight in the Welling goal

Knight was in action again five minutes later to turn a header from Gardiner over his crossbar for a Hednesford corner kick after Lucas's outswinging cross had been met by the centre-back ten yards from goal

A quick counter-attack from the Wings on thirty-five minutes saw skipper Lew Watts make a run on the overlap to beat Lucas to the ball and cross from the byeline to find Abbott, whose shot into the ground bounced up and over Gayle's crossbar from ten yards out


 The Wings doubled their tally for the afternoon four minutes before the break as more horrific defending from the Pitmen gifted their hosts another strike; Tyne picked the ball up just inside the Hednesford penalty area and was given all the time and space in the world to take a touch, pick his spot and shoot past Gayle from fifteen yards out without anyone in a blue shirt close to him to offer a challenge


It had been a grim first-half display from the Pitmen, who had once again been found wanting in defence with another familiar horror show of a lack of communication and awareness. Losing Lancashire to injury in a squad of players already without Russell Dodd, Damien Charie, Stuart Lake and Ashley Williams was another blow to Hibbitt's ability to name an unchanged side. The Hednesford manager elected to make a half-time change as Dean Craven came on in midfield for the out-of-sorts Gardiner to add to the numbers in midfield and go to a more traditional 4-4-2 formation

The Pitmen started the second half brightly and got themselves back into contention just a few minutes after the restart with the award of a penalty kick. Ajet was played into the Welling penalty area by Craven's through ball, only to be sent sprawling by a mistimed tackle from Russell Edwards. There was some jostling and gesturing from the Hednesford players as to who was going to take the spot-kick as Davis and Lucas both sized up the penalty. It was Lucas who eventually spotted the ball up and sent Knight the wrong way to reduce the deficit back to 2-1

With their tails up and looking more comfortable in their new formation, the Pitmen went in search of an equaliser with Davis going close on fifty-four minutes as he drilled a low shot just wide of the far post after Rae had played a ball through the legs of Hone into the path of the Hednesford number nine

Good wing play from Tom Poston on fifty-eight minutes saw him get to the byeline and cross well for the incoming Rae, who was put off by the presence of Rutherford and hit his shot over the crossbar

The Wings felt that they had a legitimate shout for a penalty of their own a minute later as Dean Standen's deep cross from the left found Tyne lurking by the penalty spot, only for Haran to appear to pull the striker down. The referee chose to award Welling a direct free-kick inside the Hednesford penalty area, which Abbott drive straight into the Hednesford wall that was built on the edge of the six-yard box

Four minutes later, Davis was denied by a good save from Knight as he broke through the Welling offside trap to get on the end of a Rae pass and saw the Welling keeper palm his angled drive away from danger

Ajet and Davis combined well on the edge of the Welling penalty area on sixty-two minutes to play Poston in on goal down the right, but an offside flag against the winger denied him the chance to get his shot away

Four minutes later, a Welling corner kick from Riviere was flocked on at the near post by Edwards and into the path of Hogg, who somehow turned his shot over the crossbar from close-range. A let-off for the ball-watching Pitmen

The Pitmen were short of ideas as to how to get back into the game as the chances dried up for them as the half progressed with the Welling defence on top. The home side were the more likely to extend their lead as the game entered the final twenty minutes as Gayle saved from Tyne and Rutherford clipped the crossbar with a long-range effort on seventy-three minutes

With fourteen minutes remaining, the Pitmen were presented with a great chance to level the game once more as a mistake by Watts saw him miss a through ball and allow Davis in behind him. The normally prolific Davis was off-target with his shot, however, and dragged it wide of the post with Knight beaten

This was to be a crucial miss for the Pitmen as Welling put the game out of Hednesford's reach with a killer third goal on eighty minutes. Another individual error was at the heart of the move as Simpson's suicidal backwards header dropped kindly into the path of Abbott, who showed great composure to fire past Gayle from twelve yards out

With the Pitmen chasing what looked a lost cause, Hibbitt made his third and final change of the afternoon on eighty-two minutes as Airdrie came on in place of the hapless Simpson 

The Wings but a gloss finish on their display with a fourth goal a minute later as substitute Dave Powell's shot came back of Gayle's crossbar and dropped at the feet of Tyne, who had the simple task of turning the loose ball home

This killed off the Pitmen's enthusiasm as they failed to test Knight in the final minutes of the game with Welling cantering to all three points to get them back to winning ways. It had been a grim afternoon for the away side, who trudged all the way back to Staffordshire pointless and with another poor defensive display under their belts to add to this season's catalogue of dreadful displays at the back. Another quick turnaround of games due to the recent poor spell of weather sees them make the short trip down to St. George's Lane and face high-flying Worcester City

Welling United:  Knight, Watts ©, Standen, Hone, Edwards, Lindsey, Riviere, Rutherford, Abbott (Barnes 89), Tyne, Hogg (Powell 77)      Sub Unused: Brown

Hednesford Town: Gayle, BrownriggLucas, Haran ©, Gardiner (Craven 45)Barrow , Simpson (Airdrie 82), Rae, Davis, Lancashire (Ajet 18), Poston    Subs Unused: None