Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Welling United

Booth (49) (penalty), (66)

Hednesford Town

(0) 2

(0) 0




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Ryan Young



Worthing (A) 10.2.04

The Pitmen slump to yet another defeat on their travels to pile even more pressure on beleaguered manager Barry Powell as his side drop to sixteenth place in the table with a sound defeat to Welling United at Park View Road

Midweek had seen the Pitmen huff and puff their way through their F.A. Trophy fourth round game against Ryman League Division One South side Worthing and now face a replay at Woodside Road on Tuesday night to earn the right to host Dover Athletic next weekend in the fifth round. Powell made four changes to the side that had started the game in midweek for today's encounter as Alex Gibson, Steve Evans, Stuart Ryder and Chris Gray all returned to action in place of Darren Simkin, Damien Charie, Chris Brindley and the injured Craig Dean

Welling sat just above the Pitmen in the league table after a hit and miss campaign from Paul Parker's side to date. Three successive defeats against Merthyr Tydfil, Dorchester Town and Worcester City had seen the Wings slump to twelfth place in the table ahead of play, with the former Chelmsford City manager made one change to the side that had lost at St. George's Lane last weekend, bringing full back Billy Burgess back into the side in place of Edward Hart

Hednesford had a mixed record at Park View Road, with one win, one draw and one defeat from their last three games there in previous seasons. A wicked cross from Les Hines in the fourth minute of the game was flicked on at the near post by Steve Anthrobus into the path of Evans, who narrowly missed the ball as it flew across the face of Welling keeper Gavin Kelly's goal

Kelly was on hand to claim a loose ball ahead of the in-form Mark Danks in the seventh minute, racing out of his six-yard box to beat the striker to a long, rangy pass forwards from Carl Palmer

Lee Barrow avoided an early yellow card in the eleventh minute as he was given a stern warning from the referee for a foul on Austin Berkeley thirty yards from goal. The resultant free-kick from Phil Collins was turned goalwards by the long-serving Anthony Riviere, only for Ryder to track back and boot the ball clear of goal

Four minutes later, Carl Palmer made a good run through the centre of the retreating Welling defence before playing Danks in behind them, only for Welling skipper Lew Watts to spot the danger and get a foot in to deny Danks a clear shot at goal from fifteen yards out

It had been a good start from the Pitmen, who went close to opening the scoring once more on twenty minutes as Anthrobus's angled pass played Gray in on the right hand side of the Welling penalty area, only for the returning winger to pull his shot across the face of Kelly's goal and wide of the far post


 The Wings responded with the best chance of the game four minutes later as Collins struck the crossbar with a well-struck free-kick from fully twenty-five yards out after Ryder had brought down the dangerous Paul Booth

Kenny Dyer gave the ball away to Carl Palmer in a dangerous position on thirty-one minutes to allow the midfielder to play the ever-willing Danks in once again down the slope at Park View Road. Kelly was alert to the danger and made an early dart out to the edge of his penalty area to smother Danks's shot at goal

Hednesford keeper Ryan Young was called upon for the first time in the game three minutes later to turn a cross behind from Riviere that was drifting towards goal, under pressure from Booth

From the resultant Collins corner kick, Booth beat Barrow to the inswinging cross from Berkeley, only for Hines to hack the header off the line after positioning himself well at the near post

A flying run from Hines down the left on forty-two minutes saw him skip past Burgess and swing in a cross to the near post that Anthrobus flicked just over Kelly's crossbar, under pressure from Watts

It had been a first-half that had followed recent form for the Pitmen, who had once again had the better of the chances and possession only to fail to take the chances that they had created

Welling - kicking down the slope in the second period - emerged more focused at the start of the second half  and almost took the lead two minutes after the restart; Riviere played the ball to Collins on the edge of the Hednesford penalty area, who had enough time and space to fire in a low shot that Young did well to turn away down to his right hand side

The home side were rewarded for their bright start to the second period with the award of a penalty kick two minutes later. Dyer was played in behind the Hednesford defence by Berkeley, only for his run to be halted by a foul on him by the onrushing Young. The referee Mr. Cook awarded the hosts a penalty kick without question, despite Young's protests that Dyer had gone down a little too easily. Booth spotted the ball and slotted past Young from twelve yards out to give Welling the lead

A good run from Gray on fifty-three minutes saw the former Coalville Town man beat two players down the right before cutting inside from the wing and squaring the ball to Steve Palmer. The Hednesford skipper took a touch before lifting his shot into the open terrace behind the goal and in amongst the hardy Hednesford fans gathered behind Kelly's goal

Dyer and Jimmy Strouts played a quick one-two with each other from a free-kick six minutes later for the Wings which ultimately played Booth in behind the Hednesford defence. The Welling goalscorer took one touch too many in the penalty area however and allowed Gibson to steal the ball off him at the crucial moment

The Pitmen felt that they should have been awarded a penalty kick of their own on the hour mark as Brian Statham appeared to bring down Steve Palmer in the Welling penalty area as he tracked back from midfield to clash with the Hednesford skipper. To the away side's annoyance, the referee refused to award them a spot kick after taking a glance across to his assistant on the main stand side

The Wings cranked up the pressure on the Hednesford defence once more and forced the Pitmen back into their own third with successive corner kicks on sixty-four minutes. The second ball in from Berkeley was flicked on at the near post by former Dover man Strouts and onto the head of Dyer at the far post, only for the midfielder to head horribly high and wide of goal

The home side wrapped up the points with the crucial second goal of the afternoon on sixty-six minutes as a pass from Berkeley caught the Hednesford defence flat-footed, despite calls from Carl Palmer that Berkeley had controlled the ball with his hand in the build-up. Booth reacted quickest to the confusion to turn the ball past Young from twelve yards out and grab his second goal of the afternoon. Powell was angry at the play not being pulled back for the alleged handball against Berkeley and was spoken to by the referee before the restart for dissent

Brindley made an appearance for the Pitmen on seventy-two minutes, brought on as an auxiliary striker as he replaced the off-the-pace Gibson to play up top with Anthrobus and Danks. This saw Gray drop back to play as a wing-back on the right hand side as a consequence of the substitution

The Pitmen made a further double change on seventy-seven minutes as Nathan Lamey came on in place of the ineffective Anthrobus up front and the more defensively minded Anthony Maguire coming on for Gray, who looked ill at ease playing in a defensive role

Brindley headed a Steve Evans cross well wide of goal on eighty minutes from a well-worked free-kick out on the right wing, followed three minutes later by a quick break from the hosts that saw Dyer play Berkeley away down the left wing with a great pass. The winger cut inside and left Maguire in his wake but lifted his shot high over Young's crossbar from a good position eighteen yards out

Watts drove a shot just over Young's woodwork on eighty-six minutes after good work from Riviere before Statham's run and cross was headed tamely into the arms of Young by Booth a minute later

A weak header goalwards by Brindley from a Hines corner kick was straight at Kelly in the final minute of the game with the Pitmen's final chance of another blank afternoon for the men in sky blue in front of goal

The Hednesford players and supporters trooped off at the final whistle, once again left frustrated and disgruntled at the side's inability to turn their first-half form into a second-half result. Powell's side now sit only eight points nine points above bottom side Chelmsford City and are spending more and more time looking behind them rather than above them at the sides in the top ten as they drop to sixteenth in the table after today's game. Another long trip south follows for the Pitmen on Tuesday night as they travel to Worthing looking to move into the fifth round of the F.A. Trophy in their fourth round replay at Woodside Road

Welling United: Kelly, Burgess, Henry (Hart 73), Statham, Watts ©, Strouts, Riviere, Dyer, Collins (Taylor 80), Booth, Berkeley      Subs Unused: Tyne, Taylor, Flatter

Hednesford Town: Young, Gibson (Brindley 72), Hines, S. Evans, Ryder, BarrowC. Palmer, S. Palmer ©Anthrobus (Lamey 77), Danks, Gray (Maguire 77)      Subs Unused: Charie, P. Evans