Friendly Tue 27 July The Crucial Environmental Stadium
  • Trialist (3')
  • Pearce (5')
  • Gwengwe (40')
  • Own Goal (63')
  • Meekums (85')
Welling Utd

Match Report: Gareth Nicholas

Dean Cox came back into the starting line-up after the birth of his second child and goalkeeper, Giannis Boda made his first team debut, with his under-eighteen’s counterpart, Adam Nash on the bench, as the absent Aarran Racine became the latest member of the squad to welcome a newborn into the world.

As usual, Reds made a fast start and were soon two goals to the good with only five minutes gone.

A ball up the line from Cox to Shaq Gwengwe saw the striker hold off his marker before releasing Ollie Pearce, who’s run and cross fell perfectly for our Trialist to instantly volley home an emphatic side-foot finish.

Things got even better moments later as the roles were reversed, with Pearce becoming the provider and Trialist the scorer, taking down Cox’s crossfield pass and surging into the box on the right, then driving his effort beyond the Welling ‘keeper and just inside the far post.

The returning Cox found “he who cannot be named” in a central position and the host’s number eight spread play out to Jasper Pattenden on the left. He drifted in off the far touchline and tried to curl one into the far top corner but fired narrowly over the angle.

Pearce could have had a second when he pounced on an attempted backheader, only to be denied by a quick thinking goalie (known only as “Murphy”) and Alfie Young wasn’t far away either, as his header from a left-wing free-kick by Cox flew inches over the top.

Brad Pearce, recently signed by the visitors from National League Champions, Sutton United gifted possession to Jack Grealish lookalike, Trialist in his own half and he broke into away territory before trying an ambitious effort, a long way out, that Murphy had covered.

Grealish was at it again soon after that, as he sprinted into the penalty area and saw his shot initially fumbled by the travelling netminder, who was able to gather at the second time of asking.

A lunging tackle by ex-Tonbridge Angels man, Kristian Campbell on Pattenden over on the left-hand touchline led to referee, Alex Bradley having words before Pearce’s set-piece somehow eluded both Marvin Armstrong and Gwengwe.

Half-time cuppas were brewing nicely when a slight mix-up at the back resulted in Murphy charging out of his goal and doing his best Superman impression, as he clattered into Gwengwe. After treatment from both physios he was, fortunately, able to continue and, despite scoring two spot-kicks on Saturday, Pearce handed responsibility over to Shaq who duly sent the ‘keeper the wrong way.

Welling changed personnel and formation at the break; bringing on four new faces and frustrating the home side for a spell, forcing a couple of early corners although without really threatening Boda and the target behind him.

It was, however, The Wings who contributed to their own downfall thanks to one of those interval changes.

Ade Shokunbi played a no-look pass – of sorts – back to his goalkeeper, who had no real chance of stopping the ball going straight into his unguarded net, for a comical fourth.

Worthing substitute, Ty Mthunzi hit a belter from more than twenty yards that flashed marginally the wrong side of the goal frame, before two more changes almost combined to immediate and devastating effect.

On the pitch for barely a minute, last week’s hat-trick hero, Alfie Hall got free on the right and fizzed in a delivery that fellow replacement, Tom Chalaye was a whisker away from nodding in at the front upright.

Murphy then had to be out rapidly to prevent the Isthmian Leaguer’s centre-forward finding the net again not long afterwards, after he’d been played in by another second-half newbie, Reece Myles-Meekums.

A rare lapse at the back led to the guests pulling one back; former Cheshunt frontman, Dipo Akinyemi swivelling sharply and smashing past Nash from close range.

More uncertainty amongst the Red’s rearguard forced Joel Colbran to clear Ansu’s low, edge-of-the-box effort off the line until normal service was resumed, when Mthunzi stung the palms of Murphy from distance.

Nash also got his gloves dirty, with Stefan Ilic the man responsible, once he’d cut inside but failed to get enough power in his shot.

A lovely touch from Kyle O’Brien sent Myles-Meekums scampering clear on the left, change direction into the middle, Chalaye dummy, Hall’s attempt blocked and a stretching Frankie Perry poke over the crossbar, as we threatened to score a fifth.

Home fans weren’t kept waiting much longer though; Myles-Meekums dancing between two yellow shirts into the eighteen-yard area, before bending a beauty beyond the flailing arms of Murphy and into the far side of the goal.