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Welling United 1-3 Kingstonian

K's travelled to the Charlton Athletic heartland that is Welling to play a struggling side and aim to get towards the top four - still an achievable goal at this time in the season. Mark Harris kept the bench warm as a booking for him, or on Tuesday for that matter would lead to suspension for the Northwhich game. Beside him were Akuamoah and Lewrothy, meaning there were starting places for Tom White, Karl Tranter and Del Francis. Kevin Rattray also made a welcome return. The travelling contingent contained many of the faces present at Orient. Hopefully, it's not a liking for East London, but instead a sign of the excitement in the Kingston area as K's march on to Wembley. Welling on the other-hand is just a league game.

Anyway, the report - yes. In only the second minute, as the Welling fans were finding their spaces at the opposing end, K's took the lead. A rather unthreatening looking free-kick was awarded to K's on the left. Pitcher took it and floated a ball to the back cross. The home team failed to mark the tallest opponent and Crossley was allowed to head back across the goal from the corner of the six yard box. Quite how the ball squeezed inside the far post is unclear, but as the net rippled and Crossley celebrated it really didn't matter. But it was surely a goal scored more from defensive inabilities than by attacking prowess.

So a rout was expected. The hitch of Linger chasing through on goal was only a slight drawback as White did well to stop him. Interestingly, Crossley took the resulting goal kick and most of the others. Meanwhile at the other end, Patterson was shooting from a long way out and Pitcher was causing havoc. And diving around.

The rout was not forthcoming though. Indeed, it didn't take long for the home team to put the ball in the back of the net. Dolby's cross from the right was flicked on by Rowe at the near post who saw his attempt go in despite good attempts to keep it out by Farralley. Fortunately for K's, he also saw the linesman's flag go up for off-side. Certainly Welling had the bit between their teeth. Browne, barged his was passed Crossley who appeared to stop awaiting a free-kick. It was not awarded and the striker raced through on goal and rounded Farralley only to run out of pitch and see his shot hit the side netting. The "Phew" was as loud as the cheers exclaimed on the K's goal. K's felt hard done by and took their complaints to the ref. Someone was booked for this. Probably it was Crossley, it might have been Patterson. The truth will out.

And Welling piled on the pressure. Dolby's shot from a dangerously positioned free-kick struck the wall but the ball eventually came out to Browne whose shot went off for a throw. The reds got the goal they deserved in the 38th minute. Trebble's pass saw Browne receive the ball in plenty of space amidst claims of off-side. Certainly it was hard to tell from where we were standing. But Browne, arguably their best player, wasn't going to miss this sitter and put the teams level.

Chapple played a double substitution at half time bringing on Leworthy and Akuamoah for the inferior Trantor and Francis. (Strange how the sur-name 'Francis' is still associated with the word 'inferior') K's looked to start the second half as they had started the first. Rattray's long throw caused problems and soon after this drama occurred in the Welling box as a defender headed the ball up only to see a number of elbows and heads go up for the next touch. Penalty? Corner? Just a goal kick.

Akuamoah was fired up. Not one for being left on the bench he had already gone on a coupe of fine runs before he showed his genius with a superb outcome. Receiving the ball on the left he cut in-side and left two defender flailing in his wake. His shot from the relatively tight angle was also something special and for once he seemed to agree. Rumours have it he even smiled.

An interesting talking/typing point occurred soon after this following a clash of heads in the Welling half. For once neither team was ordered to give back possession so the duel that is a drop ball saw Rattray up against Rutherford. Lennox Lewis would have been proud of the way Rutherford attacked his opponent leaving him semi crippled on the floor. Thankfully the referee was more opinionated than the judges at the Lewis fight and quite rightly booked the midfielder for the atrocity.

How K's didn't extend their lead midway through the second half is unbelievable. An amazing scramble saw Mustafa and Crossley, to name but a few, have from within ten yards of the goal. The ball was bouncing all over the place and it remains unclear as to what happened. But there was no goal. Somehow. Browne was still performing a one man show for the other side and put in a good shot, but K's were so much stronger in the second half. He was worth two of their players, really. And that was good as it even up the numbers following a Welling sending off. Dolby made no sort of crowd noise reduction when he mistook Eddie's shin for the ball and was quite rightly booked - for the second time - and subsequently left the pitch.

K's were able to use the extra man, and Rattray and Pitcher looked dangerous while each of the defensive five took turns to wonder into the box. Browne, meanwhile was still performing as best as he could. Sign him up! K's could have scored a third following pressure from Dave Leworthy. His running, yes running, made the keeper leave his area and head clear. The ball fell to Akuamoah who tried to curl and lob the ball around him as he chased back into his area. Akuamoah could only curse as he saw his shot strike the post.

The last real action of the game did produce the third that K's had deserved, and that prevented the nigh ominous draw. Patterson chased onto the ball and wandered towards the edge of the box. As if he was playing two touch football and only had one touch left he kept dummying the ball and found himself inside the area. Taking all the time in the world he played the perfect ball to Leworthy who took one touch to control the ball and turned and shot in one fluid movement, showing (off) all his natural ability. A fine goal that was.

So the game ended 3-1, and gave K's another double this season. And two fine goals to boot. And a not bad one as well. K's, encouraged by a healthy following, are now mathematically safe. Welling's plight is of course a different kettle of jellied eels.

Sat 13th Mar 1999
Park View Road
Football Conference
Welling United1
Crossley, Akuamoah, Leworthy
1Steve Farrelly
2Tarkan Mustafa
3Colin Luckett
4Matt Crossley
5Simon Stewart
6Tom White
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff Pitcher
9Kevin Rattray
10Carl Tranter15
11Delton Francis14
12Mark Harris
14Eddie Akuamoah11
15David Leworthy10
Man of the Match
Matt Crossley
Matt Crossley
Match Report By
Gary Ekins