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Welling United 2
Maloney (14'), Azeez (45')
1 Tonbridge Angels
Gard (23')
Angels put pressure on Welling’s goal in final stages but to no avail. Welling 2 Angels 1 01.01.23.

Wings at the Double

Once again Angels suffered the Park View Road curse - they have never won a league game against Welling at their home base - and so it meant a double festive defeat.

Joe Turner joined the starting line up for the first time since his hernia operation replacing Louis Collins while Assistant Player Manager Tom Parkinson came in for the injured Ben Swift to complete the back line. 

It was Angels who appeared to be suffering from a slight New Year hangover at the start of the game as Welling roared out of the blocks. In the 4th minute Jamie White hit the crossbar following a Welling free kick and three minutes later another Wings free kick went inches wide of Jonny Henly’s right hand post.

Angels simply couldn’t get the ball down and create any kind of cohesive play.  There was an air of inevitability about Welling’s first goal in the 14th minute. A raid down the left wing was not dealt with and it was left to Maloney to convert with a crisp shot high into the corner of the goal. 

Eventually Angels settled and started to create the moves that started to give the Welling defence something to think about.  One of those moves ended with Lewis Gard scoring the equalising goal in the 23rd minute.

The game was now even with both sides giving a good account of themselves.  For Tonbridge Jack Wood and Jordan Greenidge had chances and Welling were to make the Angels pay for those missed chances when just before half time a great ball down the left caught the away defence wide open and Azeez was there to finish off the move to put the hosts ahead for a second time.

There was still enough time for Lewis Gard to miss a great chance to level before the half time whistle.

The second half saw Angels again start slowly - something they need to rectify - and it was Azeez causing the problems for the visitors. Tonbridge survived but were certainly living dangerously with Papadoplous hitting the post. 

Eventually, Angels Boss Jay Saunders, had seen enough and started to change things around. Tommie Fagg replaced Aransibia the former nearly scoring with his first kick which went just over the bar. Further notice of attacking intent with the slope advantage came when Tom Parkinson left the field to be replaced by Louis Collins with the ream changing to three on the back line.  

Ruben Soares-Junior was the third introduction and now Tonbridge looked a threatening side.  Welling showed their defensive credentials and dealt with everything that Tonbridge could throw at them.  During this frenetic period the best chances fell to Soares-Junior and Collins and with Jonny Henly joining the attack in those last few desperate seconds, it was a grandstand finish but Welling’s resistance could not be broken.  

Afterwards Saunders said : “Once again we have not been sharp enough in the box and I think on first look their goals were preventable.  But it’s good to see the likes of Faggie, Ruben and JT coming back into contention.”

Picture : David Couldridge.  Angels put pressure on Welling’s goal in final stages but to no avail.

Published Sunday 1st January 2023