Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Welling are stung by National League Barnet

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In the fourth round, the Wings knocked out Chesterfield however the National League leaders selected a very youthful eleven. Dean Brennan, the Barnet manager, is taking the competition far more seriously and put out his strongest side. Welling manager, Rod Stringer, did not have the same luxury. Missing players who were cup-tied, injured and suspended, he was down to the bare bones and was only able to name four substitutes out of seven allowed.

There was little goalmouth action in the opening exchanges. A harmless effort by Harry Pritchard was claimed by Welling goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cook. Adam Thompson then blazed over. At the other end, Cameron Green whipped in a dangerous free kick that was just out of the reach of Jack Burchell.

It took twenty-five minutes for a clear cut opening, and when it came it was finished in style. Gatlin O’Donkor had only signed for the Bees twenty-four hours earlier and he made his mark when getting on the end of Harry Pritchard’s through ball and firing it into the roof of the net.

Adam Roscrow had a difficult chance to level from a tight angle and couldn’t find the far corner however, he had a better one as half time approached. Josh Johnson’s shot was blocked into his path with just Barnet goalkeeper Josh Keeley to beat. He shot low but not wide enough to beat Keeley’s outstretched right leg. It came back out to Jason Adigun whose first time shot flew over.

After the half time break, Welling came out purposefully and TJ Bramble had a shot saved by Keeley before being offered another shooting opportunity that came to nothing when he was well off target. A deep cross then found Johnson arriving late and his first time shot was turned behind by Keeley.

Against the run of play, Barnet defended the corner well and turned defence into attack. Reece Hall-Johnson sent Zak Brunt away and he made no mistake when slotting home.

O’Donkor had a low shot saved and Brunt fired over before Keeley got down well to save from Adigun at the other end.

Callum Stead might have done better when shooting into the side netting but Welling’s reprieve was short lived when Ben Coker made space on the right and crossed for Nicke Kambaba to guide his header beyond Charles-Cook.

Although Welling kept going to the end, the nearest that they came to scoring was when Enoch Muwonge had a shot blocked and it was Barnet who progressed to the quarter finals.

Stringer can now prepare for Welling’s derby game with Tonbridge Angels with a bigger pool of players from which to select, possibly including some reinforcements.

Welling United: Charles-Cook, Lema, Green, Grant (Muwonge 87), Burchell, Byrd, Papadopoulos, Adigun, Roscrow (Desa 70), Bramble (Bridgeman 61), Johnson. Sub not used: Pitterson.

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