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Tuesday 28th
December 2004
Nationwide South Stephen McCartney reports from The Homelands
Margate 1 Rocky Baptiste 79
Welling United 2 Shane Hale 45
Jamie Day 68

Welling turning the corner

WELLING United's bid to climb out of the relegation zone increased today with a well deserved victory over Kent rivals Margate at a muddy Homelands.

The Wings are now level on points with the Gate and the return fixture at Park View Road on New Year's Day is another crucial six-pointer for both clubs.

Seven points from their last three games has also coincided with Liam Daish's appointment as caretaker manager.

Welling, however, started the game with urgency in this must-win fixture for both clubs and after a couple of half-chances they should have taken a seventh minute lead.

Striker Tommy Tyne's pace saw him brush aside Ross Smith to get inside the penalty area but his low 16-yard drive was comfortably saved by Margate goalkeeper Peter Trego, getting down low to his left.

Margate's Alexis Charalambous and Che Stadhart were both off target as shots reigned in on Charlie Mitten's goal from outside the box.

The home side's best chance, however,  came after 37 minutes when Rocky Baptiste's knock on was latched on by Stadhart but the former Gravesend & Northfleet striker lifted the ball over the advancing goalkeeper and wide.

Welling, however, opened the scoring two minutes inside stoppage time.  And it was no surprise it came from a set-piece as playing football on the pitch was made difficult.

Ashford Town's local derby with Hastings United was postponed due to a frozen pitch 24-hours earlier and over night rain left the pitch - which is used by four teams - very muddy.

Jamie Day's corner was met by a powerful header from man-of-the-match Shaune Hale, and the 18-year-old former Fleet Town midfielder was obviously delighted by scoring his second goal of the season.

Every time he scores, the Wings go on to win, and six minutes after the interval, they almost doubled their lead but Tyne headed Day's free kick wide.

On the hour, shaky Margate goalkeeper Peter Trego saved comfortably from Danny Slatter's 30-yarder and the Wings doubled their lead with 22 minutes left.

Day's corner from the left wasn't dealt with by Trego or a defender on the line and the ball dropped into the net inside the far post and the goal-scorer was mobbed by his team-mates.

Three minutes later, Baptiste, who had a quiet game, rounded Mitten and should have found the back of the net, but he dwelled on the ball and enabled a grateful Wing's defender to block the shot.

Baptiste, however, did pull a goal back for the home side with 11 minutes left on the clock, firing low into the bottom far corner of the net following good play initially from Ross Smith and a centre from Adrian Clarke.

Baptiste, who came alive late on, had a chance to steal a point but he blew the chance when substitute Darren Watson used his strength to brush aside Hale to carve open a chance for his fellow striker.

Margate: Peter Trego, Greg Oates (Darren Watson 55), Romaul Bouadji (Bill Edwards 53), Ross Smith, Aaron Barnett, Alexis Charalambous, John Keister, Peter Benevides, Che Stadhart, Rocky Baptiste, Adrian Clarke (Capt). Subs: Moses Jjunju, Tamba Ngongou, Nejdet Hussein

Welling United: Charlie Mitten, Tony Browne, Shaun Hale, James Smith, Lew Watts (Capt), Ian Wiles, Danny Slatter (Lee Spiller 77), Tim Hambley, Tommy Tyne, Paul Booth (Jo Flack 85), Jamie Day.  Subs: Gary Carter, Gary Philmore, Matt Lee

Referee: E Smith
Assistants: P Kelly & M Rogers