Welling United 1-0 Brentford - We said when we get through to the final let's try and win it, says Welling United boss Steve King
Welling United 1 – 0 Brentford
|Location||Summers Lane, Finchley, London N12 0PD|
WELLING UNITED 1-0 BRENTFORD
London Senior Cup Final
Tuesday 9 April 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Summers Lane
WELLING UNITED manager Steve King says a disciplined performance from his players ensured the club celebrated their first London Senior Cup triumph since 1990.
King made eight changes from the side that beat fellow promotion chasers Bath City 2-1 at Park View Road at the weekend, a result that keeps them in third-place in the Vanarama National League South table with 70 points on the board, five points adrift of second-placed Woking and 12 behind leaders Torquay United.
Brentford field their B team in the London Senior Cup and Danish manager Lars Friis’ side have beaten Metropolitan Police (3-0); Wingate & Finchley (3-2 after extra time) and Dulwich Hamlet (1-0) to return to Summers Lane in Finchley for this Final.
Welling United, meanwhile, have beaten Corinthian-Casuals (2-0); Leyton Orient (2-1) and Harrow Borough (3-1) to become kings of the capital, courtesy of Libyan born lone striker Mohamad Bettamer, 26, who is on loan from Vanarama National League side Barnet, heading home the only goal of the game four minutes before half-time.
“Yes it was good. We took the competition seriously all the way through from the start and it showed,” said King, who has landed his first trophy for the club towards the end of his first season in charge.
“We put strong teams out all the way through and we said when we got through to the final, ‘lets try and win it.”
Brentford created the opening chance of the game inside the opening five minutes when left-sided winger Theo Archibald was put through on goal straight down the middle and Welling United keeper Dan Wilks smothered the ball to his left and striker Joe Hardy’s follow-up shot took a deflection as it dropped over the crossbar.
Welling United’s first chance came within two minutes as central midfielder Luke Rooney floated a free-kick in from the right towards the far post for centre-half Josh Hill to send his downward header past the near post from 12-yards.
Noticing Welling keeper Wilks was off his line, Brentford central midfielder Jan Zamburek looked up and hit a 55-yard effort sailing over the keeper’s head, only for the ball to sail over the unguarded crossbar.
Brentford played out from the back and had plenty of possession of the ball but Welling United’s players were an organised outfit, which pleased King.
He said: “I thought Richard Orlu and Josh Hill together were excellent. The back four Craig Braham-Barrett and Caden Genovesi were excellent. Dan Wilks was called up to make one or two good saves in the first half especially.
“I just thought the discipline of the team, we had to work hard or they pull you out of your shape if you slack off for a second, they’re in!”
Welling United weathered the early storm and created a glorious chance to break the deadlock in the 19th minute.
Central midfielder Montel Agyemang played a diagonal pass out to Nassim L’Ghoul and the French winger cut the ball back to Rooney on the right and his first time cross was whipped into the Brentford box but Bettamer placed his free header past the far post from eight-yards.
“I felt he should’ve scored with that one, the first one,” admitted King.
“Listen, it was about a disciplined performance. We changed eight players from Saturday’s team because the league is too important. We’re in pole position for the league and we can’t upset that so we changed eight players, they all needed games.
“Luke Rooney needed a game, Montel Agyeman did, Caden Genovesi, Mo Bettamer needed 90 minutes, little Zak Newton needed it. Richard Orlu needed it, so I just felt that we are a squad and I thought they were excellent, excellent tonight!”
Icelandic winger Kolbeinn Finnsson played a short free-kick inside to Fredrik Hammar, but the Swede drove his angled drive flashing past the foot of the near post from 35-yards.
Welling United’s right-back Craig Braham-Barrett failed to cut out Zamburek’s pass which put Hardy in behind centre-half Orlu and his right-footed flicked shot sailed around the diving keeper and only just cleared the top of the far post.
Rooney gave the ball away in the Welling midfield and Finnsson and Ali Coote linked up before playing right-wing-back Jonny Mitchell on the overlap and his angled drive was plucked out of the air by Wilks above his head at his near post.
Welling United snatched the winning goal with 40 minutes and 45 seconds on the clock.
While Brentford played tippy-tappy football and had plenty of the ball, all they failed to do was put the ball into the penalty area and Welling United were clinical when it mattered as Bettamer notched his first goal for the club.
Left-back Caden Genovesi raced down the line before whipping in a cross into the Brentford box, which was controlled well by L’Ghoul, before he gained space in front of his marker before keeping composed to cut the ball back to Braham-Barrett, who whipped in a quality delivery back into the box for Bettamer to plant his free-header against the underside of the crossbar before nodding the ball over the line with the keeper on the deck and trying to get back up.
“It was a great finish from Mo, a brilliant header, a great cross from Craig,” said King.
“I thought the first one went over but obviously it didn’t, so he followed it in so it’s good reactions from him.
“We were saying to him as a lone striker you need to stay central of the goal so when crosses come in, it’s a great ball from Craig, a brilliant ball in and a great header.”
Welling keeper Wilks pulled off a brilliant double save to prevent Brentford scoring an equaliser just before half-time.
Latvian right-wing-back David Titov cut in from the right and Coote and Hardy linked up well before setting up midfielder Hammar, whose right-footed drive from 16-yards was parried by Wilks, diving to his left, who swiftly recovered to prevent Hardy scoring from the rebound.
“Listen, we didn’t want it to go to extra-time, that was the most important thing. If we can hold out and take a 1-0, no extra-time, brilliant, because we didn’t want to put the players through another 30 minutes,” said King, who was then asked what his thoughts were at the break.
“Just keep doing what you’re doing, keep your shape, don’t get pulled out of it. You’ve got to grips with their system and just keep going, don’t get switched off!”
Welling United failed to keep their first second half opening on target on the hour-mark after keeping possession in and around the Brentford box.
Arnaud Mendy’s ball forward was flicked on by Bettamer and Montel Agyemang cut inside and tried to dig the ball out from underneath his feet inside the D and teed up Rooney, who drilled his shot high over the crossbar from a central position from 20-yards.
Rooney, 28, who scored 14 goals in 28 appearances for tenth-tier side Stansfeld in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division, should have given his side a two-goal lead in the 65th minute.
Genovesi threw the ball to Agyemang, who hit a long ball forward and a poor defensive header from Brentford centre-half Jarvis Edobor gave Bettamer a chance to break forward. He put Rooney through on goal and he tried to chip the keeper from 15-yards, only for Gunddarsson to pluck the ball out of the air.
King said: “Brilliant! He should’ve scored! He done brilliant to get in where he did through two or three challenges and I wanted him to finish in that situation and I expected him to finish int hat situation because he’s got quality hasn’t he.
“He’s been out for a long time and he’s trying to find his fitness and things like that, so it was important to get through those minutes tonight.”
Despite being a full-time outfit playing against part-timers Brentford couldn’t break through a defensive shield, which was well marshalled by Hill and Orlu.
“We defended as a group and that’s the main thing, the way we defended as a group and I thought it was fantastic the way we defended,” hailed King.
“Richard Orlu was outstanding tonight, outstanding. For me, Richard tonight was probably the pick out of everybody.”
Brentford were forced into trying their luck from 40-yards, but captain Coote saw his speculative effort curl past the far post.
Welling United had the better of the chances and headed flick-ons from Rooney and physically strong Bettamer set up a chance for substitute left-winger Brendan Kiernan but he lashed his shot high and wide of the near post from 15-yards when he only had the Icelandic keeper to beat.
Brentford finished the game on the front foot but with Orlu outstanding and his team-mates putting their bodies on the line, they limited Brentford to one clear cut chance in the second half, coming inside the final nine minutes.
Finnsson played the ball into Hardy and the former Manchester City starlet played a sublime through ball, which split open Genovesi and Hill to put substitute Henrik Johansson through. However, the Swede swept his right-footed shot across Wilks from 15-yards and watched the ball trickle past the far post.
“Obviously they’re going to cut you open, there’s no two ways about that, they’re going to cut you open at times and they did and they got their opportunities but they didn’t take them,” added King.
Welling United travel to eleventh-placed Slough Town on Saturday, before the clash against fourth-placed side Chelmsford City at Park View Road on Good Friday, 19 April. The Wings complete their league campaign with a trip to second-from-bottom East Thurrock United (22 April) before hosting sixteenth-placed Hampton & Richmond Borough on 27 April. All games kick-off at 15:00.
“Slough have just beaten Woking, they just beat Billericay, they drew with Concord, they’ve just beat Hungerford, tough, very tough, on the plastic pitch,” warned King.
“But we’re on great form – we’ve won our last five away from home on the bounce and we’ve let one goal in and that was a penalty, so we’ve had four clean sheets out of five.
“We just need to keep third place if we can, that’s huge to try to keep third place so we can have a home leg in the Play-Off Semi-Finals. We’ve got a bit of work to do still but probably need a couple of more wins to secure that place but the way the boys are playing at the moment, unbeaten in 10 (in the league), eight wins, two draws.”
Tonight, Welling United extended their unbeaten run to 11 games and King admits to be suffering from a headache with tonight’s squad knocking on his door for a starting place at Arbour Park on Saturday.
“That’s what you want,” said King. “That’s my headache and they can say ‘gaffer, I’m here, look what I’ve performed like.’
“We’re on great form and we’re going into these games on good form but there’s four more league games to go. I’m not one to sing and dance now. We need to get there and once we get there we’ll re-valuate and see where we go and what possibly we end up with.”
Back to tonight’s Cup glory, the second time that Welling United have won the London Senior Cup, while they did lift the London Challenge Cup in 1992 and King thanked the fans for making the trip to Finchley.
“Thank you for coming. I don’t know how many there were, probably about 75-100, brilliant for supporting the side and hoping they’ve come away happy.”
Welling United: Dan Wilks, Craig Braham-Barrett, Caden Genovesi, Arnaud Mendy (David Ijaha 86), Josh Hill, Richard Orlu, Nassim L’Ghoul (Brendan Kiernan 72), Luke Rooney, Mohamad Bettamer, Montel Agyemang, Zack Newton.
Subs: Tigana Quebe, Regan Mendez, Thierry Audel
Goal: Mohamad Bettamer 41
Booked: Mohamad Bettamer 79
Brentford: Patrik Gunnarsson, David Titov, Cole Dasilva, Fredrik Finnsson (Henrik Johansson 61), Jarvis Edobor, Jonny Mitchell, Kolbeinn Finnsson, Jan Zamburek (Matej Majka 84), Joe Hardy, Ali Coote (Gustav Mogensen 74), Theo Archibald.
Subs: Jaden Brissett, Jayden Onen
Referee: Mr Michael Chard
Assistants: Mr Bogdan Carraghin-Costin & Mr Lawrence Torz-Brown
Fourth Official: Mr Hugh Gilroy