Welling Town 4-1 FC Elmstead Reserves - Life is hard in this division but winning the league is my main thing and win it in a massive way, says Welling Town boss Richard Dimmock

Saturday 09th December 2017
Welling Town 4 – 1 FC Elmstead
Location Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead, London SE28 8NJ
Kickoff 09/12/2017 14:00

WELLING TOWN  4-1  FC ELMSTEAD RESERVES
Andreas Carter Joma Kent County League Division Two West
Saturday 9th December 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Bayliss Avenue

WELLING TOWN manager Richard Dimmock admits life is hard in the Andreas Carter Joma Kent County League Division Two West despite being unbeaten this season.

The Boots remain unbeaten in 14 games and remain second in the table with 27 points from their 11 league outings, four points adrift of Sydenham Sports, who have played a game more and came up with Dimmock’s side from the bottom tier at the end of last season.

They comfortably sealed their eighth league win of the season against third-from-bottom FC Elmstead Reserves, who slipped in to the bottom two on 7 points from nine games.

Welling Town took 23 minutes to open the scoring, courtesy of Chris Ware’s tap-in, before former Glebe and Erith Town striker Ryan Golding notched a hat-trick.

Golding has now scored six goals in four games at this level for Welling Town, after bagging 18 goals in 20 starts for Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division side Erith Town, who play four levels higher than this.

Dimmock said: “A good three points!  I thought the first half was very scrappy, we didn’t get the ball down and play like we normally play.  We came in 3-0 at half-time, haven’t got out of second gear really but pleasing to come in 3-0 up.

“I told the boys to buck their ideas up, do the right things, move the ball quicker and give them their due the first 15 minutes of the second half they’ve done that and Ryan Golding got a goal straight after the interval and we got a bit too relaxed and after that the game got scrappy again.  I think we dropped down to their level where the boys have got to learn and learn very quick.”

FC Elmstead Reserves team manager Tony Alliband said: “It’s hard! First 25 minutes I thought we done ok. They had a 15 minute spell where obviously they scored three quick goals going into half-time. It was going to be very hard.  They got one straight after and then the last half-hour-35 minutes I thought we were the better side second half.

“It’s not often when you come to places like this,” admitted Alliband, whose side play on Coney Hall Recreation Ground.

“I think you’ve got to look at how you set yourself up, be hard to beat.  We’ve played them twice now and I’ve come off and think yes there’s some positives in it but it’s just key individual moments that have probably been the difference where we haven’t tracked our runner, the third goal was a free header, things like that. That’s sort of the difference in levels, should I say.”

FC Elmstead Reserves created a half-chance after only 82 seconds following a set-piece, which was swung into the box by Norman Hong and central defender Matthew Faithorn came up to steer his free-header harmlessly wide from 16-yards.

Welling Town were passing the ball around on the deck and they started to get into gear, creating their first opening in the 13th minute.

Lamerl Hubbard played the ball into captain Ware, who played in Golding, who turned inside the box and saw his right-footed shot trickle past the foot of the far post from 15-yards.

Dimmock said: “Another chance that went begging, that was the first one!  A good bit of football played, like in the whole of the first half there were five or ten minute spells when we played really good football to open them up and we had four or five good occasions and that was the first one.”

FC Elmstead should have buried a free-header at the far post just 110 seconds later following their first of eight corners.

Left-winger Bae Tri Tran drove the ball in from the right towards the back stick where an unmarked Harry Cronin planted his header into the side netting from inside the six-yard box.  It was a chance that had to be taken!

“Harry’s not known for his heading ability,” admitted Alliband.

“It’s chances like that or half chances like that where you think if that goes in or hits the target then there’s a scramble, then it’s a case of we’ve had a free header at the far post so we should be hitting the target with that so it disappointed me.”

FC Elmstead then created a chance on the counter-attack after Golding’s pass was intercepted by left-back Norbert Mensah, he drove a through ball which released Quan Chan, who slipped the ball through to Rolt, but a poor touch inside the box allowed Welling Town keeper Jack Moore to easily gather the ball that was rolling out of play for a goal-kick.

Alliband added: “It’s fallen on his weaker foot, his left-foot. If it was the other side….I don’t think he expected it to be honest, that attack from where I was standing.”

Welling Town deserved their lead when it arrived with 22 minutes and 54 seconds on the clock.

Ware sent impressive right-back Raheem Chentouf on his way charging down the right wing and he embarrassed Mensah for the 39 minutes that he was on the pitch before the Elmstead left-back was withdrawn having pulled his groin.

Chentouf reached the by-line and pulled the ball back across the face of goal and Ware had the easiest task of tapping the ball over the line from close range while left unmarked as Elmstead’s right-back Danny Bond failed to track him.

“Raheem’s a player massively improved from last season, he’s still got a lot to learn but he’s got potential to go on to bigger things,” said Dimmock.

“Today was one of his best first halves I’ve seen for a long time and the first goal was just unbelievable, getting in behind, he’s very pacey and he got the first cross in for the first goal.”

Alliband added: “Again, one thing that concerned me going into today’s game was the two full-back areas.  I had to make one change before kick-off which was my skipper (Tom O’Reilly) going from right-back to centre back, which was an hour before the game, so that didn’t help in terms of people playing in certain areas.

“Danny Bond who started there done ok but for the first goal probably didn’t track his runner and got caught as that came across because if he was with his man he might’ve cleared it!”

FC Elmstead were enjoying good link-up play down the left through Tri Tran, and Quan.

“They’ve played together for a few years so it was a bit of telepathic bits and pieces going on there, you see it in training as well,” revealed Alliband.

Dimmock added: “They done well down the left-hand side because Raheem was getting forward and he was working his socks off to get back in but the left-winger wasn’t really tracking our full-back, he was just staying up field and that’s where they were getting in behind us.  I thought Ricky Hardie playing at the back covered Raheem in the first half so it gave Raheem that chance to get forward.”

You had the feeling that the game was dead and buried as soon as Welling Town doubled their lead with 28 minutes and 59 seconds on the clock.

Hubbard sprayed the ball out to Chentouf who produced a superb touch to bring the ball under his spell inside the penalty area, cut onto his right-foot to stroke his shot against the foot of the near post.  The ball bounced into Golding’s path, the striker placing his left-footed shot into the bottom right-hand corner from four-yards out.

“Ryan Golding’s done well since he’s come in, he’s a massive signing for the club and future to the club,” said Dimmock.

“I’m just glad to see him back playing because he wasn’t getting into the Erith Town side.  I had a good chat with him and brought him to the club and he’s back banging in the goals.”

Alliband added: “We need to stop the source, obviously playing against players at this level you need to make sure the initial source from the shot. Although it’s come off the post one of our centre halves should’ve been a bit closer and then when you look at that, that should’ve been cleared, it’s frustrating!”

Visiting keeper Larry McArdle, who was the only player in the squad with first team appearances to his name with four, was then called into action.

Dominic Elmes, who partnered Golding up front in the first half before dropping back into defence for the second half, released Chentouf, who drove down the right, cut into the box and ignored an unmarked Golding inside the box to go for goal himself, watching his low shot blocked by the legs of the keeper.

Alliband said: “Larry’s the first team’s reserve keeper, second choice keeper.  My keeper is actually working alternative weeks so its worked out that he’s getting minutes which keeps him sharp for the first team.”

Dimmock said: “Great save, great save, another great move. There were a few of them.  We didn’t get out of second gear in the first half. Chance after chance where one week we’re not going to get those opportunities and we’ve got to start taking those otherwise we’re going to get punished.”

Welling Town completely killed the game off by scoring their third goal with 33 minutes and 41 seconds on the clock.

Dimmock said the goal came straight off the training field.  Hubbard, who took all of their six corners, floated in their fifth, from the right and Golding peeled off Faithorn to make space at the near post before planting his header over the keeper’s left shoulder from 10-yards.

“I’m glad that came off because we worked on that in the week in training. It was spot on from Lamerl and Ryan Golding just come in near post a great header,” said Dimmock.

Alliband added: “We talked about that in the changing room at half-time.  One of my centre halves put his hands up and said ‘yes he was my man’.  He should’ve got tighter to him Matt but he’s always a seven or an eight out of 10. He’s quite consistent and he’s been with me since the under 21s so it’s his third or fourth season.”

McArdle kept the score down by making a couple of saves before the interval, twice denying Elmes, one low shot from 12-yards, the second one a left-footed angled drive from 30-yards after cutting inside.

FC Elmstead changed things at the back following Mensah’s departure, moving right-back Danny Bond over to left-back and Cronin switched from the middle of the park to right-back.

Both managers were asked their thoughts at the break.

Dimmock said: “I got them in and the first thing I put things on the board that I didn’t think were right.  We wasn’t smart enough, we wasn’t doing our jobs properly, it was very scrappy and I told them we haven’t got out of second gear, we haven’t turned up!

“I told them to go and do all those things right, get back to what we’re good at, getting the ball down and move and the first 15 minutes of the second half, I thought we were absolutely spot on!”

Alliband added: “Obviously the difference is taking your chances and I think in certain games where we’ve played like that and been two or three goals up but when you come here and play Welling Town you’ve got to expect that you don’t give nothing away cheaply and I think in the first half two of the three goals were cheap.”

Welling Town scored their fourth goal of the game with only 139 seconds on the clock.

Holding midfielder Peter Smith picked up a loose ball in midfield, strode forward before releasing Hubbard through the heart of the pitch before he cut towards the right-hand side of the box before whipping in a low cross across the keeper towards two of his team-mates, Golding or Ware.  Golding tapped the ball in from a couple of yards out in true prolific style.

“Another good move, they literally came out straight away, done all the right things, a great little move, literally two or three touches down the right, a first time ball in and Ryan Golding’s in there and does what he does best, scores goals.  He’s doing absolute wonders,” hailed Dimmock.

Alliband added: “There were two of them on the line, I think either one of them could’ve tapped it in so I think after half-time the worst thing you can give away another cheap goal.  They haven’t carved us open but what they’ve done is make the chances. Three of the four goals have been cheap as far as I’m concerned.”

Golding missed another glorious chance after Hubbard beat a couple of players down the right and cut the ball back for the striker, who turned the advancing keeper to flash his shot just past the foot of the far post from 10-yards.

Dimmock said: “I spoke to Ryan about that, but give the goalkeeper his due, he came off his line very sharp and closed down the space and he just put it wide of the post but I thought their keeper had a good game to be fair.”

Hubbard was getting a lot of joy down the right and he whipped in a cross, which was headed away at the near post and fell at Elmes feet, who smashed his hooked volley across goal and screaming past the top of the far post from 15-yards just before the hour-mark.

Welling Town made tactical changes with Ware, Golding and Hubbard playing up front; Fabrice Blendorah and Chentouf operating as wing-backs, a couple of players in the middle of the park and three men at the back, Chris Weber, Ricky Hardie and Elmes.

This tactical change unsettled the home side and it allowed FC Elmstead a route back into the game.

Welling Town keeper Moore was called into making his first save of the game in the 66th minute, diving low to his left and getting a strong left hand to the ball to turn behind Tran’s left-footed dipping free-kick from 28-yards, which was destined for the bottom corner.

“They looked dangerous on set-plays, corners as well,” added Dimmock.

“They knocked in a good delivery from corners and free-kicks.  The first few caused us a few problems but we learnt to cope with it but like I say in football you can’t switch off!”

Alliband said: “We brought on Adam Edwards and Pierce Victor to be a bit more compact and a bit more physical.  They’ve got a bit more of a presence about them and we pushed Norman Hong further forward so then we still had two wingers and Tony Rolt up front.

“The plan was can we get those players a bit more involved in the game? Which we did. The last 35 minutes, I think we got our reward with a goal. I think we could’ve had one or two more.”

FC Elmstead deserved a consolation goal when it arrived with 26 minutes and 1 second on the clock.

Cronin played the ball out wide to substitute right-winger Dan Matthews, who sprinted down the line and danced into the box before cutting onto his right-foot and stroking a shot towards goal, which Moore parried low to his right and Rolt rifled in his first goal of the season from eight-yards after coming back from injury.

“To be fair Dan’s been in and out of the team for various reasons through not being available and stuff and he got that in his locker,” added Alliband.

“He’s quite direct and he done that today and pulled it back to Tom Rolt, which was virtually a tap-in and he deserved a goal today.”

Dimmock added: “The young kid (Matthews) that came on looked very lively, got the ball out on the right and he’s gone past three or four of our players. It was far too easy for me.  I let a few people know that they didn’t do their jobs properly but he shouldn’t run from the halfway line through our players to get the ball in the box.  We just switched off, literally for two or three seconds and that’s what football can do, you can get punished.”

At this level, substitutes run the lines and most of them don’t know the offside Law and referee Ken Salter – who only turned up at the ground 22 minutes before the kick-off -  made what Dimmock described as a “bizarre” decision when he booked substitute Brima Daramy in the 76th minute.

Smith and ong wrestled each other to the ground, the referee spoke to both players and decided not to book either of them, awarding a drop ball, which Daramy stroked out for a throw-in, only to be yellow carded by a referee who should have retired years ago and failed to signal to allow the Welling Town physio on to the pitch to treat players on two occasions in the second half.

Dimmock said: “Very bizarre! I’m not going to say too much.  I’ve asked the referee after the game why he’s booked the player. He said it was unsporting conduct.  He’s told our player to kick the ball back to their goalkeeper.  In the days I played football you either kicked it out of play or kick that out for a goal-kick. Even though we had the ball so he’s just kicked the ball out of play, giving it back to them and got a booking out of it! I’ve never seen it in football but football’s changed a lot. It’s not a deserved booking.”

FC Elmstead finished the game on the front foot, but the damage had already been done in the first half.

Quan, who impressed when playing Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division football for the likes of Croydon, Fisher and Beckenham Town, split open the Welling Town defence to put Rolt through on goal but he drove his shot straight at Moore from 12-yards.

Alliband said: “As I said in the changing room, he knows he should’ve scored that but it’s Tom’s first game back in two months as well.  It was two or three lads’ first game back in a couple of months so players are returning from injury.”

“I think they had a 10 minute spell in the second half where we were being lazy, not switched on,” admitted Dimmock.

“Like I said to them in the changing room, you’ve got to learn from our mistakes and learn quick.

“Teams are going to come here and sit behind the ball and hit us on the counter attack when we’re not half expecting it and that was the 10 minute spell.”

Welling Town remain four points behind leaders Sydenham Sports but playing in an Isthmian Premier League standard stadium brings it’s own pressures and expectations.

“Touch wood, it’s been a good start, a very good start,” said Dimmock.

“Like I said at the beginning of the season, every single game is going to be a cup final. 

“Life is hard in this division. It’s alright playing home games, it’s tough but like I said to the boys you’ve got to learn to adjust, it’s about the away games.  There’s not going to be the perfect pitches, they’re going to be smaller pitches so you’ve got to adapt your game and you’ve got to adapt it very quickly, otherwise you’re going to get punished.

When asked about his aspirations for their final 11 league games, Dimmock replied: “Win the league is my main target and if we can win any cups it’s a bonus but the main thing is to win the league and win it in a massive way.”

Dimmock revealed the reason why his star striker Jon Main has only featured in three games this season.

“He’s going through buying a house with his fiancée and since he’s come back he’s been injured (hamstring).  He was with the reserves today because I want him match fit. He looked good in training on Wednesday but I said to him he’s playing for the reserves and he’ll get another 90 minutes with the reserves next week, which he is happy to do and then hopefully in the New Year he’ll be getting back in the squad.”

FC Elmstead Reserves, meanwhile, are five points clear of basement side Long Lane Reserves and 12 points adrift of third-placed side Fleetdown United Reserves.

“Now we want to kick on in the league and kick on and we’re still in two cup competitions and we might end up playing Welling Town in another final,” said Alliband.

“During the summer we’ve had a lot of change with personnel as you probably could see from today’s team sheet from the squad list from last year. There’s probably seven or eight still there from last year but we’ve brought in, I think, on paper very good players. It’s just moulding that together with existing players that were there last year.

“We’ve got two cups still to look forward to and finish as high as possible in the league. It’s going to be hard to beat Welling and Sydenham to first and second so you’re looking at really third or fourth which in terms of positions I want to finish higher than what we did last year.”

Welling Town: Jack Moore, Raheem Chentouf (Brima Daramy 65), Frabrice Blendorah, Peter Smith, Ricky Hardie, Chris Weber, Chris Ware, Lamerl Hubbard, Ryan Golding, Dominic Elmes, Teddy Prosser (Azeez Rashid 80).
Subs: Richard Dimmock, Mike Jones

Goals: Chris Ware 23, Ryan Golding 29, 34, 48

Booked: Brima Daramy 76

FC Elmstead Reserves: Larry McArdle, Danny Bond (Tom Mayfield 55), Norbert Mensah (Adam Edwards 39), Norman Hong, Tom O’Reilly, Matthew Faithorn, Luke Alliband (Pierce Victor 58), Harry Cronin, Tom Rolt, Chan Quan, Bae Tri Tran (Dan Matthews 68).
Sub: Tony Alliband

Goal: Tom Rolt 72

Attendance: 13
Referee: Mr Ken Salter (Lee Green, London SE12)

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