Welling United 4-0 Grays Athletic - It's a good opportunity to get into the FA Cup Second Round, says Welling United boss Loui Fazakerley

Monday 26th October 2015
Welling United 4 – 0 Grays Athletic
Location Park View Road, Welling, Kent DA16 1SY
Kickoff 27/10/2015 19:45

WELLING UNITED  4-0  GRAYS ATHLETIC
The FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round Replay (Sponsored by Emirates)
Tuesday 27th October 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Park View Road

WELLING UNITED manager Loui Fazakerley says the club have been given a good opportunity to progress through to The FA Cup Second Round this season.



The Wings were thankful to Sam Corne’s late equaliser to get them out of jail at Grays Athletic on Sunday afternoon, but they progressed through to the First Round for the thirteenth time in their history after thrashing their top-eight Ryman Premier League opposition at Park View Road in the replay.

Former Dulwich Hamlet midfielder Xavier Vidal, 20, grabbed the headlines by scoring all FOUR of Welling United’s goals, although Mark Bentley’s side had a penalty saved early in the second half which would have levelled the tie.

But Welling Untied cruised through to reach The FA Cup First Round, travelling to Leicestershire to play Barwell, who compete in the Evo-Stick Northern Premier League (the same level as Grays Athletic).

“That’s the most important thing, that we got through this tie because it was always going to be tough,” said Fazakerley, in only his second FA Cup tie in charge of the Kent club.

“We expected them to come here after the performance they put in on Sunday, we expected them to put in another good performance in.

“It was just a matter of getting over the line and we got there in the end.

“They were tired with all the effort they put in the previous game and the first part of that game (tonight).  We obviously managed to score four goals, which was good as well.”

Fazakerley was full of praise for his leading goalscorer Vidal, who has now taken his goalscoring tally to seven goals.

He said: “Xavier is a very dangerous player in and around the box and it’s a bit tricky to try and find the right position for him and even though he’s not a right winger, having him on the pitch is a weapon, as you can see.

“He’s shooting ability is great. He got a header in there as well, just happy for him to get the goals that his performances have warranted.”

Grays Athletic were the better side for the opening 20 minutes at Park View Road, without troubling Welling United’s second-choice keeper Michael McEntegart.

Fazakerley said: “We had a lot of possession and they sat off us and we struggled to penetrate them. We overplayed a little bit. It’s difficult when the opposition sits off you. It’s difficult to break them down.”

The Essex side created the first opening inside the opening 12 minutes.

Harry Agombar played a diagonal from the middle out to right-winger Roman Michael-Percil, who whipped in a cross into the middle of the penalty area but 15-goal targetman Dumebi GB-Dumaka could not direct his towering header on target.

“They’ve got some good players, the big lad up top (Dumaka), he’s a handful and he’s their main point of attack and they looked to play off him,” said the Welling manager.

“We weren’t too threatened so we felt pretty comfortable but you have to go and get goals and close the tie.”

Welling United broke the stalemate with the opening goal with 21 minutes and 36 seconds on the clock.

Ricky Wellard threaded the ball into Vidal’s feet on the right hand corner of the penalty area and the midfielder cut inside before powering his driven shot toward the near post.

Grays keeper Lamar Joseph-Johnson beat the shot away but Vidal pounced on the loose ball to loop his left-footed shot into the bottom right-hand corner from 15-yards.

“It’s good to see Xavier get himself into the box and that’s what we instructed him to do and it’s good reactions from him,” added Fazakerley.

Grays Athletic should have equalised when Agombar swung in a corner from the right and Sean Cronin came up from the back to plant his towering free header over the crossbar.

Welling United fired a shot on target in the 26th minute when Reece Harris played the ball into substitute Michael Bakare and his left-footed angled drive stung Joseph-Johnson’s fingers at the near post, the keeper making a low save.

But Welling United were putting in an uninspiring first half performance and going on and winning by four clear goals seemed unlikely at this stage of the game.

Talented Grays Athletic left-winger Joao Carlos – who was more of a threat on Sunday than tonight - ran at the Welling defence with pace and fed the ball through to Dumaka, but McEntegart snuffed out the danger by coming off his line to the right-hand corner of his penalty area to smother the ball at the striker’s feet.

Barney Williams clipped a ball over the top of the Grays Athletic defence towards the end of the first half and the impressive Bakare got to the ball before the sluggish keeper but hooked his shot over the bar from a tight angle.

Welling United created the last chance of the first half as the game went into time added on.

Williams played the ball up to Bakare who laid the ball off for Xavier to hit his right-footed drive over the crossbar from 25-yards.

When asked what was said during the half-time interval, Fazakerley said: “Well, we just told them to not to overplay. We had a few too many players dropping too deep so we told players to push forward a little bit, get higher up the pitch and move the ball a lot quicker – and  I thought we did that.”

Welling United created the first opening of the second half when Ben Jefford played the ball to Ricky Wellard who put Bakare through on goal but Joseph-Johnson rushed off his line to dive low to his right to make a smart block.

But Grays Athletic shot themselves in the foot when they squandered an excellent chance to equalise after 50 minutes.

Referee Robert Whitton pointed to the spot after Michael Chambers fouled Michael-Percil just inside the penalty area.

Up stepped their captain Sean Cronin, whose right-footed penalty was kept out sublimely by McEntegart, diving to his right.

Cronin had an instant second bite of the cherry to redeem himself but Jefford made a brilliant block as the ball was hooked towards goal by the Grays central defender.

Fazakerley said: “It was a penalty. You can’t go too ground in the box but Mikey’s had an absolute worldy of a game and he’s made a great save!

“He’s pulled off a great save there from the pen and I thought it was a great block from Jefford there as well from the rebound, so it was a dangerous moment but that’s what you want your players to do, step-up.”

Grays Athletic will be kicking themselves after missing that penalty.  They had a great chance at Mill Field on Sunday to kill off Welling United but Dumaka smacked his shot against the bar just seconds before Welling United went up the other end of the pitch to snatch a second chance.

Fazakerley admitted: “We haven’t had too much of the rub of the green in the past, we obviously had that on Sunday.  Today was a great save from Mikey so you can’t take anything away from that. We made the most of that and we went on and won the day.”

That miss proved costly as Welling United made it 2-0 after 56 minutes.

Wellard released Bakare down the left channel and he reached the by-line before floating over an excellent cross towards the far post where Xavier’s downward header found the right-hand corner, helped in by Joseph-Johnson’s hand.

Bakare made a difference when he came on for injured striker Sahr Kabba, who disappointed during the two games.

Fazakerley said: “Baks has been training with us for a while, I know him very, very well. I’ve known him for a long, long time and I know what he can do.

“We had faith in him to bring him on and he justified our decision. He was very good up there, very lively. He made some good runs in behind and he provided a cross for that Xavier headed goal, which is nice to see.”

Welling United’s confidence was now lifted and they were now looking like a team that play their football two leagues higher than Grays Athletic – in the Vanarama National League.

Jefford released Harris in behind the Grays right-back (Luke Ifill) but the winger lashed his shot past the near post when he only had the goalkeeper to beat.

Grays Athletic were now looking like a beaten side and Ilfil questioned his team-mates desire on the hour-mark telling them, “Why have we given up? Come on!”

But any hopes of them making a comeback were killed off through Xavier’s first hat-trick in senior football, after 62 minutes.

The impressive Bakare found himself in acres of space in behind Ilfill down the right and he drove a ball 30-yard pass inside to Xavier, who controlled the ball before drilling a low right-footed shot across the keeper into the bottom left-hand corner from 18-yards.

“We know what Xavier can do that. We’ve seen his shooting ability many times so it’s nice to see him getting into positions to get his shots off,” came Fazakerley’s reply.

Grays Athletic created a couple of chances towards the halfway point of the half.

Carlos raced into the Welling penalty area at pace and his shot was parried behind by McEntegart at his near post. The keeper then saw Jay Leader’s header sail over the crossbar.

Welling United hit a couple of angled drives from the right-hand side of the penalty area from Bakare and Williams, which were both saved low down by Joseph-Johnson, before Xavier capped off his man-of-the-match performance by scoring his fourth goal of the night with fourteen minutes left.

Poor defending from Leader saw him poke the ball into Xavier’s path.  He took a touch before drilling his right-footed angled drive across the keeper to find the bottom far corner from 25-yards.

“His shooting ability is not in doubt, it’s just a matter of getting in to the right positions to get his shots off,” said Fazakerley.

“What pleased me was we’ve gone on and scored four goals, which is good.

“I’m pleased we’ve got a selection problem now because the lads who couldn’t play today, the guys have come straight in and stepped up on the plate so it’s a nice problem to have, so we’ll go away and we’ll plan for the weekend now.”

Grays Athletic almost pulled a goal back following a 30-yard run from substitute Bradley Fortune-Thomlinson, drilling his left-footed shot just past the top of the left-hand post.

Welling United won their one and only corner with seven minutes of the game remaining.

Wellard swung the ball in from the right towards the near post and Corne planted his brave header past the near post as the keeper arrived attempting to punch the ball clear.

The Wings almost made it five at the death.

Afolabi Obafemi skipped past Leader and fed the ball through to fellow substitute Kurtis Cumberbatch, whose right-footed drive flashed just past the foot of the left-hand post.

McEntegart can now look forward to receiving a clean sheet bonus, much to Fazakerley’s delight.

“Clean sheets always pleases me a lot,” said Fazakerley.

“A lot of praise has to go to Mikey in goal. He hasn’t played much football this season. For him to come in the last two games, Sunday and today, put those performances as he has put in, especially today, massive credit goes to him.

“He’s a great lad. He’s got a great character and I’m very pleased for him to great the penalty save and the clean sheet as well.”

Welling United travel to Guiseley on Saturday as eighteenth-plays-seventeenth in the Vanarama National League.

The Wings have collected 22 points from 17 games, two points more than their opponents and defeated them 1-0 at Park View Road on the opening day of the season.

“We’ve played them already, the first game of the season. We know a lot about them already,” said Fazakerley.

“We’ve got to approach that game as we always do. We’re going to go away and look at some video footage and put together a game plan and we’re going to prepare them on Friday.

“We’ll give them a cool down on Thursday, give them a day off but we’ll go into that game looking to win.”

Barwell created history tonight when their 1-0 win away to AFC Rushden & Diamonds (Evo-Stick Southern League Division One Central) tonight booked their place in The FA Cup First Round for the first time in their history after winning four ties to get there.

“Don’t know much, but we’ll do our research as we always do. We’ll go into that game very well prepared and it’s a good opportunity for us to get into the Second Round,” said the Welling manager.

“We’re not going to overlook them but we’ll go into that game confident – we’ll give them respect.”

When asked what The FA Cup means to him personally, Fazakerley replied: “It personally means a lot. Me, Macca and Barnsey, it’s our first FA Cup as a management team so we want to go as far as we can and we want to test ourselves against League opposition.

“It’s big for the club as well financially (after winning £12,500 in prize money tonight) . It gives the players a boost as well. It’s great to be in the First Round.”

Welling United: Michael McEntegart, Barney Williams, Ben Jefford (Afolabi Obafemi 77), Zach Fagan (Kurtis Cumberbatch 81), Kevin Lokko, Michael Chambers, Reece Harris, Sam Corne, Sahr Kabba (Michael Bakare 21), Xavier Vidal, Ricky Wellard.
Subs: Charlie Cotterill, Steven Gunner, Archie Johnson, James Fitchett

Goals: Xavier Vidal 22, 56, 62, 76

Booked: Ricky Wellard 55, Barney Williams 69

Grays Athletic: Lamar Joseph-Johnson, Luke Ifill, Jeyasiva Sivapathasundaran, Sean Cronin, Jay Leader, Mark Bentley (Tommy Cummings 46), Roman Michael-Percil (Bradley Fortune-Thomlinson 59), Montel Agyemang, Dumebi GB-Dumaka, Harry Agombar (Alex Addai 71), Joao Carlos.
Subs: George Kamurasi, Lamar Reynolds, James Stevens, Glen Little

Attendance: 733
Referee: Mr Robert Whitton (Braintree, Essex)
Assistants: Mr Gregory Read (Addlestone, Surrey) & Mr Neil Morrison (Staines, Middlesex)
Fourth Official: Mr Ryan Whitaker (Bexleyheath)





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