Welling United 5-1 Margate - We have to hold onto that belief that we can get the right players to stay up, says Margate boss Nikki Bull

Sunday 01st January 2017
Welling United 5 – 1 Margate
Location Park View Road, Welling, Kent DA16 1SY
Kickoff 01/01/2017 15:00

WELLING UNITED  5-1  MARGATE
Vanarama National League South
Sunday 1st January 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Park View Road

MARGATE manager Nikki Bull says he wants someone to offer him a pot of money to sign the players that will keep the club in the Vanarama National League South.

Margate remain deep in relegation trouble in the bottom two with 16 points from 23 games after being thrashed by a Welling United side that went into the game sitting only three places higher.

But Jamie Day’s return to the hot-seat at Park View Road has lifted Welling United and he celebrated winning his sixth game on the bounce since replacing Mark Goldberg in the dug-out.

It took 18 minutes for Welling United to open the floodgates on a rain drenched Sunday afternoon at Park View Road, as striker Harry Crawford slotted in his fourth goal of the season.

Sean Francis came up from the back to drive in the second, before makeshift winger George Oakley powered in a header to give struggling Margate a mountain to climb inside the opening 31 minutes.

Debutant winger Ira Jackson gave Margate a lifeline by smacking in a stunning volley on the stroke of half-time, but Welling United rattled in a couple more goals in the second half through Francis and Adam Coombes, 25, converted his 29th goal of the season following a slick one-touch passing move.

“Another hugely disappointing afternoon for the football club,” admitted Bull, 35, who's side have now gone 11 games without any win.

“As good as Welling were I feel we were the architects of our own downfall again in terms of the goals we gave away.

“When you put a squad together and you’re relying on the players that we’re relying to come in, having got rid of all of your squad, it’s always going to be difficult, but there’s a long way to go in the season still and we have to hold onto that belief that we can get the right players in, we can stay up.”

“For the majority of the game I was fairly pleased,” added Welling United boss Jamie Day during the post-match press conference.

“I thought we played some good stuff.  I just thought for about 10 minutes before half-time we just took our foot of the gas and we got a little bit sloppy and let them back into the game.

“I thought second half we raised it again and there was some very good play.  The fifth goal, I thought was very good, some good one-touch stuff, so really pleased with the boys again.”

Welling United are now seven games unbeaten in all competitions after completing the double over Margate after coming away from Hartsdown Park with a 3-0 win on Boxing Day, 26 December.

“I suppose we are playing some good stuff and we are winning games and that’s always nice.  The attitude and the work-rate of the boys was brilliant and we deserved to win today,” added Day.

Margate put in a spirited performance during the even opening exchanges and created the first chance inside the opening seven minutes when central midfielder Lewis Taylor picked up a loose ball and flashed his right-footed drive past the left-hand post from 35-yards.

“The trouble is, if you have a team that’s slightly naïve, shall we say, against a team that’s full of confidence at the moment ,the first goal is always going to be a big goal,” said Bull.

“We showed that on Boxing Day for 40 minutes we were the better team and then we gave away a penalty and it’s game over.

“The disappointing thing for me today was 1-0 became 3-0 very quickly and then it’s damage limitations.”

But it didn’t take long for Welling United to get into their stride and they made Margate look like 11 individuals that turned up on the day for a game of football.

Matt Fish and Christian Nanetti linked up well down the right and Crawford cut inside and stroked his right-footed drive just past the foot of the near post from 20-yards.

Central midfielder Sam Hatton swung in a deep corner from the right and Rickie Hayles came up from the back to send his free header straight at Cameroon born goalkeeper Valery Pajetat, 30.

Coombes pinged a quality diagonal pass that split open the Margate defence and impressive right-winger Nanetti cut inside Tommy Cooney before drilling his left-footed shot over the far post from 20-yards.

Welling United deservedly opened the floodgates with the goal timed at 17 minutes and 18 seconds.

Hatton fed Nanetti, who slipped the ball in behind to Crawford, who placed his right-footed shot across the despairing dive of Pajetat for the ball to nestle into the bottom far corner of the net.

“Christian picked it up in a nice little pocket, a good pass, a good run from H and a very good finish,” said Day. 

“He’s a very good player Harry and he showed today what he’s capable of today.

“In all these games whoever you play in this league or any level it is going to be tight and it’s going to be even to start with and you have to be patient and when you get opportunities to take it and that’s what we needed to do.”

Bull added: “Again, we’ve given the ball away on the halfway line and one pass later it’s in the back of your net so there’s things that you can’t really coach or manage. It’s a mistake giving the ball away but the lad finished it off well, then uphill struggle.”

Oakley cut the ball back to left-back Jordan Brown, who took a touch before whipping in a cross towards the near post and Crawford nipped in front of Pajetat, who managed to tip the ball over the crossbar for a corner.

Pajetat received treatment but he pulled off a brave save to deny Francis powering a downward header in after meeting Hatton’s corner form the right.

But Francis stayed forward and received the ball before drilling a low right-footed shot nestling into the bottom left-hand corner from 25-yards to double Welling United’s lead, with the clock showing 24 minutes and 17 seconds.

Day added: “Lovely strike! You don’t expect that from a centre half but a good 25-yards out and he’s hit it cleanly and nice for him to score.”

Bull added: “Again, I think you’ll find we gave the ball away about 40 yards out of goal, two of our players tackling their own players and it’s gone in and then 2-0, it’s going to be tough to come back from.”

Bull was disappointed with his players’ reaction to those early blows.

“You’d like to see them re-group and just show a bit of character and say do you know what? The worst case scenario we’ll get in at half-time 2-0 and then we’ll go again, but we got a bit disjointed, a bit ragged, but again it’s kind to be expected when you just throw a whole new team together and are really hoping for the best.”

Hatton played the ball out to right-back Fish, who cracked a right-footed stinging drive from 30-yards, which stung Pajetat’s fingers.

Coombes and Fish linked up in Margate’s half and Hatton cut the ball onto his right-foot and his low drive from 25-yards forced Pajetat to dive low to his right to parry the ball towards safety.

The game was virtually over as soon as Welling United scored their third goal with 30 minutes and 38 seconds on the clock.

Margate winger Ryan Richefond swept his clearance from outside his penalty area out to Welling’s Brown on the left, who whipped in a quality cross towards the near post for Oakley to rise above Tarik Moore-Azille to power his header into the top left-hand corner.

“George has been excellent since he’s been here,” said Day.

“He’s a young lad, he’s got lots of potential and he’s powerful and I’ve said many times he’s not playing in the right position but he’s shown when you do put him in the middle or the run he made, a good header, another one I’ve said before, maybe he’s just raised the bar and players have to up their game.”

Bull said: “Again, poor marking. They’re not good goals from the oppositions point of view, that’s what I call gimmies.”

Brown reached the final third before playing the ball inside to Danny Waldren, who drove his shot into the box, which was turned past the near post by Crawford.

Coombes had a quiet game and he lashed his shot over the crossbar from 15-yards after Oakley’s low pass in from the left.

Nanetti’s skill had Margate left-back Cooney struggling for all of the 74 minutes that the winger was on the pitch.  He needs to work on his finishing though when cutting inside as another shot was drilled over the top of the far post from 25-yards.

Nanetti’s crossing and running at the left-back though was of a high quality. Oakley made space inside the Margate box to plant his free header over the crossbar.

Virtual spectator, Welling keeper Harry Girling, launched a big kick down the left channel for Coombes, who from a tight angle tried to chip the ball over Pajetat, who narrowed the angle to pluck the ball out of the air.

“He made some good saves during the Boxing Day game as well. He’s pulled off a couple of saves and luckily for us they were a bit clinical in the second half,” said Day of Margate’s keeper.

Margate’s only bright moment in the game was their equaliser, which was timed at 45:12 on the clock, but it was just too easy for a Welling United side battling to stay in the division.

Taylor floated in a free-kick into the Welling United penalty area, the ball was flicked on and Jackson thumped his right-footed volley into the top far corner of the net from 10-yards.

Jackson was making his debut having come in on a 28-day loan from Vanarama National League side Dover Athletic.

Bull said: “The lad’s got potential. He’s not played much football this year so there’s another one whose behind on fitness, that needs to be brought up on speed, but we’re working with what we’ve got so at that point you come in at half-time 3-1 and the next goal was going to be vital and we didn’t score it so we ended up losing 5-1!”

Day added: “I don’t think it was a foul in the first place but that’s not the point! We didn’t defend well enough when the ball was in the box for the first one or the second one.  We switched off and fair play to the lad he gambled and it was a very good finish.

“For the first 35 plus minutes we were in control and looked a threat. We looked pretty solid at the back and we got a bit sloppy.”

Both managers were asked their thoughts at the break.

Day said: “Yes, it was comfortable. The goal did change my team-talk a little bit.  I think we just needed to make sure that we started the second half like we did the first, that was aggressive and it was with a tempo and was on the front foot.  Yes, I think we did that and we got a stranglehold back on the game and then I think we played some good stuff.”

Bull added: “I said to them, I’m disappointed with the goals that we’ve given away. I’m disappointed with the mentality that after the first goal we didn’t re-group and make ourselves hard to break down.  The goal is kind of a lifeline but in the end it didn’t prove to be anything more than a consolation.”

Welling United took six minutes to create their first chance of the second half.

Nanetti swung in a free-kick from the right wing, the ball dropped to Hayles inside the box and his weak shot on the turn rolled into Pajetat’s hands for a comfortable collection.

But the Wings scored their fourth goal from a set-piece in the 55th minute.

Nanetti delivered a free-kick from the right towards the near post and central defender Francis flicked in his shot into the far corner.

Day said: “Sean gambled in the box, which you need to do and a nice finish to be fair, just what we needed really to get back on top of it and know there was a good enough gap to not let them back into the game.”

Bull added: “Again, it’s a set-play and there the things that kill you if you’re a team that’s put together.  You don’t get too much time to work on the training ground.  You’re always sceptical to concede from set-plays.”

The scoring was completed in the 65th minute when Coombes finished off a brilliant one-touch passing move.

Fish and Waldren linked up and Crawford’s first time pass played in Coombes, who dinked his shot over the keeper to find the bottom left-hand corner.

Day said: “Really pleased with that goal. The movement was very good, some one touch passing. The play was good and pleased that we finished it off. It was a very good goal.”

With the transfer window now open, Day was asked whether he thinks 29-goal Coombes will attract interest this month.

He said: “I think there will be interest, he’s a goalscorer, he’s got pace and he’s powerful so he ticks the boxes.  If he goes we’re disappointed but I think he’ll go to a bigger club if he does and that’s something as a player you want to do. If he doesn’t, then that’s brilliant for us, we’ll get another 12-15 games out of him and steer us away from the relegation.

“He’s a very good player, his work-rate is up since I’ve been here and he’s turning into more of a rounded player now with that and what he does in front of goal so he’s going to attract interest.”

Bull added: “He’s a goalscorer, give him a chance, he scores. He’s scored his goal. Five-one, it’s a disappointing afternoon.”

Despite their team getting a pasting and standing in the rain, Margate’s fans gave their team excellent vocal support and their players’ recognised this at the final whistle by going up to them to thank them.

Fish hit an angled drive which was plucked out of the air by Pajetat as this one-sided game entered the final 20 minutes.

Margate striker Charles Banya’s left-footed drive from 25-yards, was tipped over by Harry Girling, who was making his second debut for the Wings on loan from League One side Millwall.

“It’s important in these games you stay on top of the game and don’t let them back in and when H was called upon, he made a save,” said Day.

“He knows the club, he knows what’s expected and it’s nice to have him back. It gives Chris Lewington a couple of weeks to get recovered and pleased to have him on board.”

Welling United missed a glorious chance to make it six when Oakley skipped past Pajetat and from a tight angle shot into the side netting.

Day said: “I really wanted him to score that actually, good movement, he got around the keeper and I thought it was in when he hit it but he just put it wide but good running from him.”

Margate substitute Alfie Foster charged forward before hitting a right-footed drive from 30-yards sailing over the crossbar, but it was evident that most of Margate’s players were out of their depth.

The final five minutes saw Welling United keep the ball with ease with Margate putting all 11 players behind the ball.  Referee Sam Purkiss had seen enough and after only 10 seconds of injury time ended Margate’s misery by blowing the final whistle.

Welling United’s seventh league win of the season sees them rise three places into fifteenth-place with 24 points from 23 games – a couple of points clear of the drop zone.

“It’s been a great start, the boys have responded what we asked them to do at the start and they’ve taken it on board and they’ve just got stronger and stronger,” said Day.

“We’ve got some tough games coming up now so it was important that we won today, take it into those games but the boys have been first class.  I can’t praise them enough of the work-rate and the way that they’re going about the things that we’ve asked them to do. They’ve been brilliant!”

Day takes his side to 12th placed Hemel Hempstead Town – a side that have collected six more points - next Saturday.

Day said: “It’s going to be tough, good manager, good club that are probably disappointed with their league position but they’ve got some very good players. It’s not an easy place to go. We go there with confidence but we want to keep the run going but we know it’s not going to be easy.

“I’d say we need at least another 20 points.  That’s probably got to be minimum, so we’ve just got to keep winning games and try to get to 45 or whatever it’s going to be, 50 points, as quickly as we can.  We’re not getting carried away. We’ve won a few games and everyone’s been brilliant but there’s still a long way to go. We need to make sure we get to that target as quickly as we possible, if we can.”

Crisis club Margate, meanwhile, face two battles.  To finish the season and to sign good enough players that can compete in the second-tier of non-league football.

“It don’t get no tougher but there’s many tougher situations but as I keep saying, first and foremost it’s important that the club stays in business. It’s about stabilising the football club,” said Bull.

“What’s happening on the grass at the moment is almost secondary.  History dictates that when rich benefactors leave football clubs the mess that usually gets left behind usually results in the club going bust.  I could give you eight or nine non-league clubs that happened to in the last 10 years, but we’re trying to make sure that we do it properly and first and foremost those fans who were great here today, they have a football club to carry on supporting.

“We’ll have to re-group again. I know I keep saying the same things every week but the situation that we’re in is a situation we’re in, it’s not going to change overnight. 

“No-one’s going to give me that pot of money to go and get National South players. Look at the team that we have. We have to keep making the best of what we’ve got.

“The fans are different class, have been all season, have been since I’ve been at the club and they deserve a lot, lot better than what they’ve been getting.”

Margate welcome Bishop’s Stortford to Hartsdown Park next Saturday, a side that are rooted to the foot of the table with four wins and two draws from their 23 league outings.

“Must win. Must win game. Must win game. Simple as that,” came Bull’s reply, knowing defeat will leave Margate rooted to the foot of the table and heading back into the Ryman League.

Welling United: Harry Girling, Matt Fish, Jordan Brown, Sam Hatton, Rickie Hayles (Ali Fuseini 83), Sean Francis, Christian Nanetti (Dan Walker 74), Danny Waldren, Harry Crawford, Adam Coombes, George Oakley (Pierre Joseph-Dubois 84).
Subs: Archie Johnson, Trey Williams

Goals: Harry Crawford 18, Sean Francis 25, 55, George Oakley 31, Adam Coombes 65

Margate: Valery Pajetat, Chris Sessegnon (Scott Donnelly 84), Tommy Cooney, Hakeem Adelakun (Alfie Foster 70), Tarik Moore-Azille, Brett Johnson, Ryan Richefond, Lewis Taylor, Daniel Akindayini, Charles Banya (Matthias Fanimo 71), Ira Jackson.
Subs: Alex Hanshall, Keanu Williams

Goal: Ira Jackson 45

Attendance: 626
Referee: Mr Sam Purkiss (Highbury, London N5)
Assistants: Mr Stephen Hughes (Brighton, East Sussex) & Mr Christopher Bodell (Enfield, Middlesex)


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