Welling United 0-1 Altrincham - We have to address the issues with the performance and move on, says Loui Fazakerley

Sunday 22nd March 2015

Vanarama Conference
Sunday 8th March 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Park View Road

WELLING UNITED caretaker manager Loui Fazakerley admits their poor disciplinary record needs addressing after Joe Healy collected the club’s eleventh red card of the season.

DISCIPLINE: Loui Fazakerley has highlighted that his side must curb their disciplinary problems after losing his first game in charge.
Photo: www.wellingunited.com

The 28-year-old received his marching orders from referee Nicholas Kinseley in the 54th minute and part-timers Altrincham sealed the victory courtesy of substitute Ryan Crowther’s low strike with fourteen minutes remaining.

This was the first time that Welling United have featured live in front of the BT Sport cameras at Park View Road and it is believed that they will scoop £7,000 in appearance money, going with the £1,000 as the away team when their match at Kidderminster Harriers was screened live back in October.

The Kent side went into the game on the back of seven straight defeats, which put paid to Jody Brown’s ill-fated 73 days’ in charge at Park View Road, which saw the former Grays Athletic boss collected one point from nine games in charge.

The television cameras attracted Welling United’s third largest crowd of the season, as the 1,009 fans took advantage of reduced admission and sunny weather.

“Well it’s obviously a hard one to take,” admitted Fazakerley, 30, who is presently ruled out with a calf injury and the right-back that has played over 200 games for the club.

“We came into the game looking forward to it.  Players’ always love playing in front of cameras and it was our first game in charge so we were excited about it.

“It was a big game without the cameras. It was a big game and with the cameras it became an even bigger game.

“The players were up for it. Everyone was up for it. It’s just a deflating result.

“Afterwards it was a little hard to take but it’s one of those things. We’ve got to address the issues and dust ourselves off and go again Tuesday.”

Altrincham created the first chance after only 72 seconds when nineteen-goal striker Damian Reeves was left in space inside the box but his free header was caught by Jonathan Henly in the Welling goal.

Welling United’s first chance followed shortly afterwards when Reece Harris played the ball in from the right and Dominic Vose slipped the ball through to lone striker Jason Williams, but his low right-footed drive was parried by Stuart Coburn, who dived to his right to make the save.

The 38-year-old goalkeeper broke Altrincham’s appearance record today, having made his 679th appearance for the club.

“We managed to get Dom on the half turn and he played forward into Jason, who had good movement all game to be fair to him and it was a good touch and a good strike and a good save from the keeper,” said Fazakerley.

A spot of pin-ball inside the Welling United box resulted in right-winger Jordan Sinnott drilling a low shot on the angle, which was blocked by Henly at his near post.

Henly then comfortably collected Reeves’ angled drive from 20-yards.

Fazakerley said: “We were a little bit shaky to start off with.  A few nerves maybe but other than that we addressed the situation between the two front two.

“Altrincham like to play those direct balls into the big man (Perry) with the lively second striker. We managed to address those issues and the players looked pretty comfortable.”

Welling United wasted a free-kick inside eleven minutes which saw Vose put his hand on his hips in despair after drilling his right-footed free-kick sailing over the bar from 20-yards.

Altrincham broke down the right through Reeves and his low centre forced Wings’ central defender Michael Chambers to stick out his right leg to make the block.  The ball rolled out to Kyle Perry, whose right-footed drive was comfortably saved by Henly.

The impressive Vose linked up well with Jason Williams and the Welling striker got in behind Adam Griffin and Scott Leather but his low cross was cut out by the visiting keeper.

“We were playing well,” added Fazakerley.

“We were pretty confident. We were looking forward to getting a goal and that would have lifted the boys but the goal didn’t come around.”

Skipper Healy could have broken the deadlock in the 20th minute when he was left free on the corner of the box and skied his right-footed volley over the bar after Barney Williams moved forward from right-back to whip in a deep cross.

Another chance came the Wings way when Healy clipped his left-footed cross in from the left and winger Rod Young jumped in front of Griffin to plant his header over the bar from five-yards.

Altrincham weathered the storm, however, and central midfielder Jake Moult progressed forward before playing in James Lawrie, who flashed his right-footed angled drive across goal and past the far post from 25-yards.

Jason Williams ran down the right and played in a cross, which was cleared out to Young on the edge of the penalty area, but his left-footed volley stung Coburn’s fingers before gathering the ball at the second attempt.

Welling United called Coburn into making another save in the 39th minute.

Young smashed his left-footed free-kick from 29-yards into the wall and Vose picked the ball up and danced into the penalty area before teeing up Jason Williams, who swept his low shot through a crowd of players and Coburn gathered the ball.

Welling left-back Jamal Fyfield won the ball before running forward before he played the ball into Vose, who cut inside and cracked a right-footed drive towards the roof of the net from 20-yards, which was plucked out of the air from underneath the crossbar by Coburn.

“That was one of our key points,” said Fazakerley.

“We told the centre midfield players once we win the second balls, once they win the ball, we need to play the ball forward.

“We told Dom to find spaces, get on the half turn and he was finding space in the first half continually in between the midfield and the back four.

“He managed to come inside and get a shot off. Shame it didn’t go in!”

Altrincham created the last chance of an entertaining first half when right-back Shaun Densmore clipped a free-kick into the area but the player that plays alongside him, Gianlica Havern came up from the back to direct his downward header wide of the post from sixteen-yards before the whistle blew and Fazakerley was a satisfied man.

He said: “We told them we’ve got something to build on second half. We told them to keep going as they were and the goal would come.   We felt the goal would come if we carried on as we were going on.”

Welling United didn’t receive any luck when Harris played the ball out to Young down the left on the break and he whipped in a cross which was sliced behind by Altrincham’s left-back Griffin after 48 minutes.

Poor defending from Healy allowed Moult to flash his left-footed angled drive across the far post from 20-yards.

Altrincham played a long ball from midfield from Sinnott, which was knocked down by Reeves at the edge of the box and the unmarked Perry cracked his right-footed volley sailing over the bar from 18-yards.

But Fazakerley admitted his side faced a mountain to climb when Healy collected a deserved red-card for a two-footed tackle on Lawrie on the half-way line in the 54th minute – and with it went Welling United’s hopes of claiming a point.

Fazakerley even swore live on television when being interviewed by the touchline reporter following the incident.

“The second half obviously turned on the red card. It was a big decision,” said Fazakerley.

“When he made the challenge I felt it was going to be a red card. It’s one of those where he goes in maybe thinking the guy’s going to go in in a similar fashion so he does it to protect himself.

“When you leave your feet and you go in like that you kind of give the referee a chance to pull that red card out.”

Reflecting on the club’s eleventh red card of the season, Fazakerley added: “It’s not a great record! Discipline is something that we have addressed since we’ve come in and it’s a big problem and it’s something that we need to continue addressing because that’s really killed us.

“Their tales go up and they have the lions’ share of possession. I felt we dropped off a little bit deep.  We tried to get the boys to squeeze up a little bit but yes that kind of gave us a mountain to climb.”

Altrincham attempted to seize control when substitute Peter Cavangh played the ball into Reeves, who teed up Sinnott, whose right-footed volley was saved by Henly.

Griffin then had time and space to whip in a cross from the left but Reeves beat his man in the box but his header sailed harmlessly wide.

But Welling United squandered an excellent chance to grab the lead in the 64th minute.

A long ball released Harris through on goal down the right but the winger cut into the box before drilling his shot into the foot of the side netting from 12-yards on the angle – despite many of the home fans cheering.

“Very good chance! I thought maybe he could have taken it on but it was a good strike and I felt it went in at first but it went the wrong side of the post,” said a disappointed Fazakerley.

That miss proved costly as Altrincham clinched thirteenth-place in the Vanarama Conference with their fourteenth league win of the season.

Despite being a part-time team that train two nights a week, Altrincham kept possession off the ball well at times and two of their substitutes played a key role in the goal.

Peter Cavanagh played the ball in from the left and Crowther was given time and space to stroke his right-footed shot past Henly’s despairing dive to his right to find the bottom near corner from 20-yards.

Fazakerley was not happy with the match winner.

He said: “Not enough pressure on the ball and that kind of stems from the defence dropped off a little bit.

“We needed to have some pressure on the ball and we can’t really afford to give guys free shots on the edge of the box.”

Lawrie drove his right-footed drive over the bar from 25-yards, before Welling United created a good chance to grab a late equaliser.

Vose floated a free-kick into the box from the right and substitute Aristide Bassele rose at the far post to direct his weak header into Coburn’s grateful hands.

Fazakerley said: “Bass is good in the air.  We tried to change the system a little bit and tried to take the game and try to search for that equaliser.

“I thought we had a shout for a penalty as well. It just couldn’t get the goal. It didn’t go our away.”

Altrincham substitute Sean Williams and Lawrie lined up well down the right before playing the ball inside to Moult, who saw his left-footed drive sail over the bar from the edge of the box.

The Wings pressed for a dramatic late equaliser.  Barney Williams hooked his shot wide from the corner of the box and keeper Henly won three headers inside the box after Vose whipped in a free-kick into the box but Altrincham held on to leave Welling United four points adrift of safety with ten games left.

Fourth-from-bottom Welling United now play three away games as they bid to stay up.

Fazakerley takes his side up to ninth-placed Gateshead on Tuesday night and to eleventh-placed Lincoln City on Saturday, before travelling to second-placed Barnet on 21 March.

The caretaker said: “We came in with the approach that we literally have to take each game as it goes so this one has now gone.

“We have to address the issues with the performance and we have to move on and look forward to Gateshead.

“It’s going to be tough. It’s a long journey but once we give the players a game plan and we prepare for it. We back ourselves to go there and try to get a win.”

The Wings have won eight of their 36 league games and have now lost eight games on the spin.

When asked how he’s going to maintain the club’s Vanarama Conference status, Fazakerley replied: “We’ll win the lions’ share of the games. The approach is take each game as it comes and we’ve got to make sure we prepare the boys and get them up for it and get them motivated and give them the best chance to go out there and put the performances in and get the points.”

Welling United: Jonathan Henly, Barney Williams, Jamal Fyfield, Sam Corne (Zach Fagan 84), Sam Berry, Michael Chambers, Rod Young (Aristide Bassele 69), Joe Healy, Jason Williams (Keiron St Aimie 62), Dominic Vose, Reece Harris.
Subs: Chris Bush, Michael McEntegart

Sent Off: Joe Healy 54

Altrincham: Stuart Coburn, Shaun Densmore, Adam Griffin, Jake Moult, Gianluca Havern, Scott Leather, James Lawrie, Simon Richman (Peter Cavanagh 51), Kyle Perry, Damian Reeves (Sean Williams 85), Jordan Sinnott (Ryan Crowther 69).
Subs: Steven Gillespie, David Parton

Goal: Ryan Crowther 76

Booked: Scott Leather 57

Attendance: 1,009
Referee: Mr Nicholas Kinseley (Rayleigh, Essex)
Assistants: Mr Lloyd Wood (Dagenham, Essex) & Mr Jason Richardson (Northwood, Middlesex)
Fourth Official: Mr Consantine Hatzidakis (Bromley)

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