Welling Town 1-5 Corinthian - I thought it was cowardice and disgusting to turn up for a game of football if you're not in the right frame of mind, says angry Welling Town boss Danny Wakeling

Wednesday 12th February 2020
Welling Town 1 – 5 Corinthian
Location Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead, London SE28 8NJ
Kickoff 12/02/2020 19:45

Sea Pioneer Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Wednesday 12 February 2020
Stephen McCartney reports from Bayliss Avenue

WELLING TOWN manager Danny Wakeling insists his players turned up with the wrong attitude as he suffered the worst night of his management career.

Corinthian leapfrogged over Chatham Town into second-place in the Sea Pioneer Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table, a couple of points adrift of long-term leaders Beckenham Town after putting in a professional performance against a Welling Town side in ninth-place.

Corinthian booked their place in The Buildbase FA Vase Quarter-Finals with a convincing 3-0 home win over Midland League side Sporting Khalsa at the weekend and they suffered no FA Vase hangover at Bayliss Avenue.

Corinthian took only 154 seconds to take the lead through talented midfielder Oscar Housego, before racing into a two-lead when Conor Johnson hooked home.

Welling Town pulled a goal back through Alex Nelson Wakeling’s men put in a poor performance against a side going for the treble.

Corinthian right-back Alexander Jack Billings slotted in a third goal before the away side scored two second-half goals through Housego and striker Luke Tanner, taking their goalscoring tallies for the season to 14 and 17 respectively.

Wakeling read his side the riot act during the post-match press conference.

“That’s probably, our last three home games, it’s the worst spell I’ve ever had in football in terms of looking at a group of lads in the eye and getting honesty out of players, performance honesty, application honesty,” said an angry Wakeling.

“It’s the worst three home games we’ve had, shipping four, five and then five again.  The apathy, lethargy that’s crept into a core of these lads, give it a bit of time to evaluate, that’s the unhappiest spell in football.

“Looking at some lads I’ve known for quite a long time. I’m wondering if they actually have the brass b*****ks to get out there and compete!”

Corinthian boss Michael Golding was delighted that his side put their FA Vase exploits to one side and closed the gap on leaders Beckenham Town.

“We made it absolutely clear to the boys that the Vase is exciting, it’s something to look forward to but I made it very clear to the boys that we’re here to do a job tonight. I thought we were professional and we got the job done and 5-1 was probably, upon reflection, a fair result,” said Golding.

“You could see from the team selection we named 10 of the same starting 11 from Saturday, only Conor Johnson was the change and that’s all due respect to Welling Town.

“They played over at ours earlier on in the season and beat us and fully deserved to so we weren’t coming here and underestimating them or taking it lightly or taking our foot of the gas because as much as the Vase is fun and exciting we’ve got a job to do in the league.”

Corinthian set the tone and created their first opening after only 52 seconds and Alexander Jack Billings was playing more like a right-wing-back than a full-back as he ventured forward several times during the first half.

He fed the ball into Housego, who turned Welling Town’s holding midfielder Jhoan Tabima before scuffing his left-footed shot some 25-yards from goal, which rolled into the hands of goalkeeper Lee Kidman.

Corinthian opened the floodgates with two minutes and 34 seconds on the clock after the home side switched off from Alexander Jack Billings’ throw-in.

The right-back then played a square pass into Housego, who cut the ball onto his left-foot before drilling his shot over the flapping goalkeeper into the roof of the net from 15-yards.

“It was a good start.  Oscar had one just before with his left foot that he scuffed towards the goalkeeper and then to get the next one in the third minute was good for him,” said Golding.

“He took it well on his weaker foot and what we encourage him to do is break into the box and have a few more goals and assists to what he’s doing and his stats this season have been very impressive.

“I’m really pleased to get a good start. It took the sting out of them.”

Wakeling said: “Careless from the team in the first place. I feel for the keeper because the ball was set back to him, weak side, an under hit pass and he’s shanked it out for a throw-in, the first of eight throw-ins I think we’ve conceded level with our 18-yard box in the first half.

“If that’s your mentality, if that’s how you turn up to a game of football, if you’re going to give those sort of concessions to any team, you deserved to get f*****g pumped!

“It was a good strike, you could see he was setting himself to shoot half-hour before he pulled his leg back.  We had two or three green shirts around the ball, no one had a glove on him.  Good strike but absolutely lethargic from us.”

Welling Town failed to string any passes to a team-mate and Kidman was called into making a fine low save in the 12th minute.

Winger Conor Johnson played the ball in from the left and central midfielder Chris Kinnear, 29, the son of the former Dover Athletic manager who has the same name, took a touch before unleashing a right-footed drive from 30-yards towards the bottom right-hand corner, which forced Kidman to get down low to his left to hold on to the ball.

“Really pleased to get Chris on board. He knows a lot of the boys, he’s local to the club, he lives five minutes from the club and played here when he was younger under Matt Longhurst,” said Golding.

“He hasn’t played since leaving Hythe and it kind of works for everyone. We understand with his work commitments he’s not going to be here all the time but when he is here he’s got that experience and he’s got that knowhow in our midfield and he compliments Jack Mahoney and Oscar Housego quite nicely, so to have someone like that playing for us is absolutely fantastic.  He’s a great lad and all the boys have given him a little bit of stick here and there and he will be very good for us.”

Poor defending from Welling Town in an attempt to play out from the back from Tabima and Chris Round, set up an opportunity for Jack Mahoney, the Corinthian holding midfielder, who drilled a powerful first time drive across the keeper and past the far post from 25-yards.

Corinthian certainly deserved to double their lead with 14 minutes and 33 seconds on the clock.

Alexander Jack Billings played the ball in from the right again and Johnson flicked his sublime hooked shot across Kidman and the ball trickled into the bottom far corner.

“A good finish from Conor and a nice little move so it was pleasing to see that go in,” said Golding.

“It was great technique from Conor, he’s got phenomenal technique and we just have to find the best way to get it out of Conor because on his day he can be unplayable.

“He cramped up at half-time so he got 16 minutes in the second half but a great finish.

“When you go 2-0 up after 15 minutes, it was probably poor from us. We took our foot of the gas and a few of the boys started to think that we could all score tonight and it was going to be six, seven, eight or nine but when you’ve got a side like Welling, who have got the attacking prowess that they’ve got, it was disappointing from us how we let our standards slip.”

Wakeling added: “The right-back sort of tracked him, gone across the face of goal with him, he’s jogged with him and he hasn’t gone proper shoulder-to-shoulder with him and hasn’t shown any intent to make sure they cannot get a shot away at all.

“It’s quite an intricate little finish, a little touch in the air, it looked like he spun it a little bit and then kissed it around the corner on the half-volley. A great finish. He almost passed it in from the edge of the box. The defending there is absolutely pathetic!”

Welling Town were given a lifeline when they pulled a goal back with 18 minutes and 34 seconds on the clock.

Adam O’Neill swung a free-kick into the Corinthian box from the left, Corinthian centre-half Jack Bath flicked his back-header and the ball was retrieved by Tabima, who teed up striker Malik Ouani, who drove his shot across the face of goal from the right-hand side of the box and Nelson swept the ball into the bottom left-hand corner from three-yards out.

Wakeling said: “I don’t think Corinthian played particularly well, we didn’t play at all well but you’ve been given a lifeline, you’ve taken a lifeline at 2-1, you’ve put yourself in the game.  You take an opportunity to get back into the game that we haven’t started at all and then within five minutes we’ve tossed it off again!”

Golding added: “Just a poor passage of play from us and we went through it and there’s probably five individual mistakes all the way back to Aiden’s kicked it off the pitch, Conor then gave it away high, a silly free-kick from Josh Stirman, Jack Billings, Jack Bath then didn’t head it properly and it wasn’t one mistake.

“We do say to the boys if we do concede a goal it’s got to come from more than one mistake but it was five very avoidable errors from us.

“We’ve played against Sheppey and then Sporting Khalsa at the weekend and kept two clean sheets in a row and we set the boys a task tonight of keeping that third consecutive clean sheet, which is something that we haven’t done this season, which is disappointing.  Just lots of errors that led to that goal and it kind of summed us up where we were at that point because we probably switched off slightly.”

Corinthian killed off their hosts by scoring a third goal with 23 minutes and 48 seconds on the clock.

Housego, who was in a central position, rolled the ball out to winger Josh Stirman on the right and he ignored Alexander Jack Billings, who had made an overlapping run and Stirman unleashed a right-footed drive from 25-yards, which was spilt by Kidman and Alexander Jack Billings slotted his first time shot across the stranded keeper into the bottom far corner from 10-yards.

“Jack’s on a bit of a rich vein of form at the moment. He’s scored a few in his last few games,” said Golding.

“Good again from Josh Stirman. He’s been on the edges in the last few games, however, he’s come back in against Sheppey and Sporting Khalsa and then tonight and he’s done very, very well.  He’s still a young kid and still learning his trade.

“We say to the boys in the final third in particular, they’ve got the licence, we can coach them and help them and give them instructions up until that final third and from then that’s up to them, so it’s pleasing it’s a full-back following in after the goalkeeper has dropped the ball. A bit of desire which is always nice to see and it gave us a cushion.”

Wakeling added: “Classic, you get yourself into a game, the next five minutes is when you’re at the most vulnerable and we just gave up!

“The feeling you could sense from the pitch is whose going to get the second goal? It was an automatic shut down from everybody in a green shirt!”

Corinthian won the corner-count 10-3 and Kidman twice thwarted them following their second flag-kick of the game.

Welling Town failed to deal with Housego’s corner from the left and Jamie Billings came up from the back to poke his shot towards goal, which was blocked by Kidman’s legs at his near post. The ball then came back out to Housego, who drilled his shot straight into the hands of the Boots’ keeper from 20-yards.

Welling Town were guilty of being caught out by playing out from the back in the 36th minute.

Kidman rolled the ball to Tabima, who was pressed by Tanner and the Corinthian striker stole the ball off him and unleashed a rasping drive from 25-yards, which stung Kidman’s fingers before he gathered the bouncing ball at the second attempt.

“We didn’t break them down again after 3-1, it was those long-range efforts and for a goalkeeper who dropped a couple, he actually showed good hands from the long-range efforts,” said Golding.

Wakeling said: “We couldn’t make three passes, we couldn’t get within three yards of a stopping a shot, nothing! All the fundamental basics that grown adults have to do, take responsibility and go out there and compete in any type of sport. We were absolutely lacking all-round the park!”

Corinthian were playing a nice brand of football on the deck, while Welling Town were awful all-round the pitch.

Mahoney drilled a left-footed free-kick dipping just over the Welling Town crossbar from 25-yards on the stroke of half-time.

Wakeling said: “I went past the point of being angry to try to get a reaction. It was cold at half-time. It was ruthless at half-time. 

“We had to take two players out of midfield that aren’t necessarily going to get us a goal but it’s going to leave you more open and exposed in terms of being hit on the counter so we had to withdraw two players.  If we could’ve taken nine off, I think we would’ve done but we couldn’t so we had to trust some of the boys to go out there and find their grove and start relatively positive.

“It’s still a case of they’re (Corinthian) not playing great, far better than us but they’re not playing anywhere near the capacity that they can play to and we basically haven’t turned up but we’ve had a glimmer with a goal to make it 2-1 and you think if we get the second out there, a typical classic Step Five game, not a lot of quality, the ball flying around box-to-box a little bit, all it takes for them is to be in cruise control, switch off and make it 3-2 and you can make it interesting.

“But having said that, a million words mean nothing if grown men do not want to show the desire, to go out there and get it done.”

Golding added: “We told them not to be sloppy, not to be complacent. I felt if they got the next goal it could end up 5-4 or 6-5 to one side because if they got the goal they’d be in the ascendancy but we just had to take the sting out of the game.

“We’ve done the job effectively and we just need to make sure we were clever in how we played the second half.

“Sam Groombridge (assistant manager) does the majority of the talking and we just reminded the boys of our standards and after the second goal went in we just lowered our standards and that’s not what we wanted tonight.

“I don’t think we were anywhere near our best but it was comfortable.”

Wakeling made a couple of changes at the interval with Luis Montoya showing some good touches in an attacking central midfielder role.

Tanner ran through the Welling Town defence but Kidman advanced off his line to smother at his feet before the home side enjoyed a good spell.

O’Neil played the ball out to right-back Gary Beckett, who teed up Nelson, who dragged his shot across the goal and past the far post from 22-yards.

Corinthian produced a sweeping move, including Kinnear and Tanner, which finished with Housego hitting a 25-yard drive with his right-boot which bounced into Kidman’s gloves for a comfortable save.

Welling Town’s best chance of the second half came in the 55th minute when Montoya played a one-two with O’Neill within the final third before curling his left-footed shot around the far post from 25-yards.

Wakeling said: “The lads who came on, they added what was missing in the first half, except we needed another nine and that was the problem.  Two of them came on and added that verve, that gusto and played with a bit of pride and didn’t want to get beat and didn’t want to get beaten to the football, wanted to take their opponents on, play with courage.

“I think it’s a good sign, lads playing with courage when you’re losing. That’s where it really matters but we couldn’t sustain it and that’s literally because if we had nine subs we would’ve made nine at half-time.”

Golding added: “I thought Montoya was good, he was really good when he came on. He was lively and he was strong as anything and I remember him vividly from the home game and we’ve been to watch Welling a couple of times. He was a very good player for this level, the same as O’Neill who is very tricky when he gets on the ball.

“We knew they were going to have their spell after half-time. It’s a home game for them, they’ve got to come out and change the game and they’ve got to try to close it off.

“If we could deal with (Montoya and O’Neill), we could then start to get the break and I can see why games go three, four and five goals against them.”

Corinthian’s diminutive left-back James Trueman played the ball into Kinnear, who was left in oceans of space before he drilled his right-footed shot from 25-yards, forcing Kidman to dive to his right to push the ball behind for a corner.

Wakeling said: “They were allowed to shoot from range. We were set-up to prevent that sort of stuff and stay in the game and be in the game to around the hour-mark and twist it up from the bench with a bit more pace and electricity.

“I thought it was absolutely cowardice and disgusting to turn up for a game of football if you’re not in the right frame of mind to go out there and absolutely compete, pathetic!”

The busy Kidman was also called into action to prevent Stirman scoring with a right-footed angled drive from 20-yards, as Welling Town’s left-back Ashley Wright was a weak link in their poor defensive line.

“He’s not had a bad game, he’s shipped five, he’s not had a bad game. His handling has been decent tonight, he’s been brave, courageous, he’s bailed out one of the centre-halves on a couple of occasions and he’s been put in a bit of trouble,” Wakeling said of his keeper Kidman.

“A goalkeeper is going to make a bit of a rick or two in a game of football but I think he’s been solid since he’s come in, yet the stats won’t agree with that and I’m very happy with him.”

Corinthian scored their fourth goal of the night with 22 minutes and 34 seconds on the clock, as Wright opened the door once more.

Tanner was within the box down the right-hand side and he teed up Housego, who drilled a low left-footed shot through the keeper’s hands from 15-yards, the ball nestling into the bottom far corner.

Golding was full of praise for the outstanding Housego.

“Another good goal from Oscar and good build up play once we got into that final third and I thought that was the goal that kind of took the sting out of them and it finally settled us,” said Golding.

“Oscar’s a very good player and a very talented player. He’s moved around positions this season in the number 8 and number 10 role. He’s a key player for us, very important and he will go on at some point and play at a higher level and we’ve just got to help him choose the right club at the right time.”

Wakeling admitted he didn’t see the goal.

“At the time I was jotting through and I’ve gone through about three pads and I’m trying to find a way of finding any sort of shape or system to get us going and somehow wave a magic wand,” said Wakeling.

“The couple of boys who played alright in the first half, I was trying to transmit that through to the other half a dozen. It was never going to work. Harry Potter was never going to turn that around so I feel for Lee.  I didn’t see the whole goal back as I was actually elbow deep in A4 paper.”

Housego skipped past three Welling Town players down the left before Trueman dragged his left-footed shot across the keeper and past the far post from 15-yards.

Dominant Corinthian scored their fifth goal of the night with 34 minutes and 58 seconds on the clock.

Stirman won the ball on the half-way line before bursting forward straight down the middle of the pitch.  Housego got in on the act and Tanner applied the finish, a right-footed angled drive across the keeper to find the bottom far corner from 18-yards.

Golding said: “A good finish from Luke and we’ve been encouraging him to take more shots and I think you saw that in the first half when he had a couple of shots from outside the areas that the keeper caught comfortably.

“Luke is strong as an ox. He’s played so well for us and he’s probably up there as one of our players of the season. He’s led the line superbly and he’s got an incredible goal record. I’m his biggest critic and we’ve always been critical of his goal record but this season he’s been different class for us and Luke scoring was the gloss on the fixture.”

Wakeling added: “A great strike! We got into areas like that tonight, almost as often in and around the edge of the D and our thought was to shift the ball and give it to somebody else to have a crack.

“At half-time we spoke and said you don’t need to find a large pass and shift responsibility, get your head over the ball and shoot! I’ve got to the point I’m very, very tired saying to certain players you’re not going to talk the ball in the net.

“We’ve just useless at the minute of taking responsibility and being grown-ups and doing what you need to do in adult football. If you get an opportunity to shoot, shoot!

“If you shoot, the keeper spills it, two or three others in the box go in and pick up the bits and pieces, all the fundamentals, so credit to them, they got into the 18-yard box, they were not scared to shoot. All the time the intent was there from them all night.”

Corinthian still created chances to score a sixth goal.  Trueman whipped in a cross from within the left-hand channel, the ball was cleared out to substitute midfielder Frankie Morgan, who placed his first time shot just past the base of the right-hand post from 20-yards, with Kidman rooted to the spot.

Morgan is another young player that has come off the conveyor belt at Gay Dawn Farm.

“I thought James Trueman was absolutely tremendous yet again and he’s a bit of an unsung hero and Frankie is a young kid whose come through our reserves managed by Jack Tebbutt,” added Golding.

“We’re in a position where it’s quite difficult to include younger players that haven’t established themselves and we do pride ourselves on that as a club on giving younger players opportunities but he’s come in and he’s held his own and I think you saw tonight he’s got a very promising future as well.”

The way that Corinthian were getting in was a corner for Wakeling, especially shooting from the edge of the box. Alexander Jack Billings first time drive from 18-yards forced Kidman to dive to his right to make another save.

Welling Town are without a game at the weekend but travel to third-from-bottom side Erith & Belvedere next Tuesday, 18 February (19:45) and Wakeling DEMANDS a positive reaction from his beleaguered side.

“We’re a very disappointed management team who feel wholly let down by a performance that was unrecognisable for anything that I’ve ever put on a football pitch in my whole entire life, I’m beyond angry,” said Wakeling.

“I’m giving this everything that I’ve got, as are the management team.  I’m trying to bring in a player here or there, trying to stay relatively loyal to the core. I’m adding one or two every now and then.

“I just hope that some of the shower that played tonight have the same kind of pride and dedication and same kind of care to think deeply about their commitment and desire levels.

“When you get as low as that, there’s only one way to go forward, you’ve got to go upwards.  We’re looking at the same sorry faces just accepting the malaise and doing f*** all about turning it around for themselves. If a player can’t do that for themselves then we do have to make personnel changes. I’m loyal and I stick by people but there’s limits.”

Corinthian, meanwhile, welcome Beckenham Town to Gay Dawn Farm in the Kent Senior Trophy Semi-Final on Saturday (15:00).

Beckenham Town are top of the table with 48 points from 22 games, while Corinthian are in second-place with 46 points.  Chatham Town are third on 43 points and Sheppey United are fourth on 41 with a game in hand.  Hollands & Blair are fifth with 40 points from 23 games, while Tunbridge Wells are in sixth-place with 40 points from their 20 league outings.

“We’re back up to second, which is nice as it gives us a little bit of a buffer between Chatham and Sheppey and Tunbridge Wells and all of the teams chasing Beckenham,” said Golding.

“But there’s still a long to play as we learned from last year unfortunately (finishing as runners-up a point behind Cray Valley), nothings won in February and there is still a long way to go.

“Massive credit to the players and the management team that little Corinthian are involved in the title race with all of these big sides and they are big clubs at this level.

“You look at sides like Beckenham and the players they’ve got; Chatham and the infrastructure there and they’re ready to go on and they’ll go up one or two levels easily when they finally get there and it may even be this season but we’ve got to keep going, keep plugging away and ticking games off one at a time.

“We had a very good game with Beckenham earlier on in the season, we won 2-1 at home so they’ll be going all out for revenge.”

Welling Town: Lee Kidman, Gary Beckett, Ashley Wright, James Day, Ryan Mahal, Peter Ojemen, Chris Round (Ben Slade 46), Jhoan Tabima (Luis Montoya 46), Malik Ouani, Adam O’Neill (Joel Thompson 72), Alex Nelson.
Subs: Jacob Smale, Jordan Sandiford

Goal: Alex Nelson 19

Corinthian: Aiden Prall, Alexander Jack Billings, James Trueman, Jack Mahoney (George Snelling 75), Jamie Billings, Jack Bath, Josh Stirman, Chris Kinnear, Luke Tanner, Oscar Housego (Merrick Simms 81), Conor Johnson (Frankie Morgan 61).
Subs: Jordan Campbell, Kameron Gyeabour

Goals: Oscar Housego 3, 68, Conor Johnson 15, Alexander Jack Billings 24, Luke Tanner 80

Attendance: 49
Referee: Mr Daniel Sanchez
Assistants: Mr Adam Bakalarz & Ms Alison Wade