Welling United 3-1 St Albans City - I didn’t expect it to be as scrappy and as poor of a performance in the first half but we made some changes and the second half was back to what I expect from us, says Welling United boss Mark Goldberg

Saturday 23rd November 2019
Welling United 3 – 1 St Albans City
Location Park View Road, Welling, Kent DA16 1SY
Kickoff 23/11/2019 15:00

The Buildbase FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round
Saturday 23 November 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Park View Road

WELLING UNITED manager Mark Goldberg says he had to have a go at his players at half-time to improve their performance to beat struggling St Albans City in The Buildbase FA Trophy.

Ian Allinson’s men were vastly the better side during the first half and led through Zane Banton’s tap-in after 20 minutes and they missed some decent chances to send Welling United crashing out of the competition at their first hurdle.

Welling United equalised on the hour-mark when Danny Waldren tucked home from a corner before substitute striker Moses Emmanuel, 30, scored on his second debut just 82 seconds later.

Waldren was sent-off with nine minutes remaining before substitute right-winger Anthony Cook scored from an audacious 30-yard free-kick.

Welling United went into this game on the back of their 6-2 home win over Braintree Town last weekend, which puts the club in a disappointing fifteenth-place in the Vanarama National League South table with 20 points on the board from 18 games.

St Albans City, meanwhile, are bottom of the table with 13 points from 17 games

Korrey Henry, 19, who scored four goals against The Iron last weekend, was refused permission by Bromley to play in this game and will be returning to Hayes Lane in the week.

“Just delighted to be in the hat. We would’ve taken a scrappy 1-0 at the start of the game.  I didn’t expect it to be as scrappy and as poor of a performance in the first half but we made some changes and the second half was back to what I expect from us and delighted to come back from 1-0 down,” said Goldberg.

Welling United enjoyed plenty of possession and kept the ball on the deck during the opening 20 minutes of this Trophy tie against a side that beat them 1-0 here in the National League South four weeks ago.

Welling United created their first opening with nine minutes and 22 seconds on the clock.

Left-back Joe Anderson swung in a free-kick from within the left-channel, which was deep and cushioned down by Nathan Green and striker Bradley Goldberg’s right-footed angled drive from 10-yards was tipped around the post by visiting keeper Dean Snedker at his near post.

“We did have one or two chances, we did start quite brightly,” added Goldberg.

Montel Agyemang swung in two duplicate corners from the right which were both deep and met by Green at the far post and his first header was pushed over the bar by Snedker, high to his left, while the second header was plucked out of the air by the goalkeeper.

However, when St Albans City grabbed the lead with 19 minutes and 42 seconds on the clock, the confidence drained away from the home side.

Snedker launched a big kick upfield, the ball was flicked on by Soloman Nwabuokei and this played in lone striker Sam Merson.  His initial drilled shot was beaten away by keeper Daniel Wilks but Merson kept composed to play the ball inside to Banton, who took a touch to cut inside the last defender before slamming his left-footed shot into the bottom left-hand corner, beyond the diving keeper to score from a couple of yards out.

“It was a poor goal to concede and then our heads went and I couldn’t see us recovering without making some changes,” said Goldberg.

“It was a very poor goal to give away. Basically Jay Rich-Banghuelou stood square on and the ball went over his head. He’s got to learn, he’s got to go sideways on so if the ball goes over his head he can still get there but he got caught out and he’s got to learn from that.

“You can’t knock them, they took their opportunity well.”

Welling United’s otherwise quiet right-winger Aaron Cosgrave whipped in a low cross, which was met at the near post by Theo Widdrington’s near-post flicked shot, which was comfortably gathered by the Saints keeper at his near post.

St Albans City wasted several chances to kill off Welling United and Merson should have deservedly doubled their lead in the 24th minute.

Left-back Tom Bender was in acres of space to float in a lovely hanging cross towards the edge of the six-yard box but Merson planted his free-header over the crossbar from a central position.

“They could’ve led two or three by half-time. We were very fortunate we went in only 1-0 down,” admitted Goldberg.

Welling United centre-half Rob Swaine, who was forced off in the 49th minute with an ankle injury, threw his head at the ball to send his downward header bouncing into Snedker’s hands from 16-yards after meeting Anderson’s deep free-kick from inside the Welling half.

Waldren started the game sitting in front of the back four with Widdrington sitting behind Bradley Goldberg, but Mark Goldberg made a disastrous tactical judgement by swapping the players around and this put St Albans City on the front foot.

Winger Banton split open Anderson and Jay Rich-Baghuelou to put Nwabuokei through on goal and after Welling centre-half Baghuelou recovered and slid onto his backside, the St Albans City man drew a comfortable save from Daniel Wilks from 15-yards on the half-hour mark.

Welling United put in a poor performance following the goal right up until half-time but they called Snedker into making a comfortable save on the stroke of half-time through Bristol Rovers’ loanee Widdrington, whose right-footed dipping free-kick from 30-yards was comfortably gathered by the 25-year-old keeper.

St Albans City, playing with a 4-2-3-1 formation, missed another great chance to put them through to the First Round with the last kick of the first half.

Holding midfielder Ollie Sprague swung in a free-kick from the right towards the near post and lone striker Merson flicked his shot against the crossbar, which left Wilks rooted to the spot.

“Again, we were caught napping. It was just we were all over the place in that last 20 minutes (of the first half) and we just wanted to get in at half-time,” admitted Goldberg.

“I told them they were so lucky, look at the positives! After having a real go at them, the positives are that we were only 1-0 down and I told them we should’ve been three-nil down. Now also believe in ourselves and go out there and put it right!”

Mark Goldberg made a double substitution at the break with Emmanuel making his second debut, having signed for the club following his recent release from league rivals Billericay Town and Cook came on and drove Welling United on down the right wing.

Emmanuel took 32 seconds of his introduction to draw a foul from St Albans City centre-half David Longe-King down the right channel and Cook swung in the resulting free-kick which Waldren flicked his near post header across the keeper and past the far post.

St Albans City missed another glorious chance to score after 184 seconds when right-back Jamie Fielding hit a long ball over the top of the defence to put Munashe Sundire in but the debutant from Hemel Hemsptead Town dragged his shot across goal and past the far post when he only had Wilks to beat from 16-yards.

“I think that was another defensive mistake again if I remember, maybe.  I don’t want to harp on about Jay Rich but that was when Rob Swaine came off I think. Anyway, we got a let off there,” admitted Goldberg.

When asked about Swaine’s ankle injury, Goldberg said: “It’s a shame and I hope it’s not too bard but Ejiro Okosieme came on and done a fine job.”

Welling United grabbed an equaliser with 14 minutes and 52 seconds on the clock, following their fifth and final corner of the game.

Agyemang swung the ball in from the right and Welling United had two bites of the cherry to score and Waldren buried his left-footed shot into the left-corner of the net from three-yards out.

“It was scrappy but we put it away and we’ll take that,” added Goldberg, who changed his formation to 4-3-3 after the break.

“We were confident enough with the changes we made that we could get ourselves another goal and fortunately it came soon after.”

The manager was delighted that three of his strikers linked up well for their second goal of the game.

Bradley Goldberg dropped deep, some 10-yards from the half-way line to sweep the ball out to Cook, who charged down the right-wing before whipping in a superb cross, which cut across the corridor of uncertainty and was buried first time by Emmanuel from eight-yards.

“It’s great to have all three strikers involved almost first time football. It’s just want we want from three intelligent footballers – it was just what we needed,” admitted Goldberg.

Emmanuel stung Snedker’s fingers with a first time drive from 30-yards with less than 15 minutes remaining and Goldberg has pulled off a massive coup in bringing the striker back to Park View Road.

“His confident to have a go, which is great. He was so good on the ball Moses, all the time, he’s so intelligent, so good physically. He made such a difference,” said Goldberg.

“He didn’t give the ball away, it wasn’t scrappy in the end. He was great.  He can give everything that he’s given in the last seven years in this league. He’ll score goals but also as you saw today he can link play and he can get the best out of other players around him.”

Waldren became the second Welling United player to be sent off in seven days (Sanchez Ming was sent-off last weekend) with nine minutes remaining and he will miss the next three league games.

Referee Aji Ajibola pulled out a red-card after Waldren and Nwabuokei both slid in in a midfield tussle and Waldren committed a bad foul, striking his opponent and injuring his right ankle and having to be substituted as a result.

“I thought it was very unfair personally but I need to see it again and whether we can appeal it because it was a 50-50 challenge. He had to go in hard otherwise he would have been hurt.  I don’t think his studs were up, I didn’t think it was a sending off offence,” added Goldberg.

Despite having one more player, St Albans City failed to create any further chances until after Welling United sealed the deal with 40 minutes and 3 seconds on the clock.

Saints’ centre-half Longe-King shouted out “WHAT!” towards the referee after he was penalised for a foul on Cook some 30-yards from goal.

Cook saw goalkeeper Snedker was out of position and immediately after he heard the referees whistle the former Dulwich Hamlet winger drove his right-footed free-kick into the bottom right-hand corner, the keeper diving to his left in an attempt to save his embarrassment.

Goldberg said:  “What an intelligent set-piece! To bury it from there, to see it and to have the audacity to do it and then to actually be that clinical, it was outstanding. That was brilliant work by Cookie.”

Welling United centre-half Baghuelou had a shaky game and was caught out again by Bender’s long ball over the top but was relieved when 10-goal substitute striker Joe Iaciofano drove his shot straight into the hands of the diving keeper when he only had him to beat.

A mix-up in the Welling defence gave another chance to Iaciofano but his shot from 25-yards dropped over an empty goal at the end of the game.

Goldberg takes his side to Dorking Wanderers next Saturday, a side that are in seventh-place in the table with 27 points from 18 games.

Marc White’s men came away from local rivals Leatherhead with a 3-0 win in The FA Trophy today, courtesy of Jack Barham’s hat-trick.  Winning club’s scoop £3,750 in prize money and go into Monday’s First Round Draw and Goldberg is keen to avoid his former club.

“We need to go on a run, we need the money, we need to carry on winning and hopefully this can be the start of something,” said Goldberg.

“I’d love to get a home draw, you’d like to get a club at a lower level. I don’t want to get a Bromley (still in second-place in the National League table after beating Sutton United 2-0 at Gander Green Lane today) but we’re bound to but I just want to be at home.

“We need to go to Dorking Wanderers now full of confidence. We might need to replace Korrey Henry still but I’m hoping Adam Coombes will be back fit and with him coming back will be a big confidence boost for me.  He’s had a hip flexer problem, an injury in training and he’s been out for nearly three weeks but he should be back on Saturday and I think he’s been a massive loss for us.

“Korrey Henry wasn’t allowed to play and he’s being called back (by Bromley) next week and they’ll be calling him back in so he’s unlikely to come back to us in the short-term.”

Reflecting on their league position, Goldberg added: “It hasn’t been a good start all in all but it was a brand new squad, a brand new team and we’re finding our way and I feel that we’ll finish stronger than we started.”

Welling United: Daniel Wilks, Connor Dymond, Joe Anderson, Danny Waldren, Rob Swaine (Ejiro Okosieme 49), Jay Rich-Baghuelou, Aaron Cosgrave (Anthony Cook 46), Montel Agyemang, Bradley Goldberg, Theo Widdrington, Nathan Green (Moses Emmanuel 46).
Subs: Aiden Prall, Chiori Johnson, Mason Burstow, Lucas Atkins

Goals: Danny Waldren 60, Moses Emmanuel 62, Anthony Cook 86

Booked: Theo Widdrington 53

Sent Off: Danny Waldren 81

St Albans City: Dean Snedker, Jamie Fielding, Tom Bender, Ollie Sprague (Albert Adu 78), David Longe-King, Frankie Musonda, Zane Banton, Sam Merson (Joe Iaciofano 75), Soloman Nwabuokei (James Kaloczi 82), Munashe Sundire.
Subs: Scott Schulton, Tommy Brewer, Dave Diedhiou, Joshua Oyinsan

Goal: Zane Banton 20

Booked: Jamie Fielding 44, David Noble 45, Musashe Sundire 69, Zane Banton 90

Attendance: 337
Referee: Mr Aji Ajibola (Dartford)
Assistants: Mr Lawrence Torz-Brown (Wandsworth, London SW15) & Mr James Hurst (East Dulwich, London SE22)

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