Welling United 2-0 Chelmsford City
By Chris Berry
Chelmsford City's hopes of a top 3 finish took a blow yesterday after they lost 2-0 away at Welling United.
Manager, Rod Stringer made no changes to the starting 11 from the 2-0 win at home to Woking last weekend. The only change being on the bench, with Aaron Cosgrave coming in for Scott Fenwick.
Due to Welling's traditional home kit of red shirts, red shorts and white socks, the Clarets were made to wear their away kit of white shirts, white shorts and claret socks.
Chelmsford started off slow and found themselves 1-0 down after just 58 seconds. Danny Mills won a header in the air and flicked the ball onto Bradley Goldberg, who took on Adrian Cascaval before finishing well past Nathan McDonald.
The following opening 10 minutes saw the hosts have the majority of the possession and looked a threat whenever they went forward.
The first real chance for Chelmsford fell on the 26th minute. Chris Whelpdale played a long throw into the Welling box which was flicked on by Thierry Audel, but in the wrong direction and almost into the back of his own net. Goalkeeper Dan Wilks made a fine save to deny an own goal against the run of play.
Chelmsford started growing into the game and on the 28th minute, Chez Isaac whipped in an almost-perfect cross for Murphy, but the striker was 1 second too late charging into the box as the ball fizzed just over his head and out for a goal kick.
Welling United appeals for a back pass were waved away by referee Matty Buonassisi on 30 minutes after it appeared that Joe Anderson played the ball back to Nathan McDonald, to which the goalkeeper proceeded to pickup very close to the edge of his box.
A minute later Rhys Murphy mustered up his first effort at goal after some good work by Jonny Giles to tee up the striker, but his effort sailed over the bar without troubling Wilks.
Nathan McDonald was forced into making a good save to deny Goldberg again on 32 minutes. The Welling striker was played through one-on-one and the keeper made himself look big to block his shot.
The hosts came agonisingly close again on 35 minutes. Gavin McCallum floated a corner into the Chelmsford box and somehow an unmarked Richard Orlu headed wide of the post from 2 yards out. A huge let off for the Clarets.
Welling were awarded a penalty just a minute later though. Danny Mills controlled the ball well in the air and laid it off to Brendan Kiernan in the box, but the winger was brought down by Chez Isaac before he could get a shot away. The referee did not hesitate to point to the spot, but sought guidance from his assistant before brandishing a red card for the midfielder. Chelmsford were now down to 10 men.
After Buonassisi cleared the penalty area, Goldberg stepped up and drilled the ball past McDonald, despite the keeper going the right way, putting the hosts 2-0 up.
The referee blew for half-time and it looked as though Welling were on their way to a comfortable home victory.
Before the second-half begun, Lamar Reynolds replaced Adrian Cascaval as Rod Stringer looked to add some firepower upfront with Rhys Murphy.
The Clarets were the ones who started the second-half brightly and had two efforts cleared off the line by Craig Braham-Barrett in the opening 5 minutes. The first from Whelpdale's header following a Jonny Giles free-kick towards the back post and the second from Rhys Murphy's shot from close range after a traditional Whelpdale long-throw.
Chelmsford continued to press and on 52 minutes Chris Whelpdale had an effort from far out, but his shot was comfortably saved by Wilks.
A minute later, Lamar Reynolds was played through on goal by Murphy, but the striker was eventually flagged for offside. The decision seemed to infuriate the entire Chelmsford bench after it looked like Braham-Barrett was actually keeping the City striker onside.
Chelmsford didn't dwell on that decision and made their second substitution as Jordan Chiedozie replaced Jonny Giles on 55 minutes.
Chances became hard to come by for both sides as the game went on and the heat from the sun remained. Both Murphy and Chiedozie saw yellow for late challenges after the hour mark.
Chelmsford made their final substitution on 70 minutes as a frustrated Murphy was replaced by Aaron Cosgrave for the final 20 minutes.
On 70 minutes the hosts received their first yellow card of the game after Kiernan wiped out Chiedozie from behind during a Chelmsford counter attack following some pressure from the home side.
The hosts made their first substitution on 74 minutes, with Luke Rooney replacing Gavin McCallum, who went off to a standing ovation.
Chelmsford won a free-kick on the edge of the box just a minute later. Chiedozie stepped up and bent his effort over the wall, but it was too tame to trouble Wilks in goal, who gathered comfortably.
Rooney was booked very shortly after coming on for Welling after 81 minutes as the midfielder caught Whelpdale with a high foot.
Chelmsford kept pushing and won a free-kick on 82 minutes. Max Porter whipped the ball into the box to Spillane, but the defender's header went just wide of the post.
Welling proceeded to make their final substitution before the goal kick was taken as Danny Mills was replaced by Mohamad Bettamer.
On 90 minutes, Chris Whelpdale missed arguably Chelmsford's best chance of the game as he missed the target from 2 yards out, which summed up the Clarets day in front of goal. Chiedozie did well to close down Thierry Audel and played a low cross into the Welling box, but Whelpdale could not quite get his feet sorted and his effort did not trouble Wilks in goal.
Welling made their final substitution a minute later as captain, David Ijaha was replaced by Anthony Acheampong.
Welling almost added a third in the last minute of added time. A free-kick was played into the Chelmsford box and the ball was flicked on by Goldberg for his hat-trick, but McDonald made a fantastic acrobatic save to tip the ball over for a corner.
Buonassisi eventually blew up for full-time, confirming a well deserved victory for the hosts, putting them 4 points ahead of ourselves in 4th.
Chelmsford's next game sees them take on Wealdstone on Easter Moday, as they look to confirm a playoff spot with one game left to play.