Welling United 0
Salisbury City 0
Welling kept up their unbeaten home form but will be disappointed with the 0-0 scoreline against a 10 man Salisbury City.
The visitors were a man down on 41 minutes as Theo Lewis was dismissed but from then on in, Welling looked slow and ponderous going forward and didn’t work Will Puddy nearly enough. It looked as though they would still take the three points with a last minute penalty but the normally reliable Joe Healy planted the ball wide of the right post.
The injured Harry Beautyman missed out to be replaced by Loick Pires for his first start since his return.
In the opening 10 minutes, Fraser Franks’ long diagonal passes were pitch perfect finding Kurtis Guthrie and Ross Lafayette every time in dangerous situations because of Salisbury’s high defensive line.
One of these long balls caused panic in the Whites’ box and after Lafayette had his shot well blocked by Glenn Wilson, Healy was denied at close range by Will Puddy.
Although they were struggling defending the long balls, once Salisbury got into the Wings’ final third, the quick feet Dan Fitchett and Elliot Frear were making space for themselves on the edge of the box and Fitchett should have done better with an eight yard shot after Jack Obersteller let him peel off from a cross.
After a bright start, the Wings took their foot off the gas and were fortunate that Lee Butcher wasn’t called into action as Frear wasted a free kick and Chris McPhee headed over from a corner.
The Wings kept up their barrage of long balls to Luke Ruddick on the right but it was Obersteller’s runs from deep that looked to be the Wings’ best chance of opening the scoring.
As the half hour mark passed, Welling finally had a spell of concerted pressure at the Salisbury goal. Lafayette’s long shot well held by Puddy and the keeper was in action again two minutes later as he charged out to block Guthrie’s shot after a lovely chipped pass from Gallagher.
Welling were now adding passing to the still effective long balls with Guthrie at the hub of the action on the right. Glenn Benezika did brilliantly to clear two successive crosses from Guthrie and Healy but as the ball came back into the danger area, Puddy pulled off a great save to deny Dyer’s well placed shot from the outside of the box.
Now firmly on the back foot, things got worse for Salisbury as Lewis was shown a straight red card for a dangerous challenge on Kurtis Guthrie with five minutes to go until half time although the decision was highly questionable.
From the resulting free kick, Puddy pulled off a superb stop from a Doug Bergqvist header and although there had been a foul in the build-up, it showed that the Whites’ goalkeeper was in fine form going into the second half.
With an extra man advantage, the Wings played much more patiently at the start of the second half but lost some of the momentum they had built in the first half with a blocked Guthrie shot the only effort on goal they had in the opening 10 minutes.
With Puddy reduced to sending aimless punts straight back to Lee Butcher, Welling were content to gradually move forward but were either too slow in possession or were wayward with their crosses to cause Salisbury too many problems.
After 61 minutes, Pires’ header looked to have broken the deadlock but was rightly disallowed for offside as the home fans became increasingly frustrated with the Whites’ timewasting that had begun with 30 minutes still to play.
Although they were still more than holding their own defensively, Salisbury suffered another blow as substitute Warren Feeney pulled a groin muscle just a minute after coming on and had to go off for Conference veteran Ben Wright.
With 15 minutes to go, things became increasingly frantic on the Wings’ bench as the earlier accurate long balls were finding nothing but thin air or the hands of Puddy in goal.
And they had reason to be as a mistake by Bergqvist allowed Frear to get his legs into gear and his cross found Wright whose half volley flew agonisingly wide.
Puddy had been exceptional for the whole game but on 79 minutes he finally dropped a high cross under pressure from Healy. Lafayette was onto the rebound but in front of a crowd of players and on his weak foot flashed his shot wide.
Lafayette had an even better chance on 81 minutes as Pires knocked a header back across the six yard box and despite being completely unmarked, he air kicked his shot and the chance was gone.
Although Welling had chances to get the ball into the box, every ball was too deep with no back post cover. Salisbury showed the home side how to take set plays as a solitary corner almost allowed McPhee to head in for an unlikely winner.
With five minutes of time added on, the Wings hoped they would find a breakthrough but it was Salisbury once again who looked the more threatening going forward as McPhee’s dipping shot just didn’t do enough to creep under the bar.
It looked as if it was going to be a disappointing point for the Wings as the game entered its final minute but they suddenly handed a huge opportunity as Puddy clattered into Bergqvist in the box and after a brief pause referee Amey pointed to the spot.
But the normally exceptional Healy pulled his shot well wide of Puddy’s right post and the chance for a late winner was gone.
Welling United: Butcher, Bergqvist, Franks ©, Hudson, Obersteller, Gallagher, Dyer, Healy, Guthrie, Lafayette, Pires: Hughes Mason, Clarke, Turner, JO. Obersteller, Day
Salisbury City: Puddy YC83, Belezika, Clarke, Wilson ©, Ruddick (Brett 90) Kamdjo, Lewis RC41, Wellard, McPhee, Frear, Fitchett (Feeney 65) (Wright 68): Hart, George
Referee: Mr.Justin Amey