Welling United made it three wins on the spin as they ground out an excellent 1-0 victory at Eastbourne Borough on Tuesday.
Stefan Payne’s second-half strike was the difference on the East-Sussex coast in what was a fine defensive performance as the Wings stood firm to a second-half Eastbourne bombardment.
There was a boost pre-match as Warren Feeney named an unchanged side for the trip to East Sussex, with Ade Azeez recovering from the groin strain that forced him off after scoring a hat-trick against Oxford City 10 days ago.
The sides played out an even opening period, with the hosts edging the half-chances in the first 20 minutes, with Kai Innocent coming closest with a header which looped onto the roof of the net.
Welling’s closest first-half effort came via Stefan Payne just before the half-hour mark when he sent a low, curling effort just past the right-hand upright from the edge of the box.
The Wings striker was involved again in the dying minutes of the half when he was on the receiving end of a reckless challenge from Eastbourne’s Brad Barry which sparked a mass brawl which involved both sets of players and benches. Barry was eventually shown a yellow card – perhaps fortunate not to receive a red – and spurned the best opportunity of the half moments later when he failed to turn in a cross to the far post on the volley from close range.
The visitors started the second half brightly and enjoyed the first opening after the restart when Azeez broke forward from an Eastbourne corner, only to see his effort blocked.
And it would not be long before the Wings would have their breakthrough from a corner of their own.
Taylor Maloney’s corner was met by Antony Papadopoulos’ goal-bound header and Payne was on hand to turn in from close range – bagging his third goal in two games.
That would be the signal for the hosts to push forward as they applied immediate pressure in search of a leveller.
Myles Roberts’ goal was bombarded with a series of balls into the box, before the Watford loanee made a good, point-blank save to smother an Eastbourne shot in a crowded box, while Jake Hutchinson gifted Welling a let-off when he scuffed a shot wide from a good position.
With 11 minutes remaining, there was another flashpoint on the touchline when Feeney was shown a red card after keeping hold of the ball when the hosts were in a rush to take a throw, and so the Wings were made to battle on without the instructions of their boss.
And battle on they did, in fine fashion, digging in and ensuring that all three points would be coming back to Park View Road for a third time on the trot as the Wings move up to fifth.
Attention now turns to the FA Cup with Fisher visiting DA16 on Saturday.
Eastbourne Borough: Worgan, Innocent, Barry, Dickens, Wynter (Omperon 85), Hammond, Whelpdale (Mbonkwi 45), Vaughan, Gravata, Scarlett (Remy 67), Hutchinson.
Subs (not used): Seymour, Perez.
Booked: Barry 40 (foul on Payne), Scarlett 53 (foul on Ezennolim), Barnes 90+5 (foul on Innocent)
Welling United: Roberts, Barnes, Parry, Sendles-White, Ezennolim, Kassarate (Elito 55), Dunne, Maloney, Papadopoulos (Olomowewe 89), Azeez, Payne (Hyde 77).
Subs (not used): McKenzie, Francis.
Goal: Payne 58
Booked: Papadopoulos 15 (foul on Hammond)
Referee: Matt Norton