AFC Hornchurch 2-0 Welling United
AFC Hornchurch 2-0 Welling United

As a contest, Welling United’s game at Hornchurch was as good as settled within the first twenty minutes.

Although Dipo Akinyemi put the first chance over having been set up by Nathan Green the Urchins took the game by the scruff of the neck. Goals in the eighth, a far post header, and eighteenth minutes, a spectacular volley, left Welling with a mountain to climb.

After that, Anthony Cook blasted a shot from a long way out well over, then had another effort that was saved easily before he was just off target with a free kick.

Green had Welling’s last effort of the half with a shot from distance but it was saved comfortably.

Early in the second half, a Welling trialist cut inside and spun his man but shot over before a Hornchurch centre back headed over from a corner.

Welling used two trialist goalkeepers whilst regular goalkeeper Dan Wilks was given a rest, and the second half one was called upon to make a decent save before Hornchurch’s goalkeeper made a double save from two other trialists.

Brad Quinton, Welling’s manager, spoke after the game and said “I was pleased with the second half performance. It was much better. I’m not bothered about the results whatsoever. There were some good performances, I think more so in the second half, by some players.

“Some of the boys need to be doing their own job rather than getting people to tuck in a little bit more. These guys needed to be spoken to, which we’ve done. They need to be understanding that they’ve got to worry about their shirt because the season starts in three weeks.

“We’ll probably be doing three sessions a week, a double session on Saturday.” He continued. “Second half, we looked fitter than them but we’re not starting as energetically as my teams have been doing when we took over in January. We will get there. The tempo needs to be a lot quicker without the ball to put players under pressure. At the moment we’re giving the opposition too much time on the ball.”

Quinton continued “The first goal we can say we haven’t got tighter for the cross to the far post and he’s headed it in, headed back across the keeper.” However, for the second, he had to accept it as being a good goal. “To be fair, the guy’s flicked on a header and he’s hit it first time, volley over the keeper, and it’s gone in top corner. After that they haven’t really challenged us. In the second half I think there was one chance they had that went across the face of goal and we looked the stronger team as the game went on.

A welcome sight to Welling supporters was the return of Green, “It was Greeny’s first game today. Great to see him back, Great to see him onboard for the season. He did very well considering he’s been out with an injury. He played just under seventy minutes. He didn’t want to come off. He wanted to do a bit more but we need to nurture that one.

“Chiori (Johnson)’s having treatment as well. We’re not far off. We’ve got two or three others that I’ve got my eye on. The centre midfield we had in today did very, very well. I’m very, very pleased with him considering he’s only had one or two sessions with us.

“There are some others that people haven’t seen, but they will do. We’re negotiating with the board of what’s final, what’s in the kitty. This week we’ll definitely be out there (with confirmed signings) for everyone so I do apologise for everyone that’s heard nothing. It’s not my plans, it would have been done earlier but there’s a lot going on.”

Covid-19 has brought it’s own problems but it resulted in the game at Hornchurch taking place. “It’s great that we got this fixture on. It was great to have a game on grass. The grass was a bit long so the ball was dragging a little bit.”

However, he is aware of problems ahead. The F.A. Cup game on 3rd October may have to be played behind closed doors if at home, although supporters may be allowed in if it’s an away draw at a lower league side. Quinton said “I’m seeing there was one team that got kicked out because they had some players who had Covid and the other team got a bye.”

Then the National League South season could be delayed if spectators are not allowed to attend. “It’s so frustrating when you see Erith (and Belvedere) are able to bring fans in at our ground and we’re not. They’ve had some good fixtures and fans coming through the door. It’s good money and fair play to them. It’s what they can do. It’s frustrating for us but we’ll be absolutely alright.”

Images courtesy of Dave Budden