Lewis pleased as Welling progress
Lewis pleased as Welling progress

Assistant Manager Tristan Lewis is pleased with how things are progressing at Welling United under Steve Lovell and a fresh group of players.

In the absence of a league game, Welling United entertained Hanwell Town in the first round of the London Senior Cup.

Despite the two league difference between the clubs, Welling were far from at their best and only went through after winning a penalty shoot out.

Steve Lovell, the Welling manager, was absent as he went to watch a future opponent so his assistant, Tristan Lewis, took charge for the day.

After the game he gave his thoughts. “I thought, the first half we were very positive.” he said.

“We passed the ball more than I’ve seen us pass it. We played the way that the gaffer wants us to play. We were brave on he ball and then, credit to them, the second half was very different. We planned to experiment with something in the second half that backfired. It didn’t work and I thought that they came into the game more and more and we stopped passing.

“The balance that we changed with the substitution stopped us doing that. I thought their goal was coming for about twenty minutes if I’m honest. I thought Barnsey’s (Aaron Barnes) injury disrupted us and the substitutions that we’d planned, which were talked through on Thursday, then you’re off the cuff a little bit. We didn’t want to have to change the shape to compete with a step four side but I felt we needed to do that to try and get a foothold onto the game.  

“We’ve just spoken in there and a win is a win. A winning mentality, which we clearly lacked in pre-season and the first few games, and it’s four games without losing, including the friendly the other night, and that’s what you want to breed. Confidence and getting results.”

On the penalty shoot out. Lewis said “The pressure’s always on you as the higher team. It was difficult for Tom (Smith) today because he hasn’t played in a long time and he’s been here watching the games, so I was pleased for him to save a few penalties and it’s nice for Kaylen (Hinds). I thought that he was excellent when he came on. It’s the best we’ve seen of him. 

“We were joking on the side that he’s played in the Bundesliga so a penalty in the London Senior Cup against Hanwell, if he bottles this, we’ve got problems, but a win is a win and it was a game. They’re not a bad side and it wasn’t easy, credit to them and credit to the lads.”

Captain Olu Durojaiye was absent and the lack of his experience and influence was telling. Lewis expanded “I think it showed what an important job he does in the team. He’s like a security guard. He just patrols and picks up things and gets people to be in the right places. We missed him.

“Although Stef (Ilic) did really well on the ball, we just missed that solid security of Olu in there. I don’t think there’s many better than him in this league at that job, if I’m honest, and if we can get Ade (Shokunbi) playing like he did today alongside him, we’ll have a few today that can really push each other.”

Ilic was taken off at half time to look at other possibilities and Lewis felt that it had a negative effect on the team. He said “I thought that he did well but we had something in mind just to try but in hindsight, I wish we hadn’t taken him off because I think him being in there stopped them playing.

“We stopped playing when he came off, but that was part of the experiment. The fact that it went wrong after he came off shows that he was linking the play well. We’ve learned a lot today, and won, so that’s job done today, I guess.

“Steve is very good and a lot more patient than me, and he wants to learn, keep learning and keep growing and we learned loads today so it’s not going to be a quick phone call I have with him, that’s for sure.”