Lovell disappointed with Welling start
Lovell disappointed with Welling start

It was a baptism of fire for the young Welling United team when they visited Havant and Waterlooville for the season opener. Steve Lovell knew that it was going to be a tough game but he felt that his players didn’t do themselves justice.

“We started poorly.” he said. “We conceded a goal early doors then dug in. For most parts of the first half we did quite well against them defensively then conceded a stupid goal just before half time. 

“Second half, I thought it was quite an even game. We had chances and they had chances but again, we concede right at the end. It’s naivety on our part and fitness levels, we were miles apart. They’re full time, you could tell that, they were fit, they were very direct, that’s how they play, and we couldn’t deal with it, especially in the first half.”

He continued “At one-nil down at half time, you’ll take it but to concede that goal just before half time is again, naïvety of our young defenders not picking up. They’re direct. We know where the ball’s going to go. It’s going to go in there for the header and for the second ball. We didn’t defend the first ball or the second ball so they’re going to score.  Their third goal was a great goal but the game was over by then.”

Due to an injury to goalkeeper Tom Smith, Welling had to sign Murphy Maloney late in the evening before the game. Lovell put no blame on the young keeper saying “Murphy’s done well again today. He’s come in from Q.P,R. and he didn’t do anything wrong today.”

“Quite a lot of the players did and the decision making on the ball. There’s not one player that I can say ‘he’s man of the match’ because I thought they all didn’t perform like they should be able to do so that’s a positive to take out of it. None of the boys really performed to their maximum for one reason or the other. It’s the first game of the season. I’m not going to get too carried away with it against one of the sides that are going to be up there so we’ll take the positives out of it and move on to next week against Hungerford.”

In many ways, expectations were not high against Havant but Lovell still expected better and said “The next three or four games are important to us to get some points on the board but I thought today, and I said to the boys before the game, if everyone plays to their maximum, they’ll get something out of it and I think we would have done today.”

Lovell made two substitutions at half time and a third midway through the second period and all three have pushed for a chance to start in the next game “I think everyone has who came on (has a chance” he confirmed “We changed the formation and we had a go in the second half but never really looked like we were going to win the game. If we had got one perhaps with quarter of an hour, ten minutes to go, it might have been a different story but we will learn from it.”

One thing that has surprised Lovell is that lack of early season midweek football action. “October is the first Tuesday game.” he said “I can’t believe it really. There’s usually something going on and I’m very surprised. We would love to have a game on Tuesday to get this out of our system but we’ve got to wait a week. We knew that it wasn’t going to be easy down here but we made it easier for them the way we defended. I think going forward we’re alright but defending we were very poor today.”

Pictures supplied by Dave Budden.