Welling United 0-2 St Albans City
Welling United 0-2 St Albans City

Shaun Jeffers’ brace and an inspired performance by St. Albans City goalkeeper Michael Johnson heaped further misery upon Welling United.

Four league and cup games without a goal and one win in eleven Vanarama National League games have left them rooted to the bottom of the table. The Saints, on the other hand, are flying high and are just two points off top spot with three games in hand.

However, the big talking point was in the final minute of the first half when the visitors were awarded a highly contentious spot kick which they converted. Had Welling gone in only one down at half time, with the slope in their favour in the second period, they would have felt confident of getting back into the game.

Reice Charles-Cook did well to turn a David Noble free kick, headed for the top corner, round the post after a cagey opening with both teams sparring for an opening.

Just short of the hour mark, St Albans went ahead. Attacking down the left, the ball ricocheted into the penalty area and it fell kindly for Shaun Jeffers to tuck inside the far post.

Johnson then showed his pedigree with three excellent saves. First Lyle Della-Verde had a shot that was blocked into the path of Lionel Ainsworth but his low drive was turned round the post at full length.

Next, Joe Taylor showed his pace to create a shooting chance but again Johnson was equal to it with another fine save. His third save was the best of the lot. Rhys Murrell-Williamson’s tenacity created another opportunity for Taylor but somehow Johnson managed to push it round the post.

In the final minute of the first half, Welling were dealt a cruel blow. Chiori Johnson and Mitchell Weiss clashed in the penalty area and it looked as though the latter ran into the Welling full back however the referee thought otherwise and Jeffers sent Charles-Cook the wrong way from the spot.

Chances were again in short supply in the second half as the visitors were content to sit on their advantage and look to hit Welling on the break. Taylor drew another save out of Johnson when he spun and shot from the edge of the area.

Weiss then got behind the Welling defence but slammed his shot into the side netting before Taylor had another opportunity when throwing himself at a Johnson cross only to see his header fly beyond the post.

After that, Welling tried a little too hard to make things happen and might have been picked off at the other end. Ricky Shakes side footed over from a Luke Warner-Eley cross and he then cut back and shot but Charles-Cook saved comfortably.

As the game drew to a close, Jeffers had a great chance to complete his hat-trick when sent clean through but Charles-Cook burst out to make a brilliant block.    

Brad Quinton will be looking for an immediate bounce-back when Welling host Tonbridge Angels on Saturday.

Welling United: Charles-Cook, Johnson, Mvembe, Della-Verde (Bennett 45), O’Mara, Strachan, Shokunbi, Blackman, Taylor, Ainsworth (Akinyemi 78), Murrell-Williamson (Simon 65).

Subs not used: Hobbs, Ilic.

Goalscorers: None

Yellow cards: Blackman

Red cards: None

St Albans City: Johnson, Mukena, Warner, Wiltshire, Kaloczi, Clark, Shakes, Noble (Diedhiou 65), Jeffers (Shidyausiku 90+), Weiss (Akinola 90), Sundire.

Subs not used: Stanley, Kinshi.

Goalscorers: Jeffers (29, 45 pen)

Yellow cards: Mukena

Red cards: None

Pictures supplied by Stuart Fuller