Welling United 3-2 Chelmsford City
Welling United 3-2 Chelmsford City

An injury time Brendan Kiernan penalty sent Welling United to victory over Chelmsford City and into the play-off decider.

Once again they showed their never-say-die attitude as they recovered from relinquishing a two goal lead to win the game.

In the opening exchanges, Chelmsford had the better of it and Dan Wilks made comfortable saves from Billy Knott’s free kick and Max Porter’s pea-roller.

Having weathered the early storm Welling had a good spell of possession and Danny Mills burst through but Nathan McDonald was out quickly to hack clear.

Mills then headed over from from Bradley Goldberg’s cross before Welling went ahead. Gavin McCallum swung in a free kick. It came back off Anthony Acheampong to Goldberg and after his first effort was blocked, the defender dithered and Goldberg stabbed home.

McDonald saved from Mills before he struggled with a Goldberg shot and a defender had to hook it out for a corner. McCallum delivered and Thierry Audel rose to head against the far post. Unfortunately for McDonald it flew out, hit the back of his legs and back just inside the other post.

Scott Fenwick had a shot saved easily by Wilks but Welling still enjoyed the better of the possession without creating too many chances. Jordan Gibbons fired into the park before Chelmsford pulled one back against the run of play one minute before the end of the first half. The Clarets were awarded a disputed free kick and Knott’s delivery was headed home by Tom Wraight.

At the interval Welling were forced to replace the injured Acheampong with Josh Hill.

Kiernan had the first chance of the second half from McCallum’s cross but his shot went agonisingly wide before he fired over after Mills had headed Arnaud Mendy’s centre back across goal.

Gibbons’ cross was headed wide by Mills before Chelmsford started to throw more players forward. Michael Spillane had a header caught by Wilks before Kiernan showed his desire and work-rate with a brilliant last gasp tackle.

Jonny Giles flicked a header wide and it looked like Welling were going to see the game out until Wilks was unable to keep out a speculative Giles strike with seven minutes remaining.

After that Welling had the better of the exchanges as they looked to try and avoid extra time. Mills, under pressure, headed wide from Kiernan’s cross before Hill rose to meet a McCallum free kick but headed the wrong side of the far post.

When the two teams had met three weeks earlier, Chez Isaac brought down Kiernan in the area and Welling scored from the spot. History repeated itself when Isaac tripped Kiernan with twenty seconds of time added on remaining. Kiernan had to wait two minutes while Chelmsford’s players got up to all sorts of antics unpunished to try and put him off but they failed and he fired home powerfully enough to ensure McDonald couldn’t keep it out.

There was no time for a response and Welling now have a week to get over the afternoon and travel to Woking to decide who joins Torquay United in promotion to the Vanarama National League.

Welling United: Wilks, Gibbons, Braham-Barrett, Mendy, Acheampong (Hill 46), Audel, Kiernan, Ijaha, Mills, Goldberg (Bettamer 73), McCallum.

Subs not used: Hajizadeh, L’Ghoul, Anau.

Chelmsford City: McDonald, Omozusi, Anderson (Reynolds 52), Spillane, Cascaval, Whelpdale, Porter (Isaac 61), Knott, Wraight, Murphy, Fenwick (Giles 67).

Subs not used: Church, Barnum-Bobb.

Welling United:

Goalscorers: Goldberg (26), McDonald og (33), Kiernan pen (90+)

Yellow cards: Audel

Red cards: None

Chelmsford City:

Goalscorers: Wraight (44), Giles (82)

Yellow cards: Cascaval, Spillane, Murphy

Red cards: None

Referee: Scott Jackson

Assistants: Michael Begley and Jack Bloxham

Fourth Official: Jason Richardson

Attendance: 1,912

Welling star man: Brendan Kiernan

Pictures supplied by Dave Budden.