Welling United v Hampton – Preview
Welling United v Hampton – Preview

Despite their heavy defeat on Easter Monday, results elsewhere meant that Welling United were guaranteed to finish third.

Losing at East Thurrock United meant that any hopes of finishing as runners-up were ended by Woking’s victory at Dulwich Hamlet. However, fourth placed Chelmsford City crashed to a three-nil home defeat to Wealdstone meaning that whatever happens on the final day, the Wings cannot be caught.

That means that Welling will get a bye in the opening round of the play-offs and a one off home game next Sunday when there are four teams remaining.

Manager Steve King chose to rotate his squad over the Easter period. On Good Friday, he put out what he probably considered his strongest team from those fully fit in the crunch game against Chelmsford. They could barely have got off to a better start.

Bradley Goldberg put them ahead in the first minute. He doubled his and Welling’s tally from the penalty spot eight minutes before the half time break following a foul by Chez Isaac that resulted in a red card.

After the interval Welling lost their way a little but Chelmsford only made one real chance. Chris Whelpdale missed that and it took a good save by Nathan McDonald to stop Goldberg from completing his hat-trick.

On Easter Monday, King made multiple changes to give players who hadn’t had much playing time some game time hoping that they would impress ahead of the play-offs. It didn’t work out that way, and the Rocks became the first team to put four past Welling this season.

It will be interesting to see whether he gives any of them another chance against Hampton and Richmond Borough or whether the players rested return to the starting line-up. He has said that he hopes to give Jack Jebb some playing time for the first time since his injury in October.

When Welling visited Hampton earlier in the season a Chris Dickson close range brace helped the hosts to victory. He scored on the stroke of half time and again seven minutes after the break. Welling finished strongly and Danny Mills pulled one back but it proved to be no more than a consolation.