Welling will no doubt have spent much of their eastward journey returning to Kent wondering how they failed to claim some reward from a game they dominated for the most part. After scoring early on through Nick McCootie, the Peacocks were forced to defend for long periods and were indebted to goalkeeper Dan Lavercombe and the woodwork for maintaining the single goal advantage until the final whistle.
Season 2023-24 is fast becoming a replica of last year as far as injuries are concerned, with the Town side again showing changes from the previous match at Weymouth. Already minus Dan Ball and Jay Foulston, Ollie Chamberlain and Nat Jarvis were added to the list due to hamstring complaints while loan striker Malachi Linton is likely to be out of action for several weeks after suffering ligament damage at Aveley, meaning McCootie started up front while there was a first start for summer recruit Marcus Day.
The opening exchanges were only notable for a flurry of yellow cards to the home side and bench as referee Corbett eagerly applied the new diktat from the FA before the Peacocks broke the deadlock after ten minutes. A long clearance reached McCootie on the edge of the box and he managed to wriggle free from the attentions of Wings’ centre half Taofiq Olomowewe and the nearby Jack Burchell to get free and slot the ball into the right-hand corner of Ben Winterbottom’s net.
Having arrived at Wordsworth Drive with three defeats from three, it soon became clear that the visitors were in no mood to make it four. Right winger Jephte Tanga was proving a challenge to control and from his chipped cross, Antony Papadopoulos headed goalwards and when the ball was scrambled clear it fell to Cameron Green to fire over. The Peacocks meanwhile were finding opportunities scarce at the opposite end. Dylan Morgan robbed Lachlan Byrd to scamper away, but Byrd recovered with an excellent tackle while Ross Stearn battled to collect a goal kick but scuffed his 18 yard effort to Winterbottom. Impressive work from McCootie then earned a corner from which Lloyd James delivered and Nick Grimes headed against the bar. Nothing to see here though as the flag was already up.
Welling continued to patiently play out from the back as they looked for an avenue through. Papadopoulos fired well wide and the dangerous Tanga outwitted two men down the right, only to see his cross booted away before the visitors upped the ante as half time approached and were handed a golden opportunity to restore parity on 40 minutes. Grimes was deemed to have hauled down Olomowewe challenging for a corner and a penalty was awarded. Lavercombe was equal to the spot kick from Papadopoulos though as he got down superbly to palm away to his left, with the loose ball being bundled wide by Tanga. A strong run in from the right by Papadopoulos also came close to an equaliser as he drilled a 20 yard strike off the bar before the same player was denied at the near post during four minutes of added time, seeing his effort blocked following a Tanga cross.
The second half saw the Wings dominate even more in terms of possession and attempts at goal. The hosts began well enough, enjoying an early spell of pressure which saw McCootie battering through the Welling backline to see his centre blocked while a James free kick from the right was played square to Lee Lucas whose shot caused more anxiety for the refreshment vans than Winterbottom as it sailed skywards into the car park. Winterbottom could quite easily have got himself a chair for the final half hour as he had virtually nothing to do. Joe Guest replaced McCootie just past the hour to help shore up the centre, however the tide remained firmly towards the Town goal. Burchell navigated rather too easily into the danger zone to see his effort saved by Lavercombe who then stood firm to deny David Kamara after Papadopoulos had played him in, the rebound being put wide by Kamara.
With Town confined to quarters with no real outlet up top, defence became the norm for the final stages. However, the Town rearguard were not to be beaten. Sub Lewis White cut in from the left to see his strike held low down by Lavercombe, Kain Adom ventured across the edge of the box to rifle wide, and White planted a shot into the trees before five more minutes of stoppage were negotiated, White providing the only effort when he again troubled the greenery. One last attack was rebuffed and the whistle brought matters to an end. Maybe fortunate and definitely a real grind to ensure victory, but three points are three points 😊
Taunton: Dan Lavercombe, Nick Grimes (captain), Austen Booth, Lloyd James, Nick McCootie (Joe Guest 63), Ross Stearn, Zac Smith, Cameron Evans, Marcus Day, Dylan Morgan (Evander Grubb 80), Lee Lucas. Unused subs: Rabby Tabu Minzamba, Dave Sims-Burgess, Lloyd Irish
Welling: Ben Winterbottom, Cameron Green, Lachlan Byrd, Taofiq Olomowewe (Crossley Lema 45), Will Wood (Kain Adom 58), James Vaughan (captain), Dominic Odusanya, Antony Papadopoulos, Jack Burchell, Jephte Tanga, David Kamara (Lewis White 69). Unused subs: Cameron Andrews, Kareem Isiaka
Referee: Liam Corbett (Dudley)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Said Ouchene (Paulton)
Referee’s Assistant 2: John Duffy (Bristol)
” Frustrated in some of the things we did today, lots more to come from us…….” watch Rob Dray’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Match highlights can be seen on Peacocks TV HERE
Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance MOM
Dan Lavercombe receives the Taunton Town Man Of The Match award from Match Sponsors Walpole Dunn
Many thanks to our Matchday Mascot Archie Mileham