Fleet 5-1 Welling United

Having scored 20 goals in March, Fleet are already a quarter of the way to that total on the first day of April. Once again it was a true team effort with four different scorers and Fleet coming back from the setback of an early Welling goal.

Daryl McMahon made one change, bringing Jack Powell back in place of Dean Rance, while Dave Winfield returned to duty but had to settle for a place on the bench. And Powell repaid the faith shown him by getting Fleet back in the game.

Powell provided the first Fleet action of the afternoon, cleverly dummying a cross from the left and letting Darren McQueen nip in but he fell as he was challenged inside the box.

Welling had seen former Fleet trainee Alex Cathline booked for a late challenge on Mark Phillips but otherwise the big No.9 put himself about well in the opening minutes. And seven minutes in, Welling silenced the big home support. From a corner and then a throw, Fleet failed to clear their lines and Rhys Murrell-Williamson sent a mid-height cross from the left. Dan Walker was able to get down to it and nodded back across goal into the corner with Nathan Ashmore wrong-footed.

For a 10-minute spell after the goal, Welling were full of confidence with Cathline’s direct running and Walker and Murrell-Williamson gaining ground down the wings. Walker should really have scored a second when Fleet were pulled out to the left and he snuck in to the right of the box, getting on the end of a cross to hit the target but Jack Connors did very well to read his movement and was on the line to clear.

Powell had seen an excellent 35-yard strike pushed away by goalkeeper Chris Lewington and Phil Walsh then got a foot in on Sam Deering’s close-range effort as Fleet gradually imposed themselves.

McQueen then had two chances as he got behind the Welling defence, outpacing Walsh but not beating Lewington for the first and then again seeing the goalkeeper stop the second with Anthony Cook well-placed to the left looking for a pass.

But Lewington couldn’t keep the tide out and on 29 minutes Fleet opened up the Welling back line. Andy Drury spotted Kedwell out wide on the right and dropped the ball at his feet with a 20-yard pass. Kedwell turned it into Powell’s path and the Fleet midfielder swept it home from 10 yards.

Welling were fortunate to stay on level terms four minutes later when McQueen stabbed a Sam Deering cross at goal but Lewington seemed to fall on the ball and with the help of Walsh keep it away from the line.

On 39 minutes there was a big shout for handball in the Welling box that the referee waved away but Fleet voices were raised in celebration moments later. A Powell corner from the left fell to Kenny Clark and he smashed it home, a defender’s foot only succeeding in diverting it into the roof of the net.

And a minute from half-time, the referee decided Fleet’s second shout for handball was this time worthy of a penalty and indeed it seemed clearer as Rickie Hayles stuck out an arm towards Kedwell’s ball in. And the Fleet skipper, having missed against Hampton last week, was prepared to take the responsibility again and this time he made no mistake, smashing it home beyond the dive of Lewington.

Welling made two changes at half-time, with Sam Hatton and Tom Richards replacing Hayles and Cathline. It meant midfielder Danny Waldren had to slot into the centre-back position but Welling started brightly, substitute Richards proving a tricky customer.

But Fleet were soon on the front foot again. Another handball call was denied for the Fleet as Deering’s ball into McQueen hit a blue shirt. Powell floated a shot just over from the edge of the box before Richards sent a dangerous low cross flashing along Nathan Ashmore’s goal at the other end. Walker also had a chance for another goal for the Wings but he blasted high from Murrell-Williamson’s decent delivery.

The tempo of the game lowered from the hour mark with Fleet fans willing their side on, mindful of goal difference with Maidenhead racking up the goals at Bath. And the turning point of the second half arrived on 66 minutes when a long ball to McQueen had him grappling with Waldren for possession. The Welling skipper pulled McQueen back as he threatened to get away and as last man, he was issued with a straight red card.

Three minutes later, Fleet scored a fourth. Connors’ impressive run started the attack and when a cross landed kindly for McCoy, he poked the ball beyond the Welling back line and McQueen was in plenty of space to convert with the defence static, claiming an offside.

Fleet kept coming and Drury directed a header on target that Ali Fuseini cleared off the line. Then on 74 minutes it was five goals for the home side. Substitute Shields sent in a high ball that Bradley Bubb and goalkeeper Lewington both went for. The goalkeeper misjudged and the ball ended up with Kedwell at the far post who steadied himself before striking to grab a brace against his former club.

There was enough time for a sixth goal and Deering especially was non-stop in his pursuit of it, trying to unlock Welling one more time. It didn’t quite come for the Fleet but the noisy 1,767 crowd won’t mind too much after being treated to a real five-star display.

EUFC: Ashmore, Cook (Shields 56), Connors, McCoy, Phillips, Clark, Powell, Drury (Rance 76), Kedwell, McQueen (Bubb 70), Deering. Subs not used: Winfield, Jordan
WUFC: Lewington, Fish, Brown, Fuseini, Hayles (Hatton 46), Walsh, Walker, Waldren, Cathline (Richards 46), Joseph-Dubois (Marsh 71), Murrell-Williamson. Subs not used: Amu, Johnson
Attendance: 1,767


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