Welling United 2
Barham 45′, Ijaha 51′
An out-of-sorts Torquay United suffered only their 2nd defeat in 15 games against a determined Welling United at Park View Road.
Facing the best home record in the division, the Gulls were unable to reproduce their superb form of recent weeks, and were beaten by goals in each half by Jack Barham and David Ijaha.
United actually started where they left off on Tuesday, with Saikou Janneh heading off target when well-placed inside 2 minutes.
The home side though soon applied some early pressure themselves, and in the 19th minute, Shaun MacDonald had to be alert to make a fine save at the hands of Arnauld Mendy.
On 28 minutes, the game threatened to boil over as home keeper Wilks, under pressure from Jamie Reid brought down Jake Andrews. The referee satisfied himself that a booking was suitable punishment, and United could not make the resultant free-kick count.
There was no doubt United were going to be in a real battle, and whatever the game may have been lacking in quality was being made up for in commitment.
Torquay’s cause certainly wasn’t helped with bookings to both of their centre-back pairing inside 40 minutes, and against feisty opponents, the game was often on a knife-edge.
Just before half time, Welling made the breakthrough. Having beat Sendles-White to Ijaha’s long ball, Barham shook off the attentions of Cameron and chipped the ball over MacDonald to give the home side the lead.
The whistle for half-time blew shortly after, and United certainly had their work cut out against a Welling side looking to maximise every opportunity in their pursuit for victory.
As United returned to play up the slope in the second half, they would have been looking for any early response, and they so nearly came up with it.
After conceding a disappointing free-kick inside a minute of the restart, United cleared the ball away and broke with speed upfield. Reid tore into the Welling half and fed Jake Andrews, who fired wide… It was a good chance and the on-loan Bristol City midfielder knew it.
Torquay were made to pay six minutes later though as the home side doubled their lead. Keirnan broke down the right and beat Davis, and when his cross into the box was only half-cleared by United’s defence, the ball fell to Welling’s captain Ijaha, who lashed the ball into the net.
Gary Johnson had seen enough and responded with a double substitution, sending on Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala and Jean-Yves Koue Niate in place of Andrews and Jamie Sendles-White.
As hard as United were trying, they just couldn’t find their rhythm and Welling were certainly making life uncomfortable for their visitors.
In the 66th minute, Reid managed to create enough space for a shot, but unlike recent weeks, the ball missed the target.
United came agonisingly close to reducing the deficit with 20 minutes to play. After Ruairi Keating forced a corner, Kyle Cameron met Lemonheigh-Evans’ corner, but the ball rattled the post and away to safety.
United made their final roll of the dice moments later, with Frank Vincent replacing Keating, however it failed to change the course of the game and in fact their afternoon got even worse, as Cameron received his marching orders for a second bookable offence with fifteen minutes left to play.
Although the Gulls kept plugging away, it seemed more in hope than expectation, and the game meandered out in the closing stages.
As the final whistle blew, the home support celebrated a famous victory, whilst United’s men were left to lick their wounds and begin to regroup ahead of their next match.
United now have a seven day break before returning to Plainmoor to face Dulwich Hamlet, where they will be looking to set the record straight once again.
Welling United: Wilks, Gibbons, Braham-Barrett, Ijaha (c), Acheampong, Audel (Orlu 20′), Kiernan, Mendy, Barham, Mills, McCallum. SUBS NOT USED: Goldberg, Agyemang, Anau
Yellow Cards: Wilks 28′
TUFC: MacDonald, Wynter, Davis, Sendles-White (Niate 53′), Keating (Vincent 71′), Hall (c), Janneh, Lemonheigh-Evans, Cameron, Andrews (Kalala 53′), Reid. SUBS NOT USED: Burton, Dickson,
Yellow Cards: Cameron 30′, Sendles-White 38′, Lemonheigh-Evans 55′
Red Card: Cameron 75′ (second yellow card)