Welling up inside….

Saturday 4 August – Welling United 2-2 Gills

After the optimism generated by the demolition of Colchester, we wrapped up our warm up games at Park View Road with a somewhat tiresome draw. The relentless heat – when will this long hot summer give us a break? – didn’t help but it was hardly the romp in the sunshine you’d expect from a fixture against a side three divisions below us.

It did give us a couple of pointers : we started once again with Cox and Sodje as the central defensive partnership, indicating that this could be our preferred pairing. A bit strange given the £200k we’ve splashed out on Simon King but the money shouldn’t be the over-riding factor – Sodje again looked solid, and Cox was in control for the most part but got undone once or twice whenever he got afflicted a gormless moment. Brown looks a good bet to replace Jarvis – he has pace, is crafty on the ball and delivers a mean cross. And Crofts and Lomas shored up the middle – I have high hopes for Lomas, he gave the midfield a tidiness that Flynn wasn’t really capable of achieving last year. Up front is more of a problem – Facey hasn’t inspired me in the two games I’ve seen, and it’s a bit worrying that he can’t impose himself against a side of this quality, but we’ll see, bit early to be too judgemental and his record is good…

The first half was indescribably dull, and so little happened that I spent 20 mins on the phone to the US while watching buses go by on the main road outside. The second period was shaping up the same way – we were distracted by some remarkably fat cricketers playing behind the new stand – and it took a sliced own goal from Sodje to wake us up. Within 30 seconds he’d powered in a header from a corner at the other end – he looks as though he could be a genuine attacking threat from set pieces. Brown added a second after Welling’s portly keeper had lost control of the ball in the area, walking round a couple of covering defenders and rolling the ball into the empty net. For a spell it looked like we might run riot, with Pugh again causing problems when he came on for Mullers.

But late on we became ragged at the back – partly through King filling in at left-back and Bentley dropping to centre back after Sodje had gone off injured, and a loopy header over Stillie gave Welling the share of the spoils they deserved. They actually looked a useful side, playing rather more daintily than you’d expect from a team managed by Neil Smith, with our old friend Chippy Carpenter still more than holding his own.

It looks like Ronnie is close to understanding his first choice XI, but our real problem could lie in our strenght in depth – no left-back cover, only three central defenders and a raft of unproven (if promising) youngsters such as Pugh and Stone (poor old Guy seems to have been frozen out altogether). I guess we’ll see next week, though the pressure will be on as Cheltenham are unlikely to be any kind of force this year…

Champagne Moment:- “Don’t let him beat you, don’t let him beat you” shouted the keeper to the full-back. Good advice, and in an instant Brown had nutmegged the full-back and the full-back was on his arse.
Followed by a night on the razz watching Kent win the Twenty20 Cup…

The Morty Vicker

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