PREVIEW: Welling United v Wrexham AFC

Here’s my column from last week’s Leader. It forms part of the paper’s comprehensive pre-match coverage every Friday, featuring interviews, an in-depth look at the opposition and lots of statistical analysis. All content in the column (c) www.leaderlive.co.uk.

If you’re heading south tomorrow, don’t be tempted to leave early, because Wrexham reserve their best work against Welling for the final minutes.

We’ve scored seven goals past them in our five clashes, and five of them came after the 83rd minute. We’ve won three, drawn one and lost one against Welling, but without those late goals we’d have drawn three and lost two!

We’ve never won at Welling, and last season suffered our first defeat at the hands of United in the fourth clash between the two sides.

It was a familiar face who put us to the sword as well. We got off to a dreadful start and were 2-0 down after twenty minutes. Sam Berry got the first goal, while the second came from Dom Vose, scoring his final goal for Welling. The next goal of his career would be an injury time penalty four months later for Wrexham as he helped us to a 3-1 win over Aldershot!

Wrexham tried in vain to battle back last season, and although an Andy Bishop goal with eight minutes left gave us some hope, we ended up falling to a 2-1 defeat. That would prove to be the only loss we suffered in eight games under caretaker manager Carl Darlington.

Vose would go on to play a pivotal role when the sides next met, at the start of this season. Wrexham went into the late August clash in magnificent form, having won their last three games, scoring three goals each times. However, The Wings would prove to be a far more difficult proposition.

It looked like their defensive fortitude would be rewarded with a hard-earned point, but in the last minute of the match a desperate long ball forward fell to Vose on the edge of the area and he expertly guided it into the bottom corner to maintain our winning run.

Our first trip to Welling, four days before Christmas in 2013, very nearly didn’t take place. A sodden pitch meant the match was in doubt until late on, but the hard work of the Welling groundstaff was rewarded, and it turned out to be a tight encounter.

Kurtis Guthrie gave the home side the lead just before the half hour, but within three minutes Wrexham were level in spectacular and unexpected circumstances as top scorer Johnny Hunt cut in from the left and unleashed a terrific strike from outside the box with his weaker right foot which flew into the net.

Jamal Fyfield will play the two hundred and fiftieth game of his career tomorrow, fittingly against the side for whim he made 34 of those appearances when he spent last season with The Wings!

Also, Skipper Connor Jennings makes his seventy fifth league appearance for us at Welling, and there’s a strange symmetry to his scoring statistics for us: in the league he has scored exactly one goal every four matches, while in cup games he scores at precisely one every five ties.

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