Welling provide all the fireworks as City thumped

Saints fail to recover after falling 5-0 behind inside 23 minutes

Welling United 6 (Joe Healy 3, 15, Jack Obersteller 8, Andy Pugh 17, Lee Clarke 23, Luis Cumbers 90)

St Albans City 0

ST ALBANS City were on the end of a shellacking from Welling United as their poor form continued at Park View Road on Saturday.

City were on the back foot right from the off and the visitors found themselves behind as early as the third minute when Joe Healy pounced on a mistake to score. That opened the floodgates and the home side raced into a five-goal lead with just 23 minutes gone.

Saints boss Steve Castle had named the same XI that battled bravely to earn a point at Chelmsford City on Monday night but the fight that was evident at Melbourne Park was sadly lacking at Park View Road.

Welling oozed confidence and should have been ahead inside the first minute. Player-manager Jamie Day’s corner was flicked on at the near post by Loick Pires and Jack Parkinson looked certain to score with the goal at his mercy but the Wings’ skipper hit the bar with his header.

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Day then tested Bastock with a free kick from 25 yards but the City stopper got both hands to the ball to divert it over the crossbar.

The home side weren’t to be denied, though, and they opened the scoring just seconds later as Healy pounced on an error to beat Bastock.

Day’s through ball looked easy enough for City skipper Ryan Frater to deal with but instead of putting his boot through the ball he tried to head it back to Bastock. However, all the former Hitchin Town man succeeded in doing was putting the ball into Healy’s path and the winger made no mistake from six yards.

Before City had time to regroup they found themselves restarting the game once more as Welling doubled their lead with a nicely worked goal. The move started with great hold up play from the impressive Andy Pugh and ended with Healy sliding the ball into the path of marauding left-back Jack Obersteller who beat Bastock at his near post.

City were rocking and it was no surprise when the home side grabbed goal number three. Day’s free kick to the far post was knocked down by Jamie Coyle and Healy was on hand to score with a diving header past Bastock.

There was no respite for City goalkeeper Bastock and the veteran ‘keeper was soon picking the ball out of the back of his net for the fourth time with just 17 minutes gone.

Welling striker Pugh was a constant menace to the City defence all afternoon and he deservedly got his name on the scoresheet with the best goal of the contest.

Healy picked the ball up midway inside the City half and prodded it into the path of the former Gillingham front man. Pugh dinked the ball over Adam Everitt around 25 yards from goal before collecting the loose ball and chipping Bastock from the edge of the City penalty area.

City boss Castle tried to change his side’s fortunes by replacing Rob Magwood with Inih Effiong on 18 minutes but the change made little impact on Welling’s dominance.

It could have been worse for City had Pires not fired straight at Bastock following an excellent pass from Clarke that had sliced open the City backline.

Goal number five wasn’t long in coming, though, as Clarke capped a fine performance with a goal against his former employers.

Obersteller’s curling free kick into the box could have been headed home by any one of six unmarked Welling players on the edge of the City six yard line as the visiting defence fell asleep but it was Clarke who made contact to steer the ball past former team-mate Bastock.

Pugh went close to grabbing his second of the game after cutting in off the left flank and letting fly with a right foot effort but the ball whistled just over the bar.

Gareth Stewart was a virtual spectator for the opening 42 minutes of the half but he was up to the challenge when called into action to stop David Hutton opening his City account.

Jean-Michel Sigere knocked the ball into the path of the former Tottenham man and he drove at Welling. The home defence stood off the City winger and he took the opportunity to let fly with a right foot shot from 20 yards that Stewart did well to get down to and divert the ball wide.

The home side started the second half looking like they intended to rack up a cricket score. Neat passing on the edge of the City area worked an opening for Loui Fazakerley but the midfielder shot straight at Bastock.

Pugh then stung the palms of Bastock as he tried to bend the ball inside the ‘keeper’s far post as the Welling onslaught continued.

Hutton was easily the man most likely to make something happen for City. The 20-year-old twisted and turned inside the Welling box to create a clear sight of goal but Graeme Andrews recovered to divert the midfielder’s shot wide of the target.

City did improve after the break but all this did was to make Welling settle for what they already had in the bank as the game began to fade away.

Harry Beautyman did go close to netting for City with a looping header but although the ball beat Stewart it also cleared the crossbar.

Effiong tested Stewart with a low shot from 25 yards but the ex-Bournemouth stopper pushed the ball out to safety while at the other end Bastock had to be alert to deny Pugh after the front man had outmuscled Adam Everitt.

City’s afternoon was summed up in the first minute of added time as Welling substitute Luis Cumbers pounced on an error by Bastock to net goal number six.

Hutton’s back pass to the ‘keeper did bounce awkwardly but the City stopper completely missed the ball presenting Cumbers with a gift that he gratefully accepted.

Welling United: Stewart; Coyle, Andrews (Acheampong 64), Parkinson �, Obersteller; Fazakerley, Day (Johnson 71), Clarke, Healy; Pugh (Cumbers 76), Pires.

Subs not used: Obamwonyi, Sambrook.

St Albans City: Bastock; Fisher, Frater, Everitt, Smith; R Martin (Shields 79), Deeney, Beautyman (A Martin 64), Magwood (Effiong 18), Hutton; Sigere.

Subs not used: Peters, Dedman.

Referee: Andrew Parker (Stanford-le-Hope)

Att: 555.