Well, where to start ????? Everyone knew before the game that this would be a real test for the boys against a side that would seemingly go to any lengths to get a result. Red flags were raised as early as the 3rd minute when the Ref felt the need to try and justify his decisions to onlookers instead of helping the players understand and enjoy the game. As the game went on it was clear that the 3 Dardford coaches, managers or whoever would use the ref much like Matthew Corbett used to express himself through Sooty, Sweep and Soo in the 80's. The reason why one of the 3 didn't ref it themselves instead of roping in this parent is anyone's guess. More on that later.
The game began with Dartford looking the stronger and pressing hard. Both teams struggled to find any passing rhythm but Dartford found joy down the Welling right where the pace of the No8 was causing problems. After 5mins the No8 used said pace to drive down our right side and into the box where he squared it to a teammate to make in 1-0.
Seeing the danger and switching over our x2 CB's to give us more pace on that side put a stop to that outlet for them. Subs were made and Welling finally started to impose themselves on the game.
The equalising goal came after some lovely passing from back to front with a finish to match as Sonny smashed it top bins form outside of the area.
The same player made it 1-2 shortly after following up after the Dartford GK couldn't hold on to a great strike for Mikel.
Halftime Score: 1-2
The 2nd half began with Welling carrying on from where they left off in the 1st half trying to grab a 3rd goal but on 45mins the Ref decided to award Dartford a Free kick inside the box for what he deemed was a pass back by Harlee to Alfie. It was a bad decision and one even Stevie Wonder could have seen was a clear attempt by Harlee to hook the ball clear. The Ref informed the Dartford players that the free kick was indirect and they had to pass it 1st before shooting. So all the Welling players were waiting to charge down that 1st pass but instead a shot was taken directly at goal which deflected off of a Welling player thus allowing the goal to stand. Had the ball gone directly into the goal then the goal could not be given. The main issue here is the fact the ref didn't seem to know what was going on and failed to explain to the players what was happening. He seemed to just go along with what the 3 chaps in Dartford gear on the other side of the pitch were shouting. These events really upset everyone players and onlookers alike. I will stress though the importance of showing discipline and restraint when attending youth football games and not getting into emotional exchanges with other adults in front of the boys. Our boys were shaken and angry with what was happening on the pitch, They rely on all the supporters positive support and guidance from off of it. Football can be really emotional, those players who can control and focus their emotions under pressure will always have the upper hand over those who lose their heads.
5mins after making the score 2-2 Dartford took advantage of a still shocked Welling to make the score 3-2.
Into the final 5 mins and the Welling boys showed great character to make to score 3-3. Sid won the ball on the edge of the Welling box before playing a lovely long ball through to Kel. One on One with the keeper he took it around him and finished into an empty net.
There was still time for a winner and Welling nearly got one when Man of the match Harlee picked the ball up deep inside his own half and drove down the pitch guilding past Dartford players. The shot was on with his left but as he tried to bring the ball onto his right foot a very good tackle from a Dartford player allowed the ball to run to Danis who's shot flew just wide of the far post.
There are definitely some lessons and positives to take from today's game. We are still unbeaten and will have the chance to beat this side again later in the season.
Onto the next one!