Western Counties Youth League: Wellington Under 18s 1, Welton Rovers Under 18s 4

Our Under 18s were unlucky to lose their opening game of the season to a strong Welton side at the Playing Field last night (20th).

Welton, who won 9-1 last week, took a firm hold of the game in the early stages as the Wellington players took time to adjust to the speed and physicality of this level of football.

Welton played the ball around nicely and an early shot went just wide of the target.

As Wellington started to get a foothold, they were rewarded with a freekick about 25 yards out – this was taken by Ned Ogilvie and his fine shot was well saved by the Welton keeper.

The rest of the half was reasonably even with both sides forcing the respective keepers into saves.

Just as it looked to be heading for a goalless first half, Welton broke the deadlock. Wellington lost the ball in midfield and Welton broke quickly down the right and as the winger drove in the cross, it was diverted into his own net by the retreating Dylan Groves.

This was hard on Groves who had been at the forefront of Wellington’s attempts to subdue Welton’s lively front three. He, along with fellow defenders Ogilvie, Ben Fowler and Matt Harper had all accounted themselves well.

There was still time for Wellington’s lively winger Josh Sibanda to put in a dazzling run, leading to another Wellington freekick which sadly came to nothing, and the score was 1-0 to Welton at the break.

At halftime, Wellington made a tactical switch, moving the impressive Ogilvie into midfield with hardworking midfielder Reu Nicholls-Searle swapping places.

This switch helped Wellington and a Sean Conway cross was nearly met by Matt Brereton as Wellington pushed for an equaliser. One came along when a long ball caught Welton out and a defender handled the ball. Up stepped Ogilvie to cap a man of the match performance by smashing a direct freekick over the wall and past the Welton goalie – no more than Wellington deserved at this point.

The turning point came on the hour mark when a Wellington player was sent off for a second yellow card leaving them to face the last 30 minutes with only ten men.

As Welton tried to make their numerical advantage count, Charlie Hawkings made a number of smart saves and Ryan Corbett made a number of good interceptions. At the other end, a couple of excellent corners by Lenny Old caused a couple of scrambles in the Welton box and Old eventually fired over from a tight angle.

Disaster struck for Wellington with a little under 20 minutes to go, when a brilliant freekick by Welton’s lively no 8 flew in at the near post with Wellington expecting the cross.

Wellington started to tire but still tried to take the game to Welton. However they were undone when Welton’s no 9 capped an excellent performance by dribbling in from the right wing and placing a firm shot past Hawkings for number three.

Wellington rang the changes with subs Jack Norman, Jon Wasey, Sam Snook, Adam Harrison and Milo Harding all getting a run out, but tired legs led to hesitancy in the home defence and a fourth goal for Welton.

The result was harsh on the Wellington lads who matched their opponents for large parts of the game and could, with a little more composure throughout the team, have taken something from this game.

The lads were encouraged by the good size crowd who gave the home team good support throughout.

Next week Wellington are away to Wells on Tuesday evening with a 7.30 kick-off.

Man of the Match: Ned Ogilvie.

Match Sponsors: Hawkings Cladding.

Food sponsor: Ellie, Green Dragon.