Toolstation League premier division: Wellington 1, Barnstaple Town 0
Wellington ripped up the form book with an excellent victory over fifth-placed Barnstaple Town at the Playing Field last night (Wednesday, February 15th).
The Tangerines went into the game on the back of two 4-0 defeats while the visitors had racked up six successive league victories.
But Wellington gave a gritty display to earn three valuable points as they climb away from the lower reaches of the table.
The hosts included fit-again centre defender Tom Stone and, with keeper Harley Wilkinson unavailable, there was a return between the posts for teenager Shay Allen.
Wellington got off to a bright start and Jack Bown-Porter had a shot blocked in the second minute while Alfie Clark saw a lob ruled out for offside and Jake Quick also went close on a couple of occasions in the first half.
It was an entertaining contest with Barnstaple also creating chances, the best of them falling to Tor Swann after 40 minutes. He seemed certain to convert Stuart Bowker’s pass from close range but Allen produced a fine reaction save.
The breakthrough finally came five minutes into the second half as Wellington were handed a slice of luck to score what proved to be the winner.
Defender Stefan Phillips lobbed the ball into the area from the right and visiting defender David Slade turned it past his own keeper and just inside the post.
Wellington nearly went 2-0 up after 72 minutes as Ryan Brereton’s shot was pushed on to the bar by keeper Liam Kingston and Miles Quick converted the rebound but the flag was up for offside.
Despite having a player sin binned for ten minutes, Barnstaple launched attack after attack on the home goal but Wellington defended heroically and prevented any clearcut chances being created by the increasingly frustrated visitors.
It was the first of three successive home games for the Tangerines and they will be looking to build on the result as they host second-from-bottom Cadbury Heath on Saturday, ko 3pm.
Wellington: Shay Allen, Stefan Phillips, Tom Stone, Jason Quick, Jack Bown-Porter, Jamie Nicholson, Ryan Brereton, Glen Wright, Miles Quick, Jake Quick, Alfie Clark. Substitutes: Nathan Byrne, Sully McKenna, Callum Chivers, Eli Collins (used); Alex Cherry (not used).
PHOTOS: Many thanks to Nathan Bennett for the match gallery.