Toolstation League premier division: Welton Rovers 2, Wellington 2

A pair of late goals earned Wellington a deserved point away to Welton Rovers yesterday (Saturday, February 3rd).

Despite controlling the game for long periods, the Tangerines looked set to be heading home empty handed until Sam Towler’s penalty and an equaliser from Miles Quick earned them a share of the spoils.

Manager Richard Cherry was back after missing the previous week’s draw with second-placed Clevedon Town, but he was without three of the side who had performed so well against the promotion hopefuls.

Defender Jordan Hayman suffered a knee injury during that game while midfielder Josh Lukins was ill and dual registered Nathan Byrne was recalled by parent club Willand Rovers.

That meant a welcome return from illness for defender Mark Cornish while Quick was back in midfield and Gabriel Plant stepped off the bench to play out wide.

It was always likely to be a close affair with the two sides separated by only a single point in the lower reaches of the table, and it was Welton who went ahead after only five minutes.

Wellington keeper Jake Viney raced out of his goal and brought down striker Connor Linham with Louie Gurner stepping up to score the resulting penalty, despite a valiant effort from Viney.

On a tricky surface, the Tangerines improved as the half wore on and almost equalised after 32 minutes as Ryan Brereton slid in to connect with Sully McKenna’s low cross, only for his effort to come back off the foot of the post.

Wellington knew they had the slope in their favour for the second half, so their 1-0 deficit was not the end of the world.

But some sloppy play saw Welton double their advantage within a minute of the restart. Viney did well to save the first shot, only for the ball to come out to Linham who shot home.

That left the visitors with a mountain to climb, and they launched repeated attacks on the Welton goal without being able to reduce the arrears.

They were helped briefly by Linham being sin-binned for ten minutes but still couldn’t find a way through with Brereton being denied by a flying save by home keeper Alfie Hamblin and Plant lifting the ball over the bar from a good position.

Cherry introduced both subs – Lewis Jennings and new signing Danny Wordsworth – for the closing stages and opted to go with three at the back.

The move paid dividends as the lively Jennings ran on to a pass into the box with seven minutes remaining and was brought down by Hamblin. Towler stepped up to coolly slot home the penalty and it was game on.

The Wellington tails were to and, four minutes later, they drew level. An overhead kick by Towler was blocked by Hamblin and the ball came out to Quick who smashed home the equaliser from close range.

A pair of gutsy draws will give the Tangerines confidence ahead of a tough run of games in February, starting at home to Shepton Mallet on Saturday.

Wellington: Jake Viney, Ryan Hibbert, Tom Stone, Mark Cornish, Josh Young, Sully McKenna, Glen Wright, Sam Towler, Miles Quick, Gabriel Plant, Ryan Brereton. Substitutes: Lewis Jennings and Danny Wordsworth (both used).

Photos courtesy of the Around Wellington news and sport website.