Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Welling United 1 v Charlton Athletic 1

First of the pre-season friendlies this evening at Welling and it showed. I drove over and had a couple of pre-match pints in the Rose and Crown before queuing, yes queuing, to pay my tenner. We were in quickly enough and in time to see kick-off. The clouds and rain from earlier in the day had lifted and the first half was played in pleasant conditions. The Welling pitch looked in tip-top condition, but I guess if it didn't look good now then it never would.

The first thing to report was that Phil Parkinson didn't appear to be at the match. Mark Kinsella, he who apparently cleared his desk at Sparrows Lane in May, was running things from the touchline. It will be interesting to see if any mention of this is made on the Official Site.

The second obvious thing was that our new shirts, were bearing the letter "krbs" (lower case), which Google informed us could be the Kent Reliance Building Society. The OS has since confirmed it this evening - a three year shirt sponsorship deal worth "a six figure sum," which I think is marketing speak for closer to £100,000 than £999,000 (beggars can't be choosers). I like the new red but can't say that the white strip adds anything. It just makes the shirt look unnecessarily busy and a bit tacky.

The first-half side was Elliott, Youga, Llera, Mambo, Solly (I think), Tuna, Spring, Stavrinou, Sam, Dickson and Burton. Elliot has indeed shed a few pounds (let's hope he can do what most dieters can't and keep them off) and Kelly Youga takes a bit of getting used to without his dreads. New boy Llera looks positively statuesque, although he didn't have the debut 45 minutes he would have hoped for. I'll be kind and say it's all too early yet to draw any conclusions.

The first half was easy enough for Charlton and we retained possession well and restricted Welling's forward play. Yado Mambo scored after 20 minutes after heading home a decent cross from Solly after some good work on the right by Lloyd Sam. Unfortunately, the goal was disallowed but not for a full minute or so after Mambo had milked the applause of the 2500 crowd. Charlton created a couple of other scoring chances in the first half but both were saved and we appeared to be lacking a cutting edge. Chris Dickson hit the keeper from a few feet out when he really should have finished and Deon Burton did very little.

At half-time it was all-change and we introduced another team; Randolph, Clark (I think), Basey, Semedo, Not Sure, Fleetwood, Bailey, Shelvey, Wagstaff, Mcleod and a short triallist forward called Torres according to a mate of mine. We scored a peach of a goal shortly after the restart and I thought this midfield might dominate proceedings. Scott Wagstaff did very well out on the right wing to catch a ball at full pelt and cut inside the full-back, he took another touch in towards goal before hammering his shot high and past the helpless Welling keeper. It was a corker and didn't he know it!

Unfortunately, we didn't up the ante after that and the game remained at a tempo Welling could compete with. Shelvey tried in the middle but Nicky Bailey was ambling around alongside him. Our attacking strategy was to play balls over the top for Mcleod and Torres but both looked short of pace and touch. Mcleod should have scored when a ball was cut-back to him in the box by Wagstaff but his first touch was terrible and the keeper collected. Torres looked out of his depth and he was lucky not to be subbed towards the end after a poor tackle and dissent towards the referree who was clearly trying not to book him. Welling had equalised by this time and there could be few complaints with the final scoreline.

I won't be in Ireland for Bray or Wexford and I can't see trips to Forest Green or Crawley Town getting me out of SE7. I will be on holiday for the Barnet and Ipswich games (sunny Norfolk Suze!) but will be back for the Bournemouth bender. By then I expect the excitement of the takeover to have reached fever pitch as the fans rally to the new standard in their thousands!

Up the Addicks!

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