Published: 22:08, 16 February 2021
| Updated: 23:09, 16 February 2021
Kristian Campbell hit a late winner as Welling edged Ebbsfleet in a seven-goal National League South thriller on Tuesday night.
The Wings were never behind on a dramatic night at Park View Road as they turned the formbook upside down.
Bottom of the table and with just one to their name, Welling ended the Fleet’s run of three straight wins and inflicted only their second defeat of 2021.
Both teams attacked at every opportunity and it was no surprise that some questionable defending at both ends resulted in plenty of goals and chances.
Jack Paxman and Alfie Egan both had shots saved in the first two minutes for the visitors before Welling went ahead on eight minutes.
Young keeper Gio Bellagambi did well to turn Dipo Akinyemi’s shot onto the post but Olu Durojaiye reacted quickest to slam the rebound home.
Ebbsfleet levelled matters on 26 minutes, Bobby-Joe Taylor striding forward from his role in a three-man defence to fire low into the far corner from 30 yards.
Welling lost defender Scott Doe to injury but they responded in fine style before the break. Anthony Cook’s 25-yard shot was pushed behind for a corner and when a sitter from Darren Oldaker’s cross was then missed, Akinyemi scored from close range to put them 2-1 ahead eight minutes before the break.
Campbell beat two defenders on the edge of the box before firing wastefully high and wide but his moment was to arrive later on.
Ebbsfleet nearly levelled when Paxman exchanged passes with Lee Martin before arrowing a right-foot shot inches past the upright.
The game’s major talking point arrived in first-half stoppage time with referee Jack Packman at the centre of the controversy.
Durojaiye’s ball over the top sent Akinyemi clear and he was taken out by keeper Bellagambi on the edge of the penalty area.
The referee took plenty of time to think through his decision before booking the keeper for the professional foul – with the Welling bench incredulous at the failure to show a red card.
Oldaker’s free-kick was charged down and there was still time in a pulsating first half for the lively Rhys Murrell-Williamson to cut inside and see his left-foot shot brilliantly tipped over the bar.
Ebbsfleet replaced Josh Payne with Dominic Poleon at the break but they pressed the self destruct button three minutes after the restart.
Defender Jake Goodman took three touches inside his box instead of one or two as they tried to play the ball out at the back and when Cook nipped in first, referee Packman pointed to the spot.
After a two-minute delay for no apparent reason, Akinyemi stroked home the penalty to put Welling 3-1 ahead.
A minute later, Cook ran at a back-peddling defence before curling his 20-yard shot just wide.
Rakish Bingham produced a good save from Wings keeper Reice Charles-Cook before Fleet reduced the deficit on the hour mark. Martin’s cross was miskicked by Quba Gordon and fell perfectly for Poleon to convert.
Goodman had the ball in the net six minutes later from Martin’s free-kick but the assistant’s flag was already raised for offside, then Poleon hit the post after Bingham touched off a Martin centre.
Bingham was denied twice in as many minutes by Charles-Cook as Ebbsfleet turned up the heat and their reward came 11 minutes from time when Tobi Adebayo-Rowling’s drive forward ended with substitute Will Wood squeezing his shot inside the near post.
Welling were seemingly out of gas and it looked certain that the Fleet would push on to victory but somehow the hosts were able to respond.
Oldaker drove into the box before his shot was pushed away and Welling’s shoot on sight policy paid off four minutes from time. Goodman failed to clear his lines after indecision in goal by the onrushing Bellagambi and Campbell’s drive from 25 yards took a deflection to find its way beyond the keeper.
On a goal-crazy night there was nearly an eighth goal of the evening in stoppage time but Charles-Cook pushed away Martin’s deflected shot in stoppage time.
Welling: Charles-Cook, Johnson, Doe (Strachan 34mins), Gordon (Shokunbi 67mins), Green, Murrell-Williamson (Della-Verde 79mins), Oldaker, Durojaiye, Campbell, Cook, Akinyemi. Subs not used: Vose, Barrington.
Ebbsfleet: Bellagambi, Solly, Goodman, Taylor, Adebayo-Rowling, Egan (Wood 64mins), Payne (Poleon 46mins), Paxman, Mekki (Allen 64mins), Martin, Bingham. Subs not used: West, Dobson.
Referee: Jack Packman.