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Eastleigh 1 Welling United 4

Andy Pugh
Andy Pugh

By Matthew Panting

Welling produced their best 45 minutes of the season to date as they blasted aside Blue Square Bet South play-off rivals Eastleigh to record a 4-1 victory and boost their hopes of a top-five finish.

The Wings handed a debut to towering defender Ben Martin and he proved just the weapon to deal with Eastleigh's route one tactics.

Andy Pugh (pictured) put Welling ahead after just seven minutes with an excellent left-foot finish after Luis Cumbers' shot had fallen into his path.

Pugh was then denied by keeper Jason Matthews but he made no mistake in the 21st minute. Jack Obersteller's appeal for a penalty was turned down but Jack Parkinson won back possession and then picked out Pugh, who nutmegged Tom Jordan before finishing at the second attempt after his first effort was blocked on the line.

The intelligent Pugh picked out player/manager Jamie Day on 28 minutes but Matthews made a smart block.

Matthews, the subject of much banter from the Welling fans following comments he made in the programme during his Weymouth days, was then left red-faced when his clearance was charged down by Cumbers and the ball rolled into an empty net.

Martin was then denied a goal his impressive performance at the back deserved after he turned in a Day corner but the whistle had already gone for a foul.

Day and Parkinson both had shot off target early in the second half before Wings keeper John Whitehouse was belatedly called into action, denying Jamie Slabber with a fine double save in the 57th minute.

Parkinson's far-post header was kept out by a brilliant Matthews one-handed save with 16 minutes left before another wayward clearance late on was nearly converted by substitute Liam Bellamy, but his effort was cleared with the keeper stranded.

The fourth goal did arrive three minutes from time when Cumbers picked out the onrushing Day and his stunning 20-yard shot had Matthews beaten.

Slabber’s stoppage-time goal for the hosts from a 20-yard free-kick proved little more than a consolation with the last kick of the game.

The Wings remain just a point outside the play-off places in sixth ahead of Tuesday night's home derby against Ebbsfleet, who were beaten at Weston on Saturday.

Bromley's freefall continued as they went down 1-0 at Woking.

Bromley are ninth and now 14 points off the play-off places in Blue Square Bet South after conceding the only goal a little over 20 minutes from time from substitute Craig Dobson.

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