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Tonbridge Angels 1 Welling United 0 match report: In-form striker Tommy Wood's first-half effort earns Steve McKimm's side crucial win at Longmead

Tommy Wood scored the only goal to earn Tonbridge victory against Welling in a vital battle towards the bottom of National League South on Saturday.

In-form hitman Wood netted his 12th goal in their last 16 matches inside the first 15 minutes, with his effort ultimately proving the difference between the sides.

Striker Tommy Wood kept his fine scoring run for Tonbridge in their National League South win against Welling. Picture: Dave Couldridge
Striker Tommy Wood kept his fine scoring run for Tonbridge in their National League South win against Welling. Picture: Dave Couldridge

The first action of note happened with eight minutes played.

Wood battled to win a loose ball before he blasted wide of Welling keeper Coniah Boyce-Clarke’s right-hand post from outside the penalty box.

But five minutes later, the hosts did break the deadlock in front of a 1,027-strong crowd at a sunny Longmead.

Joe Turner’s initial effort was parried by Boyce-Clarke onto the post but Wood scored from close range, his 13th goal of the season.

Welling’s first chance came on 19 minutes as the ball fell kindly for Ade Shokunbi inside the area but his header was straight at home goalkeeper Jonny Henly.

Two minutes later, Ben Margetson drilled narrowly wide for the visitors.

Tonbridge’s Turner was forced into defensive duties in the 27th minute when he did well to steer Alfie Matthews’ free-kick away from danger before the Wings fizzed a dangerous left-wing delivery across the face of goal, moments later.

Welling's Matthews was now starting to cause problems and he tried his luck with a free-kick on the half-hour mark, although his strike was straight at Henly.

Angels were forced into an early change in the 35th minute as Crystal Palace loanee James Taylor, again being watched by former striker and the Eagles’ head of under-23s development Mark Bright, was taken off after he had received treatment and was replaced by Jamie Fielding.

Home midfielder Tom Beere tried his luck two minutes before half-time, but his long-range shot sailed over the bar - and out of the ground!

The last action of the half saw Boyce-Clarke gather a Turner strike before the Wings goalkeeper hammered his clearance out of play.

After a dull start to the second period, Bradley Stevenson, who had scored the only goal when the sides met at Park View Road in November, came on for the away side in place of on-loan Bromley midfielder Marcus Sablier.

Warren Feeney’s men then had two good chances in the space of a minute.

Firstly, debutant Zeki Fryers drove his effort inches over Henly’s bar before Dipo Akinyemi found space in the home box, only to drag his shot-cum-cross inches wide.

The substitute was substituted for the hosts on 73 minutes as Fielding was replaced by Harry Hudson.

Confusion reigned five minutes later when referee Jason Richardson appeared to show a red card after an off-the-ball incident. But with 11 players remaining on the field for both teams, it appeared the card had been shown in error amongst a series of cautions.

Two minutes later, Wood broke through only to be denied by on-loan Reading goalkeeper Boyce-Clarke who made a point-blank save.

Frontman Akinyemi tried his luck in the final seconds of normal time when he poked a weak shot just wide for the Wings.

Fryers came close to capping his first Welling appearance in fine style with a dramatic equaliser when his effort flew inches wide with Henly left rooted to the spot.

The result leaves Welling bottom of the table while the Angels are six points ahead of them in 17th and have a game in hand, which they’ll play at Hampton on Tuesday.

Now managed by recently-appointed Northern Irish manager Feeney, the Wings continued to make changes, returning to action after a two-week break.

Former Crystal Palace defender Fryer was the most notable of the new faces as Welling made three changes overall.

Fryers came into the team alongside fellow debutant Harvey Bradbury and Shokunbi, who replaced Tom Derry, Stevenson and Chi Ezennolim.

Tonbridge made just a single change from their side which lost 4-3 at Hemel seven days earlier, Fielding dropped to the bench having recently struggled with illness and was replaced by Jerry O’Sullivan.

Winger Ricky Modeste was also named on the bench - although was not used - as he was selected in an Angels squad for the first time since December having recovered from injury.

Tonbridge Angels: Henly, O’Sullivan, Braham-Barrett, Beere, Miles, Parkinson, Perkins, Taylor (Fielding 35mins, Hudson 73mins), Wood, Coombes, Turner. Subs not used: Modeste, Embery, Olutade.

Welling United: Boyce-Clarke, Statham, Shokunbi, Bradbury, Akinyemi, Sablier (Stevenson 57mins), Matthews, White, Fryers, Margetson (Allen 79mins), Curran. Subs not used: Ezennolim, Pearce, Burnett.

Referee: Jason Richardson.

Attendance: 1,027.

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