|Date||18 February 2020|
|Venue||Park View Road|
|Result||L 2 - 7|
|Time played||Normal time|
15 February 2020
Erith and Belvedere 2 Alhassan 47, Aiyelabola 83
Welling Town 7 Montoya 10, Oshilaja 44, 46, Ouani 72, 87,
Sandiford 85, Nelson 90
YOUNG DERES AGAIN TAKE CREDIT IN DEFEAT
A few facts that might come across as excuses but are no less relevant for that: of the 14 players who featured in this match for Erith and Belvedere, eight (six starters and two substitutes) were making their debuts, and the other 6 had 12 starts and 9 substitute appearances for Deres between them – Taiwo Aliu 4, Dominic Edwards 2 and 3, Tate Rayner 1, Chris Alhassan 1 and 1, Victor Aiyelabola 1 sub, and the most experienced Dere on the field Harry Towner with 4 and 4.
Assistant manager Mark Cooke, who had brought in a group of players on dual registration with Cray Wanderers on joining Stuart Webb the previous week, had resigned after the 7-0 defeat at K Sports, leaving Webb to bring in more raw recruits – the average age of the team was again around 20.
So it was a massive challenge to face a team which had beaten Owen Jones’ team 5-1 in the FA Vase last October, but they nevertheless came close to taking an unexpected lead when George Acland was put through on goal but shot narrowly wide. Acland’s grandfather Mike, watching in the directors’ box, was the Deres’ manager between 1996 and 2003. Shortly after this Luis Montoya opened the scoring from the left hand side of the box.
For the rest of the half, although Welling dominated, Deres held their own and created a couple of chances. For the visitors Alex Nelson and Malik Ouani both went close before Ashley Wright’s header was cleared off the line by Joe Bolton. Later in the half Acland made Lee Kidman work to save a goalbound effort and Dominic Edwards shot wide. It looked like Deres would make half time just one goal down until ex-Dere Al-Hassan Oshilaja curled a shot into the far corner to make it 0‑2 at the interval. Montoya nearly capitalised on a calamitous mistake in the Deres’ defence in stoppage time, but Aliu produced an outstanding block.
It wasn’t a good night to dawdle in coming back after half-time. Barely a minute had passed before Oshilaja pounced on Aliu’s fumble for Welling’s third, and seconds after the restart the promising Chris Alhassan produced a scorcher from the right into the far top corner for the Deres’ first goal under Stuart Webb.
Acland, Alhassan and Towner all had chances to reduce the arrears further as the weather deteriorated. The referee had remarked that the pitch would be fine unless there was a downpour, and sure enough around the hour mark the rain intensified until it was coming down in sheets, with a brief interlude of hailstones. Both teams showed immense character to keep going.
Welling made it 4-1 with 21 minutes left when Jordan Sandiford worked well down the left and set up Malik Ouani for a simple shot from close range. In the 81st minute, however, substitute Aiyelabola drove home perhaps the best goal of the night from the edge of the box.
Given the circumstances a 4-2 defeat would have been a moral victory for the young Deres, but Welling have made a habit of late scoring bursts in matches between the sides, and that’s what happened in the dying minutes. A good finish from Sandiford, a drive from distance by Ouani for his second, and a scuffed goal by Jacob Smale brought the Deres’ second successive seven-goal beating.
It was the Deres’ worst home league defeat since the war, their worst home defeat since 1994 and the first 2-7 home defeat since an Amateur Cup tie v Shildon in 1960 which by an odd coincidence was featured in the programme!
DERES: Aliu; Edwards, Bolton, Towner, Skinner, Norville, Kemokai, Rayner (Velasquez 75), Acland (Osbourne 84), Gyamfi (Aiyelabola 55), Alhassan.
BOOTS: Kidman; Beckett, Round, Wright, Mahal, Day, Nelson, Oshilaja (Smale 77), Ouani, Montoya (Sandiford 57), Thanni (Thabima 90).