Welling 2-0 FC Halifax Town

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FC Halifax Town’s miserable start to the season continued after they were beaten 2-0 by Welling.

Only two clubs in the National League have gone longer than Halifax’s now nine-game streak without an away victory.

The defeat also leaves The Shaymen without a clean sheet in 21 games and with just one win in 19 outings.

After all the positivity from Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Gateshead, Town were brought crashing back to earth again with their 12th defeat in their last 17 matches; hardly a statistic to potentially welcome a new manager with.

It wasn’t all bad for Town, who should have led at half-time on the balance of play but trailed thanks to a brace from Sahr Kabba.

But the main positive for Town was Kidderminster were held at Barrow, so at least they stayed bottom of the table.

Gareth McClelland rewarded the side that started against Gateshead with another start here, and who could blame him after their best performance of the season?

Welling were aiming for their third consecutive league win for the first time in almost exactly two years, and Matt Glennon was brought into action early on, tipping over George Porter’s long-range shot.

In a competitive start, a Sam Walker free-kick fell kindly to Matty Brown inside the box, but he miscued his left-foot shot over the bar.

Games at Welling usually feature some hustle-and-bustle stuff and plenty of physical battles, and this contest was no different.

Both sides struggled to make much headway thanks to some wastefulness in possession, with sloppy passes and lack of control meaning neither team gained the upper hand in a sloppy first 20 minutes.

But both could have taken the lead minutes later, first when James Bolton, like on Tuesday, met Sam Walker’s superb corner with a bullet header, which flew just wide.

Then Welling skipper Ricky Wellard curled a delightful shot just wide with Glennon rooted to the spot.

Bolton again then went close at the other end when his low shot rolled just wide with Sean Tuton stretching to get a decisive touch on its way through the box.

Town were battling well, with Hamza Bencherif again effective in his attacking midfield role, proving a useful pivot between midfield and attack and offering a good target for crosses into the box.

But Halifax were living up to their unwanted statistic of the second-lowest number of shots on target in the division, and were struggling to convert their good build-up play into chances.

It took until the 35th minute for Tom King to be tested when Bolton’s scuffed left-foot shot rolled comfortably into his grasp.

But that was the start of a dominant spell for the visitors, who twice more tested King with headers from Jordan Burrow and Bolton.

But from Burrow’s effort which was spilled by King, Bencherif’s follow-up was ruled out for offside, much to the fury of the former Lincoln man.

At this point, a 2-0 half-time lead for Welling looked about as likely as Town being top of the table by Christmas.

But The Shaymen, like so many times before this season, were their own worst enemy as Glennon spilled a close-range header from Sam Corne into the path of Kabba, who tapped-in.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Kabba then blasted the ball past Glennon from 10 yards two minutes later after his first shot had been blocked.

Kabba had been a nuisance at times during the first-half, belying his diminutive frame by giving as good as he got in the physical battles with Brown and Julian Banton, but the former Gloucester striker will probably not score two easier goals this season.

Town were faced with the same challenge they’ve already had so often this season of recovering a half-time deficit, but shots by Kingsley James and Bencherif after the restart hinted another rescue mission was possible.

Burrow then headed over from James’ cross before Tuton was booked for diving in the penalty area; perhaps a hint of the frustration being felt at Town’s predicament.

Welling almost scored a decisive third goal after a scramble in the box saw both Kabba and Wellard have shots blocked, the second of which, the hosts claimed, by Bolton’s hand.

Glennon then saved brilliantly from George Porter’s free header from eight yards.

Porter then dribbled past three Town tackles before Wellard’s drilled shot was kept out by Glennon.

The more the clock ticked down, the more it looked like Welling would add to their lead, with Wellard curling just over after Banton escaped punishment for a foul on Porter as he tried to run clear on goal.

Welling: King, Jefford, Chambers, Vidal, Lokko, Porter, Wellard, Corne, Nortey, Kabba (Awotwi 80), Lee. Subs not used: McEntegart, Osbourne, Adeyinka, Obafemi.

Scorer: Kabba (43, 45)

Shots on target: 12

Shots off target: 8

Corners: 7

Halifax: Glennon, K Roberts (Macdonald 68), Bolton, Banton, Brown, McManus (Hattersley 88), James, Walker (Hibbs 72), Bencherif, Tuton, Burrow. Subs not used: Porter, Racchi.

Shots on target: 5

Shots off target: 7

Corners: 5

Attendance: 653

Town man of the match: James Bolton