Welling 2-1 FC Halifax Town

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Matt Pearson was sent-off as FC Halifax Town were beaten 2-1 at Welling to make it five games without a win.

Lois Maynard had equalised for Town just before half-time after Aristede Bassele’s opener.

But Town’s afternoon turned sour when Pearson was dismissed only two minutes after Charlie Penny had put Welling back in-front.

A dreary, grey day in East London was replicated on the pitch as two sides struggling for form contested a match that wasn’t exactly easy on the eye.

But Town certainly showed more fighting spirit than they had against Woking, especially after Pearson’s red card, without which Town’s chances would have significantly increased.

Welling might not have been Town’s preferred destination in search of a much-needed win given the fact only Barnet had won at Park View Road this season.

The concertinaed nature of the top-end of the table means Town are still within touching distance of the play-off places despite dropping to 11th.

But clear daylight might start to appear if Alfreton aren’t defeated at the Shay next weekend.

Neil Aspin made his feelings about the Woking performance pretty clear, and his side seemed to start with those words ringing in their ears.

Town pressed high up the pitch from the off, with the front three of Ross Dyer, Adam Smith and Richard Peniket leading the charge.

That made for a fairly frantic opening, with Pearson at the heart of the action in a physical battle with England colleague Harry Beautyman.

Pearson said Beautyman was the best player on the pitch against Estonia, and got the chance to watch him up close again as he tracked Welling’s top-scorer like a shadow.

The slick surface didn’t help either team’s efforts to retain possession, although it was apparent early on it wasn’t a day for fancy football.

Even one of the linesman was given a taste of the action when he was wiped out after getting in the way of a 50-50 challenge between Pearson and Penny.

Simon Ainge and Smith both had efforts go narrowly over within the first 15 minutes as Town offered more of an initial threat going forward than their hosts, for whom only four of their starting 11 had actually scored going into the game.

Any high balls up to the diminutive striker Penny were gobbled up by Marc Roberts and Ainge, although the pace of Malachi Hudson carved out a chance for Sam Corne, who prodded wide on the stretch.

Welling didn’t have the same ability on the ball as Woking had displayed last week, but worked hard and tried to set a quick tempo.

Welling boss Jamie Day saw as much of the ball as anyone in his role in-front of his back four, but didn’t do his striker many favours by launching some high balls in his direction; Penny for his thoughts.

Welling had the most bookings and sendings-off of any Conference team prior to kick-off, with their poor disciplinary record depriving them of three regular starters.

Day soon picked up his fourth booking of the season for a late tackle on Paul Marshall.

Dyer, starting ahead of the ever-present Scott Boden, did his job well of holding up the ball and bringing others into play, but without the reward of a clear-cut chance.

Instead it was Peniket who went close with two headers just off target in quick succession.

The opening goal was in-keeping with the scrappy nature of the game as Aristede Bassele scrambled the ball over the line after a corner wasn’t cleared.

Bassele perhaps should have doubled his tally shortly afterwards but headed over from six yards at full stretch.

But he needn’t look any further than Maynard for how to use his head as the Town midfielder nodded in Marc Roberts’ long pass from the edge of the area.

It was Maynard’s third in five games and Town’s first on the road since Boden’s penalty at Eastleigh over a month ago.

Keeper Benjamin Buchel kept a clean sheet for Liechtenstein in Moldova a week ago, but could do little about Maynard’s header, which was practically from a different postcode.

Penny restored Welling’s lead when he was given the right kind of service thanks to the rampaging left-back Jamal Fyfield’s low cross.

It went from bad to worse a couple of minutes later when Pearson was sent-off for kicking out at Beautyman.

Town adjusted pretty well to their numerical disadvantage, and looked a threat from set-pieces, with Marc Roberts heading over from a corner.

For their part, Welling had struggled to kick-on after Pearson’s red-card,with Halifax arguably the likelier side to score next.

Substitute Kieron St Aimie squandered a great chance to seal the win but sent hi header back across goal and wide.

Welling: Buchel, Williams, Chambers, Fagan, Fyfield, Day, Corne, Bassele, Hudson, Beautyman, Penny (St Aimie 73). Subs not used: Henly, Taylor.

Scorer: Bassele (40), Penny (50)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 5

Halifax: Glennon, K Roberts, M Roberts, Ainge, McManus, Maynard, Pearson, Marshall, Smith (Bolton 61), Peniket (Jackson 77), Dyer (Boden 61). Subs not used: Senior, Schofield.

Scorer: Maynard (45)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 7

Corners: 6

Attendance: 500

Town man of the match: Lois Maynard