Welling United slipped to a narrow defeat the hands of high-flying Bath City at the J Hearnden Skip Hire Community Stadium on Saturday.
Despite what was another encouraging display from Danny Bloor’s men in which they had much the better of the game, that all-important goal proved elusive as Jordan Thomas’ strike for the visitors midway through the first-half proved to be the difference.
The match was played in sweltering temperatures in the south-London sunshine with the Wings looking very bright in the early exchanges.
Jephte Tanga, once again, was causing all sorts of problems for the opposition defence as he marauded down the right-hand side, but his balls into the box were failing to be met by a killer touch.
Some neat football on 13 minutes saw Tanga pull back for Antony Papadopoulos in the box, who in turn flicked a pass to Lewis White, but the wide man could only fire over.
Dominic Odusanya saw a volley test keeper Ollie Wright from distance as Welling enjoyed all of the possession, but it would be the visitors who would go ahead against the run of play with their first foray forward after 20 minutes.
A ball from the right found its way to Jordan Thomas who fired into the roof of the net from close range.
The home side kept plugging away for the remainder of the half, dominating possession, while a half-chance came the way of Alex MacAllister when Cameron Green provided a dangerous cross, but the Aldershot Town loanee could only glance his header wide.
A flashpoint came just before the break when a fantastic tackle from the influential Tanga left City defender Danny Greenslade rolling around in search of some sort of punishment for the Leyton Orient youngster.
Quite rightly, the referee was not to be fooled, which drew the ire of the Bath bench, resulting in boss Jerry Gill being shown a yellow card. And it would get worse for Gill come half-time, as referee Robert Ablitt would produce a straight red card in his direction as his complaints continued towards the dressing room.
Into the second half and Welling continued to search for a leveller. Crossley Lema was slipped into the box on the right-hand side early on to force a good, low save from Wright who parried the effort away, but there was no red shirt on hand for the rebound.
White and substitute Kain Adom combined well down the left as the latter nipped into the box before rolling the ball across the face of goal, but once again there was no one there to push it over the line.
Shortly after a chance fell to Dominic Odusanya at the far post, but his goal-bound, cushioned volley was kept out by a vital block from a Bath defender.
Amadou Kassarate saw a shot parried late on, while Adom nipped beyond the keeper in injury time to get to the byline and cut the ball back with the goal gaping, but it was just behind David Kamara as Bath cleared their lines.
There was a big shout for a penalty at the death when Tanga was felled in the box as he looked to threaten, but the referee waved it away as Welling’s fading hopes disappeared.
For all Welling’s industry, it would count for nothing as they were unable to convert any of the chances created to earn a share of the spoils.
The Wings’ attention will now turn to to the FA Cup when they make the short trip to Dartford next Saturday.
Welling United: Winterbottom, Lema, Byrd, Burchall, Green, Tanga, Odusanya, Vaughan, White (Kassarate 81), Papadopoulos (Adom 63), MacAllister (Kamara 63).
Subs (not used): Andrews, Lugboso.
Bath City: Wright, Raynes, Greenslade, Dyer, Parselle, Cooke (Hayfield 74), Smith, Clark, Thomas (Frear 58), Wilson, Russe.
Subs (not used): Fletcher, Lines, Morgan.
Booked: Smith 85 (foul on Odusanya)
Goal: Thomas 20
Referee: Robert Ablitt