Welling United fell to a narrow defeat at Chelmsford City on Monday evening.
A controversial first-half penalty proved to be the difference on a blustery night at Melbourne Stadium and, despite an industrious performance from Danny Bloor’s men, they would head home empty-handed.
After an even opening period, Reice Charles-Cook pulled off an excellent save to keep out the hosts as he got down to his right to keep out Luke Jenkins’ header from a corner, before Jenkins came close again with an effort which he poked just wide of the post.
At the other end, David Kamara did well to get in behind the Clarets’ defence, but was denied by the onrushing Henry Gray who snuffed it out.
With 25 minutes on the clock, the home side took the lead in somewhat controversial fashion when Jermaine Francis was adjudged to have been fouled in the box, leading to the referee pointing to the spot.
There didn’t appear to be much in the supposed challenge at all, but it allowed Samir Carruthers to dispatch his spot-kick to give his side a one-goal lead.
The Wings enjoyed a good spell towards the end of the half and probably should have drawn level when Adam Roscrow was slipped in one-on-one by Antony Papadopoulos, but he could only fire straight at Gray who made the vital save.
Shortly after, Kamara saw his effort blocked well in the box and Welling would have to head for the dressing rooms with a one-goal arrear at the break.
The second half continued in cagey fashion with Roscrow testing Gray from the edge of the box early on, while Papadopoulos headed wide on the hour mark.
Four minutes later, Charles-Cook made another stunning save from Jenkins. The Clarets’ defender sent a bullet header towards goal which bounced just in front of goal, but the Wings’. stopper somehow managed to push it up and over the bar for a save which was straight out of the top drawer.
Welling were plugging away without creating anything clear cut, although Papadopoulos tested Gray with a trio of decent efforts in quick succession – the first being a well-struck free-kick from a tight angle, batted away at the near post.
But despite the visitors’ efforts, it would be a third straight league defeat for the Wings who will now prepare for another trip on the road in the form of a meeting at Hemel Hempstead Town on Saturday.
Chelmsford City: Gray, James, Winfield, Francis, Carruthers (Alfa 69), Barbrook (Ochieng 54), Jenkins, Ruff (Jones 78), Hockey, Watts, Castiglione.
Subs (not used): Brookes, Wordsworth.
Booked: Barbrook 34 (foul on Papadopoulos), Ochieng 66 (foul on Roscrow)
Goal: Carruthers (pen) 25
Welling United: Charles-Cook, Lema, Byrd, Ellul, Green, Grant, Bramble (J Johnson 76), Odusanya, Papadopoulos, Kamara, Roscrow (Muwonge 83).
Subs (not used): Curran, Burchell, Bridgeman.
Booked: Ellul 25 (dissent), Roscrow 38 (obstruction)
Referee: Morgan Conn