Wellington’s stirring 2-0 victory over Bitton on Saturday 14th April goes some way to assuaging the disappointment of their last-minute loss to Melksham Town earlier in the week.
Bitton are in 8th place in Toolstation Premier League, six places and twelve points above the home side so this was likely to be seen as a stern test for the Tangerines.
The visitors started the match very strongly, showing no sign of fatigue from playing their 4th game in seven days. For the first quarter of the match they were the better side, putting pressure on the Wellington defence with quick, accurate passing.
But Wellington worked hard to compete with the visitors and put together incisive attacks of their own, several of them via the dangerous Ian Bellinger who was closely marked throughout the game. Bitton’s defence was tested before the interval although it was Wellington’s able goalkeeper, Tom Welch, who was required to make a number of saves from on-target shots.
After a goalless first half, Sam Towler put the ball in the back of the next from a strong drive that beat Bitton’s goalie. When the visitors had a man sent off shortly afterwards, Wellington might have reflected on Wednesday’s match when Melksham Town played the whole game with 10 men after their goalkeeper was red-carded after just 2 minutes. In that match Wellington were 1-0 ahead until half-time, Melksham scored two goals in the final quarter of the match before Wellington equalised in the 77th minute. The score remained at 2-2 until an injury time goal by Francois Allen delivered three points for the visitors.
Like Melksham, despite being down to 10 men Bitton fought strongly to create an opening to equalise. They forced several corners but were denied by stout defending, particularly from the ever-reliable Tom Ellis. At the other end, the Tangerines might have added a couple more goals but it was only in the closing minutes of the match that Sam Towler ran quickly into acres of space to score his second goal as Bitton pressed forward.
This was Wellington’s last home game of the season. They now play five away fixtures – against Brislington on 18th April, Hengrove Athletic on Saturday 21st April, Longwell Green Sports on Tuesday 24th April – at 19.45, not 19.30 – a return match against Melksham Town on Saturday 28th April and against Cadbury Heath on Thursday 3rd May.
The Tangerines’ future in the Premier league now looks secure. Manager Clive Jones who has been with the club for three years has made a commitment to lead the team next season. Asked to comment on this decision, the club’s Vice Chairman, Graham Aspin, said, “This is great news, it’s great for the club.”
Further good news for the club comes from discussions taking place between Taunton Deane Borough Council, Wellington Sports Federation, Wellington Town Council and Wellington’s Cricket, Rugby and Football Clubs to create a new football hub on the edge of the town. The proposals include the provision of an artificial pitch and two or three full-size grass pitches which will not only cater for the football club’s future development but free up space for cricket and rugby on Wellington Playing Fields where Wellington AFC has played since 1954.