This Saturday the Romans hope to continue their superb form on the road as they travel to Welling United at the J Hearnden Skip Hire Community Stadium.
Stability has been an issue for Saturday’s hosts. Danny Bloor will be the sixth different Welling manager to face Jerry Gill and alongside a rotating manager position, the Wings have used a staggering 151 different players since the start of the 2020/21 season, including ten debutants on the opening day of this year’s campaign.
Recent history hasn’t been too kind to the East Londoners. In the 2021/22 National League South season, United finished second from bottom in what would become the final season of the single club relegation format. Had they finished in the same position the following year, they would have been going down, as the National League South and North expanded to 24 teams with four being relegated to more regionalised divisions. Last year a winter wobble saw them looking nervously over their shoulders but a late resurgence after beating City 1-0 (more on that later) saw them comfortably stave off the threat of a bottom four spot. Warren Feeney left in the summer, relocating back to his native Ireland, which has meant another huge player turnaround – it is guaranteed that Welling’s starting XI on Saturday will be completely different for the fourth match running at home to City in the past four years.
City have excelled this season and have kept up their record of scoring in every game, they’ve now recorded 18 in eight matches, the most in the division. Jordan Thomas’ early goalscoring form seems to have rubbed off on Scott Wilson, the Romans’ top striker last year with 18 goals for the campaign. It looks like he could be on to smash that this season with eight already on his tally and a National League South Player of the Month award to boot.
Meetings between Saturday’s sides have been frequent since Welling’s rise to the Conference in the 1980s. Some standouts were in the 1994/95 season when the titular clubs met four times, twice in the league cup and twice in the league. Across these four games, the Romans netted 16 times to United’s four. Dean Birkby, a former teammate of Jerry Gill, bagged six goals against the Wings in that one season which included a 5-1 and 6-2 win at Park View Road.
How the times have changed; the last meeting between Welling and City, back in March, ended in a 1-0 loss for Jerry Gill’s men. An 82nd minute winner via a Max Harris own goal left the visitors dejected. It extended the Romans’ winless run against the Wings to three, the preview two meetings ended 1-1. Welling head into this game on the back of a midweek defeat at Worthing, a result which saw the Rebels leapfrog Bath in the table.
It is vital that the City players are met with strong support from you on these long away days, so please make the trip and cheer on your Stripes!
Who – Welling United vs Bath City
When – Saturday 9th September, 3pm
Where – Park View Road (J Hearnden Skip Hire Community Stadium).