On a dry and bright September afternoon, for the first time in a number of seasons, Kidderminster Harriers paid a visit to Park View Road for their latest game of the season in the Skrill Premier league. With it being an international weekend, it was once again 'Non League Day' in the footballing world and the Welling United website promised bundles of pre match entertainment.
In an attempt to encourage all the extra fans to attend who would normally be at Arsenal, Tottenham or West Ham, a reduced entrance fee of £10 before 2pm was promised. It meant rising and shining even earlier for the 200 or so Harriers fans making the 170 mile trip if they wished to save themselves a fiver. Someone forgot though that it was customary for both sets of players to warm up on the pitch before the game and so whilst the reduced entry price stood, the additional entertainment was hastily abandoned.
The pitch was generally in good shape as one might expect so early in the season but the goal mouth at the far end away from Park View Road was already beginning to cut up as it was largely in the shade of some tall trees which were inhibiting the growth of the grass.
Harriers started with the usual suspects up front: Michael Gash and Anthony Malbon. On the wing was the so far under-utilised James Dance and in midfield we saw Danny Jackman, Lee Fowler, and Kyle Storer with the normal back four bringing up the rear: Mickey Demetriou, Josh Gowling, Chey Dunkley and Lee Vaughan. Perhaps not that surprisingly, Nathan Vaughan was given his first start of the season after Danny Lewis had handed a penalty to Luton the preceding Saturday.
On the bench were Nathan Blissett, the newly arrived Amari Morgan Smith, Danny Lewis, Dior Angus and Marvin Johnson. Still no defenders ready to come on if needed and little in the way of midfield back up - in many Harriers fans' eyes, a very risky Burr / Whild strategy.
The game kicked off at fairly modest pace. Welling were clearly confident given their home record so far in the 2013/14 season and, accordingly, they played with a very attacking formation and so right from the start the home side looked like they could be caught on the break and that's exactly what happened after ten minutes.
Anthony Malbon and James Dance linked well and the ball then fell to Dance who powered in his shot from about ten yards to open his Harriers account. 1-0 to the joyful visitors however, just a few moments later Welling had an excellent chance to level the scores. Alex Dyer let loose a superb effort across goal and Nathan Vaughan just about managed to watch it edge wide.
Then on seventeen and twenty minutes Malbon had two more really good opportunities to extend the lead. Firstly Michael Gash set him loose down the left but instead of blasting a left footer, Malbon chose to dink the ball past the keeper and it inched just wide.
A few moments later Mickey Demetriou instigated a neat run and pass but again the lacking in confidence forward, Malbon, shot wide.
Another goal then came from a great Carpetmen move. Lee Vaughan was released on the right and he laid the perfect cross to the far post where Dance just needed to be in the right place to nod it in. 2-0.
It wasn't all just Harriers though and Ross Lafayette let loose a couple of wicked efforts at the away sides goal at various junctures throughout the first period which on both occasions Nathan Vaughan eventually just about managed to gather.