Welling United collect first National League South victory of the 2020-21 season

BY MARK DOIG

In treacherous conditions and on a difficult artificial surface Welling United claimed their first National League South victory of the season at Hemel Hempstead Town.

The key to their 2-1 victory was a solid defensive performance resulting in the hosts having very few chances and even their one strike was an unfortunate own goal.

Modern day 4G pitches tend not to hold water but short passes on this one lacked the usual zip and often threw up a spray of water. Combining that with a gale force wind and, at times, torrential rain the game was never going to be a classic but Welling had the better of the few chances that were created and deserved the three points.

Stephen Duke-McKenna, on loan to Hemel from QPR, had the first opportunity with a hooked volley that he could not keep down before again trying his arm with a low drive that Reise Charles-Cook saved.

At the other end, Rowan Liburd headed wide from a Nathan Green cross then Lyle Della-Verde’s 35-yard shot went just over with Hemel goalkeeper Danny Boness struggling.

Hemel missed a rare clearcut chance when Reggie Young got in front of his man to meet Duke-McKenna’s cross but could only divert it over from close range.

That proved costly when Welling went ahead nine minutes before the break. Anthony Cook’s low free-kick looked destined for the bottom corner but Boness made an excellent save at the expense of a corner. Della-Verde’s delivery didn’t beat the first man but it came back to him and he made the angle to slant a wicked delivery towards the far post. A defender got there first but could only put it across the face of his own goal straight to Ade Shokunbi, who made no mistake with a composed first-time finish.

There was a similarity when the Tudors levelled five minutes after the break. Chris Paul sent in an equally dangerous angled cross and although Mustapha Olagunju got there first he could only deflect it into his own net.

However, Welling were back in front five minutes later when Liburd held it up well in the corner before laying it back to Della-Verde who made space for himself before launching a vicious drive that dipped over Boness and into the net.

Duke-McKenna was no longer an influence so was substituted as Hemel were reduced to long shots.
Welling might have had a third but when Della-Verde met Green’s cross, he sidefooted his volley over from a central position 15 yards out.

It was not to prove costly though as Welling’s defence continued to defend manfully and that was typified by a brave block by Crystal Palace loanee Lewis Hobbs.

Having played five of their six matches away, Welling now have three consecutive home games – starting with the visit of Billericay Town on Tuesday night.

 


 

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