Hemel Hempstead Town 1-2 Welling United
Hemel Hempstead Town 1-2 Welling United

Lyle Della-Verde again capped an excellent performance for Welling United with a brilliant goal at Hemel Hempstead Town.

Before last season, the Wings had never beaten Hemel but a double in 2019-20 was followed up by a hard earned victory at Vauxhall Road so that bogey has been well and truly laid to rest.

In awful weather conditions, both teams gave their all and put in a whole-hearted performance. Queen’s Park Rangers loanee Stephen Duke McKenna was a handful for the Tudors early on and volleyed over after good work by Reggie Young. He then had a run and shot that was straight at Reise Charles-Cook that the Welling custodian claimed at the second attempt with Matt Bateman ready to pounce.

At the other end Nathan Green put in a cross and Rowan Liburd got up well but he was unable to get his header on target then Della-Verde spotted Danny Boness slightly off his line but his attempt from thirty-five yards did not dip and sailed over.

Gus Scott-Morriss slung in a deep cross for the Tudors and Young timed his run well to arrive late but volleyed over from close range. Duke-McKenna then had a free kick half cleared as far as debutant Nathan Cooper but he shot straight at Charles-Cook.

Cooper then received a yellow card that might have been harsher for a studs up challenge but the referee possibly made an allowance for the conditions. Anthony Cook took the free kick and put it towards the bottom corner but although Boness appeared to see it late, he got down well and pushed it away.

Moments later, Welling went ahead. A cross from the right was half cleared and Ade Shokunbi was on hand to tuck it home confidently.

Duke-McKenna continued to cause problems and his free kick caused havoc but Mustapha Olagunju made a great clearance to thwart Chris Paul. There was still time for Duke-McKenna to have one more shot but Charles-Cook was equal to it with a good low save.

Five minutes after the break, Hemel levelled with a fortuitous goal. An awkward cross came in and Olagunju could only turn it into his own net.

Parity only lasted for five minutes though and Della-Verde let fly from twenty five yards with a shot of such power that it flew beyond Boness and into the roof of the net.

Once back ahead, Welling defended well and Hemel struggled to create further clear chances. Duke-McKenzie was nullified and eventually substituted with Omar Rowe replacing him.

Scott-Morriss fired over from well out but Welling continued to probe with Della-Verde at the heart of their chances coming close when he side footed over from an excellent Green cross. He then tried his luck from a tight angle but could not find the target.

Lewis Hobbs typified Welling’s performance by putting his body on the line with a brave block before Jake Evans put a free kick well over. Welling did not look like conceding again and were good value for their first win of the season.

Hemel Hempstead Town: Boness, Scott-Morris, Pennell, Howells, McDevitt, Cooper, Duke-McKenna (Rowe 70), Paul, Bateman (Evans 73), Lacey (Christie 64), Young. Subs not used: Kinnane, Snedker.

Goalscorers: Olagunjo own goal (50)

Yellow cards: Duke-McKenna, Cooper, Howells

Red cards: None

Welling United: Charles-Cook, Tanimowo (Ilic 45), Green, Beeden, Hobbs, Olagunju, Shokunbi, Blackman, Liburd (Akinyemi 79), Della-Verde (Ainsworth (88), Cook.

Subs not used: Ward-Cochrane, Headley.

Goalscorers: Shokunbi (36), Della Verde (55)

Yellow cards: Cook, Blackman, Green

Red cards: None

Referee: Dale Wootton

Assistants: Harry Tarrant and Jorden Gibson