By Mark Doig
Welling United saw off ten man Hemel Hempstead Town to move three places up the Vanarama National League South.
Victory took them six points above the relegation places and also to within six points of the play-off zone.
Their chances were aided by the dismissal of Hemel’s Sam Ashford after twenty-two minutes after the visitors had started well.
Luke Howell was unchallenged from a Jake Howells corner but was stretching and was unable to find the target. Craig Braham-Barrett then curled an effort wide, before a contentious free kick was taken by Alex Wall but it clipped the defensive wall and Dan Wilks saved comfortably.
After that, Welling started to come into the game and Jay Rich-Baghuelou reacted quickest when Anthony Cook’s corner caused problems but his powerful drive was blocked by Ashcroft.
Then came Ashford’s dismissal. As he stretched to try and stop a Welling move down the wing, he lost control and left Connor Dymond in a heap. Although not appearing to be malicious, his studs were raised and referee Michael Ryan had no option other than to show him a red card.
Few chances were created at either end after that although Rich-Baghuelou headed over from a good Cook corner. It was from another delivery by him, with half time looming, that Welling broke the deadlock. Cook sent it deep towards the far post and Moses Emmanuel showed desire and bravery by heading home from close range. He then had to leave the field for a few minutes until the flow of blood from his nose had been stemmed.
Soon after the interval, Wall had a shot saved comfortably by Wilks before Sam Beasant made a great stop from Bradley Goldberg after Adam Coombes had played him in with a clever first time touch.
Ricardo German then had a great chance to level. Wall sent him through on goal but Chiori Johnson made a superb defensive run to force him to rush his shot and he was unable to trouble Wilks.
Beasant made an another excellent block to deny Goldberg again before Howell tried his luck with a long range drive that went wide for the visitors.
Goldberg then turned creator by knocking down a Wilks kick out to Cook but he struck his shot wide of the near post.
Substitute Nathan Green gave Welling a different dynamic up front and was played in by Joe Anderson at the end of a sweeping Welling move but he dragged his effort beyond the far post. Wall shot into the side netting at the other end as the Tudors tried to find a way through the determined Welling back four.
There were four minutes remaining when Welling scored the crucial second goal. Green’s endeavour was rewarded when left unmarked at the far post from Cook’s corner and he finished gleefully.
German had one last chance to rob Welling of a clean sheet in injury time when Rob Sinclair split the defence but Wilks did not need to make a save as German shot across the face of goal.
Welling United: Wilks, Johnson, Anderson, Dymond, Okosieme, Rich-Baghuelou, Okosieme, Emmanuel (Anau 86), Agyemang, Coombes (Green 62), Goldberg (Cosgrave 70), Cook. Subs not used: Copeland, McCallum.
Pictures by Dave Budden