Welling United 2-0 Dulwich Hamlet - We will get better as the weeks go on, insists Dulwich Hamlet boss Gavin Rose

Saturday 04th August 2018
Welling United 2 – 0 Dulwich Hamlet
Location Park View Road, Welling, Kent DA16 1SY
Kickoff 04/08/2018 15:00

Vanarama National League South
Saturday 4 August 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Park View Road

WELLING UNITED manager Steve King says he is targeting the Vanarama National League South play-offs after comfortably winning his first game in charge of the club.

The Wings opened their campaign with a 2-0 win over newly-promoted Dulwich Hamlet, courtesy of second half goals from French centre half Thierry Audel, 31, and midfielder Jack Jebb.

Dulwich Hamlet had midfielder Ashley Carew sent-off for a second yellow card, just a couple of minutes after the first goal of the game.

“Yes, I thought it was not the best first half, both teams had effort. I think it was a little bit scruffy,” admitted King, who began his managerial career at Dulwich Hamlet.

“Dulwich started better than us and I thought they were on the front foot for probably the first 20 minutes without really hurting us but getting in the final third a lot without our keeper having to make a save or anything like that and the first half sort of fizzled out.

“Second half, we came out better.  I thought we started to just get on top of the game and they had a man sent-off but I felt it was going to be a matter of time when we scored.”

Dulwich Hamlet boss Gavin Rose said he was feeling disappointed having lost their Vanarama National League South debut game.

“Obviously disappointed to lose the first game of the season.  I thought first half we were competitive, didn’t look like we’d concede many goals and then we lost to a set-piece, which was quite disappointing because we wasn’t exactly opened up.  It was a poor goal to give away, I felt.

“The sending off, which I thought was suicide and we was really going to be up against it.”

A sun-kissed crowd of 1,057 flocked through the Park View Road turnstiles and watched a very cagey first half, with neither goalkeeper forced to make a save.

Dulwich Hamlet started the game with plenty of possession but too often the ball bounced off targetman Afolabi Akinyemi, while Welling United’s targetman Danny Mills offered very little in the final third at the other end.

Dulwich Hamlet centre half Magnus Okunghae headed the ball into the hands of his own goalkeeper, Preston Edwards, after pacey Welling left-winger Nassim L’Goul skipped past Sanchez Ming and cut into the penalty area after 14 sterile minutes.

The game sparked into some form of life when Dulwich Hamlet winger Anthony Cook launched a long throw into the penalty area from the right and goalkeeper Dan Wilks flicked the ball against his own post before gathering the bouncing ball in the 35th minute.

“It’s good to use that asset from Cookie, it’s a half-chance but we should’ve taken it,” said Rose.

King added: “Yes, it was nothing wasn’t it.  The referee even gave a corner and it was still in play! I mean, it was nothing. It was a long throw into the box and the keeper came for it and he’s dropped it but that’s it, nothing!”

Jebb rolled a free-kick inside to skipper David Ijaha, who scuffed a poor shot from within the D, the ball was cleared from inside a crowded penalty area.

“It was nerves, first game, no-one wanted to lose the first game.  I think you see those games all the time. They’re not good for the eyes, especially first half,” added King.

Rose said: “It wasn’t an open game, there wasn’t much in it.  I thought both teams cancelled each other out.

“We’re away from home, so we would’ve taken the way we started.  Second half we were showing signs that we were starting to get on the front foot and the effort and the ascendancy went back to them with the way we handled the ball and giving away a free-kick before the goal.”

A poor pass out of defence from Okouonghae was intercepted by Jebb, who released Mills down the left channel and his low cross was cleared away at the near post by Okuonghae, but we were clutching at straws when it came to real goalscoring opportunities during an uninspiring first half.

Rose said: “I said to them (at half-time), we were doing well and there were things that we wanted them to do a lot better at and that’s probably where my disappointment comes because we had an opportunity to do those things and we didn’t.”

Thankfully, the second half sprang into life and Dulwich Hamlet forced Wilks into making a save just 110 seconds in.

Carew stroked a trademark free-kick towards the roof of the net from 30-yards, only to be denied by Wilks using both of his hands to palm the ball over the crossbar.

“A good opportunity. We know Ash has that ability to do that, so good free-kick, good save,” said Rose.

“That’s the only save of the game,” came King’s swift reply.

“We were solid at the back. I thought Thierry Audel was outstanding, him and Yannis (Ambroisine) had a good partnership, the full-backs (Jordan Gibbons and Craig Braham-Barrett) done really well.  I just thought as a defensive group they done ever so well.”

Welling United smashed the stalemate by scoring with six minutes and 25 seconds on the clock, following a set-piece.

Jebb’s in-swinging right-footed free-kick came in from the left and Audel made space to hook the ball past Edwards from eight-yards.

“Second half, I felt we did get on top.  I thought the free-kick was a fantastic delivery for Thierry Audel to score,” said King.

“For me, it had to get better from the first half and it did! But on the opening day you’d take the three points, any way!”

Rose added:  “Good ball. Preston should’ve sorted his line out. The defensive line wasn’t good enough. They were on his toes and he couldn’t come for the cross. We spoke about that, his acknowledge it, so we’ll move on.”

The Hamlet faced a mountain to climb when Carew picked up his second yellow card from card-happy referee Daniel Lamport in the 54th minute, for pushing Mills.

Rose said: “Poor! He’s let the team down! To give any team that advantage at this level, they’re going to make it count and Welling did make it count with the second goal from them. They tried to control possession thereafter.”

King added: “I didn’t see it, all I saw was Ashley push him in the back. He’s already on a yellow so I think he gives the ref a decision to make, doesn’t he? That’s all.”

Welling United seized dominance when playing against ten-men and Jebb played the ball out from the half-way line before playing the ball into right-back Jordan Gibbons, who cut inside to crack a dipping right-footed shot over the crossbar from 30-yards.

Jebb fed right-winger Gavin McCallum, who cut inside and flashed his shot across goal and past the far post.

Ruthless Welling United killed the game off with a second goal, timed at 20 minutes and 11 seconds on the clock.

Jebb started the move by spreading the ball out to L’Goul, who was given time and space to whip in a precise cross towards the near post, which was sublimely brought under control by McCallum inside the box, who teed up Jebb, to drill his left-footed shot past Edwards from a tight-angle ten-yards from goal.

“The second goal was a great move that we’ve been working on in training, into the front man, around the corner for the runners and a great finish from Jack Jebb,” said King.

“Gavin’s control was fantastic, killed it dead. The runner was Jack Jebb, he just slipped him in and I think Jack took it ever so well.”

Rose added: “Pretty normal finish. It would’ve been embarrassing if he didn’t score but fair play to him, he took his chance well.”

Welling midfielder Arnaud Mendy launched a long diagonal pass, which was brought under control by L’Goul, but Sanchez Ming did enough just inside the corner of the penalty area to ensure the ball trickled harmlessly wide.

Welling United winger Brendan Kiernan came off the bench to hit a right-footed drive screaming past the left-hand post from 25-yards inside the final six minutes of a forgettable local derby.

McCallum will need to work on his finishing as he burst into the Dulwich Hamlet penalty area and lashed his shot into the crowd as he attempted to find the top right-hand corner.

Dulwich Hamlet struggled to create anything as they found the going tough and should have pulled a goal back inside injury time.

Substitute Dominic Vose fed Ferguson, who trickled his right-footed shot across Wilks and past the far post with an angled drive from 25-yards.

Rose admitted:  “We should do better there. We passed the ball quite well in that area, probably should have done a bit better.”

Billericay Town rose to the summit after their 4-0 win opening day away to Truro City in Torquay but Welling United sit in fifth-place while Dulwich Hamlet have Gloucester City, Weston-super-Mare and Truro City below them in the table at this early stage.

Welling United travel to Eastbourne Borough on Tuesday night, while Dulwich Hamlet welcome East Thurrock United to Imperial Fields 24-hours later.

Eastbourne Borough came away from Oxford City with a point in a goal-less draw, while East Thurrock United were defeated by a single goal by relegated club Woking.

“My thoughts are I can roll out of bed and roll into the stadium, that’s my thoughts,” said Eastbourne resident King.

“All early season games are all tough because people are fighting to get points on the board so that’s going to be no different.

“They’ve gone away to Oxford today and drawn 0-0 so they’ve kept a clean-sheet, so it’s going to be a tough game.

“Since I’ve come to the club we’re trying to do the right thing as a club and I think it’s a very good environment.”

King is keen to guide Welling United towards the top-seven this season.

“Try to win as many games as we can and if that’s enough to take us near the play-offs, then brilliant.”

Rose insists Dulwich Hamlet will improve as they get used to their new surroundings.

“We will get better as the weeks go on,” said Rose.

“You can’t judge the National League South by one game. I think there’s going to be different propositions so I won’t be judging it off of this.  We'll learn from our mistakes, it's a tough unforgiving league and I think we'll learn that quickly.

"One thing I will say, there’s nothing to be scared off as a team but it’s just the detail.  We can do a little bit more.  It’s more detail and there’s a little bit more ruthlessness in the league because Welling didn’t create that many chances, even when we had 10 men but still ran out 2-0 winners.”

East Thurrock United defeated Dulwich Hamlet 3-1 in the Ryman Premier League Play-Off Final on 2 May 2016.

“Tough game! We know them well, they’re a good team. We lost to them in the play-off final.  They’ve got some good forward and attacking players so we’ll have to be on our mettle on that game to make sure that we get a positive result.”

When asked about his aspirations for the nine months ahead, Rose replied: “I think the minimum is to stay in the league. We’ve got good enough players to be capable of doing that and then if we can get some momentum why not try to finish midtable and above.”

Welling United:  Dan Wilks, Jordan Gibbons, Craig Braham-Barrett, David Ijaha (John Paul Kissock 76), Yannis Amrosisine, Thierry Audel, Gavin McCallum, Arnaud Mendy, Danny Mills, Jack Jebb (Bradley Goldberg 76), Nassim L’Goul (Brendan Kiernan 76).
Subs: Richard Orlu, Charles Banya

Goals:  Thierry Audel 52, Jack Jebb 66

Booked:  Craig Braham-Barrett 19, Nassim L’Goul 45

Dulwich Hamlet:  Preston Edwards, Sanchez Ming, Tanasheh Abrahams (Nathan Green 23), Ibrahim Kargbo, Magnus Okuonghae, Daniel Pappoe, Anthony Cook (Dominic Vose 87), Ashley Carew, Afolabi Akinyemi (Walter Figueira 68), Nathan Ferguson, Bryon Lawrence.
Subs: Gavin Tomlin, Jay May

Booked: Afolabi Akinyemi 21, Ashley Carew 30, Ibrahim Kargbo 42, Anthony Cook 53, Sanchez Ming 55, Nathan Green 57

Sent Off:  Ashley Carew 54

Attendance: 1,057
Referee: Mr Daniel Lamport (Reading, Berkshire)
Assistants: Mr Jack Oxenham (Egham, Surrey) & Mr Jonathan Bolland (Egham, Surrey)