Welling United got the new 2018/19 season off to the best possible start as The Wings claimed an opening day victory by beating newly promoted Dulwich Hamlet at a scorching Park View Road.
Dulwich Hamlet who were playing their first ever game at this level started the game with plenty of enthusiasm and enjoying most of the possession but without creating many chances in the opening exchanges.
The Wings who started slowly, but they soon started to come into the game. Nassim L’Goul beat former Welling man Sanchez Ming before cutting the ball back to Danny Mills but his low ball was cut out before Mills could pull the trigger.
With both sides trying to adapt to the soaring heat referee Daniel Lamport allowed a drinks break mid way through the half, as an edgy half was struggling to find rhythm.
In the 35th minute, Wings Keeper Dan Wilks had a fright. Anthony Cook produced a long throw into the penalty area, which Dan Wilks came to punch but he failed to get a proper connection on as it bounced off the back of a Wings defender and cannoned off of the post before a grateful Wilks gathered the loose ball.
This seemed to ignite a bit of spark into the half and the Wings won a free kick to the right hand side of the edge of the area. Set piece specialist Jebb stood over the ball but cleverly rolled the free-kick to Captain David Ijaha, but his effort was crowded out by a sea of Hamlet defenders.
The Wings then almost capitalised on a mistake from another former Wings man Magnus Okouonghae. His sloppy ball was intercepted by Jebb, who played the ball to Mills but his cross come shot was cleared as a cautious half came to a close.
The 2nd half was only two minutes old when it sprang to life and set the tone for the half.
Dulwich won a free kick some 28-yards from goal. Ashley Carew stepped up to curl an effort that was heading for the top corner only to see Dan Wilks at full stretch push the ball over the bar for a super save. It gave Welling the momentum to push on.
Welling United took the lead in the 53rd minute. A delicious Jack Jebb in-swinging free-kick found Thierry Audel who on his home debut poked the free kick home to send The Wings fans wild.
Having gone a goal behind Dulwich suffered a further blow just two minutes later. Having already been shown a yellow card Ashley Carew needlessly pushed Danny Mills into the advertising hoardings after The Wings man had won a throw in and the Hamlet man was rightfully shown a second yellow and a red card which really hurt his side.
The Wings gained confidence from this and after Gibbons saw an audicious effort sail over Welling went further ahead in the 67th minute. It was a lovely team goal that cut Hamlet open.
Jebb spread the ball L’Goul, who played a dangerous ball into McCallum the former Eastbourne man beautifully controlled the ball before playing a perfectly weighted ball into Jack Jebb who made a burst into the box. Despite a heavy touch, Jebb kept his composure and sublimely tucked his left footed effort past Preston Edwards at his near post.
Welling, now in control were looking to control the game and see out the win. They did go in search of a 3rd though. Sub
Brendan Kiernan hit a fierce drive just wide of the goal with 5 minutes remaining.
The Wings who had the luxury of making three subs in order to save the legs for Tuesday, saw another sub John-Paul Kissock also blaze over from 30 yards.
3 minutes of added on time were seen out comfortably by The Wings as they secured their first opening day victory since the 2015/16 season win over Guiseley at Park View Road.
The Wings are now on the road for the next two games as they face Eastbourne Borough on Tuesday night before a trip to Chippenham Town next Saturday.