Vanarama National League Fixture 12/08/23
Match Report by Allan Mitchell
With six points and two clean sheets from their opening two games it has been the near perfect start for The Tudors and although it has to be said there has been a slight element of fortune in both matches, you make your own luck and Brad Quinton's new look side are certainly working hard as a team and look a more cohesive unit than in recent seasons.
It was the visitors who made the brighter start in this fixture and they could have been two goals up before there were fifteen minutes on the clock. Kyle O’Connor Ajayi must have thought he’d given his side the lead on 9 minutes when he met a corner powerfully with his head, it somehow hit Welling keeper Ben Winterbottom at point blank range and bounced clear.
In the 12th minute a lovely through ball caught Welling back line pushing up and Reece Grant raced through on goal, he was forced slightly wide but he still managed to chip the onrushing Winterbottom, only to see it just drift past the far post.
After these two early scares Welling came into the game somewhat, with the excellent Jephte Tanga causing real problems down the right with his pace and close control. Alex MacAllister will feel he should put the home side in front when he found himself in a similar position to Grant earlier on, the big forward repeated the Hemel forwards effort by clipping the ball past Craig King but wide of the post.
Welling were controlling the game possession wise but they still weren’t really threatening the Hemel goal, although King made a smart save from TJ Bramble who rose unchallenged from a corner on 38 minutes. Right on half time Hemel found themselves reduced to 10 men when the unlucky Alfie Mathews received a second yellow card for what looked like nothing more than a clumsy challenge on the half way line.
Hemel re-grouped in the second period, leaving one up front and as is often the case Welling just couldn’t find a way to break them down, despite periods of good possession. Indeed it was The Tudors who almost took the lead when a superb through ball saw George Williams race into the area on the left, He fired a shot across the goal and it looked as though it was heading in but Winterbottom stuck out a foot to deflect it inches wide.
Welling then saw their one man advantage disappear when Bramble was given a straight red card for a very late tackle on Joe Re inside the Hemel penalty area. Shortly after, the referee then added more fuel to the fire when he awarded the visitors a spot kick on 79 minutes. Tyrese Briscoe did well to control a ball down the left and with a defender shadowing him closely he turned him superbly before tumbling to the ground. The official, who was very close to the incident pointed to the spot much to the displeasure of the Welling players and management.
It did look a bit soft but some you get and some you don’t and skipper George Williams wasn’t going to dwell on worrying about it being the correct decision as he stepped up to blast the ball straight down the middle to give The Tudors the lead.
As the clock ticked down Hemel once again managed the game out well, although they survived a couple of scares in time added on. First Craig King had to tip a powerful drive over the bar and then sub Amadou Kassarate wasted the chance of the game for Welling after he found himself in acres of space as the Tudors pushed out, there was no flag and he headed the ball past King but also past the far post when it looked easier to score.
Another three points in the bag and although its very early days, Hemel sit third in the table with maximum points.
Hemel: Craig King; Montel McKenzie, Josh Williams, Kyle O’Connor-Ajayi, Chris Smith; Joe Re, George Williams © Alfie Mathews, Arj Krasniqi, Guiseppe Iaciofano (Tyrese Briscoe) Reece Grant (Bilal Sayoud) Subs not used: James Taylor, Josh Hill, Finlay Corrigan.
Attendance 527 Tudors Man of the Match: Kyle O’Connor-Ajayi.