Cameron pen 43
UNITED settled into a new division with a comprehensive 3-0 win over a Welling team that simply could not handle the pace and enterprise of an impressive attacking unit.
Plainmoor was treated to a fine performance from an exciting group of young Yellows, who stormed in front with a beautiful early goal by the excellent Ryan Bowman. It was virtually game over when Courtney Cameron fired in a confident penalty just before the interval.
A third from substitute Toby Ajala confirmed all three points would be staying in the Riviera and the Yellow Army can already start looking forward to the weekend visit of Southport to a happy Plainmoor.
United boss Chris Hargreaves made one change from the side beaten 3-1 at Gateshead on the opening day, dropping Elliot Benyon out of the match-day squad and giving Ashley Yeoman his chance up front as partner to Bowman.
Krystian Pearce was fit enough to take a place on the bench after struggling with an ankle injury through pre-season, allowing Levi Ives to resume youth-team duties.
Welling player-manager Jamie Day also made one change, as his side looked to build on a controversial 1-1 draw at home to Telford on the weekend, a game that saw the visitors end up with nine men. Joe Healy was the man preferred to Charlie Gorman on the wing.
In the pleasant sunshine of a summer evening, United started the game with a decent tempo and the clear directive from the dressing room was to test Welling’s nerve in the early stages.
A Tom Cruise curler from distance drifted comfortably wide of the left-hand post for visiting goalkeeper Lee Butcher and the excitement levels inside TQ1 slowly grew with a sweeping 50-yard pass from captain Luke Young that drew warm applause from the Yellow Army.
The Gulls were completely dominant in possession and took the lead with a truly sublime goal, the sort of passing move that would have been admired in the top divisions of the English game.
A flowing move that saw the ball fizzed across a lush surface ended with Cameron finding a pocket of space in midfield to thread a fabulous pass through the Welling defence for Bowman, who controlled instantly before waltzing past Butcher and slotting into a gaping goal.
Much to their credit, Welling responded by adding some attacking impetus to their own approach and a brace of corners required strong defensive work from Angus MacDonald and Aaron Downes to clear the Yellow decks.
United came back with another neat move down the right, with the influential Louis Briscoe exchanging passes with Dale Tonge before delivering a final cross that was glanced wide by the head of Bowman.
A siege began on the Welling goal on 26 minutes, as Luke Young burst through the middle to feed Yeoman, who saw his shot across goal palmed clear by Butcher. Briscoe smashed the loose ball against a recovering defender and Yeoman then poked the second rebound inches wide.
Complacency was the only real danger for the Gulls and a second goal was nothing more than the home dominance deserved. Young came within a whisker of achieving that aim with a sizzling free-kick from 30 yards that required a tip over the bar by Butcher.
A Cameron corner then just eluded the run of Downes and Briscoe could not keep an ambitious half-volley from 16 yards low enough to test the over-worked Butcher.
The Wings came back with a clever move on the edge of United’s area but Downes was in the right place to execute a well-timed tackled before the shot from Tyrone Marsh could trouble Martin Rice in the Yellow goal.
A beautiful piece of skill from Yeoman on the right flank then created room for Young to feed the ball out to the opposite wing for Cameron, who tempted full-back Loui Fazakerley into a shove that saw referee Richard Martin point to the spot.
It was arguably a soft decision but the fact Welling barely protested suggests the officials got it right, and Cameron duly smashed a superb spot-kick into the roof of the net to double the advantage.
Welling were in complete disarray and Butcher produced a marvellous save to tip wide a long-ranger by Bowman from the next attack. MacDonald’s header from the subsequent corner was blocked on the line by Chris Bush.
Half-time arrived with smiles all around Plainmoor but Welling sent out a warning to any over-confidence with a glancing effort from Harry Beautyman flashing a fraction wide within two minutes of the restart. A Cameron free-kick was the swift riposte and Bowman was unlucky to see his towering header dip just over.
There was little doubt, however, that the Wings were in a more determined mood and a succession of set-piece situations needed some excellent defending from Downes and a strong punch clear by Rice.
The delightfully-named partnership of Yeoman and Bowman both screwed shots narrowly wide from the next Yellow attacks, and while Welling were showing good spirit, the chances were there for more United goals.
Having said that, Welling had a very strong penalty claim turned down when a shot by Marsh struck the hand of MacDonald. It was hardly deliberate but you could still understand the frustration in the away dug-out.
The visitors continued to throw men forward and when Beuatyman sneaked into the left channel, he was able to cut inside the despairing challenge of Tonge for a low shot that was saved by the legs of Rice.
United had stopped playing and Hargreaves freshened up his troops by introducing Ajala for Briscoe on the hour-mark, but the flow of attacks continued to go the other way and Fazackerley was unfortunate to see his low shot from a difficult angle bounce off the outside of the post.
From absolutely nowhere, United had the game sewn up, as a loose pass out of the Welling defence was picked up by Ajala, who bustled into position before lifting a clever lob over the advancing Butcher.
Both managers soon turned back to their substitutes, with Duane Ofori-Acheampong replacing Yeoman for United and Malik Ouani coming into the Welling attack in place of Rod Young. Beautyman was withdrawn for Gorman in the next change for the forlorn visitors.
A final word for Rice, who kept hold of his own clean sheet with two excellent saves to deny Fyfield the scant glory of a late consolation.
It was then a gentle procession for United through the closing minutes and while there will certainly be tougher challenges ahead in the Vanarama Conference, it was a hugely satisfying start to the home campaign.
United(4-4-2): 1 Martin Rice; 2 Dale Tonge, 21 Angus MacDonald, 4 Aaron Downes, 3 Thomas Cruise; 7 Louis Briscoe (10 Toby Ajala 61), 6 Ben Harding, 8 Luke Young (capt), 11 Courtney Cameron; 9 Ryan Bowman, 14 Ashley Yeoman (24 Duane Ofori-Acheampong 69). Substitutes (not used): 5 Krystian Pearce, 16 Courtney Richards, 23 Jordan Seabright (GK).
Welling(4-4-2): 1 Lee Butcher; 2 Loui Fazakerley, 3 Jamal Fyfield, 6 Chris Bush, 14 Ben Jefford; 7 Rod Young (17 Malik Ouani 69), 4 Jake Gallagher (capt), 8 Harry Beautyman (18 Charlie Gorman 80), 33 Joe Healy; 11 Tyrone Marsh, 15 Afolabi Obafemi Substitutes (not used): 13 Jamie Turner (GK), 23 Barney Williams, 27 Jamie Day.
Attendance:1,895 (49 away)