Jake Robinson’s knee injury led to a recall for Cal Kealy, while Captain Aarran Racine returned from a one match ban, as Cam Tutt dropped to the bench where Sammie McLeod and Adam Adam took their places for their competitive squad debuts.
The visitors made the perfect start by going ahead after only four minutes. Joel Colbran’s throw-in was played back to him by Ollie Pearce and the right-back’s cross into the penalty area led to Kealy holding off his marker, before turning and drilling a low effort past a wrong-footed Myles Roberts in the home goal.
That lead would be rather short-lived though, with Welling levelling the scores in the game’s very next attack.
Taylor Maloney’s blocked shot from the edge of the eighteen yard box broke nicely for Medy Elito on the right. He picked out Tyrique Hyde in the danger zone who took a touch prior to tucking home from close range.
Reds responded the only way they know how, as Kealy and Pearce linked up well for the former to deliver a ball, near the right-hand touchline, into the Aussie Ace but unfortunately he couldn’t quite get sufficient purchase on his goalbound attempt.
Trickery by Nodirbek Bobomurodov eventually resulted in Kane Wills supplying Pearce to hook wide of the far post, shortly before Ollie turned provider for Lewis White.
The Summer signing opened his competitive account for his new club when Ollie’s deep delivery off the right flank led to the winger keeping Rob Howard at bay, then slotting in to regain the advantage.
Another first had the visitors in dreamland just past the midway mark of the opening forty-five.
After a hugely impressive performance in last week’s draw against Dover, Joe Rye was in imperious form once again. This time adding to his growing reputation by getting his head to Pearce’s back post-directed free-kick to squeeze home a third, following Stefan Payne’s foul on Colbran which earned the former Fulham forward the match’s maiden caution.
United refused to lie down though and quickly dragged themselves back into proceedings, via Ade Azeez. Mahoney and Skipper James Dunne combined to tee-up the experienced striker who stayed onside and lashed a shot high, across Harrison Male.
It might have been three-all just past the half-hour, only for the same player to beat Colbran but smack the crossbar, as JC managed to get a decisive touch to avert an equaliser at the expense of a corner.
Despite the intense heat, the pace remained fast and furious; Pearce’s patience paying dividends when he was able to spread the play out to Bobomurodov on the right, pre-emanating a run at Tom Dickens and a firing straight at Roberts by the Uzbekistan-born number eleven.
Welling nearly gifted their guests a fourth in stoppage time, as Pearce and Bobomurodov resumed their roles from a short while ago, although on this occasion adding Wills to the mix, with ‘Nods’ finally blasting the ball over the bar.
A much-welcome and, indeed, needed break gave everyone a chance to cool down for fifteen minutes.
However, the second-half kicked-off in identical fashion to the first, after a counter-attack by the hosts culminated in Maloney switching out to Howard, who’s low fizzer whizzed across the face of goal and away to safety.
Dickens had to be alert to stop White doubling his tally, once Racine had won possession in midfield and found Kealy on the left of the area.
Tremendous tackling by Rye also set up an opportunity for Cal to get his second of the day but even the striker from Sydney stretching every sinew couldn’t quite lead to him converting Pearce’s latest cross.
They say that all teams need a bit of luck during any season and the blue-clad Reds certainly enjoyed a large slice on the way to making it four.
White the recipient of a fortunate bounce off one-time Worthing defender Taofiq Olomowewe, close to his own dugout, to keep the ball in play and handing on to Pearce to repeat his previous attempt at assisting CK. Mr. Kealy ensured lightning would not strike twice by burying this one.
A vitally important interception from the dome of Rye made sure that Maloney’s low, lofted pass for Azeez to latch onto was merely nodded through into the hands of Male, who was forced into more drastic action when he saved from substitute Ashley Nzala seconds later.
Howard’s long ball had seen Azeez and Payne pair up to create that particular opening but the duo of the newly introduced Chi Ezennolim and Nzala came close to reducing the deficit to one, again.
They broke from a flag-kick up the other end with the former locating the latter to his right, though the end product gave greater satisfaction to their opponents. The crossbar cleared comfortably, much to the travelling side’s relief.
Talking of handfuls, those pesky protagonists Kealy and Pearce were, from a home perspective, up to no good as usual as we entered the final throes of a hugely entertaining affair. Roberts ultimately keeping out Cal close-in.
Nine additional minutes were added on and in the very first of them Payne tested the strength of the apparatus one last time; watching on in frustration as his thumping twenty-five yarder also shaved off the top of Male’s fingertips on it’s way to hitting the underside, before bouncing down and away from the target.