Welling United 1-4 Hungerford Town: Hat-trick hero Mbonkwi shines as Crusaders get off to winning start in National League South
Simo Mbonkwi was the star of the show as his hat-trick for Hungerford Town helped them to a convincing 4-1 win away to Welling United in the Vanarama National League South.
The league season began last weekend, but the Crusaders were without a game due to there being an odd number of teams in the league.
With it being their opening game, Danny Robinson’s side certainly made a statement at the Park View Road stadium.
It took Hungerford just eight minutes to open the scoring as a long throw from skipper James Rusby was met by the head of Mbonkwi, who beat Murphy Mahony at his near post.
Welling fought back and had a couple of chances themselves, a header from Akinyemi being their best chance, but that was straightforward for Luke Cairney.
Town doubled their lead just before the half-hour mark when another Rusby throw was met by Mbonkwi once more and the midfielder poked home from close range.
Welling did, however, pull a goal back as Dipo Akinyemi smashed home a long-distance effort from outside the box and found the top corner.
The home side were in the ascendancy, but things took a turn when Bradley Pearce was shown a straight red card for bringing down Sol Wanjau-Smith in the penalty area.
After plenty of appeals from the home side, Ryan Seager picked the ball up and converted the spotkick to give Hungerford a 3-1 lead at the break.
It didn’t take the visitors long to take advantage of the extra man as Mbonkwi completed his hat-trick, nine minutes into the second-half.
After a superb run from Rhys Tyler, the full-back found Mbonkwi at the back post and he smashed his effort into the roof of the net.
The midfielder continued to cause more problems and could have added to his tally.
Manager Robinson made all three changes and took the sting out of the game as they saw the game out.
It’s an impressive start to the campaign for Hungerford, who open their account for the season.
For a full match report and reaction, see next week’s Newbury Weekly News - out on Thursday.