Hereford United failed to bring any pre-Christmas cheer to their supporters by turning in a dreadful performance in a 3-0 defeat by Welling United.

At the start of the season, United fans were prepared to concede there are a number of useful sides in the Vauxhall Conference, but even the most pessimistic follower would have thought that the first side to do the double over the Bulls would be Welling.

The Kent club followed up their opening day victory at Edgar Street by overpowering and out-performing a Hereford side which seemed to be suffering a giant hangover from their epic FA Cup performance against Colchester earlier in the week.

For the first 20 minutes, Hereford showed flashes of the form that has taken them to the third round of the Cup, but once Welling had taken the lead with a wonder goal by Mark Cooper, United went steadily into decline. Few of the players could be even remotely satisfied with their displays

On 16 minutes, Hereford should have gone in front when Neil Grayson's flick from a James McCue cross set up Chris Hargreaves, but the ex-West Bromwich Albion player's weak shot was kicked of the line by Paul Copley. Four minutes later, Jamie Pitman made a good run down the right and crossed to McCue, but the striker, who had a clear sight of goal, laid the ball back to Mahon, like Hargreaves still seeking his first Conference goal, and his effort was blocked.

Welling, a big and physical side, had demonstrated little flair up to this point, but they took the lead in the 21st minute with, according to local pundits, one of the most spectacular goals ever seen on the Park View Road ground.

Cooper, Welling's leading scorer, picked the ball up 30 yards out and let fly with a powerful left-foot effort which dipped over the helpless Andy Quy into the net.

Seven minutes before the break, Welling took a firm grip on proceedings when John Brough failed to clear a Tony Dolby corner and Copley nodded on for on-loan Leon Braithwaite to mark his debut with a close range goal. Hereford's top scorer Grayson missed a chance to pull one back in the second-half's opening minute when he hit a weak shot at Glen Knight in the home goal. Substitute Mark Watson wrapped things up for Welling 15 minutes from time when he glanced in number three from Dolby's cross. Grayson was shown the yellow card for dissent.

HEREFORD: Quy 6, Warner 5 (Rodgerson 56, 6), Fishlock 7, Pitman 6, Brough 5, Walker 6, Hargreaves 5, McGorry 5 (Williams 82), Grayson 6, McCue 5 (Cook 56, 5), Mahon 5.

Attendance: 749.