WELWYN GC’s under 25’s bounced back in impressive style after an indifferent performance and defeat at Oxhey Jets the previous Saturday, with an emphatic win over Hoddesdon in this midweek Under 25 Development division fixture at Herns Lane.
The Citizens fielding a strong-looking line-up, featuring three new faces all signed in the past week. Ex-Arlesey full-back Anthony Araba went into the back four, while central midfielder Tatenda Makoni, who has experience with Ryman Premier Dulwich Hamlet and Lewis Croucher, signed from Stotfold, were part of a strong midfield.
And WGC were in command from the off, lifting several acceptable chances over the Hoddesdon bar, Yasir Rashid, Reggie Ross and Lewis Croucher being the culprits.
Midfielder Jack Francis hit one fine effort just past a post, but WGC survived the biggest scare of the opening half-hour, when keeper Olly Leslie slipped badly coming out to intercept a through ball intended for Hoddesdon’s Jasper Graham-Jacobs.
The winger was left with a clear sight of an unguarded goal, until teenage central defender Robbie Steedman did wonderfully well to get back on the goalline and make the clearance.
The rebound again fell to Graham-Jacobs, but keeper Leslie managed to claw the effort away, despite being still grounded.
New boy Makoni was particularly impressive and set up another chance for Ross, who finished with a poor header and then the returned winger slipped two men to set up Arnott, but again the final effort cleared the crossbar.
But just before the half-hour WGC Under 25’s took the lead. Arnott produced a peach of a pass that put Croucher in the clear and he slipped his effort wide of Hoddesdon keeper Childs to open the scoring.
WGC closed the half still on the offensive and Arnott had a further effort blocked on the line just before the break.
Makoni, who had taken a blow to the foot had to be replaced by a further newcomer in Charlie Rome after the break and the ex-Royston and Standon & Puckeridge man, went on to have an impressive half.
Ross twice tested keeper Childs in the early minutes with a couple of drives that the Hoddesdon man kept out, before the visitors’ first-team pair Jordan Watson and Tom Cowell combined for Cowell to hit a fearsome 25 yarder that Olly Leslie turned away in great style.
A minute later, WGC doubled their lead, Arnott again splitting the visitors’ back-line with a straight ball into the path of Rashid, who finished well.
WGC U-25’s ntroduced Nathan Isherwood for the final 15 minutes and he capped his appearance with the third goal eight minutes from time, with a precise, placed finish into the bottom corner from yet another decisive pass from the experienced Arnott.
WGC U-25’s: Leslie, Araba, Coughlan, Steedman, Caliskan, Francis, Makoni (Rome 46), Arnott (Mahrouche 87), Croucher (Page 68), Rashid, Ross (Isherwood 75)