IF Welwyn GC manager Adam Fisher wanted to know if his side was ready for the new challenge of Southern League Div 1 football, then here was the answer.
After a slow start in this hastily arranged fixture at Dunstable – the clubs agreeing to play even though they will both be in Div 1 Central, but are not meeting until November – WGC proceeded to take their Beds hosts apart with a slick first half-hour display.
In the final half-hour of the opening 45 minutes, Fisher’s side produced their best football of their pre-season programme to lead 3-0 at the interval.
AFC began the brighter, although Jon Clements did hit an early chance straight at the home keeper and Jay Rolfe, playing in midfield, with on-loan signing, former Citizen Jay Lovell, returning in central defence, struck the keeper’s legs, from an accurate George Ironton free-kick.
Lovell was quickly in action, hooking off the goalline, when WGC keeper Dan Green was caught off his line in the opening quarter.
But gradually WGC took a stranglehold on the game and in a devastating final quarter to the half, scored three times.
Firstly Clements was put through with a Jon Sexton pass and provided a trademark finish with an effort under the keeper’s body.
Ironton hit a chance for a second wide, but number two wasn’t long in coming.
Ironton, having an outstanding time, skipped past two tackles to set up newcomer Tony Williams, who drove in his first WGC goal, for 2-0.
On the stroke of the interval, Williams had a second to make it 3-0, when the home keeper could only half stop a Clements effort and Williams snaffled the rebound.
His reward was to be replaced by Dan Bond for the second-half, but it didn’t deter the Citizens who went 4-0 up on the hour.
From another accurate Ironton set-piece, Rolfe peeled away on the back post to plant a header onto the woodwork and Lovell smashed in the rebound to crown his return.
Manager Fisher rang the changes from this point, introducing Dan Ferrigno and trialists – Ibrahim Conteh from Wingate & Finchley, former Farnborough player Aiden Gaffney and ex-MK Dons academy player Leon Taylor - also including two youth-teamers in Jack Eason and Rory Hull for the final minutes.
AFC Dunstable didn’t look likely to close the deficit in the final half-hour and the Herns Lane outfit ran out comfortable winners.
WGC were lacking several regulars for this game including Ben Spaul, Nick Elliott, Josh Bronti and Josh Holmes.
WGC: (starting line-up): Green, Hunt, Lovell, Corran, Sexton, O’Connor, Rolfe, Payne, Ironton, Clements, Williams.
Subs:- (all used), Bond, Ferrigno, Conteh (trialist), Gaffney (trialist), Taylor (trialist), Joy, Hull, Eason.