WELWYN GC played out their first drawn game of their Southern League Div 1 Central season, thanks to a late equaliser from recent acquisition Stuart Zanone – the striker’s fourth goal in as many games since joining the Citizens.
And the share of the points was fully deserved by Adam Fisher’s side after a very strong second-half performance that probably deserved to edge a competitive fixture in their favour against old rivals AFC.
The Herns Lane side paid for a poor start to the game, their Beds hosts swarming all over them in the opening quarter of the game.
Keeper Dan Green was in action in the game’s opening attack saving at the feet of ex-WGC favourite Joel Norris, now in AFC’s colours.
And the former-BP Mitchell Stadium man reprieved his old club with a bad headed miss in just three minutes, nodding Newman Carney’s pinpoint cross wide, from just a couple of yards.
So it came as no surprise when AFC took the lead, their top scorer BJ Christie getting the better of Lee Close for just about the only time in the 90 minutes, to slam a low effort past Green for a sixth minute advantage.
After the torrid opening, WGC began to settle around the 20 minute mark and good build-up involving a pass from defender Dave Corran allowed Zanone to set up new signing Danny May to strike an effort just past the far post.
A sharp cross-shot from Nick Elliott suffered the same fate, but underlined WGC’s improvement.
Good work by full-back Jon Sexton and keeper Green kept the eager Norris out in 27 minutes, but the former Citizens’ striker suffered a knee injury in the resulting collision and played no further part in the game.
Elliott produced one of the better efforts of the half two minutes from the break, a low drive, from Jon Clements’ clever lay-off, that brought home keeper Connor Sansom to his first real save of the game.
WGC began the second-half on the front foot, Corran heading a May corner just past a post and never really released their grip on the game for the whole half.
They controlled possession, played some flowing football, but didn’t really trouble keeper Sansom further, despite this dominance.
Manager Fisher introduced the fit again George Ironton and Dan Bond to try and find an elusive, but what would be a deserved, equaliser.
Eventually with just five minutes remaining of normal time remaining, WGC’s pressure told.
Corran threaded another ball through from the back, AFC Dunstable central defender Leon Cashman tried to intercept, but only set up the chance for Zanone to control and take it on, driving low past Sansom into the corner, to maintain his goal-a-game start with WGC.
That leveller sparked a frantic end to the game. Christie, who had been excellently subdued by Close, turned sharply and shot just past a post in an immediate Dunstable response.
WGC hit back with Elliott firing over a deep cross from the right that saw Ben Spaul come in on the far post and plant a powerful header just over the home crossbar.
WGC introduced Ashley Kersey for the final couple of minutes and the big striker made an almost immediate impact.
Shaking off AFC’s central defenders, he burst through to strike a powerful effort that keeper Sansom had to beat away with his fists, in an unorthodox save, to maintain the status quo.
WGC: Green, May (Ironton 70), Close, Corran, Sexton, Payne, Elliott, Spaul, Rolfe, Zanone (Kersey 88), Clements (Bond 83).