WELWYN GC scored an outstanding away win at Bedford Town – one of the pre-season favourites for the Southern League Central Div 1 title – to make it three wins from four.
Manager Adam Fisher produced a masterplan to combat the dual Bedford threat of their tall, twin striking pair of experienced ex-Football League forward Paul Benson and his strike partner Dan Walker, and his back-line executed it excellently.
None did better than WGC’s central defensive pair of Jay Lovell and Lee Close, switched from midfield in place of the absent Dave Corran. Close was outstanding in the new position for the second game in a row.
The pair totally subdued Benson and Walker and as a result, Bedford didn’t offer the sustained threat many WGC supporters were expecting.
To add to manager Fisher’s successes, he introduced Josh Bronti for the last eight minutes of the game and within three of coming on, the substitute struck the winner, picking up a loose ball 30 yards out, before trimming a low shot into the corner, to win the game.
It propels WGC to fifth in the fledgling table, an outstanding start to their first campaign at step 4 football.
The first-half was an evenly matched clash, with both sides cancelling each other out,
A clever shot on the turn from the returned Nick Elliott, playing his first game of the season in a Claret shirt, that was just over the bar, was WGC’s best effort in 17 minutes, while last Monday’s hero Tony Williams did well robbing Watkins-Clark, but his final pass to set Jon Clements free, was just overhit.
Bedford relied on the aerial prowess of Benson and Walker, but although both got opportunities, their final efforts were all off target.
Brett O’Connor having his best showing in a WGC shirt, slipped several challenges before driving a low effort saved by home keeper Forster just before the break, while Lovell, marauding at a set piece, flashed a good header just wide in first-half stoppage time.
The second 45 minutes followed a similar pattern. Adam Hunt burst forward menacingly into the Bedford area, but was halted by a fine challenge from the home side’s muscular captain Gavin Hoyte, while Benson, once of Charlton, Swindon and Luton, volleyed wide when set up by striker partner Walker.
Ten minutes from time, keeper Dan Green kept the game scoreless, with a fine save to turn away a Walker effort after the home striker had linked up with full-back Longden.
The keeper repeated the feat as the game entered stoppage time, turning away a Callum Donnelly effort at full stretch, to protect the lead given them five minutes earlier from Bronti’s winning strike.
WGC: Green, Hunt, Lovell, Close, Rolfe, Spaul, Payne, Elliott (Bronti 82), O’Connor (Holmes 90+3), Clements, Williams (Bond 64).