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Welwyn Garden City FC

Home of the "Citizens" - Established 1921

The BP Mitchell Stadium, Herns Lane, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL7 1TA

A Joel Norris hat-trick - his second in successive weeks - following his quartet in the 8-0 win at Winslow the previous Saturday, was the highlight of a rather drab WGC win over lowly Buckingham Athletic on Saturday.


In truth, it wasn't a spectacular hat-trick - two short-range finishes and a penalty - but then the game wasn't much of a spectacle either, as it all seemed too easy for Adam Fisher's table-toppers.


But it maintained WGC's nine point lead at the head of the SSML Div 1 table, still with a game in hand over nearest challengers Bedford FC, who had a 7-1 away victory at Stony Stratford.


Fisher's side dominated from minute one of this game, but an opening quarter of total control and possession, didn't produce a single chance until the 15th minute. Then Marc Arnott tried to get on the end of a Sean Brettell chip into the goalmouth, until Buckingham defender Adam Bone intervened at the expense of a corner.


From the long corner, skipper Liam Kenna turned it back into the area and Norris popped up to finish from a couple of yards to start the ball rolling.


WGC doubled their lead inside a couple of minutes with the best goal of the afternoon. Juan Cifuentes played a long ball towards the area and as it dropped over his shoulder, Arnott very cleverly hooked it over keeper Andy Hammond for two in two minutes.


Already cruising before 20 minutes had been played, Arnott was denied a second in 22 minutes by keeper Hammond's legs and a first-time Norris strike was just wide of the post.


Buckingham offered no threat and only crossed half-way a handful of times, as they tried to halt the tide of WGC attacking. Two minutes from the break it was 3-0, Daryl Smith making a strong run and a decisive pass and Norris was on the spot again, to slip it in from short range.


With the game effectively over, WGC became somewhat complacent immediately after the restart and paid the price seven minutes into the second-half, when they lost possession. Buckingham's Paul Dearlove produced a fine ball that took out three home defenders to play Scott Latham clean through and he slipped his shot past Joe Croft for a shock away goal.


Manager Fisher trying to shake his side out of its torpor, sent on Yasin Boodhoo for Smith and moments after coming on, the midfielder burst into the area onto a throw-in, to be taken down by Bone's challenge.


Referee Saggers awarded the penalty, but for the second week in succession and third time on the trot, Brettell's penalty was too close to the keeper and Hammond saved with relative comfort.


Jason Caswell, who had missed WGC's last two games, was introduced and just like Boodhoo, made an instant impact, going clean through only to go down under substitute defender Menday's tackle.


This wasn't as clear cut as the previous incident, but Mr Saggers, after a long consultation with his assistant, awarded WGC a second penalty. This time they changed the taker and Norris completed his treble with an emphatic spot-kick, wide of Hammond.


The Buckingham keeper produced a sensational save 15 minutes from time, when he went full length to tip away Arnott's fine strike towards the top corner and the visitors could have had a second of the afternoon, when their star striker Phil Martin, beset by injury, was introduced late on.


Deep in stoppage time, he burst away from the home defence to get clear of Kenna and Sam Perrin and bring a fine save from Croft with his legs, the only real exertion the Herns Lane keeper had during the 90 odd minutes of what was a routine win.


WGC: Croft, Perrin, Kenna, Dekanski, Lovell (Caswell 65), Cato, Cifuentes, Smith (Boodhoo 62), Brettell, Arnott (M), Norris (Arnott C 72).

Welwyn Garden City FC 4 - 1 Buckingham Athletic