WELWYN GC surrendered their unbeaten Southern League home record at the fourth attempt, when edged out of the points by a Cambridge City goal 18 minutes from the end of an imminently forgettable game.
This poor clash would be easily forgotten but for a very unseemingly incident on referee Mr O’Sullivan’s final whistle, when a full scale fracas broke out, resulting in two players – one from each side – being given their marching orders.
WGC’s central defender Dave Corran and Ryan Towner, Cambridge’s midfielder, both saw red for “threatening behaviour’’, in an end to a match in which both sides pick up a trio of yellow cards and the visitors also had their substitute Josh Oyinsan sent off for two yellows – the second for simulation – three minutes from the end of normal time.
The Citizens were defending a three match unbeaten home record – thanks to single goal successes against Didcot, Barton and Yaxley, in their three previous home encounters since joining the Southern League Div 1 Central.
And they made a bright start here, forcing the pace. Nick Elliott slipped Jon Clements through in the opening three minutes, but Cambridge keeper Liam Gooch grabbed the ball off the WGC forward’s toes.
Clements had a much better chance in the 10th minute, Adam Hunt putting him away with a fine through ball down the right. Clements raced clear, but pulled a good opening across the face of Gooch’s goal.
The Herns Lane side continued to impress and a slick move set up a shooting chance for Elliott, which he struck powerfully wide.
But in a display reminiscient of their FA Cup exit at Brantham a month earlier, after a promising opening half-hour, WGC’s performance began to fade and the final 15 minutes of the half, went into a lull period, from which it never recovered.
After a shaky start, Cambridge City began to enjoy more influence and home keeper Dan Green had to make a sharp block to deny the visitors’ Salim Relizani, while the dangerous James Hall was just over the bar with an improvised effort.
WGC closed the half with another powerful strike from Elliott, but it suffered the same fate as his first, going narrowly wide.
The second-half was a pretty forgettable affair. Lee Close, voted the Citizens’ August Player of the Month, for his defensive displays, had been pushed into midfield for this one, in view of skipper Danny Payne’s hamstring injur. Close flashed a good header over the top from a free-kick.
Cambridge’s powerful French defender Gui Milanancol came forward at a set piece and was just off target with a towering header before the visitors poached the lead as the game entered its final stages.
Both sides used their substitutes and it was Cambridge replacement Lewis Whitehead who produced a sharp shot on the turn, to which Dan Green had to go full length to push it away,
WGC’s defence failed to regroup quickly enough and when Robinson returned it into the home area, Ryan Sharman was on the spot to net a downward header.
In truth, WGC, now looking a somewhat disjointed, lack lustre outfit, and didn’t much look like mounting a response.
Only George Ironton of the substitutes, added any pep to the display and he cleverly tricked a couple of challenges late on, before firing tamely straight at Gooch in the closing stages and before the game ended in its final fracas.
WGC: Green, Hunt, Lovell, Corran, Sexton (Fehmi 74), Rolfe, Close, Elliott (Ironton 70), Spaul, Clements, Bond (Williams 57).