Welwyn Garden City FC
Home of the "Citizens" - Established 1921
The BP Mitchell Stadium, Herns Lane, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL7 1TA
Cambridge City 4 - 1 Welwyn Garden City
A DISASTROUS last 25 minutes to this game from the Citizens, saw them succumb to their fifth straight defeat as they caved in, in the closing stages of what had been a closely and evenly fought encounter at Histon, for the opening hour.
A battling, defensive draw – the hallmark of manager Dean Barker’s early time in charge of WGC – looked on the cards for 65 minutes, as his side came back from the shock of falling behind in Cambridge City’s opening attack, to make a good fist of the rest of the opening hour.
The crowd had barely settled in their seats before Cambridge City were ahead in their opening raid. A low cross from the right from Max Booth eluded the entire WGC defence and City top scorer Ryan Sharman had probably the easiest of his tally this season, tapping past Lewis Todd from a couple of yards.
To their credit, WGC were straight back at the home side. Matty Campbell-Mhlope almost played new striker Eoin McKeown in with a long pass, that was just overhit, before on 11 minutes, WGC were level.
This time, midfielder Ivan Agyaakwah played a fine ball over the top and Campbell-Mhlope was taken down by City’s Ollie Swain’s clumsy challenge.
At first, referee Chalmers looked to be awarding the offence outside the area, but on consultation with his assistant, ruled it inside the box and Elliot Bailey – who had missed his last spot-kick – made no mistake this time with an excellent penalty into the bottom corner.
Chances were at a premium for the remainder of a first-half, in which the Herns Lane side gave as good as they got, but did seem to have a lucky escape two minutes from the interval, when defender Jack Humphrey looked to handle in the area, but Mr Chalmers ajudged it to have hit the defender’s chest.
Humphrey’s poor clearing header set up Cambridge City’s first chance of the second period as it was straight to midfielder Harvey Bullin, but Todd got down well to pull off a fine save and keep WGC on terms.
WGC’s defensive solidity was good to this point and they repelled all the home team could throw at them until the 65th minute.
Then City’s dangerous, main attacking weapon, the powerful Josh Oysinah escaped his marking from a throw-in to power in a strong header. Todd made a good save, pushing it away to his right, but only to the home side’s Booth who came in with a close-in header to restore the Cambridge lead.
From that point, the youthful WGC, lacking the experience of skipper Dave Keenleyside (ankle injury) and Jon Sexton (one game ban), fell apart and seemed to lose any faith that they could take anything from the game.
Manager Barker quickly introduced Eusebio Da Silva, Charlie Pattison and finally Isaac Ebelebe – the former two to add some bite to his attack.
But at the other end, his side folded.
On 75 minutes, striker Bailey was statuesque, when Adam Watkins turned past him from another throw-in and struck a swerving 20 yarder inside Todd and the near post for a fine Cambridge third and nine minutes from time, Pattison played an absolutely suicidal crossfield pass that only found City striker Sharman on the edge of the WGC area.
He eased his way around Ebelebe and rolled his second past Todd for his second, easy goal of the afternoon.
WGC finished the game in shambolic fashion and when in the last minute of the game, skipper for the day, Jay Rolfe broke forward to place his low shot towards the bottom corner, Cambridge City keeper Jamie Head was forced to his only real save of the afternoon.
WGC: Todd, Carr (Ebelebe 75), Ebengo, Humphrey, Alomenu, Agyaakwah (Pattison 71), Rolfe, Campbell-Mhlope, McKeown, Bailey, Orcan (Da Silva 67).