A REARGUARD action for almost all the second-half, preserved Welwyn GC's unbeaten league record - the only one now in the SSML Premier - as they won their fourth successive league game by a 2-1 scoreline.
WGC's defensive solidity in taking the three points plus Hertford's shock 4-1 home defeat by the Citizens's FA Cup conquerors Stotfold, left Adam Fisher's side as the only unbeaten team in the division and propelled them to second, behind early pacesetters London Colney.
In a distinct game of two halves, WGC went to Cockfosters, second in the table before this game, with a slightly changed line-up. Boss Fisher switched skipper Martin Standen and Sam Doolan around, with the latter playing this time in central midfielder.
It was an area where WGC were short with the impressive Danny Fitzgerald out for a couple of weeks with an ankle injury. James Ewington was preferred to Ashley Kersey upfront, while newcomer Taishan Griffith was given a first start in place of the departed Dave Parkinson.
Cockfosters were straight onto the attack in the first minute and Jay Welsh looked to be fouled, when left on the seat of his pants by Cassidy-Sinclair. The ball was driven across where home skipper Melford-Rowe put his effort past Olly Leslie's post.
WGC settled, for new boy Griffith to impress, rounding two challenges down the right, only to be forced out at the last.
On 10 minutes, the newcomer did even better. Lewis Endacott won a vital interception and played the ball square to Griffith, who took it on before hitting a fine, dipping effort over the home keeper for 1-0 to the visitors.
The Citizens continued to impress after their shaky start and Luke Robins fired a fierce cross-shot across the face of the home goal, before WGC keeper Leslie was forced to tip over a Melford-Rowe effort from 20 yards.
WGC still held sway and went 2-0 up on 27 minutes when Robins produced an absolute peach of a 30 yard pass hooking it over his shoulder to send Ewington
clear. The striker held off a challenge from Resch, before sweeping it past keeper Pontiskaitis.
On the stroke of the interval, WGC lost Robins with a hamstring injury, replaced by Joe Foley and central defender John McGrandles picked up a significant booking for arguing over a free-kick conceded by teammate Doolan, when he seemed to win the ball.
The second-half proved a different story with Cockfosters laying siege to the WGC goal.
On the hour, keeper Leslie, now fully fit after being troubled by a groin injury during the summer, produced a sensational save when full-back Rolfe cut back a ball into the path of George Ironton, who looked certain to equalise, only for Leslie to turn away the effort in great style.
WGC's sole foray forward forced a right-wing corner that Welsh landed on the head of fellow full-back Endacott on the back post, but the effort just squeezed wide.
Back came Cockfosters and 18 minutes from time, they pulled a goal back, but only after a long debate.
From a free-kick, Cassidy-Sinclair knocked the ball down and Dominique Bongo forced it in, but the assistant raised his flag. Referee Moreno consulted but after a lengthy discussion, awarded the goal.
This was the signal for even more home pressure and 16 minutes from the end, WGC were reduced to 10 men, when McGrandles was penalised for a challenge on the by-line.
Mr. Moreno booked him, not seemingly having remembered he had already done so at the end of the first-half. After protests from the home players, he was persuaded to reconsider and sent the WGC defender off.
Three minutes from the end, keeper Pontiskaitis made a hash of a clearance, presenting WGC sub Kersey with the ball, but before the big striker could capitalise, the keeper redeemed himself, blocking the goal bound effort.
WGC: Leslie, Endacott, McGrandles, Standen, Welsh (Boodhoo 68), Payne, Doolan, Robins (Foley 45), Bronti, Ewington (Kersey 76), Griffith.
Photos courtesy of Mark Long @MarkLongPhoto