WELWYN GC won their first, first-team fixture in five weeks, with this victory over lower mid-table Cockfosters.
It was February 10 since Adam Fisher’s side has last been able to complete a fixture on their home ground, having had just one game that has beaten the weather since – a 4-1 success at Oxhey Jets eight days before.
The still heavy ground was passed fit in a lunchtime inspection and the Citizens managed to slog their way to a comfortable, if uninspiring victory to close the gap to just two points at the top of the SSML Premier Division table, WGC holding five games in hand on leaders Berkhamsted, whom they have already beaten twice this season.
Manager Adam Fisher wasn’t overly worried about the quality of his side’s performance on the stamina-sapping surface, more satisfied that his side had completed another win and a further game of the 15 matches that WGC have remaining, could be ticked off the lengthy list.
It took his side just 11 minutes to get their noses in front, courtesy of central defender John McGrandles. He met a left-wing corner with a powerful header. Cockfosters’ keeper Lee Walker blocked, but couldn’t hold the effort and McGrandles slammed the rebound home, when the ball came back to him.
There wasn’t much else of significance to record in a poor first 45 minutes.
Jon Sexton threaded a good pass through to Jon Clements, but the leading scorer turned well but finished weakly with a shot straight at
Walker and the keeper raced from his line to kick a Ben Spaul through ball off Clements’ toes in another likely move.
A spat between WGC’s Paul Marks and opposition skipper Ian Salt was ended with a yellow card for both, after a clash over a tackle.
The second-half promised better when a fine Jay Rolfe cross found the head of the raiding Spaul early on, but the off-balance midfielder headed over from close in.
Ten minutes later, Tyler Hatherly’s accurate free-kick found Rolfe in an attacking role. He met it with a placed downward header, but Walker foiled the effort with a full length save.
WGC continued to improve and Hatherly was sent burrowing his way through from a Spaul pass, but hooked his final shot wide.
Manager Fisher introduced Josh Bronti and Ashley Kersey midway through the half and the pair combined for Bronti to set up Kersey with a close-in chance, but the big striker stabbed his effort straight at Walker from a couple of yards!
Kersey did much better with a shot on the turn after a further good Bronti run past a couple of defenders, but the effort hit the far post and bounced out.
WGC seemed as through they might have valid claims for a penalty, when Danny Payne was brought down heavily in the area, going through on goal, but referee Panconi thought otherwise and only awarded the Citizens a corner.
It took until a minute into stoppage time for WGC to finally double their lead. Again Bronti’s pace down the right created the opening, pulling it back into Kersey’s path and this time he finished the chance - albeit at the second attempt – to close the game.
WGC: May, Rolfe, Corran, McGrandles, Sexton, Marks (Kersey 68), Spaul, Payne, Bond ( Bronti 63), Clements, Hatherly (Joy 83).