WELWYN GC slipped to their third successive defeat, as they succumbed to a second-half comeback for the second time this season at the hands of fellow Southern League newcomers Coleshill Town.
When the Warwickshire side visited the BP Mitchell Stadium in mid-November, an Adam Fisher-managed Citizens held a 2-0 lead, before the Midlanders struck back to take a point in an exciting 2-2 draw.
Again, at Coleshill’s home facilities, WGC, now managed by Dean Barker, held the lead at the interval, but the youthful and sometimes a little naïve Clarets line-up, wilted in the face of a strong second-half comeback by the home side to go down to a 2-1 defeat.
Boss Barker introduced new winger Brendan Ocran for his debut and had another recent signing, midfielder Nathan McGreevy on the bench. But his line-up was lacking the unavailable Dylan Ebengo and Ivan Agaakwah and had Jesse Walklin (hamstring) injured.
Coleshill clearly settled the better on their home 3G Astroturf surface and went close through a Reece Leek header and a powerful George Washbourne shot, both just over Lewis Todd’s crossbar in the opening quarter.
But after a fairly torrid opening spell, WGC settled and began to play the better football.
Isaac Ebelebe began a move that saw new boy Orcan put in a dipping cross inches away from a stretching Elliot Bailey and then on 25 minutes the Citizens hit the home crossbar.
Dan Carr put over a fine, now trademark cross on the run and Matty Campbell-Mhlope, at full stretch, jabbed it over home keeper Paul Hathaway, only to see it hit the crossbar and bounce down to safety.
The visitors continued to force the pace and a fine, swinging free-kick from skipper Dave Keenleyside to the back post, saw Jay Rolfe meet it on the full, only to be inches wide with his effort.
WGC’s pressure finally had its reward four minutes from the break.
The ball was worked back to impressive new centre-back Jack Humphrey. He hoisted a high ball forward that the Coleshill defence left, allowing Bailey to nip in and lift it over Hathaway for a 1-0 half-time lead.
The Midlands side clearly were given a good rousting at the break and came out all guns blazing for the second period.
Charlie Pattison made a good individual run in the early minutes of the half, for the Clarets, but ended it with a disappointing shot straight at Hathaway, before Coleshill got on on terms just past the hour.
Leek cut in from the left and blazed it goalward. WGC’s defence blocked the effort, but only cleared it to Liam Molesworth, who drove it low past keeper Todd, with several visiting defenders static.
WGC introduced winger David Manu for a limping Campbell-Mhlope on 65 minutes, but two minutes later it was Coleshill who had the boost of a second goal, forcing a left-wing corner from which home skipper Joe Halsall was left unopposed to rise and head firmly beyond Todd, with the Citizens’ marking clearly missing.
New boy McGreevy and extra striker Eusebio Da Silva were given the last 20 minutes and WGC applied late pressure, including a grandstand finish in the final minutes.
Jon Sexton overlapped down the left and got over a fine cross that none of three WGC players could get a final touch to, while in stoppage time Bailey and Keenleyside combined to put Da Silva through into the area. But the striker took an extra touch that allowed keeper Hathaway to save at his feet and the chance of a point was lost.
WGC: Todd, Carr, Humphrey, Rolfe, Sexton, Pattison (McGreevy 69), Ebelebe (Da Silva 72), Keenleyside, Campbell-Mhlope (Manu 65), Bailey, Orcan.