TWO first-half goals from the in-form Dan Bond did the necessary, to take Welwyn GC back to the top of the SSML Premier Division on a freezing midweek night at Herns Lane.
Berkhamsted, WGC’s promotion rivals, whom Adam Fisher’s side vanquished twice in a four days the previous week, had regained top spot with a solitary goal win at London Colney the previous evening.
So it was imperative that the Citizens took back the iniatitive and the leadership 24 hours later, on a rapidly freezing pitch that was passed fit just three hours before kick-off.
WGC’s liking for a fast start that has brought them so many dividends in recent games, worked again against a Crawley Green side, lying second bottom, but who had given the Citizens a battle royal in their previous visit in the Premier Cup in mid-November.
The home side had triumphed 4-3 with a last minute winner on that occasion.
In the game’s first real opening in seven minutes, WGC were ahead.
Jon Clements, playing down the middle in the absence of unavailable Ashley Kersey, produced a peach of a pass into the path of winger Charlie Joy, whose low cross was met by in-form Dan Bond for his 13th goal in 15 games since joining the Clarets.
On 15 minutes, WGC newcomer Nick Elliott tried his luck from distance, but visiting keeper Pedricz held on to the effort well.
The Crawley Green keeper did well again just past the 20 minute mark, when he denied Bond a second, with a sharp save with his legs, before the Luton visitors had their first clear opening of the game, on the half hour, Bamford escaping John McGrandles to test WGC keeper Charlie May. He turned the effort away and full-back Jon Sexton tidied up.
Eight minutes from the break, Bond and the Citizens had a second. Sexton turned provider, with a fine, angled pass from the back, Bond timed his curving run perfectly to pick it up and take it on to drill past Pedricz.
May had to make another good stop on the verge of half-time from Bamford, to keep WGC two goals ahead at the break.
As the temperatures plummeted, so did the quality of the game, in a freezing second-half.
Neither side side seemed to be able to lift the play above the sub-zero surroundings and chances were at a premium.
Bond tried a curling effort that Pedricz held onto to deny the WGC man his hat-trick and then Bond’s pace took him clear of the Crawley Green defence, for him to set up a shot from Elliott, but again the visiting keeper saved well.
Manager Fisher rang the changes to try and bring some life to the second 45 minutes, introducing Josh Bronti, George Ironton and finally Paul Marks, just before the end.
But in the end, the frozen crowd raised their biggest cheer of the evening, for referee Mr Mackey’s final whistle, to end the action on a bitterly cold evening.
WGC: May, Rolfe, Corran, McGrandles, Sexton, Payne, Spaul, Elliott (Ironton 71), Bond, Clements (Marks 86), Joy (Bronti 71).