WELWYN GC fans will hope that 2019 will produce better fayre than was served up in the opening game of the new year at the BP Mitchell Stadium.
In a dire holiday game, the Citizens slipped to their fifth defeat in the last six games – a run that has seen them fall to 14th place in the table and out of the Southern League Cup.
Certainly, lowly opponents Dunstable Town, 16th coming into this game, were no great shakes, but they were clearly better than Adam Fisher’s side on the day and deserved the victory given them by the game’s only goal inside five minutes.
There was little in the way of response from Welwyn GC, who seemed to “sleepwalk’’ through the game and rarely threatened to level matters.
There was none of the desire shown in the frantic recovery at Didcot just three days earlier, that earned a point in a breathtaking 3-3 draw – WGC’s only point from the last 15 available.
Dunstable began the livelier and after a couple of early forays, it was no surprise that the Beds side capped this start with the game’s only goal in five minutes, the impressive Marcus Gouldbourne retrieving what looked a lost cause and found winger Saul Williams’ whose low cross was swept in by visiting skipper Arel Amu.
Two minutes later Gouldbourne was put in by a strong run from full-back Gideon Okito, but reprieved WGC by shooting wide of Dan Green and the far post as well.
The Citizens did have the ball in the net in 11 minutes, 12 goal Stuart Zanone seemingly having netted a 13th, when he tucked away a rebound after Dunstable keeper Harness stopped, but couldn’t hold Charlie Smith’s free-kick.
But the linesman’s flag indicated Zanone was offside and the goal was ruled out.
That was as close as WGC were to come. Dunstable almost doubled their lead, Williams outstripping the home defence to cross for Gouldbourne, but Dan Green did just enough to force the striker to shoot wide.
Dan Bond did well in a rare WGC move to get away from the visitors’ well drilled defence and cross for Zanone, but keeper Harness just tipped the cross away from the incoming striker, who was well policed by the Dunstable rearguard all afternoon.
If anything, the second 45 minutes was an even more dismal affair than the first.
Defender Lee Close got forward to flick a dangerous-looking header wide in the half’s opening minutes and it was Close again, late in the game, who volleyed wide, after substitute Ashley Kersey had headed on a Smith free-kick.
But that was as close as WGC came as a totally forgettable game petered out, having provided little holiday entertainment for the 140 plus crowd and much food for thought for manager Adam Fisher.
WGC: Green, Rolfe, Close, Payne, Sexton, Spaul (Sackey-Mensah 82), Keenleyside, Smith (May 65), Cassidy-Sinclair, Zanone, Bond (Kersey 65).