WELWYN GC secured step four football for another season at the BP Mitchell Stadium, with a totally dominant performance in this six-pointer at Dunstable - the Citizens’ penultimate game of the season.
After their tumultuous second-half to the season, WGC found the three points that took them clear of the Southern League Div 1 Central’s bottom four and dumped hosts Dunstable at the foot of the table, with this victory.
If results go well for Dean Barker’s side on Saturday’s final day, the Herns Lane side could finish as high as 13th in the table, in their inaugural Southern League season.
WGC bounced back from their poor showing against Bedford just two days earlier to start this game energetically.
They netted within four minutes of the start, the returned Dylan Ebengo heading in a Dave Keeleyside free-kick, only to be ruled offside.
But on seven minutes, WGC fell behind to a very soft penalty, referee Cooke adjudging Johnny Sexton to have blocked off Dunstable’s Charlie Black just inside the area, when there appeared no danger to the WGC goal.
Saul Williams supplied a crisp spot-kick past Reuben Rabstein and WGC were behind.
But they responded well and dominated the remainder of the half, although their best work was undone regularly by a fast running pitch and a deceptive wind.
A good WGC move, begun by Ebengo’s interception and carried on by Jesse Walklin and Dan Carr saw Eoin McKeown played in, but he shot across the face of goal with no one able to get the decisive touch.
Keeleyside’s shrewd ball put Matty Campbell-Mhlope in and his fierce rasping shot was turned over by home keeper Connor Coulson, in fine style.
Coulson was also in action late in the half, scooping away a low, dangerous Keenleyside effort, but WGC still trailed to the controversial penalty at the interval.
With five minutes of the restart, they were deservedly level. Walklin was fouled 20 yards out, pulled down and skipper Keenleyside struck a trademark free-kick around the Dunstable wall and past Coulson into the corner, to bring WGC level.
Nine minutes later, WGC were ahead, when good approach work by Eusebio Da Silva and McKeown combined to play Campbell-Mhlope in on Coulson’s near post and the little midfielder drove a strong shot past the keeper for 2-1.
McKeown was now coming to the fore and he showed great skill in leaving three Dunstable defenders trailing along the by-line, but spoiled the run with a weak effort straight at keeper Coulson.
Campbell-Mhlope did similiarly with a fine individual run across the home defence, but he, too, could only supply a tame finish.
Dunstable rarely threatened, but in one raid, WGC were very grateful to a fine, goal-saving block from Carr to keep out a Williams blockbuster. The full-back required treatment to recover.
Then with just over 15 minutes to go, WGC secured the points when McKeown collected 25 yards out and struck a powerful effort goalwards.
As has happened in all WGC’s recent games, it produced a goalkeeping error, Coulson half stopping the effort, but unable to stop the ball rolling in behind him, for a 3-1 WGC lead.
And the visitors could have had more before the end. McKeown again drove across the face of goal with no one on hand to apply the final touch and Da Silva made a solo run along the by-line, only for keeper Coulson to scramble the final effort off the line with his feet.
Now WGC can enjoy a celebratory final Saturday, to a season which has certainly had its fair share of highs and lows, with second bottom Aylesbury FC as their visitors.
WGC: Rabstein, Carr, Rolfe, Ebengo, Sexton, Ochieng, Walklin (Bailey 81), Keenleyside (Pattison 74), Campbell-Mhlope, McKeown, Da Silva.