WELWYN GC boss Adam Fisher must be seriously wondering about the advantage of staging friendlies, when his team hasn’t got a league fixture.
The BP Mitchell Stadium manager has twice fixed up friendly fixtures, as WGC’s league programme has been affected by other clubs’ cup committments in recent weeks and both times, his defence has leaked five goals.
Admittedly, the WGC boss has played weakened, experimental sides in the matches that have only served to underline that his regular Southern League line-up is, in fact, his best line-up.
Fisher gave new signing Danny May the day off, full-back Jon Sexton tweaked a muscle in the warm-up and was rested and regular starters – Jon Clements, Ben Spaul, Dave Corran and goal-a-game Stuart Zanone were all on the bench.
Ashley Kersey got a first start of the season after a troublesome ankle injury, Dan Bond also started and new signing Andrew Iwediuno and Josh Holmes came into defence. Trialist Dara Dada was also given an outing.
The Kersey-Bond combination started well when Kersey headed down for Bond to race through and shoot across the face of Bostik Div 1 North Great Wakering’s goalmouth.
Nick Elliott hit a couple of long-range efforts well off target, before the visitors’s striker outpaced and outmuscled Iwediuno, only for Dan Green to make a brave save.
On 14 minutes Great Wakering, who lie mid-table in their division and who were making their first visit to Herns Lane in a decade, took the lead, capitalising on a misplaced pass from Elliott to fire home.
Two minutes later they doubled their advantage with a spectacular overhead effort from a corner.
The double salvo clearly shocked WGC, who came close on 25 minutes, Bond put down the left by a George Ironton pass, cut inside and brought the Wakering keeper to a fine save.
A home goal wasn’t long coming. In the next minute, the Citizens pulled one back, Bond forcing home a left-wing cross just in front of teammate Lee Close, as they both converged on the chance.
Just before the break, Ironton confirmed the WGC improvement bringing the visitors’ keeper to another good save that kept the Essex side ahead.
A torrential half-time downpour made the pitch very slick for the second-half in which WGC introduced Zanone, Clements and Spaul. Kersey, Bond and Dada all made way.
Eight minutes in, Great Wakering increased their lead, although WGC full-back Jay Rolfe did appear to be held back in the build-up to the goal.
With 20 minutes remaining, WGC got back into the game for a second time, Zanone making a fine run to meet Rolfe’s excellent swinging cross to glance a header past the keeper for 3-2.
An exciting finale looked in prospect, but that prospect was totally scotched by some awful WGC defending in the closing stages.
Firstly, the entire defence stopped, expecting an offside flag that never came, as Great Wakering restored their two goal cushion, six minutes from the end and then two minutes later, Jay Rolfe got dispossessed on the by-line, for the Essex visitors to score a somewhat flattering fifth late in the game.
WGC: Green, Rolfe, Close (Corran 34), Iwediuno, Holmes, Payne, Elliott, Dada (Spaul 46), Ironton (Dada 71), Kersey (Zanone 46), Bond (Clements 46).