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Welwyn Garden City FC

Home of the "Citizens" - Established 1921

The BP Mitchell Stadium, Herns Lane, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL7 1TA

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PRE-season optimism that WGC are in for a strong campaign in the upcoming season’s SSML Premier campaign was re-enforced with this impressive display, played in atrocious conditions at Hayes & Yeading in midweek.


The Citizens were much more impressive than in their opening pre-season friendly, when they lost 4-1 to Isthmian League play-off finalists Wingate & Finchley 4-1 in baking sunshine just three days before.


They bossed this game against a Hayes & Yeading outfit, who in the six seasons since they were a Conference (National League) Premier side, have suffered four relegations.


The West Londoners will start the new season in the Southern League Div 1 Central, in a month’s time, still one step above WGC.


But they were no match for an eager WGC who tore into them from the first whistle.


In an impressive opening 45 minutes, Adam Fisher’s starting side included six newcomers to the squad this season and a trialist goalkeeper in Luke Daley, who had played in Hayes & Yeading’s Academy side.


He had little to do as WGC pressed. Charlie Joy forced the home keeper into a sprawling save after the impressive George Ironton had set up the chance and then skipper Danny Payne made a fine interception, but pulled a clear shooting opportunity wide of the post.


Still WGC pressed and from a right-wing corner, Josh Bronti flashed a header against the home woodwork.


Ironton made one fine run past four Hayes players, before Payne suffered a nasty head cut from a high boot. He had to be replaced and took no further part - his injury requiring a hospital visit and some stitching.


Hayes & Yeading only showed some attacking intent in the closing stages of the half and new defender Dave Corran made two vital interceptions to prevent WGC undeservedly falling behind.


Ten minutes from the break, they took a deserved lead. Impressive trialist forward Brandon Carney struck an effort from a right-wing corner. It was blocked in front of goal, but Ironton was on hand to slam in the rebound for the interval advantage.


WGC continued to impress after the break as the teeming rain continued unabated, soaking the players and the loyal handful of WGC supporters who had made the journey on a dismal night.


They were rewarded with a WGC second after 65 minutes, when Jay Rolfe, introduced in the second-half to good effect, struck a shot that the home keeper couldn’t hold and Sean Brettell forced home the visitors’ second goal.


The Citizens’ defence had few scares at the other end thanks to some solid defence, although keeper Jack Metcalfe had to make one sharp save from a close-in header 10 minutes from time to preserve a deserved clean sheet.


WGC: starting XI: Daley, Boodhoo, McGrandles, Corran, Bronti, Ironton, Spaul, Joy, Clements, L’Honore. Subs:- Metcalfe, Griffith, Sexton, Rome, Rolfe, Brettell, Carney, Melford-Rowe (all used).

Hayes & Yeading 0 - 2 Welwyn Garden City FC