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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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WHAT WGC manager Dean Barker describes as the worst losing run in his footballing career, as both a player and in seven seasons as a manager, goes on.

 

WGC lost a vital home clash with Kempston, whom they had edged out in a five goal thriller back in December, in probably the most exciting league game the Citizens have been involved in, in this inaugural season in the Southern League.

 

The Beds side took revenge in a much scrappier affair, to inflict WGC’s sixth loss on the run and plunge them into real relegation danger.

 

They now hold just a seven point advantage over Div 1 Central’s bottom two and their trip to bottom side North Leigh in Oxfordshire next Saturday, has a real ‘six pointer’ look about it.

 

North Leigh stunned the division with a totally surprising 4-0 away victory at seventh placed Coleshill on Saturday.

 

Barker, very aware of his side’s rock bottom form, had a busy week in the Southern League’s transfer deadline week, last week, bringing in four newcomers to his line-up for this game, with varying degrees of success.

 

New full-back Jack Mace, ex-Chesham and Ware, looked a solid acquisition, while midfielder Henry Ochieng, once a pro at Leyton Orient when the Os were in the Football League, showed flashes of the skill that won him Kenyan international honours, particularly in the second-half.

 

But less successful were defensive midfielder Will Dupay, who looked a little out of his depth on his debut and the former Scunthorpe apprentice was substituted on the hour, while new keeper Reuben Rabstein, preferred to Lewis Todd, made a bad goalkeeping error just before the break, that cost WGC dear.

 

As in three of the six games, the Herns Lane side have lost recently, they took the lead in this one in a bright, opening half-hour in which they were clearly the better side.

 

Elliot Bailey, particularly lively at this point had a shot in five minutes, that was deflected to take the sting out of the effort for Kempston keeper Carl Knox to save.

 

Six minutes later, WGC were ahead. Good build-up saw Charlie Pattison’s clever flick put new full-back Mace out wide and from his cross, Bailey’s underhit shot still beat Knox, to go in off the post.

 

Fine work by skipper Dave Keenleyside, saw him go between two Kempston defenders, only to be foiled by a desperate, clearing header from Lewis Jones and then from a corner, WGC central defender Dylan Ebengo, lost his marker, but his downward header bounced over the bar.

 

Kempston didn’t have an attacking effort until just before the half-hour, when their skipper Shane Bush escaped Dupray to strike his effort over Rabstein’s crossbar.

 

That was the prelude to a two goal salvo from the Beds team in the final 15 minutes of the half, neither goal being of any quality.

 

On 30 minutes, a cross from the left eluded Rabstein’s attempted grab and in the melee that ensued, Kempston full-back Cameron Hyde’s close-in header deflected off WGC’s Jon Sexton to find the net for the equaliser.

 

There was great clamour for a home penalty on 40 minutes as Bailey went down, running onto a long Jon Sexton ball from the back. Referee Anastasiou waved away appeals.

 

Then two minutes from half-time, the visitors were ahead with a goal new keeper Rabstein will want to forget.

 

Kempston midfielder George Boland struck a 25 yard, poorly hit effort that somehow eluded Rabstein to go under him and roll over the line to give the visitors the half-time lead.

 

An hour into the game, manager Barker introduced the strength of Eusebio Da Silva upfront for Dupray and the big forward soon forced a save out of Knox.

 

Brendan Ocran, scorer of two in a midweek friendly, replaced the unlucky Pattison with 20 minutes to go and it was the two substitutes who had WGC’s best opportunities in the closing stages.

 

On loan striker Eoin McKeown was switched out wide, where the Colchester player looked much more effective.

 

He outran the Kempston in 82 minutes to pull the ball back for Da Silva, who hesitated over his shot and the effort was blocked, before a much improved McKeown again drifted into the area to create a shooting chance for Ocran, but Kempston’s well organized, mass defence, ensured that WGC weren’t going to get any late reward from this game.

 

WGC: Rabstein, Mace, Ebengo, Rolfe, Sexton, Dupray (Da Silva 61), Ochieng (Ebelebe 81), Pattison (Ocran 68), Keenleyside, McKeown, Bailey.

Welwyn Garden City 1 - 2 Kempston Rovers