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Welwyn Garden City

Home of the "Citizens" - Established 1921

FC

Herns Way, Panshanger, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL7 1TA

WELWYN GC opened their new Spartan South Midlands League Premier campaign with a win - to see the Citizens with a 100 per cent record in their three opening games - but a late revival by hosts Oxhey Jets somewhat took the shine off the victory.

 

Going into the game, Oxhey also had won their two openers - in the Herts Charity Shield and the FA Cup - like Adam Fisher's side, but for 75 minutes of this opening league clash, WGC totally dominated.

 

"We were cruising, I can't believe we only scraped home by a goal at the final whistle, said the Herns Lane boss, we could have been five or six to the good, so much was our dominance.''

 

And that was no exaggeration. WGC bossed the game from the off and when new midfielder Joe Foley put them 3-0 up with a little under 20 minutes to go, it was a fair reflection of events.

 

But Fisher and his side reckoned without Oxhey's late revival. Nine minutes from time, Luke Wells scrambled in what seem little more than a consolation.

 

Five minutes later, the home side scored an outstanding second. Winger Scott Pugsley slipping a fine ball inside WGC full-back Dan Power for Adam Lowton to run onto and strike an understoppable effort beyond keeper Jack Metcalfe into the bottom corner.

 

That sparked real panic in the WGC defensive ranks and for the second game in succession, it took a crucial block from the again outstanding Lewis Endacott, getting in the way of another goalbound Wells effort to preserve the visitors' slender advantage.

 

In the game's final minute, it was only a fine save from Oxhey keeper Rob Partington, with his legs that denied Josh Bronti a goal and WGC a little more breathing space.

 

Bronti had WGC's first chance of the game, five minutes after the start when sent clear by Ross Collins' clever through ball, but his attempted lob over Partington was poor and landed straight in the keeper's gloves.

 

WGC had plenty of possession, but few clear-cut chances at this stage until just past the half-hour.

 

They were awarded a free-kick when Power was brought down heading for the area, by Oxhey's Thompson, who injured himself in the process. After a delay, Collins chipped in a perfect free-kick that Endacott met with a powerful, twisting header past Partington to give the visitors a deserved lead.

 

It proved the first-half's only goal, but generally WGC's superiority - Oxhey only had one sight of the visiting goal and Lowton struck that harmlessly wide - deserved much more of an advantage.

 

They set about achieving that from the start of the second-half and Ashley Kersey, looking back to his best, brought an outstanding tip-away save from Partington, with a measured effort aimed for the top corner.

 

That proved only to be a sighter, as 20 minutes into the half, WGC doubled their lead, this time Kersey measuring his lob over Partington to perfection, the ball dropping behind the keeper and in, on 65 minutes.

 

It proved the striker's last contribution as he was replaced by new midfielder Joe Foley and shortly afterwards, new WGC forward Jack Read replaced Luke Robins.

 

Foley and Read had been former teammates at Wingate and Finchley and their understanding of each other's game was illustrated almost immediately.

 

Foley intercepted a wayward pass, slipped a ball to Read, who waited before playing his teammate through and Foley finished with a sharp strike beyond keeper Partington for WGC's third.

 

Just before the Oxhey revival, the same pair switched roles, Foley making a fine wing run and cross for Read to come in and crash an effort against the home crossbar, with Partington, for once, well beaten.

 

Moments later, Oxhey pulled their first goal back and for the first time in the game, uncertainty crept into WGC's game.

 

When the second home goal went in 86 minutes, the match took on an unreal and undeserved scoreline and only desperate defence preserved the victory.

 

It's late, defensive slackness that WGC will have to stamp out, if they are to be promotion contenders this season.

 

WGC: Metcalfe, Power, Boodhoo, Standen, Endacott, Payne (Long 78), Fitzgerald, Collins, Bronti, Kersey (Foley 66), Robins ( Read 75).

Oxhey Jets 2 - 3 Welwyn Garden City FC

IMG_9172

Lewis Endacott (Hidden behind no: 5 Yasin Boodhoo) scores the opener for City