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Welwyn Garden City

Home of the "Citizens" - Established 1921

FC

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

WGC were comfortably beaten in their opening pre-season outing away at newly promoted Peterborough Sports of the UCL Premier Division.

 

Their hosts, runaway winners of last season's UCL Div 1 and a club the Citizens met in the FA Vase two seasons ago, had the air of a side who have played regularly together, while Adam Fisher's new look side were trying to integrate seven of their eight new players this season.

 

Despite the defeat, the WGC boss wasn't too downhearted. "Our opening pre-season games are all about fitness and trying out options. The formation of the side will come later. There were a good many positives.'' he said.

 

WGC began with five newcomers in their line-up in triallist goalkeeper Tyler, defender Dan Power, Danny Fitzgerald and Ross Collins in midfield and James Ewington upfront.

 

In the second-half defender Lewis Endacott and striker Jamie Arlick, ex-Hitchin Town, who is also trialling with WGC, were given outings.

 

Martin Standen, Dave Parkinson, Luke Robins and Sam Perrin were all unavailable for this game and the most anticipated return - of the club's former top scorer Joel Norris - was thwarted by a knee injury sustained in training midweek.

 

WGC had the better of the early exchanges and Josh Bronti saw the Sports keeper tip over an early shot and the striker put another effort just past a post.

 

Newcomer Collins pulled a long down ball impressively and volleyed an effort over keeper and crossbar by inches in 12 minutes.

 

But on 15 minutes WGC fell behind, new boy Ewington lost the ball in the left-hand corner, it was crossed in and Peterborough Sports' new signing Mark Jones, from Southern League Premier St Ives, headed low past keeper Tyler.

 

Five minutes later, the Peterborough keeper was forced to a spectacular save from a close-in stabbed effort from Ashley Kersey to keep his side ahead.

 

The home lead was doubled five minutes from half-time when the entire WGC defence failed to cut out a low cross from the left, Jones pulled it down and drove home his second low past the keeper.

 

Manager Fisher made three immediate changes at the interval. bringing on Joe Croft in goal, Endacott in defence and Arlick upfront, Tyler, Jay Welsh and Ewington making way.

 

Five minutes in and it was 3-0, the impressive Jones scooting past John McGrandles and the onrushing Croft down the left, to compete his hat-trick with a deft shot into an empty net from an acute angle.

 

Both sides rang the changes for the final half-hour, WGC bringing on midfielders Joe Price and Craig Arnott and defender Jake Hoy and it was Arnott who twice scorned the chance of a consolation goal.

 

Firstly from a free-kick which he drove over the bar and then from a close-in, a header that suffered the same fate.

 

WGC: Tyler, Power, Boodhoo, McGrandles, Welsh, Payne, Fitzgerald, Collins, Bronti, Kersey, Ewington. subs:- Croft, Endacott, Arlick, Price, Arnott, Hoy (all used).

Peterborough Sports 3 - 0 Welwyn Garden City FC