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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

TWO games, two five goal hauls.


The Citizens opened their new SSML Div 1 campaign with a competent destruction of Stony Stratford, to confirm the high expectations at Herns Lane this season.


This followed last weekend's 5-1 hammering of Premier outfit Hadley in the Herts Charity Shield.


Saturday's opponents, under new management and with a host of new players, were clearly better opposition than last season, when they finished third bottom and lost 10-1 at Herns Lane and 7-0 in the corresponding fixture on their own Ostlers Lane ground.


And although they made a real game of this one, until reduced to 10 men by a sending-off around the hour mark, Adam Fisher's side know that there will be far sterner tests than this one, awaiting them.


"Today was always about the result and getting the three points to get us off to a good start,'' said Fisher afterwards.


"We spoke before the game about the standards we have set pre-season and against Hadley and I felt we didn't quite meet those standards, first-half. We told the side we had to be a little quicker and press the ball in the second-half, show more intensity and they responded brilliantly and put in a superb performance.''


"It's going to be a very competitive division this season, but we believe in our ability and if we work hard in every single game, like we did second-half here, we can have a positive season.''


After an opening quarter with little goalmouth action, WGC took the lead in 15 minutes, teenage winger Reggie Ross cutting inside to square a ball for Jason Caswell.


The 51 goal man from last season, reacted quicker than home defender Clark and keeper Hewitt, reaching it just before them, to stab it past both players into an unguarded net.


Caswell was denied a second when played through by a good move involving Ross and Juan Cifuentes, but Hewitt was quickly off his line to block the top scorer's effort.


Stony were dangerous at this stage and from a 38th minute corner, their skipper Elliott Spence got in a good header that beat Joe Croft, in goal, and WGC were grateful to newcomer Jay Lovell for hacking it away from an open net to preserve the lead at the break.


Lovell was in action at the other end, doubling the Citizens' lead seven minutes after the restart. Sean Brettell was brought down on the edge of the area and full-back Lovell drove his free-kick low through the Stony wall, past an unsighted Hewitt.


The home side's hopes evaporated completely just before the hour, central defender Javlyn Blair sent off by referee Melvin for swearing at him, after conceding another free-kick.


Stony forced their first real save out of Croft just after going down to 10 men, defender Clark's effort being blocked bravely by the WGC keeper.


At the other end, Croft's counterpart Hewitt and full-back Chase combined to keep out another Caswell effort, as the forward rounded the keeper, before WGC sealed the game with two goals in as many minutes.


The first saw Hewitt block another Caswell charge down the middle, the loose ball rebounding to Ross, who from 20 yards, calmly lobbed the fallen keeper for his first senior goal, in 69 minutes.


Two minutes later, Lovell sent Caswell clear down the left, he cut in and rolled his second under Hewitt for 4-0.


Manager Fisher introduced Craig Arnott, Joel Norris and Carl Costain for the final quarter and Norris, returning from injury, didn't take long to make his mark.


Last season's 33-goal man turned home a flick-on from new central defender Jack Dekanski from a Brettell corner, to make it five, nine minutes from time.


WGC: Croft, Jenner, Dekanski, Kenna (Costain 80), Lovell, Ross (Norris 74), Cifuentes, Stellon, Smith (Arnott 72), Brettell, Caswell.

Stony Stratford 0 - 5 Welwyn Garden City FC