WELWYN GC completed an early season double over Stotfold, last season’s bogey team, with this 3-1 home victory.
It came just three weeks after Adam Fisher’s side had triumphed 2-0 at the Mid Beds outfit’s Roker Park home.
Last season, Stotfold proved a major stumbling block to any WGC hopes of silverware, knocking them out of the FA Cup early in the season 3-2 and winning both league games,
This campaign it’s an entirely different story and WGC made sure of their 18th game unbeaten and 12th successive victory with a strong first-half showing.
It took a little time for the Citizens to get into their stride, but as on the previous Saturday, when they put Takeley to the sword in the FA Vase, once a Charlie Joy goal got them in front, WGC took over the game.
That was for the first-half at least. Manager Fisher will be less pleased with his side’s second-half showing.
Stotfold reduced arrears from a 3-0 deficit in the early minutes of the second period and played much better after the break, although their improved performance was tarnished by two red cards in the final five minutes of the game.
WGC only played in fits and starts after the break, but still created enough to have won another game handsomely, but for the heroics of Stotfold keeper Matt Fallon, who was outstanding in both games between the sides.
WGC got the early boost they needed on the quarter-hour, from the left boot of Charlie Joy, as they did four days earlier in the Vase.
Joy collected a loose ball in 13 minutes, waltzed around a couple of challenges and ended his run with a well struck low effort past Fallon into the bottom corner.
WGC almost had two moments later. Charlie Rome, starting in midfield, pulled down a difficult ball and hit an instant bouncing effort at goal, that Fallon pushed away in fine style.
The keeper then foiled the Citizens’ top scorer Jon Clements twice in as many minutes with sharp saves, as the Herns Lane side threatened to run riot.
George Ironton was the next WGC player to be thwarted by Fallon with a powerful close-in effort and then Ironton produced a fine cross that was met by Rome, whose looping header bounced off the crossbar on its way over,
Stotfold looked as though they had to crack again and they did on 33 minutes, conceding a penalty. Fallon beat away another Joy effort, but as Rome attempted to latch onto the rebound, Fallon pulled the WGC man down.
Clements slotted in his 17th of the season, with a textbook spot-kick into the corner.
The WGC top scorer soon had his second of the match four minutes later, when put through by Joy, he came in from the right onto the through ball to drive powerfully home.
Stotfold looked lucky to have turned around only three in arrears.
But the second-half was altogether different. The Beds side immediately reduced arrears, when some uncustomary sloppy WGC defensive play let in Adam Drakulic to drive low past an otherwise unemployed Charlie May for 3-1.
Encouraged by the goal, the visitors enjoyed a good start to the second period and midfielder Carroll was inches away from a second as he stretched for a free-kick.
WGC still looked dangerous in patches and Stotfold full-back Paul Donald had to hack a Joy corner off the goalline.
There was great clamour for a Stotfold penalty when WGC stand-in skipper John McGrandles lost his footing making a clearance and clearly handled, but referee Evans waved play on, clearly thinking that the handball was accidental.
Fallon made a string of further saves late in the half, including an outstanding stop to keep out sub Ashley Kersey’s effort from very close range with 10 minutes to go.
But then an otherwise peaceable game, exploded in the final five minutes with the visitors earning two red cards.
Firstly Donald was sent off for two yellows. Moments after being booked for dissent, he foolishly pushed Clements over as the WGC striker tried to take a quick free-kick, to pick up a second yellow.
Then in stoppage time, Stotfold sub Dominic Fraser put in a dangerous, over-the-top challenge on defender Yasin Boodhoo to be given a straight red card by Mr Evans,
Fortunately, Boodhoo continued for the final few moments, after treatment.
WGC: May, Rolfe, Boodhoo, McGrandles, Corran, Marks, Rome (Long 65), Spaul, Ironton (Bronti 72), Clements, Joy (Kersey 77).