A WHOLLY satisfying result for Adam Fisher and his new look WGC side on the opening day of the new Spartan South Midlands League campaign.
Not only did the Herns Lane outfit start their new league season with a good away victory over one of their fellow top six competitors from last season, but they achieved it without a quartet of regular players.
New skipper John McGrandles (unwell), last season’s top scorer Josh Bronti (broken hand) and the unavailable Taishan Griffith and Paul Marks, were all missing from the Citizens line-up in a game that had a totally unrealistic final scoreline.
The 1-0 win suggests that WGC just about got the better of the usually high riding home side, but, in fact, Fisher’s side totally dominated this first day encounter.
Apart from the evenly contested opening stages, WGC bossed the game, creating countless chances and manager Fisher’s only disappointment can be the number of openings his side squandered.
Jon Clements started the ball rolling put through by a fine Ben Spaul pass. His low shot was diverted around the post by home keeper Hopwood’s outstretched leg.
That was on nine minutes. Five minutes later, Clements put clear again by a fine George Ironton through ball, should have done better than strike his effort wide.
Emmanuel Melford-Rowe, re-signed by WGC the day before the game, struck a 30 yarder just over before Ironton, picking up a loose clearance from Tring defender Seaton, warmed keeper Hopwood’s hands with a stinging effort.
The one-way traffic continued with Ironton twice testing the home keeper in as many minutes, with his shoot-on-sight policy around the half-hour mark.
Finally, a much deserved opener came six minutes from the break. The irrepressible Ben Long began the move bringing the ball out of defence. His through ball found Clements, whose clever instant flick put strike partner Brandon Carney in the clear.
Carney outpaced the Tring defence, half went around keeper Hopwood and slotted in a fully deserved first league goal of the season, from a tight angle.
Long then made a fine challenge to regain possession on the edge of the home area. His pass deflected to Clements, who again, had his effort deflected around by Hopwood at full stretch, From the resulting corner, defender Jay Rolfe’s flicked header struck the Tring woodwork and came out.
Only in the closing moments of a half totally bossed by WGC, did keeper Olly Leslie have to make his first saves of the game. New Tring striker Chris Blunden brought a regulation catch from Leslie, two minutes from the break. Then the WGC keeper had to make a much better save from Chris Vardy, turning around the effort in the last action of the half.
The second-half didn’t see WGC reach the heights of their first 45 minute performance. But they continued to fritter away chances.
Clements scooted around the tall O’Connor in the opening minutes, but shot across the face of goal.
A Melford-Rowe cross reached Carney, but he took too long over shooting and the chance of a second of the match, went begging.
Ashley Kersey was introduced for Melford-Rowe 20 minutes into the half and moments later, a timely interception from Rolfe to clear an on-target Steadman from in front of goal, kept the scores level.
Another Long defence-splitting pass again had Clements through. This time, keeper Hopwood half stopped the striker’s first effort. When Clements tried again, defender Riddick got his shot off the line.
Ex-WGC striker Jack Read was introduced by the home side and he brought Leslie to his best and only second save of the game, with a fine stop low down after a sharp shot on the turn by Read.
But WGC remained, for the most part, far the more dangerous and dominant side safely seeing out time for their first three point haul of a new campaign, with boss very satisfied with the performance of his makeshift back-line, in which all four defenders performed admirably.
WGC: Leslie, Rolfe, Boodhoo, Corran, Sexton, Spaul, Long, Ironton, Melford-Rowe (Kersey 64), Clements, Carney (L’Honore 81).