JUST as last season, Welwyn GC played their first football of the 2018-19 season in a pre-season friendly away at Isthmian Premier outfit Wingate & Finchley and just as a year month earlier, the Citizens conceded four goals in defeat.
But manager Adam Fisher won’t be overly worried about this result as his side face their first season in the Southern League. Twelve months earlier, his side went on to win the Spartan South Midlands League and reach two cup finals in the upcoming season.
Fisher gave a quintet of new signings a run-out in the fixture and played four unnamed trialists and will be pleased with the way his new signings fitted in – particularly ex-Biggleswade FC skipper Adam Hunt and much travelled midfielder Lee Close, once of London Colney, Barton and AFC Dunstable, in the second-half.
Ashley Kersey and Yasin Boodhoo missed the game through injury and Jon Sexton was unavailable.
WGC had the first opening of this game, another new signing Brett O’Connor setting up George Ironton, who, in attempting to take the ball around the home goalkeeper, hit his legs. Another newcomer Joe Bennett, once of Potters Bar, Soham and Haverhill Rovers, struck the rebound for the bottom corner, but it was cleared off the line.
There was a let-off for the Citizens when a powerful header from a left-wing corner beat goalkeeper signing Dan Green and struck their crossbar, before the north Londoners stung WGC with two goals in three minutes to lead 2-0 at the interval.
A glancing header was buried in the bottom corner for 1-0 and scarcely had WGC recovered than a long cross from the left was missed by several defenders to be struck beyond Green into the far corner.
The second-half was much better from WGC and although they went 3-0 down to a penalty, when replacement keeper Olly Leslie crashed into a home forward, the Citizens began to create chances.
Second-half substitute Nicky Elliott struck a fine rising effort that saw the home keeper make a good save and then Dan Bond took a through ball from Elliott to race clear, but hit the keeper’s legs with his shot.
Bond was lively and switched passes with another second-half inclusion in Josh Bronti, before striking a good effort just past a post.
As though to give the Herns Lane side a lesson in striking, Wingate & F fired in a fourth in the closing minutes, latching onto a bad back pass.
Leslie made a good save from the effort, but the reound spiralled into the air and dropped at the far post, to leave a Wingate forward with a tap-in for a rather flattering fourth goal for the host team.
WGC (first-half): Green, Rolfe, trialist, Corran, trialist, Spaul, Payne, Ironton, O’Connor, Clements, Bennett.
WGC (second-half): Leslie, Hunt, Endacott, Payne, trialist, Elliott, Close, Spaul, Bronti, Bond, trialist