Southern League: Fortune favours Welwyn Garden City in Barton Rovers win

PUBLISHED: 09:59 28 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:45 28 August 2018

Former Arlesey Town midfielder Tony Williams scored the only goal for WGC against Barton Rovers. Picture: Danny Loo

Former Arlesey Town midfielder Tony Williams scored the only goal for WGC against Barton Rovers. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

Welwyn Garden City certainly rode their luck at home to Barton Rovers but the history books will still show this Southern League Central Division One tie ended in a 1-0 win to them.

Welwyn Garden City's Tony Williams. Picture: WGC Football ClubWelwyn Garden City's Tony Williams. Picture: WGC Football Club

Their Bedfordshire visitors will wonder how they didn’t get at least a draw out of an absorbing contest.

They hit the bar and their appeals that the ball had bounced down over the line were dismissed, they had had a goal ruled out for a marginal offside, and valid-looking penalty claims were waved away by the referee.

They were actually awarded a spot-kick 15 minutes from time but Andy Phillips blasted the effort wide.

It meant Tony Williams’ goal inside the first minute of the second-half was enough to give the the three points to WGC.

A stalwart rearguard performance from the claret shirts was also key, none more so than Lee Close who was drafted in as a centre-half for the unavailable Dave Corran.

A poor opening saw no goalmouth action until 21 minutes in and it was a golden chance for WGC to take the lead.

Williams and Jon Clements set up George Ironton but he managed to put the ball over from 10 yards.

From there the visitors started to get a foothold in the game and it needed two good Dan Green saves to keep them out.

But it was as the game neared half-time that Barton turned on the power.

Green pulled off a fantastic point-blank save from a Paul Andrews’ header and from the rebound Phillips headed on to the crossbar.

Minutes later a challenge from Green seemed to upend Phillips but a corner was the only decision and those moments were magnified when Williams slipped into the are and fired low beyond Dan Gould in the Barton goal.

The Barton response was swift. Winger Victor Osubu shot straight at Green and Jay Lovell had to produce a goal-saving challenge on Phillips as the striker threatened an equaliser.

Their big chance was from 12 yards after the combined efforts of Close and Jay Holmes impeded Steffan Bailey but WGC were relieved to see Phillips miss.

The Citizens’ final escape came six minutes from the end when Osubu sent Phillips away to crash an effort past Green, only for the linesman’s flag to pull play back for an earlier offside.

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