Welwyn Garden City close in on top spot after another victory

PUBLISHED: 14:40 12 October 2017

Charlie Joy brings the ball forward. Picture: Danny Loo

Charlie Joy brings the ball forward. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

Welwyn Garden City are up to second in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division after a 2-0 win over St Margaretsbury at Herns Lane.

Charlie Joy and Josh Bronti got the goals that gave the Citizens their 14th success in their 16 games across all competitions this season.

It was their second victory over the Saints, having beaten them comfortably 4-0 in August.

But this was a much sterner test and the visitors gave a much more spirited display here than in the previous meeting and at times, the victory flattered WGC a little.

The quality of the first-half play was badly affected by a torrential downpour that hit Herns Lane shortly after kick-off and caused the ball to skid and bring up water off the pitch in alarming quantities.

Central defender John McGrandles had the first attempt on goal although Charlie May had to save at the feet of a Saints forward shortly after.

But on 24 minutes, WGC were ahead.

Bronti chased a ball to the by-line and pulled it back for Joy, whose shot was aided by a defender’s deflection.

There was delay eight minutes later as the referee was forced to retire with a calf injury and a replacement linesman was found.

WGC almost got a second late in the half.

A back pass from Conor Clarke held up on the sodden pitch and top scorer Jon Clements latched onto it.

He got round goalkeeper Reece Grundy but his shot was held up in the rain and St Margaretsbury cleared.

Fortunately the rain stopped after the interval and the hosts began the half in now familiar attacking fashion.

Bronti did well to work his way along the by-line and again find Joy, but the winger was denied a second by a defender’s deflection wide.

WGC piled on the pressure at this stage with Clements and Bronti both having chances and substitute Brandon Carney had a header ruled out for offside.

St Margaretsbury still weren’t out of it though and with eight minutes left Matthew Mitchell’s free-kick struck the post with May beaten.

However, two minutes later, WGC sealed the game.

Carney hooked the ball forward, Clements helped it into the path of Bronti, and he stabbed it beyond Grundy.

City are now one point behind leaders Berkhamsted but with a game in hand.

They face Hadley at home on Saturday.

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