First defeat of the season for Welwyn Garden City as Bedford take the East Hockey League honours

PUBLISHED: 13:03 16 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:03 16 October 2018

Dan Klinger made a number of big stops for WGC, including a penalty save, against Bedford. Picture: Danny Loo

Dan Klinger made a number of big stops for WGC, including a penalty save, against Bedford. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2016

Welwyn Garden City Hockey Club’s men fell to a first East League Division Three South West defeat of the season when they lost 2-1 away to Bedford 3rds.

A sluggish start against a serious-looking host side put Welwyn on the back foot from the word go.

Bedford attacked effectively as a unit, with their youngsters showing individual skill and pace and only quality defensive work from Benedict O’Boyle, including a full-stretch diving tackle, and some great saves from Dan Klinger kept them in the game.

Last-ditch tackles proved the hallmark of the first half but it proved effective enough for Welwyn who got to half-time with the scores still at 0-0.

The second half started much as the first finished, with both teams pushing for the first goal.

Rob Sansom and Mark Skilbeck linked well in the middle of the park to create some opportunities for Welwyn but the incessant Bedford attacks finally paid off and after numerous short corners, they found their way through the Welwyn wall.

Welwyn’s midfield worked tirelessly to keep the pressure on but although chances came, they couldn’t find the final scoring touch.

Max Davies, a product of Welwyn’s own youth policy, showed great promise with his pace and almost brought an equaliser.

However, a shot only found a home foot and with the umpires unsighted the chance of a penalty flick went begging.

And with Welwyn determined to get back on level terms, they overcommitted going forward and an aerial ball from Bedford found space behind their defence and brought the second goal.

But rallied by Sansom and fuelled by frustration, Welwyn found another gear and suddenly halved the gap.

Dan Hatt linked up with Skilbeck and Sansom to find himself in the D and when his stick was swiped, they got the deserved penalty.

Bryn Evans showed his coolness to fins the back of the net.

But despite throwing caution to the wind, Welwyn couldn’t find an equaliser.

A great solo run by David Allmand-Smith had their best chance but it ended up coming to nothing and it was Bedford who almost got the final goal, but Klinger made a superb stop from a penalty flick to leave it at 2-1.

The result leaves WGC in fourth with a home game against sixth-placed Cheshunt on Saturday.

There was much better news, however, for the women who won 2-0 away to Potters Bar.

That lifts them into fifth in the 5 Counties Women’s Hockey League Premier Division.

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