A late charge from Welwyn Garden City was not enough as they fell to defeat at home to AFC Dunstable.

First-half goals from John Shamalo and Enrico Greco gave Welwyn a mountain to climb and although the second half was better, Henry Jones pulling one back on 81 minutes, they lost 2-1 in the Southern League Division One Central game.

Manager Marc Weatherstone had hailed Saturday's draw with Cirencester Town as the best performance of the season.

To that end, he kept the same squad with the only change being James Mulley replacing James Kaloczi in the starting line-up, the former St Albans man dropping to the bench. 

For the first couple of minutes, Welwyn seemed to be using that performance at the weekend to their advantage, pressing their opponents into errors.

But that soon disappeared.

Emmanuel Olagunju was lucky to get away with being dispossessed as the last man, giving AFC a two-on-none.

Shamalo went round Donnabhan Green but his shot was cleared away by Yasin Boodhoo.

Dunstable then clipped the face of the bar with an Alexander Munroe header before the away side took the lead on 10 minutes, to the annoyance of the home side.

They felt there had been a foul on Bailey Stevenson as the move began but one ball forward and a twist from Shamalo sent him away on goal down the left, his eventual shot giving Green no chance.

So annoyed were the Welwyn bench that manager Weatherstone was booked twice in the same incident and sent off.

More unpleasantness broke out as Stevenson was pinged for a foul.

A melee, which began as players crowded round the referee, ended with Shamalo throwing Stevenson to the floor after getting him in an armlock.

Consultation between referee and linesman eventually brought a yellow for the scorer.

Dunstable though were looking the better of the sides and were getting through and beyond Welwyn's defence with alarming regularity.

It led to a second goal following a foul after the ball had been played, and it was a beauty, a free-kick at least 25 yards out arrowed into the back of the net by Greco.

Green had to make a save shortly after to deny Munroe, Greco sticking the rebound over, while Welwyn's best chances came from corners, both Olagunju and Brad Wadkins heading off target.

The rest of the half was full of stoppages that just upset what little flow the game had including a 30-second chat between officials over what appeared to be an errant shinpad.

For Welwyn there needed to be a long hard look at why and how they were letting so many balls turn their back four.

The first shot of note in the second period saw Green called into action, a long range effort parried away with the keeper up quickly to block Johnny Williams getting the rebound.

A double sub on 58 minutes was the next ploy to try and drag Welwyn back into the contest, Henry Jones and David Martins coming on 

Whether that was the catalyst or not, it did lead to a much stronger spell from the home side, although necessity was also a key factor in that.

It didn't bring too many clearcut chances, Dernell Wynter flashing a ball across the face of goal and a header from Mulley the best of them, but there was lots of pressure and a bit of desire, something that was severely lacking for the first hour.

And then suddenly Welwyn had the goal they had been pressing for.

Wynter had done very well to wriggle into some space and take a shot that Thomas Finch needed to push away.

Stevenson kept it alive and his low delivery into the middle found Jones who supplied the finish.

Moments later Jones couldn't get room for another shot but he did find Mulley and although the defender's cross was miss-hit, it deceived the keeper and hit the crossbar.

There was to be no further chances though as the bad-tempered game finished.

Match details

Welwyn Garden City: Green, Brown, Kirwan, Mulley (Kaloczi 86), Boodhoo, Olagunju, Wynter, Marquez (Martins 58), Stevenson, Wadkins, Kessel (Jones 58).

Sub (not used): Pollock, Steele.

Goal: Jones 81

Booked: Weatherstone (bench) 11, 11,  Stevenson 26, Brown 90+5

Sent-off: Weatherstone (bench) 11


AFC Dunstable: Finch, Deall, Greco, Munroe, Anderson (Ampedu 43), Naylor, Ramsay, Nicolson, Cook (Nsang 90+3), Shamalo (Williams 46), Brooks.

Subs (not used): Ameganvi, Weyman.

Goals: Shamalo 10, Greco 25

Booked: Shamalo 19, Munroe 30, Ampedu 62, Nicolson 88, Deall 90+4


HT: Welwyn Garden City 0 AFC Dunstable 2

Added time: 6 + unknown amount in the second half

Referee: Kyfer Mayhew (Hemel Hempstead)