Citizens fire nine past Arlesey Town Reserves

Ben Awad celebrates his goal

Ben Awad celebrates his goal - Credit: Archant

Saturday saw Welwyn Garden City return to their high scoring, early season form, with a 9-1 thrashing of Arlesey Town Reserves at Herns Lane.

Carl Costain celebrates his goal

Carl Costain celebrates his goal - Credit: Archant

Adam Fisher’s side went into the game on the back of a draw and defeat in the SSML Division One, but returned to winning ways in style.

Jason Caswell flicks the ball away

Jason Caswell flicks the ball away - Credit: Archant

WGC returned to a near full-strength side with keeper Joe Croft restored between the posts after two months out with a back injury, Carl Costain was in central defence and Daryl Smith was back in midfield after a suspension.

The changes produced WGC’s second highest goal tally of the season, in their first meeting of the campaign with Arlesey’s second side, after a number of postponements.

The Citizens had put double figures (10) past Stony Stratford in mid-August at the start of the campaign.

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The youthful Arlesey line-up defended manfully, particularly in the early stages and it took WGC a full 20 minutes to break the deadlock, after the visitors’ goalkeeper Josh Mason had made a good stop to tip over a Joel Norris free-kick and save bravely at Sean Brettell’s feet.

It was Norris who found the breakthrough on the 20 minute mark with a fine, downward header from a Sam Perrin corner.

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Five minutes later, Smith showed great tenacity, burrowing his way through the Arlesey defence to lay it off for Jason Caswell to drive home the second.

The visitors offered no threat other than a three-times taken free-kick that eventually, full-back Darren Wells put yards over the bar.

Three minutes from the break, Juan Cifuentes created a third, winning a vital tackle to play Norris through.

Keeper Mason half-stopped the striker’s effort, but Isaac Oppong followed up to slip home the rebound.

Deep into stoppage time, WGC made it four.

Paul Taylor’s long clearance was chased down by Norris.

Mason raced from goal, but didn’t reach the ball and from fully 30 yards, Caswell took careful aim at an empty net and found his target for his second of the afternoon.

On the hour, Arlesey sprang a real surprise by reducing the arrears, substitute Tom Day sent clear to hit an unstoppable finish past Croft to make it 4-1.

But within two minutes, WGC had restored a four-goal advantage with a well rehearsed corner move, Perrin’s flag kick, flicked goalwards by Norris for Costain to come in and bury a low shot into the corner.

Both teams rang the changes, manager Fisher using all three of his substitutes and two of them scored as the young Beds reserve side unravelled in the final 10 minutes, conceding four goals.

On 80 minutes, Caswell completed his hat-trick for number seven, driving in low from an acute angle, after good work by substitutes Perry Stellon and Craig Arnott.

Two minutes later, Caswell turned provider, playing in strike partner Norris for him to strike home his second of the afternoon.

Substitute Ben Awad notched the eighth, when Arnott lifted the ball into the area. Awad’s first effort was blocked, but he followed up to score.

There was also time for a ninth, two minutes into the stoppage time, referee Wilkinson allowed, when Norris got to the by-line and crossed for Arnott to turn it over the line and complete the rout.

WGC: Croft, Perrin, Costain, Kenna, Taylor (Arnott 72), Oppong (Awad 65), Cifunetes, Smith (Stellon 56), Brettell, Norris, Caswell.

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