Citizens master artificial surface to cruise past Edgware Town

Luke Robins on the ball. Picture: Mark Long

Luke Robins on the ball. Picture: Mark Long - Credit: Archant

Welwyn Garden City went into the Christmas break on the back of a highly impressive away performance on the synthetic 3G Silver Jubilee Park pitch that Edgware Town share with Ryman League Premier outfit Hendon.

After taking the opening quarter to adjust to the unusual surface and after an even, opening 45 minutes, the Citizens crushed their hosts with a three-goal salvo after the break.

Gone was the abject, tepid midweek cup exit display at Sun Sports (see left) and back was the entertaining goalscoring form that had put five past Leighton Town the previous weekend.

Apart from a shaky first couple of minutes, stand-in centre-back Danny Payne gave an immaculate display alongside Yasin Boodhoo and was one of the stars of the WGC victory.

Both sides started tentatively with WGC adjusting to the strange surface, but on 15 minutes. Payne rescued them by getting back on the goal-line to hack clear after Edgware’s Adam Wallace fired a shot past keeper Jack Metcalfe who was out of his goal.

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Metcalfe looked to have been fouled contesting a high ball and was knocked over as Butt landed a header against WGC’s crossbar on 23 minutes but referee Reid didn’t blow and the Citizens finally cleared the rebound with some difficulty.

WGC’s first opening didn’t come to the half-hour mark, Sean Brettell producing a peach of a pass to find Josh Bronti down the left. He set up Manny Melford-Rowe whose effort was deflected for a corner.

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Melford-Rowe quickly had another effort on the turn, safely saved by home keeper Cain Davies, before both sides scored in the space of two minutes before the break.

Edgware took the lead on 41 minutes when the ball was switched to Adem Ali on the left. He jinked inside Taishan Griffith and struck a low effort past Metcalfe into the far corner for 1-0.

Two minutes later, WGC were level.

The ball was worked out right to the overlapping Griffith. He delivered an inch-perfect cross onto the head of the incoming Luke Robins, who guided a fine header over Cain Davies and into the top corner for 1-1.

Six minutes after the restart, WGC produced another fine move to go 2-1 up and from that point never looked like they would surrender the points.

The outstanding Griffith collected a Bronti pass and outsprinted a couple of Edgware players before producing a defence-splitting ball into the area and the path of Melford-Rowe who finished the move with a powerful, rising effort over Davies.

Manager Fisher introduced Jack Read for Brettell on 67 minutes and the forward almost immediately got on the scoresheet when skipper Payne played through a fine ball from the back.

Unfortunately Read got it tangled up under his feet, but did seem to be clipped by Edgware defender Turner as he ran through but again Mr Reid saw no offence and the chance was lost.

Read wasn’t to be denied and 12 minutes later a high ball down the middle saw him control it well, slip past a couple of defenders and lift his shot in over Davies.

Ashley Kersey had just been introduced and he also made an instant impact running clear down the left to finish his run with an explosive effort that crashed against the Edgware crossbar.

Just like Read, the big striker wasn’t to be denied and two minutes from the end he got a just reward by capitalising on another flowing WGC move.

Keeper Metcalfe began it with an accurate kick that found Ben Long.

He cleverly flicked on to Read, who in turn found the pass for strike partner Kersey to run onto and this time strike a fierce effort over keeper Davies and under the bar.

WGC host promotion rivals Hertford Town on Tuesday.

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