Goalkeeper sent off but Welwyn Garden City battle to deserved point at Kidlington
PUBLISHED: 17:03 09 February 2019 | UPDATED: 19:39 09 February 2019
Welwyn Garden City picked up another Southern League Division One Central point on their travels as they left Kidlington with a 0-0 draw – but they had to do it with 10 men after goalkeeper Lewis Todd was sent off just before half-time.
The incident came after the ball had been pumped long towards the visitors’ goal but looked to be heading through to the WGC goalkeeper.
However, he had taken a step outside of the area and as he gathered he was still outside, despite falling backwards into the box.
The misdemeanour was flagged by the linesman and after the referee had consulted with him, the decision was to send Todd off.
Confusion reigned for a moment as everyone tried to digest what exactly had happened but in the meantime skipper Dave Keenleyside grabbed the gloves to see his side through to half-time.
And he continued after the break, making a number of saves low down in the opening minutes after the restart.
He was relatively untroubled from then until the final 10 minutes as Welwyn battled hard to preserve their point.
It wasn’t the most entertaining of games and the sending off did nothing to help the increase the enjoyment.
The playing surface didn’t help the flow of the game mind, and it probably played a part in the decision to put the Citizens’ talismanic skipper in goal.
Never given the chance to recover following the summer’s heatwave, and following a couple of weeks of typical wintry weather, the pitch was threadbare in parts and with a very bobbly surface.
It affected one Sydney Ibe dribble, with the tall and gangly forward slicing a shot wide after a mazy dribble in the box when the ball bounced up at an awkward angle.
Ibe also had a dipping shot from distance saved by Kidlington’s Sam Warrell, and the home skipper also had to tip a Charlie Pattison effort over from a similar distance.
At the other end the Greens had looked threatening and Odihambo had forced Todd into one save while Darius Browne also looked a danger.
But for all the sending off will be blamed for quality of the fare on show, it ironically opened the game up in the second half.
And Welwyn had their chances, Elliott Bailey firing across goal and wide while Jay Rolfe had two shots in as many minutes, the first blocked and the second fired over.
But Kidlington stepped it up as the clock ticked down and definitely finished the stronger.
Keenleyside needed to pull off a superb double save with two minutes to go as Odihambo broke clear and then went full-length to punch an effort away in stoppage time.
In between Dylan Ebengo showed once again what a very good defender he is as he blocked a number of chances and headed one effort from Tom Franklin off the line.
The final play of the game was literally the closest Kidlington came though as Odihambo blasted a shot from the angle off the face of the crossbar.
It would have been harsh on Welwyn if that had denied them a point.
Kidlington: Warrell, Tooke, Castle, Martin, Franklin, Gabbidon, Coyle, Osborne-Ricketts, Odihambo, Benjamin (Williams 84), Browne (Janes 62)
Subs (not used): Willoughby, McGlyn, Bernasconi.
Booked: Odihambo 44
Welwyn Garden City: Todd, Rolfe, Sexton, Hobbs, Agyaakwah, Ebengo, Griffith (Edwards 69), Pattison (Ebelebe 81), Bailey, Keenleyside, Ibe (Campbell-Mhlope 60).
Subs (not used): Da Silva, Alomenu.
Sent-off: Todd 44.
HT: Kidlington 0 Welwyn Garden City 0
Referee: Benjamin Williamson (Wiltshire FA)