Citizens still searching for first league win of 2017 after Tring loss
PUBLISHED: 10:37 13 February 2017
Welwyn Garden City FC are still seeking their first maximum points of 2017, after they were edged out of a competitive clash 3-2 on Saturday by Tring Athletic, who sit just above them in the SSML Premier table.
Manager Adam Fisher will be highly concerned that his side has taken just one point from 15 since the turn of the year and has addressed the slump by signing half-a-dozen new players.
Unfortunately due to a combination of personal reasons and suspensions, only two were available to him for this game.
However, new left-sided midfielder Paul Morris made a lively debut, despite missing two gilt-edged chances, while latest signing Shane Carty, from Arlesey Town, came on for the second-half and added some needed bite to WGC’s central midfield.
Fisher was still deprived of unavailable central defenders John McGrandles and Martin Standen, while has a trio of players suspended. Danny Payne still has three games to serve, Sean Brettell one, while newcomer George Brinkman was banned for this game against his former club.
WGC got the perfect start with a goal in the game’s opening attack.
New skipper Luke Robins threaded through a fine ball into Ashley Kersey’s path.
The big striker held off Tring captain Dan Steadman’s challenge and slotted past keeper Jack Hopwood in just over 30 seconds.
In the Tring side was Jack Read, who left Herns Lane for the West Herts side just a fortnight ago, as Brinkman came the other way and he struck a powerful effort that home keeper Jack Metcalfe saved well in seven minutes.
Two minutes later, Metcalfe made a real eye-catching save, turning over another well struck Read effort as the ex-WGC man seemed intent on making an impression against his former club.
Morris blotted his otherwise impressive debut by scorning a golden chance of a WGC second, when also put through by a fine Robins pass, but he shot wide of the post in 11 minutes.
Despite a boggy Herns Lane pitch, which passed two inspections, the second just an hour before kick-off, the smallish crowd were being treated to an exciting game.
On 21 minutes Tring were level.
WGC failed to pick up Luke Dunstan from a right-wing corner and the visiting midfielder punishing them with a flashing, unstoppable header past Metcalfe.
This spurred the visitors and Metcalfe was called on to make a further good stop to foil Lee Stobbs, before Taishan Griffin got in a vital block to keep out another effort from the eager Read.
The former Herns Lane striker achieved his aim of a goal against his old club a minute from half-time when full-back Chris Mason overlapped down the left and crossed.
Read got in a looping header over Yasin Boodhoo and the stranded Metcalfe, the ball dropping in behind the keeper for a 2-1 Tring interval lead.
Manager Fisher made a double change after the break, bringing on Marcus Campbell for the injured Kersey (back) and new boy Carty in midfield.
Louis Lee, who had started in central midfield, dropped in alongside Boodhoo in defence.
Carty earned an early booking for a sharp challenge on Dunstan, but generally added some bite to the midfield and 11 minutes after the restart, the Citizens were level with a gift of a second goal.
Tring keeper Hopwood and his skipper Steadman got in a terrible tangle over a clearance, Hopwood lashing it against his central defender.
The ball rebounded back past both of them and Campbell ran in behind, collected to pass into an open goal, for 2-2.
Three minutes later, Campbell did wonderfully well to withstand a clear shirt pull to find Josh Bronti.
He put a cross over the face of the Tring goal, but unfortunately new boy Morris, leaning back, skied another great chance over the bar.
It was as good as it got for WGC and 15 minutes from time, it was Tring who found the winner.
From a deep free-kick, Dunstan got up to power in another header.
Metcalfe dived and tipped it away, but full-back Mason, up for the set piece, was first to the rebound to force it home.
WGC pushed everyone forward for the closing quarter, but couldn’t create any clear openings that would have helped arrest their current losing run.
WGC: Metcalfe, Griffin, Boodhoo, Coughlan (Carty 46), Welsh, Lee, Long, Robins (Arnott 75), Bronti, Kersey (Campbell 46), Morris.