In-form Welwyn Garden City lose their way at Hadley with second half horror show

PUBLISHED: 12:26 29 April 2016 | UPDATED: 12:26 29 April 2016

Ash Kersey for WGC

Ash Kersey for WGC


Welwyn Garden City’s impressive late season run of seven wins from their last eight league games was halted by a calamitous second-half defensive display in an eventual 4-0 loss at Hadley on Thursday night.

Hadley impressively completed a league double over the Citizens by a margin of seven goals for and just one against, with a real power show in the second 45 minutes of this re-arranged game, to inflict WGC’s heaviest league defeat of the season.

WGC do hold a triumph 3-0 over Hadley in the semi-finals of the Premier Cup this season.

But the currently Potters Bar-based side, who move to their own Arkley ground for next season and have had their own campaign ruined by massive fixture congestion are just about the most impressive SSML Premier outfit Adam Fisher’s team have met this season.

There was no sign of the ultimate rout in an even, opening 45 minutes in which WGC’s best effort came within three minutes of the start.

Ashley Kersey getting a good, flicked header on a Craig Arnott cross, to bring a full-length save from home keeper Charlie Mann.

There were few other goalmouth opportunities for either side. Arnott finished one move weakly and the recalled Yasir Rashid flashed a strong effort wide. At the other end, a depleted WGC defence, lacking the unavailable John McGrandles and Sam Perrin and with Jay Lovell (knee) injured, were caused few alarms.

The second half began promisingly for both sides.

Luke Robins gave the ball away on the edge of his own area and Hadley’s Laste Dombaxe struck a fierce 20-yard shot that WGC keeper Kieran Clayton turned away in great style.

That was on 50 minutes. Three minutes later, Rashid exploded WGC’s best effort of the evening from 25 yards, a blistering drive that crashed back into play off the crossbar.

But three minutes later, Hadley took the lead, when big central defender Sam Lyon was left unmarked at an Abrahams corner and headed powerfully in. WGC seemed to fall apart after that 56th minute setback.

On 67 minutes, Jay Welsh played an intended back pass short of keeper Clayton, the ever-dangerous Ivan Machado got there first and rolled it in, despite Yasin Boodhoo’s despairing lunge on the line.

Manager Fisher thrust on the rested Danny Payne and Dave Parkinson for Arnott and Josh Bronti, but it was all Hadley by this stage and Machado almost had a second, hitting a rising shot on the turn against WGC’s woodwork.

He wasn’t denied for long. On 78 minutes, winger Abrahams was left in acres of room down the left. He crossed in, Clayton managed to push away a first Machado effort, but only against the incoming striker and the rebound bounced in for 3-0.

By this time, WGC were a very ragged outfit and it was tough on reserve defender Jake Hoy, who had been the visitors’ most impressive performer on a forgettable night, that he failed to cut out a through-ball in the 89th minute that set Dombaxe free to round Clayton and roll in a fourth to complete the misery.

WGC: Clayton, Mensah, Boodhoo (Harper 79), Hoy, Welsh, Arnott (Payne 69), Smith, Robins, Bronti, Kersey, Rashid.

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