Impressive first outing and a record home crowd as Welwyn Garden City entertain Luton Town

PUBLISHED: 10:30 08 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:00 08 July 2019

WGC V Luton Town - Dave Keenleyside is beaten to the ball.


Picture: Karyn Haddon

WGC V Luton Town - Dave Keenleyside is beaten to the ball. Picture: Karyn Haddon

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Welwyn Garden City kicked off the Nick Ironton era in style with a hugely impressive display against League One champions Luton Town.

WGC V Luton Town - George Ironton in action for WGC.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V Luton Town - George Ironton in action for WGC. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The Championship outfit brought their first-team squad to Herns Lane for the Citizens' first pre-season game and left with a hard-fought 3-1 win courtesy of two goals from James Collins and one from Danny Hylton.

WGC V Luton Town - Ollie Carey in action for WGC.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V Luton Town - Ollie Carey in action for WGC. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The best of the day though came from Ian Rees for Welwyn before half-time, a sumptuous volley that flew in from 20-yards.

WGC V Luton Town - Ollie Carey in action for WGC.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V Luton Town - Ollie Carey in action for WGC. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The former St Albans City and Biggleswade Town man plays in the USA and is only guesting for City during his summer break but the strike will live long in the memories of the 825 packed into the ground, a record crowd for WGC.

WGC V Luton Town - The teams shake hands at the start of the game.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V Luton Town - The teams shake hands at the start of the game. Picture: Karyn Haddon

And City's new boss was equally as ecstatic with the performance.

WGC V Luton Town - Nick Ironton, manager of WGC.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V Luton Town - Nick Ironton, manager of WGC. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Ironton said: "I was delighted with every player in a WGC shirt. They all gave everything against the slickest team they will meet all season. I couldn't be more pleased."

WGC V Luton Town - Conor Clarke in action for WGC.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V Luton Town - Conor Clarke in action for WGC. Picture: Karyn Haddon

There were plenty of debuts for the Clarets including former Harpenden Town goalkeeper Connor Sansom who producing a stunning save early in the game to deny Collins.

WGC V Luton Town - Carl Mensah for WGC.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V Luton Town - Carl Mensah for WGC. Picture: Karyn Haddon

He was replaced by the returning Charlie Jones in the second half and he made a similarly spectacular save to keep the Hatters out.

WGC V Luton Town - George Ironton in action for WGC.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V Luton Town - George Ironton in action for WGC. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Full-back Connor Clarke and striker Ollie Carey were also among those to enjoy a fine first outing for City while fellow new signings George Naismith, Matt Crook and Will McClelland were also involved.

WGC V Luton Town - Jay Rolfe in action for WGC.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V Luton Town - Jay Rolfe in action for WGC. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The Kenilworth Road club fielded an entirely different side for the second 45 minutes but were still a very strong side.

WGC V Luton Town - Dave Keenleyside for WGC.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V Luton Town - Dave Keenleyside for WGC. Picture: Karyn Haddon

And all four of Luton's close season signings, Callum McManaman, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Martin Crainie and Brendan Galloway got 45 minutes each in what was Graeme Jones's first match as Luton boss.

WGC V Luton Town - George Ironton in action for WGC.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V Luton Town - George Ironton in action for WGC. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The third goal added a little gloss to the result for the visitors, but it didn't detract from a fine day all round for Welwyn GC FC,

WGC V Luton Town - Ian Rees in action for WGC.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V Luton Town - Ian Rees in action for WGC. Picture: Karyn Haddon

They are back at Herns Lane tomorrow night (Tuesday) against National League Barnet while their third pre-season outing is on Sunday when Maccabi GB are the visitors.

WGC V Luton Town - Captains Sonny Bradley and Dave Keenleyside with the match officials.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V Luton Town - Captains Sonny Bradley and Dave Keenleyside with the match officials. Picture: Karyn Haddon

WGC: Sansom (Jones 45), Clarke (Crook 62), Ebengo (McClelland 55), Mensah, Rolfe (Harris 77), Close (Dimmock 55), Rees, Keenleyside (Naismith 67), Ironton (Alomenu 62), Carrington (Hull 77), Carey (trialist 67).

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