Player-manager badly injured in Citizens defeat to Bedford

PUBLISHED: 12:59 25 April 2013 | UPDATED: 13:03 25 April 2013

WGC player-manager Scott O'Donoghue holds up the ball

WGC player-manager Scott O'Donoghue holds up the ball


A SERIOUS-looking injury to player-manager Scott O’Donoghue marred Welwyn Garden City’s penultimate fixture of the season against Bedford at Herns Lane last night (Wednesday).

Five minutes into the second-half, O’Donoghue went into a challenge in the far corner of the pitch and crumpled in a heap, amid great fears of a recurrence of the broken left ankle he suffered seven months earlier.

After lengthy treatment and an eight minute stoppage, he was carried off on a stretcher and taken by ambulance to Lister Hospital, Stevenage, for an x-ray on the injury.

The injury clearly had a demoralising effect on his team, although they were 2-0 in arrears at the time, to a very lively Bedford outfit, who with this success, stretched a winning run to 13 victories on the trot, as they have catapulted up the Spartan South Midlands League table.

Assistant WGC boss Pablo Ardiles, said: ”The injury to Scott and stoppage did seem to effect us badly, but, in truth, we weren’t really at the races in this game at any stage, against a very sharp Bedford side. We can’t make the injury an excuse.”

The Citizens’ line-up had a more solid look to it compared with the side that played Crawley Green the previous Saturday.

They welcomed back Nathan Bowden, Jamie Gillett, Martin Stickland, Paul Taylor and Billy Jones.

Isaac Oppong (injured) and Ade Osobu (unavailable) were missing, while Dan and Richard Texiera, Matt McArdle and Rob Gregory all made way.

Kieran Weekes, for whom this was a final game in a claret and blue shirt, hit a fine rising drive in three minutes, that Bedford keeper Aaron Bodger turned over in flying style.

From the resulting corner, Gillett met Taylor’s flag kick to head just over.

Sadly, they were to prove WGC’s closest efforts of the night.

Bedford settled and on 21 minutes went ahead as the Citizens conceded a third penalty in two games.

This time Ardiles was the culprit, tripping the visitors’ youthful winger Gareth Hunt as he dribbled along the by-line. Jamie Cole’s spot-kick empathically put Bedford ahead.

Billy Jones had a rare effort for the home side from 20 yards, but it proved easy for Bodger to handle, while Bowden went into referee Knox’s book for a reckless challenge on Sturniolo.

Three minutes from the break, Bedford scored a second, when their top scorer Chris Johnson latched onto a through ball and waltzed around Freddie Hester to double his side’s tally.

The O’Donoghue injury cast something of a torpor over much of the second-half that neither side seemed able to shake off.

Weekes struck WGC’s best effort, from a Derek Shemlon cross, straight at Bodger and the visitors had a couple of half chances until six minutes from time when Bedford’s hefty substitute Ashley Kersey reached a right-wing cross ahead of Hester’s attempted punch and nodded in over the keeper, for a now regular scoreline in Citizens’ games of 3-0.

But it wasn’t over and two minutes from time, Stickland was a long way short with an attempted back pass and another Bedford substitute Ian Thorne latched onto it to fire in the visitors’ fourth.

WGC: Hester, Shemlon, Gillett (Texiera D 67), Stickland, Bowden, Taylor (McArdle 72), Draper, Ardiles, O’Donoghue (Awad 50), Jones, Weekes.

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