Romford friendly defeat for Welwyn Garden City

PUBLISHED: 16:41 04 August 2015 | UPDATED: 16:41 04 August 2015

Josh Bronti fires in for Welwyn Garden City

Josh Bronti fires in for Welwyn Garden City

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This was hardly the preparation Welwyn Garden City boss Adam Fisher was looking for with the new Spartan South Midlands Premier season just a week away.

Fisher’s new look side were beaten 4-1 against a Romford team from a standard higher - the Ryman League Division One North - but who had just avoided relegation from that division last season.

That said, they looked a class above a somewhat disjointed and lack-lustre WGC, who were hoping to pit themselves against better opposition as an indicator to a good showing on their return to Premier football after seven seasons’ absence.

Worse for Fisher was a mystery injury to goalkeeper Joe Croft, sustained after just 14 minutes, with WGC already 1-0 down to the first of the four soft goals conceded.

When faced with Romford forward Shoma Barnwell, Croft fell to the ground, even though there appeared to have been no contact, a fact confirmed by match referee Lee Jessup. When physios raced on, he briefly lost consciousness, although revived after a few moments.

Helped off the pitch after seven minutes of treatment, Croft was taken to hospital suffering from concussion and with a back injury, but was back at Herns Lane by the end of the game.

The Herns Lane boss had begun with just five of his promotion-cup-winning line-up - Croft, Sam Perrin, Craig Arnott, Daryl Smith and Jason Caswell.

WGC fell behind to a seventh minute throw-in routine, Romford striker Nick Reynolds flicked-on to the far post where Robbie Norris had a tap-in.

Following the Croft injury, WGC fielded new youth keeper Marcus Bourne for the remainder and he couldn’t be faulted for any of the other goals.

WGC scorned two chances to equalise shortly after the opening goal. Perrin provided both with long crosses, firstly Craig Arnott hesitated and had his shot blocked by Romford full-back Boswell, then Caswell fired tamely at goalkeeper Michael Gooch from six yards.

Romford missed a couple of sitters through Barnwell, but three minutes from the break doubled their lead as Chris Barry fired an underhit effort through a posse of players that found its way into the net for a 2-0 interval lead.

WGC hopes were briefly revived two minutes after the restart as Caswell found new winger Josh Bronti and his drive beat Romford substitute keeper Aaron Omand for 2-1.

Fisher then rang the changes, making six substitutions, but Romford added two more goals.

Jordan Thomas tapped in a third with 15 minutes to go, before Dean Cossington hit the fourth from short range.

Saturday was dubbed ‘Sean Brettell Day’ at Herns Lane as WGC fundraised for their former player who broke a leg playing against them in a friendly for his new side Bedford Town last month.

See this week’s Welwyn Hatfield Times for an interview with Brettell.


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