Second-half resolve sees Welwyn Garden City edge closer to league summit
PUBLISHED: 11:46 19 September 2016 | UPDATED: 13:04 19 September 2016
Rearguard action for almost all of the second half preserved 10-man Welwyn Garden City’s unbeaten league record – the only one now in the SSML Premier Division - as they won their fourth successive league game by a 2-1 scoreline.
Cockfosters v WGC
Taishan Griffiths finds the net. Picture: Mark Long
Taishan Griffiths scores WGC's first. Picture: Mark Long
Taishan Griffiths on the ball. Picture: Mark Long
Scorer Taishan Griffiths is mobbed by his team-mates. Picture: Mark Long
WGC's Taishan Griffiths with his eye on the ball. Picture: Mark Long
James Ewington scores WGC's second. Picture: Mark Long
Jay Welsh (no.3) and Olly Leslie look to thwart the Cockfosters attacker. Picture: Mark Long
Joe Foley. Picture: Mark Long
John McGrandles in a physical tussle with a Cockfosters man. Picture: Mark Long
Josh Bronti. Picture: Mark Long
Olly Leslie clears for WGC. Picture: Mark Long
WGC's Martin Standen leaps to head the ball. Picture: Mark Long
WGC’s defensive solidity in taking the three points plus Hertford’s shock 4-1 home defeat by the Citizens’s FA Cup conquerors Stotfold, left Adam Fisher’s side as the only unbeaten team in the division and propelled them to second, behind early pacesetters London Colney.
Cockfosters were straight onto the attack in the first minute and Jay Welsh looked to be fouled, when left on the seat of his pants by Cassidy-Sinclair. However, the ball was driven across where home skipper Emmanuel Melford-Rowe put his effort past Olly Leslie’s post.
Several minutes later they were in front.
Lewis Endacott won a vital interception and played the ball square to Taishan Griffiths, who took it on before hitting a fine, dipping effort over the home keeper for 1-0.
The Citizens continued to impress after their shaky start and Luke Robins fired a fierce cross-shot across the face of the home goal before WGC keeper Leslie was forced to tip over a Melford-Rowe effort from 20 yards.
WGC still held sway and went 2-0 up on 27 minutes when Robins produced an absolute peach of a 30-yard pass hooking it over his shoulder to send James Ewington clear. The striker held off a challenge from Carl Resch, before sweeping it past keeper Tautis Pontiskaitis.
The second half proved a different story with Cockfosters laying siege to the WGC goal.
On the hour, keeper Leslie produced a sensational save when full-back Jay Rolfe cut back a ball into the path of George Ironton, who looked certain to equalise, only for the keeper to turn away the effort.
WGC’s sole foray forward forced a right-wing corner that Welsh landed on the head of fellow full-back Endacott on the back post, but the effort just squeezed wide.
Back came Cockfosters and 18 minutes from time they pulled a goal back but only after a long debate.
From a free-kick, Ramone Cassidy-Sinclair knocked the ball down and Dominique Bongo forced it in, but the assistant raised his flag. Referee Moreno consulted but, after a lengthy discussion, awarded the goal.
This was the signal for even more home pressure and 16 minutes from the end, WGC were reduced to 10 men, when McGrandles was penalised for a challenge on the by-line.
Mr Moreno booked him, seemingly not having remembered he had already done so at the end of the first half. After protests from the home players, he was persuaded to reconsider and sent the WGC defender off.
Three minutes from the end, keeper Pontiskaitis made a hash of a clearance, presenting WGC sub Ashley Kersey with the ball, but before the big striker could capitalise, the keeper redeemed himself, blocking the goal-bound effort.
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