Keenleyside praises Welwyn Garden City’s strength of character

PUBLISHED: 16:16 19 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:16 19 February 2020

Skipper Dave Keenleyside praised the character of his Welwyn Garden City team. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Skipper Dave Keenleyside praised the character of his Welwyn Garden City team. Picture: KARYN HADDON


David Keenleyside has hailed the character of his Welwyn Garden City team-mates after they beat Kempston Rovers 4-2 at Herns Lane.

The skipper bagged two well-taken strikes to give the Citizens a 2-0 at the break but the visitors responded by pulling one back inside two minutes of the restart.

And after throwing away a similar half-time lead against Thame United in January, eventually sharing the points in a 2-2 draw, there were fears of a repeat.

But Keenleyside's worries were quashed as goals from Callum Stead and Hani Berchiche ensured City would finish with the win.

He said: "They were two silly goals to give away but to respond in the way we did and just bounce back shows great character because against Thame two weeks ago we were 2-0 up at half-time and folded and they nicked a draw.

"So we showed good character to bounce right back after conceding."

Keenleyside wasn't just praising the mentality of the Welwyn players but also their quality on the ball to deal with the weather conditions.

A downpour in the hour before kick-off had left an already sodden surface even wetter and put the match in doubt.

Fortunately sterling work by staff and volunteers at the club enabled the game to go ahead.

Keenleyside said: "The pitch was tricky. I thought it would be touch and go as to whether it would be on or not.

"But we know that pitch is terrible and we play it quite well.

"We've got the players that like to get it down and have the quality to play on that pitch. And we play in the right areas."

His two goals mean he is now tied on 11 with Stead in the race for Welwyn's golden boot and they were two strikes he was very happy with.

He said: "It was a penalty again which was nice. I saw the keeper go and thought I've got to put this right in the corner so I put a bit more on it. I couldn't change my mind last minute.

"The second one was nice, it just fell to me and I thought I'm just going to whip this.

"I think the wind helped, it did curl round but the wind took it an extra two inches and it went in.

"That was a nice one to get."

And his goals are needed at the moment with City without a fit recognised striker, part of a lengthy injury list.

"We haven't had a proper striker throughout the season," he admitted. "We've basically had five or six coming in and out.

"To still make chances and link up with the forwards is quite nice."

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