Sun, sea and sand will have to wait a bit longer as Welwyn Garden City's win over Leighton Town proves they are not on the beach just yet
PUBLISHED: 16:54 05 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:54 05 May 2018
Welwyn Garden City and Leighton Town served up an end of season treat - with the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Divison champions gaining the upper hand in a 3-2 win.
Scarves & coats were swapped for shorts and flip-flops and talk was of holidays among the supporters enjoying a cold beer and the sunshine prior to the last game at Herns Lane this season.
Even the pitch looked to have come out of the dark winter months in good shape.
It had the feel of a pre-season game and Welwyn’s form since clinching the title has also been reminiscent of a team ‘already on the beach’.
Since clinching the title against Wembley at the beginning of April they have failed to win in any of their next five league games.
But what followed was anything other than a pre-season kickabout, even if it did start slowly.
Leighton did have a clear-cut opportunity two minutes in, Ty Deacon having a swing and a miss after a cross from the left, but the move was played as if slow motion.
But that changed with the Citizens on top during the first-half, and seemingly having their swagger back.
It took 27 minutes for the goal to arrive, Jon Clements breaking a personal dry spell with his first since the end of March.
Charlie Joy almost had a second late on but was denied by a fantastic block and Yasin Boodhoo glanced a Jay Rolfe corner off target.
Leighton still had chances though and were almost level when a Matthew Hall header from a corner outfoxed the defence, with Welwyn needing a goal-line clearance from skipper Danny Payne to preserve the clean sheet.
The second half brought no end to the entertaining fare.
Joy had another effort on his second touch, his first touch having created the space after being set-up by Elliott.
And City could have had more had they chosen the easier of two passes.
That was how they did double their lead on the hour. Payne’s simple lay-off allowed Elliott to advance to the edge of the box where he lashed one across Wyant and into the bottom corner.
The same corner was bulging two minutes later but unfortunately for City it was at the other end.
A cross wasn’t cleared well enough and Domenico Marsala found the space to shoot beyond Charlie May.
Clements head over as both teams threatened but it was Leighton who got the goal to level things up and again City could, and probably should have cleared it.
They didn’t and Deacon slammed in the loose ball and it seemed as if Leighton had the momentum.
But step forward Dan Bond and although he had Clements inside he decided to shoot, finding the only gap to goal underneath the keeper.
There were still further chances with both teams wanting to end the year on a high.
And the sight of two of Welwyn’s young U25 development stars leading the charge would have been pleasing to the faithful.
As would the win, which would have made those cold beers in the sunshine taste even sweeter.
WGC: May, Rolfe, Corran, Marks (Francis 77), Boodhoo, McGrandles, Bond (Prempeh 82), Payne, Clements, Elliott, Joy (Ironton 63)
Subs (not used): Dixon, Leslie
Goals: Clements 27, Elliott 60, Bond 76
Leighton Town: Wyant, Murphy (Bryant 36), Silford, Tappin, Guiney, Hall, Boland, O’Brien, Deacon, Marsala, Fuller (Brito 63)
Subs (not used): Hatch, Moran
Goals: Marsala 62, Deacon 74
HT: Welwyn Garden City 1 Leighton Town 0
Referee: Deryll David (Edgware)