Time to see what new-look Welwyn Garden City are made of after implosion against Corby Town
PUBLISHED: 21:50 26 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:13 27 February 2019
An implosion of epic magnitude saw Welwyn Garden City lose for the first time in the league under Dean Barker at home to Corby Town.
The Citizens were in cruise control in the first half with an Elliott Bailey double but Corby got one back before the break before simply bashing City in submission and a 5-2 loss.
The way WGC crumbled in the second half will be both a concern to Barker and his management team and a source of positivity.
They say you only see the real character of a team in adversity and defeat and while they were plenty of raised voices and shrieks of frustration from those in claret shirts during the second period, there was also signs of a regrouping with a number of the younger members shouting encouragement and driving the team forward as the game drew to a close.
The simple truth of the contest though is that when they were good, they were very good, attacking with pace and decisiveness that had play-off chasing Corby reeling.
But the strength and experience of the Northants side was the key to the fightback.
It was without doubt a lesson in the toughness of senior football.
Prior to the game a comment made on social media said that if Welwyn could add a prolific streak to their solid defence, they could be a real threat in the Southern League Division One Central.
It was a very apt comment and one most would have agreed with, although none would have expected the defensive collapse to follow.
Bailey certainly seemed to be in that number believing the attack could get better as he pounced twice in the opening 20 minutes to put the Citizens into a good lead.
The first came after Dave Carr had picked up a cross-field pass from Dave Keenleyside and played a one-two with Matty Campbell-Mhlope.
That put the former Oxford full-back into space and as he got to the box he unleashed a thumping shot that went straight into the midriff of Dan George and bobbled out.
Bailey was waiting and he took a couple of touches before squeezing it inside the near post.
The second was a bit more straight forward but again started from a Keenleyside pass.
His ball in from a free-kick on the right was met by Bailey who had escaped his marker beautifully and his glanced header was guided across goal into the far corner.
At that stage Welwyn were threatening to run riot.
David Manu powered a shot low cross goal and wide after skipping past Jamie Anton down the byline and an effort from Campbell-Mhlope also fizzed low across the box and wide.
But just as it seemed half-time would be reached without any fuss, the Steelmen halved the gap.
This also came from a free-kick but Welwyn will feel they should have cleared after dealing with the first ball in.
And when it came back into the centre Elliot Sandy was there to prod the ball home from close range.
Lewis Todd had been a virtual spectator up to that point but he saw a lot of action as the half came to an end and was fishing the ball out of the net again after just four minutes of the restart.
Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson had been head and shoulders the stand-out performer for Corby but when he charged down the left-hand side of the box his only intention was to cross the ball.
However, it looped up and over Todd before dropping just inside the near post.
They had started the second half much livelier but it was still a huge slice of fortune.
Their efforts were bringing chances though and Carr was in the right place to boot clear a loose ball that was heading towards the net.
And with Welwyn rocking Corby bagged three goals in six minutes to not only complete the comeback but bury any chance of Welwyn getting back into the game.
Fortnam-Tomlinson was involved with the third, his shot through a crowd of players being pushed out by Todd into the path of Stephen Diggin, and Sandy got his second from close range again after Joel Carta’s header had been deflected up and off the bar.
Carta himself got the fifth with a low shot into the corner.
WGC now have seven days to lick their wounds and reflect on their performance.
How they respond against AFC Dunstable will be of great fascination.
Welwyn Garden City: Todd, Carr, Sexton (Omore 78), Keenleyside, Agyaakwah, Ebengo, Campbell-Mhlope (Alomenu 75), Pattison, Da Silva, Bailey, Manu (Griffith 81).
Subs (not used): Ebelebe, Carrington.
Goals: Bailey 13, 20
Booked: Pattison 10, Sexton 41.
Corby Town: George, Anton, McWilliams, Ling, Gordon, Mulligan, Fortnam-Tomlinson, Newell (Carta 46), Sandy (Robinson 84), Diggin, Francis (Crawford 65).
Subs (not used): Warburton.
Goals: Sandy 42, 71, Fortnam-Tomlinson 49, Diggin 67, Carta 73.
Booked: Gordon 20, McWilliams 32, Francis 64.
HT: Welwyn Garden City 2 Corby Town 1
Referee: Alan Cresswell (Pinner)