Safe! Welwyn earn another year in the Southern League

PUBLISHED: 10:37 25 April 2019

Eoin McKeown bagged his fourth goal for WGC in the win at Dunstable Town. 

Picture: Karyn Haddon

Eoin McKeown bagged his fourth goal for WGC in the win at Dunstable Town. Picture: Karyn Haddon


Welwyn Garden City’s first season in the Southern League will not be their last after they confirmed their safety with a 3-1 win at Dunstable Town.

This Division One Central campaign is the first time Welwyn have been at step four of the non-league pyramid and after a difficult second half to the season, they slipped too close to the relegation zone for comfort.

And they had to secure their survival the hard way too, coming from 1-0 down at half-time at Creasey Park.

Manager Dean Barker, who took over at the start of January, was naturally delighted.

He said: “Job done. We have achieved the target we were given when we took over.

“We inherited a mess in all honesty so I'm delighted for everyone at the club to stay at this level of football whilst giving youngsters a chance.”

He also praised Dave Keenleyside, Jon Sexton and Jay Rolfe, the only three players to remain from the start of the season.

The former was named skipper of Barker's side and he provided the spark to bring Welwyn back into the game at Dunstable.

They had trailed to a seventh-minute penalty, given when Sexton was adjudged to have blocked off Charlie Black. Saul Williams duly converted the spot-kick.

Dylan Ebengo had put the ball into the home net before that but his header from a Keenleyside free-kick was ruled out for offside.

And City dominated the rest of the half with Eoin McKeown, Matty Campbell-Mhlope and Keenleyside himself all going close.

But it needed just five minutes of the second half for the skipper to draw WGC level, with a trademark free-kick round the wall and into the corner.

And nine minutes after that they were ahead.

Good approach work by Eusebio Da Silva and McKeown combined to play Campbell-Mhlope in and the midfielder drove a strong shot past the keeper.

Chances came and went but a third did eventually arrive, McKeown thumping a powerful effort from 25 yards that the keeper was unable to stop.

It means WGC can enjoy a much more relaxed final game on Saturday when they host Aylesbury.

After that it is their presentation evening and no doubt one or two celebrations.

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