Welwyn Garden City beat bitter rivals Hatfield Town to inch further from chasing pack
PUBLISHED: 12:36 29 December 2014 | UPDATED: 12:36 29 December 2014
It was the Christmas Cracker they had billed and the winter warmer they had hoped for as WGC extended their lead at the top.
By the half-hour mark, it looked as if it could be a festive stroll for the hosts with the help of clinical precision from Marc Arnott and Daryl Smith setting up a two-goal lead.
Town refused to die though and a quick-fire Ben Collins penalty and Aaron Lewis’ touch got the Blueboys back to parity before the interval.
However, their hard work was undone four minutes into the second half as Joel Norris connected with Sam James’ cross to score what was to be the decisive goal.
Three points clear at the top of the table for WGC going into New Year while Hatfield have much to ponder after dropping to third.
The visitors had been lashed 5-1 at Hertfordshire neighbours Baldock Town a week priot and when Arnott reacted quickest to keeper Allan Buck’s parry to put the Citizens ahead five minutes in, they might have feared the worst again.
Within seconds, they could have been level had Ben Alexander’s devious curler found the top corner. However, it flashed just over.
WGC continued to press but with the concern of a visiting counter-attack causing them anguish.
Luckily for Adam Fisher’s men, they found a second 15 minutes before half-time.
Sam Perrin’s teasing free-kick found Smith lurking at back stick to head beyond Buck.
With Hatfield in a goal-giving mood, they were handed a gift of their own as Jason Caswell brought down Gary Sippetts, leaving Collins to power home the resultant penalty.
And, just as Buck had bumbled for Arnott’s opener, so to did WGC keeper Joe Croft as he palmed the ball down to Lewis to thrash home the 41st-minute leveller.
That was to Town’s final joy though as they found life tough in the second half.
Norris’ close-range effort put WGC back in front and had Caswell converted one of three gild-edged chances, the points would have been secured before the referee’s final whistle sounded.
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