Heartbreak for Welwyn Garden City but defeat at Bedworth United just half the story

PUBLISHED: 15:33 04 November 2020 | UPDATED: 17:23 04 November 2020

Lee Close was employed as an emergancy keeper for Welwyn Garden City in their trip to Bedworth United. Picture: DANNY LOO

Lee Close was employed as an emergancy keeper for Welwyn Garden City in their trip to Bedworth United. Picture: DANNY LOO

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Welwyn Garden City lost their second game of the Southern League Division One Central season in the second minute of stoppage time – but the final 3-2 score at Bedworth United is not even half of the tale.

The Midlanders will revel in a tremendous comeback from 2-0 down at half-time to take the points but there were extenuating circumstances affecting WGC.

Not least of which was the fact that they played the entire 90 minutes away from home, at opposition fourth in the table before this game, without a recognised goalkeeper.

Charlie Crowley damaged his hand in the thrilling spot-kick win away to Horsham in the FA Trophy on Saturday and U23 Aaron Bull couldn’t make it to the Midlands in time.

It meant central defender Lee Close was pressed into action between the posts.

He has been on the sidelines with a muscle injury but has played twice before in goal during his playing days at Boreham Wood.

And the stand-in keeper did creditably well. None of Bedworth’s three goals could be attributed to him, more to the unnecessary concession of free-kicks on the edge of the area that proved very costly to the Citizens.

It didn’t help either that Bedworth’s left-back, Luke Rowe, was a dab hand from set pieces.

He brought his side back into the game 10 minutes into the second-half, when Jay Rolfe pushed over Mitchell Piggon and Rowe driving the ball over the wall and past Close.

The goal proved a game-changer. WGC manager Nick Ironton immediately introduced his son George in the hope of a repeat of Horsham three days earlier, when the younger Ironton proved a match-winner.

Surprisingly, it was at the expense of Jordan Kinoshi, who had been outstanding in the first-half, making both of the Citizens’ goals.

Firstly in 15 minutes, he was put away by a fine long ball from Rolfe and after making his way past two home defenders on the byline, he struck over a dangerous low cross that Cal Templeton turned into his own goal.

Nine minutes later, the Clarets doubled their lead. A towering Carl Mensah free-kick was taken down well by Kinoshi who slipped it to Jack Vasey, and he curled a delightful shot around keeper Dan Crane.

WGC had a golden chance to for a third seven minutes from the break. Vasey intercepted a loose pass out of defence and sent Robbie Buchanan through, but as Crane raced from goal the young winger struck the keeper instead of dinking it over him.

Young defender Ryan Doherty made a fine goal-line clearance on the stroke of the interval, after dangerous winger Ishmael Dawson had managed to elude both Jon Sexton and Rolfe to fire in a dangerous effort.

Rowe’s 55th minute effort saw Bedworth on the road to recovery, but that recovery could have been stopped had Buchanan not missed a second opportunity on 62 minutes.

Ironton threaded the ball through but this time the winger’s shot hit fallen defender Rowe in front of a gaping net.

Young attacker Scott Knight got his first taste of first-team action for the hard-working Thomas Opoku with 15 minutes left.

But WGC were now wilting under constant home pressure and the Warwickshire side scented blood.

Eight minutes from time, they were level. Another Rowe free-kick, this time curled around the wall hit a post, and top scorer Piggon squeezed the rebound past Close on the line.

Again WGC responded. Vasey, played through by an Ironton pass, netted but was ruled offside with four minutes left.

And back came Bedworth with deadly impact. With 92 minutes gone, Ironton lost possession allowing Dawson to swing it into the back post.

Piggon headed back and Richard Blythe again forced it over the line from no more than a yard.

Bedworth went delirious. WGC came home, broken-hearted.

WGC: Close, Doherty, Mensah, Rolfe, Sexton, Walklin, Opoku (Knight 75), Payne, Buchanan (Akwasi 84), Vasey, Kinoshi (Ironton 58).

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