No more away-day blues for Welwyn as Opoku strikes to claim first success at Thame
PUBLISHED: 12:28 11 October 2020 | UPDATED: 12:28 11 October 2020
Welwyn Garden City won their first away game of the new Southern League campaign and their first at the SMS Stadium with a 1-0 success at Thame United.
It had not been a happy hunting ground prior to Saturday’s visit with the Citizens having surrendered two-goal leads on each of their previous visits to the Oxfordshire club, a 4-2 loss and 2-2 draw.
However, this time Thomas Opoku’s goal proved decisive and make it two wins out of three in the league so far.
There was little to report in the opening quarter of the game but WGC always had to be wary of the home side’s slick front three of Lyndon Goss, Dan West and Ryan Blake.
Blake created the first opening of the game for partner-in-crime Goss, who fired over when off balance, and then Carl Mensah rescued the visitors by cutting out a Goss cross with Blake waiting in the middle.
George Ironton missed WGC’s first opening with a weak effort wide after a powerful Eusebio Da Silva run before a high ball into the home area from Elliot Bailey fell to Robbie Buchanan, whose well struck effort was deflected into the side netting.
A quick throw by keeper Charlie Crowley set man of the match Jon Sexton on his way and when he set up Bailey, keeper Chris Rackley was forced into a full-length save.
Moments later Crowley did the same at the opposite end to keep the teams level at the break.
The Citizens had to replace Ironton with Opoku two minutes into the second-half, the midfielder struck by a troublesome Achilles injury, and they made a further change by bringing on Jordan Kinoshi for Buchanan eight minutes later.
Crowley, in fine form, made the stop of the match to turn around another Goss effort destined for the bottom corner before Welwyn took the lead.
Dave Keenleyside slotted over a fine free-kick which fell to Opoku and his clever turn and shot through a crowded area beat the keeper.
Kinoshi almost added an instant second but was denied by Rackley and City’s final substitute, Jack Vasey twice went close to making the game safe.
WGC managed to see the game out safely, doing so with only 10 men as Keenleyside hobbled off with a hamstring pull with six minutes to go.
Welwyn Garden City: Crowley, Mensah, Close, Rolfe, Sexton, Walklin, Keenleyside, Ironton (Opoku 47), Buchanan (Kinoshi 55), Da Silva (Vasey 58), Bailey.
Subs (not used): Payne, Tshikala.
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