Welwyn Garden City suffer second straight home defeat as AFC Dunstable take the points

PUBLISHED: 16:50 06 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:50 06 March 2019

WGC's Jesse Walklin limped out of the game with AFC Dunstable early due to injury. Picture: DANNY LOO

WGC's Jesse Walklin limped out of the game with AFC Dunstable early due to injury. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Archant

For the second successive Tuesday evening Welwyn Garden City slipped to defeat at Herns Lane as they went down 1-0 to AFC Dunstable in the Southern League Division One Central.

But unlike the rumbustious seven-goal thriller of one week previous, when Dean Barker’s young Clarets were overpowered by promotion-seeking Corby Town, this was poor fayre for a sparse 93 strong crowd.

This re-arranged fixture from a waterlogged pitch five weeks earlier saw a physically powerful AFC Dunstable, unbeaten in seven games prior to the match, prove just too strong and experienced for the youthful Citizens.

A lot of the first-half action was crammed into the opening five minutes and none of it was good for WGC, who had new central defender Jack Humphrey making his debut but were lacking the midfield guile of skipper Dave Keenleyside.

Inside two minutes of the start, the home side were awarded a penalty when winger David Manu was crashed into by AFC’s Drew Roberts inside the box and referee Mr Donaldson immediately pointed to the spot.

Elliot Bailey’s spot-kick was too near Dan Green, who had begun the season between the WGC posts, and the big keeper threw himself to his left to push the effort away.

Three minutes later, Jesse Walklin, back in the line-up after missing two games through a hamstring, clearly aggravated the injury with a solid tackle on the by-line and had to be replaced by Ivan Agyaakwah.

Agyaakwah, who has had his loan from Barnet extended for a further month, came on in the unfamiliar position of central midfield, having played all his previous WGC games in defence, but went on to be one of the side’s better performers.

After all this early activity, the game lapsed into a very scrappy affair.

WGC keeper Lewis Todd had to look sharp to save at AFC winger Martel Powell’s feet in a rare attacking foray and then the dangerous Jermaine Hall slipped inside his marker and crashed a powerful effort wide for the Beds side.

The best chance for City came from a defender. Jon Sexton making a good interception and racing through for 30 yards, only to shoot straight at Green.

Manu cleverly made room for a shot, cutting in from the left, but skied his effort badly wide, as the half predictably closed goalless.

Ten minutes after the restart, AFC fashioned the only goal of the game.

The powerful Bernie Christie outmuscled full-back Dan Carr down the left and pulled the ball back for Christian Tavernier to net with a fine effort past Todd and just under the bar.

Minutes later Christie struck a stinging drive, but Todd held on well and the keeper made another sharp save from Powell, when new boy Humphrey miscued a clearance in the WGC defence.

It took some time for the Clarets to muster much in reply, but they were only inches away from an equaliser, when Carr put over an excellent cross from the right, but neither WGC strikers Da Silva nor Bailey couldn’t force home at full stretch.

Matty Campbell-Mhlope was looking WGC’s most dangerous attacker and twice he wriggled free of the Dunstable defence, once to blaze over the top and then to strike just wide with a powerful effort.

WGC pressed until the final whistle in a late rally and good strength from Da Silva enabled him to pull the ball back for Bailey to fire goalward, only for the effort to be blocked by AFC Dunstable’s mass defence, as the Beds side held out for the points.

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