Welwyn Garden City turn Herns Lane into Land of the Giants to secure another three points
PUBLISHED: 10:03 16 September 2016 | UPDATED: 10:03 16 September 2016
Welwyn Garden City recorded their third consecutive SSML Premier Division victory by a 2-1 scoreline, but as in the recent victories over Hoddesdon Town and Edgware Town, were a little fortunate to take maximum points, when stylish Biggleswade United visited the new-look Herns Lane.
The Beds team, who have Sky Sports presenter Guilliem Balague as their director of football. a Spanish coach in Cristian Colas and a number of players from the Iberian peninsula, are a very slick footballing side. For long periods of this game, they gave the Citizens something of a passing lesson.
But on the flipside, United are smaller than the average SSML side and have a vulnerability in the air and WGC, with a big back four, plus six-footers Martin Standen in midfield and Ashley Kersey up front, exploited this to the maximum.
It brought them their two goals and three more precious points that lifts the Herns Lane side to third in the table. They, with close rivals Hertford, are now the only unbeaten sides in the SSML Premier Division.
In a quiet start to the game, little happened until WGC took a 12th minute lead.
A Jay Welsh free-kick to the back post, picked out Kersey, who rose above the entire Biggleswade defence to head powerfully across goal, where attacking full-back Lewis Endacott came in with a flying header that flew past visiting keeper Tom Wyant.
That goal apart, the game provided little goalmouth action, although the visitors looked impressive with their polished build-up, with nearly all things revolving around midfielder Sergio Urbano, a former Barcelona B player.
He created the visitors’ best opening with a cross to the back post, where winger Jake O’Neill volleyed wastefully over the top, before Danny Fitzgerald showed fine anticipation with an interception, to hit a 25-yard volley just over for WGC.
Danny Payne was also off the mark with a volley, created by a Welsh long ball onto the head of Kersey, but Payne’s effort bulged the side netting.
The Citizens were struck a blow when they lost Fitzgerald with an ankle injury minutes before the break and Biggleswade equalised moments later, on the stroke of the interval.
Firstly Urbano was played clean through by Antonio Mitri’s clever ball. WGC’s debutant keeper Olly Leslie did well to force the little midfielder wide of goal and when he shot, Endacott cleared off the line.
But unfortunately only back to Urbano, who returned an immediate cross into the area for Charlie Joy to drive home with WGC’s defence unable to re-form and keeper Leslie out of his ground.
Manager Adam Fisher replaced an ineffectual Dave Parkinson with newcomer Taishan Griffith on the hour and on 66 minutes they almost regained the lead. Standen met a long Endacott free-kick to bullet in another fierce header that keeper Wyant turned over at full stretch.
WGC continued to exploit the aerial route and it paid dividends three minutes later when on 69 minutes they did regain the lead.
Another pinpoint Welsh free-kick was met by central defender Sam Doolan who powered in a strong header past Wyant for 2-1.
But two minutes later, Welsh turned villain when he was adjudged by referee Bloxham to have conceded a penalty for a trip on O’Neill as the winger weaved along the by-line. O’Neill stayed on his feet after a stumble, but the referee was adamant and awarded the spot-kick.
Debutant keeper Leslie completed a very satisfactory first appearance with an outstanding full length save from Joy’s penalty to preserve the WGC lead.
Ten minutes from time, Mitri scorned the chance of a Biggleswade equaliser when he headed wide from a couple of yards, allowing WGC to hang on for another closely fought victory.
WGC: Leslie, Endacott, McGrandles, Doolan, Welsh, Payne, Fitzgerald (Robins 44), Standen, Bronti, Kersey (Ewington 68), Parkinson (Griffith 60).