Welwyn GC 2 Holmer Green 0: Comfortable progress for Citizens
PUBLISHED: 09:55 01 September 2017
Welwyn Garden City continued their impressive start to the new campaign by making progress in a third cup competition so far.
Having moved through their opening ties in the Herts Charity Shield and SSML League Trophy, the Citizens progressed in the SSML Premier Cup, in which they were losing finalists two seasons ago,
But they were pushed all the way by a youthful Holmer Green side, who were looking to bounce back after a 7-2 thrashing the previous Saturday at the hands of Biggleswade FC.
The Bucks’ side’s manager Chris Allen addressed that situation by fielding many of his development side and they gave WGC a mighty battle.
None did better for the visitors than their teenage keeper Tom Wilson, who foiled the eager home forwards time and again with a string of outstanding saves.
But WGC didn’t have the cutting edge of recent games, largely because manager Adam Fisher opted to keep top scoring Jon Clements on bench for all but the final 25 minutes. He also left leading dynamic midfielder Ben Long out of the line-up altogether.
Fisher gave new goalkeeper Charlie May a debut between the posts, but the ex-Hemel Hempstead man had a quiet first match.
The Herns Lane side missed a number of chances, with Taishan Griffith firing wildly over and skipper Danny Payne having a header cleared off the line in the first half, while keeper Wilson foiled efforts from Josh Bronti and Ashley Kersey, in for Clements, twice.
WGC continued to spurn chances and Wilson continued to thwart them until Fisher made a double change, introducing Clements and the fit-again Charlie Joy, for the final 25 minutes.
The pair had an galvanising impact and although WGC lost central defender John McGrandles (muscle strain) for the final 10 minutes, it was in that period that they won the game.
With nine minutes left, full-back Jon Sexton put over a peach of a cross that Jay Rolfe, pushed into midfield from full-back, met with a powerful volley past keeper Wilson on the back post, for a 1-0 lead.
Joy then cut inside and hit a fine swerving effort inches past the post and Kersey tapped in a Clements effort that already looked destined for the net, only to be given offside.
As WGC closed the game with their best period, Bronti made it safe two minutes from time. Again a Sexton cross did the damage. This time it was deflected into the path of Bronti, who took it around a defender before lashing high past Wilson into the top rigging, to seal an away tie at Leverstock Green in October, in the next round.
WGC: May, Rolfe, Marks, McGrandles (Boodhoo 77), Sexton, Spaul, Payne (Clements 67), Ironton (Joy 67), Griffith, Kersey, Bronti.