Welwyn Garden City cruise to Barton win as play-off hopes reignited
PUBLISHED: 21:47 28 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:51 29 January 2020
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Welwyn Garden City got their Southern League Division One Central play-off chase back on track with a 4-1 win over Barton Rovers.
Second-half goals from Eusebio Da Silva, Dave Keenleyside, George Ironton and Callum Stead ensured the victory although a sending off for Barton's Jamie Carey-Morrell proved a big moment.
They should have bagged more though in the latter stages as Barton left gaps at the back but the main objective was the three points.
Taking to the Herns Lane pitch for a match must have been a slightly odd feeling for the City players, the Citizens having only played here once in their eight games since December 7.
They haven't done too badly in that period either, picking up four wins and a draw, but a poor loss at AFC Dunstable last week and a 2-2 draw with Thame United on Saturday after leading 2-0 at half-time have just slowed their momentum.
Manager Nick Ironton would have been wanting a complete performance for the visit of Barton but he obviously didn't get it judging by how many times his voice was heard in the first half.
It wasn't that Welwyn were bad, far from it, but there was a distinct lack of quality when they got it in and around the box.
The pitch didn't help either team but when City did get it down and play it they were perhaps guilty of being too intricate.
One such move so a number of passes with Jordan Watson and Keenleyside opting to pass rather than shoot.
That ended with Da Silva having two bites of the cherry. The first was blocked though and his second was hooked wide on the turn.
Da Silva was involved in another good chance. This time he did the right thing by holding up the ball when the bobbles on the pitch made it difficult to control.
His lay-off was to Ironton and his shot was on target, Nathan Tshikuna getting the block to turn it behind.
There were a couple of scrambles too but Niall Cooper was only called into one real save, diving right to push a Callum Stead shot wide.
There were blocks at the other end too with Dylan Ebengo the main man doing them.
He was harshly booked when he emerged from a tackle with Victor Osobu with the ball, the forward going to ground with a yelp and getting the decision.
But the Barton number seven was a threat. His touch on a three-on-one let him down and Ebengo managed to get in and put him off on another occasion to allow Charlie Jones to gather the ball.
The Welwyn keeper was responsible though for preserving the stalemate at half-time with a stunning save late on.
Osobu had got in after Lee Close and Jay Rolfe had got in a muddle and even though the shot seemed to go behind him, he managed to stick a hand down and push the ball out.
Welwyn made a change at half-time with Ebengo going off and Thomas Opoku coming on and it meant a mini reshuffle.
Whether that was the reason is doubtful but there was a definite increase in the energy from the home side.
And it brought a goal too.
Da Silva's finish was as good as the pass to him, a swivel and powerful shot, and it should have been the catalyst for more of the same but Barton responded with their best spell of the game.
Leon Okuboyejo had one effort in five minutes of good pressure but he pulled it wide from a central area on the edge of the area.
Jones then made a good save from a snap-shot and that signalled a regrouping of sorts from the hosts.
But as is so often the case the danger hadn't truly passed and after a superb clearance facing his own goal by Jon Sexton, a succession of corners ended with a small scramble at the back post and Nathan Tshikuna poking the loose ball home.
However, there was a sting in the tail to this game and three minutes later Da Silva broke clear only to be hauled down by Carey-Morrell.
It was right on the edge of the area and there was no doubting a red card would follow although the new signing was still grumbling as he walked back to the dressing room.
The grumbles from the Welwyn support about not getting a penalty were forgotten instantly as Keenleyside curled a wonderful free-kick over the wall and into the corner with Cooper rooted to the spot.
Ironton settled things five minutes later after great wing work from Callum Stead.
Callum Taylor had chances late on but it was Stead who wrapped things up in the finl minute.
Welwyn Garden City: C.Jones, Ebengo (Opoku 46), Sexton, Bradshaw, Close, Rolfe, Stead, Ironton, Da Silva (Carey 84), Keenleyside, Watson (Taylor 63).
Subs (not used): Schmid, Smaldone.
Goals: Da Silva 51, Keenleyside 75, Ironton 80, Stead 90+3
Booked: Da Silva 15, Ebengo 42, Taylor 90+3
Barton Rovers: Cooper, Jibodu (Palmer 32), Carey-Morrell, Smith, Phelan, Thomas, Osobu, Dummett, Okuboyejo, Tshikuna, Furlong (Boland 83).
Subs (not used): McCormack, G.Jones, Vincent.
Goal: Tshikuna 70
Sent-off: Carey-Morrell 73
HT: Welwyn Garden City 0 Barton Rovers 0
Referee: Michael Mackey (Enfield)