Poor Welwyn Garden City take a stumble in their push for the play-offs

PUBLISHED: 09:06 09 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:30 09 March 2020

WGC V North Leigh - Callum Stead in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn Haddon

WGC V North Leigh - Callum Stead in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

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Welwyn Garden City’s play-off hopes took a hit as they fell to a 1-0 loss at home to North Leigh.

WGC V North Leigh - Callum Stead in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V North Leigh - Callum Stead in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The result keeps them fourth in the Southern League Division One Central table but has allowed the chasing pack to close the gap to seven points with 10 games to go.

WGC V North Leigh - Callum Stead in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V North Leigh - Callum Stead in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

And in truth it was a deserved victory for the Oxfordshire visitors to Herns Lane who could have won by much more as they stretched their good form to five straight wins.

WGC V North Leigh - Ali Nije in action for Welwyn Garden City.   Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V North Leigh - Ali Nije in action for Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Karyn Haddon

City gave one of their worst performances of the season in the opening hour and were highly fortunate that victory wasn't out of sight by the interval, so dominant were North Leigh.

WGC V North Leigh - Callum Stead in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V North Leigh - Callum Stead in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Manager Nick Ironton had players back from injury including hamstring victims Jack Vasey and son George and both returned to the starting line-up, while Elliot Bailey was back on the bench after an ankle knock.

WGC V North Leigh - Jack Bradshaw in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V North Leigh - Jack Bradshaw in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The Citizens also welcomed back one of the stars of last season in Matty Campbell-Mhlope who has rejoined the club from Bishop's Stortford, having also played at Kings Langley and Stratford Town since his previous spell at Herns Lane.

WGC V North Leigh - Dave Keenleyside in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V North Leigh - Dave Keenleyside in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

North Leigh set the pace from the opening minutes and the Williams boys, left-back Morgan and striker Lance, combined as the latter headed wide.

WGC V North Leigh - Hani Berchiche in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V North Leigh - Hani Berchiche in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Harry Grant was also inches wide from the edge of the area and Elliott Osborne-Ricketts thumped the crossbar with a tremendous 25-yard drive with 20 minutes gone.

WGC V North Leigh - Callum Stead in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V North Leigh - Callum Stead in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The pressure finally told two minutes later though with a neatly-worked goal finished off by Henry Landers.

WGC V North Leigh - Hani Berchiche in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V North Leigh - Hani Berchiche in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

They continued to have the better of the play after that with WGC showing little in the way of attacking thought and at half-time Ironton rang the changes, making all three substitutions at once.

WGC V North Leigh - Callum Stead in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V North Leigh - Callum Stead in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

And the incoming trio of Bailey, Thomas Opoku and Jon Sexton certainly made a difference, even if goalkeeper Charlie Jones had to make an outstanding one-handed save from a vicious Landers volley first.

WGC V North Leigh - Hani Berchiche in action for Welwyn.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V North Leigh - Hani Berchiche in action for Welwyn. Picture: Karyn Haddon

But WGC did show some improvement in the final 30 minutes.

WGC V North Leigh - Manager of WGC Nick Ironton (seated right).


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V North Leigh - Manager of WGC Nick Ironton (seated right). Picture: Karyn Haddon

Jack Bradshaw had a shot saved by Adam North while Dave Keenleyside was just wide with a fierce volley and George Ironton saw a goalbound effort cleared off the line by a pile of bodies.

WGC V North Leigh - Manager WGC FC Nick Ironton.


Picture: Karyn HaddonWGC V North Leigh - Manager WGC FC Nick Ironton. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Campbell-Mhlope had the last chance but he couldn't dig out his effort and rescue a point.


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