Five star Welwyn Garden City blow Wantage Town away
PUBLISHED: 20:30 11 January 2020 | UPDATED: 21:47 11 January 2020
Welwyn Garden City's assault on the Southern League Division One Central play-off places continued with a comprehensive 5-1 win away at whipping boys Wantage Town.
The success kept them fourth but they are now seven points clear of the chasing pack looking that are looking to overhaul them.
And they had five different scorers to thank too. Callum Stead, Dave Keenleyside, Jay Rolfe, Jack Vasey and Elliot Bailey all found the back of the net at Alfredian Park.
There could have and probably should have been more in a match that was played in a swirling wind that was blowing directly down the field.
Welwyn certainly created enough chances and with the goal difference of the three sides above them all nine or 10 better then that will be the one disappointment that will be felt on their trip back to Hertfordshire.
There was definitely plenty of other things to occupy the conversation on the near two hour drive too.
There are often times when I'm struggling for something to write after a full 90 minutes. Here there was enough incident in the opening half alone.
Welwyn knew they had to use the weather conditions in the opening period to their absolute fullest and they got off to a flyer after seven minutes.
They had already gone close in the opening two minutes, Renell McKenzie-Lyle saving one shot before Rolfe headed wide.
But they got their noses in front when a deep cross from the left wing, delivered by George Ironton, hung up on the breeze and Stead looped his header back from where it came and over the Wantage keeper.
He should have made it two a minute later but somehow put a shot on the break wide and just a few minutes later the hosts were level.
It was a simple goal, too simple though if you have Welwyn allegiances. A corner was glanced by an unmarked Trevor Mutero and into the net.
It was poor defending but the disappointment of that was quickly forgotten by a fluke goal or a piece of genius depending on your point of view.
Keenleyside launched the ball forward from the halfway line and with the wind playing its part it sailed over the head of the keeper via a bounce.
Rolfe hit a superb volley to make it three on 20 minutes and at that point it seemed as if a glut of goals were likely.
But frustrations and a slowing of the tempo dominated proceedings overt the next spell as both sides struggled to keep hold of the ball.
That, however, was ended with a fantastic team goal for number four.
Jack Bradshaw started the move, feinting one way before bursting clear towards the Wantage goal. He laid it inside to Keenleyside who after a one-two hit a low shot that McKenzie-Lyle pushed away.
Welwyn gathered it quickly and a chip back into the middle was nodded in from close range by Vasey.
Manager Nick Ironton made two changes at the break, one as a direct response to the weather, and the other because of a knock.
Jon Sexton was the tactical change, coming on for Callum Taylor as Welwyn shifted from a back three to a back four.
Jesse Walklin's pre-match knock meant he came off to be replaced by Romelle Alomenu.
There was naturally concern at what damage the wind would do but Welwyn started brightly and the keeper made saves from Ironton and Stead.
The visitors continued to enjoy most of the ball as they sensibly kept it simple and on the ground.
It was therefore perhaps obvious that a goal would come when the ball went airborne again.
It did hold up in the wind but that allowed Stead to burst through the middle and after pulling the ball out from under his feet he managed to get a shot in that needed saving.
However, it ran loose to Bailey and he managed to stab it home at the second attempt.
Chances were still rare though and it was Wantage who conjured up a couple to test the relatively quiet Charlie Jones.
He was equal to the examination though, as were Welwyn as a whole.
Welwyn Garden City: C.Jones, Bradshaw, Taylor (Sexton 46), Walklin (Alomenu 46), Close, Rolfe, Stead (Watson 70), Ironton, Vasey, Keenleyside, Bailey.
Subs (not used): Da Silva, Smaldone.
Goals: Stead 7, Keenleyside 16, Rolfe 20, Vasey 36, Bailey 65
Wantage Town: McKenzie-Lyle, Webster (Fry 46), Tuttle, J.Jones, Glover, Sule, Singh (McKeon 67), Regragui, Ibie, Mutero, Martei (Shepperd 71).
Sub (not used): Lee.
Goal: Mutero 12
HT: Wantage Town 1 Welwyn Garden City 4
Referee: Mark Stevens