Ironton true to his word as Welwyn suffer no repeat of Dunstable woes
PUBLISHED: 16:09 02 February 2020
Welwyn Garden City manager Nick Ironton promised there would be "no repeat" of their loss to AFC Dunstable - and he was a man of his word as the Citizens roared to a 3-1 success.
The two sides had met just 10 days earlier in Bedfordshire where the home team that day had used their strength and size to outmuscle WGC and claim a 2-0 win.
But this time Ironton had his boys prepared that even without three regular starters they were on top in all areas for the majority of the game at Herns Lane.
It may not have seemed that way when an uncharacteristic poor start saw AFC take the lead after just four minutes.
Luke Abrahams' long throw was flicked on to the back post for top-scorer BJ Christie to turn and hit it into the back of the net despite the best efforts of Charlie Jones to keep it out.
Dave Keenleyside had an effort blocked and Eusebio Da Silva put a cross-shot inches wide as the Citizens looked for a quick reply.
And they were able to change the game in the space of a couple of minutes midway through the half.
Both were scored thanks to powerful Lee Close headers, both following set-piece delivery from George Ironton, the first a corner on 21 minutes and the second a free-kick dropped into the box.
AFC Dunstable looked for an immediate response. Awarded a free-kick of their own just outside the area, Nathan Frater played in Taylor Rhiney but Jones was equal to it and pushed it away at full length.
City had to survive a major scare six minutes after the restart with Callum Stead in a rare lapse during the afternoon hitting an ill-advised back pass to Jones that had the keeper in trouble.
He scuffed his clearance straight to the dangerous Christie but Stead redeemed his error with a fine tackle to stop the big striker in his tracks.
Former WGC keeper Dan Green brought off an outstanding save to push a long-range Dylan Ebengo effort out five minutes later but the hosts' search for a third was rewarded on 62 minutes with Jack Bradshaw smacking a free-kick low beyond the despairing dive.
He went close again with a shot over the top and Stead did the same as they pushed for a fourth.
The only downside for Welwyn was the loss of both Da Silva and Ironton to injuries although there was a debut for Imani Matthews, a winger signed from Ware in the week.