Much more like it for manager Nick Ironton as injury-hit Welwyn beat Kempston
PUBLISHED: 09:28 19 February 2020 | UPDATED: 09:30 19 February 2020
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Nick Ironton said Welwyn Garden City’s 4-2 win over Kempston Rovers was his side back to somewhere near the performance level he expects in every game.
Two goals from Dave Keenleyside and one each for Callum Stead and debutant Hani Berchiche kept the Citizens firmly in the chase for a play-off place in Southern League Division One Central.
And while there were still worrying moments, not least the fact Kempston kept coming back in the second half, the City boss was much happier with the application of his players compared to the disappointing 2-0 loss in their last outing at Bedworth United.
Ironton said: "That wasn't my team at Bedworth and that was what upset me more than anything.
"But we were back here, working on it and winning first and second balls and putting our bodies on the line.
"That's what I expect.
"I'm just trying to take every game as it comes. We've got 12 to go now and if we can win six or seven of them it will be hard for people to catch us.
"But every game is a hard game and we've got some hard games coming up.
"All the teams are fighting at the top and the bottom. We just have to work hard and my team worked hard against Kempston.
"We try to get it down and play and I was pretty pleased with some of the stuff. We got some good goals, still missed plenty but at least we're creating the chances which we didn't do at Bedworth.
"This performance and that one were chalk and cheese so I'm delighted."
The fact the match was on at all was a surprise to many.
Saturday's home game against Daventry Town was an early casualty of Storm Dennis and a downpour not long before kick-off placed this encounter in jeopardy.
"When I got here two hours before it was beautiful and then all of a sudden there was a downpour and I didn't think it would be on," said the boss.
"But credit to all the staff here, the chairman etc. They all forked it and got it on and the pitch held up."
The side that took to the pitch was much different to usually with the likes of Jesse Walklin, George Ironton, Elliot Bailey, Jack Bradshaw, Eusebio Da Silva and Charlie Jones all missing, mostly through injury.
But there were some welcome returns and Ironton was delighted with how they performed, even if the impressive form of the first-half wasn't maintained after half-time.
He said: "We made hard work of it in the second half. We have seven players out but the players that came in did really well.
"Every club goes through it and if we'd won or lost [the injuries] would have been no excuse. We've got good players in this squad who want to play.
"They've just got to push for a place in the team and keep the shirt.
"Some of the injured players won't be back for three or four weeks so this is what we've got and we just have to go with it.
"Ali Njie coming in at the back did superb and I'm really delighted with Hani [Berchiche] when he went on up front. He looks a decent player.
"And Charlie Payne has been out for three months but he put in a magnificent performance in the middle of the park.
"It was a war of attrition on the pitch and the position they're in is a false position in my eyes. They are a lot better than that.
"I know their manager and he doesn't settle for second best."
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