Unbeaten start continues for Welwyn Garden City while Potters Bar get off the mark
- Credit: WGC HOCKEY
Welwyn's unbeaten start to the season continued with their biggest scalp to date.
The Hertfordshire Sports Village-based hockey club's men hosted East League Division Two South West leaders Letchworth, and they sent them packing after claiming a first clean sheet in a 2-0 win.
They were able to add Mark Skilbeck and James Fowler to the squad that drew with Harpenden last time out and started well, creating chances on the break, one of which was put just wide by David Allmand-Smith.
The visitors were unable to truly penetrate a determined defence despite their good movement off the ball.
Their frustrations led to them smashing the ball through the D at times but these invariably flew wide of goal without a team-mate gaining possession on providing an all-important deflection.
The fast break of WGC and the long aerial passes of George Reilly gave Allmand-Smith further chances but the Letchworth keeper remained resolute.
That was until he was beaten from one of the several penalty corners won by the home side.
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Allmand-Smith beat the number one runner and passed it to man of the match Callum Burr and he made no mistake, diverting it into the backboard.
The goal spurred Welwyn on and with Skilbeck at his ball-carrying best, they put pressure on Letchworth, pressure which saw frustrations get the better of them.
One player was given a green card and a two-minute break for dissent while the goalkeeper was fortunate to escape picking up a yellow card and five minutes in the bin as he cleared the ball with his kicker from outside the D.
Welwyn won several additional corners and the unlucky Skilbeck was on the end of a careless charging defender sending him to the ground for a second time.
And from the re-awarded corner Welwyn slipped the ball perfectly again allowing Reilly’s flick to find a gap between the prone keeper's pads and double Welwyn’s lead.
Potters Bar's men arrested their slow start to the season by claiming their first point in their third game.
Visitors Havering had only won one of their opening three matches and the 3-3 draw saw both eager to snatch victory.
It was the Dame Alice Owen's side who got their noses in front early though, Graham Abrey winning the ball back with a block tackle and Simon Tenwick and Mark Turpin launching the counter attack that was finished by Miles Tomkins.
Tom Miller, deputising for the absent Ben Balmforth, produced a spectacular stick save to deflect a drag flick behind in Havering’s best effort of the first half and the interval came with Bar two goals to the good, Ed Whybrow setting up Turpin to deflect a short corner into the roof of the net.
Havering upped their game after the break, pulling one back, but Bar responded excellently with Tenwick restoring their two-goal advantage.
However, Havering hit a quick second, again from a short corner, and although Tomkins had a goal ruled out for an infringement, the visitors salvaged the draw with minutes remaining.