'FA Trophy run has been a blessing' says Welwyn Garden City skipper Jess Walklin

Welwyn Garden City V Aldershot Town - Jess Walkin in action for WGC FC

Jess Walkin in action for Welwyn Garden City against Aldershot Town. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

Welwyn Garden City skipper Jess Walklin has said the FA Trophy run was "a blessing" as it looks like grassroots, non-league football is set for a long break.

The Southern League club were one of hundreds who had to down tools during November thanks to the government's restrictions.

Welwyn Garden City V Aldershot Town - George Ironton and Elliot Bailey in action for WGC FC

George Ironton and Elliot Bailey in action for Welwyn Garden City against Aldershot Town. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

Hopes that the league would restart before Christmas were extinguished with the coronavirus tiering announcement last week and there is now a serious threat of the league struggling to restart altogether on the back of London and the south east being placed into tier four restrictions.

Fortunately for Welwyn they were able to play three games in the FA Trophy, the latest a 5-1 defeat to Aldershot Town on Saturday, and that is why Walklin was feeling content.

Welwyn Garden City V Aldershot Town - George Ironton and Elliot Bailey in action for WGC FC

George Ironton in action for Welwyn Garden City against Aldershot Town as Jess Walklin and Elliot Bailey look on. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

He said: "Going out on penalties to Bishop’s Stortford in the FA Cup after the way we’d played we felt like that had been taken away from us. 

"So it was good to have those wins over Horsham and Hednesford and especially as we haven’t been playing. 

"It shows we can match these teams and we weren’t even far off Aldershot for 60 minutes.

Welwyn Garden City V Aldershot Town - Jack Vaey in action for WGC FC

Jack Vasey in action for Welwyn Garden City against Aldershot Town. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

"It’s been a good run and some good money for the club when we haven’t had much else. 

"[Not having games in November] played a part. We just wanted to enjoy the run for what it was.

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"It’s been a good thing and a real blessing. If we didn’t have any football it would have been a shame.

Welwyn Garden City V Aldershot Town - Carl Mensah for WGC FC

Carl Mensah in action for Welwyn Garden City against Aldershot Town. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

"Now they’re saying we are in tier four, which wasn’t a thing when we kicked off, and it doesn’t look like we’ll be playing in January."

Welwyn's lack of training over the last two months as opposed to Aldershot's full-time programme and eight National League games, was evident at the end of Saturday's contest and helped give the final score a lop-sided look.

Welwyn Garden City V Aldershot Town - Nicky Ironton , manager WGC FC

Manager Nick Ironton during Welwyn Garden City's FA Trophy game with Aldershot Town. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

But again Walklin was happy with what he saw from the team.

He said: "If we’d played them under normal circumstances at least we’d have been playing games week in, week out.

Welwyn Garden City V Aldershot Town - David Keenleyside for WGC FC

Dave Keenleyside in action for Welwyn Garden City against Aldershot Town. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

"We’ve had a couple of training sessions and two games in the FA Trophy but an hour or two a week doesn’t do much against five days a week. 

"It was always going to play a part. If we had something to hold on to it may have been different but it is what it is.

Welwyn Garden City V Aldershot Town - George Ironton in action for WGC FC

George Ironton in action for Welwyn Garden City against Aldershot Town. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

"For 45 minutes we stuck to the game plan and one penalty was the difference. 

"And it was always going to be difficult to come out in the second half and play expansively.

Welwyn Garden City V Aldershot Town - Elliot Bailey in action for WGC FC

Elliot Bailey in action for Welwyn Garden City against Aldershot Town. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

"There’s no disgrace in losing to them, they are a fit bunch. 

"It’s a bit of a shame that we shipped the ones we did at the end, 3-1 may have been a bit fairer, and it’s also a shame that the fans weren’t here."

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