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