Impressive first outing and a record home crowd as Welwyn Garden City entertain Luton Town
- Credit: Archant
Welwyn Garden City kicked off the Nick Ironton era in style with a hugely impressive display against League One champions Luton Town.
The Championship outfit brought their first-team squad to Herns Lane for the Citizens' first pre-season game and left with a hard-fought 3-1 win courtesy of two goals from James Collins and one from Danny Hylton.
The best of the day though came from Ian Rees for Welwyn before half-time, a sumptuous volley that flew in from 20-yards.
The former St Albans City and Biggleswade Town man plays in the USA and is only guesting for City during his summer break but the strike will live long in the memories of the 825 packed into the ground, a record crowd for WGC.
And City's new boss was equally as ecstatic with the performance.
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Ironton said: "I was delighted with every player in a WGC shirt. They all gave everything against the slickest team they will meet all season. I couldn't be more pleased."
There were plenty of debuts for the Clarets including former Harpenden Town goalkeeper Connor Sansom who producing a stunning save early in the game to deny Collins.
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He was replaced by the returning Charlie Jones in the second half and he made a similarly spectacular save to keep the Hatters out.
Full-back Connor Clarke and striker Ollie Carey were also among those to enjoy a fine first outing for City while fellow new signings George Naismith, Matt Crook and Will McClelland were also involved.
The Kenilworth Road club fielded an entirely different side for the second 45 minutes but were still a very strong side.
And all four of Luton's close season signings, Callum McManaman, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Martin Crainie and Brendan Galloway got 45 minutes each in what was Graeme Jones's first match as Luton boss.
The third goal added a little gloss to the result for the visitors, but it didn't detract from a fine day all round for Welwyn GC FC,
They are back at Herns Lane tomorrow night (Tuesday) against National League Barnet while their third pre-season outing is on Sunday when Maccabi GB are the visitors.
WGC: Sansom (Jones 45), Clarke (Crook 62), Ebengo (McClelland 55), Mensah, Rolfe (Harris 77), Close (Dimmock 55), Rees, Keenleyside (Naismith 67), Ironton (Alomenu 62), Carrington (Hull 77), Carey (trialist 67).