Point for Citizens from trip to face Crawley Green

Taishan Griffith for WGC

Taishan Griffith for WGC - Credit: Archant

Welwyn Garden City continued their 2017 recovery by taking a hard fought SSML Premier Division point from a windswept Barton Rovers ground against Crawley Green in their first goalless league game of the season.

Adam Fisher’s side followed up the previous Saturday’s first win of the new year, a 2-1 success over Colney Heath, with a share of the spoils against their Luton based hosts, who went into the game on the back of four straight league victories.

But despite a fierce wind blowing across Crawley Green’s ground-shared home, WGC defended manfully throughout and dominated the second-half of the clash when they had the elements in their favour and advantage of the Barton pitch slope.

In fact, although WGC’s Jack Metcalfe was the busier of the two keepers, it was the Herns Lane side who came closest to finding the elusive goal.

As early as the 17th minute skipper Luke Robins hit a good crossfield ball that found new boy Shane Carthy, whose low effort beat home keeper Dean Bull, only to hit the foot of the post and bounce clear.

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Prior to that opening, Metcalfe had made two sharp saves, holding a low effort from Crawley Green’s Ashton Grant safely and then doing well to keep out a swinging shot from the home side’s Charlie Clayton.

But the WGC keeper was grateful to Jason Coughlan’s experience, when the defender got behind him to a wind-assisted Grant free-kick that was sailing towards the net, before a decisive intervention.

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After an even 45 minutes, it was WGC on the front foot from the start of the second-half and found the outstanding Taishan Griffith’s overlapping runs down the right their best attacking weapon.

Griffith went past two Crawley Green men with ease to put in an inch-perfect cross that home full-back Kevin McManus had to hack clear off the line two minutes after the restart.

Then Carthy charged down a clearance and set up a chance for the returned Ashley Kersey, replacing the unavailable Daril Ngwala, in the only change from Saturday’s winning line-up.

But Kersey, back after a back injury, didn’t have the confidence to take the chance on and passed when he should have shot.

A Yasin Boodhoo powerful clearing header found Marcus Campbell in space, but the forward’s weak finish didn’t trouble keeper Bull.

Then 10 minutes from time another Boodhoo header was blocked and Crawley Green’s Clayton was sent clear, but Metcalfe judged his run from goal perfectly and made a fine save blocking the forward’s effort with his body.

WGC’s best chance of the half came three minutes from the end.

Substitutes Sean Brettell, back after a three-match ban, and Josh Bronti combined, Bronti setting up the chance for Brettell to shoot across the face of the home goal, but inches wide of the far post.

WGC: Metcalfe, Griffith, Boodhoo, Coughlan, Morris, Brinkman, Long, Carthy (Brettell 67), Robins (Bronti 67), Kersey, Campbell.

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