Mistakes cost St Neots Town as Welwyn Garden City claim another win

George Ironton put Welwyn Garden City in front from the penalty spot at St Neots Town.

George Ironton put Welwyn Garden City in front from the penalty spot at St Neots Town. - Credit: DANNY LOO PHOTOGRAPHY

Goals from George Ironton and Jon Clements kept the Welwyn Garden City bandwagon rolling at St Neots Town - even if it wasn't their most fluid showing of late.

Saints will point to moments of madness in the 2-0 success for the Citizens, their sixth win in the last seven Southern League Division One Central matches.

The first gave the visitors a penalty, converted by Ironton, while the second allowed Clements to get his fourth in the last three games.

But there were still positives for St Neots as they look to arrest their rapid slide down the table.

When the two sides met in September, Saints ran out 4-1 winners and both teams contained nine players in their 16-strong squad that played in the fixture at Herns Lane.

They arrived at New Rowley Park though with that a distant memory.

Saints had won just one in the last 11 league matches and were in the bottom two of the form table.

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Welwyn meanwhile were in the top two thanks to their recent sequence.

St Neots though had the brighter start, even getting a shot on target in eight seconds from Joe Rider.

The same player had an even better chance five minutes later as Kwai Marsh-Brown got down the right and pulled it back for the striker.

His shot on the turn was turned behind by Charlie Crowley.

Welwyn had gone on a couple of incursions into the Saints half without really creating anything but there was no doubt about the award of the penalty that put them in front.

From a St Neots point of view it was a stupid and lazy challenge, and not what they needed in the hunt to change their fortunes.

Matty Campbell-Mhlope had moved the ball to his left and behind the forward who flicked out a heel in a vain attempt to get the ball.

He got the man instead and Ironton rolled it down the middle with Louis Chadwick going to his right.

From there the chances all but dried up. 

Dylan Switters had one straight at Crowley and Jay Rolfe hit the crossbar from a long free-kick into the box from the right.

The offside flag meant it wouldn't have counted anyway.

Neither side would have been that pleased as they headed back to the changing rooms at half-time with the they, as well as the crowd, hoping for much more in the second half.

WGC manager Nick Ironton switched things up by bringing Ben Spaul on for the ineffective Denis Bene but St Neots continued to look the more likely to score.

Marsh-Brown lashed one high and wide while Barker forced Crowley to shovel the ball wide of the target, grabbing the rebound as Rider tried to pull it back inside.

But again, just as it seemed Saints were on the front foot, Welwyn scored.

Gradi Milenge failed to control the ball and Clements pounced, drilling it low from the right-hand side of the box across the keeper and into the side of the netting on the far side.

He almost set up Campbell-Mhlope for a third shortly after and sensing the tide was about to turn, St Neots manager Pete Gill made a triple substitution to try and revive their flagging fortunes.

It almost worked but one of the new faces, Neo Richard-Noel, somehow headed a right-wing cross back from where it had come and well wide from six yards out.

Crowley got his hands to a Rider cross to prevent a blue shirt from turning it in and there were other half-chances for the hosts as they desperately tried to pull one back.

Lee Close should have put the game beyond them though with 10 minutes to go as he met a Jon Sexton free-kick unmarked in the middle.

Chadwick still had to make the save but the contact wasn't enough.

The game fizzled out from there, much to the relief of Welwyn who remain in sight of the play-offs.

For Saints they now know, if they didn't before, that the only people who can reverse their fortunes is themselves.

St Neots Town: Chadwick, Heal, Smith. Barker (Richard-Noel 65), Milenge (Marfo 65), White, Cowling, Watkins (Kyjuon Marsh-Brown 65), Kwai Marsh-Brown, Rider, Switters.

Subs (not used): Abbott, Anderson.

Booked: Barker 27, Kwai Marsh-Brown 90+3

Welwyn Garden City: Crowley, Franklin, Sexton, Walklin, Close, Rolfe, Clements (Babaie 75), Bene (Spaul 46), Watson (Adelani 78), Ironton, Campbell-Mhlope.

Subs (not used): Taylor, Doherty.

Goals: Ironton (pen) 17, Clements 59

Booked: Sexton 8, Ironton 49, Walklin 50, Clements 75

HT: St Neots Town 0 Welwyn Garden City 1

Referee: Andrew Hitchcox (Somersham)

Attendance: 265