Awful afternoon's work from Welwyn Garden City as they finish with nine men in defeat to Thame

Lee Close was the second of two men to be sent-off for Welwyn Garden City away to Thame United.

Lee Close was the second of two men to be sent-off for Welwyn Garden City away to Thame United. - Credit: PETER SHORT

Welwyn Garden City suffered a disastrous final quarter as they fell to defeat away to Thame United - conceding two penalties and finishing the game with nine men.

Matty Campbell-Mhlope was the first to go for deliberate handball, a decision given after consultation between the officials, and the Lee Close followed him into the dressing room in the closing stages after picking up a second yellow in the final minutes.

The penalty awarded for that indiscretion was saved but by that point Thame had already wrapped up the three points with a 3-0 win.

City will point to the first of those decisions though as the turning point.

They trailed undeservedly to a single goal at the interval with Thame barely threatening until three minutes from the break.

The goal came from a poor piece of misjudgement from Ben Spaul in heading a high, bouncing ball. He got under it, missing it completely and WGC, then on the attack, suddenly found themselves going the other way.

The ball was switched to Thame’s tricky winger Greg Hackett who squared it for recent signing David Pearce to slip a challenge and shoot low past Charlie Crowley.

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The rest of the half been low-key in the extreme, City's best opportunity coming from a Cyrus Babaie header that was cleared off  the line.


Campbell-Mhlope brought home keeper Craig Hill to a full-length save just after WGC had fallen behind but he was at the centre of things on 66 minutes.


Hackett received a pass from the dangerous Lynton Goss and struck a fierce effort goalward.

Crowley pulled off a fine save but when the rebound fell to Pearce, he was denied a second by what appeared at first glance to be a spectacular goal-line block by the WGC winger.

However, while the winger lay prone in the goalmouth, the referee consulted with his linesman and waiting for Campbell-Mhlope to recover before issuing a red card to go with the penalty.

Blake added insult to injury to make it 2-0 and it was all over seven minutes from time when Goss ran through the defence before beating Crowley

Further insult was prevented by Crowley's save from Goss's penalty on 88 minutes and they will hope for a big reaction when they go to Needham Market in the FA Trophy on Saturday.

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