Frustrations for Welwyn as Kidlington hold them to a draw

George Ironton put Welwyn Garden City ahead against Kidlington with a superb first-half goal.

George Ironton put Welwyn Garden City ahead against Kidlington with a superb first-half goal. - Credit: DANNY LOO PHOTOGRAPHY

Welwyn Garden City's position as the form team took a knock as  they were held to a home draw against Kidlington.

City had gone into the game with five wins from their last six league games and seven in the last nine.

George Ironton's screamer looked to be good enough to give them another victory until Ryan Knight grabbed an equaliser to leave the game tied at 1-1.

Manager Nick Ironton made just the one change from the side that impressively beat AFC Dunstable, Lewis Franklin given his first start in place of Lee Close.

He was part of a makeshift back-four that had Callum Taylor at left-back and Ben Spaul as centre-half alongside Ryan Doherty.

They weren't put under any real pressure but neither was the Kidlington back-line in what was a bitty, fractious opening with plenty of moaning, a few tough challenges and many misplaced passes.

It was a pattern of play that seemed to suit the visitors, sucking Welwyn into the battle at the expense of their usual passing game.

The lack of quality meant that the opening goal was completely out of keeping with what had gone before.

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Ironton's chest took the ball away from Markham and allowed the midfielder to lash a half-volley from 25 yards to the right of the diving Harry Way and into the top corner.

City had two glorious chances in the immediate aftermath of the goal but failed to get a shot on target in both of them.

First, Matty Campbell-Mhlope had a chance to slide Jordan Watson in as he got away down the left, but he went for the pass behind him and the opportunity went begging.

The second saw Jon Clements get a crossing chance down the right but with Dave Keenleyside unmarked at the back post, the ball was overhit and ran away to safety.

The goal did settle Welwyn down and they dominated the rest of the half but without creating much more.

The big exception to that fell to Clements on the stroke of half-time as he found himself unmarked in the middle.

He got his head on Campbell-Mhlope's drilled cross-shot but the glancing flick was not enough to turn it on target.

The hope for the second half was WGC would show a bit of composure in the final third, and maybe turn down the cross-field pass that the Kidlington full-backs had well scouted.

When the team emerged into the rapidly-freezing arena, however, it was the green shirts of the visitors that were on the front foot

They didn't test Adam O'Neill though, the only chance in the opening 15 minutes headed wide by Clements.

Ryan Knight escaped the offside trap in their first attempt but O'Neill did well to come out quickly and block any chance.

Moments later Campbell-Mhlope pulled a shot inches wide of the near post at the other end.

It looked as if Welwyn had weathered the storm but they were stung with a sense of injustice as Kidlington equalised.

Clements was adjudged to have bundled into the back of a player and from the free-kick, the ball was headed down to Knight who rifled it into the roof of the net from a few yards out.

From there the game returned to the pattern of the opening stages, with the visitors doing more than enough to frustrate their hosts.

Welwyn Garden City: O'Neill, Franklin, Taylor, Walklin, Spaul (Krasniqi 90), Doherty, Clements (Amgbaduba 83), Keenleyside, Watson, Ironton, Campbell-Mhlope (Rolfe 77).

Subs (not used): Bene, Crowley.

Goal: Ironton 27

Booked: Campbell-Mhlope 16, Watson 61

Kidlington: Way, Creed, Markham, L.McCormack, Hercules, Mattimore, L.Stokoe, O.Cox, D.Stokoe (Knight 25), Hoareau (Rogan 88), B.Cox.

Subs (not used): C.McCormack.

Goal: Knight 72

Booked: Markham

HT: Welwyn Garden City 1 Kidlington 0

Referee: Stephen Parkinson (Watford)

Attendance: 114

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