Welwyn Garden City victorious in final league game
- Credit: Archant
AS the curtain came down on another season of Welwyn Garden City hockey, the men’s first team went out in style with an emphatic victory over a depleted, and already relegated, Bishop’s Stortford 3rds.
From the off it was one way traffic as Welwyn pressed forward looking for the opening goal. There was plenty of space for the home side to work the ball around, and create openings for forwards Ed Will and Paul Kimber. Both experienced strikers were having trouble getting their efforts on target, and when they did they found the young Stortford keeper in fine form.
The deadlock was broken when Welwyn won their first short corner of the game. David Searle’s strike was neatly deflected over the goalie by Ben O’Boyle.
It was the same short corner combination which doubled the Welwyn lead moments later. This time Searle’s strike was controlled by O’Boyle who turned and scuffed his shot into the far corner.
Despite their dominance, Welwyn were not playing well as too many passes were going astray. It was almost 3-0 when Mark Skilbeck’s run and shot brought the save of the day from the visiting keeper low down to his right.
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With half-time approaching Welwyn did finally get their third. A smart move down the left, involving Peter Mullens and Matthew O’Connell, saw the ball played to Rob Sansom.
The ex-skipper saw Will in the Stortford D, and fired a pass into his team-mate who used the pace on the pass to deftly lift the ball over the keeper.
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The second half started with Welwyn still failing to play the simple passing game that they had discussed in depth at half-time.
The visiting Stortford players had a couple of attacks of their own as they capitalised on Welwyn’s poor play.
However, Ijaz Ahmed in the Welwyn goal was not seriously troubled with James Lutrario and Mark Bee mopping up in front of him.
Eventually Welwyn put the match to bed with two quick goals from Sansom. The first was well-guided deflection from a pin point pass from Mullens on the left.
The second was a fine individual effort. Having collected the ball from Nathan James just inside the Stortford half, the nimble Sansom went on a mazy run through the now deflated visitors’ defence. When he finally made it into the D the run was rounded off with a cool finish round the goalie.
It was now a Welwyn siege on the Stortford D and Searle was finally rewarded for his efforts having already hit the post twice in the first half, his scrambled effort just about made it over the line.
Welwyn’s seventh and final goal saw O’Boyle complete his first hat-trick for the club. Some more excellent work from Sansom resulted in the ball being fired across the goal and O’Boyle joyfully smashed the ball into the goal.
Welwyn have ended the season fifth in their division and have the foundations to build on for next season.