Hockey back with a bang as Welwyn start season with late win in nine-goal thriller
PUBLISHED: 12:04 25 September 2019
Hockey is back and Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage served up a nine-goal cracker on the opening day.
The result was in the balance until the final minutes but a hat-trick goal from Dave Allmand-Smith ensured it was home side WGC that took the spoils with a 5-4 success.
It had started as it would go on, with neither side truly gaining the upper hand.
Welwyn were winning the lion's share of possession though in the first 20 minutes and their composure allowed them to bag the first goal.
It came after an interception by Southey who then slipped it through to Crayton Napoleon. A feint one way and an expertly-steered shot was enough to put the ball into the bottom corner.
But Stevenage hit back and after WGC had successfully defended a couple of well-constructed short corners, they eventually found their way through.
To make things worse for the hosts, Stevenage quickly pressed home their advantage with a second from open play but Welwyn made sure it was tied by half-time after excellent work between Napoleon, Davies, James Fowler and Jens Van Helden allowed Allmand-Smith to grab his first.
After the break Stevenage picked up their attack and it needed Dan Klinger on form to keep them out.
However, he couldn't do it all game and the pressure resulted in a third away goal.
A superb finish executed by Allmand-Smith tied it up once more but parity was short-lived as Stevenage almost immediately made it 4-3.
But Welwyn never once looked deflated or accepting of defeat and thanks to a wicked attack by Van Helden and shot by Southey, Fowler's deflection was enough to find the back of the net for a fourth time.
And in the final minutes of the game Welwyn retook the lead with the final goal of the game.
Pete Mullens was urged forward and obliged by sprinting down the line before lifting an undercut reverse stick effort across the face of the goal.
It had the potential to end up in the net but Allmand-Smith took advantage of the aerial chance to smash the ball into the Stevenage goal at full stretch, completing an emphatic hat-trick and a breathtaking contest.