Worldie performance from St Albans’ keeper denies Welwyn Garden City

PUBLISHED: 09:48 04 December 2019

Jens Van Helden was at the heart of some good attacking play from WGC. Picture: KEVIN LINES

Jens Van Helden was at the heart of some good attacking play from WGC. Picture: KEVIN LINES


Welwyn Garden City had one of those days that players and fans of teams in every sport are all too well accustomed with – the day when the opposition keeper is truly unbeatable.

The Hertfordshire Sports Village-based hockey club's men enjoyed plenty of the ball and created plenty of chances against St Albans in East League Division Two South West but ended up on the end of a 1-0 defeat.

The visitors from nearby Oaklands College had arrived at HSV top of the table but Welwyn gave as good as they got and the ensuing contest was one of high quality.

The hosts started the game strongly with Ben O'Boyle setting the tone with some commanding challenges, giving the visitors little opportunity to get into the D.

And when Welwyn had possession they used it well through Mark Skilbeck and Crayton Napoleon showing their technical skills and releasing Max Davies and Rob Sansom.

It was an even first-half with both sides creating chances. St Albans had a number of penalty corners which the Welwyn defence kept out while the clearer chances fell to WGC, Dave Allmand-Smith having one as he broke clear and rounded the keeper only to see the subsequent shot saved.

Eventually the deadlock was broken when a St Albans shot through a crowded D evaded an unsighted Dan Klinger in the Welwyn goal.

WGC responded though with yet more chances. Allmand-Smith had an opportunity one-on-one against the Saints number one and late in the game flashed a shot across the face of the opposition goal.

As both teams pressed forward the game became increasingly stretched, with Skilbeck at the heart of Welwyn's best play.

Jens van Helden was always looking for a way through including one audacious aerial pass across the field but despite having several penalty corners of their own, Welwyn could not find a way through.

A fantastic double save from the St Albans goalkeeper summed up his and WGC's afternoon.

The seconds continued their good form though with a 3-0 win against Rickmansworth to stay top of Division Six South West.

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