Welwyn Garden City brave in defeat but FA Trophy run ends against Aldershot Town

Welwyn Garden City play Aldershot Town

Welwyn Garden City hosted Aldershot Town in the FA Trophy third round. - Credit: NEIL METCALFE

Welwyn Garden City’s wonderful run in the FA Trophy came to an end after a 5-1 defeat at home to Aldershot Town. 

It was always going to be a tough ask and the score didn’t truly reflect the overall game as Welwyn legs ran out late on. 

But it was a deserved success in the end for the National League side against their Southern League hosts. 

There were many reasons why the Citizens would have been up against it, the three-step difference in their respective leagues just one of them. 

The hosts’ last league game came prior to their enforced break through November when they missed both matches and training. 

Their only competitive games since have been the two FA Trophy ties against Hednesford Town and Burgess Hill Town. 

The Shots by comparison played eight times in the same period, as well as having all of their training sessions. 

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Mind you the last six outings brought just one win and five points, leaving them in the lower reaches of the form table and the respective selections raised hopes too. 

Welwyn named almost the same side that came through the last round, the only difference was Jack Vasey coming in for Jordan Kinoshi. 

Aldershot meanwhile changed six changes from the side that started in the defeat at Boreham Wood seven days earlier. 

The very first few minutes had Welwyn on the attack but slowly Aldershot did what was expected of them, taking more control of the ball and spending more time in the hosts’ half. 

But other than one diving save from Charlie Crowley there were only a few shots towards the goal. 

There were plenty of crosses but led by Lee Close, Welwyn dealt comfortably with them. 

But the key moment of the first half came on 18 minutes and it was one which came as a shock to many. 

There had been a couple of tackles which had been allowed to stand but one from Lee Close inside the box on wasn’t. 

Yes, it was from behind but Close looked to have wrapped his foot round superbly and poked the ball away. 

The referee disagreed and after a two-minute wait Mike Fondop drilled it to the left of Crowley as the keeper went the other way. 

That naturally changed the flow of the game but it actually gave Welwyn, now biting into tackles with a clear sense of injustice, more opportunities to push forward. 

There wasn’t much in the way of shooting chances though, one speculative over-head kick from Jamie Sendles-White dropping just over the bar the best of them. 

The most important thing for Welwyn was to keep it at 1-0 for as long as possible and wait for the one big chance that would inevitably fall. 

Aldershot did start well and it forced Nick Ironton into a double substitution, bringing Kinoshi and Patrick Akwasi on, and it did have an effect. 

But unfortunately, before that Aldershot had a second when the ball was swing to the back post and Finney nodded home. 

But the response from Welwyn was good even if the frustrations at the decisions grew. 

With Kinoshi down the left and Akwasi on the right, Welwyn had injected a forward threat. 

A corner won by Kinoshi was flapped at by Mitch Walker although the keeper did better to push out a Close shot with the rebound being put over the top by Carl Mensah. 

Akwasi then got clear of the last defender but the keeper came out to block the shot, spreading himself well. 

It was one-way traffic at this point but on a rare break up field Aldershot wrapped things up. 

It was desperation to clear the ball that twice saw Welwyn defender bump into each other. It did end up out of the area but was returned with interest by Shadrach Ogie, driven through the crowd and into the keeper’s left-hand corner. 

Within a minute it was four, the ball knocked into an empty net by Mohammed Bettamer as the offside flag stayed down. 

From there It looked as if the game would just peter out but Kinoshi had other ideas. 

First he wriggled through the entire defence before slipping it under Walker for a much-deserved consolation goal and then a minute later he almost repeated the trick down the other side of the box. 

This one though was saved. 

They deserved that to be the last goal but Chike Kandi tapped in from a yard out after the marking went missing to send Aldershot through. 

Welwyn Garden City: Crowley, Mensah, Sexton, Walklin, Close, Rolfe, Buchanan (Akwasi 54), Ironton, Vasey (Kinoshi 54), Keenleyside, Bailey (Tshikala 77). 

Subs (not used): Bennett, Marfo. 

Goal: Kinoshi 84 

Booked: Buchanan 39, Ironton 53. Keenleyside 57, Close 62, Walklin 90+5 

Aldershot Town: Walker, Finney, Sendles-White, Rees (Whittingham 56), Kandi, Nouble, Anderson, Edser (Bettamer 72), Colombie, Ogie, Fondop. 

Subs (not used): James, Lyons-Foster, Phillips. 

Goals: Fondop (pen) 20, Finney 55, Ogie 73, Bettamer 74 

Booked: Colombie 31 

HT: Welwyn Garden City 0 Aldershot Town 1 

Referee: Robert Whitton (Braintree) 

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