High drama but Welwyn left feeling hard done to after Bedford defeat

PUBLISHED: 15:07 25 November 2019

Crayton Napoleon scored for Welwyn Garden City but they lost at Bedford. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Crayton Napoleon scored for Welwyn Garden City but they lost at Bedford. Picture: KARYN HADDON


Welwyn Garden City’s promotion hopes from East Hockey League Division Three South West continue to take a hit as they slipped to a 4-3 loss away to Bedford.

They went into the game on the back of a draw and a 4-0 defeat to Cheshunt, their second loss of the season.

But everything looked rosy when they raced into a 3-1 lead in the second-half.

But with umpire calls going against the visitors, Bedford were able to rally and their winner came right at the death.

The day of high drama began with Welwyn on the front foot and applying a high press and tempo, one that caused Bedford problems in the opening exchanges.

And the pressure duly paid off with the opening goal. Great interplay between midfielders Mark Skillbeck and Matt O'Connell won a short corner and when that was played in, forward Dave Allmand-Smith smashed the ball home.

The lead merely increased the Welwyn confidence and their continuing pressing brought the second after a neat one-two combination between Crayton Napoleon and Allmand-Smith, the former getting the final touch.

The away side didn't have it all their own way though and as the half came to a close they managed to pull one back.

The real drama began in the second half with Bedford clearly buoyed by that goal. They started strongly and only some good defence by Ben O'Boyle and Pete Mullens snuffed out any early attacks.

Yet against the run of play Welwyn scored again, Allmand-Smith managed to out fox the opposition defence and slot home from an acute angle after a 50-yard run.

This goal spurred Bedford on and after 10 minutes of constant pressure they managed to score two quick-fire goals after calls from the umpires that seemed an injustice to the visitors.

With tensions high, Bedford managed one final attack in the closing minutes, nicking the winner at the death.

Welwyn are now down to sixth but still just three points behind second place Broxbourne and another two behind leaders St Albans.

On a brighter note, the second team were triumphant against Bedford, winning 3-2 to top Division Six South West.

The ladies meanwhile lost 1-0 away to league leaders Potters Bar in the 5 Counties Premier Division.

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