Van Helden signs off by guiding Welwyn Garden City to a dominating home win over Bedford
PUBLISHED: 11:17 16 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:17 16 March 2020
Welwyn Garden City ended their home games for the season with a dominating 4-2 victory over Bedford in East Hockey League Division Three South West.
The Hertfordshire Sports Village-based club's men had gone into the contest looking to shake off the disappointment of the 3-0 loss to Cheshunt seven days earlier and they started confidently, putting pressure on the Bedford defence with fast interplay between midfielders Mark Skilbeck, Crayton Napoleon and Max Davies.
Their first opportunity came from an aerial ball from Skilbeck that found Rob Sansom, playing up front in place of top-scorer Dave Allmand-Smith.
He couldn't find the net on that occasion but he did provide the assist for the opening goal, his pass finding Jens Van Helden at the far post for the clinical finish.
This was the popular Dutchman's last game in a Welwyn shirt as he is returning to his native Netherlands to continue his studies and it was arguably his best.
And after Bedford had equalised after a series of short corners, he turned provider as first Sansom and then James Lutrario, with a skilful deflection made it 3-1 to Welwyn at half-time.
The visitors pressed hard after the break but the composed and stubborn defence of Peter Mullens and Ben O'Boyle, together with captain and goalkeeper Dan Klinger managed to keep all but one shot out.
However, Welwyn's response was swift and they restored their two-goal lead with calm conversion at a short corner by Skilbeck.
Van Helden was denied a further goal when the umpire judged the strike from Davies to be heading wide and dangerous.
Bedford come have made it a nervy finish after being awarded a penalty stroke in the closing moments of the game when the ball struck a Welwyn foot in the D.
But the flick didn't even force Klinger into a save as it flew wide of the target and it completed one of WGC's most complete performances of the season.
Welwyn sit comfortably in seventh with just one game to go, that away to league leaders St Albans thirds at nearby Oaklands College.