WGC’s development side got back to winning ways with this home victory in an entertaining clash at Herns Lane.
The Herns Lane assistant-manager Craig Arnott continued his recovery from nearly six months injured - from a dislocated shoulder - by turning out in this game and provided the winning goal and an impressive assist for WGC’s opener.
But if the experience of Arnott, skipper Sav Caliskan and returned striker Yasir Rashid, helped guide the otherwise youthful young Citizens, it was new midfielder Jack Francis, who gave the stand-out performance and it surely won’t be long before he’s knocking on first-team manager Adam Fisher’s door, on this evidence.
WGC U-25’s began well and Caliskan and striker Nathan Isherwood both had goalbound efforts charged down in front of the Oxhey goal, in the opening 10 minutes.
With both sides having early chances, but WGC enjoying the better of them, it was a surprise that it took 28 minutes for the young Citizens to take the lead. Arnott showing true class, by cleverly rolling an Oxhey defender and playing an instant through ball in the same movement, into the path of the lurking Rashid, who took it on to slide past Oxhey keeper Billy Skinner.
The lead lasted just six minutes. Oxhey attacked sharply down their left through winger Liam Sole who squared the ball for midfielder Lucas Wallis to run onto and drive low past WGC keeper Marcus Bourne into the bottom corner, for 1-1.
New boy Francis made a fine mazy run past four Oxhey players and slotted Rashid through, but this time, keeper Skinner kicked the ball off Rashid’s toes.
Moments later Caliskan hit a 30 yarder with some venom, but it was straight at Oxhey keeper Skinner.
WGC U-25’s opened the second-half with a second goal. Three minutes into the half, winger Owain Page got over a good cross and Arnott netted on the far post with a stooping, downward header for 2-1.
Oxhey’s winger Sole seemed lucky to be only yellow carded for a nasty-looking tackle on WGC’s Page, as WGC manager Russ Giblin replaced Rashid with young striker Bradley Dimmock.
Twenty minutes into the half, another Caliskan long distance rocket, brought the save of the match from visiting keeper Skinner, who tipped the effort over in spectacular fashion.
Moments later, the Herns Lane were let off the hook as Oxhey missed a sitter, Bourne making a fine save with his body in the initial move, but the rebound fell to Oxhey’s Yusuf Hadish, but he put his effort wide from a couple of yards.
The Watford-based visitors were reduced to 10 men, when Sole got his marching orders from referee Pordes when he retaliated in a second clash with Page.
Francis made a spectacular run past four Oxhey players to put himself in the clear, but with the goal at his mercy, struck a golden chance of a WGC third over the bar and Isherwood was equally as wasteful, when found by a fine crossfield ball from Arnott, but he struck his effort behind the goal.
But despite these misses, WGC went on to a deserved victory, with their teenage centre backs, Will McClelland and Robbie Steedman, again catching the eye.
WGC U-25: Bourne, Rose (Marouche 78), McClelland, Steedman, Evans, Caliskan, Francis, Arnott (Richarson 83), Page, Rashid (Dimmock 58), Isherwood.