WELWYN GC’s recent goal glut deserted them on a cold night at Cockfosters, but a late winner, from one of the few moves of real quality in a scrappy game, brought them another vital three points.
It also kept up the Citizens’ unbeaten run that stretched to 18 matches unbeaten after this poor encounter, in which mid-table Cockfosters made them fight all the way.
In fact, a share of the spoils from one of their poorer performances looked like the reward for Adam Fisher’s side, until he introduced two of his substitutes.
The two Charlies – Joy and Rome – combined to produce the decisive moment as late as the 85th minute. Rome, introduced for the final 15 minutes, produced some incisive passing that was missing for the previous three-quarters of the game.
Having narrowly failed to put Josh Bronti through with a clever ball with his first touch, Rome produced a peach of a long cross to the back post shortly afterwards and namesake Joy came in to volley in the winner, much to the delight and relief of the majority of the crowd, who had come from WGC.
Hosts Cockfosters gave a battling second-half performance that they felt deserved a share of the spoils.
They equalized WGC’s freakish opener in 25 minutes, on the hour and WGC had a number of escapes once the sides were level.
After a poor and scrappy start to the game, the Citizens scored a fortunate opening goal in keeping with the match’s standard.
Top scorer Jon Clements way out of the left, put in a long cross-shot from 40 yards, aimed for the head of Ashley Kersey.
The big striker stooped in front of keeper Lee Walker but made no contact, but his actions seemed to distract the Cockfosters’ keeper who also missed it and to the surprise of all, the ball finished in the net!
Certainly, it was the most surprising of Clements’ 17 goals of the season so far.
A Cockfosters’ free-kick from full-back Grant, also from way out, beat everyone in the area to hit keeper Charlie May’s far post and bounce back across the area in one let-off and then Kersey, back in defence, came to WGC’s rescue hacking a Peter Roseman effort off the line to preserve the Citizens’ lead at the interval.
On the hour, Cockfosters were on terms with a fine strike from one-time WGC player Piero Bagarone, who collected a left-wing cross and drove a fierce effort low past May into the bottom corner for 1-1
That certainly boosted the home side for last half-hour and during this spell, they, perhaps, looked the more likely side to find a winner.
Then manager Fisher made his changes and his substitutes – the two Charlies - fashioned a fine goal to secure the sort of battling victory that promotion sides are made of.
WGC: May, Rolfe, Boodhoo, McGrandles, Corran, Payne, Spaul, Ironton (Joy 63), Bronti (Marks 87), Clements, Kersey (Rome 75).