Welwyn Garden City made heavy weather to record a 2-0 win over injury ravaged Leverstock Green on Saturday at Herns Lane. The visitors went into the game with no recognised goalkeeper and were forced to field midfielder Luke Preedy between the posts.
Spectators were hardly settled in their seats when the Citizens went one up after just 33 seconds. They finally killed off the game in the 90th minute having spurned a glorious chance from the spot on the hour mark in a game where many of their best chances came following several Ben Long throws-ins which targeted the head of Ashley Kersey in the six yard box with precise accuracy.
The Citizens had one change to their starting line up from last week’s success against Oxhey Jets, 16 year old Will McClelland (who made light work of his young age with an impressive performance) replacing the injured Taishan Griffith at right back. Manager Adam Fisher also include recent signing from Stotfold, Lewis Croucher, amongst his substitutes.
Just like last week the Citizens were ahead inside the first minute, Kersey’s header from Long’s huge throw-in was pawed away by Preedy and Sean Brettell was on hand to lash the loose ball home.
Josh Bronti volleyed over the bar following another long throw into the visitor’s penalty area and Kersey flashed a shot wide off the upright as the Citizens dominated in the first quarter of an hour.
Having been booked eight minutes earlier Leverstock Green’s Zac Howells was lucky to stay on the pitch following a horrific tackle on Long in the 26th minute. The referee Joseph Gray from Dagenham did have cause to produce his cards and in a bizarre situation showed the yellow one to Citizen’s substitute Craig Arnott for comments made from the bench.
Having been in the driving seat for much of the first period the Citizens found themselves on the back-foot as the interval approached, Lawrence just failing to convert at the far post following Curtis Donaldson’s flicked header from a free kick, then Jonathan Lacey was foiled by the legs of Citizens goalkeeper Jack Metcalfe and five minutes later Lacey hooked the ball over from close range.
Both teams exchanged missed attempts in the opening fifteen minutes of the second period, Bronti’s shot clearing the crossbar whilst Marcus Campbell having worked his way into box found the ball stuck between his feet and it ran harmlessly in the hands of Preedy. For the visitors Brima Johnson and Donaldson both missed the target with shots from the edge of the box.
On the hour the Citizens had a glorious chance to extend their lead from the penalty spot. George Brinkman’s free kick into the box found McClelland but before he could get his shot off the ball was handled by Kendall Allen whilst lying on the floor. Bronti’s well struck spot kick was excellently turned over the crossbar by the stand-in goalkeeper Preedy. Luke Robins was introduced in place of Campbell on 64 minutes as the Citizens looked for that second goal that will kill off the game.
With 12 minutes remaining Metcalfe produced an excellent save from a Donaldson free kick and with the home side appealing for offside Davis fired the loose ball over the top. Metcalfe’s protests resulted in him receiving a yellow card. Such was the keeper’s protests he then kicked the ball away and was lucky to stay on the field as the referee decided a word rather than a second card was enough.
The Citizen’s finally wrapped up the three points in the 90th minute when substitute Arnott’s clever pass found Kersey and the big striker worked his way into the box before rifling the ball into the roof of the net from close range.
WGC: Metcalfe, McClelland, Morris, Brinkman (sub Croucher 90+3), Boodhoo, Payne, Bronti (sub Arnott 82), Long, Campbell (sub Robins 64), Kersey, Brettell.
Subs (not Used): Coughlan and Leslie.