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Welwyn Garden City

Home of the "Citizens" - Established 1921

FC

Herns Way, Panshanger, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL7 1TA

TWO games into the new year and WGC are in something of a crisis.

 

Their second defeat of 2017, this time at league leaders London Colney, has seen Adam Fisher's side concede 11 goals in two losses that effectively end any promotion aspirations from the Spartan South Midlands League Premier this season. They were beaten 5-2 at lowly St Margaretsbury the previous Monday.

 

They now trail long-time leaders and Saturday's victors by 19 points, even though they have three games in hand. WGC are also out of all the cup competitions they entered this season.

 

Certainly, manager Fisher is going to have to make a major overhaul of his defence.

 

He welcomed back Martin Standen into central defence for this one, switched newcomer Louis Lee to right-back and preferred Sean Brettell to Jay Welsh in the other full-back position. Lee Robins was restored upfront.

 

Despite the ultimately comprehensive London Colney victory, this was a very strange game, that split conveniently into three very differing thirds.

 

In the opening 30 minutes, hosts Colney dominated and overran WGC with a devastating three goal in 16 minute spell.

 

There was just five minutes gone when the leaders struck first.

 

Ex-WGC man Dave Parkinson, who was a thorn in his former team's side for the 75 minutes he was on the pitch, outpaced Brettell down the right. His over-hit cross to the far post was retrieved by home top scorer Jon Clements, who turned inside Lee and shot home under keeper Jack Metcalfe on his near post.

 

On 14 minutes the lead was doubled, a long ball found home skipper Greg Shaw, he chipped into the middle and Clements netted his second with a stooping header past Metcalfe.

 

Two minutes later, Parkinson scored a fine solo third. Again he outpaced Brettell, slipped inside Yasin Boodhoo's challenge and ended with a finely placed shot beyond Metcalfe into the far corner.

 

At his point it looked as though WGC might be half-a-dozen in arrears by the interval, as they could barely get across the half-way line.

 

It took 25 minutes for them to fashion their first opening, a shooting chance for Josh Bronti, well blocked by Colney defender Gregg Douglas.

 

And Bronti played a part in the Citizens pulling a fine goal back to reduce arrears on 29 minutes, getting away down the right to pull over a cross that central defender Boodhoo spectacularly volleyed in for his third goal in successive games, amid the defensive mayhem.

 

That sparked an immediate change in WGC's demeanour. Two minutes later, Standen was inches wide with a powerful header past an upright, rising to a Brettell free-kick.

 

And on 35 minutes, a second WGC goal, again created by a Bronti cross that produced a flashing header from Robins beyond home keeper Gowans, had the Citizens' majority in the 101 crowd on their feet.

 

WGC finished the half in total contrast to their performance in the opening 30 minutes, when on the stroke of the interval, a Boodhoo header clipped the post on its way out.

 

The Herns Lane side couldn't wait to get going in the second 45 minutes with the score now 3-2 and in the opening minutes, Manny Melford-Rowe brought a diving save from Gowans.

 

But seven minutes in, it looked as if the WGC revival might be at an end, when Metcalfe took down Colney winger Jack Woods after Clements had made a run across the face of the visitors' defence, unchecked.

 

The under-pressure keeper redeemed himself, pushing away Shaw's spot-kick in fine style, to keep his side in the game.

 

If the match had a turning point, it came just past the hour. On 62 minutes, Bronti was sent scurrying down the middle. He got in a fierce shot, Gowans parried but couldn't hold and Ashley Kersey rammed in the rebound.

 

But WGC players and supporters's joy was short-lived, referee Lungarella consulted an assistant with flag raised and the goal was chalked off for offside.

 

The Citizens looked immediately deflated. Manager Fisher replaced Melford-Rowe, who had a fitness test before the game with new signing Marcus Campbell and Robins with Taishan Griffith.

 

But the final third of the game proved as disastrous for the visitors as the opening half-hour had been.

 

Just before being substituted, Parkinson made a strong run down the right and when he crossed low, Clements swept home his hat-trick goal to effectively decide the points.

 

Three minutes later as WGC pushed up, Standen found himself stranded on half-way. He couldn't cut out a through ball and Colney's Spencer Mardel raced completely clear to poke the fifth past Metcalfe, with WGC defenders vainly appealing for offside.

 

Two minutes later, home substitute Jay Caines really rubbed it in with a lofted effort from way outside the area that cleared the beleagured Metcalfe to find the far corner and give the hosts a somewhat flattering six goal haul, considering the middle half-hour of the game.

 

WGC: Metcalfe, Lee, Boodhoo, Standen, Brettell, Payne, Long (Read 82), Robins (Griffith 67), Bronti, Kersey, Melford-Rowe (Campbell 60).

London Colney 6 - 2 Welwyn Garden City FC