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Welwyn Garden City

Home of the "Citizens" - Established 1921


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

THIS was an inexplicable performance from the Citizens that confounded manager Adam Fisher as much as it did the small knot of WGC support that followed the side to West Herts.


Fisher's side had won their last four away fixtures in league and cup and only seven days before had drawn 0-0 at home, admittedly in weather-affected conditions, with the same opposition.


But in this Herts Charity Shield semi-final - arranged because both sides' scheduled league opposition were still involved in the FA Vase's third round - produced the worst display of the Fisher era at Herns Lane. A complete humiliation!


The manager was much at a loss to explain it as everyone else: " We had at least eight players give their worst performances of the season. It doesn't matter what you tell them or how you re-arrange the team, you can't do anything, when it's like that,'' he said after the game.


Fisher has kept a mostly settled side that has lifted WGC to fifth in the first-half of the season on their return to the SSML Premier Division, but heads are likely to roll after this abject display.


WGC were lacking top scorer Josh Bronti (ankle) and the unavailable Dave Parkinson and Sam Perrin for this one. Bronti now begins a three match ban for his recent sending off at Hertford and most consistent defender Jay Lovell, a one match suspension.


The writing was on the wall as early as the second minute at Tring, when WGC conceded a penalty.


Tring's leading scorer Sam Joliffe was victim of a clumsy Carl Mensah tackle as he cut into the area. Joliffe didn't go down, just stumbled, but the assistant signalled a foul, referee Bloxham concurred and the penalty was awarded.


Joe Croft redeemed the error, guessing correctly as to where Joliffe would put it and pulled off a smart save.


The reprieve was very temporary. Only three minutes, before the dangerous Taylor Collins picked the ball 20 yards out and shot for the far corner. Croft was static, obviously unsighted, as the ball found the bottom corner.


Tring then bossed the rest of the half and although WGC couldn't put a single move together to threaten the one goal lead, some desperate defence repelled the West Herts side until close to the interval.


Then three minutes from the break, WGC conceded a second, when skipper Daryl Smith took the wrong option, tried to cut inside on halfway and lost a vital possession.


Tring pounced in the shape of the outstanding Kieran Turner, who collected on the right, cut inside Jay Welsh and hit a dipping effort over Croft that found the far corner for 2-0.


Worse was to follow in stoppage time at the end of the half, Tring added a third. Lee Stobbs got beyond the ragged WGC defence down the right, cut his cross back across goal and Joliffe was on the spot to bundle home.


The tie looked over, but the WGC following were hopeful of a more spirited showing to start the second-half.


Instead, they got a catasrophic misunderstanding within two minutes of the restart to see their side 4-0 down.


John McGrandles should have cleared a bouncing ball down the middle, keeper Croft came out. Both left it to each other and Joliffe slipped between then to walk in his second goal of the afternoon and probably his easiest of the season.


Manager Fisher had introduced Bobby Dance and Levi Gunn after half-time and brought on Juan Cifuentes midway through the half, but nothing could change this performance.


On 77 minutes WGC had their first and only serious effort on goal of the afternoon. Craig Arnott took a quickly taken free-kick to play Jason Caswell in, he slipped his defender and shot for the far corner, only for Tring keeper Matt Evans to stick out his left arm and divert it away.


Inside the next minute, the home side struck again, breaking quickly after that close call for the dangerous Turner to burst through and shoot goalward. Croft half stopped it, but Tring substitute Joe Naylor was on the spot to net the rebound for 5-0.


Two minutes later, Bobby Dance was dispossessed on half-way in a similiar fashion to his skipper in the first-half.


Again Turner made WGC pay, this time outstretching the beleagured WGC defence down the left, again cutting inside and finishing with a trademark effort beyond Croft into the far corner to complete the drubbing.


WGC: Croft, Lovell, Mensah, McGrandles, Welsh, Price (Cifuentes 65), Smith (Dance 46), Payne, Arnott, Caswell, Kersey (Gunn 46).

Tring Athletic 6 - 0 Welwyn Garden City FC