WELWYN GC took a massive step towards promotion, by beating closest rivals and long-time leaders of the SSML Premier Division Berkhamsted 4-0 for the second time this season.
It made it three wins from three in games between Adam Fisher’s side and their major rivals for the league title, when you add the closest of the trio of meetings, a 4-3 extra time victory in a semi-final that saw WGC reach the Herts Charity Shield final as well.
For 75 minutes of this top-of-the-table thriller, it was a real tight affair, WGC just edging matters thanks to Ashley Kersey’s 20th minute opener. But their West Herts visitors were always dangerous on the break, in a tense and nervy affair.
But that stranglehold was broken by a fine solo goal from substitute Josh Bronti 13 minutes from time, that lifted all the anxiety among the majority of a near 200 crowd and in the final stages and with Berko looking shell-shocked, WGC ran their rivals ragged, adding two more.
The tension was palpable in the early stages. Kersey blasted an early opening wildly over and Berko’ Ashton Campbell did likewise inside five minutes.
Chances were at a premium early on, although Jon Clements ran onto a Kersey head-on, but shot wide and Campbell should have done better for the visitors than fire across the face of goal, capitalising on the only error of the night from an otherwise impeccable Dave Corran, when he gave the ball away.
But the 20th minute opener settled nerves, as Kersey rose with visiting keeper Tasker to a long cross which the keeper lost under pressure, the big WGC striker lifting the loose ball into the roof of the net. Berko’s appeals for a foul on their keeper, went unheeded by referee Cresswell.
Kersey (hamstring) didn’t come out for the second-half, replaced by Bronti and it was Berkhamsted who began the early moments of the half the better, Matt Bateman firing their best opening into the side netting.
Paul Marks took a knock and was replaced by Tyler Hatherly midway through and almost immediately, WGC went closest to a second, when Nick Elliott’s deflected shot beat Tasker, but struck a post as it went for a corner.
Then on 77 minutes the points were sealed. Hatherly played in a fine ball that enabled Bronti to run diagonally across Berko’s area. He pulled several visiting defenders across with him before finding the far, bottom corner with a beautifully placed shot that sent Herns Lane into raptures.
The visitors clearly wilted after this setback and Clements almost made it three immediately afterwards with a first-time volley after being set up by slick work from Elliott and Spaul.
As the game neared its conclusion, WGC added a third, Clements racing through to bring a save from Tasker from a stinging shot. The keeper couldn’t hold on and as the rebound came out to Hatherly, he struck a powerful effort home for 3-0.
That became four early in stoppage time, this time Clements claiming the goal for himself with a crashing finish to round off what surely must be a landmark victory for WGC, in their unerring quest for promotion.
WGC: May, Rolfe, Corran, Payne, Sexton, Marks (Hatherly 68), Spaul, Elliott, Bond (Mensah 83), Kersey (Bronti 46), Clements