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Welwyn Garden City chalk up another win in Southern League

December 19, 2021


10:44 AM December 19, 2021

Welwyn Garden City’s position as the form team of Southern League Division One Central was cemented after an excellent home win over AFC Dunstable.

The 2-0 success at Herns Lane was their third in a row, fifth in the last six and seventh in the last nine.

The goals from Dave Keenleyside and Ryan Doherty also ended a run of four straight victories for City’s visitors and promotion rivals.

But they were no match for the rampant Citizens with the superb centre-back pairing of Doherty and Lee Close denying BJ Christie, the division’s top scorer, even a sniff of a chance.

Behind them teenage keeper Adam O’Neill kept his place between the posts for his home debut, while latest signings full-back Lewis Franklin and midfielder Denis Bene were both on a strengthened bench.

WGC set the early pace with Jon Clements striking a 20-yarder just wide on seven minutes after switching passes with Jordon Watson.

The former Colney Heath man went close again after dispossessing Sam McClelland on the edge of the Dunstable box.

His shot was too close to Jamie Head though and the keeper pushed it away.

But Welwyn deservedly went ahead on 26 minutes, Keenleyside thumping an effort through a crowded box after Callum Taylor and Matty Campbell-Mhlope both had shots blocked.

WGC could have had two before the break as well, Campbell-Mhlope trying a measured chip over Head but having cleared the keeper, the ball dropped inches wide.

There were fewer chances in the second period.

Just past the hour, Clements blazed over after good work by Keenleyside in supplying the chance and shortly after manager Nick Ironton tried to inject more life into his side by introducing both Franklin and Bene for the final 25 minutes.

Franklin, a 19-year-old full-back recruited from Baldock Town in midweek, looked particularly impressive.

The game remained in the balance until six minutes from time, when the Citizens netted a second to seal the victory.

They forced a left-wing corner and from Ironton’s cross into box, Watson cleverly ducked his header, allowing Doherty to come in and power home a straight-forward effort past Head, a fitting reward for the young defender after another man-of-the-match performance.

WGC still stay ninth in the table but are now just six points off the play-off places.

They play Kidlington at home on Tuesday night.

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