Sunday, 30 April 2017

Welwyn Garden City 2 v 1 FC Broxbourne Borough

Saturday 29th April 2017
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Herns Lane, Welwyn Garden City
Admission with Programme: Pay What You Want (usually £6.00)
Attendance: 113
Match Rating: 2

On the last day of the regular season in senior league football, rail engineering works scuppered my original plans to complete the Essex Senior League at Hullbridge today, and instead I headed to Welwyn Garden City for the second time this season, this time to visit the football club representing the town.

Herns Lane is about a half hour walk eastwards from Welwyn Garden City train station, and from the main road there is a short lane, over which there is a welcome sign, and then spectators walk through a tarmac area, with the large, attractive and well pointed clubhouse to the left and picnic tables to the right. The entrance to the ground is in one corner, and on the whole this an attractive ground, which is currently a little spoilt by being rough around the edges in places. From the entrance towards the goal there is a stand held up by scaffolding covering a mainly flat standing area, with wooden bench seating along the rear. From the entrance along one length, changing rooms are set some way back from the pitch, with a muddy area in between. Straddling the half way line is a long modern metallic identikit stand. On the opposite side behind the dugouts there is a small covered area which is currently inaccessible, with poles on the floor. Around the rest of the ground there is just hard standing. Colourful trees all around provide an attractive background, and the lack of traffic noise makes this a peaceful location too. The programme was very good, 48 pages containing more than enough stats and facts to preview the game.

There was not too much riding on this game, with fifth place the best that Welwyn Garden City could hope for. They came into this game in sixth place, having won 20 and drawn ten of their 41 league games, and were two points adrift of fifth placed Tring Athletic. It really has been a season to forget for FC Broxbourne Borough, and were 14 points adrift at the foot of the table,  having won four (none at home) and drawn five of their 41 games. When the two teams met in November, Welwyn Garden City won 1-4.

On a mainly cloudy afternoon, the first half was quite a forgettable affair. The game was surprisingly even, with the visitors more than a match for their hosts, who seemed very lethargic and with the appearance of a team going through the motions at the end of the season. There were also signs that things would not go their way, forced into a substitution on the half hour and three minutes later, the very same man, George Brinkmanship, was sent off for a high two footed tackle which did not have much ferocity behind it. It certainly gave the visitors more hope that they could get something out of this game, but a goalless scoreline at half time was no surprise.

The game continued with its rather dull, pedestrian nature in the second half, until the game exploded into life on 51 minutes, when Charlie Rome, who only came on at half time, struck a low free kick around the defensive wall and into the net to give Welwyn the lead. Their lead didn't even last a minute though, as straight from the kick off, Broxbourne attacked and their striker drove towards the penalty area from the right before curling a lovely low shot past the keeper and inside the far post. The game really could have gone either way and Broxbourne certainly deserved at least a rare point from this game, but it was Welwyn who scored what turned out to be the winner on 79 minutes. The ball was crossed from the left and Ashley Kersey headed home despite the ball hitting the keeper's palm on its way. The visitors never looked likely to get back on level terms and they will certainly be glad that the season has now ended and will hope for better in Division One next season. As Tring Athletic also won, Welwyn Garden City finished the season in sixth place.


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