BEN ANDREOS AND DEAN BARKER YESTERDAY
Welwyn Garden City welcomed Aylesbury United yesterday as Dean Barker took charge of his second game in charge of The Citizens. It was only last Friday that Barker along with his coaching staff of Gary Simmonds, Ben Andreos and Chris Stead had joined the Hertfordshire club after Adam Fisher's much talked about departure along with most of the first team squad.
Former Cockfosters, Wingate and Finchley u23 and Northwood boss Barker had only been given a few days to put a team together before their midweek home game against Sutton Coldfield Town which they got a well deserved draw from with the visitors only scoring the equaliser late in the game.
There were four debutants for the home side in Isaac Ebelebe (signed from Bostik Premier Wingate and Finchley where he had made 12 appearances this season), Ivan Aggawakah (signed on loan from Barnet's academy squad), Charlie Pattison (form MK Dons academy squad) and Okem Chime (also from Barnet's academy squad).
The Ducks came to Herns Way with a topsy turvy up and down look to their form - after winning the Aylesbury derby on New Years Day they had drawn 1-1 at Barton Rovers before losing heavily (1-4) at home to Didcot Town last weekend.
On an extremely chilly afternoon the first half saw Aylesbury have lots of possession but little or no goal mouth action - Centre Forward Tre Mitford held the ball up well at times and worked hard making runs with Max Hercules also looking decent on the left hand side of midfield. The best chance fell to Harry Jones whose shot rebounded off the cross bar which was flagged for offside so if it had of gone in it would of counted.
The Citizen's defended well and looked organised at the back which the players along with Barker and his coaching staff can take many positive points from.
As the first half continued Welwyn's former Royston Town player Romelle Alomenu received the ball more on the right hand side of midfield and he put in a number of good crosses.
The second half was more entertaining with The Ducks looking the more dangerous going forward but it was Jordan Edwards who so very nearly broke the deadlock for the home side. Archie Davis in the away goal had no chance saving the former Haringey Borough player's looping shot from outside of the box which agonisingly crashed against the post.
United where then awarded a penalty kick when Tre Mitford who chased a long ball closely followed by Taishan Griffith whose clumsy challenge just inside the box was adjudged by the referee to be a foul. Ollie Hogg's resulting spot kick rebounded off the left hand post to keep the game goal-less.
Mitford had another great chance when his neat turn and shot in the box came back on the right hand post. It was then most of the 152 supporter's present thought the game was destined to end 0-0.
The Citizens goal keeper Lewis Todd made two more good saves towards the end of the match and kept a well deserved clean-sheet for the home side.
It was a tough call give a man of the match award but for me United's Tre Mitford with his hard work running the channels up front tipped the balance for me. He did everything but score a goal.
I must give special mention to two players on opposing sides and at opposite ends of their career both playing in midfield. Forty-one year old Greg Williams never stopped working for The Ducks - Many players his age have long since given up so to be still on the pitch on a cold afternoon representing the club he loves can only be admired. For The Citizens, Charlie Pattison, who has only just turned eighteen years old looks a very impressive player with a great touch and range of passing - The experience he gains playing for Welwyn Garden City will only be of benefit to him and his parent club in League Two side MK Dons.
Aylesbury United didn't draw any of their first eighteen league games but three our of their last five have now ended all square. Their next game comes at home against Yaxley who they beat 3-7 back in September.
Dean Barker's new look side have their toughest game yet on Tuesday evening (weather permitting) when Corby Town visit Hertfordshire. The Steelmen are currently in third place in the Evo Stik Southern League Division One (Central) and have won five of their last six league games. They comfortably won 1-4 at Aylesbury FC yesterday with the experienced Elliott Sandy netting a hat-trick.
If you are local to Welwyn Garden City please give The Citizens some much needed support.
WELWYN GARDEN CITY
Lewis Todd, Taishan Griffith, Jon Sexton, Isaac Ebelebe, Ivan Aggawakah, Jay Rolfe, Jordan Edwards (Josh Williams), Charlie Pattison, Okem Chime (Brodie Carrington), Dave Keenleyside, Romelle Alomenu (Harry Andic).
Sub unused - James Mays and George Batney
Archie Davis, Anthony Ball, Jake Bewley, Jack Wood, Callum Mapley, Ollie Hogg, Harry Jones (Ben Seaton), Greg Williams, Tre Mitford, Sonny French, Max Hercules (Aaron Berry).
Subs unused - Harry Tucker, Chris Crook and Ben Seaton.