19th Jul, 2019

Comeback kid Gregory sends Rouslers on the way to victory

Both teams contrived to play entertaining football despite far from ideal conditions in Hertfordshire, but Sporting held their own to come away with a comfortable win, writes Phil Baker.

Charlie Dowd had the first decent effort for the Rouslers in the 11th minute, but blasted his shot wide.

Meanwhile, Colchester United loanee Eion McKeown was proving to be a handful for the Rouslers defence, but tight marking and solid concentration by Kyle Lincoln nullified his threat.

Richard Gregory, returning from injury and playing up front for Sporting, put a wild shot over the bar on the 17th minute, but he made no mistake three minutes later.

Jason Cowley passed on Dowd’s cross to the striker – who side-footed a volley into the back of Lewis Todd’s net.

Welwyn looked likely to clinch an equaliser in the 35th minute, but Danny Carr’s audacious effort went just wide of Jono Brown’s right-hand post.

The hosts were made to regret the missed chance as just a minute later, Sporting increased their lead.

Welwyn captain David Keenleyside slipped as he tried to intercept Nathan Hayward’s pass to Kieren Westwood; who with plenty of space and time, fired a low shot that Todd parried with his legs but only back into Westwood’s path to bury the follow-up.

Four minutes after the interval, the windy conditions nearly gave Sporting another goal when Dowd’s corner kick had to be cleared off the line by Jack Humphrey.

But with 59 minutes gone, Sporting put the match beyond Welwyn when substitute Jake Heath made it 3-0 with his first touch of the ball.

He found a pocket of space in the packed penalty area to tuck home after Cowley’s free-kick had been insufficiently cleared.

Elliott Bailey had the best effort for The Citizens on the 75th minute, but his low free-kick was well-saved by Brown.

Shortly after, the frustration of the afternoon got the better of home defender Jon Sexton, who received a second yellow after clattering Dowd.

Both teams had a few more attempts at adding to the score sheet but none were successful.

Manager Brendan Kelly admitted that he was happy with both the result and performance, especially given the challenging conditions.

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