Langford 1 Welwyn Garden City 1
Saturday, 20 January 2007
The Reds returned to action after a two week layoff and gained a warranted point against a Welwyn Garden City side, who had tasted defeat just once on their League travels this season. Manager Roy Boon introduced a couple of new faces in Stevenage Borough youngsters Thomas Mustapha and Sean Turner to the squad and had the welcome return of Dave Cook into the defence. Cook’s return was tempered by the loss of Adam Pitcairn whose injury picked up at Edgware Town before Christmas is not responding as well as expected to treatment. There was also a chance for given to Jack Gregson to see if his goal scoring from of five goals in his last two reserve games to be carried over to the first team.
The ground staff had worked had to prepare a playable but still heavy pitch, no mean feat considering the inclement weather of the previous week. The early action of the first half came from the Reds with Mark Barnes causing problems for the Citizens defence down the right flank. It was his cross that saw Gregson only inches away from opening the scoring. Then Barnes himself cut in from the right to cross a low ball across the box which resulted in some desperate defending to clear the danger. The first shot in anger from the visitors came from Nathan Dawes as he worked himself a good shooting opportunity that only just cleared the Langford crossbar. Twenty minutes into the game and The Citizens took the lead from the penalty spot with Matt Wardle being fouled in the area by Dorian Small. Alex Kinsley stepped up to bury the spot kick past Edward Winsor. A positive response from the Reds saw Joe Delasalle head narrowly over from a Robert Groves free kick as Langford battled to get back on level terms. In Deniz Mehmet the visitors have a player that can give most League defences a difficult time and he came close to extending the lead but he fired over when well placed. Langford lost Joe Delasalle with an injury shortly before the break which gave Sean Turner the chance for a first team debut. The Citizens defended in depth to protect their lead and only a Mark Barnes cross just before the break caused them any problems.
Early in the second period Gareth Grant tried his luck with a shot but his effort was off target. Matt Wardle, the visitors leading marksman, cut in from the right but couldn’t add to his season’s tally as his shot cleared the bar. Danger man Deniz Mehmet then picked up on some defensive differing but also failed to find the target. Edward Winsor denied Matt Wardle with a good save and the defence cleared any further danger. The Reds finally started to come back into the game with Robert Groves testing the Citizens goalkeeper Simon Bartley, first he tipped over an in-swinging corner and then a Groves ‘special’ from distance whistled past his post. With twenty minutes remaining Langford came back on terms. Jack Gregson picked the ball up twenty five yards out and took on and beat three defenders before riding a fourth’s challenge and putting a low shot into the net to Bartley’s left. It was a fine individual goal from Gregson and repaid the faith manager Boon had in him to give him a first team start. Langford then pressured for the winner with Robert Groves and Lee Pateman both coming close. With five minutes remaining controversy denied Langford a winner as Lee Pateman’s “goal” was ruled out for offside by the assistant referee and the game petered out to finish all square, a fair result considering the overall play.