Eagles beaten by 10 man Welwyn
Eagles went out at the first attempt in the Herts Senior Centenary Trophy on a very heavy pitch which did not suit their passing game. The side, weakened by the absence of a number of first team regulars, played most of the good football but failed to take several good goal chances and succumbed to their failing this season of failing to cope with dead ball kicks into the penalty area.
Welwyn started stronger but after 13 minutes were nearly caught out when Hunter Diack tried to lob the goalkeeper from close to the half way line and almost succeeded as the ball went just wide of the goal. Eagles defended well and in the 20 th minute went ahead in controversial circumstances. JJ Brown was caught offside, but play was allowed to continue when Welwyn gained possession. They promptly gave it back to Brown who coolly put the ball into the net from 20 yards.Welwyn protested at length but the goal stood.
Less than 10 minutes later Welwyn Matt McCardle was sent off for kicking out at an eagles player, but eagles failed to take advantage of the extra man and after 32 minutes Welwyn drew level after a corner kick . Dan Goad fisted the ball away but failed to clear his lines, the ball was returned to the middle and headed in for the equaliser.
After a couple of smart saves by the Welwyn keeper Eagles should have gone ahead again when Krystian Malachak broke clear on the left. Rather than go for glory and try to place the ball inside the near post as the keeper advanced he chose to pass to two unmarked colleagues in the centre. The final ball was just a fraction behind them and Jason Drackford shot well over from the penalty spot.. Almost on half time Hunter Diack flung himself at the a cross and the ball just whistled wide of an open goal.
Far from packing their defence Welwyn continued to threaten the Eagles goal as the second half continued, and Eagles were unable to take advantage of the extra man on a pitch that grew steadily worse as the game continued. A direct free kick whistled narrowly wide after 55 minutes and Goad made a good save to a low shot from 20 yards. Sam Ralph charged down a goal bound shot and all Eagles neat approach play failed to produce goal scoring chances. The ball was then headed off the eagles line and the rebound blasted wide as Welwyn pressed, and in the 80 th minute they scored a neat breakaway goal when they broke clear on the right, outpacing chasing defenders and scoring with a crisp low shot from 20 yards.
This seemed to give fresh energy to the Eagles who were in the Welwyn half for much of the rest of the game. . Taylor Rhiney outpaced defenders on the left and put the ball just over the bar and top corner and on 90 minutes Malachak had a low drive from outside the penalty area turned round the post by the Welwyn keeper. From the resulting corner the ball was hooked off the line by a Welwyn defender, proving to be Eagles last chance of salvation.