Encouraging start for Reds despite Charity Shield exit

PUBLISHED: 07:50 04 August 2017

Baldock Town's Lewis Barker fires towards the WGC goal. Picture: KEVIN LINES

Baldock Town's Lewis Barker fires towards the WGC goal. Picture: KEVIN LINES

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Baldock Town’s new season started in encouraging style even though their Herts Charity Shield game at Welwyn Garden City ended in a 3-1 defeat.

Welwyn play in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division, one level higher than Baldock, and are many people’s tip for the title.

But Baldock, who only just missed out on joining them in the SSML top flight last season, gave a very good account of themselves.

Ash Kersey put the hosts ahead on nine minutes, outpacing Lewis Barker and driving a low shot beyond Jack Farmer.

But the lead was shortlived as Baldock levelled two minutes later.

A cross from right-back Josh Furness, who was a menace to WGC’s Dave Corran for most of the game, was headed off the crossbar by Mitch Foley.

But before the defence could re-group to clear the rebound, Zach Decker struck a low effort that beat Olly Leslie.

That lifted Baldock and they dominated the middle of the half.

But they couldn’t create too many clearcut chances and slowly WGC got back into the game.

And they retook the lead before half-time after Charlie Joy finished off a goalmouth scramble, Alex Coppin having made an excellent clearance off the line just seconds before.

Both keepers had to make saves as the second half got underway with WGC’s Olly Leslie denying Brooks and Farmer blocking a Taishan Griffith effort.

The game finally slipped away with the introduction of Welwyn’s triple player-of-the-year Ben Long for the final half-hour.

Despite being absent for pre-season because of an arm injury and involvement in the Maccabiah Games in Israel, he didn’t miss a beat as he linked attack and defence.

Ben L’Honore and Brandon Carney were also introduced for the closing stages and the pair combined seven minutes from time to make it 3-1 and seal Welwyn’s passage to the next round.

Baldock are next in action on Saturday when they go to Ardley United in Oxfordshire for the FA Cup extra-preliminary round.

It is the third season they have been entered into the famous trophy.

They went out at this stage last season to Flackwell Heath but reached the next round in 2014-15 with victory over Hatfield Town.

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