United’s head coach, Cristian Colas, came to England to learn about the English game and on a soggy Tuesday night at Second Meadow his learning curve went sky high as his side suffered a 1-5 home defeat at the hands of newly promoted Welwyn Garden City.
However, even the visitors admitted that it was the two goals in the space of a minute - and just on the stroke of half time - that “did for” United as the Citizens went in 4-1 up at the break leaving the hosts with a mountain to climb in the second period.
The Citizen’s travelling supporters were given a taste of things to come as early as the seventh minute when a cross from deep was met perfectly by 17 year old Nathan Dimmock who fired an amazing volley past United’s Joachin Mortas for 0-1.
With United striker, Tom Cookman, stuck the wrong side of the Atlantic awaiting a flight home and James Cooper having suffered a shoulder injury on Saturday, United were without a recognised striker. So it was left to midfield man, Lee Bilcock, to don the number 9 shirt and in the 12th minute he pulled one back for United.
A quick passing move through the middle of the park ended with Kane Farrell slipping the ball through to Bilcock who planted the ball to the far post past Citizen custodian Joe Croft to level.
But United’s expectations were short-lived as within five minutes their guests regained the lead through Yasin Badhoo. A looping corner found its way over a packed six yard area to Badhoo who headed home with ease for 2-1.
With the game evenly balanced no one would have predicted the end of half finale. With just two minutes left on the clock a long ball through the middle of the park saw three United players fail to put a foot through the ball leaving if for Citizens’ Joh Bronti to go one on one with Mortas and although the Valencian keeper managed to parry with his feet he looked on agonisingly as the ball crept over the line.
However, there was little he could do about Welwyn’s fourth. No sooner had play re-started than Craig Arnott stole the ball in midfield and spotting Mortas off his line he sent a stunning long range strike soaring over the United number one and into the top corner of his net for 4-1 at the break.
The second period saw United return Bilcock to his midfield role and this seemed to steady the ship and with substitute Nick Elliott now taking the leading role up front United were now making tracks in to the Welwyn area.
United were presented with three golden opportunities to get themselves back in to the game. Russell Clark saw his strike pushed away for a corner by substitute keeper Jamie Jackson, a goal mouth scramble saw Elliott denied and Hector Bateller’s free kick hit the crossbar.
The Citizens proved a too solid an outfit for United to penetrate and with six minutes remaining Welwyn made it 1-5 when striker Jason Caswell snapped up a loose ball in the United area and curled it around Mortas to end a harsh lesson for Colas and his coaching team.
This Saturday United will be looking to put this defeat behind them when they entertain Hoddesdon Town at Second Meadow. Kick Off 3pm.