Welch announces his arrival in game-saving style

Joe Welch made two vital stops in St Albans City's 3-2 win over Staines Town. Picture: Bob Walkley

Joe Welch made two vital stops in St Albans City's 3-2 win over Staines Town. Picture: Bob Walkley - Credit: Archant

Joe Welch announced himself to St Albans City’s faithful with two vital saves in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Staines Town.

The 25-year-old was a bit of an unknown entity between the sticks before the game. He picked up an ankle injury which meant he didn’t feature much in pre-season. And, in two games he did start – Stevenage and Hayes and Yeading – he wasn’t called upon that often, collecting one or two crosses but rarely being forced into what you might call a difficult save.

Against Staines, however, he put his skills on display and kept City in the game during the final 10 minutes when the hosts were threatening. Twice he tipped powerful shots around the post as the Saints clung to a 3-2 lead.

“Yeah, he got called upon,” said joint manager James Gray in his post-match interview.

“It was a difficult view point from where we were but when the shot flashed across the goal I thought it had gone wide but the referee gave a corner so he obviously got a hand on it and it was identical from the other side five minutes later.

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“I mean, we know what Joe gives us. Maybe the fans haven’t seen much of him but tonight he was big and strong, he claimed a few crosses from corners, eased the back four, punched a couple and his distribution was good.

“It will be a real confidence boost for him. He’s come in a new side and hasn’t played as much as he’d like because of injuries but tonight you can see the true value of what he’ll give us.”

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