Kempston Rovers manager Tony Joyce vowed to shake things up after his side slumped to a fifth successive defeat in all competitions in a nightmare September.
Welwyn Garden City ran out comfortable winners, despite having to borrow am old away kit after the referee deemed their claret shirts too similar to Rovers’ red and white.
Rovers handed a debut to midfielder Ben Baker who showed flashes of promise for the home faithful.
An early free kick was easily saved by Carl Knox, before Mensah’s effort was deflected wide, but efforts on goal were restricted to long and optimistic pot shots.
The first goalmouth action arrived in the final five minutes of the half when Stead played a quick free-kick across the Rovers goal, but Cleaver couldn’t finish. But not to be denied, Cleaver opened the scoring in stoppage-time, following up to toe-end in after Ironton’s initial shot had been well saved by Knox.
Less than 10 minutes after the break, Ironton found himself unmarked in the area with time to control and smash home an emphatic second.
A string of substitutions and more endeavour failed to create a further spark until the final five minutes.
The referee was forced to calm Close and Izale McLeod after the former almost wrestled the veteran striker to the floor ahead of a corner, but it failed and a minute later both were booked.
The game was wrapped up in stoppage-time as Welwyn broke upfield following some late Kempston pressure.
Knox saved Stead’s two initial efforts, but Carrington followed in to smash home.
Rovers left the field dejected and slipped to 16th having lost all of their games in September.
On Saturday they host Wisbech Town in the FA Trophy.
Rovers: Knox, Goodman, Brennan, Sage, Powell, Massaro, Boland, Shepherd, Stratton, McLeod (c), 11 Baker. Subs: McGrath, Dahie, Beldon. Unused: Wright, Hunt.