WELWYN GC tried to fill the void that has left them 10 days without a first-team fixture, by playing five players with regular senior team experience in their U-25 side, before their FA Vase tie at Abingdon this weekend.
Unfortunately for the Herns Lane management, their experiment failed in the light of a spirited performance from opponents Risborough Rangers, who hit back four times in this eight goal game, including from being 2-0 in the opening 10 minutes.
WGC had Dave Corran, Charlie Joy, Sean Brettell, Ashley Kersey and Brandon Carney in their starting line-up and it looked as if that strength would be too much for Risborough in the opening stages.
The Citizens were ahead in five minutes, central defender Harry Budge heading down and in past Risborough keeper Gibbs, from a left-wing corner.
They doubled their lead in nine minutes, Charlie Rome, one of the few WGC successes on the day, split the visitors defence with a fine through ball to Charlie Joy and the winger fired past Gibbs into the bottom corner for 2-0.
But midway through the half, Risborough reduced arrears, their skipper Hurley being left completely unmarked from a right-wing corner to head solidly past Olly Leslie, in the home goal.
On 26 minutes, the Bucks visitors were level. The lively Bradshaw attacked WGC down the right and crossed low for winger Deakins to ram in the equaliser.
Three minutes later, WGC restored their lead from the penalty spot, when a Joy cross from the left was handled by defender Toms and referee Mr Hey had no hesitation pointing to the spot. Charlie Rome supplied an emphatic spot-kick.
The home side almost made it four in the early minutes of the second-half when a Joy cross from the left was met by Kersey’s header that bounced off the crossbar and over.
Back came Risborough and when awarded a free-kick in a central position 30 yards out, Hurley slipped an instant free-kick through to the dangerous Bradshaw, who went around keeper Leslie and fired goalward. Defender Budge made a desperate effort to get it off the line, but referee Hey awarded a third leveller.
The Herns Lane side continued to squader numerous chances and had some uncertain moments at the other end, Leslie pulling off one fine save from Deakins’ swerving 25 yard effort.
But it looked like WGC had claimed the points when five minutes from time. Kersey’s close-in effort was blocked and the rebound came out to a composed Rome, who cleverly chipped his effort over a crowded area into the roof of the net, for his second of the match.
But Risborough had other ideas and in the final attack of the game, a cross from the right found Bradshaw racing through the middle and he earned his side a point with also his second of the game, a smart finish over Leslie.
WGC U-25: Leslie, Rose (Ross 46), Budge, Corran, Caliskan, Rome, Brettell, Grey (Isherwood 70), Joy (Richardson 78), Kersey, Carney (Mahrouche 86).