WELWYN GC ended this game celebrating wildly, as they were presented with the SML Premier trophy and their medals, looking forward to the club’s first step into senior non-league football in their 93 year history.
It was only WGC’s second senior SML Premier crown in 45 years, as the Citizens repeated their feat of 1972-73 by winning the title. But this time there’s the extra lure of promotion and the Herns Lane side should know by mid-May whether they are to be a Bostik (Isthmian)
League or Evostik Southern League side next season.
But if their title triumph was celebrated long into the night, then there was little to be celebrated in this performance against a slick Biggleswade FC, that have now beaten Adam Fisher’s side three times in four meetings this season.
Since clinching the title three weeks ago, WGC’s form has been dreadful. They have lost four of their last six games - including a cup final – and seemed to have lost their competitive edge.
The first chance of this game fell to WGC and midfielder Nick Elliott, who had been cup-tied for the midweek Premier Division Cup final. He got his final effort all wrong and miscued it high over the bar.
George Ironton, arguably WGC’s best performer on the day, got over a fine cross from the right in six minutes, but Ben Spaul sandwiched between two defenders couldn’t meet it with an accurate header.
Then on the 12th minute mark, Biggleswade shook WGC and the 160 plus crowd by taking the lead. Connor Inskip threaded the ball down the right to Justin Leavers, who got the benefit of a marginal offside decision to run clear and slot past an unprotected Charlie May for 1-0.
More good work by Ironton produced WGC’s best reply, as he skipped a couple of tackles and chipped an effort over Biggleswade keeper Green and just over the bar in 25 minutes.
But generally it was poor fayre for the large crowd. Skipper Danny Payne hit an on-target effort straight at keeper Green, but then almost handed Biggleswade a second with a misplaced pass, Leavers ran clear, but was denied a personal second by a sharp May save with his legs.
WGC began the second-half in brighter fashion, Elliott and Spaul combining to set up a shooting chance for Tyler Hatherly, but he hit his rising effort over.
Just when it looked as though the Clarets might be finding some of their better form, they conceded a 57th minute penalty, John McGrandles going into a sliding challenge on Leavers that referee Sedley adjudged a foul. Alex Marsh doubled the Biggleswade lead with a cheekily-chipped penalty over May.
Yasin Boodhoo and Dan Bond were quickly introduced and McGrandles pushed forward to make amends with a fine 66th minute goal, reaching a Jay Rolfe cross, with a carefully glided header over the giant Green to bring WGC back into the game at 1-2.
But the young Waders soon disabused any notion of a further comeback with a third 10 minutes later, their central defender Darren Woodend being left unmarked from a corner to beat May with a powerful, downward header for 1-3.
And that was effectively that. The Citizens showed little sign of further closing the deficit before the end and the final 15 minutes were played out without incident.
Then the festivities began, celebrating WGC’s eight months of almost total domination of the SSML Premier, rather than the last month – a period of poor form and frustration.
WGC: May, Rolfe, Corran (Bond 65), McGrandles, Sexton (Boodhoo 65), Elliott, Spaul, Payne, Hatherly, Ironton (Joy 82), Clements.