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Welwyn Garden City FC

Home of the "Citizens" - Established 1921

The BP Mitchell Stadium, Herns Lane, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL7 1TA

PERHAPS it's the Herts Senior Trophy competition that causes WGC to produce less than impressive performances.


Last season they were taken to extra time by Herts County League Standon & Puckeridge in their opening tie in the competition, before being dumped out of the Trophy by another HCL outfit Bedmond Social, at home, in the second round.


There was more Herts Senior opposition this season, as they played their opening round away at Bushey Sports Club and again Adam Fisher's side gave a lackadaisical display, only clinching a second round tie away at Whitwell, with two minutes to go.


The fact that with just over 15 minutes to go, this tie was still in the balance was, frankly, ridiculous as WGC had scorned enough chances to have been five goals ahead.


The Citizens began well and comfortably. In four minutes they were ahead, when Bushey defender Walsh clambered all over Craig Arnott in jumping for a high ball. Referee Moore spotted the offence and awarded a spot-kick and Arnott, WGC's four goal hero in midweek, slotted in another from the penalty.


Six minutes later, WGC caught the home side napping. Perry Stellon was fouled just outside the area. Took a quick free-kick that caught Bushey SC unawares and Arnott slipped in to slide it past home keeper Kuru.


But after this, the Citizens took their 'foot off the gas' in the remainder of a half that was played in torrential rain and amid a thunderstorm.


Just before the interval, they spurned further chances to build an unassailable lead. Arnott whipped in a low shot that struck the foot of the post and skipper Liam Kenna couldn't turn in a Sam Perrin corner, from almost on the goalline.


Two minute after the restart they were 3-0 up, Arnott, again looking WGC's most potent force, whipped in a powerful shot that Kuru beat away but couldn't hold and Reggie Ross was first to the rebound to turn it home.


But if WGC felt that was the tie wrapped up, they were very mistaken.


Two minutes later, they conceded a free-kick just outside the area and home skipper Chatterpaul made them pay, lofting a well executed effort over the wall and beyond Joe Croft for 3-1.


Ross had two well struck efforts held by the keeper and Arnott went around almost the entire Bushey defence, dummying and feighting his way past at least four players, before firing in what he thought was his hat-trick goal, only to see home defender Ffolkes clear spectacularly off the line.


Joel Norris and Sam James were introduced for Perrin and Juan Cifuentes and Norris was put through immediately, only to finish tamely. In the very next move, Jason Caswell was put in, but slipped his final effort past the post.


Then on 72 minutes, Bushey stunned the Citizens with a second goal. From a left-wing corner, substitute Derby headed in on the back post. Croft appeared to stop it on the line and Bradley Jenner cleared, but referee Moore ruled the ball had crossed the line, on his assistant's flag.


A WGC side that has conceded just one goal in seven unbeaten league games, had now shipped two in this tie


Now the Herts Senior League side believed they could force extra time at least and applied some sustained pressure, Garrett and Marks going close.


WGC continued to create and scorn their chances, Norris being astutely slipped in by Noel Oretega Morales, who been introduced for Arnott, but keeper Kuru pulled off a fine save.


Then two minutes from time, a free-kick found Norris again. He shot instantly, Kuru again saved, but the ball rebounded into the air for Caswell to head in over the fallen keeper and take a relieved WGC into the next round.


WGC: Croft, Perrin (James 67), Kenna, Boodhoo, Jenner, Brettell, Cifuentes (Norris 67), Stellon, Ross, Arnott (Ortega Morales 83), Caswell.

Bushey SC 2 - 4 Welwyn Garden City