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Welwyn Garden City

Home of the "Citizens" - Established 1921

FC

Herns Way, Panshanger, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL7 1TA

WELWYN GC were just seconds away from their sixth SSML Premier victory of the season, when Cockfosters struck a 92nd minute equaliser.

 

The Citizens and the north Londoners, meeting for the second time in a fortnight in a league clash, fought out another top-of-the-table battle, which WGC looked to have won for the second time in as many weeks, before the visitors grabbed their last gasp leveller.

 

WGC thought that they have survived a major scare to take maximum points, when Cockfosters missed a penalty two minutes from the end of normal time. Substitute Ramone Cassidy-Sinclair appeared to run into WGC's Sam Doolan. Referee Mr Swanton clearly thought otherwise, awarding the spot-kick and booking Doolan.

 

But Cockfosters' top scorer Ioannis Varouxakis fired his penalty yards wide, WGC keeper Olly Leslie not even having to dive.

 

It looked like the reprieve that WGC's strong second-half showing deserved. But deep into stoppage time, visiting substitute Williams escaped Yasin Boodhoo and pulled his cross to the back post, where Jerry Maja fired in, despite looking possibly offside.

 

WGC were clearly second best in a disappointing opening half, in which Cockfosters deserved the 30th minute lead, Varouxakis had given them.

 

Melford-Rowe, a player WGC have an interest in, switched play to the right flank where Ben Hart's short pass found his skipper Ben Spaul, who shot past Leslie. The ball looked to be going in, but Varouxakis chased it over the line to make sure.

 

It was an untypically lack-lustre opening half-hour from the Citizens that only improved when Luke Robins hit a fierce, dipping effort that visiting keeper Byfield tipped over. From the resulting corner, Boodhoo just couldn't manage to turn the ball in on the far post for the opening goal.

 

WGC were much better from the start of the second-half., no doubt after a roasting from manager Adam Fisher.

 

Within three minutes of the restart, they were level. Awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box, new striker Lee Armitt took responsibility for it and lifted a fine effort over the wall and into the corner of the net for 1-1.

 

An understrength WGC side, lacking suspended duo Endacott and McGrandles and Standen also unavailable, in defence, pepped up considerably and particularly when Jack Read was introduced with 20 minutes remaining.

 

Read's first contribution was a fine through ball for Armitt, but the striker took a poor touch and a golden chance ran away from him.

 

WGC stayed on the offensive and more good work by Read set up a shooting chance for skipper Danny Payne, but Cockfosters' keeper Byfield turned it away in flying style.

 

From the resulting corner, the impressive Boodhoo got up among a pack of players to plant an unstoppable bullet of a header past the keeper from short range, for a 2-1 WGC lead.

 

Unfortunately, Adam Fisher's side couldn't hold onto that advantage until the final whistle, but despite Cockfosters' late equaliser, WGC have still taken four points out of six off a side considered one of their major title rivals, in the past fortnight.

 

WGC: Leslie, Fitzgerald, Boodhoo, Doolan, Welsh, Payne, Long, Foley (Read 67), Bronti, Armitt (Steadman 90), Robins.

Welwyn Garden City FC 2 - 2 Cockfosters

Photos courtesy of Dave Fallon

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