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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

AN 89th minute winner well struck by central defender John McGrandles won this local derby at a freezing Colney Heath on Saturday, to get the Citizens back to winning ways in the Spartan South Midlands Premier.


Despite a run of recent cup successes, WGC had won just one of their last five league games, which had seen slip to seventh in the table. This last minute victory in their first meeting with Colney Heath in seven seasons, lifted them one place in the table.


And there was plenty of spice in the clash as no fewer than eight of the WGC squad on duty here, had worn the colours of the Citizens' village neighbours in recent seasons.


It was one of that eight, Josh Bronti, who had the side's first chance in a rather slow opening to the game on a bitterly cold afternoon, in which the wind and Colney Heath's sloping pitch, made it a difficult first-half for WGC.


Jay Lovell made a strong, overlapping run and pulled his cross back for Bronti, but he struck his effort past the far post.


Colney Heath retaliated and forward Jack Longworth worked an opening for himself, but struck his effort over WGC keeper Jamie Jackson's crossbar.


Danny Payne, back in WGC's midfield after a long absence with a hamstring injury, was adding guile and he, Joe Price and skipper Daryl Smith, seemed a good combination for the visitors in that area.


Unfortunately Payne picked up a booking in a fine display, when he fell in a challenge and deliberately handled while grounded.


The marauding Lovell again got forward and forced home keeper Leslie to his first save with a low driven effort from 20 yards, but Colney Heath then enjoyed a good spell and Carl Osbourne played home dangerman Tobi Omotosho through and Jackson had to make a brave block at the forward's feet.


Jackson did even better moments later, turning a close range effort from Colney 's Steve Burford onto the post and diving on the rebound on the goalline.


WGC closed the half with their most glaring miss of the period. Levin Gunn and Jason Caswell worked the ball well between them, Gunn playing Caswell clean through, but with the goal at his mercy, the Citizens' striker skied his effort over.


If the first-half had been a closely fought affair, the second 45 minutes was anything but.


With wind and slope advantage, WGC attacked relentlessly, beginning with a well struck dipping volley from Payne that keeper Leslie just about held onto.


Dave Parkinson, now free of suspension, replaced Gunn with an hour gone and within minutes, worked his way around two home defenders, but with a clear sight of goal, also blazed his effort well over.


Ashley Kersey became WGC's second substitute with 15 minutes to go and also made an immediate impact, bursting through the home defence to pull it back for Parkinson, who again crashed another good opportunity over the bar.


Colney Heath had one dangerous attack in the half and WGC had something of an escape, when Omotosho hooked the final effort wide, but in the closing quarter it was a constant story of the visitors pressing.


Manager Adam Fisher pushed McGrandles upfront to aid his misfiring front-line and five minutes from time, Jay Welsh overlapped to good effect and found McGrandles, who struck an effort well, but too close to Leslie, the keeper parrying the effort and saving on the line.


That looked to have been WGC's last chance until they repeated the move with a minute to go, this time, from farther out, McGrandles pulled it down and struck it powerfully in one movement, beyond Leslie and into the far corner, to win the day and the points!


WGC: Jackson, Lovell, Mensah, McGrandles, Welsh, Price, Payne (Ross 80), Smith, Bronti, Caswell (Kersey 75), Gunn (Parkinson 65).














Colney Heath 0 - 1 Welwyn Garden City FC