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Welwyn Garden City

Home of the "Citizens" - Established 1921

FC

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

THERE's a familiar theme to many of WGC's matches this season.

 

For the fourth time in seven games, Adam Fisher's side gave a storming second-half performance to battle back from a goal down, this time to move into the quarter-finals of the Dudley Latham Premier Cup, with five second-half goals.

 

Three of the four times their second-half recovery has brought the Citizens a victory, on the fourth occasion, they came back from 2-0 down at the interval to earn a 2-2 draw at Leighton Town.

 

Victims this time, Luton side Crawley Green must be heartily sick of meeting WGC in cup competititons.

 

Two seasons ago, the sides met in the SSML Div 1 Cup final, WGC triumphing 2-0. Last season their paths crossed on WGC's way to winning the League Trophy and this time the Citizens completed an emphatic cup hat-trick.

 

Manager Fisher made two changes from the come-back win on Saturday to beat Hoddesdon 2-1, bringing Craig Arnott into the side and dropping Joe Foley back to left-back. Jay Welsh and Luke Robins were dropped to the bench.

 

WGC dominated the opening half of this encounter, James Ewington firing a 10th minute opening over the home bar, while Arnott showed neat skill in slipping two challenges before finishing with a weak effort straight at home keeper Dean Bull.

 

Crawley Green didn't have a serious attack until the 25th minute mark, when Sam Halfpenny's diving header from a Downes cross was just past a post, but WGC didn't heed a warning and two minutes later, the Luton side were ahead from a free-kick. Striker Terry Billy got in front of WGC's central defenders and keeper Jack Metcalfe on the near post to net with a powerful, upward header.

 

The goal was totally against the run of play, but stung the visitors into action, good work by Lewis Endacott and Ewington created the chance for Josh Bronti to flick a good opening harmlessly wide. Moments later Bronti put another chance into keeper Bull's arms.

 

Then a minute from the break, skipper Danny Payne misplaced a back-pass Halfpenny raced through, but keeper Metcalfe kept WGC in the game, tipping the striker's shot into the air before completing a good save.

 

It's almost expected now that WGC would come storming back in the second-half and so it was, as Arnott turned very well in the home area, only to again finish weakly, two minutes after the restart.

 

Full-back Endacott put in a long cross-shot aimed for the head of attacking defender Sam Doolan that Bull tipped away at full stretch for a corner, which brought WGC's equaliser in 56 minutes. From the flag kick, the attack-minded Endacott got up among a pack of players to head powerfully home for 1-1.

 

Three minutes later the WGC following thought their side had a second, when Ewington cleverly slipped his marker from a through ball, but pulled his shot just wide of the post.

 

But the little striker wasn't to be denied for long. On 62 minutes the previously quiet Dave Parkinson produced a peach of a through ball that sent Ewington in, to net with a shot that deflected in off keeper Bull's body.

 

Back came Crawley Green and WGC only preserved their lead thanks, firstly to fine Metcalfe save from a strong Bishop header that the keeper clawed away. Minutes later John McGrandles made a goal-saving goalline clearance to clear a Billy effort off the line, after the striker's shot had beaten Metcalfe.

 

With 13 minutes to go, WGC made the tie safe with a third. Foley pushed further forward, collected a throw-in and from 20 yards struck a typical long-range effort past Bull for 3-1.

 

Seven minutes from time, the WGC contingent were on their feet to welcome Sean Brettell into the fray, in the left-sided midfielder/ full-back's first action in 14 months after his horrendous leg break in four places. The popular WGC player got a standing ovation from the travelling support.

 

WGC added two more in the final five minutes.

 

Ashley Kersey, on as a substitute, was sent clear to roll his effort past Bull for number four and two minutes from time, Foley's through found Kersey again. This time Bull blocked the effort, but the ball bounced up obligingly for

 

Ewington to place his short range header wide of the fallen keeper, for his second of the night and to complete the nap hand.

 

WGC: Metcalfe, Endacott (Welsh 67), McGrandles, Doolan, Foley, Payne (Brettell 83), Fitzgerald, Arnott (Kersey 75), Bronti, Ewington, Parkinson.

Crawley Green 1 - 5 Welwyn Garden City FC