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Welwyn Garden City

Home of the "Citizens" - Established 1921

FC

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

JACK Dekanski, whose error cost the Citizens a goal in their first FA Cup meeting with Hadley four days before, more than redeemed himself with a first-half double in the replay at Potters Bar on Wednesday, that took WGC into the preliminary round of the FA Cup.

 

Now they travel to meet Saffron Walden of the Eastern Counties League Div 1 in the next round this Saturday.

 

Dekanski, a centre-half brought in by Adam Fisher in the summer, having played in Leyton Orient's academy and more recently with Calor League Cambridge City, was an unlikely scorer, but there was nothing unlikely about his first goal in 16 minutes - an absolute, bullet header from Sean Brettell's pinpoint corner that gave Hadley keeper Tom Le Tissier not a chance.

 

WGC settled into this replay the better and had early chances that Jason Caswell and Daryl Smith put over the bar.

 

Dekanski's initial effort gave them a deserved lead and Caswell almost made it two from 25 yards, but the shot just cleared the bar.

 

Hadley missed a chance to level when Dom Petrucci, who had already scored twice against the Citizens in the previous two meetings, shot a good opportunity wide before Dekanski struck again on 29 minutes.

 

This time it was from a free-kick, as the central defender got in front of the home defence to knock in his second with his knee!

 

WGC could have had the game sealed by the interval after an astonishing close to the half in which they hit the Hadley woodwork three times in two minutes.

 

Firstly, Joel Norris cut in from the right and beat Le Tissier with a sweet, low shot that came back off the foot of the post.

 

Then in the next move, Norris turned provider, getting down the Hadley left and putting in a fine cross that reached Bradley Jenner at the back post. Jenner's first effort also hit a post and when the rebound bounced back up to him, he headed it against the Hadley crossbar before Le Tissier gratefully fell on the loose ball.

 

Le Tissier was immediately in action at the start of the second-half, beating away another strong Norris effort that saw Caswell put the rebound over.

 

But it was Norris' last action as he was replaced by Craig Arnott on the hour and with his departure, the Citizens certainly lost impetus upfront.

 

Hadley came more into it and WGC were grateful to a fine save from Joe Croft when home substitute Pigden put Keiron Smith in the clear and Croft saved his goalbound effort in fine style with his legs.

 

But with 20 minutes remaining Hadley reduced the leeway, full-back Dan McAteer driving a real ' daisycutter' that barely got off the ground, past Croft from fully 20 yards, to bring the SSML Premier outfit back into the tie.

 

Croft topped his previous save with an even better tip-over save from Petrucci, after the Hadley top scorer had escaped Dekanski at a corner.

 

WGC could have sealed it when Brettell and Caswell exchanged passes to see Caswell through, but again he pulled his effort wide of the post.

 

Hadley attacked relentlessly in the closing stages in what seemed a very long second-half to large contingent of WGC supporters who swelled the gate to over 100, but the Citizens held firm for a very hard fought victory.

 

WGC: Croft, Perrin, Dekanski, Kenna (Costain 75), Lovell, Jenner, Smith (Boodhoo 71), Stellon, Brettell, Norris (Arnott 60), Caswell.

Hadley 1 -2 Welwyn Garden City