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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

WGC, 5-1 conquerors of SSML Premier outfit Hadley just a fortnight before in the Herts Charity Shield, found their visitors a different proposition second time around.


Watched by a 100 plus crowd, in this FA Cup extra preliminary round tie - the first time the Citizens have been back in the competition in four seasons - WGC just about rescued their hopes with another strong second-half display.


In the first 45 minutes, they were unrecognisable from the side that crushed Bush Hill Rangers four nights earlier in their first home league win of the new campaign.


It was a very lack-lustre opening display with few chances created and capped by the Citizens gifting their visitors the lead inside four minutes, when central defender Jack Dekanski completely miskicked in front of his own goal, letting in Hadley top scorer Dom Petrucci behind him, to roll in a simple goal.


Sean Brettell, one of the few WGC players to show his true form in the first-half, whipped in a first-time shot just past a post and then another strong Brettell effort finished in the side netting, as he looked the side's liveliest performer.


Some desperate home defence managed to scramble away a Kieran Smith cross-shot from the visitors that threatened to make it 2-0 and then the impressive Smith went down under challenge, as he bore in on goal, but referee Jones waved away any penalty appeals.


WGC chances were at a premium and manager Adam Fisher knew he had to make changes after the break, otherwise his side's cup hopes were over.


The first was enforced as skipper Liam Kenna pulled a groin, to be replaced by Carl Costain in central defence.


WGC had a penalty appeal of their own denied, when Brettell burst onto a neat ball from Juan Cifuentes and went down under a challenge. Again Mr Jones waved away appeals.


It was better from the home side now and again Brettell went close before the Citizens forced the equaliser on the hour mark.


A good passing move saw Perry Stellon set up teenager Reggie Ross with a shooting chance 20 yards out. He struck it powerfully, but Hadley keeper Mann saved, but couldn't hold the effort and in the resulting scramble, it was Jason Caswell who got to the loose ball seconds before defender Milton to force it over the line.


Seven minutes later it looked as if WGC had a second, substitute Costain forcing it over the line from a free-kick, but the effort was ruled out on an assistant's flag for offside.


Joel Norris and Craig Arnott were introduced for Ross and Daryl Smith in the late stages and again Norris made a difference, hammering in a fierce effort that keeper Mann managed to beat away with difficulty, while Caswell slipped around two challenges in a mazy run, only to put his final shot wide.


That proved the game's last real chance and now the sides meet again tonight (Wednesday) at Potters Bar Town in the replay.


WGC: Croft, Perrin, Dekanski, Kenna (Costain 53), Lovell, Ross (Norris 70), Cifuentes, Smith (Arnott 74), Stellon, Brettell, Caswell.

Welwyn Garden City FC 1 - 1 Hadley