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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 reached the final of the Dudley Latham Premier Division Cup in their first season back in the SSML's top flight, with this impressive win over Hadley at Potters Bar on Monday night.


Boss Adam Fisher's decision to rest several of his key players for the league visit to Berkhamsted two days earlier - which resulted in a 2-0 loss - was fully justified, as his side clinched a final place against league leaders Hoddesdon, on April 6.


That final will take place at Biggleswade United's Second Meadow ground and is the first of two possible finals for Fisher's side. They meet near-neighbours Codicote, of Div 1, in the last four of the League Challenge Trophy in a semi to be played at Herns Lane in two weeks' time.


Fisher had central defender John McGrandles available again to skipper the side and restored Ashley Kersey, Danny Payne, Jay Welsh and Dave Parkinson, free of suspension, to his starting line-up from Saturday, but was still without the unwell Daryl Smith and Jason Caswell.


The opening half-hour of this highly contested semi was a very close affair.


Danny Payne, who had his best game in a WGC shirt, had a third minute effort, slipping inside a challenge to shoot just past a post, while Hadley, meeting the Citizens for the first time in over 18 months - the clubs have yet to meet twice in league encounters this season - responded with a low effort from Dombaxe that had the same fate.


Luke Robins showed good skill to make space for himself, but shot straight at home keeper Charlie Mann, before WGC stunned Hadley with a two goals in nine minute burst just before the interval.


They took the lead in 36 minutes, when a Welsh corner was cleared back to the taker. This time he struck a low effort that skidded across the face of the area until reaching central defender Yasin Boodhoo, who stabbed home on the far post.


It was a great fillip for WGC and clearly shocked the home side and Josh Bronti set up well by more good work from Robins, had his shot blocked in front of goal, moments later.


But the Citizens wouldn't be denied and their spell of pressure in the closing minutes of the half was further rewarded with a crucial second in stoppage time. Parkinson won a crucial tackle on half-way and then played a defence-splitting ball through to Kersey, who took it on, rounded keeper Mann and rolled it home for a 2-0 interval lead.


But if the fear was that Hadley would hit back strongly after the break, then a powerful second-half showing from WGC ensured that a revival never happened.


Apart from an early effort from Jno-Baptiste that was straight at keeper Joe Croft, WGC dominated the half.


The impressive Robins struck another good effort straight at Mann, while Bronti produced a run past several Hadley defenders, but couldn't find the finish.


Twenty minutes into the half, WGC clinched their passage to the final with a third. There looked little danger when they were awarded a free-kick way out on the right touchline, but Parkinson hit a fine, looping effort in over keeper Mann. It struck the far post and as the ball bounced along the goalline, Robins dived full length to nod it over.


From that point, victory was a formality and WGC conserved their efforts and energy for a very testing run of six successive home games at Herns Lane now, to conclude their March fixtures.


WGC: Croft, Lovell, Boodhoo, McGrandles, Welsh, Payne, Dimmock (Price 77), Parkinson, Bronti (Tring J 72), Kersey, Robins (Mensah 86).

Hadley 0 - 3 Welwyn Garden City FC