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Welwyn Garden City

Home of the "Citizens" - Established 1921

FC

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

WELWYN GC's latest recruit forward, Manny Melford-Rowe, came off the bench to head the winner in one of the most entertaining 90 minutes seen at Herns Lane this season.

 

The Citizens' meeting with a deceptively lowly Hadley provided a real cut-and-thrust encounter between two sides determined to play open football, but thanks to their substitute, it was WGC who just finished ahead in one of their best games of the campaign so far.

 

Their Arkley-based opponents carried the SSML flag to the fourth qualifying round of this season's FA Cup - the farthest of any team in the league - but since, their league form has been very inconsistent.

 

Hadley have slipped to sixth bottom of the table, but still remain one of the most talented and potent sides in the division.

 

It was a much needed win for Adam Fisher's side after the Herts Senior Cup mauling by Royston on Wednesday evening.

 

There were 20 minutes left when WGC got their winner, with the sides locked at 1-1.

 

Josh Bronti made a strong run down the right and put over a very deep cross. Melford-Rowe, recently signed from Cockfosters, was left unattended on the back post and headed back over keeper Charlie Mann and into the opposite corner for his first goal for the club.

 

From that point, WGC did a good job at taking the sting out of the game to bank another three points that keep them fifth in the table.

 

The game was always lively from the kick-off. Within two minutes, striker Ashley Kersey robbed Hadley defender Mike Elliott. He chose to find strike partner Jack Read, rather than take it on himself but Read's shot was charged down.

 

Hadley always looked dangerous with the speedy Ivan Machado upfront and it took one fine John McGrandles challenge to stop Hadley's leading scorer, before Machado drove another good opening across goal, made by clever combination between Lukalay and Sanchez.

 

Back came WGC and Bronti created a 26th minute opening for Kersey with a run and cross, but keeper Mann got down well to save.

 

On the half-hour came the prelude to WGC's opening goal. Good work by Taishan Griffith and Kersey paved the way for Luke Robins to rise and plant a good header that was straight at keeper Mann.

 

Six minutes later, Griffith's play found Read on the by-line. He pulled over an excellent cross and this time Robins powered in an unstoppable header from close range, to give the home side the lead.

 

Hadley responded immediately and when Griffith dallied over a clearance, Hadley's Zaine Gangadeen robbed him and slipped through, only to finish with a shot over the top.

 

Four minutes after the break, the visitors were on terms, They built up slickly down the left before pulling the ball back for Lukalay to hit a rising shot over keeper Jack Metcalfe that thumped the bar. As it bounced down, Machado was on the spot to bundle home for 1-1.

 

Metcalfe was back between the posts for WGC for the first time in a couple of months, replacing the injured Olly Leslie, who is expected to miss half-a-dozen games with a groin injury.

 

The returned keeper was called on to make a brave save at Lukaly's feet on the hour, as Hadley threatened to take the lead, the midfielder latching onto Harry Sedgley's defence-splitting through ball.

 

Back came WGC and Sean Brettell, playing his first full game of the season since last season's horrenduous leg break, showed great skill cutting through the Hadley defence only to see Mann push away his strongly struck final shot.

 

Moments later WGC had a free-kick that Brettell's sweet left foot struck just past a post.

 

Then came Melford-Rowe's winner, six minutes after being introduced for Read and once back in front, WGC did well to hang on for three very hard won points.

 

WGC: Metcalfe, Griffith, Boodhoo, McGrandles, Brettell, Payne, Long, Robins (Fitzgerald 75), Bronti, Kersey, Read (Melford-Rowe 65).

Welwyn Garden City FC 2 - 1 Hadley

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