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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

A DAVE Parkinson goal as extra time in this FA Vase first qualifying round tie entered stoppage time, took WGC into the next round, where they will meet Waltham Forest of the Essex Senior League away, on Saturday, October 3.


WGC officials were already making plans for a replay in Haverhill, when Parkinson, who had come on as a substitute, jinked inside a couple of challenges to drive a deflected shot past the visitors' defiant keeper Charlie Turner into the bottom corner in 119 minutes of the tie.


Certainly the Citizens believed it wasn't going to be their day, when a minute before, tall central defender Carl Mensah hit the far post with a header from Reggie Ross' late corner.


And for the second FA competition tie in succession, WGC finished with 10 men! This time Craig Arnott got a red card from referee Duffy for an "over-the-top challenge from behind'' on Haverhill substitute Gareth Thomas, just before half-time in extra time.


Unlike last week against Waltham Abbey in the FA Cup, WGC had to play just 17, not 70 minutes, with depleted ranks.


Haverhill, of the Eastern Counties League Div 1, who had visited Herns Lane just three weeks before and been beaten 3-1 in an FA Cup extra preliminary round tie, had learned from the experience and were much more resilient this time.


A somewhat forgettable first-half, watched by a crowd of just over 100, had been brightened by some slick Haverhill approach work, but not much else.


Josh Bronti blazed one WGC opening wildly over and Mensah had headed powerfully wide in the half's closing seconds, but it was the visitors who created the better chances, Ryan Swallow heading over after a slick six man move and the same player testing WGC keeper Joe Croft with a low drive.


Adam Fisher's side pepped up in the second-half, no doubt with a stern interval talking-to ringing in their ears, Arnott landed a good header from a Jay


Welsh cross on the roof of the net and Bronti hit a much better effort just wide in the half's early minutes.


But Haverhill spurned a chance on the hour, when keeper Croft failed to claim a right wing cross, Swallow fired through a crowded area, but fortunately for the home team straight into the recovered keeper's midriff.


Boss Fisher gave Danny Payne a first run-out for a month after a hamstring injury, but the move back fired 20 minutes later, when the midfielder suffered a recurrence of the injury and had to be substituted himself.


WGC had the majority of the play, but couldn't create much that was clear-cut and Swallow brought a second save from Croft low down, close to the end of the 90 minutes.


Haverhill keeper Turner made the save of the match, when Arnott put over a fine cross and Jason Caswell met with it with a good header, exactly on 100 minutes. Turner acrobatically tipped the first effort away and was then back in position to save Caswell's rebound attempt.


Shortly after Arnott had been dismissed, Haverhill had their best opening of the game in 107 minutes, substitute Kieran O'Neill was put through by Ben Bradley, but Croft kept WGC on terms with a fine save with his legs.


That effort was match by another spectacular Turner save, when eventual match hero Parkinson sent Bronti through, but the Haverhill keeper turned the winger's effort around in fine style.


The stalemate looked unbreakable until the last seconds of the tie, when Parkinson finally struck to take WGC over what had proved a much more difficult hurdle second time around.


WGC: Croft, Perrin, Mensah, McGrandles, Welsh, Cifuentes, Dimmock (Payne 62, Ross 78), Arnott, Bronti, Kersey (Parkinson 68), Caswell.

Welwyn Garden City FC 1 - 0 Haverhill Borough