WELWYN GC claimed their second away victory of the Southern League Div 1 campaign to go sixth in the table, by edging this thrilling encounter on their first visit to Kempston Rovers.
The Citizens’ last success on the road was just down the road from Kempston, at highly fancied Bedford Town exactly three months before, on September 1.
Defeated hosts Kempston could claim that WGC only had 10 men to play against for the final hour of the game, following home defender Ieuan Riley’s straight red card dismissal by referee Chalmers for what the official described as “an out of control challenge’’ on WGC defender Dave Corran.
The fact Riley had been strongly spoken to for another challenge on WGC’s Nick Elliott moments earlier, didn’t go in the Kempston man’s favour on 23 minutes.
At that point, the Beds hosts were deservedly ahead, having dominated the opening exchanges.
Dan Green, in fine form between the WGC posts, pulled off an excellent save within two minutes of the start, saving with his legs from Kempston’s Ben Acquaye, after ex-Football League striker Izale McLeod, once of Milton Keynes Dons and Barnet, had set up the chance.
Green then had to make another smart double save on 18 minutes, firstly from his own defender Lee Close’s attempted interception, that was
heading for his own goal and then from the rebound attempt, again from Acquaye.
So it came as little surprise when the pressure told on 19 minutes, Kempston defender Alfie Powell getting in front of the WGC defence to meet a corner and give the home side the lead with his firm header.
But with Riley’s dismissal, the game turned. WGC made the man advantage tell inside three minutes.
Newcomer Dave Keenleyside, quiet for the opening quarter, sprang into action being twice involved in a sweeping move, before feeding Stuart Zanone, whose cross-shot from the right deflected off a Kempston defender to beat keeper Wyant into the far corner, for 1-1.
WGC took over the remainder of the half and could have turned around ahead, had a Keenleyside effort not been scrambled off the line at the far post, as the game entered stoppage time.
The new WGC midfielder didn’t have to wait long for his first goal. 11 minutes after the restart, he was on the scoresheet, finishing well from an Elliott defence-splitting pass that prised open the entire Kempston defence, for Keenleyside to tip his effort over keeper Wyant for the lead.
Wyant pulled off an outstanding save from the impressive Elliott, pushing a 20 yard effort destined for the bottom corner, around for a corner with 18 minutes to go.
But as this end-to-end entered its final quarter, 10 man Kempston shocked the Citizens by equalizing with an unstoppable effort from full-back Mason Spence, who joined in an attacking move, to strike a 25 yarder that gave Dan Green no chance as it flew into the top rigging for 2-2.
But the Herns Lane side weren’t going to settle for just a point away from home.
They forced the issue in the closing stages and 10 minutes from time, from a pinpoint Charlie Smith from the right, defender Lee Close came through the Kempston defence to meet it with a bullet header to win a thrilling game.
WGC: Green, Rolfe, Close, Corran, Smith, Payne, Keenleyside (Bond 70), Elliott, Spaul (May 85), Zanone (Kersey 83), Clements.