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Welwyn Garden City

Home of the "Citizens" - Established 1921

FC

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

THE Citizens took their revenge for their worst performance so far this season, to reach the last 64 of this season's FA Vase.

 

A month earlier, Adam Fisher's side were completely outplayed by their Hemel Hempstead-based SSML rivals 3-0 in a shock league defeat.

 

But this time it was a different WGC, as they dominated nearly all of this second round proper tie, to deservedly take their place in the third round for the second time in three seasons.

 

True, the home side's cause wasn't helped by the absence of their star player Curtis Donaldson, architect of WGC's previous loss, in which he scored twice and made the third goal, serving a suspension, but there were signs from the early minutes, that this was going to be an altogether better display from the side in claret and blue, than four weeks earlier.

 

Manager Fisher welcomed back keeper Olly Leslie, defenders John McGrandles and Jay Welsh and Ben Long, in midfield, into the side that surprisingly lost their League Trophy tie at Unite MK on penalties, three days earlier.

 

WGC forced the pace from the off, home skipper Shane Wood being forced to clear behind his own goal twice in the opening exchanges, from Ashley Kersey and Josh Bronti.

 

Home keeper Liam Jahn, who was far the busier keeper all afternoon, turned around another Bronti effort in the 18th minute, as the WGC winger showed he easily had the beating of labouring Leverstock full-back Fraser.

 

The situation was repeated just three minutes later, when Bronti left Fraser trailing but he hammered his effort over as he closed in on goal.

 

The home side hadn't had an attack worthy of the name for the opening half-hour, but burst forward for winger Ross Adams to cross in from the right and Jon Lacey struck a post with his effort in 33 minutes.

 

Moments later, WGC were awarded a free-kick that Jack Read arrowed for the top corner, only for Jahn to pull off an outstanding save, tipping it away one-handed, for a fruitless corner.

 

WGC continued to exploit their advantage down the right and it paid dividends in 37 minutes, when a fine reverse ball from the outstanding Kersey put Bronti away and this time he tucked a low shot past Jahn into the far corner, to the delight of the travelling WGC contingent.

 

Danny Payne almost made it two just before the break, picking up a loose ball 20 yards out to send a dipping effort inches over the home bar.

 

Skipper Martin Standen picked up a yellow card in the early minutes of the second-half, for pulling back home forward Bowers, with the home support clamouring for sterner punishment from referee Bodell, claiming the Leverstock man was clean through.

 

Ten minutes after the restart, WGC had a second - goal of rare simplicity - but beautifully taken.

 

It was a very much a route one effort as keeper Leslie lofted forward a long goal-kick. Kersey towered above home defender Kendall Allen to win a fine header and striker partner Read took it in stride to crash past Jahn for 2-0.

 

Leverstock responded with Lacey striking a 30 yarder past a post, but it was the visitors who came closer to another goal on 67 minutes, when Kersey rose well to meet a Bronti left-wing corner and home captain Wood hacked the effort off the line!

 

With 20 minutes left, the Hemel side got a lifeline, skipper Wood lofting a high through ball forward to set Karl Thomas free and he neatly lobbed the tall Leslie, for the ball to drop in behind the keeper, for 2-1.

 

Both managers rang the changes, with Adam Fisher introducing Sean Brettell and latterly, Danny Fitzgerald.

 

Brettell announced his arrival with two excellent passes down the left to set Kersey free both times.

 

The first produced a shot that keeper Jahn was able to block, the second saw the big striker take aim at an unguarded net, having got around full-back Biggerdike, only for substitute Howells to make a second goalline clearance for the home side.

 

WGC closed the game with Bronti hitting the outside of the post in the six minutes of stoppage time played by referee Bodell.

 

WGC: Leslie, Griffith, McGrandles, Standen, Welsh, Payne, Long, Bronti, Kersey, Read (Brettell 76), Robins (Fitzgerald 85).

Leverstock Green 1 - 2 Welwyn Garden City FC 

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