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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 produced their most perfect 30 minutes of football of the season so far, in the opening period of this SSML Div 1 Cup second round tie, but had nothing to show for it.

 

Adam Fisher's totally dominated the early stages of this game, but a combination of ill luck and the agility of Risborough keeper Steve Clark ensured that this tie was goalless until two minutes from the break.

 

The return of Craig Arnott's creativity and the cutting edge of Jason Caswell ensured that the hesistant, rather lack-lustre display against the same opponents at the same venue in the league - which saw WGC drop their first league points of the campaign four days earlier - was totally forgotten.

 

From the moment that Perry Stellon hit an accurate effort straight at Clark in the opening two minutes, WGC set the tone for the half.

 

They created countless chances, the best of which saw skipper Liam Kenna meet a free-kick on the by-line from new boy Aaron Cato to head past keeper Clark but against a post. There ensued an amazing goalmouth scramble on the goalline, until Risborough captain Andy Hird hacked it clear.

 

That was on 14 minutes. Six minutes later, Sam Perrin pulled a corner out to Caswell standing 20 yards out and he hit a fearsome effort that also beat Clark to leave the crossbar vibrating violently for several minutes afterwards.

 

Then Caswell turned provider, playing Cato clean through. He stabbed his effort goalwards, but Risborough defender Phillips got back to clear off the line.

 

On the half-hour , a sweeping WGC move saw Perrin's cross laid off by Caswell into the path of Stellon, who from 25 yards arrowed a glorious shot towards the top corner. Clark pulled off the best stop seen at Herns Lane this season, arching his back to pull off a breathtaking tip-over save.

 

And so it went on. Risborough were camped in their own half for lengthy spells, as they were the previous Saturday, but this time were under constant pressure.

 

Clark pulled off another save to foil Caswell, when he shot on the turn from a Sam James assist, until two minutes from the interval, when the resistance was broken.

 

Kenna played a ball out from the back to Caswell in midfield. He set off on a run and Clark made probably his worst decision of the evening, opting to race from goal to stop the WGC top scorer. Caswell waltzed around him and laid a more than deserved opening goal into an unguarded net.

 

The second-half didn't quite have the same flow to it, but WGC kept pressing and Arnott struck a fierce effort past a post.

 

Risborough hadn't had a serious effort on the WGC goal until the 66th minute, when the home defence tried to play offside to catch out striker Laurence Clarke. The plan didn't work and the Risborough man got free, but a largely inactive Joe Croft pulled off a fine block with his body, to prevent the Bucks side being undeservedly on terms.

 

Boss Fisher rang the changes bringing on Reggie Ross and more tellingly Joel Norris or the final 20 minutes.

 

The powerful Norris made his presence felt within four minutes, sealing the tie when he latched onto a fine Jay Lovell ball down the left flank. Norris shook off two challengers before powering on to place his shot past Clark in 76 minutes.

 

He wasn't finished. Four minutes later he made it three, finishing off a right-wing cross even though he was falling under challenge, by stabbing it into the far corner.

 

There was still time for Ross to fire a Daryl Smith cross past a post and third substitute Marc Arnott forcing visiting skipper Hird to clear against his own crossbar in attempt to clear yet another of the string of dangerous WGC crosses.

 

WGC now travel to Bush Hill Rangers in the quarter-finals of this competition, in a tie that won't be played until early February.

 

WGC: Croft, Perrin, Kenna, Dekanski, Lovell, James (Ross 68), Smith, Stellon, Cato (Arnott M 81), Arnott C (Norris 72), Caswell.

Welwyn Garden City FC 3 - 0 Risborough Rangers

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