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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

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IT was a disastrous night for WGC, when they played their long awaited Herts Senior Cup tie at home to Southern League Div 1 Central leaders Royston.


Not only were Adam Fisher's side soundly trounced by a slick Crows side on a very tricky, rain-sodden surface, but the Citizens picked up two major injuries that could have long term repercussions.


They lost their goalkeeper Olly Leslie with a groin problem, 10 minutes into the second-half - an injury that seemed to really unsettle the side.


Then, after suffering a three goal in eight minute spell against them, WGC skipper and central defender Martin Standen pulled a thigh muscle, leaving the side to play with 10 men for the final 25 minutes - manager Fisher having used all three substitutes.


The Herns Lane boss had thought this would be a useful test for his side, fifth in the SSML and in the last 64 of the FA Vase, but, in truth, Royston were far too sharp for the Citizens, in a disappointing tie from all points of view.


The opening period was devoid of excitement and any goalmouth incident until just past the half-hour, when Royston winger Chris Watters neatly chipped keeper Leslie for the opening goal.


WGC didn't look equalising, but five minutes from the break Ashley Kersey went in with Royston keeper Haydn Dodge for a through ball. The striker emerged the stronger and with the ball and rolled it into an empty net for 1-1.


But the Citizens couldn't turn around level. In the last attack of the half, Watters netted a second, this time via a deflection, to beat Leslie and restore the Royston lead.


Leslie's injury in 55 minutes seemed to affect WGC badly and their visitors took full advantage to seal a home tie with Hoddesdon in the second round, with a trio of goals inside 10 minutes.


Firstly, Danny May made it 3-1 with the goal of the night, when a right-wing corner was pulled out to him, he struck home an unstoppable 20 yarder in 58 minutes.


Then big striker Simon Thomas got down the right to impressively clip home a fourth in 63 minutes.


Three minutes later, ex-WGC junior Nathan Dimmock drove powerfully home through a crowded area to beat replacement keeper Joe Croft for a 5-1 advantage.


Ironically, the Standen injury, reducing WGC to 10 men for the final 25 minutes, galvanised them and for the remainder of the game, they competed better than at any time in the 90 minutes.


Danny Payne produced a peach of a pass to send Kersey through with the chance of a second in 72 minutes, but this time Dodge made a good save blocking the effort.


Another former WGC youngster Liam Tring, one of identical twins now playing for the Crows, limped off five minutes from time, leaving both sides to finish with 10 men in the closing stages of a very forgettable evening from a WGC viewpoint.


WGC: Leslie (Croft 55), Griffith, Boodhoo, Standen, Brettell (Welsh 69), Payne, Long, Robins, Bronti (Read 62), Kersey, Melford-Rowe.

Welwyn Garden City FC 1 - 5 Royston Town