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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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THIS was a disastrous afternoon for Welwyn GC.


Not only did they lose their third game in five, to a Southall winner seven minutes into stoppage time, but they also look like they have lost Daryl Smith, their combative midfield warrior, for the upcoming SSML Div 1 Cup final in two weeks time.


Smith became the second player of the afternoon to be given his marching orders for a second yellow card, when he pulled back Southall player Edison Teberen on the stroke of 90 minutes.


He had been booked eight minutes earlier and as this was his third dismissal of the campaign, is now likely to be suspended when WGC take on Crawley Green at Langford, on April 28.


Referee Lauszkin played a dozen minutes of over-time largely because of Southall's delaying tactics throughout the game. The West Londoners were constantly "play acting'', feigning injury to stop the flow of the game and the official duly took note.


During this lengthy stoppage time spell and with WGC pressing for a winner they just about deserved, the Herns Lane defence were caught forward, Southall substitute Leon Parades ran clear with only WGC full-back Sam Perrin for company, he cut inside the full-back and then sank WGC hearts with a fine looping effort over Joe Croft into the far corner, to win the game.


Yet the afternoon had begun so brightly, Adam Fisher's team being presented with their third Team of the Month award by the Spartan South Midlands League, as the outstanding team for February, when they had won five out of six games and scored 23 goals and conceded just three.


Although they still lead the SSML Div 1 by seven points - rivals Bedford and Broxbourne both winning on Saturday - the more telling statistic is the April form table in which they are currently in 15th place!!


This was their third defeat in the last five games and with four games to go, they still need a win for promotion and two victories for the title and it has become a really hard slog.


They began this game quite brightly, but were shocked in Southall's first real attack in 13 minutes, when a high, bouncing ball eluded two defenders. Liam Kenna's misguided header saw keeper Joe Croft come to collect and fail and Teberen made him pay with an accurate lob into an empty net.


WGC took some time to shake off the shock of falling behind, but on 21 minutes, Joel Norris had a shot cleared off the line after Kenna had headed a corner back to him.


Jason Caswell went closer with a low effort through a crowded area that came back off the post and Sean Brettell was inches wide with a well struck free-kick.


Five minutes from the break, WGC were level. A short free-kick from Brettell found Norris in the area, he slipped a couple of defenders and drove low past Southall keeper Dominic Cassells into the corner.


The same routine almost put WGC in front early in the second-half, when another Brettell kick put Norris through, but Cassells clawed it away in fine style.


Southall were reduced to 10 men, when midfielder Jack Ward was dismissed for a second yellow and it looked as if WGC would surely take the points.


But Cassells denied them with a fingertip save from a Norris shot and when he beat away a powerful Brettell free-kick at full length.


The game looked to be petering out to a draw, until Southall's late, late winner on the break, that enabled the West Londoners to also celebrate being the first side to do the double over WGC this season, following their 3-2 home victory over Adam Fisher's side at the start of last month.


WGC: Croft, Perrin, Kenna, Boodhoo, Brettell, Ross (Cato 68), James, Smith, Arnott (C) (Bush 83), Caswell (Arnott M 83), Norris.

Welwyn Garden City FC 1 - 2 Southall