A DRAMATIC final couple of minutes saw WGC ‘steal’ the points from this re-arranged Southern League Div 1 Central fixture, preserve the Citizens’ unbeaten home record and propel them to third place in the table.
The final scoreline masks a poor performance from Adam Fisher’s side, that lacked all the verve and drive they had shown in their previous two outings – fine away wins at Bedford Town and Kings Langley, in the Southern League Cup.
In fact, a first reversal at the BP Mitchell Stadium was staring the Clarets in the face, when referee Jack Oxenham awarded them a ‘soft’ penalty in 88 minutes.
Nick Elliott, easily WGC’s man of the match on a day when there weren’t many contenders, powerfully burst past two challenges and was blocked off as he entered the penalty box.
Mr Oxenham awarded the kick amid Yaxley protests and new Citizens’ signing Kaan Fehmi, recruited from Hayes & Yeading, netted a debut goal with a slick spot-kick, sending visitors’ keeper Olly Sutton the wrong way.
That made it 2-2. Less than two minutes later, Jay Lovell collected a clearance wide on the right, created space for the overlapping Adam Hunt, who delivered a fine cross that saw marauding skipper Danny Payne meet with a distance, looping header over a stranded Sutton to win the game, in the last attack of the 90 minutes.
It was Payne’s second of the match and his second header. The midfield general had popped up in the final minute of the first-half to get on the
end of another trademark Hunt cross to head WGC level at the end of a very forgettable first 45 minutes.
Yaxley, who unlike WGC, had lost three of their opening four Southern League fixtures, surprised Fisher’s side by taking a third minute lead, skipper and cemtre-half Ross Watson heading a Matt Sparrow centre past Dan Green, who got hands to it, but couldn’t keep it out.
For really the first time this season, the Citizens struggled for a response.
A low cross-shot from Ben Spaul, that Sutton safely held onto, was WGC’s best and despite the best efforts of Elliott, the Herns Lane side couldn’t get anything going offensively.
So it was a major surprise when they got on terms with just about their first cohesive move of the game, in the very last attack of a poor half.
They began the second-half in brighter fashion, Spaul’s break down the right saw the final cross just elude Elliott at full stretch in the opening minutes.
Josh Bronti, battled his way through to set up another chance for Elliott, but the final shot was blocked and WGC were rocked on their heels when Yaxley re-took the lead just past the hour, the dangerous Sparrow getting around the home defence to find Tom Waumsley, who beat Green with a powerful close-in header for 2-1.
There was the game’s most controversial moment eight minutes from the end, when Mr Oxenham whistled for a ball he thought was going out of play.
Spaul just retrieved it and crossed and following a scramble in the Yaxley goalmouth, another WGC newcomer Sam Oyeniran - signed from Barton last week – netted, only for the official to take play back.
Moments later, Jay Lovell kept WGC in the game, with an outstanding goalline clearance after keeper Green had been beaten by another Waumsley effort, Sparrow again creating the Yaxley danger.
Had they been 3-1 down at that stage, any thoughts of the game’s dramatic finish would surely have been ended.
WGC: Green, Hunt, Lovell, Close, Rolfe, Spaul, Payne, Elliott, O’Connor (Fehmi 61), Bond (Williams 78), Bronti (Oyeniran 69).