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Welwyn Garden City

Home of the "Citizens" - Established 1921

FC

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

THE three points gained from a badly wind-affected game at Bedford's McMullen Park could be the most vital WGC have gained in their promotion bid so far.

 

The victory, courtesy of a 16th minute Sean Brettell penalty, was the Citizens' third over their nearest league rivals this season, following on from a 3-1 home in November and their 2-0 success in the SSML Div 1 Cup semi-final on the same ground just 10 days before.

 

But there was little of skill and swagger demonstrated by WGC on that evening in this game, that was made into something of a mockery by a ferocious wind that blew all afternoon and made any constructive play difficult for both sides. The Herns Lane side were also without top scorer Joel Norris, sidelined by a hamstring injury.

 

WGC were also made to wait for their victory, referee Mr Moore playing 10 full minutes of stoppage time, to the dismay and anger of the large WGC travelling support.

 

The victory maintains Adam Fisher's side 13 points lead at the top, with seven league games to go.

 

WGC now require a maximum 12 points from a possible 21 to claim the SSML Div 1 title.

 

It was match-winner Brettell who had the first scoring attempt of the afternoon, cutting in from the right on seven minutes, to send his shot just wide of the far post.

 

Bedford responded by Sheldon Washington crossing low and winger Jamie Cole shooting just wide, before Brettell saw his wind-assisted free-kick also just off the mark.

 

The game's only goal came in 16 minutes as Jason Caswell picked up on the edge of the area and burrowed his way through, to be tugged back by Bedford

 

defender Bradbury. It was an arguable penalty, but Mr Moore was on the spot and awarded the kick that Brettell tucked away coolly beyond keeper Cobbs.

 

Just past the half-hour mark, WGC produced the move of the match, Marc Arnott ending it with an excellent cross that found the head of Caswell, whose rising header beat Cobbs, only to thump against the crossbar and bounce out.

 

Some hard challenges from the WGC side began to rack up the bookings and Sam Perrin, Daryl Smith and Jay Lovell were all in Mr Moore's book by half-time.

 

The conditions hadn't improved after the interval and chances were at a premium.

 

Caswell should have done better when latching onto a misplaced back pass, but skied his effort well wide and also couldn't capitalise on keeper Cobbs' loose pass to one of his defenders, the WGC forward losing possession with the goal gaping.

 

WGC's best second-half move saw Brettell put away down the left and pull over a fine cross that Arnott ran onto, but he struck his shot wide of the target and the visitors' best chance of a clinching second, was gone.

 

Mr Moore prolonged the agony with what seemed a ridiculous amount of over-time, but eventually blew for time on what looked to be a crucial win in the most testing of conditions.

 

WGC: Croft, Perrin, Dekanski, Boodhoo, Lovell, Cato (Kenna 90), Cifuentes, Smith, Brettell (James 84), Caswell, Arnott (M) (Ross 87).

Bedford 0 - 1 Welwyn Garden City FC