FOR the second match in succession, WGC won in sensational late style, with goals very late in the game.
As with their SSML Premier Cup quarter-final win over Crawley Green in midweek, when they won 4-3 with two stoppage time goals, so again the Citizens’ relentless pressure and undoubted spirit saw them score twice very late on, to take the points at near neighbours Colney Heath.
Having trailed the village side for almost 80 minutes to a 10th minute opener from one-time WGC striker Lee Armitt, Adam Fisher’s side couldn’t get back on parity until two minutes from the end of normal time.
He made a double substitution that did the trick, bringing on big striker Ashley Kersey with 15 minutes remaining and midfielder Sean Brettell six minutes later.
It was this pair who combined in 88 minutes to draw WGC level. Full-back Dave Corran put Brettell down the left, he crossed low from the by-line and Kersey stabbed home, the ball crossing despite desperate Colney Heath efforts to clear off the line.
Referee Stuart Smith ruled the ball over, on the advice of his assistant.
That looked to have rescued a point for WGC in their promotion push. But it got even better three minutes into stoppage time.
WGC skipper Danny Payne broke up a Colney Heath attack and set Josh Bronti away down the right. The winger put over a long cross and central defender Yasin Boodhoo, raiding upfield on the far post, got in a downward header that beat home keeper Cunningham into the bottom corner.
That late, late winner sent the WGC bench wild with excitement as it did the large WGC support that made up the majority of a 130 attendance.
Said manager Fisher afterwards: “I’m not quite sure how we’re doing it. But our spirit is unquestionable and this side never knows when it’s beaten. We encourage them to go right to the end and in several games this season already, we’ve rescued ourselves.’’
The late goals made for a fine afternoon for WGC.
Unbeaten leaders Berkhamsted were held to a 2-2 draw at Biggleswade United, third placed Biggleswade FC conceded five at improving Leverstock Green in a 5-3 defeat and chasing challengers Harpenden and Leighton drew 2-2 in their meeting.
The very late drama disguised what was rather a poor game overall. Colney Heath were determined to make it tough for the Herns Lane side and it got even tougher, when central defender John McGrandles had a costly slip in the 10th minute, winger Woods transferred the ball to Armitt who beat keeper Charlie May with a low finish into the bottom corner.
Colney Heath, boosted by the early goal, almost had another, Woods’ snapshot deflecting off Payne over May’s crossbar inside 15 minutes.
WGC skipper Payne got up the other end to meet a Charlie Joy corner, but couldn’t direct his header goalwards in the Citizens’ first foray forward.
A fine ball from Jon Clements saw George Ironton feed Bronti, but his effort was blocked, while a sharp Clements effort on the turn brought a save out of keeper Cunningham.
Heath full-back Dan Power, who spent a short time with WGC, was booked for a very heavy challenge on Joy, that was lucky not to earn harsher punishment and from Ironton’s free-kick, Clements met it with an instant header that thumped the home woodwork, but bounced out.
WC had a let-off in the early minutes of the second-half when a miskick from keeper May let Woods in, but with a clear shooting chance, the winger pulled his shot badly wide.
Daniel Bond was introduced just past the hour as the Citizens looked to offer more threat and the substitute immediately brought a good block from Cunningham with a shot on target within minutes of coming on.
Manager Fisher then made his two further substitutions and perhaps Colney Heath should have taken some heed of the final outcome, when WGC had the ball in the net four minutes before their equalizer, when Ben Spaul forced the ball in, but Mr Smith awarded a foul on the keeper.
Spaul sustained a head injury in that melee, that caused him to come off, WGC having already made their three substitutions,
But the one player depletion wasn’t to make a difference in light of the storming finish that was to follow.
WGC: May, Payne, Boodhoo, McGrandles, Corran, Ironton (Kersey 75), Long (Bond 61), Spaul, Bronti, Clements, Joy (Brettell 81).