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Welwyn Garden City

Home of the "Citizens" - Established 1921

FC

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

A RARE Jay Lovell goal two minutes from the end rescued WGC's pride and the occasion, as the Citizens celebrated winning their first major silverware in27 years.

 

Lovell popped up with a flying header from a Craig Arnott cross to beat Edgware keeper Cain Davies into the far corner, to secure the point that helped Adam Fisher's side enjoy their coronation as SSML Div 1 champions a little more, a few minutes later.

 

Prior to that, his side had been trailing for 17 minutes against an Edgware side, who played the whole of the second-half with 10 men, following their skipper Paul Marks' dismissal five minutes from the break, for a second yellow card. The North Londoners were also missing the encouragement of their manager Mick Roche from the dug-out, as he was also sent packing from the touchline by referee Paul Melvin, for remarks made about the Marks' dismissal.

 

Much had been anticipated of this clash between the new SSML Div 1 champions and the division's current top form side Edgware, winners of 10 of their last 12 games, the other two drawn.

 

Just to underline the quality of WGC's opponents in their final home league game of the campaign, Edgware were presented with the Team of the Month accolade for March, prior to kick-off. It's an award WGC have won three times themselves this season.

 

But the game totally failed to deliver. Instead of being one of the showpiece occasions of WGC's campaign, it was a damp squib of an affair.

 

Manager Fisher rang the changes, having four of his first choice side on the bench, resting them for the SSML Div 1 Cup Final at Langford, three nights later. He also had Daryl Smith suspended and Aaron Cato, unavailable.

 

His side had the better of what there was to entertain a 111 crowd, Marc Arnott hitting the Edgware bar in seven minutes from a Jason Caswell flick-on, but Arnott was given fractionally offside.

 

Four minutes later, his brother Craig had WGC's best early opening, thanks to another clever Caswell flick, but Edgware keeper Davies managed to beat the effort away.

 

Keeper Joe Croft's only action in the opening half-hour was to safely field an Adem Ali free-kick on 15 minutes.

 

The game then went into a total lull, until five minutes from half-time, when Edgware midfielder Marks, having been booked for a trip on Juan Cifuentes, made a remark to Mr Melvin and was promptly sent packing, followed swiftly by his manager, from the dug-out.

 

The second-half was just marginally better. Caswell blazed an early chance over, before WGC introduced top scorer Joel Norris and Sean Brettell, in mdifield, knowing it wouldn't take much to win a clash as poor as this one.

 

Mason Bush, given a run-out from the start, made a mazy run past four Edgware defenders before setting up Caswell, whose low effort was blocked by Davies' legs.

 

But on 71 minutes and rather against the run of play, 10 man Edgware pounced to take the lead. A Yasin Boodhoo clearing header was blocked and bounced conveniently for striker Stewart Blackburne to run clear, lob Croft and chase the loose ball over the line for 1-0.

 

Bush went close to levelling within minutes, Brettell making a telling left-wing run and cross and WGC's most recent signing flicked his header inches over.

 

But just when it looked as though a defeat would sour the WGC celebrations a little, Craig Arnott swung over a left-wing cross and Lovell came in to net only his third of the season and make the closing minutes of a memorable Herns Lane campaign, all the sweeter!

 

WGC: Croft, Perrin (Brettell 63), Costain, Boodhoo (Dekanski 78), Lovell, James, (Norris 63), Cifuentes, Bush, Arnott (C), Caswell, Arnott (M).

Welwyn Garden City FC 1 - 1 Edgware Town