With first choice goalkeeper Joe Croft away playing darts, back-up Freddie Hester watching Watford and youth team keeper Marcus Bourne recovering from an injury picked up in Thursday’s youth fixture Citizens boss Adam Fisher moved quickly to sign 19-year-old Kieran Clayton from the Stevenage FC Elite Development Scheme.
The Citizens also welcomed back to the starting line-up Josh Bronti and Luke Robins, replacing Craig Arnott (dropped to the bench) and Jason Caswell (working) as the changes from Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Biggleswade United.
With the previous meeting between the Citizens and the Blues back in December a hotly contested affair packed with incidents many of the 112 at Herns Lane were expecting much of the same. However they were to be disappointed as this time around it was a niggly, scrappy affair with much of the time the ball hoofed high in the air.
There was one flashpoint on seven minutes which saw a large number of players involved but this was easily dealt with by referee Jack Bloxham, who had an outstanding game, by the showing of yellow cards to John McGrandles and Tyler Hatherly.
It was the home side who were on top with Carl Mensah firing the first real shot of the game straight at goalkeeper Harry Ricketts on 19 minutes from just outside the box. Five minutes later a cross from Dave Parkinson saw Ashley Kersey denied from close range by combination of goalkeeper and defender. Four minutes later a deft flick from Parkinson sent Kersey clear only for the striker to be thwarted by last ditch tackle as he prepared to fire the trigger.
The threatened breakthrough finally arrived on 35 minutes, again a fine run by Parkinson and his low delivered cross was expertly dispatched into the back of the net by Luke Robins from close range. With their tails up the Citizens looked for further goals as the half time interval approached and a long throw from Jay Lovell into penalty area was met by the head of McGrandles but was just wide of the top corner.
Two minutes before the break the Citizens were rocked as Hertford Town levelled matters, Yasin Boodhoo nudged Leigh Rose in the back inside box and Hatherly sent Clayton the wrong way from the resulting spot kick.
Two minutes after the re-start and the visitors were ahead, Leigh Rose, who had been lively all game, pouched following confusion between Boodhoo and Clayton to lash home from close range.
Chances at either end saw Boodhoo beat the out coming keeper to the ball from a free kick but his backward header fell agonisingly wide whilst Louis Rose fired wide from a good position.
The introduction on 66 minutes of Nathan Dimmock for skipper Daryl Smith proved to be a turning point, and within four minutes the scores were level. Dimmock’s ball in the area caused a goalmouth scramble which fell kindly for Parkinson who gleefully fired home the equaliser.
Again both sides had chances as each looked to find that winning goal in the closing minutes, but overall a draw was the right result and both sets of fans went home happy.
WGC: Clayton, Lovell, Welsh, Mensah, Boodhoo, McGrandles, Bronti, Smith (sub Dimmock 66), Kersey, Robins, Parkinson (sub Rashid 90).
Unused subs: C Arnott, Othen-Price and Perrin.