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Welwyn Garden City FC

Home of the "Citizens" - Established 1921

The BP Mitchell Stadium, Herns Lane, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL7 1TA

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WELWYN GC rescued a point as the Spartan South Midlands League's ' game of the day' entered stoppage time, in front of the largest crowd to watch a SSML match this season, on Bank Holiday Tuesday.

 

The Citizens had been trailing their close neighbours and promotion rivals for 83 minutes in this holiday derby in front of an 374 attendance.

 

But their spirited second-half showing in taking the game to Hertford meant that most in the large crowd agreed that a WGC equaliser was full deserved.

 

Substitute Taishan Griffith swung in a right-wing free-kick. Maurading central defender Yasin Boodhoo rose highest and headed towards the corner of the Hertford net. The visiting defence managed to block the effort, but in an almighty scramble on the goalline, Boodhoo followed up his initial effort to force the ball in.

 

In doing so and earning WGC a point, Adam Fisher's side became the first of the other 11 Herts sides in the SSML Premier to take a point off second placed Hertford this season.

 

The Herns Lane side also finished the match with 10 men, skipper Danny Payne being sent off five minutes from them scoring the equaliser for raising his hands to Hertford substitute Ben Andreos, who had followed through in a challenge on keeper Joe Croft.

 

Manager Fisher included latest signing ex-Arlesey, Hitchin and Barton versatile defender Louis Lee at right-back and the newcomer responded with a solid display.

 

Overall, it was a disappointing match for such an important fixture, but defences were on top and chances were at a premium.

 

There hadn't been a noteworthy incident before Hertford took the lead in seven minutes, capitalising on a mistake in the home goal by Croft, back between the WGC posts for the first time in four months - with Jack Metcalfe suspended and Ollie Leslie injured.

 

Croft raced out of goal to try and cut off a long through ball intended for Hertford striker Tommy Wade. He reached the ball, but then badly miskicked leaving Wade to take accurate aim at an unguarded goal from 18 yards.

 

WGC tried to reply immediately and from a corner Ashley Kersey took too long over his shot and the effort was blocked. The ball ran free to full-back Jay Welsh, but his cross-shot flashed across the face of the Hertford area.

 

There were few other opportunities for either side, Hertford's Matt Thomson heading a rare forward foray over when off balance and WGC's best first-half effort didn't come until five minutes from the break.

 

Kersey did well out on the left to set up a shooting chance for Sean Brettell, whose low drive towards goal was saved by Hertford keeper Jayden Purdue with his legs.

 

WGC showed much more intent from the start of the second-half. The dangerous Manny Melford-Rowe twice fired shots over in the early minutes of the half and Hertford's big central defender Glenn Draper got in a vital tackle on Kersey, as the equally big WGC forward was in the act of shooting.

 

On the hour mark there was great clamour for a WGC penalty as Kersey went down under challenge in the area, but referee Stewart was very visible in waving away the appeals.

 

Hertford's closest call to a second goal came from a flashing header from defender Dan Palmer from a corner that just flew over Croft's crossbar.

 

But it looked as if the early Wade goal was going to decide this vital match, until the outstanding Boodhoo - the Citizens' best performer on the day - showed he had other ideas.

 

WGC: Croft, Lee, Boodhoo, Standen, Welsh (Griffith 68), Payne, Long, Brettell (Cifuentes 88), Bronti (Read 78), Kersey, Melford-Rowe.

Welwyn Garden City FC 1 - 1 Hertford Town