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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 are still seeking their first victory of 2017 after failing to see out a victory at lowly London Tigers, having twice taken the lead in this topsy-turvy game.

 

The point picked up from a disappointing draw from Adam Fisher's side was their first since the turn of the year, following three successive defeats.

 

But although producing a much better performance than of late, manager Fisher will see this result as two points dropped against a home team, second bottom in the SSML Premier.

 

Fisher's ranks were depleted due to a trio of suspensions for Danny Payne (five games), Sean Brettell (three) and newcomer George Brinkman - signed last week from Tring Athletic - (two). Another new signing, Lewis Donovan, from Hertford Town, was unavailable for personal reasons, while central defender John McGrandles was injured.

 

The Herns Lane boss switched Jason Coughlan to central defence, had Ben Long back in his midfield and brought in recent capture Marcus Campbell upfront.

 

Three teenagers - Nathan Studholme, Will McClelland and Carl Chambers - were on the bench.

 

Campbell had the first decent opening of the game in seven minutes, when Taishan Griffith, back at right-back to great effect, crossed in, but Campbell's final effort after a good turn, was weak and straight at Tigers' keeper Amaebgt.

 

Two minutes later, WGC had a golden chance to take the lead, new skipper Luke Robins got clear of the home defence, but seemed to shoot too early and again straight at Amaebgt.

 

WGC keeper Jack Metcalfe was brought into action to make a sharp save low down on the quarter-hour from Tigers' Ruben Vasces, but it was the Citizens who had the better of the openings and Josh Bronti flashed a cross-shot over the face of the home goal, with no WGC forward able to get the final touch,

 

Campbell had the best chance of the first-half, put completely clear by a fine Juan Cifuentes through ball. He got off his shot, but Amaebgt half-stopped the effort and as the ball rolled towards the unguarded goal, defender Smith got back to hack it off the line.

 

In view of WGC's dominance, it was a major disappointment when the home team took the lead four minutes from the break, Yusuf Ben Ali pulling down a left-wing cross and firing in over Metcalfe, the ball taking a wicked bounce to beat the keeper.

 

WGC began the second-half with renewed determination and three minutes in, Robins and Campbell combined well to set up a shooting chance for an off-balance Ashley Kersey, who shot wide.

 

But two goals in as many minutes from the big striker, turned the game round completely.

 

On 52 minutes, Robins got over another good cross, Kersey took it down and hit a powerful volley that keeper Amaebgt did wonderfully well to tip onto the bar, the ball bouncing down behind him. Immediately, an assistant signalled that the effort had crossed the line and WGC were level.

 

Kersey's second two minutes had no doubts about it. Ben Long burst forward to hit a volley that was blocked. The ball bounced up obligingly for Kersey to unleash another fine volley, this time giving the keeper no chance as it bulged the net.

 

But the visitors only held the lead seven minutes. On 61 minutes, a Tigers free-kick was only half cleared by WGC's Jay Welsh and Ben Ali cleverly curled an effort around the entire Citizens' defence and into the bottom corner, with Metcalfe clearly unsighted.

 

WGC lost the influential Cifuentes with a serious-looking knee injury moments later, after a mistimed tackle by Tigers' Thomson that earned him a booking. Under 25's skipper Nathan Studholme replaced him.

 

The Ctizens restored their lead with 19 minutes left, Welsh drove forward and found Campbell who squared a fine pass into the path of Bronti, who picked his spot with a shot low into the corner for 3-2.

 

But a minute from the end of normal time, Tigers equalised again. Yasin Boodhoo was beaten to a header, the ball dropped for the home team's Ramos whose low shot was pushed away by Metcalfe, but Ben Ali reacted first to put away his hat-trick goal.

 

In the game's final minute there was a hefty collision between Tigers' keeper Amaebgt and Kersey. Both players required lengthy treatment, before Kersey was helped off with a hip injury.

 

The game was extended by nearly 10 minutes stoppage time following that incident and the stoppage for the Cifuentes injury, but although there were a few close calls, neither side could find the game's seventh goal to take the full points.

 

WGC: Metcalfe, Griffith, Boodhoo, Coughlan, Welsh, Cifuentes (Studholme 66), Long, Robins, Bronti, Kersey (Chambers 90+2), Campbell (McClelland 83).

London Tigers 3 - 3 Welwyn Garden City FC