TWO VERY LATE GOALS WIN IT FOR THE CITIZENS
PLAYED ON WEDNESDAY 15th NOVEMBER
This Dudley Lathom Premier Division Cup Quarter Final saw title challenger's and second placed Welwyn Garden City entertain bottom of the table Crawley Green who had only won once in league fixtures away at Leverstock Green prior to this game. They had had some good results in Cup Fixtures and also recently got a highly creditable 1-1 draw at table topper's Berkhamsted on Saturday 4th November.
Dean Bull had stepped down as manager of the visitors after their 2-0 FA Vase defeat to Biggleswade FC on Saturday 11th November to be replaced by Chris Devane (new boss) and Craig Meyrick (assistant manager) so this was their first game in the dugout for their new team. Goalkeeper Bull was still involved and it was a highly memorable night for him. Three new players came into the squad - Alex Bennett (who has played for the club before) and Rhys Calvano (formerly of Langford) along with Ricky Clark (another ex player) on the bench.
Welwyn boss Adam Fisher stated he had given some of this players a rest for this game as they had played a large number of games with his squad involved in league, FA Vase, Herts Senior Cup, Premier Division Cup and League Challenge Cup games over the past few months. Having said that only four changes were made to The Citizen's starting XI compared to their FA Vase game against Newport Pagnell Town one of which was ex Stotfold player Dan Bond (who has recently signed from Hertford Town).
The home side started extremely well and took a very early lead through George Ironton - they could of been at least three up by the time Crawley Green equalised with a close range header from a corner on twenty minutes. Bull had already made a number of impressive saves to keep his side in the game.
The goals then rained in on 28 , 31 and 41 minutes to make the score 2-3 at half time which nobody would of expected beforehand. The pace, movement and work rate of the Crawley front line was very impressive. Aaron Browne would of been very impressed with his two finishes for Crawley Green - the first one was particularly good.
Green's task of keeping their lead became even harder in the second half when Crawley were reduced to 10 men after a second booking and a red card on 56 minutes.
As expected Welwyn had much of the possession after the sending off but Crawley Green were well organised defending and when that didn't work it was Bull who continued to make some brilliant saves. As the game ticked over 90 minutes it was looking like it wasn't going to be The Citizen's night but they impressively they kept going and it was former Enfield Town, Cockfosters and Edgware Town man Paul Marks who scored on 95 minutes to make it all square at 3-3 - this was only after Bull had made two brilliant saves in quick succession. All the talk around me then was "At least it'll go to penalties now" but the game wasn't over yet.
Ben Spaul passed the ball through to Jon Clements whose shot was fumbled into the net but the exceptionally unlucky Bull. The fine line between success and defeat was highlighted by looking at Bull sitting disconsolate on his goal line as the Welwyn players celebrated a remarkable victory in a big bundle by the corner flag. The full time whistle blew very shortly afterwards.
Despite the defeat the new management at Crawley Green can take so many positives from this game and it's clear they did as on Saturday they won 5-0 at home against Holmer Green.
The Citizens had another very very late show at local rival's Colney Heath. They were 1-0 down but goals from Ash Kersey on 88 minutes and Yasin Boodhoo on 93 minutes got them the all important three points.
What was nice to see on the night was a number of Welwyn fans shaking Bull's hand after the game and telling him he didn't deserve to be on the losing side. They also gave both sides a good round of applause commenting on what a brilliant game they had seen.
Below are match highlights including all seven of the goals scored. Well worth a watch!