Welwyn happy to still be in the hat after forcing Mulbarton Wanderers to a replay
- Credit: PETER SHORT
Welwyn Garden City were taken to a replay in the FA Cup for the second round running - but this time they were pleased to get a second bite.
A penalty equaliser in the seventh minute of added time at FC Romania in the previous stage had left them somewhat aggrieved but there were no such feelings after the 2-2 draw at Mulbarton Wanderers in the first qualifying round.
This time it was a penalty in their favour, converted by Elliot Bailey in the 79th minute, that saved their bacon and sent the teams to Herns Lane on Tuesday night.
That was most definitely the bright spot in a poor performance.
Mulbarton, newly promoted to the Eastern Counties League Premier Division, one step below Welwyn, started strongly and were ahead on 12 minutes.
They charged down a clearance and after Charlie Crowley had made an initial stop, joint player-manager Ben Thompson knocked in the rebound.
It stunned the Citizens and they were lucky not to be two-down midway through the half, s fine Sam Whiting header ruled out for offside.
But against the run of play, WGC levelled.
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Ryan Doherty, one of the few to shine on the day, came forward and his cross to the back post was taken down by Ben Spaul and fired in via the far post, his first Welwyn goal since March 17, 2018, part of a 6-1 win over Biggleswade United.
This one heralded a better spell for the visitors with Dave Keenleyside striking the post from a free-kick and a Cyrus Babaie header that needed cleared off the line.
But within 10 minutes of the second half, the home side were ahead again, James Page given too much time to fire past Crowley.
And for long periods it looked as if that would be that.
However, a foul on Jack Vasey inside the box after a good run forward by Spaul, gave Bailey the chance to score and he made no mistake
It is a lifeline Welwyn may not have deserved but one they will gladly cling on to.
For news, reports and reaction from Tuesday's replay follow @NPMetcalfe on Twitter and keep an eye on www.whtimes.co.uk/sport
WGC: Crowley, Watson, Doherty, Rolfe, Taylor (Payne 70), Walklin, Spaul, Keeleyside, Campbell-Mhlope (Kinoshi 50), Bailey, Babaie (Vasey 50).