Costly Smith red card in Welwyn Garden City defeat
PUBLISHED: 17:10 15 April 2015 | UPDATED: 17:10 15 April 2015
There was a disastrous afternoon for Welwyn Garden City at the weekend.
Not only did they lose their third game in five, this time to a Southall winner seven minutes into stoppage time, but they also look like they have lost Daryl Smith, their combative midfield warrior, for the upcoming SSML Division One Cup final in two weeks.
Smith became the second player of the afternoon to be given his marching orders for a second yellow card, when he pulled back Southall player Edison Teberen on the stroke of 90 minutes.
He had been booked eight minutes earlier and, as this was his third dismissal of the campaign, is now likely to be suspended when WGC take on Crawley Green at Langford on April 28.
During the lengthy 12 minute stoppage-time spell, and with WGC pressing for a winner they just about deserved, the Herns Lane defence were caught forward.
Southall substitute Leon Parades ran clear with only WGC full-back Sam Perrin for company, he cut inside the full-back and sank home hearts with a fine looping effort over Joe Croft into the far corner to win the game.
Yet the afternoon had begun so brightly. Adam Fisher’s team had been presented with their third Team of the Month award by the Spartan League, as the outstanding team for February, following a run of five wins having scored 23 goals and conceding three.
Although they still head the league by seven points - rivals Bedford and Broxbourne both winning on Saturday - the more telling statistic is the April form table in which they are currently in 15th place.
With four games to go, they still need a win for promotion and two victories for the title and it has become a really hard slog.
They began this game well, but were shocked by Southall’s first real attack in 13 minutes, when a high, bouncing ball eluded two defenders.
Liam Kenna’s misguided header saw Croft come to collect and fail and Teberen made him pay with an accurate lob into an empty net.
WGC took some time to shake off the shock of falling behind, but on 21 minutes Joel Norris had a shot cleared off the line after Kenna had headed a corner back to the striker.
Jason Caswell went closer with a low effort through a crowded area that came back off the post and Sean Brettell was inches wide with a well struck free-kick.
Five minutes from the break, WGC were level. A short free-kick from Brettell found Norris in the area and he slipped past a couple of defenders and drove low past Southall keeper Dominic Cassells into the corner.
The same routine almost put WGC in front early in the second-half, when another Brettell kick put Norris through, but Cassells clawed it away in fine style.
Southall were reduced to 10 men, when midfielder Jack Ward was dismissed for a second yellow and it looked as if WGC would surely take the points.
The game looked to be petering out to a draw until Parades’ late, late winner on the break that enabled Southall to not only take all three points, but also to celebrate being the first side to do the double over WGC this season, after their 3-2 home victory.