Promotion the aim next season after “unbelievable” League Challenge Trophy triumph - Fisher
PUBLISHED: 12:04 21 April 2016 | UPDATED: 12:04 21 April 2016
Adam Fisher believes his 10-man Welwyn Garden City side can use Wednesday night’s dramatic Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division League Challenge Trophy final victory over Berkhamsted as a springboard for SSML Premier Division promotion next season.
The Citizens, four-time beaten finalists in the competition, had keeper Joe Croft sent off three minutes after half-time at Harefield United’s Preston Park with the score at 1-1 but with no spare pair of hands on the bench, centre-back Yasin Boodhoo was required to fill the vacant void between the posts.
Moments later Berkhamsted, who sit two points above WGC in the SSML Premier Division table, went 2-1 up through Tom Carter’s bent free-kick.
However, Fisher’s men rallied to notch three goals in 15 minutes through John McGrandles, Dave Parkinson and an own goal to race into a two-goal advantage.
Josh Chamberlain bagged his second of the evening 16 minutes from time to set up a nerve-jangling finish but WGC held on to prevail 4-3 and erase memories of their disappointing SSML Premier Division Cup final defeat to Hoddesdon Town two weeks prior.
Manager Fisher told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “It was just one of those freak games and if the keeper had stayed on it might have ended up staying 1-1.
“We’ve shown again like we did last year that the spirit is unbelievable. To go 4-2 up with no keeper was outstanding. We did it already at Wembley this year [Jay Lovell donned the gloves in the first half in a 1-1 draw] when we had a full-back in goal and the lads have shown unbelievable spirit. You can’t ask for more than that.
“Losing that final to Hoddesdon two weeks ago was devastating for the lads but we knew we had another one to come.
“There was that added pressure as a group because no-one wants to lose two finals so this victory, especially to win it like that, heightens the feeling of winning it.”
He added: “This is the biggest competition you can win in the South Midlands League so it’s a great achievement. Now with five or six league games to go, it should give the lads real confidence to go on and get promoted next year which is the aim.”
The game could have hinged on Fisher’s decision not to list a goalkeeper on the bench but stand-in sensation Boodhoo came to his rescue.
“Freddie [Hester] wasn’t available as he got injured playing for the reserves, Marcus [Bourne] wasn’t available, Kieran [Clayton] wasn’t available so it was a case of do we put Chris Benton [assistant-manager] on the bench and although he did well against Stotfold I just thought we’d go with five outfield players on the bench.
“As soon as Joe went off I thought ‘oh god, we don’t have a keeper on the bench’ but Yasin has played in goal before. He actually plays in goal for his Sunday League team sometimes so fair play to him and the lads.”
After a 27-year spell without any silverware replenishing the WGC trophy cabinet, Fisher, in his third season at the helm, has now guided the Citizens to back-to-back cup victories and a league title in successive seasons.
The boss still feels he has more to achieve at Herns Lane as well.
He continued: “It’s 99 per cent sure I will be with the club next season.
“I’ve had a couple of clubs that have provisionally spoken to me, both in Step Four football, but we’ve got such a good thing going on at the moment with the development at the ground which will be happening over the summer, etc...
“From last year to this year, it seems like something special is going to happen every year so I wouldn’t want to throw it away next year so we’ll give it a go and see if we can get promoted.”
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Welwyn Hatfield Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.