Unbeaten run over but City prove tough nut to crack after early dismissal
PUBLISHED: 15:30 07 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:30 07 November 2017
Welwyn Garden City's record-breaking unbeaten run is over - but that only tells a small part of the story as they went down 1-0 at Biggleswade FC.
Having remained undefeated in each of the last 20 fixtures, and only suffered defeat once all year, they knew they would be in for a test against a young side who charged to promotion from Spartan South Midlands League Division One in their first ever season, and sit just behind the Citizens in the Premier Division table.
But any plans WGC had hatched pre-game were soon dumped in the bin after defender John McGrandles was sent-off after just seven minutes.
He was adjudged by the referee to have been the last man after a tackle of the edge of the City box and shown the red card.
To add insult to injury, George Riley slammed the resulting free-kick through the wall and into the top corner.
With a numeral advantage, the young Waders pressed forward at every opportunity and exploited WGC’s now makeshift defence, but they found Citizens’ keeper Charlie May in fine form, denying the hosts with some superb saves.
But WGC were not giving up and having got to the break just a goal down felt the game was still within their grasp.
Manager Adam Fisher made two changes at half-time with new signing Daniel Bond, recruited from Hertford in midweek, and Danny Payne, returning from a hamstring injury, replacing Charlie Rome and Paul Marks.
It sparked City and they started to press forward with far more intent.
They almost equalised three minutes into the half, when Charlie Joy’s free kick was turned around the post in flying style by Dan Green.
The Biggleswade keeper was called on again to deny Payne whose shot from a Joy corner was heading for the net.
But despite being under immense pressure in the final quarter, the hosts, who included former Citizen Taishan Griffith, held on to their slender lead.
The win has moved Biggleswade level on points with WGC, although they have played two more games than City. And although it was their first league defeat of the season, the loss was tempered by the news that leaders Berkhamsted had only drew 1-1 with Crawley Green and have only stretched their lead to four points.