Welwyn Garden City exorcise Leverstock demons to advance in FA Vase

PUBLISHED: 15:41 15 November 2016 | UPDATED: 08:44 16 November 2016

Jack Read slots away his goal. Picture: Steve Betts

Jack Read slots away his goal. Picture: Steve Betts


Welwyn Garden City took their revenge for their worst performance so far this season to reach the last 64 of this season's FA Vase.

A month earlier, Adam Fisher’s side were completely outplayed by their Hemel Hempstead-based SSML rivals in a shock 3-0 league defeat.

But this time it was a different WGC, as they dominated nearly all of this second round proper tie to deservedly take their place in the third round for the second time in three seasons.

WGC forced the pace from the off, home skipper Shane Wood being forced to clear behind his own goal twice in the opening exchanges from Ashley Kersey and Josh Bronti.

Home keeper Liam Jahn, who was far the busier keeper all afternoon, turned around another Bronti effort in the 18th minute as the WGC winger showed he easily had the beating of labouring Leverstock full-back Billy Fraser.

The situation was repeated just three minutes later when Bronti left Fraser trailing but he hammered his effort over as he closed in on goal.

The home side hadn’t had an attack worthy of the name for the opening half-hour but burst forward for winger Ross Adams to cross in from the right and Jon Lacey struck a post with his effort on 33 minutes.

Moments later, WGC were awarded a free-kick that Jack Read arrowed for the top corner, only for Jahn to pull off an outstanding save, tipping it away one-handed.

WGC continued to exploit their advantage down the right and it paid dividends on 37 minutes.

A fine reverse ball from the outstanding Kersey put Bronti away and this time he tucked a low shot past Jahn into the far corner to the delight of the WGC contingent.

Danny Payne almost made it two just before the break, picking up a loose ball 20 yards out to send a dipping effort inches over the bar.

Skipper Martin Standen picked up a yellow card in the early minutes of the second half for pulling back home forward Bowers with the home support clamouring for sterner punishment from referee Bodell, claiming the Leverstock man was clean through.

Ten minutes after the restart, WGC had a second. It was a goal of rare simplicity but beautifully taken.

It was a route one effort as keeper Olly Leslie lofted forward a long goal-kick. Kersey towered above Kendall Allen to win a fine header and strike partner Read took it in his stride to crash past Jahn for 2-0.

Leverstock responded with Jonathan Lacey striking a 30-yard shot past a post, but it was the visitors who came closer to another goal on 67 minutes.

Kersey rose well to meet a Bronti corner and home captain Shane Wood hacked the effort off the line.

With 20 minutes left, the Hemel side got a lifeline.

Skipper Wood lofted a through-ball forward to set Karl Thomas free and he neatly lobbed Leslie for 2-1.

Both managers rang the changes, with Adam Fisher introducing Sean Brettell and Danny Fitzgerald.

Brettell announced his arrival with two excellent passes down the left to set Kersey free both times.

The first produced a shot that keeper Jahn was able to block, the second saw the big striker take aim at an unguarded net, having got around full-back George Biggadike, only for substitute Zak Howells to make a second goal-line clearance.

WGC closed the game with Bronti hitting the outside of the post in the six minutes of stoppage time played by referee Bodell.

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