Welwyn Garden City into cup semis after four-goal triumph over physical Bush Hill
PUBLISHED: 10:12 12 February 2015 | UPDATED: 13:25 12 March 2015
Welwyn Garden City manager Adam Fisher must have been glad that his battler-in-chief Daryl Smith was free of a three-match suspension - elongated by postponements - to lead his side into the semi-finals of the Division One Cup.
The Citizens’ 4-0 victory was not without a fight.
Hosts Bush Hill Rangers turned it into an ultra-physical contest on their Brimsdown home ground, literally trying to take WGC out of their stride with their intimidatory tactics.
Smith returned to skipper the side in Liam Kenna’s absence and produced two excellent pieces of skill to create the Citizens’ first two goals and effectively see them through a very hard night’s work.
The first occurred just past the fifth minute mark, when he cleverly lofted a fine ball over the home defence, and Aaron Cato ran onto it to blaze a shot beyond keeper Ozyasa into the top corner.
Cato was playing against his old teammates, but was shown no favourtism by former colleagues, who meted out the same heavy-handed tactics on him that they employed all evening on all the WGC team.
Fortunately, referee Larry Smith kept a tight rein on matters and although the home team racked up the bookings, they escaped a red card.
Sean Brettell warmed keeper Ozyasa’s hands with a fierce 11th minute drive, but WGC were grateful to Joe Croft’s agility to keep out home top scorer Hamdan’s effort, as the Bush Hill forward neatly tricked his way into the area.
WGC closed the first-half with two further chances for Brettell, firstly when Cato’s trickery got him around the back of the home defence, but the chance was blazed over and then when Joel Norris laid the ball back into Brettell’s path, but he crashed his effort wide.
The Citizens needed a second goal and got it on the hour when Smith peeled away to the right to reach a Juan Cifuentes’ pass and put over a perfect centre that saw Marc Arnott cleverly direct his header into the far corner, for a picture-perfect second goal.
It proved to Marc Arnott’s last contribution as manager Fisher replaced him with his brother Craig soon afterwards and the older Arnott produced a clever ball over the top of the Bush Hill defence within minutes.
That left Joel Norris to run onto the ball, round defender Sarpong and the keeper, and kept his cool to roll in a clinching third.
There was still time for a fine fourth, five minutes from time.
Brettell picking up a dipping pass on the right to hit a fierce, dipping volley beyond keeper Ozyasa, for arguably the goal of a very physical night.
Certainly, the Citizens won’t be relishing a second trip to Brimsdown for a league meeting, in around a month’s time.
WGC will now meet their nearest league rivals Bedford FC in the semi-finals, on a date yet to be arranged. Codicote clash with Crawley Green in the other semi-final.
WGC: Croft, Jenner, Costain, Dekanski, Lovell, Cato, Cifuentes, Smith (Gibbon 71), Brettell, Norris (Ross 81), Arnott (M) (Arnott C 67).