From 24 to 7 - crazy day ends with Welwyn Garden City in the play-offs

Welwyn's Jordan Watson ended his goal drought in style with a five-minute hat-trick at Kidlington.

Welwyn's Jordan Watson ended his goal drought in style with a five-minute hat-trick at Kidlington. - Credit: PETER SHORT

There was a remarkable end to a traumatic week for Welwyn Garden City and if manager Nick Ironton has his way, there will be more to come.

Having been on the verge of demotion out of the Southern League, the Citizens had their appeal over ground-grading upheld late on Friday night and they responded by snatching the final Division One Central play-off place with a 7-1 mauling of Kidlington on the road.

It sets up a semi-final away to Berkhamsted on Tuesday night and Ironton is geared up for more joy.

"Never write us off," he said. "You just never know with football. 

"We shouldn’t have been in this predicament but we got ourselves in it and then out of it and we are looking forward to going to Berko. 

"We have got nothing to lose. We’ll go there, have a go and play and see where it leads us."

The failed ground-grading had hung like the sword of Damocles over the club's head for the last week and a bit but the decision by the FA to uphold the club's argument produced a sensational response from the Welwyn players.

Ben Spaul, man of the match Cyrus Babaie and Jon Clements all scored before half-time before Jordan Watson bagged a five-minute hat-trick.

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And although Rhys Wells pulled one back, Yemi Adelani finished things off 11 minutes from time with the seventh.

Ironton said: "I kept everything quiet and confidential about us winning the appeal. I didn’t want anyone to know and I only told one or two of the players. 

"But it was a burden off our backs. 

"All the players got a lift and we played an unbelievable game which was exactly what I wanted.

"We’ve let ourselves down in the last few weeks and I’ll admit that. 

"The battle with the club didn’t help and the injuries to George, Jesse [Walklin] and Lee Close didn’t help but I just asked the boys to forget everything that has gone on and concentrate on this game. 

"I thought North Leigh would win at Colney Heath so I knew we needed to win at least 3-0 and we got seven. 

"But we also missed just as many. 

"It was unreal stuff, we played some great football."