Incredible comeback from Welwyn Garden City leaves St Neots Town stunned
- Credit: Archant
Welwyn Garden City left St Neots Town stunned with an incredible 20-minute turnaround at the end of their Southern League Division One Central match.
The Citizens looked out of after goals from Ryan Robbins and new signing Arel Amu put Saints into a 2-0 lead just before the hour.
But with the two scorers both subbed off, and Welwyn’s own replacements making an impact, a double from Elliot Bailey drew them level and Lee Close headed home the winner with six minutes to go.
There was no doubt that the removal of Robbins and Amu by manager Barry Corr, who had brought himself off at half-time, had an effect but WGC were ruthless in exploiting the swing in momentum.
The match had begun so well for the home side as they dominated the opening 20 minutes.
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Robbins picked out Jake Battersby at the far post and he brought visiting keeper Charlie Crowley into early action, pushing the ball over the bar.
Amu then left two defenders in his wake but his cross was hacked away by a recovering defender.
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A free-kick into the side netting by Jordan Kinoshi provided Welwyn with their first real chance but they behind on 19 minutes.
Ben Worman’s cross found Robbins with his back to goal but he swivelled to half-volley home an unstoppable effort, his third goal in four days.
Robbins headed wide from a Battersby cross, Aaron Smith shot over and Worman saw his effort blocked as they pressed for a second although Welwyn did create two openings just before the break.
Close just failed to reach a searching Kinoshi cross in front of a gaping net and Jack Vasey got behind the St Neots defence but his angled effort was smothered by a defender.
The second half was 13 minutes old when St Neots doubled their lead.
It came after a Battersby cross was spilled by Crowley and Amu was quickest to the loose ball.
But slowly the cracks in St Neots’ defensive confidence seemed to appear and goalkeeper Louis Chadwick had to produce a brave point-blank save to deny Close following a corner that was not cleared.
The keeper then kept his goal intact when he dived fearlessly at the feet of Vasey who had too easily slipped his marker.
It was at this point that St Neots made their changes and with 20 minutes remaining one of Welwyn’s subs, Eusebio Da Silva, set up Bailey for a close-range tap-in.
Twelve minutes later the visitors were on terms when Bailey confidently scored his second from the penalty spot, awarded after handball against Dequaine Wilson-Braithwaite.
The final blow for St Neots came when a long cross by another substitute, Patrick Akwasi, found the head of Close and he made no mistake.
It propelled City into the play-off places while at the same time ending St Neots’ unbeaten start to the season.
St Neots Town: Chadwick, Bennett, Battersby, Wilson-Braithwaite, Dickens, Corr (Goode 46), Watkins, Smith, Robbins (Lobjoit 65), Amu (Cowling 68), Worman
Subs (not used): Gomersall, Martin.
Goals: Robbins 19, Amu 58
Booked: Robbins 31, Watkins 53, Battersby 76, Wilson-Braithwaite 82
Welwyn Garden City: Crowley, Mensah, Sexton, Walklin, Close, Njie, Kinoshi (Tshikala 60), Payne (Da Silva 51), Vasey (Akwasi 65), Opoku, Bailey
Subs (not used): De Matos, Buchanan.
Goals: Bailey 70, (pen) 81, Close 84
Booked: Da Silva 45+4
HT: St Neots Town 1 Welwyn Garden City 0
Referee: Jorden Gibson