Welwyn Garden City 1-1 (3-4p) BSFC

Welwyn Garden City 1-1 (3-4p) Bishop’s Stortford Match Report 2/9/20


Jack Giddens saved two penalties as Bishop’s Stortford progressed to the FA Cup Second Qualifying Round for the second season in a row at Welwyn Garden City. George Ironton opened the scoring for the hosts before Darren Foxley’s equaliser. Summer signing Giddens went the correct way for all five of the Citizen’s penalties, while all four scored for Bishop’s Stortford, and when Carl Mensah saw his spot kick tipped around the post, his teammates ran to celebrate with their jubilant goalkeeper.


A trend of this season so far with the Blues is early dominance but not managing to hit the back of the net, with pre-season friendlies against Leyton Orient and Chelmsford as well as Saturday’s league encounter with Bognor Regis Town following this pattern, and the visit to the Southern League Central Division One side on Tuesday night was no different. Foxley made a bright start, trying a long range effort from the centre circle when he saw Charlie Crowley off his line, before winning a free kick near the left corner flag. Ben Marlow flashed a shot wide of the right post from the free kick, before Tom Richardson should have been able to turn and shoot from Sam Robbins’ right wing cross, but for a brilliant tackle and clearance by the Citizens’ defender. Lee Close tried to head a bouncing ball back to goalkeeper Crowley, but it was too weak and Frankie Merrifield – the only change from Saturday’s draw with Bognor, as Archie Jones missed out – looked to be through on goal before seemingly being fouled, but referee Mark Stevens disagreed. Richardson – playing in a more fluid role up front with strike partner Merrifield, compared to being the sole front man on Saturday – was picking up positions in the midfield and on the wings, looking to hold the ball up and bring teammates into play, Foxley made a late run onto a low cross by the number nine, but dragged his shot wide. Having held firm against an early onslaught, the hosts – who beat Saffron Walden Town in the previous round – grew into the game, winning a corner out of nothing thanks to a brilliant run down the right by Patrick Tshikala. Ironton took the corner, into a dangerous area and Giddens got nowhere near it but the Blues managed to scramble clear. Bishop’s Stortford’s lack of clinical finishing punished them once again, with Ironton tapping home from close range from Jack Vasey’s low cross from the right, only the second chance of any note that Welwyn Garden City had produced. Marlow, trying a long range effort once more, shot straight at Crowley on the half-volley before Richardson missed a near-post header from Foxley’s right wing cross, it went all the way through to Davidson who somehow miscued it wide when it looked easier to score. Close was once again let off for a weak pass back towards Crowley, with Merrifield intercepting it only to stumble over his own feet as he entered the box. At the other end Merrifield headed away a dangerous free kick by Dave Keenleyside, before deflecting the same player’s shot over the bar.


HT 1-0


The start to the second period was slow and cagey, with the Blues not wanting to concede again and Welwyn happy to let the clock run down. There was a long period of stoppage as Joe Gardner – who was only on the field for five minutes – went down with a suspected hamstring injury, before Blues skipper Ryan Henshaw received treatment for a cut on his face. Marlow had the best chance for the Blues of the match so far after all that, striking the crossbar in the middle of the goal from 18 yards. From the next attack, the Blues restored parity, as Foxley smashed home from close range after Crowley could only parry Merrifield’s original shot from Mark Haines’ long ball. Eusebio Da Silva came off the bench for the hosts and was an energetic force in attack, making a great run on the counter attack from a Blues corner, but he blazed his shot over the crossbar. Substitute Joe Boachie could have twice sealed the tie for Bishop’s Stortford, first as he mis-controlled Marlow’s left wing cross from close range, then he had the ball in the back of the net from a lofted pass through the middle but the referee’s assistant had his flag raised. With both sides pushing for a winner late on, there were fouls and free kicks aplenty, with Thomas Opoku going close from a set-piece, he showed great strength to bring down the halfway-line free kick, before holding off Haines and Henshaw and getting his shot away, but it was an easy save for Giddens in the middle of the goal. From another Welwyn free kick, this time in a much better position, Giddens came to punch it away but got nowhere near it, leaving Mensah with the whole goal to aim for from a yard out but somehow still put his header wide. Ironton dug out a great cross to Da Silva at the back post, but Giddens was well positioned to catch the headed attempt at goal, before Foxley had the last shot of the game in injury time, a deflected effort from long range that had Crowley scrambling but he saw it go just wide of the post.


FT 1-1


With no replays or extra-time in this season’s FA Cup, the tie was decided from 12 yards on the night. Welwyn Garden City took the first penalty, with Dave Keenleyside stepping up for the hosts, firing it into the top left corner past the outstretched hand of Giddens who had guessed the correct way. Blues goal scorer Foxley tucked his spot kick away in the bottom right corner, sending Crowley the wrong way. Giddens was millimetres away from keeping out Ironton’s effort, in the bottom right corner, but the hosts took the lead again. Louie Johnson-  who had come off the bench late on, perhaps with penalties in mind – had a bit of luck with his penalty, as Crowley looked to have saved it but spilled it into the bottom left corner of the goal from the teenager’s effort. After that stroke of good fortune, along came another as Giddens palmed Jack Bradshaw’s effort onto the crossbar and out behind the goal as he dived right, just inches away from going in off the woodwork. Boachie finally hit the back of the net after looking so likely to do so in regular time, he sent Crowley the wrong way and curled one powerfully into the right side-netting. Patrick Awkasi picked out the top right corner, a great penalty that any goalkeeper would have struggled to get to, before Marlow found the bottom right corner beyond the despairing dive of Crowley. With the score at 3-4 after four penalties each, Mensah knew he had to score to keep the contest alive, but a bad night got even worse for the number six after he had missed a sitter to win it in regular time, he saw his penalty towards the bottom right corner denied by the full extension of a flying Jack Giddens, who held his arms aloft to acknowledge the travelling fans’ appreciation of a brilliant goalkeeping performance.


Bishop’s Stortford won 3-4 on penalties


The draw for the Second Qualifying Round will be made on Friday 25 September, with the ties to be played on Saturday 3 October. Before that, the Blues host Hornchurch in a return to Pitching In Isthmian League Premier Division action on Saturday 26 September, followed by the visit of Enfield Town to the R & D Advisors UK Ltd Stadium on Tuesday 29 September.



Welwyn Garden City XI

1 Charlie Crowley

2 Jack Bradshaw

3 Jon Sexton

4 Thomas Opoku (Awkasi 87’)

5 Lee Close

6 Carl Mensah

7 Patrick Tshikala (Buchanan 56’)

8 Dave Keenleyside

9 Jack Vasey (Dasilva 59’)

10 Jesse Walklin (c)

11 George Ironton (Goal 18’) (Yellow card 76’)


12 Eusebio Da Silva

14 Robbie Buchanan

15 Charlie Payne

16 Patrick Awkasi

17 Malcolm Podier

18 Miguel De Matos


Bishop’s Stortford XI

1 Jack Giddens

3 Sam Mvemba

4 Jack Thomas

5 Sam Robbins

6 Ryan Henshaw (c)

7 Correy Davidson (Gardner 56’)

8 Ben Marlow

9 Tom Richardson (Yellow card 79’) (Johnson 81’)

10 Frankie Merrifield

15 Darren Foxley (Goal 58’)

17 Mark Haines (Yellow card 52’)


2 Michael Mullings

12 Joe Gardner (Boachie 61’)

14 Archie Jones

18 Joe Boachie

19 Louie Johnson

20 Ben Smith


Attendance 210


By Hamish Arnold