Dave Iwediuno’s second half penalty earned Biggleswade United a 1-1 draw with Welwyn Garden City and extended the club’s unbeaten run to nine games.
It appeared Cristian Colas’ team would lose for the first time since 2nd January after they fell behind to a physical Citizens side early on, Luke Robins tapping home following a defensive mix-up. It was the first goal United had conceded in seven matches.
The home side stuggled for long periods to build momentum going forward, but Iwediuno’s spot-kick just over ten minutes from time after City’s Yasin Boodhoo handled on the goalline preserved a point for his side.
Boodhoo was sent off for his offence, meaning the visitors had to see out the final stages with just ten men, but United could not find a second goal to force home their numerical advantage.
A quiet opening to proceedings at Second Meadow was followed by a sudden and golden opportunity for Biggleswade to strike first. Josh Sturniolo was put through on goal by a dreadful attempted backpass from a Welwyn midfielder, but the forward’s tame effort was saved by away goalkeeper Kyle Forster.
The men in red were doubly made to pay for the miss just minutes later. Citizens winger Josh Bronti went on a mazy run down the right before poking the ball into the United area. A mix-up in communication meant neither defender Jayden Irish nor keeper Robbie Ponting dealt with the danger, the former stabbing the ball out of the latter’s reach, leaving Robins with the easiest of finishes to put his side ahead.
The home team struggled to come up with a response, with Matt Cooper’s effort straight at Forster from the edge of the area being United’s best opportunity to equalise before half-time.
At the other end, Bronti won the ball in a dangerous area and fed forward Daril Ngwala, but the Welwyn frontman’s strike came back off the crossbar.
A few Biggleswade players were sustaining knocks and it was no surprise that, for the third time in as many games, Colas was forced into an early substitution. Cooper, hit by a few heavy first-half challenges, made way for Alix Girdlestone shortly before the break.
It was one-way traffic at the start of the second period as Welwyn enjoyed their best spell of the contest. Ngwala’s superb solo run and effort brought a good save out of Ponting, before the United shot-stopper then denied Marcus Campbell with his feet.
On 65 minutes, Robins sent a free header wide from a corner as the visitors probably should have extended their lead.
United were struggling to get the attacking side of their game going, with passes frequently going astray and their forwards repeatedly being caught offside by Welwyn’s high defensive line. However, they made the Citizens pay the price for not killing the game off 12 minutes from the end.
Iwediuno, on as a substitute for Martin Russell, made his way into the box and although he was denied by a last ditch tackle, the ball fell to fellow sub Charlie Black. The midfielder’s goalbound effort was out of the reach of Forster but not defender Boodhoo, who palmed the ball away to safety.
The handball offence was easily seen by the referee, who duly awarded United a spot-kick and showed Boodhoo a straight red card. Iwediuno stepped up and made no mistake, sending the ball high into the middle of the net to level the scores.
There were no clear chances in the last ten minutes for either side to force a winner as United failed to push on despite having a man advantage. However, the draw maintains the Second Meadow side’s unbeaten streak and also ensures they remain ahead of the Citizens in the league table.