Tuesday evening it was the turn of newly promoted Welwyn Garden City to turn the tables on United.
Second Meadow, United's stadium, lies just off the A1M to the north of the town and is very easily accessible from the North or South. There is a reasonable amount of parking available directly in front of the stadium and a friendly staff member to guide you to a spot. The same staff member was also working the turnstile on this evening and helpfully pointed out that the club house was outide the perimeter of the ground so, if I wanted to grab a cup of tea, it may be best to do it before entering. I took his advice and got my cuppa before paying the £5 entry (plus £1.50 for a programme).
There is not that much about Second Meadow to describe, although I would not like this to sound like a negative point. It is a perfectly good stadium, completely surrounded by a metal fence, it is a tight, compact ground. There are covered seating and standing areas on both sides of the ground with the rest given to hard-standing. The pitch looked in pretty good condition
although I did think the grass looked a little on the long side for a team who, when I last saw them, liked to play a short passing game.
Both sides were coming into this game on the back of successful starts to their FA Cup campaigns, Biggleswade overcoming Desborough Town and Welwyn seeing off Haverhill Borough.
There were a few minutes of jousting at the start of the game where the sides got a measure of each other but it didn't take long for the game to spark into life. It took just 7 minutes for 17 year-old debutant Nathan Dimmock to open his senior goal-scoring account when he latched onto a ball on the edge of the Biggleswade box and smashed a shot past Mortas.
However, the away following had barely stoppped celebrating the goal when, 3 minutes later, Biggleswade struck back. A ball played in from the left fell to Lee Bilcock who slid it confidently under the City keeper. So, 1-1 after just 10 minutes but the early scoring was not to stop there. With 15 minutes played Welwyn forced a corner on their left. The ball was hoisted to the far post where it was met by Yasin Boodhoo. His looping header back across the goal eluded everyone and dropped into the corner of the net.
With the Citizens 2-1 up and bossing the game, there was a slight lull in events for a few minutes before, on 28 minutes, a bad clearance from Mortas went straight to a Welwyn player who slipped the ball into the path of an onrushing forward. This time, however, Mortas made up for his mistake, getting a fingertip to the shot and pushing it onto the bar.
Biggleswade swapped their wingers over in an attempt to unsettle the solid Welwyn defence but, despite getting a few balls down the line, they couldn't make any real inroads and Welwyn continued to look fairly comfortable.
Just before half-time came the two minutes that, effectively, killed the game off. First, on 43 minutes, a long ball somehow eluded everyone allowing Josh Bronti to run onto it and finish very neatly past the onrushing Mortas. Then, straight from the kick-off, Biggleswade conceded possession again. The ball was knocked to Craig Arnott who looked up and unleashed an unstoppable 30-yarder over the keeper and into the net.
It may have been interesting to have heard Cristian Colas' half-time talk. At 2-1 down with a minute remaining in the half, he would probably have been preparing a pep-talk to urge them to step it up a little. However, I am sure that those two goals in a minute would have significantly changed the tone of the conversation.
Whatever was said, Biggleswade came out for the second half with a renewed determination. Pulling three goals back was going to be a very difficult task especially against a well organised and very confident Welwyn side. Welwyn, as they were entitled to do, sat back a little and let Biggleswade come at them, seemingly content, at least for the first 10 minutes, to see how far out of the ground they could get their clearances to go. This is not to knock them though, they had earned the right to break the game up with their first half performance.
Biggleswade huffed and puffed but struggled to get through the Welwyn defence. When they did get a chance they found substitute keeper Jamie Jackson was equal to everything they had.
Welwyn were happy to play the second half on the break and did force a couple of chances but, overall, the second period was a much quieter affair than the first. Biggleswade's initial onslaught started to subside after around 10 minutes and, much as they tried, they could not seem to raise the tempo again.
With five minutes remaining Welwyn hammered the final nail in the Biggleswade coffin. An Aron Cato effort was blocked by Mortas but the ball fell to Caswell who made no mistake.
Welwyn, on the night, were very impressive. Calm and confident at the back, organised throughout the team and they displayed some excellent finishing. On this showing they could upset a lot of teams this season.
As for Biggleswade, this was just one of those games. They showed enough to believe that they have a lot more about them than was apparent in this game. They made some errors and were soundly punished for them by a team that was on great form.
As a neutral this was an entertaining match. A very enjoyable first visit to Second Meadow. Best of luck to both sides in the coming season and I look forward to seeing them both perform again (although United may not want to hear that).
Biggleswade United - @biggleswadeutd
Welwyn Garden City - @wgcfc