But it was a victory that only came in a frantic finish and proved more of a struggle than the previous day’s success against Sutton & Cheam. Wanderers squandered numerous chances in the first two periods and were up against an outstanding goalkeeper in Watford’s Peter Pickford, who saved a penalty from Dan Laxton.
Wanderers recovered from 5-2 down in the second period to 5-5 in the third, only to find themselves 8-6 adrift in the last to a battling Watford team.
A draw would have been sufficient to put Wanderers in the top division. And they finally pulled level at 8-8 with less than three minutes left when quick-thinking Adam Jerrett scored direct from a corner.
A Laxton goal with just 15 seconds remaining put the Welsh team ahead for the first time at 9-8. But that wasn’t the end of the excitement. Pickford left his goal to join in one more desperate attack for Watford, which ended with Wanderers keeper Jack Sanders (Photo: Trevor Hyde) making a comfortable save and (much to the delight of his team mates) hurling the ball the length of the pitch into an unguarded net for a celebratory goal!
Wanderers coach Nigel Davies said: “A lot of our boys are very young and this was the first time they had experienced games of this intensity, so I think nerves kicked in during the early stages.
“But I’m delighted with our success and we will look forward to the challenge of playing in Division 1. The lads have worked hard for this and were match fit thanks to a full training regime, including three recent training matches against Cheltenham, plus care with nutrition. No one was allowed a beer last night!”