Warriors battle to semi-final as Welham enjoy 'amazing experience' at England's HQ
PUBLISHED: 06:36 23 April 2019
Welham Albion Warriors battled their way to the semi-final of the UK International Cup at St George's Park - a two-day experience described as "amazing" for the young side.
The event, billed as the UK's premier Easter tournament, saw 60 teams playing across four age groups.
And after fighting their way through a group stage and a quarter-final, the dreaded penalty shoot-out halted Warriors progress.
However, manager Johnny Shearer was still delighted at how his young side performed.
He said: “It was an amazing experience for the boys. To go from winning a European title to representing their country in such a short time and at such a young age is outstanding.
“I'm so proud of them.”
Welham started the group stage with a 4-1 win over Keelby United but two late goals against Antrim resulted in a 2-1 defeat.
Their third match against Laxey was streamed live across the internet and a point was needed for Albion to progress.
The game went from end to end and Lewis Laycock kept his side in it with some fantastic saves.
But Will Tarrant's early header and a late strike from Jayden Shearer, converting a Ryley Brailsford cross, ensured a 2-0 win and qualification for the quarter-final.
The final group game was a dead rubber for Warriors and a late goal allowed Hednesford to win 1-0.
The quarter-final draw pitted Welham against Laxey again and it was the Isle of Man side who scored early this time, taking the lead after five minutes.
But Danny Littler equalised and Brailsford's long-range strike made it a 2-1 and set up a semi-final match with Corinthians.
Max Hardwick and Larson Dee got Welham off to a good start, running the midfield, and they took the lead when Lenny Dean's tackle put Tye Mason in to score.
They sat back too much though after that and an equaliser took the match to penalties.
Rockson Obeng and Littler both converted their attempts from the spot and Laycock made one save.
But even though he got a hand to the final kick, Corinthians were able to go through.
Littler finished as the top goalscorer while Dee was the player of the tournament.